Friday 27th May 2016

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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

Catholic Heroes… St. John Damascene

December 1, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN “The Fathers of the Church were those saintly writers of the early centuries whom the Church recognizes as her special defenders of orthodoxy. And the Patristic Age is the period during which they lived. “It is generally held that the last of the Western Fathers (Latin) was St. Bede the Venerable (673-735), and the last of the Eastern Fathers (Greek) was St. John Damascene (675-749). Their writings have been the most influential in shaping the minds and hearts of Christian believers. Every one of these men has so deeply inspired future generations that he would qualify as father in spirit not only of Christianity but of all human civilization” (Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, The Catholic Lifetime Reading…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Maria Virgo

November 24, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN When I visited my aunt in St. Louis, Mo., we would visit the basilicas, the museums, and other places of interest. She had many sites near her that were particularly special to her, such as her parish, The Little Flower, in Richmond Heights. In addition, she described a place where she frequently went for eucharistic adoration at the convent of “the Pink Sisters.” She even showed me pictures of the Pink Sisters in an article that had been written about them in her diocesan paper. They got their name because of their rose-colored habits. My aunt explained that the Pink Sisters are contemplatives. I have since learned that there are also Blue Sisters, missionaries, that were established…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Raphael Kalinowski

November 17, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many terms we use in our language which are clichés. We hear people say that somebody “kicked the bucket,” meaning that he has died, or “I’ll send you to outer Mongolia,” meaning that they will ship you so far away no one will find you. Fr. Kalinowski not only went to a place just north of “outer Mongolia,” but he was forced to walk there as a prisoner of the Russians. Andrew Kalinowski, the assistant superintendent professor of mathematics, and his wife, Josephine Polonska, welcomed their second son into the world on September 1, 1835 in the city of Vilna, the capital of modern-day Lithuania. At his Baptism they gave him the name Joseph. His…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Eugene Bossilkov

November 10, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1694 Paul Francis Danei was born in Ovada, Italy. Pope Benedict XIII gave Paul permission to accept novices to his new penitential order in 1725; the Pope ordained Paul and his brother on June 7, 1727. Pope Benedict XIV approved the rules of this order on May 15, 1741. The character of the order was a combination of the solitary existence of the Carthusians and the active life of the Jesuits focusing on the Passion of Christ. The order became known as the Passionists. A little more than 200 years later, one of their priests, Eugene Bossilkov, would be executed for his Catholic faith. On November 16, 1900, a Bulgarian Latin Rite Catholic family living in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Leonard Of Limoges

November 3, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of Europe’s most popular pilgrimages is the Santiago de Compostela or the Way of St. James. People who make this pilgrimage begin from many locations around Europe, walking the hundreds of miles to the western coast of Spain. Some do it to complete a vow made when prayers were answered. Others do it for a petition or simply to accomplish a lifelong goal. In the pilgrimage from Paris, the travelers stop at Catholic shrines along the way. One of the stops is at Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat, about 250 miles from Paris, which is the home of the cult of St. Leonard, a nobleman who became a priest in the sixth century. Leonard was born to French nobility, his…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Dorothy Of Montau

October 27, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Around AD 1100, with the rise of the middle class, farmers in the Netherlands began to purchase swamp land and drain the water from it in order to raise crops. As dikes grew in importance in this area, the need for expert dike builders/farmers rose. However, after two hundred years most of the work had been done, and the decreased need for dike builders left many men without employment. One such man was a Dutch peasant named Wilhelm Swarze. He left his home country with his wife and family and settled in Prussia seeking better means to support them. On January 25, 1347, Wilhelm’s wife gave birth to Dorothy of Montau, an area in West Prussia. She…Continue Reading