Excerpt from Book One of The Sainted Trilogy
St. Agnes of Montepulciano and the Crows
Why did this four-year-old girl feel such terror…why could she not enjoy this beautiful day God had given her? She loves to walk with her Momma through the beautiful fields on their way to the market like they do every week. The women of the household always follow, as is their custom and it gives Senora de Sengi a quiet moment with her beautiful Agnes.
They will buy food for their table—vine ripened tomatoes, the vegetables of the season, a cask of wine and more. On the way home, they will pick the flowers that Agnes will give to her father that night. Flowers are something Senor deSegni loves, and he always makes his little Agnes feel like she is the most precious thing in his life. It is a truly wonderful day.
So why should today be any different?
The women pass the hill overlooking the casa de putana near Montepulciano. The sun is high in the sky, but it gives no warmth, and little Agnes becomes more and more frightened. Her momma sees the fear in her child, and she becomes frightened herself. The sun’s light slowly begins to disappear as darkness moves across the sky. It appears like an impending storm, only this is no signal of rain to come. All among the small group see the growing darkness that ungulates with movement and with it their terror grows.
Agnes’ mother grabs her in her arms and looks up and immediate sees hundreds and hundreds of huge black crows gathering like an ominous sign of approaching evil. The crows seem to form a giant gapping mouth that looks to swallow both of them. The shrieks from the crows are painful to hear; it is like the shrill screams of many demons seeking to terrorize all who are there.
With Agnes in the Senora arms, she and the women all start to run, but there is no shelter to be found. As Agnes’ mother runs, she falls, and the child tumbles out of her arms. The crows sweep down, and Agnes is helpless to defend herself against the vile blackness that swarms about her head. The Senora and the women scream and beat their hands trying to save the child. The crows are relentless, and none can stop the onslaught.
The crows cut and claw at Agnes with their talons and beaks and keep attacking the child who is helpless to defend herself. It is only until the women are able to beat back the crows with sticks and rocks that Agnes is free of the violence that would surely have killed her.
Agnes’ mother and the women run to comfort the child and clean her of the wounds to her small face and body. What they find, however, is a little girl without one scratch or wound on her body.
How can this be? Why is this little girl free from any harm? What miracle is this?
While tears flow, the women try to purge the image of what could have happened to the poor child. Agnes looks past her mother, past the women who she knows love her, past it all and she whispers to no one, “il Diavolo.”
* The legend of the miracle of St. Agnes of Montepulciano, as written, is a dramatization of an actual event in the life of the Sainted we honor.
Excerpt from Book Two of The Sainted Trilogy
St. Nicholas and the Gift
The poor man sits in the corner of the dark, tiny two room hut he calls home. The man is distraught and weeps for his children as he sits by the fire burning in the small hearth. The poor man cherishes his daughters and they are of an age where each should be married and have families of their own. But he is too poor to afford the ample dowries that provide support to the type of men who will take care of his daughters and be good husbands and fathers to their children.
He quietly cries saying to himself, “My children, my loves, what am I to do?”
Through his tears he imagines his daughters, his beautiful girls, sold into servitude, just to stay alive all because they have no dowries. The poor man knows that without dowries the situation is hopeless. His despair is so overwhelming that he collapses in a heap on the dirt floor of the hut while his daughters are asleep in the next room. Eventually, though his grief is all consuming, the man falls asleep on the cold dirt floor.
The night is cold and calm as a figure approaches in the dark. He is cloaked in the garb of a priest, but not just any priest; this man appears to be an important figure dressed in the cloak of a bishop. In the moonlight it can be seen as the face and figure of a man. He is large and rotund with a wonderfully long white beard. The man reaches the window and looks in. He sees the father of the girls lying on the floor and knows of the poor man’s agony. In the next few moments, he does something truly extraordinary as he reaches into the pocket of his cloak.
The bishop takes out three bags filled with gold coins and tosses them through the window. The bags seem to float in the air as they hover over the mantle of the fireplace where there are three pairs of his daughters’ stockings that had been washed and hung by the fire to dry.
