Tuesday 16th September 2014

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Catholic Heroes . . . St. Julie Billiart

April 7, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Across North America there are churches and schools named after St. Julie Billiart. They carry on the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur founded by Julie and her friends during the turbulent years of the late 18th and early 19th century of the French nation when Catholics were being persecuted. Throughout the history of the Church, there have been saints from families of both the very rich and the very poor. St. Julie Billiart, the sixth of seven children, arrived on July 12, 1751 to Jean-Francois Billiart and his wife Marie-Louise-Antoinette Debraine at Cuvilly in the Diocese of Beauvais, Picardy, France. Her parents were poor peasant farmers who could little afford an education for…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Francis Of Paola

March 31, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Down in southern Italy, in the year 1416, a loving couple welcomed their son into the world after many years of hoping for children. Their devotion to St. Francis of Assisi was well known as they sought to imitate his great love of poverty and devotion to prayer. Since St. Francis answered their pleas for children, they named their son after him in keeping with the vow they had made. A few years later the young boy was stricken with a serious illness causing much swelling in his face. The danger of losing his eyesight was very real. Once again the parents prayed to St. Francis of Assisi for his intercession in granting a cure to their…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Rupert

March 24, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Salzburg: Almost everyone has heard of Salzburg. The pearl of Austria with its beautiful vistas and rich heritage claims among its citizens Johann Amadeus Mozart and the Von Trapp family singers made famous by the movie Sound of Music. Most important, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI came from this area as well. This city, one designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations, was founded by St. Rupert in the seventh century. Perhaps “refounded” would be a better word since it was built upon the ruins of a city destroyed by the barbarian hordes who descended upon southern Europe in the past. Rupert’s origins are uncertain. Some claim he was an Irishman, which could be possible…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Cuthbert

March 17, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Melrose Abbey in Scotland, which is located about 30 miles south-southeast of Edinburgh, attracts more visitors than just about any other attraction in Scotland. Although mostly in ruins now, the abbey boasts a museum and other sites of interest, such as the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce. Mel Gibson revived interest in him with the making of Braveheart. Three miles to the east of this abbey, there was once another Melrose Abbey founded by St. Aidan and later there was also the abbey of which St. Cuthbert served as prior for a brief period of time. St. Cuthbert, claimed by some Irishmen to be from their country, more likely was born in the Lowlands of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Nicephorus

March 10, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN At the end of the patrician age, iconoclasm reared its ugly head in the Christian community. Iconoclasm “rejected as superstition the use of religious images and advocated their destruction . . .occasioned by the rise of Islam which considers all sacred images idolatrous” (Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John A. Hardon, p. 263). In defending the true teaching of the Church, St. John Damascene nearly lost his life. However, some decades later, the iconoclasts gained more recognition and again sought to destroy the sacred images in use at the time. Eventually, the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 clearly defined the teaching that sacred images were permissible and to be venerated. Largely through the efforts of St. Nicephorus,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Colette

March 3, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN There was a child, comely in appearance, sweet of disposition, and a joy for the parents to behold. The father was a carpenter, the head of this small but devout family. They observed the religious practices of their time, bringing up their small child to know and appreciate the centuries-old traditions. This holy family was pleasing to God and edifying for the faith community. Similar to the Holy Family, the child brought many closer to God by her example and her work. In northwestern France near the English Channel there is an abbey, the Corbie abbey, that still stands today. The carpenter at this abbey, Robert Boellet, and his wife, Marguerite Moyon, had longed for many years…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Angela De Foligno

February 24, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of the most recent canonizations to take place in the Catholic Church is that of St. Angela de Foligno, which occurred on October 11, 2013. Although her feast day has been set for January 4 — the day of her death — the 1956 edition of Butler’s Lives of the Saints (reprinted in 1981) records her memorial as February 28. The common practice in the Church is to celebrate the day when the holy ones enter into eternity, unless another feast or solemnity is already on the liturgical calendar for that day. Thus the day for remembering Angela was moved from February to January. St. Angela is one of those saints, like St. Augustine, who gives…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Peter, Pope

February 17, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church” (Matt. 16:18; Mark 8:27). As I was looking at a replica of the Vatican, whose architecture is in the shape of a key in a keyhole, I realized that Christ really did build His Church on St. Peter. Deep in the recesses of St. Peter’s Basilica are the relics of St. Peter. There is no other church in all of Christendom that can claim to be built on St. Peter. There is little known about Peter’s early life except that he was born in Bethsaida, a small town near Lake Genesareth. More of his history, however, can be gained from the passages in Scripture that…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Claude De La Colombière

February 10, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, paired with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, has become one of the most popular devotions for Catholics. Although the Sacred Heart had been part of the tradition of the Church for centuries, it never was promoted to the extent it is today until a young nun was urged by Christ Himself to do so. The instructions she received brought her great turmoil until our Lord promised to send her a priest who would be her guide in response to His requests. This priest was a humble Jesuit, St. Claude de la Colombière. Another saint in the long line of French saints, Claude was born in Saint-Symphorien d’Ozon in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Cyril Of Alexandria

February 3, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Over the 2,000-year history of Christianity, the Catholic Church has only recognized 35 persons as doctors of the Church. A doctor of the Church is one whose writing or preaching is outstanding for guiding the faithful in all periods of the Church’s history. Such well-known saints as St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Francis de Sales are doctors of the Church. In the beginning there were four men from the Western Church and four from the Eastern Church who were considered doctors of the Church. St. Gregory the Great, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome were from the West and St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and…Continue Reading