Thursday, August 1, 2019

Hunt #3: Google Maps Challenge - SOLVED

Congratulations to Tina in Twin Lakes who is the winner of the $25 Amazon gift card, randomly selected from all of the correct entries. Without further ado, here are the answers.

The Clues

Clue #1
I wasn't the Master but I earned that degree
When I lived within SW59ST.
You won't see a magistrate, nor a Doctor, nor duke
But you will see a box that's not meant for a juke.


Both Master and Doctor are capitalized and are references to Doctor Who.
SW5 9ST is a postal code in London.
Magistrate was a reference to a "court". 
Duke might suggest Duke of Earl. 
Together I was pointing you to Earl's Court.
The box is the police box. 




Clue #2
Near where I studied there was a strange little place.
Chuck would be happy; oh the look on his face!
As George IV might take his old white horse,
I'd browse for a bit till I resumed my course.

I studied at the London School of Economics. You can find this info in my first treasure hunt book or in the Books section on my website (where I also have my thesis for sale).
Chuck refers to Charles Dickens.
George IV and Ye Old White Horse are pubs located near the school and serve as confirmations that you're in the right place.
You'd browse in the shop and refer back to the first line of the clue to realize a "strange little place" was the Old Curiosity Shop.



Clue #3
Southeast of the house of mercy (or is it disgrace?)
The lion of the tribe of Judah may have passed through this place.
If you trust in what he says, you won't have to wait.
You'll get up and walk right through this gate.

Some quick googling and a bit of Bible knowledge might help on this one. It proved to be the easiest to get into the general location, but the hardest to isolate the specific spot.
The house of mercy (or is it disgrace) refers to Bethesda in Jerusalem. Beth hesda (בית חסד/חסדא), means either house of mercy or house of grace. In both Hebrew and Aramaic the word hesda could also mean "shame, disgrace".
The lion of the tribe of Judah refers to Jesus. It also serves to point you to the correct gate (Lion's Gate). I was careful to say "place" instead of gate because while Jesus may have been in the area as referenced in the Bible, the present day gates were constructed after the Biblical era, so Jesus would not have passed through this gate but he would have been in this place.
The last two lines refer to John 5:1-8. This one was confusing because scripture refers to the sheep gate. However, archaeological and historical evidence shows that the present day sheep gate is not the sheep gate mentioned in the Bible. That sheep gate is no longer is existence and was likely near where the present day lion's gate is located. The lion's gate is the correct answer.


Clue #4
It gets a bit chilly in the town of stars.
And to get around you won't use cars.
Wear your Sunday best and put on your fleece
When you go to visit the Queen of Peace.

Chilly is a dual hint in this one that once discovered could unlock the whole clue. It's a reference to Chile AND to someplace cold. If you figured out Chile and translated "town of stars" into Spanish you might be led to Villa Las Estrellas which is a Chilean town and research station on King George Island within the Chilean Antarctic claim.
The third line tells you that you're looking for a church and the fourth line actually gives you the name of that church.





*Google and Amazon are not sponsors nor are they in any way affiliated with this contest. Use of Google and Amazon does not imply endorsement.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Hunt #3 Google Maps Challenge

This is my second "Google Maps Challenge". Nothing to buy - it's free! 
Everything you need to get started is right here.
Prize: $25 Amazon gift card. (Valid only in the US).


Instructions
This Google Maps Challenge is global - the locations could be anywhere in the world. I've created a set of four clues that will lead you to specific locations that can be found using Google Maps. There are four specific locations that need to be found. All four clues must be solved to submit a valid entry for a chance to win the $25 Amazon gift card. Only one prize will be awarded. Contest ends July 31. Winner will be chosen at random on August 1 from all correct entries received by midnight (Eastern time) on July 31. If no correct entries are received by that time, I may extend the deadline.


The Clues

Clue #1
I wasn't the Master but I earned that degree
When I lived within SW59ST.
You won't see a magistrate, nor a Doctor, nor duke
But you will see a box that's not meant for a juke.

Clue #2
Near where I studied there was a strange little place.
Chuck would be happy; oh the look on his face!
As George IV might take his old white horse,
I'd browse for a bit till I resumed my course.

Clue #3
Southeast of the house of mercy (or is it disgrace?)
The lion of the tribe of Judah may have passed through this place.
If you trust in what he says, you won't have to wait.
You'll get up and walk right through this gate.

Clue #4
It gets a bit chilly in the town of stars.
And to get around you won't use cars.
Wear your Sunday best and put on your fleece
When you go to visit the Queen of Peace.


Submit Your Solution
So you think you've solved it? How do you submit your entry for a chance to win the $25 Amazon gift card? 

Send the following to me in an email (readandseekadventures (at) gmail):
  1. Subject line of your email: Hunt #3 Solution.
  2. Include a screenshot from Google Maps street view for each location. The specific feature must be contained in the screenshot to be a valid solution. Angle or direction is not important.

*Google and Amazon are not sponsors nor are they in any way affiliated with this contest. Use of Google and Amazon does not imply endorsement.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Backyard Treasures

I'm the fourth generation to live in the house I now presently own. A few years ago, my great uncle stopped by to visit the house he grew up in. He shared lots of great stories about how the house used to look. He also told us what it was like to live without plumbing.

As we looked out into the backyard, he pointed to where they had the outhouse. From time to time, they'd cover up the hole and move it another spot. The outhouse served not only as a toilet, but also a garbage disposal. They'd throw glass bottles and other assorted trash down there.

This makes outhouse locations kind of the amateur archaeologist/treasure hunter's dream. Broken glass has a constant presence in my backyard. A green piece here, a blue piece there, a clear piece everywhere. They tend to float to the surface, especially after heavy rains.

Several times, my son and I have dug in the approximate outhouse locations. So far we've only found one completely intact piece of glass. It's some kind of soap dish, candy bowl, ash tray or some other thing with an imaginative use.








We also pulled out the metal detector to search around the areas. Doing this helped us narrow down a couple more long lost treasures. The first was a vintage Schrader-Universal tire pressure gauge from the 1910s-1920s. Pretty cool find!





In another spot we found these old metal, matchbox-like toy cars. Maybe from the 1970s or 1980s?

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Saturday's Saint - June 1: Saint Justin Martyr

The Fathers of the Church spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, defended the Church in apologetic writing and fought the many heresies of the first six centuries of Christianity. These men, also called Apostolic Fathers, gave special witness to the faith, some dying the death of a martyr. Like Jesus who referred to Abraham as a spiritual father (Luke 16: 24) and St. Paul, who referred to himself in the same terms (1 Cor 4: 15), the Fathers were zealous for the word of God. Their writings are a testimony to the faith of the early Church, yet many Christians are unfamiliar with the work of Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, Justin the Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, Athanasius, Ephraim, Cyril of Jerusalem, Hilary of Poitiers or Gregory the Great to name of few of the early Fathers. This site will provide biographical information and examples of the writing of these great men of faith. We will focus on Justin Martyr. 

St. Justin Martyr (105-165 A.D.) was born a pagan at Flavia Neapolis in Samaria near Jacob's well somewhere between 100-110 A.D. He was well educated and traveled and is known to us mostly by his writings in defense of the faith. He has been described as "star in the West, leading its Wise Men to the cradle of Bethlehem." Before his conversion he seems to have been enamored but not satisfied with philosophies like Stoicism and Platonism.  Then one day he met an old man on the sea shore and had the Gospel proclaimed to him and realized he could have no true knowledge of God without revelation, which had been given to the prophets.  After his conversion, he put his training in philosophy to good use as an evangelist, spending some time in Ephesus and much time in Rome.  In his Dialogue with Trypho he shows how Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism, stressing its truth.  He also wrote two Apologies addressed to the then Roman Emperors, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius in which he shows the beauty of Christianity.  In the second he writes, "'When I was a disciple of Plato', he writes, 'hearing the accusations made against the Christians and seeing them intrepid in the face of death and of all that men fear, I said to myself that it was impossible that they should be living in evil and in the love of pleasure'" (II Apol., xviii, 1). He effectively builds a bridge between Greek philosophy and Christianity using the concept of the Logos, acknowledging that the Greeks possessed it in seed form, but the fullness is found in Christianity in the person of Jesus Christ.  He spent some time in Ephesus and then taught at a Christian philosophy school in Rome.  It was in Rome where he (and some of his disciples) suffered martyrdom for his bold preaching during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. His Apologies are considered the most important of the 2d century Christian writings of the Fathers of the Early Church. It is difficult not to identify within his testimony an early version of the Catholic Mass, the president or presider being a priest [presbyteros in Greek].  His description is shown below.

