St.Maximilian Kolbe~Knight of the Immaculata  

St. Maximilian Kolbe was born as Raymund Kolbe on January 8, 1894, in the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. He was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar and a martyr in the German death Camp of Auschwitz during World War II.

St. Maximilian Kolbe was very active in promoting the Immaculate Virgin Mary and is known as the Apostle of Consecration to Mary. Much of his life was strongly influenced by a vision he had of the Virgin Mary when he was 12.

“That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.”


One year after his vision, Kolbe and his elder brother, Francis joined the Conventual Franciscans. In 1910, Kolbe was given the religious name Maximilian, after being allowed to enter the novitiate, and in 1911, he professed his first vows.

At the age of 21, Kolbe earned a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He would also earn a doctorate in theology by the time he was 28.

St. Maximilian Kolbe organized the Militia Immaculata (Army of the Immaculate One) after witnessing demonstrations against Pope St. Pius X and Benedict XV. His goal was to work for the conversion of sinners and enemies of the Church, specifically, the Freemasons and he would so with the intercession of Mary.

In 1918, he was ordained a priest and continued his work of promoting Mary throughout Poland. Over the next several years, Kolbe took on publishing. He founded a monthly periodical titled, “Rycerz Niepokalanej” (Knight of the Immaculate). He also operated a religious publishing press and founded a new Conventual Franciscan monastery at Niepokalanow, which became a major religious publishing center.

Kolbe also founded monasteries in both Japan and India. To this day, the monastery in Japan remains prominent in the Roman Catholic Church in Japan.

In 1936, Kolbe’s poor health forced him to return home to Poland, and once the WWII invasion by Germany began, he became one of the only brothers to remain in the monastery. He opened up a temporary hospital to aid those in need. When his town was captured, Kolbe was sent to prison but released three months later.

Kolbe refused to sign a document that would recognize him as a German citizen with his German ancestry and continued to work in his monastery, providing shelter for refugees – including hiding 2,000 Jews from German persecution. After receiving permission to continue his religious publishing, Kolbe’s monastery acted as a publishing house again and issued many anti-Nazi German publications.

On February 17, 1941, the monastery was shut down; Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo and taken to the Pawiak prison. Three months later, he was transferred to Auschwitz.

Never abandoning his priesthood, Kolbe was the victim to severe violence and harassment. Toward the end of his second month in Auschwitz, men were chosen to face death by starvation to warn against escapes. Kolbe was not chosen but volunteered to take the place of a man with a family.

It is said during the last days of his life Kolbe led prayers to Our Lady with the prisoners and remained calm. He was the last of the group to remain alive, after two weeks of dehydration and starvation. The guards gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid. The stories tell that he raised his left arm and calmly awaited death.

St. Maximilian Kolbe died on August 14 and his remains were cremated on August 15, the same day as the Assumption of Mary feast day.

Recognized as the Servant of God, Kolbe was beatified as a “Confessor of the Faith” on October 17, 1971 by Pope Paul VI and canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 10, 1982. Pope John Paul II declared Kolbe not a confessor, but a martyr.

Kolbe’s is often depicted in a prison uniform and with a needle being injected into an arm. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, prisoners, families, and the pro-life movement and his feast day is celebrated on August 14.


Source:catholiconline.org 

St.Jeanne Frances de Chantel 


What a way to start a marriage! Jane no sooner arrived at her new home then she discovered she might lose it. Her husband, Christophe, had not only inherited the title of baron but enormous debts as well.

But Jane had not come to the marriage empty-handed. She brought with her a deep faith instilled by her father who made daily religious discussion fun, allowing the children to talk about anything — even controversial topics. She also brought a good-hearted way that made a friend comment, “Even stupid jokes were funny when she told them.”

These qualities helped the twenty-year-old French woman take charge by personally organizing and supervising every detail of the estate, a method which not only brought the finances under control but won her employees’ hearts as well.

Despite the early financial worries, she and her husband shared “one heart and one soul.” They were devoted to each other and to their four children.

One way Jane shared her blessings was by giving bread and soup personally to the poor who came to her door. Often people who had just received food from her would pretend to leave, go around the house and get back in line for more. When asked why she let these people get away with this, Jane said, “What if God turned me away when I came back to him again and again with the same request?”

Her happiness was shattered when Christophe was killed in a hunting accident. Before he died, her husband forgave the man who shot him, saying to the man, “Don’t commit the sin of hating yourself when you have done nothing wrong.” The heartbroken Jane, however, had to struggle with forgiveness for a long time. At first she tried just greeting him on the street. When she was able to do that, she invited him to her house. Finally she was able to forgive the man so completely that she even became godmother to his child.

These troubles opened her heart to her longing for God and she sought God in prayer and a deepening spiritual life. Her commitment to God impressed Saint Francis de Sales, the bishop who became her director and best friend. Their friendship started before they even met, for them saw each other in dreams, and continued in letters throughout their lives.

