St. Andrew Corsini is an example from which we can learn how efficacious is the intercession of the Queen of Saints, in withdrawing the sinner from the error of his way, and exciting him to aspire to, and attain, a high degree of perfection.
St. Andrew was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Florence and before his birth, his holy parents offered him to the Blessed Virgin as the first fruits of their marriage. On the night in which he was born, his mother, Peregrina, had a dream which filled her with alarm. It seemed to her, as if she had brought forth a wolf, who, fleeing to a church, was changed into a lamb. This was a picture of what was afterwards to happen to Andrew. His pious parents employed every care and precaution, to bring him up in the fear of God; but, as too often happens, through the influence of bad company, an immoderate desire of play, and neglect of duty, he fell into the greatest disorders. Dissipation hurried him from one vice to another until he was without affection for his parents,whom he disobeyed without remorse; so that all who knew him were full of apprehension for the future.
Meanwhile, his mother, mindful of her dream, sought consolation from Mary by continual prayer.Andrew, while one day preparing for a party of pleasure, expressed himself to his mother in a very disrespectful manner and she burst into tears and told him the depth of her affliction. She told him about her dream and that before his birth she had offered him to the Blessed Virgin. This made such an impression on Andrew that he was unable to sleep during the following night. The thought that he had been dedicated to the Mother of God occupied his mind. At that point, he exclaimed “Virgin Mother, because I am thy servant, I will unceasingly serve thee.”
The following day, he went to the church of the Carmelites, and prostrating himself before an image of Mary, offered himself up to this merciful Mother, and bade her change this wolf into a lamb. He frequently repeated this prayer and it was heard. He made great advances in virtue and was subsequently ordained a priest.
He studied in Paris and Avignon then returned to Florence and became Prior of his convent there. In 1360 he was called to the post of bishop of Fiesole, near Florence. As bishop, he was wise, efficient, well-organized and generous, he was an able administrator and respected moderator in times of social conflict. He set high standards of conduct for himself and his clergy, stressing the importance of education and the need for prayer.
He redoubled his austerities as bishop and was lavish in his care of the poor. He responded energetically to the devastation caused by the plague. The holy bishop was moved by such kindness and pity towards the poor that the very thought of them moved him to tears. It is well known that no poor person left his presence uncomforted. For this reason, he became know as “Father of the Poor.”
As I mentioned before, he was a moderator in times of social conflict. He was sent to Bologna as a papal legate to heal the breach between the nobility and the people.
After serving 14 years as bishop, he died on January 6, 1374. There were reports of many miracles of healing and conversion during his lifetime. He was canonized by Pope Urban VIII on April 29, 1629. In Art, he is often represented holding a cross with a wolf and a lamb at his feet on a cloud, hovering over a battlefield. This is because of the time he was able to help resolve the great conflict between the nobility and the people in Bologna.
He is often invoked against riots and civil disorder and his feast day is January 9th.
God our Father, you reveal that those who work for peace will be called your children. Through the prayers of St. Andrew Corsini, who excelled as a peacemaker help us to work without ceasing for that justice which brings truth and lasting peace. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
(the above from http://www.meditationsfromcarmel.com/content/st-andrew-corsini)
From the Carmelite Proper Offices
“Sing out with thankfulness Saint Andrew’s mighty deeds,
Trust in his fervent prayer for you are all his kin,
You who in faith and hope, hearts all with love aflame,
Seek fulfillment of endless life.
The saint was resolute, steadfast about his quest,
Knowing that earthly joy never could fill his heart;
Wealth, honors and high rank, compared with life in Christ,
Seemed more vanishing than the wind.
Like strongly growing tree planted in Carmel’s soil,
He persevered in prayer, fruitful in kindly deeds;
God gave him light to see how he could mirror Christ,
Serving others with constancy.
Adhering to the Cross, God’s servant soon became
Exemplary in life, wise, calm, mature in grace;
Set over other men; their profit was his care,
Their perfection his quest and aim.
Most Holy Trinity, hear his appeal for us,
That we may come to you when our life’s task is done;
There silence is your praise, there praise is melody,
Soaring, swelling while ages run.”
— Andreae meritis pangite gloriam
St Gregory of Nysa tell us in his sermon of the battle with passions St Andrew had to endured to become a holy person.
“When the pure and modest church first looked upon the Blessed Andrew, she saw that his countenance was truly made to the likeness of God; she saw grace flowing in abundance from his lips; she saw his humility carried to a degree beyond which she could conceive none higher; she saw gentleness and mercy like David’s, understanding and prudence like Solomon’s, goodness like that of Moses, perfection like Samuel’s, continence and modesty equal to Joseph’s, wisdom like Daniel’s; she saw him endowed with zeal for the faith like unto that of the heavenly John, gifted like Paul, with charity that could not be quenched. She saw wounded with a blessed love, and with a chaste and righteous affection she loved her spouse, lavishing upon him the tokens of love.
Yet before she had fulfilled her desire, before she had indulged and satisfied her longing, and while she was still on fire with love, temptations called the athlete to combat, and she was left alone. While he was pouring forth his sweat in the strife upon which he had entered in the cause of holiness, she waited in chastity, guarding the marriage vow. The bridegroom is not taken away from us; he stands in our midst, although we see him not. Within the shrine, and in the innermost part of the temple, within the veil, where Christ, our forerunner, is entered for us, there is the Priest, who had left behind him the covering of his flesh. No longer doth he serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, but he gazeth upon the very image of the things. No longer seeing through a glass, not through a lattice, in a dark manner, but to face, he intercedeth with God. He intercedeth for us also, and for the sins of his people. He hath laid aside his garment of skins, for they that dwell in Paradise need not such garments, but he hath the covering which he hath woven out of purity of his life, and with it hath adorned himself.
The death of such a man is honorable and precious in the sight of the Lord. Verily, it is not death, but the breaking loose from the hold of the flesh; for he sayeth, “Thou hast broken my bonds.” Simon hath been dismissed; he hath been freed from the bonds of the body. The snare is broken and the little bird hath flown away. He hath reached the promised land, and he speaketh wisdom with God upon the Mount. He hath loosed the shoes of the soul, that with the pure feet of the mind he may go up to the holy ground where God is see.”