Saints: August 2012 Archives


Saint Margaret Clitherow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The English Catholic martyrs, in my opinion, ought always to amaze the believer whether he or she is English or not. All of them really lived and died in a noble way and with conviction that shames most. One of the 40 martyrs canonized at the same time (here's the list), Margaret Ward, was killed for her faith during the era of Elizabeth I on the charge of helping Father William Watson, a Catholic priest escape. She kept Father Watson's confidence and for that act was tortured.

Margaret Ward, canonized by the Servant of God Pope Paul VI on 25 October 1970, is recognized as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. The Church generally recognizes the date of her canonization as her feast day. However, the Dioceses of Birmingham, Leeds and Shrewsbury liturgically recall today as the feast for Saints Margaret Ward, Margaret Clitherow and Anne Line. And, so do I. Join me in prayer for the Church of England, Scotland and Wales.

My 2009 post on these women can be read here.
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Feast of Herod ASpinello.jpgO God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist should go ahead of your Son both in his birth and in his death, grant that, as he died a Martyr for truth and justice, we, too, may fight hard for the confession of what you teach.

The Church honors the cousin of the Lord, John the Baptist. The name of the feast is correctly called "The Passion of Saint John the Baptist" is a hinge feast of a prophet and lover of Truth.

We pray for those who stand up for what's right and truthful in the face of hostility.

Saint Augustine

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LET me speak of another celebrated conquest of God's grace in an after age, and you will see how it pleases Him to make a Confessor, a Saint, Doctor of His Church, out of sin and heresy both together. It was not enough that the Father of the Western Schools, the author of a thousand works, the triumphant controversialist, the especial champion of grace, should have been once a poor slave of the flesh, but he was the victim of a perverted intellect also. He who, of all others, was to extol the grace of God, was left more than others to experience the helplessness of nature. The great St Augustine (I am not speaking of the holy missionary of the same name, who came to England and converted our pagan forefathers, and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury, but of the great African Bishop, two centuries before him)--Augustine, I say, not being in earnest about his soul, not asking himself the question, how was sin to be washed away, but rather being desirous, while youth and strength lasted, to enjoy the flesh and the world, ambitious and sensual, judged of truth and falsehood by his private judgment and his private fancy; despised the Catholic Church because it spoke so much of faith and subjection, thought to make his own reason the measure of all things, and accordingly joined a far-spread sect, which affected to be philosophical and enlightened, to take large views of things, and to correct the vulgar, that is, the Catholic notions of God and Christ, of sin, and of the way to heaven. In this sect of his he remained for some years; yet what he was taught there did not satisfy him. It pleased him for a time, and then he found he had been eating for food what had no nourishment in it; he became hungry and thirsty after something more substantial, he knew not what; he despised himself for being a slave to the flesh, and he found his religion did not help him to overcome it; thus he understood that he had not gained the truth, and he cried out, "Oh, who will tell me where to seek it, and who will bring me into it?"

Saint Monica

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saint-monica.jpgEveryone ought to have a "Saint Monica" figure in their lives. The sainted mother of Saint Augustine is the patron of spiritual maternity. Even though Monica was the biological mother of Augustine, she worked hard in the spiritual realm to get her son to give himself to Christ and his plan rather than his own plan of self-destructive behavior. Her constant prayer, fasting and good works all contributed to Augustine's conversion. The collect for today's Mass speaks volumes.

The Church prays

O God, who console the sorrowful and who mercifully accepted the motherly tears of Saint Monica for the conversion of her son Augustine, grant us, through the intercession of them both, that we may bitterly regret our sins and find the grace of your pardon.
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Saint Louis

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St Louis IX, MO.jpgSaints come from all walks of life. We've got every group represented in the group of canonized. Today is the feast of a saint of a rare group --a king. The Church honors King Saint Louis IX.

The Church prays

O God, who brought Saint Louis from the cares of earthly rule to the glory of a heavenly realm, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that, by fulling our duties on earth, we may seek out your eternal Kingdom.

Please keep in your prayers the Connecticut native who made his solemn profession of vows as a Benedictine monk of the Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis today.
Dom Dunstan Holms is now a permanent member of Saint Louis Abbey; Abbot Thomas has assigned him the work of being the chair of the classics department; he's a well respected Latin teacher at the Priory School. May God richly bless Dom Dunstan as he moves more and more toward the Paschal Mystery.

Likewise, say a prayer for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis on their feast day.

