Saint of the Month
Feast Day - March 20
Saint María Josefa felt called to religious life at a young age growing up in nineteenth-century Spain, initially believing she was called to join a monastery and live a contemplative life. But when she was just 18, María realized she had a vocation to a more active religious calling. She originally joined the Institute of the Servants of Mary, but soon discovered her call was more specific, and she needed to focus on the sick in both hospitals and in their homes.
Feast Day: February 23
As the bishop of Smyrna in the second century, St. Polycarp (69-155) was one of the most important leaders of the early Church. Smyrna was an important city in Asia Minor because Christianity had taken root there very early on.
Virginia Centurione, born into a noble family in Genoa, Italy, in 1587, was forced into marriage at a young age, despite her wish to live a religious life. She had two daughters, Leila and Isabella. But her husband died when she was just 20 years old, which allowed her to devote her life to abandoned children and the needs of the elderly, the sick and the poor. Because of war in the region in 1624-25, many in her city were orphaned, hungry and unable to find work. St. Virginia was canonized in 2003 by St.
Feast Day: November 4
Born amidst the turmoil of the Protestant Reformation and troubled sixteenth-century Italy, Charles Borromeo set his sights on reform from a young age, and helped to reinvigorate the Church during the Counter-Reformation. Born into a wealthy and powerful family in northern Italy in 1538, he joined the ranks of the clergy at age 12. While preparing for a career in the Church, Charles was given the income from a rich Benedictine abbey by an uncle, and he insisted that all funds not used for his education be given to the poor.
Born Helena Kowalska in the small Polish town of Lodz, St. Faustina was one of 10 children in a family struggling to survive during World War I. Because her parents needed her to help support the family, she received only three years of education. At age 20, she answered Christ’s call and entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. While at the convent, the Lord spoke to her and told her that she was to be an apostle of his mercy. Despite her lack of schooling, she wrote several notebooks under the guidance of Christ that contained profound theological insights.
Feast day: September 23
Devoted to Christ from his childhood in Italy, where he was baptized Francesco Forgione, St. Padre Pio became a Capuchin friar at age 15. Five years after he entered the priesthood, shortly after the dawn of World War I, Padre Pio was called into military service. His service was short-lived, however, because of severe illness.
Tekakwitha, born in 1656 to a Christian Algonquin mother and Mohawk father, embraced a life of gentle service to others from an early age. She and her family contracted smallpox when she was a child; she was scarred from the disease and lost her family to it. Although her uncle took her in, he treated Tekakwitha as a slave. She found solace, however, in listening to the “blackrobes,” or Jesuit missionaries who visited her village, and would meditate often on their teachings.
Feast Day: June 22
St. Thomas More was an educated man – a lawyer, husband, and father. He was known as being a statesman with great faith and high standards. He was appointed Lord Chancellor of England in 1529 by King Henry VIII. But three years later, Thomas More resigned this high post because of his opposition to Henry’s divorce to Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. He also refused to acknowledge Henry as the supreme head of the Church of England, which would mean breaking with Rome.
Feast Day: May 10
Born into a poor, Belgian farming family in 1840, Joseph De Veuster left school at 13 to work on his parent’s farm. Six years later, Joseph joined his brother in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, taking the name Damien.
His life of mission began in 1864, when he volunteered to take his brother’s place as a missionary on the Hawaiian Islands. For several years, Damien served on Honolulu until the Bishop asked for volunteers to serve the quarantined lepers on Molokai.