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St. Michael
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





"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 »


January February March April
May June July August
September October November December
June 1

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.

June 2

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.

June 3

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.

June 3

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.

June 4

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.”

June 5

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.

June 6

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.

June 6

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.

June 7

St. Robert of Newminster (1159).

He was an English priest from York­shire, England, who became a Cistercian monk. St. Robert was the first abbot of the famous Newminster Abbey, founded in 1137. He was a great friend of St. Bernard of Clairvaux and of St. Norbert. He made many prophecies and worked many miracles.

June 7

St. Willibald

St. Willibald was a bishop and missionary. A native of Wessex, England, he was the brother of Sts. Winebald and Walburga and was related through his mother to the great St. Boniface. After studying in a monastery in Waitham, in Hampshire, he went on a pilgrimage to Rome (c. 722) with his father, who died on the way at Lucca, Italy. Willibald continued on to Rome and then to Jerusalem. Captured by Saracens who thought him a spy, he was eventually released and continued on to all of the holy places and then to Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey), where he visited numerous lauras, monasteries, and hermitages. Upon his return to Italy, he went to Monte Cassino where he stayed for ten years, serving as sacrist, dean, and porter. While on a visit to Rome, he met Pope St. Gregory III (r. 731-741), who sent him to Germany to assist his cousin St. Boniface in his important missionary endeavors. Boniface ordained him in 741 and soon appointed him bishop of Eichstatt, in Franconia. the Site of Willibald's most successful efforts as a missionary.
With his brother Winebald, he founded a double monastery at Heidenheim, naming Winebald abbot and his sister Walburga abbess. Willibald served as bishop for some four decades. His Vita is included in the Hodoeporicon (the earliest known English travel book). An account of his journeys in the Holy Land was written by a relative of Willibald and a nun of Heidenheim.

June 8

Sts. Medard and Gildard (558).

These two French saints were twin brothers, as we are told in the Roman Martyrology. They were not only born on the same day, but also were consecrated bishops and died on the same day. Medard was Bishop of Noyon; Gildard was Bishop of Rouen. Their memories are loving ones in northern France. St. Medard began the custom of crowning the most virtuous and holy young Catholic girl of his diocese as the each year as the Rose Queen. If it rains on his feast day, the loving Catholic peasants of northern France take it as a sign that it will rain for 40 days more. This same custom prevails in England with regard to St. Swithin, whose feast day is July 2.

June 9

St. Ephrem (373).

St. Ephrem the Syrian is both a Father and a Doctor of the Church. He was born in Mesopotamia, not far from the place where Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. He became a monk when he was only a young boy. Through humility, he refused to become a priest, and stayed a deacon all his life. He was one of the great defenders of the Divinity of Jesus Christ at the Council of Nicea, in 325. He lived in solitude in his later years, and died when he was 67. His death occurred in the same year as that of St. Athanasius, another glorious Doctor of the Church. St. Ephrem wrote the life of St. Abraham the Hermit. His own life was written by St. Gregory of Nyssa. Saint Ephrem was a great hymn maker, and is called, “the harp of the Holy Ghost.” He wrote countless hymns and prayers in love and praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God. St. Ephrem greeted her: “Hail, Reconciler of the whole world!”

June 9

St. Columbkille (597).

St. Columbkille, also known as Columba, was born in Donegal, Ireland, on the feast of St. Ambrose, on December 7. Columbkille founded many monasteries and churches not only in Ireland, but in Scotland as well. He landed in Scotland, on the Island of Jona, on the eve of Pentecost, 563, with 12 companions. He erected on this island the greatest and most famous of his monasteries. Many of the people of northern England were converted to the Catholic Faith by St. Columbkille. He was called “loving to all,” and was said to have the face of an angel. He died an abbot, kneeling before the altar, and is buried in the same tomb as St. Patrick and St. Bridget.

June 10

Blessed Diana (1236).

She was a Dominican nun, a native of Bologna, Italy. Despite opposition from her noble born family, Diana gave up the world to follow Jesus and became a nun.

June 10

St. Getulius

St. Getulius was martyred with Amantius, Caerealis, and Primitivus. He was the husband of St. Symphorosa. An officer in the Roman army, he resigned when he became a Christian and returned to his estates near Tivoli, Italy. There he converted Caerealis, an imperial legate sent to arrest him. With his brother Amantius and with Caerealis and Primitivus, Getulius was tortured and martyred at Tivoli.

