Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Tenacious, Nehemiah 10:2-8, Psalms 19:8-15,Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21, Saint Angela Merici, Brescia Lombardy Italy, Ursulines,Catholic Catechism Chapter 3:3-2 We Believe

Sunday, January 27, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Tenacious, Nehemiah 10:2-8, Psalms 19:8-15,Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21, Saint Angela Merici, Brescia Lombardy Italy, Ursulines,Catholic Catechism Chapter 3:3-2 We Believe

Good Day Bloggers!  Happy Mardi Gras!
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


January 25, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. May your prayer be as strong as a living stone, until with your lives you become witnesses. Witness the beauty of your faith. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."
January 02, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
 "Dear children, with much love and patience I strive to make your hearts like unto mine. I strive, by my example, to teach you humility, wisdom and love because I need you; I cannot do without you my children. According to God's will I am choosing you, by His strength I am strengthening you. Therefore, my children, do not be afraid to open your hearts to me. I will give them to my Son and in return, He will give you the gift of Divine peace. You will carry it to all those whom you meet, you will witness God's love with your life and you will give the gift of my Son through yourselves. Through reconciliation, fasting and prayer, I will lead you. Immeasurable is my love. Do not be afraid. My children, pray for the shepherds. May your lips be shut to every judgment, because do not forget that my Son has chosen them and only He has the right to judge. Thank you."


Today's Word:  tenacious   ten·a·cious  [tuh-ney-shuhs]

Origin: 1600–10; tenaci(ty) + -ous 

1. holding fast; characterized by keeping a firm hold (often followed by of  ): a tenacious grip on my arm; tenacious of old habits.
2. highly retentive: a tenacious memory.
3. pertinacious, persistent, stubborn, or obstinate.
4. adhesive or sticky; viscous or glutinous.
5. holding together; cohesive; not easily pulled asunder; tough.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 19:8-15

8 The precepts of Yahweh are honest, joy for the heart; the commandment of Yahweh is pure, light for the eyes.
9 The fear of Yahweh is pure, lasting for ever; the judgements of Yahweh are true, upright, every one,
10 more desirable than gold, even than the finest gold; his words are sweeter than honey, that drips from the comb.


Today's Epistle -   Nehemiah 8:2-10

2 Accordingly, on the first day of the seventh month, the priest Ezra brought the Law before the assembly, consisting of men, women and all those old enough to understand.
3 In the square in front of the Water Gate, in the presence of the men and women, and of those old enough to understand, he read from the book from dawn till noon; all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
4 The scribe Ezra stood on a wooden dais erected for the purpose; beside him stood, on his right, Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; on his left, Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5 In full view of all the people -- since he stood higher than them all -- Ezra opened the book; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.
6 Then Ezra blessed Yahweh, the great God, and all the people raised their hands and answered, 'Amen! Amen!'; then they bowed down and, face to the ground, prostrated themselves before Yahweh.
8 Ezra read from the book of the Law of God, translating and giving the sense; so the reading was understood.
9 Then His Excellency Nehemiah and the priest-scribe Ezra and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all the people, 'Today is sacred to Yahweh your God. Do not be mournful, do not weep.' For the people were all in tears as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 He then said, 'You may go; eat what is rich, drink what is sweet and send a helping to the man who has nothing prepared. For today is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad: the joy of Yahweh is your stronghold.'


Today's Gospel Reading -  Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Jesus presents the programme of his mission
in the community of Nazareth
Luke 1,1-4; 4,14-21

1. Opening prayer
Shaddai, God of the mountain,
You who make of our fragile life
the rock of your dwelling place,
lead our mind
to strike the rock of the desert,
so that water may gush to quench our thirst.
May the poverty of our feelings
cover us as with a mantle in the darkness of the night
and may it open our heart to hear the echo of silence
until the dawn,
wrapping us with the light of the new morning,
may bring us,
with the spent embers of the fire of the shepherds of the Absolute
who have kept vigil for us close to the divine Master,
the flavour of the holy memory.

2. Lectio
a) The text:1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, 2 just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.  14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.  16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; 17 and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." 20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

b) Comment:A brief introductory summary presents Jesus’ activity and his person, and the scene of this Gospel (Lk 4:14-21) takes place in the synagogue in Nazareth on a Saturday. Jesus’ return to the place from where his fame had spread everywhere in the region of Galilee and to which the Spirit led his steps, has a special reason. In concise terms, Luke tries to give a salvific interpretation to the events by shedding light on the salient aspects. The fact of Jesus teaching in the synagogue signifies his Jewish origin and his wish to be part of the cult so as to emphasise the vital role of the law that God had entrusted to his people and to offer himself as fulfilment and hope of Israel.

To the question implied in the narrative: Is Jesus a prophet? the reply becomes clearer according to the criteria of discernment used by Israel to verify whether a prophet was sent by Yahweh or not: is his teaching in accordance with the teachings of the law, do his works correspond with God’s commandments, do his prophecies concerning the future come true. In Nazareth, Jesus presents himself as a prophet – in fact he compares himself to Elijah and Elisha – even though he does not define himself as such in keeping with his custom that avoids any attempt at defining himself.

c) A moment of silence:  Let us allow the voice of the Word to resonate within us.

3. Meditatio
a) Some questions:- To research accurately every circumstance: are we always in a hurry during our day? Do we really wish to research accurately that which happens to us?

- He sent me to proclaim the good news to the poor: do I always think of the poor as the others while I belong to the haves and those who know, and that consequently I do not need anyone?

