This document contains information on the saints we will be learning about this year and is mostly for teacher and parents (and perhaps older children).
St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, she begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent. Instead they arranged a marriage for her. Rita became a good wife and mother, but her husband was a man of violent temper. In anger he often mistreated his wife. He taught their children his own evil ways.
Rita tried to perform her duties faithfully and to pray and receive the sacraments frequently. After nearly twenty years of marriage, her husband was stabbed by an enemy but before he died, he repented because Rita prayed for him. Shortly afterwards, her two sons died, and Rita was alone in the world. Prayer, fasting, penances of many kinds, and good works filled her days. She was admitted to the convent of the Augustinian nuns at Cascia in Umbria, and began a life of perfect obedience and great charity.
Sister Rita had a great devotion to the Passion of Christ. "Please let me suffer like you, Divine Saviour," she said one day, and suddenly one of the thorns from the crucifix struck her on the forehead. It left a deep wound which did not heal and which caused her much suffering for the rest of her life. She died on May 22, 1457. She is the patroness of impossible cases. Her feast day is May 22.
Her body is still incorrupt
St. Teresa of Avila:
Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada (28 March 1515 – 4 October 1582), was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun, author during the Counter Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be a founder of the Discalced Carmelites along with John of the Cross.
In 1622, forty years after her death, she was canonized by Pope Gregory XV, and on 27 September 1970 was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI. Her books, which include her autobiography (The Life of Teresa of Jesus) and her seminal work El Castillo Interior (trans.: The Interior Castle), are an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature as well as Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practices. She also wrote Camino de Perfección (trans.: The Way of Perfection).
Saint Sharbel (or Charbel)
Biography Of Saint Sharbel:
Saint Sharbel Was born on May 8, 1828 in Biqa-Kafra, a mountain village of Lebanon. Sharbel was born in a poor Maronite Family. At age 23 he joined the monastery Our Lady of Lebanon where he became a novice. In 1853 He was sent to Saint Maron monastery and he took the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
His teacher (Father Nimatullah Al-Hardini) provided him a good education and nurtured within him a deep love for monastic life. After spending 16 Years in the St Maron Monastery, Sharbel was granted permission to live as a Hermit (in 1875) near St Peter and Paul hermitage. Father Sharbel died the night before Christmas in 1898. After the confirmation of the miracles he had done, Saint Sharbel was canonized in 1975.
A great number of miracles were attributed to Saint Charbel since his death. The most famous one is that of Nohad El Shami, a 55-year old woman at the time of the miracle who was healed from a partial paralysis. She tells that on the night of January 22, 1993, she saw in her dream two Maronite monks standing next to her bed. One of them put his hands on her neck and made her a surgery that relieved her from her pain while the other held a pillow behind her back.
When she woke up, Nohad discovered two wounds in her neck, one on each side. She was completely healed and retrieved her ability to walk. She believed that it was Saint Charbel who made her the surgery but did not recognize the other monk. Next night, she again saw Saint Sharbel in her dream. He said to her: "I made you the surgery to let people see and return to faith. I ask you to visit the hermitage on the 22nd of every month, and attend Mass regularly for the rest of your life". The second monk is widely believed to be Saint Maron. Since then, and according to Saint Charbel's will, people gather on the 22nd of each month to pray and celebrate the Mass in the hermitage of Saint Charbel in Annaya.
Following are some excerpts from the monastic rules that Saint Sharbel adopted as a short cut to become holy like Our Father in Heaven:
- A hermit imprisons himself in his hermitage, adopting solitude and control of sense and mind. He does not leave his solitude but for an extreme necessity. He does not mix with people but with his brother monks, who are advanced in virtue, and speak little, because in the abundance of talking, even quality discussions, there is disturbance of prayer atmosphere.
