Category Archives: Saints

Saint Ninian

St Ninian.jpg

Lord our God, you brought the Picts and Britons to acknowledge
of the faith through the teaching of Saint Ninian, the bishop: in your
goodness, listen to our prayers: grant that we who have received from him the
light of your truth may remain strong in faith and active in works of charity.

“Saint Ninian,
whose feast we celebrate today, was himself unafraid to be a lone voice. In the
footsteps of the disciples whom our Lord sent forth before him, Ninian was one
of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow Britons the good
news of Jesus Christ. His mission church in Galloway became a centre for the
first evangelization of this country.” (Pope Benedict XVI, September 16, 2010, Glasgow, Scotland)

Let us remember the Holy Father and the people of Scotland today. May the saints of Scotland intercede for them before the Throne of Grace.

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam

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Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Frederic Ozanam

God, our Father, You alone have the power to bestow those precious gifts of yours which we rightly call miracles. If it be Your will, be pleased to grant such a gift on behalf of [mention a person’s name here]. We humbly ask that You grant this favor so that Blessed Frederic Ozanam may be canonized by our Holy Mother the Church. We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.

The name “Frederic Ozanam” may not be well-known to many in the USA, but those who know of or work with the Saint Vincent de Paul Society know well their father in the faith and their founder. Ozanam followed in the foot steps of Saint Vincent de Paul and is a terrific model for all people, particularly the laity because he puts the gospel and the Liturgy into action.

The Saint Vincent de Paul Society has a membership of more than three-quarters of a million people in 47, 000 conferences in 131 countries on 5 continents.

Frederic Ozanam was a married man, a father, well educated, a person who travelled in high society, a man of faith and action. Many people today consider Blessed Frederic to be a precursor to the Second Vatican Council’s vision of the laity in the Church.

Ozanam’s vision of the Church can be seen in an address he gave on the 4 marks of the Church (one, holy, catholic and apostolic). Here is an excerpt of a talk he gave:


One only
means of salvation remains to us, that is, that Christians, in the name of
love, interpose between the two camps (of rich and poor) passing like
beneficent deserters from one to the other … communicating mutual charity to
all, until this charity, paralyzing and stifling the egotism of both parties,
and every day lessening their antipathies, shall bid the two camps arise and
break down the barriers of prejudice, and cast aside their weapons of anger and
march forth to meet each other, not to fight but to mingle together in one
embrace, so that they may form but one fold under one pastor. 


Will we be
satisfied to lament the barrenness of the present time, when each bears in his
heart a germ of holiness, which a simple desire would be sufficient to develop?
It we do not know how to love God as the saints did, it is because we see God
with the eyes of faith alone, and faith is so weak. But the poor we see with
the eyes of flesh. They are present. We can put our fingers and our hands into
their wounds, the marks of the crown of thorns are plainly visible on their
heads. There is no place for unbelief here … You poor are the visible image
of the God whom we do not see, but whom we love in loving you.


Catholic university (Louvain) should be a cause of rejoicing to the Church, to
see raised within her yet another monument to the immortal alliance of Science
and Faith.


You have felt the emptiness of material pleasures, you
have felt the hunger for truth crying out within you; you have gone for light
and comfort to the barren philosophy of modern apostles. You have not found
food for your souls there. The religion of your forefathers appears before you
today with full hands; do not turn away, for it is generous. It also, like you,
is young. It does not grow old with the world. Ever renewing itself, it keeps
pace with progress, and it alone leads to perfection.

More about Blessed Frederic Ozanam can be read here, his chronology, and a brief biography.

Saints Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus

St Joseph of Ariamathea NFrangipane.jpgO God, by whose grace Saint Joseph of Arimathea was emboldened to ask for the sacred Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, that together with Saint Nicodemus he might prepare it for burial and lay it in his own tomb, give us such an increase of faith and courage that we may not fear to bear reproach for the sake of Christ,but rather may serve Him with sincere devotion all the days of our life.


Today, the Roman Martyrology, the Church gives us Saints Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus as models of holiness, pointing with certainty, to Christ Himself. But you may ask if is correct since one rarely sees, if ever, these saints on the liturgical calendar and never preached in the sacred Liturgy, even when proclaimed in the Gospel. The Martyrology says:

At Jerusalem, the commemoration of Saints Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who received the body of Jesus taken down from the cross, wrapped it in a shroud and placed it in the sepulchre. Joseph, a noble official and disciple of the Lord, was seeking the Kingdom of God; Nicodemus, for his part, a member of the Pharisees and a ruler among the Jews, came to Jesus by night to inquire of his mission and defended him in the presence of the high priests and Pharisees who sought to arrest him.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

The gives to us today in the Office of Readings the following from the Confessions of Saint Augustine of Hippo, whose feast we celebrate today. These are some of the most moving words of the great Augustine! If you have not read the Confessions I urge you to do so; I have always felt thus, so much so that when I taught high school junior theology I had my students read significant sections of the work.

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Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance
the innermost places of my being; but only because you had become my helper was
I able to do so. I entered, then, and with the vision of my spirit, such as it
was, I saw the incommutable light far above my spiritual ken and transcending
my mind: not this common light which every carnal eye can see, nor any light of
the same order; but greater, as though this common light were shining much more
powerfully, far more brightly, and so extensively as to fill the universe. The
light I saw was not the common light at all, but something different, utterly
different, from all those things. Nor was it higher than my mind in the sense
that oil floats on water or the sky is above the earth; it was exalted because
this very light made me, and I was below it because by it I was made. Anyone who
knows truth knows this light.

