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March Madness with the Saints

saints
March Madness with the Saints at Saint Louis Priory School

“Contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

Download a bracket (will be kept updated once voting begins)

And what is March Madness with the Saints? It combines Athletics with Theology: NCAA-style brackets with saints, and mixes fun with Lenten devotion. The endeavor was inspired by similar Lenten programs run by the Archdiocese of St. Louis and by an Episcopal rector, the Reverend Tim Schenck. Of course, our version has a distinctive Priory twist!

In our version, 24 saints are competing in an NCAA basketball tournament-style single-elimination bracket for Fr. Augustine’s trophy; you can also win an Amazon gift certificate and—most importantly— learn more about your heavenly patrons who have won the crown of victory. St. Paul says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9.24).

From March 1, 2017, on school days, until Spring break, saintly mini-bios will be posted at on the Library home page. You have 24 hours to vote on who goes to the next round. Of the sixteen saints participating in round one, eight will move on to round two, where they will compete with eight new saints. These eight new arrivals are martyrs and have been spared round one.

Of these, eight holy candidates will move on to round three. Four will advance to round four. Finally, two saints will make it to the Finale, in the home stretch for Father Augustine’s trophy. On the way, you will meet some of the monks’ patron saints (such as Saint Dominic), spent time with little-known venerable martyrs such Saint Ralph Sherwin, and royal saints like Saint Edith of Wilton.

To have your bracket considered for the prize, make sure to submit your bracket at the library drop box on Friday, March 3, 2017, by 3 p.m. If you’re looking for a Lenten journey that is both fun and educational, join the March Madness adventure in the saints’ company. As Saint Benedict tells us, we are to look forward to holy Easter “with joy and spiritual longing” (Rule for Monks 49).

For more information and fun fact about saints, visit the concurrent book display in the library!


Biographies and Voting RSS Feed
St. Marianne of Molokai vs. St. Maria Goretti
3/28/2017

St. Marianne of Molokai

Marianne

Saint Marianne Cope, O.S.F., is also known as Saint Marianne of Moloka'i. She was born on January 23, 1838 in Heppenheim in the Grand Duchy of Hesse, in Germany. Her family emigrated to the United States when she was one year old. When her father became an invalid, she went to work in a factory to support the family. Her father’s death left her Marianne free to pursue the religious life. She joined the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis and became a teacher, then a principal, and eventually Superior General. It was at this time she received a plea for help from leprosy sufferers in Hawaii. King Kalakaua himself sent the letter asking for aid in treating patients who were isolated on the island of Moloka’i. Mother Marianne answered the call to Hawaii and arrived on November 8,1883. Once arrived, Mother Marianne managed hospitals on the island of O'ahu and on the island of Maui. At O'ahu, she had to deal with claims of abuse from the government-appointed administrator there. Upon arrival and following an initial investigation, Mother Marianne demanded that he resign or she would leave. The government dismissed the administrator and gave her full management of the hospital there. Mother Marianne was also responsible for orphans of women lepers, as well as clergy who had contracted the disease while working with lepers. Despite all her years of work, she never contracted leprosy herself. Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918. She was beatified in 2002 and canonized in 2012.

St. Maria Goretti

mary

Born on October 16 1890 in Corinaldo, in the Ancona Province in Italy, the daughter of a poor farmworker. On July 5, 1902, Maria was sitting outside the steps of her home, sewing. An eighteen-year-old neighbor named Alessandro attacked her and attempted sexual assault. Maria cried that it was a mortal sin and warned he would go to hell for his crime. When Alessandro persisted, she fought him and screamed, “No! It is a sin! God does not want it!” Alexander pulled out a knife and stabbed her repeatedly. Maria was taken to the nearest hospital in Nettuno, where it became clear that she was mortally wounded. As Maria lay dying, she also mentioned concerns for her mother. The next day, Maria forgave Alessandro and said she wanted to see him in Heaven with her. She died that day while looking upon an image of the Virgin Mary and holding a cross to her chest. Shortly after Maria's family discovered her, Alexander was captured and questioned. Alessandro remained unrepentant for his actions until he had a dream that he was in a garden. Maria was there and gave him lilies, which immediately burned in his hands. When he woke, he was a changed man. He repented his crime and lived a reformed life. When he was released from prison 27-years-later, he went directly to Maria's mother and begged her forgiveness, which she gave, saying, “If my daughter can forgive him, who am I to withhold forgiveness?” Maria Goretti was beatified by Pope Pius XII on April 27, 1947.Three years later, on June 24, 1950, Maria was declared a saint and Alessandro was present in the St. Peter's crowd to celebrate her canonization. He later became a lay brother of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, where he lived in a monastery and worked as its receptionist and gardener until his death.

 

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St. Benet Biscop vs. St. Pedro Calungsod
3/28/2017

St. Benet Biscop

benet

St. Benet Biscop was born in A.D. 628 to a noble family in Northumbria. At the age of twenty-five, Benet left his property and rank behind in order to become a monk.

