Saint Albert the Great

Saint Albert the Great,  Doctor of the Church 
Also known as:     Albertus Magnus      Albert of Lauingen     Doctor Expertus     Doctor Universalis 
Feast Day:  November 15 
Patron of:  Students of Natural Sciences, medical technicians, natural sciences, philosophers, schoolchildren, scientists, students, theology students. 
 
 Profile 
 
Son of a military nobleman. Dominican. Priest. Taught theology at Cologne, Germany, and Paris, France. Teacher of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Influential teacher, preacher, and administrator. Bishop of Regensburg, Germany. Introduced Greek and Arabic science and philosophy to medieval Europe. Known for his wide interest in what became known later as the natural sciences – botany, biology, etc. Wrote and illustrated guides to his observations, and was considered on a par with Aristotle as an authority on these matters. Theological writer. Doctor of the Church.  
 
Born  1206 at Lauingen an der Donau, Swabia (part of modern Germany) 
 
Died  15 November 1280 at Cologne, Prussia (part of modern Germany) of natural causes 
 
Beatified     1622 by Pope Gregory XV 
 
Canonized 1931 by Pope Pius XI   
St. Albert the Great Albert, the "light of Germany," called the Great because of his encyclopedic knowledge, was born in 1193 at Lauingen, Donau. He studied at Padua, where under the influence of the second Dominican general, he joined the newly-founded Order of Preachers (1223). Soon he was sent to Germany, taught in various cities, particularly Cologne; Thomas Aquinas was his student. In 1248 he received the honor of Master in Sacred Theology at Paris. Throngs attended his lectures.  
In 1254 Albert was chosen provincial of his Order in Germany. For a time he lived at the court of Pope Alexander II, who in 1260 made him bishop of Regensburg; two years later, however, he returned to his community at Cologne. There he acted as counselor, peacemaker, and shepherd of souls with great success. He died at the age of eighty-seven. Pope Pius XI numbered him among the ranks of the saints on December 16, 1931, and declared him a doctor of the Church. Much of his life was given to writing. His twenty-one folio volumes are devoted to commentaries on Aristotle (whose works were just then becoming known in the West) and the Bible. Albert, the greatest German scholar of the Middle Ages, was outstanding in the fields of natural science, theology, and philosophy. 
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch 
Albert is named "Doctor Universalis" because of his vast knowledge and writings. 
 
  
Hagiographies compiled from articles at © http://catholicsaints.info/ and  © http://www.catholicculture.org/. 

Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church 
Also known as:     Ambreuil     Ambrogio     Ambroise     Ambrosius     Ambrun     Embrun     The Honey Tongued Doctor 
 
Feast Day:  December 7 
 
Patron of:  Bees and bee keepers, bishops, candle makers, domestic animals, geese, learning, livestock, police officers, schoolchildren, security personnel, starlings, students. 
 
Profile 
 
    Born to the Roman nobility. Brother of Saint Marcellina and Saint Satyrus. Educated in the classics, Greek, and philosophy at Rome, Italy. Poet and noted orator. Convert to Christianity. Governor of Milan, Italy. 
 
    When the bishop of Milan died, a dispute over his replacement led to violence. Ambrose intervened to calm both sides; he impressed everyone involved so much that though he was still an unbaptized catechumen, he was chosen as the new bishop. He resisted, claiming that he was not worthy, but to prevent further violence, he assented, and on 7 December 374 he was baptized, ordained as a priest, and consecrated as bishop. He immediately gave away his wealth to the Church and the poor, both for the good it did, and as an example to his flock. 
 
    Noted preacher and teacher, a Bible student of renown, and writer of liturgical hymns. He stood firm against paganism and Arians. His preaching helped convert Saint Augustine of Hippo, whom Ambrose baptized and brought into the Church. Ambrose’s preaching brought Emperor Theodosius to do public penance for his sins. He called and chaired several theological councils during his time as bishop, many devoted to fighting heresy. Welcomed Saint Ursus and Saint Alban of Mainz when they fled Naxos to escape Arian persecution, and then sent them on to evangelize in Gaul and Germany. Proclaimed a great Doctor of the Latin Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298. 
 
    The title Honey Tongued Doctor was initially bestowed on Ambrose because of his speaking and preaching ability; this led to the use of a beehive and bees in his iconography, symbols which also indicate wisdom. This led to his association with bees, beekeepers, chandlers, wax refiners, etc. 
 
Born  c.340 in Trier, southern Gaul (modern Germany) 
 
Died  Holy Saturday, 4 April 397 at Milan, Italy of natural causes 
 
Canonized Pre-Congregation 
St. Ambrose Around the year 333 Ambrose was born at Trier, the child of a noble Roman family. After his father's death he went to Rome, and was soon appointed consul with residence at Milan. While attempting to settle a dispute between the Arians and Catholics over the choice of a bishop, he himself was chosen, although only a catechumen at the time. Thereupon he devoted himself wholeheartedly to the study of theology, and gave his possessions to the poor. He was an illustrious preacher, and through his sermons brought Augustine to the faith and baptized him.  
Candid and fearless no matter how strong the opposition, Ambrose was directed to confront Maximus, the murderer of the Emperor Gratian. When Maximus refused to do penance, Ambrose excommunicated him. Later he denied Emperor Theodosius entrance into church for his massacre of the inhabitants of Thessalonica. It was on this occasion that allusion was made to [King] David as a murderer and adulterer, and Ambrose retorted: "You have followed him in sin, now follow him in repentance." Humbly, Theodosius accepted the penance imposed. 
We often meet this saint in the Divine Office as a teacher and as an inspired composer of hyms (fourteen of the hymns attributed to him are definitely authentic, true pearls of religious poetry). His writings are vibrant with ancient Christian liturgical spirit, for his life was wholly rooted in mystery and sacrament. We can profit greatly by reading Ambrose's works. He is one of the four great Latin Doctors of the Church.  
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch 
Patron: bee keepers; bees; candlemakers; chandlers; domestic animals; French Commissariat; learning; Milan, Italy; schoolchildren; students; wax melters; wax refiners. 
 
