Born to a pious middle-class French family of tradesmen; daughter of Blessed Louis Martin and Blessed Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin, and all four of her sisters became nuns. Her mother died when Francoise-Marie was only four, and the family moved to Lisieux, Normandy, France to be closer to family. Cured from an illness at age eight when a statue of the Blessed Virgin smiled at her. Educated by the Benedictine nuns of Notre-Dame-du-Pre. Confirmed there at age eleven. Just before her 14th birthday she received a vision of the Child Jesus; she immediately understood the great sacrifice that had been made for her, and developed an unshakeable faith. Tried to join the Carmelites, but was turned down due to her age. Pilgrim to Rome, Italy at for the Jubilee of Pope Leo XIII whom she met and who knew of her desire to become a nun. Joined the Carmelites at Lisieux on 9 April 1888 at age 15, taking her final vow on 8 September 1890 at age 17. Known by all for her complete devotion to spiritual development and to the austerities of the Carmelite rule. Due to health problems resulting from her ongoing fight with tuberculosis, her superiors ordered her not to fast. Novice mistress at age 20. At age 22 she was ordered by her prioress to begin writing her memories and ideas, which material would turn into the book History of a Soul. Therese defined her path to God and holiness as The Little Way, which consisted of child-like love and trust in God. She had an on-going correspondence with Carmelite missionaries in China, often stating how much she wanted to come work with them. Many miracles attributed to her. Declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.
O Little Flower of Jesus, ever consoling troubled souls with heavenly graces, in your unfailing intercession I place my trust. From the Heart of Our Blessed Savior petition these blessing of which I stand in greatest need (mention here). Shower upon me your promised roses of virtue and grace, dear Saint Therese, so that swiftly advancing in sanctity and in perfect love of neighbor, I may someday receive the crown of eternal life. Amen.
"For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy." - Saint Therese of Lisieux
The term guardian angels refers to the belief that each person has an angel who is available to shepherd their soul through life, and help bring them to God.
Belief in the reality of angels, their mission as messengers of God, and man's interaction with them, goes back to the earliest times. Cherubim kept Adam and Eve from slipping back into Eden; angels saved Lot and helped destroy the cities of the plains; in Exodous Moses follows an angel, and at one point an angel is appointed leader of Israel. Michael is mentioned at several points, Raphael figures large in the story of Tobit, and Gabriel delivered the Annunciation of the coming of Christ.
The concept of each soul having a personal guardian angel, is also an ancient one, and long accepted by the Church
See that you despise not one of these little ones [children]: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. - Jesus, Matthew 18:10
How great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it. - Saint Jerome in his commentary on Matthew
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation? - Hebrews 1:14
The feast celebrating the angels who helped bring us to God began in many local calendars centuries ago, and was widely known by the 16th century. Pope Paul V placed a feast venerating the angels on the general calendar on 27 September 1608. Ferdinand of Austria requested that it be extended to all areas in the Holy Roman Empire. Initially placed after the feast of Michael the Archangel, it was seen as a kind of supplement to that date. Pope Clement X elevated the feast, celebrated 2 October, to an obligatory double for the whole Church. On 5 April 1883, Pope Leo XIII raised the feast to the rank of a double major.
Prayer to One's Guardian Angel...
Dear Angel, in His goodness, God gave you to me to guide, protect and enlighten me, and to bring me back to the right way when I go astray. Encourage me when I am disheartened, and instruct me when I err in my judgment. Help me to become more Christ-like, so that some day I will be accepted into the company of the Angels and Saints in heaven. Amen.
Irish. 1858-1923. Beatified in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.
Son of an Irish father, William Marmion, and French mother, Herminie Cordier. He entered the seminary in Dublin, Ireland in 1874, and studied at the College for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome, Italy from 1876. Ordained in Rome on 16 June 1881.
He dreamed of becoming a missionary monk in Australia, but spent several years as a parish priest in Dublin. Curate in Dundrum, and professor at the seminary at Clonliffe from 1882 to 1886. Chaplain and spiritual director of a Redemptorist convent and a women's prison.
In 1886 he renounced his promising ecclesiastical career, and entered the Benedictine Abbey of Maredsous in Belgium, taking the name Columba. Nearly 30 at the time of his noviate, and forced to learn a new language at the same time, he persevered and made his solemn profession on 10 February 1891.
Helped found the abbey of Mont Cesar at Leuven, Belgium; served as its prior, spiritual director, and professor of theology and philosophy to younger monks. Began preaching retreats in Belgium and Britain. Spiritual director to communities of Carmelite nuns. Researcher and editor of several publications, including Revue Benedictine. Elected abbot of Maradsous on 28 September 1909, a position he held the rest of his life.
During his time as abbot, Maredsous, famous for its beer and cheese, became a focal point for spiritual thinking in Europe. Worked for the union of Anglican Benedictine houses with Rome, and helped a house of Anglican monks who converted to Catholicism. Counselor to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium.
While the walls stood, World War I effectively destroyed his abbey. German lay-brothers, who had been there for years, were expelled from Belgium. Columba sent young monks to study in Ireland; they would be safer there, but the remaining brothers, including Columba, had to shoulder more work. After the war, a group of the brothers were sent to the Monastery of the Dormitian in Jerusalem, which had been left nearly deserted when the British expelled German monks. Amidst it all, Columba continued to preach retreats, guide the lost, and write.
The investigation for his Cause began on 7 February 1957, and the healing of a Minnesota woman in 1966 was performed through his intercession.
"Jesus told His Apostles that after He had returned to heaven, He would send them the Holy Spirit. In His Divine Nature, Jesus is, with the Father, the principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds. The gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church and to souls is a priceless gift, since this Spirit is Divine Love in Person. But this gift, like every grace, was merited for us by Jesus. It is the fruit of His Passion." -from 'Mission of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) by Abbot Marmion
Son of Pietro Bernardone, a rich cloth merchant. Though he had a good education and became part of his father's business, he also had a somewhat misspent youth. Street brawler and some-time soldier. Captured during a conflict between Assisi and Perugia, Italy, he spent over a year as a prisoner of war. During this time he had a conversion experience, including a reported message from Christ calling him to leave this worldly life. Upon release, Francis began taking his faith seriously.
