Instituted to honor all the saints, known and unknown. It owes its origin in the Western Church to the dedication of the Roman Pantheon in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the martyrs by Pope Saint Boniface IV in 609, the anniversary of which was celebrated at Rome on 13 May. Pope Saint Gregory III consecrated a chapel in the Vatican basilica in honor of All Saints, designating 1 November as their feast. Pope Gregory IV extended its observance to the whole Church. It has a vigil and octave, and is a holy day of obligation; the eve is popularly celebrated as Halloween.
All Saints Prayer....
Father, All-Powerful and ever-living God,
today we rejoice in the holy men and women
of every time and place.
May their prayers bring us your forgiveness and love.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Feast in commemoration of the faithful departed in Purgatory. Abbot Odilo of Cluny instituted it in the monasteries of his congregation in 998, other religious orders took up the observance, and it was adopted by various dioceses and gradually by the whole Church. The Office of the Dead must be recited by the clergy on this day.
If the feast should fall on Sunday it is kept on November 3.
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen. - Prayer of St. Gertrude
Born & Died in Lima, Peru.
The illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, Juan, and a young freed black slave, Anna Velasquez, Martin grew up in poverty. He spent part of his youth with a surgeon-barber from whom he learned some medicine and care of the sick. At age 11 he became a servant in the Holy Rosary Dominican priory in Lima, Peru. Promoted to almoner, he begged more than $2,000 a week from the rich to support the poor and sick of Lima. Placed in charge of the Dominican's infirmary; known for his tender care of the sick and for his spectacular cures. His superiors dropped the stipulation that "no black person may be received to the holy habit or profession of our Order" and Martin took vows as a Dominican brother in 1603. Established an orphanage and children's hospital for the poor children of the slums. Set up a shelter for the stray cats and dogs and nursed them back to health. Lived in self-imposed austerity, never ate meat, fasted continuously, and spent much time in prayer and meditation with a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist. Friend of Saint John de Massias.
He was venerated from the day of his death. Many miraculous cures, including raising the dead attributed to Brother Martin. First black saint from the Americas.
To you, Saint Martin de Porres, we prayerfully lift up our hearts filled with serene confidence and devotion. Mindful of your unbounded and helpful charity to all levels of society and also of your meekness and humility of heart, we offer our petitions to you. Pour out upon our families the precious gifts of your solicitous and generous intercession; show to the people of every race and every color the paths of unity and of justice; implore from our Father in heaven the coming of his kingdom, so that through mutual benevolence in God men may increase the fruits of grace and merit the rewards of eternal life. Amen.
Born to a wealthy, noble family, the third of six children, son of Count Giberto II Borromeo and Margherita de' Medici. Nephew of Pope Pius IV. Suffered with a speech impediment. Studied in Milan, and at the University of Pavia, studying at one point under the future Pope Gregory XIII. Civil and canon lawyer at age 21. Cleric at Milan, taking the habit on 13 October 1547. Abbot commendatario of San Felino e San Graziano abbey in Arona, Italy, on 20 November 1547. Abbot commendatario of San Silano di Romagnano abbey on 10 May 1558. Prior commendatario of San Maria di Calvenzano abbey on 8 December 1558. Protonotary apostolic participantium and referendary of the papal court to Pope Pius IV on 13 January 1560. Member of the counsulta for the administration of the Papal States on 22 January 1560. Appointed abbot commendatario of Nonatola, San Gallo di Moggio, Serravalle della Follina, San Stefano del Corno, an abbey in Portugal, and an abbey in Flanders, Belgium on 27 January 1560. Created cardinal on 31 January 1560 at age 22.
Apostolic administrator of Milan, Italy on 8 February 1560. Papal legate to Bologna and Romandiola for two years beginning on 26 April 1560. Deacon on 21 December 1560. Vatican Secretary of State. Governor of Civita Castellana,Italy in 1561. Governor of Ancona on 1 June 1561. Made an honorary citizen of Rome, Italy on 1 July 1561. Founded the Accademia Vaticana in 1562. Governor of Spoleto, Italy on 1 December 1562. Ordained on 4 September 1563. Helped re-open the Council of Trent, and participated in its sessions during 1562 and 1563. Named prince of Orta in 1563. Member of the Congregation of the Holy Office. Bishop of Milan on 7 December 1563. President of the commission of theologians charged by the pope to elaborate the Catechismus Romanus. Worked on the revision of the Missal and Breviary. Member of a commission to reform church music. Archbishop of Milan on 12 May 1564. Governor of Terracina, Italy on 3 June 1564. Archpriest of the patriarchal Liberian basilica in Rome in October 1564. Count of the Palatine in 1564. Prefect of the Tridentine Council from 1564 until September 1565. Papal legate in Bologna, Romandiola, legate a latere, and vicar general in spiritualibus of all Italy on 17 August 1565. Grand penitentiary on 7 November 1565. Participated in the conclave of cardinals in 1565 to 1566 that chose Pope Pius V; he asked the new pope to take the name. Protector of the Swiss Catholic cantons; he visited them all several times worked for the spiritual reform of both clergy and laymen. Due to his enforcement of strict ecclesiastical discipline, some disgruntled monks in the Order of the Humiliati hired a lay brother to murder him on the evening of 26 October 1569; he was shot at, but was not hit. Participated in the conclave in 1572 that chose Pope Gregory XIII. Member of the Apostolic Penitentiary in May 1572. Worked with the sick, and helped bury the dead during the plague outbreak in Milan in 1576. Established the Oblates of Saint Ambrose on 26 April 1578. Teacher, confessor and parish priest to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, giving him his first communion on 22 July 1580. To help the Swiss Catholics he founded the Collegium Helveticum.