Account of Justin's Death Sentence from the Second Century:  Justin was beheaded by the prefect Rusticus along with six other Christians in Rome. In an account of the interrogation of Justin by Rusticus, the latter said, "Let us come to the pressing matter at hand. Agree together and sacrifice with one accord to the gods." Justin replied, "No one who is rightly minded turns from true belief to false." Rusticus threatened, "If you do not obey, ye shall be punished without mercy." Justin said, "If we are punished for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ we hope to be saved, for this shall be our salvation and confidence before the terrible judgment-seat of our Lord and Savior which shall judge the whole world." The other Christians agreed and Rusticus ordered that they be scourged and beheaded. [See A Treasury of Early Christianity edited by Anne Fremantle, 1953, pp. 193-196].

From the First Apology of Justin, ch. 65: An Early Description of the Catholic Mass (written about 150 A.D.)

"After we have thus washed the one who has believed and has assented, we lead him to where those who are called brethren are gathered, offering prayers in common and heartily for ourselves and for the one who has been illuminated, and for all others everywhere, so that we may be accounted worthy, now even that we have learned the truth, to be found keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an eternal salvation. Having concluded the prayers, we greet one another with a kiss. Then there is brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of water and of watered wine [the text followed by two other two genitive case terms indicating that both the water and watered wine are in the same cup], and taking them, he gives praise and glory to the Father of all, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; and he himself gives thanks at some length in order that these things may be deemed worthy. 

When the prayers and thanksgiving are completed, all the people present call out their consent, saying 'Amen!' 'Amen' in the Hebrew language signifies 'so be it.' After the president has given thanks, and all the people have shouted their assent, those whom we call deacons give to each one present to partake of the Eucharistic bread and wine and water; and to those who are absent they carry away a portion. 

We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who has been washed in the washing [baptism] which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [2 Pet 3:21], and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread or common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him [see 1 Cor 11: 23-26; Lk 22; 19] and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished is both the flesh and blood of the incarnated Jesus [see John 6: 53-56]. 

The apostles, in the Memoirs which they produced, which we called Gospels, have thus passed on that which was enjoined upon them: that Jesus took bread and, having given thanks, said, 'Do this in remembrance of Me; this is My Body' [Lk 22:19; Mt 26:26; Mk 14: 22: 1 Cor 11: 23-24]. And in like manner, taking the cup, and having given thanks, He said, 'This is my Blood' [Lk 22:20; Mt 26: 27-28; Mk 14:24; 1 Cor 11: 25]. And He imparted this to them only. The evil demons, however, have passed on its imitation in the mysteries of Mithra [pagan cult]. For as you know or are able to learn, bread and a cup of water together with certain incantations are used in imitation to the mystic rites.

Source: catholicfaithandreason.org

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Saturday's Saint - May 25: Saint Bede the Venerable

Bede (/biːd/ BEED; Old English: Bǣda, Bēda; 672/3 – 26 May 735), also known as Saint Bede,
Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable (Latin: Bēda Venerābilis), was an English Benedictine monk at the monastery of St. Peter and its companion monastery of St. Paul in the Kingdom of Northumbria of the Angles (contemporarily Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey in Tyne and Wear, England). Born on lands likely belonging to the Monkwearmouth monastery in present-day Sunderland, Bede was sent there at the age of seven and later joined Abbot Ceolfrith at the Jarrow monastery, both of whom survived a plague that struck in 686, an outbreak that killed a majority of the population there. While he spent most of his life in the monastery, Bede travelled to several abbeys and monasteries across the British Isles, even visiting the archbishop of York and King Ceolwulf of Northumbria. He is well known as an author, teacher (a student of one of his pupils was Alcuin), and scholar, and his most famous work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, gained him the title "The Father of English History". His ecumenical writings were extensive and included a number of Biblical commentaries and other theological works of exegetical erudition. Another important area of study for Bede was the academic discipline of computus, otherwise known to his contemporaries as the science of calculating calendar dates. One of the more important dates Bede tried to compute was Easter, an effort that was mired with controversy. He also helped establish the practice of dating forward from the birth of Christ (Anno Domini – in the year of our Lord), a practice which eventually became commonplace in medieval Europe. Bede was one of the greatest teachers and writers of the Early Middle Ages and is considered by many historians to be the single most important scholar of antiquity for the period between the death of Pope Gregory I in 604 and the coronation of Charlemagne in 800.

In 1899, Pope Leo XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church. He is the only native of Great Britain to achieve this designation; Anselm of Canterbury, also a Doctor of the Church, was originally from Italy. Bede was moreover a skilled linguist and translator, and his work made the Latin and Greek writings of the early Church Fathers much more accessible to his fellow Anglo-Saxons, which contributed significantly to English Christianity. Bede's monastery had access to an impressive library which included works by Eusebius, Orosius, and many others.

Almost everything that is known of Bede's life is contained in the last chapter of his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, a history of the church in England. It was completed in about 731, and Bede implies that he was then in his fifty-ninth year, which would give a birth date in 672 or 673. A minor source of information is the letter by his disciple Cuthbert (not to be confused with the saint, Cuthbert, who is mentioned in Bede's work) which relates Bede's death. Bede, in the Historia, gives his birthplace as "on the lands of this monastery". He is referring to the twinned monasteries of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, in modern-day Wearside and Tyneside respectively; there is also a tradition that he was born at Monkton, two miles from the monastery at Jarrow, although at the time of his birth the Jarrow Monastery did not exist. Bede says nothing of his origins, but his connections with men of noble ancestry suggest that his own family was well-to-do. Bede's first abbot was Benedict Biscop, and the names "Biscop" and "Beda" both appear in a king list of the kings of Lindsey from around 800, further suggesting that Bede came from a noble family.

Bede's name reflects West Saxon Bīeda (Northumbrian Bǣda, Anglian Bēda). It is an Anglo-Saxon short name formed on the root of bēodan "to bid, command". The name also occurs in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, s.a. 501, as Bieda, one of the sons of the Saxon founder of Portsmouth. The Liber Vitae of Durham Cathedral names two priests with this name, one of whom is presumably Bede himself. Some manuscripts of the Life of Cuthbert, one of Bede's works, mention that Cuthbert's own priest was named Bede; it is possible that this priest is the other name listed in the Liber Vitae.

At the age of seven, Bede was sent, as a puer oblatus, to the monastery of Monkwearmouth by his family to be educated by Benedict Biscop and later by Ceolfrith. Bede does not say whether it was already intended at that point that he would be a monk. It was fairly common in Ireland at this time for young boys, particularly those of noble birth, to be fostered out as an oblate; the practice was also likely to have been common among the Germanic peoples in England. Monkwearmouth's sister monastery at Jarrow was founded by Ceolfrith in 682, and Bede probably transferred to Jarrow with Ceolfrith that year. The dedication stone for the church has survived to the present day; it is dated 23 April 685, and as Bede would have been required to assist with menial tasks in his day-to-day life it is possible that he helped in building the original church. In 686, plague broke out at Jarrow. The Life of Ceolfrith, written in about 710, records that only two surviving monks were capable of singing the full offices; one was Ceolfrith and the other a young boy, who according to the anonymous writer had been taught by Ceolfrith. The two managed to do the entire service of the liturgy until others could be trained. The young boy was almost certainly Bede, who would have been about 14.

When Bede was about 17 years old, Adomnán, the abbot of Iona Abbey, visited Monkwearmouth and Jarrow. Bede would probably have met the abbot during this visit, and it may be that Adomnan sparked Bede's interest in the Easter dating controversy. In about 692, in Bede's nineteenth year, Bede was ordained a deacon by his diocesan bishop, John, who was bishop of Hexham. The canonical age for the ordination of a deacon was 25; Bede's early ordination may mean that his abilities were considered exceptional, but it is also possible that the minimum age requirement was often disregarded. There might have been minor orders ranking below a deacon; but there is no record of whether Bede held any of these offices. In Bede's thirtieth year (about 702), he became a priest, with the ordination again performed by Bishop John.