In the next moment each of the bags of coins drops into each of young girl’s stockings. The father, now fast asleep, remains unaware but when he wakens, he will become conscious of this gift and for him, this miracle.
I see the bishop smile and even hear a little chuckle as he steps out of his body and stands by my side.
“I do so very much enjoy this. Sometimes I even feel guilty at the pleasure I get but I know it is God’s will and I know He will forgive me this slightly impious delight.” With that St. Nicholas begins to laugh out loud.
I smile at his funny ways and say, “So the legends are true. You do visit homes in the still of the night and bring gifts to good little girls and boys and even good little adults.”
He smiles at me, “Well when I was alive, I did not have the means or a way to give the people all they wanted or even all they needed, but the Lord did call on me to help provide for the poor and sick and, as I was able, I helped when I could. It is for all a blessing from God to His people.”
* The legend of the miracle of St. Nicholas of Myra, as written, is a dramatization of events in the life of the Sainted we honor.
St. Anthony the Abbot and the Demons
He runs into the cave hoping to stay hidden away from the demons that torment him constantly. But as he seeks cover in the darkness of the cave, he realizes that he is not alone. Looking around, he sees the glowing red eyes of demons as the beasts come from behind the rocks and out of holes in the ground. Their deafening shrieks force the man to hold his ears as they crawl on the ceiling and descend on him.
Fearful and suffering greatly, the man reconciles to the outcome which seems preordained. There would be no reprieve as the devils beat him to death.
The servant reaches down and lifts the lifeless form from the cave floor. He is overcome with grief as he lays the body near the entrance to the cave. As the servant continues to mourn, a group of hermits finds their way to the place where the dead man lays and they kneel in prayer for the one they know as a holy man. In the midst of their prayer, the holy man opens his eyes and all present are astonished that he is alive.
Although in great pain, he tries sitting up, but he is in such a weakened state, he is unable to stand. He summons enough strength to yell at the men, “Take me back! Take me back immediately! I must face these demons! Take me back now!”
Afraid, the servant and the hermits do not know what to do, but St. Anthony would have none of it. “Take me back now!”
That being said, they lift him and carry him back to the cave. When they let him down, they hear the screams of the demons and the men all run out of the cave in terror. Now that he is back inside the cave once more, St. Anthony can be heard shouting,
“Come forth! I am not afraid! Come forth and face the might of the God.”
The demons have now transformed into vicious beasts wanting to tear the holy man apart. As the devils’ approach, a flash of light appears out of nowhere. It is so blindingly bright that it fills the cave. The demons become so frightened that they shriek and run to the hell from whence they came.
St. Valentine and the Miracle
As he sits in this prison, he ponders his situation and prays for guidance in what he must do before he is to be executed. The emperor has decreed that he will be beaten and stoned to death and the man had accepted his fate.
While he waits for his meal, the prisoner continues to pray. A short while passes before the jailer slides the key into the lock and opens the door. A meal of bread and water is put onto the floor of the cell, but the prisoner is more interested in the jailer than in the food.
The condemned man asks his jailer, “What is it that bothers you?”
The jailer looks at the man sitting on the ground. “Why is it that you are so interested in my troubles?”
“I am interested in all of God’s children, and my Lord commands that I look to help those that I can help.”
“How can you help me, you, a prisoner condemned to death?”
“My body may be captive and I may soon die, but my spirit, my soul will remain free and alive in the name of Christ.”
The jailer answers in a harsh manner, “My business is my own.” The jailer turns to walk out the cell door when the prisoner speaks out.
“I only seek to help, to understand what it is that troubles you. Perhaps I can be of help.”
The jailer speaks in a manner that betrays bitterness and sorrow, “How can you help my blind daughter to see? How can you do this?”
With that the condemned holy man kneels in his prison cell and begins to pray. He prays so fervently that the jailer can only stare in silence at the man kneeling on the floor and says nothing at all.
When he is done, the prisoner rises and says, “Go home now, your daughter can see.”
