Our Class Saints
Our Lady of Lourdes
Feast Day: 11th February
The Patron Saint of Lourdes, Bodily Ills, Sick People, Asthmatics, and Protection from Diseases.
Of course, Mary, Jesus’ mother, is the greatest saint. She has appeared to many people over the centuries. Each place she has appeared, she has been given a different title. Our Lady of Lourdes was the title she was given after she visited Bernadette Soubirous, a fourteen-year-old girl, in 1858.
Bernadette lived in a poor house in Lourdes, France, with her parents, two brothers, and a sister. It used to be a jail!
One day Bernadette was out with her sister and a friend to gather wood for the fire. Bernadette, who had asthma and was often sick, did not cross over the stream to gather wood on the other side with her sister and friend. While they were gone, Bernadette heard a noise near a cave-like area and went to investigate.
There, Bernadette saw a lovely lady dressed in white who had a blue sash around her waist and a rose on each foot. She was beautiful!
Bernadette prayed the rosary with this lady before she disappeared. The lady asked her to come back again. The lady appeared to Bernadette a total of eighteen times. Bernadette was teased and laughed at; many believed that she was either imagining the appearances of Our Lady or making it up.
When a spring miraculously appeared after one of the visions, many who doubted her began to believe. Those who bathed in the spring were often cured of serious sickness or disability. Eventually, the lady identified herself: “I am the Immaculate Conception,” she told Bernadette. It was then that people realised it was Mary, the mother of God, appearing to Bernadette.
Our Lady’s appearance at Lourdes to a simple, poor girl, can help us see the beauty in poverty and can remind us that our Mother knows us, loves us, and is always with us.
‘For those you believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible,’ (The Song of Bernadette).
Our Lady of Lourdes,
pray for us.
Feast Day: 16th April
The Patron Saint of Illness, People Ridiculed for their Piety, Poverty, Shepherds, Shepherdesses, and Lourdes, France.
St. Bernadette was born in Lourdes, France, on 7th January 1844. Her parents were poor, and she was the first of nine children. She was baptised at the local parish church St. Pierre’s, on 9th January. As a toddler, Bernadette contracted cholera and suffered extreme asthma. Unfortunately, she lived the rest of her life in poor health.
On Thursday, 11th February 1858, fourteen-year-old Bernadette was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood when a very beautiful lady appeared to her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle (Tuta de Massavielha). The woman wore blue and white and smiled at Bernadette before making the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell to her knees, took out her rosary, and began praying. Bernadette later described the woman as ‘uo petito damizelo’, meaning ‘a small young lady’. Though her sister and friend claimed they could not see her, Bernadette knew what she saw was real.
On 18th February, Bernadette said ‘the vision’ asked her to return to the grotto daily for a fortnight. When Bernadette began to visit the grotto, her parents were embarrassed and attempted to stop her but could not do so. On 25th February, Bernadette claimed to have had a life-changing vision. The vision had told her ‘to drink the spring’s water, to wash in it and to eat the herb that grew there’ as an act of penance. The next day, the grotto's muddy waters had cleared, and freshwater flowed.
Though many townspeople believed she had been seeing the Holy Virgin, Bernadette's story created a division in her town. Many thought she was telling the truth, while others believed she had a mental illness and demanded she be put in a mental asylum. Some believed Bernadette's visions meant she needed to pray for penance.
Church authorities and the French government rigorously interviewed the girl, and by 1862 they confirmed she spoke the truth. Since Bernadette first caused the spring to produce clean water, 69 cures have been verified by the Lourdes Medical Bureau, and after what the Church claimed were "extremely rigorous scientific and medical examinations," no one could explain what caused the cures.
Following the miracles, Bernadette decided she did not like the attention she was getting and went to the hospice school run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, where she was taught to read and write. Though she considered joining the Carmelites, her health was too fragile. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee and could not participate in convent life. She died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard at the age of 35 on April 16, 1879, while praying the holy rosary.
pray for us.
Feast Day: 17th March
The Patron Saint of Ireland and Nigeria.
When Patrick was about sixteen, he was captured by pirates from his home in Roman Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he looked after animals. He lived there for six years, and during this time, he learned the local language and became closer to God.
Patrick escaped captivity and returned to his family in his early twenties. He later travelled to France, where he trained in a monastery, possibly under Saint Germain, the Bishop of Auxerre. He dedicated his life to learning. Twelve years later, it is thought he returned to Ireland sent with the Pope's blessing. As he knew the language, he could preach to people and baptise them, and he also married couples. He established monasteries, schools, and churches. He brought Christianity to Ireland and converted people to his religion. He is credited as the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland. Patrick used the three leaves of a shamrock to explain the holy trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).
We cannot be certain exactly when Patrick was born or died, but there is evidence of him being in Ireland in the 5th Century. Saint Patrick's Day is observed on 17 March, the supposed date of his death. It is celebrated inside and outside Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday. In the dioceses in Ireland, it is a holy day of obligation. All around the world, St. Patrick and Ireland are celebrated on this day.
pray for us.
