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.
Church & Faith
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.
The story of how St. Patrick converted the Irish Celts is a fascinating one. His show down with the Druid occult—where God used him as an instrument to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, establishing the Christian religion all over the island— is not much different than what you’d read in the Old Testament about Elijah and the prophets of Baal or Moses and the Egyptian magicians.
St. Patrick is well-praised and celebrated for his missionary work in Ireland. He spent around forty years converting the native Irish who were entirely pagan and druidic prior to his arrival with his missionaries. This was his calling and his life’s greatest work, which was blessed by God. St. Patrick is clearly a model evangelist because of how he challenged the people of that time. He challenged their demons and their unholy traditions, and Christ ultimately won out the day.
Penance simply means the repentance of sins by taking some form of action in reparation for that sin. Just as we sinned by actually committing or omitting something we shouldn’t have, so we should do penance by actually committing or omitting something to make up for it. The reason for this is that doing penance turns our hearts and souls away from sin and back on the right path towards God and towards a life of holiness.
After the final apparition on October 13, 1917, in which tens of thousands of people witnessed the Miracle of the Sun, the three children attempted, as much as was possible, to return to their regular way of life. Which, of course, would never be normal again. They were forever changed, and left off their childish games and diversions in order to pray and meditate on all the mysteries that had been revealed to them.
“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
St. Catherine de Ricci (1522-1590) was a Dominican nun born in Florence, Italy. She was a great mystic with an intense devotion to the sufferings of Jesus. For many years Catherine would go into ecstasy from noon every Thursday through 4 p.m. on Friday, experiencing in a mystical manner the sufferings of Christ during his Passion. She was also given the spiritual gift of the stigmata; Christ’s wounds would appear on her body throughout the course of the ecstasy.
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.