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SAINTS OF AUGUST

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AUGUST 1

ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI

St. Alphonsus was born near Naples, Italy, in 1732. He was a hard-working student. He received his degree in law and became a famous lawyer. A mistake he made in court convinced Alphonsus of what he had already thought: he should give up his law practice and become a priest. His father tried to persuade him not to do it. However, Alphonsus had made up his mind. He became a priest. His life was filled with activity. He preached and wrote books. He started a religious congregation called "Redemptorists." Alphonsus offered wise spiritual direction and brought peace to people through the sacrament of Reconciliation. He also wrote hymns, played the organ and painted pictures.

St. Alphonsus wrote sixty books. This is incredible considering his many other responsibilities. He also was often sick. He had frequent headaches, but would hold something cold against his forehead and keep doing his work. Although he was naturally inclined to be hasty, Alphonsus tried to control himself. He became so humble that when Pope Pius VI wanted to make him a bishop in 1798, he gently said "no." When the pope's messengers had come in person to tell him of the pope's choice, they called Alphonsus "Most illustrious Lord." Alphonsus said, "Please don't call me that again. It would kill me." The pope helped Alphonsus understand that he really wanted him to be a bishop. Alphonsus sent many preachers all over his diocese. The people needed to be reminded again of the love of God and the importance of their religion. Alphonsus told the priests to preach simple sermons. "I never preached a sermon that the simplest old woman in the church could not understand," he said.

As he got older, St. Alphonsus suffered from illnesses. He had painful arthritis and became crippled. He grew deaf and almost blind. He also had disappointments and temptations. But he had great devotion to the Blessed Mother as we know from his famous book called the Glories of Mary. The trials were followed by great peace and joy and a holy death. Alphonsus died in 1787 at the age of ninety-one. Pope Gregory XVI proclaimed him a saint in 1839. Pope Pius IX proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1871.

AUGUST 2

ST. EUSEBIUS

St. Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia, Italy, around 283. His parents were dedicated Christians. It is believed that his father died a martyr. Eusebius was always active in the Christian community. He was called to serve the people of Rome and then went to northern Italy, to Vercelli. He was chosen to be the first bishop of Vercelli. He and some of his priests lived a common life modeled on a monastery. The priests received wonderful preparation for growing in the spiritual life. They also learned how to direct other people who would come to them for guidance. The priests trained by St. Eusebius became fervent and happy ministers of Jesus. Many were ordained bishops.

During this time, the Arian heresy was widespread. Many people were confused about it and believed it to be true. Emperor Constantius was an Arian, too, and he wanted to win everybody to his side. Bishops who would not give in were sent away from their diocese. St. Athanasius was condemned in 355. Eusebius was at the Council of Milan that condemned him. But Eusebius would not cast his vote against Athanasius, so he was banished too. Eusebius was exiled to Palestine. At first, a kind man kept him as a respected guest in his house. But then the man died and the Arians kidnapped the bishop. They insulted him, dragged him through the streets and kept him in a small room for four days. Then when representatives from the diocese of Vercelli demanded that he be released and returned to his former lodging, he was. But a short time later, the bishop was beaten and harassed again. When Constantius died in 361, the next emperor permitted the exiled bishops to return to their own dioceses.

St. Eusebius was a champion of truth. It is believed that St. Eusebius is one of the persons who contributed to the preparation of the "Athanasian Creed." This is one of the precious creeds that states what we as Catholics believe. He spent the rest of his years in Vercelli among the people of his diocese. Bishop Eusebius died on August 1, 371.

AUGUST 3

ST. PETER JULIAN EYMARD

St. Peter Julian Eymard was born in a small town in the diocese of Grenoble, France in 1786. He worked with his father making and repairing knives until he was eighteen. Peter spent his free hours studying. He taught himself Latin and received instruction in the faith from a helpful priest. In the back of Peter's mind was a longing to become a priest. When he was twenty, he began his studies at the seminary of Grenoble. Peter Julian became a priest in 1834 and served in two parishes during the next five years. The people realized what a gift he was to them. When Father Eymard asked his bishop's permission to join a new religious order called the Marists, the bishop gave his consent. Father Eymard served the Marists as spiritual director of the seminarians. In 1845, he became the superior of Lyons, France. But even though Father Eymard fulfilled many diligent responsibilities all his life, he is remembered especially for something else.

Father Eymard had a glowing love for the Holy Eucharist. He was very attracted to the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. He loved to spend time daily in adoration. One feast of Corpus Christi (the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus), Father Eymard had a powerful religious experience. As he carried the sacred Host in procession, he felt the presence of Jesus like warmth from a fireplace. The Host seemed to surround him with love and light. In his heart, he spoke to the Lord about the spiritual and material needs of all people. He begged that the mercy and love of Jesus touch everyone as he had been touched through the Eucharist.

