What is a Saint?

In the Catholic Church, the saints are ordinary people like you and me who made it to heaven.  They’ve done nothing that you and I cannot do, if we persevere in following Jesus Christ and living our lives according to His teaching.

Catholic devotion to the saints is nothing more than respect and admiration for the memory of the deceased heroes of the Church. We honor them as men and women of heroic virtue who can serve as our role models. They were no more perfect than are we; but, at the end of their lives – and hopefully, ours – they received from Our Lord his words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

We also ask the saints to intercede for us.  Have you ever asked anyone to pray for you when you were having a hard time? That is how Catholics “pray to” the saints –  we pray with saints, not to them. As the Letter of James says, “The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.”

Well-known saints like those below often are remembered in a special way on particular days during the year.

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune
JulyAugustSeptember – OctoberNovemberDecember

This Weeks Saints

May 19
St. Peter Celestine
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May 20
St. Bernadine of Siena

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May 21
BL. Franz Jagerstatter
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May 22
St. Rita of Cascia
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May 23
St Giovanni Battista Rossi
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May 24
St. Madeline Sophie Barat
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May 25
St. Bede the Venerable

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May 21

Bl. Franz Jägerstätter

Franz Jägerstätter was born on 20 May 1907 in St Radegund, Upper Austria, to his unmarried mother, Rosalia Huber and to Franz Bachmeier, who was killed during World War I, when the boy was less than ten years old. His mother then married local famer Heinrich Jägerstätter who adopted Franz in 1917. Franz had some little education in the village’s one room schoolhouse, but his adoptive father was serious about the boy being able to read so that he could educate himself.

He led a rather wild life in his early 20’s, but by his late 20’s he married his wife Franziska in 1936, and settled down to life as a farmer, to provide for his wife and three daughters. Besides his farm work, Franz served as the parish sacristan and began receiving the Eucharist daily.   While carrying out his duties as husband and bread-winner for his wife and three daughters, this ordinary man began thinking deeply about obedience to legitimate authority and obedience to God, about mortal life and eternal life and about Jesus’ suffering and Passion.

He became known as a vocal critic of the Nazis; he was the only one in his village to vote against Austrian unification with Germany in 1938. He was called up for military service and sworn in on 17 June 1940. He was shortly able to return to his farm, but he became convinced that participation in the war was a serious sin and decided that any future call-up had to be met with his refusal to fight. In February 1943 Franz was called up again for military service.   When he announced his refusal to fight, he was arrested, given a military trial, and convicted of sedition. He spent time in prison praying, supporting other prisoners, and writing a series of letters and essays, in which he said, “I cannot believe that, just because one has a wife and children, a man is free to offend God.”  He was finally led to the guillotine for his execution at the age of 36.

Bl. Franz Jägerstätter is a patron of conscientious objectors

“Since the death of Christ, almost every century has seen the persecution of Christians, there have always been heroes and martyrs who gave their lives – often in horrible ways – for Christ and their faith.  If we hope to reach our goal some day, then we, too, must become heroes of the faith.”

Bl. Franz Jägerstätter

May 22

St. Rita of Cascia

St. Rita is a patron of abuse victims, desperate causes, difficult marriages, lost causes, parenthood, and widows; and against loneliness and sickness.

“Be at peace with your own soul, then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.”

St. Rita of Cascia

Rita Lotti was born in 1386 in Umbria, Italy. Although attracted to the religious life, her parents betrothed her to Paolo Mancini, an abusive and harsh man who was immersed in the political disputes of the region. Rita endured her husbands cruelty for 18 unhappy years, until he was killed in a brawl with his political opponents. Her twin sons swore to avenge their father, but Rita’s prayers and interventions moved them to forgive their father’s murder.

She was prevented from joining the religious life by relatives of her husband’s murderers, but through her prayerful efforts, the two sides were partially reconciled, allowing her to be admitted to the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalen in Cascia. She lived there for 40 years in prayer, doing works of charity, and working for peace in the region.  She received visions and wounds on her forehead which resembled the crown of thorns.

On her deathbed, she asked a visitor from her home town to bring her a rose from her family’s estate. It being January, her visitor had no real hope of obtaining a rose; however, arriving at her family’s home, he found a single perfect rose blooming on an otherwise bare bush.

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