Monday, September 26, 2016
Sts. Cyprian and Justina & The North American Martyrs

Simple (1955 Calendar): September 26

Today we celebrate the life of Saints Cyprian and Justina. At Antioch the virtue of the virgin Justina converted Cyprian, a magician, to Christianity. Cyprian later became a priest and then a bishop. Both suffered martyrdom under Diocletian in the year 304, and their bodies were brought to Rome by some Christian mariners.

Traditional Matins Reading:

Cyprian, who was first a magician and afterwards a martyr, attempted, by charms and spells, to make Justina, a Christian virgin, consent to the passion of a certain young man. He consulted the devil as to the best way to succeed, and was told in reply that no art would be of any service to him against the true disciples of Christ. This answer made so great an impression on Cyprian, that, grieving bitterly over his former manner of life, he abandoned his magical arts, and was completely converted to the faith of Christ our Lord. Accused of being a Christian, he was seized together with the virgin Justina, and they were both severely scourged. They were then thrown into prison to see if they would change their mind; but on being taken out, as they remained firm in the Christian religion, they were cast into a cauldron of boiling pitch, fat, and wax. Finally they were beheaded at Nicomedia. Their bodies were left six days unburied; after which some sailors carried them secretly by night to their ship, and conveyed them to Rome. They were first buried on the estate of a noble lady named Rufina, but afterwards were translated into the city and laid in Constantine’s basilica, near the baptistery.

Collect:  Comfort us, O Lord, with the unfailing protection of Your holy martyrs Cyprian and Justina, for You are always merciful to those who are helped by Your saints. Through our Lord . . .

Also in the United States, today is the Feast of the North American Martyrs: Ss. Isacc Jogues, John de Brebeuf, and their companions.   All in all, eight French Jesuit missioners, the first canonized saints of the North American continent, labored and died among the most barbaric of the Native Americans in the most impenetrable fastnesses of the 17th-century New World.

After struggling with unbelievable privations and hardships, they were severely tortured and martyred by the Iroquois Indians between the years 1642 and 1649.

Fathers Isaac Jogues and Anthony Daniel and the two lay oblates, John Lalande and Rene Goupil, gave their lives in what is now New York State; Fathers John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Charles Garnier, and Noel Chabanel in central Canada.

From the Servants of the Holy Family:
September 26th is the feast of the North American Martyrs. They were martyred in the 1640's and canonized by Pope Pius XI on June 29, 1930. Fathers Isaac Jogues and Anthony Daniel, with the coadjutor Brother Rene Goupil and the oblate John de la Lande, were martyred in the territory which is now the United States; Father John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Charles Garnier and Noel Chabanel in Canada. All were Frenchmen by birth. They worked amidst great privations for the conversion of the Hurons. Taken prisoners by the Iroquois tribe, they were put to atrocious tortures which they bore with joy for the love of God. (St. Andrew's Missal) They had said that these new lands and new peoples would not be converted without the shedding of blood like the early days of Christianity and it was their blood that accomplished this.
Collect: O God, You blessed the first fruits of the faith in the vast expanse of North America by the missionary labors and martyrdom of blessed Isaac, John, and their companions. May the harvest for Christ grow daily more abundant in the whole world through the intercession of these saints. Through our Lord . . .

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