Monday 25th July 2016

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Catholic Heroes . . . St. John Cassian

July 19, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Frequently, the lives of the saints demonstrate that God calls us to go in directions that we would never consider unless it became clear that it is God’s will. St. Francis Xavier went to the Far East, St. Damien died in Hawaii on the opposite side of the world from his native Belgium, and St. John Cassian made a circuitous route from his birthplace in Eastern Europe to his final resting place in France. John Cassian, born about 360, came into the world in Scythia Minor, a region now shared by Romania and Bulgaria. A passage in one of his writings indicates that he had a sister, who joined one of his monasteries in France. Born of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Saints Louis And Azelie-Marie Guerin Martin

July 12, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Lord sends the Church the men and women who are needed to keep her holy in times of trouble. Among these are: St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Faustina, and the first married couple ever to be canonized together: Louis and Azelie-Marie (Zelie) Martin. Their feast day is July 12. Pope Benedict beatified them in 2008 and Pope Francis canonized them on October 18, 2015. Louis Martin, the third of five children, was born August 22, 1823 in Bordeaux, France. His father came from a long line of soldiers. His parents, Pierre-Francois Martin and Marie-Anne-Fanny Boureau, baptized him Louis Joseph Aloys Stanislaus Martin and, of all his siblings,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

July 5, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord had a special love for the poor when He walked this earth. At one time He rebuked one of the apostles, saying, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11). Rather than avoiding the destitute or shun the homeless, Christians are called to love them as we love ourselves. At the beginning of the 20th century, our Lord sent a man to Italy to be servant of God to those in need. Nearly 60 years before Apostolicam Actuositatem (Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People — Vatican II), Pier Giorgio discerned that God had called him to remain a layman so that he could serve the poor and the needy more effectively. Alfredo…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Junipero Serra

June 28, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN With the supremacy of the Spanish navy, the discovery of the New World, and the founding of the Jesuit order, the distances that Catholic missionaries traveled increased dramatically. St. Francis Xavier, after arriving in India, spent many years sailing all over Southeast Asia. However, either by land or by sea, few saints have traveled more than St. Junipero Serra. There is a lovely island about 200 miles east of Spain called Majorca, where the small village of Petra is located. In this village lived Antonio Nadal Serra, and Margarita Rosa Ferra, two farmers. On the day of the future saint’s birth, November 24, 1713, they took him to the church for Baptism, giving him the name Miguel…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Mother Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala

June 21, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Which basilica in the country of Mexico has been visited by both Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Francis? The Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan. Like Our Lady of Guadalupe, the story of Our Lady of Zapopan begins in the year 1531. Beginning in 1531, the same year that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego, Franciscan Fray Antonio de Segovia traveled throughout Mexico with the image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in an effort to bring peace to the warring tribes. According to accounts of his work, when he preached, rays would emit from the image as he called for peace. More than 6,000 Indians laid down their arms, leading…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Francis Regis

June 14, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the late 16th century, Calvinism began to make significant advances in the Catholic population of France. More and more Catholics left the faith, or simply stopped going to Mass and practicing their faith. Then God sent a man to the French who preached tirelessly and then spent hours in the confessional, helping the penitents return to a vibrant practice of the faith. On January 31, 1597 in Fontcouvarte, France, John Francis Regis came into the world, welcomed by his father, Jean Regis, who was honored for his service during the Wars of the League — a Catholic organization dedicated to removing Protestantism from France — and his mother, Marguerite de Cugunhan, who was from a noble…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Anna Maria Taigi

June 7, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Siena, Italy — 30 miles south of Florence, the birthplace of saints such as Bernardine of Siena (born on December 8, 1380), and Catherine of Siena (born on March 25, 1347). Four hundred years later, Siena became the birthplace of another great mystic of the Church: Blessed Anna Maria Taigi. Anna Maria entered our world on May 29, 1769. Her father, Luigi Giannetti, and her mother, Maria Masi, were poor working-class people from Tuscany. The day after her birth, they took their infant daughter to the church and baptized her with the name Anna Maria Gesualda Antonia. When Anna Maria was six years old her family moved to Rome to find work. She stayed in Rome for…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Kevin Of Glendalough

May 31, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Dublin, the largest city in Ireland, lies on the east coast of Ireland, just across the Irish Sea from Liverpool, England. It is the heart of Irish commerce and the gateway for travelers who wish to enter into the heart and soul of the ancient Irish culture of the Emerald Isle. Traveling south past the Wicklow mountains, the pilgrim will notice a tower in the distance of the valley of Glendalough — the valley of the two lakes. This tower rises from the grounds where many Irish have been buried. It is the tower of a Glendalough monastery dating back more than one thousand years. At its base there are many Celtic crosses marking the graves, the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustine Of Canterbury

May 24, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN A Celtic cross erected in 1884 marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, East Kent, where St. Augustine of Canterbury is said to have landed in 597. While some form of Christianity in England may be traced back to the times of the Roman occupation, it did not become a strong presence until the arrival of St. Augustine, who came at the invitation of King Ethelbert who asked him and his monks to come to please his Christian wife, Bertha. Up until that time, what remained of the Christian presence was quite isolated from the Roman Church and in need of holy priests to administer the sacraments and preach to the people. The life of St. Augustine began…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Crispin Of Viterbo

May 17, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In March 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of the Vine (Oak) located in Tuscany, Italy, to proclaim our Lady patroness of the Diocese of Viterbo. The tradition of visiting the image of Our Lady of the Oak began 600 years ago in 1417 when Mastro Baptist Magnano Iuzzante commissioned an image of our Lady to be painted on a tile which he placed near an oak tree at the edge of his vineyard. Over time many travelers stopped to admire and pray by the image. Whenever someone tried to steal the image, it would miraculously reappear at the foot of the oak tree. In 1467 as the plague raged through Viterbo,…Continue Reading