St. Teresa of Calcutta
Feast Day: 5th September
The Patron Saint of World Youth Day, Missionaries of Charity, Archdiocese of Calcutta.
Agnes Bojaxhiu was born in the city of Skopje, which is the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, in August 1910. Her mother died when she was eight years old, and her father brought her up.
At eighteen, she went to Ireland, joined the Sisters of Lorreto, and became a missionary in India. Based in Darjeeling, she learnt the language to teach in a local school. Eight years later, she made her solemn vows and took the name Teresa after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. In 1946 she had what she called “the call within the call” and experienced interior visions that led her to the conviction that Christ was calling her to serve “the poorest of the poor.” Inspired by what she was doing, many other women joined her. This is how the Missionaries of Charity were formed, and she became known as Mother Teresa.
Her legacy continues today through the work of over 4500 sisters who care for people worldwide and run schools, soup kitchens and homes for orphaned children.
During her life, she won awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India’s highest civilian award in 1980. In 2003 Pope John Paul II began the process of making her a saint, and she was canonised as St. Teresa of Calcutta in September 2016 by Pope Francis.
St. Teresa of Calcutta,
pray for us.
Feast day: 23rd April
The Patron Saint of England
St. George was raised a Christian and always wanted to be a soldier. When he was old enough, he joined the army. The man in charge of the army, Diocletian, hated Christians and had many put to death. Diocletian decided that everyone in his army must worship him and the Roman gods instead. George refused even though the army officials begged him to deny the one true God. Knowing that he would soon be arrested and executed, George gave all his money to the poor and prepared himself for death. He was cruelly tortured and then beheaded on April 23, 303.
He is most famous for the legend of St. George and the Dragon. In a city called Silene lived a dragon who breathed fire. The dragon poisoned the countryside. To please the dragon, the people of Silene gave it a sheep every day for food, and when there were no more sheep, they gave their children to the dragon. The children were chosen by a lottery.
One year, the lottery chose the King's daughter. The King, sad and desperate, asked the people to take all his gold, silver, and half of his empire - but only if his daughter could be saved. The people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed in white as a bride, to be a fine meal for the dragon.
Not knowing this, St. George rode past the lake the same day. The princess, terrified and trembling, tried to send him away, but George said he would stay and protect her. The dragon came suddenly out of the lake while they were speaking. St. George made the Sign of the Cross, jumped on his horse and advanced toward the dragon. He used his long spear to hurt the dragon badly. Then he asked the princess to throw her long belt at him. He put the silk belt around the dragon's neck, and the dragon followed the girl.
The Princess and St. George took the dragon back to Silene, where the people were terrified to see the dragon enter. But Saint George told them not to be scared. He said that if the people became Christians and went to Church to be baptised, he would kill the dragon immediately.
The king and the people of Silene converted to Christianity; George killed the dragon with his sword, 'Ascalon', and its body was taken out of the city on carts. Fifteen thousand men were baptised, not counting women and children. The king built a Church for the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. George on the site where the dragon died.
On St. George's Day, some people in England wear a red rose or put an English flag in their window. The flag of England is white with a red cross. The flag’s design is often called 'The Saint George Cross'.
pray for us.
Feast Day: 19th March
The Patron Saint of Fathers, the Catholic Church, Unborn Children, Happy Death, Carpenters, Pilgrims, and Immigrants (to name a few).
Joseph was the husband of Mary and Jesus’ foster father. Saints Luke and Matthew both comment that he is a descendant of David, considered the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). From the Bible, we learn that he was a carpenter and a hard-working man. He was not thought to be rich as when he and Mary presented Jesus in the temple; he offered two turtledoves as a sacrifice, which was allowed if you could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24). There are no spoken words recorded by Saint Joseph in the Bible.
Joseph was a man of action and protected Jesus when God told him to go to Egypt and protect Jesus from King Herod. He was compassionate and loving towards Mary and Jesus and listened to and respected God. Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death or resurrection, many believe Joseph probably died before Jesus entered public ministry. It is believed that he died in the arms of Jesus and Mary, so he is the patron of a happy death.
Saint Joseph’s feast day is 19th March which is always during Lent. Many countries worldwide celebrate and remember Saint Joseph’s life and example today. In Spain, people celebrate Father’s Day, El Dia del Padre, on this day.
pray for us.
Feast day: 22nd November
The Patron Saint of Music and Musicians.
Cecilia was a Roman noblewoman who had given her heart to Christ. Cecilia's parents gave her in marriage to a young pagan noble, Valerian of Trastevere. Cecilia is considered the patroness of music because, during the wedding celebration, the lovely bride sat apart, singing a hymn of love to God in her heart and praying for his help.
Cecilia told her husband, "I have a secret to tell you. You must know that I have an angel of God watching over me.” Valerian was surprised and said kindly, "Show me this angel. If he comes from God, I will do as you wish." Cecilia said, "If you believe in the one true God and receive the waters of Baptism, then you will see my angel."
