Category Archives: Saints

St Joseph

St. Joseph was chosen among all men, to be the protector and guardian of the Virgin Mother of God; the defender and foster-father of the Infant-God, and the only co-operator upon earth, the one confidant of the secret of God in the work of the redemption of mankind.
~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

St Polycarp

Today we liturgically honor St Polycarp. We have a letter from St Ignatius of Antioch to Polycarp written around AD 110, when he was a young bishop in Smyrna. Ignatius himself going to Rome in chains to face martyrdom. Ignatius wrote:

Stand firm, like an anvil being struck with a hammer. It is the mark of a great athlete to be bruised, yet still conquer. But especially we must, for God’s sake, patiently bear all things, so that he may also bear with us. Be more diligent than you are. Understand the times. Wait expectantly for the one who is above time: the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible; the Intangible, the Unsuffering, who for our sake suffered, who for our sake endured in every way. (Letter of Ignatius to Polycarp, 3)

Polycarp stood firm; he was a great athlete; he was patient; he was diligent. Are we? Do we have these traits in in following Christ, and dealing with adversity? Today, let us ask for the same grace Polycarp did so as to fight evil?

St Paul Miki and companions

The Martyrs of Nagasaki, St. Paul Miki (1562–1597) and his twenty-five companions are liturgically honored today. As you note from the image he was crucified for the faith in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1597.

Historians tell us that Miki was  Japanese layman of great nobility and wealth, who converted to Christ by the great missionary, St. Francis Xavier. The Church, initially, was not in opposition to the Emperor and his princes but as time went on Christians were felt to be a threat to Japanese culture. Paul Miki and his companions were tortured and made to walk 600 miles to Nagasaki before they died. Given the option for personal freedom if they denied Christ and the Church, Paul remained steadfast to the Faith. I wonder how many of us would do the same today?

St Marianne Cope

The Church in America liturgically remembers St. Marianne Cope (1838–1918), also known as St. Marianne of Molokai, today.

A German immigrant to the USA, Marianne worked in a New York factory before entering the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Syracuse. Her superiors missioned Sister Marianne to a ministry in health care and education where she excelled. Called to serve the poor, and by Divine Providence, Hawaii opened the door for Mother Marianne and six sisters to go on mission in 1883. There she gave 35 years to caring for those afflicted with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) in Molokai, Hawaii, establishing a hospital and a school for girls on the island of Maui. She is remembered for introducing cleanliness, dignity, and fun into the colony. Despite her direct contact with leprosy patients over many years, she was not afflicted by the disease, which some consider miraculous. A gift for Sister Marianne was collaborating with St. Damien of Molokai. Benedict XVI canonized Marianne Cope in 2012.

Are we open to the promptings of Divine Providence?

St Gregory of Nyssa

After his education, Gregory married and became a teacher of rhetoric. We do not know what happened to his wife, but the influence of his older brother Basil was strong enough to draw Gregory to monastic life. In 371, Basil arranged for his election as bishop of Nyssa, a town in Basil’s province. It was a political move intended by Basil to stem the influence of the Arians. Gregory was not happy with this sudden thrust into the fray, and he was not a very effective ally, and his brother criticized him for his lack of firmness. In the following decade he was deposed by the Arians, and later restored. His brother died, and Gregory came into his own. he was a prominent participant in the 2nd Ecumenical Council. He wrote scriptural commentaries and spoke of the concept of theosis, or deification as a luminous darkness, the ultimate paradox of union with God. His mystical theology is an early expression of the apophatic method which places more certainty in what we cannot say or know about divine truths. (NS)

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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