Saints: January 2011 Archives

Much is made of canonization of Saint Mary MacKillop with her sordid past of being an ex-communicated Catholic.

Whether by ex-communicated we mean official ecclesiastical punishment or a punishment imposed by a religious superior. One's being cut off from the Christian community sacramentally is strikingly painful but sometimes a needed medicine for the cure of some spiritual sickness typically demonstrated in an act of disobedience to the Church's authority based on intellectual separation from some dogma or doctrine of the Church. You'll see this with matters pertaining to abortion and certain healthcare matters. One simple example is that the medicine of excommunication is automatically imposed by the act itself for threatening the life of the pope. For more information see Book VI of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, canons 1364-99 outline

Some good examples of saints who were once excommunicated and then restored to communication in the Church are:

Saint Cyprian
Saint Hippolytus of Rome
Saint Joan of Arc
Saint Gerard Majella - by St Alphonsus Liguori
Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop - by the bishop in Australia
Saint Theodore Guerin by her bishop

Saint Joan of Arc

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Saint Joan of Arc is a confusing figure for some these days. I think she's abused by the feminists who dash-off with her story for their own agenda which runs contrary to the authentic Christian woman, Joan. If you miss the fact of Joan's rootedness in Christ and the Church, then you miss the point of her life and work. The synthesis of the Pope's teaching is given here. The full texts follows below.

Our catechesis today deals with Saint Joan of Arc, one of the outstanding women of the later Middle Ages. Raised in a religious family, Joan enjoyed mystical experiences from an early age. At a time of crisis in the Church and of war in her native France, she felt God's call to a life of prayer and virginity, and to personal engagement in the liberation of her compatriots. At the age of seventeen, Joan began her mission among the French military forces; she sought to negotiate a just Christian peace between the English and French, took an active part in the siege of Orleans and witnessed the coronation of Charles VII at Rheims. Captured by her enemies the next year, she was tried by an ecclesiastical court and burnt at the stake as a heretic; she died invoking the name of Jesus. Her unjust condemnation was overturned twenty-five years later. At the heart of Saint Joan's spirituality was an unfailing love for Christ and, in Christ, for the Church and for her neighbour. May the prayers and example of Saint Joan of Arc inspire many lay men and women to devote themselves to public life in the service of God's Kingdom, and encourage all of us to live to the fullest our lofty calling in Christ.

Conversion of Saint Paul

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Conv of St Paul Fra Angelico c 1430 Missal 558.jpgIn Paul what is pointed out theologically was also brought about physically: healed of his inner blindness, he sees clearly. Thus St Paul was not transformed by a thought but by an event, by the irresistible presence of the Risen One whom subsequently he would never be able to doubt, so powerful had been the evidence of the event, of this encounter. It radically changed Paul's life in a fundamental way; in this sense one can and must speak of a conversion. This encounter is the centre St Luke's account for which it is very probable that he used an account that may well have originated in the community of Damascus.

Pope Benedict XVI
3 September 2008

Saint Francis de Sales

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The Church's liturgical memorial for Saint Francis de Sales is a testimony to what can be done with a man of intelligence, humility, zeal for souls and love by God for the salvation of souls. De Sales is known as the modern Thomas à Kempis because of his book, Introduction to the Devout Life. He's also credited in assisting Saint Jane Frances de Chantal in founding the Order of the Visitation in 1610. Francis showed fatherly concern for the poor and refused ecclesiastical honors, e.g., the cardinal's hat, in favor of living as simple a life as possible as a bishop. The Church declared Saint Francis de Sales a Doctor of the Church.

The Church prays at the Liturgy:

O God, who for the salvation of souls willed that the bishop Saint Francis de Sales become all thing to all, grant that, following his example, we may always display the gentleness of Your charity in the service of our neighbor.

From Pius Parsch's The Church's Year of Grace

How Francis developed a gentle and amiable disposition is a story in itself; he was not born a saint. By nature his temperament was choleric, fiery; little was needed to throw him into a state of violent anger. It took years before he mastered his impatience, his unruly temper. 

Even after he became bishop, there were slips, as for instance, when someone rang a bell before he had finished preaching. The important point, of course, is that by constant perseverance he did in time attain perfect self-mastery. Wherein lies a lesson.


Today, please remember my Mother, Lynda, at the Altar. She's having her left knee replaced. May Saint Francis de Sales, pray for her and the medical professionals.

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Saint Agnes

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Let us keep the feast of blessed Agnes, and recall the kind of suffering she endured: in the full flower of her youth she died, and found life. She chose to love the Author of life alone; in the full flower of her youth she died, and found life. (the responsory)

The Church gives us a young woman martyr of the early 4th century. She is thought to be about 12 or 13 (records are sketchy) Agnes was martyred under the Emperor Diocletian. 

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More often than not our remembrance of Agnes focuses less on her virginity and martyrdom --the supreme gesture of witness to the Lord-- and more on the fact that wool is given to the Pope. Sad but true. Agnes' witness to a life of virginity, possessing without possession, of a complete love for God.