Valerian went to Bishop Urban and was received with joy. After he had professed his belief, he was baptised and returned to St. Cecilia. Thereby the saint's side, the young man saw the splendid angel. The angel placed a crown on each of their heads and offered Valerian a favour, and Valerian asked that his brother also be baptised.
Valerian's brother, Tiburtius, learned of the faith from Cecilia. She spoke so beautifully of Jesus, and as a result, he was baptised before long. Together the two brothers performed many works of charity and mercy, like burying dead martyrs. When arrested, they bravely went to death rather than give up their new faith in Jesus. St. Cecilia lovingly buried their bodies before she, too, was arrested.
As St. Cecilia was dying, she lay pointing three fingers on one hand and one finger on the other to profess her belief in the Blessed Trinity. When her tomb was opened about one thousand five hundred years later in Rome, her body was still found perfect and incorrupt.
pray for us.
St. Catherine of Siena
Feast Day: 29th April
The Patron Saint of Italy.
She was born in Siena and died in Rome. She promoted peace in Italy and is one of Italy’s two patron saints: Saint Francis of Assisi.
She was born Katerina de Benincasa in western Italy, the 25th of 25 children. She was born during the Black Death or Bubonic Plague. Although it probably killed many she knew, she did not contract the disease and survived the epidemic. She had a twin sister, who died several months later. Her family was part of the lower classes, and she did not become literate until 1378.
At the age of six, Catherine had a vision of Jesus Christ. She continued to receive many visions throughout her life. At age 12, Catherine cut off her hair and was obligated to serve her family, living in small quarters in the basement. At 16, she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic and later became a Dominican nun.
She wrote a book called Dialogue, which taught that if you love your neighbours, it is loving God. She also devoted her life to improving the Catholic church, helping the ill, poor, and spiritually underprivileged. Catherine persuaded the pope to return from Avignon, France and back to Rome. She also tried to start a new Crusade to the holy land, Jerusalem. She died of “holy anorexia” as she ate very little in the name of God.
She became a saint in 1461 and was later made a Doctor of the Church in 1970 by Pope Paul VI and a patron of Europe in 1999.
St. Catherine of Siena,
pray for us.
St. Augustine of Hippo
Feast Day: 28th August
The Patron Saint of Converts to Christianity, Printers and Theologians.
Augustine was originally from North Africa. Also known as Augustine of Hippo, he was born in the Roman province of Numidia (modern-day Algeria) to a Christian mother and a pagan father.
The young Augustine attended school for several years, where he became acquainted with Latin literature after showing an aptitude for his studies.
Despite his academic brilliance, Augustine never managed to master Greek: his first teacher had been strict and beaten his students, so Augustine rebelled and responded by refusing to study. He never managed to learn properly later in life, which he said was a deep regret. He was, however, fluent in Latin and could make comprehensive and clever arguments.
He was ordained a priest in Hippo and later became the Bishop of Hippo in 395. He preached between 6,000 and 10,000 sermons in his lifetime! In 430, the invasion into Roman Africa besieged Hippo. During the siege, Augustine was said to have miraculously healed an ill man.
He died during the siege on 28 August, spending his final days absorbed in prayer and doing penance.
Influenced by Greek and Roman philosophers, Augustine helped shape and create some of Western Christianity’s key theological ideas and doctrines, including those around original sin, divine grace and virtue. He is remembered today as one of the key theologians in Christianity, alongside St. Paul.
pray for us.
Feast day: 29th June
The Patron Saint of Popes, Rome, and many cities that bear his name, such as St. Petersburg and Saint-Pierre.
As a Former Fisherman, he is the Patron Saint of Netmakers, Shipbuilders, and Fishermen, and because he holds the “Keys of Heaven,” he is also the Patron Saint of Locksmiths.
St. Peter, named Simon at birth, was a fisherman from the village of Bethsaida in Galilee. Peter and his brother Andrew were fishermen before Jesus called them to follow him. One day as Peter and Andrew were mending their fishing nets, Jesus called out to the brothers. Jesus said, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." Both brothers left their nets to become disciples of Jesus.
After Jesus rose from the dead, Peter was among the first to see him alive. Peter’s given name was Simon, but Jesus gave him the name ‘Peter’, which means ‘rock.’ Jesus entrusted Peter with an extraordinary task. He appointed him the leader of the Church. Jesus said, "You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18).
Peter received the Holy Spirit with the other disciples at Pentecost. The gifts of the Holy Spirit enabled him to carry out the mission of Jesus to witness the Gospel. He encouraged the early Christians to spread the Gospel message to people of all nations.
Peter bravely accepted suffering for the sake of Christ as well. He was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. When he was released, he continued his mission. Then he went to Rome to preach the Gospel there. When a persecution of Christians broke out, Peter was arrested and killed. On 29th June, the Church celebrates the Feast Day of Saint Peter the Apostle.
The historical accuracy of the accounts of Peter's role in Rome is a matter of ongoing debate. In art, he is often shown holding the keys to the kingdom of heaven (interpreted by Roman Catholics as a sign of his primacy over the Church), a reference to Matthew 16:19.