It is now the next morning when the jailer returns to the prisoner’s cell. St. Valentine, in the midst of praying, stops and looks up to see his jailer standing before him. The jailer has tears in his eyes.
“Why is it you cry?”
The jailer stands in front of St. Valentine, and goes down on his knees. There are tears flowing from his eyes and down his cheeks. All the jailer can say is, “My daughter, she…she can see.”
The saint smiles at the man. “It is through the power of the Lord, our God, that she has been given this gift.”
“How…how did this come to be? How did your God make this happen?” The jailer is totally baffled.
“In Him all things are possible.”
St. Valentine and his jailer rise and stand next to one another. The men look at each other for a long moment; the jailer then says, “It is beyond my power to help you. If I could, I would free you to go in peace, but I cannot go against the emperor’s command.”
The Sainted replies, “I know my fate, and it is sealed.”
The jailer is now grief stricken that he is not able to help. “Can I do anything for you?”
St. Valentine reaches into his cloak and hands his jailer a note. The jailer takes the note and reads it aloud, “Ex tua Valentine.”
“Take this to your daughter and tell her that I am happy she can see again.”
St. Nicholas of Tolentine the Death of the Children
The day is grey and overcast. Mothers, fathers, town elders, clergy are standing on the shores of Lago Delle Grazie, Lake of Thanks—but there is nothing to be thankful for. The bodies of the children lie cold and lifeless on the shores of the lake. The wails of the assembled parents can be heard all the way to Tolentino. How could this have happened? How could their children be dead, drowned? Even though they mourn, they still question why and plead to God to bring their children back to life.
They ask over and over again: Why has God abandoned us? But there is no answer to their entreaty, no relief from their torment.
In the midst of all this sorrow, the people look to the holy man, the preacher, the worker of miracles for answers to their questions. It is then that St. Nicholas appears to the crowd, having heard the cries from his cell in the monastery.
All who know The Sainted venerate his holy ways. Is he not much loved by all in the town? Has he not worked with the poorest of his flock? Has he not been the only solace for the thieves and murderers that have been imprisoned or would be put to death by the authorities?
St. Nicholas feels the anguish of his congregation and he weeps with them. The villagers implore the holy man to work his miracle for them and for their children.
He continues to weep as he walks beside the bodies of the young children. The men and women of the village surround him, but it is only the children that matter—all else disappears from his sight. St. Nicholas carries a flower, a beautiful lily in his left hand as he stops to pray over these poor souls. He kneels down by the body of a young boy, no more than seven years old. The rest of those present at the lake kneel down as well and pray with him. The prayer seems to put St. Nicholas into a trancelike state as he places the lily on the forehead of the dead young boy.
A few moments pass, then the boy opens his eyes and looks up at the priest kneeling by his side. The boy’s parents are frozen in place, not understanding the miracle, but as they realize what has happened, how they have been blessed, they rush to the son and hold him in their arms.
The miracle is repeated twice more; each time a young child is resurrected from the dead. The parents in the crowd stare in utter astonishment. Their children are returned to them, resurrected from the dead in what has to be a divine gift, a miracle, given to them by the saint living in their midst. They have no words—only wonder.
The priest, the wonder-worker, turns to the crowd and tells, “Say nothing of this, and give thanks to God not to me. I am only a vessel of clay, a poor sinner.” St. Nicholas of Tolentine then turns toward the path and makes his way back to the monastery.
* The legend of the miracle of St. Nichols of Tolentine, as written, is a dramatization of the actual event of the Sainted we honor.
Excerpt from Book One of The Sainted Trilogy
The Death of St. Thomas More
The executioner is waiting for the man he must behead. The King has commanded his execution, and it will be carried out. How could someone so high, so respected have fallen to so low a state? He has lost everything, his position, his estate, his prestige and now he will lose his life. He could have obeyed his sovereign lord and compromised his beliefs to a small degree. What harm could it have done? He is a wise and learned man, and he could have found the words to help conciliate his faith and his king. He would then be restored to his former position.
How could he be so foolish? How could he sacrifice his own life? After all, he has a family.
