Category Archives: Saints

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

Bl Katerit Tekakwitha.jpgBlessed Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 – 1680), is known popularly as the “Lily of the Mohawks” and the “Geneviève of New France.” Kateri was born in the Mohawk area of Ossemenon in New York State, the daughter of a Mohawk warrior and a Catholic Algonquin woman whom he had saved from captivity at the hands of the Iroquois. By the time she four years old smallpox killed her parents and her brother; she was left her scarred and with impaired eyesight.

Adopted by her uncle, the chief of the Turtle clan, and Kateri  had many offers of marriage. The Jesuit missionaries  (the Black Robes) gave some knowledge of the Catholic faith to Kateri that gave her the desire to live life not only as a Christian but as a virgin: a heroic determination at the time. However,  Kateri  was not baptized until she was 20. Because of her virtue she experienced persecution and death threats, she fled to the established Christian community at Kahnawake in Québec. Observers testify that Kateri advanced in communio with God taking on bodily mortifications with intense prayer; she died at the age of 24. Kateri Tekakwitha was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 June 1980.

Relatives of saints attract attention

When I met the son of Saint Gianna Berretta Molla in May I thought, “Wow, this is amazing, I’ve made another connection with a saint!” Of course, in the back of my head I recalled that Saint Gianna’s husband died this past spring. We usually don’t think of saints and their families these days. In some ways, and perhaps in every way, abstracting a saint from his or her biological family (and friends) makes that saint too vague and plastic.

It wasn’t until recent times that technology opened a new facet of a holy person’s life by making it possible to have more accurate portraits and voice recognition. Video and audio files reveal the concrete person so as not to rely exclusively upon someone’s “recollections” or hagiography no matter how accurate these memories or details may be. How different are our spiritual relationships with the likes of Saints Padre Pio, Josemaria, Blesseds John XXIII, Mother Teresa, Marianne Cope, and the Servant of God John Paul II  from the likes of Saints Benedict, Dominic, Francis and Agatha! Why mention this? I was reading the local newspaper’s obits today and stumbled upon the death notice of Dorothy Lorraine Bessette Gazzola, 89, the grand niece of Blessed Andre Bessette. The family published Bessette-Gazzola’s visiting her grand uncle in Montreal when she was a child. She knew a saint! She hugged and kissed a saint! She could relate personally with saint! How great is that!!!

Blessed Andre is due to be canonized a saint in October.

Saint Maria Goretti

“What does this fraSt Maria Goretti.jpggile but christianly mature girl say to today’s young people, through her life and above all through her heroic death?” Pope John Paul II asked on her feast day in 2003.

The Pope went on to say: “Marietta, as she was lovingly called, reminds the youth of the third millennium that true happiness demands courage and a spirit of sacrifice, refusing every compromise with evil and having the disposition to pay personally, even with death, faithful to God and his commandments. How timely this message is.

Today, pleasure, selfishness and directly immoral actions are often exalted in the name of the false ideals of liberty and happiness. It is essential to reaffirm clearly that purity of heart and of body go together, because chastity ‘is the custodian’ of authentic love.”

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: pointing us to an authentic spiritual renewal of the world

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Prayer to Follow Pier Giorgio
O Father, You gave to the young Pier Giorgio Frassati the joy of meeting Christ and of living his faith in the service of the poor and the sick; through his intercession may we, too, walk the path of the beatitudes and follow the example of his generosity, spreading the spirit of the Gospel in society. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
When he beatified Pier Giorgio twenty years ago John Paul remarked in his homily that, 
“Today’s celebration invites all of us to receive the message which Pier Giorgio Frassati is sending to the men and women of our day, but especially to you young people, who want to make a concrete contribution to the spiritual renewal of our world, which sometimes seems to be falling apart and wasting away because of a lack of ideals. By his example he proclaims that a life lived in Christ’s Spirit, the Spirit of the Beatitudes, is “blessed,” and that only the person who becomes a “man or woman of the Beatitudes” can succeed in communicating love and peace to others. He repeats that it is really worth giving up everything to serve the Lord. He testifies that holiness is possible for everyone, and that only the revolution of charity can enkindle the hope of a better future in the hearts of people.”

Read Pope John Paul II’s homily at the beatification of Pier Giorgio.

More information on Blessed Pier Giorgio at Frassati USA

Saint Thomas, the apostle

Sts Andrew & Thomas GLBerini.jpgTaking the extraordinary example of faith Thomas has, let live as though the real Presence meant something: My Lord and my God.

With the Church we pray:

Almighty Father, as we honor Thomas the apostle, let us always experience the help of his prayers. May we have eternal life by believing in Jesus, whom Thomas acknowledge as Lord, for He lives and reigns with Your and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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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