June 11

St. Barnabas(60).

St. Barnabas was the cousin of St. Mark the Evan­gelist. He is given the honorary title of apostle, even though he was not one of the Twelve. He was the disciple and companion of St. Paul, and labored with him in various cities and places. St. Barnabas was stoned to death by the Jews on the Island of Cyprus, the island of his birth and where he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ with great power. When his tomb was opened several hundred years after his death, he was found holding the Gospel of St. Matthew in his hand. Barnabas is beautifully associated with St. Mat­thew, whose Gospel he loved; with St. Mark, whose cousin he was; and with St. Paul, of whom he was a disciple. St. Barnabas’ name was originally Joseph. He was called Barnabas, which means son of consolation. St. Charles Borromeo calls him the apostle of Milan. The name of St. Barnabas is mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass, and always in the Litany of the Saints.

June 12 .

St. John of St. Facundo (1479).

He was born in northern Spain, in the town of St. Facundo. He was a brilliant and attractive young boy, educated in the household of a bishop, and became one of the Hermits of St. Augustine. His devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was so great that he spent every night, from the hour of Matins at midnight, to the hour of Mass in the morning, in adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Eucharist. He was often privileged in the saying of Mass to see Our Lord visibly in the Blessed Eucharist. St. John, who died at the age of 60, is the patron saint of Salamanca, Spain.

June 12 .

St. Leo III

St. Leo III is remembered as Charlemagne's pope. The cardinal priest of Santa Susanna, Leo was unanimously elected to the papal see in 795. Four years later, a mob led by relatives of his predecessor, Pope Adrian I, tried to blind Leo and cut out his tongue; such mutilations would have rendered him unfit to rule. Having escaped physical danger, he was imprisoned in a monastery during an attempt to depose him. He escaped to Charlemagne's retreat at Paderborn, where Alcuin defended him against charges of adultery and purjury on the grounds that no earthly power can judge the successor to St. Peter. Leo returned to Rome in 800, and on Christmas day, he crowned Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor. Leo fought adoptionism in Spain and was circumspect in his judgement of the filioque, the use of which he allowed but which he considered omittable. When Charlemagne died in 814, Leo began to assert his power more directly and personally prosecuted conspirators against him. Still despised by the upper class because of his plebian origin, Leo died in 816.

June 13

St. Anthony of Padua (1231).

There is no more loved and admired saint of the Catholic Church than Anthony of Padua. Though his work was in Italy, he was born in Portugal. He first joined the Augustiian Order and then left it in 1221 to join the Franciscan Order, at the age of 26. The reason he became a Franciscan was because of the death of the five Franciscan protomartyrs—Sts. Berard, Peter, Otho, Accursius and Adjutus. These saints shed their blood for the Catholic Faith in the year 1220, in Morocco. The headless and mutilated bodies of these holy martyrs had been brought to Anthony’s monastery on their way back for burial. St. Anthony became a Franciscan in the hope of shedding his own blood and becoming a martyr. He lived only 10 years after joining the Franciscan Order. So simple and resounding was his teaching of the Catholic Faith, even the most unlettered and innocent might understand it. His simple and profound teaching led him to be named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946. St. Anthony was only 36 when he died and is often referred to as “the Hammer of Heretics.” His great protection against their lies and deceits in the matter of Christian doctrine was to utter, simply and innocently, the Holy Name of Mary. When Anthony of Padua found he was preaching the true gospel of the Catholic Church to heretics who would not listen to him, he then went out and preached it to the fishes. This was not, as the liberals and naturalists are trying to say, for the instruction of the fishes, but rather for the glory of God, the delight of the angels and the easing of his own heart. St. Anthony wanted to profess the Catholic Faith with his mind, mouth and heart, at every moment of his life.

June 14

He was an Old Testament prophet, the disciple and companion of St. Elias. When Elias, whose feast is July 20, was taken up in a fiery chariot, he let his cloak fall upon St. Eliseus, who then became his successor.

June 15

St. Vitus (303).

