Saturday 23rd August 2014

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Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. Pius X

August 19, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN This month the Catholic Church celebrates the 100th anniversary of the death of Pope St. Pius X who had so many things in common with the last few Popes. Like Pope Francis, he had a special affinity for the poor — especially since he came from a poor family. Like Pope John Paul II, who updated the Code of Canon Law, Pope Pius X initiated the organization of all of canon law into one Code for the universal Church. Like Pope Benedict XVI, he fought the errors of modernism, stressing the importance of faith and reason. On June 3, 1835, Giovanni Battista Sarto and his wife, Margherita, took their day-old son, Giuseppe Melchiorre, to the church in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Maximilian Kolbe

August 12, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN During the Final Discourse, our Lord speaks to His disciples at the Last Supper about union with Christ, union with the Father, and the coming of the Holy Spirit with the theme of love woven throughout the night’s sharing. “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Martyrdom is an act of the will which one can suffer by giving one’s life, or by willing to do so even if not actually giving one’s life. When Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Maximilian Kolbe on October 10, 1982, he told those present that the saint had lived these words in an absolutely literal manner. He freely…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Dominic

August 5, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The sanctity of parents greatly influences the sanctity of their children, and hence we commonly find that not only are some brothers and sisters of saints also canonized, but their parents have been canonized, too. For example, St. Bridget of Sweden’s daughter is a saint of the Church. St. Dominic’s mother and siblings, as well as his uncles, were all models of holiness. In 1170, little more than 100 miles north of Madrid, in the small town of Calaruega, Castile, Blessed Joan of Aza gave birth to her son, Dominic, about whom she had a vision. She saw an all-powerful beast running with a torch in its mouth, interpreted as her son bringing light to a darkened…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Alphonsus Liguori

July 29, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 After establishing the house at Villa degli Schiavi, Alphonsus stayed there, conducting many of his missions from this site. For the previous five years he had become widely known for his missions and sermons, bringing many Catholics back to the Catholic faith. While Alphonsus is well known as a moral theologian and for his writings, he spent 26 years giving missions in the kingdom of Naples. From 1726 until 1752, he preached in Naples. With patience people waited to receive absolution, which would allow them to receive Holy Communion. He had an uncommon ability to resolve disputes, bring people back to the Church, and end family feuds — not an easy thing to do in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Alphonsus Liguori

July 22, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, having read the works of St. Alphonsus Liguori, took him as a mentor. It is not surprising, then, that Fr. Hardon taught his students, “If you are not encountering the cross, you are not doing God’s work.” Such were the lives of saints such as St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and especially of St. Alphonsus Liguori. To begin with, Alphonsus was baptized with ten names — quite a burden to bear. In 1696, Joseph de’ Liguori, a captain of the royal galleys, and his wife, Anna Cavalieri, welcomed their firstborn, a son, and named him Alphonsus Mary Anthony John Francis Cosmas Damian Michael Caspar de’ Liguori.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Benedict

July 8, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Every month the Apostleship of Prayer publishes the intentions of the Holy Father: one for a universal intention and one for an evangelical intention. In June 2014, the evangelical intention was that Europe may rediscover its Christian roots through the witness of believers. The advent of Christian civilization coincided with the advent of Western civilization. The Benedictine monasteries established throughout Europe brought about the development of farming, education, and peace. These Benedictine monasteries were started by St. Benedict. In How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, the author, Thomas E. Woods, explains how St. Benedict came to be called the Father of Europe. The monasteries he founded were the centers of the “literary inheritance of the ancient…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Thomas The Apostle

July 1, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are so many saints named St. Thomas that it is a common practice to call them all by more than Thomas, such as Thomas à Becket, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, or any one of the more than 30 others listed in the 1981 edition of Butler’s Lives of the Saints. (I always felt sorry for the good apostle named Judas [Jude] because the other Judas, the betrayer, rather ruined it for him since Judas became a name associated with a person of evil and betrayal.) It is somewhat curious that St. Thomas the Apostle, about whom there is little known, has had so many famous saints named after him. Although Thomas is not mentioned much in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Anthelm

June 24, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the mountains of Vermont you can visit the home — now a resort — of the famous Von Trapp family in Waitsfield, Vt. If you travel south from there, and meander about 100 miles through the mountains, you will see the Carthusian Monastery of the Transfiguration near Lake Madeleine in Equinox, Vt. This is the only Carthusian monastery in the United States. The Carthusians have held so closely to the vision of their founder, St. Bruno, that they have had no need of reform, unlike many other orders, such as the Carmelites. The austerity and quiet lifestyle of the Carthusians back in the 12th century had such a profound effect on St. Anthelm that it changed…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Osanna Of Mantua

June 17, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Since the days of St. Dominic and the establishment of the Third Order of Dominicans for the laity, there have been many tertiary Dominican saints. Two who come to mind are St. Catherine of Siena, who lived in the 14th century in Italy, and St. Rose of Lima, who lived at the end of the 16th century in Lima, Peru. Between these two saints and their times lived another third order Dominican, Blessed Osanna. whose life had some similarities beyond their common profession to Dominic’s third order. On January 17, 1449, Blessed Osanna came into the world in Mantua, Italy, halfway between Venice and Milan in northern Italy. As the daughter of the noble Niccolò Andreasi and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . 108 Polish Martyrs

June 10, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN There is only one organization on the face of the earth whose leader unfailingly draws the largest crowds in history. Literally millions will crowd into the city where the leader will be. Of course, it is the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. No wonder political leaders down through history have tried to destroy the Church, but all have failed. In 1995, five million gathered in Manila for World Youth Day, while in 2013, three million gathered in Rio de Janeiro for another World Youth Day. On June 7, 1999, in Warsaw, Poland, there was another huge gathering of the Polish people. During his seventh pastoral visit to his native country,…Continue Reading