+ Contact the Vocation Office to learn more about life as a monk at St. Vincent Archabbey 724.532.6655 +

December 30, 2009


3 St. Vincent Monks installed as Acolytes

(From Left to Right): Fr. Lester Knoll, OFM Cap. (St. Vincent Seminary Spiritual Director), Br. Francis Ehnat, OSB (installed), Bishop George Murry (Bishop of Youngstown, Ohio), Br. Gabriel Myriam Kurzawski, OSB (installed), Br. Nathanael Polinski, OSB (installed), Fr. Justin Matro, OSB (Rector, St. Vincent Seminary)

Fr. Paulinus Selle, O.S.B., monk of St. Vincent Archabbey (February 4, 1914 - February 8, 2009)

Photo montage covering Fr. Paulinus' life. Narrated by Fr. Edward Mazich, O.S.B. Photos supplied by Janie (Selle) Lander. Produced by Br. Pio Adamonis, O.S.B.

December 25, 2009

Mass at the Vatican

Merry Christmas to all from the Monks of St. Vincent Archabbey!!!

Christmas Homily

Is 52:7-10; Ps 98:1-6; Heb 1:1-6; Jn 1:1-18

"All you lands break into song--sing praise!"

Sing! Break into song! Sing praise! No less than six times does the Psalmist summon us and all the nations, and all the ends of the earth, to sing joyfully to the LORD. We have every reason to sing and shout for the LORD has revealed his justice and made his salvation known in the sight of the nations. We cannot hold back the songs. Even during the years of war against Christmas, even in our so-called secular society, we cannot hold back the Christmas Songs. Advertising, political candidates, people on the streets are spreading the season's greetings. Christmas Carols abound all around us; they are on the lips of believers and non-believers alike. Is it any wonder that the Aggressive Secularists are so adamant about little things like "happy holidays" and no public nativity scenes and no "Christmas trees, or Christmas anything for that matter? These little things bother them because they are so powerful that they survive even after people have let their faith diminish and even disappear. The songs and the celebrations of Christmas keep alive the memory, sometimes unconscious, of the birth of Christ the Lord. Though some may be unconscious about all the singing and celebrating, the LORD remembers his faithfulness and love for the House of Israel. This is our reason for the season that God Remembers. Yes, the LORD has remembered his promise to save us and in the sight of all the nations he has bared his holy arm and to the ends of the earth he has shown forth his power to save. All through history the LORD has reminded his people of his faithfulness through the Prophets and in these last days he has made that faithfulness incarnate in his Eternal Word, his Eternal Son becoming flesh and making his dwelling among us. Can there be any better reason to sing and shout for joy?

At the very beginning of Advent the Prophet Isaiah offers us a word of comfort, "Give comfort to my people, says the Lord!" Again today we hear the same message from Isaiah, "For the LORD comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem." This is a timeless message from on high. We still need the comfort only the Lord can give. We still need to hear glad tidings, announcements of peace, good news of salvation. We still need to hear what our faith filled ancestors needed to hear. We need to hear, "Your God is King!" Only when God is the sovereign ruler of every human heart, and of every nation on earth, only then will we live together in peace. When anyone else is king or anything else is sovereign we are lawless; our desires and plans become more important than everything else. We are slaves to what we want and when we want it. Nothing and no one can hold up any boundaries for our plans or desires. Out of such chaos we cannot come by our own power. We are powerless to redeem ourselves. We need to catch a glimpse of the Lord's bare arm restoring our human dignity and his peaceful kingdom in our midst. No wonder the sentinels are the prophets, and no wonder they have beautiful feet for they have had a glimpse of the future that Christmas allows us to see. Indeed, our future glory has begun in the birth of Emmanuel. The LORD our God is restoring, redeeming, and renewing his people so that the whole world will know His saving power.