With Francis’ support, Jane founded the Visitation order for women who were rejected by other orders because of poor health or age. She even accepted a woman who was 83 years old. When people criticized her, she said, “What do you want me to do? I like sick people myself; I’m on their side.” She believed that people should have a chance to live their calling regardless of their health.

Still a devoted mother, she was constantly concerned about the materialistic ways of one of her daughters. Her daughter finally asked her for spiritual direction as did may others, including an ambassador and her brother, an archbishop. Her advice always reflected her very gentle and loving approach to spirituality:

“Should you fall even fifty times a day, never on any account should that surprise or worry you. Instead, ever so gently set your heart back in the right direction and practice the opposite virtue, all the time speaking words of love and trust to our Lord after you have committed a thousand faults, as much as if you had committed only one. Once we have humbled ourselves for the faults God allows us to become aware of in ourselves, we must forget them and go forward.”

She died in 1641, at sixty-nine years of age.

In Her Footsteps

We have been told the secret of happiness is finding: finding yourself, finding love, finding the right job. Jane believed the secret of happiness was in “losing,” that we should “throw ourselves into God as a little drop of water into the sea, and lose ourselves indeed in the Ocean of the divine goodness.” She advised a man who wrote to her about all the afflictions he suffered “to lose all these things in God. These words produced such an effect in the soul, that he wrote me that he was wholly astonished, and ravished with joy.”

Today, when any thoughts or worries come to mind, send them out into the ocean of God’s love that surrounds you and lose them there. If any feelings come into your heart — grief, fear, even joy or longing, send those out into the ocean of God’s love. Finally, send your whole self, like a drop, into God. There is no past no future, here or there. There is only the infinite ocean of God.

Prayer: Saint Jane, you forgave the man who killed your husband. Help me learn to forgive a particular person in my life who has caused me harm. You know how difficult it is to forgive. Help me to take the steps you took to welcome this person back into my life. Amen

Source:catholiconline.org 

St.Philomena


Little is known about the life of St. Philomena. However, it is believed she was a Greek princess who became a virgin martyr and died at 13-years-old.

Remains of a young lady were discovered in May 1802 at the Catacombs of Priscilla on the Via Salaria Nova with three tiles reading “Peace be to you, Philomena.”

All that is known about St. Philomena’s life comes from a Neapolitan nun’s vision. Sister Maria Luisa di Gesu claims St. Philomena came to her and told her she was the daughter of a Greek king who converted to Christianity. When Philomena was 13-years-old, she took a vow of consecrated virginity.

After her father took his family to Rome to make peace, Emperor Diocletian fell in love with Philomena. When she refused to marry him, she was subjected to torture.

St. Philomena was scourged, drowned with an anchor attached to her, and shot with arrows. Each time she was attacked angels took to her side and healed her through prayer.

Finally, the Emperor had Philomena decapitated. According to the story, her death came on a Friday at three in the afternoon, the same as Jesus.

Two anchors, three arrows, a palm symbol of martyrdom, and a flower were found on the tiles in her tomb, interpreted as symbols of her martyrdom.

The nun’s account states Philomena was born on January 10 and was killed on August 10.

Devotion for Philomena began to spread once her bones were exhumed and miracles began to occur. Canon Francesco De Lucia of Mugnano del Cardinale received relics of St. Philomena and had them placed in the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Mugnano, Italy.


Soon after her relics were enshrined, cancers were cured, wounds were healed and the Miracle of Mugnano, when Venerable Pauline Jaricot was cured of a severe heart issue overnight, were all attributed to St. Philomena.

Other Saints began to venerate Philomena and attributing miracles in their lives to the young martyr, including St. John Marie Vianney and St. Peter Louis Marie Chanel.

Although controversy sometimes surrounds the truth behind St. Philomena’s life and sainthood, many believers all around the world continue to see her as a miraculous saint, canonized in 1837.

St. Philomena is the patron saint of infants, babies, and youth. She is often depicted in her youth with a flower crown, a palm of martyrdom, arrows, or an anchor.

Her feast day is celebrated on August 11.

St.Lawrence


Saint Lawrence was one of seven deacons who were in charge of giving help to the poor and the needy. When a persecution broke out, Pope St. Sixtus was condemned to death. As he was led to execution, Lawrence followed him weeping, “Father, where are you going without your deacon?” he said. “I am not leaving you, my son,” answered the Pope. “in three days you will follow me.” Full of joy, Lawrence gave to the poor the rest of the money he had on hand and even sold expensive vessels to have more to give away.

The Prefect of Rome, a greedy pagan, thought the Church had a great fortune hidden away. So he ordered Lawrence to bring the Church’s treasure to him. The Saint said he would, in three days. Then he went through the city and gathered together all the poor and sick people supported by the Church. When he showed them to the Prefect, he said: “This is the Church’s treasure!”

