Saints of the Week

S. Teresa of Avila – 15th October

  

Born on March 28th 1515, S. Teresa was a major figure of the Catholic Reformation as a prominent Spanish mystic and writer, and as a monastic reformer. She entered Carmel in 1533 and for a time did not lead a very rigorous life.  In 1555 however, she committed herself to the way of perfection and decided to found a religious house that lived by the primitive rule (the Discalced Carmelites).  She persevered in prayer and enjoyed many mystical experiences.  Indeed her spiritual writings are still influential.  She died in 1582 and is one of only three Doctors of the Church.

S. Hedwig - 16th October

 

Hedwig was born in 1174 at Castle Andechs, Bavaria.  She was the daughter of Berthold III, Count of Tyrol and Duke of Carinthia and Istria (Andechs-Meran), and his wife Agnes.  At the age of twelve she married Henry, Duke of Silesia and Poland, and became the mother of seven children.  The family led a very religious life, marked by penance, fasting and charity.  She cared for the poor, went barefoot even in winter, and donated all her fortune to the Church and the poor, for whom she founded a hospital.  After the death of her husband she lived in the convent of which her surviving daughter was Abbess. She died in 1243 and was canonised in 1267.

S. Margaret Mary Alacoque – 16th October

 

Born in 1647, S. Margaret was a French Catholic nun and mystic, who promoted the growth and development of the Catholic devotion of the Sacred Heart in its modern form.  She had an unhappy childhood and in 1671 entered the Visitation Convent of Paray-le-Moniale in France.  She received visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and thus encouraged devotion to the Sacred Heart and sought to have a feast in his honour established.  She met with a great deal of opposition at the time, but gradually overcame this with the help of the Blessed Claude de la Colombiere, her confessor at the time.  She died in 1690 and, after her death, the devotion to the Sacred Heart, fostered by the Jesuits, and the subject of violent controversies within the Church, spread throughout France and then among the Catholic populations of many other countries.  She was canonised in 1920.

S. Ignatius of Antioch – 17th October

 

Ignatius of Antioch was born in the first century and was the third Bishop or Patriarch of Antioch and a student of the Apostle John. Little is known of his life except that it ended in Martyrdom in Rome about 107.  He wrote a number of epistles to the Christian communities at Ephesus, Philadelphia and Smyrna which show his passionate commitment to Christ, his longing for martyrdom, his faith and true understanding of doctrine.  He died as a martyr in the arena. The Roman authorities hoped to make an example of him and thus discourage Christianity from spreading.

S. Luke - 18th October

 

Luke the Evangelist was an early Christian who is said by tradition to be the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, the third and fifth books of the New Testament.  He was born of Greek origin in the city of Antioch and was a gentile convert to Christianity, a doctor who accompanied Paul on his second and third missionary journeys, and stayed in Rome with him while he was in captivity.

S. John de Brebeuf and S. Isaac Jogues and their Companions – 19th October

 

These eight men were Jesuit missionaries in North America in the 17th Century.  John de Brebeuf was a man of deep spirituality, noted for his life of prayer and penance. Isaac Jogues entered the Society of Jesus in 1624. In 1642, he was sent to New France as a missionary to the Huron and Algonquin allies of the French. On October 18, 1646, Jogues was clubbed to death and beheaded by his Mohawk hosts near Auriesville, New York.  In 1930 St. Jean de Brébeuf and six other martyred missionaries, all Jesuits or laymen associated with them, were canonized as "The North American Martyrs.

S. Paul of the Cross - 19th October

 

Saint Paul of the Cross, originally named Paolo Francesco Danei, was born on 3 January 1694, in the town of Ovada, between Turin and Genoa in northern Italy. He is considered to be among the greatest Catholic mystics of the eighteenth century.  He was the son of a wealthy merchant family and experienced a conversion to a life of prayer at the age of 19, after a very normal and pious life.  In 1721 he was inspired by a vision to found a religious order in honour of the Passion of Christ and was ordained priest in 1726.  He travelled throughout Italy, preaching, particularly on the Passion, living with great austerity, calling all to penance.  His rule was approved in 1741. More than two thousand of his letters, most of them letters of spiritual direction, have been preserved.  He died on 18 October 1775 at the Retreat of Saints John and Paul (Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Rome)). By the time of his death, the congregation founded by Saint Paul of the Cross had one hundred and eighty fathers and brothers, living in twelve Retreats, mostly in the Papal States. There was also a monastery of contemplative sisters in Corneto (today known as Tarquinia), founded by Paul a few years before his death to promote the memory of the Passion of Jesus by their life of prayer and penance.  He was canonised in 1867.



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