In about 701 Bede wrote his first works, the De Arte Metrica and De Schematibus et Tropis; both were intended for use in the classroom. He continued to write for the rest of his life, eventually completing over 60 books, most of which have survived. Not all his output can be easily dated, and Bede may have worked on some texts over a period of many years. His last-surviving work is a letter to Ecgbert of York, a former student, written in 734. A 6th-century Greek and Latin manuscript of Acts of the Apostles that is believed to have been used by Bede survives and is now in the Bodleian Library at University of Oxford; it is known as the Codex Laudianus. Bede may also have worked on one of the Latin bibles that were copied at Jarrow, one of which is now held by the Laurentian Library in Florence. Bede was a teacher as well as a writer; he enjoyed music, and was said to be accomplished as a singer and as a reciter of poetry in the vernacular. It is possible that he suffered a speech impediment, but this depends on a phrase in the introduction to his verse life of Saint Cuthbert. Translations of this phrase differ, and it is uncertain whether Bede intended to say that he was cured of a speech problem, or merely that he was inspired by the saint's works.

In 708, some monks at Hexham accused Bede of having committed heresy in his work De Temporibus. The standard theological view of world history at the time was known as the Six Ages of the World; in his book, Bede calculated the age of the world for himself, rather than accepting the authority of Isidore of Seville, and came to the conclusion that Christ had been born 3,952 years after the creation of the world, rather than the figure of over 5,000 years that was commonly accepted by theologians. The accusation occurred in front of the bishop of Hexham, Wilfrid, who was present at a feast when some drunken monks made the accusation. Wilfrid did not respond to the accusation, but a monk present relayed the episode to Bede, who replied within a few days to the monk, writing a letter setting forth his defence and asking that the letter also be read to Wilfrid. Bede had another brush with Wilfrid, for the historian himself says that he met Wilfrid, sometime between 706 and 709, and discussed Æthelthryth, the abbess of Ely. Wilfrid had been present at the exhumation of her body in 695, and Bede questioned the bishop about the exact circumstances of the body and asked for more details of her life, as Wilfrid had been her advisor.

In 733, Bede travelled to York to visit Ecgbert, who was then bishop of York. The See of York was elevated to an archbishopric in 735, and it is likely that Bede and Ecgbert discussed the proposal for the elevation during his visit. Bede hoped to visit Ecgbert again in 734, but was too ill to make the journey. Bede also travelled to the monastery of Lindisfarne, and at some point visited the otherwise-unknown monastery of a monk named Wicthed, a visit that is mentioned in a letter to that monk. Because of his widespread correspondence with others throughout the British Isles, and due to the fact that many of the letters imply that Bede had met his correspondents, it is likely that Bede travelled to some other places, although nothing further about timing or locations can be guessed. It seems certain that he did not visit Rome, however, as he would have mentioned it in the autobiographical chapter of his Historia Ecclesiastica. Nothhelm, a correspondent of Bede's who assisted him by finding documents for him in Rome, is known to have visited Bede, though the date cannot be determined beyond the fact that it was after Nothhelm's visit to Rome.

Except for a few visits to other monasteries, his life was spent in a round of prayer, observance of the monastic discipline and study of the Sacred Scriptures. He was considered the most learned man of his time, and wrote excellent biblical and historical books.

Bede died on the Feast of the Ascension, Thursday, 26 May 735, on the floor of his cell, singing "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit" and was buried at Jarrow. Cuthbert, a disciple of Bede's, wrote a letter to a Cuthwin (of whom nothing else is known), describing Bede's last days and his death. According to Cuthbert, Bede fell ill, "with frequent attacks of breathlessness but almost without pain", before Easter. On the Tuesday, two days before Bede died, his breathing became worse and his feet swelled. He continued to dictate to a scribe, however, and despite spending the night awake in prayer he dictated again the following day. At three o'clock, according to Cuthbert, he asked for a box of his to be brought, and distributed among the priests of the monastery "a few treasures" of his: "some pepper, and napkins, and some incense". That night he dictated a final sentence to the scribe, a boy named Wilberht, and died soon afterwards. The account of Cuthbert does not make entirely clear whether Bede died before midnight or after. However, by the reckoning of Bede's time, passage from the old day to the new occurred at sunset, not midnight, and Cuthbert is clear that he died after sunset. Thus, while his box was brought at three o'clock Wednesday afternoon the 25th, by the time of the final dictation it might be considered already Thursday in that ecclesiastical sense, although the 25th in the ordinary sense.

Cuthbert's letter also relates a five-line poem in the vernacular that Bede composed on his deathbed, known as "Bede's Death Song". It is the most-widely copied Old English poem, and appears in 45 manuscripts, but its attribution to Bede is not certain—not all manuscripts name Bede as the author, and the ones that do are of later origin than those that do not. Bede's remains may have been transferred to Durham Cathedral in the 11th century; his tomb there was looted in 1541, but the contents were probably re-interred in the Galilee chapel at the cathedral.

One further oddity in his writings is that in one of his works, the Commentary on the Seven Catholic Epistles, he writes in a manner that gives the impression he was married. The section in question is the only one in that work that is written in first-person view. Bede says: "Prayers are hindered by the conjugal duty because as often as I perform what is due to my wife I am not able to pray." Another passage, in the Commentary on Luke, also mentions a wife in the first person: "Formerly I possessed a wife in the lustful passion of desire and now I possess her in honourable sanctification and true love of Christ." The historian Benedicta Ward argues that these passages are Bede employing a rhetorical device.

Bede wrote scientific, historical and theological works, reflecting the range of his writings from music and metrics to exegetical Scripture commentaries. He knew patristic literature, as well as Pliny the Elder, Virgil, Lucretius, Ovid, Horace and other classical writers. He knew some Greek.

Bede's scriptural commentaries employed the allegorical method of interpretation and his history includes accounts of miracles, which to modern historians has seemed at odds with his critical approach to the materials in his history. Modern studies have shown the important role such concepts played in the world-view of Early Medieval scholars.

He dedicated his work on the Apocalypse and the De Temporum Ratione to the successor of Ceolfrid as abbot, Hwaetbert.

Although Bede is mainly studied as an historian now, in his time his works on grammar, chronology, and biblical studies were as important as his historical and hagiographical works. The non-historical works contributed greatly to the Carolingian renaissance. He has been credited with writing a penitential, though his authorship of this work is still very much disputed.

Bede's best-known work is the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, or An Ecclesiastical History of the English People, completed in about 731. Bede was aided in writing this book by Albinus, abbot of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. The first of the five books begins with some geographical background, and then sketches the history of England, beginning with Caesar's invasion in 55 BC. A brief account of Christianity in Roman Britain, including the martyrdom of St Alban, is followed by the story of Augustine's mission to England in 597, which brought Christianity to the Anglo-Saxons. The second book begins with the death of Gregory the Great in 604, and follows the further progress of Christianity in Kent and the first attempts to evangelise Northumbria. These ended in disaster when Penda, the pagan king of Mercia, killed the newly Christian Edwin of Northumbria at the Battle of Hatfield Chase in about 632. The setback was temporary, and the third book recounts the growth of Christianity in Northumbria under kings Oswald of Northumbria and Oswy. The climax of the third book is the account of the Council of Whitby, traditionally seen as a major turning point in English history. The fourth book begins with the consecration of Theodore as Archbishop of Canterbury, and recounts Wilfrid's efforts to bring Christianity to the kingdom of Sussex. The fifth book brings the story up to Bede's day, and includes an account of missionary work in Frisia, and of the conflict with the British church over the correct dating of Easter. Bede wrote a preface for the work, in which he dedicates it to Ceolwulf, king of Northumbria. The preface mentions that Ceolwulf received an earlier draft of the book; presumably Ceolwulf knew enough Latin to understand it, and he may even have been able to read it. The preface makes it clear that Ceolwulf had requested the earlier copy, and Bede had asked for Ceolwulf's approval; this correspondence with the king indicates that Bede's monastery had excellent connections among the Northumbrian nobility.

he monastery at Wearmouth-Jarrow had an excellent library. Both Benedict Biscop and Ceolfrith had acquired books from the Continent, and in Bede's day the monastery was a renowned centre of learning. It has been estimated that there were about 200 books in the monastic library.