It seems that early on in the history of our church that the angels became too important. In an effort to help the faithful grow in confidence about the presence and power of the LORD to save us, the concept of the angels began to compete with the Son of God. This issue is dealt with in the important teaching of the Letter to the Hebrews. The Jewish people had heard the voice of the Lord through his holy prophets and in the New Covenant they experienced the gift of prophecy and the ministry of the angelic messengers. However, it is the definitive word spoken through His Son, Jesus Christ, that is our source of purification from sin. He, the Eternal Son, is the one through whom God created the universe; He is the refulgence of his glory; He is the imprint of his being; He sustains all things by his mighty word. The unity of being between the Father and the Son is the source of our Christmas Joy. The unity of will between the Father and the Son is the source of our Salvation. This newborn King of Glory sits at the right hand of the Majesty; He is far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than all the angels put together. The Letter to the Hebrews uses a familiar Psalm to complete the argument: No angel has ever been called, "my son" by Abba. Never has Abba revealed that he is father to any angel. Finally, when Abba leads his eternally begotten son into the world He commands all the angels to worship him, the King of Angels. It is their song that sparks all our Christmas Songs, and it is their singing and the many songs of faith from the earliest days that makes available the teaching of the church about the mystery of the Eternal Son who became the Son of Mary.

The Evangelist, Saint John, speaks of himself and the apostolic community when he writes, "And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth." In history and among those Saint John knew and loved he saw the glory of the Only Son, Jesus Christ. Because this Son is full of grace and truth, we who have heard the testimony of the Apostles have become full of grace and truth. We have been granted the sheer grace of mercy, the forgiveness of our sins. We have come to know the One True God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; we know him as he is because he has revealed himself as he is. We who believe in his name; we were born not by natural generation nor by man’s choice and decision, but by the power and purpose of God. As the liturgy's reflection upon the mystery of Christmas has matured to the Forth Gospel, we have moved from historical details pointing to the great mysteries to the great mysteries encompassing historical details. In what has been called the Prologue of Saint John we see him repeating this idea, "In the beginning was the Word,?and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." This is the full flowering of the Synoptic tradition and the core teaching of the Apostles. The Word that leapt from the womb of the Father in the blazing fire of the Holy Spirit who overshadowed the Virgin, is Jesus The Christ, the newborn King of Israel and the eternal King of Angels. He is the one we worship in his humanity and in his divinity. He is truly worthy of our worship, and in him, we live an move and have our being, now and unto the ages of ages. In the full light of Christmas Day we have seen his glory and this glory has moved us from glory to glory. Indeed, we are saturated with his glorious light and our darkened world does not overcome the light we are in Christ and in the Holy Spirit.

December 17, 2009

O Antiphons

This evening our Community will begin chanting the Traditional "O Antiphons" at Vespers. The seven "O Antiphons" (also called the "Greater Antiphons" or "Major Antiphons") are prayers that come from the Breviary's Vespers during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time which is called the "Golden Nights."

Each Antiphon begins with "O" and addresses Jesus with a unique title which comes from the prophecies of Isaias and Micheas (Micah), and whose initials, when read backwards, form an acrostic for the Latin "Ero Cras" which means "Tomorrow I come." Those titles for Christ are:

Radix Jesse
Clavis David
Rex Gentium

Wimmer Mass

For those who are interested in viewing the closing Mass of the Wimmer year, here it is.  His Eminence Justin Cardinal Rigali principal celebrant and homilist. 

Production: David Safin, Andrew Campbell, Fineline Multimedia
Post-Production: David Safin

December 11, 2009

Dolores Hart: How a movie actress left Hollywood for a contract with God

The following article was written by Barbara Cloud of the  Post-Gazette (April 8, 1998)

She was so pretty. And so talented.

Her name was Dolores Hart, and her movie file is bulging with typical studio promotion pictures with actors like George Hamilton, Stephen Boyd and Jeff Chandler.

It was back in the early '60s, and she was headed for stardom when, abruptly, it ended.

Why it ended is a touching story that came to mind when I was watching "Entertainment Tonight" a few weeks ago.

They were going to interview the young woman who had given Elvis Presley his first movie kiss in "King Creole." The year was 1958.

The actress was Dolores Hart.

The question she always got in interviews during her movie career (and, afterwards, on "ET" it would seem) was "What is it like kissing Elvis?"

Was it embarrassing to be asked such a question? Was that to be her legacy?

She was amused when I asked her recently, and not the least bit shy.

"I think the limit for a screen kiss back then was something like 15 seconds. That one has lasted 40 years."

And she chuckled a bit at the memory.

There is far more to this beautiful woman than that kiss, believe me.