O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved
Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to
know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see
exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely
on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew
myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear
your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall
eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be
changed into me”.

Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed
to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God
and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and
blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the
Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough
to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that
your Wisdom, through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk
adapted to our infancy.+Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new,
late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there
that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things
which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things
kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at
all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed,
you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I
drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and
thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Saint Monica

Remembering Saint Monica, mother of the great Saint Augustine of Hippo today, I re-read the account Augustine gave of his mother’s death and his tribute to her in the Confessions (9.12). The intimacy Augustine portrays between he and God and he and his mother is beautiful and very striking. Truly, grace at work. 

 St Monica Andrea Verrocchio[1].jpg

Augustine writes of his mother:

I closed her eyes; and there flowed in a great sadness on my heart and it was passing into tears, when at the strong behest of my mind my eyes sucked back the fountain dry, and sorrow was in me like a convulsion. As soon as she breathed her last, the boy Adeodatus burst out wailing; but he was checked by us all, and became quiet. Likewise, my own childish feeling which was, through the youthful voice of my heart, seeking escape in tears, was held back and silenced. For we did not consider it fitting to celebrate that death with tearful wails and groanings. This is the way those who die unhappy or are altogether dead are usually mourned. But she neither died unhappy nor did she altogether die. For of this we were assured by the witness of her good life, her “faith unfeigned,” and other manifest evidence.

What was it, then, that hurt me so grievously in my heart except the newly made wound, caused from having the sweet and dear habit of living together with her suddenly broken? I was full of joy because of her testimony in her last illness, when she praised my dutiful attention and called me kind, and recalled with great affection of love that she had never heard any harsh or reproachful sound from my mouth against her. But yet, O my God who made us, how can that honor I paid her be compared with her service to me? I was then left destitute of a great comfort in her, and my soul was stricken; and that life was torn apart, as it were, which had been made but one out of hers and mine together.

When the boy was restrained from weeping, Evodius took up the Psalter and began to sing, with the whole household responding, the psalm, “I will sing of mercy and judgment unto thee, O Lord.” And when they heard what we were doing, many of the brethren and religious women came together. And while those whose office it was to prepare for the funeral went about their task according to custom, I discoursed in another part of the house, with those who thought I should not be left alone, on what was appropriate to the occasion. By this balm of truth, I softened the anguish known to thee. They were unconscious of it and listened intently and thought me free of any sense of sorrow. But in thy ears, where none of them heard, I reproached myself for the mildness of my feelings, and restrained the flow of my grief which bowed a little to my will. The paroxysm returned again, and I knew what I repressed in my heart, even though it did not make me burst forth into tears or even change my countenance; and I was greatly annoyed that these human things had such power over me, which in the due order and destiny of our natural condition must of necessity happen. And so with a new sorrow I sorrowed for my sorrow and was wasted with a twofold sadness.

So, when the body was carried forth, we both went and returned without tears. For neither in those prayers which we poured forth to thee, when the sacrifice of our redemption was offered up to thee for her — with the body placed by the side of the grave as the custom is there, before it is lowered down into it — neither in those prayers did I weep. But I was most grievously sad in secret all the day, and with a troubled mind entreated thee, as I could, to heal my sorrow; but thou didst not. I now believe that thou wast fixing in my memory, by this one lesson, the power of the bonds of all habit, even on a mind which now no longer feeds upon deception. It then occurred to me that it would be a good thing to go and bathe, for I had heard that the word for bath [balneum] took its name from the Greek balaneion, because it washes anxiety from the mind. Now see, this also I confess to thy mercy, “O Father of the fatherless”: I bathed and felt the same as I had done before. For the bitterness of my grief was not sweated from my heart.

Then I slept, and when I awoke I found my grief not a little assuaged. And as I lay there on my bed, those true verses of Ambrose came to my mind, for thou art truly,

“Deus, creator omnium,
Polique rector, vestiens
Diem decoro lumine,
Noctem sopora gratia;
Artus solutos ut quies
Reddat laboris usui
Mentesque fessas allevet,
Luctusque solvat anxios.”

“O God, Creator of us all, 
Guiding the orbs celestial,
Clothing the day with lovely light,
Appointing gracious sleep by night:
Thy grace our wearied limbs restore
To strengthened labor, as before,
And ease the grief of tired minds
From that deep torment which it finds.”

And then, little by little, there came back to me my former memories of thy handmaid: her devout life toward thee, her holy tenderness and attentiveness toward us, which had suddenly been taken away from me — and it was a solace for me to weep in thy sight, for her and for myself, about her and about myself. Thus I set free the tears which before I repressed, that they might flow at will, spreading them out as a pillow beneath my heart. And it rested on them, for thy ears were near me — not those of a man, who would have made a scornful comment about my weeping. But now in writing I confess it to thee, O Lord! Read it who will, and comment how he will, and if he finds me to have sinned in weeping for my mother for part of an hour — that mother who was for a while dead to my eyes, who had for many years wept for me that I might live in thy eyes — let him not laugh at me; but if he be a man of generous love, let him weep for my sins against thee, the Father of all the brethren of thy Christ.

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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