St. David of Wales (6th c.), also called Dewi Sant by the Welsh, was a missionary priest, Celtic monk, archbishop, miracle-worker, and the founder of many monasteries in Wales and western England. He was descended from Welsh royalty, and in medieval times many believed he was the nephew of the famed King Arthur. His great leadership abilities gave him influence over many Church affairs. In the dozen monasteries he founded he established strict asceticism modeled after the early desert hermits. St. David is often depicted standing on a mound with a dove on his shoulder. According to legend, one day while preaching a dove rested on his shoulder, and the earth rose to lift him above the crowd so that all could hear him speak. During a battle with the Saxons, St. David advised the Welsh soldiers to wear leeks in their hats to distinguish themselves from their enemy; this is the origin of the leek as an emblem of Wales. St. David is one of the great saints of the 6th century whose work helped to establish Christianity in Europe. He is the patron saint of Wales, and his feast, "St. David's Day," is a popular cultural celebration. The Cathedral of St. David's in Pembrokeshire was built over his remains and became a pilgrimage destination for centuries. St. David of Wales' feast day is March 1st. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-01/ and please click here.
Blessed Charles the Good (1083–1127), also known as Charles I and the Count of Flanders, was born in Denmark, the only son of King Canute IV (St. Canute) and Adela of Flanders. He was five years old when his father was assassinated in the Odense Cathedral, after which he and his mother fled for their lives to Flanders. He grew up in the royal court in that country and accompanied his maternal grandfather, a Count, on a crusade to the Holy Land. After his grandfather's death, Blessed Charles became an advisor to the next Count, his uncle; after his uncle's death, Charles became Count. He was highly regarded by the people for his holiness and virtue. He was outspoken against the common practice of hoarding grain and selling it at inflated prices, and opposed the prominent Erembald family who gained their financial prosperity through this unjust practice. On March 2, 1127, while Charles was in church praying, he was slain by soldiers loyal to the Erembald family, in the same manner his father was killed. His death sparked a public outcry and uprising against the Erembald family, while Charles was immediately looked upon as a martyr and saint. His feast day is March 2nd. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-02/.
St. Katharine Drexel (1858-1955) was a wealthy heiress from a prominent family in Philadelphia. From a young age she felt called to serve the spiritual and temporal needs of the underprivileged, particularly the African American and Native American communities. She learned the virtue of charity from her parents, who often opened their home to the poor. She began by donating money, but quickly realized this would not bring the lasting change these communities desperately needed. During an audience with Pope Leo XIII she requested that a religious order be sent to manage the institutions she was funding. In response, the Pope suggested that she herself enter the religious life for this purpose. St. Katharine then founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, Katharine invested her personal fortune of 20 million dollars in this cause. She helped build the first missions school for Native Americans in Santa Fe, and founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At the time of her death, more than 500 sisters of her order taught in over 60 schools which had been founded throughout the country. Katharine Drexel was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II in the year 2000, making her the second American-born saint. Her feast day is March 3rd. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-03/ and please click here.
St. Casimir of Poland (1458-1484) was the second son of King Casimir IV and Queen Elizabeth of Austria, one of thirteen children born to them in the royal palace at Cracow. Casimir committed his life to God from an early age, thanks in part to a brilliant and pious priest who served as the royal tutor. He turned away from the privileges of his station in life and instead exercised extreme asceticism and self-denial. He wore a hairshirt under his clothes, slept on the cold ground, and knelt in prayer for long hours outside of locked churches. At the age of thirteen the Hungarians requested Prince Casimir to rule their country as king, which he accepted in the hope of defending the Christian nation against the Turks. However, the plan did not come to fruition and he returned home to continue his life of prayer, penance, and generosity to the poor. He later ruled Poland for a few short years while his father attended royal business in Lithuania. Casimir took a vow of celibacy which he upheld despite immense political pressure to marry. He suffered from a chronic lung condition, which he succumbed to in 1484 at the age of 25. Many miracles were attributed to his intercession after his death. St. Casimir is the patron saint of Poland, Lithuania, and young people. His feast day is March 4th. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-04/ and please click here.
