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St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do you, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. Advertise Now

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PHOTO OF THE MONTH

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Tour of the Relics of the Passion
(International Center for Holy Relics)
www.HolyRelics.org

REFLECTIONS

"Jesus' Baptism"

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John's baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the "baptism" of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus' baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God's suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father's will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God? Read More »

SAINTS OF

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AUGUST 1

ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI

St. Alphonsus was born near Naples, Italy, in 1732. He was a hard-working student. He received his degree in law and became a famous lawyer. A mistake he made in court convinced Alphonsus of what he had already thought: he should give up his law practice and become a priest. His father tried to persuade him not to do it. However, Alphonsus had made up his mind. He became a priest. His life was filled with activity. He preached and wrote books. He started a religious congregation called "Redemptorists." Alphonsus offered wise spiritual direction and brought peace to people through the sacrament of Reconciliation. He also wrote hymns, played the organ and painted pictures.


St. Alphonsus wrote sixty books. This is incredible considering his many other responsibilities. He also was often sick. He had frequent headaches, but would hold something cold against his forehead and keep doing his work. Although he was naturally inclined to be hasty, Alphonsus tried to control himself. He became so humble that when Pope Pius VI wanted to make him a bishop in 1798, he gently said "no." When the pope's messengers had come in person to tell him of the pope's choice, they called Alphonsus "Most illustrious Lord." Alphonsus said, "Please don't call me that again. It would kill me." The pope helped Alphonsus understand that he really wanted him to be a bishop. Alphonsus sent many preachers all over his diocese. The people needed to be reminded again of the love of God and the importance of their religion. Alphonsus told the priests to preach simple sermons. "I never preached a sermon that the simplest old woman in the church could not understand," he said.


As he got older, St. Alphonsus suffered from illnesses. He had painful arthritis and became crippled. He grew deaf and almost blind. He also had disappointments and temptations. But he had great devotion to the Blessed Mother as we know from his famous book called the Glories of Mary. The trials were followed by great peace and joy and a holy death. Alphonsus died in 1787 at the age of ninety-one. Pope Gregory XVI proclaimed him a saint in 1839. Pope Pius IX proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1871.


AUGUST 2

ST. EUSEBIUS

St. Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia, Italy, around 283. His parents were dedicated Christians. It is believed that his father died a martyr. Eusebius was always active in the Christian community. He was called to serve the people of Rome and then went to northern Italy, to Vercelli. He was chosen to be the first bishop of Vercelli. He and some of his priests lived a common life modeled on a monastery. The priests received wonderful preparation for growing in the spiritual life. They also learned how to direct other people who would come to them for guidance. The priests trained by St. Eusebius became fervent and happy ministers of Jesus. Many were ordained bishops.


During this time, the Arian heresy was widespread. Many people were confused about it and believed it to be true. Emperor Constantius was an Arian, too, and he wanted to win everybody to his side. Bishops who would not give in were sent away from their diocese. St. Athanasius was condemned in 355. Eusebius was at the Council of Milan that condemned him. But Eusebius would not cast his vote against Athanasius, so he was banished too. Eusebius was exiled to Palestine. At first, a kind man kept him as a respected guest in his house. But then the man died and the Arians kidnapped the bishop. They insulted him, dragged him through the streets and kept him in a small room for four days. Then when representatives from the diocese of Vercelli demanded that he be released and returned to his former lodging, he was. But a short time later, the bishop was beaten and harassed again. When Constantius died in 361, the next emperor permitted the exiled bishops to return to their own dioceses.


St. Eusebius was a champion of truth. It is believed that St. Eusebius is one of the persons who contributed to the preparation of the "Athanasian Creed." This is one of the precious creeds that states what we as Catholics believe. He spent the rest of his years in Vercelli among the people of his diocese. Bishop Eusebius died on August 1, 371.


AUGUST 3

ST. PETER JULIAN EYMARD

St. Peter Julian Eymard was born in a small town in the diocese of Grenoble, France in 1786. He worked with his father making and repairing knives until he was eighteen. Peter spent his free hours studying. He taught himself Latin and received instruction in the faith from a helpful priest. In the back of Peter's mind was a longing to become a priest. When he was twenty, he began his studies at the seminary of Grenoble. Peter Julian became a priest in 1834 and served in two parishes during the next five years. The people realized what a gift he was to them. When Father Eymard asked his bishop's permission to join a new religious order called the Marists, the bishop gave his consent. Father Eymard served the Marists as spiritual director of the seminarians. In 1845, he became the superior of Lyons, France. But even though Father Eymard fulfilled many diligent responsibilities all his life, he is remembered especially for something else.


