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by the blessings of holy men and women. There is no reason to limit the miraculous interference of God to the early ages of the Cliurch's liistory, and the Church never accepts these %yonderful occur- rences unless the e\'idence in support of their au- thenticity is absolutely unimpeachable.

V. Rite employed. — Before a minister proceeds to impart any blessing he should first satisfy himself that it is one v.hich he is duly qualified to give, eitlier by liis ordinary or delegated powers. He should next use the prescribed rite. As a rule, for the simple blessings of the Ritual, a soutane, surplice, and stole of the requisite colour will be sufficient. A clerk should be at hand to carry the Holy Water or incense if required, or to prepare a lighted candle. The blessings are ordinarily given in a churcli; but, if necessarj-, they can be la'n-fully administered elsewhere according to the exigencies of place or other circumstances or pri\-ileges, and without any sacred vestment.


Blessing, Apostolic, the solemn blessing {urbi et orbi) which, before 1870, the Holy Father himself gave from the loggias of the following churches: of St. Peter's, on Maundy Thursday and Easter; of the Lateran, on Ascension Day; and of Santa Maria Maggiore, on the feast of the Assumption of the B. V. M. The popes very often delegated to others the power to give this blessing in answer to petitions from princes, at the close of missions, and on such occasions. This power was restricted by Clement XIII, 3 September, 1762, to patriarchs, primates, archbishops, and bishops, who petition the Apostolic See for it; they can give the ApostoUc blessing on Easter Sunday and on some other feasts. Prelates who have the use of the pontificalia and jurisdiction over a certain territory can give it only once a year. A certain formula is prescribed. The superiors of cer- tain religious orders, especially the Franciscans, can give it twice a year in the churches of their own order; they must use a formula and ask permission of the ordinary (30 August, 1763). The faculty is occasion- ally granted to particular priests, regular or secular, to give the Apostolic blessing upon return from Rome, at the close of missions or retreats; in this case no solemn rite is required. The Apostolic blessing is a sacramental ^Wth which is granted a plenary indul- gence (under the usual conditions) , but no absolution from ecclesiastical censures. During a jubilee this blessing cannot be given. A special feature of this blessing is the Apostolic benediction in articulo tnortis. This blessing is given to those who are in danger of death by priests who possess the required faculty. A formula is prescribed by Benedict XIV; to gain the indulgence it is necessary to receive the sacraments, to invoke the name of Jesus, and to be resigned to the mil of God. In missionary countries the bisho]3s can subdelegate everj' priest to grant this indulgence (5 April, 1772). It is not suspended by a jubilee.

Berixger, Die Abldsse. ihr Wesen und Gebrauch (Germ, tr., 13th ed.. Paderborn. 1905).

Frederick G. Holweck.

Blessing of Abbots and Abbesses. See Abbot; .\bbess.

Blind, Edicatiox of the. See Education of THE Blind; Haut.

Blois (Blesexsis), Diocese of, coextensive witli the civil department of Loir-et-Cher and a suffragan of Paris. On 1 July, 1697. Innocent Xll canonically erected the Bishopric of Blois. that territory- having theretofore been dependent on the Diocese of Char- tres. Prior to the Revolution, the Diocese of Blois was less extensive than at present, almost the entire arrondi.ssenient of Romorantin being subject to the Bishopric of Orleans, and the Bas-Vendomois to that of Mans. The Concordat of 1802 gave Loir-et-

Cher to the Diocese of Orleans, and in 1822 the Diocese of Blois was re-established. Monseigneur de Thymines, who was Bishop of Blois in 1776 and died in exile in 1S29. was one of the most obstinate enemies of the Concordat. St. Solennius. Bishop of Chartres under Clovis, is a patron of Blois; his relics were preserved by a miracle.

Owing to the proximity of the monasteries of Micy and Marmoutier, Blois counts among its saints a number of monks; Lubinus, Bishop of Chartres in the sixth centurj^; Laumerus, Abbot of Corbion in the Diocese of Chartres (d. about 590), whose body was transported to Blois. at the time of the Norman invasions, by fugitive monks, who founded in that city the Abbey of St. Laumer; St. Deodatus, the anchorite, also called St. Die (sixth century), who assured Clovis of the victory at Vouill6 (507); the solitaries Victor and Leonardus; and Aigulphus (seventh century), a native of Blois and Abbot of Lerins, who was assassinated. Peter of Blois. who came from the Abbey of St. Laumer, was conspicuous in the twelfth centurj- for his defence of St. Thomas Becket and for encouraging devotion to the Blessed Virgin. The 'S'enerable Charles of Blois, killed in 1364 at the Battle of Auray. was the son of Guy , Count of Blois. The Benedictines had several great abbeys in this diocese, one at Selles-sur-Cher, begun as early as the sixtli century by the hermit, St. Eusinus, and another at Pontlevoy, now a college. The monastery of the Blessed Trinity at Vendome. dedicated in 1040. was also quite celebrated. The Oratorians Jean Morin and Jerome Viguier, learned ecclesiastics of the seventeenth centurj', were natives of Blois.

At the close of the year 1905, the Diocese of Blois had a population of 275.538; 28 pastorates, 266 mis- sion churches, and 8 curacies with subventions from the State. .According to the latest statistics, the following institutions are to be found in the diocese: 48 infant schools conducted by sisters; 2 orphanages where farming is taught, conducted by the Freres de St. Francois Regis and the Sceurs du Protectorat de St. Joseph; 7 girls' orphanages conducted by sisters; 1 house of refuge for young women, conducted by the Religieuses de Notre Dame de la Charit^; 5 pat- ronages at Blois; 1 patronage at Romorantin; 8 hospitals and hospices conducted by sisters; 5 houses of retreat conducted by sisters; 5 communities of sisters who care for the sick in their homes; and 9 homes for the aged conducted by sisters.

In 1900 the following congregations were repre- sented in the diocese: the Capuchins at Blois and Premonstratensians at Authon. Among the local congregations are the Sisters of Our Lady of Provi- dence, with mother-liouse at Blois, who have charge of orplian asylums. The most frequented place of pilgrimage is Notre Dame de ^'illethion at Saint Amand. Others are Notre Dame de Xanteuil at Montrichard, Notre Dame des Aydes at Blois, and Notre Dame des Blanches at Pontlevoy, a sanctuary built at the end of the tenth century by Gilduin, opponent of Foulques Nerra.

Gallia Christiana (1744). VIII. 1343-1407; Instrumenla. 412-478; DuPRE, Notice sur les saints de Blois (Blois, 1860); CHEV.U.IER, Topobibl., 421, 422.

Georges Goyaij.

Blois, FRAXf ois-Louis de. See Blosius.

Blomevenna, Peter (Peter a Leydis). a Car- thusian, b. at Leyden. in Holland, in 1466; d. 30 September. 1536. Owing to the avarice and cruelty of his parents and relatives, liis early years were spent in poverty and hardship. But he led withal a singularly pure and devout life. Entering the Carthusian Order, he distinguished himself by his absorption in heavenly things and his zeal for the glorj' of God. In 1.^06 he was elected prior of the Carthusian monastery of Cologne, a post