St. John-Joseph of the Cross (1654-1739) was born on the island of Ischia, near Naples. He joined the Franciscan Order of the Strict Observance (the reform of St. Peter of Alcantara) at age sixteen. His influence was great despite his young age, and after three years he was sent to help found a new order of friars in Piedmont, where he was ordained to the priesthood. He codified a set of guidelines for spiritual and daily life that were approved by the Holy See and became a lasting model for religious communities. In 1702 he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy. During his time as Vicar he implemented a rule that no beggar would be turned away without assistance, and in times of extreme scarcity he would offer his own portion to the poor. He was known as a deeply holy man who served Christ and the monastic community through daily acts of mortification and humility. Despite his high ranking position, he continued to lead a life of service and took on menial tasks whenever possible, from working in the kitchen to chopping firewood. He was said to have performed numerous miracles as well as the gift of prophecy. St. John-Joseph of the Cross is the patron saint of Ischia and his feast day is March 5th. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-05/.
St. Colette (1381-1447) was born in Picardy, France, the daughter of a poor carpenter who served the local Benedictine abbey. Her parents conceived her in their old age after praying to St. Nicholas for a child, naming Colette after him. She became well known for her faith and spiritual wisdom from a young age. After the death of her parents she joined the Third Order of St. Francis and became a hermit. She led a life of asceticism and solitude until a dream revealed that God willed her to reform the Poor Clares. She obeyed and joined the Poor Clares in 1406. Her mission of reformation was sanctioned by Benedict XIII of Avignon (the anti-pope) who appointed her superior of each of the convents she reformed. Despite resistance from within the Poor Clares, she successfully reformed several existing convents and founded 17 new ones dedicated to a stricter observance of the Poor Clares, known as the Colettines. She experienced visions and ecstasies of Christ's Passion, and even prophesied her own death. Through her life’s work, St. Colette’s reformation breathed new life into the Poor Clares and created a lasting model of spirituality. St. Colette's feast day is March 6th. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-06/.
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity (d. 203 A.D.) were friends who lived in Carthage, North Africa. They were both catechumens preparing to receive the Church’s sacraments: Perpetua was a married noblewoman nursing her first child, and Felicity was a pregnant Christian slave who worked as a household servant. Because Christianity was forbidden, they were seized along with two companions, one of them being their catechist. Perpetua’s baptism was hastened after her arrest, and God told her to pray for strength to withstand her coming trials. While in prison she kept a detailed diary of her sufferings and mystical visions, one of the oldest and most treasured of early Christian writings. Her father, a pagan, pleaded with her to deny her faith, even bringing her infant, for whom she was anxious, to the prison in order to persuade her to apostatize. She refused. Felicity also remained steadfast in her faith, giving birth to a daughter while in prison a few days before her execution. Perpetua, Felicity, and their companions were condemned to be torn by wild animals in the arena. Perpetua understood that their contest was not with animals, but with the devil. She walked into the arena and met her fate with a joy and bravery that astonished many onlookers. Perpetua, Felicity, and their companions were mauled and then beheaded on March 7, 203. St. Perpetua and St. Felicity share a feast day on March 7th. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-07/.
St. John of God (1495-1550) was born in Portugal to poor and devout Christian parents. How he came to be separated from them and homeless at the age of 8 is uncertain, but he eventually found work as a shepherd until the age of 22. At that time he enlisted as a soldier in the Roman Emperor's army to escape an offer of marriage to the shepherd's daughter. There he led a wild and dissolute life; fond memories of his parents is all that kept the spark of faith alive in his heart. At the age of 40 he left the army and reformed himself, beginning with a penitential pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella (The Way of St. James) in Spain. Appalled at his sinful and wasted life, he was determined to spend his remaining days in good works. He was affirmed in this direction by a vision of the Infant Jesus and a sermon of St. John of Avila, who was to become his spiritual director. He later dedicated his life in service to the poor, homeless, and sick, especially the mentally ill, by starting a hospital and homeless shelter. Many people were attracted to him and his work, and he organized his followers into the Order of Hospitallers. They were approved by the Holy See as the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God, which still exists to this day. St. John of God is the patron saint of many causes, especially of hospitals, hospital workers, nurses, the sick, and the dying. His feast day is March 8. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-08/ and please click here.