Benet first went to Rome as a pilgrim in the company of St. Wilfrid, to pray at the tomb of the apostles, and then to devote himself to the study of the Scriptures upon his return. On the return journey from Rome, he stayed for two years at the monastery of Lérins and received the tonsure and monastic habit and the name Benet, in honor of St. Benedict.

Benet made yet another pilgrimage to Rome and was sent back to England by the Pope himself, who wanted Benet to accompany the Greek Theodore of Tarsus, whom the Pope had just appointed archbishop of Canterbury. The Pope wanted Benet to act as guide and interpreter for the Greek archbishop in his pastoral care of his Anglo-Saxon flock.

When Benet Biscop returned to England, he was appointed abbot of the monastery in Canterbury. He went on to found two more monasteries at Wearmouth and at Jarrow, dedicated respectively to the Apostles Peter and Paul. St. Bede tells us that Benet made repeated journeys to Rome in order to acquire books and relics; above all, St. Benet Biscop wished for his monks to chant the psalms in the Roman way, and persuaded the Pope to send to England the chief cantor of St. Peter’s to be the teacher of the Anglo-Saxon monks.

The beauty of sacred worship and the tradition of Roman Church was always the key to St. Benet’s monastic life. He knew that there can be no true inculturation if the cultus, the worship of God in the beauty of holiness, is not the center.

St. Pedro Calungsod

Pedro

Saint Pedro Calungsod (c. 1654 - April 2, 1672) is a Filipino Roman Catholic martyr who was killed while doing missionary work in Guam in 1672. He was beatified on March 5, 2000, by Pope John Paul II. As a skilled sacristan and teacher of catechism, he was a companion of Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores to the Marianas Islands. Through their efforts, many receive the sacraments especially that of baptism. A plot to kill Pedro and San Vitores started when a certain Choco, a Chinese who gained influence over the Macanas of Marianas Island, circulated false accusations that the missionaries were spreading poison through the ritual of the pouring of water (i.e. baptism), and through the ritual of Catholic Masses. Calungsod and Diego San Vitores were both murdered after baptizing an infant and mother who converted to the Catholic faith.

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St. Thomas Aquinas vs St. Sixtus
3/24/2017

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas

Thomas was born in 1225 in the castle of Roccasecca in the Lazio region of Italy. His parents were well-off, but as the youngest son Thomas was expected to enter the monastery. At the age of five, Thomas began his education at Monte Cassino. Later he transferred and enrolled at the studium generale in Naples.

Thomas met John of St. Julian, a Dominican preacher, who influenced him to join the recently founded Dominican Order, against his family’s wishes. His family members captured him and returned him to their parents at the castle of Monte San Giovanni Campano. Thomas was held captive in the castle for one year as his family tried to keep him from joining the Dominican Order.

When his mother Theodora realized she could not sway her son, she tried to preserve the family name by arranging for his escape through a window. Thomas went to study at the Faculty of the Arts at the University of Paris. Thomas was quiet and seldom spoke at the university, leading other students to believe he was mentally delayed, but Albertus Magnus prophetically said, “You call him the dumb ox, but in his teaching he will one day produce such a bellowing that it will be heard throughout the world.”

While teaching, Thomas wrote his most famous work, Summa theologiae, which he believed was particularly useful to beginning students “because a doctor of Catholic truth ought not only to teach the proficient, but to him pertains also to instruct beginners.”

In 1273 Thomas was seen to be weeping and levitating in prayer before an icon of the crucified Christ. During this prayer, Christ is said to have told him, “You have written well of me, Thomas. What reward would you have for your labor?” Thomas replied, “Nothing but you, Lord.”

In May of 1274, Thomas died on the way to the Second Council of Lyon. Pope St. Pius V declared Saint Thomas a doctor of the church, saying Thomas was “the most brilliant light of the Church.”

 

St. Sixtus

finbarr

(Elected August 31, 257; Martyred August 6, 258)

Ask a Priory student unfamiliar with Latin to translate the name Sixtus, or Xystus, and he might guess that it means sixth when, in fact, the name means polished.  This, then, is an appropriate patron saint for Brother Sixtus OSB who keeps his head shaved fairly close to the scalp.  (Students familiar, however, with the midday prayer of the Divine Office called Sext will know that it refers to the sixth hour of the day, or noon.)  Others might recognize the adjectival form of the name in The Sistine Chapel in Rome named, not after Michelangelo who painted it, but after Pope Sixtus IV who paid for it.  There has not yet been a Pope Sixtus the Sixth.

Although five early popes chose the name Sixtus, only three were canonized as saints, those being Pope St. Sixtus I, Pope St. Sixtus II and Pope St. Sixtus III.  It is Sixtus II who is immortalized at the Mass in Eucharistic Prayer #1, known as The Roman Canon (“…Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus…”), and it is this particular saint whose name was chosen by our own Brother Sixtus (baptized as John Peter).  Although Sixtus is not a name one associates with The Benedictines, Sixtus II was indeed closely connected with St. Laurence, one of the seven deacons of Rome, martyred at the same time during the persecution of Emperor Valerian.  It is St. Laurence who is the patron of Ampleforth Abbey in England which founded Saint Louis Abbey in 1955.  A precious reliquary in the abbey church at Ampleforth houses relic bones of both St. Laurence and St. Sixtus II together.

