Saints of the Day Saints and biographies from the Catholic calendar. This site is copyright © 2018 Universalis Publishing Limited. Universalis Publishing Ltd http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml http://universalis.com/static/bin/icon80.png 2018-05-22T19:00:00Z http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml#20180520.0 2018-05-19T19:00:00Z 2018-05-22T11:38:13Z The fiftieth day
Celebrated: 20 May (worldwide)
The name “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word meaning “fiftieth.” Like Easter, it is tied to a Jewish feast. 49 days (7 weeks, or “a week of weeks”) after the second day of Passover, the Jews celebrated the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot).
Passover celebrates the freeing of the Jews from slavery; Shavuot celebrates their becoming God’s holy people by the gift and acceptance of the Law; and the counting of the days to Shavuot symbolises their yearning for the Law.
From a strictly practical point of view, Shavuot was a very good time for the Holy Spirit to come down and inspire the Apostles to preach to all nations because, being a pilgrimage festival, it was an occasion when Jerusalem was filled with pilgrims from many countries.
Symbolically, the parallel with the Jews is exact. We are freed from the slavery of death and sin by Easter; with the Apostles, we spend some time as toddlers under the tutelage of the risen Jesus; and when he has left, the Spirit comes down on us and we become a Church.
http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml#20180520.1 2018-05-19T19:00:00Z 2018-05-22T11:38:13Z In other years: Saint Bernardino of Siena (1380 - 1444)
Celebrated: 20 May (worldwide)
Bernardino (“Little Bernard”) was born in Tuscany. His parents died when he was a child. While still a student at the University of Siena he took charge of the hospital there when an epidemic killed most of the staff. Later he looked after a bedridden aunt until her death; and then, at the age of 22, he became a Franciscan.
Inspired by St Vincent Ferrer, he was an energetic and popular preacher and spent years travelling on foot through Italy preaching to enormous audiences. He denounced usury, promoted peace among the warring Italian cities, and worked hard for the reform and discipline of the Franciscan order, and for church unity.
Bernardino’s achievements before he became a Franciscan show what the young can achieve if given the chance. Let us try not to confirm them in a culture of enforced irresponsibility, but to encourage each of them to give to others whatever they have been called into this world to give.
See the articles in Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml#20180521.0 2018-05-20T19:00:00Z 2018-05-22T11:38:13Z The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
Celebrated: 21 May (worldwide)
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been given the title of Mother of the Church since she gave birth to Christ, the Head of the Church, and she became the Mother of the redeemed people before her Son had given up the spirit on the Cross. Blessed Pope Paul VI solemnly confirmed the title in an address to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council on 21 November 1964 and decreed that the whole Christian people should, by the use of this beautiful title, give still greater honour to the Mother of God.
‘The joyous veneration given to the Mother of God by the contemporary Church, in light of reflection on the mystery of Christ and on his nature, cannot ignore the figure of a woman (cf. Gal 4:4), the Virgin Mary, who is both the Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. In some ways this was already present in the mind of the Church from the premonitory words of Saint Augustine and Saint Leo the Great. In fact the former says that Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the latter says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church’ (Decree of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship).
http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml#20180521.1 2018-05-20T19:00:00Z 2018-05-22T11:38:13Z In other years: Saint Christopher Magallanes and his Companions
Celebrated: 21 May (worldwide)
Cristóbal Magallanes Jara was born in the state of Jalisco in Mexico in 1869. He was ordained priest at the age of 30 and became parish priest of his home town of Totatiche. He took a special interest in the evangelization of the local indigenous Huichol people and founded a mission for them. When government persecution of the Catholic Church began and the seminaries were closed, he opened a small local “auxiliary seminary.” He wrote and preached against armed rebellion but was falsely accused of promoting the Cristero rebellion. He was arrested on 21 May 1927 while on the way to celebrate Mass at a farm. He was executed without a trial, but not before giving his remaining possessions to his executioners and giving them absolution.
With him are celebrated 24 other Mexican martyrs of the early 20th century.
See the article in Wikipedia.
http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml#20180521.2 2018-05-20T19:00:00Z 2018-05-22T11:38:13Z St Eugène de Mazenod (1782 - 1861)
Celebrated: 21 May (Canada)
He was born at Aix-en-Provence in the south of France and had to flee together with his family when the French Revolution broke out. He returned in 1802 in a penniless and uncertain state, but after a period of depression he began to develop a concern for the French Church, which had been attacked and half destroyed by the Revolution. He discerned a vocation to the priesthood and was ordained in 1811.
He returned to Aix-en-Provence and lived as a wandering priest with no parish church. He and the companions he gathered round him went from village to village, preaching in Provençal, the language of the people. Facing opposition from the local clergy, Eugène went straight to the Pope and obtained official recognition of the “Oblates of Mary Immaculate,” of which he was then elected Superior General. He continued to guide the order until his death.
He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Marseilles in 1832, provoking a furious and debilitating five-year diplomatic row with the French government. At length he became Bishop of Marseilles in 1837, on the retirement of his predecessor. He continued to rebuild the strength of the French Church, and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate were persuaded to send missionaries to other parts of the world, so that they are now active in 68 countries.