- Today this scripture has been fulfilled: what Scripture do we know so well as to recognise it as incarnation in our day?

b) A key to the reading:
A historical contextualisation
The passage of the synagogue of Nazareth is part of programmed angle that later will form the key to the reading of what follows in Luke’s Gospel. The reference to the prophet Isaiah is basic because therein is revealed the continuity of the human history of God. Jesus’ gestures, placed in parallel, “He stood and opened the scroll” (v.17), “he closed the scroll and sat down” (v.20), give the narrative a liturgical character that is customary yet new.

The newness occurs in the homily that renders the prophecy present. Today, a key word in Luke, expresses the fulfilment in Christ of God’s purpose. The immediate reactions to this today are of surprise and unbelief, of wonder and scandal even to rejection already found in the question that follows Jesus’ proclamation, a question hanging in the air without an answer: “Is not this the son of Joseph?” (v. 22). The contrast with the Word proclaimed of a man who is invested by the spirit of the Lord, consecrated by an anointing, sent on a special mission of messianic flavour: to bring the good news, to forgive, to proclaim…creates a conflict of identity.

A literary contextualisation
This passage does not have precise parallels in the synoptic Gospels. Jesus’ visit to Nazareth in Matthew 13:53-58 and in Mark 6:1-6a is limited to a question concerning Jesus’ origin and his rejection. There is no description of the rite in the synagogue nor is there a record of the words Jesus pronounced and of the interpretation of the present fulfilment of the sacred Word. The only concordance, apart from the diversity of the contexts, is in the rejection of Jesus by the Nazarenes.

Through Jesus’ discourse in Nazareth, Luke wants to introduce and shed light on the whole public mystery of Jesus. Isaiah 61:1-2 contains a synthesis of the great themes that characterise Luke’s Gospel and those most dear to him: the Holy Spirit, the messianic anointing, the eschatological liberation, the messianic joy, the divine intervention in favour of the poor and oppressed, the proclamation of the year of grace. The programme inaugurated in Mark with the proclamation: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:14-15) and in Matthew in the discourse on the mountain (Mt 5: 1-48), appears in Luke at the centre of the Jewish cult: that which is fulfilled is not the time but the Scripture. The reader is invited to see the necessity of “walking” with Christ and to imitate him on the way of conformity to the will of the Father. Jerusalem, the end of a long journey (Lk 9:51-18,14) that leads Jesus towards the decisive moment of his life, is also the final point of his earthly mission (Lk 24) and the beginning of the life of the newborn Church (Acts 1-2). 

Literary genre
In this passage, we can see a slight literary unity. The editorial intervention of Luke that begins from traditional data, follows its own purpose. The unitary design of both parts shows internal clarity and accurate external delimitation. For Luke the two fields of questioning are inseparable: Who is Jesus? and To whom is his work addressed? The relationship between word and action is very strong, dramatic action of a proclamation that takes place in life. This passage wants to introduce the public mystery of Jesus, almost enabling him to act on the confines of his belonging to Israel. The Spirit abundantly given to Jesus: at his birth (1:35), at his baptism (3:22), during the temptations (4:1) at the beginning of his mission (4:14) is the Spirit mentioned in Isaiah (v.18) who makes God’s action explicit. An action without ethnic limits and that does not seek notoriety, but that is in favour of those in need of salvation: the poor, prisoners, the blind, the oppressed, and to begin the time of grace of the Lord. The prophet sent by God is free from all limiting and binding pretence. We pass from a cult of the synagogue that is not capable of welcoming the ancient Word fulfilled in the today, to a cult of following on the roads of the world. Jesus goes off, he follows his way that from Jerusalem will lead him to the ends of the earth through his followers

Detailed analysis of the text
A detailed analysis of the verses of this passage will reveal important peculiarities, which, within a historical framework, give in the scene of the synagogue a synthesis of the Gospel as to content and events.

v.16: It seems that the synagogue was a place frequented by Jesus. It is here that since his early adulthood he has heard the Word of God and has interpreted it according to the living tradition of the people. It is significant that Jesus seeks out the centres of cult. Every adult Jew could read the word, generally the leaders of the synagogue entrusted this task to those who were experts in Scripture. The fact that Jesus gets up to read shows that it was customary for him to do so as it was customary for him to attend the synagogue. The words: “as his custom was” lends great force to the verse almost as though the one who reads and speaks is not just anyone, but a son of Israel expert in the reading and interpretation of the Torah and the Prophets. Christian faith then is born from faithful representatives of the people of Israel whose time of waiting has come to fulfilment. All the main characters in Luke are authentic Israelites: Zachary, Elisabeth and John, Mary, Joseph and Jesus, the apostles and later in Acts, Paul. This is “a custom” that carries with it something new. The synagogue is the place from where the proclamation begins and spreads to the cities of Judah and Galilee, and the whole of Israel even to the ends of the earth.

vv. 17-19: Jesus finds the passage in Isaiah 61:1-2 which probably refers to the consecration of a prophet (cfr 1 Kg 19:16). Luke leaves out from the citation from Isaiah the menacing end because it is of no interest to his purpose: he emphasises that Jesus’ teaching has its roots in Scripture (17-19; 25-27) and makes it present in his own Person. The words of Isaiah on his lips acquire their full meaning and summarise his mission (cfr 4:1), full of the Spirit, anointed by the Lord, sent to proclaim the good news to the poor, freedom to prisoners and those oppressed, sight to the blind and to preach the time of grace of the Lord.

v. 20: The detailed description of the gestures foreshadows what is to come. Jesus speaks while sitting, the typical position of one who teaches. The eyes of the people turned towards him prepare us for the importance of what he is about to say. His is a short but disturbing homily. The movements show the character of this passage from Luke. Jesus came, he went in, he stood up, he sat down, he passed among them, he went away. The Nazarenes too rise but it is to throw him out. The contrast is clear. Jesus stands up to read, the men stand up to send him away. The waiting described in this verse: “The eyes of all in the synagogue were gazing on him” degenerates into a rejection. The problem is not the proclamation, already well known and source of hope for devout Israelites, but the one who proclaims it and makes it his own.