He took the Gospels as the rule of his life, Jesus Christ as his literal example. He dressed in rough clothes, begged for his sustenance, and preached purity and peace. His family disapproved, and his father disinherited him; Francis formally renounced his wealth and inheritance. He visited hospitals, served the sick, preached in the streets, and took all men and women as siblings. He began to attract followers in 1209, and with papal blessing, founded the Franciscans based on a simple statement by Jesus: "Leave all and follow me." In 1212 Clare of Assisi became his spiritual student, which led to the founding of the Poor Clares. Visited and preached to the Saracens. Composed songs and hymns to God and nature. Lived with animals, worked with his hands, cared for lepers, cleaned churches, and sent food to thieves. In 1221 he resigned direction of the Franciscans.
While in meditation on Mount Alvernia in the Apennines in September 1224, Francis received the stigmata, which periodically bled during the remaining two years of his life. This miracle has a separate memorial on 17 September.
In the Middle Ages people who believed to be possessed by Beelzebub especially called upon the intercession of Saint Francis, the theory being that he was the demon's opposite number in heaven.
"Jesus is happy to come with us, as truth is happy to be spoken, as life to be lived, as light to be lit, as love is to be loved, as joy to be given, as peace to be spread." - Saint Francis of Assisi
Third of ten children, she attended only three years of school. As a teenager, she worked as a domestic servant for other families. After being rejected by several religious orders, she became a nun in the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw, Poland on 1 August 1925; the Congregation is devoted to care and education of troubled young women. She changed her name to Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament. During her 13 years in various houses, she was a cook, gardener, and porter.
She had a special devotion to Mary Immaculate, to the Sacrament, and to Reconciliation, which led to a deep mystical interior life. She began to have visions, receive revelations, and experience hidden stigmata. She began recording these mystical experiences in a diary; being nearly illiterate, it was written phonetically, without quotation marks or punctuation, and runs to nearly 700 pages. A bad translation reached Rome in 1958, and was labelled heretical. However, when Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) became Archbishop of Krakow, he was besieged by requests for a reconsideration. He ordered a better translation made, and Vatican authorities realized that instead of heresy, the work proclaimed God's love. It was published as Divine Mercy in my Soul.
In the 1930's, Sister Faustina received a message of mercy from Jesus that she was told to spread throughout the world, a message of God's mercy to each person individually, and for humanity as a whole. Jesus asked that a picture be painted of him with the inscription: "Jesus, I Trust in You." She was asked to be a model of mercy to others, to live her entire life, in imitation of Christ's, as a sacrifice. She commissioned this painting in 1935, showing a red and a white light shining from Christ's Sacred Heart.
Apostles of Divine Mercy is a movement of priests, religious, and lay people inspired by Faustina's experiences; they spread knowledge of the mystery of Divine Mercy, and invoke God's mercy on sinners. Approved in 1996 by the Archdiocese of Krakow, it has spread to 29 countries.
Prayer of St. Faustina before the Eucharist...
I adore You, Lord and Creator, hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I adore You for all the works of Your hands, that reveal to me so much wisdom, goodness and mercy, O Lord. You have spread so much beauty over the earth and it tells me about Your beauty, even though these beautiful things are but a faint reflection of You, incomprehensible Beauty. And although You have hidden Yourself and concealed Your beauty, my eye, enlightened by faith, reaches You and my soul recognizes its Creator, its Highest Good, and my heart is completely immersed in prayer of adoration.
My Lord and Creator, Your goodness encourages me to converse with You. Your mercy abolishes the chasm which separates the Creator from the creature. To converse with You, O Lord, is the delight of my heart. In You I find everything that my heart could desire. Here You light illumines my mind, enabling it to know You more and more deeply. Here streams of graces flow down upon my heart. Here my soul draws eternal life. O my Lord and Creator, You alone, beyond all these gifts, give Your own self to me and unite Yourself intimately with Your miserable creature.
O Christ, let my greatest delight be to see You loved and Your praise and glory proclaimed, especially the honor of Your mercy. O Christ, let me glorify Your goodness and mercy to the last moment of my life, with every drop of my blood and every beat of my heart. Would that I be transformed into a hymn of adoration of You. When I find myself on my deathbed, may the last beat of my heart be a loving hymn glorifying Your unfathomable mercy. Amen.
Born in Cologne, Germany.
Died in Calabria, Italy.
Educated in Paris and Rheims, France. Ordained c.1055. Taught theology; one of his students later became Pope Blessed Urban II. Presided over the cathedral school at Rheims from 1057 to 1075. Criticized the worldliness he saw in his fellow clergy. He opposed Manasses, Archbishop of Rheims, because of his laxity and mismanagement. Chancellor of the archdiocese of Rheims. Following a vision he received of a secluded hermitage where he could spend his life becoming closer to God, he retired to a mountain near Chartreuse in Dauphiny in 1084 and with the help of Saint Hugh of Grenoble, he founded what became the first house of the Carthusian Order; he and his brothers supported themselves as manuscript copyists. Assistant to Pope Urban II in 1090, and supported his efforts at reform. Retiring from public life, he and his companions built a hermitage at Torre, where, 1095, the monastery of Saint Stephen was built. Bruno combined in the religious life the eremetical and the cenobitic; his learning is apparent from his scriptural commentaries.