Saint Charles spent his life and fortune in the service of the people of his diocese. He directed and fervently enforced the decrees of the Council of Trent, fought tirelessly for peace in the wake of the storm caused by Martin Luther, founded schools for the poor, seminaries for clerics, hospitals for the sick, conducted synods, instituted children's Sunday school, did great public and private penance, and worked among the sick and dying, leading his people by example.
"If we wish to make any progress in the service of God we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness. We must keep ourselves in the presence of God as much as possible and have no other view or end in all our actions but the divine honor." - Saint Charles Borromeo
O Saintly reformer, animator of spiritual renewal of priests and religious, you organized true seminaries and wrote a standard catechism. Inspire all religious teachers and authors of catechetical books. Move them to love and transmit only that which can form true followers of the Teacher who was divine. Amen.
Relative of Mary and Mother of St. John the Baptist.
Born: 1st Century BC.
Died: 1st Century AD.
Descendant of the Old Testament patriarch, Aaron. Wife of Zachary, temple priest. Relative of Mary. Mother of Saint John the Baptist, becoming pregnant very late in life. She was the Elizabeth that Mary visited soon after the Annunciation. Described in the Gospel of Luke as "righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly."
Dear Saint Elizabeth,
Your cousin, Mary, came first to you
with the earth-shaking news
that she was to be the Mother of God.
You must have met her announcement
with profound amazement but with total trust
in Mary's unimpeachable truthfulness.
You knew Mary to be modest, kind, prayerful, and in every way a remarkable woman.
Yet how astounding was her revelation to you!
What an honor to be the very first human
to hear these epochal tidings of happy joy,
this world-changing, humanity-saving, news.
Please accept my veneration to you, who were
honored to hear first of the coming salvation of mankind. Prompt me always, dear Elizabeth, to live my life as worthy of the glorious inheritance which God has promised to all those who are faithful to His Word.
Please intercede for me with your cousin, Mary, our mother, and her Son,
our Lord and King.
All this I pray of you, Elizabeth,
Born in Vietnam, 1832. Martyred (beheaded), 1861.
Canonization, 1988 by Pope John Paul II
Dominican tertiary. Catechist. Servant to Saint Jerome Hermosilla. Tried to help Saint Jerome escape from prison. Captured, he was lashed, tortured, and martyred.
God of all creation,
you gave Joseph Khang the privilege of being counted among the saints who gave their lives in faithful witness to the gospel.
May his prayers give us the courage to share with him the cup of suffering and to rise to eternal glory. 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.
Joined the Jesuits on 21 April 1681. He taught in Rome and Terni, Italy. Ordained on 28 October 1695. Parish missioner in the area of Colli Albani, Frascati and Viterbo, Italy, preaching 448 missions. Noted for organizing processions during which Anthony and many of his flock wore crowns of thorns, and scourged themselves. His missions were popular, drawing crowds so large that they had to be conducted outdoors; Anthony employed a crowd control gang of thugs - and then converted them all to the faith. Also noted for his spread of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary whose image was always carried on his missions.
"O Lord, I do not know what to ask you.
You alone know my real needs,
and you love me more
than I even know how to love.
Enable me to discern my true needs
which are hidden from me.
I ask for neither cross nor consolation;
I wait in patience for you.
My heart is open to you.
For your great mercy's sake,
come to me and help me.
Put your mark on me and heal me,
cast me down and raise me up.
Silently I adore your holy will
and your inscrutable ways.
I offer myself in sacrifice to you
and put all my trust in you.
I desire only to do your will.
Teach me how to pray
and pray in me, yourself.
Amen." - Blessed Anthony Baldinucci
Drowned in the River Sava in 305.
St. Castorus, St. Claudius, St. Nicostratus and St. Simpronian. Skilled stone carvers in the 3rd century quarries. Martyred when they refused to carve an idol of Aesculapius for Diocletian.
God of power and mercy, only with your help can we offer you fitting service and praise. May we live the faith we profess and trust your promise of eternal life. Grant 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.
(1880-1906, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1984, canonized by Pope Francis in Oct. 2016)
Daughter of Captain Joseph Catez and Marie Catez. Her father died when the girl was seven, leaving her mother to raise Elizabeth and her sister Marguerite. Noted as a lively, popular girl, extremely stubborn, given to fits of rage, with great reverence for God, and an early attraction to a life of prayer and reflection. Gifted pianist. She visited the sick and taught catechism to children.