Father Eymard had a glowing love for the Holy Eucharist. He was very attracted to the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. He loved to spend time daily in adoration. One feast of Corpus Christi (the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus), Father Eymard had a powerful religious experience. As he carried the sacred Host in procession, he felt the presence of Jesus like warmth from a fireplace. The Host seemed to surround him with love and light. In his heart, he spoke to the Lord about the spiritual and material needs of all people. He begged that the mercy and love of Jesus touch everyone as he had been touched through the Eucharist.


In 1856, Father Eymard followed an inspiration that he had prayed about for several years. With the approval of his superiors, he started a religious order of priest-adorers of the Holy Eucharist. They became known as the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament. Two years after the order of priests was begun, Father Eymard began an order of sisters, the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament. Like the priests, these sisters had a special love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. They devoted their lives to adoration of Jesus. Father Eymard started parish organizations to help people be prepared to receive First Communion. He wrote several books on the Eucharist that were translated into different languages. The books are still available in English today.
Father Eymard lived at the same time in history as the saint we celebrate tomorrow, August 4-St. John Vianney. The two men were friends and each highly admired the other. Father Vianney said that Father Eymard was a saint and added, "Adoration by priests! How fine! I will pray for Father Eymard's work every day."


St. Peter Julian Eymard spent the last four years of his life in severe pain. He also suffered because of difficulties and criticism. But Father Eymard continued his life of adoring the Eucharist. His witness and his sacrifice helped many others find their call in his religious orders. He died on August 1, 1868, at the age of fifty-seven. Pope John XXIII proclaimed him a saint on December 9, 1962.


AUGUST 4

BLESSED FREDERIC JANSSOONE

Blessed Frederic Janssoone was born in Flanders in 1838. His life took many interesting turns. His was not an ordinary nineteenth-century way of life. Frederic was born of wealthy farm parents and he was the youngest of thirteen children. He was just nine when his father died, so the boy left school to help support his mother. He soon realized that he had a "knack" for selling. He enjoyed people. He liked meeting new people and he knew how to explain his products.


Frederic's mother died in 1861. It was then that the twenty-three-year-old reached into his heart in search of his own life's call. He realized that he was experiencing a strong desire to join the Franciscan order. After his seminary studies were finished, Frederic was ordained a Franciscan priest. He became a military chaplain for a time. Then in 1876, he was sent to the Holy Land. Father Frederic preached the Gospel in the places made sacred by Jesus himself. He used his skills to help various groups of Christians cooperate in the upkeep of two sacred churches. He built a church in Bethlehem. Blessed Frederic is also remembered for reviving an old custom of having pilgrims make the Stations of the Cross throughout the streets of Jerusalem.


Father Frederic's ministry in Canada began when he was transferred there in 1881. He was sent on a fundraising tour. His many talents served him well. His joyful spirit of self-giving made him much loved immediately. His sermons and talks were filled with interesting facts about the Holy Land. He looked into the faces and hearts of the people and prayed that they would grow in the richness of God's life. In 1888, he returned to Canada to stay and was to spend the rest of his life there.


Father Janssoone was an interesting person and a fascinating writer. He wrote several articles and biographies of saints. They are reminders of the enthusiasm that filled his own soul. They reflect the joy of Jesus that he so willingly shared with others. Father Frederic died on August 4, 1916. He was declared "blessed" in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.


AUGUST 5

DEDICATION OF ST. MARY MAJOR

St. Mary Major is important to Christendom for three reasons: First, It stands as a venerable monument to the Council of Ephesus (431), at which the dogma of Mary's divine Motherhood was solemnly defined; the definition of the Council occasioned a most notable increase in the veneration paid to Mary. Second, The basilica is Rome's "church of the crib," a kind of Bethlehem within the Eternal City; it also is a celebrated station church, serving, for instance, as the center for Rome's liturgy for the first Mass on Christmas. In some measure every picture of Mary with the divine Child is traceable to this church. And third, St. Mary Major is Christendom's first Marian shrine for pilgrims. It set the precedent for the countless shrines where pilgrims gather to honor our Blessed Mother throughout the world. Here was introduced an authentic expression of popular piety that has been the source of untold blessings and graces for Christianity in the past as in the present.

The beginnings of St. Mary Major date to the Constantinian period.Liberius was on the chair of Peter (352-366) when the Roman patrician John and his wife, who was of like nobility, vowed to bequeath their estate to the most holy Virgin and Mother of God, for they had no children to whom their property could go. The couple gave themselves to assiduous prayer, beseeching Mary to make known to them in some way what pious work they should subsidize in her honor.Mary answered their petition and confirmed her reply by means of the following miracle. On the fifth of August — a time when it is unbearably hot in the city of Rome — a portion of the Esquiline would be covered with snow during the night. During that same night the Mother of God directed John and his wife in separate dreams to build a church to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the site where they would see snow lying. For it was in this manner that she wanted her inheritance to be used.