"Rejoice, my dearest brothers, because you are blessed and because of the bountiful hand of God's grace upon you. Rejoice, because you have escaped the various dangers and shipwrecks of the stormy world. Rejoice because you have reached the quiet and safe anchorage of a secret harbor. Many wish to come into this port, and many make great efforts to do so, yet do not achieve it. Indeed many, after reaching it, have been thrust out, since it was not granted them from above. By your work you show what you love and what you know. When you observe true obedience with prudence and enthusiasm, it is clear that you wisely pick the most delightful and nourishing fruit of divine Scripture." - from a letter by Saint Bruno to the Carthusians
Lord God, you called Saint Bruno to serve you in a life of solitude. Amidst this world's changes help us, by his prayers, to set our hearts always on you....
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
On Sunday 7 October 1571 the combined Christian fleets under Don John of Austria achieved a significant naval victory over the Turks in the Straits of Lepanto. Thousands of Christians were liberated, the Turkish fleet was destroyed, and they suffered their first great defeat at sea. In gratitude to God and Our Lady, Pope Saint Pius V ordered an annual commemoration to be made of Our Lady of Victory. In 1573 Pope Gregory XIII transferred the feast to the first Sunday of October with the title Feast of the Most Holy Rosary since the victory was won through invocation of Our Lady of the Rosary. In 1716 Pope Clement XII extended the feast to the whole Latin Rite calendar, assigning it to the first Sunday in October. Pope Saint Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913. In 1969 Pope Paul VI changed the name of the feast to Our Lady of the Rosary.
"The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, the unique contemplative prayer through which, guided by the Lord's Heavenly Mother, we fix our gaze on the face of the Redeemer in order to be conformed to his joyful, light-filled, sorrowful and glorious mysteries." - Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI - Angelus Message 10/2/05
O Virgin Mary, grant that the recitation of thy Rosary may be for me each day, in the midst of my manifold duties, a bond of unity in my actions, a tribute of filial piety, a sweet refreshment, an encouragement to walk joyfully along the path of duty. Grant, above all, O Virgin Mary, that the study of thy fifteen mysteries may form in my soul, little by little, a luminous atmosphere, pure, strengthening, and fragrant, which may penetrate my understanding, my will, my heart, my memory, my imagination, my whole being. So shall I acquire the habit of praying while I work, without the aid of formal prayers, by interior acts of admiration and of supplication, or by aspirations of love. I ask this of thee, O Queen of the Holy Rosary, through Saint Dominic, thy son of predilection, the renowned preacher of thy mysteries, and the faithful imitator of thy virtues. Amen.
800 years ago Christians were being captured and sold into slavery by the thousands, and nobody knew what to do about it. Then, in the year 1198, a man had an idea. St. John of Matha founded the Trinitarians to go to the slave markets, buy the Christian slaves and set them free. To carry out this plan, the Trinitarians needed large amounts of money. So, they placed their fund-raising efforts under the patronage of Mary. They were so successful at that, over the centuries, the Trinitarians were able to free thousands and thousands of people and to return them safely home. In gratitude for her miraculous assistance, St. John of Matha honored Mary with the title of "Our Lady of Good Remedy." Devotion to Mary under this ancient title is widely known in Europe and Latin America, and the Church celebrates her feast day on October 8.
Our Lady of Good Remedy is often depicted as the Virgin Mary handing a bag of money to St. John of Matha. When in need - for whatever reason, but especially where you have had difficulty obtaining help - invoke the aid of Our Lady of Good Remedy, and you will surely experience the power of her intercession.
O Lady of Good Remedy, source of unfailing help, grant that we may draw from thy treasury of graces in our time of need.
Touch the hearts of sinners, that they may seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Bring comfort to the afflicted and the lonely; help the poor and the hopeless; aid the sick and the suffering. May they be healed in body and strengthened in spirit to endure their sufferings with patient resignation and Christian fortitude.
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Good Remedy,
R. That we may deepen our dedication to thy Son, and make the world alive with His Spirit.
Born in London, England.
Educated at Ealing and Trinity College, Oxford. Chosen a fellow of Oriel College. Ordained an Anglican priest in 1824. Curate of Saint Clement's, Oxford for two years. As he continued his studies he began to be influenced by Catholic writers. Vicar of Saint Mary's in 1828. Resigned his position in 1832. Helped found and guide the Tractarian Movement beginning in 1833. His writings grew more and more in sympathy with Catholicism, and he was forced to resign his position at Saint Mary's. He claimed that his philosophy was a via media (middle way) between Catholicism and Luthero-Calvinism, but he came to see that this idea was just a repetition of old heresies. In 1841 he lived in seclusion with friends at Littlemore, reading, studying, and praying. In 1845 he joined the Catholic Church.
Ordained in Rome, Italy in 1846. Joined the Oratorians. Returned to England in 1847 where he lived in Maryvale, Cheadle, Saint Ann's, Birmingham, and finally Edgbaston where he lived the bulk of his remaining 40 years. Founded the London Oratory. Influential writer on matters of theology, philosophy, and apologetics bringing hundreds into the Church; noted poet. Made an honorary fellow of Trinity College in 1878. Created cardinal in 1879 by Pope Leo XIII.
"I have a place in God's counsels, in God's world, which no one else has;
whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man,
God knows me and calls me by my name.
God has created me to do Him some definite service;
He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.
I have my mission-I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
Somehow I am necessary for His purposes,
as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his
-if, indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work;
I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught.
I shall do good, I shall do His work;
I shall be an angel of peace,
a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it,
if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.
Therefore I will trust Him.
Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;
in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end,
which is quite beyond us.
He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it;
He knows what He is about.
He may take away my friends,
He may throw me among strangers,
He may make me feel desolate,
make my spirits sink, hide the future from me
-still He knows what He is about."
- Blessed John Henry Newman
Born in Valencia, Spain.
Died in Ferrara, Italy.
Born to the nobility, the great-grandson of Pope Alexander VI; grandson of King Ferdinand of Aragon; son of Duke Juan Borgia. Raised in the court of King Charles V and educated at Saragossa, Spain. Married Eleanor de Castro in 1529, and the father of eight children. Accompanied Charles on his expedition to Africa, 1535, and to Provence, 1536. Viceroy of Catalonia, 1539-1543. Duke of Gandia, 1543-1550. Widower in 1546.
