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Oct 12 - St. Seraphin of Montegrano 1540-1604

 Seraphin's parents were poor in earthly goods and obscure in the sight of men. But the spirit of prayer which his mother instilled in the boy was an inheritance of priceless value. The loving lessons of his mother caused Seraphin to make the firm resolve to remain innocent and become a saint.

He fostered tender devotion to the Blessed Mother and occasionally visited her shrine at Loreto, not far from his home. Once, on his way to the shrine, he found the River Potenza so high that no boatman ventured across. In his eagerness to get to the shrine, Seraphin stepped on the water, and it became like solid ground beneath him; he crossed the river on his way to the shrine and back without so much as wetting the soles of his feet.

On the death of his parents, Seraphin was subjected to a severe trial. His brother, a bricklayer and a man of a violent temper, took him into his employ; but no matter what the boy did, he received nothing but harsh words and blows in return. Seraphin bore the cruel treatment with great patience and recognized in it the way to holiness.

Desiring to consecrate himself to the service of God, he entered a Capuchin convent when he was only 16 years old. The high degree of perfection he had already attained was soon noticed and admired. His brethren were edified at his humility, charity, mortification, and self-sacrifice. Punctual in performing all the duties assigned to him, he still found time to be of service to the other brothers.

He devoted the night to prayer. In the evening he would visit the Blessed Sacrament and remain there for hours absorbed in prayer and contemplation. Then he would take a short rest, after which he would get up once more to attend the midnight office. God seemed to preserve his bodily strength in a marvelous way.

During a famine he ate but a fourth of his own meager meal, in order to have so much more to give to the poor. As porter of the convent, charged with providing for the poor, he once exceeded the bounds of obedience. For, as he had nothing more to give and there were still some poor waiting for help, he went into the garden and gathered a supply of the vegetables growing there. When his superior took him to task for it, the good brother assured him that the community would in no way suffer on his account, and that and the next morning a new growth of vegetables appeared in the garden.

The miraculous power with which God rewarded the charity of His servant continued to manifest itself. Countless sick were restored to health when he made the Sign of the Cross over them.

Seraphin endeavored, nevertheless, to withdraw as much as possible from contact with the world. While engaged in the quiet work about the convent, his heart was busy contemplating the sufferings of Christ. Consumed with the love of Him who shed His blood for love of us, he yearned to go to the infidels in order to shed his blood for Christ. Since his request was not granted, he made it a habit to pray:

Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior Crucified.
Inflamed with the love of God, Seraphin departed from this life on October 12, 1604, in his 64th year. Many miracles occurred at his grave, and Pope Clement XIII canonized him in 1767.

ON VENERATING THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
1. The precious Blood which Jesus Christ shed for us inflamed the heart of Seraphin with glowing love for his Lord. When Jesus shed tears at the grave of Lazarus, the bystanders said: "Behold how he loved him!" (John 11:36). But when He shed His precious Blood for us, he proved His love for us more than He could do by tears. One drop of His precious Blood would have sufficed to redeem us, but "what would have satisfied justice," says St. Chrysostom, "did not satisfy His love." He shed all His Blood, even to the last drop. He "has loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Apoc 1:5). -- When your soul is refreshed with the precious Blood in holy Communion, say, as St. Seraphin frequently said: "My beloved to me and I to Him" (Cant 2:16).
2. To promote devotion to the precious Blood, a confraternity of the precious Blood was established in the 19th century. Much good has been achieved by it and many members have been enrolled. The only conditions are, to have one's name entered on the membership list and to say daily seven Glorys in honor of the seven times our Savior shed His Blood: 1) at the Circumcision, 2) at the Agony, 3) at the Scourging, 4) at the Crowning with thorns, 5) on the Way of the Cross, 6) at the Crucifixion, 7) from the open Side. Pope Pius IX, in recommending the confraternity, reminded the faithful that by way of a figure the blood of the lamb was used in Egypt to mark the houses of the Israelites, so that they would be spared from the wrath of God. He added: "Will not they who devoutly venerate the Blood of our Savior, more assuredly escape the wrath and experience the mercies of God?" -- Let us, then, devoutly venerate the precious Blood.
3). Consider that sincere veneration of the Blood of Christ should hearten us to abstain carefully from every sin and to bear the sufferings of this life in a manner pleasing to God. Our souls have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, first in baptism, and then in the sacrament of penance. "The blood of Jesus Christ, " says St. John, "cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:17). And he adds, "My little children, these things I write to you that you may not sin." For, would that not be like treading on the Blood of Christ? We should rather manifest our gratitude and return love for love by patiently bearing the sufferings sent to us and by steadfastly overcoming every temptation to sin. May St. Seraphin's intercession obtain for us a share of his heroic love of God.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
O God, who didst inflame the heart of St. Seraphin with the fire of Thy love, grant, we beseech Thee, that at his intercession we may walk in his footsteps and be inflamed with the same fire of love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm., 1959 Franciscan Herald Press