In great anger, the Prefect condemned Lawrence to a slow, cruel death. The Saint was tied on top of an iron grill over a slow fire that roasted his flesh little by little, but Lawrence was burning with so much love of God that he almost did not feel the flames. In fact, God gave him so much strength and joy that he even joked. “Turn me over,” he said to the judge. “I’m done on this side!” And just before he died, he said, “It’s cooked enough now.” Then he prayed that the city of Rome might be converted to Jesus and that the Catholic Faith might spread all over the world. After that, he went to receive the martyr’s reward. Saint Lawrence’s feast day is August 10th.

Sr.Teresa Benedicta of the Cross~Carmelite Martyr of Auschwitz 


Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)Virgin and Martyr Edith Stein, born in 1891 in Breslau, Poland, was the youngest child of a large Jewish family. She was an outstanding student and was well versed in philosophy with a particular interest in phenomenology. Eventually she became interested in the Catholic Faith, and in 1922, she was baptized at the Cathedral Church in Cologne, Germany. Eleven years later Edith entered the Cologne Carmel. Because of the ramifications of politics in Germany, Edith, whose name in religion was Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, was sent to the Carmel at Echt, Holland. When the Nazis conquered Holland, Teresa was arrested, and, with her sister Rose, was sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Teresa died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942 at the age of fifty-one. In 1987, she was beatified in the large outdoor soccer stadium in Cologne by Pope John Paul II. Out of the unspeakable human suffering caused by the Nazis in western Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s, there blossomed the beautiful life of dedication, consecration, prayer, fasting, and penance of Saint Teresa. Even though her life was snuffed out by the satanic evil of genocide, her memory stands as a light undimmed in the midst of evil, darkness, and suffering. She was canonized on October 11, 1998.

The Fourteen Holy Helpers 


During medieval times, particularly during the Black Plague, devotion arose for the Fourteen Holy Helpers or Auxiliary Saints. This lists the saints and their patronage.

The Fourteen “Auxiliary Saints” or “Holy Helpers” are a group of saints invoked because they have been efficacious in assisting in trials and sufferings. Each saint has a separate feast or memorial day, and the group was collectively venerated on August 8, until the 1969 reform of the Roman calendar, when the feast was dropped. These saints were often represented together. Popular devotion to these saints often began in some monastery that held their relics. All of the saints except Giles were martyrs. Devotion to some of the saints, such as St. George, St. Margaret, St. Christopher, St. Barbara and St. Catherine became so widespread that customs and festivals still are popular today.

The Fourteen Holy Helpers are invoked as a group mainly because of the Black Plague which devastated Europe from 1346 to 1349. Among its symptoms were the black tongue, a parched throat, violent headache, fever, and boils on the abdomen. The victims were attacked without warning, robbing them of their reason, and killed within a few hours; many died without the last Sacraments. No one was immune, and the disease wreaked havoc in villages and family circles. The epidemic appeared incurable. The pious turned to Heaven, begging the intervention of the saints, praying to be spared or cured. Each of these fourteen saints had been efficacious in interceding in some aspect for the stricken during the Black Plague. The dates are the traditional feast days; not all the saints are on the Universal Roman Calendar.

(1) St. George (April 23rd), soldier-martyr. Invoked for protection for domestic animals and against herpetic diseases. Also patron of soldiers, England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Genoa and Venice. He is pictured striking down a dragon.

St. George is venerated by the Eastern Church among her “great martyrs” and “standard-bearers.” He belonged to the Roman army; he was arrested and, probably, beheaded under Diocletian, c. 304. The Latin Church as well as the Greek honors him as patron of armies. He is the patron of England, since 800. Many legends are attached to Saint George. The most famous is the one in The Golden Legend. There was a dragon that lived in a lake near Silena, Libya. Not even armies could defeat this creature, and he terrorized flocks and the people. St. George was passing through and upon hearing about a princess was about to be eaten, he went to battle against the serpent, and killed it with one blow with his lance. Then with his great preaching, George converted the people. He distributed his reward to the poor, then left the area.

(2) St. Blaise (also Blase and Blasius) (February 3rd), bishop and martyr. He is invoked against diseases of the throat. Blessing of the throats takes place on his feast day. St. Blaise is pictured with two crossed candles.

St. Blaise was a native of Sebaste in Armenia. It is thought he was a physician and later was ordained and priest and became bishop of his native city. He had to go into hiding to escape continual persecution, but was finally arrested, atrociously tortured and put to death, under Licinius, in 316. His cult spread rapidly in both East and West, and many cures were attributed to him, notably that of a child who was suffocating through a fish bone being caught in his throat. According to legend, he was a healer of men and animals. He is invoked for all throat afflictions, and on his feast two candles are blessed with a prayer that God will free from all such afflictions and every ill all those who receive this blessing.