Much against her mother's wishes, she entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Dijon, France on 2 August 1901. Though noted for great spiritual growth, she was also plagued with periods of powerful darkness, and her spiritual director expressed doubts over Elizabeth's vocation. She completed her noviate, and took her final vows on 11 January 1903. She became a spiritual director for many, and left a legacy of letters and retreat guides. Her dying words: I am going to Light, to Love, to Life!
I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and to transform them into Himself. -St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
Make a little cell in your heart for Jesus of the Agony; take refuge there, when you hear Him outraged by men, try to make reparation; you, at least, love Him and keep your heart quite pure for Him. Oh! If you only knew how the good God love pure hearts! It is there that He loves to reign. - St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
St. Leo the Great was born in Tuscany. As deacon, he was dispatched to Gaul as a mediator by Emperor Valentinian III. He reigned as Pope between 440 and 461. He persuaded Emperor Valentinian to recognize the primacy of the Bishop of Rome in an edict in 445. The doctrine of the Incarnation was formed by him in a letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who had already condemned Eutyches. At the Council of Chalcedon this same letter was confirmed as the expression of Catholic Faith concerning the Person of Christ.
All secular historical treatises eulogize his efforts during the upheaval of the fifth century barbarian invasion. His encounter with Attila the Hun, at the very gates of Rome persuading him to turn back, remains a historical memorial to his great eloquence. When the Vandals under Genseric occupied the city of Rome, he persuaded the invaders to desist from pillaging the city and harming its inhabitants. He died in 461, leaving many letters and writings of great historical value.
God our Father,
You will never allow the power of hell
to prevail against your Church.,
founded on the rock of the apostle Peter.
Let the prayers of Pope Leo the Great
keep us faithful to Your truth
and secure in Your peace.
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 pagan parents; his father was a Roman military officer and tribune. Martin was raised in Pavia, Italy. Discovered Christianity, and became a catechumen in his early teens. Joined the Roman imperial army at age 15, serving in a ceremonial unit that acted as the emperor's bodyguard, rarely exposed to combat. Cavalry officer, and assigned to garrison duty in Gaul.
Baptised into the Church at age 18. Trying to live his faith, he refused to let his servant to wait on him. Once, while on horseback in Amiens in Gaul (modern France), he encountered a beggar. Having nothing to give but the clothes on his back, Martin cut his heavy officer's cloak in half, and gave it to the beggar. Later he had a vision of Christ wearing the cloak. This incident became iconographic of Martin.
Just before a battle, Martin announced that his faith prohibited him from fighting. He was charged with cowardice, was jailed, and his superiors planned to put him in the front of the battle. However, the invaders sued for peace, the battle never occurred, and Martin was released from military service at Worms, Germany. Spiritual student of Saint Hilary at Poitiers, France.
On a visit to Lombardy to see his parents, Martin was robbed in the mountains - but managed to convert one of the thieves. At home he found that his mother had converted, but his father had not. The area was strongly Arian, and openly hostile to Catholics. Martin was badly abused by the heretics, at one point even by the order of an Arian bishop. Learning that the Arians had gained the upper hand in Gaul and exiled Saint Hilary, Martin fled to the island of Gallinaria (modern Isola d'Albenga).
Learning that the emperor had authorized the return of Hilary, Martin ran to him in 361, then became a hermit for ten years in the area now known as LigugÃ©. A reputation for holiness attracted other monks, and they formed what would become the Benedictine abbey of LigugÃ©. Preached and evangelized through the Gallic countryside. Many locals held strongly to the old beliefs, and tried to intimidate Martin by dressing as the old Roman gods and appearing to him at night; Martin destroyed old temples, built churches on the same land, and continued to win converts. Friend of Saint Liborius, bishop of Le Mans, France.
When the bishop of Tours, France died in 371, Martin was the immediate choice to replace him. Martin declined, citing unworthiness. Rusticus, a wealthy citizen of Tours, claimed that his wife was ill and asking for Martin; tricked by this ruse, Martin went to the city where he was declared bishop by popular acclamation, and then consecrated on 4 July 372.
As bishop, he lived in a hermit's cell near Tours. Other monks joined him, and a new house, Marmoutier, soon formed. He rarely left his monastery or see city, but sometimes went to Trier, Germany to plead with the emperor for his city, his church, or his parishioners. Once when he went to ask for lenience for a condemned prisoner, an angel woke the emperor to tell him that Martin was waiting to see him; the prisoner was reprieved.
Martin himself was given to visions, but even his contemporaries sometimes ascribed them to his habit of lengthy fasts. An extensive biography of Martin was written by Sulpicius Severus. He was the first non-martyr to receive the cultus of a saint.
