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JULY 6
ST. MARIA GORETTI

St. Maria Goretti was born in 1890. Her father died when she and the other five children in her family were small. At twelve, Maria was already very pretty. She helped her mother on the farm, in the house and with the care of the other children. She never complained because they were so poor. In fact, she cheered up her poor mother and was a great comfort to her. She went to Mass regularly even though it meant a two-hour walk. Maria also received the sacrament of Reconciliation as often as she could.
A young neighbor, Alexander, tried a few times to make Maria sin. She absolutely refused. She did her best to avoid him. July 5, 1902, was a hot summer day. Maria was alone in the cottage mending clothes. Alexander came again to try to make her sin. He dragged her into a room. When she tried to scream, he stuffed a handkerchief into her mouth. Yet Maria managed to keep saying, "No, no! It is a mortal sin. God doesn't want it. If you commit it, you will go to hell." And she struggled as much as she could. Alexander panicked. He stabbed her furiously with a dagger. Then he ran away.

Maria was taken to a hospital, where she died about twenty-four hours later. During her last hours, she forgave her murderer. Her only worry was for her mother. With great joy, the girl received Jesus in Holy Communion. Then she went to heaven. Alexander was sent to prison. For a long time, he did not repent of his horrible crime. Then one night he had a dream or vision of Maria offering him flowers. From that moment on, he was a changed man. When he was freed from prison after twenty-seven years, his first visit was to the Goretti home. He asked Maria's mother for forgiveness. Then Alexander spent the rest of his life as the gardener in a nearby monastery.

Maria was declared "blessed" by Pope Pius XII on April 27, 1947. He appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's with Maria's eighty-two-year-old mother, Assunta. Three years later, on July 25, 1950, the same pope declared Maria a saint. He called her "a martyr of holy purity."

JULY 7
BLESSED ROGER DICKENSON, BLESSED RALPH MILNER AND BLESSED LAWRENCE HUMPHREY

These three martyrs lived in England during the time of Church persecution by Queen Elizabeth I. "Mr." Roger Dickenson was an undercover diocesan priest. Ralph Milner was a husband and father. He worked as a farm laborer and was brought into the Church through the good example of his neighbors. The day he made his First Communion he was put into prison for being a Catholic. The jailer liked Mr. Milner so his prison confinement was not strict at first. For several years, he went on "parole" to find supplies of food and whatever the other prisoners needed. While on parole, he was of great help to "Mr." Dickenson and Father Stanney, a Jesuit. The day came when Father Dickenson, too, was caught. He and Mr. Milner were brought to trial together. Father Dickenson was tried for the crime of being a Catholic priest. Mr. Milner was tried for helping Father Dickenson perform his ministry. The judge looked at the crowd in the courtroom. He thought of Mrs. Milner and the couple's eight children. He wanted to free Milner at all costs. "All you have to do," he said, "is visit a Protestant church, just for a few minutes, to say you have been there. I'll let you go free to be with your family." Mr. Milner quietly and firmly refused. He and Father Dickenson went bravely to their deaths. It was July 7, 1591.

The third martyr, Lawrence Humphrey, had been brought into the Church by Father Stanney, S.J. He would not give up the faith he had so recently acquired. Lawrence was just twenty-one years old when he was martyred.

JULY 8
BLESSED EUGENE III

Blessed Eugene III was born near Pisa, Italy, in the twelfth century. He was baptized Peter. St. Antoninus, whose feast day is May 10, called Pope Eugene "a great pope with great sufferings." Pope Eugene had been Father Peter, a priest in Pisa, when he felt the call to become a Cistercian monk. He went to Clairvaux, France, and joined the monks there. St. Bernard of Clairvaux was the superior. His feast day is August 20. Peter chose "Bernard" for his religious name. He did this because of his great esteem for St. Bernard.

St. Bernard sent his namesake, Bernard, to become the superior of a monastery in Rome. Pope Lucius II died in 1145. That is when a most unusual thing happened. The cardinals elected Abbot Bernard to be pope. The abbot was not at the meeting because he was not a cardinal. He was shocked. St. Bernard of Clairvaux was surprised too. He felt sorry for Bernard. He wrote an open letter to the cardinals: "May God forgive you for what you have done," he said. "You have involved in responsibilities and placed among many people a man who fled them both."

