Friday 22nd September 2017

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Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

July 11, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of God. St. Bridget of Sweden experienced all of these in her lifetime. St. Bridget, a descendant of Swedish royalty, was born on June 13, 1303, in the province of Uppland, north of Stockholm on the Baltic Sea. Her father, Birger Persson, came from the Finsta family, which possessed great wealth and influence. Birger acted as governor and judge while being…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Southwell, Blessed William Carter

July 4, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. John Southwell, Blessed William Carter

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1964 a plaque was placed near the Marble Arch in London. It came to be known as the Tyburn Tree, listing the many Catholics who were hung in Tyburn for refusing to deny their faith. The plaque has been restored and rededicated, placed on one of the busiest intersections in Hyde Park. This infamous place of execution began in 1196 in a village of Middlesex. It reached its peak of notoriety during the reigns of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I when anyone found guilty of practicing the Catholic faith was hung on the Tyburn Tree, then drawn and quartered. More than 350 men and women won the crown of martyrdom in this way. Among…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Peter To Rot

June 27, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Blessed Peter To Rot

By CAROLE BRESLIN Papua New Guinea is an island nation about 175 miles north of Queensland, Australia. The capital, Rabaul, is on the eastern tip of a smaller New Guinea island that sits just east of the main island. It is an island with a dark history of witchcraft, cannibalism, and violence against women. Into this bleak place, the light of Christ had a bearer of good news: Blessed Peter To Rot. Peter To Rot (pronounced Toe Rote) was the third of six children born to Angelo Tu Puia and his wife, Maria la Tumul. Shortly after their marriage, Angelo, a highly admired chief, and his wife had converted to Catholicism and raised their family in the small hamlet of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Gennaro Maria Sarnelli

June 20, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Blessed Gennaro Maria Sarnelli

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the history of the Church saints have commonly lived at the same time and worked together for the Kingdom of God. Pope St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. John of Avila (of the Cross) and St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori and Blessed Gennaro Maria Sarnelli. Blessed Gennaro was the son of noble parents, born on September 12, 1702, in Naples, Italy. The Baron of Salerno Angelo Sarnelli, and his wife, Caterina Scappo, lived in the Zapata palace on the Piazza Trieste e Trento when their fourth of eight children was born. Gennaro received an education commensurate with his station in life. Like many saints, he was modest about…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Francis Regis

June 13, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. John Francis Regis

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… St. John Francis Regis

June 6, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. John Francis Regis

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 . . . St. Marcellin Joseph Benedict Champagnat

May 30, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Marcellin Joseph Benedict Champagnat

By CAROLE BRESLIN The end of the 18th century in France was a time of persecution for the Catholic Church with many priests and religious driven from convents and rectories, and others put to death. As more and more priests were martyred, the Church searched for good young men to replace them. In the history of the Church, there have been men who seemed unable to fulfill the role, but nonetheless became great saints, such as St. Joseph of Cupertino and the Curé of Ars, who studied with St. Marcellin Champagnat — another seemingly unqualified candidate for the priesthood. Marcellin was the ninth of the ten children of Jean-Baptiste and Marie Therese Chirat Champagnat. He was taken to the church…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Sanz And Companions

May 23, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Sanz And Companions

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1748, the Viceroy of Peking with great frustration asked, “What are we to do with these men? Their lives are certainly irreproachable. . . . Their jailers and their families become their disciples and embrace their religion. To prolong this state is only to give them the opportunity of increasing the number of Christians.” Thus Peter Sanz and his companions — Fathers Joachim Royo, John Alcober, Francis Diaz, and Francis Serrano — became the first martyrs in Fo-kien China. St. Peter Sanz was born on September 22, 1680 in the Catalan region of Spain. His uncle, an ecclesiastic of the Cathedral of Lerida, monitored his education before Peter entered the Dominican order. He professed his religious…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Celestine V

May 16, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Celestine V

By CAROLE BRESLIN After the death of Pope St. John Paul II, faithful Catholics rejoiced at the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as the next Vicar of Christ. The German prelate took the name of Benedict XVI for two reasons: in memory of Pope Benedict XV who led the Church during the turbulent times of World War I, seeking peace and harmony; and in memory of St. Benedict of Nursia who is the patron saint of Europe — a man also venerated by many Christian denominations. Pope Benedict XVI was elected on April 19, 2005, the feast day of an important German Pope of the Middle Ages: Pope St. Leo IX. Nearly eight years later on February 11, 2013, he…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Dymphna And Friends

May 9, 2017 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Dymphna And Friends

By CAROLE BRESLIN With the increasing speed of technological development, the rate of depression has also increased. In Future Shock (1970), Alvin Toffler explained why too much change in too little time will have a detrimental effect. People will feel disconnected, suffering from stress and disorientation caused by information overload. Time spent on things leaves less time for God. We are blessed in the Catholic Church to have recourse to patrons for mental illness. Following are the stories of four of them. St. Dymphna On May 15, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Dymphna. Born to royal Irish parents in the seventh century, Dymphna was an only child. After her Christian mother’s death, her pagan father grieved inordinately…Continue Reading