Prayer to Continue to Fight for God "Lord, if your people still have need of my services, I will not avoid the toil. Your will be done. I have fought the good fight long enough. Yet if you bid me continue to hold the battle line in defense of your camp, I will never beg to be excused from failing strength. I will do the work you entrust to me. While you command, I will fight beneath your banner." St Martin of Tours, Italian Soldier, Hermit, Bishop
Born in Lithuania (modern Ukraine)
His father was a municipal counselor, and his mother known for her piety. Raised in the Orthodox Ruthenian Church which, on 23 November 1595 in the Union of Brest, united with the Church of Rome. Trained as a merchant's apprentice at Vilna, Lithuania, he was offered partnership in the business, and marriage to his partner's daughter; feeling the call to religious life, he declined both. Monk in the Ukrainian Order of Saint Basil (Basilians) in Vilna at age 20 in 1604, taking the name Brother Josaphat. Deacon. Ordained a Byzantine rite priest in 1609.
Josaphat's superior, Samuel, never accepted unity with Rome, and looked for a way to fight against Roman Catholicism and the Uniats, the name given those who brought about and accepted the union of the Churches. Learning of Samuel's work, and fearing the physical and spiritual damage it could cause, Josaphat brought it to the attention of his superiors. The archbishop of Kiev, Ukraine, removed Samuel from his post, replacing him with Josaphat.
He became a famous preacher. Worked to bring unity among the faithful, and bring strayed Christians back to the Church. Bishop of Vitebsk, Belarus. Most religious, fearing interference with the natively developed liturgy and customs, did not want union with Rome. Bishop Josaphat believed unity to be in the best interests of the Church, and by teaching, clerical reform, and personal example Josaphat won the greater part of the Orthodox in Lithuania to the union. Never completely suitable to either side, Roman authorities sometimes raised objection to Josaphat's Orthodox actions. Consecrated as Archbishop of Polotsk, Lithuania in 1617.
While Josaphat attended the Diet of Warsaw in 1620, a dissident group, supported by Cossacks, set up an anti-Uniat bishops for each Uniat one, spread the accusation that Josaphat had "gone Latin," and that his followers would be forced to do the same, and placed a usurper on the archbishop's chair. Despite warnings, John went to Vitebsk, a hotbed of trouble, to try to correct the misunderstandings, and settle disturbances. The army remained loyal to the king, who remained loyal to the Union, and so the army tried to protect Josaphat and his clergy.
Late in 1623 an anti-Uniat priest named Elias shouted insults at Josaphat from his own courtyard, and tried to force his way into the residence. When he was removed, a mob assembled and forced his release. Mob mentality took over, and they invaded the residence. Josaphat tried to insure the safety of his servants before fleeing himself, but did not get out in time, and was martyred by the mob. His death was a shock to both sides of the dispute, brought some sanity and a cooling off period to both sides of the conflict.
"You people of Vitebsk want to put me to death. You make ambushes for me everywhere, in the streets, on the bridges, on the highways, and in the marketplace. I am here among you as a shepherd, and you ought to know that I would be happy to give my life for you. I am ready to die for the holy union, for the supremacy of Saint Peter, and of his successor the Supreme Pontiff." - Saint Josaphat
One of thirteen children raised on a farm. She received a convent education, and training as a teacher. She tried to join the order at age 18, but poor health prevented her taking the veil. A priest asked her to teach at a girl's school, the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadagono, Italy, which she did for six years. She took religious vows in 1877, and acquitted herself so well at her work that when the orphanage closed in 1880, her bishop asked her to found the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. Pope Leo XIII then sent her to the United States to carry on this mission.
She and six Sisters arrived in New York in 1889. They worked among immigrants, especially Italians. Mother Cabrini founded 67 institutions, including schools, hospitals, and orphanages in the United States, Europe and South America. Like many of the people she worked with, Mother became a United States citizen during her life, and after her death she was the first US citizen to be canonized.
"Let our minds be pure, ...humble and pliant, and then we shall see what beautiful and wonderful things the Holy Spirit will work in our souls." -Mother Cabrini
Note: The land where SCRC is located was once owned by St. Frances Xavier Cabrini & the Order she founded!
Son of the chief of Hy Murray. Taken as a hostage by King Dermot McMurrogh Leinster in 1138 when he was ten years old; Dermot later married Lawrence's sister Mor. He was released in 1140 at age twelve to the Bishop of Glendalough, Ireland. and raised and educated at the monastic school there. Monk at Glendalough, and then abbot in 1153. Declined the bishopric of Glendalough in 1160, citing his unworthiness. Ordered to accept the archbishopric of Dublin, Ireland in 1161, he became the first native-born Irishman to hold the see.
Reformed much of the administration and clerical life in his diocese. Worked to restore and rebuild Christ Church cathedral. As archbishop he accepted the imposition onto Ireland of the English form of liturgy in 1172. Noted for his personal austerity, he wore a hair shirt under his ecclesiastical robes, made an annual 40 day retreat in Saint Kevin's cave, never ate meat, fasted every Friday, and never drank wine - though he would color his water to make it look like wine and not bring attention to himself at table. Acted as peacemaker and mediator at the second seige of Dublin in 1170.
