St.Pius X~The Pope of the Holy Eucharist 

     Perhaps nowhere in the history of the Church is there a better example of a man possessed of so many of the saintly virtues—piety, charity, deep humility, pastoral zeal, and simplicity—than in this holy Pope. Let us remember his life and follow his example of faithfulness to the Lord.
     Father Giuseppe Sarto was ordained at the cathedral in Castelfranco on Sep 18, 1858. The young priest’s first assignment was as curate at Tombolo, a parish of 1500 souls in the Trentino district of Italy. Eight years later, he became pastor of Salzano, one of the most favored parishes in the diocese of Treviso. There, he arranged for the instruction of young and old in the fundamentals of Christian Doctrine, because it was his firm conviction that devotion meant little if it’s meaning was not understood.

     Later, he was appointed Canon of the Cathedral, Chancellor of the diocese and spiritual director at the seminary. In spite of these many duties, he remained ever the teacher. He often journeyed from the seminary into the city to teach catechism to the children, and he organized Sunday classes for those children who attended public schools, where religion had been banned. When the diocese of Mantua fell vacant in 1884, Pope Leo XIII named Canon Sarto as bishop of that diocese.

    Those days in Italy there was a general government opposition to religion which was manifested in many ways. This negative atmosphere helped allow dangerous errors of thought to creep into the clergy, and these faults of the shepherds eventually spread to the flock. In general, a pall of religious indifference and secularism spread over the diocese. With his characteristic energy and spiritual strength, Bishop Sarto sought to correct these errors, giving first attention to the seminary. By his own example of zeal and teaching, he won back the clergy to full and faithful service. He then noted a laxity in the faith of the people which he attributed to the neglect of parish priests in the instruction of the catechism. This led to Bishop Sarto establishing the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) in all parishes where he often taught the classes himself.

     God blessed this work, and in 1893, Leo XIII elevated Bishop Sarto to Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice. Social and economic problems were of prime concern to the new cardinal, and any worthy social action organization was assured of his help. When the Workingmen’s Society was founded in Venice, the name of Cardinal Sarto was at the top of the list and he paid regular dues as a member! 

     On July 20, 1903, the world mourned the death of a great Pontiff, Leo XIII. Bishop Sarto was elected by the Cardinals on August 9, 1903, and he accepted and took the name of Pius X. The world was now the parish of the new Pontiff, and in his first encyclical he announced the aim of his reign. It was his desire, in the words of St. Paul, “to restore all things in Christ.” (Eph 1:10). The prime means of accomplishing this restoration was through the clergy, and so he exhorted bishops to reorganize the seminaries: only through a trained and disciplined clergy could a program of return to Christ be realized. 

      The religious instruction of young and old became the second most important means toward the Christian restoration: the evils of the world were traceable to an ignorance of God, he said, and it was necessary for priests to make the eternal truths available to all and in a language that all could understand. Ever an example, he himself gave Sunday instruction to the people in one of the Vatican courtyards. However, no reform of Pius’ was more widely acclaimed than the Decrees on Holy Communion, and Pius X is thus often called “the Pope of the Eucharist.” These decrees allowed the reception of first Holy Communion at an earlier age than had formerly been required, encouraged the frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist by all Catholics, and relaxed the fast for the sick. 

      The Pope likewise vigorously promoted reforms within the liturgy of the Church. In his Motu proprio on the Restoration of Church music, he listed the aims of such music to be sanctity, beauty of form, and universality. Gregorian Chant, the Pope felt, was the music best suited to attain those aims. However, an attempt to make all Church music Gregorian was exaggerated, and modern compositions were always welcomed as long as they fulfilled the prescribed norms. Pius also reformed the Breviary, and was founder of the Biblical Institute for the advancement of scholarship in the study of the Scriptures. He initiated and closely supervised the construction of the Code of Canon Law.

     The crowning achievement of the Pontiff was his encyclical “On the Doctrines of the Modernists.” In this work, which was a death blow to the philosophy of Modernism, which pretended to “modernize” the Church and to make it keep pace with the changing times, but in reality its end would have been the destruction of the foundation of faith. The Pope gave a systematic exposition of the errors involved, their causes, and provisions for combating these errors by definite preventive measures.

      Sadly, a little more than a month after the outbreak of the First World War, the Pope died on Aug 20, 1914. The inscription on his tomb in the crypt of the basilica of St. Peter’s gives the most eloquent testimony to a life spent in the service of God:

    “Born poor and humble of heart, 

      Undaunted champion of the Catholic faith, 

       Zealous to restore all things in Christ, 

        Crowned a holy life with a holy death.”