Saint Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini -- a Lebanese monk
Youssef Kessab was born in Hardine, in North Lebanon, in the year 1808, from a devout Maronite Catholic family, Gergis Kessab and Mariam Raad. As a youngster he attended the school of the monastery of the Maronite Lebanese Order of Saint Anthony, in Houb (1816-1822). After that he joined the monastic life in that same Order, and put on the novitiates’ uniform in the monastery of Saint Anthony the Great, Gazo d’Hayo (pronounced Kozhayya in Lebanese, from the Aramaic Gazo d’Hayo, meaning the treasure of life, a term that is often used in Aramaic Maronite terminology to refer to the Sacristy, where the Eucharist and the martyrs and saints relics are reserved), in November 1828, taking the name of brother Nimatullah (which means the grace of God). He spent there some peaceful time growing up in holiness and learning some skillful trades, like binding books in the monastery’s printing house. In 14 November 1830, Nimatullah professed his solemn vows. And after he finished his theology studies, he was ordained to the sacred priesthood in the monastery of Saints Qobrianos and Youstina, in Kfifane (Batroun, North Lebanon), in December 25th, 1833, by the laying hands of his Excellency bishop Simon Zouein.
He was elected a Counselor (Provincial) by his Order’s chapter for three times: 1845-1848; 1850-1853; & 1856-1858. He always worked in binding books even when he was a Counselor in the General Administration of his Lebanese Maronite Order. He was a teacher in several schools run by his Order, especially the one annexed to the Kfifane monastery. One of his best students was Saint Sharbel Makhlouf, who studied under Saint Nimatullah from 1853-1858.
Nimatullah died in the monastery of Saints Qobrianos and Youstina, in December 14, 1858, after being severally ill for years. After an order from Patriarch Boulos Massad, and because of the demands of the increasing visitors, his uncorrupted body was closed in a sealed coffin and moved to a separated cell in the monastery in 1862. In May 4th, 1926, his beatification case was presented to the Holy Sea in Rome. In September 7th, 1989 he was declared an honorable.
In May 18th 1996, and according to the orders of Patriarch Mar Nisrallah Peter Sfeir, a committee was appointed to examine Saint Nimatullah’s body, which was moved to a new coffin, then placed in a new room in the same monastery in March 26, 1998.
God granted his people many healing and miracles through the intercession of Saint Nimatullah, among these several we mention just few samples here: making a blind man to see, and another paralyzed to walk erect, and bringing back to life a child who was dead, healing another child, and healing from cancer and other neurotic illnesses.
In May 10, 1998, Pope John Paul II, presided the great celebrations of his beatification. (and then of his canonization a Saint for the Universal Catholic Church, in May 16th, 2004-this last line in italic I added). May his prayers be with us always. Amen.
Daughter and only child of Mourad Saber Shabaq al-Rayes and Rafqa Gemayel. Her mother died when Rafka was six. She and her step-mother never got along. The girl worked as a maid from age 11 to 15, announcing at age 14 that she felt a call to religious life. Her father objected, but at 21 she became a nun in the Marian Order of the Immaculate Conception at Bikfaya, taking the religious name Anissa (= Agnes), and making her final vows in 1856.
In 1871, her Order merged with the order of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The sisters were given the choice of joining the new combined order, joining other orders, or being released from their vows. Following dreams in which Saint Anthony the Great appeared to her, she joined the Lebanese Order of Saint Anthony of the Maronites (Baladiya Order) on 12 July 1871, a novice at age 39, taking the new religious name of Rafqa (= Rebecca).
On the feast of the Holy Rosary in 1885, Rafqa prayed that she might share Christ’s sufferings. Her health began to deteriorate, and she was soon blind and crippled. She spent as much of her remaining 30 years in prayer as she could, but always insisted on working in the convent as well as she could with her disabilities, usually spinning wool and knitting. By 1907 she was completely blind and paralyzed. In a 1981 medical report based upon the evidence presented in the Canonization process, specialists in ophthalmology, neurology and orthopedics diagnosed the most likely cause as tuberculosis with ocular localization and multiple bony excrescences. This causes unbearable pain, but Rafqa was thankful for her special form of communion.
Late in life her close friend and supporter, Mother Superior Ursula Doumit, ordered her to dictate her autobiography, and Rafka complied. Near the time of her death, Rafqa asked that her sight be restored for a single hour so she could again see the face of Mother Ursula; the hour of sight was granted.
