Wednesday 4th March 2015

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Catholic Heroes . . . St. Isidore Of Seville

March 3, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Spain is one of two countries located on the Iberian Peninsula. During the time of the Roman Empire, it was the Romans who first called this land “Hispania.” To this land the Romans brought the Latin language, civil organization, and law, as well as the Christian religion. However, as the Roman Empire began to crumble during the fifth century, the Germanic tribes from the north invaded Spain. The Suevi, Vandals, and Alans moved in. These peoples were then conquered by the Visigoths, who controlled the entire Iberian Peninsula by the end of the sixth century. Two centuries of their control left civilized society in ruins with little culture, few manners, and weakening faith. The Visigoths were pagan,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustus Chapdelaine

February 24, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Christianity has never been warmly welcomed by the authorities in China, but that did not stop the missionaries over the centuries who have gone there to save souls. Christianity has existed in various forms since the Tang Dynasty (eighth century). The first reports of Catholic priests going to China go back to the 13th century. John of Montecorvino, an Italian Franciscan, arrived in Beijing in 1294. Although he made many converts, and he began to translate the Holy Bible into Mandarin, the official Chinese language, the mission did not thrive. In 1582 Matteo Ricci was sent to China. His subtle approach and his diplomacy met with some small success with the emperor and with Chinese authorities. Even…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Jacinta Marto

February 17, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Catholic classic Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, we learn that wisdom is to be valued much more than knowledge. There is an entire book of the Old Testament called the Book of Wisdom. While holiness does not equal happiness, we can be sure that joy comes only from God. Little Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the three children who saw Our Lady at Fatima, displayed uncommon holiness during her short life. Likewise, she found joy in being able to suffer, and suffer terribly, for the salvation of souls. Jacinta was the seventh child of Manuel and Olimpia de Jesus Marto, a pious and hard-working couple. They owned some sheep that Jacinta took for…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Saints Cyril And Methodius

February 10, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Bible men and women have had their names changed by God — usually to reflect a new identity in Him. Abram and Sarai became Abraham and Sarah respectively. Jacob became Israel, Simon became Peter, and Saul became Paul. In the ninth century a man named Constantine took the name Cyril just before he died at the young age of 42. Some sources mention that his brother, Methodius, received the name Michel at his birth. In 827, Christian parents welcomed their youngest of seven sons, Constantine, into their lives. His father was Greek while his mother most likely came from a Slavic country. Though born of a Christian family, the boys received a…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Josephine Bakhita

February 3, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN There is a patron saint for almost any group of persons or causes. A patron saint is “a saint or blessed who, since early Christian times, has been chosen as a special intercessor with God for a particular person, place, community, or organization” (Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, p. 410). There are also some recently canonized saints who have been named as special patrons as well. St. Josephine Bakhita, canonized on October 1, 2000, by Pope St. John Paul II, is the patron saint of Sudan in Africa. When the saint we know of as Josephine Margaret Bakhita was born, her parents gave her a name. However, because of the traumatic events of her…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mutien Marie Wiaux

January 27, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN A few decades ago, when Catholic schools taught religion from the Baltimore Catechism, one of the first questions children learned was, “Why did God make you?” The answer was, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church restates this principle in the first paragraph, “God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life….He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength.” From the beginning, the Catholic Church has promoted the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

January 22, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds our finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in our minds for considering the things of God. St. Anthony of Egypt, a young man who had been left a great estate, comprehended this truth more than anyone of his time. Thanks to the biography written by St. Athanasius (died 373) a detailed history of St. Anthony of Egypt is available. In 251, a Christian couple in Egypt gave birth…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Stephen, Protomartyr

December 23, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the popular Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, a different gift is given for each of the twelve days of Christmas. This celebration of twelve days begins with December 26, the Feast of St. Stephen, and ends with the Epiphany, traditionally celebrated on January 6. The Catholic Church celebrates the Christmas octave, eight days of observing the great Feast of Christmas, from December 25 through January 1. The day after the birth of Christ, the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church, is celebrated by many Christian denominations. Outside of Sacred Scripture little or nothing is known about St. Stephen. In the Acts of the Apostles, the speech given by Stephen when…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Urban V

December 16, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The year 1309 marked the beginning of the Avignon papacy, under Pope Clement V, who was French. The Popes of Avignon built a papal palace, increasing it in size over the next 70 years. The first crack in the control of the papacy by the French began when Pope Urban V left Avignon to reside in Rome for a brief period. William de Grimoard, Lord of Bellegarde, and Amphelise de Montferrand were the father and mother of Guillaume (William) de Grimoard, who was born in 1310. His father came from a noble family and his mother was the sister of St. Elzear de Sabran, a third order Franciscan. Blessed Urban was born in the Castle of Grisac…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Sabbas

December 2, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Silence. Quiet. The search for peace, serenity, and calm has led many in today’s world to take up Yoga, Eastern mysticism, or life in remote areas to escape the noise of our modern world. This is not a modern quest. The quest for quiet has been with man for millennia. Although St. Anthony the Great (died 356) is considered the father of monasticism, there were many men before and after him who lived a life of quiet and prayer. About 100 years after St. Anthony, St. Sabbas, who frequently sought places to live in isolation, had so many followers that he founded numerous monasteries around Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Middle East. St. Sabbas, whose name means…Continue Reading