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The story of St. Emericus, patron of America

© Copyright 2014, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)

We know that Our Lady under her glorious title of the Immaculate Conception is the most powerful patroness that any country could hope for. For she, in the end, will crush the head of the serpent with her heel and destroy his errors. Those who recently have revived the flag of the 13 colonies bearing the serpent with the motto “Don’t Tread On Me” do not know what banner they wave. If they would stop and ponder the matter, isn’t this a clear reference to Our Lady’s prophesied victory? A swipe, perhaps, at Catholics as well, since most Protestants forbid devotion to Our Lady? Anti-Catholic rhetoric is heating up once more with many willingly believing that the recent turn in political events can be laid at the door of the Church and Her “Jesuitical plots.” Many anti-Catholic sites openly state that the church in Rome is ready to join the president in creating a New World Order with the help of a reunited Holy Roman Empire. Not only is America in danger, but there are those who are determined to place the blame for all our country’s woes at the door of Catholics.

The serpent on the above-mentioned flag may stand for Rosseauist-Masonic democracy and Americans rising against the British Crown, but it is not democracy per se that is to be crushed by Our Lady; only its abuses. Pope Leo XIII, Pope St. Pius X and Pope Pius XII went to great lengths to explain how our system could work for the good of all, but their teachings were ignored. On viewing the Americas for the first time, St. Brendan declared that this is “the land of the saints.” On his deathbed, St. Anthony Mary Claret told his religious to go to America, because America would be the “new vineyard” of the faith. This great saint was also a prophet and a miracle worker, and during his lifetime was blessed with favors from God.  He was so devoted to Catholic doctrine and the papacy that he suffered a stroke at the Vatican Council after being forced to witness fellow bishops denying the doctrine of infallibility. It is important for Catholics to remember that it was from the ashes of pagan Rome, the great democracy of Christ’s day, that the Catholic Church rose triumphant to shepherd Her faithful throughout the world. Given this historic fact, is it not possible that America could be destined to rise above her current situation and eventually fulfill her God-ordained destiny?

While we well know of Our Lady’s patronage of this country, both as the Immaculate Conception and as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and of the papacy (as stated by Pope Benedict XV), Catholics have thought little about another patron connected to this country’s name. America was named, it is said, for the explorer Amerigo Vespucci. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (see America), the first map of America was drawn and published by a German professor, Martin Waldseemuller, teaching with other scholars in Strasbourg, (then Germany, now France). “The only known surviving copy of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world wall map was purchased, in 2003, by the Library of Congress for $10 million. In 2005, this treasured map was inscribed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, and is the first document in the United States to be so honored. In 2007, the House of Representatives honored it in a resolution to celebrate the quincentenary of the name,” (http://www.umc.sunysb.edu/surgery/america.html#map ).In modern German, the translation of the word America can roughly be equated to “Amel” (heaven) and reich (kingdom), or “heavenly kingdom.”  The Catholic definition of the name Emeric is “powerful and wealthy,” an apt description of America at her zenith. While some white supremacists, unfortunately, use this fact to promote their own theories, it also lends some credence to St. Brendan’s and St. Anthony’s comments. Since it is apparent at least that this country was named, if only accidentally, America, it would be logical to ask: what is the origin of this name, and what is its significance?

Like it or not, Catholics discovered this country and named it. The Reformation had not yet occurred. Waldseemuller even called his map “the Baptismal Certificate of the New World.” The current attempts to disenfranchise Christopher Columbus as a greedy gold monger and slave driver is intended to disconnect America from anything faintly Catholic and generally discredit the Church. While Our Lady is by far the pre-eminent patroness of this country, a more obscure patron has been lost in the lesser-known early history of the Church. (St.) Emeric of Hungary is the best-known bearer of this name, an heir to the Hungarian throne who died in his early 20s. Some, however, contend that he is not revered officially as a saint but is only a blessed according to the Roman Martyrology, even though many churches are named in his honor. But there is yet another saint known by this name who was an early martyr of the church. His story is told in only one place that can be verified. Most fittingly, this hagiography reveals him as a Christian martyr of Mass in the home, who gave his life for the Church in the first centuries of Her existence.

Rev. Martin Cochem provides the account, taken from Baronius. It is dated in the year 303 A.D., and the location is given as Aluta, Africa. In that year, Rev. Cochem relates, “all the Christian churches were destroyed and the Christian worship proscribed by the emperor’s command. In spite of this prohibition, a number of Christians…34 men and 17 women…assembled in a private dwelling to hear Mass. They were surprised by the pagans, seized and dragged before the judge on the public market place.”  The priest Saturninus, when questioned by the emperor, admitted to assembling the Christians for Mass and celebrating it, “because it is obligatory upon us to offer the holy sacrifice.” The owner of the dwelling, one Emericus, “was next led before the emperor. On being asked who he was, he said that he was the one responsible for this meeting, for it was in his house that Mass was celebrated…for the sake of his brethren, because they could not be deprived of holy Mass…Emericus…was subsequently canonized.” While it is true that all St. Emericus could ever be is an unofficial patron of this country, it is certainly a strange portent that this saint was martyred for hearing Mass against the emperor’s decree.  Today’s Catholics are white martyrs for the Mass owing to a different set of circumstances, but they are martyrs all the same. And they live in a country named for St. Emericus.

It is not unusual for a country to have two patrons. After many trials and perhaps the physical martyrdom of true Catholics, future Catholics may decide that St. Emericus should be this country’s secondary patron. This perhaps to commemorate those who remained faithful to the immemorial Latin Tridentine Mass and later voluntarily remained without Mass and Sacraments in obedience to Catholic teaching and the laws of the Church. It also must be pointed out here that not only was this country founded by a Catholic, explored by numerous Catholics and the American Revolution backed solidly by Catholics (to escape the unjust tax levied by the British to pay for the Reformation), but its very name is Catholic in origin. Far from being anti-American and opposed to that liberty necessary to exercise the unalienable rights granted by God, the people of this country owe their very existence largely to the Catholic Church. For without the moral and religious training afforded by the Church Herself, without the funds made available by Catholic nations, America might very well have never become the nation so many hold as one of the greatest societies to rise in the history of the world.

America today has arrived at the point of no return. She is standing at the crossroads that will determine whether she travels the road to hell or sacrifices all to stand for the truths the majority of her citizens believe have always served as the foundation stones of her existence. Many of her Founding Fathers were Freemasons; some describe her very form of government as a great Illuminati-inspired experiment. Nevertheless, her Christian heritage speaks more loudly than any ulterior motives those founders may have entertained in signing the Declaration of Independence and penning her Constitution. It is time Catholics recognized and celebrated that heritage, and work to restore this country according to Catholic economic and social principles.

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