Today is the memorial of Blessed Juvenal Ancina, not much known in the wider world, but a beatified member of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, and the only one of the ‘beati’ to have known ‘Father Philip’ personally, dying a decade or so after his spiritual mentor in 1604. Bd. Juvenal was a kind of martyr, meeting his end by being poisoned by a man disgruntled that the priest had helped a wayward nun break off their, ahem, ‘affair’. Such was Naples in the late 1500’s, so the Church has always had issues, a hospital for sinners and all that that entails.
Bd. Juvenal was an intelligent, sensitive, noble man, deeply immersed in the mystical and spiritual life, whose gravest temptation, such as it is, was to become a Carthusian to devote more time to prayer and silence. This was also a temptation of Saint Jean Vianney, the Cure d’Ars. But like the good pastor of Ars, Father Juvenal’s vocation was to bring the fruits of his contemplative out into the world, and so bring souls to God.
For more on Bd. Juvenal, please do check out the Oratory’s own description of this remarkable man, who gave so much to God through the joyful way of Saint Philip, one of whose favorite saying was that ‘he would have sad saints in his house’.
So rejoice, for God is always near at hand.
Bd. Juvenal, ora pro nobis!