Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Servants of the Cross Renew Their Promises - Saint Maurice

The renewal of promises by the Servants of the Cross took place last Saturday in Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church here in Ottawa.  The Sisters are celebrating ten years of existence this year though it was some time before they were formally recognized as a public association of Christ`s faithful two years ago.

Here are some photos, courtesy of Paul Lauzon:

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In Switzerland and in other countries, dioceses and parishes, this early martyr-saint's feast day is observed (we have a parish dedicated to St. Maurice in our archdiocese (in Nepean):

El Greco, The Martyrdom of St. Maurice

Saint Maurice (also Moritz, Morris, or Mauritius) was the leader of the legendary Roman Theban Legion in the 3rd century, and one of the favorite and most widely venerated saints of that group. He was the patron saint of several professions, locales, and kingdoms. He is also a highly revered saint in the Coptic Orthodox Church.

According to the hagiographical material, the legion, entirely composed of Christians, had been called from Thebes in Egypt to Gaul to assist Maximian to defeat a revolt by the bagaudae.

However, when Maximian ordered them to harass some local Christians, they refused and Maximian ordered the unit to be punished. Every tenth soldier was killed, a military punishment known as decimation. More orders followed, they still refused, partly because of Maurice's encouragement, and a second decimation was ordered. In response to their refusal to use violence against fellow Christians, Maximian ordered all the remaining members of the 6,666 unit to be executed.

The place in Switzerland where this occurred, known as Agaunum, is now Saint Maurice-en-Valais, site of the Abbey of Saint Maurice-en-Valais.

Though I cannot find the collect for the feast in English, here it is from my French breviary:

Seigneur, la gloire de tes élus est un reflet de ta splendeur, et tu as consacré ce jour par le martyr de saint Maurice et de ses compagnons; accorde à ton Église, qui fête avec joie leur entrée dans le ciel, de trouver, à leur exemple et par leur prière, le chemin de ta miséricorde.

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