Today’s Saint of the Day is Saint Joseph Calasanz. Joseph Calasanz was born in Aragon, in 1557, as the youngest of 8 children. At the age of 12, he was sent for classical studies in a college run by friars, and while there, he declared that he wanted to be a priest. His parents weren’t supportive of the idea, but after a severe illness in 1582 that nearly led him to his grave, his father relented. Joseph was ordained as a priest in 1583 by the Bishop of Urgel. In 1592, at the age of 35, Joseph moved to Rome, and with help from other priests, opened the first free public school in Europe. In 1600, he opened his school in the center of Rome, which soon got overwhelmed by student enrollment. Joseph’s educational ideas faced the opposition of many upper class societies and caused him to be interrogated by the Inquisition. Even through the opposition his schools faced, he remained faithful to the Church and died on August 25, 1648. He was admired by many for his courage and holiness and was buried in the Church of San Pantaleo. Eight years after his death, Pope Alexander VII cleared the name of the Pious Schools. Joseph Calasanz was beatified on August 7, 1748, by Pope Benedict XIV. He was later canonized by Pope Clement XIII on July 16, 1767. On August 13, 1948, Pope Pius XII declared him to be the "Universal Patron of all Christian popular schools in the world."
God, through the intercession of Saint Joseph Calasanz, please help us lead a life of courage Amen