Blessed Junipero Serra was born in Petra, Spain, on November 24,
1713. The boy became a student at the Franciscan school in Palma,
twenty-five miles away. He joined the Franciscan order on September
14, 1730, a few months before his seventeenth birthday. During the
novitiate, Junipero read a biography of Franciscan saints. The saint
whose life captivated him most was St. Francis Solano, who had lived
from 1549 until 1610. This missionary priest to South America had
just been declared a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. The young
novice decided that, if it was God's will, he too would be a missionary.
was ordained a priest in 1736. He became a professor of philosophy.
After he had been in the order twenty years, he was given a wonderful
opportunity. Franciscan friars were asked to volunteer for the mission
territories called "New Spain" (Mexico and California).
Junipero and his close friend, Friar Francisco Palou, joined the
missionary band at Cadiz, Spain, a seaport city. From there they
sailed the Atlantic Ocean to Vera Cruz, Mexico. They landed on December
6, 1749. Junipero and another friar walked the next part of the
journey from Vera Cruz to Mexico City, a distance of 240 miles.
They began on December 15, 1749, and arrived on January 1, 1750.
From Mexico City, Junipero and Friar Francisco Palou were sent to
work among the Pame Indians at the Franciscan Mission of the Sierra
of the friars were then assigned to missions in Lower California.
Junipero, Francisco and a handful of other Franciscans were asked
to bring the Gospel to the native peoples in Upper California. Junipero
started Mission San Diego on July 16, 1769, when he was fifty-six
years old. The mission was an open invitation to his beloved people
to come and meet Jesus. Gradually, they trusted the friars. Some
people were baptized and began to live the Christian faith. Father
Serra and the friars loved and protected their people. The golden
chain of new missions grew: Mission San Carlos in Monterey on June
1, 1770; Mission San Antonio de Padua on July 14, 1771; Mission
San Gabriel Archangel, September 8, 1771; Mission San Luis Obispo,
September 1, 1772; Mission San Francisco de Asis, October 9, 1776;
Mission San Juan Capistrano, November 1, 1776; Mission Santa Clara
de Asis, January 12, 1777; Mission San Buenaventura, March 31, 1782.
Eventually, six thousand native peoples were baptized. Blessed Junipero
made his final tour of the missions in Upper California from the
last part of 1783 until July of 1784. He died peacefully at Mission
San Carlos on August 28, 1784, and is buried there. In 1988, Pope
John Paul II declared Father Junipero Serra "blessed."
St. Otto lived in the twelfth century. He was born in Swabia, present-day
Bavaria. He became a priest and was assigned to the service of Emperor
Henry IV. Eventually, Father Otto acquired a high state office.
He became Henry's chancellor. Otto tried to influence the emperor
to act justly and to be moderate in his decisions. But Henry committed
crimes and tried to cause division in the Church. He even appointed
his own pope. Otto felt very bad and worked to help Henry reform.
Henry IV took it upon himself to appoint Otto a bishop. Otto refused
to be consecrated until he could go to Rome and receive the approval
of the true pope, Paschal II. The pope did consecrate him. Bishop
Otto became a great help to the people of Swabia, especially under
Emperor Henry V. This emperor followed the ways of his father, Henry
IV. But although he was harsh and severe, he respected Otto and
often listened to his advice.
King Boleslaus III of Poland conquered part of Pomerania, he asked
Otto to go there. Pomerania was a province of Prussia in the Baltic
area. The people were pagans. Bishop Otto welcomed the opportunity
to bring them the Good News. In 1124, the bishop led a group of
priests and catechists into Pomerania. Many people were instructed
and baptized. Some say the number of conversions was over twenty
thousand. Bishop Otto assigned priests to minister to the new Christians.
He returned to his own country. After a while, some of the people
of Pomerania began to return to their old pagan ways. Bishop Otto
went back to Pomerania in 1128. He helped the people become fervent
Christians again. He died on June 30, 1139, and was proclaimed a
saint by Pope Clement III in 1189.