For the period prior to Augustine's arrival in 597, Bede drew on earlier writers, including Solinus. He had access to two works of Eusebius: the Historia Ecclesiastica, and also the Chronicon, though he had neither in the original Greek; instead he had a Latin translation of the Historia, by Rufinus, and Saint Jerome's translation of the Chronicon. He also knew Orosius's Adversus Paganus, and Gregory of Tours' Historia Francorum, both Christian histories, as well as the work of Eutropius, a pagan historian. He used Constantius's Life of Germanus as a source for Germanus's visits to Britain. Bede's account of the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons is drawn largely from Gildas's De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae. Bede would also have been familiar with more recent accounts such as Eddius Stephanus's Life of Wilfrid, and anonymous Lives of Gregory the Great and Cuthbert. He also drew on Josephus's Antiquities, and the works of Cassiodorus, and there was a copy of the Liber Pontificalis in Bede's monastery. Bede quotes from several classical authors, including Cicero, Plautus, and Terence, but he may have had access to their work via a Latin grammar rather than directly. However, it is clear he was familiar with the works of Virgil and with Pliny the Elder's Natural History, and his monastery also owned copies of the works of Dionysius Exiguus. He probably drew his account of St. Alban from a life of that saint which has not survived. He acknowledges two other lives of saints directly; one is a life of Fursa, and the other of St. Æthelburh; the latter no longer survives. He also had access to a life of Ceolfrith. Some of Bede's material came from oral traditions, including a description of the physical appearance of Paulinus of York, who had died nearly 90 years before Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica was written.

Bede also had correspondents who supplied him with material. Albinus, the abbot of the monastery in Canterbury, provided much information about the church in Kent, and with the assistance of Nothhelm, at that time a priest in London, obtained copies of Gregory the Great's correspondence from Rome relating to Augustine's mission. Almost all of Bede's information regarding Augustine is taken from these letters. Bede acknowledged his correspondents in the preface to the Historia Ecclesiastica; he was in contact with Daniel, the Bishop of Winchester, for information about the history of the church in Wessex, and also wrote to the monastery at Lastingham for information about Cedd and Chad.[70] Bede also mentions an Abbot Esi as a source for the affairs of the East Anglian church, and Bishop Cynibert for information about Lindsey.

The historian Walter Goffart argues that Bede based the structure of the Historia on three works, using them as the framework around which the three main sections of the work were structured. For the early part of the work, up until the Gregorian mission, Goffart feels that Bede used Gildas's De excidio. The second section, detailing the Gregorian mission of Augustine of Canterbury was framed on the anonymous Life of Gregory the Great written at Whitby. The last section, detailing events after the Gregorian mission, Goffart feels were modelled on Stephen of Ripon's Life of Wilfrid. Most of Bede's informants for information after Augustine's mission came from the eastern part of Britain, leaving significant gaps in the knowledge of the western areas, which were those areas likely to have a native Briton presence.

In his own time, Bede was as well known for his biblical commentaries and exegetical, as well as other theological, works. The majority of his writings were of this type, and covered the Old Testament and the New Testament. Most survived the Middle Ages, but a few were lost. It was for his theological writings that he earned the title of Doctor Anglorum, and why he was declared a saint.

Bede synthesised and transmitted the learning from his predecessors, as well as made careful, judicious innovation in knowledge (such as recalculating the age of the earth—for which he was censured before surviving the heresy accusations and eventually having his views championed by Archbishop Ussher in the sixteenth century—see below) that had theological implications. In order to do this, he learned Greek, and attempted to learn Hebrew. He spent time reading and rereading both the Old and the New Testaments. He mentions that he studied from a text of Jerome's Vulgate, which itself was from the Hebrew text. He also studied both the Latin and the Greek Fathers of the Church. In the monastic library at Jarrow were a number of books by theologians, including works by Basil, Cassian, John Chrysostom, Isidore of Seville, Origen, Gregory of Nazianzus, Augustine of Hippo, Jerome, Pope Gregory I, Ambrose of Milan, Cassiodorus, and Cyprian. He used these, in conjunction with the Biblical texts themselves, to write his commentaries and other theological works. He had a Latin translation by Evagrius of Athanasius's Life of Antony, and a copy of Sulpicius Severus' Life of St. Martin. He also used lesser known writers, such as Fulgentius, Julian of Eclanum, Tyconius, and Prosper of Aquitaine. Bede was the first to refer to Jerome, Augustine, Pope Gregory and Ambrose as the four Latin Fathers of the Church. It is clear from Bede's own comments that he felt his calling was to explain to his students and readers the theology and thoughts of the Church Fathers.

Bede also wrote homilies, works written to explain theology used in worship services. Bede wrote homilies not only on the major Christian seasons such as Advent, Lent, or Easter, but on other subjects such as anniversaries of significant events.

Both types of Bede's theological works circulated widely in the Middle Ages. A number of his biblical commentaries were incorporated into the Glossa Ordinaria, an 11th-century collection of biblical commentaries. Some of Bede's homilies were collected by Paul the Deacon, and they were used in that form in the Monastic Office. Saint Boniface used Bede's homilies in his missionary efforts on the continent.

Bede sometimes included in his theological books an acknowledgement of the predecessors on whose works he drew. In two cases he left instructions that his marginal notes, which gave the details of his sources, should be preserved by the copyist, and he may have originally added marginal comments about his sources to others of his works. Where he does not specify, it is still possible to identify books to which he must have had access by quotations that he uses. A full catalogue of the library available to Bede in the monastery cannot be reconstructed, but it is possible to tell, for example, that Bede was very familiar with the works of Virgil. There is little evidence that he had access to any other of the pagan Latin writers—he quotes many of these writers but the quotes are almost all to be found in the Latin grammars that were common in his day, one or more of which would certainly have been at the monastery. Another difficulty is that manuscripts of early writers were often incomplete: it is apparent that Bede had access to Pliny's Encyclopedia, for example, but it seems that the version he had was missing book xviii, as he would almost certainly have quoted from it in his De temporum ratione.

Bede's works included Commentary on Revelation, Commentary on the Catholic Epistles, Commentary on Acts, Reconsideration on the Books of Acts, On the Gospel of Mark, On the Gospel of Luke, and Homilies on the Gospels. At the time of his death he was working on a translation of the Gospel of St. John into English (Early Old English). He did this for the last 40 days of his life. When the last passage had been translated he said: "All is finished."

His body was 'translated' (the ecclesiastical term for relocation of relics) from Jarrow to Durham Cathedral around 1020, where it was placed in the same tomb with Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. Later Bede's remains were moved to a shrine in the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral in 1370. The shrine was destroyed during the English Reformation, but the bones were reburied in the chapel. In 1831 the bones were dug up and then reburied in a new tomb, which is still there. Other relics were claimed by York, Glastonbury and Fulda.

His scholarship and importance to Catholicism were recognised in 1899 when he was declared a Doctor of the Church. He is the only Englishman named a Doctor of the Church. He is also the only Englishman in Dante's Paradise (Paradiso X.130), mentioned among theologians and doctors of the church in the same canto as Isidore of Seville and the Scot Richard of St. Victor.

His feast day was included in the General Roman Calendar in 1899, for celebration on 27 May rather than on his date of death, 26 May, which was then the feast day of Pope Gregory VII. He is venerated in both the Anglican and Catholic Church, with a feast day of 25 May and in the Eastern Orthodox Church, with a feast day on 27 May (Βεδέα του Ομολογητού).

Bede became known as Venerable Bede (Lat.: Beda Venerabilis) by the 9th century because of his holiness, but this was not linked to consideration for sainthood by the Catholic Church. According to a legend the epithet was miraculously supplied by angels, thus completing his unfinished epitaph. It is first utilized in connection with Bede in the 9th century, where Bede was grouped with others who were called "venerable" at two ecclesiastical councils held at Aachen in 816 and 836. Paul the Deacon then referred to him as venerable consistently. By the 11th and 12th century, it had become commonplace. However, there are no descriptions of Bede by that term right after his death.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Saturday's Saint - May 18: Saint John I


Pope John I (Latin: Ioannes I; died 18 May 526) was Pope from 13 August 523 to his death in 526.He was a native of Siena (or the "Castello di Serena", near Chiusdino), in Italy. He was sent on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople by the Ostrogoth King Theoderic to negotiate better treatment for Arians. Although relatively successful, upon his return to Ravenna, Theoderic had the Pope imprisoned for allegedly conspiring with Constantinople. The frail pope died of neglect and ill-treatment.


