Saints of the Week

S. Damasus– 11th December


Damasus was born in about 305 and raised in the service of the church of the martyr St. Laurence in Rome.  Following the death of Pope Liberius, he succeeded to the Papacy amidst factional violence in 366 and summoned synods to supress various heresies rife at the time – particularly Arianism and Donatism.  Church historians, such as Jerome and Rufinus, championed Damasus and he commisioned St Jerome to undertake his translation of the scriptures.  He also embellished and conserved the tombs of the martyrs.  He died in the reign of the emperor Theodosius at the age of almost eighty.

S. Jane Frances de Chantal – 12th December


She was born at Dijon in France in 1572, married and had six children, but was widowed at the age of 28.  She met Saint Francis de Sales when he preached at the Sainte Chapelle in Dijon and was inspired to start a Catholic religious order for women, the Congregation of the Visitation.  She spent her life in the care of the sick and the poor and died in 1641 at the Visitation Convent in Moulins, one of those she founded. She was buried in Annecy. She was beatified on November 21, 1751 by Pope Benedict XIV, and canonized on July 16, 1767 by Pope Clement XIII.

S. Lucy - 13th December


S. Lucy was born in Syracuse and was a rich young Christian martyr who is venerated as a Saint by Catholic and Orthodox Christians.  Legend has it that Lucy (whose name means "light") was a Christian while Diocletian was persecuting and martyring Christians. She consecrated her virginity to God, refused to marry a pagan, and had her dowry distributed to the poor. Her would-be husband denounced her as a Christian to the governor of Syracuse. Miraculously unable to move her or burn her, the guards stabbed her and killed her.

S. John of the Cross – 14th December


John of the Cross was born in Spain in 1542.  He became a Carmelite and was ordained Priest in 1567.  He was a major figure in the Catholic Reformation and is renowned for his cooperation with Saint Teresa of Avila in the reformation of the Carmelite order, and for his writings; both his poetry and his studies on the growth of the soul (in the Christian sense of detachment from creatures and attachment to God) are considered the summit of mystical Spanish literature and one of the peaks of all Spanish literature. He is one of the thirty-three Doctors of the Church.  He led a life of prayer and his outstanding holiness, austerity of life, poetic genius and charity remain a living example.  He died on 14 December 1591, his writings were first published in 1618, and he was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726.

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