(3) St. Erasmus (also St. Elmo) (June 2nd), bishop and martyr. He is invoked against diseases of the stomach and intestine, protection for domestic animals and patron of sailors. He is pictured with his entrails wound around a windlass.

St. Erasmus was a bishop of Asia Minor. He fled to Mount Lebanon during the persecution of Diocletian and was miraculously fed by a raven while in hiding. Eventually he was captured and martyred at Formiae, Campagna, Italy c. 303. He is invoked for intestinal diseases, for his legend asserts that he was tortured by winding his entrails round a windlass. He is also called St. Elmo, and the static electricity on ships at seas, Saint Elmo’s Fire, is named after him.

(4) St. Pantaleon (July 27th), martyr. Invoked against consumption, protection for domestic animals and patron of physicians and midwives. He is pictured with his hands nailed together.

St. Pantaleon was a doctor, devoted to the spiritual and temporal welfare of his patients. He was captured and tortured extensively. He was nailed to a tree and then beheaded at Nicomedia, c. 303, under Diocletian.

(5) St. Vitus (also St. Guy) (June 15th), martyr. Invoked in epilepsy, chorea (“St. Vitus’ dance”), lethargy, and the bites of poisonous or mad animals and against storms. Also protection for domestic animals. Patron of dancer and actors. St. Vitus is pictured with his cross.

According to legend, St. Vitus, also called St. Guy, was a Sicilian nobleman’s son, who was baptized against his father’s wishes and martyred in 303 Modestus and Crescentia, Christian members of his household. He is invoked to cure epilepsy, or “St. Vitus’ dance.”

(6) St. Christopher (also Christophorus) (July 25th), martyr. Invoked against the plague and sudden death. He is the patron of travelers, especially motorists, and is also invoked in storms. Usually pictured carrying the Child Jesus on his shoulder.

St. Christopher was martyred in Asia Minor around 250. His name, Greek for “Christ-bearer” is the origin of the legend that he was a giant who carried the Christ Child across a river. He is still considered a saint by the Church, although his feastday was removed from the General Roman Calendar due to lack of historical evidence.

(7) St. Denis (also Dionysius) (October 9th), bishop and martyr. Invoked against diabolical possession and headaches. Pictured carrying his head in his hands.

St. Denis was the first bishop of Paris and was one of the six bishops sent to France in the middle of the 3rd century by Pope Fabian. He was beheaded at Catulliacum, now Saint-Denis.

(8) St. Cyriacus (also Cyriac) (August 8th), deacon and martyr. Invoked against diseases of the eye and diabolical possession. Also interceded for those in temptation, especially at the time of death. He is usually pictured as vested as a deacon.

St. Cyriacus, a deacon, was martyred at Rome in 303 during the persecution of Diocletian. He was buried on the Ostian Way.

(9) St. Acathius (also Acacius) (May 8th), martyr. Invoked against headaches and at the time of death’s agony. He is pictured with a crown of thorns.

Achatius was a native of Cappadocia and as a youth was a centurion in the Roman army under Emperor Hadrian. He was tortured and beheaded in the persecution of Diocletian.

(10) St. Eustace (also Eustachius, Eustathius) (September 20th), martyr. Invoked against fire — temporal and eternal. Patron of hunters. Patron in all kinds of difficulties, and invoked in family troubles. Pictured with a stag and hunting equipment.

Not much is known about St. Eustace (or more properly Eustathius). He was a pagan Roman general who converted after seeing a glowing cross between a stag’s antlers. He and his family were martyred together by being burned inside a bronze bull.

(11) St. Giles (also Aegidius) (September 1st), hermit and abbot. Invoked against the plague, panic, epilepsy, madness, and nightmares and for a good confession. Patron of cripples, beggars, and breastfeeding mothers. He is pictured in a monastic cowl with a hind (deer).

According to tradition, St. Giles was born at Athens, Greece, and was of noble extraction. After his parents died, he fled from his fatherland to avoid followers and fame. He went to France, and in a cave in a forest near the mouth of the Rhone he was able to lead the life of a hermit. Legend has a hind came everyday to his cell and furnished him with milk. One day the King’s hunters chased the hind and discovered St. Giles and his secret hermitage. The hunters shot at the hind, but missed and hit Giles’ leg with an arrow, which kept him crippled the rest of his life. He then consented to King Theodoric’s request by building a monastery (known later as “Saint Gilles du Gard”) and he became its first Abbot. He died some eight years later towards 712.

(12) St. Margaret of Antioch (July 20th), virgin and martyr. Invoked against backache. Patron for women in childbirth. She is pictured holding a dragon in chains.

Beheaded at Antioch in Pisidia c. 257. Not much is known about her. One of the legends attached to St. Margaret is that she met the devil, who was in the shape of a dragon. She was swallowed by the dragon, but then escaped safely when the cross she carried irritated the dragon’s innards. This is why she is associated with pregnancy, labor, and childbirth although she was a virgin. She was one of the saints who talked to Saint Joan of Arc.

