Featured Saints

St. Peter Julian Eymard

Like all of us, Peter Julian Eymard [pronounced A-mard] was conditioned by his cultural background as well as by the sociopolitical atmosphere of his time.

Struggle to Become a Priest

Peter Julian Eymard’s road to the priesthood, as well as his life as a priest, was marked by the cross. On July 20, 1834, at 23 years of age, Eymard was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Grenoble.

Devotion to Mary

All his life Peter Julian had an intense devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.  It was Eymard’s work for the Society of Mary that put him in contact with the various currents of eucharistic piety that were flowing in the French Church.

Peter and the Eucharist

Other eucharistic communities and organizations were springing up throughout France. Eymard’s intuition about the Eucharist was not limited merely to the worship of the holy sacrament but to actively reach out to those who were estranged from the church and to evangelize them. Father Eymard directed his ministry firstly to the children and young workers that made up a large segment of the labor force of Paris.

Three years prior to his death, Fr. Eymard made a long retreat in Rome. During this retreat, he was powerfully struck by the force of Christ’s love within him – a love he felt taking over his whole person. Anticipating the renewal of the Church brought about by Vatican Councils I and II, Eymard had a vision of priests, deacons, sisters, and lay people living lives of total dedication to the spiritual values that are celebrated and contemplated in the Eucharistic celebration and in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

Pope St. John Paul II declared St. Peter Eymard, “Apostle of the Eucharist.”

Read more about this saint from Bob & Penny Lord.

St. Peter Julian Eymard, pray for us, that we would discover Jesus in the Eucharist and become close friends with Him.

St. Anthony of Padua

The gospel call to leave everything and follow Christ was the rule of Anthony’s life. Over and over again God called him to something new in his plan. Every time Anthony responded with renewed zeal and self-sacrificing to serve his Lord Jesus more completely.

His journey as the servant of God began as a very young man when he decided to join the Augustinians in Lisbon, giving up a future of wealth and power to be a servant of God. Later, when the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs went through the Portuguese city where he was stationed, he was again filled with an intense longing to be one of those closest to Jesus himself: those who die for the Good News.

So Anthony entered the Franciscan Order and set out to preach to the Moors. But an illness prevented him from achieving that goal. He went to Italy and was stationed in a small hermitage where he spent most of his time praying, reading the Scriptures and doing menial tasks.

The call of God came again at an ordination where no one was prepared to speak. The humble and obedient Anthony hesitantly accepted the task. The years of searching for Jesus in prayer, of reading sacred Scripture and of serving him in poverty, chastity and obedience had prepared Anthony to allow the Spirit to use his talents. Anthony’s sermon was astounding to those who expected an unprepared speech and knew not the Spirit’s power to give people words.

Recognized as a great man of prayer and a great Scripture and theology scholar, Anthony became the first friar to teach theology to the other friars. Soon he was called from that post to preach to the Albigensians in France, using his profound knowledge of Scripture and theology to convert and reassure those who had been misled by their denial of Christ’s divinity and of the sacraments..

After he led the friars in northern Italy for three years, he made his headquarters in the city of Padua. He resumed his preaching and began wrtiting sermon notes to help other preachers.

(Source)

Fr. Augustine Tolton

‘Saint’ of the Week: Servant of God Fr. Augustine Tolton (cause for canonization now open)

From Ignatius Press:

Born into a black Catholic slave family, Fr. Augustine Tolton (1854-1897) conquered almost insurmountable odds to become one of the very first black priests in the United States. By his early death at 43, this pioneer black priest left behind a shining legacy of holy service to God, the Church and his people.

Toltons cause for canonization has been officially opened by the Archdiocese of Chicago as announced by Cardinal Francis George.

The thorough scholarly research and inspirational writing by Sister Caroline Hemesath on  the great legacy and courage of this former slave who became a priest in the face of incredible prejudice within the Church and society will be a source of strength for modern Christians who also face persecution. In American history, many black people have achieved success against great odds. But Father Tolton faced a different source of prejudice – an opposition from within the Church, the one institution he should have been able to rely on for compassion and support.

He endured many rebuffs, as a janitor spent long hours in the church in prayer, and attended clandestine classes taught by friendly priests and nuns who saw in his eyes a deep love of God and the Church, and a determination to serve his people. Denied theological training in America, his friends helped him to receive his priestly education, and ordination, in Rome. He later became the pastor of St. Monica’s Church in Chicago and established a flourishing center at St. Monica’s that was the focal point for black Catholics in Chicago for 30 years.

St. Rita of Cascia

Our saint of the week is one whose whole sanctity is based on her great virtue of hope. St. Rita of Cascia was born in 1381 in Roccaporena, Italy. She lived a very difficult life on earth, but she never let it destroy her faith or her hope.

Although she had a deep wish to enter religious life, her parents arranged her marriage at a young age to a cruel and unfaithful man. Because of Rita’s prayers, he finally experienced a conversion after almost 20 years of unhappy marriage, only to be murdered by an enemy soon after his conversion. Her two sons became ill and died following their father’s death, leaving Rita without family.

She hoped again to enter the religious life, but was denied entrance to the Augustinian convent many times before finally being accepted. Upon entry, Rita was asked to tend to a dead piece of vine as an act of obedience. She watered the stick obediently, and it inexplicably yielded grapes. The plant still grows at the convent, and its leaves are distributed to those seeking miraculous healing.

