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. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
St. Alphonsus was born near Naples, Italy, in 1732.
St. Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia, Italy, around 283.
ST. PETER JULIAN EYMARD
St. Peter Julian Eymard was born in a small town in the diocese of Grenoble, France in 1786.
BLESSED FREDERIC JANSSOONE
Blessed Frederic Janssoone was born in Flanders in 1838.
DEDICATION OF ST. MARY MAJOR
St. Mary Major is important to Christendom for three reasons:
St. Mary Major is important to Christendom for three reasons:
St. Cajetan was born in Vicenza, Italy, in 1480, the son of a count.
St. Dominic was born in Castile, Spain, in 1170.
BLESSED JOHN OF RIETI
Blessed John lived in the first half of the fourteenth century.
St. Lawrence, the famous martyr of Rome, lived in the third century.
St. Clare was born around 1193 in Assisi, Italy. She lived at the time of St. Francis of Assisi.
ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE
Raymond Kolbe was born in Poland in 1894.
THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
This feast of Mary celebrates a special privilege of Mary, our Mother.
ST. STEPHEN OF HUNGARY
St. Stephen was born around 969 in Hungary. This saint's name had been Vaik.
BLESSED JOAN DELANOUE
St. Joan Delanoue was born in 1666. Her family had a small but successful business.
ST. JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL
St. Jane was born in Dijon, France, in 1572.
ST. JOHN EUDES
St. John Eudes was born in Normandy, France, in 1601.
St. Bernard was born in 1090 in Dijon, France.
ST. PIUS X
St. Pius X, the great pope, was named Joseph Sarto. He was born in 1835, the son of a mailman in Riese, Italy.
ST. ROSE OF LIMA
St. Rose, the South American saint, was born in Lima, Peru, in 1586.
"Bartholomew" was one of the first followers of Jesus.
ST. LOUIS OF FRANCE
St. Louis was born on April 25, 1214. His father was King Louis VIII of France and his mother was Queen Blanche.
ST. JOSEPH CALASANZ
St. Joseph was born in 1556, in his father's castle in Spain. He went to college and became a lawyer.
ST. ELIZABETH BICHIER
St. Elizabeth was born in 1773. As a little girl, her favorite game was building castles in the sand.
St. Monica, the famous mother of St. Augustine, was born in 332 in Tagaste, northern Africa.
St. Augustine was born in Tagaste in modern Algeria on November 13, 354. This famous son of St. Monica spent many years in wicked living and in false beliefs.
BEHEADING OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
St. John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus. His mother was St. Elizabeth and his father was Zechariah.
"St. Pammachius was a distinguished Christian layman who lived in the fourth century.
St. Aidan was a seventh-century Irish monk. He lived at the great monastery of Iona, which St. Columban had founded.
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?