v. 21: Jesus does not pass any comments on the words of Isaiah, but he makes them present. His is a word event - rhêma - (Acts 10:37), a word that is salvation now. The prophecy comes alive and is taking place. Jesus’ interpretation goes beyond every expectation. In the Word, the today is present, the today that is typical of the Evangelist and that is the today of salvation, the today of the fulfilment that comes from listening (cfr Rom 10,17). What is essential for Luke is listening. The realisation of the ancient promises repeated in the whole of Luke’s works (Lk 9:51; Acts 2:1; 19:21) is for those who listen: the anawim, the poor, the oppressed, those favoured of Jhwh (Is 11:4; 29:19) and now those favoured of Jesus (Mt 11:28).

The exegesis made by Jesus himself on Isaiah 61 is an example of actualisation that reveals the messianic present and recourse to passages of Scripture to shed light on the present situation. Christ’s is a creative authority that demands of people to adapt their lives to the message, accepting the Anointed of God and renouncing the presumption of reducing him to their dimension. This pragmatic perspective is the key to actualisation in every age: the today of salvation echoes wherever there is preaching, so also the welcoming and the commitment.

In the synagogue of Nazareth, we find the fundamental answers of human beings who live in expectation of meeting with salvation. Jesus is sent by God and is sustained by the Spirit. The anointing says that his is the Christ. In him Scripture is fulfilled. He is the today of God who fulfils past history now come to maturation in Jesus and will turn into the daily today of tomorrow that is the time of the Church, it too sent as prophetic Word, sustained by the Spirit.

The main message found in this passage of Luke is the Scripture. The Scripture contains the whole of God’s secret who lives in eternity and who becomes one of us

4. Oratio 
Psalm 2, 6-9
"I myself have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain."
I will proclaim the decree of the Lord,
who said to me, "You are my son;
today I am your father.
Only ask it of me,
and I will make your inheritance the nations,
your possession the ends of the earth.
With an iron rod you shall shepherd them,
like a clay pot you will shatter them."

5. Contemplatio
Today: this the key word in my daily life. In this today the Scripture is fulfilled. In this today Christ goes into the synagogue of my convictions to proclaim the good news to the poverty of my thought, to my feelings that are prisoners of that desire built on the ruins of grey days stretched from hour to hour, to my vision obscured by my all too short-sightedness. A year of grace, of conversion, of blessing. Lord, may my today be yours so that not one of your words may fall in vain in my life, but that your words may be fulfilled as grains of wheat in the frozen furrow of the past, capable of budding at the first signs of spring.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St Angela Merici

Feast DayJanuary 27
Patron Saint: Order of Ursuline, sickness, handicapped people, loss of parents

Angela Merici, or Angela de Merici, (21 March 1474 – 27 January 1540) was an Italian religious leader and saint. She founded the Order of Ursulines in 1535 in Brescia.

Saint, Angela Merici was born at Desenzano del Garda, a small town on the southwestern shore of Lake Garda in Lombardy. She and her older sister, whom she dearly loved, Giana Maria, were left orphans when she was about ten years old. Together they came to live with their uncle in the town of Salò. Young Angela was very distressed when her sister suddenly died without receiving the last sacraments. She joined the Third Order of St Francis, and increased her prayers to God so her sister’s soul could rest in peace. Legend says that she was satisfied by a vision of her sister in the company of the saints in Heaven. People admired Saint Angela because of her hair, she promised herself to God and did not want to be admired so she dyed her hair in soot and water.

Angela's uncle died when she was twenty years old and she returned to her previous home in Desenzano. Angela believed that better Christian education was needed for young girls. She then dedicated her time teaching girls in her home, which she had converted into a school. She later allegedly had another vision that revealed to her that she was to found an association of virgins who were to devote their lives to the religious training of young girls. This association was a success and she was invited to start another school in the neighboring city, Brescia. She happily accepted this offer.

According to legend, though not substantiated by any extant documentation, in 1524, while traveling to the Holy Land, St Angela Merici became suddenly blind when she was on the island of Crete. Despite this, St Angela continued her journey to the Holy Places and was ostensibly cured of her blindness, while praying before a crucifix, at the same place where she was struck with blindness a few weeks before.In 1525, she came to Rome to gain the Indulgences of the Jubilee year. While doing this task, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her virtue and success with her school, invited her to remain in Rome. St Angela disliked notoriety, and she soon returned to Brescia.

On 25 November 1535, St Angela Merici chose twelve virgins and started the foundation of the "Company of St Ursula" near the Church of St Afra, in a small house in Brescia. On 18 March 1537, she was elected "Mother and Mistress" (Superior) of the order. She died on 27 January 1540. Her body was clothed in the habit of a Franciscan tertiary and interred in the Church of St Afra, Brescia.