Vitus, whose name can also be Guy, was a child saint, entrusted by his pagan parents to the care of a Catholic nurse, Crescentia, and her husband, Modestus. They secretly baptized him and brought him up as a Catholic. When his father discovered that he had become a Catholic, he handed him over to the pagan governor of Sicily, where he lived as punishment. Vitus, Crescentia and Modes­tus all escaped to southern Italy, and all three were captured by pagan soldiers there, cruelly tortured, and then killed. All three are lovingly remembered by the Catho­lic Church as saints. St. Vitus is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, and is known as the protector against nervous diseases, epilepsy and paralysis. He is also the protector against the ner­vous affliction known as “Saint Vitus’ Dance.”

St. Germaine Cousin (1601).

She was the daughter of a poor farmer who lived near Toulouse in France. She was born with a deformed hand and was afflicted with the disease of scrofula. Her mother died when she was an infant, and her father then married a most cruel woman who treated Germaine very harshly. The great loves of St. Germane were the Blessed Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin. She delighted to roam among the children of her town, and tell them about Jesus and Mary. She died when she was only 22 years old. She is beloved in southern France, even to this day, especially in the town of Toulouse. This is the town where St. Dominic was given the rosary, in the year 1214, by the virginal Mother of God.

June 16

St. John Francis Regis (1640).

He was one of the greatest priests of the Society of Jesus. He entered the Society of Saint Ignatius when he was 19 years old, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. His great crusade was to bring all Prot­estants back from the heresies into which they had fallen in the 16th century. He wanted to make them members again of the one true Church, outside of which they could not be saved. He wanted very much to go to foreign missions, but was not allowed to go. He loved to climb mountains and find lonely people to whom he could teach the simple and innocent truths of the Catholic Faith. He died in the middle of a cold winter in La Louvesc in southern France. Rose Philippine Duchesne chose him as one of her patrons. His most devoted client was the Cure of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, who got encouragement to pursue his vocation to the priesthood while praying at the tomb of St. John. When the Cure of Ars was dying, he declared, “Everything good that I have done, I owe to him.” St. John established confraterities in honor of the Blessed Sacrament and spent many hours each day in the confessional. He was hated by the Huguenots. He died saying, “I see Our Lord and His Mother opening Heaven for me.” St. John Francis Regis is the patron saint of the nuns in the Religious of the Cenacle and the patron saint of Kansas City, Mo.

June 17

St. Botolph (680).

Botolph was a Benedictine, and an Englishman, with over 70 churches dedicated to him in England. An English town, origi­nally called Saint Botolphstown, was later contracted by the style of utterance for which the English are famous, to Botolphstown, then Botolphston, then Botoston, and then Boston. And so, by reason, at least of its name, Boston, Mass is dedicated to this saintly seventh-century saint. Anyone walking along the side streets of Boston, Massachusetts, will see a street called “Saint Botolph’s Street.” This keeps many Bostonians from forgetting the saint for whom the original city was named.

St. Adolph (Seventh Century).

He was the brother of St. Botolph and a Benedictine. Adolph was made a bishop in Germany.

St. Ranier (1160).

He was a young nobleman of Italy, born at Pisa. He dedi­cated his life to prayer, penance and good works. He even made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land so that he could see the places lovingly with his eyes and kiss the spots where Our Lord and Our Lady had been. He gave up all his noble titles, and retired to a monastery in the suburbs of Pisa. He died there when he was only 32 years old, the same age as St. John the Baptist at his death.

June 18

Sts. Mark and Marcellian (Third Century).

They were twin brothers and deacons of the Church at Rome who were martyred under Diocletian.

St. Elizabeth of Schonau (1164)

St. Elizabeth of Schonau was a Benedictine abbess who was a gifted mystic. She had her first vision in 1152 and was known for ecstasies, prophecies, and diabolical visitations. She became abbess in 1157 . Her cult was never formalized, but she is listed as a saint in the Roman Martyrology. Her brother, Ethbert, a Benedictine abbot, wrote her biography and recorded her visions in three books.

June 19

St. Romuald (1027).

He was a Benedictine monk, and later an abbot. He was the founder of the Camaldolese Order of the Benedictines in 1024. This saint’s life was written by another holy man, Saint Peter Damian, Doctor of the Church.

St.Juliana Falconieri (1340).