Bernard chose to be called Eugene III. His time as pope brought him many difficulties. The Roman senate threatened to oppose him if he did not let them keep stolen property. A man who had been previously excommunicated went to Pope Eugene and asked forgiveness. Soon after, he fell back into his old ways. He even joined a faction that was directly against the pope. Pope Eugene had to leave Rome a few times because of the dangers surrounding him. When this happened, he would find peace and strength at a monastery. Then he would have the courage to go back and face his difficult task again. He wore his Cistercian habit and lived simply. No matter how hectic his life was, he always had the heart of a monk. One of his fellow monks wrote to St. Bernard of Clairvaux about Pope Eugene: "There is no arrogance or domineering way in him." Pope Eugene died on July 8, 1153.

JULY 10
ST. FELICITY AND HER SEVEN SONS

St. Felicity was a noble Christian woman of Rome. She lived during the second century. After her husband's death, she served God by prayer and works of charity. Her good example led others to become Christians, too. This angered the pagan priests, who complained to Antoninus Pius, the emperor. They said Felicity was an enemy of the state because she was making the gods angry. So the emperor ordered Felicity arrested. Seven young men were arrested with her. It is believed that they were her sons. Like the mother of the Maccabees in the Old Testament, Felicity remained calm. The governor tried in vain to make her sacrifice to the gods. He ended with the words, "Unhappy woman, if you wish to die, die! But do not destroy your sons."

"My sons will live forever if, like me, they scorn the idols and die for their God," Felicity answered. This brave woman was forced to watch her sons being put to death. One was whipped, two were beaten with clubs, three beheaded and another drowned. Four months later, Felicity, too, was beheaded. Her strength came from her great hope that she would be with God and her sons in heaven.

St. Felicity, it could be said, was martyred eight different times. This is because she had to watch each of her sons die. Then she too gave up her life for Jesus.

JULY 11
ST. BENEDICT

St. Benedict was born in 480. He was from a rich Italian family. His life was full of adventure and wonderful deeds. As a boy, he was sent to Rome to study in the public schools. When he was a young man, he became disgusted with the corrupt lifestyle of pagan Rome. Benedict left the city and went looking for a place where he could be alone with God. He found the right spot. It was a cave in the mountain of Subiaco. Benedict spent three years there alone. The devil often tempted him to go back to his rich home and easy life. However, Benedict overcame these temptations by prayer and penance. One day, the devil kept making him think of a beautiful lady he had once seen in Rome. The devil tried to make him go back to look for that lady. Benedict almost gave in to the temptation. Then he felt so sorry that he threw himself into a bush of long, sharp thorns. He rolled around in the thorns until he was covered with scratches. From then on, his life was calm. He did not feel powerful temptations like that again.

After three years, people started coming to Benedict. They wanted to learn how to become holy. He became the leader of some men who asked for his help. But when he tried to make them do penance, they grew angry. It is said that the men even tried to poison Benedict. He made the Sign of the Cross over the poisoned wine and the glass shattered to pieces.

Later, Benedict became the leader of many good monks. He started twelve monasteries. Then he went to Montecassino where he built his most well-known monastery. It was here that St. Benedict wrote the wonderful rules for the Benedictine order. He taught his monks to pray and work hard. He taught them especially to be humble always. Benedict and his monks greatly helped the people of their times. They taught them how to read and write, how to farm, and how to work at different trades. St. Benedict was able to do good because he prayed all the time. He died on March 21, 547. In 1966, Pope Paul VI proclaimed him the patron of Europe. In 1980, Pope John Paul II added St. Cyril and St. Methodius as patrons of Europe along with St. Benedict.

JULY 12
ST. JOHN GAULBERT

St. John Gaulbert was born in Florence, Italy, at the end of the tenth century. He and his father were devastated when John's only brother, Hugh, was murdered. The man who did it was supposed to have been Hugh's friend. Urged on by his father and by his own anger, John began looking for a way to avenge his brother's death. He felt that his personal honor depended on it.

One Good Friday, he came face to face with the murderer in a narrow passageway. John drew his sword and started toward the man. Hugh's killer fell to his knees. He crossed his arms on his chest and begged forgiveness for love of Jesus who died on the cross. With a tremendous effort, John dropped his sword. He embraced his enemy and moved on down the road. When he came to a monastery church, he went in and knelt before the crucifix. He asked forgiveness for his sins. Then a miracle happened! Christ on the cross bowed his head. It was as if to tell John that he was pleased with him for forgiving his enemy. John felt that his own sins were forgiven. Such a change came over him that he went straight to the abbot of that monastery. He asked if he could join the monks.