Saint Angela Merici was beatified in Rome on 30 April 1768, by Pope Clement XIII. She was later canonized on 24 May 1807, by Pope Pius VII.[2]


In life, Saint Angela Merici often prayed at the tombs of the Brescian martyrs at the Church of St Afra in Brescia. She lived in small rooms that were part of what was then known as the "Monastery of the Lateran Canons." According to her wishes, after her death, she was interred in the Church of St Afra to be near the martyrs' remains. There her body remained until the complete destruction of this church and corresponding area due to Allied bombing during the Second World War, on 2 March 1945. This structure and corresponding buildings were afterwards rebuilt and became known as the "Merician Centre."[3]

Feast Day

Saint Angela Merici was not included in the 1570 Tridentine Calendar of Pope Pius V, because she was not canonized until 1807. In 1861 her feast day was inserted in the Roman Calendar – not on the day of her death, 27 January, since this date was occupied by the feast day of Saint John Chrysostom, but instead on 31 May. In 1955 Pope Pius XII assigned this date to the new feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen, and moved the feast of Saint Angela to 1 June. The celebration was ranked as a Double until 1960, when Pope John XXIII gave it the equivalent rank of Third-Class Feast. Finally, in 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration, ranked as a Memorial, to the saint's day of death, 27 January.[4]


  1. ^ *Places in the life of St. Angela Merici
  2. ^ *St. Angela Merici
  3. ^ *"Places in the life of St. Angela Merici
  4. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), pp. 86 and 125
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "St. Angela Merici". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane



Today's Snippet I:   Brescia, Lombardy, Italy

Old Cathedral.

New Cathedral.
Brescia ([ˈbreʃʃa]; Lombard: Brèsa [ˈbrɛsa]; Latin: Brixia) is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan. Brescia is known as the Lioness of Italy (Leonessa d'Italia) after ten days of popular uprising against Austrian rule during the Spring of 1849.

The city is the administrative capital of the Province of Brescia, one of the largest in Italy, with about 1,200,000 inhabitants. The ancient city of Brixia, Brescia has been an important regional centre since pre-Roman times. A number of Roman and medieval monuments are preserved, among the latter the prominent castle. The city is at the centre of the third-largest Italian industrial area, concentrating on mechanical and automotive engineering and machine tools, as well as the Beretta arms firm. Its companies are typically small or medium-sized enterprises, often with family management. The financial sector is also a major employer, and the tourist trade benefits from the proximity of Lake Garda, Lake Iseo and the Alps.

The plan of the old town is rectangular, and the streets intersect at right angles, a peculiarity handed down from Roman times. The area enclosed by the medieval walls is larger than that of the Roman town, which occupied the north-eastern quarter of the current "Centro storico" (the old town).

The Piazza del Foro (Forum Square) marks the site of the Roman-time forum: on the short north side, on the side of the Colle Cidneo (Cidneo Hill), stands a Corinthian temple with three cellae, which was rediscovered starting in 1823. This temple complex, built on top of an earlier, smaller temple dating from Republican times, was probably the Capitolium of the city; it was erected by Vespasian in 73 AD (if the inscription belongs to the building[1]). During excavation in 1826, a splendid bronze statue of a winged Victory was found within the Capitolium. It was likely hidden in late antiquity to preserve it from one of the various sackings that the town had to endure in those times.

The Capitolium had been used to house the Brescia Roman museum. This has been relocated to the nearby Santa Giulia (St Julia) complex, a former powerful nunnery. During the period of Lombard domination, the convent was headed by Princess Anselperga, daughter of King Desiderius.

In the area various other Roman remains are visible, although not open to the public. Among these, on the south side of Forum Square, are scanty remains of a building called the curia, which may have been a basilica.

East of the Capitolium, and in antiquity attached to it, stands the imposing Roman theatre. Now only part of it is visible because of a palace built in Renaissance times on the slopes of Cidneo Hill. In time it slid down to cover the entire Capitolium-theatre area. The theatre was renovated and used for public performances in the early 20th century, but it has now long been closed to the public.


Ancient era

Remains of the Roman Capitolium.
Various myths relate to the founding of Brescia: one assigns it to Hercules while another attributes its foundation as Altilia ("the other Ilium") by a fugitive from the siege of Troy. According to another myth, the founder was the king of the Ligures, Cidnus, who had invaded the Padan Plain in the late Bronze Age. Colle Cidneo (Cidnus's Hill) was named after that version, and it is the site of the medieval castle. Scholars attribute the founding to the Etruscans.

The Gallic Cenomani, allies of the Insubres, invaded in the 4th century BC, and used the town as their capital. The city became Roman in 225 BC, when the Cenomani submitted to the Romans. During the Carthaginian Wars, 'Brixia' (as it was called then) was usually allied with the Romans. In 202 BC, it was part of a Celtic confederation against them but, after a secret agreement, changed sides and attacked and destroyed the Insubres by surprise. Subsequently the city and the tribe entered the Roman world peacefully as faithful allies, maintaining a certain administrative freedom. In 89 BC, Brixia was recognized as civitas ("city") and in 41 BC, its inhabitants received Roman citizenship. Augustus founded a civil (not military) colony there in 27 BC, and he and Tiberius constructed an aqueduct to supply it. Roman Brixia had at least three temples, an aqueduct, a theatre, a forum with another temple built under Vespasianus, and some baths.

When Constantine advanced against Maxentius in 312, an engagement took place at Brixia in which the enemy was forced to retreat as far as Verona. In 402, the city was ravaged by the Visigoths of Alaric I. During the 452 invasion of the Huns under Attila, the city was besieged and sacked. Forty years later, it was one of the first conquests by the Gothic general Theoderic the Great in his war against Odoacer.

Middle Ages

The castle of Brescia.
In 568 (or 569), Brescia was taken from the Byzantines by the Lombards, who made it the capital of one of their semi-independent duchies. The first duke was Alachis, who died in 573. Later dukes included the future kings Rotharis and Rodoald, and Alachis II, a fervent anti-Catholic who was killed in the battle of Cornate d'Adda (688). The last king of the Lombards, Desiderius, had also been duke of Brescia.