In 1856, Father Eymard followed an inspiration that he had prayed about for several years. With the approval of his superiors, he started a religious order of priest-adorers of the Holy Eucharist. They became known as the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament. Two years after the order of priests was begun, Father Eymard began an order of sisters, the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament. Like the priests, these sisters had a special love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. They devoted their lives to adoration of Jesus. Father Eymard started parish organizations to help people be prepared to receive First Communion. He wrote several books on the Eucharist that were translated into different languages. The books are still available in English today.
Father Eymard lived at the same time in history as the saint we celebrate tomorrow, August 4-St. John Vianney. The two men were friends and each highly admired the other. Father Vianney said that Father Eymard was a saint and added, "Adoration by priests! How fine! I will pray for Father Eymard's work every day."

St. Peter Julian Eymard spent the last four years of his life in severe pain. He also suffered because of difficulties and criticism. But Father Eymard continued his life of adoring the Eucharist. His witness and his sacrifice helped many others find their call in his religious orders. He died on August 1, 1868, at the age of fifty-seven. Pope John XXIII proclaimed him a saint on December 9, 1962.

AUGUST 4
BLESSED FREDERIC JANSSOONE

Blessed Frederic Janssoone was born in Flanders in 1838. His life took many interesting turns. His was not an ordinary nineteenth-century way of life. Frederic was born of wealthy farm parents and he was the youngest of thirteen children. He was just nine when his father died, so the boy left school to help support his mother. He soon realized that he had a "knack" for selling. He enjoyed people. He liked meeting new people and he knew how to explain his products.

Frederic's mother died in 1861. It was then that the twenty-three-year-old reached into his heart in search of his own life's call. He realized that he was experiencing a strong desire to join the Franciscan order. After his seminary studies were finished, Frederic was ordained a Franciscan priest. He became a military chaplain for a time. Then in 1876, he was sent to the Holy Land. Father Frederic preached the Gospel in the places made sacred by Jesus himself. He used his skills to help various groups of Christians cooperate in the upkeep of two sacred churches. He built a church in Bethlehem. Blessed Frederic is also remembered for reviving an old custom of having pilgrims make the Stations of the Cross throughout the streets of Jerusalem.

Father Frederic's ministry in Canada began when he was transferred there in 1881. He was sent on a fundraising tour. His many talents served him well. His joyful spirit of self-giving made him much loved immediately. His sermons and talks were filled with interesting facts about the Holy Land. He looked into the faces and hearts of the people and prayed that they would grow in the richness of God's life. In 1888, he returned to Canada to stay and was to spend the rest of his life there.

Father Janssoone was an interesting person and a fascinating writer. He wrote several articles and biographies of saints. They are reminders of the enthusiasm that filled his own soul. They reflect the joy of Jesus that he so willingly shared with others. Father Frederic died on August 4, 1916. He was declared "blessed" in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.



AUGUST 5
DEDICATION OF ST. MARY MAJOR

St. Mary Major is important to Christendom for three reasons: First, It stands as a venerable monument to the Council of Ephesus (431), at which the dogma of Mary's divine Motherhood was solemnly defined; the definition of the Council occasioned a most notable increase in the veneration paid to Mary. Second, The basilica is Rome's "church of the crib," a kind of Bethlehem within the Eternal City; it also is a celebrated station church, serving, for instance, as the center for Rome's liturgy for the first Mass on Christmas. In some measure every picture of Mary with the divine Child is traceable to this church. And third, St. Mary Major is Christendom's first Marian shrine for pilgrims. It set the precedent for the countless shrines where pilgrims gather to honor our Blessed Mother throughout the world. Here was introduced an authentic expression of popular piety that has been the source of untold blessings and graces for Christianity in the past as in the present.

The beginnings of St. Mary Major date to the Constantinian period.Liberius was on the chair of Peter (352-366) when the Roman patrician John and his wife, who was of like nobility, vowed to bequeath their estate to the most holy Virgin and Mother of God, for they had no children to whom their property could go. The couple gave themselves to assiduous prayer, beseeching Mary to make known to them in some way what pious work they should subsidize in her honor.Mary answered their petition and confirmed her reply by means of the following miracle. On the fifth of August — a time when it is unbearably hot in the city of Rome — a portion of the Esquiline would be covered with snow during the night. During that same night the Mother of God directed John and his wife in separate dreams to build a church to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the site where they would see snow lying. For it was in this manner that she wanted her inheritance to be used.



AUGUST 6
THE TRANSFIGURATION

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke record the marvelous event of the Lord's Transfiguration. Before he suffered and died, he let three of his apostles see him shining with great glory. He did this to make their belief in him stronger.

