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Saint of the Week: Maximilian Kolbe

August 9th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Maximilian Kolbe

Feast Day: August 14

Raimund Kolbe, born in Russian Poland, was ordained a Franciscan, Maximilian Mary, in Rome.

St. Maximillian Kolbe (Wikimedia Commons)

St. Maximillian Kolbe (Wikimedia Commons)

In the 1920s, he reopened a ruined Polish friary, started a Marian press and was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Despite his illness, he had successful Marian missions to Japan and India before returning to Poland in 1936.

After the 1939 invasion of Poland, the Franciscans’ criticism of the occupiers prompted the arrest of Maximilian and four others, who ended up in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

Maximilian volunteered for martyrdom, taking the place of a married man being executed by starvation.

This man was present at the saint’s 1982 canonization.

Maximilian is the patron of prisoners, journalists and others.

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Saint of the Week: St. Mary Helen MacKillop

August 2nd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Mary Helen MacKillop

Feast Day: August 8

Mother MacKillop is Australia’s first native-born saint and its patron.

St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop (Wikimedia Commons/PD/USA)

St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop (Wikimedia Commons/PD/USA)

The oldest of eight children of Scottish immigrants, Mary began working with children as a governess.

With encouragement from a priest-adviser, Mary founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the continent’s first religious order, to open schools and orphanages for poor children in rural areas and to serve the aged and friendless by setting up women’s shelters.

She took the name Mary of the Cross, and survived episcopal opposition, disrespect and even excommunication.

The order received papal approval in 1888, and her 2010 canonization in Rome drew thousands of pilgrims from Australia, where she is considered a national heroine.

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Saint of the Week: Christina the Astonishing

July 17th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Christina the Astonishing

Feast Day: July 24

Born at Brusthem, Belgium, Christina had a seizure at age 21 that was thought to have killed her. At the Mass being said for her, she suddenly flew to

St. Christina the Astonishing (CNS)

St. Christina the Astonishing (CNS)

the top of the church, later saying she had been to hell, purgatory and heaven, and was allowed to return to earth to pray for suffering souls. This was one of the incredible events attributed to this poor, likely schizophrenic mystic, called “Christina Mirabilis,” who reportedly flew to treetops and rooftops to avoid smelling other people. She spent her last years in St. Catherine Convent in Saint-Trond, and is a patron saint of psychiatrists, psychologists and those suffering mental illness.

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Saint of the Week: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

July 13th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Feast Day: July 16

Mount Carmel, which juts out into the Mediterranean near Haifa, Israel, has been considered a sacred place since the prophet Elijah built an altar

Our Lady of Mounty Carmel (CNS)

Our Lady of Mounty Carmel (CNS)

there in his contest with the prophets of Baal.

The Carmel headland is traditionally associated with the beginnings of the Carmelite order around 1195, when a group of lay hermits formed a community there.

Mary had been honored there as early as the fifth century, and by the 12th century Mount Carmel had become a site of Marian devotion.

The Carmelites chose Mary as their protectress and dedicated their oratory on Mount Carmel to her.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the patron of Bolivia and Chile. This Marian feast became an optional memorial in the Revised Roman Calendar of 1969.

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Saint of the Week: Veronica Giuliani

July 6th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Veronica Giuliani

Feast Day: July 9

Christened Orsola after her birth in Mercatello, Italy, this mystic in 1677 joined the Capuchins at Citta di Castello, taking the name Veronica.

St. Veronica Giuliani (CNS/Public Domain)

St. Veronica Giuliani
(CNS/Public Domain)

Following a difficult novitiate, her spiritual life was dominated by the passion of Christ. She had ecstatic visions of the suffering Jesus and over time her body was marked by a crown of thorns and pierced heart. She received the five wounds of the stigmata on Good Friday in 1697 and carried them until her death.

In community life, she combined contemplation with practical administration, serving admirably as novice mistress for more than 30 years and abbess for more than 10. She was canonized in 1839.

