St. Paschal Baylon was a humble Spanish friar of the 16th century, celebrated for his devotion to praying before the Eucharist, living a life of poverty, and providing generous care to the poor.
Saint of the Month
Feast Day: April 28
Gianna Beretta Molla, born in 1922 in Magenta, Italy, was a steadfast woman, both in her beliefs and in her career.
At the age of 20, just after she graduated high school, she began studying medicine in Milan. She instantly fell in love with the medical field and considered being a doctor a sort of “priestly mission”—not work. “Just as the priests can touch Jesus,” Gianna once wrote on a prescription pad, “so we doctors touch Jesus in the bodies of our patients: in the poor, the young, the old, and children.”
Early in his priesthood, Manuel (who took the religious name Faustino of the Incarnation) was sent to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, where he encountered illiterate women who had been marginalized because of their gender. Seeing these uneducated women and realizing the lifetime of injustices that had been brought against them, Father Faustino decided to take action. He prayed and sought the guidance of God, but he knew he had to do more, so in 1885 he established the Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess, a new religious congregation to educate women.
Feast Day: Feb. 8
Kidnapped. Beaten. Sold. So traumatized she forgot her own name. This is the horrifying beginning of the story of St. Josephine Bakhita.
Jolly Old St. Nicholas evokes a cheerful image of an elderly, bearded man, kindly handing out gifts to children. This St. Nick, or Santa Claus, is a model of generosity for those who see the celebration of our Savior’s birth at Christmas as a time for performing acts of charity and goodwill. While the original Saint Nicholas was known and honored for his concern for the poor, the Church also remembers him as a fierce defender of the faith against the Arian heresy at the first Church council in Nicaea.
A man of peace. A pastoral pope and a preacher. A staunch defender of doctrine. Pope St. Leo the Great managed to fill these disparate roles ably and with unshakeable faith.
In the fifth century, Italy was besieged by waves of barbarian invasions, imperial rulers were losing power, and arguments were erupting between bishops in the Eastern and Western Churches. The times called for a strong leader in Rome – and the Church got one in Pope Leo I, who was pope from 440-461 A.D.
Feast day: Oct. 4
Born into a life of privilege in the 12th century, Francis spent his youth pursuing leisure. But then, one day, something changed. Some say it was because of a serious illness. Others say it was the experience of being imprisoned for a year as part of a military expedition. But change he did.
Feast Day: Aug. 21
When St. Pius X was named pope in 1903, he used the words of St. Paul to state his most fervent desire: “to restore all things in Christ.” (Eph 1:10) How was this to be achieved? Through education – by teaching Christian doctrine to the young and the old, to the rich and the poor. He felt religious devotion was devoid of meaning unless people understood their faith.
Feast Day: June 24
Saint Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, known as Mother Lupita, embraced a life of poverty while serving the poor and sick during a dangerous time in Mexico’s history.
Feast Day: May 30
Thanks to movies, books and popular legend, St. Joan of Arc seems more familiar than many saints because we have seen her depicted as a male soldier, wearing military armor. But did you know that this courageous peasant girl from the 15th century, who helped drive the English from French territory during their long-running war, never had any military training? Did you know she never learned how to read or write? And in spite of no formal religious training, Joan of Arc was able to speak eloquently about theology and her faith at her trial.