Friend and advisor of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Joined the Jesuits in 1548. Ordained in 1551. Notable preacher. Given charge of the Jesuit missions in the East and West Indies. Commissary-general of the Jesuits in Spain in 1560. General of the Jesuits in 1565. Under his generalship the Society established its missions in Florida, New Spain and Peru, and greatly developed its internal structures. Concerned that Jesuits were in danger of getting too involved in their work at the expense of their spiritual growth, he introduced their daily hour-long meditation. His changes and revitalization of the Society led to him being sometimes called the 'Second Founder of the Society of Jesus'. He worked with Pope Saint Pius V and Saint Charles Borromeo in the Counter-Reformation.
O Lord Jesus Christ,
Who art both the example and the reward of true humility:
we beseech Thee that even as Thou
didst make blessed Francis Borgia glorious
by following Thee in despising earthly honors,
so Thou wouldst suffer us also to become his companions
alike in following Thee and in his glory.
Who lives and reigns with God the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God,
world without end. Amen.
Born to an Italian peasant family. Educated at Bergamo and the Pontifical Roman Seminary. Ordained on 10 August 1904. Secretary to the bishop of Bergamo, Italy from 1904 to 1914, during which he wrote the basis for his five-volume biography of Saint Charles Borromeo. Served in World War I in the medical corps, and as a chaplain. Worked in Rome, Italy after the war, and reorganized the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Titular archbishop of Areopolis on 3 March 1925. Vatican diplomatic representative to Bulgaria on 16 October 1931, then to Turkey and Greece on 12 January 1935. Titular archbishop of Mesembria on 30 November 1934. Papal nuncio to France on 23 December 1944 where he mediated between conservative and socially radical clergy. Created cardinal on 12 January 1953, and patriarch of Venice, Italy on 15 January 1953. Elected 261st pope on 28 October 1958.
As pope he stressed his own pastoral duties as well as those of other bishops and clergy. Promoted social reforms for workers, poor people, orphans, and the outcast. He advanced cooperation with other faiths and traditions including Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Church of England, and even Shinto. In April 1959 he forbade Catholics to vote for parties supporting Communism. His encyclical, Mater et Magistra of 14 July 1961 advocated social reform, assistance to underdeveloped countries, a living wage for all workers, and support for socialist measures that promised real benefit to society.
He nearly doubled the number of cardinals, making the college the largest in history. On 25 January 1959, he announced his intent to call a council to consider ways to renew the Church in the modern world, promote diversity within the unity of the Church, and consider reforms promoted by ecumenical and liturgical movements. Convening the council, known as Vatican II, on 11 October 1962, was the high point of his reign.
His heartiness, his overflowing love for humanity individually and collectively, and his freshness of approach to ecclesiastical affairs made John one of the best-loved popes of modern times.
"Everyone remembers the image of Pope John's smiling face and two outstretched arms embracing the whole world. How many people were won over by his simplicity of heart, combined with a broad experience of people and things! The breath of newness he brought certainly did not concern doctrine, but rather the way to explain it; his style of speaking and acting was new, as was his friendly approach to ordinary people and to the powerful of the world. It was in this spirit that he called the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, thereby turning a new page in the Church's history Christians heard themselves called to proclaim the Gospel with renewed courage and greater attentiveness to the "signs" of the times. The Council was a truly prophetic insight of this elderly Pontiff who, even amid many difficulties, opened a season of hope for Christians and for humanity. In the last moments of his earthly life, he entrusted his testament to the Church: "What counts the most in life is blessed Jesus Christ, his holy Church, his Gospel, truth and goodness". - Pope John Paul II
Prayer for a New Pentecost...
Divine Spirit, renew your wonders in this our age, as in a new Pentecost, and grant that your holy Church, praying perseveringly and insistently with one heart and mind, together with Mary the Mother of Jesus, and guided by Saint Peter, may increase the reign of the Divine Savior, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen - Pope John XXIII
St. Pope John XXIII was canonized by Pope Francis on April 27, 2014.
In October 1717, Dom Pedro de Almedida, Count of Assumar passed through the area of Guarantinqueta, a small city in the Paraiba river valley. The people there decided to hold a feast in his honour, and though it was not fishing season, the men went to the waters to fish for the feast. Three of the fishermen, Domingos Garcia, Joco Alves, and Felipe Pedroso, prayed to the Immaculate Conception, and asked God's help. However, after several hours they were ready to give up. Joco cast his net once more near the Port of Itaguagu, but instead of fish, he hauled in the body of a statue. The three cast their net again, and brought up the statue's head. After cleaning the statue they found that it was Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Naming their find Our Lady Aparecida, they wrapped it in cloth and continued to fish; now their nets were full.
While we do not know why the statue was at the bottom of the river, we do know who made it. Frei Agostino de Jesus, a carioca monk from Sao Paulo known for his sculpture. The image was less than three feet tall, was made around 1650, and must have been underwater for years. It is a dark brown color, is covered by a stiff robe of richly embroidered thick cloth, and wears an imperial crown which was added in 1904. Only her face and hands can be seen. Pope Pius XII proclaimed her principal patroness of Brazil in 1930. The statue was recently vandalized by being broken into several pieces just prior to a visit by Pope John Paul II, but a group of dedicated artists and artisans carefully pieced it together again.
Prayer to Our Lady of Aparecida by Pope John Paul II
Lady Aparecida, a son of yours
who belongs to you unreservedly "totus tuus"
called by the mysterious plan of Providence
to be the Vicar of your Son on earth,
wishes to address you at this moment.
He recalls with emotion,
because of the brown color of this image of yours,
another image of yours,
the Black Virgin of Jasna Gora.
Mother of God and our Mother,
protect the Church,
the Pope, the bishops, the priests
and all the faithful people;
welcome under your protecting mantle men
and women religious,
families, children, young people,
and their educations.
