St. Simon was the son of Cleophas, the brother of St. Joseph, and his mother was a sister to the Blessed Virgin. He was therefore a nephew both to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Virgin, and first cousin to our Savior. He was an early follower of Jesus Christ, and he received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost with the Blessed Virgin and the Apostles. St. James Bishop of Jerusalem was his brother, and was put to death in the year 62, twenty-nine years after Our Savior’s Resurrection, the Apostles and Disciples met at Jerusalem to appoint him a successor. They unanimously chose St. Simon, who had assisted his brother in the government of that Church.
Saints Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at Rome in the year 66, and the civil war began in Judea by the seditions of the Jews against the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned by God of the impending destruction of that city. Knowing this, they departed before Nero’s general came to fight them, to a small city beyond Jordan called Pella, with St. Simon as their head. After the taking and burning of Jerusalem, they returned and settled in its ruins, until it was raised up again. The Church flourished there, and the great number of miracles there converted multitudes of Jews.
Vespasian had ordered everyone from the lineage of David to be put to death, but St. Simon had escaped their orders. However, Trajan, having given the same order, was tipped off by some heretics and Jews, and accused St. Simon as being both from the lineage of David and a Christian to Atticus, the Roman Governor in Palestine. The holy Bishop St. Simon was condemned to be crucified. He had undergone the usual tortures during a several day period, and at the age of 120, he suffered with much patience. His patience with his suffering was so admirable, that it caught the attention of Atticus. He was martyred in 107, after serving as Bishop for forty-three years at the age of 120.
Practical Take Away
St. Simon was the son of Cleophas, St. Joseph’s brother, and his mother was Our Lady’s sister. He would have therefore have been our Lord’s first cousin and was about 8 years older than Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles tell us that he was in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost and received the Holy Ghost with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Apostles. He was the Bishop of Jerusalem for forty-three years, being chosen after the death of his brother St. James the Lesser. He was eventually captured and condemned to be crucified at the age of 120. He suffered with great patience and dedicated his entire life to promote the Catholic Church. He was one of the early martyrs for the faith.
St Bernadette of Soubirous (1844-†1879)
Saint Bernadette Soubirous was born at Lourdes, in the Pyrenees mountains, in 1844. This young girl, fragile of health, born of a very poor but pious family, at fourteen years of age witnessed eighteen apparitions of Our Blessed Lady at Lourdes, from February 11, 1858 to July 16th of the same year. She was instructed to make known the healing powers which the Blessed Virgin, by Her presence, would give to the miraculous spring of Lourdes. A worker who had lost an eye in an explosion recovered his sight when he washed his face in this water; a dying child was plunged into the small basin which had formed around the spring, and the next day began to walk. The police attempted to stop the crowds from going to the Grotto for the foretold apparitions, but were unable to do so. On March 25th, the Beautiful Lady identified Herself in response to Bernadette’s request: I am the Immaculate Conception.
Bernadette was accused of having hallucinations, of spells of mental illness, of lying, but her great simplicity eventually made evident her innocence and entire sanity. Through the benevolent understanding and collaboration of the bishop of nearby Tarbes, Bishop Laurence, who later authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes, a chapel and then a beautiful basilica were raised above the grotto of the apparitions, on the banks of the Gave River, now a world-famous pilgrimage site.
In 1866 Saint Bernadette joined the Sisters of Charity at Nevers, taking her perpetual vows in 1878. She died in 1879 at the age of 36, after long and painful sufferings which she bore very willingly, even with joy. When one of the Mothers said to her: We will pray that God may relieve your pain, she answered, No! Don’t pray for relief for me, only for patience. The last words she wrote in her little spiritual notebook were: The more I am crucified, the more I rejoice. She was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1925, canonized by him in 1933.
Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O. Cist., Ph.D. (Catholic Book Publishing Co.: New York, 1951-1955).