(13) St. Catherine of Alexandria (also Catharine) (November 25th), virgin and martyr. Invoked against diseases of the tongue, protection against a sudden and unprovided death. Patroness of Christian philosophers, of maidens, preachers, wheelwrights, and mechanics. She is also invoked by students, orators, and barristers as “the wise counselor.” She is pictured with a broken wheel.

St. Catherine was born at Alexandria and martyred under Maximinus Daia c. 310. Ancient accounts relate that when she was eighteen years old the emperor gathered together a group of philosophers to persuade her to deny Christ and worship idols. She instead convinced them of their error and converted them to Christianity. She is often pictured with a broken wheel, because she was scourged and bound to wheels on which knives were fixed, but the instrument broke. She was finally beheaded.

(14) St. Barbara (December 4th), virgin and martyr. Invoked against fever, lightning, fire and sudden death. Patron of builders, artillerymen and miners. St. Barbara is pictured with a tower and ciborium with a host above it.

St. Barbara’s legend was immensely popular, but all we know about her is that was martyred, probably in Asian Minor in the 3rd or 4th century. Her legend had that she was a beautiful maiden, and her father isolated her in a high tower. While there, she was tutored by philosophers, orators and poets and converted to Christianity.

Her father Dioscorus was furious and denounced her to the authorities. They ordered him to kill her. She tried to escape, but he caught her, dragged her home by her hair and then beheaded her. He was immediately struck by lightning, or according to some sources, fire from heaven.

Source:catholicculture.org 

St.John Vianney~The Cure of Ars 


Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney, known as John in English, was born May 8, 1786 in Dardilly, France and was baptized the same day. He was the fourth of six children born to Matthieu and Marie Vianney.

John was raised in a Catholic home and the family often helped the poor and housed St. Benedict Joseph Labre when he made his pilgrimage to Rome.

In 1790, when the anticlerical Terror phase of the French Revolution forced priests to work in secrecy or face execution, young Vianney believed the priests were heroes.

He continued to believe in the bravery of priests and received his First Communion catechism instructions in private by two nuns who lost their convents to the Revolution.

At 13-years-old, John made his first communion and prepared for his confirmation in secrecy.

When he was 20-years-old, John was allowed to leave the family farm to learn at a “prsbytery-school” in Écully. There he learned math, history, geography and Latin.

As his education had been disrupted by the French Revolution, he struggled in his studies, particularly with Latin, but worked hard to learn.

In 1802, the Catholic Church was reestablished in France and religious freedom and peace spread throughout the country.

Unfortunately, in 1809, John was drafted into Napoleon Bonaparte’s armies. He had been studying as an ecclesiastical student, which was a protected title and would normally have excepted him from military services, but Napoleon had withdrawn the exemption in some dioceses as he required more soldiers.

Two days into his service, John fell ill and required hospitalization. As his troop continued, he stopped in at a church where he prayed. There he met a young man who volunteered to return him to his group, but instead led him deep into the mountains where military deserters met.

John lived with them for one year and two months. He used the name Jerome Vincent and opened a school for the nearby village of Les Noes’ children.

John remained in Les Noes and hid when gendarmes came in search of deserters until 1810, when deserters were granted amnesty.

Now free, John returned to Écully and resumed his ecclesiastic studies. He attended a minor seminary, Abbe Balley, in 1812 and was eventually ordained a deacon in June 1815.

He joined his heroes as a priest August 12, 1815 in the Couvent des Minimes de Grenoble. His first Mass was celebrated the next day and he was appointed assistant to Balley in Écully.

Three years later, when Balley passed away, Fr. John Vianney was appointed parish priest of the Ars parish. With help from Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lerdet, La Providence, a home for girls, was established in Ars.

When he began his priestly duties, Fr. Vianney realized many were either ignorant or indifferent to religion as a result of the French Revolution. Many danced and drank on Sundays or worked in their fields.

Fr. Vianney spent much time in confession and often delivered homilies against blasphemy and dancing. Finally, if parishioners did not give up dancing, he refused them absolution.

He spent 11 to twelve hours each day working to reconcile people with God. In the summer months, he often worked 16-hour days and refused to retire.

His fame spread until people began to travel to him in 1827. Within thirty years, it is said he received up to 20,000 pilgrims each year.

He was deeply devoted to St. Philomena and erected a chapel and shrine in her honor. When he later became deathly ill but miraculously recovered, he attributed his health to St. Philomena’s intercession.

By 1853, Fr. Vianney had attempted to run away from Ars four times, each attempt with the intention of becoming a monk but decided after the final time that it was not to be.

Six years later, he passed away and left behind a legacy of faith and was viewed as the champion of the poor.