Health of the sick and Consoler of the afflicted,
comfort those who are suffering in body and soul;
be the light of those who are seeking Christ,
the Redeemer of all;
show all people that you are the Mother of our confidence.
Queen of Peace and Mirror of Justice,
obtain peace for the world,
ensure that Brazil and all countries
may have lasting peace,
that we will always live together
as brothers and sisters
and as children of God.
Our Lady Aparecida,
bless all your sons and daughters
who pray and sing to you
here and elsewhere. Amen.
Born a prince, the son of King Ethelred II and Queen Emma; half-brother to King Edmund Ironside and King Hardicanute. When his father was unseated by Danish invasion. Edward and his brother were sent to Denmark to be quietly killed, but the officer in charge took pity on the boys, and sent them to Sweden, and from there they went to the King of Hungary to be raised and educated. Edward's interests were in things religious. When grown, the brothers moved to Normandy and waited their chance to return to England.
In 1035 Edward and Alfred tried to regain the crown of England, but they were turned back, Alfred was killed, and Edward returned to Normandy. He returned to England again in 1042, and was chosen king by acclamation, ascending the throne on 3 April. Edward gained a reputation as just and worthy of the kingship, and the people of England supported him.
During his reign Edward repulsed invasion, helped restore the King of Scotland to his throne, remitted unjust taxes, and was noted for his generosity to the poor and strangers, and for his piety and love of God. He married to satisfy his people, but he and the queen remained chaste. Reported to have the power to heal by touch. Built churches, including Westminster Abbey.
"O God, who called your servant Edward to an an earthly throne That he might advance your heavenly kingdom, and gave him zeal for your Church and love for your people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."
Born a slave, owned by Carpophorus, a Christian in the household of Caesar. His master entrusted a large sum to Callistus to open a bank, which took in several deposits, made several loans to people who refused to pay them back, and went broke. Knowing he would be personally blamed and punished, Callistus fled, but was caught and returned to his owner. Several depositors begged for his life, believing he had not lost the money, but had stolen and hid it. They were wrong; he wasn't a thief, just a victim, but he was sentenced to work the tin mines. By a quirk of Roman law, the ownership of Callistus was transferred from Carpophorus to the state, and when he was later ransomed out of his sentence with a number of other Christians, he became a free man. Pope Zephyrinus put Callistus in charge of the Roman public burial grounds, today still called the Cemetery of Saint Callistus. Archdeacon. Sixteenth Pope.
Most of what we know about him has come down to us from his critics, including an anti-Pope of the day. Callistus was on more than one occasion accused of heresy for such actions as permitting a return to Communion for sinners who had repented and done penance, or for proclaiming that differences in economic class were no barrier to marriage. This last put him in conflict with Roman civil law, but he stated that in matters concerning the Church and the sacraments, Church law trumped civil law. In both cases he taught what the Church has taught for centuries, including today, and though a whole host of schismatics wrote against him, his crime seems to have been to practice orthodox Christianity. Martyred in the persecutions of Alexander Severus.
God of mercy,
hear the prayers of Your people
that we may be helped by St. Callistus,
whose martyrdom we celebrate with joy.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever . Amen.
Born to the Spanish nobility, the daughter of Don Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda and Dona Beatriz. She grew up reading the lives of the saints, and playing at "hermit" in the garden. Crippled by disease in her youth, which led to her being well educated at home, she was cured after prayer to Saint Joseph. Her mother died when Teresa was 12, and she prayed to Our Lady to be her replacement. Her father opposed her entry to religious life, so she left home without telling anyone, and entered a Carmelite house at 17. Seeing her conviction to her call, her father and family consented.
Soon after taking her vows, Teresa became gravely ill, and her condition was aggravated by the inadequate medical help she received; she never fully recovered her health. She began receiving visions, and was examined by Dominicans and Jesuits, including Saint Francis Borgia, who pronounced the visions to be holy and true.
She considered her original house too lax in its rule, so she founded a reformed convent of Saint John of Avila. Teresa founded several houses, often against fierce opposition from local authorities. Mystical writer. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 27 September 1970 by Pope Paul VI.
Prayer to Redeem Lost Time...
"O my God! Source of all mercy! I acknowledge Your sovereign power. While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain. Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in "wedding garments. Amen." - prayer by Saint Teresa of Avila
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque - October 16
Healed from a crippling disorder by a vision of the Blessed Virgin, which prompted her to give her life to God. After receiving a vision of Christ fresh from the Scourging, she was moved to join the Order of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial in 1671.
Received a revelation from Our Lord in 1675, which included 12 promises to her and to those who practiced a true to devotion to His Sacred Heart, whose crown of thorns represent his sacrifices. The devotion encountered violent opposition, especially in Jansenist areas, but has become widespread and popular.
"Look at this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth." - from Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque's vision of Jesus
Born in Syria, c. 50.
Convert from paganism to Christianity. Succeeded Saint Peter the Apostle as bishop of Antioch, Syria. Served during persecution of Domitian. During the persecution of Trajan, he was ordered taken to Rome to be killed by wild animals. On the way, a journey which took months, he wrote a series of encouraging letters to the churches under his care. First writer to use the term the Catholic Church. Martyr. Apostolic Father. His name occurs in the "Nobis quoque peccatoribus" in the Canon of the Mass. Legend says he was the infant that Jesus took into his arms in Mark 9.
"I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire." -St. Ignatius of Antioch
Died: c. 74 in Greece.
