Wenceslas, Martyr

Saint Wenceslas, whose Feast Day is September 28, was actually a duke by title, who reigned as a king. He was from Bohemia [where Prague is today] and ruled there during the country's conversion to the Catholic Church. His devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is mentioned by St. Alphonsus Liguori in the introductory section of his book, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament:

" ... tender indeed was the devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament of St. Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia. This holy king was so enamored of Jesus there present that he not only gathered wheat and grapes and made the hosts and wine with his own hands and then gave them to be used in the Holy Sacrifice, but even during the winter he used to go at night to visit the church in which the Blessed Sacrament was kept. These visits enkindled in his beautiful soul such flames of Divine love that their ardor imparted itself even to his body and took from the snow on which he walked its wonted cold; for it is related that the servant who accompanied him in these nightly excursions, having to walk through the snow, suffered much from the cold. The holy King, on perceiving this, was moved to compassion and commanded him to follow him and only to step in his footmarks; he did so, and never afterwards felt the cold."

The poem-carol, below, is a telling of this, although the Holy Eucharist is not included.

This is why we chose a winter theme, rather than wheat and grapes.

His virtue was the cause of his death, for it aroused the hatred of his pagan mother and brother who had him assassinated while he was on his knees praying in church. The date was September 28, 938. There is a link below to read more of his life.

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath'ring winter fuel.

"Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know'st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain,
Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring the choicest food of mine, bring me pine logs hither;
Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither."
Page and monarch forth they went, forth they went together,
Through the rude wind's wild lament, and the bitter weather.

"Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how, I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page; tread thou in them boldly.
Thou shalt find the winter's rage freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod which the Saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.

Banner Image in Full with Other Saints, School of Prague, 1385
From the Web, Image 1
From the Web, Image 2
From the Web, Image 3
From the Web, Image 4
From the Web, Image 5: Crown