In 1171 he traveled to Canterbury, England on diocesan business. While preparing for Mass there he was attacked by a lunatic who wanted to make Lawrence another Saint Thomas Beckett. Everyone in the church thought Lawrence had been killed by the severe blow to the head. Instead he asked for water, blessed it, and washed the wound; the bleeding stopped, and the archbishop celebrated Mass.
Negotiated the 1175 Treaty of Windsor which made upstart Irish king Rory O'Connor and vassal of king Henry II of England, but ended combat. Attended the General Lateran Council in Rome, Italy in 1179. Papal legate to Ireland. Died while traveling with King Henry II, a trip taken as a peacemaker and on behalf of Rory O'Connor. It resulted in his imprisonment and ill-treatment by the king who decided he had had his fill of meddling priests.
We are God's holy and chosen people. God's life and God's Holy Spirit live in us. We are called to be saints like Lawrence O'Toole and all the Saints. May all the Saints pray for us. May each one of us, as Jesus asks us to be, the light of the world and the salt of earth. May we follow the example of Lawrence O'Toole and be a beacon for peace, reconciliation and justice in our world. Amen.
b. 1835 - d. 1907 in Wadowice, Poland
Canonized, 1991 by Pope John Paul II
Son of Andrew Kalinowski, prominent mathmatics professor at the College of Nobility, and Josepha Poionska Kalinowski. Studied at his father's school. Though he felt a call to the priesthood, Joseph decided on college first. Studied zoology, chemistry, agriculture, and apiculture at the Institute of Agronomy in Hory Horki, Russia, and at the Academy of Military Engineering at Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Lieutenant in the Russian Military Engineering Corps in 1857. Planned and supervised the construction of the railway between Kursk and Odessa. Promoted to captain in 1862, stationed in Brest-Litovsk. There he started, taught, and bore all the costs of a Sunday school, accepting anyone interested.
In 1863 he supported the Polish insurrection. He resigned from the Russian army and became the rebellion's minister of war for the Vilna region; he took the commission with the understanding that he would never hand out a death sentence or execute a prisoner. Arrested by Russian authorities on 25 March 1864. In June 1864 he was condemned to death for his part in the revolt, but the authorities feared they would be creating a political martyr, and commuted his sentence to ten years forced labour in the Siberian salt mines; part of his sentence was spent in Irkutsk where his relics recently sanctified a new cathedral.
Released in 1873, he was exiled from his home region in Lithuania. Moved to Paris, France, and worked as a tutor for three years. In 1877 he finally answered the long-heard call to the religious life, and joined the Carmelite Order at Graz, Austria, taking the name Raphael. Studied theology in Hungary, then joined the Carmelite house at Czama, Poland. Ordained on 15 January 1882.
Worked to restore the Discalced Carmelites to Poland, and for church unity. Founded a convent at Wadowice, Poland, c.1889. Worked with Blessed Alphonsus Mary Marurek. Noted spiritural director of both Catholics and Orthodox. Enthusiastic parish priest, he spent countless hours with his parishioners in the confessional.
"Our Redeemer, ever present in the most Blessed Sacrament, extends His hand to everyone. He opens His heart and says, 'Come to Me, all of You.' "
-St. Raphael Kalinowski
Granddaughter of King Edmund Ironside of England. Great-niece of Saint Stephen of Hungary. Born in Hungary while her family was in exile due to the Danish invasion of England, she still spent much of her youth in the British Isles. While fleeing the invading army of William the Conqueror in 1066, her family's ship wrecked on the Scottish coast. They were assisted by King Malcolm III Canmore of Scotland, whom Margaret married in 1070. Queen of Scotland. They had eight children, one of whom was Saint Maud, wife of Henry I. Margaret founded abbeys and used her position to work for justice and improved conditions for the poor.
In every age you call your people to holiness
and raise up among them models of virtue.
I thank you for the life of St. Margaret of Scotland:
a woman of leadership and vision in a dark, chaotic time;
a wife and mother exemplary in patience, dedication and love;
a teacher supported and inspired by a life of learning;
a generous friend and tireless servant to the poor and helpless;
a model of Christian faith and persistent prayerfulness.
Lord, help me to grow rich in the virtues of St. Margaret:
that faith, hope and love might enliven
my relationships with family and friends,
my concern for the education of the young,
and my response to suffering and powerlessness.
Through St. Margaret's intercession,
may I be a source of life and grace;
spreading your message of love.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.
Princess, the daughter of King Andrew of Hungary. Great-aunt of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal. She married Prince Louis of Thuringa at age 13. Built a hospital at the foot of the mountain on which her castle stood; tended to the sick herself. Her family and courtiers opposed this, but she insisted she could only follow Christ's teachings, not theirs. Once when she was taking food to the poor and sick, Prince Louis stopped her and looked under her mantle to see what she was carrying; the food had been miraculously changed to roses. Upon the death of Louis, Elizabeth sold all that she had, and worked to support her four children. Her gifts of bread to the poor, and of a large gift of grain to a famine stricken Germany, led to her patronage of bakers and related fields.
