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.
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,"
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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."
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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
page 1, 2, 3
OF THE SAINTS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BLESSED ANDRE BESSETTE
St. Alfred Bessette was born on August 9, 1845, not far from Montreal, Canada. He was the eighth of twelve children.
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. .
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.
ST. JULIAN AND ST. BASILISSA
St. Julian and St. Basilissa were husband and wife. They lived in the early part of the fourth century.
St. William came from a wealthy French family. Even as a boy, he did not waste time fooling around or being idle.
St. Theodosius was born in Asia Minor in 423. As a young man, he set out on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
ST. MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS
St. Marguerite was born in Troyes, France, on April 17, 1620, but spent most of her eighty years in Montreal, Canada.
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.
St. Macrina and her husband learned the high price of being true to their Christian beliefs.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
ST. FABIAN AND ST. SEBASTIAN
St. Fabian was a pope who died a martyr in 250. It was during the persecution by Emperor Decius.
St. Agnes was a Roman girl who died in 304. She was just twelve years old when she suffered martyrdom for her faith.
ST. VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA
St. Vincent was martyred in Spain in 304. This was the same year that Agnes was martyred in Rome.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
St. Gildas was born around the year 500 in Britain. He set out as a young man to practice a self-sacrificing lifestyle.
St. Bathildis was a frightened, Christian English girl could have never imagined what her future would be like.
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.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
of the Relics of the Passion
for Holy Relics)
Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven,
submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a
baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke
3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of
the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the
cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning
of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah
52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among
sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s
will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death
for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust
and submission to God?