Saint Bartholomew

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ST. BARTHOLOMEW, whose Festival we celebrate today, has been supposed to be the same as the Nathanael mentioned in the text. Nathanael was one of Christ's first converts, yet his name does not occur again till the last chapter of St. John's Gospel, where he is mentioned in company with certain of the Apostles, to whom Christ appeared after His resurrection. Now, why should the call of Nathanael have been recorded in the opening of the Gospel, among the acts of Christ in the beginning of His Ministry, unless he was an Apostle? Philip, Peter, and Andrew, who are mentioned at the same time, were all Apostles; and Nathanael's name is introduced without preface, as if familiar to a Christian reader. At the end of the Gospel it appears again, and there too among Apostles. Besides, the Apostles were the special witnesses of Christ, when He was risen.  He manifested Himself, "not to all the people," says Peter, "but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead." [Acts x. 41.] Now, the occasion on which Nathanael is mentioned, was one of these manifestations. "This is now the third time," says the Evangelist, "that Jesus was manifested to His disciples, after that He was risen from the dead." It was in the presence of Nathanael, that He gave St. Peter his commission, and foretold his martyrdom, and the prolonged life of St. John. All this leads us to conjecture that Nathanael is one of the Apostles under another name. Now, he is not Andrew, Peter, or Philip, for they are mentioned in connexion with him in the first chapter of the Gospel; nor Thomas, James, or John, in whose company he is found in the last chapter; nor Jude (as it would seem), because the name of Jude occurs in St. John's fourteenth chapter. Four Apostles remain, who are not named in his Gospel,--St. James the Less, St. Matthew, St. Simon, and St. Bartholomew; of whom St. Matthew's second name is known to have been Levi, while St. James, being related, was not at any time a stranger to our Lord, which Nathanael evidently was. If then Nathanael were an Apostle, he was either Simon or Bartholomew. Now it is observable, that, according to St. John, Philip brought Nathanael to Christ; therefore Nathanael and Philip were friends: while in the other Gospels, in the list of Apostles, Philip is associated with Bartholomew; "Simon and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew." [Matt. x. 3.] This is some evidence that  Bartholomew and not Simon is the Nathanael of St. John. On the other hand, Matthias has been suggested instead of either, his name meaning nearly the same as Nathanael in the original language. However, since writers of some date decide in favour of Bartholomew, I shall do the like in what follows.

What then do we learn from his recorded character and history? It affords us an instructive lesson.

When Philip told him that he had found the long-expected Messiah of whom Moses wrote, Nathanael (that is, Bartholomew) at first doubted. He was well read in the Scriptures, and knew the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem; whereas Jesus dwelt at Nazareth, which Nathanael supposed in consequence to be the place of His birth,--and he knew of no particular promises attached to that city, which was a place of evil report, and he thought no good could come out of it. Philip told him to come and see; and he went to see, as a humble single-minded man, sincerely desirous to get at the truth. In consequence, he was vouchsafed an interview with our Saviour, and was converted.

Blessed John Henry Newman

Plain and Parochial Sermons, 27

Saint Pius X

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St Pius X.jpgO God, who to safeguard the Catholic faith and to restore all things in Christ, filled Pope Saint Pius the Tenth with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fortitude, graciously grant that, following his teaching and example, we may gain an eternal prize.

Saint Pius was known as an ardent defender of the purity of Christian doctrine. He's one of those popes that really got what it means follow the 5th century Saint Prosper of Aquitaine's emphasis on the Liturgy as the heart of our faith, that is, to be "liturgical." Pius knew the full value of the sacred Liturgy as it forms our worship, believe system and life as Christians. He's credited for the renewal of our worship, the promotion of plainchant and beauty public prayer. Most people will recall that Pius established the practice of early, frequent and daily communion. 

Pope Pius X was born in 1835, known as an intelligent, industrious and pious priest and bishop, died August 20, 1914 and canonized on May 29, 1954.

Saint Maximillian Kolbe

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Maximilian Kolbe.jpgCome, you blessed of my Father, says the Lord. Amen I say to you: Whatever you did for one of the least of my brethren, you did it for me.

O God, who filled the Priest and Martyr Saint Maximilian Kolbe with a burning love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with zeal for souls and love of neighbor, graciously grant, through his intercession, that, striving for your glory by eagerly serving others, we may be conformed, even until death.

Saint Maximilian is clearly one of the 20th centuries most notable martyrs we have. I can think of anyone who has really followed so closely the entrance antiphon (noted above) than Kolbe.

Earlier today I had a visit from a friend, Brother Maximilian of Newark Abbey, who was visiting family. I am also reminded of Brother Maximilian of St Louis Abbey today, especially as he prepares to go to studies for the priesthood.
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O God, who made Saint Jane Frances de Chantal radiant with outstanding merits in different walks of life, grant us, through her intercession, that walking faithfully in our vocation, we may constantly be examples of shining light.

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While today is Sunday and Saint Jane's feast is not celebrated by the Church at Mass, the Visitation nuns will observe her feast with great solemnity. I saw one of the St Louis Visitandine nuns yesterday at the ordination of the two monks and we had a good laugh and a few moments talking about important things, like my coveting the cross of a Visitation nun (look at the picture closely). It is, for me, a strikingly beautiful sign of Christ's love and human commitment to that love. I really want one!

I pray for the nuns of the Order of Visitation whom I have known over the years and I keep in prayer the Monasteries in Georgetown, St Louis, and Tyrringham.

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, keep us "walking faithfully in our vocation," pray for us.

Saint John Marie Vianney

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Almighty and merciful God, who made the Priest Saint John Vianney wonderful in his pastoral zeal, grant, we pray, that through his intercession and example we may in charity win brothers and sisters for Christ and attain with them eternal glory.

The August liturgical memorial for Saint John Marie Vianney, the patron of priests, is yet another reminder we ought to have in interceding on behalf of priests. God needs to hear from us n this subject...

May Saint John Vianney approach the Throne of Mercy for all priests.
Nowogrodek martyrs.jpgThis picture of the Blessed Martyrs of Nowogródek has been imprinted in my mind and heart since I was in grammar school with the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. How could one be not moved by the death of these women?

The martyrdom of Sister Stella and her 10 companions by the Nazi occupation is one the events in history that keeps me attune to the possibilities of men and women doing evil things to others.

Today, let's pray for the grace to resist doing evil by keeping heart and mind focussed on Christ and his Gospel. Blessed Stella and companions, pray for us.
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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 August 2012.

Saints: July 2012 is the previous archive.

Saints: September 2012 is the next archive.

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