"Apart from those active good works, I declare before God that I have seldom seen a more contemplative woman.
Before her death I heard her confession. When I asked what should be done about her goods and possessions, she replied that anything which seemed to be hers belonged to the poor. She asked me to distribute everything except one worn-out dress in which she wished to be buried. When all this had been decided, she received the body of our Lord. Afterward, until vespers, she spoke often of the holiest things she had heard in sermons. Then, she devoutly commended to God all who were sitting near her, and as if falling into a gentle sleep, she died." - from a letter by Conrad of Marburg, spiritual director of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Prayer to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Our father in heaven,
Your servant, Saint Elizabeth brought care to the sick, food to the hungry and hope to the hopeless,
Grant us they blessing that we may follow in her footsteps with love and joy on our hearts.
Born in Grenoble, France.
Born to family with wealth and political connections; her father, Pierre Francois Duchesne, was a lawyer, businessman, and prominent civic leader in Grenoble, and her mother, Rose Perier, was a member of a leading family from the Dauphine region. From age eight she had a desire to evangelize in the Americas, sparked by hearing a Jesuit missionary speak of his work there. She received a basic education at home from tutors, and religious education from her mother. Educated from age 12 at the convent of the Visitation nuns in Grenoble, she joined them in 1788 at age 19 without the permission or knowledge of her family. Initially they were violently opposed to her choice, but finally gave in.
Religious communities were outlawed during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution, and her convent was closed in 1792. She spent the next ten years living as a laywoman again, but still managed to act like a good member of her Order. She established a school for poor children, provided care for the sick, and hid priests from Revolutionaries. When the Terror ended, she reclaimed her convent and tried to reestablish it with a group of sisters she had maintained in Grenoble. However, most were long gone, and in 1804 the group was incorporated into the Society of the Sacred Heart under Saint Madeline Sophie Barat. They then reopened the convent of Sainte-Marie-d'en-Haut as the second house of Sacred Heart nuns. Rose became a postulant in December 1804, and made her final vows in 1805.
In 1815 Mother Duschene was assigned to found a Sacred Heart convent in Paris. On 14 March 1818 at age 49 she and four sisters were sent as missionaries to the Louisiana Territory to establish the Society's presence in America. Diseases contracted during the trip to America nearly killed her, and after she recovered in New Orleans, the trip up the Mississippi nearly killed her again. She established her first mission at Saint Charles, Missouri, a log cabin that was the first free school west of the Mississippi River. She eventually six other houses in America which included schools and orphanages. She ran into some opposition as her teaching methods were based on French models, and her English was terrible; her students, however, received a good education, and her intentions were obviously for their best.
She was ever concerned about the plight of Native Americans, and much of her work was devoted to educating them, caring for their sick, and working against alcohol abuse. Finally able to retire from her administrative duties, Mother Duchesne eangelized the Pottowatomies and in the Rocky Mountains at age 71, and taught young girls of the tribe. This work, however, lasted but a year as she was unable to master the Pottowatomi language. She was known to the tribe as "Woman-Who-Prays-Always".
She spent her last ten years in retirement in a tiny shack at the convent in Saint Charles, Missouri where she lived austerely and in constant prayer.
"We cultivate a very small field for Christ, but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self." - St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
Abbess and miracle worker, the younger sister of St. Clare of Assisi. Born in Assisi, Agnes was the youngest daughter of Count Favorino Scifi and Countess Hortulana (now Blessed). On March 18, 1212, Clare renounced her inheritance and family and founded the Poor Clares, the Franciscan cloistered Order. Agnes joined her sixteen days later at the Benedictine cloister of St. Angelo in Panso, where they received their initial training. Her father, Count Favorino, sent armed men to carry Agnes away. She was badly beaten but was not taken back to her father because of the miraculous efforts of Clare. Agnes was accepted by St. Francis and placed in St. Damian's. She and Clare were soon joined by other noblewomen of Assisi, and there Agnes achieved perfection as a religious at a young age. She was eventually named abbess, and in 1219, was sent by St. Francis to direct the Poor Clares at Monticelli, near Florence. Agnes wrote a letter to Clare, and this surviving document clearly demonstrates her love of poverty and her loyalty to Clare's ideals. Agnes also established Poor Clares in Mantua, Padua, and Venice. In 1253, she was summoned to Clare's deathbed and assisted at her funeral. Agnes followed quickly as Clare had predicted, dying three months later, on November 16 of the same year. Her mother, Hortulana, and a younger sister, Beatrice, had already died, and Agnes was buried near them in the Church of St. Clare of Assisi.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who did set up St. Agnes of Assisi before many virgins as a model and guide to evangelical perfection, grant, we beseech Thee, that the seraphic spirit, which she so wisely taught and confirmed by her holy example, may be preserved in us from all taint. Amen.