Christian tradition says Saint Peter was the first leader of an early apostolic community for at least 34 years. At that time, the word Pope or ‘Papa’ was not used to name the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At that time, there was only one Christian Church. Later, the Roman Catholic Church would say that Peter was their first Pope.
pray for us.
St. Francis of Assisi
Feast Day: 4th October
The Patron Saint of Animals, Merchants, and Ecology.
Founder of the Franciscan Order and born at Assisi in Umbria in 1181, Francis enjoyed a rich, easy life growing up because of his father's wealth. He was originally named Giovanni Francesco Bernardone.
From the beginning, everyone loved Francis. He was constantly happy, charming, and a born leader. If he was picky, people excused him. If he was ill, people took care of him. No one minded if he was so much of a dreamer or if he did poorly in school. No one tried to control him or teach him.
As he grew up, Francis became the leader of a crowd of young people who spent their nights at wild parties. Like his father, he loved the country and songs of France. He was first interested in French troubadours, known as wanderers, who improvised songs on a stringed instrument.
He was also good at business. However, Francis wanted more than wealth. He wanted to be a noble, a knight. Battles were the best place to win the glory and prestige he longed for. He got his first chance when Assisi declared war on their long-time enemy, the nearby town of Perugia.
A call for knights for the Fourth Crusade gave Francis a chance for his dream. But he never got farther than one day's ride from Assisi. There he had a dream in which God told him he had it all wrong and told him to return home. And return home, he did. What must it have been like to return without ever making it to battle -- the boy who wanted nothing more than to be liked was humiliated, laughed at, and called a coward by the village.
Francis' conversion did not happen overnight. God had waited for him for twenty-five years, and now it was Francis' turn to wait. He started to spend more time in prayer. He went off to a cave and wept for his sins. Sometimes God's grace overwhelmed him with joy. But life couldn't just stop for God. There was a business to run, customers to wait on.
One day while riding through the countryside, Francis, the man who loved beauty, came face to face with a leper. Repelled by the appearance and the smell of the leper, he nevertheless jumped down from his horse and kissed the hand of the leper. When his kiss of peace was returned, Francis was filled with joy. As he rode off, he turned around for a last wave and saw that the leper had disappeared. He always looked upon it as a test from God... that he had passed.
Francis’ father was not happy with his son’s conversion to humility and disowned him. Wearing nothing but castoff rags, Francis went off into the freezing woods -singing. And when robbers beat him later and took his clothes, he climbed out of the ditch and went off singing again. From then on, Francis had nothing... and yet everything.
Slowly companions came to Francis. He knew he now had to have some kind of direction in this life. "Here is our rule," Francis said. He would do what no one thought possible anymore by the Gospel. Francis' brotherhood included all of God's creation. Much has been written about Francis' love of nature, but his relationship was deeper than that. He felt that nature and God's creations were part of his brotherhood. The sparrow was as much his brother as the Pope.
Years of poverty and wandering had made Francis ill. His final years were filled with suffering as well as humiliation. Praying to share Christ's passion, he had a vision that received the stigmata, the marks of the nails and the lance wound Christ suffered in his own body. Francis never recovered from this illness. He died on 4th October 1226, at the age of 45.
On his feast day, many churches have a ceremony for people to bring their pets and working animals to church.
pray for us.
St. Margaret Clitherow
Feast Day: 30th August
The Patron Saint of Businesswomen, Converts, Martyrs, Catholic Women's League, and Latin Mass Society.
Clitherow was born Margaret Middleton in 1556, one of five children of Thomas and Jane Middleton. Her father was a respected businessman, a wax chandler, and Sheriff of York in 1564. He died when Margaret was fourteen. She married John Clitherow, a wealthy butcher and a city chamberlain, in 1571 and bore him three children.
Margaret converted to Roman Catholicism in 1574. Although her husband belonged to the Established Church, he was supportive as his brother William was a Roman Catholic priest. He paid her fines for not attending church services. She was first imprisoned in 1577 for failing to attend church. Two more incarcerations at York Castle followed. Her third child, William, was born in prison.
Margaret risked her life by harbouring and maintaining priests. She provided two chambers, where she kept priests hidden, and Mass was celebrated through the thick of the Roman Catholic persecution. Her home became one of northern England's most important hiding places for fugitive priests.
She sent her older son, Henry, to the English College in France to train for the priesthood. Her husband was summoned by the authorities to explain why his oldest son had gone abroad, and in March 1586, the Clitherow house was searched. A frightened boy revealed the location of the priest’s hole.
Margaret was arrested for the crime of harbouring Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead innocent or guilty to prevent a trial involving her children being made to testify and being tortured.
Although pregnant with her fourth child, she was executed on Lady Day, 1586 (which also happened to be Good Friday that year) in the Toll Booth at Ouse Bridge by being crushed to death.
The two sergeants who should have carried out the execution hired four desperate beggars to do it instead. Following her execution, Queen Elizabeth I wrote to the citizens of York, expressing her horror at the treatment of a woman. Because of her gender, she argued, Clitherow should not have been executed.