Born to pagan Greek parents, and possibly a slave. One of the earliest converts to Christianity. Physician, studying in Antioch and Tarsus. Probably traveled as a ship's doctor; many charitable societies of physicians are named for him. Legend has that he was also a painter who may have done portraits of Jesus and Mary, but none have ever been correctly or definitively attributed to him; this story, and the inspiration his Gospel has always given artists, led to his patronage of them. He met Saint Paul the Apostle at Troas, and evangelized Greece and Rome with him, being there for the shipwreck and other perils of the voyage to Rome, and stayed in Rome for Paul's two years of in prison. Wrote the Gospel According to Luke, much of which was based on the teachings and writings of Paul, interviews with early Christians, and his own experiences. Wrote a history of the early Church in the Acts of the Apostles.
Most saintly Physician, St. Luke, you were animated by the heavenly Spirit of love. In faithfully detailing the humanity of Jesus, you also showed his divinity and his genuine compassion for all human beings. Inspire our physicians with your professionalism and with the divine compassion for their patients. Enable them to cure the ills of both body and spirit that afflict so many in our day. Amen.
The North American Martyrs, also known as the Canadian Martyrs or the Martyrs of New France, were eight Jesuit missionaries from Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, who were brutally tortured and martyred in the mid-17th century in Canada, in what are now southern Ontario and upstate New York, during the warfare between the Iroquois and the Huron.
The Martyrs are St. Jean de Brebeuf (1649), St. Noel Chabanel (1649), St. Antoine Daniel (1648), St. Charles Garnier (1649), St. Rene Goupil (1642), St. Isaac Jogues (1646), St. Jean de Lalande (1646), and St. Gabriel Lalemant (1649).
By the late 1640s the Jesuits appeared to have been making more progress in their mission to the Huron, and they claimed to have made many converts at this time. Nevertheless, within Huron communities, the priests were not universally trusted. Many Hurons considered them to be malevolent shamans who brought death and disease wherever they traveled. Their arrival had coincided with epidemics after 1634 of smallpox and other infectious diseases, to which aboriginal peoples had no immunity. (Epidemiological studies have shown the diseases were likely carried by the increased number of children immigrating after 1634 with families from cities in nations where smallpox was endemic, such as France, England and the Netherlands). The Iroquois considered the Jesuits legitimate targets, as the missionaries were nominally allies of the Huron. They had often helped organize resistance to Iroquois invasions.
Holy Martyrs and patrons, protect this land which you have blessed by the shedding of your blood. Renew in these days our Catholic faith which you helped to establish in this new land. Bring all our fellow citizens to a knowledge and love of the truth. Make us zealous in the profession of our faith so that we may continue and perfect the work which you have begun with so much labor and suffering. Pray for our homes, our schools, our missions, for vocations, for the conversion of sinners, the return of those who have wandered from the fold, and the perseverance of all the Faithful. And foster a deeper and increasing unity among all Christians. Amen. - Jesuit novena prayer to the martyrs
1694 - 1775
Born: Paul Francis Danei at Ovada in Genoa, Italy on January 3, 1694. His infancy and youth were spent in great innocence and piety. He was inspired from on high to found a congregation; in an ecstacy he beheld the habit which he and his companions were to wear. After consulting his director, Bishop Gastinara of Alexandria in Piedmont, he reached the conclusion that God wished him to establish a congregation in honor of the Passion of Jesus Christ. On November 22, 1720, the bishop vested him with the habit that had been shown to him in a vision, the same that the Passionists wear at the present time. From that moment the saint applied himself to repair the Rules of his institute; and in 1721 he went to Rome to obtain the approbation of the Holy See. At first he failed, but finally succeeded when Benedict XIV approved the Rules in 1741 and 1746. Meanwhile St. Paul built his first monastery near Obitello. Sometime later he established a larger community at the Church of St. John and Paul in Rome. For fifty years St. Paul remained the indefatigable missionary of Italy. God lavished upon him the greatest gifts in the supernatural order, but he treated himself with the greatest rigor, and believed that he was a useless servant and a great sinner. His saintly death occurred at Rome in the year 1775, at the age of eighty-one. He was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867.
Father of mercies
and giver of all good gifts,
we come before you
to honor you in your saints
and to ask their help
in our many needs.
You promised those who ask,
those who seek,
those who knock,
would have doors opened to them.
Hear the prayers of your church,
grant our requests,
and pardon our sins.
(Bring your requests to God)
O good Saint Paul of the Cross,
you proclaimed God's wonders
in the Passion of God's only Son.
By word and deed,
you became a spiritual guide
and preacher of the gospel
to a world grown cold
to the love of Jesus Christ.
Help me to see God's love
in the merciful cross of Jesus,
and teach me to trust
in the blessings God gives.
May the Passion of Jesus
be in my heart,
and bring life to all the world.
Educated at the Holy Spirit School in Amalfi, Colombia, and in Medellin, Colombia. Teacher. Beginning in 1908, she worked as missionary to the natives in the Uraba and Sarare regions. Founded the Works of the Indians and the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and of Saint Catherine of Siena who minister to the poor throughout South America. Known for her defense of Indian rights, and as a strong role model for South American girls.
"To Win Them All for Christ" - Blessed Laura
Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol's promising academic career at Krakow's Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an "underground" seminary in Krakow. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology.
Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland's University of Lublin.
Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Krakow in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong!
He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. Appointed as archbishop of Krakow in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later.
Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations.
He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome's Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria.
The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul's ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope.
"Christ is the center of the universe and of human history" was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, Redeemer of the Human Race. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as "a witness to hope."
His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that.
One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier.
In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people.
In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson's disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities.
Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II on May 1, 2011, Divine Mercy Sunday.
Pope John Paul II was canonized on April 27, 2014 by Pope Francis.
In his 1999 Letter to the Elderly, Pope John Paul II wrote: "Grant, O Lord of life,...when the moment of our definitive 'passage' comes, that we may face it with serenity, without regret for what we shall leave behind. For in meeting you, after having sought you for so long, we shall find once more every authentic good which we have known here on earth, in the company of all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and hope....Amen."
To God for Guidance Prayer...
With all my heart I seek You;
let me not stray from Your commands...
Open my eyes, that I may consider
the wonders of Your law.
