Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Feast of St. Alexis Falconieri (1200 to 1310), Patron of the city of Orvieto (Italy)
Founder and mystic, St. Alexis was in the founding group of the Servants of Mary or Servites. The son of a wealthy merchant in Florence, Italy, Alexis was born in the year 1200, when St. Francis of Assisi was 19 years old. Alexis and six companions joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin in Florence in 1225, when he was 25. Gathered together on the Feast of the Assumption in 1233, the group experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary which inspired them to found a new religious community dedicated to prayer. They founded such a group at La Camarzia, near Florence, moving eventually to Monte Senario, on the outskirts of the city. Another vision inspired Alexis and his companions to form the Servites, or the Servants of Mary. All in the group were ordained priests, except for Alexis, who believed he was not worthy of such an honor. He helped build the Servite church at Cafaggio, and he managed the day-to-day temporal affairs of the congregation. The Servites received papal approval from Pope Benedict XI (Pope only for nine months, from October 22, 1303 to July 7, 1304) in 1304. Alexis, then 104 years old, was the only founding member still alive. He died at Monte Senario on February 17, 1310, recorded as 110 years old. St. Alexis and his companions are called the Seven Holy Founders. They were canonized by Pope Leo XIII (Pope from 1878 to 1903) in 1888. (Link)
“Top Ten” People of 2020: #3, John Moorehouse
The year 2020 was one many people say they would like to erase from memory. Yet, many good people did many good and noble things in the year 2020, and Inside the Vatican, this year as in past years, recognizes here just a few of them.
Obviously, these people we have chosen to highlight are not the only people worthy of recognition, but we think each is an example, an exemplar, in differing ways. Of course, there are millions of mothers caring for sick children, millions of fathers caring for their families, thousands of legislators attempting to write just laws, countless artists striving to represent the mystery of divine truth to a world of hardened hearts. We honor them all! Still, we offer these 10 men and women as exemplary men and women, who have lived (and some of whom have died), with courage, honor, charity, tenderness, faith, generosity. In this way, these 10 have shown us the way, no matter how troubled our times may be. —RM
A good editor, a good husband and father, a good man
Top Ten 2020 #3
“An evangelist with his whole mind and heart”
One of the largely unknown and unsung heroes of Catholic publishing passed away, quite unexpectedly, in December of 2020, at the age of only 51: acquisitions editor for TAN Books’ imprint St. Benedict Press, John Moorehouse, who shepherded the recent book, FINDING VIGANÒ, by ITV’s editor Robert Moynihan, through the lengthy editing and publishing process and into the hands of readers all over the world (FINDING VIGANÒ: The Search for the Man Whose Testimony Shook the Church and the World is already in its second printing).
Moorehouse went to bed early on the evening of December 4, having told Moynihan in a phone conversation the previous day that he was looking forward to spending more time with his family over the coming holidays. Minutes later he suffered a fatal heart attack; his wife Robin tried to resuscitate him while waiting for an ambulance. His daughter put a brown scapular around his neck.
In a tribute to John Moorehouse in his Moynihan Letter #42, “Farewell to a Father,” Moynihan said, “John was always ‘there’ for his writers, always steady, calm, cheerful, hopeful. He was a man who assessed his writers, and then got behind them and pushed, or ahead of them and pulled, or right alongside of them adding his own shoulder’s strength to push forward the mired wheel of the empty page, always improving…
“John was an evangelist with his whole mind and heart.
“He placed the work, the project, the product, ahead of himself.
“That very disappearance meant an even deeper and more essential presence. John’s integrity is woven throughout all of the projects we worked on together, and my debt to him is incalculable.”
John leaves behind Robin and five children, but also a group of Catholic authors who have found their own vision clarified and refined, their message enlivened with new inspiration and insight — all in the service of Him who was, always and unquestionably, John’s Lord and Savior. Inside the Vatican contributors Anthony Esolen, Michael Greavey and Paul Kengor, to name a few, have all collaborated with John on books and all expressed their grief at the loss of a gifted editor and man of profound faith who had also become their friend.
Dr. Esolen speaks of John’s willingness to take on true labors of love, like once publishing the now-defunct Catholic Men’s Quarterly — simply because it was “a good thing to do.”
John, he says, “regularly wrote for it too, trying to appeal to men and boys first by the good things of their nature and the nature of the world around them. So there were articles on sports, good food and drink, hunting, classic films, and work, alongside articles on prayer, the saints, life in the Church, and Christ the Lord.”
Dr. Esolen continues: “John Moorehouse was a good man, a faithful husband and father, a devout Catholic, and — what is rare enough in our time — great fun to be around. You could see it in his eyes and in the eyes of his wife and children. We sometimes met them on our way out of Mass on a Sunday evening at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, where I now teach, and where I hope to instruct his children as they come of age.
“And that too brings something to my mind.
“John had tremendous energy and ability and intelligence, and a willingness to take risks. He could have been the chief of a big business. He could have been living the easy and secure life of a tenured professor.
“No ambition compelled him to produce his Quarterly. He did it, and he enjoyed it, because it was a good thing to do — and a necessary thing to do.
“He did it for the good of his fellow men and for the Church.
“I could say that John did much with small resources,” said Esolen, “but it may be truer to say that the God who governs even in a grain of dust, who resists the proud and dwells with the humble, works miracles by those who hold to His truth, whatever their resources may be, even while the colossi crumble to dust.
“Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.”