Hagiographies compiled from articles at © http://catholicsaints.info/ and  © http://www.catholicculture.org/. 

Saint Brigid of Kildare

Saint Brigid of Kildare 
Also known as:     Brigid of Kildare     Brigid of Cell Dara     Brigid of the Isles   Mary of the Gael 
Feast Day:  February 1 
Patron of:  babies, blacksmiths, boatmen, children whose parents are not married, dairy workers, fugitives, infants, Ireland, mariners, midwives, nuns, poets, poultry, printing presses, sailors, scholars, travelers, watermen 
 
Profile     Daughter of Dubtach, pagan Scottish king of Leinster, and Brocca, a Christian Pictish slave who had been baptized by Saint Patrick. Just before Brigid’s birth, her mother was sold to a Druid landowner. Brigid remained with her mother till she was old enough to serve her legal owner Dubtach, her father. 
 
    She grew up marked by her high spirits and tender heart, and as a child, she heard Saint Patrick preach, which she never forgot. She could not bear to see anyone hungry or cold, and to help them, often gave away things that were Dubtach’s. When Dubtach protested, she replied that “Christ dwelt in every creature”. Dubtach tried to sell her to the King of Leinster, and while they bargained, she gave a treasured sword of her father to a leper. Dubtach was about to strike her when Brigid explained she had given the sword to God through the leper, because of its great value. The King, a Christian, forbade Dubtach to strike her, saying “Her merit before God is greater than ours”. Dubtach solved this domestic problem by giving Brigid her freedom. 
 
    Brigid’s aged mother was in charge of her master’s dairy. Brigid took charge, and often gave away the produce. But the dairy prospered under her (hence her patronage of milk maids, dairy workers, cattle, etc.), and the Druid freed Brigid’s mother. Brigid returned to her father, who arranged a marriage for her with a young bard. Bride refused, and to keep her virginity, went to her Bishop, Saint Mel of Ardagh, and took her first vows.  
 
    Her first convent started c.468 with seven nuns. At the invitation of bishops, she started convents all over Ireland. She was a great traveller, especially considering the conditions of the time, which led to her patronage of travellers, sailors, etc. Brigid invented the double monastery, the monastery of Kildara, which means Church of the Oak, that she ran on the Liffey river being for both monks and nuns. Saint Conleth became its first bishop; this connection and the installation of a bell that lasted over 1000 years apparently led to her patronage of blacksmiths and those in related fields. 
 
Born  453 at Faughart, County Louth, Ireland 
 
Died  1 February 523 at Kildare, Ireland of natural causes 
 
Canonized Pre-Congregation 
 
Name  Means fiery arrow (= brigid) 
St. Brigid Bridget (Brigid, Bride, Bridey) of Kildare was born around 450 into a Druid family, being the daughter of Dubhthach, court poet to King Loeghaire. At an early age, Brigid decided to become a Christian, and she eventually took vows as a nun. Together with a group of other women, she established a nunnery at Kildare. She was later joined by a community of monks led by Conlaed. Kildare had formerly been a pagan shrine where a sacred fire was kept perpetually burning. Rather than stamping out this pagan flame, Brigid and her nuns kept it burning as a Christian symbol. (This was in keeping with the general process whereby Druidism in Ireland gave way to Christianity with very little opposition, the Druids for the most part saying that their own beliefs were a partial and tentative insight into the nature of God, and that they recognized in Christianity what they had been looking for.) As an abbess, Brigid participated in several Irish councils, and her influence on the policies of the Church in Ireland was considerable.  
Many stories of her younger days deal with her generosity toward the needy. 
Patron: Babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; Leinster; mariners; midwives; milk maids; newborn babies; nuns; poets; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travelers; watermen. 
 
 
 
 
Hagiographies compiled from articles at © http://catholicsaints.info/ and  © http://www.catholicculture.org/. 

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Saint Catherine of Alexandria 
Feast Day:  November 25 
Patron of:  Apologists, archivists, attorneys, dying people, educators, girls, librarians, mechanics, nurses, philosophers, preachers, scholars, schoolchildren, secretaries, students, teachers, theologians,  
 
Profile         Born to the nobility. Learned in science and oratory. Converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. When she was 18 years old, during the persecution of Maximinus, she offered to debate the pagan philosophers. Many were converted by her arguments, and immediately martyred. Maximinus had her scourged and imprisoned. The empress and the leader of the army of Maximinus were amazed by the stories, went to see Catherine in prison. They converted and were martyred. Maximinus ordered her broken on the wheel, but she touched it and the wheel was destroyed. She was beheaded, and her body whisked away by angels. 
 
    Immensely popular during the Middle Ages, there were many chapels and churches devoted to her throughout western Europe, and she was reported as one of the divine advisors to Saint Joan of Arc. Her reputation for learning and wisdom led to her patronage of libraries, librarians, teachers, archivists, and anyone associated with wisdom or teaching. Her debating skill and persuasive language has led to her patronage of lawyers. And her torture on the wheel led to those who work with them asking for her intercession. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. 
 
