St. Justin, Martyr (165).
He lived in Palestine. He was converted to the Catholic Faith by
the reading of Holy Scripture. Seeing the heroic courage with which
Catholics joyfully shed their blood for the Faith they believed,
he too aspired to be a martyr. And, God granted him that grace.
Sts. Marcellinus and Peter (304).
Marcellinus was a priest and Peter an exorcist (one of the minor
orders), who both lived in Rome and labored there under the cruel
Emperor Diocletian. They were martyred together. So great was the
veneration of the Catholics for them that a basilica was built over
their tomb in Rome. Their names are mentioned in the Roman Canon
of the Mass. If “the law of praying is the law of believing,”
we may know from this simple recognition how great and heroic these
two martyrs were, and how much they should be remembered and invoked.
St. Charles Lwanga and Companions (1886-1887).
These were 22 young men and boys, from 13 to 30 years old, who were
martyred for the Catholic Faith in Uganda in Africa after undergoing
cruel torments. Four had not yet received the sacrament of Baptism
at the time they were arrested, but Charles Lwanga baptized them
shortly afterward. They were the first martyrs among the Africans
and were canonized in 1964.
St. Clotilde (545)
St. Clotilde was a queen, the wife of King Clovis of the Franks.
Her husband brought the French people as a nation into the Catholic
Church in 496, when he was baptized at Rheims by St. Remigius. Her
husband died in 511, and St. Clotilde was left a widow for 34 years.
She lived the rest of her life as much a nun as she was a queen
enduring great sufferings for the Catholic Faith. Her favorite
patron saint in Heaven was St. Martin of Tours. She died not far
from his tomb, at the age of 71.
St. Francis Caracciolo (1608).
He was born of a royal family in the Kingdom of Naples. As
a little boy he started reciting the rosary daily. Very early in
his life he contracted leprosy, and was miraculously cured of it.
Francis spent every possible moment of his life in the presence
of the Blessed Sacrament. His thought was that it was for men that
Our Lord came to us in the Eucharist, and while the angels throng
Catholic churches to worship God there, men desert Him. While kneeling
before the Blessed Sacrament his face was blazed with light, which
everyone could see. His favorite devotion was visiting the Blessed
Sacrament in unfrequented churches, where few people came. In 1588,
St. Francis Caracciolo founded the Clerics Regular, whose main work
was the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He died
when only 44-years-old, on the eve of Corpus Christi, at the same
age as St. Francis of Assisi at his death. Francis Caracciolo’s
last words were, “Let us go, let us go to Heaven!” When
his body was opened after death, these words were found imprinted
on his heart: “The zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up.”
St Boniface (755).
Saint Boniface was born in England, in 680. His name in English
was Winfrid, which in Latin is translated to Boniface, and means
“he who does good.” He entered a Benedictine monastery
at the age of five, and in 719, he was sent by Pope St. Gregory
II to be the apostle of Germany. He reconverted that whole country
to the Faith, and many of its neighboring countries as well. At
75, he set out with 52 companions to finish his work in the conversion
of Friesland. St. Boniface and all his companions were martyred
there by the pagans. St. Boniface was killed while he was putting
on his vestments to say Mass.
St. Norbert (1134).
He was born near Cologne, in Germany, and was educated at the court
of the emperor. After a somewhat worldly life, he was struck down
one day by lightning while riding on a horse. He cried out to God,
like St. Paul, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me do?” He
heard a voice from Heaven saying to him, “Turn from evil unto
good.” He was ordained a priest when he was 35, and later
became a bishop. In a hidden and lonely valley named Premontre,
he founded the Religious Order known as the Premonstratensians with
13 of his disciples. It is a branch of the Augustinian Order. His
great devotion, and that of his monks, was to the Blessed Sacrament.
St. Norbert is usually pictured with a monstrance in his hand, holding
Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. He converted great numbers to
the Catholic Faith.
St. Philip the Deacon (First Century).
He was one of the Seven Deacons ordained by the Apostles, as we
are told in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 6. It was he who baptized
the eunuch of Queen Candace, of Ethiopia, to let us know how much
God values every soul of good will, no matter how socially low or
useless he may be according to the standards of the world.
St. Philip the Deacon was a great friend of St. Paul. He was the
father of four daughters, virgins, all of whom are honored as saints,
and all of whom were given by God the gift of prophecy. There are
five great Philips among the saints: St. Philip the Apostle; St.
Philip the Deacon; St. Philip Neri; St. Philip Benizi and St. Philip
of Jesus, a Mexican who was martyred in Japan in 1597.
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