St. Margaret of Clitherow,
pray for us.
Feast Day: 6th December
The Patron Saint of Children, Coopers, Sailors, Fishermen, Merchants, Broadcasters, the Falsely Accused, Repentant Thieves and Brewers.
St. Nicholas was born in the third century in Patara (modern-day Turkey) into a wealthy Christian family. When he was still very young, his parents died of an epidemic. He then sold his inheritance to help the poor and the suffering.
Nicholas became the bishop of Myra when he was still a young man. He joined Saint Ambrose and Saint Severus in being appointed bishop without serving as a priest. He soon became widely known for his generosity and willingness to help those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships. During the reign of Emperor Diocletian, who persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas was exiled and imprisoned for about five years.
Bishop Nicholas died on December 6, 343. He was recognised as a saint before canonisation became a formal process in the 10th century. In those days, saints were declared by acclamation, which is the unanimous consent of the people.
It is said that every year, the relics of St. Nicholas give off pure water that smells like rose water and is called manna or myrrh. The water is believed to have miraculous powers. It gradually seeps out of the tomb and is collected annually on St. Nicholas’ feast day, the 6th of December. The ‘manna’ helped to spread and foster the growth of the devotion to St. Nicholas.
Throughout the years, history and legend have blended regarding the life of St. Nicholas. A well-known story established the tradition of St. Nicholas as a gift-giver. There was a woodcutter who had three daughters. In the days of Nicholas, when daughters were married, a father had to offer the potential husband a dowry – something valuable. A woman was likelier to marry a good man with a larger dowry. The poor woodcutter’s daughters had no dowry and would be sold into slavery. However, mysteriously, on three different nights, a bag of gold was tossed through an open window, landing in some stockings or shoes left by the fire to dry. Because of this gift by Nicholas, the three daughters were saved from slavery and given a future. Because of this story, the tradition of leaving shoes by the fireplace on St. Nicholas’ feast day began.
On the feast day of St. Nicholas, it is customary for children to place their shoes by the fireplace, windowsill, or bedroom door for St. Nicholas to fill with toys, fruit, chocolate, and coins. Giving gifts on this feast day can re-centre the focus of Christmas on the birth of Christ instead of on presents. Every 6th December, St. Nicholas should remind us that true joy lies not in receiving but in giving!
pray for us.
St John Paul II
Feast Day: 22nd October
The Patron Saint of World Youth Day.
Karol Wojtyla, known as Pope John Paul II, was born in Wadowice, a small city in Poland, on May 18, 1920. He made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at 18. Upon graduation from high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in Cracow's University in 1938 and in a drama school.
The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939. Young Karol had to work in a quarry (1940-1944) and then in the chemical factory to earn his living and avoid being deported to Germany.
In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the seminary of Cracow. After the Second World War, he continued his seminary studies until his ordination in Cracow on November 1st, 1946. He later became the Bishop of Ombi in 1958 and the Archbishop of Krakow in 1964. He was made a Cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1967, and in 1978 became the first non-Italian Pope in more than 400 years.
Pope John Paul II is remembered for his successful efforts to end communism, as well as for building bridges with peoples of other faiths and issuing the Catholic Church's first apology for its actions during World War II.
As the leader of the Catholic Church, he travelled the world, visiting more than 100 countries to spread his message of faith and peace. He was a vocal advocate for human rights and used his influence to effect political change. He died in Italy in 2005. It was announced in July 2013 that he would be declared a saint in April of the following year.
St. John Paul II,
pray for us.
Feast Day: 1st March
The Patron Saint of Wales, Vegetarians and poets.
David was born in Wales and wanted nothing more than to serve God. He studied hard at school and excelled in studying the scriptures. David later became a monk; he founded ten monasteries where all the monks lived the same simple life as David, working hard and studying hard to serve God in the best possible way. David was kind to everyone who needed help but quickly corrected those who made mistakes. At this time, a group of people were talking a great deal of nonsense about God. A meeting was called regarding this matter, and David demonstrated that he was a great defender of the faith. As a result of this was made head of the church in Wales.
It is said that St. David was preaching to a large crowd of people. The people at the back could not hear him. He made the ground below him form a hill so that the people at the back could hear and see him better!
His last words to his followers came from his sermon just before he died: “Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.” He is now buried in the City of St David’s in Wales in St David’s Cathedral.
pray for us.
St Anthony of Padua
Feast Day: 13th June
The Patron Saint of Lost Things.
Anthony’s birth and baptismal name was Fernando Martins. He was born in Portugal in 1195 to a wealthy family, yet he felt called to the priesthood and chose a life of poverty. At the age of fifteen, he travelled to the capital of Portugal to study to become a priest. After his ordination (when he became a priest), he lived at an abbey and cared for visiting guests. Once when some Franciscans were visiting, Fernando felt called to join their order. When he took the vows of this order, he changed his name to Anthony.