Beginning four days after her death, miraculous cures were recorded at Rafka’s grave, the first being Mother Doumit whose throat was slowly closing so there was fear she would starve to death. Elizabeth En-Nakhel from Tourza, northern Lebanon, was cured from cancer, through Rafqa, in 1938, the miracle which permitted her beatification. Canonized
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (Born Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin, January 2, 1873 – September 30, 1897), or Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, O.C.D., was a French Discalced Carmelite nun. She is popularly known as "The Little Flower of Jesus" or simply, "The Little Flower".
Thérèse has been a highly influential model of sanctity for Catholics and for others because of the "simplicity and practicality of her approach to the spiritual life". Together with St. Francis of Assisi, she is one of the most popular saints in the history of the church. Pope Pius X called her "the greatest saint of modern times".
Thérèse felt an early call to religious life, and overcoming various obstacles, in 1888 at the early age of 15, she became a nun and joined two of her elder sisters in cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy. After nine years as a Carmelite religious, having fulfilled various offices such as sacristan and assistant to the novice mistress, and having spent her last eighteen months in Carmel in a night of faith, she died of tuberculosis at the age of 24. Her feast day is on October 1. Thérèse is well known throughout the world, with the Basilica of Lisieux being the second largest place of pilgrimage in France after Lourdes.
Her “little way” of doing small things (for God and for others) with great love is something all of us can do.
The parents of St. Therese were also recently canonized (declared saints) by Pope Francis. Married people, single people, and young people can all be saints!
St. James the Greater
The Galilean origin of St. James in some degree explains the energy of temper and the vehemence of character which earned for him and St. John the name of Boanerges, "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17); the Galilean race was religious, hardy, industrious, brave, and the strongest defender of the Jewish nation.
When John the Baptist proclaimed the kingdom of the Messias, St. John became a disciple (John 1:35); he was directed to "the Lamb of God" and afterwards brought his brother James to the Messias; the obvious meaning of John 1:41, is that St. Andrew finds his brother (St. Peter) first and that afterwards St. John (who does not name himself, according to his habitual and characteristic reserve and silence about himself) finds his brother (St. James). The call of St. James to the discipleship of the Messias is reported in a parallel or identical narration by Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:19 sq.; and Luke 5:1-11. The two sons of Zebedee, as well as Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew with whom they were in partnership (Luke 5:10), were called by the Lord upon the Sea of Galilee, where all four with Zebedee and his hired servants were engaged in their ordinary occupation of fishing. The sons of Zebedee "forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him" (Matthew 4:22), and became "fishers of men".
St. James was afterwards with the other eleven called to the Apostleship (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13). In all four lists the names of Peter and Andrew, James and John form the first group, a prominent and chosen group (cf. Mark 13:3); especially Peter, James, and John. These three Apostles alone were admitted to be present at the miracle of the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51), at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:1; Matthew 17:1; Luke 9:28), and the Agony in Gethsemani (Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:33). The fact that the name of James occurs always (except in Luke 8:51; 9:28; Acts 1:13 — Greek Text) before that of his brother seems to imply that James was the elder of the two. It is worthy of notice that James is never mentioned in the Gospel of St. John; this author observes a humble reserve not only with regard to himself, but also about the members of his family.
Several incidents scattered through the Synoptics suggest that James and John had that particular character indicated by the name "Boanerges," sons of thunder, given to them by the Lord (Mark 3:17); they were burning and impetuous in their evangelical zeal and severe in temper. The two brothers showed their fiery temperament against "a certain man casting out devils" in the name of the Christ; John, answering, said: "We [James is probably meant] forbade him, because he followeth not with us" (Luke 9:49). When the Samaritans refused to receive Christ, James and John said: "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?" (Luke 9:54; cf. 9:49).
On the last journey to Jerusalem, their mother Salome came to the Lord and said to Him: "Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom" (Matthew 20:21). And the two brothers, still ignorant of the spiritual nature of the Messianic Kingdom, joined with their mother in this eager ambition (Mark 10:37). And on their assertion that they are willing to drink the chalice that He drinks of, and to be baptized with the baptism of His sufferings, Jesus assured them that they will share His sufferings (Mark 10:38-39).