Born  unknown 
 
Died  Beheaded c.305 in Alexandria, Egypt 
 
Canonized Pre-Congregation 
 
Name  Means pure one (= Catherine) 
St. Catherine of Alexandria The account of her martyrdom is legendary and defies every attempt to cull out the historical kernel. Old Oriental sources make no mention of her. In the West her cult does not appear before the eleventh century, when the crusaders made it popular. She became the patroness of philosophical faculties; she is one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers." The breviary offers the following: 
Catherine, virgin of Alexandria, devoted herself to the pursuit of knowledge; at the age of eighteen, she surpassed all her contemporaries in science. Upon seeing how the Christians were being tortured, she went before Emperor Maximin (311-313), upbraided him for his cruelty, and with convincing reasons demonstrated the need of Christian faith in order to be saved. Astounded by her wisdom, the Emperor ordered her to be kept confined, and having summoned the most learned philosophers, promised them magnificent rewards if they could confound the virgin and turn her from belief in Christ. Far from being successful, a considerable number of the philosophers were inflamed by the sound reasons and persuasiveness of Catherine's speech with such a love for Jesus Christ that they declared themselves willing to offer their lives for the Gospel. 
Then the Emperor attempted to win her by flattery and by promises, but his efforts proved equally fruitless. He ordered her whipped with rods, scourged with leaden nodules, and then left to languish eleven days without food in prison. The Emperor's wife and Porphyrius, general of the army, visited Catherine in prison; her words brought both to Christ and later they too proved their love in blood. Catherine's next torture consisted of being placed upon a wheel with sharp and pointed knives; from her lacerated body prayers ascended to heaven and the infernal machine fell to pieces. Many who witnessed the miracle embraced the faith. Finally, on November 25 Christ's servant was beheaded (307 or 312). By the hands of angels her body was carried to Mt. Sinai, where it was interred in the convent which bears her name.  
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch. 
Patron: Apologists; craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters; spinners; etc.); archivists; attorneys; barristers; dying people; educators; girls; jurists; knife grinders; knife sharpeners; lawyers; librarians; libraries; maidens; mechanics; millers; nurses; old maids; philosophers; potters; preachers; scholars; schoolchildren; scribes; secretaries; spinners; spinsters; stenographers; students; tanners; teachers; theologians; turners; unmarried girls; wheelwrights. 
 
Hagiographies compiled from articles at © http://catholicsaints.info/ and  © http://www.catholicculture.org/. 

Saint Francis of Assisi

Saint Francis of Assisi 
Also known as:     Francis Bernardone     il Poverello 
Feast Day:  October 4 
Patron of:  against dying alone, against fire, animals, birds, ecology, environment, families, lace makers, merchants, peace, zoos. 
 
Profile 
 
    Son of Pietro Bernadone, a rich cloth merchant. Though he had a good education and became part of his father‘s business, he also had a somewhat misspent youth. Street brawler and some-time soldier. Captured during a conflict between Assisi and Perugia, Italy, he spent over a year as a prisoner of war. During this time he had a conversion experience, including a reported message from Christ calling him to leave this worldly life. Upon release, Francis began taking his faith seriously. 
 
    He took the Gospels as the rule of his life, Jesus Christ as his literal example. He dressed in rough clothes, begged for his sustenance, and preached purity and peace. His family disapproved, and his father disinherited him; Francis formally renounced his wealth and inheritance. He visited hospitals, served the sick, preached in the streets, and took all men and women as siblings. He began to attract followers in 1209, and with papal blessing, founded the Franciscans based on a simple statement by Jesus: “Leave all and follow me.” In 1212 Clare of Assisi became his spiritual student, which led to the founding of the Poor Clares. Visited and preached to the Saracens. Composed songs and hymns to God and nature. Lived with animals, worked with his hands, cared for lepers, cleaned churches, and sent food to thieves. In 1221 he resigned direction of the Franciscans. 
 
    While in meditation on Mount Alvernia in the Apennines in September 1224, Francis received the stigmata, which periodically bled during the remaining two years of his life. This miracle has a separate memorial on 17 September. 
 
    In the Middle Ages people who believed to be possessed by Beelzebub especially called upon the intercession of Saint Francis, the theory being that he was the demon‘s opposite number in heaven. 
 
Born  1181 at Assisi, Umbria, Italy as Francis Bernardone 
 
Died  4 October 1226 at Portiuncula, Italy of natural causes 
 
Canonized 16 July 1228 by Pope Gregory IX 
St. Francis of Assisi Francis Bernardone was born in 1181 at Assisi, Umbria, Italy. The son of a wealthy cloth merchant, he lived a lavish and irresponsible life. At the age of twenty, he went to war against Perugia, but was captured and imprisoned. During his imprisonment he experienced a vision from Christ and changed his life completely. He left all his possessions and embraced complete poverty, taking the Gospel as his rule of life.  
He wore ragged old clothes, begged for food and preached peace. He began to attract followers, and in 1209 with the papal blessing he founded the Friars Minor (Franciscans). Then in 1212 with St. Clare of Assisi he founded the foundation of the Order of "Poor Ladies," now known as the "Poor Clares." He also founded the "Third Order of Penance" (the Third Order) which included lay people. He was the first person (recorded) to receive the stigmata (the five wounds of Christ) in 1224. He died on October 4, 1226 at Portiuncula, Italy. He was canonized by Gregory IX less than two years later.  
Patron: against fire; animals; Catholic Action; dying alone; ecology; environment; families; fire; lacemakers; merchants; peace; zoos. 
 
 
Hagiographies compiled from articles at © http://catholicsaints.info/ and  © http://www.catholicculture.org/. 

Saint Isidore

Saint Isidore, Doctor of the Church 
Also known as:     Isidore the Bishop     Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages 
Feast Day:  April 4 
Patron of:  computer technicians, computer users, computers, the Internet, schoolchildren, students 
 
Profile 
 
Son of Severianus and Theodora, people known for their piety. Brother of Saint Fulgentius of Ecija, Saint Florentina of Cartagena, and Saint Leander of Seville, who raised him after their father‘s death. Initially a poor student, he gave the problem over to God and became one of the most learned men of his time. Priest. Helped his brother Leander, archbishop of Seville, in the conversion the Visigoth Arians. Hermit. 
 