Some sources point to Sixtus II as being of Greek origin and perhaps a philosopher.  Known as a good and peaceful priest (bonus et pacificus sacerdos) he restored friendly relations with the Churches of Africa, a relationship which had been ruptured by his predecessor.

— Brother Sixtus

 

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St. Teresa of the Andes vs St. Philip Howard
3/24/2017

St. Teresa of the Andes

St. Teresa

 

Saint Discalced Carmelite mystic and the first Chilean to be beatified or canonized. She was baptized Juanita Fernandez Solar and born in Santiago, Chile on July 13, 1900. Devoted to Christ from a very young age, she entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery at Los Andes on May 7, 1919. There she was given the religious name of Teresa of Jesus. She died on April 12, of the following year, having made her religious profession as a Carmelite. A model for young people, Teresa was beatified in 1987 in Santiago, Chile, and was canonized by Pope John Paul II on March 21, 1993.

 

St. Philip Howard

philip howard

One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Philip was the earl of Arundel and Surrey and, although a Catholic, led a religiously apathetic life for some years. Philip was present at a debate held in 1581 in the Tower of London, between Father Edmund Campion, a Jesuit, Father Ralph Sherwin, and a group of Protestant theologians.He was so impressed by the Catholics that he experienced a spiritual conversion. He renounced his previous, frivolous life and was reconciled with his wife.

After that, he was a zealous Catholic in the midst of Elizabethan England. Arrested by authorities, he was placed in the Tower of London in 1585 and condemned to death in 1589. The sentence was never carried out, and Philip languished in the Tower until his death at the age of thirty-eight. Beatified in 1929, he was included among the English martyrs canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

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St. Augustine of Canterbury vs St. Linus
3/22/2017

St. Augustine of Canterbury

Fr. Augustine

When Pope St. Gregory the Great decided to send missionaries to Anglo-Saxon England, he chose Augustine and thirty monks to make the unexpected, and dangerous, trip to England.

Every step of the way Augustine and his monks heard the horrid stories of the cruelty and barbarity of the Anglo-Saxons. By the time they had reached France the stories became so frightening that the monks turned back to Rome. Pope Gregory sent Augustine and the monks on their way again to England again.

King Ethelbert of Kent was curious and went to hear what the missionaries had to say after they landed in England. But he was just as afraid of them as they were of him! Fearful that they would use magic on them, he held the meeting in the open air. There he listened to what they had to say about Christianity. He did not convert right away but allowed them to preach the gospel. The King was baptized in 597. The following year, many of his subjects were baptized.

Augustine was consecrated bishop of the English and more missionaries arrived from Rome to help with the new task. Augustine had to be very careful and go step by step in the work of evangelization. Under the wise orders of St. Gregory the Great, Augustine consecrated pagan temples as churches and turned pagan festivals into feast days of martyrs. Canterbury was built on the site of an ancient church.

Augustine was only in England for eight years before he died in 605. His feast day is celebrated on May 26 in England and May 28 elsewhere. He is also known as Austin, a name that many locations have adopted.

St. Linus

linus

Linus was a native of Tuscany. He succeeded St. Peter as Pope about the year 67. St. Irenaeus says he is the Linus mentioned by St. Paul in 2 Timothy 4.21 and that he was consecrated bishop by St. Paul. The earliest witness to Linus's status as bishop was Irenaeus, who in about the year 180 wrote, “The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of bishop.” His feast day is September 23.

 

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Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini vs. Saint Justin Martyr
3/21/2017

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was born as Maria Francesca Cabrini on July 15, 1850 in Sant' Angelo Lodigiano, Lombardy, Italy. When Frances was 18, she applied for admission to the religious congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, but was turned down because of her poor health. Instead, a priest asked her to teach at the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadagono, Italy. She taught at the girls' school for six years and gathered together a community of dedicated women. Her bishop asked her to found the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for the poor children in both schools and hospitals. Pope Leo XIII urged Mother Frances to go to the United States to minister to the Italian immigrants. On March 31, 1889, Frances arrived in New York City along with six other sisters. However, right from the beginning she encountered many disappointments and hardships. Even though the archbishop insisted she return to Italy, Mother Frances was determined to remain and founded an orphanage in what is now West Park, New York.Mother Cabrini founded 67 institutions, including orphanages, schools, and hospitals, to care for the poor, uneducated, sick, abandoned, and especially for the Italian immigrants. Frances was known for being as resourceful as she was prayerful. She was always able to find people to donate their money, time, and support for her institutions. In 1909, Frances became a naturalized U.S. citizen. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was beatified on November 13, 1938, by Pope Pius XI and canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946, making her the first United States citizen to be canonized.