I wrote her after seeing her that night on "ET." My letter simply stated how good it was to see her looking so well and, obviously, expressing delight that her decision to leave the movies, a difficult one to be sure, had turned out so well. She was happy. It had been the right thing to do.

How could she give up her dream of being an actress?

Her answer was simple. "How could I not?"

She calls me a friend, but we had not been in touch for 35 years. Our connection was through my job as a reporter for The Pittsburgh Press. 

She came here twice, the first time in 1960 to promote the film "Where the Boys Are," and each time it was a pleasant meeting, and I felt very comfortable talking to her.

But on her second promotion tour to Pittsburgh in 1963 she was a different person, distracted and introspective. I noticed the change but didn't think much of it, until I read a few weeks later she had left the film industry to enter the monastic life at Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn.

Four years later, in 1967, I heard from her again. She explained why she had seemed pensive and withdrawn during our last meeting, although by then I knew. I wanted to do a story about her new life, but she wasn't ready for that.

"It wasn't that I didn't like the media. I found it stimulating. And I wasn't running from it. But when you decide to do this you must give all of yourself, just as I gave all of myself when I was an actress."

The letter she wrote to me as Sister Judith, before her final vows, detailed to some extent the anguish she was experiencing at that time.

"It was really a nightmare," she wrote, "in that I was so absorbed in coming here at the time, my heart was hardly able to contain anything else. Naturally it was also the one thing I could not speak about, so my memory fails in recalling much about that era."

I more or less forgot about Dolores Hart after that, but now she was on the phone, still showing the gracious manner she had as an actress, but more than that, willing to answer all my questions, friend to friend.

There is a reason she is suddenly "out there" and it has to do with a CD called "Women in Chant," which features the choir of Benedictine nuns at Regina Laudis singing Gregorian chants. Sales benefit the work of the abbey.

Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B., is credited with the cover photo of the night-blooming cereus (as ethereal as Georgia O'Keeffe's two jimson weeds in oil to my eyes), and she is also part of the choir, although she never considered herself a singer.

For that matter, she never saw herself as a nun.

It was not a lifelong dream," she said. "I did not grow up wanting to be a nun. I wanted to be an actress. If it had ever been suggested I would one day be a nun, it would have been the last thing on my mind. It was a million to one shot I would ever be a nun."

She was an only child, and she was not raised Catholic. An omen toward her future might have been her own request to convert to Catholicism when she was 10. Or a photo from a film she did in 1960 in which the statue of St. Francis of Assisi in Rome loomed behind her, arms outstretched.

She did not know at that time, but the lure of the religious life had begun.

"As a child I was precocious," she said. "My parents married when they were 16 and 17 and both were beautiful people. Moss Hart offered my mother, Harriett, a contract but by then they had me and my father, Bert Hicks, a bit player, definitely a Clark Gable type, had movie offers so we moved from Chicago to Hollywood. I was a Hollywood brat. We lived in Beverly Hills and I used to visit the lots with him. He had a bit part in 'Forever Amber.' I always wanted to be part of that life."

She realized a new direction in her life, she said, began while she was appearing on Broadway in 1958 in "The Pleasure of His Company" with such renowned actors as Cyril Ritchard, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Charles Ruggles, Walter Abel and a former Carnegie Tech student, George Peppard.

She had already been asked to re-create her role in the film version of the play and she was very excited about that. Then, one night Debbie Reynolds came to see the play and she was taking notes during the performance. Dolores Hart realized she was not going to be in the movie and it was a big blow to her.

But other things were also happening.

"A friend suggested visiting this very tranquil place in Connecticut one weekend and it was Regina Laudis Abbey," she said. "After that, whenever I was on the East Coast, I would go there. I began to notice each time I went it was becoming harder and harder to leave. I had this feeling. I was home."

A few years passed and she continued doing movies until one titled "Lisa," which dealt with the Holocaust and experiments done on prisoners at Auschwitz, sparked something inside her.

"It affected me so deeply and more and more I found myself drawn to the abbey, almost like magnetism."

When she entered the abbey Sister Judith was selected as her name because she was, after all, starting a new life. A new name seemed appropriate, but when she made her final vows she changed it to Sister Dolores. It was also a wish from her mother, to keep the name Dolores.

"Hal Wallis wanted to call me Susan when I started my movie career," she recalled, "but I was under age and my mother would not hear of it. She wanted me to be Dolores."