The plan was for Anthony to travel to Morocco to help spread the Catholic faith. While there, he became very sick. Because he was so ill, his superiors decided to send him back to Portugal.
On the way home, a storm blew his ship off course. Instead of landing back in Portugal, they landed in Sicily, close to Italy. They then travelled to Tuscany, which is in the middle of Italy. Being ill and weak, Anthony’s superiors decided to have him stay with some local friars to regain his health. He spent a long time there praying and studying.
One day, Dominican friars arrived, and there was confusion about who would give the homily at a Mass. Somehow, it was determined that Anthony should give it. Anthony was not known for his preaching abilities, and his superior told him, “Just say what the Holy Spirit wants you to.” (In other words, don’t prepare anything, and God will give you the words to say.) His homily was so well received that he was from then on asked to preach to various groups. He became known as a great preacher. What was so special about Anthony’s preaching? Anyone, young or old, educated, could understand what he was trying to teach.
Books back in this time were rare and highly treasured. Anthony had a book that he often used for reference when teaching. One day it was stolen. St. Anthony prayed that the thief would return it. His prayer was answered. The thief even eventually became a member of his religious order! It was deemed a miracle.
This is why people pray to St. Anthony when searching for lost items. "Dear St. Anthony, please come around: something is lost, and it cannot be found."
St. Anthony of Padua,
pray for us.
Feast Day: 28th October
The Patron Saint of Lost Causes and Hopeless Situations.
St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, which means 'generous and kind', was a brother of St. James the Less and a relative of Jesus. St. Jude was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus and is referred to in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, sometimes called ‘Jude of James’.
Ancient writers tell us that Jude preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya. He returned to Jerusalem in the year 62 and assisted in the election of his brother, Saint Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.
We often see pictures and statues of St. Jude with a flame on his head. This represented his presence at Pentecost when he received the Holy Spirit with the other Apostles.
Sometimes we see him in a boat to symbolise that, as an Apostle, he was a fisher of men. Another common attribute is Jude holding an image of Jesus Christ, known as the Image of Edessa.
Little is known about Jude's life other than that he was a good man who followed the Lord. He asked Jesus at the Last Supper why he would not manifest himself to the whole world after his Resurrection.
He is thought to have been martyred in Beirut around 65 AD, along with fellow apostle Simon the Zealot. He is sometimes depicted showing a club or axe, symbolising how he died.
In the Catholic church, he is known as the patron saint for hopeless causes. Jude became associated with desperate situations because of a letter he wrote to the Churches of the East. In it, he says that the faithful must keep going even in harsh or challenging circumstances.
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, I place myself into your hands at this difficult time. Please help me to know that I am not alone. Please pray for me, asking God to send me comfort for my sorrows, bravery for my fears, and healing for my suffering. Ask our loving God to strengthen my faith and give me the courage to accept His Will for my life. Thank you, St. Jude, for the hope you offer to all who believe in you.
pray for us.
Feast Day: 14th February
The Patron Saint of Marriage.
St. Valentine lived a long time ago when Emperor Claudius II was the ruler of Rome. There were two important things to know about this king. First, Claudius II did not like Christians. Second, he loved having lots of soldiers to fight in his wars!
Claudius II thought having soldiers for his wars was so important that he made a law that people could not get married. Claudius II believed that if young boys got married and had families, they would not want to go off and fight in his wars.
This made things tricky for the Christians following God. First, they knew that God wanted them to worship Him, not the false gods of Claudius II. Second, they knew God wanted them to marry and start families.
St. Valentine had the special job of being God’s helper during this time. He was a priest, so he would marry the men and women who wanted to get married. This is why he is called the patron saint of love and marriage.
Emperor Claudius tried to no avail to convert Saint Valentine. Regardless of what was asked, however, Valentine would not renounce his faith, so Claudius sent him to prison.
The guard where Valentine was imprisoned listened as he preached day in and day out. As the legend goes, the guard, Asterius, had a daughter who was blind. He asked Valentine to hear her confession, which he did. Afterwards, Valentine put his hands over the girl’s eyes and chanted: “Lord Jesus Christ, enlighten your handmaid because You are God, the True Light.” Immediately, the little girl regained her eyesight.
Because of this miracle, the guard and many of his family members converted to Christianity and were baptised. Upon hearing of the conversions, Emperor Claudius condemned them to death.
He was killed on 14th February 269.
pray for us.
St. Oscar Romero
Feast day: 24th March
The Patron Saint of Persecuted Christians.
Oscar Arnulfo Romero was born into a family of ten on 15 August in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador. His father was in charge of the local telegraph office. Sometimes the young Romero helped his father to deliver telegrams. Oscar learned to be a carpenter, making tables, chairs, and doors.
When he was 14 years old, Oscar wanted to be a priest, so he went to study at the junior seminary. When his mother was ill, and they needed money for medicine, Oscar left the seminary for three months and worked in the gold mine in Potosí. He earned about 4p a day.
