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Catholic Heroes . . . St. Thomas of Hereford

September 29, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN During the High Middle Ages the power of kings began to disintegrate, as shown by the Magna Charta, which was established in 1215. Although neither party of the agreement held up to its commitments, the beginning of more democratic rule had arrived. Three years later a noble family gave birth to a man who played a significant role in the conflict between the barons and the king of England. This man, St. Thomas de Cantilupe, was born in 1218 in Hambleden in Buckinghamshire in England, just northwest of London. His father, William de Cantilupe, the second Baron Cantilupe, was a minister of King John while his mother, Millicent de Gournay, was also from an illustrious and influential…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

September 22, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote The Ascent of Mount Carmel and The Dark Night of the Soul (1542-1591) all lived during the lifetime of St. Simon de Rojas. While they focused on the spiritual formation of souls, St. Simon focused on organizing the laity to play a more active role in performing the corporal works of mercy. In the year 1552 there was a Catholic…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Arbues

September 15, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The enemies of the Catholic Church attack her for many things, one of which is the Inquisition or more specifically the Spanish Inquisition. Although it was not until the Middle Ages that the Inquisition became more widespread, the roots of its activities date back to the time of St. Augustine when heresy threatened the eternal destiny of so many souls. St. Augustine opposed the use of force as did St. Bernard who wrote, “By persuasion, not by violence, are men to be won to the faith.” Thomas Aquinas also abhorred heresy — in particular the unrepentant heretics, who, he thought, should be put to death. He held that the man who destroys the soul is much more…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Aubert

September 8, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Near the west coast of France just below England lies the See of Avranches. If you take a drive around the waterways for about 24 miles, you will arrive at one of the world’s most famous pilgrimages, another World Heritage Site — one of 41 in France. This place, Mont Saint-Michel, is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, since he appeared to St. Aubert and ordered him to erect the church in his honor. Born late in the seventh century, Aubert was born of a noble family from Genetas. He received an extensive education and became known for both his wisdom and his piety. “He behaved in such a way that all considered him an angel of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

September 1, 2015 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 . . . St. Aidan

August 25, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Church names many saints as patrons of certain professions, troubles, or countries. St. Benedict is the patron saint of Europe. As the father of Western monasticism, he is credited with building Western civilization. St. Catherine of Siena is also a patron of Europe since she played important roles in settling both civil and ecclesiastical disputes. St. Cyril and Methodius, who developed the Cyrillic alphabet to convert the Slavic peoples, are also patrons of Europe. Aidan, an Irishman who studied in Wales and served as a bishop in Scotland, has been proposed as the patron saint of the United Kingdom. St. Bede the Venerable, the first to write a detailed ecclesiastical history of England, recounted the story…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bernard Of Clairvaux

August 18, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Gospel of John, during the Last Discourse at the Last Supper, our Lord prays for unity. Jesus said: “that they may be one even as we are” (John 17:11). During the most challenging times of Church history, God has sent men to restore peace to His Church. Certainly St. Bernard of Clairvaux should be counted among that number. Near Dijon, France, lies a town called Fontaines where Bernard of Clairvaux was born. Both his father’s family and his mother’s family were pious Christians. Before marrying St. Bernard’s father, Elizabeth — daughter of Count Bernard de Montbar — had planned to join a cloister. His father, Teceline, Lord of Fontaines, possessed a great fear of God.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Philomena

August 11, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the history of the Catholic Church there have been many persons who have been declared saints because they lived heroic lives, suffered for the faith, or died rather than deny Christ. Subsequent to their deaths, miracles through their intercession confirmed their saintliness. There is one saint, however, about whom nothing was known until after her death. In fact, nothing about her was passed down through history until her remains were discovered centuries later. Philomena is believed to have been a young Greek princess who was martyred in the fourth century. In the early 19th century, as the tombs were being excavated along the Via Salaria in Rome, one was found to be sealed with terracotta slabs,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Edmund Bojanowski

August 4, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many lay saints throughout the history of the Church from all different walks of life. There is the peasant girl, St. Maria Goretti, patron of young women. St. Thomas More, patron of lawyers, comes to mind when thinking of putting God before government. There are the many lay martyrs, especially in the first few centuries of the Church as well as during World War II. Another holy man the Church honors is not only a lay person, but perhaps the only lay person who founded several religious orders. In Grabonog, Poland, there lived a pious and wealthy family of landowners, Walenty Bojanowski and Teresa Uminska and their son Edmund who was born on November 14,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Martha

July 28, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN A popular pilgrimage among the Catholics of southern France takes visitors to the Grotte de la Sainte-Baume, located in the hills of Provence about 20 miles east of the port of Marseilles. To reach this holy site, the driver must cover miles of winding, ascending roads to the foot of the mountain. Then the pilgrim ascends a stairway to the site of the caves where altars and shrines have been built inside to honor the place that legend says is the home of St. Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, and Martha. According to the legend, these siblings came from royalty. Their father, Syro, was a duke from Syria while their mother, Eucharis, also came from a wealthy family. At…Continue Reading