James won the crown of martyrdom fourteen years after this prophecy, A.D. 44. Herod Agrippa I, son of Aristobulus and grandson of Herod the Great, reigned at that time as "king" over a wider dominion than that of his grandfather. His great object was to please the Jews in every way, and he showed great regard for the Mosaic Law and Jewish customs. In pursuance of this policy, on the occasion of the Passover of A.D. 44, he perpetrated cruelties upon the Church, whose rapid growth incensed the Jews. The zealous temper of James and his leading part in the Jewish Christian communities probably led Agrippa to choose him as the first victim. "He killed James, the brother of John, with the sword." (Acts 12:1-2). According to a tradition, which, as we learn from Eusebius (Church History II.9.2-3), was received from Clement of Alexandria (in the seventh book of his lost "Hypotyposes"), the accuser who led the Apostle to judgment, moved by his confession, became himself a Christian, and they were beheaded together.
Sts Zechariah and Elizabeth--parents of John the Baptist
St. Nicholas of Myra
Artist: Susan Seals
All rights reserved
The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).
Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.
One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man's daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.
St. Bernadette was born in Lourdes, France on January 7, 1844. Her parents were very poor and she was the first of nine children. She was baptized at St. Pierre's, the local parish church, on January 9. As a toddler, Bernadette contracted cholera and suffered extreme asthma. Unfortunately, she lived the rest of her life in poor health.
On Thursday, February 11, 1858, fourteen-year-old Bernadette was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood, when a very beautiful lady appeared to her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle (Tuta de Massavielha).
The woman wore blue and white and smiled at Bernadette before making the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell to her knees, took out her own rosary and began to pray. Bernadette later described the woman as "uo petito damizelo," meaning "a small young lady. Though her sister and friend claimed they were unable to see her, Bernadette knew what she saw was real.
Three days later, Bernadette, her sister Marie, and other girls returned to the grotto, where Bernadette immediately knelt, saying she could see "aquero" again. She fell into a trance and one girl threw holy water at the niche and another threw a rock that shattered on the ground. It was then that the apparition disappeared.
On February 18, Bernadette said "the vision" asked her to return to the grotto each day for a fortnight. With each visit, Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary and the period of daily visions became known as "la Quinzaine sacrée," meaning "holy fortnight."
When Bernadette began to visit the grotto, her parents were embarrassed and attempted to stop her, but were unable to do so. On February 25, Bernadette claimed to have had a life-changing vision.
The vision had told her "to drink of the water of the spring, to wash in it and to eat the herb that grew there" as an act of penance. The next day, the grotto's muddy waters had been cleared and fresh clear water flowed.
On March 2, at the thirteenth of the apparitions, Bernadette told her family the lady sad "a chapel should be built and a procession formed."
During her sixteenth vision, which Bernadette claims to have experienced for over an hour, was on March 25. Bernadette claimed she had asked the woman her name, but her question was only met with a smile. Bernadette asked again, three more times, and finally the woman said, "I am the Immaculate Conception."
Though many townspeople believed she had indeed been seeing the Holy Virgin, Bernadette's story created a division in her town. Many believed she was telling the truth, while others believed she had a mental illness and demanded she be put in a mental asylum. Some believed Bernadette's visions meant she needed to pray for penance.
Church authorities and the French government rigorously interviewed the girl, and by 1862 they confirmed she spoke truth. Since Bernadette first caused the spring to produce clean water, 69 cures have been verified by the Lourdes Medical Bureau, and after what the Church claimed were "extremely rigorous scientific and medical examinations," no one was able to explain what caused the cures.
The Lourdes Commission that initially examined Bernadette, ran an analysis on the water but were only able to determine it contained a high mineral content. Bernadette believed it was faith and prayer that was responsible for curing the sick.
Bernadette asked the local priest to build a chapel at the site of her visions and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is now one of the major Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world. Many other chapels and churches has been built around it, including the Basilica of St. Pius X, which can accommodate 25,000 people and was dedicated by the future Pope John XXIII when he was the Papal Nuncio to France.
Following the miracles and constructions, Bernadette decided she did not like the attention she was getting and went to the hospice school run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, where she was taught to read and write. Though she considered joining the Carmelites, her health was too fragile.