She is the niece of Saint Alexis Falconieri, one of the seven founders of the Servites of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her spiritual father was Saint Philip Benizi, a member of the Servite Order. She became the foundress of the Third Order of the Servites. And tooka vow of virginity and began to dress and live like a nun when she was only fifteen. Her great devotion was to the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lady led her, because of this devotion, to a most ecstatic love of the Blessed Sacrament. St. Juliana Falconieri is called “the saint of the Holy Eucharist.” She died at the age of 70 after many years of great sickness. She was so ill in her stomach that she could not receive Our Lord in the Eurcharist by way of Viaticum. She asked the priest as a favor that the Sacred Host be placed on a corporal, and laid on her heart. At the moment Juliana died, the Sacred Host disappeared and the form of the Host was found stamped on her heart in the exact place where the Blessed Sacrament had been laid when she was dying.

Sts. Gervase and Protase (165).
These are two heroic brothers who shed their blood for the Catholic Faith in the city of Milan, Italy during the second cen­tury. They are known as the protomartyrs of Milan. The relics of these saintly brothers were discovered by St. Ambrose in the fourth century, and their bodies now repose in the Church of Saint Ambrose in Milan. Gervase and Protase are always mentioned in the Litany of the Saints, and are two of the 11 holy martyrs especially remembered in this sacred litany. The other nine are: Sts. Stephen, Laurence, Vincent, Fabian, Sebastian, John, Paul, Cosmas and Damian.

June 20

St. Silverius (538).

This 60th Pope of the Catholic Church suf­fered great persecution for defending the dogmatic truths of the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. He was exiled by the Empress Theodora to an island off Naples after only two years on the papal throne. He died on this island, a martyr.

St. Florence (Florentina) (636).

St. Florentina lived in Spain and was the sister of three brothers who are saints—Sts. Leander, Fulgentius and Isi­dore, Doctor of the Church. She became a nun and an abbess and died in the same year as her great brother, St. Isidore.

June 21

St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1591).

He was born on March 9, 1568, and is the model of the virtue of holy purity for all young Catholic boys. The first words Saint Aloysius spoke as a little child were the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. So rich was his wisdom as a young boy that at the age of nine he made a vow of perpetual virginity. God arranged it that a saint should give Aloysius his first Holy Communion, St. Charles Borromeo, whose feast day is Nov. 4, and who died in 1584. In 1585, when Aloysius Gonzaga was 17, he joined the newly-founded Order of the Society of Jesus. St. Aloysius died speaking the Holy Name of Jesus, on the octave of Corpus Christi on June 21, 1591, when he was only 23 years old. The name of St. Aloysius in Italian is Luigi, and count­less Italian boys have been called by that name after him. His name in French is Louis. He himself was named for St. Louis of Toulouse, who in turn was named for the great King, St. Louis of France. St. Robert Bellarmine wrote, by way of eulogy, the life of St. Aloysius.

St. Terence (First Century).

He was the first Bishop of Iconium, in Lycaonia, in Asia Minor. He was one of the 72 disciples of Our Lord. At St. Paul’s dictation, it was he who wrote down the Epistle to the Romans. His name is men­tioned in this Epistle as Tertius, in Chapter 16, verse 22. He is, at least by way of name, one of the favorite saints of the Irish people. Many thousands of Irish boys have been named Terence in honor of this holy man.

June 22

St. Paulinus of Nola (431).

Paulinus was born at Bordeaux, France, of one of its noblest and wealthiest families. He was appointed by the Roman Emperor, Prefect of all France. He was an orator and a poet. In rank, he finally became a Roman senator, and then Prefect of Rome. He married a Catholic Spanish girl named Therasia, who brought him into the Catholic Church. Paulinus was baptized when he was 31 years old. The only child of Paulinus and Therasia died in infancy. After this, they both consecrated themselves to God. Therasia sold all her possessions, gave the money to the poor and became a nun. And Paulinus, under the direction of St. Ambrose of Milan, and under the inspiration of St. Felix, the martyred Bishop of Nola, was raised to Holy Orders and elected the Bishop of Nola. He was renowned through all Italy, France and Spain for his sanctity. He said he was “glad to sell earth so as to buy Heaven.” Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome and Gre­gory, the four Great Western Doctors of the Church, were all ardent admirers of St. Paulinus, and each of them wrote much in his praise.

St.Thomas More (1535).

