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Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

September 1, 2015 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

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 on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Aidan

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 on Catholic Heroes… St. Bernard Of Clairvaux

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 on Catholic Heroes… St. Philomena

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 on Catholic Heroes… Blessed Edmund Bojanowski

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 on Catholic Heroes… St. Martha

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

Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

July 21, 2015 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… Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

July 14, 2015 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

By CAROLE BRESLIN In northern Israel between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea, a mountain range stretches inland. This range, although named Mount Carmel, is really a series of mountains stretching inland. The main site of the Mount, the Stella Maris monastery of the Discalced Carmelites, sits on a limestone bluff overlooking the city of Haifa. The view of the sea, the lands, and mountain range beyond the monastery is stunning. In fact the name Carmel comes from the ancient Hebrew word meaning garden, named after its many beautiful flowers, shrubs, and fragrant herbs. So beautiful was this mount that people compared it to the bride in the Song of Songs (7:5). Although we think of Our Lady…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Pechersky

July 7, 2015 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Pechersky

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the northeastern section of Greece, a peninsula drops down from the mainland, upon which are located 20 monasteries. This mountainous region also claims Mount Athos, an area known as the site of monasteries since the early years of the Church. Homer mentions it in the Iliad (book 14, 229). This same piece of land was on the invasion route of Xerxes I in 486 B.C. Furthermore, some accounts relate a legend that St. John and the Blessed Virgin Mary landed there. Mary found it so beautiful that she asked God for the land, to which He responded, “Let this be your inheritance and your garden, a paradise and a haven of salvation for those seeking to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Josemaria Escriva

June 30, 2015 saints Comments Off on Catholic Heroes… St. Josemaria Escriva

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 With the outbreak of civil war in Spain and the attack on the Catholic Church, many priests and religious were martyred. The existing government changed the constitution to legalize persecution of the Church by closing Catholic schools, ceasing reparation payments, and suppressing religious discussion. Among other things, this helped lead to the secularization of society and to the rise of chaos in Spain. On April 20, 1931, José Escriva wrote in his journal that Madrid had experienced 24 hours of violence: “Madrid is one huge madhouse.” On May 10 fresh attacks on the Church broke out. Escriva rushed to the chapel to rescue the Blessed Sacrament. He removed our Lord from the tabernacle, wrapped the…Continue Reading