Pierre Toussaint was born and raised as a Catholic slave in Haiti when it was still a French colony. To escape the slave rebellions that eventually drove out the French government, Toussaint’s owners fled, with him, to New York. He was assigned as an apprentice to one of the city’s leading hairdressers, and became quite successful. When his slave-owner died, Toussaint quietly supported his owner’s widow. She, in gratitude, freed Toussaint from his slave status. Toussaint later married and used his considerable wealth to support charitable causes, including work against religious and racial prejudice. Toussaint’s death in 1853, at age 87, sparked widespread mourning. Just 13 years ago, Pope John Paul II declared Pierre Toussaint, Venerable- the first step to becoming a saint.
O virtuous Pierre Toussaint, son of Haiti, pray for all the poor and afflicted. Pray especially for your brothers and sisters in Haiti as they seek freedom from the oppression of poverty and calamity. Through your prayerful intercession, strengthen the weak, enrich the poor, comfort the downcast and inspire courage and hope among all those who struggle each day. Amen.
Saint Augustine of Canterbury was known for how he converted many people to Christianity including King Ethelbert. This conversion of millions of people began when the pope of that time, Pope Gregory I chose him to lead a missionary group to England. Since eventually the king himself was baptized, his subjects also converted to Christianity. In the end, St. Augustine’s only failure was to convert people in Wales, England. St. Augustine died in about the year of 604, a few years after he was designated, archbishop.
Let us pray, to become like Saint Augustine of Canterbury. Let us pray that we are able to openly profess our faith and love for God. Amen
St. Philip Neri was a Christian missionary who gave up his early life as businessman to dedicate his life to God. He founded the Congregation of the Oratory, a community of Catholic priests and lay brothers. St. Philip Neri is venerated as the patron of Rome, the US Special Forces, humor, and joy.. He was born on July 21, 1515 to a family of four children. At the age of 18, he was visiting a wealthy relative in hopes of inheriting the family business. However, it was here that he experienced a vision that changed his life. St. Philip Neri credits this encounter with God where he was called to live for and serve Jesus and the Church as the reason for his Christian conversion. Following this, Philip left Florence for Rome. He spent the following two years in solitary, dedicating a lot of time to prayer. After studying theology and philosophy at St. Augustine’s monastery, Philip set out to help the poor in Rome. He was known for his warm personality and sense of humor, spreading the love of God to every corner of Rome. He spent his days helping the needy, and spent the nights for praying. Philip who had accomplished so much was finally ordained to priesthood in 1551. He founded the Congregation of the Priests of the Oratory to encourage his fellow pilgrims and other priests to deepen their faith, together. The organization was officially recognized by Pope Gregory XIII in 1575. Philip was described as "all things to all men.... When he was called upon to be merry, he was so; if there was a demand upon his sympathy, he was equally ready...”. Philip was respected and loved throughout Rome, a trusted advisor to popes, kings, cardinals and just as important to the poor. On May 25, 1595, Philip’s physician informed him of his crippling health. At midnight of May 26, he passed away at 80 years of age. St. Philip Neri was canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 12, 1622.
O holy St. Philip Neri, patron saint of joy, you who trusted Scripture’s promise that the Lord is always at hand and that we need not have anxiety about anything, in your compassion heal our worries and sorrows and lift the burdens from our hearts. We come to you as one whose heart swells with abundant love for God and all creation. Hear us, we pray, especially in this need (make your request here). Keep us safe through your loving intercession, and may the joy of the Holy Spirit which filled your heart, St. Philip, transform our lives and bring us peace. Amen
Saint Bede the Venerable is the patron saint of scholars. He is one of the few saints that was honored during his lifetime and after. His writings were filled with such faith that a church council ordered them to be read publicly in the churches. Saint Bede was deeply interesting in all the sciences of his time : natural philosophy, the philosophical principles of Aristotle, astronomy, arithmetic, grammar, ecclesiastical history, the lives of saints and of course the Holy Scripture. Saint Bede was ordained a deacon at age 19 and a priest at 30. He wrote 45 books, 30 being commentaries on books of the Bible. Saint Bede also worked on a translation of the Gospel of John into English, eventually completing it on the day of his death. Saint Bede the Venerable died in year 735, praying his favorite prayer : “ Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As in the beginning, so now and forever.”