AUGUST 6

THE TRANSFIGURATION

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke record the marvelous event of the Lord's Transfiguration. Before he suffered and died, he let three of his apostles see him shining with great glory. He did this to make their belief in him stronger.

Jesus took Peter, James and John with him up Mount Tabor which stands in the middle of Galilee. When they were by themselves, suddenly the Lord's face began to shine bright like the sun. His robes became white as snow. The apostles were speechless. As they watched, two famous prophets of old, Elijah and Moses, appeared. They were talking with Jesus. Imagine the joy those apostles felt. "Lord," said St. Peter, "it is good for us to be here. If you want, let us set up three tents here-one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." Peter really did not know what to say, because he was trembling with wonder and fear. As he was talking, a bright cloud overshadowed them. From it the voice of God the Father came, saying, "This is my beloved Son; hear him."


When they heard that, the apostles were so struck with fear that they fell on their faces. Then Jesus came near and touched them. "Arise," he said. "Do not be afraid." When they looked up, they saw no one but Jesus. As they came down the mountain, Jesus told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until he had risen from the dead. They did not understand what he meant by these words then. But after his glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday, they would realize what Jesus had meant.


AUGUST 7

ST. CAJETAN

St. Cajetan was born in Vicenza, Italy, in 1480, the son of a count. He graduated from the University of Padua with law degrees. Then he worked in the papal offices in Rome. Cajetan became a priest in 1516. He returned to his own city of Vicenza. Although it angered his rich relatives, the saint joined a group of humble, simple men who devoted themselves to helping the sick and the poor. St. Cajetan would go all over the city looking for unfortunate people and would serve them himself. He helped at the hospital by caring for people with the most disgusting diseases. In other cities, he did the same charitable work. He also kept encouraging everyone to go to Holy Communion often. "I shall never be happy," he said, "until I see Christians flocking to feed on the Bread of Life with eagerness and delight, not with fear and shame."


Together with three other holy men, St. Cajetan started an order of religious priests called "Theatines." This group devoted themselves to preaching. They encouraged frequent confession and Communion, helping the sick and other good works.

Cajetan died at the age of sixty-seven. In his last sickness, he lay on hard boards, even though the doctor advised him to have a mattress. "My Savior died on a cross," he said. "Let me at least die on wood." Cajetan passed away on August 7, 1547, in Naples. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Clement X in 1671.



AUGUST 8

ST. DOMINIC

St. Dominic was born in Castile, Spain, in 1170. He was a member of the Guzman family and his mother is Blessed Joan of Aza. When Dominic was seven, he began to go to school. His uncle, a priest, directed his education. After years of study, he became a priest too. Dominic lived a quiet life of prayer and obedience with other virtuous priests. But God had amazing plans for Dominic. He was meant to begin a new religious order. It would be called the Order of Preachers or "Dominicans," after St. Dominic.


The Dominicans preached the faith. They helped correct false teachings called heresies. It all began when Dominic was on a trip through southern France. He realized that the heresy of Albigensianism was doing great harm. St. Dominic felt such pity for the people who had joined it. He wanted to help them. The Dominicans conquered that dangerous heresy with prayer, especially the Holy Rosary. Dominic also encouraged the people to be humble and to make sacrifices. Once someone asked St. Dominic what book he used to prepare his wonderful sermons. "The only book I use is the book of love," he said. He always prayed to be filled with true love of neighbor. He urged the Dominicans to be devoted to the study of the Bible and to prayer. No one did more than St. Dominic and his preachers to spread the beautiful practice of saying the Rosary.


St. Dominic was a brilliant preacher, while St. Francis of Assisi was a humble beggar. Yet, they were close friends. Their two orders of Dominicans and Franciscans helped Christians become holier. Dominic's friars opened centers in Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Rome and Bologna, Italy. He lived to see his order spread to Poland, Scandinavia and Palestine. The friars also went to Canterbury, London, and Oxford, England. Dominic died in Bologna on August 7, 1221. His great friend, Cardinal Ugolino of Venice became Pope Gregory IX. He proclaimed Dominic a saint in 1234


AUGUST 19

ST. JOHN EUDES

St. John Eudes was born in Normandy, France, in 1601. He was the oldest son of a farmer. Even as a child, he tried to copy the example of Jesus in the way he treated his family, friends and neighbors. When he was only nine, another boy slapped his face. John felt himself becoming angry. Then he remembered Jesus' words in the Gospel: to turn the other cheek. So he did.