In 774, Charlemagne captured the city and ended the existence of the Lombard kingdom in northern Italy. Notingus was the first (prince-)bishop (in 844) who bore the title of count (see Bishopric of Brescia). From 855 to 875, under Louis II the Younger, Brescia become de facto capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Later the power of the bishop as imperial representative was gradually opposed by the local citizens and nobles, Brescia becoming a free commune around the early 12th century. Subsequently it expanded into the nearby countryside, first at the expense of the local landholders, and later against the neighbouring communes, notably Bergamo and Cremona. Brescia defeated the latter two times at Pontoglio, then at the Grumore (mid-12th century) and in the battle of the Malamorte (Bad Death) (1192).

During the struggles in 12th and 13th centuries between the Lombard cities and the German emperors, Brescia was implicated in some of the leagues and in all of the uprisings against them. In the Battle of Legnano the contingent from Brescia was the second in size after that of Milan. The Peace of Constance (1183) that ended the war with Frederick Barbarossa confirmed officially the free status of the comune. In 1201 the podestà Rambertino Buvalelli made peace and established a league with Cremona, Bergamo, and Mantua. Memorable also is the siege laid to Brescia by the Emperor Frederick II in 1238 on account of the part taken by this city in the battle of Cortenova (27 November 1237). Brescia came through this assault victorious. After the fall of the Hohenstaufen, republican institutions declined at Brescia as in the other free cities and the leadership was contested between powerful families, chief among them the Maggi and the Brusati, the latter of the (pro-imperial, anti-papal) Ghibelline party. In 1258 it fell into the hands of Ezzelino da Romano.

In 1311 Emperor Henry VII laid siege to Brescia for six months, losing three-fourths of his army. Later the Scaliger of Verona, aided by the exiled Ghibellines, sought to place Brescia under subjection. The citizens of Brescia then had recourse to John of Luxemburg, but Mastino II della Scala expelled the governor appointed by him. His mastery was soon contested by the Visconti of Milan, but not even their rule was undisputed, as Pandolfo III Malatesta in 1406 took possession of the city. However, in 1416 he bartered it to Filippo Maria Visconti duke of Milan, who in 1426 sold it to the Venetians. The Milanese nobles forced Filippo to resume hostilities against the Venetians, and thus to attempt the recovery of Brescia, but he was defeated in the battle of Maclodio (1427), near Brescia, by general Carmagnola, commander of the Venetian mercenary army. In 1439 Brescia was once more besieged by Francesco Sforza, captain of the Venetians, who defeated Niccolò Piccinino, Filippo's condottiero. Thenceforward Brescia and the province were a Venetian possession, with the exception of the years between 1512 and 1520, when it was occupied by the French armies under Gaston of Foix, Duke of Nemours.

Modern era

Brescia has had a major role in the history of the violin. Many archive documents testify that from 1585 to 1895 Brescia was the cradle of a magnificent school of string players and makers, all styled "maestro", of all the different kinds of stringed instruments of the Renaissance: viola da gamba (viols), violone, lyra, lyrone, violetta and viola da brazzo. So you can find "maestro delle viole" or "maestro delle lire" and later, at least from 1558, "maestro di far violini" that is master of violin making. From 1530 the word violin appeared in Brescian documents and spread throughout north of Italy.
Brescia has had a major role in the history of the violin. Many archive documents testify that from 1585 to 1895 Brescia was the cradle of a magnificent school of string players and makers, all styled "maestro", of all the different kinds of stringed instruments of the Renaissance: viola da gamba (viols), violone, lyra, lyrone, violetta and viola da brazzo. So you can find "maestro delle viole" or "maestro delle lire" and later, at least from 1558, "maestro di far violini" that is master of violin making. From 1530 the word violin appeared in Brescian documents and spread throughout north of Italy.
Early in the 16th century Brescia was one of the wealthiest cities of Lombardy, but it never recovered from its sack by the French in 1512.  It subsequently shared the fortunes of the Venetian republic until the latter fell at the hands of French general Napoleon Bonaparte; in Napoleonic times, it was part of the various revolutionary republics and then of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy after Napoleon became Emperor of the French.

In 1769, the city was devastated when the Bastion of San Nazaro was struck by lightning. The resulting fire ignited 90,000 kg of gunpowder stored there, causing a massive explosion which destroyed one-sixth of the city and killed 3,000 people.

After the end of the Napoleonic era in 1815, Brescia was annexed to the Austrian puppet state known as the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. Brescia revolted in 1848; then again in March 1849, when the Piedmontese army invaded Austrian-controlled Lombardy, the people in Brescia overthrew the hated local Austrian administration, and the Austrian military contingent, led by general Haynau, retreated to the Castle. When the larger military operations turned against the Piedmontese, that retreated, Brescia was left to its own resources, but managed to resist recapture by the Austrian army for ten days of bloody and obstinate street fighting that are now celebrated as the Ten Days of Brescia. This prompted poet Giosuè Carducci to nickname Brescia "Leonessa d'Italia" ("Italian Lioness"), since it was the only Lombard town to rally to King Charles Albert of Piedmont in that year.

In 1859, the citizens of Brescia voted overwhelmingly in favor of its inclusion in the newly-founded Kingdom of Italy. The city was awarded a Gold Medal for its resistance against Fascism in World War II. On May 28, 1974, it was the seat of the bloody Piazza della Loggia bombing.