Jesus took Peter, James and John with him up Mount Tabor which stands in the middle of Galilee. When they were by themselves, suddenly the Lord's face began to shine bright like the sun. His robes became white as snow. The apostles were speechless. As they watched, two famous prophets of old, Elijah and Moses, appeared. They were talking with Jesus. Imagine the joy those apostles felt. "Lord," said St. Peter, "it is good for us to be here. If you want, let us set up three tents here-one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." Peter really did not know what to say, because he was trembling with wonder and fear. As he was talking, a bright cloud overshadowed them. From it the voice of God the Father came, saying, "This is my beloved Son; hear him."

When they heard that, the apostles were so struck with fear that they fell on their faces. Then Jesus came near and touched them. "Arise," he said. "Do not be afraid." When they looked up, they saw no one but Jesus. As they came down the mountain, Jesus told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until he had risen from the dead. They did not understand what he meant by these words then. But after his glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday, they would realize what Jesus had meant.

AUGUST 7
ST. CAJETAN

St. Cajetan was born in Vicenza, Italy, in 1480, the son of a count. He graduated from the University of Padua with law degrees. Then he worked in the papal offices in Rome. Cajetan became a priest in 1516. He returned to his own city of Vicenza. Although it angered his rich relatives, the saint joined a group of humble, simple men who devoted themselves to helping the sick and the poor. St. Cajetan would go all over the city looking for unfortunate people and would serve them himself. He helped at the hospital by caring for people with the most disgusting diseases. In other cities, he did the same charitable work. He also kept encouraging everyone to go to Holy Communion often. "I shall never be happy," he said, "until I see Christians flocking to feed on the Bread of Life with eagerness and delight, not with fear and shame."

Together with three other holy men, St. Cajetan started an order of religious priests called "Theatines." This group devoted themselves to preaching. They encouraged frequent confession and Communion, helping the sick and other good works.

Cajetan died at the age of sixty-seven. In his last sickness, he lay on hard boards, even though the doctor advised him to have a mattress. "My Savior died on a cross," he said. "Let me at least die on wood." Cajetan passed away on August 7, 1547, in Naples. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Clement X in 1671.

AUGUST 8
ST. DOMINIC

St. Dominic was born in Castile, Spain, in 1170. He was a member of the Guzman family and his mother is Blessed Joan of Aza. When Dominic was seven, he began to go to school. His uncle, a priest, directed his education. After years of study, he became a priest too. Dominic lived a quiet life of prayer and obedience with other virtuous priests. But God had amazing plans for Dominic. He was meant to begin a new religious order. It would be called the Order of Preachers or "Dominicans," after St. Dominic.

The Dominicans preached the faith. They helped correct false teachings called heresies. It all began when Dominic was on a trip through southern France. He realized that the heresy of Albigensianism was doing great harm. St. Dominic felt such pity for the people who had joined it. He wanted to help them. The Dominicans conquered that dangerous heresy with prayer, especially the Holy Rosary. Dominic also encouraged the people to be humble and to make sacrifices. Once someone asked St. Dominic what book he used to prepare his wonderful sermons. "The only book I use is the book of love," he said. He always prayed to be filled with true love of neighbor. He urged the Dominicans to be devoted to the study of the Bible and to prayer. No one did more than St. Dominic and his preachers to spread the beautiful practice of saying the Rosary.

St. Dominic was a brilliant preacher, while St. Francis of Assisi was a humble beggar. Yet, they were close friends. Their two orders of Dominicans and Franciscans helped Christians become holier. Dominic's friars opened centers in Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Rome and Bologna, Italy. He lived to see his order spread to Poland, Scandinavia and Palestine. The friars also went to Canterbury, London, and Oxford, England. Dominic died in Bologna on August 7, 1221. His great friend, Cardinal Ugolino of Venice became Pope Gregory IX. He proclaimed Dominic a saint in 1234

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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

JANUARY 1
MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
Today we begin our new year at the Eucharistic Celebration. We thank God for Mary, Jesus' mother, who brought the Savior into the world. Because she is the mother of Jesus, God's Son, she truly is the Mother of God.

JANUARY 2
ST. BASIL AND ST. GREGORY NAZIANZEN
Sts. Basil and Gregory were born in Asia Minor in the year 330. This area is modern-day Turkey. Basil's grandmother, father, mother, two brothers and a sister are all saints.

JANUARY 3
ST. GENEVIEVE
St. Genevieve was born around 422 in Nanterre, a small village four miles from Paris. While still very young, she desired to devote her life to Jesus.

JANUARY 4
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON
St. Elizabeth was called "Mother Seton" by everyone knew her by when she died on January 4, 1821, in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

JANUARY 5
ST. JOHN NEUMANN
St. John Neumann was not only quiet, he was short-five feet, two inches tall. His eyes were very kind and he smiled a lot.