Daughter of Luigi Viti, a gambler and heavy drinker, and Anna Bono, who died when Anna was fourteen. Raised her eight siblings after her mother's death, often working as a domestic servant to support them. Joined the Benedictines at the San Maria de'Franconi monastery in Veroli, Italy on 21 March 1851 at age 24, taking the name Sister Maria Fortunata. She was over 70 years in the Order, her days spent spinning, sewing, washing, mending - and praying the whole time. Sister Maria never learned to read or write, and never held any position in her house, but she had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and whole generations of nuns and local lay people learned from her quiet, humble, happy, prayerful example.
"Humility: this is the virtue that Maria Fortunata personifies. This insignificance is her greatness. We are reminded of the Magnificat, and this alone speaks to Maria Fortunata's degree of Christian authenticity and the depth of her spiritual perfection. Humility is her message ..." - Pope Paul VI (8 October 1967)
Mary's presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.
As with Mary's birth, we read of Mary's presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, the Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.
Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary's presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the birth of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.
"Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house, and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God. Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unplowed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority of motherhood, to our Lord and God, Creator of all, your Son who was born of you without a father, steer the ship of the Church and bring it to a quiet harbor" (adapted from a homily by St. Germanus on the Presentation of the Mother of God).
Martyred in 3rd Century
Cultivated young patrician woman whose ancestors loomed large in Rome's history. She vowed her virginity to God, but her parents married her to Valerian of Trastevere. Cecilia told her new husband that she was accompanied by an angel, but in order to see it, he must be purified. He agreed to the purification, and was baptized; returning from the ceremony, he found her in prayer accompanied by a praying angel. The angel placed a crown on each of their heads, and offered Valerian a favor; the new convert asked that his brother be baptized.
The two brothers developed a ministry of giving proper burial to martyred Christians. In their turn they were arrested and martyred for their faith. Cecilia buried them at her villa on the Appian Way, and was arrested for the action. She was ordered to sacrifice to false gods; when she refused, she was martyred in her turn.
The Acta of Cecilia includes the following: "While the profane music of her wedding was heard, Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse." It was this phrase that led to her association with music, singers, musicians, etc.
Thanksgiving Table Prayer...
O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us. Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat and especially for this feast today. Thank you for our home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here. Thank you for our health, our work and our play. Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence. Open our hearts to your love. We ask your blessing through Christ your son. Amen.
May God bless in abundance each person who reads this message! Happy Thanksgiving! God is good!
Between the arrival of the first Portuguese missionary in 1533, through the Dominicans and then the Jesuit missions of the 17th century, the politically inspired persecutions of the 19th century, and the Communist-led terrors of the twentieth, there have been many thousands of Catholics and other Christians murdered for their faith in Vietnam. Some were priests, some nuns or brothers, some lay people; some were foreign missionaries, but most were native Vietnamese killed by their own government and countrymen.
Record keeping being what it was, and because the government did not care to keep track of the people it murdered, we have no information on the vast bulk of the victims. In 1988, Pope John Paul II recognized over a hundred of them, including some whose Causes we do have, and in commemoration of those we do not. They are collectively known as the Martyrs of Vietnam (or Tonkin or Annam or the other older names of that country).
O Vietnamese Martyrs, with the Grace of God, you had victoriously implanted the mustard seed of Faith that grew into the Church of Vietnam. Your courageous sacrifice had reserved your Heavenly rest. United with you, we offer our gratitudes and thanks to God and the Holy Mother, for all of your martyrdom and your lives that we now celebrate.
We beseech you, as your descendants, to follow your Faith in humility, charity and love. When we are in despair and danger, please aid and console us in fulfilling the Father's Will and carry our crosses to Eternal Glory. Amen.
Beheaded, 305 in Alexandria, Egypt.
Apocryphal. Born to the nobility. Learned in science and oratory. Converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. When she was 18 years old, during the persecution of Maximinus, she offered to debate the pagan philosophers. Many were converted by her arguments, and immediately martyred. Maximinus had her scourged and imprisoned. The empress and the leader of the army of Maximinus were amazed by the stories, went to see Catherine in prison. They converted and were martyred. Maximinus ordered her broken on the wheel, but she touched it and the wheel was destroyed. She was beheaded.
Immensely popular during the Middle Ages, there were many chapels and churches devoted to her throughout western Europe, and she was reported as one of the divine advisors to Saint Joan of Arc. Her reputation for learning and wisdom led to her patronage of libaries, librarians, teachers, archivists, and anyone associated with wisdom or teaching. Her debating skill and persuasive language has led to her patronage of lawyers. And her torture on the wheel led to those who work with them asking for her intercession. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
A Prayer for Students...
O glorious Saint Catherine, wise and prudent virgin, thou who didst set the knowledge of Jesus Christ above all other knowledge, obtain for us the grace to remain inviolably attached to the Catholic faith, and to seek in our studies and in our teaching only the extension of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ our Lord and of His Holy Church both in ourselves and in the souls of others. Amen.