In 1937, Oscar went to Rome to study and stayed there during World War II. His father and brother died while he was in Rome. In 1942, Romero was ordained a priest and returned to El Salvador. He became famous for his sermons. He also did a lot of parish work, like visiting prisons, organising catechism classes, and working with others in the Church to provide help and food for the poor. Romero’s compassion for the poor earned him great admiration from many Salvadorans. Romero was made a bishop on 21st June 1970.
Violence increased in El Salvador by the mid-1970s as the government and army began killing poor people who stood up for their rights. When the army killed three people in the village of Tres Calles in Romero’s diocese, he comforted the families and wrote to the President to protest about the murders.
In 1978, Romero became Archbishop of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. Some rich people were happy because they thought he would stop priests from helping the poor to stand up for their basic rights. But a few weeks later, his friend Fr Rutilio Grande was shot and killed, along with two companions. The following Sunday, Romero allowed only one Mass in the whole diocese - at the Cathedral - where he spoke out against the murders.
From 1978-1980, as the violence in El Salvador continued, Romero continued to speak out. Every Sunday, his sermon was broadcast by radio. The whole country listened. Romero’s life was often threatened. In his sermon on 23rd March, Romero ordered the army to stop killing people: “In the name of God, and in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I beg you, I implore you, I order you, in the name of God, stop the repression!” The next day, a shot killed Romero as he said Mass. A UN report later found that Major Roberto D’Aubuisson had ordered Romero’s death. Thousands came to the funeral. The army fired into the crowd. Thirty people died, and hundreds were injured. The civil war in El Salvador continued until 1992.
His canonisation took place on 14 October 2018 in Rome.
St. Oscar Romero,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Feast day: 1st October
The Patron Saints of Missions and Florists.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux is regarded as a Doctor of the Catholic Church, which means that her life and writings are considered particularly important for Catholics. She is also called the ‘Little Flower of Jesus.’
Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin was born on 2nd January 1873, in Alençon, France, the youngest daughter of a watchmaker and a lacemaker. After her mother died in 1877, Thérèse moved with her family to Lisieux, where older sisters and an aunt raised her. Thérèse’s strong faith developed early in her home's deeply religious atmosphere.
At the age of 14, she requested admission to the Carmelite convent at Lisieux with two of her sisters but was refused because she was too young. On a pilgrimage to Italy in late 1887, she asked the Holy Father to be allowed to enter the convent during an audience with Pope Leo XIII. Eventually, permission was granted, and in April 1888, she entered the Carmel.
Her romantic ideas of convent life and suffering soon met up with reality in a way she had never expected. When her father suffered a stroke, he was physically and mentally affected and was admitted to an asylum. Unfortunately, as a nun in the convent, Thérèse was not allowed to leave to visit him, which troubled her greatly.
Thérèse knew that as a Carmelite nun, she would never be able to perform great deeds. However, she took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn't like. She ate everything she was given without complaining, so she was often given the worst leftovers. She was once accused of breaking a vase when she was not at fault. Instead of arguing, she sank to her knees and begged forgiveness.
Thérèse continued worrying about how she could achieve holiness in her life. She didn't want just to be good; she wanted to be a saint.
Then in 1896, Thérèse coughed up blood. She kept working without telling anyone until she became so sick a year later that everyone knew it. Worst of all, she had lost her joy and confidence and felt she would die young without leaving anything behind. Her sister Pauline had already had her writing down her memories in a journal so they would have something to share about her life after her death.
Her pain was so great, but she tried to remain smiling and cheerful - and succeeded so well that some thought she was only pretending to be ill. Her one dream was the work she would do after her death, helping those on Earth. "Upon my death, I will let fall a shower of roses; I wish to spend my heaven in doing good upon the Earth."
She died on 30th September 1897, at 24 years old tuberculosis. Mother Teresa chose her name in honour of her.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux,
pray for us.
Feast day: 29th June
The Patron Saint of the Missionaries, Writers, Journalists, Authors, Public workers, Rope and Saddle Makers, and Tent Makers.
After Jesus Christ, St. Paul is often considered the most important person in the history of Christianity. He was one of the leaders of the first Christians.
Paul’s life and his writings make up 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament in the Bible. His most significant impact on Christian history comes from the letters he wrote. They played a significant role in the development of Christian beliefs.
Paul was given the name Saul at birth in about 4-5 AD in what is now Turkey. He was Jewish and initially persecuted the followers of Jesus. He travelled to synagogues and suggested that any Jew who accepted Jesus as the Messiah (saviour of the Jews) be punished.
The story of Saul’s conversion to Christianity is a popular Christian story. He was travelling to Damascus when a bright light shone on him, and Jesus spoke to him. After this experience, he was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. From that day on, he used the name Paul.
After his conversion, Paul went to Jerusalem to meet Peter, chief of Jesus’ apostles, to learn how Jesus had lived. Paul then became one of the greatest missionaries of all time. For the next 20 years, he established churches in Asia Minor and Europe. As a result of Paul’s work, Christianity soon became a worldwide religion.