John's parents wanted him to marry and have a family. He gently but firmly convinced them that he had a priestly call. He joined the congregation of the Oratory and studied for the priesthood. After John was a priest, the plague hit Normandy. It brought terrible suffering and death. Father Eudes volunteered to help the sick, caring for both their souls and bodies. Later, he became a popular preacher of missions in parishes. In fact, during his lifetime he preached 110 missions. St. John is responsible for the establishment of important religious congregations: the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and the Good Shepherd nuns. Father Eudes also started the Congregation of Jesus and Mary for priests. This congregation was dedicated to training young men to become good parish priests.


St. John was very devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Holy Heart of Mary. He wrote a book about these devotions. John became sick after he preached an outdoor mission in very cold weather. He never fully recovered. John died in 1680. He was proclaimed "blessed" by Pope St. Pius X in 1908. This pope called John Eudes the apostle of devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1925.


AUGUST 20

ST. BERNARD

St. Bernard was born in 1090 in Dijon, France. He and his six brothers and sisters received an excellent education. His heart was broken when his mother died. He was just seventeen. He might have let sadness get the best of him had it not been for his lively sister Humbeline. She cheered him up and soon Bernard became a very popular man. He was handsome and intelligent, full of fun and good humor. People enjoyed being with him.


Yet one day, Bernard greatly surprised his friends by telling them he was going to join the very strict Cistercian order. They did all they could to make him give up the idea. But in the end, it was Bernard who convinced his brothers, an uncle and twenty-six friends to join him. As Bernard and his brothers left their home, they said to their little brother Nivard, who was playing with other children: "Good-bye, little Nivard. You will now have all the lands and property for yourself." But the boy answered: "What! Will you take heaven and leave me the earth? Do you call that fair?" And not too long after, Nivard, too, joined his brothers in the monastery. St. Bernard became a very good monk. After three years, he was sent to start a new Cistercian monastery and to be its abbot. The new monastery was in the Valley of Light and became known by that name. In French, the Valley of Light is "Clairvaux." Bernard was the abbot there for the rest of his life.


Although he would have liked to stay working and praying in his monastery, he was called out sometimes for special assignments. He preached, made peace between rulers, and went to advise popes. He also wrote beautiful spiritual books. He became the most influential man of his time. Yet Bernard's great desire was to be close to God, to be a monk. He was not trying to become famous. This saint had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother. It is said that he often greeted her with a "Hail Mary" when he passed her statue. One day, the Blessed Mother returned his greeting: "Hail, Bernard!" In this way, Our Lady showed how much his love and devotion pleased her.
St. Bernard died in 1153. People were saddened because they would miss his wonderful influence. He was proclaimed a saint in 1174 by Pope Alexander III. He was also named a Doctor of the Church in 1830 by Pope Pius VIII.


AUGUST 21

ST. PIUS X

St. Pius X, the great pope, was named Joseph Sarto. He was born in 1835, the son of a mailman in Riese, Italy. Joseph was given the affectionate nickname of "Beppi." When Joseph felt that God wanted him to be a priest, he had to make many sacrifices for his education. But he didn't mind. He even walked miles to school barefoot to save his one good pair of shoes. After he was ordained a priest, Father Sarto labored for the people in poor parishes for seventeen years. Everybody loved him. He used to give away everything he had to help them. His sisters had to hide his shirts or he would have had nothing to wear. Even when Father Joseph became a bishop, and a cardinal, he still gave away what he owned to the poor. He kept nothing for himself.


When Pope Leo XIII died in 1903, Cardinal Sarto was chosen pope. He took the name of Pius X. He became known as the pope who loved the Holy Eucharist. Pope Pius X encouraged everyone to receive Jesus as often as they could. He also made a law permitting young children to receive Holy Communion too. Before that time, boys and girls had to wait many years before they could receive the Lord. He is also the pope of religious instruction. He believed in and loved our Catholic faith. He wanted every Catholic to share in the beauty of the truths of our faith. He really cared about every single person and their spiritual and material needs. He encouraged priests and religion teachers to help everyone learn about their faith.


When the terrible World War I broke out, St. Pius X suffered greatly. He knew so many people would be killed. He had said: "I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this horrible suffering." Toward the end of his life, he also said: "I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor." He did so much to help the poor that people wondered where all the money came from. He never kept anything for himself, right to the end of his life. Pope Pius X died on August 20, 1914. The last pope before him to be declared a saint was Pope St. Pius V. Pope Clement X had canonized him in 1672. We celebrate the feast of St. Pius V on April 30. Joseph Sarto, Pope St. Pius X, was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1954.


AUGUST 23

ST. ROSE OF LIMA

St. Rose, the South American saint, was born in Lima, Peru, in 1586. Her real name was Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that she was called Rose. She received the sacrament of Confirmation from St. Turibius, archbishop of Lima. We celebrate his feast on March 23. As Rose grew older, she became more and more beautiful. One day her mother put a wreath of flowers on her head to show off her loveliness to friends. But Rose was not impressed. She only wanted Jesus to notice her and love her.