On July 29, 1866, Bernadette took the religious habit of a postulant and joined the Sisters of Charity at their motherhouse at Nevers. Her Mistress of Novices was Sister Marie Therese Vauzou and the Mother Superior at the time named her Marie-Bernarde, in honor of her grandmother.
Bernadette spent the rest of her life there working as an infirmary assistant, and later a sacristan. People admired her humility and spirit of sacrifice. Once a nun asked her if she had temptations of pride because she was favored by the Blessed Mother. "How can I?" she answered quickly. "The Blessed Virgin chose me only because I was the most ignorant."
Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee and was unable to take part in convent life. She died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard at the age of 35 on April 16, 1879, while praying the holy rosary.
Even on her deathbed Bernadette suffered severe pain and, keeping with the Virgin Mary's admonition of "Penance, Penance, Penance," she proclaimed "all this is good for Heaven!" Bernadette's last words were, "Blessed Mary, Mother of God, pray for me. A poor sinner, a poor sinner."
The nuns of Saint-Gildard, with the support of the bishop of Nevers, applied to the civil authorities for permission to bury Bernadette's body in a small chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph, which was within the confines of the convent. Permission was granted on April 25, 1879, and on April 30, the local Prefect pronounced his approval of the choice of the site for burial. On May 30, 1879, Bernadette's coffin was transferred to the crypt of the chapel of Saint Joseph, where a very simple ceremony was held to commemorate the event.
Thirty years layer, on September 22, two doctors and a sister of the community exhumed her body. They claimed the crucifix and rosary she carried had been oxidized but her body remained incorrupt. The incorruption was cited as one of the miracles supporting her canonization.
The group washed and redressed Bernadette's body then buried it in a new double casket. The Church exhumed her body again on April 3, 1919, and the doctor who examined her said, "The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts ... The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body."
In 1925, Bernadette's body was exhumed yet again. This time relics were sent to Rome and an imprint of her face was molded, which was used to create a wax mask to be placed on her body. There were also imprints of her hands to be used for the presentation of her body, which was placed in a gold and crystal reliquary in the Chapel of Saint Bernadette at the mother house in Nevers.
In 1928, Doctor Comte published a report on Bernadette's exhumation in the second issue of the Bulletin de I'Association medicale de Notre-Dame de Lourdes, where he wrote:
"What struck me during this examination, of course, was the state of perfect preservation of the skeleton, the fibrous tissues of the muscles (still supple and firm), of the ligaments, and of the skin, and above all the totally unexpected state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and inclined to crumble, would have decomposed very rapidly or would have hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet, when it was cut it was soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon."
Saint Bernadette is often depicted in prayer with a rosary or appealing to the Holy Virgin. She was beatified in 1925 and canonized by Pope Piuis XI in December 1933. Saint Bernadette is the patroness of illness, people ridiculed for their piety, poverty, shepherds, shepherdesses, and Lourdes, France.
Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great (Greek: Ἅγιος Βασίλειος ὁ Μέγας, Hágios Basíleios ho Mégas; 329 or 330 – January 1 or 2, 379), was the Greek bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). He was an influential theologian who supported the Nicene Creed and opposed the heresies of the early Christian church, fighting against both Arianism and the followers of Apollinaris of Laodicea. His ability to balance his theological convictions with his political connections made Basil a powerful advocate for the Nicene position.
In addition to his work as a theologian, Basil was known for his care of the poor and underprivileged. Basil established guidelines for monastic life which focus on community life, liturgical prayer, and manual labour. Together with Pachomius, he is remembered as a father of communal monasticism in Eastern Christianity. He is considered a saint by the traditions of both Eastern and Western Christianity.
Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa are collectively referred to as the Cappadocian Fathers. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches have given him, together with Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, the title of Great Hierarch. He is recognised as a Doctor of the Church in the Roman Catholic Church. He is sometimes referred to by the epithet "Ουρανοφαντωρ" (Ouranofantor), "revealer of heavenly mysteries".
Saint Junipero Serra
Saint Junípero Serra, O.F.M.