While a deacon in Rome, he is known to have been a partisan of the Antipope Laurentius, for in a libellus written to Pope Symmachus in 506, John confessed his error in opposing him, condemned Peter of Altinum and Laurentius, and begged pardon of Symmachus. He would then be the "Deacon John" who signed the acta (ecclesiastic publication) of the Roman synod of 499 and 502; the fact the Roman church only had seven deacons at the time makes identifying him with this person very likely. He may also be the "Deacon John" to whom Boethius, the 6th-Century philosopher, dedicated three of his five religious tractates, or treatises, written between 512 and 520.

John was very frail when he was elected to the papacy as Pope John I. Despite his protests, Pope John was sent by the Arian King Theoderic the Great—ruler of the Ostrogoths, a kingdom in present-day Italy—to Constantinople to secure the moderation of a decree, issued in 523, of Emperor Justin, ruler of the Byzantine, or East Roman Empire, against the Arians. King Theoderic threatened that if John should fail in his mission, there would be reprisals against the orthodox, or non-Arian, Catholics in the West. John proceeded to Constantinople with a considerable entourage: his religious companions included Bishop Ecclesius of Ravenna, Bishop Eusebius of Fanum Fortunae, and Sabinus of Campania. His secular companions were the senators Flavius Theodorus, Inportunus, and the Patrician Agapitus.

Emperor Justin is recorded as receiving John honorably and promised to do everything the embassy asked of him, with the exception that those converting from Arianism to Catholicism would not be "restored" (i.e., allowed to retain their place in the Catholic hierarchy as deacons, priests, or bishops). Although John was successful in his mission, when he returned to Ravenna, Theoderic's capital in Italy, Theoderic had John arrested on the suspicion of having conspired with Emperor Justin. John was imprisoned at Ravenna, where he died of neglect and ill treatment. His body was transported to Rome and buried in the Basilica of St. Peter.

The Liber Pontificalis credits John with making repairs to the cemetery of the martyrs Nereus and Achilleus on the Via Ardeatina, that of Saints Felix and Adauctus, and the cemetery of Priscilla.

Pope John I is depicted in art as looking through the bars of a prison or imprisoned with a deacon and a subdeacon. He is venerated at Ravenna and in Tuscany. His feast day is 18 May, the anniversary of the day of his death.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Saturday's Saint - May 11: Saint Anthimus of Rome


Saint Anthimus of Rome (died 303), is a Christian saint. He is said to have been born in Bithynia. A Christian priest, he was imprisoned for his beliefs at the time of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. His feast day is May 11.


When the Roman governor of Bithynia, Pinianus, fell ill, his Christian wife Lucina (Lycinia), well known for her charity to imprisoned Christians and niece of the Emperor Gallienus, found Anthimus in prison. Anthimus converted Pinianus, and the governor was cured. Gratefully, Pinianus liberated all of the Christian prisoners in his province and allowed Anthimus to hide himself in the governor's villa on the Via Salaria.

Now based in Italy, Anthimus converted many to the Christian faith and countless miracles were attributed to him. He converted a priest of the god Silvanus and the pagan priest's entire family. Accused of having destroyed the simulacrum of Silvanus, he was thrown into the Tiber with a stone around his neck. His legend states that he was miraculously rescued by an angel, later recaptured, and then beheaded by order of the consul Priscus. He was buried in the oratory where he habitually prayed.

His tomb was first situated at Montemaggiore and was the object of pilgrimage and veneration. His body, during the time of Charlemagne, was transferred to Tuscany, near Montalcino, where St. Antimo's Abbey currently stands. A Bollandist historian of the 17th century speculated that Pope Hadrian I gave the relics of Saint Sebastian and Anthimus to Charlemagne, who then donated the relics to the abbey when it was founded.


Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Saturday's Saint - May 4: Saint Florian


Saint Florian (Latin: Florianus; 250 – c. 304 AD) was a Christian holy man, and the patron saint of Linz, Austria; chimney sweeps; soapmakers, and firefighters. His feast day is 4 May. St. Florian is also the patron of Upper Austria, jointly with Saint Leopold.


St. Florian was born around 250 AD in the ancient Roman city of Aelium Cetium, present-day Sankt Pölten, Austria. He joined the Roman Army and advanced in the ranks, rising to commander of the imperial army in the Roman province of Noricum. In addition to his military duties, he was also responsible for organizing and leading firefighting brigades. Florian organized and trained an elite group of soldiers whose sole duty was to fight fires.

During the Diocletianic Persecution of Christians, reports reached Rome that St. Florian was not enforcing the proscriptions against Christians in his territory. Aquilinus was sent to investigate these reports. When Aquilinus ordered Florian to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods in accordance with Roman religion, Florian refused. Florian was sentenced to be burned at the stake. Standing on the funeral pyre, Florian is reputed to have challenged the Roman soldiers to light the fire, saying "If you wish to know that I am not afraid of your torture, light the fire, and in the name of the Lord I will climb onto it." Apprehensive of his words, the soldiers did not burn Florian, but executed him by drowning him in the Enns River with a millstone tied around his neck.

His body was later retrieved by Christians and buried at an Augustinian monastery near Lorch. Later a woman named Valeria had a vision in which she saw him; Florian, in this vision, declared his intent to be buried in a more appropriate location.

Saint Florian is very widely venerated in Central Europe. The Austrian town of Sankt Florian is named after him. According to legend, his body was interred at St. Florian's Priory, around which the town grew up. His body, recovered and was eventually removed to the Augustinian Abbey of St. Florian, near Linz, Austria.

Saint Florian was adopted as patron saint of Poland in 1184, when Pope Lucius III consented to the request of Prince Casimir II to send relics of Florian to that country. Kraków thus claims some of his relics.

A statue of Florian by Josef Josephu was unveiled in Vienna in 1935. It stood at the main firehouse of Vienna, in the city's main square, Am Hof. After the firehouse was bombed in 1945 during World War II the statue was moved on to the Fire Brigade Museum (Wiener Feuerwehrmuseum).

Seeking the sponsorship of a helpful saint was and still is a part of the namegiving practice in Catholic areas. In the southern, Catholic parts of the German Empire (mainly present Bavaria and Austria), peasants regularly have used the name, Florian, as one of the given names for at least one of their male children: to secure the saints patronage against fire. Hence the given name is still widespread in these areas. In Austria and Germany, fire services use Florian in radio communications as universal call sign for fire stations and fire trucks. The call sign Florentine for firefighting-related, hand held radio equipment is also derived, somewhat inaccurately, from that usage.

St. Florian is the patron of Austria; also firefighters, chimney sweeps, and brewers. He is invoked against fires, floods, lightning, and the pains of purgatory.


A famous St. Florian's Church is located in Kraków. His veneration has been particularly intense since 1528, when a fire burned the neighborhood without destroying the church.

Fun Fact
The St. Florian's cross is a widely used symbol of firefighting, especially in the United States.

The St. Florian's cross is sometimes confused with the Maltese cross. The Maltese cross is a sharp eight-pointed cross, whereas the St. Florian's has rounded arcs between the four points. The use of St. Florian's symbol derives from the traditional belief that the saint himself was involved in firefighting.


Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Saturday's Saint - April 27: Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort


Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (31 January 1673 – 28 April 1716) was a French Roman Catholic priest and Confessor. He was known in his time as a preacher and was made a missionary apostolic by Pope Clement XI.


As well as preaching, Montfort found time to write a number of books which went on to become classic Catholic titles and influenced several popes. Montfort is known for his particular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the practice of praying the Rosary.

Montfort is considered as one of the early writers in the field of Mariology. His most notable works regarding Marian devotions are contained in Secret of the Rosary and True Devotion to Mary.

The Roman Catholic Church, under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, canonized Montfort on July 20, 1947. A "founders statue" created by Giacomo Parisini is located in an upper niche of the south nave of St. Peter's Basilica.

He was born in 1673 in Montfort-sur-Meu, the eldest surviving child of eighteen born to Jean-Baptiste and Jeanne Robert Grignion. His father was a notary. Louis-Marie passed most of his infancy and early childhood in Iffendic, a few kilometers from Montfort, where his father had bought a farm. At the age of 12, he entered the Jesuit College of St Thomas Becket in Rennes, where his uncle was a parish priest.