Mother Dolores calls her life as a Benedictine nun "an island of enclosure." It is a monastic life that includes prayers at several hours of the day, including 2 a.m. It is a structured life with little time for much else than handling chores on the farm and woodlands involving 359 acres. The land maintains the community, the group of 40 women of various professional backgrounds.

Friends send movies to the abbey and she watches more than many of the other nuns because of her background, but there usually isn't time to see many. She watched "Titanic" and she had hoped Dame Judi Dench would win the Oscar for "Mrs. Brown."

Would Hollywood ever see her return?

The odds, she says, are a million to one.

But those were the same odds she would ever become a nun.

National Vocation Awareness Week to Be Celebrated January 10-16

WASHINGTON—The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, January 10-16.

“This week provides the opportunity for parishes across the country to promote vocations through prayer and education,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “It is our responsibility to encourage young people to be generous in their response as they discern the possibility of a call to service in the Church. We must also ask parents, families and our parish communities to assist with this work, vocations are everyone’s business. As we pray for an increased number of seminarians and candidates for religious life, we recognize the importance of safeguarding the gift of vocations.”

Several initiatives to highlight priesthood and religious life are on-going in 2010. The Vatican-sponsored Year for Priests continues through June 2010 http://www.usccb.org/yearforpriests/. Dioceses are highlighting the role of priests in diocesan newspapers, on their Web sites and with other events.

An exhibit on the contributions of women religious in the United States, Women & Spirit, opens at the Smithsonian institution in Washington, January 14. More information on this traveling exhibit can be found at www.womenandspirit.org. The Smithsonian is co-sponsoring this exhibit with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

The U.S. bishops have also named promotion of vocations to priesthood and religious life as one of their current five priorities and are deciding on efforts to promote vocations, for example, through their Website, www.usccb.org.

Father David Toups, interim executive director of the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, added, “The church needs to help young people hear the Lord in prayer, so they can recognize him in their lives.

“This week reminds us that it is our responsibility to pray for vocations and to invite young people to consider a call to ordained ministry and consecrated life.”

The observance of National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW) began in 1976 when the National Conference of Catholic Bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year as the beginning of NVAW. In 1997, this celebration was moved to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which falls on January 10 in 2010, marks the initiation of Jesus into public ministry. At his baptism Jesus is named the beloved Son of God. With this celebration the faithful recommit themselves to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. They are also initiated through their own baptism to be the Beloved of God, commissioned to proclaim Good News with their lives.

December 10, 2009

"We Can Also, Each One in His Own Way, Find the Lord Jesus"

Speech by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI given on December 9th, 2009 at the general audience.  In his talk he speaks the great 12th Century Benedictine Abbot Rupert of Deutz: Click here for a link to the speech.

Wimmer Celebration 2009

Some pictures from the Mass for the Archabbot Boniface Wimmer 200th Birthday year taken by Kim Metzgar, Fred Findley, Jordan Hainsey.  His Eminence Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia was celebrant. 

December 7, 2009

So I am coming to the Monastery (what should I wear?)

One of the most common questions men ask us as the date for their visit approaches is, "What do I need to bring?"  Here is a small list for all vocation visitors coming to the Archabbey:

1) 1 or 2 pairs of nice pants (khaki's or dress slacks) for times in the Basilica Church and in the monastic refectory. Also, please bring a pair of dress shoes and socks

2) At least one dress shirt and tie (if your visit is over a weekend and you are attending the Sunday Monastic Mass)

3) Appropriate number of nice shirts (golf shirts, button downs) or sweaters (depending on the time of year) for the daily Monastic Mass and Office

4) A pair of jeans, a t-shirt / sweatshirt (depending on the time of year) and work shoes for work periods with the brothers

5) Also, please bring some comfortable clothing for recreation periods with the brothers (there is usually time for sports during the week or the gym)

6) Essential toiletries (razor, shampoo, toothbrush an toothpaste, etc.)