The blade is honed very sharp indeed. It will be a clean cut about the neck, momentary pain, and it would be over. This is a man who had the ear of the king, a man who is revered for his brilliance and integrity, and now this is a man who is the subject of scorn and ridicule.
Why has it come to this?
The executioner looks up as the door to the top of the tower opens. In walks the man whose grace, dignity and strength are more apparent than ever before. As he walks into the room smiling at the men who are there, he turns to the executioner and declares,
“Be swift of the axe for I have not a moment to waste.”
He continues to smile as he remembers what he has written as a margin note in his Book of Hours: “Give me your grace, good Lord, to set the world at naught…to have my mind well united to You; to not depend on the changing opinions of others so that I may think joyfully of the things of God, and tenderly implore His help. So that I may lean on God’s strength and make an effort to love Him. So as to thank Him ceaselessly for his benefits; so as to redeem the time I have wasted . . .”
As the man readies himself for the fate which he is destined, he makes the sign of the cross and walks towards his executioner. His hands are not bound as he lays his own head on the wooden block. When the axe falls, the head of St. Thomas More comes to rest in the basket below.
The Torture of St. Agatha of Sicily
Kneeling on the floor is a woman. She is alone and has her head bowed in prayer.
“Jesus Christ, Lord of all, You see my heart and You know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am Your most devoted servant: make me worthy to overcome the evil of this place.”
The Sainted never acknowledge my presence when the vision I am seeing is
taking place at a time when they were alive. While I am observing her moment in prayer, I hear the laughter of men and women and what sounds like the moaning of people having sex. Because I am, in fact, a spirit while experiencing these visions, I am able to walk through walls and doors or any other solid surface. I walk through the wall out into the hallway. In truth, I’ve never been to a brothel, house of prostitution or whatever you want to call it, but take my word for it, this is a brothel. A number of men and women are walking around half-naked, chasing each other from room to room.
While standing outside the door where I’d seen the woman pray, I watch all this going on. It is then a drunken Roman soldier comes staggering up to the room and he flings open the door. He immediately grabs the praying woman and tears at her clothes. I forget for a moment that I am a spirit and I jump at the soldier in hopes of saving the women from being raped. As I jump, however, the room disappears and I find myself falling. When I land, I look up and, smiling down at me is the woman who was praying. It is St. Agatha and she is surrounded by the same glow I have seen surrounding all the saints that have come before her. I get up off the floor and stand before her. She is holding something in her hands, she was holding a tray and on the tray are two human breasts…hers.
In life, St. Agatha experienced many torments and tortures, but she always remained steadfast in her faith. In this vision, St. Agatha allows me to see her suffering at the hands of Quintianus, a Roman Prefect at that time. He wants to possess this woman, but she had pledged her virginity, her life and her soul to the Lord and refuses all his advances. Quintianus is furious and subjects St. Agatha to further suffering and she is sent to prison after being raped in the brothel.
In prison, one of the tortures she must suffer is to have her breasts cut off; I am dumbfounded at the horror of it all. If you could have seen this cruelty, you would be as grief stricken as I am for this beautiful person.
The vision continues as St. Agatha speaks to Quintianus: “My courage and my thoughts be so firmly founded upon the firm stone of Jesus Christ, that for no pain may they be changed. Your words be but wind, your promises be but rain, and your menaces be as rivers that pass, and how well that all these things hurtle at the fundament of my courage, yet for that, it shall not move.”
Excerpt from Book Two of The Sainted Trilogy
St. George and the Dragon
The fields near the shore of the lake are in close proximity to Silena. The fields are littered with the bodies of men. Armies sent to battle the monster have been slain, slaughtered would be more accurate, in the most hideous of ways. The villagers try to quell the savagery, but it seems that the beast knows the people are powerless against its wicked and evil ways. Each day two sheep are sacrificed to the dragon, but soon all the sheep have been butchered.