At the end of his ordinary schooling, he began his studies of philosophy and theology, still at St Thomas in Rennes. Listening to the stories of a local priest, the Abbé Julien Bellier, about his life as an itinerant missionary, he was inspired to preach missions among the very poor. And, under the guidance of some other priests he began to develop his strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

He was then given the opportunity, through a benefactor, to go to Paris to study at the renowned Seminary of Saint-Sulpice towards the end of 1693. When he arrived in Paris, it was to find that his benefactor had not provided enough money for him, so he lodged in a succession of boarding houses, living among the very poor, in the meantime attending the Sorbonne University for lectures in theology. After less than two years, he became very ill and had to be hospitalized, but survived his hospitalization and the blood letting that was part of his treatment at the time.

Upon his release from the hospital, to his surprise he found himself with a place reserved at the Little Saint-Sulpice, which he entered in July 1695. Saint-Sulpice had been founded by Jean-Jacques Olier, one of the leading exponents of what came to be known as the French school of spirituality. Given that he was appointed the librarian, his time at Saint-Sulpice gave him the opportunity to study most of the available works on spirituality and, in particular, on the Virgin Mary's place in the Christian life. This later led to his focus on the Holy Rosary and his acclaimed book the Secret of the Rosary.

Even as a seminarian in Paris, Montfort was known for the veneration he had toward the angels: he "urged his confreres to show marks of respect and tenderness to their guardian angels." He often ended his letters with a salutation to the guardian angel of the person to whom he was writing: "I salute your guardian angel". He also saluted all the angels in the city of Nantes, a custom that, it appears, he repeated when he entered a new village or city.

One of the reasons why Saint Louis Marie de Montfort had such devotion to the angels is that veneration of the pure spirits was an integral part of his training and also of his culture. His college teachers, the Jesuits, were known for their zeal in propagating devotion to the angels. Montfort's seminary training under the Sulpicians brought him into contact with the thought of Cardinal de Bérulle and Olier, both of whom had deep veneration for the angels. Furthermore, in the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, manuals of piety and treatises on the pure spirits were numerous.

He was ordained a priest in June 1700, and assigned to Nantes. His great desire was to go to the foreign missions, preferably to the new French colony of Canada, but his spiritual director advised against it. His letters of this period show that he felt frustrated from the lack of opportunity to preach as he felt he was called to do.

In November 1700 he joined the Third Order of the Dominicans and asked permission not only to preach the rosary, but also to form rosary confraternities. He began to consider the formation of a small company of priests to preach missions and retreats under the standard and protection of the Blessed Virgin. This eventually led to the formation of the Company of Mary. At around this time, when he was appointed the chaplain of the hospital of Poitiers, he first met Blessed Marie Louise Trichet. That meeting became the beginning of Blessed Marie Louise's 34 years of service to the poor.

Montfort set off to make a pilgrimage to Rome, to ask Pope Clement XI what he should do. The Pope recognized his real vocation and, telling him there was plenty of scope for its exercise in France, sent him back with the title of Apostolic Missionary. On his return from his long pilgrimage to Rome, Montfort made a retreat at Mont Saint Michel "to pray to this archangel to obtain from him the grace to win souls for God, to confirm those already in God's grace, and to fight Satan and sin". These occasions gave him time to think, contemplate and write.

For several years he preached in missions from Brittany to Nantes. As his reputation as a missioner grew, he became known as "the good Father from Montfort". At Pontchateau he attracted hundreds of people to help him in the construction of a huge Calvary. However, on the very eve of its blessing, the Bishop, having heard it was to be destroyed on the orders of the King of France under the influence of members of the Jansenist school, forbade its benediction. It is reported that upon receiving this news, he simply said, "Blessed be God."

He left Nantes and the next several years were extraordinarily busy for him. He was constantly occupied in preaching missions, always walking between one and another. Yet he found time also to write: his True Devotion to Mary, The Secret of Mary and the Secret of the Rosary, rules for the Company of Mary and the Daughters of Wisdom, and many hymns. His missions made a great impact, especially in the Vendée.

The heated style of his preaching was regarded by some people as somewhat strange and he was poisoned once. Although it did not prove fatal, it caused his health to deteriorate. Yet he continued, undeterred. He went on preaching and established free schools for the poor boys and girls.

The bishop of La Rochelle had been impressed with Montfort for some time and invited him to open a school there. Montfort enlisted the help of his follower Marie Louise Trichet, who was then running the General Hospital in Poitiers. In 1715 Marie Louise and Catherine Brunet left Poitiers for La Rochelle to open the school there and in a short time it had 400 students.

On August 22, 1715, Trichet and Brunet, along with Marie Valleau and Marie Régnier from La Rochelle, received the approbation of Bishop de Champflour of La Rochelle to make their religious profession under the direction of Montfort. At the ceremony Montfort told them: "Call yourselves the Daughters of Wisdom,[3] for the teaching of children and the care of the poor." The Daughters of Wisdom grew into an international organization and the placing of Montfort's founders statue in Saint Peter's Basilica was based on that organization.

Montfort's 16 years of priesthood include many months of solitude, perhaps as many as a total of four years; at the cave of Mervent, amidst the beauty of the forest, at the hermitage of Saint Lazarus near the village of Montfort, and at the hermitage of Saint Eloi in La Rochelle.

Worn out by hard work and sickness, he finally came in April 1716 to Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre to begin the mission which was to be his last. During it, he fell ill and died on 28 April of that year. He was 43 years old, and had been a priest for only 16 years. His last sermon was on the tenderness of Jesus and the Incarnate Wisdom of the Father. Thousands gathered for his burial in the parish church, and very quickly there were stories of miracles performed at his tomb.

Exactly 43 years later, on April 28, 1759, Marie Louise Trichet also died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre and was buried next to Montfort. On September 19, 1996, Pope John Paul II (who beatified Trichet) came to the same site to meditate and pray at their adjacent tombs.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

How you can help fund the next prize without giving me money!

My kids and I are currently working on a new armchair treasure hunt called Treasure In A Field. It will be a Minecraft* novel filled with adventure and intrigue. The main character, EpIcOnE7, embarks on a treasure hunt and needs to solve various puzzles in order to cobble together a 20-digit code that will unlock the chest with the treasure. The reader will join "Epic" in his quest by solving those very same puzzles to create the 20-digit code needed to claim the real-life prize. We're aiming to have this new hunt published in late Summer or early Fall of 2019. 

There are a couple of different ways you can help fund the prize without giving me money.

Shop on Amazon*
If you shop on Amazon, visit them through this link. Simply by clicking on this link, I become a "referrer" and earn a commission from whatever you purchase. It's the same Amazon, same prices, same value. Amazon simply pays me a small amount because I directed you to their site*.

Loyalty/Rewards Programs
By signing up to these programs using the referral links below, I receive commission on your earnings (without reducing what you earn). While you earn your own gift cards, you'll help to build the value of the Read and Seek prizes if you sign up using the referral links below.


  • Swagbucks* - My favorite. Earn SB by doing everything you normally do online: shop your favorite stores, search the web, answer surveys, watch videos, play games. They also have a number of mobile apps that can be used to earn SB as well. Sign up with the referral link and the Read and Seek will earn 10% of what you earn. In my opinion, this is the best opportunity to earn your own gift cards while helping the prizes grow.
  • MyPoints.com* - Now owned by Swagbucks and pretty similar, including the 10% commission. I don't spend much time with this one, but still manage to cash out a bit every month or so. Mainly I click on emails and complete the daily goal.
  • Perk.com* - Earn Perk Points which can be redeemed for gift cards. They have various apps that make earning easy and fun: Perk TV, Perk TV Live!, Perk Scratch & Win, Perk Pop Quiz, Word Search, Perk Prize Mob, Perk Wallet, Perk Shopping, Perk Browser, Perk Search, Jetpack Journey and more! 

*Minecraft, Mojang, Amazon, Swagbucks, MyPoints and Perk are not sponsors of my hunts, nor are they in any way affiliated with my hunts.


