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Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

October 21, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed. Finally, like St. Damien of Molokai, he traversed a mountainous terrain through tropical rain forests — in his case, to serve the people of Cuba. Born to Juan and Josefa Claret on December 23, 1807, Anthony was a devout child. As the fifth of seven children, he received an elementary education along with a religious formation that brought him to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Ignatius Of Antioch

October 14, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Who are the fathers of the Church? They were holy men of God; most were bishops, although some were priests and one man, St. Justin the Martyr, was a layman. They lived primarily in the first three centuries of Christianity, but one of the fathers died in 750, generally considered the end of the Church fathers’ era. They are regarded as “fathers” because of their holiness, their orthodoxy, their development of the understanding of Church doctrine, and the approval of the Church. The list includes such well-known men as St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Athanasius, St. Polycarp, St. Clement, and St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose feast is celebrated on October 17. As with most saints of his…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Denis, Patron Of France

October 7, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN On the hill of Montmartre, the French have built a Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Sacré-Coeur de Paris. Since 1885, this church has held perpetual adoration; the practice began before construction on the church was completed in 1914. As tourists quietly walk through the church to admire the beautiful mosaics and woodwork, high above on the altar — more than 40 feet above the floor — is the monstrance holding the Sacred Host. Around the outer walls are various side chapels where Confessions are heard in various languages throughout each day. The church was begun in 1875 — almost 100 years after the French Revolution — on the hill which is about one and a half miles…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower

September 30, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN As you drive into Lisieux, France, from Caen on highway D613, you can see clearly the Basilica of Lisieux — it dominates the landscape rising high above the hills and other buildings. A little to the north is the cathedral where Therese received her sacraments and where her family dedicated an altar. A little farther north is the quaint home where she grew up. A two-story building with two outbuildings and a lovely garden, it boasts a replica of the bench with Therese and her father sitting together, in memory of the moment her father gave her permission to join the Carmelites. During the mid-19th century in the village of Alençon, there were two pious youths, Louis…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Saints Cosmas And Damian

September 23, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the last book of the Old Testament, 2 Maccabees, we read of the mother who stood by her seven sons, encouraging them to hold true to the law of their fathers and not give in to the attempts of Antiochus IV Epiphanes to get them to abandon their faith by eating the flesh of a swine (chapter 7). One by one she witnessed the barbaric killing of her seven sons before she also died. This passage of Sacred Scripture contains passages supporting four important doctrines of the Catholic Church: 1) prayer for the dead; 2) the merits of the martyrs; 3) the intercession of the saints; and 4) the resurrection of the dead. This history of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

September 16, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St. Joseph of Cupertino. He was frequently called the village idiot. However, by God’s Providence, he became not only a priest but one of the most amazing levitating saints in the history of the Church. Joseph was born in Cupertino, a village about ten miles southeast of Rome, on June 17, 1603. His father had contracted so many debts that he…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Mother Teresa Of Calcutta

September 9, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN After returning from a visit to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and giving a retreat to her Missionaries of Charity there, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, told a class of lay faithful, “Americans are living in a dream world.” He spoke of the thousands of people dying on the streets of Calcutta where Mother had begun her work with the poorest of the poor. In Skopje, Macedonia, Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu was born on August 26, 1910 to parents of Albanian heritage. From the time she received her First Holy Communion at the age of five and a half, she yearned to do God’s will. She received Confirmation a year later, suffering the tragedy of her father’s death only…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Mary, The Mother Of God

September 2, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN I have a confession to make. It was not until I was nearly 40 years old that I learned about the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. While I understood the seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter, I never paid much attention to the feasts and the time of the year they were celebrated. For example, it is no coincidence that the Feast of the Nativity of Mary (September 8) is celebrated exactly nine months after the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8). Likewise, it is no coincidence that Christmas (December 25) is celebrated exactly nine months after the celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25). Mary plays a very significant role in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John The Baptist

August 26, 2014 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Thousands of years before the time of Christ, the Pharaoh of Egypt held the children of Israel in bondage. Our Lord proved His love for them when Moses led them out of Egypt. When Mary was carrying Jesus, she and Joseph, because of an imperial decree, had to travel to Bethlehem in order to be counted in the census. The Feast of the Holy Innocents commemorates the martyrdom of the boys under two years of age who were martyred by Herod for fear of the King of the Jews who might take his place. Even Jesus was condemned by the secular government, which was all part of God’s plan. A few years before Jesus died, John the…Continue Reading

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