See the biography on the Vatican web site.
http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml#20180522.0 2018-05-21T19:00:00Z 2018-05-22T11:38:13Z Saint Rita of Cascia (1377 - 1447)
Celebrated: 22 May (worldwide)
She was born near Cascia, in Umbria in Italy. She was married at the age of 12 despite her frequently repeated wish to become a nun. Her husband was rich, quick-tempered and immoral and had many enemies. She endured his insults, abuse and infidelities for 18 years and bore him two sons, who grew to be like him.
Towards the end of his life she helped to convert her husband to a more pious way of life, but he was stabbed to death by his enemies not long afterwards. He repented before he died and was reconciled to the Church.
Her sons planned to avenge their father’s death. When Rita’s pleas were unavailing, she prayed that God should take their lives if that was the only way to preserve them from the sin of murder. They died of natural causes a year later.
Rita asked to join the convent of St Mary Magdalen at Cascia. She was rejected for being a widow, since the convent was for virgins only, and later given the impossible task of reconciling her family with her husband’s murderers. She carried out the task and was allowed to enter the convent at the age of 36. She remained there until her death at the age of 70.
She is widely honoured as a patron saint of impossible or lost causes.
See also the article in Wikipedia.
http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml#20180522.1 2018-05-21T19:00:00Z 2018-05-22T11:38:13Z St Joachina de Vedruna de Mas (1783-1854)
Celebrated: 22 May
Joachina, was born in Barcelona, Spain and was the fifth of eight children of the aristocratic Vedruna family. Steeped in the traditional piety of her time, Joachina (aged 12) requested to enter the cloistered Carmelite Convent near to her home. Her requested was turned down, but this did not stifle a growing prayer life and her awareness of God’s presence. She decided that if she could not live her life in the service of the convent, then God must be calling her to serve in another way.
This other way led to her marriage to Teodoro de Mas in 1799. Teodoro was someone who, like her, had considered religious life and was drawn to actively living a Christian life of prayer and charitable works. Together Joachina and Teodoro raised nine children in the midst of Napoleonic wars, retreating from Barcelona to live in the safety of Vich. Soon after moving to Vich, Teodoro joined the Spanish forces to defend Spain, leaving Joachina as the sole carer of their children. Teodoro returned to the family in 1813, after he resigned from the army, but returned weakened by warfare. When Teodoro died suddenly in 1816, Joachina was only 33 years old and left alone to raise their children. However, her unwavering life of prayer and her substantial inheritance left her with the means to care not only for her children into adulthood, but also the sick people of Vich.
After her children had left home, Joachina resolved to direct her skills to other works of mercy. She based this ministry on the skills she had developed over previous years: teaching the young, and nursing the sick. In 1826, with the blessing of the local Bishop, Joachina established a community of nine sisters, naming the community the Carmelites of Charity. The early years of the community were spent in extreme poverty, but this did not hamper the establishment of a hospital in Tarrega, Spain. Under Joachina’s leadership and with God’s help, the community worked amidst further Spanish conflicts, their places of ministry were places of peace where wounded from either side of a conflict would be treated. In 1843 the community experienced a rapid period of growth and development, and received final approval from Rome in 1850. During the same year, Joachina’s health began to decline. She died in 1854, and was laid to rest at the mother house of the community at Vich, Spain.

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http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml#20180524.0 2018-05-23T19:00:00Z 2018-05-23T19:00:00Z Our Lady, Help of Christians
Celebrated: 24 May (Australia, Shrewsbury, Poland, New Zealand, Southern Africa)
‘This is your mother.’ Under the title of Help of Christians, Mary was chosen as Patroness of Australasia by the First Provincial Synod, convened by Archbishop Bede Polding, in Sydney in 1844. The fledgling colonies needed Mary’s help at that time, as the nation does today. We are helped through Mary’s powerful intercession, and through the example of her life that we find in the Gospels. See also the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml#20180524.1 2018-05-23T19:00:00Z 2018-05-23T19:00:00Z Blessed Louis-Zépherin Moreau (1824 - 1901)
Celebrated: 24 May (Canada)
He was bishop of the St Hyacinthe diocese in Quebec for 25 years, from 1876 until his death.
http://universalis.com/atomabout.xml#20180524.2 2018-05-23T19:00:00Z 2018-05-23T19:00:00Z St Aldhelm
Celebrated: 24 May (Clifton, Plymouth)
Aldhelm became a monk at Malmesbury, but completed his education at Canterbury. In about 675 he became Abbot of Malmesbury, and made foundations at Frome and Bradford-on-Avon. When the Wessex diocese was divided in 705 he became the first bishop of its western half, Sherborne, without ceasing to rule the abbey at Malmesbury.
He was renowed for his learning and sanctity. He wrote both prose and verse, and set his verse to music. Finding the people of his time somewhat dilatory in their church attendance, it is said that he would stand up in public places, singing songs and preaching sermons to attract people to the faith. His Old English verse, sung with harp accompaniment, has not survived, so we can judge this Anglo-Saxon writer only by his Latin works. It is thought that he invented the crossword puzzle. He died at Doulting near Wells in Somerset, and was buried at Malmesbury. His cult was discontinued by Lanfranc, but Osmund authorised its resumption with the translation of his relics in 1078.