Fearful for their lives, pagans from all the surrounding towns assemble to confront the reality of what they must do. They have little choice; they must continue to sacrifice or forfeit their lives. If armies cannot kill the beast how could poor farmers, shepherds and shopkeepers hope to survive. It has been decided by the villagers that young maidens are to be sacrificed; as substitute for sheep in desperate hope that this would appease the monstrous creature…at least for a while.
The men and women gather for a ghastly ritual where lots are to be drawn. While all this is taking place no one seems to notice the man, a soldier, who sits astride a white stallion as he gazes over the lake. The soldier is clad in armor and he holds a lance and shield. The dragon appears to be asleep, but the rider knows better. It is twilight and the villagers come to the
shoreline and walk until they are knee deep in the water. The first to be sacrificed is a young maiden, a princess actually, and she takes her place in the front of the multitude. Even from far away the soldier could see both abject fear and hopeless resignation on the face of the maiden. She is fully aware in knowing what is to become of her…she is to be eaten alive.
In silence, the people all watch and wait for the inevitable.
Slowly the dragon opens its eyes. Its monstrous form rises with great deliberation from a shallow part of the lake. The monster seems to delight in the terror of the people standing by the shore and it wants them to gape and cower at the majesty of its size. The monster’s large green scales glitter from the water that clings to its form and many of those present begin to step back out of the lake in dread of the dragon.
The princess sees the monster and begins to scream, this to the delight of the dragon. Step by step the hideous beast comes closer and the princess stares in horror as she sees that the beast seems to be smiling. Now the last few of the people standing in the shallow waters slowly begin to move onto the shore for fear of their lives, leaving the maiden alone to face the terror before her.
The beast is taking its time approaching the sacrificial maiden as it takes delight in the terror it is creating. The soldier-rider slowly guides his steed down the slope toward the shore of the lake and nearer to the dragon. As all attention is focused on the horror taking place no one seems to notice the rider, not even the monster. Quietly he comes closer to the beast and once he comes very near the shore the rider lets out a battle cry and charges toward the dragon.
The villagers, the maiden princess, even the dragon stops and all turn in the direction of the soldier-rider. His horse races at full gallop and comes charging toward the scaly creature. The soldier is holding a long iron tipped spear and he has a sword at his side. It all happens so fast that there is no time for anyone to react as all present seem frozen in place.
Momentarily, the dragon appears stunned, surprised as any of the people that have gathered on the shore of the lake. But before the dragon has a chance to react, the soldier drives his spear directly into the flesh of the beast and through its heart. The dragon looks up at the rider and down at the wound and the monster falls dead in the waters of the lake.
St. Anthony of Padua
The priest is delivering a sermon to the congregation who is captivated by the words of the holy man. Without warning, a messenger suddenly appears in their midst and calls out to a poor old woman in the rear of the church.
“I bring news of great sadness; your son has died! Your son has been murdered by his bitter enemies. Oh, why has God done this to you? He has left you without a son.” The woman hearing of the news becomes distraught. She does not know what is to become of her without her beloved son.
The messenger now speaks to the crowd trying to turn the congregants away from the preacher and the word of God. “What has the woman’s son done to deserve such a fate? Why has God forsaken her?” He shouts his words so that he will be heard above that of the priest.
St. Anthony ceases to preach and stares intently at the messenger and at once the priest knows who he is. Through his teachings and sermons, the holy man has become familiar with the evil one who is now before him. “You are to be silent in the house of the Lord! You have nothing to speak but lies and deceit, and it is the Lord who commands you to leave this holy place at once.”
The messenger stares at the priest and his fear becomes evident. The messenger then turns into a demon that is cloaked in the form of a man and, with a hideous shriek, leaves the gathering.
St. Anthony now turns to the poor woman who is grieving for the son she believes has died. He places his arms around the poor frightened mother to console her and tells the woman, “Your son is very much alive and in good health. He is on his way to see you as we speak. It is the evil one that hopes to sow the seeds of fear with lies among those who gather here. It is Lucifer that intrudes on the word of God and it is Lucifer who seeks to capture the souls of men and women. It begins when the faithful lose their understanding of the lessons that come from His words. The demon takes many forms and he will do all in his power to appeal, tempt and blind you to the goodness of God. You must be ever vigilant for you will not know from where or when the beast will come, but he will come again. Know this and always remember for he seeks your soul and he will not relent.”
