In the month of August

1 August: Martyrs of Arnsberg: Petrus Conradus and Abbot Gottfried Reichmann of the abbey of Arnsberg died out of hatred for the faith in 1644

2 August: John Thiel: born in Breslau in 1485 and entered the abbey of St. Vincent. Canon of the cathedral and provost of canonesses at Czarnowanz. In 1529 chosen as abbot of Wroclaw, he had in the same year to watch Lutheran soldiers penetrate the monastery and burn it. Together with his brothers, he found that shelter with the Franciscans of Wroclaw, where he introduced religious discipline. As bishop of Breslau he cared like shepherd for his flock. He died at 60 of age in the year 1545, beloved of all.

5 August: Gerard: a priest of the Abbey of Marienweerd, he was abbot from 1134, together with Robert Everard and others he was sent to Bern, to begin the apostolic life .

12 August: Anselm of Havelberg

blessed gertrude13 August: Blessed Gertrude: born on September 29, 1227; the youngest of three children of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. At about the age of one she was brought to the Norbertine sisters of Altenberg, perhaps her saintly mother foresaw her own imminent death and knew that the sisters would be good mothers to her orphaned child.  When the Elizabeth did just a few years later in 1231 at Marburg, she is said to have appeared in Gertrude’s room at Altenberg, radiant and smiling. When Gertrude was old enough, she joined the community for life. So extraordinary were her gifts and virtues that she was chosen Abbesses of the convent at age 21. Under her guidance and direction many women among the nobility left the world to join the flourishing community at Altenberg. Gertrude built the abbey church in honor of the Blessed Virgin and St. Michael. Once when she had scrubbed and washed a veil, the rays of the sun were said to hold it aloft until it was dry, thereby showing heaven’s approval of her devotion to the lowliest tasks. Gertrude had a special gift for reconciling enemies. When Pope Urban IV called for a new Crusade, Gertrude received his permission for her sisters to bear the Crusader’s cross and join in the Crusade through prayers and works of penance. When the same pope introduced the solemnity of Corpus Christi, Gertrude was among the first and most ardent promoters of the feast, which, beginning in 1270, was celebrated at Altenberg with the highest possible solemnity. After 49 years as abbess of Altenberg, Gertrude died at the age of seventy on August 13, 1297. She is portrayed with the crown of nobility, the pectoral cross of an abbess, and a monstrance recalling her devotion to the feast of Corpus Christi.

21 August: Helinus: abbot of Floreffe, 1213-1216. Seventy years after the foundation of the Order in the Holy Land he was personally asked by the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Honorius III,  to there to save Christianity. His arrival at the abbey of Saint Habbukuk greatly supported the brethren, who had already begun to suffer from the onslaught of Saladin. With the other canons he fled to Cyprus in 1290 and helped ot establish the community at Bellapais. He died in 1218.

20 August: Rosa Maria Martinez Vidal: Canoness of Toro. Born on 19th August 1924 and entered Toro in 1946. She was asked by her religious superiors to help the canonesses in Bonlieu, France and lived there from 1966-1971 . Throughout her life she had a zeal to suffer for God and her prayer was granted by a long and painful illness. She died on 20 August 1988. Her sisters remember her as one whose life was a continual ‘yes’ to God and in spite of her sufferings was always patient, modest and kind. 

24 August: Richard Redman: born in Cumberland entered the abbey of Shap and studied from 1449 to 1450 in Oxford. In the year 1458 he was elected Abbot. He became General visitor of all the Premonstratensian abbeys in England; two-thirds of which he found in good order and encouraged more discipline in the rest. In 1471 he became Bishop of Asaph, in 1495 he was bishop of Exeter and of Ely by 1501, yet he managed to continue his office of abbot of Shap and retained his seat as a vicar of the Order. He died in 1505 and was in the choir of Ely Cathedral where his tomb can still be seen.

27 August: Saint Monica, Mother of Our Holy Father Augustine

28 August: Solemnity of Our Holy Father Augustine (Vesting of novices at 1st Vespers)

29 August: Martyrs of Magnovarad: with the invasion of Turkish Muslims on this day in 1526 the canons of this abbey were killed in hatred for the faith

bronislava30 August: Blessed Bronislava: This year marks 750 years since the death of this Norbertine canoness. She was born around 1200 at Kamien in present-day Poland. As a young girl she expressed interest in becoming a religious sister, but her father stubbornly resisted. Bronislava was despondent until the Lord himself appeared to her with the reassuring promise: “Patience, Bronislava, you will become my spouse.” She was finally permitted to enter the community of the Norbertine nuns at Cracow around the year 1219. Bronislava identified so closely with the cross that one day, on a hillside by the convent, the crucified Christ appeared to her and said: “Bronislava, as my cross has been your cross, so, too, will my crown be your crown.” In early Lent of the year 1241, Bronislava with some of her sisters were praying, with arms outstretched in the form of a cross, when they received the news that the savage Tartars were advancing rapidly towards Cracow. the convent was in imminent danger of destruction. Bronislava took up a crucifix, pressed it to her heart and said to her sisters, “Do not fear anything – the cross will save us.” She then led the sisters to the subterranean passages beneath the convent where they successfully remained hidden from the invaders. The convent buildings, however, were not spared, and collapsed in flames, trapping the sisters underground. It is said that when Bronislava knocked three times with her crucifix on a rock wall of the dark prison, a passage to freedom opened for the sisters. After the destruction of the convent, many of the sisters took refuge in monasteries which had been spared. Bronislava remained in the ruins of the old convent with a handful of sisters, building little huts to sleep in and passing the days caring for the poor, the sick, and the countless victims of the Tartar invasion. It was the ultimate sign and blossoming of a truly cross-centered spirituality which expressed itself in solidarity with the suffering of others. The convent was never rebuilt in Bronislava’s lifetime. She eventually succumbed to a serious illness while attending the sick, dying on August 29, 1259. She is the patron saint of Cracow.

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