Apostle of California
A portrait of Serra at age 61 (1774)
Catholic priest, religious and missionary
Miquel Josep Serra i Ferrer
November 24, 1713
August 28, 1784 (aged 70)
23 September 2015, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Francis
Franciscan habit, wearing a large crucifix, or holding a crucifix accompanied by a young Native American boy
Junípero Serra y Ferrer, O.F.M., (/huːˈnɨpɛroʊ ˈsɛrə/; Spanish: [xuˈnipeɾo ˈsera], Catalan: Juníper Serra i Ferrer) (November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784) was a Roman Catholic Spanish priest and friar of the Franciscan Order who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, in what was then Alta California in the Province of Las Californias, New Spain.
Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 25 September 1988 in Vatican City. Pope Francis canonised him on 23 September 2015, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., during his first visit to the United States. Because of Serra's recorded acts of piety combined with his missionary efforts, he was granted the posthumous title Apostle of California.
It is uncertain when Saint George was born and historians continue to debate to this day. However, his death date is estimated to be April 23 303 A.D.
The first piece of evidence of George's existance appeared within the works of the Bollandists Daniel Papebroch, Jean Bolland, and Godfrey Henschen's Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca. George was one of several names listed in the historical text, and Pope Gelasius claimed George was one of the saints "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God."
George was born to a Gerontios and Polychronia, a Roman officer and a Greek native of Lydda. Both were Christians from noble families of the Anici and George, Georgios in the original Greek, was raised to follow their faith.
When George was old enough, he was welcomed into Diocletian's army. by his late 20's, George became a Tribunus and served as an imperial guard for the Emperor at Nicomedia.
On February 24, 303 A.D., Diocletian, who hated Christians, announced that every Christian the army passed would be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods.
George refused to abide by the order and told Diocletian, who was angry but greatly valued his friendship with George's father.
When George announced his beliefs before his peers, Diocletian was unable to keep the news to himself. In an effort to save George, Diocletian attempted to convert him to believe in the Roman gods, offered him land, money and slaves in exchange for offering a sacrifice to the Roman gods, and made several other offers that George refused.
Finally, after exhausting all other options, Diocletian ordered George's execution. In preparation for his death, George gave his money to the poor and was sent for several torture sessions.
· He was lacerated on a wheel of swords and required resuscitation three times, but still George did not turn from God.
· The Saint was then drenched with water and thrown into the pit. The water and lime would slowly destroy the Saint's body. After three days, Diocletian instructed the soldiers to clear the pit. To the surprise of the soldiers and the Emperor, Saint George sat at the bottom of the pit unharmed.On April 23, 303 A.D., George was decapitated before Nicomedia's outer wall. His body was sent to Lydda for burial, and other Christians went to honor George as a martyr.
· The Emperor then ordered that iron sandals be tied to the feet of the Saint and that he be made to run. As he ran, he was beaten. One of Diocletian's advisors, Magnentios, ordered George to perform a miracle. They happened to pass by a tomb of a man who had been dead for many years. Magnentios ordered George to resurrect this man to show the power of his God. After praying for a long time, he rolled the rock away from the tomb and resurrected the dead man. The by-standers praised the strength of Christ. Diocletian asked the resurrected man who he was and when he had died. He told Diocletian that he had lived before Christ had come on the Earth, and because he was an idolater, he had burned in the fires of Hell during all those years. Many idolaters were converted to Christianity because of this great miracle.
· They decided to beat the Saint mercilessly. The Saint nevertheless remained unharmed and retained his angelic appearance. Diocletian was convinced that all of George's miracles were done by magic.
· He, therefore, called upon Athanasius the Magician to break this magic. Athanasius held two vials in his hands. If the Saint drank the first one, he would go insane, if he drank the second one he would die. The Saint took the first vial and prayedAlexandria. He drank its contents and there was no effect. Diocletian still believed that George was a magician; however, Athanasius realized the strength of God and confessed his belief in the Christian God. Athanasius was immediately executed by Diocletian's order.
Saint George and the Dragon
There are several stories about George fighting dragons, but in the Western version, a dragon or crocodile made its nest at a spring that provided water to Silene, believed to be modern-day Lcyrene in Libya.