1599-1621, (Patron of Altar Boys)
Son of a shoemaker, and one of five children, three of whom entered religious life. John had great devotion to his position as an altar boy. He spent much of his time caring for his mother, who was in poor health. Jesuit noviate in 1616, deciding to become a Jesuit after reading the life of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga. Student at the Jesuit College at Malines, Belgium. Studied philosophy in Rome. John had a dream of helping and teaching multi-lingual migrants, and he studied all the chief languages of Europe. He wanted to work in China after ordination. He died of unknown causes following his participation in a public debate defending the faith, and while clutching his rosary, crucifix, and rules of his order; he did not live to be ordained.
John Berchmans was not noted for extraordinary feats of holiness or austerity, nor did he found orders or churches or work flashy miracles. He made kindness, courtesy, and constant fidelity an important part of his holiness. The path to holiness can lie in the ordinary rather than the extraordinary.
Dear St. John, you died at a very young age, but in that short time
you learned to live an exemplary life as a member of the Society of Jesus.
Directed by your Guardian Angel, whom you confidently invoked,
you learned to be a most humble server at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Help altar boys imitate you in their service at Eucharistic celebrations
as well as in their conduct with others. Amen.
A pious child. Entered the Conventual Franciscan order in 1695, taking the name Francis. Ordained in 1705. Taught philosophy to younger friars, served as guardian of his friary, provincial of the order, master of novices, and finally pastor in his hometown. Sought after confessor and preacher, a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed. A mystic, known for his deep prayer life and supernatural gifts, he was known to levitate while praying. At his death, children ran through the streets crying, "The saint is dead! The saint is dead!"
"In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbor; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deed of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance." - a witness to his preaching, recorded in the investigation for his canonization
Born in Burgundy, France.
Ninth of eleven children born to a farm family, and from an early age Catherine felt a call to the religious life. Never learned to read or write. Forced to take over running the house at age eight after her mother died and her older sister joined the Sisters of Charity. Worked as a waitress in her uncle's cafe in Paris, France. Upon entering a hospital run by the Sisters of Charity she received a vision in which Saint Vincent de Paul told her that God wanted her to work with the sick, and she later joined the Order, taking the name Catherine.
On 18 July 1830 she had a vision of Our Lady who described to her a medal which she wished struck. On one side it has the image of Our Lady, and the words, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee"; on the other are the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Our Lady told Catherine that wearers of the medal would receive great graces, it has become known as the Miraculous Medal, and its wearing and devotion has spread worldwide. Miracles reported at her tomb.
"Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to him, Lord I am here. Tell me what you would have me to do. If he gives me some task, I am content and I thank him. If he gives me nothing, I still thank him since I do not deserve to receive anything more than that. And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart. I tell him about my pains and joys, and then I listen. If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen. God always speaks to you when you approach him plainly and simply." - St. Catherine Laboure
English.(1544-1577, friend of St. Edmund Campion, English Martyr)
Raised a Protestant by his uncle, a schimastic priest. Ordained as a Protestant minister at age 19. Friend of Saint Edmund Campion. He converted to Catholicism in 1570 while a student at Saint John's College, Oxford. Studied and ordained at Douai, France, the first Englishman trained there. Ordained and returned to England in 1575 with Saint John Payne to minister to covert Catholics in Cornwall. Arrested in 1576, condemned and martyred for the crime of being a priest. Proto-martyr of English seminaries. One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Saint Cuthbert Mayne, pray for us.
Who was of mild nature, pray for us.
Who did repent of the trappings of false religion, pray for us.
Who did at length embrace the True Faith, pray for us.
Who did study for the priesthood at Douai, pray for us.
Who was desirous as a priest to honour God, pray for us.
Who was desirous to offer reparation for sin, pray for us.
Who was inflamed with zeal to save souls, pray for us.
Who was sent in secret to England, pray for us.
Who did labor in Cornwall, enduring danger and peril, pray for us.
Who did reconcile so many to the Church, pray for us.
Who was seized by evil men, pray for us.
Who was cruelly imprisoned, pray for us.
Who was wrongfully tried, pray for us.
Who was unjustly convicted, pray for us.
Who did refuse to swear the unlawful oath, pray for us.
Who was condemned to death, pray for us.
Who did pray so earnestly, pray for us.
Who was illumined by a great light, pray for us.
Who was hung, drawn, and quartered, pray for us.
Of whose converts none ever recanted, pray for us.
Who reigns with Christ for ever, pray for us.
From all evil, deliver us, O Lord.
From all sin, deliver us, O Lord.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Lord.
From anger, and hatred, and all ill will, deliver us, O Lord.
From error, dissension, and division, deliver us, O Lord.
From heresy and schism, deliver us, O Lord.
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Lord. Amen.
The first Apostle. Fisherman by trade. Brother of Simon Peter. Follower of John the Baptist. Andrew went through life leading people to Jesus, both before and after the Crucifixion. Missionary in Asia Minor and Greece, and possibly areas in modern Russia and Poland. Martyred on an saltire (x-shaped) cross, he is said to have preached for two days from it.
Prayer to St. Andrew the Apostle...
O Glorious Saint Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend Saint John you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity.
As you led your brother Saint Peter to Christ and many others after him, draw us also to him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for him and dedication in his service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus. Amen.