He was the wonderful English martyr, Chancellor of the Realm, who was beheaded on Tower Hill, just outside London, for not giving in to the heretical Henry VIII. Thomas More stood against this king who denied the supremacy of our Holy Father the Pope over the whole Catholic and Christian world. Henry VIII, the founder of the Episcopal Church, was an English king who married six wives, and murdered two of them. St, Thomas More would not submit to him as head of the Church that Christ founded. Because the king set up bishops in place of the Pope (which accounts for the name Episcopalian, taken from episcopi, the Latin word for bishops), other groups were induced by various influences to set up other churches as well: ministers for the Presbyterians; congregations for the Congregationalists; liturgies for the Baptists; ideas for the Methodists; or ideas with some sort of hierarchical setup for the Methodist Episcopals. St. Thomas More was only 57 years old when he was martyred.

St. John Fisher (1535).

St. John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester in England, and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge at the time when the adulterous Henry VIII was seceding from the Catholic Church and founding a religion of his own, was the most notable Catholic bishop who opposed him. John Fisher was a brave sup­porter of the Catholic queen, Catherine of Aragon. He refused to take an oath of supremacy to the heretical Henry VIII and was therefore He seized thrown into the Tower of London. While there, the Holy Father, Pope Paul III, made him a cardinal. Henry VIII, when he heard this, in furious anger swore that Cardinal Fisher would not have a head on which to put the red hat that the Pope would give him. John Fisher was beheaded. Anne Boleyn, the illegitimate wife of Henry VIII, whom he later murdered, asked for the head of St. John Fisher, and, like Herodias with the head of John the Baptist, struck it with her hand. One of his teeth made a wound in her hand, which never healed. There were, from 1535 to 1681, only 600 candidates for heroic sanctity among all the English Catholic people. Fifty-four of these were beatified by Pope Leo XIII, on December 29, 1886, and nine others on May 13, 1895. One hundred and thirty-four more were beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929. St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher were both canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 19, 1935, and 40 martyrs of Eng­land and Wales were canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970. The fewness of the English martyrs shows us that Henry VIII did not completely lose the Faith for England. The English people lost it for themselves.

June 23

St. Audrey (Etheldreda) (679).

St. Audrey was an East Anglian princess, and later a queen. Driven to do so by her parents, she first married a prince named Tonbert, who died three years after their marriage. He had permitted her to keep her virginity perfectly preserved. Later, she was forced to marry a powerful king from Norththumberland, named Egfrid. After 12 years of married life, still preserving her vir­ginal purity, she was permitted, with her husband’s consent, to become a nun. She founded a monastery on the Island of Ely. Three of her sisters are saints: Sts. Sex­burga, Withburga and Ethelburga. The great St.Wilfrid was one of her spiritual advisers and protectors. For centureis, Audrey was one of the most loved and venerated saints England ever had. She was not quite 50 years old when she died, and her precious body is still incorrupt.

St. Libert (1076)

St. Libert was Bishop-founder of Cambrai, France, sometimes called Liebert or Leitbert. He was a noble who became bishop in 1051. In 1054, he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, discovering that the holy city was in the hands of Saracens. Returning to Cambrai, Libert built the church and monastery of the Holy Sepulcher. He was exiled by the nobleman Hugh of Cambrai and cruelly persecuted.

June 24

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist (1 B.C.).

John the Baptist was the miraculous son of Sts. Zachary and Elizabeth, given to them when Elizabeth was well beyond the years of childbearing. He was sanctified in his mother’s womb three months before his birth. This was when Our Lady came to Elizabeth’s house at the time of the Visitation, with the Child Jesus in her womb. John the Baptist is the last of the prophets. The other prophets had foretold what would come, but this saint pointed to Jesus directly, and showed what had come when he declared, “Behold the Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world!” John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus, but he died six months younger than Jesus was when He died; just one year before Our Lord. St. John was confined for a year in prison, and then his head was cut off by the wicked Jewish tetrarch, Herod Antipas, at the order of an indecent woman named Herodias. The head of John the Baptist was served on a dish to her and her guests at table by her daughter Salome. When his head was placed on the table where Herodias was eating, she took a knife and stabbed again and again the tongue which had rebuked her for her viciousness and impurity. John the Bap­tist was the one who baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. The sacrament of Baptism was instituted by Jesus. This is the sacrament of water and the Holy Ghost which is neces­sary for all for admission to the Catholic Church and for salvation. St. John the Bap­tist’s body was destroyed and dispersed under Julian the Apostate, but part of his head has been preserved and is kept in the Church of Saint Sylvester in Capite, in Rome. St. John has two feast days, one for his birth, on June 24, and one to honor his beheading, on August 29. The feast of his holy parents, Sts. Zachary and Elizabeth, is on November 5.