St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. His name in
the Syriac language means "twin." St. Thomas loved Jesus
greatly, even though at first his belief was not very strong. Once
when Jesus was going to face the danger of being killed, the other
apostles tried to keep the Master back. St. Thomas said to them,
"Let us also go, that we may die with him."
Jesus was captured by his enemies, Thomas lost his courage. He ran
away with the other apostles. His heart was broken with sorrow at
the death of his beloved Lord. Then on Easter Sunday, Jesus appeared
to his apostles after he had risen from the dead. Thomas was not
with them at the time. As soon as he arrived, the other apostles
told him joyfully, "We have seen the Lord." They thought
Thomas would be happy. Instead, he did not believe their message.
I see in his hands the print of the nails," he said, "and
put my finger in the place of the nails, and put my hand into his
side, I will not believe." Eight days later, Jesus appeared
to his apostles again. This time, Thomas was there, too. Christ
called him and told him to touch his hands and the wound in his
side. Poor St. Thomas! He fell down at the Master's feet and cried
out, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus said, "Because
you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Blessed are they who
have not seen, and yet have believed." After Pentecost, Thomas
was strong and firm in his belief and trust in Jesus. It is said
that he went to India to preach the Gospel. He died a martyr there,
after making many converts.
ST. ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL
St. Elizabeth, a Spanish princess, was born in 1271. She married
King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve. Elizabeth was beautiful
and very lovable. She was also devout and went to Mass every day.
Elizabeth was a charming wife. Her husband was fond of her at first,
but soon he began to cause her great suffering. Though a good ruler,
he did not have his wife's love of prayer and virtue. In fact, his
sins of impurity were well-known scandals throughout his kingdom.
Elizabeth tried to be a loving mother to her children, Alphonso
and Constance. She was also generous and loving with the people
of Portugal. Even though her husband was unfaithful, she prayed
that he would have a change of heart. Elizabeth refused to become
bitter and resentful. She strengthened her own prayer life and followed
the Franciscan spirituality. Gradually, the king was moved by her
patience and good example. He began to live better. He apologized
to his wife and showed her greater respect. In his last sickness
the queen never left his side, except for Mass. King Denis died
on January 6, 1325. He had shown deep sorrow for his sins and his
death was peaceful.
lived eleven more years. She performed loving acts of charity and
penance. She was a wonderful model of kindness toward the poor.
This gentle woman was also a peacemaker between members of her own
family and between nations.
St. Elizabeth of Portugal died on July 4, 1336. She was proclaimed
a saint by Pope Urban VIII in 1626.
ST. ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA
St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born in Italy in 1502. While he was
still young, his father died. His mother encouraged Anthony in the
special love he felt for the sufferings of poor people. Mrs. Zaccaria
sent her son to the University of Padua so that he could become
a doctor. He was only twenty-two when he graduated.
The young doctor was very successful. Yet he did not feel satisfied.
He realized that he wanted to become a priest. Anthony began to
study theology. He also continued to care for the sick, to comfort
and inspire the dying. He started to use all his spare moments to
read and meditate on the letters of St. Paul in the Bible. He had
read the life of the great apostle Paul many times, and had given
much thought to his virtues. Now Anthony was burning with a strong
desire to become a saint and to bring everyone to Jesus.
he was ordained a priest, St. Anthony Mary moved to the great city
of Milan. There he would be able to help many more people. He also
started an order of priests. They are the Clerks Regular of St.
Paul. People call them "Barnabites" after their headquarters
at the Church of St. Barnabas in Milan. In imitation of the apostle
Paul, St. Anthony and his priests preached everywhere. They repeated
the words and sentences of Paul. They explained Paul's message with
words that were easy to understand. The people loved and appreciated
this. St. Anthony also had a great love for Jesus in the Blessed
Sacrament. In fact, he started the practice of the Forty Hours Devotion.