Rose did not think she was special because of her own beauty. She realized that beauty is a gift from God. She even became afraid that her beauty might be a temptation to someone. She noticed people staring at her with approval. She heard them say that her complexion was smooth and beautiful. So she did an unusual thing: she rubbed her face with pepper until her skin became all red and blistered. She certainly did not have to worry about receiving compliments for a while.


St. Rose worked hard to support her parents who were very poor. She humbly obeyed them, too, except when they tried to get her to marry. That she would not do. Her love for Jesus was so great that when she talked about him, her face glowed. Rose prayed that her parents would be more accepting of her way of life. She wanted to live for Jesus alone. She had many temptations from the devil. There also were times when she had to suffer terrible loneliness and sadness. During those times, God seemed far away. Yet she cheerfully offered all these troubles to him. She kept praying for her trust to grow stronger. In her last long, painful sickness, this heroic young woman used to pray: "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase your love in my heart." She was just thirty-one when she died on August 24, 1617, in Lima.

St. Rose of Lima was proclaimed a saint by Pope Clement X in 1671. He also named her patroness of the Americas, Philippines and West Indies.


AUGUST 24

ST. BARTHOLOMEW

"Bartholomew" was one of the first followers of Jesus. This apostle's other name was Nathaniel. He came from Cana in Galilee. He became a disciple of Jesus when his friend Philip invited him to come and meet the Lord. Nathaniel received high praise from Jesus, who said, as soon as he saw him, "Here is a man in whom there is no guile." Jesus meant that Nathaniel was an honest, sincere man who would never deceive anyone. His one desire was to know the truth.


Nathaniel was very surprised to hear those words from the Lord. "How do you know me?" he asked. "Before Philip called you," Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree." That was a favorite praying-place. Nathaniel must have realized then that Jesus had read his heart as he prayed. "Master!" he cried. "You are the Son of God, the King of Israel." And Nathaniel became one of the Lord's faithful apostles.

Like the other apostles, Nathaniel, or Bartholomew, preached the Gospel of Jesus at the risk of his life. It is believed that he went to India, Armenia and other lands. He preached with great zeal, until he gave his life for the faith. And so, to the reward of an apostle, St. Bartholomew added the martyr's crown.


AUGUST 25

ST. LOUIS OF FRANCE

St. Louis was born on April 25, 1214. His father was King Louis VIII of France and his mother was Queen Blanche. The story is told that when Prince Louis was small, his mother hugged him tightly. She said, "I love you, my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child. But I would rather see you dead at my feet than ever to have you commit a mortal sin." Louis never forgot those words. He grew to cherish his Catholic faith and his upbringing. When he was twelve, his father died and he became the king. Queen Blanche ruled until her son was twenty-one.


Louis became a remarkable king. He married Margaret, the daughter of a count. They loved each other very much. They had eleven children. Louis was a good husband and father. And as long as his mother, Queen Blanche lived, he showed her full respect. Busy as he was, the king found time for daily Mass and the recitation of the Divine Office. He was a Third Order Franciscan and lived a simple lifestyle. He was generous and fair. He ruled his people with wisdom, charity and true Christian principles. There was no separation between what he believed as a Catholic and how he lived. He knew how to settle arguments and disputes. He listened to the poor and the underprivileged. He had time for everybody, not just the rich and influential. He supported Catholic education and built monasteries.


The historian, Joinville, wrote a biography of St. Louis. He recalls that he was twenty-two years in the king's service. He was daily in the king's company. And he could say that he never heard King Louis swear or use any kind of profanity in all those years. Nor did the king permit bad language in his castle.


St. Louis felt an urgent obligation to help the suffering Christians in the Holy Land. He wanted to be part of the Crusades. Twice he led an army against the Turks. The first time, he was taken prisoner. But even in jail, he behaved as a true Christian knight. He was unafraid and noble in all his ways. He was freed and returned to take care of his kingdom in France. Yet as soon as he could, he started back to fight the enemies of the faith again. On the way, however, this greatly loved king contracted typhoid fever. A few hours before he died, he prayed, "Lord, I will enter into your house, worship in your holy temple, and give glory to your name." St. Louis died on August 25, 1270. He was fifty-six years old. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Boniface VIII in 1297


AUGUST 25

ST. JOSEPH CALASANZ

St. Joseph was born in 1556, in his father's castle in Spain. He went to college and became a lawyer. He was ordained a priest at the age of twenty-eight. Joseph was given high positions and he did his work well. Yet he felt that God was calling him to do some special work for poor children in Rome. Obedient to the Lord's call, he gave up everything he had in Spain and went to Rome. There his heart was filled with pity for all the orphans and homeless children he saw everywhere. They were ignorant and neglected. Joseph began to gather them together to teach them all the regular subjects, and especially their religion. Other priests joined him. Soon Joseph became the superior of a new religious order. But he never let his duties as founder and superior stop him from teaching his beloved children. He would even sweep the classrooms himself. He often led the little ones to their homes after school was over.

