The Golden Legend on Candlemas and St. Blaise

The following stories are recounted in Jacob de Voragine’s The Golden Legend (ca. 1260), which pulled together a wonderful amount of history and folklore pertaining to the saints and the feasts of the Church. 

From “The Purification of Our Lady”

We read an example of a noble lady who had great devotion to the blessed Virgin Mary, and she had a chapel in which she had the Mass of our Lady said daily by her chaplain.

It happened that on the day of the Purification of our Lady, her chaplain was out, so that this lady had no Mass, and she dared not go to another church, because she had given her mantle unto a poor man for the love of our Lady.

Being very sorrowful that she could not hear Mass, she went into the chapel to make her devotions, and before the altar she kneeled down to make her prayers to our Lady.

By and by she fell asleep and had a vision–she seemed that she was in a church. She saw a great company of virgins come into the church, at the head of whom she saw a noble virgin queen crowned very preciously. And when they were all set in order, there came a company of young men who each sat down likewise in order.

Then, one man entered carrying candles, and gave one to each of them. At last the man came to the noble lady, and gave to her also a candle of wax. She then saw a priest, a deacon and a subdeacon, all vested, going to the altar as if to say Mass.

And it seemed to her that it was St. Lawrence and St. Vincent who were deacon and sub-deacon, and Jesus Christ the priest. Two angels were bearing candles before them, and two young angels began the Introit of the Mass, and all the company of the virgins sang the Mass.

And when the Mass was sung unto the Offertory, she saw the preciously crowned virgin going first, and all the others following after, offering to the priest their candles while kneeling very devoutly.

As the priest waited for the noble lady to come to the offering, the glorious queen of virgins sent a messenger to her that she was not being courteous to make the priest wait so long. And the lady answered that the priest should just proceed with his Mass, for she would keep her candle and not offer it. And the glorious virgin sent another time a messenger to her, and she said she would not offer her candle. The third time the queen said to the messenger: “Go and pray her that she come and offer her candle, or else take it from her by force.”

The messenger came to the lady, and because she still would not come and offer her candle, he set his hand on it and pulled hard. But she held fast, and he pulled so strongly that the candle broke in two pieces–one half still in the hand of the noble lady.

She then awoke and came to herself; and found the piece of the candle still in her hand. Marveling greatly at this, she thanked our Lord and the glorious Virgin Mary devoutly, who had graciously permitted her not to be without Mass that day.

And all the days of her life, she kept that piece of that candle very preciously, like a holy relic, and all those that were touched by it were healed of their maladies and sicknesses.

Let us pray then humbly to the glorious Virgin Mary, who is comfort to them that forsake their sins, that she will make our peace to the blessed Son and beg of him remission of all our sins, and that after this life we will come to the glory and joy of heaven, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.


From “The Life of St. Blaise, the first of his name”‘

S. Blaise was so sweet, holy and humble in manners, that the Christian men of Cappadocia of the city of Sebaste chose him to be a bishop……A woman had a son who was dying, strangling from a fish bone fixed in his throat; she brought him to the bishop’s feet, praying that he would make her son whole. And S. Blaise put his hand upon him and made his prayer to God that this child, and all they that demanded benefits of health in his name, that they should be helped and obtain it. And before long the child was healed and made whole.


February 3, 2021