Archbishop of Seville, Spain c.601, succeeding his brother to the position. Teacher, founder, reformer. Required seminaries in every diocese, and wrote a rule for religious orders. Prolific writer whose works include a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of Goths, and a history of the world beginning with creation. Completed the Mozarabic liturgy which is still in use in Toledo, Spain. Presided at the Second Council of Seville, and the Fourth Council of Toledo. Introduced the works of Aristotle to Spain. 
 
Proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIV in 1722, and became the leading candidate for patron of computer users and the internet in 1999. 
 
Born  c.560 at Cartagena, Spain 
 
Died  4 April 636 at Seville, Spain 
 
Canonized Pre-Congregation 
St. Isidore of Seville Isidore, archbishop of Seville and brother of the saintly Bishop Leander, ranks as the most outstanding person in the Church of Spain during the seventh century. Because of the singular holiness of his life, he was idolized by the people. Wherever he appeared, throngs gathered about him. "Some came to see the miracles that he performed in the name of the Lord. The sick came to be freed from their sufferings, for the power of God emanated from him and he would heal them all" (Bollandists: April 1, 340). 
He is regarded as the great restorer of the Spanish Church after the Visigoths returned to the Catholic faith. He also contributed greatly to the development of Spain's liturgy. He presided over the fourth provincial council of Toledo (633), the most important in Spanish history. Rich in merit, he died in 636 after ruling his see 40 years. St. Gregory the Great was one of his personal friends. 
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch. 
Patron: Computer technicians; computer users; computers; the Internet; schoolchildren; students. 
 
Hagiographies compiled from articles at © http://catholicsaints.info/ and  © http://www.catholicculture.org/. 

Saint Jerome

Saint Jerome,  Doctor of the Church 
Also known as:     Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius     Girolamo     Hieronymus     Jerom     Man of the Bible 
Feast Day:  September 30 
Patron of:  archeologists, archivists, Bible scholars, librarians, libraries, schoolchildren, students, translators 
 
Profile 
 
    Born to a rich pagan family, Jerome led a wild and misspent youth. Studied in Rome, Italy, and became a lawyer. He converted and joined the Church in theory, and was baptized in 365, but it was only when he began his study of theology that he had a true conversion and the faith became integral to his life. He became a monk, then, needing isolation for his study of Scripture, he lived for years as a hermit in the Syrian deserts.  
 
    Priest. Student of Saint Gregory of Nazianzen. Secretary to Pope Damasus I who commissioned Jerome to revise the Latin text of the Bible. The result was 30 years of work which we know as the Vulgate translation, the standard Latin version for over a millenia, and which is still in use today. 
 
    Friend and teacher of Saint Paula, Saint Marcella, and Saint Eustochium, an association that led to so much gossip that Jerome left Rome to return to desert solitude. He lived his last 34 years in the Holy Land as a semirecluse, writing and translating works of history, biography, the writings of Origen, and much more. Doctor of the Church and Father of the Church. Since his own time, he has been associated in the popular mind with scrolls, writing, cataloging, translating, which led to those who work in such fields taking him as their patron – a man who knew their lives and problems. 
 
Born  347 at Strido, Dalmatia 
 
Died  419 of natural causes 
 
Canonized Pre-Congregation 
St. Jerome One of the greatest Biblical scholars of Christendom, Saint Jerome was born of Christian parents at Stridon in Dalmatia around the year 345. Educated at the local school, he then studied rhetoric in Rome for eight years, before returning to Aquilea to set up a community of ascetics. When that community broke up after three years Jerome went to the east. He met an old hermit named Malchus, who inspired the saint to live in a bare cell, dressed in sackcloth, studying the Scriptures.  
He learned Hebrew from a rabbi. Then he returned to Antioch and was reluctantly ordained priest. With his bishop he visited Constantinople and became friendly with Saints Gregory Nazianzen and Gregory of Nyssa. And then in 382 he went again to Rome, to become the personal secretary of Pope Damasus. Here he met his dearest friends, a wealthy woman called Paula, her daughter Eustochium and another wealthy woman named Marcella. 
Here too he began his finest work. Commissioned by the pope, he began to revise the Latin version of the psalms and the New Testament, with immense care and scholarship. Jerome eventually translated the whole of the Bible into the Latin version which is known as the Vulgate. But when Damasus died, his enemies forced the saint to leave Rome. 
Accompanied by Paula and Eustochium, Jerome went to Bethlehem. There he lived for thirty-four years till his death in 420, building a monastery over which he presided and a convent headed first by Paula and after her death by Eustochium. The saint set up a hospice for the countless pilgrims to that place. His scholarship, his polemics, his treatises and letters often provoked anger and always stimulated those who read them. 'Plato located the soul of man in the head,' he wrote, 'Christ located it in the heart.'  
Excerpted from A Calendar of Saints by James Bentley 
Patron: Archeologists; archivists; Bible scholars; librarians; libraries; schoolchildren; students; translators.  
 
Hagiographies compiled from articles at © http://catholicsaints.info/ and  © http://www.catholicculture.org/. 