Main sights

  • Piazza della Loggia, a noteworthy example of Renaissance piazza, with the eponymous loggia (the current Town Hall) built in 1492 by the architect Filippino de' Grassi. On May 28, 1974, the square was the location of a terrorist bombing.
  • Duomo Vecchio ("Old Cathedral"), also known as La Rotonda. It is an exteriorly rusticated Romanesque church, striking for its circular shape. The main structure was built in the 11th century on the ruins of an earlier basilica. Near the entrance is the pink Veronese marble sarcophagus of Berardo Maggi, while in the presbytery is the entrance to the crypt of San Filastrio. The structure houses paintings of the Assumption, the Evangelists Luke and Mark, the Feast of the Paschal Lamb, and Eli and the Angel by Alessandro Bonvicino (known as il Moretto); two canvasses by Girolamo Romanino, and paintings by Palma il Giovane, Francesco Maffei, Bonvicino, and others.
  • Duomo Nuovo ("New Cathedral"). Construction on the new cathedral began in 1604 and continued until 1825. While initially a contract was awarded to Palladio, economic shortfalls awarded the project, still completed in a Palladian style, to the young Brescian architect Giovanni Battista Lantana, with decorative projects directed mainly by Pietro Maria Bagnadore. The façade is designed mainly by Giovanni Battista and Antonio Marchetti, while the cupola was designed by Luigi Cagnola. Interior frescoes including the Marriage, Visitation, and Birth of the Virgin, as well as the Sacrifice of Isaac, were frescoed by Bonvicino. The main attraction is the Arch of Sts. Apollonius and Filastrius (1510).
  • The Broletto, the medieval Town Hall, which now hosts offices of both the Municipality and the Province. It is a massive 12th and 13th century building; on the front, the balcony where the medieval city officials spoke to the townsfolk from; on the north side, still standing one (Lombard: Tòr del Pégol) of the two original city towers, with a belfry still hosting the bells used of old to call all hands in moments of distress.
  • In Piazza del Foro, as mentioned above, the most important array of Roman remains in Lombardy.
  • The monastery of San Salvatore (or Santa Giulia), dating from the Lombard age but later renovated several times. It is one of the best examples of High Middle Ages architecture in northern Italy; it now hosts, after a decade-long renovation, the City Museum, with a rich Roman section; one of the masterpieces is the bronze statue of a winged Victory, originally probably a Venus, converted in antiquity into the Victory by adding the wings; it is said to be in the act of writing the winner's name on her shield (now lost). Also very interesting, one of the very few places in the world where the remains of three Roman domus can be visited on their original site simply by strolling into one of the Museum halls. In 2011, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a group of seven inscribed as Longobards in Italy. Places of the power (568-774 A.D.).
  • Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1488–1523), with a fine façade by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, decorated with bas-reliefs and a Renaissance peristilium.
  • The Romanesque-Gothic church of St. Francis of Assisi, with a Gothic façade and cloisters.
  • The castle, at the north-east angle of the town, on top of Colle Cidneo. Besides commanding a fine view of the city and a large part of the surrounding area, and being a local favorite recreational area, it hosts the Arms Museum, with a fine collection of weapons from the Middle Ages onwards; the Risorgimento Museum, dedicated to the Italian independence wars of the 19th century; an exhibition of model railroads; and an astronomical observatory.
  • Church of Santi Nazaro e Celso, with the Averoldi Polyptych by Titian.
  • Church of San Clemente, with numerous painting by Alessandro Bonvicino (generally known as Moretto).
  • Church of San Giovanni, with a refectory painted partly by the Moretto and partly by Girolamo Romanino.
  • Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo (currently closed for renovations), the municipal art gallery; it hosts works of the painters of the classical Brescian school, Romanino, Bonvicino, and Bonvicino's pupil, Giovanni Battista Moroni.
  • Biblioteca Queriniana, containing rare early manuscripts, including a 14th-century manuscript of Dante, and some rare incunabula.
The city has no fewer than seventy-two public fountains. The stone quarries of Rezzato, 8 km east of Brescia, supplied marble for the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome.


      • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
      •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.


      Today's Snippet II: Order of Ursulines

      The term Ursulines refers to a number of religious institutes of the Catholic Church. The best known group was founded in 1535 at Brescia, Italy, by St. Angela Merici (ca. 1474-1540), for the education of girls and the care of the sick and needy. Their patron saint is Saint Ursula. 

      They are divided into two branches, the monastic Order of St. Ursula, among whom the largest organization are the Ursulines of the Roman Union, described here. The other branch is the Company of St. Ursula, who follow the original form of life established by their foundress. They are commonly called the Angelines.


      Foundational dates

      • 1535 Angela Merici and 28 companions found the Company of Saint Ursula on 25 November.
      • 1538 The Company holds its first General Chapter, at which Angela is elected "Mother" for life
      • 1539 Angela falls ill, dictates her Testament and Counsels.
      • 1540 Angela dies on 27 January
      • 1544 Pope Paul III formally approves the Company
      • 1807 Angela Merici canonised



      Merici, a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, was a woman of deep mystical gifts, which she combined with the service of the poor and needy. She experienced a call from God to found a community to share this work. Among the group of men and women who formed around her due to her spiritual inspiration, she soon selected 28 woman who wished to commit their lives in this endeavor.

      These women, along with Merici, made a commitment of their lives to the service of the Church and of the poor on 25 November 1535, the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria, a major female spiritual figure in the Middle Ages. The women called themselves the Company of St. Ursula, taking as their patroness the medieval patron saint of education. Continuing to live in their their family homes, they would meet regularly for conferences and prayer in common. Merici drew up a Rule of Life for them. soon added her Testament and a book of Counsels to regulate the life of the group. Merici's vision was that they were to live among the people they served without any distinguishing feature, such as a religious habit.

      The Company grew rapidly, being joined by women from throughout the city. The increasing number of members came to be organized in groups, according to the parish in which they lived. The Company then spread throughout the Diocese of Brescia. One of the early works of the new Company was to give religious instruction to the girls of the town at the parish church each Sunday, which was an innovation for the period, having traditionally been left to the local parish priest. Their work quickly spread to other dioceses in the region.

