“Put faith into practice by thinking on these four truths: God is always present. Nothing happens without His permission or outside of His will. Anything we do to others we do to Him. All kindness and goodness are in Him.” -St. Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes
February 14th is the traditional day of celebration for lovers. It’s the proper occasion for writing love letters and sending tokens of love to those who have captured your heart. This custom began in Europe during the High Middle Ages, the pinnacle of the age of courtly love, and is captured in immemorial English literature as the mid-Feburary day when birds (and lovers) first begin to pair.
February 11 is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, one of the most famous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this day in 1858 a young, poor girl named Bernadette Soubirous was out collecting firewood with her sister and another friend near a grotto when she saw a vision of a lovely lady.
In 1597, Paul Miki and his twenty-six companions were crucified for their Christian faith in Nagasaki, Japan. A Japanese layman, Saint Paul Miki was born into a Japanese noble family and heir to a great inheritance and position in Japanese society. He was was converted to Christianity by Saint Francis Xavier.
“The entire enemy fleet closes in to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on its course. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.”
St. John Bosco (Don Bosco) was an influential 19th century Italian priest who ministered to the poor and neglected boys of Turin, Italy, who were driven to a life of desperation and crime in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. Don Bosco became their mentor and spiritual director, inspiring them to a life of virtue and saving many from a future of poverty and incarceration.
January 28 is the feast day of perhaps the greatest intellect of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, known as the Angelic Doctor due to his purity of mind and body. He gave up a life of nobility and wealth to be a poor Dominican friar, at the time a new religious order, much to the consternation of his family.
One biographer notes that prior to St. Thomas Aquinas’ birth a holy hermit prophesied to his mother about her unborn child,
“He will enter the Order of Friars Preachers, and so great will be his learning and sanctity that in his day no one will be found to equal him.”
January 27, 1945 is a day etched in history. On this day the Russian army liberated the Nazis’ largest and infamously cruel concentration camp located in south-western Poland–Auschwitz. It is estimated that at minimum 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945; of these, at least 1.1 million were murdered.
Among those who were killed at Auschwitz are two Catholic saints, St. Maximilian Marie Kolbe and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein).
One of the most fundamental moral teachings of the Catholic Church, which has come into stark conflict with the spirit of the world today, is the God-given sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. In modern times, the widespread rejection of such a fundamental truth sparked the faithful to start the pro-life movement.
After St. Francis de Sales was ordained bishop of Geneva, Switzerland, he began to get “serious” about developing an interior life of holiness. That is, he got serious about not just being a religious person, but intentionally working on being a true saint.