On October 3, 1873, Pope Pius IX proclaimed Fr. Vianney as “venerable” and on January 8, 1905, Pope Pius X beatified him. St. John Vianney was canonized on May 31, 1925. His feast day was declared August 9 but it was changed twice before it fell to August 4.

St. John Vianney would often say: “Private prayer is like straw scattered here and there: If you set it on fire, it makes a lot of little flames. But gather these straws into a bundle and light them, and you get a mighty fire, rising like a column into the sky; public prayer is like that.”

Prayer of St. John Vianney

I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life.

I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You.

I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally…

My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.

Source:catholic.org 

St.Dominic~Apostle of the Rosary 


Saint Dominic was born in Caleruega, Spain in 1170. His parents were members of the Spanish nobility and related to the ruling family. His father was Felix Guzman, and was the royal warden of the village. His mother, Bl. Joan of Aza, was a holy woman in her own right.

According to one legend, his mother made a pilgrimage to an abbey at Silos. Legend says there were many signs of the great child she would bear. One of the most common legends says that during the pilgrimage, Joan had a dream of a dog leaping from her womb with a torch in its mouth. The animal “seemed to set the earth on fire.” His parents named him Dominic a play on the words Domini canis, meaning the Lord’s dog in Latin. An alternative, and possibly more likely story says he was named after St. Dominic de Silos, a Spanish monk who lived a century before.

It is known that Dominic was educated in Palencia, and he concentrated on theology and the arts. He spent six years studying theology and four the arts. He was widely acclaimed as an exemplary student by his professors. In 1191, a famine left many people desolate and homeless across Spain. Dominic sold everything he had, including his furniture and clothes and bought food for the poor. When he sold his manuscripts, required for study, he replied, “Would you have me study from these dead skins when people are dying of hunger?”

On two other occasions, Dominic attempted to sell himself into slavery to the Moors to obtain the freedom of others.

In 1194, Dominic joined a Benedictine order, the Canons Regular in Osma. He became the superior, or prior of the chapter in 1201.

In 1203 he joined his bishop, Diego de Acebo on a trip to Denmark. His mission was to help find a bride for Crown Prince Ferdinand. Although an agreement was made, the princess died before she could depart for Spain.

Her untimely death left the pair free to travel where they wished. They opted to travel to Rome, where they arrived in late 1204. The reason for this trip was that Bishop Diego de Acebo wanted to resign his office to pursue a new mission, the conversion of unbelievers.

Pope Innocent III did not wish the pair to travel to a distant land filled with unbelievers. Instead, the pair were asked to go to southern France, the region of Languedoc, to convert heretics back to the true faith.

At that time, the Albigensian heresy was flourishing. This heresy was so dangerous that it even praised the suicide of its members, often by means of self-inflicted starvation! The heresy wrongly taught that all material things,including the human body itself, were fundamentally evil. The Christian faith teaches otherwise. In fact, it proclaims the very resurrection of the Body.

A group of monks, an order of Benedictines who returned to an ancient Rule known as the Cistercians, were specifically assigned to combat the heresy through prayer, fasting and instruction, but they made little headway. According to writings from the period, some of the monks had become worldly and even pompous in their approach, surrounding themselves with material artifacts which repulsed the Albigensians.

Diego and Dominic were austere by comparison to some of these worldly monks and this austerity and personal self discipline appealed to many of the heretics who had been deceived in their thinking.

When Dominic debated the heretics, they could not defend themselves. Naturally, there is no defense against the truth. Many heretics threatened Dominic with violence. Despite the threats, Dominic traveled throughout the region, preaching and converting many back to Catholic Christian faith and practice.

Dominic recognized the need for a physical institution in Southern France to preserve the gains he made against the Albigensian heresy. The nobility needed a place to educate their children and Catholic women needed a safe place away from hostile heretics. Dominic established a convent at Prouille in 1206, which would become the first Dominican house. Bishop Diego and Dominic established their headquarters there. The monastery remains to this day as the Notre-Dame-de-Prouille Monastery.

In January 1208, the French nobility decided to take up arms against the heretics, after they murdered a papal legate. During the crusade that followed, Dominic consistently appealed for mercy for the heretics who were often the victims of atrocities. Dominic followed the armies and spent his time reconciling survivors to the Church.

Around this time, two things have been attributed to St. Dominic, although both are questioned by historians.

The first is his status as the first Inquisitor of the Inquisition. The first formal Inquisition was established as early as 1184, when Dominic would have been a teenager. The purpose of the Inquisition was to combat heresy by bringing the accused to trial and giving them an opportunity to repent. Although modern depictions accuse the Inquisition of being a bloodthirsty institution that liberally employed torture and death, such insinuations are generally false. The Inquisition was the first to provide many of the rights afforded to accused persons in modern courts. It was very progressive for its time.

There had been earlier courts to combat heresy, but these were not known as the inquisition.

