St. George was a soldier in the Roman army before being martyred in the fourth century. Unfortunately, little else is known about his life with certainty. Throughout history many songs, stories, poems, and hymns have been written about Saint George, and this has led to some of the confusion between what is fact and what is fiction concerning his life. The most famous of the legends of St. George is the Golden Legend.
2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three Portuguese shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Because this Marian apparition was an incredibly important event in the history of the Church, it is a cause for great celebration. The little seers were marked by holiness, and were being sought out for prayers and healing both during and after the six visits of Our Lady to the Cova da Iria. Francisco and Jacinta died not long after the apparitions, while Lucia died in 2005. During this centenary year of Our Lady of Fatima news has been announced regarding the progress of their paths to sainthood.
Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, a simple, uneducated, young Polish nun received a special calling. On the night of Sunday, 22 February 1931, while she was in her cell, Jesus appeared to Sr. Faustina for the first time as the “King of Divine Mercy” wearing a white garment with red and pale rays emanating from his heart. For four years she recorded Jesus’ words, her visions, and her own thoughts and prayers in a personal diary.
Though often associated with healing, St. Bernadette has an important lesson to teach us about suffering. She endured sickness throughout her life. As a child she suffered from severe asthma and was weak and sickly. Added to that was the pain that being a visionary caused her—the jealousy, suspicion, and rejection of others. Throughout much of her time living with the Sisters of Nevers she struggled with a very painful tubercular tumor in the bone of her right knee.
St. Bonaventure was a 13th century Franciscan friar, scholar, and holy priest who had a tender devotion to the Blessed Mother. This prayer to the Virgin Mary under her title of Our Lady of Sorrows is attributed to him:
Painting Easter eggs is a beloved ancient tradition for Eastern Catholic churches as well as Orthodox. The eggs are often dyed red to represent the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross. The Easter eggs are then carried to the church in baskets to be blessed by the priest at the end of the Easter vigil before being distributed to the faithful. Historically, Christians would abstain from eating eggs during a strict Lent, so Easter was the first chance to eat eggs again after a long period of abstinence. The egg represented the sealed Tomb of Christ, and cracking the shell represented Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
The Stabat Mater Dolorosa is considered one of the seven greatest Latin hymns of all time. It is based upon the prophecy of Simeon that a sword was to pierce the heart of His mother, Mary (Luke 2:35). The hymn originated in the 13th century during the peak of Franciscan devotion to the crucified Jesus .
According to Church tradition St. Gabriel is one of the seven archangels, and one of only three angels mentioned by name in the Catholic Bible (the others are St. Michael and St. Raphael). St. Gabriel is also thought to have been the angel who appeared to St. Joseph, and the herald angel who announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds on Christmas night. If this is true, then St. Gabriel appears five times in the Bible, and possibly a sixth: Because of St. Gabriel’s special role of announcing the Messiah, he is also believed to be the archangel who will announce the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time.
St. Joseph is one of the most loved saints because he is the man who God chose among all others to be the special guardian of the Incarnate Jesus Christ and His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is the human guardian of the Holy Family.
One of our most popular-selling books is The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Anne Catherine Emmerich. St. Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) was a nun, mystic, and visionary who had the grace of unusual glimpses with remarkable detail into the life of the Holy Family.
Although we have no words spoken by Joseph recorded in Scripture, the stories of his life, upon reflection, reveal much. From Scripture we can see that Saint Joseph was a righteous man who demonstrated the virtues of compassion, faith, and love of Jesus. He shows his compassion in that he planned on divorcing Mary quietly when he discovered that she was pregnant. He also demonstrates his faith numerous times, especially in fleeing into a strange land away from everything he knew in order to protect his wife and unborn foster child.