St. Frances of Rome (1384-1440) was born to a noble family in Rome. As a young girl her desire to become a nun was refused by her father, who instead arranged her marriage at the age of 12. St. Frances accepted this as God’s will for her life. She was married for 40 years and had children, two of whom died from the plague. In her time Rome was at war and the city was in chaos from political disarray and widespread disease. St. Frances responded by converting her home into a hospital. She drove with a wagon into the streets and collected the sick and stranded in order to care for them. She miraculously cured many people, and also began the city's first orphanage. She inspired many women to join her in this life of prayer and good works, and eventually founded a congregation of lay oblates attached to the Benedictine monastery known as the Oblates of St. Frances of Rome. After her husband's death she entered religious life as the group's superior. One of the great mystics of her time, she dictated 97 visions and was visibly guided by her guardian angel throughout her life. St. Frances of Rome is the patron saint of many causes, including motorists, pilots, women, widows, and against plague and the death of children. On her feast day many priests bless cars due to her patronage of cars and drivers. Her feast day is March 9th. See morningoffering.com/2022-03-09/ and please click here.
So many holy persons seem to die young. Among them was Dominic Savio, the patron of choirboys. Born into a peasant family at Riva, Italy, young Dominic joined Saint John Bosco as a student at the Oratory in Turin at the age of 12. He impressed Don Bosco with his desire to be a priest and to help him in his work with neglected boys. A peacemaker and an organizer, young Dominic founded a group he called the Company of the Immaculate Conception which, besides being devotional, aided John Bosco with the boys and with manual work. All the members save one, Dominic, would, in 1859, join Don Bosco in the beginnings of his Salesian congregation. By that time, Dominic had been called home to heaven. For more information please click here.
John Ogilvie’s noble Scottish family was partly Catholic and partly Presbyterian. His father raised him as a Calvinist, sending him to the continent to be educated. There, John became interested in the popular debates going on between Catholic and Calvinist scholars. Confused by the arguments of Catholic scholars whom he sought out, he turned to Scripture. Two texts particularly struck him: “God wills all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth,” and “Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you.” For more information please click here.
St. Luigi Orione (1872-1940) was born in northern Italy and entered a Franciscan friary at the age of 13, but had to leave due to poor health. He became a pupil of St. John Bosco at his Turin oratory for boys, and later entered the diocesan seminary. While still a seminarian he opened his own oratory and boarding school to provide for the Christian training and education of boys. This institution became a well-spring for new vocations to the priesthood. He also traveled and founded many other pious congregations for clergy and lay people alike, including two religious orders. The ideal of St. Luigi's life was to provide for the spiritual welfare of others and to serve Jesus Christ and his Church. Many people were attracted to him and his work, and he cared in a special way for the sick, the disabled, and the poor. He was a preacher and confessor, as well as an organizer of pilgrimages, missions, processions, and other public celebrations of the faith. He loved Our Lady deeply and fostered devotion to her among his seminarians. Today his apostolate encompasses about 300 foundations, including schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and learning centers on nearly every continent. His body is incorrupt, and he was canonized in 2004. St. Luigi Orione's feast day is March 12th. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-12/.
