Category Archives: Saints

Sts. Louis and Zélia Martin –a sainted couple

Martin familyWe liturgically remember Saints Louis and Zélia Martin, the married couple whose human love cooperated with Divine Grace which generated the beauty of the Little Flower.

As with all holy men and women, saints, they had a lived in a recognition –continual– that God is all and the desire to give all. From this recognition, 5 daughters entered consecrated life; 4 in Carmel and one in the Order of the Visitation.

Pope Francis acknowledged that the Church wants and needs married couples who point to Christ and so canonized Louis and Zélia during the Synod on the Family on 18 October  2015; becoming the first spouses in the church’s history to be canonized as a couple.

The choice of a liturgical memorial on 12 July marks the date of their matrimony in 1858.

May Saints Louis and Zélia help us to integrate our faith in every aspect of family life remembering that the married vocation is to help each other become saints.

Ursuline Martyrs of Orange

Our Catholic Church is a church of martyrs and at this time of year we learn more and more of those many who lived for Christ and sacrificed themselves for the Good News. For example, today we have the following recorded as being martyred:

•Martyrs of Africa – 4 saints
•Martyrs of Antioch – 10 saints
•Martyrs of Damascus – 11 beati
•Martyrs of Nicopolis – 45 saints
•Martyrs of Nitria – 5 saints
•Martyrs of Tomis – 45 saints
•Seven Holy Brothers – 7 martyrs

This period of our ecclesiastical history is known as the reign of Terror –a consequence of the fierce anti-catholic persecution of the French Revolution. Plus, we have more martyrs from July 9 to 26 – 103 Martyrs of China; 25 Franciscan Martyrs of China: priests, friars, nuns, seminarians and lay people, murdered together for their faith in the Boxer Rebellion; 19 Martyrs of Gorkum hanged on July 9, 1572 in the Netherlands by Calvinists for loyalty to the Pope and for their belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist; 32 Martyrs of Orange: sixteen Ursuline sisters, thirteen Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, two Bernardine sisters and one Benedictine sister guillotined during the French Revolution; A Capuchin martyred by the Nazis in WWII; Several martyrs of the 16th century English persecution of the Church: layman, Carthusian; Several martyrs of the early Church

Ursuline nuns murderedYesterday and today we liturgically recalled the Ursuline nuns martyred in the French Revolution known as the Martyrs of Orange. The sisters were guillotined on 9 and 10 July 1794 in Orange, Vaucluse, France.

They climbed the scaffold with joy, singing and praying for their persecutors who admired their courage : “These rascals die with laughter!”

Arrested for refusing to take the oath repudiating their catholic faith, all the sisters were condemned to the guillotine. Their ages ranged from 31 to 70. For the previous 2 years they had prepared for this hour – expelled from their convents and living a life of prayer and semi-destitution. And they went to their death with courage and serenity.

Among the Ursulines,

on July 9, Sister Sainte-Mélanie, from Bollène, (Madeleine de Guilhermier, born in Bollène en 1733, 61 years of age) and Sister Marie-des-Anges, from Bollène, (Marie-Anne de Rocher, born in Bollène in 1755, 39 years of age),

on July 10, Sister Sainte-Sophie, from Bollène, (Gertrude d’Alauzier, born in Bollène in 1757, 37 years of age) and Sister Agnès, from Bollène, (Sylvie de Romillon, born in Bollène in 1750, 44 years of age),

on July 11, Sister Sainte-Sophie, from Pont-Saint-Esprit, (Marguerite d’Albarède, born in Saint-Laurent-de-Carnols in 1740, 54 years of age),

on July 12, Sister Saint-Bernard, from Pont-Saint-Esprit, (Jeanne de Romillon, born in Bollène in 1753, 41 years of age),

on July 13, Sister Saint-François, from Bollène, (Marie-Anne Lambert, born in Pierrelatte in 1742, 52 years of age) and Sister Sainte-Françoise, lay Sister from Carpentras, (Marie-Anne Depeyre, born in Tulette en 1756, 38 years of age),