Paul returned to Jerusalem in the late 50s. He was arrested for bringing non-Jews into the Temple. After a series of trials, he was sent to Rome. He was held in Rome for two years. It is unknown how Paul died, but it is believed that Emperor Nero had Paul beheaded between 64 and 67 AD.
Paul believed his purpose was to preach to and convert Gentiles (people who were not Jewish) to Christianity. His greatest impact on Christian history comes from the letters he wrote. His thoughts on Jesus, Jewish law, and the relationship between God and Jesus were the foundation for the development of Christianity.
He shares his feast day on 29th June with St. Peter.
pray for us.
St. John the Beloved
Feast day: 27th December
The Patron Saint of Authors, Booksellers, Burn Victims, Art Dealers, Editors, Friendships, Government Officials, Notaries, Printers, Scholars, Tanners, Theologians and more.
According to the New Testament, John the Apostle (c.AD 6-100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Generally, he is listed as the youngest apostle. His brother was James, who was another of the Twelve Apostles. He is sometimes referred to as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder and the Beloved Disciple.
Church tradition has held that John is the author of the Gospel of John and five other books of the New Testament — the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. In the Gospel of John, the phrase "the disciple whom Jesus loved" or "the Beloved Disciple" is used five times but not in any other New Testament accounts of Jesus.
John the Apostle was the son of Zebedee and the younger brother of James, son of Zebedee (James the Greater). Their mother was Salome. Zebedee and his sons fished in the Sea of Galilee. The brothers were the first disciples of John the Baptist. Jesus then called Peter, Andrew and these two sons of Zebedee to follow him.
James and John are listed among the Twelve Apostles. Jesus referred to the pair as "Boanerges" (translated as "sons of thunder") because although their nature was calm and gentle, when their patience was pushed to its limits, their anger became wild and thunderous, causing them to speak out like an untamed storm.
A gospel story relates how the brothers wanted to call down heavenly fire on a Samaritan town, but Jesus refused them. John lived for more than half a century following the martyrdom of his brother James, the first Apostle to die a martyr's death.
John was the only one of the Twelve Apostles who did not forsake Jesus in the hour of His Passion. He stood faithfully at the cross when the Saviour made him His Mother’s guardian.
It is traditionally believed that John was the youngest of the apostles and outlived them. He is said to have lived to an old age, dying at Ephesus sometime after AD 98. John's traditional tomb is thought to be located at Selçuk, a small town in the vicinity of Ephesus.
St. John is the patron saint of love, loyalty, friendships, and authors. He is often depicted in art as the author of the Gospel with an eagle, symbolising "the height he rose to in his gospel." In other icons, he is shown looking up into heaven and dictating his Gospel to his disciple.
St. John the Beloved,
pray for us.
Feast day: 14th August
The Patron Saint of Amateur Radio Operators, Political Prisoners, Families, Journalists, and Prisoners.
Maximilian Kolbe was born Raymund Kolbe on 8th January 1894 in Poland. His life was strongly influenced by a vision he had of the Virgin Mary when he was 12 years old.
As a priest, Kolbe worked to convert sinners and enemies of the church. He travelled around Poland, promoting Mary and set up a religious printing press. Later, he founded monasteries in Japan and India.
Kolbe returned to Poland in 1936 due to his poor health. When World War II broke out, he was one of the only Franciscans to stay in the monastery and opened up a hospital for those injured. He also provided shelter for refugees. Kolbe refused to sign paperwork that he would be recognised as a German citizen, and when the monastery was shut down, he was arrested.
After 2 months in the concentration camp at Auschwitz, some men were chosen to be starved to death. Kolbe was not one of them, but he took the place of a man with a family. After 2 weeks, he was the last person still alive and was given a lethal injection. It is said that he calmly raised his arm and awaited death.
On 10 October 1982, Pope John Paul II canonised Kolbe and declared him a martyr of charity. John Paul II declared him "the patron of our difficult century".
pray for us.
Feast Day: 12th October
The Patron Saint of Youth Computer Programmers.
Born in London (3 May 1991) and raised in Milan, Carlo’s wealthy parents were not particularly religious. Upon receiving his first communion at age seven, Carlo became a frequent communicant, making a point of praying before the Tabernacle before or after every Mass. In addition to Francis of Assisi, Carlo took several of the younger saints as his models, including Bernadette Soubirous, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, and Dominic Savio.
At school, Carlo tried to comfort friends whose parents were undergoing a divorce, as well as stepping in to defend disabled students from bullies. After school hours, he volunteered with the city’s homeless and destitute.
Carlo spent four years creating a website dedicated to cataloguing every reported Eucharistic miracle worldwide. He also enjoyed films, comics, soccer, and playing popular video games.
Diagnosed with leukaemia, Carlo offered his sufferings to God for the intentions of the sitting pope—Benedict XVI—and the entire Church. His longtime desire to visit as many sites of Eucharistic miracles as possible was cut short by his illness. Carlo died in 2006 and was beatified in 2020.
He was noted for his cheerfulness, computer skills, and deep devotion to the Eucharist, which became a core theme of his life.
pray for us.