JANUARY 6
BLESSED ANDRE BESSETTE
St. Alfred Bessette was born on August 9, 1845, not far from Montreal, Canada. He was the eighth of twelve children.

JANUARY 7
ST. RAYMOND OF PENYAFORT

St. Raymond was born between 1175 and 1180 in a little town near Barcelona, Spain. He was educated at the cathedral school in Barcelona and became a priest. .

JANUARY 8
ST. THORFINN

St. Thorfinn's life were discovered in details long after his death. He died in 1285, in a monastery in Belgium. Fifty years later, his tomb was accidentally opened during some construction work.

JANUARY 9
ST. JULIAN AND ST. BASILISSA

St. Julian and St. Basilissa were husband and wife. They lived in the early part of the fourth century.

JANUARY 10
ST. WILLIAM

St. William came from a wealthy French family. Even as a boy, he did not waste time fooling around or being idle.

JANUARY 11
ST. THEODOSIUS

St. Theodosius was born in Asia Minor in 423. As a young man, he set out on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

JANUARY 12
ST. MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS

St. Marguerite was born in Troyes, France, on April 17, 1620, but spent most of her eighty years in Montreal, Canada.

JANUARY 13
ST. HILLARY OF POITIERS

St. Hilary was born into a pagan family on 315 in Poitiers, a town in France. His family was rich and well-known. Hilary received a good education.

JANUARY 14
ST. MACRINA

St. Macrina and her husband learned the high price of being true to their Christian beliefs.

JANUARY 15
ST. PAUL THE HERMIT

St. Paul was born into a Christian family in the year 229. They lived in Thebes, Egypt. Paul's parents showed him by their own lives how to love God and worship him with one's whole heart. Paul

JANUARY 16
ST. BERARD AND COMPANIONS

Six Franciscan friars accepted from St. Francis of Assisi an assignment to go to Morocco. They were to announce Christianity to the Muslims.

JANUARY 17
ST. ANTHONY OF EGYPT

St. Anthony was born in 251 in a small village in Egypt. When he was twenty years old, his parents died. They left him a large estate and placed him in charge of the care of his young sister.

JANUARY 18
BLESSED CHRISTINA

Blessed Christina lived in the sixteenth century. She was born in Abruzzi, Italy. Her baptismal name was Matthia. As she grew up, Matthia felt the call to a life of prayer and penance.

JANUARY 19
ST. CANUTE

St. Canute was a strong, wise king of Denmark. He lived in the eleventh century. Canute was a great athlete, an expert horseman, and a marvelous general.

JANUARY 20
ST. FABIAN AND ST. SEBASTIAN

St. Fabian was a pope who died a martyr in 250. It was during the persecution by Emperor Decius.

JANUARY 21
ST. AGNES

St. Agnes was a Roman girl who died in 304. She was just twelve years old when she suffered martyrdom for her faith.

JANUARY 22
ST. VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA

St. Vincent was martyred in Spain in 304. This was the same year that Agnes was martyred in Rome.

JANUARY 23
ST. JOHN THE ALMSGIVER

St. John was a dedicated Christian nobleman. He used his wealth and position to help poor people. After his wife passed away, John became a priest and bishop. In 608, he was consecrated the patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt.

JANUARY 24
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

St. Francis was born at the de Sales castle in Savoy, France, on August 21, 1567. His wealthy family provided him with an excellent education. By the age of twenty-four, Francis was a Doctor of Law.

JANUARY 25
CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL

St. Paul lived at the time of Jesus but as far as we know they never met. Paul was first called Saul. As a young man, he was a very bright student of the Hebrew religion.

JANUARY 26
ST. TIMOTHY AND ST. TITUS

St. Timothy was born in Lycaonia in Asia Minor. His mother was a Jew and his father was a Gentile.

JANUARY 27
ST. ANGELA MERICI

St. Angela was born in the small Italian town of Desenzano, Italy, around 1474. Her parents died when she was ten. She and her only sister, who was three years older, loved each other very much.

JANUARY 28
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

St. Thomas lived in the thirteenth century. He was the son of a noble family of Italy. He was very intelligent, but he never boasted about it. He knew that his mind was a gift from God.

JANUARY 29
ST. GILDAS

St. Gildas was born around the year 500 in Britain. He set out as a young man to practice a self-sacrificing lifestyle.

JANUARY 30
ST. BATHILDIS

St. Bathildis was a frightened, Christian English girl could have never imagined what her future would be like.

JANUARY 31
ST. JOHN BOSCO

St. John Bosco was born in Turin, Italy, on August 16, 1815. His parents were poor farmers. When John was two, his father died. John's mother struggled to keep the family together.

 
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