      The Company was formally recognized in 1546 by Pope Paul III. Merici's death in 1540, however, had left the Company without a clear leader. Organized loosely, questions about their future began to surface. Additionally, pressure began to come from the officials of the Church, who were uncomfortable with a group of consecrated women living independently, not under the direct authority of the clergy.

      Introduction of monastic life

      In 1572 in Milan, at the insistence of St. Charles Borromeo, the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, the Ursulines agree to become an enclosed religious order. Pope Gregory XIII approves this step, putting them under the Rule of St. Augustine, in place of that of Merici. Especially in France, groups of the Company begin to re-shape themselves as cloistered nuns, under solemn vows, and dedicated to the education of girls within the walls of their monasteries.

      Ursulines were the main accusers in the Loudun and Aix-en-Provence demonic possession cases.

      In the following century, the Ursuline nuns were strongly encouraged and supported by St. Francis de Sales. They were called the "Ursuline nuns" as distinct from the "federated Ursulines", who preferred to follow the original way of life. Both forms of life continued to spread throughout Europe and beyond.The order was most prosperous in the beginning of the eighteenth century with 350 convents and from 15,000 to 20,000 nuns.

      Ursulines in North America

      The Ursuline Sisters were the first Catholic nuns to land in the new world. In 1639, Mother Marie of the Incarnation (née Marie Guyart, b. 1599), two other Ursuline nuns, and a Jesuit priest left France for a mission to Canada. When they arrived in the summer of 1639, they studied the language of the native peoples and then began to educate the native children. They taught reading and writing as well as needlework, embroidery, drawing and other domestic arts. The Ursuline Convent established by Mother Marie of the Incarnation is still inhabited by Ursuline Sisters in Quebec.

      By 1639, there were Ursulines in Canada who taught the catechism to indigenous children. There is also an Ursuline convent in Quebec City that is the oldest educational institution for women in North America. Their work helped to preserve a religious spirit among the French population and to Christianize native peoples and Mestizos.

      In 1727, 12 Ursulines from France landed in what is now New Orleans. (See also: History of the Ursulines in New Orleans.) They were known commonly in the colony as the Filles du' Casket or "casket girls" because of the wooden cases which contained their possessions on the trip from Rouen to the colony in the New World. When the first Ursulines arrived it was not on the banks of the Mississippi but at Mobile Alabama in 1719 (though information is contradictory from remaining and available sources). The entire group of Ursulines were the first Roman Catholic nuns in what is now the United States. Both properties were part of the French colony. They came to the country under the sanctions of Pope Pius III, and Louis XV of France. Later, their charter came under the jurisdiction of the United States following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

      They instituted a convent and school, both of which continue today. Ursuline Academy (New Orleans) is the oldest continually operating Catholic school in the United States and the oldest girls school in the United States. Convinced that the education of women was essential to the development of a civilized, spiritual and just society, the Ursuline Sisters influenced culture and learning in New Orleans by providing an exceptional education for girls, and women through its now defunct college.

      The Ursuline tradition holds many United States firsts in its dedication to the growth of individuals, including the first female pharmacist, first woman to contribute a book of literary merit, first convent, first free school and first retreat center for ladies, first classes for female slaves (which continued until abolition), free women of color (a unique New Orleans group also known as Creoles of Color) and Native Americans. In the region, Ursuline provided the first social welfare center in the Mississippi Valley. They also operated the first boarding school in Louisiana, housing and educating a large number of Catholic Hispanic girls and women from central and South American countries - most from economically and socially privileged families. Ursulines also operated the first school of music in New Orleans.

      The Ursuline College opened on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans' Garden District on the 100th anniversary of Ursuline Education. It taught women from 1927-1965. In 1965 the Ursuline College closed. Low enrollment, competition in the university district, and eliminating the school's program for foreign boarders were factors contributing to its demise.

      The Old Ursuline Convent is located in the Vieux Carre (New Orleans' French Quarter).It is the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley. The building now houses the Archdiocese of New Orleans' Archives as well as operating as a tourist attraction/ museum with public tours available almost daily (although one should check the schedule if planning to visit the Old Ursuline Convent). These Ursulines also worked in health care, establishing one of the first hospitals in New Orleans, along with an orphanage. They treated malaria and yellow fever in slave populations when it was not politically or socially accepted.The first pharmacist in the United States was an Ursuline woman practicing in New Orleans in the early 1700s. They had a well established presence as a hospital by the Revolutionary War period in US History. Ursuline sisters treated both British and United States soldiers wounded in the war in the same building..They may have been the first group of women propagating the ideals of diversity in a society, as it was directly related to the teachings of St Ursula and her followers, the Company of St.Ursula (1535, and then by St.Angela Merici foundress of the Order generalate as it is known today (that is the Roman Order, as there are two: one "The Ursulines of the East" and "the Roman Order").

      Ursuline nuns, primarily from France and Germany, settled in other parts of North America including Boston (1820), Brown County, Ohio (1845), Cleveland (1850), New York (1855), Louisville (1858), Chatham, Ontario (1860), Bruno (1916) and Prelate (1919), both in Saskatchewan. These foundations spread to other parts of North America including Toledo, Youngstown, OH, Mount St. Joseph, Kentucky, Santa Rosa, Texas, and Mexico City. In 1771, the Irish Ursulines were established at Cork by Nano Nagle.