When John's father heard about it, he said he would burn the whole monastery if his son did not come out. The monks did not know what to do. John solved the problem by cutting off his hair and borrowing a habit from one of the monks. Even his father was so impressed that he let him remain. St. John later went off to live a stricter life. He started his own community of monks. John became a model for imitating the poor lifestyle of Jesus. He also took wonderful care of all the poor people who came to the monastery gate. God granted him power to work miracles and to give wise guidance. Even Pope St. Leo IX went to St. John to seek his advice. St. John died on July 12, 1073. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Celestine III in 1193.

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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

JULY 1
BLESSED JUNIPERO SERRA
Blessed Junipero Serra was born in Petra, Spain, on November 24, 1713. The boy became a student at the Franciscan school in Palma 

JULY 2
ST. OTTO.
St. Otto lived in the twelfth century. He was born in Swabia, present-day Bavaria. 

JULY 3
ST. THOMAS
St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. His name in the Syriac language means "twin."

JULY 4
ST. ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL
St. Elizabeth, a Spanish princess, was born in 1271. She married King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve.

JULY 5
ST. ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born in Italy in 1502. While he was still young, his father died.

JULY 6
ST. MARIA GORETTI

St. Maria Goretti was born in 1890. Her father died when she and the other five children in her family were small. At twelve, Maria was already very pretty.

JULY 7
BLESSED ROGER DICKENSON, BLESSED RALPH MILNER AND BLESSED LAWRENCE HUMPHREY

These three martyrs lived in England during the time of Church persecution by Queen Elizabeth I.

JULY 8
BLESSED EUGENE III

Blessed Eugene III was born near Pisa, Italy, in the twelfth century. He was baptized Peter.

JULY 10
ST. FELICITY AND HER SEVEN SONS.

St. Felicity was a noble Christian woman of Rome. She lived during the second century.

JULY 11
ST. BENEDICT

St. Benedict was born in 480. He was from a rich Italian family. His life was full of adventure and wonderful deeds.

JULY 12
ST. JOHN GAULBERT

St. John Gaulbert was born in Florence, Italy, at the end of the tenth century. He and his father were devastated when John's only brother, Hugh, was murdered.

JULY 13
ST. HENRY II.

St. Henry II was born in 972. He became the duke of Bavaria in 995. One night he had an unusual vision. St. Wolfgang, who had been his beloved teacher when he was a boy, appeared to him.

JULY 14
BLESSED KATERI TEKAKWITHA

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was born in Auriesville, New York, in 1656. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin. Her father was a non-Christian Mohawk chief.

JULY 15
ST. BONAVENTURE.

St. was born in 1221 in Tuscany, Italy, and was baptized John.

JULY 16
FEAST OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

This feast was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 under the title "Commemoratio B. Marif Virg.

JULY 17
ST. LEO IV.

St. Leo IV lived in the ninth century. He was a Roman by birth and spent his life in that city. Leo was educated in the Benedictine monastery near St. Peter's Basilica.

JULY 18
ST. FREDERICK.

St. Frederick lived in ninth-century Utrecht, in the central part of the Netherlands. When he was ordained a priest, Bishop Ricfried put him in charge of instructing converts.

JULY 19
ST. MACRINA.

St. Macrina was the first child of St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia.

JULY 20
SAINT CHARBEL.

St. Charbel was born to a poor Maronite Family on May 8, 1828 in a mountain village of Biqa-Kafra, Lebanon.

JULY 21
ST. LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI.

St. Lawrence was born Caesar Rossi in Brindisi, Italy, in 1559. Brindisi was part of the Kingdom of Naples, Italy.

JULY 22
ST. MARY MAGDALENE.

St. Mary Magdalene was from Magdala near the Sea of Galilee. Some people identify her as a well-known sinner when she first saw Our Lord.

JULY 23
ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN.

St. Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303. From the time she was a child, she was greatly devoted to the passion of Jesus.

JULY 24
ST. BORIS AND ST. GLEB

St. Boris and St. Gleb, the brothers, were born toward the end of the tenth century.

JULY 25
ST. JAMES THE GREATER

St. James was a fisherman like his father Zebedee and his brother John.

JULY 26
ST. JOACHIM AND ST. ANNE

St. Anne and St. Joachim are the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

JULY 27
ST. PANTALEON

St. Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. He lived in the fourth century.

JULY 29
ST. MARTHA

St. Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus.

JULY 30
ST. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS

St. Peter Chrysologus was born in the small town of Imola, Italy.

JULY 31
ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA

St. Ignatius, the famous founder of the Jesuits, was born in 1491.

 
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“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?

 
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