February Quick Links & Resources
As a short guide and aid to your February liturgical living, I have compiled some quick tips, ideas, and links to bring joy and festivity into your domestic church. This is not a list of every single February feast day, but will be a very good start.
Feast days that you will find in this post!
1. St. Blaise
2. St. Josephine Bakhita
3. Our Lady of Lourdes
4. St. Valentine
Note: This is not a full list of resources on my blog for feast day celebrations, activities, and recipes in the month of February. Go browse around for saints and feast days that are special to you.
The Month of February is Dedicated to the Holy Family
St. Blaise- February 3
We know more about the devotion to Saint Blaise by Christians around the world than we know about the saint himself. His feast is observed as a holy day in some Eastern Churches. In 1222, the Council of Oxford prohibited servile labor in England on Blaise’s feast day. The Germans and Slavs hold him in special honor, and for decades many United States Catholics have sought the annual Saint Blaise blessing for their throats.
We know that Bishop Blaise was martyred in his episcopal city of Sebastea, Armenia, in 316. The legendary Acts of St. Blaise were written 400 years later. According to them Blaise was a good bishop, working hard to encourage the spiritual and physical health of his people. Although the Edict of Toleration (311), granting freedom of worship in the Roman Empire, was already five years old, persecution still raged in Armenia. Blaise was apparently forced to flee to the back country. There he lived as a hermit in solitude and prayer, but he made friends with the wild animals. One day a group of hunters seeking wild animals for the amphitheater stumbled upon Blaise’s cave. They were first surprised and then frightened. The bishop was kneeling in prayer surrounded by patiently waiting wolves, lions and bears.
The legend has it that as the hunters hauled Blaise off to prison, a mother came with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Blaise’s command the child was able to cough up the bone.
Agricolaus, governor of Cappadocia, tried to persuade Blaise to sacrifice to pagan idols. The first time Blaise refused, he was beaten. The next time he was suspended from a tree and his flesh torn with iron combs or rakes. Finally, he was beheaded. (Franciscan Media)
1. About the Feast Day
2. The Blessing of St. Blaise
3. Celebrating St. Blaise
St. Blaise Prayer
O glorious Saint Blaise, who by thy martyrdom didst leave to the Church a precious witness to the faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend, without human respect, both by word and example, the truth of that same faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. Thou who didst miraculously restore a little child when it was at the point of death by reason of an affliction of the throat, grant us thy mighty protection in like misfortunes; and, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification, together with a faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which may keep us from offending almighty God. Amen.
1. St. Blaise Pie
St. Josephine Bakhita- February 8
For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave but her spirit was always free and eventually that spirit prevailed.
Born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of 7, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means fortunate. She was resold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan.
Two years later, he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice’s Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine.
When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian Sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine’s behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885.
Josephine entered the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa in 1893 and made her profession three years later. In 1902, she was transferred to the city of Schio (northeast of Verona), where she assisted her religious community through cooking, sewing, embroidery, and welcoming visitors at the door. She soon became well loved by the children attending the sisters’ school and the local citizens. She once said, “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!”
The first steps toward her beatification began in 1959. She was beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later. (Franciscan Media)
St. Josephine Prayer
African Peanut Chicken Serves 4 (Fed two adults and a toddler with plenty leftover, so I'm just guessing) Ingredients:
2 lbs skinless bone-in chicken drumsticks and thighs (or equivalent amount of boneless chicken)
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 onion (I slice it large so The Husband can pick it out, but if you're cooking for an onion loving crew feel free to increase the amount of onion and chop or mince it)
1 small can crushed tomatoes
3 cloves sliced garlic
cumin, cumin seeds, coriander, cinnamon, black pepper (maybe 1 tsp each, or to taste)
chili powder, salt (optional)
Directions: Put everything in slow cooker and turn to high for 4 hours or until chicken is cooked through. (If you cook for a longer time on low, the chicken will fall apart and you'll need to fish out the bones. If you want more like shredded chicken, I would recommend using boneless thighs.) (Catholic Cuisine)
Our Lady of Lourdes - February 11
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus. A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: “O Mary conceived without sin.”
During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was “something white in the shape of a girl.” She used the word aquero, a dialect term meaning “this thing.” It was “a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm.” Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.
Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907. (Franciscan Media)
Our Lady of Lourdes Prayer
Ever Immaculate Virgin Mother of Mercy, Health of the sick, refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; look with mercy on me. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors; and already many sufferers have obtained the cure for their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.
I come, therefore, with complete confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests. Through gratitude for your favors, I will endeavor to imitate your virtues, that I may one day share your glory.
St. Valentine - February 14
Well, there was a priest named Valentine who lived in Rome in the third century. He was put in prison because he helped some Christians who were going to be executed by a cruel emperor named Claudius. While Valentine was in prison, he healed the chief warder’s daughter, who was blind, and the warder and all his family became Christians.
When Emperor Claudius heard this, he said that Valentine should be executed. And so, on February 14 in the year 269, Valentine was clubbed to death. Then his head was chopped off, just to make sure he was dead.
In the same year, another man named Valentine, who was the bishop of Terni (about sixty miles from Rome), was also put to death by Emperor Claudius for being a Christian.
Neither saint seems to have anything to do with young lovers. So where do the traditions come from? Some say it is because on this day of the year (in the northern hemisphere) birds pair up and start mating.
Others say the day is special for lovers because at that time of year there had been a pagan Roman festival named Lupercalia, when young men took part in a kind of lottery to find a partner. But Lupercalia has nothing to do with either Saint Valentine! (Loyola Press)
St. Valentine Prayer
Grant, we beseech you, O almighty God, that we who keep the festival of your holy martyr Valentine, may be delivered by his intercession from all dangers that threaten us. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ: Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.