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Saint of the Week: Elizabeth of Portugal

June 29th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Feast Day: July 4

The namesake of her great-aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, this daughter of Aragon’s king was married at age 12 to Diniz of Portugal, a good king but

St. Elizabeth of Portugal (Wikimedia Commons PD?USA)

St. Elizabeth of Portugal (Wikimedia Commons PD?USA)

unfaithful husband. As queen, Elizabeth founded hospitals, orphanages and a home for women. She was a peacemaker, reconciling her husband and rebellious son Alfonso, and helping avert wars. Widowed in 1325, she retired to a Poor Clare convent she founded in Coimbra, and as a Franciscan tertiary devoted herself to God and people in need. She died trying to broker peace between two kings, her son and nephew.

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Saint of the Week: John the Baptist

June 21st, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Nativity of John the Baptist

Feast: June 24

St. John the Baptist, by Leonardo da Vinci (Wikimedia Commons/PD/USA)

St. John the Baptist, by Leonardo da Vinci (Wikimedia Commons/PD/USA)

In the Gospels, John, a kinsman of Jesus through their mothers, preached repentance and baptized to prepare for the Messiah’s coming. This feast marks his exceptional birth to the aged priest Zechariah and the equally aged and barren Elizabeth. The angel Gabriel announces his birth in a vision to Zechariah, who hesitates in believing and is struck mute until eight days after John’s birth. Then, Zechariah, in a beautiful canticle that ends the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, proclaims that John “will be called prophet of the Most High.” John’s eventual beheading is commemorated with an Aug. 29 feast. A patron saint of Canada and Jordan, John is also the patron of Florence and the Knights Hospitaller of St. John.

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Saint of the Week: St. Emily de Vialar

June 15th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Emily de Vialar

Feast Day: June 17

Emily was the only daughter of a French baron. At 15 she left school in Paris to become her widowed father’s companion in

St. Emily (Emilie) de Viala  (CNS?image provide by  Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition/permission granted for editorial use)

St. Emily (Emilie) de Viala
(CNS?image provide by Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition/permission granted for editorial use)

Gaillac. Despite his wishes, Emily would not marry, and for 15 years tended neglected children and the poor. In 1832, when her maternal grandfather left her a fortune, she bought a large house in Gaillac, which became the first home of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition. In 1835, the order won approval and Emily and 17 other sisters professed vows. Their charisms were care of the needy and education. Emily oversaw the formation of 40 houses, before dying from complications of a hernia she’d gotten in her youth while doing a good deed.

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Saint of the Week: St. Paula Frassinetti

June 8th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Paula Frassinetti

Feast Day: June 11

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St. Paula Frassinetti (CNS)

Paula was born in the politically turbulent early 19th century in Genoa, Italy. With her priest- brother, she taught the poor children of the parish of Quinto. When other women joined them, Paula founded the Congregation of St. Dorothy. Despite many obstacles and few resources, the new teaching institute eventually prospered as Paula’s deep prayer life and wisdom became widely known. The congregation spread to other Italian cities, Portugal and Brazil. Pope John Paul II declared Paula a saint in 1984.

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Saint of the Week: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

May 24th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Feast Day: May 25

Born to a cooper and winemaker in Burgundy, France, Madeleine was educated by her older brother, Louis, who was

St. Madeline Sophie (CNS)

St. Madeline Sophie (CNS)

studying for the priesthood. He strove to repress her emotions and instruct her as if she were a seminarian. Her extensive formation, unusual for the time, paid off, as Madeleine was prepared for the rebirth of French Catholicism after its persecution during the French Revolution. In 1800, she and three companions began the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Madeleine was appointed superior at 23, and over the next 63 years she oversaw the establishment of more than 100 houses and schools in 12 countries. Her order was approved by Rome in 1826, and she was canonized in 1925.

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