      Towards the beginning of the 18th century, the period of its greatest prosperity, the Ursuline order embraced some 20 congregations, with 350 convents and from 15,000 to 20,000 nuns. The members wore a black dress bound by a leathern girdle, a black sleeveless cloak, and a close-fitting headdress with a white veil and a longer black veil.

      The founder of the Order of St.Ursula was beatified by Clement VIII in 1768 and canonized as St. Angela Merici of Brescia by Pius VII in 1807.

      Today, while some convents in Europe, Canada, and Cuba continue to observe strict cloister, most convents have adopted less restrictive forms.

      Role in education

      Colleges and universities

      In the United States, the Ursulines have founded two well-known Catholic women's colleges. Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, was founded in 1871 by the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland. It was followed in 1904 by College of New Rochelle, which is located in New Rochelle, New York.

      In 1919, the Ursulines founded a university-level liberal arts college for women in London, Ontario, Canada. Currently called Brescia University College (Brescia College at its foundation), it remains the only university-level college for women in Canada and is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.

      From 1922 to 1975 the Mary Manse College in Toledo, Ohio, was operated by the Ursulines. It was a women's college until 1971, then was coeducational for its final four years.

      In 1932, the Great Falls Junior College for Women was founded in Great Falls, Montana. Now the University of Great Falls, it has an open admission policy.

      The Mount Saint Joseph Junior College for Women operated between 1925 and 1950 in Maple Mount, Kentucky, with the Ursulines offering co-educational extension courses at Owensboro. The Ursulines merged their extension courses with Mount Saint Joseph Junior College in 1950, creating the co-educational Brescia University still in operation today.

      In 1966, the Ursulines established in Taiwan what became the Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages.

      From 1968 to 2003 the Ursuline Order operated Ursula College at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. It is a co-educational residential college for approximately 200 undergraduates. In 2003 the college was sold to the University and was renamed Ursula Hall. The Ursuline tradition has been retained in the Hall's high educational standards, retention of Ursuline symbols and livery, and the observance of St Ursula's day in October. St Ursula's day is celebrated as Ursies Weekend and is a final opportunity to relax and party before final exams are held in early November.

      Secondary education

      Ursuline Convent, Dallas, Texas (postcard, circa 1901-1907)
      Ursuline secondary education schools are found across the United States and other countries. The first school, Ursuline Academy, began in 1727 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the oldest all-girls school in the country. There is also an Ursuline high school in the Bronx, the Academy of Mount St. Ursula High School, It is the oldest all-girls Catholic high school in New York State. It was founded in 1855.

      The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, New York is a school for girls in grades 6-12 and is closely affiliated with the nearby Iona Preparatory.

      Other notable Ursuline secondary schools in the United States include the all-female Ursuline Academy of Dallas in Dallas, Texas and the all-female Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Delaware.

      Also in Newham, in London, UK, is the all-female girl school St. Angela's, named after the founder of the Ursulines. The sixth form centre of the school allows males while the school does not. The same applies to the Ursuline High School in Wimbledon, which has recently been selected as a Regional Winner- "London Secondary" in the Church School Awards 2011. The Ursuline College, Westgate-on-Sea, is also part of the order, and is open to male and female students.

      The British philosopher and author Celia Green has written extensively about her time at the Ursuline High School in Ilford, London St. Angela de Merici inspired the Ursuline Sisters to provide young women with an opportunity to achieve their full potential. Throughout their lives, students continue to remain part of the Ursuline community and continue to carry forward the legacy of St. Angela de Merici, by serving their society

      In Thailand, the Ursulines established Mater Dei School in Bangkok in 1928. It's elite alumni includes Kings Ananda Mahidol and Bhumibol Adulyadej. Although all-girls school, it enrolled boys from Kindergarten to Primary 2 as well.

      Like their colleges, not all Ursuline secondary schools have remained single-sex. The aforementioned Ursuline Academy in Delaware permits male students in grades 1-3, and Ursuline High School in Youngstown, Ohio, founded in 1905, is fully co-educational. Other Ursuline secondary schools in the United States include Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio (founded in 1850); Ursuline Academy in San Antonio, TX (founded 1851 - closed 1992); Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio (founded in 1898); St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ursuline Academy in Saint Louis, Missouri (founded in 1848); the Ursuline Academy of Dedham in Dedham, Massachusetts; Ursuline High School in Santa Rosa, California (founded in 1880); Ursuline Academy in Springfield, Illinois (founded 1857), which was coed from 1981 until it closed in 2007; and St. Joseph's Ursuline Academy in Malone, NY (closed in 1977 and was also coed at least from the mid-1960s). There is also an Ursuline secondary school in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Waterford, Blackrock, Co. Cork and Sligo, Ireland, which have remained fully single sex.


      • Querciolo Mazzonis, "A female idea of religious perfection: Angela Merici and the Company of St Ursula (1535-1540)," Renaissance Studies, 18,3 (2004), 391-411.
      • Emily Clark (ed), Voices from an American Convent: Marie Madeleine Hachard and the New Orleans Ursulines, 1727-1760 (Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 2007).
      • Q. Mazzonis, "The Impact of Renaissance Gender-Related Notions on the Female Experience of the Sacred: The Case of Angela Merici's Ursulines," in Laurence Lux-Sterritt and Carmen Mangion (eds), Gender, Catholicism and Spirituality: Women and the Roman Catholic Church in Britain and Europe, 1200-1900 (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011),


      Catechism of the Catholic Church

      Part One: Profession of Faith, Chapter 3:3:II

      Article 2


      166 Faith is a personal act - the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbour impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.

      167 "I believe" (Apostles' Creed) is the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during Baptism. "We believe" (Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) is the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers. "I believe" is also the Church, our mother, responding to God by faith as she teaches us to say both "I believe" and "We believe"