The next time you recite the Nicene Creed at Mass, think of today’s saint. For it was Leander of Seville who, as bishop, introduced the practice in the sixth century. He saw it as a way to help reinforce the faith of his people and as an antidote against the heresy of Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ. By the end of his life, Leander had helped Christianity flourish in Spain at a time of political and religious upheaval. Leander’s own family were staunch Christians: his brothers Isidore and Fulgentius were named bishops, and their sister Florentina became an abbess. Leander entered a monastery as a young man and spent three years in prayer and study. At the end of that tranquil period he was made a bishop. For the rest of his life he worked strenuously to fight against heresy. The death of the anti-Christian king in 586 helped Leander’s cause. He and the new king worked hand in hand to restore orthodoxy and a renewed sense of morality. Leander succeeded in persuading many Arian bishops to change their loyalties. Leander died around 600. In Spain, he is honored as a Doctor of the Church. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022/03/13/.
We have an early, almost unembellished account of the martyrdom of Saint Maximilian in modern-day Algeria. Brought before the proconsul Dion, Maximilian refused enlistment in the Roman army saying, “I cannot serve, I cannot do evil. I am a Christian.” Dion replied: “You must serve or die.” Maximilian: “I will never serve. You can cut off my head, but I will not be a soldier of this world, for I am a soldier of Christ. My army is the army of God, and I cannot fight for this world. I tell you I am a Christian.” Dion: “There are Christian soldiers serving our rulers Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Galerius.” Maximilian: “That is their business. I also am a Christian, and I cannot serve.” Dion: “But what harm do soldiers do?” Maximilian: “You know well enough.” Dion: “If you will not do your service I shall condemn you to death for contempt of the army.” Maximilian: “I shall not die. If I go from this earth, my soul will live with Christ my Lord.” Maximilian was 21 years old when he gladly offered his life to God. His father went home from the execution site joyful, thanking God that he had been able to offer heaven such a gift. St. Maximilian's liturgical feast is celebrated on March 12. https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-maximilian
Born near Meux, France, Louise lost her mother when she was still a child, her beloved father when she was but 15. Her desire to become a nun was discouraged by her confessor, and a marriage was arranged. One son was born of this union. But Louise soon found herself nursing her beloved husband through a long illness that finally led to his death. For more information please click here.
Clement Mary might be called the second founder of the Redemptorists, as it was he who carried the congregation of Saint Alphonsus Liguori to the people north of the Alps. John, the name given him at Baptism, was born in Moravia into a poor family, the ninth of 12 children. Although he longed to be a priest, there was no money for studies, and he was apprenticed to a baker. But God guided the young man’s fortunes. He found work in the bakery of a monastery where he was allowed to attend classes in its Latin school. After the abbot there died, John tried the life of a hermit, but when Emperor Joseph II abolished hermitages, John again returned to Vienna and to baking. Fore more information please click here.
St. Patrick (387-493) was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland, to Roman-British parents. He was kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of sixteen and sold as a slave to a Druid high priest. He worked as a shepherd and spent much time in prayer as he labored in the fields. He also acquired a perfect knowledge of the Celtic language and the Druid cult, which later enabled him to evangelize the Celtic people. After six years of slavery, an angel told him to flee his oppressive master and return to his native land. Upon returning to Britain, Patrick desired to devote himself to God's service. He went to France and placed himself under the direction of St. Germain, who ordained him a priest and sent him to evangelize the pagans in Ireland. St. Patrick devoted the rest of his life to converting the island to Christianity. He was ordained a bishop and himself ordained many priests. He divided the country into dioceses, held local Church councils, founded monasteries, and urged the people to greater holiness. He suffered much opposition from the Druids and occult magicians, who, threatened by Christianity, conjured demonic power to defy Patrick. However, the prayer, faith, fearlessness, and episcopal authority of Patrick triumphed, and he was so successful in his endeavor that in the Middle Ages Ireland became known as the Land of Saints, and himself the "Apostle of Ireland." Later, the missionaries sent from Ireland to Europe were largely responsible for the Christianizing of the continent. St. Patrick's feast day is March 17th. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-17/ and please click here.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386 A.D.) was a well-educated man from Jerusalem and a scholar of Sacred Scripture. He was ordained a priest by the bishop of Jerusalem shortly after the legalization of Christianity in the Roman Empire. He was given the task of catechizing new Christians leading up to and immediately following their baptism. Later he himself became bishop of Jerusalem, and soon after his ordination a miraculous apparition of a cross appeared in the sky, visible to the whole city. Because St. Cyril defended Christ's full humanity and divinity against the Arian heresy, he was exiled from his bishopric three times in twenty years due to misunderstandings, intrigue, and politics. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem is one of the early Church Fathers and one of the most important sources for how the early Church celebrated the liturgy and sacraments during the first few decades after Christianity was legalized. For St. Cyril's work in catechesis he was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1883. His feast day is March 18th. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-18/ and please click here.