June 25

St. William the Abbot (1142).

Of the many saints and holy people named William, none is better remembered than St. William of Monte Vergine, in Italy. After a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James at Compostella, in Spain, he retired to a moun­tain named Monte Vergine (Mount of the Blessed Virgin), and lived there until his death. This is where a beautiful picture of Our Lady is preserved and where many miracles take place. St. William lived, and gave his monks to live, the Rule of St. Benedict, the father of West­ern monasticism.

June 26

Sts. John and Paul (362).

These two notable Roman soldiers were martyred under the rule of the cruel Julian the Apostate. They were executed for refusing to support Julian’s defection from the dog­matic truths of the Catholic Church. Sts. John and Paul were asked to worship idols. With the beautiful clarity and courage of soldiers, they refused and were put to death. They are two of the most beloved saints in the Catholic Church. Their names are mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass, and always in the Litany of the Saints.

St. Anthelm (1178)

St. Anthelm was a Carthusian monk and bishop, defender of papal authority. He was born in 1107 in a castle near Chambery, in Savoy, France. He was ordained a priest and visited the Carthusian Charterhouse at Portes, where he entered the Order at the age of thirty. Two years later, in 1139, he was appointed abbot of Le Grande Chartreuse, which had been damaged. Anthelm made the monastery a worthy motherhouse of the Carthusians, constructing a defensive wall and an aqueduct. As minister-general, Anthelm also united the various charterhouses of the Order. Rules were standardized, and women were given the opportunity to enter the Carthusians in their own charterhouses. After a few years as a hermit, starting in 1152, Anthelm returned to Le Grande Chartreuse and defended Pope Alexander III against the antipope Victor IV. In 1163, the pope appointed him as bishop of Belley, France. Anthelm reformed the clergy and regulated affairs, going as far as to excommunicate a local noble, Count Humbert of Maurienne, who had taken one priest captive and murdered another priest trying to free him. When Humbert appealed to Rome and won a reversal, Anthelm left Belley in protest. Pope Alexander then sent Anthelm to England to mediate the dispute between Henry II and St. Thomas Becket. Anthelm was unable to undertake that journey. He returned to Belley to care for the poor and for the local lepers. On his deathbed, Anthelm received a penitent Count Humbert. Anthelm died on June 26, 1178. His feast has been celebrated by the Carthusians since 1607. His relics were enshrined in Belley. In liturgical art, Anthelm is depicted with a lamp lit by a divine hand

St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer (June 26, 1975)

St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer was born in Barbastro, Spain, on January 9, 1902, the second of six children of Jose and Dolores Escriva. Beginning in 1918, Josemaria sensed that God was asking something of him, although he didn't know exactly what it was. He decided to become a priest, in order to be available for whatever God wanted of him. He was ordained a priest and began his pastoral ministry in 1925.

On October 2, 1928, while making a retreat in Madrid, God showed him his specific mission: he was to found Opus Dei, an institution within the Catholic Church dedicated to helping people in all walks of life to follow Christ, to seek holiness in their daily life and grow in love for God and their fellow men and women. From that moment on, he dedicated all his strength to fulfilling this mission, certain that God had raised up Opus Dei to serve the Church. In 1930, responding to a new illumination from God, he started Opus Dei's apostolic work with women, making clear that they had the same responsibility as men to serve society and the Church. Meanwhile Opus Dei spread from Madrid to several other Spanish cities, and as soon as World War II ended in 1945, began starting in other countries.

The first edition of The Way, his most widely read work, was published in 1934 under the title Spiritual Considerations. Expanded and revised, it has gone through many editions since then; more than four million copies in many different languages are now in print. His other spiritual writings include Holy Rosary; The Way of the Cross; two collections of homilies, Christ Is Passing By and Friends of God; and Furrow and The Forge, which like The Way are made up of short points for prayer and reflection.

While celebrating Mass in 1943, Fr. Josemaria received a new foundational grace to establish the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, which made it possible for some of Opus Dei's lay faithful to be ordained as priests. The full incorporation of both lay faithful and priests in Opus Dei, which makes a seamless cooperation in the apostolic work possible, is an essential feature of the foundational charism of Opus Dei, affirmed by the Church in granting Opus Dei the canonical status of a personal Prelature. In addition, the Priestly Society conducts activities, in full harmony with the bishops of the local churches, for the spiritual development of diocesan priests and seminarians. Diocesan priests can also be part of the Priestly Society, while at the same time remaining clergy of their own dioceses.

