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Saint Athanasius is counted as one of the four Great Doctors of the Church.
Learn More:Saint Athanasius

Sep 30th 2013 new
September 30
St. Jerome - (345-420)


Most of the saints are remembered for some outstanding virtue or devotion which they practiced, but Jerome is frequently remembered for his bad temper! It is true that he had a very bad temper and could use a vitriolic pen, but his love for God and his Son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and St. Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.

He was above all a Scripture scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. He also wrote commentaries which are a great source of scriptural inspiration for us today. He was an avid student, a thorough scholar, a prodigious letter-writer and a consultant to monk, bishop and pope. St. Augustine (August 28) said of him, "What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known."

St. Jerome is particularly important for having made a translation of the Bible which came to be called the Vulgate. It is not the most critical edition of the Bible, but its acceptance by the Church was fortunate. As a modern scholar says, "No man before Jerome or among his contemporaries and very few men for many centuries afterwards were so well qualified to do the work." The Council of Trent called for a new and corrected edition of the Vulgate, and declared it the authentic text to be used in the Church.

In order to be able to do such work, Jerome prepared himself well. He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic. He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia (in the former Yugoslavia). After his preliminary education he went to Rome, the center of learning at that time, and thence to Trier, Germany, where the scholar was very much in evidence. He spent several years in each place, always trying to find the very best teachers. He once served as private secretary of Pope Damasus (December 11).

After these preparatory studies he traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ's life with an outpouring of devotion. Mystic that he was, he spent five years in the desert of Chalcis so that he might give himself up to prayer, penance and study. Finally he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. On September 30 in the year 420, Jerome died in Bethlehem. The remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Patron Saint of:
Librarians

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Oct 1st 2013 new
October 1
St. Thrse of Lisieux - (1873-1897)

"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." These are the words of Therese of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun called the "Little Flower," who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. [In French-speaking areas, she is known as Thrse of Lisieux.] And her preference for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world. Thrse Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at the age of 24. She was canonized in 1925, and two years later she and Francis Xavier (December 3) were declared co-patrons of the missions.

Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists mainly of prayer and hard domestic work. But Thrse possessed that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time may be. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering, suffering that was indeed her apostolate. Thrse said she came to the Carmel convent "to save souls and pray for priests." And shortly before she died, she wrote: "I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth."

On October 19, 1997, Blessed John Paul II proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church, the third woman to be so recognized in light of her holiness and the influence in the Church of her teaching on spirituality. Her parents, Martin and Zelie (October 1), were beatified in 2008.

Patron Saint of:
Florists
Missionaries
Pilots

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Oct 1st 2013 new
(quote) Ginger-1000674 said: October 1
St. Thrse of Lisieux - (1873-1897)

"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." These are the words of Therese of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun called the "Little Flower," who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. [In French-speaking areas, she is known as Thrse of Lisieux.] And her preference for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world. Thrse Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at the age of 24. She was canonized in 1925, and two years later she and Francis Xavier (December 3) were declared co-patrons of the missions.

Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists mainly of prayer and hard domestic work. But Thrse possessed that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time may be. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering, suffering that was indeed her apostolate. Thrse said she came to the Carmel convent "to save souls and pray for priests." And shortly before she died, she wrote: "I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth."

On October 19, 1997, Blessed John Paul II proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church, the third woman to be so recognized in light of her holiness and the influence in the Church of her teaching on spirituality. Her parents, Martin and Zelie (October 1), were beatified in 2008.

Patron Saint of:
Florists
Missionaries
Pilots

Ginger, the "Little Flower" was indeed my Mom's favorite saint. As long as I can remember she spoke of St. Therese's "little way" And she also became very fond of her parents Zelie and Louis Martin. She strongly was in favor of canonizing the Mom and Dad.
The happiest I've ever seen my Mom was when she recounted her travels to Lisieux and Alencon, France.
It is because of St Therese my Mom became friends with some "cloistered" Carmelite nuns here in Dallas. (I can remember going to "see" them (though not really!) and my Mom speaking with the Reverend Mother through the "turn" (an open faced cylinder we could place things on and could be rotated to the other side)
I can remember on maybe two occasions we were able to visit some of the Sisters through the "grille" And even then, some would have their faces covered! (I couldn't believe they lived such reclusive lives!)
I was told Louis was a watchmaker...and Zelie made the famous Alencon lace. The family did have some wealth...but St Therese and her sisters gave it all up for their vocations.
Since my Mom's passing I've learned more about this great Saint and her "offering up" even the smallest of things.
Today is also my Mom's birthday~ (obviously she loved having this association!)

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Oct 2nd 2013 new
October 2
Feast of the Guardian Angels

Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not only for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death.

The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus' words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."

Devotion to the angels began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition. St. Benedict (July 11) gave it impetus and Bernard of Clairvaux (August 20), the great 12th-century reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the guardian angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day.

A feast in honor of the guardian angels was first observed in the 16th century. In 1615, Pope Paul V added it to the Roman calendar.

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Oct 3rd 2013 new
October 3
St. Theodora Gurin
(1798-1856)

Trust in Gods Providence enabled Mother Theodore to leave her homeland, sail halfway around the world and to found a new religious congregation.

Born in Etables, France, Anne-Thrses life was shattered by her fathers murder when she was 15. For several years she cared for her mother and younger sister. She entered the Sisters of Providence in 1823, taking the name Sister St. Theodore. An illness during novitiate left her with lifelong fragile health; that did not keep her from becoming an accomplished teacher.

