Pope St. Pius X

Pope Pius X, born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was the first Pope elected in the 20th century. He came to the papal office in 1903 and died 11 years later in 1914, just as World War I was beginning.He was born in 1835 at Riese, near Venice, and was one of eight children. His family was poor. He felt a calling to be a priest at a young age and was ordained in 1858. After 26 years, he was named bishop of Mantua, Italy, and in 1893, he became patriarch of Venice. As Pope, he issued decrees making the age of…

St. Bernard de Clairvaux

On August 20 the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a Doctor of the Church thanks to his writings and sermons which greatly influenced Europe during the 12th century, and his numerous efforts which helped to avoid a schism in the Church in 1130.Born in 1090, Bernard spent his early years near Dijon, France before leaving to joining the Cistercians at the age of 22. He was well educated and so passionate about his faith that he convinced his brothers, his uncle, and many of his friends to join him at the abbey.Bernard first entered the abbey…

St. John Eudes

St. John Eudes was a French missionary and the founder of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity, and was also the author of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.  St. John was born at Ri, France on November 14th, 1601.  At the age of fourteen he took a vow of chastity and since the time he was a child he tried to live in imitation of the Lord Jesus. When he was ordained a priest in 1625, at the age of 24, he was immmediately thrust into the service of victims of the plague, whom…

St. Hyacinth

St. Hyacinth was one of the first members of the Dominicans (the Order of Preachers) and the “apostle of the North”, and is also called the “Apostle of Poland.”Hyacinth was born into nobility in 1185 at the castle of Lanka, at Kamin, in Silesia, Poland, and received an impressive education, becoming a Doctor of Law and Divinity before traveling to Rome with his uncle, Ivo Konski, the Bishop of Krakow. In Rome he met St. Dominic and decided to join the Order of Preachers immediately, receiving his habit from Dominic himself in 1220.After his novitiate he made his religious profession,…

St. Stephen of Hungary

On Aug. 16, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of King Saint Stephen of Hungary, the monarch who led his country to embrace the Christian faith during the 11th century. Before the future saint’s birth in 975, his mother, the duchess Sarolt, is said to have received a vision in which the original Saint Stephen – the Church’s first martyr – appeared telling her she would bear a son who would evangelize their land. Together with her husband, the Hungarian duke Geza, Sarolt is believed to have been converted and baptized by the bishop Saint Adalbert of Prague. The…

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, Catholics and many other Christians celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This significant feast day recalls the spiritual and physical departure of the mother of Jesus Christ from the earth, when both her soul and her body were taken into the presence of God.Venerable Pope Pius XII confirmed this belief about the Virgin Mary as the perennial teaching of the Church when he defined it formally as a dogma of Catholic faith in 1950, invoking papal infallibility to proclaim, “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her…

Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Saint Maximilian Kolbe, the Polish Franciscan priest, missionary and martyr, is celebrated throughout the Church today, August 14. The saint died in the concentration camp at Auschwitz, during World War II, and is remembered as a “martyr of charityâ€� for dying in place of another prisoner who had a wife and children. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 10, 1982.St. Maximilian is also celebrated for his missionary work, his evangelistic use of modern means of communication, and for his lifelong devotion to the Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception.All these aspects of St. Maximilian’s…

Saint Pontian and Saint Hippolytus

St. Pontian became Pope in the year 230. Five years later, after Pope Urban I, he was exiled to the mines of the Italian island of Sardinia during a period of Christian persecution. There, he decided to resign from his papal office and died a martyr for the faith.Hippolytus was a priest and well-respected theologian in the early third century. But in 217 he rebelled against the Church when Callistus became Pope. He, too, was exiled in 235 to the Sardinian mines, where he met Pontian. Pontian helped Hippolytus reconcile with the Church bevore he died, and Hippolytus, too, died as…

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal

“In Madame de Chantal I have found the perfect woman, whom Solomon had difficulty finding in Jerusalem”. – St. Francis de Sales, her spiritual director.St. Jane Frances de Chantal was born in Dijon, France, on January 28, 1572, and died at the Visitation Convent Moulins on December 13, 1641. Jane (Jeanne) was born into nobility, her father being the president of the parliament of Burgundy. At age 20 she was married to the Baron de Chantal.  Jane had four children, and loved and served her young family deeply until the death of her husband in a hunting accident at age 28.For seven years she…

Saint Clare of Assisi

“Go forth without fear, Christian soul, for you have a good guide for your journey. Go forth without fear, for He that created you has sanctified you, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother.” – Saint Clare, on her deathbed in 1253Saint Clare was born in 1193 in Assisi to a noble family. Before her birth, her mother received a sign that her daughter would be a bright light of God in the world. As a child she was already very strongly drawn to the things of God, praying fervently, devoutly visiting the Blessed Sacrament, and manifesting a…