Category Archives: Saints

Saint Katharine Drexel

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Ever-loving God, You called Blessed Katharine Drexel to teach the message of the Gospel and to bring the life of the Eucharist to the African American and Native American peoples. By her prayers and example, enable us to work for justice among the poor and the oppressed, and keep us undivided in love in the eucharistic community of Your Church.
A homage to Saint Katharine can be viewed here.

Read last year’s entry for Saint Katharine.

Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother

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My servant continued with all his heart doing what is just before my eyes.
O God, Who in the design of Your love called Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows to live in the mystery of the Cross with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, guide our spirit towards Your Crucified Son so that by participating in His Passion we may achieve the glory of the Resurrection.

Among the young saints of the Church are those who followed the Passionist charism, that is, those who made the paschal offering of Christ on the cross and His sorrowful mother so very central to their. The oblation of Christ crucified is THE Christian spirituality of our day, especially given the suffering many of us endure for the faith and for Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother is one such figure that we would do well to spend time learning. As the Mass collect above suggests, we are to ask for the grace to participate in the Lord’s Passion with the hope of his glory. This is the destiny of all Christians.

At 24 he was stricken with TB and died prior to his ordination. As grace is operative I feel close to Gabriel and ask his intercession for young seminarians even for me not being so young having just turned 41 a few weeks ago. Saint Gabriel’s youthful witness to Christ led him to being named a patron for the youth and seminarians by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 when he was canonized. The image given here is that of Saint Gabriel healing Saint Gemma, whom she was devoted.

Read up on Saint Gabriel here.
A rather helpful blog is maintained on our friend, called “Saint Gabriel Our Lady of Sorrows,” you can explore of Gabriel’s life and legacy for today.
May the Passion of Jesus and the Sorrows of Mary be ever in our hearts!
motto of Saint Paul of the Cross

Blesseds Francisco & Jacintha

Bl Jacinta & Francisco.jpgUnless you change and become like little children you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

God of infinite goodness who loves the innocent and exalts the humble grant that, in imitation of Blesseds Francisco and Jacintha, we may serve You with purity of heart and so be worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
I would recommend watching the recently released movie, “The 13th Day” on the Fatima apparition of Our Lady. It is a beautiful movie!

Saint Josephine Bakhita

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With the Church we pray:

God, who drew blessed Josephine from abject servitude to
the dignity of being your daughter and a spouse of Christ, grant to us, we ask, that by her example, we may follow the crucified Jesus with constant love, and be lovingly ready to persevere in mercy. 

The young Miss Bakhita (1869-1947) was entrusted to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of the Catechumens in Venice and it was there that she came to know about God whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing who He was” ever since she was a child. “Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: Who could be the Master of these beautiful things? And I felt a great desire to see him, to know Him and to pay Him homage…”

After several months in the catechumenate, Bakhita received the sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist) and was given the new name, Josephine on January 9, 1890. With expressive eyes that sparkled, revealing intense emotions, she radiated joy. Josephine was often observed kissing the baptismal font and saying: “Here, I became a daughter of God!”

The Arabic word “Bakhita” means fortunate one. Indeed, Saint Josephine was fortunate. The Vatican biography written at the time of her canonization can be found here. When Pope John Paul II canonized Josephine she was the first Sudanese saint and she is the patron of evangelical reconciliation and freedom.

Would that we all kissed the baptismal font!!!

What does Saint Agatha teach us today?

“Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honor of blessed Agatha, virgin and martyr; at whose passion the angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God.” (Introit)

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Today’s feast of a young virgin martyr is the last in a series courageous women of faith over the last few months. My The heart is always moved when I hear their story of faith and suffering and meditate on their iconography. As you know, the Roman Canon (the Eucharistic prayer at Mass) mentions a number of early women martyrs and then liturgical calendar recalls four virgin-martyrs that just cannot be forgotten: Cecilia (November), Lucy (December), Agnes (January) and Agatha (February).
History tells us that Agatha was martyred during the Decian persecution in AD 254. She suffered her breasts being torn off but later healed and restored by Saint Peter. Undeterred Agatha fearlessly faced the cruelty of her tormentors. She was buried in Catania, Sicily. Agatha had a double crown: of virginity and martyrdom thus becoming a praiseworthy witness of Christ, the patron of her home city and the whole Church and the patron those living with the diseases of the breast. To her we look for divine mediation for a cure for breast cancer. Let us remember the words of the Communion antiphon (verse): “He who deigned to heal my every wound and to restore my breasts, Him I invoke as the living God.”
Shortly after the death of Agatha people and the Church, in particular, recognized her holiness in a public way. Her name was entered in the Roman Canon (the first Eucharistic Prayer) very early in Christian history while Pope Symmachus built a basilica in Agatha’s honor as did Saint Gregory the Great as well as a few other popes and bishops.
Agatha is remembered not only for the courage, strength and love that sustained her in times of trial, but also her single-mindedness and praise of of God alone. Her love for God was stronger than human cruelty, pain and suffering. AND this is key: a determined focus on God, for how else are healed and saved? Catholic spirituality tells us to pattern our lives on Christ and the saints. The former because he is God made flesh, our Savior, the who loves us beyond all telling; the latter because they make the gospel concrete for us –the saints tell us that a life of holiness is possible and beautiful. But this singular focus Agatha’s is tough to focus on because of human frailty and personal distractions.
The Church’s hagiography acknowledges today the virginity of Agatha as a good thing to imitate, but the Church also acknowledges, as Ildefonso Schuster points out, “Virginity is not, however, a universal law; it is a special vocation, to which God calls only certain chosen souls, those generous souls who with the spiritual sword of mortification voluntarily take upon themselves perfect chastity, in order to consecrate themselves body and soul to God.”
Our praise is for God’s bestowal of many graces on Agatha, notably healing of body. May we also be filled with the spirit of Agatha when trial stares us in the face.

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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