Saint John Neumann

Saint John Neumann 
Also known as:     Giovanni Nepomuceno Neumann    Jan Nepomucký Neumann 
Feast Day:  January 5 
Patron of:  Catholic education, sick children and of immigrants. John Neumann was born in Prachatice in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) on March 28, 1811. He studied theology in the seminary of Budweis. Zealous for the missionary life and to lead souls to Christ, he decided to leave his homeland to dedicate himself to the European immigrants in America, who were deprived of spiritual support. 
Neumann was ordained a priest by the bishop of New York in June 1836, and gave himself to the pastoral care of people in the vast area around Niagara Falls. 
Wanting to live in a religious community that corresponded more to his missionary vocation, in January 1842 he entered the Redemptorists. A tireless missionary, Neumann busied himself in particular with the German immigrants, first in Baltimore, then in Pittsburgh. 
Having filled the role of vice-provincial superior of the Redemptorists from 1846-49, he became the parish priest of St. Alphonsus Church in Baltimore. In 1852, at the age of 41, he was named bishop of Philadelphia. 
Neumann had a strong effect on the religious life of the United States by founding Catholic schools and promoting devotion to the Eucharist. He founded a new religious institute—the Third Order of Saint Francis of Glen Riddle. The School Sisters of Notre Dame likewise regard Neumann as their secondary founder, their “Father in America.” In just seven years, he built 89 churches, as well as several hospitals and orphanages. As a bishop, Neumann was untiring in visiting his vast diocese. 
On January 5, 1860, at the age of 49, he died suddenly of a heart attack on a Philadelphia street. Neumann was beatified during the Second Vatican Council on October 13, 1963, and was canonized on June 19, 1977. In the homily on the occasion of Neumann’s canonization, Pope Paul VI summarized the activity of the new saint: “He was close to the sick, he loved to be with the poor, he was a friend of sinners, and now he is the glory of all emigrants.” 
St. John Neumann is invoked as a patron of sick children and of immigrants. 
Born  28 March 1811 at Prachititz, Bohemia (Czech Republic) 
Died  5 January 1860 of a stroke at 13th and Vine Streets, Bishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
Canonized 19 June 1977 by Pope Paul VI 
  
Profile 
    Son of Philip, who was German and owned a stocking factory, and Agnes Neumann who was Czech. John was a small and quiet boy with four sisters and a brother, and was named after Saint John Nepomucene. An excellent student, John early felt drawn to religious life. Seminarian at Budweis, Bohemia in 1813, he studied astronomy and botany in addition to theological topics. Studied theology at Charles Ferdinand University at Prague in 1833. 
    When time came for John’s ordination, his bishop was sick; the ordination was never re-scheduled as Bohemia had an over-abundance of priests. John decided to go to America to ask for ordination, and to work with emigres. He walked most of the way to France, then took ship for America. 
    John arrived unannounced in Manhattan in 1836. Bishop John Dubois was happy to see him as there were 36 priests for the 200,000 Catholics in New York and New Jersey. John was ordained on 28 June 1836, and sent to Buffalo. There the parish priest, Father Pax, gave him the choice of the city of Buffalo or of the rural area; John chose the more difficult country area. He stayed in a small town with an unfinished church, and when it was completed, he moved to a town with a log church. There he built himself a small log cabin, rarely lit a fire, slept little, often lived on bread and water, and walked miles to visit farm after remote farm. John’s parishioners were from many lands and tongues, but John knew twelve languages, and worked with them all. 
    He joined the Redemptorists at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1840, taking his vows at Baltimore, Maryland in 1841, the first Redemptorist to do so in the United States. Home missioner in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Rector of Saint Philomena church in Pittsburgh in 1844. Vice-regent and superior of the Redemptorists in America in 1847. Bishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1852. 
    Bishop John built fifty churches and began building a cathedral. He opened almost one hundred schools, and the number of parochial school students in his diocese grew from 500 to 9,000. He wrote newspaper articles, two catechisms, and many works in German. First American man and first American bishop to be canonized.  
St. John Neumann John Nepomucene Neumann was born on March 28, 1811, the third of six children of a stocking knitter and his wife in the village of Prachatitz in Bohemia. From his mother he acquired the spirit of piety and through her encouragement entered the Seminary at Budweis. 
During his seminary years, he yearned to be a foreign missionary in America. He left his native land and was ordained in June, 1836 by Bishop John Dubois in New York. He spent four years in Buffalo and the surrounding area building churches and establishing schools. 
In 1840, he joined the Redemptorists. Eight years later he became a United States citizen. By order of Pope Pius IX in 1852 he was consecrated fourth Bishop of Philadelphia. His mastery of eight languages proved extremely helpful in his quest for souls. He was a pioneer promoter of the Parochial School System in America. 
One of the highlights of Saint John Neumann's life was his participation, in Rome, in the Proclamation of the Dogma of our Blessed Mother's Immaculate Conception. Through his efforts, the Forty Hours Devotion was introduced in the Philadelphia Diocese. He founded the first church in America for Italian-speaking people. He also founded the Glen Riddle group of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. 
At 48 years of age, completely exhausted from all his apostolic endeavors, he collapsed in the street on January 5, 1860. He is buried beneath the altar of the lower Church in St. Peter's Church in Philadelphia. 
 
Hagiographies compiled from articles at © https://stjohnneumann.org,  © http://catholicsaints.info and © http://www.catholicculture.org. 

Saint Joseph Calasanz

Saint Joseph Calasanz 
Also known as:     Joseph Calasanctius     Joseph of Our Lady     Joseph Calsanza     José de Calasanz 
Feast Day:  August 25 
Patron of:  Catholic schools, colleges, schoolchildren, schools, students, universities. 
 
Profile 
 
    Youngest of five children born to Don Pedro Calasanz and Donna Maria Gastonia. His mother and a brother died while he was still in school. Studied at Estadilla, at the University of Lereda, at Valencia, and at Alcala de Henares. Obtained degrees in canon law and theology. His father wanted the Joseph to become a soldier, to marry, and to continue the family, but a near fatal illness in 1582 caused the young man to seriously examine his life, and he realized a call to the religious life. 
 