At the invitation of the bishop of Vincennes, she and five sisters were sent in 1840 to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, to teach and to care for the sick poor. She was to establish a motherhouse and novitiate. Only later did she learn that her French superiors had already decided the sisters in the United States should form a new religious congregation under her leadership.

She and her community persevered despite fires, crop failures, prejudice against Catholic women religious, misunderstandings and separation from their original religious congregation. She once told her sisters, Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us. The way is not yet clear. Grope along slowly. Do not press matters; be patient, be trustful. Another time, she asked, With Jesus, what shall we have to fear?

She is buried in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, and was beatified in 1998. Eight years later she was canonized.

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Oct 4th 2013 new
October 4
St. Francis of Assisi - (1182-1226)

Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literallynot in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a sense of self-importance.

Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayerlengthy and difficultled him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy."

From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.

He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up all his possessions, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, evokng sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.

But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (Luke 9:1-3).

Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity.

He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.

During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44), he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.

On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.

Patron Saint of:
Animals
Ecology
Italy
Merchants

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Oct 5th 2013 new
October 5
St. Maria Faustina Kowalska - (1905-1938)

St. Maria Faustina's name is forever linked to the annual feast of the Divine Mercy (celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter), the divine mercy chaplet and the divine mercy prayer recited each day by many people at 3 p.m.

Born in what is now west-central Poland (part of Germany before World War I), Helena was the third of 10 children. She worked as a housekeeper in three cities before joining the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1925. She worked as a cook, gardener and porter in three of their houses.

In addition to carrying out her work faithfully, generously serving the needs of the sisters and the local people, she also had a deep interior life. This included receiving revelations from the Lord Jesus, messages that she recorded in her diary at the request of Christ and of her confessors.

At a time when some Catholics had an image of God as such a strict judge that they might be tempted to despair about the possibility of being forgiven, Jesus chose to emphasize his mercy and forgiveness for sins acknowledged and confessed. I do not want to punish aching mankind, he once told St. Maria Faustina, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart (Diary 1588). The two rays emanating from Christ's heart, she said, represent the blood and water poured out after Jesus' death (Gospel of John 19:34)

Because Sister Maria Faustina knew that the revelations she had already received did not constitute holiness itself, she wrote in her diary: Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God (Diary 1107).

Sister Maria Faustina died of tuberculosis in Krakow, Poland, on October 5, 1938. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1993 and canonized her seven years later.

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Oct 6th 2013 new
October 6
St. Bruno - (1030?-1101)

This saint has the honor of having founded a religious order which, as the saying goes, has never had to be reformed because it was never deformed. No doubt both the founder and the members would reject such high praise, but it is an indication of the saint's intense love of a penitential life in solitude.

Bruno was born in Cologne, Germany, became a famous teacher at Rheims and was appointed chancellor of the archdiocese at the age of 45. He supported Pope Gregory VII (May 25) in his fight against the decadence of the clergy and took part in the removal of his own scandalous archbishop, Manasses. Bruno suffered the plundering of his house for his pains.

He had a dream of living in solitude and prayer, and persuaded a few friends to join him in a hermitage. After a while he felt the place unsuitable and, through a friend, was given some land which was to become famous for his foundation "in the Chartreuse" (from which comes the word Carthusians). The climate, desert, mountainous terrain and inaccessibility guaranteed silence, poverty and small numbers.

Bruno and his friends built an oratory with small individual cells at a distance from each other. They met for Matins and Vespers each day and spent the rest of the time in solitude, eating together only on great feasts. Their chief work was copying manuscripts.

The pope, hearing of Bruno's holiness, called for his assistance in Rome. When the pope had to flee Rome, Bruno pulled up stakes again, and spent his last years (after refusing a bishopric) in the wilderness of Calabria.

He was never formally canonized, because the Carthusians were averse to all occasions of publicity. Pope Clement extended his feast to the whole Church in 1674.

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Oct 7th 2013 new
October 7
Our Lady of the Rosary

St. Pius V (April 30) established this feast in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepantoa victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716.

The development of the rosary has a long history. First, a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus' life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is recognized as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as "the apostle of the rosary." He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century the rosary was developed to its present formwith the 15 mysteries (joyful, sorrowful and glorious). In 2002, Pope John Paul II added five Mysteries of Light to this devotion.

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Oct 8th 2013 new
October 8
St. John Leonardi - (1541?-1609)

"I am only one person! Why should I do anything? What good would it do?" Today, as in any age, people seem plagued with the dilemma of getting involved. In his own way John Leonardi answered these questions. He chose to become a priest.

After his ordination, he became very active in the works of the ministry, especially in hospitals and prisons. The example and dedication of his work attracted several young laymen who began to assist him. They later became priests themselves.

John lived after the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent (1545-63). He and his followers projected a new congregation of diocesan priests. For some reason the plan, which was ultimately approved, provoked great political opposition. John was exiled from his home town of Lucca, Italy, for almost the entire remainder of his life. He received encouragement and help from St. Philip Neri [whose feast is May 26], who gave him his lodgingsalong with the care of his cat!

In 1579, John formed the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and published a compendium of Christian doctrine that remained in use until the 19th century.

Father Leonardi and his priests became a great power for good in Italy, and their congregation was confirmed by Pope Clement in 1595. He died at the age of 68 from a disease caught when tending those stricken by the plague.

By the deliberate policy of the founder, the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God have never had more than 15 churches and today form only a very small congregation.

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