For the rest of her life until her death in 1457, Rita experienced illness and an ugly, open wound on her forehead that repulsed those around her. Like the other calamities in her life, she accepted this situation with grace, viewing her wound as a physical participation in Jesus’ suffering from His crown of thorns. Through it all she never last hope. Although her life was filled with seemingly impossible circumstances and causes for despair, St. Rita never lost her hope in the loving mercy and help of God.

Her feast day is May 22. Countless miracles have been attributed to her intercession. St. Rita of Cascia, pray for us.

St. Francis Xavier

Our Saint of the Week is St. Francis Xavier, SJ.

Born in Spain in 1506, St. Francis went to the University of Paris when he was eighteen, where he studied and taught Philosophy. Here he met St. Ignatius Loyola, who was about to start the Society of Jesus. After repeated prompting from St. Ignatius , Francis saw clearly that he could use his talents to bring people to God and agreed to join the Jesuits.

While he was in his mid-30’s, Francis traveled throughout the East as a missionary, where he made thousands of converts. In fact, he baptized so many people that he became too weak to raise his arms.

Francis’ love for Jesus was so strong that he could not rest at the thought that so many people had never heard the Gospel. The feast of St. Francis Xavier, SJ, is celebrated on December 3rd.

Blessed Chiara “Luce” Badano

(Memorial: October 7)

Blessed Chiara Badano lived an extraordinary life before succumbing to one of the most painful forms of cancer at age 19. Learn about this remarkable young Italian girl who lived during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Love Made Her Beautiful

St. Augustine often said that “love makes us beautiful.” Chiara, besides being a nice-looking girl, was, in fact clothed in evangelical beauty. Her photos show that even as an infant she had quite a strong character. What is so striking in these photos is the purity of her expression.

Her life is made up of successes and failures: lack of understanding and appreciation by some of her teachers (she failed an exam during her higher secondary school which she considered an injustice), friendships and marginalization (due to her Christian commitment, she was branded as “nun”). Her first crush soon turned out to be a disappointment. Chiara Luce tried to turn small and great difficulties into love, always dedicated to the persons close to her.

Her last words to her mother were: “Goodbye. Be happy because I’m happy.”

Chiara Luce Badano was beatified on September 25, 2010.

Let us pray to give Jesus our whole selves, even in moments of suffering – like Blessed Chiara!

Learn More at the Official Website: http://www.chiarabadano.org/?lang=en

St. Louis Marie Grignion de Monfort

St. Louis de Montfort is perhaps best known for promoting a genuine devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus and mother of the Church. Totus tuus (“completely yours”) was St. Louis’s personal motto; Pope St. John Paul II chose it as his episcopal motto.

Born in the Breton village of Montfort, as an adult Louis identified himself by the place of his baptism instead of by his family name of Grignion. After being educated by the Jesuits and the Sulpicians, he was ordained a diocesan priest in 1700.

Years of ministering to the poor prompted him to travel and live very simply, sometimes getting him into trouble with Church authorities. In his preaching, which attracted thousands of people back to the faith, Father Louis recommended frequent, even daily, Holy Communion and imitation of the Virgin Mary’s ongoing acceptance of God’s will for her life.

His book True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin has become a classic explanation of Marian devotion and how her life and imitation of it can lead us to great holiness. St. Louis was canonized in 1947. His liturgical Feast Day is April 28th.

St. Joseph of Cupertino

Our Saint of the Week started off as a boy whose father had died, and whose mother was kicked out of her home by creditors. Joseph was born in a stable. At a young age, he began to see visions. This made Joseph difficult to deal with; no one – not even his mother – wanted to deal with him. He apprenticed with a cobbler, who patiently kept him on.

At age 17, he applied to the Conventual Franciscan Friars, but his severe lack of education prevented his admission. So, he tried applying to the Capuchin Franciscans, and was accepted. However, it wasn’t long before Joseph’s ecstatic visions became an issue, and he was released due to his being unsuitable for work. (He couldn’t even be relied upon to wash dishes or serve bread.)

After wandering the streets, Joseph returned to family members – including his mother, only to be verbally abused and turned out the door.

Finally, he was employed as an oblate of a Franciscan convent near Cupertino, Italy, caring for the mule. Although he had very little education, his virtue and spiritual gifts were so great that he become a priest at age 25. His visions become so strong that he would stay entranced for days, while his Brothers pricked his fingers and held embers to his skin in an attempt to ‘snap him out of it’. These attempts were no use! He would often levitate and hear heavenly music.

Father Joseph’s ecstasies in public caused both admiration and disturbance in the community. For 35 years, he was not allowed to attend the Franciscans’ community prayers or celebrate Mass in the church. He was confined to his room and a private chapel. Despite his situation, Joseph retained his joyous spirit and saw God’s good will in everything.

Saint Joseph of Cupertino, pray for us to strive for closeness with God at all times.

Pope St. John Paul II

For more information about Pope St. John Paul II please visit the Vatican website.

 

Photos (c) Associazione Pier Giorgio Frassati, Rome. Used with permission.

Pier Giorgio Frassati

Learn More about Pier Giorgio Frassati’s life & cause for canonization – FrassatiUSA.org
Special thanks to Chris with FrassatiUSA for help and permission in using photos and helping us promote this inspiring young man! Photos (c) Associazione Pier Giorgio Frassati, Rome.  Used with permission.

Known as the “Man of the Eight Beatitudes”