In any case, while Dominic devoted his life to combating heresy, he was by no means the first inquisitor. It is possible he did advise various judges on Catholic orthodoxy when questions arose. There are no primary sources from the period which say Dominic was directly involved with the Inquisition.

The second thing concerns the Rosary. According to legend, St. Dominic received the Rosary during a period of prayer at the abbey in Prouille. This allegedly took place in 1214 during an apparition of the Virgin Mary.

This legend is a matter of some dispute among historians, but while similar devotions existed before this time, there is no record of the Marian rosary in this form before. Also, the Marian Rosary became popular following this event, suggesting the legend may be true.

Dominic became famous as a result of his mercy and his work. Several other prominent religious figures of the time petitioned for Dominic to be made bishop. He refused at least three attempts at promotion, saying he would rather run away with nothing than become a bishop.

Dominic remained steadfast to his mission to establish an order dedicated to promoting morality and the expulsion of heresy.

In July 1215, Dominic was granted permission to form his own religious order for this purpose. He was joined by six followers. The group followed a Rule of Life which included a strict routine of discipline, including prayer and penance. They also established a system of education. They often traveled the countryside to preach.

His order was confirmed on December 22, 1216, and in 1217, Pope Honorius III dubbed Dominic and his followers “The Order of Preachers.”

In the summer of 1217, Dominic decided it was time to send his followers out to grow the order. The band of seventeen men was ordered to depart Prouille and to go out across Europe to spread the order. The decision was a fateful one which proved successful. New members began to appear in great numbers across the continent.

After sending out his followers, Dominic headed to Rome to meet with the Pope and seek support for his mission.

Shortly afterwards, Pope Honorarius III elevated Dominic to the rank of “Master of the Sacred Palace.” The position has been occupied by Dominican preachers since Dominic himself in 1218.

Pope Honorarius III issued a Bull, a papal decree, asking all clergy across Europe to support the Order of Preachers. He then asked Dominic to assist with a new mission. The Pope noted that the religious orders for women in Rome were becoming lax in their discipline. He desired to bring them together to restore their discipline. He assigned Dominic this task.

He gave Dominic an old church, San Sisto, which required renovation. Once complete, Dominic did the hard work of persuading several orders of nuns to relocate. Somehow, he accomplished this mission. However, the arrival of the nuns meant that Dominic’s small order had no place to call home in Rome. The Pope rewarded Dominic with a new church, the basilica of Santa Sabina. The basilica remains the headquarters of the Dominican order to this day.

Following these successes, Dominic began a period of travel that would continue for the rest of his life. His followers managed to establish several new houses which were growing rapidly.

According to writings about him, Dominic chose for himself only the most meager of provisions. His accommodations and clothes were described as “mean.” He refused to sleep on a bed. When he reached the edge of a town, he removed his sandals and walked barefoot, regardless of the path. He constantly prayed or issued instruction as he walked and whenever he faced discomfort, he praised God. His only possessions were a small bundle and a staff. In his bundle he kept a copy of the Gospel of Matthew and the Epistles of St. Paul, which he would read over and over again. He always drew great crowds wherever he went.

As Dominic traveled, he recognized the need for written rules for his monks to follow. His order had previously adopted the Rule of St. Augustine, but they recognized a need for a more formal constitution.

This was worked out between 1220 and 1221. The constitution was revolutionary for its time. Every superior was to be elected for a limited period of time. The order was to be supported with alms, and still is to this day. Preaching and study were to be the dominant work of the Dominica orders.

By spring of 1221, Dominic went back to his travels. He began with a trip to Venice, then returned to Bologna where he had established a convent in 1218.

In July of 1221, Dominic took ill with a fever. He asked to be laid on the ground, still refusing a bed. He exhorted his brothers to keep a spirit of humility and charity. After several weeks of illness, he made a last confession and a will, then passed away on August 6. He died in the presence of his brother Dominicans. Dominic was just 51.

Dominic’s body was placed in a humble sarcophagus in 1223. It was then moved to a shrine in 1267.

Pope Gregory IX canonized St. Dominic on July 13, 1234, and his feast day is August 8.

Saint Dominic is the patron saint of astronomers, the Dominican Republic, and the innocent who are falsely accused of crimes. He is commonly depicted in icons with a dog, or lilies, holding a book. His hair always appears cut with a tonsure.

St.Peter Julian Eymard~Apostle of the Holy Eucharist 


Feast Day: August 2

Canonized: December 9, 1962

Beatified: July 12, 1925

Venerated: June 22, 1922

Peter Julian Eymard was born on February 4, 1811 in La Mure, France. He grew up in a poor family in Europe after the French Revolution, a time when Catholicism was not looked upon kindly.

