September 12th is the feast day of the Most Holy Name of Mary. In the Catholic Bible, names are very important and often contain carry great significance. When names are providentially given by God as recorded in Sacred Scripture, they are often a clue to His future plans for that person. So, what does the name “Mary” mean?
St. Roch was born with an unusual and deep red mark on his chest in the shape of a cross, a sign that the Blessed Virgin Mary had heard and answered his mother’s prayers for her barrenness to be healed. As a child St. Roch was deeply religious, fasting twice a week after the example of his pious mother. His parents died when he was twenty years of age, after which he gave his inheritance to the poor, handed the government of the city over to his uncle, and began a new life as a poor mendicant pilgrim.
Saint Camillus de Lellis is an example how God often plants the seeds of your life’s mission among the ordinary, even sinful, circumstances in which you find yourself. It is never too late to amend your life and endeavor to become a saint; in the end, by the grace of God, all things truly will work together for your good and His glory.
Many faithful men went to Mt. Carmel to live as hermits in imitation of the Prophet Elijah. Over time a community developed informally. By the 1200’s this group desired to order their lives around a structured Rule. At the direction of St. Albert, then Patriarch of Jerusalem, they were given a Rule of Life. They lived in general solitude as they prayed and fasted, but they built a church and came together for prayer during the day. They named the church after Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Kateri trekked over 200 miles through rough terrain, a two month, undoubtedly difficult due to her poor eyesight, to reach the Christian settlement. There she desired to live a life of prayer and penance. She declined marriage and lived as a single woman with deep faith, offering her sufferings and life to Christ. Her great sanctity, virtue, mystical prayer life, and love for Christ amazed the Jesuits and everyone who knew her. It is said that people loved to be around her and listen to her speak because her soul radiated the beauty and peace of God.
From the time of the Passion, when Christ poured out His blood for us all, the faithful have practiced devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. In the month of July, the Church honors the Precious Blood and encourages us in this devotion. The traditional feast day devoted to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ is July 1st.
Like the martyrdom of the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, a great number of Christians perished at the hands of Nero during the terrible persecution that lasted from 64-68 A.D. This was the first major persecution of the newly founded Church at Rome. These holy men and women, also called the “Protomartyrs of Rome,” are the foundation on which the Church was built.
Just like the sacrificial and life-giving death of Christ, the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul were used by God to lay the bedrock for the Church and bring salvation to the whole world. Because they are the solid rock on which the foundation of the Church is built, and they will forever remain her protectors and guides.
Our Lady was created actually “Full of Grace” as the Archangel Gabriel declared at the Annunciation, meaning that her soul was literally adorned with all of the virtues at the moment of her conception, as well as the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. This fullness of grace is said to emanate from the center of her being, that is, her heart, understood both physically and spiritually. It is Mary’s heart, in its unspoiled created perfection, that is the source and wellspring of her purity . . . therefore her heart is called Immaculate.
Each year on June 22nd we celebrate the feast day of two notable Catholic saints and martyrs: Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher. It’s fitting that these two men share a feast day, because they were both righteous Englishmen martyred within two weeks of each other, for the same cause, on the same occasion, and at the hands of the same man.