Saint Justin Martyr

Justin

St. Justin is the first Christian philosopher and set the pattern of engagement between faith and human reason ever since. He was a Greek, born in A.D. 100 at Shechem in  Samaria, in the Holy Land. He became a Christian around the year 135. After studying rhetoric, poetry, and history, he turned to philosophy and became a Platonist. One day, while walking by the seashore, he met an impressive old man who told him about the Hebrew prophets and about Christ. Justin described the impact of this encounter in this way:

My spirit was immediately set on fire, and an affection for the Prophets and for those who are friends of Christ took hold of me; while pondering on his words, I discovered that his was the only sure and useful philosophy.

After his conversion, Justin went to Rome and founded his own philosophical school, where he taught Christian apologetics and debated publicly with both Jews and pagans. Justin acknowledged and appreciated the elements of truth in Greek philosophy, truths that he termed logoi spermatikoi, seeds of the Word that were scattered far and wide by God himself, the author of all truth. At the same time, Justin insisted that Christ alone is the Word Incarnate, the Truth made visible among men, and that all that is best in both Judaism and philosophy was a preparation for Christ and cannot be fulfilled apart from Christ.

For his uncompromising defense of Christian faith, Justin was at last beheaded in the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the year 165.

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St. Dominic Guzman vs St. Ralph Sherwin
3/20/2017

Saint Dominic Guzman

Born of wealthy Spanish nobility in Calaruega, Spain in what was Old Castile.  At his baptism, his mother saw a star shining from his forehead.  He studied theology at Palencia, but would sell his precious books to help the poor.  Eventually he became an Augustinian Canon of the Cathedral Church of Osma, and was ordained a priest.  Lifelong apostolate among heretics, especially Albigensians, and especially in France.  Founded the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans) in 1215, a group who live a simple, austere life, supported by begging for their daily bread, and were dedicated to preaching against the heretics and heresies of the day.

At one point Dominic became discouraged at the progress of his mission; the heresies remained. But he received a vision from Our Lady who showed him a wreath of roses, and told him to say the rosary daily, and teach it to all who would listen.  Eventually the true faith won out.  Dominic is often credited with the invention of the rosary, but it predates him.

There is the story that Dominic and the Albigensians decided to subject their respective writings to a trial by fire.  When the writings of the Albigensians where thrown into the flames they were immediately consumed.  When Dominic’s book on the Immaculate Conception was thrown in, it was tossed out of the flames unharmed.  On the third attempt, it was cast out of the fire with such force that it left a mark on the beam in the ceiling.

There is a tradition that says that Dominic received a vision of a beggar who, like him, would do great things for the Faith.  The next day in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Dominic met this beggar.  He embraced him and said, “You are my companion and must walk with me.  If we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us.”  The beggar was none other than Saint Francis of Assisi.

He was described as follows by one of the first nuns of his Order, Blessed Cecelia, “He was of medium height, of slight build, with a beautiful face, slightly ruddy complexion, and slightly red hair and beard; his eyes were beautiful.  There was a kind of radiance about his forehead and between his eyebrows, which attracted everyone to respect and love him.  ...  He had long, beautiful hands, and a powerful, beautiful, resonant voice.  He never went bald, but had a complete ring of hair round his tonsure, with just a sprinkling of gray.” Saint Dominic died in Bologna on the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 1221.  He was canonized in 1234 by his good friend and supporter Pope Gregory IX.

— Father Dominic

Saint Ralph Sherwin

Ralph SherwinRalph Sherwin was born in 1550 and was a fellow and noted classical scholar at Exeter College, Oxford, England. He became a Catholic in 1575 and studied for the priesthood at the English College, Douai, France. He was ordained on 23 March 1577. Ralph then studied at the English College, Rome, Italy where he became a leader of the English students. Ralph returned to England on 1 August 1580 to minister to persecuted Catholics. On 9 November 1580 he was arrested in London for the crime of being a priest and was imprisoned in Marshalsea prison. There he ministered to fellow prisoners and converted many of them. In December 1580 he was transferred to the Tower of London where he was tortured on the rack and thrown out into the snow to recover. Queen Elizabeth offered to make him a bishop if he would renounce the Catholic Church; he refused. Ralph Sherwin was convicted with several other priests on 20 November 1581 of treason and was hanged, drawn, and quartered on 1 December of that year. He is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

— Father Ralph

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St. Marianne of Molokai vs St. Mary MacKillop
3/10/2017

St. Marianne of Molokai

Marianne

Saint Marianne Cope, O.S.F., is also known as Saint Marianne of Moloka'i. She was born on January 23, 1838 in Heppenheim in the Grand Duchy of Hesse, in Germany. Her family emigrated to the United States when she was one year old. When her father became an invalid, she went to work in a factory to support the family. Her father’s death left her Marianne free to pursue the religious life. She joined the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis and became a teacher, then a principal, and eventually Superior General. It was at this time she received a plea for help from leprosy sufferers in Hawaii. King Kalakaua himself sent the letter asking for aid in treating patients who were isolated on the island of Moloka’i. Mother Marianne answered the call to Hawaii and arrived on November 8,1883. Once arrived, Mother Marianne managed hospitals on the island of O'ahu and on the island of Maui. At O'ahu, she had to deal with claims of abuse from the government-appointed administrator there. Upon arrival and following an initial investigation, Mother Marianne demanded that he resign or she would leave. The government dismissed the administrator and gave her full management of the hospital there. Mother Marianne was also responsible for orphans of women lepers, as well as clergy who had contracted the disease while working with lepers. Despite all her years of work, she never contracted leprosy herself. Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918. She was beatified in 2002 and canonized in 2012.

St. Mary MacKillop

mary

 

Mary Helen MacKillop was born in Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, on 15 January 1842. Her parents were Scottish Catholic immigrants to Australia. Mary started work at the age of 14. To provide for her needy family, in 1860 she took a job as governess and met an English priest named Fr. Julian Woods, who shared her interest in Catholic education for the poor. In 1867, MacKillop became the first sister and mother superior of the newly formed order of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart (Josephite sisters). She adopted the religious name Sister Mary of the Cross. They emphasized poverty, a dependence on divine providence, no ownership of personal belongings, faith in Providence, and willingness to go where needed. Father Woods came into conflict with some of the clergy over educational matters and some local clergy began a campaign to discredit the Josephites. Mother Mary was even falsely accused of drunkenness and of financial incompetence. In early 1870, McKillop and fellow sisters heard of allegations that a priest named Father Keating had been sexually abusing children. The Josephite sisters informed Father Woods, who saw to it that Keating was removed. Another priest, Father Charles Horan, was angered by Keating's removal and sought vengeance against Fr. Woods by attacking the sisters. As a result Bishop Sheil turned against Mother Mary and excommunicated her for alleged insubordination. Most of the sisters’ schools were closed. Forbidden to have contact with anyone in the church, MacKillop lived with a Jewish family and was also sheltered by Jesuit priests. On his deathbed, Bishop Sheil lifted the excommunication; later, a commission of bishops exonerated her completely. Mother Mary travelled to Rome in 1873 to seek papal approval for the religious congregation and was encouraged in her work by Pope Pius IX. Despite papal approval, she still contended with considerable opposition, even after she become Superior General of her order, which had continued to grow. Mother Mary of the Cross MacKillop died on 8 August 1909 in the Josephite convent in North Sydney. She was beatified on 19 January 1995 by Pope John Paul II.

 

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St. Edith of Wilton vs St. Benet Biscop
3/9/2017

St. Edith of Wilton

Edith

Edith of Wilton was the daughter of King Edgar of England and Wulfrida. She was born at Kensing, England, and was brought as a very young child to Wilton Abbey by her mother, who later became a nun there and Abbess. Edith became a nun when fifteen, declined her father's offer of three abbacies, and refused to leave the convent to become queen when her half-brother, King Edward the Martyr was murdered, as many of the nobles requested. She built St. Denis Church at Wilton. Her feast day is September 16.

St. Benet Biscop

benet

St. Benet Biscop was born in A.D. 628 to a noble family in Northumbria. At the age of twenty-five, Benet left his property and rank behind in order to become a monk.

Benet first went to Rome as a pilgrim in the company of St. Wilfrid, to pray at the tomb of the apostles, and then to devote himself to the study of the Scriptures upon his return. On the return journey from Rome, he stayed for two years at the monastery of Lérins and received the tonsure and monastic habit and the name Benet, in honor of St. Benedict.

Benet made yet another pilgrimage to Rome and was sent back to England by the Pope himself, who wanted Benet to accompany the Greek Theodore of Tarsus, whom the Pope had just appointed archbishop of Canterbury. The Pope wanted Benet to act as guide and interpreter for the Greek archbishop in his pastoral care of his Anglo-Saxon flock.

When Benet Biscop returned to England, he was appointed abbot of the monastery in Canterbury. He went on to found two more monasteries at Wearmouth and at Jarrow, dedicated respectively to the Apostles Peter and Paul. St. Bede tells us that Benet made repeated journeys to Rome in order to acquire books and relics; above all, St. Benet Biscop wished for his monks to chant the psalms in the Roman way, and persuaded the Pope to send to England the chief cantor of St. Peter’s to be the teacher of the Anglo-Saxon monks.

The beauty of sacred worship and the tradition of Roman Church was always the key to St. Benet’s monastic life. He knew that there can be no true inculturation if the cultus, the worship of God in the beauty of holiness, is not the center.

Vote

St. John Cassian vs St. Hugh of Lincoln
3/8/2017

St. John Cassian

St. John Cassian

John Cassian was an Eastern monk and theological writer. He went to Palestine in 380 with a companion, Germanus, and became a monk in Egypt. In 400 he became a disciple St. John Chrysostom, going to Rome to defend Chrysostom before Pope Innocent I. Ordained in Rome, John started monasteries in southern France, near Marseilles, thus helping to pioneer monasticism in Europe. His two main writings, Institutes and Conferences on the Egyptian Monks, were much praised by St. Benedict and were long influential. The former had a direct impact upon Benedict during the time that he was composing his famed Rule. John Cassian also authored the work De Incarnatione Domini, in seven books, at the behest of Pope Leo I the Great, against the Nestorian heresy. Though never formally canonized in the Western Church (except at Marseilles), John has long been considered a saint among the Eastern Churches.

St. Hugh of Lincoln

hugh

Hugh of Lincoln was the son of William, Lord of Avalon. He was born at Avalon Castle in Burgundy and was raised and educated at a convent at Villard-Benoit after his mother died when he was eight. He was professed at fifteen, ordained a deacon at nineteen, and was made prior of a monastery at Saint-Maxim. While visiting the Grande Chartreuse with his prior in 1160. It was then he decided to become a Carthusian there and was ordained. After ten years, he was named procurator and in 1175 became prior of the first Carthusian monastery in England. This had been built by King Henry II as part of his penance for the murder of Thomas Becket.

His reputation for holiness spread all over England and attracted many to the monastery. He admonished Henry for keeping Sees vacant to enrich the royal coffers. Income from the vacant Sees went to the royal treasury. He was then named bishop of Lincoln in 1186 - a post he accepted only when ordered to do so by the prior of the Grande Chartreuse. Hugh quickly restored clerical discipline and fostered scholarship in his cathedral school.

He was one of the leaders in denouncing the persecution of the Jews that swept England, 1190-91, repeatedly facing down armed mobs and making them release their victims. He went on a diplomatic mission to France for King John in 1199, visiting the Grande Chartreuse, Cluny, and Citeaux, and returned from the trip in poor health. A few months later, while attending a national council in London, he was stricken and died two months later at the Old Temple in London on November 16. He was canonized twenty years later, in 1220, the first Carthusian to be so honored.

— Brother Hugh

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St. Thomas Aquinas vs St. Finbarr
3/7/2017

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas

Thomas was born in 1225 in the castle of Roccasecca in the Lazio region of Italy. His parents were well-off, but as the youngest son Thomas was expected to enter the monastery. At the age of five, Thomas began his education at Monte Cassino. Later he transferred and enrolled at the studium generale in Naples.

Thomas met John of St. Julian, a Dominican preacher, who influenced him to join the recently founded Dominican Order, against his family’s wishes. His family members captured him and returned him to their parents at the castle of Monte San Giovanni Campano. Thomas was held captive in the castle for one year as his family tried to keep him from joining the Dominican Order.

When his mother Theodora realized she could not sway her son, she tried to preserve the family name by arranging for his escape through a window. Thomas went to study at the Faculty of the Arts at the University of Paris. Thomas was quiet and seldom spoke at the university, leading other students to believe he was mentally delayed, but Albertus Magnus prophetically said, “You call him the dumb ox, but in his teaching he will one day produce such a bellowing that it will be heard throughout the world.”

While teaching, Thomas wrote his most famous work, Summa theologiae, which he believed was particularly useful to beginning students “because a doctor of Catholic truth ought not only to teach the proficient, but to him pertains also to instruct beginners.”

In 1273 Thomas was seen to be weeping and levitating in prayer before an icon of the crucified Christ. During this prayer, Christ is said to have told him, “You have written well of me, Thomas. What reward would you have for your labor?” Thomas replied, “Nothing but you, Lord.”

In May of 1274, Thomas died on the way to the Second Council of Lyon. Pope St. Pius V declared Saint Thomas a doctor of the church, saying Thomas was “the most brilliant light of the Church.”

 

St. Finbarr

finbarr

Finbarr was the son of an artisan and a lady of the Irish royal court. Born in Connaught, Ireland, and baptized Lochan, he was educated at Kilmacahil, Kilkenny, where the monks named him Fionnbharr (white head) because of his light hair. He went on pilgrimage to Rome with some of the monks, visiting St. David in Wales on the way back. Finbarr is said to have preached in Scotland and in southern Ireland. He lived as a hermit on a small island at Lough Eiroe, and then, on the river Lee, founded a monastery that developed into the city of Cork, of which he was the first bishop. His monastery became famous in southern Ireland and attracted numerous disciples. Many miracles are attributed to him. He died at Cloyne about the year 633. His feast day is September 25th.

 

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St. Teresa of the Andes vs St. Rafka of Lebanon
3/6/2017

St. Teresa of the Andes

St. Teresa

 

Saint Discalced Carmelite mystic and the first Chilean to be beatified or canonized. She was baptized Juanita Fernandez Solar and born in Santiago, Chile on July 13, 1900. Devoted to Christ from a very young age, she entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery at Los Andes on May 7, 1919. There she was given the religious name of Teresa of Jesus. She died on April 12, of the following year, having made her religious profession as a Carmelite. A model for young people, Teresa was beatified in 1987 in Santiago, Chile, and was canonized by Pope John Paul II on March 21, 1993.