St. Joseph (1st c.) was a descendant of Israel's King David and a carpenter by trade. Scripture tells us that he was a just and virtuous man who was betrothed to wed the young Blessed Virgin Mary. Upon finding her pregnant with the Son of God, Joseph, after a time of uncertainty, was encouraged by an angel to continue with the marriage plans. Because of his complete faithfulness and obedience to the will of God, St. Joseph was chosen to become the spouse of the Mother of God and the adoptive father of Jesus Christ. As the divinely-appointed earthly guardian and protector of the Holy Family, St. Joseph provided and cared for the material needs of Mary and the Child Jesus. St. Joseph is the patron saint of many causes, especially fathers, families, married couples, children, pregnant women, workers, craftsmen, against doubt, the dying, and a happy and holy death. He is also the guardian and protector of the Universal Church. He has two feast days: St. Joseph the Husband of Mary on March 19th, and St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-19/ and please click here.
A reputation for holiness does have some drawbacks. Public recognition can be a nuisance at times—as the confreres of Salvator found out. Salvator was born during Spain’s Golden Age. Art, politics, and wealth were flourishing. So was religion. Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus in 1540. For more information please click here.
The seventh general minister of the Franciscan Order, John was known for his attempts to bring back the earlier spirit of the Order after the death of Saint Francis of Assisi. He was born in Parma, Italy, in 1209. It was when he was a young philosophy professor known for his piety and learning that God called him to bid good-bye to the world he was used to and enter the new world of the Franciscan Order. After his profession, John was sent to Paris to complete his theological studies. Ordained to the priesthood, he was appointed to teach theology at Bologna, then Naples, and finally Rome. For more information please click here.
St. Nicholas Owen (d.1606) was born in England, the son of an Oxford carpenter. He became a carpenter himself, and joined the Jesuits as a lay brother during the era when Catholicism was outlawed in England. After serving jail time for defending the martyred St. Edmund Campion, Nicholas began working for and traveling with the Jesuits, staying in Catholic houses where he made repairs during the day and secretly constructed well-disguised 'priest-holes', or hiding places for hunted priests, during the night. He was so skilled at his craft that his priest holes saved hundreds of lives over his 20 years of work. While on a trip to London with a Jesuit priest they were betrayed by a household servant, captured, and tortured. After Nicholas' release he masterminded the priest's escape from the Tower of London. Years later, after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, Nicholas was again a wanted man. He hid along with a priest in one of his priest holes, and although 100 men searched for them diligently, they were not discovered. After eight days of hiding without food, Nicholas left the hole disguised as a priest in order to protect the real priest who was still concealed. He was captured and tortured on the rack in the Tower of London. Day after day he refused to give up any information about the underground Catholic Church in England. He died a martyr after his entrails burst open. St. Nicholas Owen is one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. Father John Gerard wrote of him: "I verily think no man can be said to have done more good of all those who laboured in the English vineyard. He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular." His feast day is March 22. For more information please see morningoffering.com/03-03-22/ and please click here.
Together with Rose of Lima, Turibius is the first known saint of the New World, serving the Lord in Peru, South America, for 26 years. Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. He succeeded too well. But he was not sharp enough a lawyer to prevent a surprising sequence of events. For more information please click here.
