10 August – Saint Bessus
Martyr, Soldier, Missionary evangelist, miracle-worker. Died by being
thrown from Mount Fautenio c 286 in Campiglia Soana, Turin, Italy.
Patronages – soldiers, for fertility, Campiglia Soana, Italy, Cogne,
Italy, Ivrea, Italy, Valprato Soana, Italy. Also known as – Besso,
Bessus was a soldier of the Theban legion who were nearly all
converted to Christianity. Around 286, the Roman Emperor Maximian was,
with his troops, in Agaunum (today’s Saint-Maurice in Switzerland).
Christian soldiers of the Theban legion were massacred for refusing to
sacrifice to the pagan gods. Only a few legionaries survived the
massacre and they began to wander the mountains, carrying the message
of the new faith.
These often martyred soldiers were the first evangelists of many
valleys in the Western Alps. Bessus too was able to convert a large
number of mountain dwellers of the Val Soana, until he was captured
and thrown down from Monte Fautenio.
Besso died but miraculously left his mark on the rock below, where the
Sanctuary dedicated to him now stands.
San Besso was famous as a great thaumaturge saint, author of countless
miracles, protector of soldiers against the dangers of war. The
special devotion to the Saint is still expressed today in the feast in
his honour celebrated annually on 10 August in the Sanctuary located
in the mountains of the Gran Paradiso National Park, in the high Val
Soana at over 2000 meters above sea level. The faithful flock in large
numbers both from Campiglia and from the Cogne valley, from which it
is necessary to leave the day before and stay overnight at the
Sanctuary shelter. Many once wore the colourful traditional costumes
of the different valleys.
The Statue of the Saint is carried in procession by completing a tour
around the great cliff that witnessed his Martyrdom – the honour of
carrying the Statuei s in itself a ceremony.
Many things seem good and yet are not, because they be not done with a
good mind and intention; and therefore our Saviour saith in the
Gospel, "If thy eye has naught, all thy body shall be dark." For when
the intention is wicked, all the work that follows is naught, although
it seemed to be never so good.
--St. Gregory the Great
Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power and
signs and lying wonders: And in all seduction of iniquity to them that
perish: because they receive not the love of the truth, that they
might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error,
to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the
truth but have consented to iniquity. [2 Thessalonians 2:9-12] DRB
Strengthened in temptation
How holy and salutary, how loving and gracious, to strengthen and
comfort one who is so disturbed and afflicted, so disconsolate and
forsaken, and indeed when one is passing through the fire of testing
and the water of tribulation to lead him out into the coolness of
repose and consolation! Even if one who is so troubled should not
immediately obtain this repose and consolation of spirit which he
desires, or even is without it for a long time he should nevertheless
steadfastly hope that he should possess it in the end, because Many
are the tribulations of the just, and from them all the Lord will
deliver them. Marvelous is your kindness, O most high, for you allow
us to be tempted, not that we may succumb, but that we may take refuge
from our fear in you, our most safe harborage.
--William Flete, O.S.A.
Hymn: Deus, tuorum militum
O God, of those that fought Thy fight,
Portion, and prize, and crown of light,
Break every bond of sin and shame
As now we praise Thy Martyr's name.
He recked not of the world's allure,
But sin and pomp of sin forswore:
Knew all their gall, and passed them by,
And reached the throne prepared on high.
Bravely the course of pain he ran,
And bare his torments as a man:
For love of Thee his blood outpoured,
And thus obtained the great reward.
With humble voice and suppliant word
We pray Thee therefore, holy Lord,
While we thy Martyr's feast-day keep,
Forgive Thy loved and erring sheep.
All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee,
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen