St. Thomas Aquinas St. Thomas was born toward the end of 1226 and was born in Italy. St. Thomas was an Italian scholar and the most influential theologian in the Catholic Church. In 1243 he joined the Dominican order which was not like by his parents and they put him in jail for two years. St. Thomas wrote many works philosophy and theology but his most famous is Summa Theological. In it he gives proof of God and his existence. In another section he talks about ethics and how it roots in Aristole. In a chain of acts of will man strives for the highest end. The third part is about Christ. Thomas teaches that Christ is to be regarded as redeemer after his human nature. Thomas was sent to Paris to study under Albert the Great. He served with Albert as his teaching assistant. In 1252 he began to become a master of theology. Thomas was regonized as an excellent theology. He was very holy and would celebrate mass and then have lunch with the friars. Then in the evening he would pray and read. When he became a Dominican he parents really wanted him to become a monk. He was 19 when this happened. He was in Rome but removed and sent to Paris by his parents. His family became desperate to have him not join but he remained determined. At last the he was sent to Rome to meet the master general of the Dominicans. In 1274 St. Thomas died and never got to finish Summa Theologica. He is known as the model for people studying priesthood. In 1333 he was canonized and was declared one of the doctors of the church by Pope Pius V. Kateri Tekakwitha Young Kateri Tekakwitha, born in 1656 near a town called Auriesville in New York, was the daughter of the Mohawk Chief and a Catholic Algonquin. In 1660, at the age of four, her parents and baby brother were killed by a disease that attacked the village, leaving her an orphan. Tekakwitha survived. Although, she was partially blind. She would feel around to find her way. Seeing this, the others called her a name that by which means “The One Who Walks Groping for Her Way”. Later on, her uncle and two aunts adopted her. They went back to the village where the disease killed her family and rebuilt a village known as Caughnawaga. Over time, she grew into a sweet, shy young woman. She would spend time with her aunts working in the fields. She would often go to the neighboring forest and gather firewood water from the stream and certain roots to make medicine and die. Despite her poor sight, she was very skilled at beadwork. Also, at the woods she would go alone to pray to god and listen to his and her own voice. At the age of 18, is when her holy and religious life truly began. A priest came to their village and established a chapel. Kateri wanted to learn more about Jesus so she decided to be baptized. At the Age of twenty, she was baptized on Easter. Although, her family did not accept her choice to embace Christ so she became a village outcast. Tekakwitha was treated very badly by others in her settlement. In 1677, she left her village and fled to the Catholic Mission of St. Francis Xavier at Sault Saint Louis, near Montreal. Her journey to get to the mission took over two months but because of her determination, she was allowed to receive her First Holy Communion on Christmas day of that same year. She helped the young and came to the assistance of those who were sick. Her favorite devotion was to fashion crosses out of sticks and place them throughout the woods. this would be the sign that whenever she saw one, she would take a moment to pray. One thing that she loved was the rosary, which she wore around her neck every day. People always asked her to tell them a story. they would listen for a long time because when they were with her they felt the presence of God. One day, a priest came to the people and asked why they always circle around Kateri. Their answer would be, “We feel closer to God when she is around and her face glows and looks different when she prays….so beautiful as if she were looking at God’s face .” On March 25, 1617 she made a vow of perpetual virginity. She wanted to start a convent of Native American sisters but she was discouraged. Due to bad health, Kateri Tekakwitha died in 1680 at the age of twenty-four. her last words were “Jesus, I love you.” Like the flower she was named for, the lily, her life was short and beautiful. Moments after her death the scarred face of Kateri Tekakwitha was transformed into a beautiful, flawless face. This was witnessed by many people. She was known as Lily of the Mohawks. In 1943, the Catholic church declared her venerable and beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980. Her feast day id celebrated on July 14 and she is the patroness of World Youth Day 2002. Although not a saint yet, she is the first native American to be declared Blessed. St. Jerome St. Jerome was born at Stridon, a small town in the Roman province of Dalmatia, around 347. In Latin, he was known as Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus. St. Jerome was not baptized until about 360 or 366 when he went to Rome with his friend Bonosus to pursue their studies. As a student in Rome, he learned how to speak both Greek and Latin but he also engaged in bad activities and needed to repent. To make himself feel better, St. Jerome would visit the remains and items left by the martyrs and the apostles at their catacombs. This experience would remind him of the terrors of hell. To describe Christian concepts, Jerome initially used classical authors but later on converted to Christianity himself. After several years in Rome, he travelled with Bonosus to Gaul and settled in Trier where he began to take up his theological studies as well as meeting many Christian friends. Some of his friends accompanied him when he set out on a journey through Thrace and the Asia Minor. On this journey, two of his friends died and Jerome was seriously ill. During his illness, he had visions that led him to put aside secular studies and devote himself to God. St. Jerome wanted to live a new life of penance so he went for a time to the desert of Chalcis. There he studied, wrote, and attempted to learn the Hebrew language with the guidance of a converted Jew. Returning to Antioch, he was ordained by Bishop Paulinus and continued to study and write. At this time, St. Jerome was a main teacher of the church and was attached to Pope Damascus I and the leading Roman Christians. One of his most famous accomplishments was translating the Bible from Hebrew to Latin so that everyone could understand God’s teachings. Jerome continued to do many important things with the church later on in his life. St. Jerome died near Bethlehem on September 30, 420. His remains were buried in Bethlehem but were later transferred to the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. St. Jerome became the patron saint of librarians and is recognized as the Doctor of the Church. His feast day is on September 30. St. Matthew The writer of the first Gospel and one of the twelve Apostles was not only a strong believer in God but a sinning tax collector as well. St. Matthew was born in the first century Judea as the son of a tax collector named Alpheus. The young Matthew grew up like any boy would have if he lived in that time; learning how to complete his father’s job. His father was a tax collector and taught him how to be a good tax collector like Joseph taught Jesus to be a carpenter. From a sinner, to an Apostle, to a writer of the Gospel, Matthew lived a life a lot like Jesus’. He was soon hired by Herod Antipas to collect taxes like his father had. As a tax collector he was given an office located in Capernaum. He soon became despised and thought of as an outcast like all tax collectors. While in a large tax collector meeting in his office, Matthew was called by Jesus to live a life devoted to God like the other eleven Apostles. Although many people were skeptical when Jesus asked a sinning tax collector to follow him, Matthew rose up right then and there, converted and started to follow Jesus. As one of the early Apostles, Matthew was often known as Levi. He is often paired with St. Thomas in the Bible and is thought to be involved with a group of early Christians called the Nazarenes. With this group, Matthew and the Apostles proclaimed that Jesus was the son of God and the everlasting Messiah. Matthew was sent to Palestine alone by Jesus to continue preaching the word of God. He isn’t mentioned in the Gospel any more other than in the names of the Apostles. Some historical facts place him in Gentile places preaching to those who lived there. Matthew was present with Mary during Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension. Matthew was most likely very literate which was an uncommon trait for people in that time. It is unknown where he began writing the first Gospel also known as the Gospel of the Hebrews. It is called this because he began writing it in Hebrew for the early Hebrew Christians. St. Matthew wrote his Gospel the Gospel of Mark somewhere between AD 50 to AD 55. Matthew’s Gospel reproduces about 90% of Mark’s. His Gospel was later translated into Greek so more people could read it but the Greek copy was soon lost. The Hebrew copy was placed in the Library of Caesarea where it was kept for many centuries. St. Matthew turned his life around with the help of a fellow Jew. He became an Apostle, and then wrote the first of the four Gospels. Matthew wrote It is unsure whether he died of natural cause or if he was a martyr. We celebrate his feast day on September 21st. He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX. St. Matthew grew up a sinning tax collector, was called by Jesus, lived the rest of his life devoted to God, and died with the satisfaction of keeping the oldest and greatest memories alive. St. Jude Personal Life St. Jude was born in the first century AD in the area of Galilee, Palestine. He is also known as St. Jude Thaddeus, Thaddeus being his last name which means “the brave one” while Jude means “giver of joy.” It is stated in Matthew 13:55 that St. Jude was a brethren of Jesus, brethren being a Hebrew word indicating a blood relationship. It is also reported that his father, Cleophas was a brother of St. Joseph and was later persecuted for his faith, and his mother, Mary was a cousin of the Blessed Virgin and was said to have stood by the Immaculate Conception’s side while Jesus was crucified. St. Jude also had many brothers, two of which was St. James the Less, and St. Simeon the Zealot. Missionary Work St. Jude was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus along with his brothers James and Simeon, and is remembered for asking Christ at the Last Supper why He would not manifest Himself to the whole world after His resurrection. His name is not to be confused with Judas of Iscariot, another one of the twelve apostles since both their names are a Greek Variant of the word Judah. After the Pentecost (in which he was present) St. Jude continued to preach the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Libya, and Mesopotamia, where he became a leader of the Church of The East that St. Thomas established there around 37 AD. Although little is known about St. Jude, one of his acknowledged works is the conversion of King Abgar. This idea comes from a Biblical story in which King Abgar of Edessa (a city located in what is now southeast Turkey) asked Jesus to cure him of leprosy and sent an artist to bring him a drawing of Jesus. Impressed with Abgar’s great faith, Jesus pressed his face into a cloth and gave it to St. Jude to take to Abgar. Once the King saw Jesus’ image he was cured and he converted to Christianity along with most of the people under his rule. This cloth is believed to be the famous Shroud of Jesus which is currently on display in Turin, Italy. St. Jude is also credited for helping start the Armenian Church, and is believed to be the human author of the Epistle of St. Jude, which is the shortest book in the New Testament. One of his last works before his death was his aid in the election of the bishop of Jerusalem in 62 AD, the bishop that was chosen turned out to be his brother Simeon the Zealot Death Little is known about St. Jude, since he was confused with Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, and his veneration was avoided, thus resulting in being known as “the Forgotten Saint”. Also, there is little information written about him in the Bible since he was known to travel around the world to preach the Gospel. One of the countries that St. Jude traveled to was Armenia, and it was there where he was reportedly murdered for his faith around the year 65 AD, although there are some instances that claim that St. Jude suffered of martyrdom alongside St. Simon in Persia. Armenia was a country that did not completely convert to Christianity until the 3rd century, about 250 years after St. Jude’s death. We do not know the specifics of St. Jude’s death, but he is often depicted carrying an axe or a club, suggesting the way in which he was murdered. After his death, his body was brought back to Rome and was placed in a crypt beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, which people continue to visit to this day. Sainthood St. Jude was canonized pre-congregation, meaning that he was recognized as a saint before the Catholic Church had a formal process of canonization. His feast day for Western Christianity is on October 28, and his feast day for Eastern Christianity it is celebrated on June 19. St. Jude is often associated with St. Simeon the Zealot, whom he shares his feast day with. He is renowned for being the patron saint of Armenia, lost causes, desperate situations, ibises, hospitals, St. Petersburg, Florida, Cotta Lucena City Quezon, the Chicago Police Department, Club de Regattas do Flamengo (soccer team) from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Remembrance Today Even though St. Jude isn’t as well known as some of the other saints, he is still as important and is venerated in many religions including the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Eastern Catholic Churches, the Church of the East, the Coptic Church, and the Anglican Communion. Nowadays, St. Jude is probably best known for being the namesake of many hospitals specializing in treating people, and specifically children in terminal illnesses since he is the patron saint of desperate causes. We pray to him now in time of desperate need for the reason that he provided a lot of inspirational support to a group of Christians who were being persecuted in Eastern churches and he exhorted them to keep their faith and to stay in the love of God as they had been taught. We usually see St. Jude depicted carrying the image of Jesus (taken from the story of King Agbar), carrying an Axe, club, boat, oar, and/or a medallion. The following is a common prayer dedicated to St. Jude: “Most holy apostle, Saint Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things almost despaired of. Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone. Make use I implore you, of that particular privilege given to you, to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request) and that I may praise God with you and all the elect forever. I promise, O blessed Saint Jude, to be mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.” Saint John the Apostle Saints to me are always people we can look up to and know that they were true followers of Jesus. Saints are a great guide on how to act and be when we grow up or even as teenagers. When we are in doubt we sometimes ask our selves what would Jesus do but we can also ask are selves what would the saints do and know that we would get the right answer. St. John the apostle was the son of Zebedee and was called to be on of the 12 apostles of Jesus along with his brother James. They also were with Jesus on his ministries. John appears on the list of the apostles in Acts and in the synoptic gospels. James and John were also believed to be given the nick name Boanerges which means sons of thunder due to their tempers. In the Bible there are no details about how old john might have been when he became one of Jesus’ disciples but the Christians say that he lived to at least 100 CE which would have been pretty old. There is also nothing in the Bible telling about how long his activity in Judea lasted. Christian traditions also say that John had a important position in the Apostolic body. John was also present at the transfiguration of Jesus. This is some of the things we have gotten from the Bible. John, according to the Bible, was said to be more important than all the other apostles. The reason why was because he was present at many important time such as the transfiguration, and at the Garden of Gethsemane before Jesus was arrested. Paul later in the Bible also calls John the pillar of the Jerusalem church. John was also important because he has been believed to be the author of the fourth gospel, three canonical letters, and the book of revelation. There are so many thing we can learn from saints and these are the most important things that I took from Saint John the Apostle. Again next time you need help deciding what to do just ask yourself what would Jesus do OR what would the saints do. St. Nicholas Having a wonderful family will get you many places, just like were it got Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas came from a wealth family who loved him very much. Sadly, Nicholas’ parents died while he was still young. Nick was a devoted catholic and when he received his fortune from his parent’s death, he decided to use it to help the poor and needy. Instead of using the money for himself, he used it for others, which was a start of his generosity. As a young man, Nicholas was known for his kindness. He devoted his life to serving God and became Bishop of Myra while still a young man. He took control of this job to show how responsible he was. This position was very good for Nick and I think it taught him many important things in life. Many people in the land knew that this man was a generous, kindhearted, children loving man who had concerns for other people just like sailors and ships sailings on the oceans. For loving and doing all these things, Nicholas was exiled and imprisoned for believing in god, just like Jesus. This conflict made many people angry and trying to rebel. At this time, there were so many priest, deacons, and other religious believers imprisoned that there was no room for murders, thieves and robbers. After he was released, Nicholas joined the council of Nicaea. After leaving the council, St. Nicholas died on December 6, which is his feast day. On this day, it is a time to reflect on how St. Nicholas was kind to everyone, just like we should be to. Creating this great example for us shows that we need to follow his good ways. Remembering this day will make us realize that we should all commit good deeds no matter what day it is. St. Nicholas was the Patron Saint of Russia. He has many churches named after is glorious name. As a young boy, St. Nick proved to not only himself, but also others that he was a responsible adult. Many people believe you become responsible when you’re older, but Saint Nick proved them wrong. He left behind a great example and reputation that will live on forever. St. Augustine of Hippo St. Augustine of Hippo, also known as Aurelius Augustinus, was born into a middle class family on November 13, 354 in Tagaste, modern day Algeria. He was the son of St. Monica and of Patricius. As a young boy, Augustine received a catholic education. His father had believed that he was successful that he had sent him to Cathage, to prepare for his forensic career. St. Augustine was a man of belief, strength, and success. For this he had succeeded in life. Augustine came into the church for having such a strong belief. The reason why he became such a strong believer, was when he had become very ill and could not receive baptism, but he pursued that dream of his. He had joined the “men of prayer” group and he had three ideas stuck deep in his heart. The first idea was a divine providence or the virtue of prudence. The second one was the future with terrible sanctions or going to hell. The last idea that was in his heart was Christ is above all and the Savior. He also became close with the church when he had given up on Divine Truth and had prayed to the Blessed Mother. The prayers to the blessed mother brought him back to his faith and decided that Christianity was the religion for him. At the start of his religious life he became a priest. The only thing he had kept when he became a priest was his family’s house which became a monastic house. Then later on in his life he became a bishop. As he came back to his Christian faith, he wrote about his experiences in books called, “Retractions.” As he lived his life of prayer, he became closer to God. He also learned how to live a life of peace. As his life drew near so did his life of becoming a saint. On August 28, 430, at the age of seventy-five, Augustine’s life had come to an end. Augustine was a patron of brewers. As his life came close to its end, he spent almost every moment praying to God. Augustine has become one of my favorite saints as I have learned more about him. His life was powerful and interesting to me. I will try to live my life as an image of him and live out my faith, become closer to the church and God. St. Leo the Great Saint Leo the great was and Italian aristocrat and is the first pope of the Catholic Church to be called “The Great.” He is best known for meeting Attila the Hun in 452 AD and persuading him to turn back on the invasion of Western Europe. He is also known for being called the Doctor of the Church. St. Leo’s date of birth is still unknown to this day, but he was born in Tuscany, in Northern France, but refers to Rome and his “home town.” But it is said that his family moved to Rome when he was very young. The earliest information about Saint Leo being part of the church’s clergy when he was a deacon under Pope Celestine I. While Leo was away on a civil mission to bring peace to France, Pope Sixtus III on August 19, 440. As the people of Rome knew of Leo’s care and love for the individual souls, Leo was voted by the people to be their bishop. But when the people asked Leo to come back to Rome the Holy Spirit was working through all the faithful, so when Leo came back he was anointed Pope of Rome. He was elected on September 9, 440 AD and would reign as pope for the next 21 years. As pope of the Rome Leo labored constantly to protect the integrity of Faith by waging wars, taking strenuous actions against regions, and ordered to correct the errors of countries in Spain. He did all of this because he cared about the people and the faithful. He wanted them to have the most loving gift of all and that was the teachings of Christ that was handed down by the apostles. He continued to do this by defending the unity of the Catholic Church and with constancy strove to teach all men who were doctrines to lead their souls to the greatest fulfillment of salvation. Pope Leo the Great’s pontificate was a continuous period of tireless effort directed at upholding the unity of the Church as the people thought. But after this he did much more. He cared about the Church so much that he tried his hardest to stop invasions in order to save more lives. Such as when he went to Atilla the Hun in 452 and persuading him with all his power to turn back on the invasion of Western Europe. Legend has it that Attila, on looking above St. Leo, saw in a vision that Saints Peter and Paul would support the Pope’s wishes, which struck him with fear. One of his most important persuasions was with Genseric the Vandal, who had captured the city of Rome. But thanks to Pope Leo’s intervention the Vandals didn’t even touch Rome by not hurting or killing anyone or even taking down the Churches. Pope Saint Leo the Great certainly possessed true care and love for the Church. He submitted his whole heart to Christ, labored to lead others into committing themselves into the See of Peter, and used all his influence to maintain the unity of the Church. If you ask me I would say Saint Leo the Great modeled his life after the sixth Beatitude, which proclaims, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. He has a connection between purity of heart and of faith. He exemplifies “love of truth and orthodoxy of faith”. In 1754 Benedict XIV exalted St. Leo to the dignity of Doctor of the Church. Not quite two centuries later, Pope Pius XII, in a sermon given on October 12, 1952, noted that Pope Saint Leo is “the greatest among the great.” Saint Martin of Tours Saint Martin of Tours was born around the time 317 A.D in modern-day Hungary. Martin’s father was a senior officer in the Roman Army; he was stationed in Ticinum, Cisalpine Gaul (now Pavia, Italy) where Martin grew up. Later, in Martins pre-teen years, he found God and took charge of his religious life. Martin learned many things about God and started on his way to becoming a saint. When Martin was ten years old he went to the church against his parents and became a candidate for baptism. His parents were very upset with him because he went against their wishes. When Martin was fifteen years old, because his father was a retired officer, Martin was required to join the army. While Martin was stationed in Amiens, he experienced the vision that is most remembered today. He was at the gates of the city of Amiens with his soldiers when he met a scarcely dressed beggar. He automatically cut his own military cloak in half and shared it with the beggar. That night he dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak Martin had given away. He heard Jesus say to the angels: “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized; he has clad me.” (Sulpicius, ch 2). This dream confirmed Martins fidelity. He was then baptized at the age of eighteen. Later Martin thought his faith prohibited him from fighting and shouted ” I am a soldier of Christ. I cannot fight.” He was charged of cowardice and put in jail. Martin followed the way of the Lord and always served others. Some of the things he was known for were that he was against poverty and did everything he could to help the less fortunate. Some emblems that remind us of him are trees, beggars, soldiers and cloaks. He was known for many great deeds and acts of charity and kindness. Martin died on November 8, 397, in Candes, Gaul (modern-day France). Martin of Tours was just over eighty when he died. He is the patron Saint of beggars and soldiers. We celebrate his feast day on November 11th. Prayer: God, Your Bishop Saint Martin glorified You by both his life and death. Renew in us Your grace, so that neither death nor life can separate us from Your love. Amen Saint John the Baptist “But He who acts in truth comes into the light, to make clear that his deeds are done in God.” (Luke 3:21) Saint John was the cousin of Jesus. He was a baptizer. He was born to the people named Elizabeth and Zachariah. He had many duties such as; being the first baptizer, writing a gospel ect… He told the people to repent and that the Lord is upon them. But his cry was not answered by many passing people. John was often mistaken for the Messiah. He was very holy, and spread Gods word so well that he was called “The Anointed One.” “You yourselves are witnesses to the fact that I said: ‘I am not the Messiah; I am sent before Him.'”(Luke 3:28) To be a saint you have to have humility, you have to be willing to die for your faith. You have to be open to the fact that you have to make sacrifices to be a soldier of Christ. He took His chance and became that soldier and was the first “priest,” and was the first leader to baptize someone. He had a lot of weight on his shoulders that day. The cousin of the Lord being asked to baptize someone when you have no idea what to do. He had to be brave to be that kind of person. In current life today we should be John’s. We should be able to die for our faith and give it all up for the Lord. We were all sent by God to do his will and to be the messengers for his faith. We are to live by example and be the little Johns of the world. If we love and care for Jesus and God then we should be able to understand how we are part of the great plan of salvation. From John, we can learn that we just can’t sit here and wait for miracles to happen, we need to write of the Lords love, sing of the Lord’s love, be the Lords love. Saint Anthony the Abbot Saint Anthony the Abbot was born in 251 at Heracleus, Egypt. He is also known by many names such as Abba Antonius, Anthony of Egypt, Anthony of the Desert, and Anthony the Anchorite. Anthony grew up in a wealthy family. He lived a good childhood and a healthy life. But unexpectedly everything changed. When he was about 20 years old his parents unexpectedly died. He ensured that his sister got a good education and that was about all he could do. But then the lord spoke to him and said “If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell, what thou hast, and give to the poor.” After Anthony heard this he gave away all of his possessions and started his holy life in the desert. He lived as a hermit in an old abandoned fort for more than 20 years praying in solitude. But the devil tried to tempt him many times and he never gave in to it’s temptations. But he wasn’t always alone. Many followers and admirers came into his fort. He healed many of the sick who came and was also a spiritual counselor for others. He had so many disciples following him that he had to build two monasteries! A lot of people helped him by weaving baskets and making brushes for him which made him the patron of those 2 trades. Saint Anthony was also the patron saint of grave diggers and people who work with pigs. He was patron of gravediggers because he buried an Anchorite which was someone who walled themselves up to be alone in prayer. He was patron of pigs because he used pork to reduce inflammation and itching. An artist drew a picture of him with a pig and someone took it as Anthony being the patron saint of pigs. In 311 Anthony shortly left his fort to go fight Arianism in Alexandria. He also left to comfort the victims of the persecutions at Maximinus. While he was out of his fort he met his sister. It turns out she had also become a holy person and chosen to become a nun. Anthony did return to the desert but he did not return to his fort. He retired in a cave in Mount Colzim. Saint Anthony also knew some other saints. During the later part of his life he became good friends with Saint Paul the Hermit. And his biography was written by Saint Athanasius of Alexandria. He also founded a religious order of hermits. Saint Anthony died at Mount Colzim in 356 due to natural causes. Many people still follow his influences to this day. His order of hermits is still around. People give away possessions to help others. He was canonized by the Pre-Congregation which is where saints are canonized by local church officials so no one knows the exact canonization date. Saint Dominic Saint Dominic is the founder of the Order of Preachers, more commonly known as the Dominican Order. He is also the patron saint of astronomers and the Dominican Republic. Close friends with our patron, Saint Francis of Assisi, he was born into a very religious family in Spain in the year 1170. Both his older brothers were already studying to be priests at the time Dominic was born. His parents were members of the Spanish nobility, but his mother (Blessed Joan of Aza) was a woman of unusual sanctity. Even in infancy and early childhood, his mother had visions of Dominic as a religious hero. She chose the name Dominic after she had a vision of him below a black and white wolf with a burning candle in its mouth. “Domini canes” means “dogs of the Lord” in Latin. A maternal uncle, who was the archpriest of a district near his home, conducted his elementary studies. Despite his austere and privileged childhood, he had a gentle, generous heart and later renounced all wealth to tend to the poor and sick, much like his friend Saint Francis of Assisi. He entered the University of Placencia to continue his scholarly pursuits, and even in those days, university towns were full of rowdiness and frivolity typical of a modern college town. However, Dominic was usually arduous in his studies and his passion for the needy. He once sold all his books to give to the starving poor of Placencia. Twice, he tried to sell himself into slavery to obtain money for the liberation of those held in captivity by the Moors. In the year 1215, he founded the Dominican order of friars and nuns. He traveled all over Europe and was extremely successful in organizing and converting many to faith and to religious life with his message of harmonizing intellectual life with serving the needs of the people. Around this time he also received a vision of the Holy Mother urging him to pray the rosary daily and teach it to others, which he did faithfully. He is sometimes credited for inventing the Rosary, although it predates him, but he certainly had much to do with it gaining popularity. On a preaching trip to Hungary in 1221, Dominic became ill and was forced to return home. On his deathbed at the age of 51 years, he said to his brothers “Have charity, guard humility, and hold fast to voluntary poverty.” His order grew to 30,000 members in its first 100 years. He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in 1234 and the Dominican order is still active today. St. Joan of Arc People surprise us when they turn out to be someone we never pictured them to be. St. Joan of Arc was one of the most surprising people in the world. She lived for 19 years from 1412-1431. Her feast day is May 30. She grew up as a peasant girl and never thought she would grow up to be the head of the troops during the 100 year war between France and England. She had four brothers and sisters and lived on a farm. When she was 14 she started to hear voices. The voices were from three saints: St. Michael the Archangel, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and St. Margaret. She listened to these voices for two years. After awhile she realized that they were calling her to lead the troops to victory by driving the English out of France. Knowing nothing about what was going to happen to her, she talked to a commander about the “voices” she heard telling her that it was her divine mission to free her country from the English and help the King gain the French throne. He did not believe her. She came back again and told him that the French had suffered a horrible defeat outside of a city called Orleans. Days later the Commander got the news about the defeat and then gave Joan permission to see the King. The King had dressed in normal clothes and sat hidden in a huge crowd and tried to test Joan to make sure that she wasn’t crazy. She marched straight up to him and told him all the things that he had been praying for. He knew that she would save them in this horrible and dreadful time. Joan being a peasant girl all her life knowing nothing about fighting, went to go fight with the French armies and lead the troops into victory. When she joined the army she cut her hair short and started to wear the kind of uniforms that the male soldiers would wear except hers was white which was a sign of purity. Soon after Joan had joined the troops the French army defeated England in several battles. After around a year the King took back his throne that he deserved. Sadly some of France was still controlled by the English, but France did not lose hope. After a break Joan came back to the army. This time it did not end very well. The French lost and Joan was captured. They held a trial and found her guilty for Heresy and Witchcraft. She stood up for herself but was threatened with torture but she would not betray her voices. After two months Joan was sentenced to death. She was put on a pile of wood and tied to a stake but only wanted one thing….. a cross. While she was being burned to death she repeated Jesus over and over again to herself. Later her ashes were thrown in the Seine River. Joan taught us a very valuable lesson. Never judge a book by its cover, you have to open it up and read it. This is true with Jesus and all the people around us. They can turn out to be someone you never thought they would be. Also, always keep your heart and mind open to God. This means you have to trust and listen to God to know what he wants you to do or make of yourself even if it means great sacrifice because God speaks to those who take time to listen. That is why he gave us two ears and one mouth. Saint Anthony of Padua Born in 1195 in Lisbon, Saint Anthony was born into a noble family and baptized under the name Fernando. During Anthony’s life as a friar, his public ministry moved many people including his fellow friars. By living a life of poverty Anthony gave the people a true example of how to act. At the age of fifteen Anthony entered St. Augustine Monastery where he studied Augustinian Theology. After about nine years of intense study Anthony was inspired by a group of Franciscan martyrs that traveled to his monastery on the way to the burial. When he learned about the martyrs story Anthony was deeply inspired and wanted to follow in their example. After convincing the Franciscans at the Coimbra friary to allow him to join the Franciscan order he set off on a mission to convert the sultan in Morocco. During the journey to Morocco Anthony became very ill and was forced to return home. On the way back home the ship was faced with many storms and blown off course where they landed in Sicily. Upon landing in Sicily Anthony was taken to the Pentecost Chapter of Mats where he was nursed back to health. Once he was again healthy he asked the provincial superior to instruct him in the way of a Franciscan, although he did not mention his previous theological training. In 1222 Anthony went to an ordination of Dominicans and Franciscans where he was asked to speak at the meal. At first he declined but eventually began speaking and his knowledge and holiness became evident. After this event in Anthony’s life he exchanged his life of prayer and solitude for public preaching. Saint Anthony was a fantastic public speaker. His words inspired people, but what inspired people even more were his actions. Although his preaching methods were very effective not everyone listened to him. One legend tells of St. Anthony preaching to many people who would not listen to him. Instead of continuing to preach to the people he went to the river bank and began preaching to the fish. Anthony’s method of preaching contained many symbolic explanations of the scripture and his actions are a great example of how people are to act. In 1231 at the age of 36 Anthony passed away. In less than one year Pope Gregory IX Declared Anthony of Padua a saint. St. Anthony’s life of poverty inspired people and his legacy will continue to live on. St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers Saint Hilary of Poitiers was born in the year 315 to a pagan family in Poitiers, France. He married and had one child named Apra. Hilary was not raised a Christian but he always felt a wonder to life. When Hilary first read the Bible he was amazed. How could God be defined in such a clear way? He soon found himself in love with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. After finishing the Bible, Hilary soon became a Christian. Because he lived in such a holy way he was elected to be bishop of Poitiers. Hilary had little knowledge as to what the Arian group was doing to Europe. The Arians were a powerful group who believed that Jesus was a great being but was not divine. They had the support of many throughout Europe, including emperor Constantius. Hilary refused to support them and he was exiled from the Church in 356. Hilary used this time to study and write about God and Jesus’ teachings. These writings converted many pagans and Hilary was finally allowed back into the Church after three years in 359. Saint Hilary of Poitiers died in 368 of natural causes. Though we do not know when St. Hilary was canonized, we do know that he was proclaimed Doctor of the Church on 1851. St. Hilary is the patron saint against snakes and snake bites and he is also the patron of backward children. Let us pray: St. Hilary of Poitiers, instead of being discouraged by your exile, you used your time to study and write. Help us to bring good out of suffering and isolation in our own lives and see adversity as an opportunity to learn about or share our faith. Amen. Saint Luke Saint Luke was a very powerful man who went on many journeys to spread the word of our amazing true God. He was the patron saint of Physicians and Surgeons. His feast day is October 18th. Saint Luke was a dedicated man who wanted to live a life like Christ. Luke, the writer of the third Gospel, was born a Greek and a Gentile at Antioch in Syria. He lived during the first century A.D. He was a slave who studied to become a doctor or physician. This is why he is the Patron saint of Physicians and Surgeons. Saint Luke worked with Saint Paul to perform his wonderful work of spreading God’s powerful word on journeys made throughout the world. Luke went on many journeys. The leader of these amazing journeys was Paul. Other people joined them on these journeys’ including Silas and Timony. This was Luke’s first trip of spreading God’s good news but definitely not his last. On their journey they visited the churches previously established by Paul in Asia Minor. Then passing through Galatia Paul got a message from God. This message said “Come over to Macedonia and help us”. This message was delivered in a dream by a man. Paul new this was a calling from God, so they packed their little belongings and went to Macedonia sailing to Europe while making a few stops to preach the Gospel in Philippi, Thessalonica, Beroea, Athens, and Corinth. Then Luke and his crew returned to Antioch by way of Ephesus and Jerusalem. Their journey had a powerful impact on many people, places, and events. Paul did not just make journeys to different places on earth but also wrote the third gospel which had two parts. He wrote these in Greece after making another Journey, and the death of his partner Paul. The sections of the gospel that Luke wrote included these stories, Announcement of the Birth of Jesus, Mary Visits Elizabeth, The Visit of the Shepherds, The Presentation in the Temple, The Return to Nazareth, The Boy of Jesus in the temple, The Baptism of Jesus, and many more Gospel stories. A lot of the stories Luke wrote about had a special connection to women in Jesus’ life especially Mary’s. He was the only one to write the Annunciation, Mary’s visit to Elizabeth including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus’ disappearance in Jerusalem. Luke’s inspiration and information for his Gospel came from his close association with Paul and his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel: “Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:1-3). Because of Luke we know much more about the word of God and Mary his mother. We celebrate Saint Luke’s feast day on October 18th. He died at the age of 84 in Boeotia, Greece. Saint Luke lived a powerful life teaching and spreading the word of God and writing the third Gospel. Saint Luke was a person who dedicated his life to loving God. Santa Clara de Assis “The Inspiration for Women” Saint Clare is said to be one of the most influential women during the medieval period. Clare, herself, was always influence by Saint Francis, whom she looked to as a spiritual role model. She was born on July 16, 1194 in Assisi, Italy. Clare felt she was being called by God to live a spiritual life ever since she was a little girl. Saint Clare was born into a family of Italian nobles. She had two sisters named Agnes and Beatrice, a mother named Ortulana, and a father named Offreduccio. Clare was always a sensitive, prayerful, and kind child. She would sometimes hide the food on her plate and then later give it to the poor. When Clare was eighteen years old, she was to marry a man of great wealth but refused. She had become interested in Saint Francis and began to follow his teachings. One day, Clare purposely made so she would encounter Francis on a road. She wanted to meet with him, so they could talk. He preached to her about the word of God. This occurred over the next several months and she knew that he could help her achieve her goal. Clare’s parents refused to give her permission to join Saint Francis in his lifestyle, so she and Francis went to the bishop for permission. On Palm Sunday, 1212, she had been granted permission. Clare’s beautiful, long hair was cut off and she was only given a rough robe and a rope to wear. She was consecrated to the second order of the Franciscans and the San Damiano church was place under her possession. This church was the home of her religious order, the Poor Clares. Many women came to join her to live a life of poverty and prayer. Some of Clare’s friends and family joined including her sister, Agnes, and her mother, Ortulana. Saint Clare lived at the San Damiano church with the Poor Clare until her death on August 11, 1253, at the age of 59. Clare of Assisi was canonized a saint on August 15, 1253 by Pope Alexander IV. Her life and works inspired women around the world to live a life of poverty and prayer. She is now the patron saint of embroiderers, sore eyes, good weather, gilders, goldsmiths, and laundry workers. Today, communities of the Poor Clares continue to worship and live a life like Saint Clare and many parishes, such as ours, claim her as our patroness. Saint Clare lived a life that will never perish. St. Francis of Assisi In a town called Assisi there was a child who was born in 1181. When that child’s father, Pietro Bernardone, came back from a trip to France, he was furious with his wife for calling the child Giovanni after John the Baptist. Pietro wanted a son of a businessman not of God, so he called the child Francesco, because Pietro loved everything about France. Francesco had an easy life. Everyone loved him, and he could do no wrong. He threw wild parties almost every night. Even St. Francis himself said “I lived in sin during that time.” But from that point on, St. Francis’ life changed drastically and that turning point made him what he is today. Francis wanted more than wealth, he wanted to be a knight. He got that chance when Assisi declared war on the nearby town of Perugia. Francis was captured for a year and then returned home. After he joined the army but never stayed. He returned home after he dreamt that God told him that he was wrong and to return back home. Francis spent more time praying to God and he also took care of lepers. One day, while Francis was begging in front of San Damiano Church, he heard the crucifix talk to him. It said “Francis, repair my church.” Francis thought this meant the building, so he sold clothes from his father’s shop to pay to rebuild San Damiano Church. His father thought of this as theft so he held a jury for Francis in front of the bishop. The bishop told Francis to return the clothes, which he did, but then he also turned over his own clothes and walked away. After that, he lived as a beggar and he continued to fix churches around Assisi. Francis lived a life of poverty and traveled around to preach repentance. He used the gospels as rules to live by. Even though he wasn’t a priest, he had followers. These people followed him everywhere; slept in the open, begged for garbage to eat, and loved God. Eventually, he and his followers went to the Pope to see if they could start a new religious order. They traveled all over Europe and even the Middle East to spread the news about the Kingdom of God. Francis practiced true equality by showing honor, respect, and love to every person. After ten years, the Franciscan order grew to about 5,000 followers. Francis died on October 4, 1226 at the age of 45. It is said that he died of the same wounds that Christ received from His crucifixion and from blindness caused by an eye disease. The Pope ordered to have his face ironed which was surgery back then but Francis prayed to God and the ironing didn’t hurt him. But he never recovered from the wounds. On July 16, 1228, Francis became a saint and his feast day is celebrated every year on October 4th. Francis is the founder of all Franciscan orders and the patron saint of ecologists and merchants. St. Francis was a teen who “had it all”. He had all the friends he wanted and all the fun that could be had. Later on he realized that God was calling him to restore the Church by loving others and by helping everyone, which he did in extreme poverty. He preached the gospels from the Bible and lived according to the gospels. He believed in what God wanted him to do and he did it. Miracle: Biography of Bernadette Soubirous A young girl living in the town of Lourdes, France suffered many hardships as a child, but little did she know she was about to face the biggest challenge of her life; bringing the hope and comfort of the Immaculate Conception back to the world. This girl, Bernadette Soubirous was born on January 7, 1844 of Francis and Louise Soubirous. As a child, Bernadette encountered the difficulty of poverty and sickness every day. Though Bernadette struggled, this did not stop her from being a part of one of the most incredible miracles the world has ever seen. On February 11, 1858, 14 year old Bernadette experienced something that would change her life. While collecting firewood for her family at the grotto of Massabielle a “beautiful lady” appeared to Bernadette marking the first of eighteen visions that Bernadette had. This lady appeared to Bernadette several more times telling her to pray for penance and for all the sinners in the world. Some of these appearances consisted of miracles. For example, during the lady’s ninth apparition on February 25, 1858 Bernadette was asked to drink from the spring and eat plants from the grotto. Bernadette was confused; there was no spring. Assuming the water was underground, she began to dig. She drank the muddy water and smeared it on her face. This event caused uncertainty among Bernadette’s onlookers. They thought that she was a fool or a fraud; some even thought she belonged in a mental asylum. Miraculously, in the next couple of days a spring began to flow in the exact place Bernadette first started digging. Another miracle, witnessed by Dr. Dozous is: One time, while Bernadette was praying in the grotto she had a candle in her hand. Dr. Dozous recalls something stopped her from kneeling down like she normally did; it was the candle in her hand. Bernadette touched the flame of the candle with her left hand. At the time Dr. Dozous was extremely confused but watched in awe for a quarter of an hour. After Bernadette left the grotto, Dr. Dozous examined Bernadette’s left hand, but the flame left no sign of a burn. On March 2, 1858 on the fifteenth appearance the Lady asked Bernadette to tell the priest to “build a chapel here and have people come in procession.” Bernadette then asked the local priest, Monsieur le Curé (Fr. Peyramale) to build a chapel at the grotto. Fr. Peyramale had only one request; that the Lady reveal her name. March 25, 1858 Bernadette asked the lady what her name was. She responded simply saying, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” As an adult, Bernadette wanted to stay away from the attention from the apparitions of the Virgin Mary so joined the Convent at Nevers. Here she lived the rest of her short life in prayer and devotion to God. While at Nevers, Bernadette suffered from tuberculosis of the bone in the right knee and passed away on April 16, 1879 at the age of thirty-five. Her last words show her faithfulness to her faith: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me, a poor sinner.” Bernadette Soubirous was a remarkable woman who led a life of prayer and devotion to the Virgin Mary and God. Though her life was short, she made a lasting impression on the world. For this reason Bernadette was canonized a saint in 1933 by Pope Pius XI. Even though Bernadette encountered many difficulties and challenges her life was a miracle. Bernadette’s actions should forever be celebrated and never be forgotten. St. Valentine I’m sure we all have our favorite saints. You can have a favorite saint because he or she has the same name as you. You may know more about a saint than others. You could know a lot about St. Peter but not that much about St. Francis. If you don’t know much about St. Valentine, here are a couple of good summaries of him for you. St. Valentine has many different stories and different beliefs about what he did. One story that shocked me was that he was a holy priest in Rome who assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was arrested and sent to the prefect of Rome. They tried to take away his faith but was later beaten by clubs and beheaded on February 14. (St. Valentines Day) Pope Julius the 1st was said to make a church after him. A good legend of St. Valentine was that he was a priest in the 3rd century. An emperor named Claudius II thought that single men made better soldiers than married men. Claudius outlawed marriage for young men so that he could build a stronger military power. St. Valentine supposedly thought that Claudius was wrong and married people quietly. When Claudius found out that Valentine was marrying people he decided to execute him. Another legend is a short one. St. Valentine was imprisoned but fell in love with his jailor’s daughter. Before he was put to death, he sent a letter to the jailor’s daughter. This was known as the first Valentine. He signed it “Your Valentine” and the name is still used today. In conclusion, St. Valentine was the patron saint of love and happy marriages. I know I learned a lot from researching St. Valentine. I hope you learned a lot from my essay about him.
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