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Saturday's Saint - April 13: Saint Martin I

Pope Martin I (Latin: Martinus I; born between 590 and 600, died 16 September 655) reigned from 21 July 649 to his death in 655. He succeeded Pope Theodore I on 5 July 649. He was the only pope during the Eastern Roman domination of the papacy whose election was not approved by an iussio from Constantinople. Martin I was exiled by Emperor Constans II and died at Cherson. He is considered a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

He was born near Todi, Umbria, in the place now named after him (Pian di San Martino). According to his biographer Theodore, Martin was of noble birth, of commanding intelligence, and of great charity to the poor. Piazza states that he belonged to the order of St. Basil. He had acted as papal apocrisiarius or legate at Constantinople, and was held in high repute for his learning and virtue.

Martin I was the last Constantinopolitan apocrisiarius to be elected pope. Other envoys under the title nuncio have been elected since then, like John XXIII.

In 641, Pope John IV sent the abbot Martin into Dalmatia and Istria with large sums of money to alleviate the distress of the inhabitants, and redeem captives seized during the invasion of the Slavs. As the ruined churches could not be rebuilt, the relics of some of the more important Dalmatian saints were brought to Rome, where John then erected an oratory in their honour.

At that time Constantinople was the capital of the Roman empire and the patriarch of Constantinople was the most influential Church leader in the eastern Christian world. After his election, Martin had himself consecrated without waiting for the imperial confirmation. One of his first official acts was to summon the Lateran Council of 649 to deal with the Monothelites, whom the Church considered heretical. The Council met in the church of St. John Lateran. It was attended by 105 bishops (chiefly from Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia, with a few from Africa and other quarters), held five sessions or secretarii from 5 October to 31 October 649, and in twenty canons condemned Monothelitism, its authors, and the writings by which Monothelitism had been promulgated. In this condemnation were included not only the Ecthesis (the exposition of faith of the Patriarch Sergius for which the emperor Heraclius had stood sponsor), but also the typus of Paul, the successor of Sergius, which had the support of the reigning Emperor (Constans II).

Martin was very energetic in publishing the decrees of the Lateran Council of 649 in an encyclical, and Constans replied by enjoining his exarch (governor) in Italy to arrest the pope should he persist in this line of conduct and send Martin as a prisoner from Rome to Constantinople. He was also accused by Constans of unauthorized contact and collaboration with the Muslims of the Rashidun Caliphate - allegations which he was unable to convince the infuriated imperial authorities to drop.

The arrest orders were impossible to carry out for a considerable period of time, but at last Martin was arrested in the Lateran on 17 June 653 along with Maximus the Confessor. He was hurried out of Rome and conveyed first to Naxos, Greece, and subsequently to Constantinople, where he arrived on 17 September 653. He was saved from execution by the pleas of Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, who was himself gravely ill. After suffering an exhausting imprisonment and many alleged public indignities, he was ultimately banished to Chersonesus (present-day Crimea region), where he arrived on 15 May 655 and died on 16 September of that year.

Pope Pius VII made an honorable reference to him in the encyclical Diu Satis (1800). Indeed, the famous Martin who long ago won great praise for this See, commends faithfulness and fortitude to Us by his strengthening and defense of the truth and by the endurance of labors and pains. He was driven from his See and from the City, stripped of his rule, his rank, and his entire fortune. As soon as he arrived in any peaceful place, he was forced to move. Despite his advanced age and an illness which prevented his walking, he was banished to a remote land and repeatedly threatened with an even more painful exile. Without the assistance offered by the pious generosity of individuals, he would not have had food for himself and his few attendants. Although he was tempted daily in his weakened and lonely state, he never surrendered his integrity. No deceit could trick, no fear perturb, no promises conquer, no difficulties or dangers break him. His enemies could extract from him no sign which would not prove to all that Peter "until this time and forever lives in his successors and exercises judgment as is particularly clear in every age" as an excellent writer at the Council of Ephesus says.

The breviary of the Orthodox Church states: “Glorious definer of the Orthodox Faith...sacred chief of divine dogmas, unstained by error...true reprover of heresy...foundation of bishops, pillar of the Orthodox faith, teacher of religion.... Thou didst adorn the divine see of Peter, and since from this divine Rock, thou didst immovably defend the Church, so now thou art glorified with him.”

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Saturday's Saint - April 6: Saint Crescentia Hoess

Maria Crescentia Höss (Höß), T.O.R., (1682–1744) was a contemplative nun of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. In 1900, she was beatified by Pope Leo XIII and was canonized in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Anna Höss was born on 20 October 1682 in Kaufbeuren, in Bavaria, Germany, to Matthias Höss and his wife, Lucia Hoermann, the sixth of their eight children. Only three of the children survived into adulthood.

She became a weaver, but her greatest ambition was to enter the local convent of the Tertiary Franciscans in Kaufbeuren, which occupied the old Meierhof of the town, in whose chapel she often prayed. As a poor weaver, however, her father did not have enough money to pay the customary dowry expected of a candidate, so she was not admitted.

Unlike monasteries of the nuns of the Franciscan Second Order, known as the Poor Clares, nuns of the Third Order were completely local, living under the authority of the bishop of the diocese where they were located. The history of the Third Order of St. Francis—of which these women were a part—had a range of organizational models, in that many communities of religious women did not embrace the enclosure, but considered active works of charity, tending to the poor and sick, as part of their religious and Franciscan charism. Monasteries like that of Kaufbeuren were established to pursue the purely contemplative life, usually in an urban setting.

The Order of Friars Minor, however, refused to accept spiritual supervision or responsibility for those monasteries which did not accept the strictest form of enclosure, such as the Poor Clares had. Thus the monastic communities of nuns of the Third Order like that of Kaufbeuren, who did not have the same connection with the public as did the active Sisters, were usually entirely dependent on the local clergy for spiritual direction and on local patrons for their survival. They were often marked by their precarious financial situations.

In 1703 the Mayor of Kaufbeuren, a Protestant, performed a major service to the monastery by purchasing a tavern adjacent to it which was often the source of disturbance to the quiet of the cloister, and donating the building to the nuns. He refused compensation but asked simply that, in return, Anna be accepted as a candidate. As a result of this intervention, the mother superior (German: Oberin) of the monastery felt obligated to receive her, and Anna was admitted in June of that year. The superior, however, resented this and referred to Anna as a "parasite", since she was felt not to be contributing to the community. Nevertheless, Anna received the religious habit and took the name Maria Crescentia.

The nuns were not kind to her at first, due to the manner of her admission. Once clothed as a member of the Order, Crescentia was subjected to a prolonged persecution by the unfriendly Superior and some of the older nuns. They treated her as a servant, giving her the most menial tasks to perform. Although Crescentia was at first given a cell of her own, it was later taken from her and given to a new novice who had brought with her the customary dowry. Thereafter she had to beg the other nuns for a corner of their cells in which she might sleep. When she was finally given a place of her own again, it was a dark and damp cubbyhole. Nevertheless, Crescentia was allowed to profess vows and become a full member of the monastic community. She was assigned to serve in the kitchen and did the weaving for the monastery.

Eventually, in 1707, a new Superior was elected who was more sympathetic to Crescentia, and she was entrusted first with the important office of portress, and in 1717 she was appointed Mistress of novices. At this stage of her monastic life, Crescentia was a prolific letter writer, who left many letters to people in various social positions, in which she gave them advice and comfort in their worries.

Though by then she had begun to suffer from poor health, even paralysis, in 1741 she was elected as the monastery's mother superior, serving in that office until her death on 5 April, Easter Sunday, 1744.

During her short tenure in this position of leadership of the community, Mother Crescentia had led a renewal of their way of life. She counseled unlimited trust in Divine Providence, readiness to serve in community life, a love of silence, devotion to the Crucified Jesus, to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Mother. She encouraged the nuns to turn to the Gospels to develop their inner spiritual life, and was noted for the selectivity of her choices regarding candidates to the community. She justified this by saying: "God wants the monastery rich in virtue, not in temporal goods".

The process of her canonization was begun in 1775. The secularization of monasteries which occurred in the Revolutionary upheavals of the late 18th century and the anti-Catholic policies of the German government during the Kulturkampf of the 19th century prevented the monastic community from proceeding with the process.

Finally, in 1900, Mother Crescentia was beatified by Pope Leo XIII. She was canonized on 25 November 2001 by Pope John Paul II, along with three others. Her monastery was then renamed St. Crescentia Monastery (German: Crescentiakloster) in her honor.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saturday's Saint - March 30: Saint Quirinus of Neuss

Saint Quirinus of Neuss (German: Quirin, Quirinus), sometimes called Quirinus of Rome (which is the name shared by another martyr) is venerated as a martyr and saint of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. 