 

St.John Eudes 

John Eudes was born at Ri, Normandy, France, on November 14, 1601, the son of a farmer. He went to the Jesuit college at Caen when he was 14, and despite his parents’ wish that he marry, joined the Congregation of the Oratory of France in 1623. He studied at Paris and at Aubervilliers, was ordained in 1625, and worked as a volunteer, caring for the victims of the plagues that struck Normandy in 1625 and 1631, and spent the next decade giving Missions, building a reputation as an outstanding preacher and confessor and for his opposition to Jansenism. He became interested in helping fallen women, and in 1641, with Madeleine Lamy, founded a refuge for them in Caen under the direction of the Visitandines. He resigned from the Oratorians in 1643 and founded the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists) at Caen, composed of secular priests not bound by vows but dedicated to upgrading the clergy by establishing effective seminaries and to preaching missions. His foundation was opposed by the Oratorians and the Jansenists, and he was unable to obtain Papal approval for it, but in 1650, the Bishop of Coutances invited him to establish a seminary in that diocese. The same year the sisters at his refuge in Caen left the Visitandines and were recognized by the Bishop of Bayeux as a new congregation under the name of Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge.
John founded seminaries at Lisieux in 1653 and Rouen in 1659 and was unsuccessful in another attempt to secure Papal approval of his congregation, but in 1666 the Refuge sisters received Pope Alexander III’s approval as an institute to reclaim and care for penitent wayward women. John continued giving missions and established new seminaries at Evreux in 1666 and Rennes in 1670. He shared with St. Mary Margaret Alacoque the honor of initiating devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (he composed the Mass for the Sacred Heart in 1668) and the Holy Heart of Mary, popularizing the devotions with his “The Devotion to the Adorable Heart of Jesus” (1670) and “The Admirable Heart of the Most Holy Mother of God”, which he finished a month before his death at Caen on August 19th. He was canonized in 1925. His feast day is August 19th.

St.Clare of Montefalco 


Like so many other towns in Umbria, Montefalco is a small city set on a hill. It overlooks the valley of Spoleto, and some distance to the north Assisi is visible. Here Clare Damiani was born about 1268; and as a little girl of six she was placed in the convent of Saint Illuminata, where her sister Jane was superior.

From the beginning little Clare observed the rule of the Third Order of St Francis and added severe penances, keeping strict silence, taking only bread and water, and sleeping on the ground. About eight years later, Clare and the other sisters moved to a new convent, that of Santa Croce, which had been built for them on a nearby hill. During these years all of them followed the rule of the Third Order; but in 1290 the bishop of Spoleto substituted the rule of St Augustine.

After the death of her sister in 1298, Clare, who distinguished herself by her spirit of prayer and penance and was then about thirty years old, was chosen superior. Not only did she carry out her duties as a religious and a superior in an exemplary manner, but she exerted an extraordinary influence also on the outside world. She confuted heretics, converted sinners, reconciled families which were at odds with one another, made peace between neighboring warring towns, drove out devils, foretold future events, healed the sick, and raised the dead. During the latter part of her life, she also received the gifts of ecstasy and supernatural knowledge.

It is related that our Lord, carrying His Cross, appeared to Saint Clare of Montefalco and said: “I have been searching for a long time, daughter, to find a firm and solid place on which to plant My Cross, and I have not found one more suitable than your heart. You must receive it and allow it to take root.”

Clare herself once told a sister in her convent: “If you seek the Cross of Christ, take my heart. There you will find the suffering Lord.”

When Saint Clare of Montefalco’s heart was opened after her death, the Cross and other instruments of the Passion were found within, formed solidly in fibrous tissue. As an example, the crucifix was found to be about the size of a person’s thumb. The corpus is white and clearly formed as if sculpted, except for the tiny wound of the lance, which is bright red. A white tissue covers the loins of the corpus. For this reason she is also called Saint Clare of the Cross.

There were also three pellets found in the gall of St Clare. About the size of hazel nuts, they were found to be symbols of the Holy Trinity for the following reason – any single one of them weighed exactly the same as the other two, and any one of them equalled the weight of two or all three of them together. These pellets can still be seen.

Commending her sisters to her Franciscan brother, Father Francis Damiani, Saint Clare of Montefalco died at the age of forty on August 17, 1308, and was buried in the chapel of Santa Croce Convent. Later a church was built next to it and dedicated to her. Here her body, which has been preserved incorrupt in a most unusual manner, can still be seen; in fact, it seems to be that of a living person who is asleep. The miracle of liquefaction and ebullition of her blood has also taken place. The cult which had been paid to her as Blessed from the time of her death was approved in 1624; and in 1881 Pope Leo XIII canonized her.

~from The Franciscan Book of Saints, edited by Marion Habig, OFM~



Relic of the heart of St.Clare of Montefalco.Her Heart was found in the form of a Crucifix.

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