Beginning in 1948, full membership in Opus Dei was open to married people. In 1950 the Holy See approved the idea of accepting non-Catholics and even non-Christians as cooperators-persons who assist Opus Dei in its projects and programs without being members. The next decade saw the launching of a wide range of undertakings: professional schools, agricultural training centers, universities, primary and secondary schools, hospitals and clinics, and other initiatives, open to people of all races, religions, and social backgrounds but of manifestly Christian inspiration. It now (2002) has more than 84,000 members in sixty countries.

Monsignor Escriva's death in Rome came suddenly on June 26, 1975, when he was 73. Large numbers of bishops and ordinary faithful petitioned the Vatican to begin the process for his beatification and canonization. On May 17, 1992, Pope John Paul II declared him Blessed before a huge crowd in St. Peter's Square. He is to be canonized-formally declared a saint-on October 6, 2002.

June 27

St. Cyril of Alexandria (444).

A Doctor of the Church, St. Cyril was “the soul of the Council of Ephesus” in 431. This was the third Ecumenical Council which defended the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary against a diabolical heretic, a bishop named Nestorius. It was this Council, and largely due to Saint Cyril’s inspiration, which gave us the last half of the Hail Mary: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,” to which was later added, “now and at the hour of our death, Amen.”

Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Thirteenth Century).

In the thirteenth century, a beautiful picture of Our Lady holding the Child Jesus, with the Angels Michael and Gabriel on either side of her, was painted in the East. In the 15th century, this picture was brought from the Island of Crete and was taken to Rome, and placed in the Church of St. Matthew, in Rome. There, for 300 years, pilgrims came to reverence and pray before this holy picture, because everyone loved its simplicity, beauty and truth. After the French Revolution, when the vicious Napoleon desecra­ted 30 Catholic Churches in Rome, this precious picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was hidden away. In 1862, it was rediscovered, and then placed in the Church of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, founder of the Redemptorist Order in Rome, where it is now kept. The purpose of this lovely picture is by way of simple and innocent symbol to teach us that Our Lady is our help in all things, and our help at all times. Many Catholic churches in all countries are called by the name, Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

June 28

St. lrenaeus (202).

This great saint was born to Christian parents in Asia Minor, and died when he was 72, the same age as Our Lady at her death. Irenaeus is one of the Fathers of the Church and is sometimes called “the father of Catholic theology.” He was a disciple of St. Polycarp who was in turn a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. Irenaeus was sent to Lyons, France, and was ordained a priest. He heroically opposed the heresy of Montanism, started by a blasphemer named Montanus, who pretended to be the Holy Spirit. During a fierce persecution of the Catho­lics in Lyons, when the streets were full of blood, Irenaeus himself was martyred. His body and relics were placed in the Church of St. John in Lyons. They were desecrated there by the Calvinists in the year 1562, in the century of the so-called “Reformation.” The most noted of the books he wrote is one called Against Heresies, an important part of true Catholic teaching in our seminaries today.

June 29

Sts. Peter and Paul (67).

Peter the Apostle, the first Pope of the Catholic Church, was the son of a fisherman in Galilee, named Jona. He was born and lived in the town of Bethsaida. St. Peter’s name was originally Simon, but Jesus changed it to Peter because of its meaning, which is rock. He was the Rock upon which the Catholic Church was built. He and his brother, St. Andrew, were both disciples of John the Baptist and fishermen. They saw Our Lord, heard His teachings, and gave up all to follow Him. The whole Gospel story is con­cerned, in one place or another, with Peter, and with what he said, did and preached. One-third of the New Testament book Acts of the Apostles is concerned with St. Peter, and two-thirds of it relates to St. Paul. Peter wrote two Epistles in the New Testament. After staying in Jerusalem for three years, in the year 36 he went to Antioch, and was Bishop there. His presence at Antioch made it the primatial see of the Catholic Church for over six years. Peter went to Rome in the year 42, the year that St. James, the brother of St. John, was beheaded by the Jews. Peter ruled the Church at Rome for 25 years. His hostess in Rome was a beautiful noblewoman named Priscilla. Peter stayed with Priscilla and her son Pudens, a senator, his wife Claudia and their four children: Praxedes, Pudentiana, Novatus and Timothy. This family made it possible for the Holy See to have a place in Rome where the truths of salvation could be dis­pensed, taught and regulated. Every member of this charitable family—so holy did their lives become under St. Peter’s influence—is honored in the Catholic Church as a saint. Peter was the first Pope and there has been no Pope named Peter since his time. There was a Pope in the thirteenth century who is now called Saint Peter Celestine, but this was only because after he resigned from the papacy he was given back his baptismal name, which was Peter. His name as Pope was Celestine. Peter was crucified on June 29 in the year 67, in the same year and on the same day on which Saint Paul was beheaded. At his own request, Saint Peter was crucified upside down. St. Peter’s name occurs everywhere in the prayers of the Church: at Mass, in the holy Office, in the litanies and invocations. His special feasts are now three: the Chair of St. Peter on February 22; the crucifixion of St. Peter and the beheading of St. Paul on June 29; and the Basilicas of Sts. Peter and Paul on Nov. 18.

