Saints: January 2013 Archives

Saint John Bosco

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O God, who raised up the Priest Saint John Bosco as a father and teacher of the young, grant we pray, that, aflame with the same fire of love, we may seek out souls and serve you alone. 

The devotion to Saint John Bosco is not as known on these shores as it ought to be. He was a brilliant, loving and insightful man. Bosco's confidence in God's ways is a tremendous consolation: he helps me to recognize the signs God places in front of me with clarity.

The Salesian congregation of priests, brothers and sisters is better known in other parts of the world than in the USA. Some say that the popularity of the Jesuits here made covered over the charism of Bosco and the schools his order administered. Not completely sure that is the reason but what is clear to me that not to know about Bosco is an impoverishment. One thing I heard from a Benedictine friend who has taken a shining to Bosco tells me that Bosco's "success" is that if you want to positively affect the lives of students then you have to be involved in the lives of the students. The ivory tower approach is not going to work.

May the Apostle of the Youth, pray for us.

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Conversion of Saint Paul

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O God, who taught the whole world through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul, draw us, we pray, nearer to you through the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today, and so make us witnesses to your truth in the world.

"Today, there is a great need for reconciliation, dialogue and mutual understanding," in contemporary culture, said Pope Benedict XVI.

Let's pray for the unity of Christians through Saint Paul's intercession.

Saint Francis de Sales

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DeSales.jpgO God, who for the salvation of souls willed that the Bishop Saint Francis de Sales become all things to all, graciously grant that, following his example, we may always display the gentleness of your charity in the service of our neighbor.

We honor the gentle giant, pastor of souls, spiritual father of many, author, and Doctor of the Church, Francis de Sales (1567-1622). A brilliant student, he was ordained a priest despite his father's desires. Francis was a provost of an Oratorian community and later bishop of Geneva and founder. His writings and approach to religious inspired many new forms of religious life.

His Introduction to the Devout Life, first published in 1609, is well known and cherished, reliable, honest, accessible, humane, and a Christian classic. His doctrine is called celestial in that it points a perfect way for ordinary people to enter into communion with God without having to flee the world. You don't have to be a monk of nun to have a spiritual life!

Saint Francis is the patron saint of journalists, writers, and now social communications for the Church.

Saint Agnes

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Saint Agnes of Rome

Saint Agnes of Rome

What I longed for, I now see; what I hoped for, I now possess; in heaven I am espoused to him whom on earth I loved with all my heart.

Saint Agnes raised her hands and prayed: Holy Father, hear me. I am coming to you whom I have loved, whom I have sought and always desired.

The feast of Agnes, like the other virgin martyrs of the Church point to the fact that loving Christ is no easy fact, even when the burning desire of the heart is tangible. Much suffering, much rejection, unto death, is the sign of discipleship. In many ways the line from yesterday's gospel, "Do what he tells you" is very exacting today with Agnes. 

The cost of being in love with Jesus Christ and the willingness to suffer for and with His sacrament, the Church, is as much a reality today in all parts of the world as it was for Agnes in hers.

Let is pray for persecuted Christians, those who desire to belong to Christ but can't.
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Saint Anthony, father of Monks, intercede for the monastic life in the present day for the monks and nuns can live his consecration in awe and charity at all pleasing only to God.

Saint Anthony Anthony of the Desert (c. 251-356) was a friend of God, and therefore a son and brother to others. His friendship with God flowed from his obedience (his listening to and building his relationship).

He's known as the founder of monasticism. His rule of life established guidelines for living together as Christians. This is what came to be known as "monastic," the intense and purpose driven living of the Gospel. Following the death of his parents and providing for his younger sister, Anthony became a monk at 20; his method was to live in total solitude on a desert mountain near the Nile River and eating only bread and water, which he never tasted before sunset, and sometimes only once in two, three, or four days. In the spiritual life the desert is the place to do battle with sin. Anthony shows us that it possible to overcome the temptations of the devil; emerging about 20 years later from total seclusion to instruct hermits in the ways of the Gospel, monasticism, Anthony gave witness to the power of Jesus Christ in his capacity to the heal the sick, being a spiritual father, by casting out demons and preaching. From him we begin to realize that not everything lasts forever. It is said that he lived at least to 100 years.

It is Saint Athanasius's Life of Saint Anthony that perpetuates the narrative and inspired waves of monks who civilized and evangelized Europe and the Near East. Anthony established a monastery between the Nile and the Red Sea, which exists today.

Saint Anthony, pray for us. Help is to renew and in some cases, refound the monastic living.

Saint André Bessette

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Saint-Brother Andre.jpgToday is the transferred liturgical memorial of Saint Andre --at least in the Congregation of Holy Cross-- because yesterday was Sunday.

Lord our God, friend of the humble, who blessed your servant Saint André Bessette with a great devotion to Saint Joseph and a remarkable concern for the afflicted and the needy, grant that, through his intercession, we may follow his example of prayer and charity and so enter with him to behold the splendor of your glory.

For those who don't know who Saint André is, this sainted brother of the poor and friend of Saint Joseph is indeed a saint for our times. His simplicity of focus and heart help us to keep perspective in our journey of faith and life together with others.

His obscurity until he was beatified and canonized (2010) even by the religious congregation to which he belong. Early in his life he spent time in New England, especially in Connecticut earning an income to send home to his family. With Saint André's feast we ought to seek his intercession with Saint Joseph and the Lord for the good work of the Congregation of Holy Cross, for the needs of the poor and for fraternity among all peoples.
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Saint John Neumann

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O God, who called the Bishop Saint John Neumann, renowned for his charity and pastoral service, to shepherd your people in America, grant by his intercession that, as we foster the Christian education of youth and are strengthened by the witness of brotherly love, we may constantly increase the family of your Church.

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Our challenge today is to imitate what is celebrated in the person of this saintly American bishop.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

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This is the generation which seeks the face of the God of Jacob.

O God, who crowned with the gift of true faith Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton's burning zeal to find you, grant by her intercession and example that we may always seek you with diligent love and find you in daily service with sincere faith.

Saint Elizabeth Ann was responsible for the Catholic school system in the USA, and many of the Catholic hospitals. She was the first US saint. How good it would be if a revival of vocations to the Sisters of Charity. Right now, the Sisters of Charity are on the verge of vanishing.

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Several years ago I was introduced to the figure of Saint Seraphim of Sarov ((1759-1833). He was a monk, priest, hermit and ascetic. He was known for his wisdom and humanity. In the Orthodox church he held the title of "startsy," that is, a charismatic elder (in the strict sense of the word) "anointed" by the Holy Spirit with the gifts of prophesy, healing, discernment of God's will. Saint Seraphim, you might say, was a spiritual father.

There is a story about Saint Seraphim that gives an interesting side to the man. It reads something to this effect,

"Two nuns from a certain convent once came to visit Saint Seraphim. Suddenly a bear lumbered unexpectedly out of the woods and frightened the visitors with his appearance. "Misha," - said the saint, - "why do you frighten the poor orphans! Go back and bring us a treat, otherwise I have nothing to offer to my guests." Hearing these words, the bear went back into the woods, and two hours later he tumbled into the holy elder's cell and gave him something covered with leaves. It was a fresh honeycomb of purest honey. Father Seraphim took a piece of bread from his bag, gave it to the bear, pointed to the door - and the bear left immediately."

I wonder if Saint Seraphim is invoked by those who have troubled bears? I am sure his guidance would be helpful.

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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 January 2013.

Saints: December 2012 is the previous archive.

Saints: February 2013 is the next archive.

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