Category Archives: Franciscan saints & blesseds

Saint Anthony of Padua & the blessing of lilies

Vision of St Anthony VCarducho.jpgThe great saint from Lisbon and Padua, Anthony, was an outstanding preacher and intercessor. He was –and continues to be– a terrific guide to a fuller life in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the sacrament of the Church. There is no shortage of the faithful who visit a shrine of Saint Anthony to ask for his help in a particular need. In my church I am amazed of people’s tender love for Anthony today. The famous Paduan was known for his holy life, his knowledge of sacred Scripture and Theology.

Anthony’s first vocation was lived with the Augustinian Canons and after seeing the bodies of the first martyrs of the Franciscan Order brought through Portugal, he was moved to join the Friars in their mission of preaching for the salvation of souls, especially among the Muslims.

Here’s the traditional blessing of lilies for the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua.

The true story of St Padre Pio: Obedientia et Pax

Oboedientia et Pax.jpg

St Padre Pio is a much beloved, internationally famous and yet not entirely known. That is, until now with Stefano Campanella’s new published book, Oboedientia et Pax: The True Story of a False Prosecution.
The author researches the history of the rocky relationship the Capuchin saint Padre Pio had with the blessed Pope John XXIII. Much misinformation was rampant that soured the Pope’s and other’s, view of Saint Pio who lived with the sacred Stigmata.
Both are icons of holiness and priesthood but there some fragility in human relations…
The author speaks to his work here.

Blessed John of Parma

Blessed John of Parma.jpgBlessed John of Parma (1209-1289) was born at Parma. He studied and taught philosophy and known to be a devoted man to the Lord. Sensing the Lord’s call to serve Him more intensely, John entered the newly founded Friars Minor, the group that followed Saint Francis of Assisi. Completing his theological studies John was ordained priest and taught theology at Bologna, Naples and eventually in Rome. Father John was sent to the Council of Lyons in 1245.

In 1247, Father John was elected the 7th minister general of the Franciscans, an election presided over by Pope Innocent IV, who thought very highly of Father John. John set in motion several initiatives to keep the friars focussed on the mission of Francis and his spirit looking keenly on poverty and humility as hallmarks of the Franciscan way of living the Gospel.
Father John was sent as a papal legate to Constantinople in an attempt healed the schism between Catholics and the Greek Orthodox. He had limited success.
Our peripatetic friar died on March 19, 1289 and his feast is kept on March 20. Father John was beatified in 1777.
More on Blessed John of Parma can be read here.

Saint Colette

Saint Colette.jpgSaint Colette is the famous 15th century reformer of the Poor Clare nuns. You see her reform noted as the Colettine Poor Clares. She follows to a “T” the rigorous life set down by Saint Clare herself in hearing the words “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” She did; so did others.

King Henry VIII would compare Saint Colette to “a diligent bee that gathers exquisite honey from the precious flowers of the most rare virtues.”
The Prayer Over the Gifts for Saint Colette’s Mass reads:
Lord, may the gifts we bring You help us to follow the example of Saint Colette. Cleanse us from our earthly way of life, and teach us to live the new life of Your kingdom.
Here the Church wants us to receive the gift of singular focus on the new we’ve received already through Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist. The new life preached by Christ and the Church today.
According to the Roman-Franciscan Sacramentary of 1974, February 7 is the liturgical memorial of Saint Colette, not March 6 as noted in other places. A previous blog post on Saint Colette can be read here.

Saint Catherine of Genoa: a life of humility, constant prayer & mystical union, charitable service

St Catherine of Genoa.jpg“Since I began to love, love has never forsaken me. It has ever grown to its own fullness within my innermost heart.” 

Our catechesis today deals with Saint Catherine of Genoa, a fifteenth-century saint best known for her vision of purgatory. Married at an early age, some ten years later Catherine had a powerful experience of conversion; Jesus, carrying his cross, appeared to her, revealing both her own sinfulness and God’s immense love. A woman of great humility, she combined constant prayer and mystical union with a life of charitable service to those in need, above all in her work as the director of the largest hospital in Genoa. Catherine’s writings on purgatory contain no specific revelations, but convey her understanding of purgatory as an interior fire purifying the soul in preparation for full communion with God. Conscious of God’s infinite love and justice, the soul is pained by its inadequate response, even as the divine love purifies it from the remnants of sin. To describe this purifying power of God’s love, Catherine uses the image of a golden chain which draws the soul to abandon itself to the divine will. By her life and teaching, Saint Catherine of Genoa reminds us of the importance of prayer for the faithful departed, and invites us to devote ourselves more fully to prayer and to works of practical charity.

Pope Benedict XVI
summary of Wednesday Catechesis on Saint Catherine of Genoa
Vatican City State, 12 January 2011

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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