7) Your rosary and a good book for spiritual reading during your time at the Monastery
Soap, towels, pillows, and blankets are all provided for your visit and the monastery does its best to provide anything you may have forgotten.
 “Whenever I look within myself, I am lost in the complexities of self-love, and the suffering caused thereby is fruitless. If I spend myself on others, they only lead me back to myself by the vicious circle of my passions. The soul that waits on God, patiently and unhurriedly, receives on the contrary the simple assurance that it is infinitely loved; and with that answer comes a call to love with all one’s strength here and now . . . the right we reserve to retain our self-love up to a certain point as we say, acts like a poison in the soul, whilst to give all raises it to breathe freely the air of the heights . . . The way of love, above all the way of contemplation is not an easy one. It calls for the total gift of self. But neither is it strictly speaking difficult, since it has marvelous advantages and the divine prerogative of simplicity.” A Carthusian

Catholic Apologetics

Ever been asked to explain the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption?  Click here for a great link regarding these topics.

December 5, 2009

Monks performing with Pittsburgh Symphony

This weekend (December 4, 5, 6, 2009) a group of Saint Vincent College singers – the Saint Vincent Schola Gregoriana -- will take part in three performances at Heinz Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The principal conductor of the orchestra, Manfred Honeck, invited Saint Vincent to provide a Gregorian chant schola to sing as part of Honeck’s reading of the Requiem Mass of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 4, 5 and 6. Entitled by Maestro Honeck “Requiem Mass for Mozart”, the performances include the Requiem in its entirety, together with other sacred music of Mozart, and will incorporate Scriptural readings, biographical readings from the letters of Mozart, and a Gregorian chant schola. Honeck recorded his “Requiem Mass for Mozart” with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir. The Saint Vincent Schola Gregoriana is composed of 20 singers and includes Saint Vincent Benedictine monks, college students, seminarians and parishioners.  For more information and tickets: CLICK HERE

December 4, 2009

Prayer to St. Nicholas

Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Nicholas of Myra (The Real Santa Claus)

From: EWTN.com
The veneration with which this saint has been honored in both East and West, the number of altars and churches erected in his memory, and the countless stories associated with his name all bear witness to something extraordinary about him. Yet the one fact concerning the life of Nicholas of which we can be absolutely certain is that he was bishop of Myra in the fourth century. According to tradition, he was born at Patara, Lycia, a province of southern Asia Minor where St. Paul had planted the faith. Myra, the capital, was the seat of a bishopric founded by St. Nicander. The accounts of Nicholas given us by the Greek Church all say that he was imprisoned in the reign of Diocletian, whose persecutions, while they lasted, were waged with great severity. Some twenty years after this he appeared at the Council of Nicaea,[1] to join in the condemnation of Arianism. We are also informed that he died at Myra and was buried in his cathedral. Such a wealth of literature has accumulated around Nicholas that we are justified in giving a brief account of some of the popular traditions, which in the main date from medieval times. St. Methodius, patriarch of Constantinople towards the middle of the ninth century, wrote a life of the saint in which he declares that "up to the present the life of the distinguished shepherd has been unknown to the majority of the faithful." Nearly five hundred years had passed since the death of the good St. Nicholas, and Methodius' account, therefore, had to be based more on legend than actual fact.
He was very well brought up, we are told, by pious and virtuous parents, who set him to studying the sacred books at the age of five. His parents died while he was still young, leaving him with a comfortable fortune, which he resolved to use for works of charity. Soon an opportunity came. A citizen of Patara had lost all his money and his three daughters could not find husbands because of their poverty. In despair their wretched father was about to commit them to a life of shame. When Nicholas heard of this, he took a bag of gold and at night tossed it through an open window of the man's house. Here was a dowry for the eldest girl, and she was quickly married. Nicholas did the same for the second and then for the third daughter. On the last occasion the father was watching by the window, and overwhelmed his young benefactor with gratitude.