    Ordained on 17 December 1583. Parish priest at Albarracin. Secretary and confessor to his bishop, synodal examiner, and procurator. Revived religious zeal among the laity, discipline among the clergy in a section of the Pyrenees. Both his bishop and his father died in 1587. Vicar-general of Trempe, Spain. Following a vision, he gave away much of his inheritance, renounced most of the rest, and travelled to Rome, Italy in 1592. Worked with plague victims in 1595. 
 
    Member of the Confraternity for Christian Doctrine. Tried to get poor children, many of them orphans and/or homeless, into school. The teachers, already poorly paid, refused to work with the new students without a raise; in November 1597, Joseph and two fellow priests opened a small, free school for poor children. He was soon supervising several teachers and hundreds of students. 
 
    In 1602 they moved to larger quarters, and reorganized the teaching priests into a community. In 1621 the community was recognized as a religious order called Le Sciole Pie (Religious Schools), also known as the Piarists or Order of Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools; Joseph acted as superior of the Order.  The community encountered many obstacles, but the group continued to have papal support, and continued to do good work. 
 
Born  11 September 1556 at Peralta, Barbastro, Aragon, Spain in his father‘s castle 
 
Died  25 August 1648 at Rome, Italy of natural causes 
 
Canonized 16 July 1767 by Pope Clement XIII 
St. Joseph Calasanz St. Joseph is the founder of the Poor Clerks Regular (Piarists), a community devoted to the task of educating youth. At an early age Joseph loved to care for children; he gathered them together, conducted religion classes in boyish fashion, and taught them how to pray. After a time of severe illness he was ordained a priest. His zeal found expression as he organized the Order of the Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools and directed the members in the instruction and rearing of children from poor parents.  
While residing in Rome, Joseph endeavored to visit the seven principal churches of that city almost every evening, and also to honor the graves of the Roman martyrs. During one of the city's repeated plagues a holy rivalry existed between him and St. Camillus in aiding the sick and in personally carrying away for burial the bodies of those who had been stricken. On account of his heroic patience and fortitude in the midst of trouble and persecution, he was called a marvel of Christian courage, a second Job. When eighty years old, he was led as a criminal through the streets of Rome by the Inquisition. His life is a consoling example of how God permits misunderstandings and opposition, even from ecclesiastics, to harass noble undertakings. At the time of his death his Order had almost been destroyed. Then, however, it again began to flourish. 
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch 
Patron: Colleges; schoolchildren; schools; schools for the poor; students; universities. 

Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas 
Also known as:     Nicholas of Bari     Nicholas of Lpnenskij     Nicholas of Lipno     Nicholas of Sarajskij     Nicholas the Miracle Worker     Klaus….     Mikulas….     Nikolai….     Nicolaas….     Nicolas….     Niklaas….  Niklas….    Nikolaus….     Santa Claus 
Feast Day:  December 6 
Patron of:  against fire, imprisonment, robberies, robbers, storms at sea, thefts; altar servers, boys, brides, captives, children, choir boys, happy marriages, newlyweds, pilgrims, poor people, prisoners, scholars, schoolchildren, students, penitent thieves, travelers, unmarried girls, educators, farmers, firefighters, fishermen, grain merchants, grocers, lawyers, poets, sailors, soldiers, teachers, toy makers, vintners, weavers 
 
Profile 
 
    Priest. Abbot. Bishop of Myra, Lycia (modern Turkey). Generous to the poor, and special protector of the innocent and wronged. Many stories grew up around him prior to his becoming associated with Santa Claus. Some examples 
 
        Upon hearing that a local man had fallen on such hard times that he was planning to sell his daughters into prostitution, Nicholas went by night to the house and threw three bags of gold in through the window, saving the girls from an evil life. These three bags, gold generously given in time of trouble, became the three golden balls that indicate a pawn broker’s shop. 
 
        He raised to life three young boys who had been murdered and pickled in a barrel of brine to hide the crime. These stories led to his patronage of children in general, and of barrel-makers besides. 
 
        Induced some thieves to return their plunder. This explains his protection against theft and robbery, and his patronage of them – he’s not helping them steal, but to repent and change. In the past, thieves have been known as Saint Nicholas’ clerks or Knights of Saint Nicholas. 
 
        During a voyage to the Holy Lands, a fierce storm blew up, threatening the ship. He prayed about it, and the storm calmed – hence the patronage of sailors and those like dockworkers who work on the sea. 
 