Anthony Mary was only thirty-seven when he died on July 5, 1539.
Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him a saint in 1897.
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OF THE SAINTS
St. Felix II
St Felix II, the pope is an ancestor of the future Pope St. Gregory the Great who lived from 540 to 604.
Blessed Charles the Good
Count Charles of Flanders, was called "the good" by the people of his kingdom. They named him for what they found him to truly be.
Blessed Katharine Drexel
Blessed Katharine was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 26, 1858. Katharine's mother died when she was a baby.
St. Casimir was born in 1458, son of Casimir IV, king of Poland. Casimir was one of thirteen children.
St. John Joseph of the Cross
St. John Joseph of the Cross was born in southern Italy on the feast of the Assumption, 1654. He was a young noble, but he dressed like a poor man.
St. Nicolette was named in honor of St. Nicholas of Myra. She was born in 1380. Her loving parents nicknamed her Colette from the time she was a baby.
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity lived in Carthage, North Africa, in the third century. It was the time of the fierce persecution of Christians by Emperor Septimus Severus.
St. John of God
St. John was born in Portugal on March 8, 1495. His parents were poor, but deeply Christian. John was a restless boy.
St. Frances of Rome
St. Frances was born in 1384. Her parents were wealthy, but they taught Frances to be concerned about people and to live a good Christian life.
St. Simplicius became pope in 468. Sometimes it seemed to him that he was all alone in trying to correct evils that were everywhere.
St. Eulogius of Spain
St. Eulogius lived in the ninth century. His family was well-known and he received an excellent education. While he learned his lessons, he also learned from the good example of his teachers.
St. Fina (Seraphina)
St. Fina was born in a little Italian town called San Geminiano. Her parents had once been well off, but misfortune had left them poor.
St. Euphrasia was born in the fifth century to deeply Christian parents. Her father, a relative of the emperor, died when she was a year old.
St. Matilda was born about 895, the daughter of a German count. When she was still quite young, her parents arranged her marriage to a nobleman named Henry.
St. Zachary was a Benedictine monk from Greece who lived in the eighth century. He became a cardinal and then pope.
Blessed Torello was born in 1202, in Poppi, Italy. His life as a child in the village was ordinary and uneventful. But after his father's death.
St. Patrick was believed born in fifth-century Britain to Roman parents. When he was sixteen, he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. Cyril was born around 315 when a new phase was beginning for Christians. Before that date, the Church was persecuted by the emperors.
St. Joseph is a great saint. He was Jesus' foster-father and Mary's husband.
St. Cuthbert lived in England in the seventh century. He was a poor shepherd boy who loved to play games with his friends.
St. Serapion lived in Egypt in the fourth century. Those were exciting times for the Church and for St. Serapion.
St. Deogratias was ordained bishop of the City of Carthage when it was taken over by barbarian armies in 439.
St. Turibius of Mongrovejo
St. Turibius was born in 1538 in Leon, Spain. He became a university professor and then a famous judge.
Blessed Didacus Joseph was born on March 29, 1743, in Cadiz, Spain. He was baptized Joseph Francis.
ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD
The time arrived for Jesus to come down from heaven. God sent the Archangel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth where Mary lived.
St. Ludger was born in northern Europe in the eighth century. After he had studied hard for many years, he was ordained a priest.
St. John of Egypt
St. John was man who desired to be alone with God was to become one of the most famous hermits of his time.
St. Tutilo lived in the late ninth and early tenth centuries. He was educated at the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Gall.
St. Jonas and St. Barachisius
King Sapor of Persia reigned in the fourth century. He hated Christians and persecuted them cruelly. He destroyed their churches and monasteries.
St. John Climacus
St. John was believed born in Palestine in the seventh century. He seems to have been a disciple of St. Gregory Nazianzen.
Blessed Joan of Toulouse
In 1240, some Carmelite brothers from Palestine started a monastery in Toulouse, France.
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?