It happened that Nicholas was in the city of Myra when the clergy and people were meeting together to elect a new bishop, and God directed them to choose him. This was at the time of Diocletian's persecutions at the beginning of the fourth century. The Greek writers go on to say that now, as leader, "the divine Nicholas was seized by the magistrates, tortured, then chained and thrown into prison with other Christians. But when the great and religious Constantine, chosen by God, assumed the imperial diadem of the Romans, the prisoners were released from their bonds and with them the illustrious Nicholas." St. Methodius adds that "thanks to the teaching of St. Nicholas, the metropolis of Myra alone was untouched by the filth of the Arian heresy, which it firmly rejected as a death-dealing poison." He does not speak of Nicholas' presence at the Council of Nicaea, but according to other traditions he was not only there but went so far in his indignation as to slap the arch-heretic Arius in the face! At this, they say, he was deprived of his episcopal insignia and imprisoned, but Our Lord and His Mother appeared and restored to him both his liberty and his office. Nicholas also took strong measures against paganism. He tore down many temples, among them one to the Greek goddess Artemis, which was the chief pagan shrine of the district.
Nicholas was also the guardian of his people in temporal affairs. The governor had been bribed to condemn three innocent men to death. On the day fixed for their execution Nicholas stayed the hand of the executioner and released them. Then he turned to the governor and reproved him so sternly that he repented. There happened to be present that day three imperial officers, Nepotian, Ursus, and Herpylion, on their way to duty in Phrygia. Later, after their return, they were imprisoned on false charges of treason by the prefect and an order was procured from the Emperor Constantine for their death. In their extremity they remembered the bishop of Myra's passion for justice and prayed to God for his intercession. That night Nicholas appeared to Constantine in a dream, ordering him to release the three innocent officers. The prefect had the same dream, and in the morning the two men compared their dreams, then questioned the accused officers. On learning that they had prayed for the intervention of Nicholas, Constantine freed them and sent them to the bishop with a letter asking him to pray for the peace of the world. In the West the story took on more and more fantastic forms; in one version the three officers eventually became three boys murdered by an innkeeper and put into a brine tub from which Nicholas rescued them and restored them to life.

The traditions all agree that Nicholas was buried in his episcopal city of Myra. By the time of Justinian, some two centuries later, his feast was celebrated and there was a church built over his tomb. The ruins of this domed basilica, which stood in the plain where the city was built, were excavated in the nineteenth century. The tremendous popularity of the saint is indicated by an anonymous writer of the tenth century who declares: "The West as well as the East acclaims and glorifies him. Wherever there are people, in the country and the town, in the villages, in the isles, in the farthest parts of the earth, his name is revered and churches are erected in his honor." In 1034 Myra was taken by the Saracens. Several Italian cities made plans to get possession of the relics of the famous Nicholas. The citizens of Bari finally in 1087 carried them off from the lawful Greek custodians and their Moslem masters. A new church was quickly built at Bari and Pope Urban II was present at the enshrining of the relics. Devotion to St. Nicholas now increased and many miracles were attributed to his intercession.
The image of St. Nicholas appeared often on Byzantine seals. Artists painted him usually with the three boys in a tub or else tossing a bag of gold through a window. In the West he has often been invoked by prisoners, and in the East by sailors. One legend has it that during his life-time he appeared off the coast of Lycia to some storm-tossed mariners who invoked his aid, and he brought them safely to port. Sailors in the Aegean and Ionian seas had their "star of St. Nicholas" and wished one another safe voyages with the words, "May St. Nicholas hold the tiller."

From the legend of the three boys may have come the tradition of his love for children, celebrated in both secular and religious observances. In many places there was once a year a ceremonious installation of a "boy bishop." In Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands gifts were bestowed on children at Christmas time in St. Nicholas' name. The Dutch Protestant settlers of New Amsterdam made the custom popular on this side of the Atlantic. The Eastern saint was converted into a Nordic magician (Saint Nicholas—Sint Klaes—Santa Claus). His popularity was greatest of all in Russia, where he and St. Andrew were joint national patrons. There was not a church that did not have some sort of shrine in honor of St. Nicholas and the Russian Orthodox Church observes even the feast of the translation of his relics. So many Russian pilgrims came to Bari in Czarist times that the Russian government maintained a church, a hospital, and a hospice there. St. Nicholas is also patron of Greece, Apulia, Sicily, and Lorraine, of many cities and dioceses. At Rome the basilica of St. Nicholas was founded as early as the end of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century. In the later Middle Ages four hundred churches were dedicated to him in England alone. St. Nicholas' emblems are children, a mitre, a vessel.

1 Nicaea was a city in Bithynia, now northwestern Turkey, a short distance south of Constantinople. The Council of Nicaea, in 325, was the first ecumenical church council, and was called by the Emperor Constantine to bring about agreement on matters of creed. For more on Arianism, see below, St. Athanasius, n. 6.

This was taken from "Lives of Saints", Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.

Pax et Gaudium

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness