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Ten New Saints

Pope Francis celebrated Mass and the canonization of 10 men and women today on May 15th, 2022.

The follow is a brief overview of our new saints from St. Louis Review and CNS:

• Blessed Devasahayam Pillai, an Indian layman and father who was born to an upper-caste Hindu family in 1712 and converted to Christianity in 1745. The Vatican said his refusal to participate in Hindu ceremonies and his preaching about “the equality of all people,” denying the Hindu caste system, led to his arrest, torture and his death in 1752.

• Blessed César de Bus, the France-born founder of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine, a religious congregation dedicated to education, pastoral ministry and catechesis. Born in 1544, he enjoyed life and parties until he had a conversion experience in his early 30s and began dedicating his life to prayer and helping the poor. Ordained to the priesthood in 1582, he was a pioneer in educating the laity in the faith, using illustrations he painted himself and songs and poetry he wrote. He died in 1607.

• Blessed Luigi Maria Palazzolo, an Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor. Born in 1827, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1850. The Vatican biography said, “At that time there was an abundance of clergy and, like the majority of priests from wealthy families who stayed at home and generously dedicated themselves to good works, Don Luigi chose to devote himself to young people” at an oratory in a poor neighborhood. He opened a school that offered evening classes in reading and writing to men and boys before opening a separate oratory for girls and founding the Sisters of the Poor to run it.

• Blessed Giustino Maria Russolillo, an Italian who, on the day of his ordination to the priesthood in 1913, vowed to establish a religious order dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life, but his first attempt was stopped by his bishop. Eventually, though, he founded the Society of Divine Vocations for men and the Vocationist Sisters.

• Blessed Charles de Foucauld was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1858. He strayed from the faith during his adolescence, but during a trip to Morocco, he saw how devoted Muslims were to their faith, which inspired him to return to the Church and, eventually, to join the Trappists. After living in monasteries in France and in Syria, he sought an even more austere life as a hermit. Ordained to the priesthood in 1901, he lived among the poor and finally settled in Tamanrasset, Algeria. In 1916, he was killed by a band of marauders. His writings inspired the foundation, after his death, of the Little Brothers of Jesus and the Little Sisters of Jesus.

• Blessed Anna Maria Rubatto, founder of the order now known as the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto, was born in Carmagnola, Italy, in 1844 and died in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1904.

• Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani, co-founder and first superior general of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family. Born in 1862 in Castelletto di Brenzone, Italy, she dedicated her life to serving the poor and needy as well as assisting the sick and the elderly. She died in 1934.

• Blessed Titus Brandsma was born in Oegeklooster, Netherlands, in 1881 and entered the Carmelites in 1898. Ordained in 1905, he was sent to Rome for further studies and, while there, became a correspondent for several Dutch newspapers and magazines. When he returned home, he founded the magazine Karmelrozen and, in 1935, was named chaplain to the Dutch Catholic journalists’ association. During World War II, he was arrested and sent to Dachau for treason after defending Jews and encouraging Catholic newspapers not to print Nazi propaganda. He was killed with a lethal injection in 1942 at the age of 61 and cremated at the camp.

• Blessed Marie Rivier, a Frenchwoman who founded the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in 1796 during the time of the French Revolution, when many Catholic convents were closed and religious activities were outlawed. She was born in 1768 and died in 1838.

• Blessed Carolina Santocanale, also known as Blessed Mary of Jesus, an Italian nun born in 1852, who founded the Congregation of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes. She died in Palermo in 1923.

May all these newly canonized saints, pray for us!

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Saints

Why Saint Joseph is Important

The Gospel of Matthew (1:18-25) has this passage, which is the most direct information that we have about Saint Joseph:

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. 
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 


“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 


All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:


Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” 


When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

Here’s a few facts that we can deduce from the little recorded information that we know about Saint Joseph:

  • Joseph played a huge role in forming Jesus’ humanity. He passed on his personality traits and carpentry skills. Joseph modeled manhood to Jesus.
  • Mary and Joseph had the perfect marriage, but even they had to go through the difficulties of life. Let us pray that we can trust God, as they did, to follow His will and plan for us.
  • Joseph had a lot in common with the Patriarch Joseph, son of Jacob. Comparisons include: important dreams, being sent to Egypt, models of purity, and being leaders of households.
  • Joseph was chosen by God to be a model to His son. May we too look to him as a good example of manhood, fatherhood, and family life.
  • Joseph is a model for us on how to live, and he fulfilled his mission before dying. We can imagine he died in the arms of Jesus and Mary. May we too live well to die a happy death.

“Let us allow ourselves to be ‘filled’ with St. Joseph’s silence! In a world that is often too noisy, that encourages neither recollection nor listening to God’s voice”

Pope Benedict XVI

Joseph’s silence contrasted the great things that he knew:
-How to be led by God
-Conception by the Holy Spirit
-Life details of Jesus and Mary

St. Joseph was a just man, a tireless worker, the upright guardian of those entrusted to his care. May he always guard, protect, and enlighten families.

Pope St. John Paul II

“Help us to be lights in the world so that the family of God may spring forth from humanity transfigured in Christ”. St. Joseph, pray for us!

Father Mark Goring has a book called “St. Joseph the Protector: A nine-day preparation for entrustment to St. Joseph”. It is very helpful to learn more about Saint Joseph.

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Saints

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez and the Attraction of Holiness

Mark A. McNeil – Catholic Answers Article

The first half of Alphonsus’s life was full of tragedy. His poor father, a wool trader, died when Alphonsus was young. Years later, Alphonsus married Mary Suarez, though she would live only for five more years. Only one of their three children outlived Mary. Tragedy struck again within two years of her death when Alphonsus’ mother and remaining son both died.

Who wouldn’t be consumed by bitterness and anger in the face of such miserable misfortune? For the young widower, however, Alphonsus’s losses birthed a desire to consecrate his life completely to God. After his wife’s death, he immersed himself in intense prayer and rigid bodily disciplines.

Although most stories of Alphonsus’s life understandably focus on his prayerfulness and continual consciousness of God’s presence, others reveal his deeply human struggles with scrupulosity and agitations of mind. Obsession with rules can lead to mental torment about past and present sins and shortcomings. In this struggle, Alphonsus followed St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, who almost lost his battle with scrupulosity.

Ignatius was so tormented by his many sins that he came close to taking his own life during his stay in Manresa, the same place where he would begin to develop the highly influential Spiritual Exercises. For both Ignatius and Alphonsus, the crucible of interior pain would give birth to a path to hope and love for countless others influence by them.

Of the many who were profoundly influenced by St. Alphonsus, St. Peter Claver is perhaps the most well-known. Claver, after receiving counsel from Alphonsus, devoted his life to tireless missionary work among the victims of the slave trade. Both Alphonsus and Claver would later be recognized by their order as models of what became a common refrain for Jesuits, “a man for others,” a phrase intended as a stark contrast to the temptation to be men “for ourselves.”

Read the full article on Catholic.com

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Saints

Doctors of the Church

The title “Doctor of the Church,” unlike the popular title “Father of the Church,” is an official designation that is bestowed by the Pope in recognition of the outstanding contribution a person has made to the understanding and interpretation of the sacred Scriptures and the development of Christian doctrine.

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio

For a saint to be considered a “Doctor of the Church, he or she must have these three requirements:

  1. Holiness.
  2. Deep understanding and insight of faith.
  3. High quality writings or contributions that stand out as having an impact on helping the Church.
NameBornPromotedLearn More
St. Athanasius2981568EWTN Video
St. Hilary of Poitiers3001851Franciscan Media
St. Ephrem3061920CS Profile Page
St. Cyril of Jerusalem3151883Franciscan Media
St. Gregory of Nazianzus3291568Encyclopedia
St. Basil the Great3301568Encyclopedia
St. Ambrose3401298Word on Fire
St. John Chrysostom3471568EWTN Video
St. Jerome3471298Word on Fire
St. Augustine3541298Franciscan Media
St. Cyril of Alexandria3761883CS Profile Page
St. Leo the Great4001754Catholic News
St. Peter Chrysologus4061729Franciscan Media
St. Gregory the Great5401298Word on Fire
St. Isidore of Seville5601722Sanctoral
St. Bede the Venerable6731899CS Profile Page
St. John Damascene6761890Catholic News
St. Gregory of Narek9512015Franciscan Media
St. Peter Damian10071828Shalom World
St. Anselm10331720Catholic News
St. Bernard of Clairvaux10901830Sanctoral
St. Hildegard of Bingen10982012Franciscan Media
St. Albertus Magnus12061931Encyclopedia
St. Anthony of Padua11951946CS Profile Page
St. Bonaventure12211588Catholic News
St. Thomas Aquinas12251567EWTN Video
St. Catherine of Siena13471970CS Profile Page
St. John of Avila15002012Franciscan Media
St. Teresa of Avila15151970EWTN Video
St. Peter Canisius15211925Sanctoral
St. John of the Cross15421926Word on Fire
St. Robert Bellarmine15421931Word on Fire
St. Lawrence of Brindisi15591959Rome Reports
St. Francis de Sales15671877Franciscan Media
St. Alphonsus Liguori16961871Franciscan Media
St. Thérèse of Lisieux18731997CS Profile Page
How can one become a Doctor of the Church?
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Saints

Mary Magdalene: A Living Blueprint For Effective Evangelization

Rachel Bulman – Word on Fire Blog –

Pope Francis elevated her celebration to a feast on June 3, 2016, which was also the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

(Luke. 8:1-3).

These three verses from Luke are often overlooked, but should not be. The first thing to note is that women were a part of Jesus’ inner circle. This was quite radical for the time, as early rabbinic documents cautioned against speaking to women at all. (Think of the reaction in John 4:27 when the disciples returned to find Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well.) Not only were women a significant part of the ministry, but they sustained and cared for the disciples. Some translations say that they ministered to them.

Her posture toward Christ is always the same: seeking him, loving him, and finding him, for he is always near to her, as he is near to you, and to me. It is in this humble posture that the Magdalene is able to see with her eyes and heart what many failed to see: that there is only need of one thing, and that one thing is a life that is fully centered in Jesus Christ.

In many ways, she is the blueprint for the making of great evangelizers, for an evangelist must live in such a way that the Gospel is preached no matter the cost. Living a life of complete self-donation and of total Christ-centeredness will cost us all that the world has to offer, but will inevitably lead us over and over again to the same garden of the Resurrection.

Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us!

Read the full article on WordOnFire.org

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Saints

Highlighting Black and African Catholic Saints

YouTube creator LizziesAnswers posted a video titled “Top 20 Black & African Catholic Saints!“, which inspired this post that highlights a few of the saints that she mentions in her video.

Saint Anthony the Great – This saint had many admirers who persuaded him to found two monasteries and to give them a rule of life. These were the first monasteries ever to be founded, and Saint Anthony is, therefore, the father of cenobites of monks. When he was over ninety, he was commanded by God in a vision to search the desert for Saint Paul the Hermit. He is said to have survived until the age of a hundred and five, when he died peacefully in a cave on Mount Kolzim near the Red Sea.

Saint Augustine – After his conversion, Saint Augustine led a very productive Christian life. At Hippo, where he settled, he was consecrated bishop in 395. For thirty-five years he was the center of ecclesiastical life in Africa, and the Church’s strongest champion against heresy. His writings, which compose many volumes, have been everywhere accepted as a major source of both Christian spirituality and theological speculation. The great Doctor died, deeply regretted by the entire Christian world, in 430.

Saint Charles Lwanga and companions Saint Charles Lwanga and his companions suffered persecution from an unjust king. Charles taught the young people of the kingdom and defended them from the king’s sexual advances. He and his 21 companions died as martyrs after not renouncing Christianity.

Saint Martin de Porres – Son of a freed African slave woman and a Spanish knight, Saint Martin was given the habit of a Coadjutor Brother and assigned to the infirmary of the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima, where he would remain in service until his death at the age of sixty. Word of his miracles had made him known as a Saint to every resident of the region. 

Saint Monica – The mother of Saint Augustine, was born in 332 of a Christian family of the ancient city of Tagasta in northern Africa. Augustine left his mother and rejected her faith, but he could not escape from her prayers, which encompassed him like the providence of God. She followed him to Italy; and there, by his marvelous conversion, her sorrow was turned into joy. She had devoted herself to his conversion, praying for him always and winning his reverence and love by the holiness of her life and her affectionate forbearance. 

Saints Perpetua and Felicity – These two saints are commemorated in the Canon of the Mass. They lived in the North African city of Carthage, at a time when it was part of the Roman Empire; they had come under an edict issued by the emperor Severus in the year 202, declaring death to be the penalty for being a Christian. They faithfully died as martyrs.

The information about the Saints is from sanctoral.com

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Saints

St. Boniface and the Christmas Tree

Steve Weidenkopf – Catholic Answers Article –

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Boniface (680–754), known in Church history as the Apostle to the Germans. Boniface is regarded as “probably the greatest missionary since St. Paul” for his extensive travels and successful evangelization efforts in modern-day Germany. While he is well known as a great bishop and evangelizer, Catholic legend, based on actual historical events, also holds that Boniface is the founder of the use of a Christmas tree to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.

The story of the Christmas tree begins in England, where the very young Winfrid decided to enter a Benedictine monastery over the objections of his parents. Winfrid grew in holiness and piety but yearned to leave the monastery and bring the light of Christ to the pagan Germans just as the monks had brought the Faith to England a century earlier. Winfrid heard reports that Pope Gregory II had sent missionaries to Bavaria in 716 and decided to travel to Rome to become a missionary to the Germans. Pope Gregory was delighted at the arrival of the eager Winfrid and after a period of time commissioned him to preach the Gospel in the regions of Thuringia, Bavaria, Franconia, and Hesse. In recognition of his special missionary commission the pope also changed Winfrid’s name to Boniface.

… Impressed and pleased with Boniface’s efforts, Gregory consecrated him archbishop for all Germany east of the Rhine (without a specific episcopal seat) and placed his territory under the pope’s jurisdiction. Imbued with this new authority and pontifical mandate, Boniface returned to Germany in 723…

From his missionary travels, Boniface knew that in winter the inhabitants of the village of Geismar gathered around a huge old oak tree (known as the “Thunder Oak”) dedicated to the god Thor. This annual event of worship centered on sacrificing a human, usually a small child, to the pagan god. Boniface desired to convert the village by destroying the Thunder Oak, which the pagans had previously boasted the God of Boniface could not destroy, so he gathered a few companions and journeyed to Geismar.

His fellow missionaries were scared and fearful that the Germans might kill them, so they balked when they reached the outskirts of the village on Christmas Eve. Boniface steadied the nerves of his friends and as they approached the pagan gathering he said, “Here is the Thunder Oak; and here the cross of Christ shall break the hammer of the false god Thor.” Boniface and his friends arrived at the time of the sacrifice, which was interrupted by their presence. In a show of great trust in God and born from a desire to enkindle the fire of Christ in the German pagans, Boniface grabbed an axe and chopped down the Thunder Oak of mighty Thor.

The Germans were astounded. The holy bishop preached the Gospel to the people and used a little fir tree that was behind the now felled oak tree as a tool of evangelization. Pointing to it he said, “This little tree, a young child of the forest, shall be your holy tree tonight. It is the wood of peace… It is the sign of an endless life, for its leaves are ever green. See how it points upward to heaven. Let this be called the tree of the Christ-child; gather about it, not in the wild wood, but in your own homes; there it will shelter no deeds of blood, but loving gifts and rites of kindness.”

Awed by the destruction of the oak tree and Boniface’s preaching, the Germans were baptized.

In the centuries that followed, the Catholic tradition of using an evergreen tree to celebrate the birth of Jesus spread throughout Germany, and German immigrants in the eighteenth century brought the custom to the New World. Although there are many stories, legends, and myths surrounding the founding of the Christmas tree, including the claim that the custom originated with Martin Luther, there is only one story rooted in a real person and a real event: Boniface, converter of the Germans, who destroyed Thor’s mighty oak.

