May 30 is the feast day of St. Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431), patroness of France and patroness of soldiers. While she lived, St. Joan of Arc was one of the Church’s most misunderstood saints both within and without the Church. As a young peasant girl of 13 she received visions of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret telling her to help the King of France reconquer his kingdom, which at that time was being threatened by England.
May 22 is the feast day of St. Rita. St. Rita of Cascia was an Augustinian nun from 14th century Italy. She is the patroness of impossible causes and hopeless circumstances because of her difficult and arduous life. Through her trials God used her in remarkable ways, not only while she lived, but now from heaven she assists those who plead for her intercession for their seemingly impossible and hopeless circumstances.
It is not a coincidence that Catholic Latinos are highly devoted to the Virgin Mary. It is a heritage from Spain and it is due to the series of mystical manifestations that occurred throughout the histories of these countries. There is a long list of Marian devotions in Latin America; they are almost innumberable. Some titles of Our Lady represent a whole nation, with other titles for nearly every town, city, and region. Out of all the many Marian devotions in Latin America, below are the top four most popular:
The Blessed Trinity—the Triune God—is the greatest mystery of the Christian faith and the end for which we were created. While in this life we should prepare our hearts for heaven by catechizing ourselves as best we can about each Person of the Blessed Trinity and the role they play in our sanctification and salvation. Here are a few great resources from the saints, our teachers and forbears, to meditate on the Person of the Holy Spirit during this octave of Pentecost.
This beautiful prayer is attributed to St. Brendan the Navigator (484-577 A.D.), also known as St. Brendan the Voyager, an ancient Irish monk, abbot, sailor, and explorer. He is the patron saint of mariners, sailors, travelers, and the U.S. Navy. His feast day is May 16th.
Saint Dymphna was born in 7th century Ireland to a pagan Irish chieftain named Damon and a beautiful Christian woman. Dymphna’s mother imparted the Christian faith to her daughter and had her secretly baptized against her father’s wishes. Her mother tragically died while St. Dymphna was only a teenager. Her father, who loved his wife deeply, was driven to madness by her death. Delusion and mental illness overcame him and he eventually sought to marry his daughter because she reminded him of his departed wife.
When Imelda Lambertini was five years old, she asked to receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. She loved Christ deeply, to the point of wondering, “Can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?” However, as it was the year 1327, her request was out of the question. At that time children were not allowed to receive Holy Communion until they were at least 12 years old. But she persisted.
According to tradition, towards the end of her life the Blessed Virgin moved from Jerusalem to Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey). No longer able to retrace the steps of her Son’s passion where they actually occurred, she set up an identical Stations of the Cross on her property using stones and markings. This became the very first Stations of the Cross. This is described in detail by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich according to her visions.
On May 13th, 1917, Our Lady appeared for the first time to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Between May and October she appeared five more times. She urged the children to pray the rosary daily for peace in the world and to make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Over the course of these visits and several preceding visits by an angel, five prayers were given to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta.
May, when the earth blooms in springtime beauty, is an ideal time for our thoughts and sentiments to be directed towards this supremely lovely Queen of Heaven and Earth, who busily labors from her heavenly throne to conquer hearts, minds, and souls for the greater glory of her Son. So, how can you honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in a special way this month, and allow her to conquer your own heart? Here are nine ideas.