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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

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Catherine Labouré

November 25, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN A miracle is a sensibly perceptible effect, surpassing the powers of visible nature, produced by God to witness to some truth or to testify to someone’s sanctity. During His life on earth, Jesus performed many miracles. Miracles did not end with Christ’s Ascension into Heaven. They have continued to be performed throughout the history of the Church. Some miracles are worked through people, while some places or things are associated with many miracles, such as Fatima and Lourdes. Similarly, many miracles surround the Miraculous Medal, which was revealed to Catherine Zoe Labouré in 1830. On May 2, 1806, Catherine Zoe Labouré came into the world at Fain-les-Moutiers, about 200 miles southeast of Paris. Her father, Pierre Labouré,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Cecilia

November 18, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church has thousands of saints. For the last two millennia, people of great holiness, exemplifying heroic virtue, have been honored as saints, members of the Church Triumphant in Heaven giving honor and glory to God. Some have been formally declared saints by the Church, while others have been so honored from the beginnings of the Church, such as Cosmas and Damian, Philomena, and Perpetua and Felicity. Like Saints Cosmas and Damian, and like Perpetua and Felicity, St. Cecilia is remembered in the Roman Canon. In the second half of the First Eucharistic Prayer, she is memorialized along with three other martyred virgins: “Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, and Cecilia.” There is little written historical evidence of Cecilia,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

November 11, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Since the United States is a relatively new country compared to the rest of the world, we do not have as many canonized saints as do France, Italy, or Spain. Elizabeth Ann Seton (died 1821) was the first person born in the United States to be canonized, although she lived many years after Kateri Tekakwitha (died 1680) who was canonized in October 2012. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first U.S. citizen to be canonized when Pope Pius XII elevated her to sainthood in 1946. Not surprisingly, Frances Cabrini was born into a large family in Sant’ Angelo Lodigiano, Lombardy, in northern Italy. Her father, Agostino, was a farmer and her mother, Stella, stayed at home to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Engelbert

November 4, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN History is often broken into three periods: Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Modern Era. The Middle Ages consists of the time between the fifth century with the fall of the Roman Empire and the 15th century, close to the time of the Protestant Reformation. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the lands were subjected to raids from other lands. The Visigoths invaded and settled Spain. The Franks did the same in France. While the Vandals destroyed much of Spain and Gaul, the Slavs moved into central Europe, and the Lombards turned to Italy. To protect the people as well as the lands, the feudal system developed in which the nobles would fight the raiders while…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wolfgang

October 28, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN October 31 has come to be yet another Christian holy day corrupted by our secular society. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, is now celebrated with emphasis on evil and horror. Corn mazes with frightening objects around the corner, haunted houses to terrify even the bravest of persons, glorification of vampires, and decorations of death and witches — these are some of the things that have replaced processions honoring the saints of our Catholic history. October 31 can be remembered for another infamous occurrence in history. It was on that date in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, where the largest collection of holy relics was kept.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

October 21, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed. Finally, like St. Damien of Molokai, he traversed a mountainous terrain through tropical rain forests — in his case, to serve the people of Cuba. Born to Juan and Josefa Claret on December 23, 1807, Anthony was a devout child. As the fifth of seven children, he received an elementary education along with a religious formation that brought him to…Continue Reading