The people were unable to collect water and so attempted to remove the dragon from its nest on several ocassions. It would temporarily leave its nest when they offered it a sheep each day, until the sheep disappeared and the people were distraught.
This was when they decided that a maiden would be just as effective as sending a sheep. The townspeople chose the victim by drawing straws. This continued until one day the princess' straw was drawn.
The monarch begged for her to be spared but the people would not have it. She was offered to the dragon, but before she could be devoured, George appeared. He faced the dragon, protected himself with the sign of the Cross, and slayed the dragon.
After saving the town, the citizens abandoned their paganism and were all converted to Christianity.
•Saint George stands out among other saints and legends because he is known and revered by both Muslims and Christians.
•It is said Saint George killed the dragon near the sea in Beirut, thus Saint George bay was named in his honor.
•Saint George's feast day is celebrated on April 23, but if it falls before Easter, it is celebrated Easter Monday.
•The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates three St. George feast days each year -April 23 as is expected, November 3, to commemorate the consecration of a cathedral dedicated to him in Lydda, and on November 26, for when a church in Kiev was dedicated to him.
•In Bulgaria, his feast day is celebrated May 6 with the slaughter and roasting of a lamb.
•In Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria calls St. George the "Prince of Martyrs" and celebrates on May 1. There is a second celebration November 17, in honor of the first church dedicated to him.
•Saint George is the patron saint of England and Catalonia and his cross can be found throughout England.
•In older works, Saint George is depicted wearing armor and holding a lance or fighting a dragon, which represents Christ's enemies.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
St. Maximilian Kolbe, O.F.M. Conv.
Apostle of Consecration to Mary
Religious, priest and martyr
8 January 1894
14 August 1941 (aged 47)
10 October 1982, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Basilica of the Immaculate Mediatrix of Grace, Niepokalanów,
Prison uniform, needle being injected into an arm
Against drug addictions, drug addicts, families, imprisoned people, journalists, political prisoners, prisoners , pro-life movement, amateur radio.
Maximilian Maria Kolbe, O.F.M. Conv. (Polish: Maksymilian Maria Kolbe [maksɨˌmʲilʲjan ˌmarʲja ˈkɔlbɛ]; 8 January 1894 – 14 August 1941) was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the German death camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II. He was active in promoting the veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, founding and supervising the monastery of Niepokalanów near Warsaw, operating a radio station, and founding or running several other organizations and publications.
Kolbe was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and declared a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement. John Paul II declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century".
Born Zoé Labouré, May 2, 1806 in France
Died December 31, 1876 (aged 70)
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Beatified May 28, 1933 by Pope Pius XI
Canonized July 27, 1947 by Pope Pius XII
Major shrine Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Paris, France
Feast 25 November, 28 November & 31 December
Attributes Daughters of Charity habit, Miraculous Medal
Patronage Miraculous Medal, infirmed people, the elderly
She was born in the Burgundy region of France to Pierre Labouré, a farmer, and Louise Madeleine Gontard, the ninth of 11 living children. Catherine's mother died on October 9, 1815, when Catherine was just nine years old. It is said that after her mother's funeral, Catherine picked up a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and kissed it saying, "Now you will be my mother." Her father's sister offered to care for his two youngest children, Catherine and Tonine. After he agreed, the sisters moved to their aunt's house at Saint-Rémy, a village nine kilometers from their home.
She was extremely devout, of a somewhat romantic nature, given to visions and intuitive insights. As a young woman, she became a member of the nursing order founded by Saint Vincent de Paul. She chose the Daughters of Charity after a dream about St. Vincent De Paul. One day she had a dream in which a priest said to her” My daughter, you may flee me now, but one day you will come to me. Do not forget that God has plans for you.”. Sometime later, while visiting a hospital of the Daughters of Charity at Chatillon-sur-Seine, she noticed a priest’s picture on the wall. She asked a sister who he might be, and was told “Our Holy Founder Saint Vincent de Paul.
Body of Catherine Laboure
St. Padre Pio was an Italian priest who was known for his piety and charity as well as for the gift of the stigmata, which has never been explained.
St. Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione, on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy. His parents were peasant farmers. He had an older brother and three younger sisters, as well as two other siblings who died in infancy. As a child, he was very religious and by the age of 5 he reportedly made the decision to dedicate his life to God.
Fortunately, his parents were also very religious and they supported his Catholic development. His family attended daily Mass. Francisco served as an altar boy at his local parish. Francisco was known for taking on penances and his mother once scolded him for sleeping on a stone floor.
Francisco's community was also supportive. Saint's days were popular celebrations and commonly celebrated in his town.
From his tender age, Francisco had a peculiar ability. He was able to see guardian angels, spoke with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. This was not something taught to him, but occurred so naturally that he assumed other people could see them too.
Although Francisco and his family was very religious, they were also very poor, which required that he work. He spent many years as a child, trending to a small flock of sheep owned by his family. Unfortunately, the work meant he was unable to attend school regularly, so he quickly fell behind other kids his age.
Francisco was also sickly as a child. He suffered an attack of gastroenteritis at age six and when he was ten, he had typhoid fever.
In 1897, after three years of schooling, Francisco expressed to his parents that he wanted to become a friar. His parents traveled to a nearby community of monks and asked is Francesco could join them. He was evaluated, despite his young age and was told that he needed more education before he could join.
In order to prepare Francesco, his parents decided to hire a private tutor. To pay the cost of the tutor, Francesco's father traveled to America to find work, and sent the money home.
At the age of 15, Francisco was finally ready and he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin friars at Morcone. He took the name of "Pio" in honor of Pope Pius I, whose relic he often saw at his local chapel.
At the age of 17, Brother Pio became extremely ill and could only digest milk and cheese. He was sent to the mountain for the better air, and when this did not work, he was sent home with his family. Amid all this, he continued to study for the priesthood.
On one occasion during prayer, a fellow monk astonishingly reported he saw Pio levitate during an ep
Brother Pio became a priest in 1910, but was permitted to remain at home because of his poor health.
In 1915, with World War I afflicting the world, Padre Pio was summoned for military service. He was compelled to leave a tiny community of monks, with whom he was then housed, and drafted into medical service. However, he was so sickly that he was often sent home, only to then recalled for service. In March 1916, he was finally dismissed because of his poor health.
On September 20, Padre Pio was hearing confessions when he felt pain in his hands and feet. He noticed the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, appearing on his hands and feet. The experience was painful. Bleeding occurred. The wounds smelled of roses, and although they continues to weep, they never became infected. Doctors who later examined the stigmata were amazed at their perfectly round shape.
By 1919, word began to spread about Padre Pio's stigmata and people came from far away to examine him.
Padre Pio became popular with the people he encountered and soon began to attribute supernatural occurrences to him. For example, he was said to levitate, and to be capable of performing miracles.
His popularity became a source of concern or the Church and the Vatican began to restrict his activities to minimize public interaction. Padre Pio himself was uncomfortable with his newfound popularity and the attention he received because of his stigmata. A Church investigation into his stigmata concluded that his condition was not faked.
By 1934, the Vatican began to change its attitude towards Padre Pio and he was again allowed to perform public duties. He was allowed to preach, despite never being officially licensed by the Church to do so. Pope Pius XI encouraged people to visit him.
In 1947, Fr. Karol Wojtyla visited Padre Pio who prophetically told him he would rise to the highest post in the Church." Fr. Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II in 1978.
Padre Pio used his newfound popularity to open a hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo. The facility opened in 1956.
Pope Paul Vi reviewed the controversies surrounding Padre Pio and dismissed any concerns over his conduct and the authenticity of his stigmata.
Padre Pio became internationally famous. He was known for his piety, charity and the quality of his preaching. He famously advised, "Pray, hope and don't worry."
He had other illnesses as well, including cancer which was miraculously healed after just two treatments. Other problems, such as arthritis, which plagued him in his later years, never went away.
Padre Io died on September 23, 1968. His funeral was attended by over 100,000 people.
Pope John Paul II recognized padre Pio as a saint on June 16, 2002. His feast day is September 23. He is the patron of civil defense volunteers, adolescents, and the village of Pietrelcina.