I am a wayfarer of earth;
hide not Your commands from me...
Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
and I will meditate on Your wondrous deeds...
Your compassion is great, O Lord...
O God, You are our Creator.
You are good and Your mercy knows no bounds.
To You arises the praise of every creature.
O God, You have given us an inner law by which we must live.
To do Your will is our task.
To follow Your ways is to know peace of heart.
To You we offer our homage.
Guide us on all the paths we travel upon this earth.
Free us from all the evil tendencies which lead our hearts away from Your will.
Never allow us to stray from You.
O God, judge of all humankind, help us to be included among Your chosen ones on the last day.
O God, Author of peace and justice, give us true joy and authentic love, and a lasting solidarity among peoples.
Give us Your everlasting gifts. Amen!
Born in Capistrano, Italy in 1386.
Died in Villach, Hungary in 1456.
Son of a German knight, his father died when John was still young. The young man studied law at the University of Perugia, and worked as a lawyer in Naples, Italy. Reforming governor of Perugia under King Landislas of Naples. When war broke out between Perugia and the House of Malatesta from Rimini, Italy in 1416, John tried to broker a peace, but when the opponents ignored the truce, John became a prisoner of war.
During his imprisonment, John came to the decision to change vocations. He had married just before the war, but the marriage was never consummated, and with his bride's permission, it was annulled. He joined the Franciscans at Perugia on 4 October 1416. Fellow student with Saint James of the Marches. Disciple of Saint Bernadine of Siena. Noted preacher while still a deacon, beginning his work in 1420. Itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, preaching to tens of thousands. Established communities of Franciscan renewal. John was reported to heal by making the Sign of the Cross over a sick person. Wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day.
After the fall of Constantinople, he preached Crusade against the Muslim Turks. At age 70 he was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to lead it, and marched off at the head of 70,000 Christian soldiers. He won the great battle of Belgrade in the summer of 1456. He died in the field a few months later, but his army delivered Europe from the Muslims.
Lord, You raised up St. John to console your people in their distress.
Grant that we may be always safe under Your protection and preserve Your Church in unending peace. Amen.
Born: 1807 in Spain.
Died: 1870 in France.
Worked as a weaver in his youth. Seminary student with Saint Francisco Coll Guitart. Ordained on 13 June 1835. Missionary in Catalonia and the Canary Islands. Directed retreats. Founded the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians). Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba on 20 May 1850. Founded the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate. Following his work in the Caribbean, Blessed Pope Pius IX ordered Anthony back to Spain. Confessor to Queen Isabella II, and was exiled with her. Had the gifts of prophecy and miracles. Reported to have preached 10,000 sermons, published 200 works. Spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Saint Anthony Mary Claret, during your life on earth you often comforted the afflicted and showed such tender love and compassion for the sick and sinful. Intercede for me now that you rejoice in the reward of your virtues in heavenly glory. Look with pity on me and grant my prayer, if such be the will of God. Make my troubles your own. Speak a word for me to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to obtain by her powerful intercession the grace I yearn for so ardently, and a blessing to strengthen me during life, assist me at the hour of death, and lead me to a happy eternity. Amen.
English Jesuit Priest & Poet, Born, 1561. Martyred (hanged & quartered), 1595
Raised in a piously Catholic family. Educated at Douai and at Paris, France. Joined the Jesuits in 1580. Prefect of studies in the English College at Rome, Italy. Ordained in 1584. Returned to England in 1586 to minister to covert Catholics, working with Henry Garnett. Chaplain to Ann Howard, wife of Saint Philip Howard, in 1589. Wrote a number of pamphlets on living a pious life. Arrested in 1595 for the crime of being a priest. Repeatedly tortured in hopes of learning the location of other priests. He was so badly treated in prison that his family petitioned for a quick trial, knowing that his certain death would be better than the conditions in which he was housed. He spent three years imprisoned in the Tower of London, and was tortured on the rack ten times; between abuses he studied the Bible and wrote poetry. He was finally tried and convicted for treason, having admitted that he administered the Sacraments. One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
"I live not where I breathe, but where I love." - St. Robert Southwell
Born in Potenza, Naples, Italy: 1651.
Died while singing a psalm in a religious ecstacy in 1711.
Friar Minor Conventual at Nocera, Italy. Home missioner in southern Italy. Noted novice master.
Almighty God, You have made Blessed Bonaventure illustrious in the virtue of obedience and in love for neighbor. Through his prayers and example grant us to comply with Your precepts, to rejoice in spirit, and to advance on the way of perfection. Amen.
Patron of Ethiopia, d. 383.
Brother of Saint Aedeius. Student of the philosopher Meropius. While on a voyage on the Red Sea, the ship wrecked on the Ethiopian shore, and only Frumentius and Aedeius survived. They were taken to the king at Axum as a curiosity, and became members of the court, Frumentius serving as secretary. When the king died they stayed as part of the queen's court. She permitted them to introduce Christianity to the country, and open trade between Ethiopia and the west. Frumentius convinced Saint Athanasius of Alexandria to send missionaries from Alexandria, Egypt, and was himself consecrated as bishop of Ethiopia. Converted many, including the princes Ezana and Sheazana, and established a firm foothold in Ethiopia for the faith.
Loving Father, Saint Frumentius was called the Apostle of Ethiopia because, as a bishop, he was sent there to spread the Faith. However, he was captured and taken to the king and made a member of his court. He realized that having such access to the king gave him a better opportunity to introduce Christianity into the country. I ask him to intercede for me whenever my plans go astray. Help me to set aside my own agenda and to welcome the unexpected. Remind me when I am surprised or frustrated that You, O Lord, are really the one in charge, and I can always trust in Your plans. Saint Frumentius, pray for me. Amen.
St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Saviour. St. Jude was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.
Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.
He is an author of an epistle (letter) to the Churches of the East, particularly the Jewish converts, directed against the heresies of the Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics. This Apostle is said to have suffered martyrdom in Armenia, which was then subject to Persia. The final conversion of the Armenian nation to Christianity did not take place until the third century of our era.
