Sunday 1st May 2016

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Catholic Heroes… Blessed Giovanni Da Fiesole, OP

February 16, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN During the Renaissance, a return to classical interests surged with cultural, social, and educational reforms. Diplomacy and manners became popular once again, but the most remarkable accomplishments were in the art of the era. Many famous artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and da Vinci created masterpieces that are still highly prized centuries later. But there is only one of them whom the Catholic Church ever declared a blessed: Blessed Giovanni da Fiesole. Blessed Giovanni was born in about 1395 in Rupecanina, Tuscany, just northwest of Florence. Little is known about his parents, who gave him the name Guido di Pietro at his birth. The first of any evidence about the man was recorded on October 17,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Miguel Febres Cordero Munoz

February 9, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN There have been many saints born in Europe who came to the Americas to convert the natives and work among immigrants. These included St. Isaac Jogues, St. Frances Cabrini, and St. Damien of Molokai, to name a few. There were few saints who were born in the Americas and then went to Europe and died there far from their native land. One of these rare saints is Miguel Febres Cordero Munoz. On November 7, 1854, one month before the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was announced by Pope Pius IX, a child was born in Cuenca, Ecuador. He was named Francisco Febres Cordero Munoz. Francisco was born with club feet and was unable to walk for many…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Boleslava Maria Lament

February 2, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church observes the Church Unity Octave from January 18 through January 25. For each day of the octave, we pray for a different form of unity. For example, on January 18, the intention is for the return of separated Eastern Christians to communion with the Holy See. Another day the intention is for the restoration of lapsed Catholics to the sacramental life of the Church. Both of these intentions formed the spiritual life and apostolic activity of Blessed Boleslava Maria Lament. Boleslava was born on July 3, 1862 in Lowicz, Poland, to Martin Cyqamoska and Lucia Lament. She was the eldest of eight children. During this period of high infant mortality, Boleslava witnessed the deaths…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Vincent Pallotti

January 26, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Church, beginning with Christ Himself, disenfranchised youth have found a friend in the followers of the Lord. St. John Bosco and St. Philip Neri come to mind. There is another saint who also helped both young men and young women, St. Vincent Pallotti, a man born and raised in Rome during the time of the Jesuit suppression. Peter Paul Pallotti and his wife Maddalena were a devout Catholic couple with two children when Vincent was born on April 21, 1795. He was the third of ten children, who were raised by attending daily Mass and many devotions in the neighboring churches of Rome. As a child he had learning troubles, so his…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Marianne Cope

January 19, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the hills outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a leper settlement, Sungai Buloh, located in a lush valley. It is an excellent model for proper urban planning. Lovely gardens, sewers, and wells, churches and other places of worship virtually eliminate the need to leave the village. With a cure having been found for leprosy, the patient population there has diminished, but their industry in growing some of the most beautiful plants in the country brings people from miles around to purchase them. Conditions were not like that in the 19th century when lepers were exiled to Molokai, Hawaii, where Marianne Cope eventually went to minister to them. When Sr. Marianne was born, her father, Peter Koob,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Hilary Of Poitiers

January 12, 2016 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the fourth century, despite the results of the Council of Nicaea in 325, the Arian heresy spread throughout the Christian world. Not only did the emperor support the Arians, but many bishops and priests inside the Church also promoted the heresy. In God’s mercy and Providence, many holy men suffered persecution and even martyrdom to preach the Truth: Jesus Christ is one divine person having two natures, the human and the divine. These men included Saints Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzus, Athanasius, Eusebius of Vercelli, and a Frenchman who was born into a pagan family, but became a doctor of the Church — St. Hilary of Poitiers. Hilary, the son of prominent pagan parents, was…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Josephine Bakhita

January 5, 2016 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. Thorlak Thorhallsson

December 22, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In Iceland, the land on the far north of the Atlantic Ocean, the people prepare for Christmas with traditions that go back nearly 1,000 years. They thoroughly clean their homes from top to bottom. Then they prepare a meal of cured skate (shark meat), mashed potatoes, and a shot of Brennivin as they close out the final day of Christmas fasting. This is called Thorlak’s Tradition. In the tapestry of Icelandic history, he became the patron saint of Iceland. In Iceland, the earliest inhabitants included Irish monks who came for the quiet solitude of the distant land. However, they were soon driven out by the Vikings who brought their Norse paganism in the ninth century. Around 900,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Mary Frances Schervier

December 15, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Holy people come from all walks of life. St. Francis of Assisi came from a wealthy family and he surrendered all that wealth to live in poverty for the love of God. St. Joan of Arc came from a somewhat poor family in France. St. Joseph of Cupertino, whose father died shortly after his birth, was thought to be the village idiot when he was young, yet became a priest. St. Josephine Bakhita was captured as a young girl in Sudan and sold into slavery and now is honored in the communion of saints. Perhaps one day soon, Blessed Mary Frances Schervier will also be declared a saint. In Aachen, Germany, Blessed Mary Frances was born on…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. Gregory III

December 8, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Lord promised us that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against His Church. Each heresy that gained ground in the Church has done so because at least one bishop has supported it. However, our Lord has also provided the Church staunch — and sometimes unlikely — defenders of the Truth. Such was the case when iconoclasm was promoted by the Byzantine Emperor Leo III, who persecuted so many in the eighth century. During that time, St. John Damascene wrote simple but compelling theses on the veneration of sacred images. About the same time, a simple Syrian priest became Pope and also fearlessly defended the veneration of sacred images: Pope St. Gregory III. Very little is…Continue Reading