Saint of the Week

Saint of the Week 
January 11th.


      St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 330-c. 395) was a younger sibling in a family that gave the church many years of service and at least five saints. Before entering the monastery of his brother, Basil the Great, Gregory was a rhetorician. He may have been married, although some scholars believe that his treatise On Virginity argues against that.

      He became bishop of Nyssa c 371 or 372. Arians accused him of mismanagement and deposed him in 376. On the death of the Arian, Valens, two years later, he was restored to his see. He attended the first Council of Constantinople in 381, after which he traveled in Transjordan (Arabia) to settle disputes in the churches. During a trip to Jerusalem, he was forced to defend his Christology, although he was then and is now well-known for his Trinitarian theology.

      In 394, he attended a synod in Constantinople and is thought to have died shortly after that when mention of him in church records ceases. His best-known works are the Catechetical Oration, The Life of Moses, and the Life of St. Macrina (his sister)

      Gregory of Nyssa, also known as Gregory Nyssen (Greek: Γρηγόριος Νύσσης; c.335 – c. 395), was bishop of Nyssa, Cappadocia, from 372 to 376 and from 378 until his death. He is venerated as a saint in Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism. Gregory, his elder brother Basil of Caesarea, and their friend Gregory of Nazianzus are collectively known as the Cappadocian Fathers.

      Gregory lacked the administrative ability of his brother Basil or the contemporary influence of Gregory of Nazianzus, but he was an erudite theologian who made significant contributions to the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene Creed. Gregory’s philosophical writings were influenced by Origen. Since the mid-twentieth century, there has been a significant increase in interest in Gregory’s works from the academic community, particularly involving universal salvation, which has resulted in challenges to many traditional interpretations of his theology.


Saint of the Week 
January 2nd.


       Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up in the upper class of New York society. She was a prolific reader, and read everything from the Bible to contemporary novels

      In spite of her high society background, Elizabeth’s early life was quiet, simple, and often lonely. As she grew a little older, the Bible was to become her continual instruction, support and comfort – and she would continue to love the Scriptures for the rest of her life.

     Elizabeth’s deep concern for the spiritual welfare of her family and friends eventually led her into the Catholic Church. Having lost her mother at an early age, Elizabeth felt great comfort in the idea that the Blessed Virgin was truly her mother. She asked the Blessed Virgin to guide her to the True Faith and officially joined the Catholic Church

     At the suggestion of the president of St. Mary’s College in Baltimore, Maryland, Elizabeth started a school in that city. The school had originally been secular but once news of her entrance to Catholicism spread, several girls were removed from her school. It was then Seton, and two other young women who helped her in her work, began plans for a Sisterhood. They established the first free Catholic school in America. When the young community adopted their rule, they made provisions for Elizabeth to continue raising her children.

      On March 25, 1809, Elizabeth Seton pronounced her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, binding for one year. From that time, she was called Mother Seton. Although Mother Seton became afflicted with tuberculosis, she continued to guide her children. The Rule of the Sisterhood was formally ratified in 1812. It was based upon the Rule St. Vincent de Paul had written for his Daughters of Charity in France. By 1818, in addition to their first school, the sisters had established two orphanages and another school. Today, six groups of sisters can trace their origins to Mother Seton’s initial foundation.

      Seton’s favorite prayer was the 23rd Psalm and she developed a deep devotion to the Eucharist, Sacred Scripture, and the Virgin Mary. For the last three years of her life, Elizabeth felt that God was getting ready to call her, and this gave her great joy. Mother Seton died in 1821 at the age of 46, only sixteen years after becoming a Catholic. She was beatified by Pope John XXIII on March 17, 1963, and was canonized on September 14, 1975, by Pope Paul VI.


Saint of the Week 
December 26th.



      St. John the Apostle, the son of Zebedee and Salome, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. John was called to be an Apostle by our Lord in the first year of His public ministry. He is considered the same person as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos and the Beloved Disciple. John’s older brother was St. James the Great, another one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles. Jesus referred to the brothers as “Boanerges,meaning “sons of thunder.” John is believed to be the longest living apostle and the only not to die a martyr’s death.

       John, along with Peter and James, were the only witnesses of the raising of Daughter of Jairus, and the closest witnesses to the Agony in Gethsemane. John was the one who reported to Jesus they had “’forbidden’ a non-disciple from casting out demons in Jesus’ name.” This prompted Jesus to state, “he who is not against us is on our side.” John and Peter were the only two apostles sent by Jesus to make preparations for the final Passover meal, the Last Supper. During the meal, St. John sat next to Jesus, leaning on him rather than lying along the couches.