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a Roman martyr named Quirinus was buried in the Catacomb of Prætextatus on the Via Appia. The Martyrologium Hieronymianum (ed. De Rossi-Duchesne, 52) mentions Quirinus' name and place of burial. The Itineraries to the graves of the Roman martyrs (Giovanni Battista De Rossi, "Roma sotterranea", I, 180-1) also mention these two pieces of information.

Quirinus is introduced into the legendary Acts of Sts. Alexander and Balbina, where it is said he was a tribune (Dufourcq, loc. cit., 175). He is said to have been decapitated in 116. Legends make him a Roman tribune who was ordered with executing Alexander, Eventius, and Theodolus, who had been arrested by order of Trajan. Quirinus converted to Christianity, however, after witnessing miracles performed by these three saints, and he was baptized along with his daughter Balbina. He was then martyred on March 30 by being decapitated and was then buried catacomb of Prætextatus on the Via Appia.

According to a document from Cologne dating from 1485, Quirinus' body was donated in 1050 by Pope Leo IX to an abbess of Neuss named Gepa (who is called a sister of the pope). In this way the relics came to the Romanesque Church of St. Quirinus at Neuss (Quirinus-Münster) which still exists. A statue of Quirinus sits atop the church (which Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte attempted to plunder during the Napoleonic Wars).

Inhabitants of that city invoked him for aid during Siege of Neuss by Charles the Bold that occurred in 1474-5. His cult spread to Cologne, Alsace, Scandinavia, western Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, where he became the patron saint of Correggio. Numerous wells and springs were dedicated to him, and he was invoked against the bubonic plague, smallpox, and gout; he was also considered a patron saint of animals. Pilgrims to Neuss sought the Quirinuswasser (Quirinus water) from the Quirinusbrunnen (Quirinus spring or pump-room).

A farmers' saying associated with Quirinus' feast day of March 30 was "Wie der Quirin, so der Sommer" ("As St. Quirinus' Day goes, so will the summer").

Quirinus, along with Hubertus, Cornelius and Anthony, was venerated as one of the Four Holy Marshals ('Vier Marschälle Gottes) in the Rhineland. Portraits of Quirinus and of St. Valentine appear at the top of the recto of the Nuremberg Chronicles (Folio CXXII [Geneva]).

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Saturday's Saint - March 23: St. Joseph Oriol


Saint Joseph Oriol (José Orioli) (Catalan: Sant Josep Oriol) (23 November 1650 – 23 March 1702) was a Spanish Roman Catholic priest now venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church who is called the "Thaumaturgus of Barcelona".


Apostle of Barcelona who lived on bread and water for twenty-six years. He was born in Barcelona, Spain. He studied at the University of Barcelona and received his doctorate in theological studies on 1 August 1674. He was ordained as a priest on 30 May 1676. In 1686, he made a pilgrimage on foot to Rome. 

A beloved figure in Barcelona, he was committed to helping the sick and the poor. Joseph was also a famed confessor, miracle worker, and prophet. The dying, the blind, the deaf and dumb, the lame, and the paralytic, were said to be instantly cured by him.

He is buried in the Santa Maria del Pi Church in Barcelona.

He was beatified under Pope Pius VII on 5 September 1808 and Pope Pius X later canonized him as a saint on 20 May 1909.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday's Saint - March 16: Saint Patrick


Ok...Saint Patrick's feast day is March 17. But I figured it might be good to learn about something more than shamrocks and green beer. Legend credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, using it to illustrate the Christian teaching of three persons in one God. The shamrock has since become a central symbol for Saint Patrick's Day.


Saint Patrick (c. 386 – 461) (Latin: Patricius; Irish: Pádraig [ˈpˠaːd̪ˠɾˠəɟ]; Welsh: Padrig) was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", he is the primary patron saint of Ireland, the other patron saints being Brigit of Kildare and Columba. He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Churches, and in the Eastern Orthodox Church as equal-to-the-apostles and Enlightener of Ireland.

According to the Confessio of Patrick, when he was about 16, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland, looking after animals; he lived there for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. In later life, he served as a bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

Patrick was born in Roman Britain. Calpurnius, his father, was a decurion and deacon, his grandfather Potitus a priest, from Banna Venta Berniae, a location otherwise unknown, though identified in one tradition as Glannoventa, modern Ravenglass in Cumbria, in what is now England; claims have been advanced for locations in both present-day Scotland and Wales. Patrick, however, was not an active believer. According to the Confession of Saint Patrick, at the age of sixteen he was captured by a group of Irish pirates. They took him to Ireland where he was enslaved and held captive for six years. Patrick writes in the Confession that the time he spent in captivity was critical to his spiritual development. He explains that the Lord had mercy on his youth and ignorance, and afforded him the opportunity to be forgiven his sins and convert to Christianity. While in captivity, he worked as a shepherd and strengthened his relationship with God through prayer, eventually leading him to convert to Christianity.

After six years of captivity he heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home, and then that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he travelled to a port, two hundred miles away, where he found a ship and with difficulty persuaded the captain to take him. After three days' sailing, they landed, presumably in Britain, and apparently all left the ship, walking for 28 days in a "wilderness" and becoming faint from hunger. After Patrick prayed for sustenance, they encountered a herd of wild boar; since this was shortly after Patrick had urged them to put their faith in God, his prestige in the group was greatly increased. After various adventures, he returned home to his family, now in his early twenties. After returning home to Britain, Patrick continued to study Christianity.

Patrick recounts that he had a vision a few years after returning home:

I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us."

A.B.E. Hood suggests that the Victoricus of St. Patrick's vision may be identified with Saint Victricius, bishop of Rouen in the late fourth century, who had visited Britain in an official capacity in 396. However, Ludwig Bieler disagrees.

He studied in Europe principally at Auxerre, but is thought to have visited the Marmoutier Abbey, Tours and to have received the tonsure at Lérins Abbey. Saint Germanus of Auxerre, a bishop of the Western Church, ordained him to the priesthood.

Acting on his vision, Patrick returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. According to J. B. Bury, his landing place was Wicklow, Co. Wicklow, at the mouth of the river Inver-dea, which is now called the Vartry. Bury suggests that Wicklow was also the port through which Patrick made his escape after his six years' captivity, though he offers only circumstantial evidence to support this. Tradition has it that Patrick was not welcomed by the locals and was forced to leave and seek a more welcoming landing place further north. He rested for some days at the islands off the Skerries coast, one of which still retains the name of Inis-Patrick. The first sanctuary dedicated by Patrick was at Saul. Shortly thereafter Benin (or Benignus), son of the chieftain Secsnen, joined Patrick's group.

Much of the Declaration concerns charges made against Patrick by his fellow Christians at a trial. What these charges were, he does not say explicitly, but he writes that he returned the gifts which wealthy women gave him, did not accept payment for baptisms, nor for ordaining priests, and indeed paid for many gifts to kings and judges, and paid for the sons of chiefs to accompany him. It is concluded, therefore, that he was accused of some sort of financial impropriety, and perhaps of having obtained his bishopric in Ireland with personal gain in mind.

From this same evidence, something can be seen of Patrick's mission. He writes that he "baptized thousands of people". He ordained priests to lead the new Christian communities. He converted wealthy women, some of whom became nuns in the face of family opposition. He also dealt with the sons of kings, converting them too. The Confessio is generally vague about the details of his work in Ireland, though giving some specific instances. This is partly because, as he says at points, he was writing for a local audience of Christians who knew him and his work. There are several mentions of travelling around the island, and of sometimes difficult interactions with the ruling elite. He does claim of the Irish:

Never before did they know of God except to serve idols and unclean things. But now, they have become the people of the Lord, and are called children of God. The sons and daughters of the leaders of the Irish are seen to be monks and virgins of Christ!

Patrick's position as a foreigner in Ireland was not an easy one. His refusal to accept gifts from kings placed him outside the normal ties of kinship, fosterage and affinity. Legally he was without protection, and he says that he was on one occasion beaten, robbed of all he had, and put in chains, perhaps awaiting execution. Patrick says that he was also "many years later" a captive for 60 days, without giving details.

After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461. He died at Saul, where he had built the first Irish church. He is believed to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick.


Source: Wikipedia