on July 15, Sister Saint-Gervais, Superior of the Ursulines of Bollène (Anastasie de Roquard, born in Bollène in 1749, 45 years of age),

on July 16, lay Sisters from Bollène, Sister Saint-Michel, (Marie Anne Doux, born in Bollène in 1738, 56 years of age), Sister Saint-André, (Marie Rose Laye, born in Bollène in 1728, 66 years of age); Sister Madeleine, from Pernes, (Dorothée de Justamond, born in Bollène in 1743, 51 years of age),

on July 20, Sister Saint-Basile, from Pont-Saint-Esprit, (Anne Cartier, born in Livron in 1733, 61 years of age),

on July 26, Sister Catherine, from Pont-Saint-Esprit, (Marie-Madeleine de Justamond, born in Bollène in 1724, 70 years of age), Sister Claire, from Bollène (Claire Dubas, born in Laudun in 1727, 67 years of age) and Sister du Cœur-de-Jésus, Superior of the Ursulines of Sisteron (ElisabethThérèse Consolin, born in Courthézon in 1736, 58 years of age).

With the Church at prayer,

Lord our God, you have given to the Blessed Ursuline Martyrs of Orange the strength of overcoming the trial of martyrdom: grant us, through their prayer, to be firm in our faith and fervent in our charity, so that we may share with them the joys of eternal life.

Saint Maria Goretti

Goretti's mother forgiving the man who killed her daughterToday we are given a saint to follow –she shows us the beauty of following Christ Jesus in this world when danger lurks. Chaste living is a real challenge for many.

One significant and overlooked part of Saint Maria’s biography is the heroic act of virtue given by her beloved mother in her forgiving her daughter’s killer, Alessandro Serenelli, who died with the sacraments of the Church in the company of the Capuchin friars on May 6, 1970.

It is true that this type of virtue is beyond most of us, even on the best of days of grace being present in our life. What can be said? Not much except to stand in awe of such a beautiful and needed action of the Blessed Trinity. Her the Gospel meets reality and shows us that it it possible to live virtuously. As a consequence, we take what Saint Maria’s mother did and try to implement it into our own reality.

The spiritual counsel offered here is that we can at least pray for the grace to forgive, even if we don’t want to forgive or don’t think we can forgive. Ask God.

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Baptist Nativity stoneHic Præcursor Domini natus est!

Indeed, we honor the nativity of John the Baptist today. Only two others are honored with a feast day for their Nativity: Our Lord and Savior and His beloved and Great Mother, Mary.

The Church prays to God who lifted up for us the Baptist as the precursor for the Incarnate Word of God, that he make ready a nation for the Lord’s coming and direct the hearts of all the faithful into the way of salvation and peace.

It is revealed to us that the blessed forerunner of the Lord, John, was a martyr. His martyrdom was for his stance, that is, his teaching, on adultery: “It is not lawful for thee to have your brother’s wife.” At the heart of it all was that John spoke the truth; he challenged civil authority to live as they should and he called his contemporaries to be faithful to the faith of their Fathers. Yet, the crafty concubine of Herod silenced John before he could convert the King Herod and his court to repentance and belief in the Messiah.

John the Baptist was not alone in the witness of his life and death as many revered saints spoke similar truths and ended their lives by spilling their blood: among them, Saints John Chrysostom, Thomas Becket, and Stanislaus. Who will do similar today? Is our faith strong enough to face death?

Blessed Alvaro del Portillo

Don AlvaroToday is the first time the Church is able to celebrate the liturgical memorial of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo since he was beatified in 2014. The Church designated May 12th (the anniversary of his First Communion) as his feast day.

To mark the occasion, Fr. Javier del Castillo prepared a special meditation for listeners (a podcast) published by the St. Josemaria Institute.

Don Alvaro was known for his humility and his faithfulness but it was also said that he had the heroic virtue of courage (he was a man of fortitude, a gift of the Spirit). We need to be sure in our walking in the ways of the Lord building the Church. He is called Saxum (rock), a metaphor for fortitude by Saint Josemaría.

“The Lord is my rock….” May Blessed Alvaro help us in our daily life, to show us what it means to be people of humility, faithfulness, and courage.

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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