There is a story about Peter from when he was only about five years old. His sister was caring for him and he disappeared. She was frightened and began to search the whole town, looking for the little boy. She finally looked into the village church, where she saw that her brother had pulled a small ladder over to the tabernacle and had his ear up against its door. When she scolded him and asked what he was doing, the child told her, “I can hear Him better this way.”

Before his first communion at the age of 12, the young boy wrote a small book of prayers. The prayer to be recited after communion was written as follows:

My dear Jesus,

I thank you for the grace

which you have given me

that you have come to dwell in my heart. 

It was clear from an early age that Peter wanted to be a priest, although his father was not happy with that idea. After he entered the seminary, illness forced him to leave. But he persisted and was finally ordained for the Diocese of Grenoble when he was 23. A few years later he heard some Marist Priests preach. The Marist order is dedicated to Mary, the Blessed Mother. Their message appealed to Father Eymard, and he eventually joined their congregation. He traveled through Europe, giving retreats and missions.

As time passed, he felt very drawn to Jesus through the Eucharist and decided that there needed to be priests who urged devision to this. In 1856, Father Eymard founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. The men who joined the congregation guarded the Blessed Sacrament 24 hours a day and soon attracted lay persons to do the same. This practice of prayer and devotion before the Blessed Sacrament became known as Eucharistic devotion.

The congregation struggled and was very poor. But Father Eymard did not give up. Despite continuing problems with his health, he even helped form the Sister Servants of the Blessed Sacrament with one of the women who came to him for direction, Marguerite Guillot. Along with the men and women of these congregations he visited the poor and those in prison and tried to Catholics in the teachings of the faith.

In 1868, at the age of 57, Father Eymard died. He was canonized 1962 by Pope John XXIII. He has been referred to as “the Apostle of the Eucharist.”  

St.Alphonsus Liguori~Patron of Confessors and the Lay Apostolate 


Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation. He was born Alphonsus Marie Antony John Cosmos Damien Michael Gaspard de Liguori on September 27,1696, at Marianella, near Naples, Italy. Raised in a pious home, Alphonsus went on retreats with his father, Don Joseph, who was a naval officer and a captain of the Royal Galleys. Alphonsus was the oldest of seven children, raised by a devout mother of Spanish descent. Educated at the University of Naples, Alphonsus received his doctorate at the age of sixteen. By age nineteen he was practicing law, but he saw the transitory nature of the secular world, and after a brief time, retreated from the law courts and his fame. Visiting the local Hospital for Incurables on August 28, 1723, he had a vision and was told to consecrate his life solely to God. In response, Alphonsus dedicated himself to the religious life, even while suffering persecution from his family. He finally agreed to become a priest but to live at home as a member of a group of secular missionaries. He was ordained on December 21, 1726, and he spent six years giving missions throughout Naples. In April 1729, Alphonsus went to live at the “Chiflese College,” founded in Naples by Father Matthew Ripa, the Apostle of China. There he met Bishop Thomas Falcoia, founder of the Congregation of Pious Workers. This lifelong friendship aided Alphonsus, as did his association with a mystic, Sister Mary Celeste. With their aid, Aiphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer on November 9, 1732. The foundation faced immediate problems, and after just one year, Alphonsus found himself with only one lay brother, his other companions having left to form their own religious group. He started again, recruited new members, and in 1743 became the prior of two new congregations, one for men and one for women. Pope Benedict XIV gave his approval for the men’s congregation in 1749 and for the women’s in 1750. Alphonsus was preaching missions in the rural areas and writing. He refused to become the bishop of Palermo but in 1762 had to accept the papal command to accept the see of St. Agatha of the Goths near Naples. Here he discovered more than thirty thousand uninstructed men and women and four hundred indifferent priests. For thirteen years Alphonsus fed the poor, instructed families, reorganized the seminary and religious houses, taught theology, and wrote. His austerities were rigorous, and he suffered daily the pain from rheumatism that was beginning to deform his body. He spent several years having to drink from tubes because his head was so bent forward. An attack of rheumatic fever, from May 1768 to June 1769, left him paralyzed. He was not allowed to resign his see, however, until 1775. In 1780, Alphonsus was tricked into signing a submission for royal approval of his congregation. This submission altered the original rule, and as a result Alphonsus was denied any authority among the Redemptorists. Deposed and excluded from his own congregation, Alphonsus suffered great anguish. But he overcame his depression, and he experienced visions, performed miracles, and gave prophecies. He died peacefully on August 1,1787, at Nocera di Pagani, near Naples as the Angelus was ringing. He was beatified in 1816 and canonized in 1839. In 1871, Alphonsus was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX. His writings on moral, theological, and ascetic matters had great impact and have survived through the years, especially his Moral Theology and his Glories of Mary. He was buried at the monastery of the Pagani near Naples. Shrines were built there and at St. Agatha of the Goths. He is the patron of confessors, moral theologians, and the lay apostolate. In liturgical art he is depicted as bent over with rheumatism or as a young priest.