Read the full article on Catholic.com

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The Contagious Enthusiasm of St. Bede

Father Steve Grunow – Word on Fire Blog –

Bede lived a life of exemplary holiness and was known for his charity and decency. He also had a prodigious intellect, writing theological treatises, commentaries on the Scriptures and histories, all of which remain primary sources for scholars of our own time.

If there is a lesson for us in the witness of Saint Bede it might be about the importance of knowing the Faith in depth and practicing it with enthusiasm. The dynamism of knowing what the Church teaches and practicing that teaching as a whole way of life is the source of creative energy for mission. If the minds of the Church’s faithful remain lackluster, reactionary or immature and the practice of the Faith is gestured toward rather than accomplished, the culture of the Church will not advance and grow.

Also, we live in an age in which the contribution of the Church to society and culture, past and present, is often painted in broad strokes of negativity. Saint Bede’s witness demonstrates that the Faith’s influence on humanity’s cultural aspirations is something that can be appreciated, rather than decried and feared.

May St. Bede intercede for us and help us in our mission to transform the culture in which we live through the grace and power of Jesus Christ. The inscription on the tomb of St. Bede in Durham: 
Christ is the morning star
Who when the night
Of this world is past
Brings to his saints
The promise of
The light of life
& opens everlasting day.”

Read the full article on WordonFire.org

See Saint Bede’s profile page here

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Catherine of Siena: A Marvel of Wisdom

Christopher Check – Catholic Answers Article –

A version of St. Catherine’s life might go something like this: At seven years of age a girl determines never to marry. At age twelve, she is pressured by her parents to submit to an arranged marriage so she defiantly cuts off her hair and neglects her appearance.

Later, the young woman develops quite a following in her town. Men and women alike seek her counsel. Soon she is bringing influence to bear in political circles unknown to women. She arbitrates family feuds. She brokers peace within and between the city-states of Tuscany. Bankers, generals, princes, dukes, kings, and queens, as well as scholars and abbots, seek her counsel. Her admonitions inspire the pope to restore the papacy to Rome. She writes one of the greatest works of medieval literature. She accomplishes all of this in 33 years.

When, six centuries later, she is at last declared a Doctor of the Catholic Church, she is only the second woman at the time to receive the honor. A real glass-ceiling breaker, Catherine made it big in a man’s world.

In marked contrast, St. Catherine never understood herself as a pioneer for women’s rights, much less a model for narcissistic self-fulfillment. On the contrary, she put into practice the truth her holy Bridegroom revealed to her early in her mystical life: “I am that which is; you are that which is not.”

Read the full article on Catholic.com..

Saint Catherine’s Profile Page

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St. Mark – Feast Day: April 25th

Saint Mark was converted to the Faith by Saint Peter, whom he later accompanied to Rome, acting there as his secretary or interpreter. When Saint Peter wrote his First Epistle to the churches of Asia, he affectionately joined to his own salutation that of his faithful companion, whom he calls my son Mark. The Roman people entreated Saint Mark to put in writing for them the substance of Saint Peter’s frequent discourses on Our Lord’s life. This the Evangelist did under the eye and with the express sanction of the Apostle, and every page of his brief but graphic Gospel so bore the impress of Saint Peter’s character, that the Fathers used to name it Peter’s Gospel.

Saint Mark was then sent to Egypt to found the Church of Alexandria. There his disciples became the wonder of the world for their piety and asceticism; Saint Jerome speaks of Saint Mark as the father of the anchorites who at a later time thronged the Egyptian deserts. There, too, he set up the first Christian school, the fruitful mother of many illustrious doctors and bishops.

After governing his see for many years, Saint Mark was seized one day by the heathen, dragged by ropes over stones, and thrown into prison. On the morrow the torture was repeated, and after receiving the consolation of the sight of Angels and the voice of Jesus, Saint Mark went to his reward.

See our profile page on St. Mark here

Biography from sanctoral.com