Saint of the Day ~ September 1

SAINT BEATRICE da SILVA MENESES (1424-1492), religious and foundress – Patron saint of prisoners

Today, the Church honors Saint Beatrice da Silva Meneses, a woman who was raised by the future Queen Isabel of Portugal. Beatrice became a Dominican nun and eventually a foundress of a new religious Order. Her life reminds us of how important it is to always be opened to God’s designs in our own personal walk of faith, and to always pray that His will may be fulfilled through us.

Beatrice was born to Portuguese nobility in the city of Ceuta in North Africa near the Mediterranean in 1424. She was the daughter of the Count of Viana and the sister of Saint Amedeus of Portugal. She spent most of her life as a courtier at the royal court of Princess Isabel (the future queen of Portugal) and accompanied the princess to Castile when Isabel married John II of Castile.

Because of Beatrice’s beauty, she felt uncomfortable with the attention which was given her. As a result, she eventually left her style of life at the royal court and entered a Dominican monastery in the city of Toledo, where she began to dedicate the rest of her life to God.

In the year 1484, after devoting herself for 30 years as a Dominican nun, Sister Beatrice left the monastery and founded a new contemplative community called the Order of the Immaculate Conception, in honor of the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, patterning the color of the Order’s habit (religious clothing) after the mantle she saw our Blessed Mother wearing in a Heavenly vision.

With the help of Queen Isabel, who funded the start of this new Order, Sister Beatrice established a house near the city of Toledo in the castle of Galliana, where she spent the remainder of her life as the Order’s Mother Superior, working with the women who joined the Order.

Mother Beatrice died on September 1, 1492 at Toledo. Formal approval for the new Order with its Rules was given by Pope Innocent VIII after her death. She was beatified in 1926 by Pope Pius XI and canonized in 1976 by Pope St. Paul VI.

We commemorate her feastday on September 1.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, marypages.com, vatican.va/holy_father and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Holy Women)

“Lord, pour upon us the Spirit of Wisdom and Love with which You filled Your servant, Saint Beatrice. By serving You as she did, may we please You with our faith and our actions.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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