 

St. Rafka of Lebanon

rafka

Born on the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul in Lebanon in 1832, Saint Rafka of Lebanon (1832-1914) was baptized Boutrossieh, which is the Arabic version of Peter. She was a Lebanese Maronite Christian. After the early death of her mother, her father remarried. When Boutrossieh turned 14, her stepmother wanted her to marry her stepbrother, while a maternal aunt wanted to espouse her to her son. However, like the virgin martyrs of old, Boutrossieh would not have either, which caused a lot of strife in her family. She escaped to the Convent of our Lady of Liberation at Bikfaya and upon entering the church, she saw an image of the Blessed Virgin and felt as if she heard a voice coming from it, telling her that she would be a nun. During her novitiate with the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception, she saved a young child from soldiers by hiding him in the skirts of her habit. When her order merged with another, she decided to become a cloistered nun with the Lebanese Maronite Order of St. Anthony, where she professed he perpetual vows in 1873. One day she prayed “Why, O my God, have you distanced yourself from me and have abandoned me. You have never visited me with sickness! Have you perhaps abandoned me?” So great was her desire to share in the Passion of Christ that she received a pain concentrated in her left eye. Eventually, she became blind and well-known mystic.

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St. Augustine of Canterbury vs St. Edward the Confessor
3/3/2017

St. Augustine of Canterbury

Fr. Augustine

When Pope St. Gregory the Great decided to send missionaries to Anglo-Saxon England, he chose Augustine and thirty monks to make the unexpected, and dangerous, trip to England.

Every step of the way Augustine and his monks heard the horrid stories of the cruelty and barbarity of the Anglo-Saxons. By the time they had reached France the stories became so frightening that the monks turned back to Rome. Pope Gregory sent Augustine and the monks on their way again to England again.

King Ethelbert of Kent was curious and went to hear what the missionaries had to say after they landed in England. But he was just as afraid of them as they were of him! Fearful that they would use magic on them, he held the meeting in the open air. There he listened to what they had to say about Christianity. He did not convert right away but allowed them to preach the gospel. The King was baptized in 597. The following year, many of his subjects were baptized.

Augustine was consecrated bishop of the English and more missionaries arrived from Rome to help with the new task. Augustine had to be very careful and go step by step in the work of evangelization. Under the wise orders of St. Gregory the Great, Augustine consecrated pagan temples as churches and turned pagan festivals into feast days of martyrs. Canterbury was built on the site of an ancient church.

Augustine was only in England for eight years before he died in 605. His feast day is celebrated on May 26 in England and May 28 elsewhere. He is also known as Austin, a name that many locations have adopted.

St. Edward the Confessor

edward

Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his Norman wife, Emma. He was born at Islip, England, and sent to Normandy with his mother in the year 1013 when the Danes under Sweyn and his son Canute invaded England. Through the support of the powerful Earl Godwin, he was acclaimed king of England. In 1044, he married Godwin's daughter Edith. His reign was a peaceful one characterized by his good rule and remission of odious taxes, but also by the struggle, partly caused by the struggle between Godwin and his Saxon supporters and the Norman barons, including Robert of Jumieges, whom Edward had named Archbishop of Canterbury in 1051. In the same year, Edward banished Godwin, who took refuge in Flanders but returned the following year with a fleet ready to lead a rebellion. Armed revolt was avoided when the two men met and settled their differences. Edward's difficulties continued after Godwin's death in 1053 with Godwin's son Harold, who had his eye on the throne since Edward was childless. Edward eventually named Harold his successor. After this Edward became more interested in religious affairs and built St. Peter's Abbey at Westminster, the site of the present Abbey, where he is buried. His piety gained him the surname “the Confessor.” He died in London on January 5, and he was canonized in 1161 by Pope Alexander III. His feast day is October 13.

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St. Frances Xavier Cabrini vs. St. Katharine Drexel
3/2/2017

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was born as Maria Francesca Cabrini on July 15, 1850 in Sant' Angelo Lodigiano, Lombardy, Italy. When Frances was 18, she applied for admission to the religious congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, but was turned down because of her poor health. Instead, a priest asked her to teach at the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadagono, Italy. She taught at the girls' school for six years and gathered together a community of dedicated women. Her bishop asked her to found the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for the poor children in both schools and hospitals. Pope Leo XIII urged Mother Frances to go to the United States to minister to the Italian immigrants. On March 31, 1889, Frances arrived in New York City along with six other sisters. However, right from the beginning she encountered many disappointments and hardships. Even though the archbishop insisted she return to Italy, Mother Frances was determined to remain and founded an orphanage in what is now West Park, New York.Mother Cabrini founded 67 institutions, including orphanages, schools, and hospitals, to care for the poor, uneducated, sick, abandoned, and especially for the Italian immigrants. Frances was known for being as resourceful as she was prayerful. She was always able to find people to donate their money, time, and support for her institutions. In 1909, Frances became a naturalized U.S. citizen. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was beatified on November 13, 1938, by Pope Pius XI and canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946, making her the first United States citizen to be canonized.