St. Joseph had much to suffer from people who tried to take over his order. They wanted to run it their way. Once he was even led through the streets like a criminal. He was almost put in jail, although the good priest had done nothing wrong. When he was ninety years old, the saint received terrible news. His order had been forbidden to continue in the way he had started it. Yet despite this suffering, Joseph only said: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. My work has been done simply out of love for God."


Two years later, in 1648, the saint died a calm, peaceful death. He was ninety-two years old. Several years afterward, his order, the Piarist Fathers, was allowed to continue St. Joseph's wonderful mission. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Clement XIII in 1767. Pope Pius XII declared him patron of Christian schools in 1948.


AUGUST 26

ST. ELIZABETH BICHIER

St. Elizabeth was born in 1773. As a little girl, her favorite game was building castles in the sand. Many years later, this holy French woman had to take charge of building convents for the order of nuns she founded. "I guess building was meant to be my business," she joked, "since I started it so young!" In fact, by 1830, eight years before her death, Elizabeth had already opened over sixty convents.


During the time of the French Revolution, Elizabeth's family lost everything they owned. This was because the republicans were taking property from the nobility. But this intelligent young woman of nineteen studied law so she could fight her family's case in court. When she won and saved her family from ruin, the village shoemaker exclaimed: "All you have to do now is marry a good republican!" Elizabeth, however, had no intention of marrying anyone republican or noble. On the back of a picture of Our Lady, she had written: "I dedicate and consecrate myself to Jesus and Mary forever."


With the help of St. Andrew Fournet, Elizabeth started a new religious order called the Daughters of the Cross. We celebrate St. Andrew Fournet's feast on May 13. This new order taught children and cared for the sick. Elizabeth would face any danger to help people. Once she found a tramp lying sick in a barn. She brought him to the convent hospital and did all she could for him until he died. The next morning the police chief came to tell her she could be arrested for sheltering a man believed to be a criminal. Elizabeth was unafraid. "I only did what you yourself would have done, sir," she said. "I found this poor sick man, and took care of him until he died. I am ready to tell the judge just what happened." Of course, the saint's honesty and charity won her great respect. People admired her straight, clear answers. The order's co-founder, St. Andrew Fournet, died in 1834. St. Elizabeth wrote to the sisters, "This is our greatest and most sad loss." St. Elizabeth died on August 26, 1838. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1947.


AUGUST 27

ST. MONICA

St. Monica, the famous mother of St. Augustine, was born in 332 in Tagaste, northern Africa. She was brought up as a good Christian. Her strong training was a great help to her when she married the pagan Patricius. Patricius admired his wife, but he made her suffer because of his bad temper. Still Monica never answered back and never complained about him to anyone. Instead she prayed for him fervently. Patricius admitted his belief in Christianity in 371. He was baptized on his deathbed in 372. His mother, too, became a Christian.


St. Monica's joy over the holy way in which her husband had died soon changed to great sorrow. She found out that her son Augustine was living a bad, selfish life. This brilliant young man of nineteen had turned to a false religion and to immoral habits. Monica prayed and cried and did much penance for her son. She begged priests to talk to him. Augustine was brilliant, yet very stubborn. He did not want to give up his sinful life. But Monica would not give up either. When he went to Rome without her, she followed him. At Rome, she found he had become a teacher in Milan. So Monica went to Milan. And in all those years, she never stopped praying for him. What love and faith! After years of prayers and tears, her reward came when Augustine was converted. He not only became a good Christian, as she had prayed. Augustine also became a priest, a bishop, a great writer and a very famous saint. St. Monica died in Ostia, outside Rome, in 387. Augustine was at her bedside.


AUGUST 28

ST. AUGUSTINE

St. Augustine was born in Tagaste in modern Algeria on November 13, 354. This famous son of St. Monica spent many years in wicked living and in false beliefs. He was one of the most intelligent persons who ever lived. Augustine was brought up in a Christian atmosphere by his mother. Unfortunately, he became so proud and immoral that eventually he could not see or understand spiritual truths anymore. His mother Monica prayed daily for her son's conversion. The marvelous sermons of St. Ambrose made their impact too. Finally, Augustine became convinced that Christianity was the true religion. Yet he did not become a Christian then, because he thought he could never live a pure life. One day, however, he heard about two men who had suddenly been converted after reading the life of St. Anthony of the Desert. We celebrate his feast on January 17. Augustine felt ashamed. "What are we doing?" he cried to his friend Alipius. "Unlearned people are taking heaven by force. Yet we, with all our knowledge, are so cowardly that we keep rolling around in the mud of our sins!"