Saint Bede we call upon you during these times to help us stay faithful to the Lord. You have enlightened the church with your love and teachings. Support us so that we may learn from your wisdom and benefit from your prayers. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
St Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi was born Caterina de' Pazzi, on April 2nd 1566 to Camillo di Geri de’ Pazzi, who was a member of one Florence’s most noble families, and Maria Buondelmonti. She was sometimes called Lucrezia, after her grandmother, Lucrezia Mannucci. At about age nine, she learned how to meditate using the family chaplain. This was also the time when she started practicing mortification of the flesh by self-flagellation, wearing sackcloth and wearing a homemade crown of thorns. She received Holy Communion at the age of ten. That same year she made a vow of virginity. She had her first ecstasy when she was 12, in the presence of her mother. From then on, she had many of these visions. When she was fourteen, Caterina was sent by her father to the monastery of the order of Malta. But soon she was called to marry a young nobleman. Then Caterina reminded her father of her vow of virginity and she was allowed to lead a religious life. She went to the Carmelite monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in the city of Florence because she was allowed to have Holy Communion daily. She was accepted as a novice and took the name, Sister Mary Magdalene. When she was only one year into her religious profession she got gravely ill. When one of the sisters asked how she could suffer without a whisper, Mary pointed to the crucifix and said “Those who call to mind the sufferings of Christ, and who offer up their own to God through His passion, find their pains sweet and pleasant.” When death seemed so close her superiors let her make her profession of religious vows during a private ceremony, while she laid on a cot. Immediately after that she fell into another ecstasy that lasted 2 hours. This continued for the next 40 days but after Holy Communion. Mary died on May 25, 1607, at the age of 41. She was buried in the church quire. At her canonization in 1668 her body was found to be miraculously incorrupt. Her relics are buried in the Monastery of Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi in Careggi, Italy.
Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, we ask your divine intercession before your Mystical Spouse to give all Religious the gift of perseverance, obedience, and poverty. Your spiritual ecstasies were unique—and destined for few. Grant those gifts that are common—and destined for many.
St. Gregory VII was born as Hildebrand of Sovana, in central Italy, in 1015 and he was the son of a blacksmith. His teachers were Lawrence, archbishop of Almalfi, Italy and Johannes Gratianus, the future pope. When Holy Roman Emperor Henry III deposed Johannes, Hildebrand followed him to Germany. Between 1058 and 1059, he was made archdeacon of the Roman church, becoming the most important figure in the papal administration. Pope Gregory was one of the only popes elected by the proclamation of the people. When the people proclaimed him pope, he ran away, scared and shocked, but soon, the people found him. He had many conflicts with Henry IV, son of Henry III because of Henry IV’s political power struggles. He did many good deeds and reforms as a pope and died on May 25, 1085.
Though many hated him and wanted to remove him from his position, Gregory held strong in faith. Likewise, we should be strong in our faith when times are rough.
I believe in my heart and openly profess that the bread and wine that are placed on the altar are, through the mystery of the sacred prayer and the words of the Redeemer, substantially changed into the true and proper and lifegiving flesh and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that after the consecration they are the true body of Christ.
St. Rita of Cascia was born in Roccaporena, Italy in the year of 1381. After her baptism, a swarm of white bees surrounded and went in and out of her mouth. Her parents believed this to be a sign from God that she would be devoted and righteous to God. Her dream was to become a nun, but following her parent’s wishes, was married to a man at a young age.
Her husband, Paolo Mancini, was a cruel and violent man who would mistreat St. Rita. Influenced by St. Rita of Cascia, he became a better man. Unfortunately, a family argument between the Mancini family and Chiquis family led to the murder of Paolo Mancini. St. Rita forgave her husband’s murderers, but this was not the case for her two sons.
After becoming a widow and losing her two sons, St. Rita of Cascia tried to join the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene on Cascia, but was not allowed to join because of the family feud. After praying to St. John the Baptist, St. Augustine, and St. Nicholas of Tolentino (her three patron saints), she was able to end the died between both families and, at the age of thirty six, joined the monastery.