Saint Katherine Drexel

Katherine was born in Philadelphia on November 26, 1858, the second child of a prominent and wealthy Catholic banker. She became imbued with a passionate love for God and neighbor, and she took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of black and native Americans.When her father died, he donated part of his $15.5 million estate to a few charities and then left the remainder to be equally split amongst his three daughters. In 1887, while touring Europe, the Drexel sisters were given a private audience with Pope Leo XIII. They were seeking missionaries to help with the Indian missions they were financing. The Pope looked to Katharine and suggested that she herself become a missionary. Katharine decided she would give herself and her inheritance to God through service to both Native Americans and African Americans. On February 12, 1891, Katharine made her first vows as a religious and dedicated herself to working for the American Indians and African-Americans in the Western United States. Taking the name Mother Katharine, she established a religious congregation called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament to minister to their needs.In 1915, Katherine founded Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic University in the United States for African-Americans. By the time of her death, she had more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country and she established 50 missions for Native Americans in 16 different states. Mother Katharine died on March 3, 1955 at the age of 96. Katharine was remembered for her love of the Eucharist and a desire for unity of all peoples. St. Katharine was beatified on November 20, 1988 and canonized on October 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II. Katharine is the patron saint of racial justice and philanthropists. Her feast day is celebrated on March 3.

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St. Dominic Guzman vs St. Gregory the Great
3/1/2017

Saint Dominic Guzman

Born of wealthy Spanish nobility in Calaruega, Spain in what was Old Castile.  At his baptism, his mother saw a star shining from his forehead.  He studied theology at Palencia, but would sell his precious books to help the poor.  Eventually he became an Augustinian Canon of the Cathedral Church of Osma, and was ordained a priest.  Lifelong apostolate among heretics, especially Albigensians, and especially in France.  Founded the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans) in 1215, a group who live a simple, austere life, supported by begging for their daily bread, and were dedicated to preaching against the heretics and heresies of the day.

At one point Dominic became discouraged at the progress of his mission; the heresies remained. But he received a vision from Our Lady who showed him a wreath of roses, and told him to say the rosary daily, and teach it to all who would listen.  Eventually the true faith won out.  Dominic is often credited with the invention of the rosary, but it predates him.

There is the story that Dominic and the Albigensians decided to subject their respective writings to a trial by fire.  When the writings of the Albigensians where thrown into the flames they were immediately consumed.  When Dominic’s book on the Immaculate Conception was thrown in, it was tossed out of the flames unharmed.  On the third attempt, it was cast out of the fire with such force that it left a mark on the beam in the ceiling.

There is a tradition that says that Dominic received a vision of a beggar who, like him, would do great things for the Faith.  The next day in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Dominic met this beggar.  He embraced him and said, “You are my companion and must walk with me.  If we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us.”  The beggar was none other than Saint Francis of Assisi.

He was described as follows by one of the first nuns of his Order, Blessed Cecelia, “He was of medium height, of slight build, with a beautiful face, slightly ruddy complexion, and slightly red hair and beard; his eyes were beautiful.  There was a kind of radiance about his forehead and between his eyebrows, which attracted everyone to respect and love him.  ...  He had long, beautiful hands, and a powerful, beautiful, resonant voice.  He never went bald, but had a complete ring of hair round his tonsure, with just a sprinkling of gray.” Saint Dominic died in Bologna on the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 1221.  He was canonized in 1234 by his good friend and supporter Pope Gregory IX.

— Fr. Dominic

Saint Gregory the Great

Saint Gregory was born around 540 in Rome to an aristocratic family in the twilight of the Empire. He was well educated and excelled in all his studies, eventually becoming the Prefect of Rome at the age of 33.

After Gregory's father had died, Gregory had the family villa on the Coelian Hill converted into a monastery. Pope Pelagius II chose Gregory to serve as an ambassador to the imperial court in Constantinople. In 590, Pope Pelagius II died, and Gregory was proclaimed pope by acclamation. This was not something Gregory wanted, but he accepted the burden nevertheless.

Gregory made clear he preferred the monastic life in a series of writings praising it. He also referred to himself as servant of the servants of God. Pope Gregory was famous for the emphasis he put on missionary work. Anglo-Saxon Britain was, at that time, still on the frontier of Christendom. It was Pope Gregory who dispatched St. Augustine (of Canterbury) to Kent in 597 (not to be confused with St. Augustine of Hippo).

Pope Gregory may have also established "cantus planus," known in English as plainchant. Most today know this style of singing as Gregorian Chant. Pope Gregory was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. When a famine struck Rome in the 590s, Pope Gregory ordered the Church to use its assets to feed the poor. In this way, he saved thousands of people from certain death.

He died on March 12, 604 AD. He was immediately proclaimed a saint by means of popular acclaim.

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Coming Soon
2/28/2017

Biographies of the saints of the day will be posted here, along with a poll where you can vote for a winner to move on. The polls will also be posted on our Twitter feed.

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4

 

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Saint Louis Priory School

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