On this feast a tradition reaching back centuries lambs are raised by the Trappist monks of Tre Fountane in Rome bring to the Pope the wool that will be made into the pallia by the Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of Saint Cecelia (in Trastevere). The pallium is a white band of wool with six embroidered black crosses (the Pope's pallium is slightly different with red crosses and wider). The pallium is worn by the metropolitan archbishop for significant ecclesial events, i.e., Masses of Ordination, consecration of churches, altars, bishops, and on certain feast days. Unfortunately, the pallium is worn too often and without proper distinction of festivity and ecclesial communion with the Pope. The Servant of God Pope Paul VI issued a 1978 document, Inter Eximia, limiting the use of the pallium to the pope and metropolitan archbishops. In 1984, John Paul determined the date of the conferral of the pallia.

Before given to the new metropolitan archbishops on June 29th, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the pallia rest for short time on the tomb of Saint Peter (the Confessio). You will recall that Saint Agnes is one of the seven women commemorated in the Roman Canon (the BVM would be the 8th).

Saint Henry

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Almighty God, your servant Henry of Uppsala brought the light of the gospel to the people of Finland and confirmed his preaching by martyrdom: Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we, also, in our generation may show forth your praise, who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light.

Saint Margaret of Hungary

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Saint Margaret of Hungary's "... friends and acquaintances petitioned for her to be acclaimed a saint almost immediately after her death. Among them was her own servant, Agnes, who rightly observed that this daughter of a monarch showed far more humility than any of the monastery's maids. Although their testimony expressed Margaret's overpowering desire to allow nothing to stand between her and God, the process of canonization was not complete until 1943. The island where her convent stood, called first the "Blessed Virgin's Isle," was called "Isle of Margaret" after the saint."

(Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson, Dorcy, Farmer)

Saint Ita

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Lord God, it was through the power of your Spirit that Saint Ita was tireless in caring for the afflicted, and in guiding the young toward holiness, and so we pray: prepare in our hearts, as you prepared in hers, a home where you will dwell.

Prophet Malachi, saint

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Commemoratio sancti Malachiae, prophetae, qui, post transmigrationem Babylone diem magnum Domini eiusque adventum in templum nuntiavit semperque et ubique mundam oblationem nomini eius offerendam. (Roman Martyrology)

The commemoration of Saint Malachi, the prophet, who, after the Babylonian Exile, announced the great Day of the Lord, his coming into the Temple, and that an immaculate offering be made to His Name, always and everywhere.

Saint Hilary Poitiers

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Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we may rightly understand and truthfully profess the divinity of your Son, which the Bishop Saint Hilary taught with such constancy.

Saint Theodosius the Great

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Saint Theodosius the Great.jpgPlanted in the courts of your Lord, you blossomed beautifully with virtue, and increased your children in the desert, showering them with streams of your tears, O chief shepherd of the divine flock of God. Therefore, we cry to you: "Rejoice, Father Theodosius." Kondakion - Tone 8

From the hagiography:

Saint Theodosius the Great lived during the fifth-sixth centuries, and was the founder of cenobitic monasticism. At the monastery St Theodosius built a home for taking in strangers, separate infirmaries for monks and laymen, and also a shelter for the dying. Seeing that people from various lands gathered at the Lavra, the saint arranged for services in the various languages: Greek, Georgian and Armenian. All gathered to receive the Holy Mysteries in the large church, where divine services were chanted in Greek.

St Theodosius accomplished many healings and other miracles during his life, coming to the aid of the needy. Through his prayers he once destroyed the locusts devastating the fields in Palestine. Also by his intercession, soldiers were saved from death, and he also saved those perishing in shipwrecks and those lost in the desert. Once, the saint gave orders to strike the semandron (a piece of wood hit with a mallet), so that the brethren would gather at prayer. He told them, "The wrath of God draws near the East." After several days it became known that a strong earthquake had destroyed the city of Antioch at the very hour when the saint had summoned the brethren to prayer.

Before his death, St Theodosius summoned to him three beloved bishops and revealed to them that he would soon depart to the Lord. After three days, he died at the age of 105. The saint's body was buried with reverence in the cave in which he lived at the beginning of his ascetic deeds.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa

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Watchful with the eyes of thy soul
and a vigilant shepherd for the world,
with wisdom and thy fervent intercession thou didst drive off heretics like wolves,/keeping thy flock unharmed.

Kondakion - Tone 1

Saint André Bessette

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Lord our, friend of the humble, who blessed Your servant, Brother André with a great devotion to Saint Joseph and a real concern for the needy and the afflicted, through his intercession fill our hearts with compassion and lead us in the ways of prayer and love, that we may enter with him into Your glory.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

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But we lack courage to keep a continual watch over nature, and therefore, year after year, with our thousand graces, multiplied resolutions, and fair promises, we run around in a circle of misery and imperfections. After a long time in the service of God, we come nearly to the point from whence we set out, and perhaps with even less ardor for penance and mortification than when we began our consecration to him.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Divine Office, Office of Readings

There are very few American women who have had an impact on civil and religious society because today's saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, with the work of education and hospitals and other institutions of culture that her order, the Sisters of Charity, did for all of us.

Ask Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton to intercede for us right now to help us to make Jesus known through acts of charity and mercy.

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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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Saints category from January 2011.

Saints: December 2010 is the previous archive.

Saints: February 2011 is the next archive.

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