Full of bitter sorrow, Augustine went into the garden and prayed, "How much longer, Lord? Why don't I put an end to my sinning now?" Just then he heard a child singing, "Take up and read!" Thinking that God intended him to hear those words, he picked up the Bible and opened it. His eyes fell on St. Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 13. It was just what Augustine needed. Paul says to stop living immoral lives and to live in imitation of Jesus. That did it! From then on, Augustine began a new life.


He was baptized and ordained a priest and bishop. He was a famous Catholic writer and founder of the Augustinian order. He became one of the greatest saints who ever lived. On the wall of his room, he had the following sentence written in large letters: "Here we do not speak evil of anyone." St. Augustine overcame strong heresies, lived simply and supported the poor. He preached very often, and prayed with great fervor right up until his death. "Too late have I loved you," he once cried to God. But Augustine spent the rest of his life in loving God and leading others to love him, too.


AUGUST 29

BEHEADING OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

St. John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus. His mother was St. Elizabeth and his father was Zechariah. The first chapter of Luke's Gospel tells of the wonderful event of John's birth. Mark's Gospel, chapter 6:14-29, records the cruel details of John the Baptist's death. What harsh consequences John accepted for teaching the truth.
King Herod and his wife refused to hear how they stood with God. They wanted to make their own rules and live their own lives. St. John the Baptist had to pay the price for his honesty. Yet he would have had it no other way. He would never have kept silent while sin and injustice were happening. He called people to repentance and wanted everyone to be reconciled to God. He recognized that true happiness comes from God.


John had preached a baptism of repentance, preparing people for the Messiah. He baptized Jesus in the Jordan River and watched with quiet joy as the Lord's public ministry began. John encouraged his own disciples to follow Jesus. He knew that Jesus' fame would grow, while his would fade away. In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, St. John the Baptist calls himself a voice crying in the desert to make straight the path of the Lord. He invited people to get ready, to prepare themselves to recognize the Messiah. His message is the same to each of us.


AUGUST 30

ST. PAMMACHIUS

St. Pammachius was a distinguished Christian layman who lived in the fourth century. As a young student, he had become friends with St. Jerome. They remained friends all their lives and kept an ongoing correspondence. His wife was Paulina, the second daughter of St. Paula, another good friend of St. Jerome. When Paulina died in 397, St. Jerome and St. Paulinus of Nola wrote deeply moving letters filled with sympathy, support and the promise of prayers.


Pammachius was heart-broken about his wife's death. He spent the rest of his life serving in the hospice he and St. Fabiola built. There pilgrims coming to Rome were welcomed and made comfortable. Pammachius and Fabiola willingly accepted and even preferred the poor, the sick and the handicapped. Pammachius felt that his deceased wife was with him as he performed his works of mercy. Paulina had been known for her love for the poor and suffering. Her husband now believed that by caring for them, he was paying the best possible tribute to her memory.


St. Pammachius was much more gentle with his words and ways than the fiery St. Jerome. He often suggested to Jerome that he soften or reword his letters, but Jerome usually did not. For example, a man named Jovinian was teaching serious errors. Jerome wrote a harsh essay exposing Jovinian's errors. Pammachius read the essay and made some good suggestions about rewording the overpowering expressions. St. Jerome thanked his friend for his concern, but did not make the corrections. Pammachius also tried to heal a quarrel between his friend St. Jerome and a man named Rufinus. But it does not seem that he could move Jerome to become more mild in his handling of the person or issues.


St. Pammachius had a church in his house. Today it is the Passionist church of Saints John and Paul. St. Pammachius died in 410 as the Goths were taking over Rome. St. Pammachius knew how to be a good friend. He was supportive and honest. We can ask him to help us be true to our friends as he was.


AUGUST 31

ST. AIDAN

St. Aidan was a seventh-century Irish monk. He lived at the great monastery of Iona, which St. Columban had founded. St. Oswald became king of North England in 634. He asked for missionaries to preach to his pagan people. The first missionary to go soon came back complaining that the English were rude, stubborn and wild. The monks got together to talk about the situation. "It seems to me," St. Aidan said to the returned monk, "that you have been too harsh with those people." He then explained that, as St. Paul says, first easy teachings are to be given. Then when the people have grown stronger on the Word of God, they can start to do the more perfect things of God's holy law.


