Category Archives: Saints

Saint Joan de Lestonnac 

St Joan de LestonnacYou know you are in the digital age when you learn about a saint that has an interesting place in people’s lives. This morning I learned of one of today’s liturgical memorials: St. Joan de Lestonnac.

According to a biographer, Saint Joan “was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1556. She married at the age of seventeen. The happy marriage produced four children, but her husband died suddenly in 1597. After her children were raised, she entered the Cistercian monastery at Toulouse [at the age of 46]. Joan was forced to leave the Cistercians when she became afflicted with poor health. She returned to Bordeaux with the idea of forming a new congregation, and several young girls joined her as novices. They ministered to victims of a plague that struck Bordeaux, and they were determined to counteract the evils of heresy promulgated by Calvinism. Thus was formed the Order of the Company of Mary our Lady of Bordeaux. In 1608, Joan and her companions received the religious habit from the Archbishop of Bordeaux. Joan was elected superior in 1610, and many miracles occurred at her tomb. She was canonized in 1949 by Pope Pius XII.”

One interesting point for me is that Saint Joan’s concern for souls lost to Calvinism was aided by members of the Society of Jesus. Another biographer writes:

“Two Jesuit priests, Fathers de Bordes and Raymond, whilst they celebrated Mass, received an understanding that they should assist in founding an order to counteract the surrounding heresies and that Joan must be the first superior.  The rule and constitutions of the Order were founded on those of St. Ignatius and the first house was opened in the Holy Ghost priory at Bordeaux.”

AND, “Finally, her great love shown by her patient example even whilst she was being emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and physically abused, with her reputation being ruined as a result of lies and hatred, she still remained firm in her Faith and love of God, even converting the person who was so mean and cruel to her.  Let us remember the extraordinary example of this beautiful and incredible woman always!  St. Joan is a true feminist, true to her Faith, true to her abilities and never afraid to love, even her most vicious enemies!  God be praised for this magnificent lady!”

Saint Joan’s body, as a sign of holiness, remains incorrupt.

Saint John Bosco

St John BoscoToday we have the liturgical memorial of Saint John Bosco. Prayers of gratitude for his witness and that of the Salesians.

“Do you want our Lord to give you many graces? Visit him often. Do you want him to give you few graces? Visit him seldom. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament are powerful and indispensable means of overcoming the attacks of the devil. Make frequent visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the devil will be powerless against you.”

“There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips. We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for true fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement.”

“It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself, and to threaten a boy than to persuade him. Yes, indeed, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them.”

St. John Bosco, pray for us!

St Paul’s Conversion

Conversion of St PaulO glorious St. Paul, who from a persecutor of Christianity, didst become a most ardent apostle of zeal; and who, to make known the Savior Jesus Christ unto the ends of the world, didst suffer with joy imprisonment, scourging, stoning, ship-wrecks and persecutions of every kind, and in the end didst shed thy blood to the last drop, obtain for us the grace to receive, as favors of the Divine Mercy, infirmities, tribulations, and misfortunes of the present life, so that the vicissitudes of this our exile will not render us cold in the service of God, but will render us always more faithful and more fervent.  Amen.

The 25th of January this year is a Sunday so the feast is not commemorated in the NO Liturgy but a clued-in preacher will be able to link the Scripture readings with Paul’s move from persecutor to Apostle of Jesus Christ. The missionary impulse of the Church needs to follow the paradigm we find in Paul: meet the Lord first, know and love the Lord, and then share call to holiness to all nations.

Saint Francis de Sales

St Francis de Sales“Ask for nothing, refuse nothing,” Saint Francis de Sales, 1567-1622.

Saint Francis de Sales, tireless teacher, bishop and Doctor of the Church, pray for us!

Why not read some of his classic texts:

– “Introduction to the Devout Life” –>
– “Treatise on the Love of God” –>
– “The Catholic Controversy” –>

A blessed feast day  to all Visitation Sisters and all members of the extended Salesian family!

Saint Marianne Cope

Marrianne CopeToday’s the feast of one of our great American saints, Saint Marianne Cope, a Franciscan sister who spent 35 years ministering to people living with Hansen’s Disease (called leprosy) on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. Cope is part of a small group of American saints.

Saint Marianne (1838-1918) was a close collaborator of the famous Saint Damian DeVeuster of Molokai.

Cope’s venerable body was recently returned to the Diocese of Hawaii.

Bishop Larry Silva said this in a homily:

When Mother Marianne made her famous statement that she was hungry for the work, it was not because she needed more to do.  It was because she knew that her own deep hunger pangs for the true bread of life would be better satisfied if she met the Eucharistic Lord in those she fed, in those she clothed, in those she nursed, and in those least of the least whom she set free from a prison of self-pity, no matter how justified it might be. Who will make the rest of the world as hungry as was our beloved St. Marianne?

More about her inspiring life can be found on her order’s website, the Sisters of St. Francis:

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a poem:

To the Reverend Sister Marianne,  Matron of the Bishop Home, Kalaupapa. 

To see the infinite pity of this place,
The mangled limb, the devastated face,
The innocent sufferers smiling at the rod,
A fool were tempted to deny his God.
He sees, and shrinks; but if he look again,
Lo, beauty springing from the breasts of pain!
He marks the sisters on the painful shores,
And even a fool is silent and adores.

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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