      John is known as the author of the Gospel of John and four other books in the New Testament – the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. The authorship of the Gospel is credited to the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” and John 21:24 claims the Gospel of John is based on the “Beloved Disciple’s” testimony. However, the true authorship has been debated on since 200. In his Eclesiastical History, Eusebius states the First Epistle of John, and the Gospel of John are agreed upon as John’s. Eusebius continues to state the second and third epistles of John are not John the Apostle’s.


Saint of the Week 
December 19th.

St. Peter Canisius 1521 – 1597
Priest, Doctor of the Church
Feast Day – December 21

In 1565, the Vatican was looking for a secret agent. It was shortly after the Council of Trent and the pope wanted to get the decrees of the Council to all the European bishops. What would be a simple errand in our day, was a dangerous assignment in the sixteenth century. The first envoy who tried to carry the decrees through territory of hostile Protestants and vicious thieves was robbed of the precious documents. Rome needed someone courageous but also someone above suspicion. They chose Peter Canisius. At 43 he was a well-known Jesuit who had founded colleges that even Protestants respected. They gave him a cover as official “visitor” of Jesuit foundations. But Peter couldn’t hide the decrees like our modern fictional spies with their microfilmed messages in collar buttons or cans of shaving cream. Peter traveled from Rome and crisscrossed Germany successfully loaded down with the Tridentine tomes — 250 pages each — not to mention the three sacks of books he took along for his own university!


Saint of the Week 
December 12th.

Patron Saint of Blindness
Feast Day – December 13th

Lucy’s history has been lost and all we really know for certain is that this brave woman who lived in Syracuse lost her life during the persecution of Christians in the early fourth century. Her veneration spread to Rome so that by the sixth century the whole Church recognized her courage in defense of the faith. Because people wanted to shed light on Lucy’s bravery, legends began to crop up. The one that has passed the test of time tells the story of a young Christian woman who vowed to live her life in service of Christ.

After several prayers at the tomb of Saint Agatha, Lucy saw the saint in a dream. St. Agatha told Lucy her mother’s illness would be cured through faith, which Lucy used to persuade her mother to give the dowry money to the poor and allow her to commit her life to God. While Lucy and her mother were grateful to God, the rejected bridegroom was deeply angered and betrayed Lucy’s faith to the governor Paschasius. The governor attempted to force her into defilement at a brothel, but the guards who came to take her away were unable to move her, even after hitching her to a team of oxen. The guards heaped bundles of wood around her, but it wouldn’t burn so they finally resorted to their swords, and Lucy met her death.


Saint of the Week 
December 5th.

Feast Day – December 7th

Saint Ambrose, also known as Aurelius Ambrosius, is one of the four original doctors of the Church. He was the Bishop of Milan and became one of the most important theological figures of the 4th century.

Ambrose was born around 340 AD to a Roman Christian family. He grew up with his siblings, Satyrus and Marcellina, in Trier, Belgic Gaul (present-day Germany). It is believed by many that when Ambrose was just an infant, a swarm of bees landed on his face and left behind a drop of honey. To his father, this was a sign that Ambrose would become someone great with a wonderful sense for speaking.

He is known as the Saint whose teaching converted St. Augustine.


Saint of the Week 
November 28th

ST. ANDREW                                                                   
Feast Day – November 30


St. Andrew, also known as Andrew the Apostle, was a Christian Apostle and the older brother to St. Peter. According to the New Testament, Andrew was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee during the early first century. Much like his younger brother, Simon Peter, Andrew was also a fisherman. Andrew’s very name means, strong and he was known for having good social skills. In the Gospel of Matthew, it is said Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and saw Andrew and Simon Peter fishing. It is then he asked the two to become disciples and “fishers of men.”


Saint of the Week 
November 21st.

Virgin – Martyr
Feast Day November 22
kDecPatron Saint of Mucisions

In the city of Rome there was a virgin named Cecilia, who came from an extremely rich family and was given in marriage to a youth named Valerian. 

Following his baptism, Valerian returned to his wife and found an angel at her side. The angel then crowned Cecilia with a chaplet of rose and lily and when Valerian’s brother, Tibertius, heard of the angel and his brother’s baptism, he also was baptized and together the brothers dedicated their lives to burying the saints who were murdered each day by the prefect of the city, Turcius Almachius. Both brothers were eventually arrested and brought before the prefect where they were executed after they refused to offer a sacrifice to the gods. As her husband and brother-in-law buried the dead, St. Cecilia spent her time preaching and in her lifetime was able to convert over four hundred people, most of whom were baptized by Pope Urban.