The night before he was murdered while celebrating Mass, Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador said on the radio: “I would like to appeal in a special way to the men of the army, and in particular to the troops of the National Guard, the police, and the garrisons. Brothers, you belong to our own people. You kill your own brother peasants; and in the face of an order to kill that is given by a man, the law of God that says ‘Do not kill!’ should prevail. For more information please see https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-oscar-arnulfo-romero. “No soldier is obliged to obey an order counter to the law of God. No one has to comply with an immoral law. It is the time now that you recover your conscience and obey its dictates rather than the command of sin. . . . Therefore, in the name of God, and in the name of this long-suffering people, whose laments rise to heaven every day more tumultuous, I beseech you, I beg you, I command you! In the name of God: ‘Cease the repression!’” Simultaneously, Romero had eloquently upheld the gospel and effectively signed his own death warrant. When he was appointed archbishop of San Salvador in 1977, Bishop Romero was considered a very “safe” choice. He had served as auxiliary bishop there for four years before his three years as bishop of Santiago de Maria.
St. Dismas (1st c.) is the name Church tradition has given to the "Good Thief," one of the two criminals who were crucified alongside Jesus Christ on Good Friday. All we know about St. Dismas is what is mentioned of him in the Gospels: "Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, 'Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.' The other [St. Dismas] however, rebuking him, said in reply, 'Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.'" Then St. Dismas, as an expression of his faith in Christ as the Messiah, said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus replied to St. Dismas, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:39-42). The feast day of St. Dismas is March 25. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-25/.
The Solemnity of the Annunciation, celebrated on March 25th, honors the profound meeting between the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, as recorded in St. Luke's Gospel. On this day St. Gabriel announced to Mary Immaculate that she would miraculously conceive a Child by the Holy Spirit, the long-awaited Messiah who would save mankind from their sins. This is the moment of the Blessed Virgin Mary's great fiat of perfect submission to the Divine will. This day on which the Church celebrates the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of His Blessed Mother is exactly nine months before the Feast of the Nativity on December 25th. for more information please click here and see morningoffering.com/2022-03-25/.
Going to confession one day was the turning point of Catherine’s life. When Catherine was born, many Italian nobles were supporting Renaissance artists and writers. The needs of the poor and the sick were often overshadowed by a hunger for luxury and self-indulgence. Catherine’s parents were members of the nobility in Genoa. At 13, she attempted to become a nun but failed because of her age. At 16, she married Julian, a nobleman who turned out to be selfish and unfaithful. For a while she tried to numb her disappointment by a life of selfish pleasure. One day in confession she had a new sense of her own sins and how much God loved her. She reformed her life and gave good example to Julian, who soon turned from his self-centered life of distraction. Julian’s spending, however, had ruined them financially. He and Catherine decided to live in the Pammatone, a large hospital in Genoa, and to dedicate themselves to works of charity there. After Julian’s death in 1497, Catherine took over management of the hospital. She wrote about purgatory which, she said, begins on earth for souls open to God. Life with God in heaven is a continuation and perfection of the life with God begun on earth. Exhausted by her life of self-sacrifice, Catherine died September 15, 1510, and was canonized in 1737. For more information please see https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-catherine-of-genoa.
The fourth Sunday of Lent is traditionally known by the name Laetare Sunday. This name is taken from the Introit at Mass, Laetare Jerusalem which means “Rejoice, O Jerusalem.” Laetare Sunday marks the halfway point through the Lenten season of fasting, abstinence, and penance, and because of this it is a day of joy in anticipation of the close arrival of Easter. This day corresponds with Gaudete Sunday halfway through the Advent season, where the priests wear rose-colored liturgical vestments and the altar is decorated with flowers, often roses. For more information please see morningoffering.com/2022-03-27/.
Gregor was born in a village on the shores of Lake Van between 945 and 950. His father, an archbishop died around xx. When his mother died Gregor and his older brother were raised by a scholarly uncle who had them educated at the Narek monastery where he was a monk. The monastery was a prominent center of learning located in what is now Turkey. Gregor too entered the monastery and was ordained in 977. For more information please click here.