St. Patrick at the Gates of Hell
The men stand at the entrance to the cave. One of the men is surrounded by an all-enveloping glow so bright that His features are obscured. Kneeling next to the glowing vision is another man who is supplicating in prayer saying;
“…Christ shield me this day, Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ with me,
Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ beside me…”
The holy man continues to pray as Jesus Christ places his hand on the shoulders of St. Patrick who ends his prayer and says, “Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.”
St. Patrick looks up at his Savior and is told by Christ to stand beside Him as he asks,
“Do you know what place this is?”
“No, my Lord.”
“This earthly place is the gateway.”
“Gateway? Lord, gateway to where?”
“It is the gateway to Purgatory and beyond. Follow me and it shall be revealed to you.”
St. Patrick follows Christ into the entrance of the cave, both men stand in the cave’s far niche and stare into the darkness. Christ looks at St. Patrick and says,
“Beyond the darkness there is a place, a state, temporary punishment for those souls who having died in the state of grace, but are not entirely free from the venial sins that plague mankind. These souls have not yet fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions. It is not a state of positive growth in goodness and in merit, but of purification effected by suffering.”
“I know of Purgatory Lord. It is the last hope for so many to be at one with God the Father and His Son in the everlasting triumph of Heaven.”
Sadness comes to Christ’s face and He sheds tears. At the sight of this, St. Patrick becomes distressed,
“Lord, why do You weep? Lord, are you sad because of the suffering of your children? These souls suffer for their sins but it is You who have decreed they will be redeemed through indulgence and the prayers of the faithful.”
“It is not only for the souls who suffer in Purgatory that I weep.”
“Then for whom do you weep, Lord please let me know, for whom do you weep?”
“Follow me and it shall further be revealed to you.”
Excerpt from Book Two of The Sainted Trilogy
St. Teresa turns away from Prayer
Many people are lined up to see her. Those nuns in the convent beg her to see the faithful, to guide them, to help them achieve holiness to become one with God.
The sisters implore her, “Please see those who wait. They will hear your words in prayer and they will provide gifts to help in our time of need. One after another they enter her quarters; the nun is loved by all and she takes joy in being loved. The nun seems to be taken with all the praise and reverence the faithful accord her. As time goes by, the woman becomes consumed by her worldly existence and she chooses to ignore God.
The woman is lying there motionless; she has been this way for more than three years as her illness has caused paralysis. These types of sufferings that bring on greater spirituality among the Sainted, but this is not the case for her.
“Prayer is an act of love, words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.”
Time seems to speed up in the nun’s life. Over the years her face is transformed to reveal the suffering she endures, but her paralysis is gone. In spite of this gift, she had ceased to pray long ago.
“I am no longer worthy; I do not deserve God’s mercy or His love. I have been tempted to sin. I have succumbed to flattery, vanity and gossip, all at a cost of prayerful guidance.” It is the woman lying there, a nun, who sees herself as a wicked sinner who turns away from God, not deserving of His benediction.
The door to her small room opens and in walks the priest, Gaspar Daza. He sits in a chair and looks directly at her. At first, she turns away, but then she faces the priest and looks into his eyes and begs him to hear her confession. He smiles in a kindly manner but tells her, “I cannot hear your confession, but you must return to prayer for it is the road back to God and it is His plan for you.” He kneels on the cold stone floor and asks the nun to kneel with him and pray.
She kneels, but she is afraid as she tells the priest, “I am more anxious for the hour of prayer to be over than I am to remain there. I don’t know what heavy penance I would not have gladly undertaken rather than practice prayer.” But it is over time that the mystic’s visions and thoughtful prayers turn the woman back to God again.
* The legend of the expression of faith and the ultimate sacrifice of St. Teresa of Avila as written, is a dramatization of the actual martyrdom of the Sainted we honor.