Cecilia was later arrested and condemned to be suffocated in the baths. She was shut in for one night and one day, as fires were heaped up and stoked to a terrifying heat – but Cecilia did not even sweat. When Almachius heard this, he sent an executioner to cut off her head in the baths. The executioner struck her three times but was unable to decapitate her so he left her bleeding and she lived for three days. Crowds came to her and collected her blood while she preached to them or prayed. On the third day she died and was buried by Pope Urban and his deacons.


Saint of the Week 
November 14th.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary                
Feast Day – November 17

Saint Elizabeth, called by her people “the dear Saint Elizabeth,” was the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary and the beloved spouse of the landgrave Louis of Thuringia. She was the good angel of the landgrave’s court; but her heroic virtues were often a reproach to others less holy, and she was tried by many persecutions. When about twenty years of age Elizabeth was deprived of the protection of her devoted husband. He started with his liege lord, Frederick II, to join the Third Crusade, but died of fever before he reached Palestine. His brother cruelly turned Elizabeth out of doors with her four children, the youngest being a babe at the breast. The holy young widow rejoiced to suffer these pains with her despised Lord. She was ultimately restored to her rights, but led a life of wonderful penance and humility to the end, enrolled in the Third Order of Saint Francis. In her last agony she sang like an angel, and died November 19, 1231, having just completed her twenty-fourth year. Many miracles are recorded in her life.


Saint of the Week 
November 7th.

St. Theodore the Studite
Feast Day– November 11


        A great figure in Christian monasticism, Theodore was born in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey), but began monastic life in Bithynia. He returned to Constantinople to study for the priesthood and in 787 was ordained. In 794, he succeeded his uncle, St. Pluto, as abbot of Sakkoudion, where his ideals and rules had far-reaching influence. He later moved his monks to a Constantinople monastery founded by the Roman consul Studius. Theodore was exiled several times: for opposing an emperor’s divorce and adultery, and also for defending the veneration of sacred images. He supported the authority of the see of Rome, preached brilliantly, and left a trove of writings.

Saint of the Week 
October 31st.

St. Charles Boromeo
Feast Day – November 4

Many years ago, Charles Borromeo helped the Church begin to live the Gospels again. He did this by living simply. Charles was born in a castle in Italy on October 2, 1538. His rich parents gave Charles a fine education. With it and with their money, he could have been or done anything! But he said goodbye to his family’s money. He knew at the age of 12 he wanted to become a priest.

His uncle was Pope Pius IV, and he named the young man a cardinal and Archbishop of Milan in 1560.

At that time, the Church had troubles. Many priests had forgotten that Jesus came to serve others. They refused to help the poor and hungry, the lonely and homeless. So, Charles taught them how. He sent priests back to school by establishing seminaries. He was very concerned with religious education for children; he wrote a catechism for young people and built schools for them, too.


Saint of the Week 
October 24th.

 Bl. Chiara Badano Feast Day – October 29

Chiara “Luce” Bandano was born in 1971, an only child to parents who had waited long for her arrival. As a child, she was bright, friendly, athletic, and had many friends. At age 9, she joined the Focolare movement and was very inspired by this spirituality. She was struck with cancer at age 17, but never lost her bright spirit. After a two-year battle with the disease, she entered eternal rest on October 7, 1990. Her last words were a message of hope: “Be happy, because I am!” She was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

       Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, by the light of the Holy Spirit, You inspire Your children to follow the narrow path of sanctity and walk in the steps of Your Son Jesus. In imitation of Christ, Blessed Chiara Badano embraced great suffering with much faith and courage. The light of her life shines brightly in this very dark world. She is a luminous witness to the redemptive power of suffering by the way she lovingly and patiently accepted it as an invitation to holiness. By the model of her ceaseless abandonment to Your will, her love for purity and the heroic virtue she practiced, may the example of her life give inspiration to all of us, especially the young people of our day. If it be for Your greater glory and our good, please grant the petition we offer through the intercession of Blessed Chiara Badano. May she soon be counted among Your saints in Heaven.


Saint of the Week 
October 17th.

Saint Paul of the Cross                                                                                                       
Feast Day – October 20    

Paolo Francesco Danei, the oldest son in a poor but noble Italian family, lived austerely even as a teen. After a year in the Venetian army, he returned to a monk like life of prayer and penance and refused to marry. In a vision in 1720, Our Lady, wearing a black habit with a white cross and bearing Jesus’ name, told Paul to start an order to preach Christ’s passion. With his bishop’s approval, he founded the Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which he led for the rest of his life, and later began a nuns’ institute. Passionists were soon doing missions, retreats and spiritual direction throughout Italy. Paul was canonized in 1867.