St. Rita of Cascia was able to receive the sacraments regularly, and lead a spiritual life. At the age of 66, she prayed to Jesus, and asked to suffer like our Savior. As if Christ’s Crown of Thorns had pierced her, she received a wound on her forehead, which was painful and gave a foul odor. St. Rita of Cascia prayed for her patience according to her wound, which lasted until the day she died, on May 22, 1457, at the age of 76. Her body was discovered to be in-corrupt, and can be found today in the Saint Rita shrine at Cascia.
St. Rita of Cascia had a life full of hardships, but still retained her holiness. God heard her prayers, since she was a child and until her last hour. We can learn from the Saint of the Impossible that with God, anything is achievable, and that St. Rita of Cascia will listen to our prayers, no matter how impossible.
Prayer to St. Rita of Cascia
O glorious St. Rita, your pleadings before the divine crucifix have been known to grant favors that many would call the impossible. Lovely St. Rita, so humble, so pure, so devoted in your love for thy crucified Jesus, speak on my behalf for my petition which seems so impossible from my humbled position. ( Here mention your request ). Be propitious, O glorious St. Rita, to my petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of thy supplicant. Be lavish to me, as thou has been in so many wonderful cases for the greater glory of God. I promise, dear St. Rita, if my petition is granted, to glorify thee, by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying then upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Saint Bernardine was born on September 8, 1380, and died May 20th 1444. Saint Bernardine was the greatest preacher of his time, journeying across Italy, calming strife-torn cities, attacking the paganism he found rampant, attracting crowds of 30,000, following Saint Francis of Assisi’s admonition to preach about “vice and virtue, punishment and glory.” At the point when he was 20, the plague was at its stature in his old neighborhood of Siena. Bernardine offered to run the medical clinic and, with the assistance of other youngsters, breast fed patients there for four months. He got away from the plague, yet was depleted to the point that a fever bound him for a while.
At 22, he entered the Franciscan Order and was appointed two years after the fact. For very nearly twelve years he lived in isolation and petition, yet his endowments eventually made him be sent to lecture. He generally went by walking, in some cases representing hours in a single spot, at that point doing likewise in another town. Saint Bernardine of Siena is the Patron Saint of: Advertising, Gambling, Italy, and Public relations. He took part in the Council of Florence in 1439, furthering the short-lived union of the Greek church with Rome. The centre of his movement was Il Gesù, a small chapel in Rome, which was later given to St. Ignatius of Loyola. Numerous miracles are said to have occurred at his tomb.
Saint Bernardine of Siena, you were healed of respiratory illness and preached the love and mercy of God everywhere you went. I come to you now seeking your prayers for all who suffer with respiratory illnesses. Plead their cases in unison with Mary, the Mother of God, and seek healing for them if that is God’s holy will. Pray, dear saint, that they suffer with joy, persevere with hope, and that they join their afflictions with Jesus for the salvation of souls. I ask your intercession on their behalf in Jesus’ holy name, Amen.
Today’s saint of the day is Saint Bernardine of Siena. He had a weak and hoarse voice along with respiratory issues which eventually was miraculously improved later because of his great devotion to Mary. When he was 20, a plague was at its height in his hometown of Siena. Sometimes as many as 20 people died in one day at the hospital. Bernardine offered to run the hospital and with the help of other young men, nurses patients there for four months. He escaped the plague, but was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months. At age 22, he angered the Franciscan Order and was ordained 2 years later. For almost a dozen years he lived in solitude and prayer, but his gifts ultimately caused him to be sent to preach. He always traveled on foot, sometimes speaking for hours in one place, then doing the same in another town. He died while traveling to his next place to preach.
St. Bernardine of Siena, you were healed of respiratory illness and preached the love and mercy of God everywhere you went. I come to you now seeking your prayers for everyone in the world who suffer with respiratory illnesses. Help us stay faithful and safe during this time of caution and confinement. Amen
Theophilus was born in Corsica of rich and noble parents. As a young man, he entered the Franciscans and soon showed his love for solitude and prayer. Over the years, he became famous for his preaching as well as his missionary efforts. Theophilus generously served the needs of God’s people in the confessional, in the sickroom, and at the graveside. Worn out by his labors, he died on June 17, 1740. He was canonized in 1930.
Dear God, help us to be just like Saint Theophilus as he gave more and more singlehearted service to you and to your sons and daughters. Their holiness can never substitute for our own. There is a certain dynamism in all the saints that prompts them to find ever more selfless ways of responding to your grace. Amen