Some Franciscan saints led fairly public lives; Catharine represents the saints who served the Lord in obscurity. Born in Bologna, Catharine was related to the nobility in Ferrara, and was educated at court there. She received a liberal education at the court and developed some interest and talent in painting. In later years as a Poor Clare, Catharine sometimes did manuscript illumination and also painted miniatures. At the age of 17, she joined a group of religious women in Ferrara. Four years later, the whole group joined the Poor Clares in that city. Jobs as convent baker and portress preceded her selection as novice mistress. In 1456, she and 15 other sisters were sent to establish a Poor Clare monastery in Florence. As abbess, Catharine worked to preserve the peace of the new community. Her reputation for holiness drew many young women to the Poor Clare life. She was canonized in 1712. The liturgical feast of Saint Catharine of Bologna is celebrated on May 9. For more information please see https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-catharine-of-bologna.
Born in Casoria, near Naples, Arcangelo Palmentieri was a cabinet-maker before entering the Friars Minor in 1832, taking the name Ludovico. After his ordination five years later, he taught chemistry, physics, and mathematics to younger members of his province for several years. In 1847, he had a mystical experience which he later described as a cleansing. After that, he dedicated his life to the poor and the infirm, establishing a dispensary for the poor, two schools for African children, an institute for the children of nobility, as well as an institution for orphans, the deaf, and the speechless, and other institutes for the blind, elderly, and for travelers. In addition to an infirmary for friars of his province, he began charitable institutes in Naples, Florence, and Assisi. He once said, “Christ’s love has wounded my heart.” This love prompted him to great acts of charity. To help continue these works of mercy, in 1859 he established the Gray Brothers, a religious community composed of men who formerly belonged to the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later, he founded the Gray Sisters of St. Elizabeth for the same purpose. Toward the beginning of his final, nine-year illness, Ludovico wrote a spiritual testament which described faith as “light in the darkness, help in sickness, blessing in tribulations, paradise in the crucifixion, and life amid death.” The local work for his beatification began within five months of Ludovico’s death. He was beatified in 1993 and canonized in 2014. For more information please see https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-ludovico-of-casoria.
Peter lived at a very busy time in history. The Great Western Schism (1378-1417) was settled at the Council of Constance (1414-1418). France and England were fighting the Hundred Years’ War, and in 1453, the Byzantine Empire was completely wiped out by the loss of Constantinople to the Turks. At Peter’s death, the age of printing had just begun in Germany, and Columbus’s arrival in the New World was less than 40 years away. Peter came from a wealthy and pious family in Valladolid, Spain. At the age of 13, he was allowed to enter the Conventual Franciscans. Shortly after his ordination, he was made superior of the friary in Aguilar. He became part of a group of friars who wanted to lead a life of greater poverty and penance. In 1442, he was appointed head of all the Spanish Franciscans in his reform group. Peter led the friars by his example. A special love of the poor and the sick characterized Peter. Miraculous stories are told about his charity to the poor. For example, the bread never seemed to run out as long as Peter had hungry people to feed. Throughout most of his life, Peter went hungry; he lived only on bread and water. Immediately after his death on March 31, 1456, his grave became a place of pilgrimage. Peter was canonized in 1746. For more information please see https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-peter-regalado.
A “do not disturb” sign helped today’s saint find holiness and peace. Stephen of Mar Saba was the nephew of Saint John Damascene, who introduced the young boy to monastic life beginning at age 10. When he reached 24, Stephen served the community in a variety of ways, including guest master. After some time he asked permission to live a hermit’s life. The answer from the abbot was yes and no: Stephen could follow his preferred lifestyle during the week, but on weekends he was to offer his skills as a counselor. Stephen placed a note on the door of his cell: “Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays.” Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide. His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: “Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things.” Stephen died in 794. For more information please see https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-stephen-of-mar-saba.