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St. Berard and Companions, the 1st Franciscan Martyers

Sunday, January 16, 2005
St. Berard and Companions pray for us all, inspire with in us a zeal for proclaiming Christ's Truth and Love and lead us all to Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The following is a compilation from a variety of websites for today's Saints. A link is provided above to the Secular Franciscans in Florida, Georgia and Alabama also for more information and there is a link to EWTN, which as you may know was started by Mother Angelica who is a member of the Franciscan community- she is a Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration. You can find more information on the Saints and on the life of Francis and his companions there. May Christ Our Lord bless you and May Our Lady, the Virgin Mother of God, keep you beneath her protective mantle of love and grace!
Omnia Pro Jesu Per Mariam!


Six Franciscan friars accepted from St. Francis of Assisi an assignment to go to Morocco. They were to announce Christianity to the Muslims. Friars Berard, Peter, Adjutus, Accursio and Odo traveled by ship in 1219. Morocco is in the northwest corner of Africa and the journey was long and dangerous. The group arrived at Seville, Spain. They started preaching immediately, on streets and in public squares. People treated them as if they were crazy and had them arrested. To save themselves from being sent back home, the friars declared they wanted to see the sultan. So the governor of Seville sent them to Morocco.
The sultan received the friars and gave them freedom to preach in the city. But some of the people did not like this. They complained to the authorities. The sultan tried to save the friars by sending them to live in Marrakech, on the west coast of Morocco. A Christian prince and friend of the sultan, Dom Pedro Fernandez, took them into his home. But the friars knew that their mission was to preach the faith. They returned to the city as often as they could. This angered some people who did not want to hear the friars' message. These complaints angered the sultan so much that one day when he saw the friars preaching, he ordered them to stop or leave the country. Since they did not feel justified about doing either one, they were beheaded right then and there. It was January 16, 1220.
Dom Pedro went to claim the bodies of the martyrs. Eventually he brought their relics to Holy Cross Church in Coimbra, Portugal. The friars' mission to Morocco had been brief and an apparent failure. But the results were surprising. The story of these heroes fired the first Franciscans with the desire to be missionaries and martyrs too. It was their particular witness that inspired a young man to dedicate his life to God as a Franciscan priest. We know him as St. Anthony of Padua. His feast day is June 13.
The deaths of Berard and his companions sparked a missionary vocation in Anthony of Padua and others. There have been many, many Franciscans who have responded to Francis’ challenge. Proclaiming the gospel can be fatal, but that has not stopped the Franciscan men and women who even today risk their lives in many countries throughout the world.
(By clicking the read more link provided you can view the litany to the Franciscan Saints and Blessed.)



Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.

Holy Mary, Queen of the Seraphic Order Pray for us.

Holy Father Francis

St. Berard and companions, you first martyrs of the Franciscan Order

St. Daniel and companions, you martyrs in Africa

St. Peter Baptista and companions, called through the cross to life in Nagasaki (six of the 1st Order, 17 of the Secular Franciscan Order)

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, martyr, tireless in the spreading of the faith

Blessed Apollinaris and companions, martyrs in Japan (18 of the 1st Order, 27 of the Secular Franciscan Order)

Blessed Apollinaris of Fribourg (Switzerland), martyr of the French Revolution

Blessed Engelbert Kolland who called his murderer "friend"

St. Maximilian Kolbe who gave his life for his brother in Christ

Saint (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina marked with the stigmata of Jesus

All the Saints and Blessed of the Franciscan Family….. pray for us

St. Anthony of Padua, powerful teacher of the Gospel life

St. Ferdinand, king of Castile

St. Louis, strong in faith

St. Bonaventure, teacher of the Seraphic Order

St. Roch, helper in times of the plague

St. Bernardin of Siena, great preacher, unifier of east and west

St. John Capistrano, peacemaker and apostle of charity

St. Peter of Alcantara, man of prayer and contemplation

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, full of the Spirit of counsel and fortitude

St. Vincent Palotti, pillar of the Church in troubled times

St. John Mary Vianney, inspired by the Good Shepherd

St. Joseph Cafasso, man of limitless patience

St. Conrad of Parzham, mediator of divine mercy

St. Pius X, full of apostolic zeal to renew everything in Christ

Blessed John XXIII, humble and beloved pope

Blessed Luchesius, first confessor of the Secular Franciscan Order

Blessed Giles of Assisi, 3rd companion of St. Francis

Blessed Contardo Ferrini, lay helper in a student community

Blessed Joseph Freinademetz, example of missionary poverty in China

All you holy and blessed confessors of the Franciscan Family…. Pray for us.

St. Clare (Chiara, Clara), mother of the Poor Ladies of St. Damiano

St. Elizabeth of Hungary mother of the poor and joyful in persecution

St. Rose of Viterbo, model of perfection at the age of 18 years

St. Agnes of Assisi filled with the Seraphic Spirit

St. Margaret of Cortona, great penitent

St. Elizabeth of Portugal, exemplary mother and promoter of peace

St. Bridget of Sweden, gifted with extraordinary love for the Crucified 3rd Order, foundress of the Bridgetines)

St. Colette, great reformer with the Spirit of prayer

St. Angela Merici , caring and wise educator of the youths (3rd Order, foundress of the Ursulines)

St. Veronica Giuliani, perfected by suffering and renunciation

St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds

St. Mary Magdalene Postel, lover of children

Blessed Agnes of Prague, who spend her life caring for the homeless

Blessed Angela of Foligno, rich in contemplation

Blessed Crescentia, miraculously joyful in suffering

Blessed Francisca Schervier, mother of the poor

Blessed Josepha Rosello, full of love and care for the sick

Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta, missionary in China

All you blessed and holy women of the Franciscan Family….. Pray for us.

Praise the Lord all you His saints and all who fear Him, small and great.

Let us rejoice and sing and give honour to the Lord our God.

Let us pray:

Almighty eternal God, we remember all the Brothers and Sister of the Franciscan family whose life is perfected in You. We beg You because of so many people who pray for us: Give us , too, the promised land after this our sojourn in a foreign land as You have promised to those who love You. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

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