Died  c.346 at Myra, Lycia (in modern Turkey) of natural causes 
 
Canonized Pre-Congregation 
St. Nicholas of Myra Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra, is undoubtedly one of the most popular saints honored in the Western world. In the United States, his memory has survived in the unique personality of Saint Claus — the jolly, rotund, whitebearded gentleman who captivates children with promises of gifts on Christmas Eve. Considered primarily as the patron saint of children, Nicholas is also invoked by sailors, merchants, bakers, travelers and pawnbrokers, and with Saint Andrew is honored as the co-patron of Russia.  
In spite of his widespread fame, Saint Nicholas, from the historian's point of view, is hardly more than a name. He was born in the last years of the third century in Asia Minor. His uncle, the archbishop of Myra in Lycia, ordained him and appointed him abbot of a nearby monastery. At the death of the archbishop, Nicholas was chosen to fill the vacancy, and he served in this position until his death. About the time of the persecutions of Diocletian, he was imprisoned for preaching Christianity but was released during the reign of Emperor Constantine. 
Popular legends have involved Saint Nicholas in a number of charming stories, one of which relates Nicholas' charity toward the poor. A man of Patara had lost his fortune, and finding himself unable to support his three maiden daughters, was planning to turn them into the streets as prostitutes. Nicholas heard of the man's intentions and secretly threw three bags of gold through a window into the home, thus providing dowries for the daughters. The three bags of gold mentioned in this story are said to be the origin of the three gold balls that form the emblem of pawnbrokers.  
After Nicholas' death on December 6 in or around 345, his body was buried in the cathedral at Myra. It remained there until 1087, when seamen of Bari, an Italian coastal town, seized the relics of the saint and transferred them to their own city. Veneration for Nicholas had already spread throughout Europe as well as Asia, but this occurrence led to a renewal of devotion in the West. Countless miracles were attributed to the saint's intercession. His relics are still preserved in the church of San Nicola in Bari; an oily substance, known as Manna di S. Nicola, which is highly valued for its medicinal powers, is said to flow from them.  
The story of Saint Nicholas came to America in distorted fashion. The Dutch Protestants carried a popularized version of the saint's life to New Amsterdam, portraying Nicholas as nothing more than a Nordic magician and wonder-worker. Our present-day conception of Santa Claus has grown from this version. Catholics should think of Nicholas as a saint, a confessor of the faith and the bishop of Myra — not merely as a jolly man from the North Pole who brings happiness to small children. Many countries and locations honor St. Nicholas as patron: Greece, Russia, the Kingdom of Naples, Sicily, Lorraine, and many cities in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Belgium.  
Excerpted in part from Lives of the Saints for every day of the Year, Volume III © 1959, by The Catholic Press, Inc. 
Patron: against imprisonment; against robberies; against robbers; apothecaries; bakers; barrel makers; boatmen; boot blacks; boys; brewers; brides; captives; children; coopers; dock workers; druggists; fishermen; grooms; judges; lawsuits lost unjustly; longshoremen; maidens; mariners; merchants; murderers; newlyweds; old maids; parish clerks; paupers; pawnbrokers; perfumeries; perfumers; pharmacists; pilgrims; poor people; prisoners; sailors; scholars; schoolchildren; shoe shiners; spinsters; students; thieves; travellers; unmarried girls; watermen; Greek Catholic Church in America; Greek Catholic Union; Bari, Italy; Fossalto, Italy; Duronia, Italy; Portsmouth, England; Greece; Lorraine; Russia; Sicily.  
 
 
Hagiographies compiled from articles at © http://catholicsaints.info and  © http://www.catholicculture.org. 

Saint Padre Pio

Saint Pio of Petrelcina  (“Padre Pio”) 
Also known as:     Francesco Forgione     Padre Pio of Pietrelcina     Pio of Pietrelcina 
Feast Day:  September 23 
Patron of:  Civil defense volunteers; adolescents; stress relief; January blues; Italy; Malta 
A poor brother who prays 
Born into a poor Italian farm family, from a young age Francesco Forgione desired to be a friar. When he was sixteen, he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Order, and took the name Brother Pius (Fra Pio). He was ordained to the priesthood in 1910; six years later, joined the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni Rotondo. He spent many hours every day hearing Confessions. The height of his apostolic commitment was the celebration of the Holy Mass. He described himself as “a poor brother who prays.” “Prayer is the greatest weapon we have,” he said. It is “a key to open the heart of God.” 
An extraordinary meeting In 1948, Padre Pio heard the Confession of a young Polish priest, Father Karol Wojtyła, who thirty years later would ascend the throne of Peter, taking the name John Paul II. It was during John Paul’s pontificate that Padre Pio was declared blessed. During the rite of beatification, the Pope said that in the humble friar, we see the image of Christ suffering and risen. “His body,” he said, “marked by the ‘stigmata,’ showed the intimate connection between death and resurrection… Not less sorrowful, and humanly much more scorching, were the trials he had to suffer as a consequence, one could say, of his singular charisms.” For Padre Pio, “suffering with Christ” was a gift: “In contemplating the Cross on Jesus’ shoulders,” he said, “I always feel strengthened and I exult with holy joy… All that Jesus suffered in His Passion, I too have suffered, insofar as it is possible for a human creature.” 
“Relief from suffering” The life of Padre Pio also shows an intense commitment to alleviate the sufferings of families. In 1956 he inaugurated the “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” (the House of Relief from Suffering), a new state of the art hospita. “It is the apple of my eye,” the friar said when the hospital opened. “This is the creation that Providence, with your help, has created. Gaze at it in wonder, and with me bless the Lord God. He has place upon the earth a seed that He will warm with the His rays of love.” 
Death Padre Pio died during the night of 23 September 1968, at the age of 81. On 16 June 2002, he was proclaimed a saint by Pope John Paul II. In his homily, the Pope said, “The life and mission of Padre Pio prove that difficulties and sorrows, if accepted out of love, are transformed into a privileged way of holiness, which opens onto the horizons of a greater good, known only to the Lord." 
  
