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.
page 1, 2, 3,
OF THE SAINTS
ST. EDMUND CAMPION
St. Edmund lived in the sixteenth century. He was a very popular young English student who was a great speaker.
St. Bibiana's father Flavian had been prefect of the city of Rome in early Christian times.
ST. FRANCIS XAVIER
St. Francis Xavier, the great missionary, was born at Xavier Castle in Spain in 1506.
ST. JOHN DAMASCENE
St. John lived in the eighth century. He was born in the city of Damascus of a good Christian family
St. Sabas, born in 439, is one of the most famous monks of Palestine.
St. Nicholas is the great patron of children and of Christmas giving.
St. Ambrose was born around 340. He was the son of the Roman governor of Gaul.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY
Our first parents offended God by sinning seriously.
BLESSED JUAN DIEGO
St. Juan Diego is well-known because the Mother of God appeared to him.
ST. JOHN ROBERTS
St. John was born in Wales in 1577. Although he was not a Catholic, he was taught by an elderly priest.
ST. DAMASUS I
ST. Damasus was born in Rome and lived in the fourth century-exciting times for the Church.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
We celebrate the event of Mary's appearances on Tepyac Hill in Mexico.
St. Lucy, the beloved saint, lived in Syracuse, Sicily. She was born toward the end of the third century.
ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS
St. John was born in Spain in 1542. He was the son of a weaver.
St. Nino was a Christian girl who lived in the fourth century.
St. Adelaide was born in 931. At the age of sixteen, this Burgundian princess was married to King Lothair.
St. Olympias was born around the year 361. She belonged to a great family of Constantinople.
St. Flannan lived around the seventh century. He was the son of an Irish chieftain named Turlough. Flannan was educated by the monks.
BLESSED URBAN V
Blessed Urban's name before he became pope was William de Grimoard.
ST. DOMINIC OF SILOS
St. Dominic, a Spanish shepherd boy, was born at the beginning of the eleventh century.
ST. PETER CANISIUS
ST. Peter, a Dutch man, was born in 1521. His father wanted him to be a lawyer.
ST. CHAEREMON AND ST. ISCHYRION AND OTHER MARTYRS
The third century was marked by Roman persecutions of the Church.
ST. JOHN OF KANTY
St. John, the Polish saint, was born in 1390, the son of good country folk.
ST. MARGUERITE D'YOUVILLE
St. Marguerite was born in Quebec, Canada, on October 15, 1701.
St. Charbel was born Youssef Makhlouf on May 8, 1828, in a mountain village in Lebanon.
CHRISTMAS, THE BIRTHDAY OF JESUS
The time had come for the Son of God to become man for love of us.
St. Stephen's name means crown. He was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown.
ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE
St. John was a fisherman in Galilee. He was called to be an apostle.
THE HOLY INNOCENTS
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Wise Men came from the east to worship him.
ST. THOMAS BECKET
St. Thomas Becket was born in 1118, in London, England.
St. Anysia lived in Thessalonica toward the end of the second century.
St. Sylvester dates back to early Christian times, to the reign of Constantine.
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?