When the monks heard such wise words, they turned to Aidan. "You should be the one to go to North England to preach the Gospel," they said. Aidan went willingly. He took on his new assignment with humility and a spirit of prayer. He began by preaching. King St. Oswald himself translated Aidan's sermons into English until the saint learned the language better. St. Aidan traveled all over, always on foot. He preached and helped the people. He did much good and was greatly loved by the people. After thirty years of St. Aidan's ministry, any monk or priest who came into the village was greeted with great joy by all the villagers.


On the island of Lindisfarne, St. Aidan built a large monastery. So many saints were to come from there that Lindisfarne became known as the Holy Island. Little by little, the influence of these zealous missionaries changed North England into a civilized, Christian land. St. Aidan died in 651. We can learn from St. Aidan's life that the witness of a joyful, kind person is a powerful influence on others. When we need help seeing the good in people, we can whisper a prayer to St. Aidan.


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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

AUGUST 1
ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI

St. Alphonsus was born near Naples, Italy, in 1732. Read More »

AUGUST 2
ST. EUSEBIUS

St. Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia, Italy, around 283. Read More »

AUGUST 3
ST. PETER JULIAN EYMARD

St. Peter Julian Eymard was born in a small town in the diocese of Grenoble, France in 1786. Read More »

AUGUST 4
BLESSED FREDERIC JANSSOONE

Blessed Frederic Janssoone was born in Flanders in 1838. Read More »

AUGUST 5
DEDICATION OF ST. MARY MAJOR

St. Mary Major is important to Christendom for three reasons: Read More »

AUGUST 6
THE TRANSFIGURATION

St. Mary Major is important to Christendom for three reasons: Read More »

AUGUST 7
ST. CAJETAN

St. Cajetan was born in Vicenza, Italy, in 1480, the son of a count. Read More »

AUGUST 8
ST. DOMINIC

St. Dominic was born in Castile, Spain, in 1170. Read More »

AUGUST 9
BLESSED JOHN OF RIETI

Blessed John lived in the first half of the fourteenth century. Read More »

AUGUST 10
ST. LAWRENCE

St. Lawrence, the famous martyr of Rome, lived in the third century. Read More »

AUGUST 11
ST. CLARE

St. Clare was born around 1193 in Assisi, Italy. She lived at the time of St. Francis of Assisi.Read More »

AUGUST 14
ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE

Raymond Kolbe was born in Poland in 1894. Read More »

AUGUST 15
THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

This feast of Mary celebrates a special privilege of Mary, our Mother.Read More »

AUGUST 16
ST. STEPHEN OF HUNGARY

St. Stephen was born around 969 in Hungary. This saint's name.. Read More »

AUGUST 17
BLESSED JOAN DELANOUE

St. Joan Delanoue was born in 1666. Her family had a small but..Read More »

AUGUST 18
ST. JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL

St. Jane was born in Dijon, France, in 1572.Read More »

AUGUST 19
ST. JOHN EUDES

St. John Eudes was born in Normandy, France, in 1601.Read More »

AUGUST 20
ST. BERNARD

St. Bernard was born in 1090 in Dijon, France.Read More »

AUGUST 21
ST. PIUS X

St. Pius X, the great pope, was named Joseph Sarto. He was born in 1835, the son of a mailman in Riese.. Read More »

AUGUST 23
ST. ROSE OF LIMA

St. Rose, the South American saint, was born in Lima, Peru, in 1586.Read More »

AUGUST 24
ST. BARTHOLOMEW

"Bartholomew" was one of the first followers of Jesus.Read More »

AUGUST 25
ST. LOUIS OF FRANCE

St. Louis was born on April 25, 1214. His father was King Louis VIII of France and his mother was Queen..Read More »

AUGUST 25
ST. JOSEPH CALASANZ

St. Joseph was born in 1556, in his father's castle in Spain. He went to college and became a lawyer.Read More »

AUGUST 26
ST. ELIZABETH BICHIER

St. Elizabeth was born in 1773. As a little girl, her favorite game was building castles in the sand. Read More »

AUGUST 27
ST. MONICA

St. Monica, the famous mother of St. Augustine, was born in 332 in Tagaste, northern Africa. Read More »

AUGUST 28
ST. AUGUSTINE

St. Augustine was born in Tagaste in modern Algeria on November 13, 354. This famous son of St. Monica spent many years in wicked living and in..Read More »

AUGUST 29
BEHEADING OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

St. John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus. His mother was St. Elizabeth and his father was Zechariah. Read More »

AUGUST 30
ST. PAMMACHIUS

"St. Pammachius was a distinguished Christian layman who lived in the fourth century.Read More »

AUGUST 31
ST. AIDAN

St. Aidan was a seventh-century Irish monk. He lived at the great monastery of Iona, which St. Columban had founded.Read More »

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