St. Paul, the great Apostle of the Gentiles, though a Jew and of the tribe of Benjamin, was born in the Gentile country of Cilicia, in a city called Tarsus. He was born a Roman citizen. St. Paul was a disciple of Gamaliel, the renowned teacher who became a Christian and a saint. Paul first opposed the Christians, and he was present at the stoning of Saint Stephen, the first martyr, in Jerusalem. Paul’s name was Saul, when he lived as a Jew. On the road to Damascus, after the martyrdom of Stephen, he heard the voice of Our Lord speaking to him from Heaven and saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” Saul was his Jewish name, but so anxious was he after his conversion to become the true apostle to the non-Jews that he changed his name to Paul, after meeting and converting a notable Gentile named Ser­gius Paulus. St. Paul was baptized a Christian at Damascus by St. Ananias. Paul soon became very devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. He would not let his name be connected with hers overtly because of the way he had persecuted Christians before his conversion. But in the midst of all his journeys, he was constantly returning to Jerusalem to see her. It was Our Lady who caused St. Paul’s name to be put immediately after Peter’s in all the litanies where the Apostles are mentioned. It was Paul’s disciple, St. Luke—a Gentile— who wrote the third Gospel, which is properly called “the Gospel of Our Lady.” Paul wrote 14 Epistles in the New Testament, and has three feast days: June 29; the Conversion of St. Paul on January 25; and the feast of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul on November 18. The head of St. Paul is kept with that of St. Peter in the Church of St. John Lateran in Rome. Part of his body, along with part of Peter’s, is lovingly guarded at the Vatican. The rest of his body, along with the rest of Peter’s is kept in the Church of St. Paul’s-outside-the-Walls. Paul was beheaded, just outside the city of Rome, in the year 67. As his head bounced three times on the ground, his mouth was heard to utter, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” Three fountains of water miraculously sprang up from the three places where his head struck the ground. Three of the Roman soldiers who assisted at the execution of St. Paul were at once converted to the Catholic Faith.

St. Mary, the Mother of Mark (First Century).

St. Mary was the mother of Saint Mark the Evangelist, whose full name was John Mark. She was a wealthy woman who lived in Jerusalem. It was at her house that the Last Supper was held, and the Blessed Sacrament instituted. It was at her house that the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles at the first Pentecost. It was at her house that Our Lady lived, in Jerusalem, until she died in the year 58. It was at her house that Peter, the first Pope, often visited, and to her house he immediately went on his deliverance from prison in Jerusalem, as we are told in the Bible. It is simple to say and to prove that St. Mary, the mother of Mark, was the greatest hostess in the history of the Catholic Church. Her house after the Last Supper was called “the Cenacle.” Mary, the mother of St. Mark, was the hostess to Jesus at Jerusalem. Priscilla, the mother of St. Pudens, was the hostess to St. Peter in Rome.

St. Emma (1045).

She was the wife of a landgrave in Austria. After she was widowed, she became a nun and founded a double monastery

St. Judith (9th Century).

She was a widow from Bavaria who supported St. Salome, an English princess exiled from her country. She was a Benedictine.

June 30

The First Martyrs of Rome (64).

On this day the Church lovingly remembers the first fruits of the martyrs of the Church at Rome, the disciples of the Apostles, who perished under the Emperor Nero. They were falsely accused of having set fire to the city and were put to death after suffering the most cruel and unheard of torments. Sts. Peter and Paul later died in the same persecution.

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