Profile 
    Born to a southern Italian farm family, the son of Grazio, a shepherd. At age 15 he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin friars in Morcone, Italy and joined the order at age 19. Suffered several health problems, and at one point his family thought he had tuberculosis. Ordained at age 22 on 10 August 1910. 
    While praying before a cross, he received the stigmata on 20 September 1918, the first priest ever to be so blessed. As word spread, especially after American soldiers brought home stories of Padre Pio following WWII, the priest himself became a point of pilgrimage for both the pious and the curious. He would hear confessions by the hour, reportedly able to read the consciences of those who held back. Reportedly able to bilocate, levitate, and heal by touch. Founded the House for the Relief of Suffering in 1956, a hospital that serves 60,000 a year. In the 1920‘s he started a series of prayer groups that continue today with over 400,000 members worldwide. 
    His canonization miracle involved the cure of Matteo Pio Colella, age 7, the son of a doctor who works in the House for Relief of Suffering, the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo founded by Padre Pio. On the night of 20 June 2000, Matteo was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital with meningitis. By morning, doctors had lost hope for him as nine of the boy‘s internal organs had ceased to give signs of life. That night, during a prayer vigil attended by Matteo’s mother and some Capuchin friars of Padre Pio’s monastery, the child‘s condition improved suddenly. When he awoke from the coma, Matteo said that he had seen an elderly man with a white beard and a long, brown habit, who said to him: “Don’t worry, you will soon be cured.” The miracle was approved by the Congregation and Pope John Paul II on 20 December 2001.  
Born:  25 May 1887 at Pietrelcina, Benevento, Italy as Francesco Forgione 
Died:  23 September 1968 in San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italy of natural causes 
Canonized: 16 June 2002 by Pope John Paul II at Rome, Italy 
St. Pio of Pietrelcina Born to a southern Italian farm family, the son of Grazio, a shepherd. At age 15 he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars in Morcone, and joined the order at age 19. He suffered several health problems, and at one point his family thought he had tuberculosis. He was ordained at age 22 on 10 August 1910.  
While praying before a cross on September 20, 1918, Padre Pio received the stigmata. He is the first priest ever to be so blessed. As word spread, especially after American soldiers brought home stories of Padre Pio following WWII, the priest himself became a point of pilgrimage for both the pious and the curious. He would hear confessions by the hour, reportedly able to read the consciences of those who held back. He was reportedly able to bi-locate, levitate, and heal by touch.  
In 1956 he founded the House for the Relief of Suffering, a hospital that serves 60,000 a year. Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968 at age 81. 
His canonization miracle involved the cure of Matteo Pio Colella, age 7, the son of a doctor who works in the House for Relief of Suffering, the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo.  
 Hagiographies compiled from articles at © http://www.vaticannews.va/en/saints/09/23/st--pius-of-pietrelcina--priest-.html © http://catholicsaints.info and © http://www.catholicculture.org. 

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas,  Doctor of the Church 
Also known as:     Thomas Aquino     Thomas of Aquino     Angel of the Schools     Angelic Doctor     Doctor Angelicus     Doctor Communis     Great Synthesizer     The Dumb Ox     The Universal Teacher     Universal Doctor 
Feast Day:  January 28 
Patron of:  academics, against storms, against lightning, apologists, book sellers, Catholic schools, Catholic universities, chastity, colleges, learning, pencil makers, philosophers, publishers, scholars, schools, students, theologians, universities 
Profile 
 
    Son of the Count of Aquino, born in the family castle in Lombardy near Naples, Italy. Educated by Benedictine monks at Monte Cassino, and at the University of Naples. He secretly joined the mendicant Dominican friars in 1244. His family kidnapped and imprisoned him for a year to keep him out of sight, and deprogram him, but they failed to sway him, and he rejoined his order in 1245. 
 
    He studied in Paris, France from 1245 to 1248 under Saint Albert the Great, then accompanied Albertus to Cologne, Germany. Ordained in 1250, then returned to Paris to teach. Taught theology at University of Paris. He wrote defenses of the mendicant orders, commentaries on Aristotle and Lombard’s Sentences, and some biblerelated works, usually by dictating to secretaries. He won his doctorate, and taught in several Italian cities. Recalled by king and university to Paris in 1269, then recalled to Naples in 1272 where he was appointed regent of studies while working on the Summa Theologica. 
 
    On 6 December 1273 he experienced a divine revelation which so enraptured him that he abandoned the Summa, saying that it and his other writing were so much straw in the wind compared to the reality of the divine glory. He died four months later while en route to the Council of Lyons, overweight and with his health broken by overwork. 
 
    His works have been seminal to the thinking of the Church ever since. They systematized her great thoughts and teaching, and combined Greek wisdom and scholarship methods with the truth of Christianity. Pope Leo VIII commanded that his teachings be studied by all theology students. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1567. 
 
Born  c.1225 at Roccasecca, Aquino, Naples, Italy 
 
Died  7 March 1274 at Fossanuova monastery near Terracina, Italy of apparent natural causes 
 
Canonized 18 July 1323 by Pope John XXII 
St. Thomas Aquinas St. Thomas ranks among the greatest writers and theologians of all time. His most important work, the Summa Theologiae, an explanation and summary of the entire body of Catholic teaching, has been standard for centuries, even to our own day. At the Council of Trent it was consulted after the Bible. 
To a deeply speculative mind, he joined a remarkable life of prayer, a precious memento of which has been left to us in the Office of Corpus Christi. Reputed as great already in life, he nevertheless remained modest, a perfect model of childlike simplicity and goodness. He was mild in word and kind in deed. He believed everyone was as innocent as he himself was. When someone sinned through weakness, Thomas bemoaned the sin as if it were his own. The goodness of his heart shone in his face, no one could look upon him and remain disconsolate. How he suffered with the poor and the needy was most inspiring. Whatever clothing or other items he could give away, he gladly did. He kept nothing superfluous in his efforts to alleviate the needs of others. 
After he died his lifelong companion and confessor testified, "I have always known him to be as innocent as a five-year-old child. Never did a carnal temptation soil his soul, never did he consent to a mortal sin." He cherished a most tender devotion to St. Agnes, constantly carrying relics of this virgin martyr on his person. He died in 1274, at the age of fifty, in the abbey of Fossa Nuova. He is the patron saint of schools and of sacred theology.  
— Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch  
Patron: Academics; against storms; against lightning; apologists; book sellers; Catholic academies; Catholic schools; Catholic universities; chastity; colleges; learning; lightning; pencil makers; philosophers; publishers; scholars; schools; storms; students; theologians; universities; University of Vigo.  

 

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