St. Francis Caracciolo

“Zeal for Thy house has consumed me!â€�Born in Villa Santa Maria, Italy on October 13, 1563, Francis Caracciolo was given the name Ascanio at his baptism.  His mother was a relative of St. Thomas Aquinas. He lived a virtuous life as a youth and seemed inclined towards a religious vocation. When he was 22 he contracted a form of leprosy which he begged God to cure him of.  He promised to follow what seemed clear to him as his calling to the priesthood immediately upon being cured.He was cured instantly upon making the promise, and left immediately for Naples to…

St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs of Uganda

St. Charles and many other martyrs for the faith died between November 15, 1885 – January 27, 1887 in Namugongo, Uganda. St. Charles and his companions were beatified in 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964. In 1879 Catholicism began spreading in Uganda when the White Fathers, a congregation of priests founded by Cardinal Lavigerie were peacefully received by King Mutesa of Uganda. The priests soon began preparing catechumens for baptism and before long a number of the young pages in the king’s court had become Catholics. However, on the death of Mutesa, his son Mwanga, a corrupt man…

Sts. Marcellinus and Peter

On June 2, the Catholic Church remembers two fourth-century martyrs, Saints Marcellinus and Peter, who were highly venerated after the discovery of their tomb and the conversion of their executioner. Although the biographical details of the two martyrs are largely unknown, it is known that they lived and died during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. In 302, the ruler changed his tolerant stance and pursued a policy intended to eliminate the Church from the empire. Diocletian and his subordinate ordered the burning of Catholic churches and their sacred texts, as well as the imprisonment and torture of clergy…

St. Justin Martyr

“We are slain with the sword, but we increase and multiply; the more we are persecuted and destroyed, the more are deaf to our numbers. As a vine, by being pruned and cut close, shoots forth new suckers, and bears a greater abundance of fruit; so is it with us.” – St. Justin MartyrJustin was born around the year 100 in the Palestinian province of Samaria, the son of Greek-speaking parents whose ancestors were sent as colonists to that area of the Roman Empire. Justin’s father followed the Greek pagan religion and raised his son to do the same, but…

Feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary

Assuming that the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place around the time of the vernal equinox, Mary left Nazareth at the end of March and went over the mountains to Hebron, south of Jerusalem, to wait upon her cousin Elizabeth. Because Mary’s presence, and even more the presence of the Divine Child in her womb, according to the will of God, was to be the source of very great graces to the Blessed John, Christ’s Forerunner. (Lk1:39-57). Feeling the presence of his Divine Saviour, John, upon the arrival of Mary, leaped for joy in the womb of his mother; at that moment he…

St. Joan of Arc

Today is the feast of St. Joan of Arc, the patroness of France. Joan was born to a peasant family in Champagne, France in the early 15th century. From a young age she heard the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret speaking to her. Then, in 1428, when she was 13 years old, she received a vision telling her to go to the King of France and help him reconquer his kingdom from the invading forces of England and Burgundy. Overcoming opposition and convincing members of the court and of the Church, she was given a small…

Blessed Rickard Thirkeld

Richard Thirkeld was ordained a priest in France in April of 1579, and returned to his homeland of York, England, soon after to serve as a home missionary. There he was arrested on the eve of the Annunciation in 1538 for the crime of being a priest. He was imprisoned for two months before being brought to court on May 27, 1583 for hearing confessions and bringing lapsed Catholics back to the Church. He was arrested while hearing a confession in jail. The next day his trial took place, at which he managed to appear in cassock and biretta. He was…

Blessed Antoni Julian Nowowiejski

Archbishop Antoni Julian Nowowiejski was was born in 1858, and beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 13, 1999, along with another 107 Poles who were martyred during World War II.The late archbishop of Plock, Poland, was arrested by the occupying Germans in 1940. He refused the chance to escape, saying, “How can a pastor abandon their sheep?”, and he also refused to profane Christian symbols. He died after countless beatings at the Nazi’s Dzialdowo death camp in 1941 at the age of 83.

St. Augustine of Canterbury

An Italian Benedictine monk who became the “Apostle of the English,â€� Saint Augustine of Canterbury is honored by the Catholic Church on May 27. Under the direction of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, Augustine founded the famous See of Canterbury and preached the Catholic faith to the country’s Anglo-Saxon pagans during the late sixth and early seventh centuries. He is not be confused with the earlier St. Augustine of Hippo, the famous author of the “Confessionsâ€� and “City of God.â€� Augustine’s date of birth cannot be established, nor are any details of his early life known. Most likely born in…

St. Philip Neri

Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. At the age of 18, Philip was sent to his uncle, Romolo, a wealthy merchant at San Germano, a Neapolitan town near the base of Monte Cassino, to assist him in his business, and with the hope that he might inherit his uncle’s fortune. He gained Romolo’s confidence and affection, but soon after coming to San Germano Philip had a religious conversion. From then onward, he no longer cared for things of the world, and decided in 1533 to live in Rome. While in Rome, he studied philosphy and theology, and…