Jude was the one who asked Jesus at the Last Supper why He would not manifest Himself to the whole world after His resurrection. Little else is known of his life. Legend claims that he visited Beirut and Edessa; possibly martyred with St. Simon in Persia.
Jude is invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had done before them. Therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate cases and his feast day is October 28. Saint Jude is not the same person as Judas Iscariot who betrayed Our Lord and despaired because of his great sin and lack of trust in God's mercy.
Prayer to St. Jude the Apostle...
Glorious Apostle, Saint Jude Thaddeus, I salute you through the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through His Heart I praise and thank God for all the graces he has bestowed upon you. I implore you, through His love to look upon me with compassion. Do not despise my poor prayer. Do not let my trust be confounded. God has granted to you the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desparate cases. Oh, come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be your grateful client until I can thank you in heaven. Amen.
Saint Jude, pray for us, and for all who invoke your aid.
Canonized, October 12, 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Second of nine children born to Pasquale, a pasta factory manager, and Marie Marseglia Errico, who worked weaving plush. A good child, pious, always ready to help his father at work, or his mother with his younger siblings. He felt a call to the priesthood at age fourteen. He was turned away by the Capuchins and Redemptorists due to his youth. Studied at a diocesan seminary in Naples, Italy from age sixteen, walking the five miles to class each day, and was ordained on 23 September 1815 in Naples.
School teacher for twenty years. Parish priest at the church of Saint Cosmas and Damian. Known for his devotion to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and ministry to the sick, his self-imposed austerties and penances. He made yearly retreats to the Redemptorist house in Pagani, Italy.
During his retreat in 1818, Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori appeared to him in a vision, and told him that God wanted Gaetano to build a new church, and to found a new religious congregation. While Gaetano initially received strong support from the local people, it faded in the face of fund-raising and work, and it wasn't until 9 December 1830 that he dedicated and blessed the church Our Lady of Sorrows at Secondigliano; it has since become one of Italy's most popular pilgrimage sites.
Nearby he built a small house for himself and a lay-brother who took care of the church; this was the beginning of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The Missionaries received local approval on 14 March 1836, approval by the Congregation of Bishops on 30 June 1838, royal approval on 13 May 1840, and papal approval by Blessed Pope Pius IX on 7 August 1846. Gaetano served as first Superior General.
His beatification miracle occurred in southern Italy in January 1952 and involved a man with a perforated stomach wall. Just before emergency surgery, his wife slipped a relic of Father Gaetano under his pillow, and together they prayed for his intercession. His health began to improve immediately, and he was soon healed without medical intervention.
"Let us kindle the love of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the hearts of all people."
- St. Gaetano Errico
Third of eleven children in the family of the wealthy wool merchant Diego Rodriguez. Met St. Peter Faber when he was 10; the Father Faber prepared the boy for his First Communion. At age 14, Alonso was sent to study with Jesuits, Alonso's father died within a year, and he returned home to learn and manage the business.
Married to Mary Suarez at age 26. His business suffered, and two the couple's children died in infancy; one son survived. Widower in his early 30's, Alonso's mother died soon after. He sold the business and moved in with his sisters; they helped Alonso raise his son, and taught their brother prayerful meditation.
When his son died, Alonso decided to follow his call to the religious life. He gave away what little he had left, and tried to join the Jesuits; he did not have the education they required, and was refused. Attended the College of Barcelona, but could not complete the work. Self-imposed austerities nearly destroyed his health; at age 60 he was ordered to begin sleeping in a bed instead of the chair, bench or ground he had previously used. However, at the recommendation of Jesuit Father Luis Santander, Alonso became a Jesuit lay-brother, admitted on 31 January 1571 at Valencia, Spain, and began to study alongside children.
Porter and doorkeeper at the Jesuit college of Montesion at Palma, Mallorca, Spain for 46 years, a duty which involved delivering packages, seeing to the lodging of travelers, and dispensing alms to the poor. From this humble post he influenced many through the years. Obsessed with the spiritual, and given to extreme self-imposed austerities, he had a special devotion to Saint Ursula, and was so obedient to his superiors that when one told him to eat his plate, he tried to cut it with a knife and fork. Friend and room-mate of Saint Peter Claver; advised Peter to request missionary work in South America. Professed his final Jesuit vows at the age of 54.
Reputed to heal by fervent prayer. The night before his death was spent in a visionary ecstasy. Some authors claim he wrote the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, but his part was to make it more popular. Left behind a collection of manuscripts of journal entries, random thoughts, simple illustrations, and musings on things spiritual that are remarkable for their simplicity, sound and correct doctine, and spiritual understanding; they were published as Spiritual Works of Blessed Alonso Rodriguez in Barcelona in 1885.
Prayer for New Life through Death to Sin...
"Though Your most holy passion and death, I beg of you, Lord, to grant to me a most holy life, and a most complete death to all my vices and passions and self-love, and to grant me sight of your holy faith, hope and charity." - St. Alonso Rodriguez
Born in Germany.
Educated by Benedictines at Reichenau, Switzerland. Spiritual student of Saint Romuald. Benedictine monk at Einsiedeln abbey, Switzerland in 964. Teacher; director of the abbey school. Abbey prior in 970. Evangelized the Magyars in modern Hungary. Missionary to Pannonia. Priest. Bishop of Ratisbon (modern Regensberg, Germany) in 972. Reformed clerical discipline and spirituality in his diocese. Noted for his preaching, his teaching abilities, his charity (hence the name Great Almoner) and his care for lay people in his diocese. Tutor to the future emperor Saint Henry II.
Lord, help us to follow in your footsteps just as your Apostles did, that we may be a good example to others. Grant us the graces we need to be good disciples and always lead our friends on the path to holiness. Saint Wolfgang, pray for us. Amen.