Today, January 10, we celebrate the life and works of St Hyginius. He was a philosopher before he found Christ, but found God and followed the path that was laid out before him to the fullest, eventually becoming pope. He was born in Athens and it was there that he was educated as well. He heard many teachings of other Catholics that came through Athens and that eventually led him to the right path. It is said that during his reign he organized the clergy and brought about what it known viewed as the governance of the Catholic church.
Aside from information about the order that he brought about to the clergy and the organizing of the various prerogative of the clergy, there isn’t much known about the man that was pope from 136 to 140. He was a man that knew what God wanted him to do and worked hard to achieve those goals before he joined our Heavenly Father.
God Bless him and may we also see the path that God has laid out before us and follow it through to the end.
Today, January 9, we celebrate the life and works of St Anastasia. St Anastasia was born to a noble pagan as a father while her mother was a Catholic. Her mother had her baptized at birth and raised in the faith in secret to not invoke the wrath of her father onto her. Even so, years later she was arranged to marry a Roman noble that was also pagan. She kept her religious beliefs hidden from him for a time and he was a loving and caring husband that doted on her. However, he found out about her beliefs and turned into a cruel tyrant that locked her away and treated her like a slave. She didn’t take this hard, but rather rejoiced that she could suffer for her love of God.
When her husband was appointed as ambassador to the King Persia, he told those that were to take care of his home and wife that she was to be mistreated and that there would be no punishment if he were to return to find her dead. God intervened though and those that were meant to cause her harm met with an untimely end and she was set free. Filled with the love of God, she dedicated her life towards helping others, especially focusing on those in prison. Through her help in assisting a man named St Chrysogonus, all of the pagans within the prison he was being held in were converted to Catholicism. Even when he was martyred, she continued her work until the day that she was arrested for her religion.
Even through all the trials and torture they tried to force her to endure to turn away from God, she stood strong and continue to turn those that crossed her path towards God.
God Bless her and may we all have such strength to reach out to those that are in need of God’s Word.
Today, January 8, we celebrate the life and works of St Waningus. St Waningus was born in Rouen, France and was actually a nobleman of the court of King Clotaire III. However, he gave up his worldly life and possessions because of a dream in which he was told about the hardships that met those going into the Kingdom of Heaven. He didn’t want there to be any hardships between him and his final resting place and thus gave away everything that he had to turn his life towards Catholicism and God. He became a Benedictine monk and worked hard to help out those that were in need.
He didn’t want the dream he had of St Eulalia of Barcelona to come true, to have himself suffer because he clung too tightly to worldly possessions so he tried to not own anything of great value and took pride instead in the work that he accomplished among the people. He was gentle and kind and had a very big and caring heart. He helped establish the Fontenelle Abbey alongside St Wandrille as well as singularly being responsible for establishing the Holy Trinity Church and Convent of Fecamp.
God Bless him and may we also focus more on helping others and bringing glory to God than our worldly possessions.
Today, January 7, we celebrate the life and works of St Thorfinn. St Thorfinn was a man that not many remembered until after he had left this world, many years later in fact. It was during some construction on the church that his tomb was revealed and opened, finding that he gave off a pleasing scent even though he had been gone from this world for nearly 50 years. It was this that made question arise and people turned to Father Walter to inquire about the man that they had uncovered. He was a bishop, born in Trondhjem. He was canonized at the Cathedral of Nidaros and was there for the signing of the agreement of Tonsborg. This agreement was later disputed by the king and he exiled the archbishop as well as two bishops, one being St Thorfinn.
He survived many hardships after this happened, including shipwreck before he arrived at the abbey of TerDoest in Flanders. It was here that he knew that his time was coming to an end and made a will to separate what little he had between his family and certain churches and charities at his diocese. He was a gentle man in life and showed great kindness and charity towards others. This didn’t impede his strong will to do God’s will and share God’s love with the world. Because of the memories he left with Father Walter, he wrote a poem about him after he had departed this world that was still intact, regardless of the years that had passed. They viewed this as a sign from God that he was to be remembered.
God Bless him and may we also live a life that is strongly dedicated towards God and spreading His love to the world.
Today, January 6, we celebrate the life and works of St Dominic Savio, Patron of the falsely accused. From a young age, St Dominic knew that he was meant to do the Lord’s work. When he received his First Holy Communion, he chose the motto, “Death, but not sin” and made a point throughout his life to stay true to that. As a teenager he worried about the others his age that he went to school with, fearing that they would stray and sin. He wanted to be used by the Lord to spread His word and do good deeds.
There were many times while he was in school that he showed the others his age just what it was that they were doing and how it was wrong. When someone brought in a book of pictures that were shameful, he took merely a glance at it before ripping it apart and exclaiming how they were preparing themselves to go to hell. Though they argued, in the end they realized just how right he was, that they had grown used to seeing such things and we’re blackening themselves instead of keeping their eyes on God. The same was done again for a fight in which St Dominic intervened. The boys that had been so angry as to throw stones at each other were so moved by his words that they stopped their fight, apologized and went to confession.
At the age of 15, St Dominic took ill and went home from the school he was at. There he only got worse. While most would have feared this, he embraced it, exclaiming in joy and happiness that he couldn’t wait to be with the Lord.
God Bless him and may we too follow in his steps to keep our eyes on the Lord and not be distracted by the earthly things that are placed before us as temptation.
Today, January 5, we celebrate the life and works of St Erminold. St Erminold was born in the German region of Swabia and was sent to a monastery at a young age, as was usual for many children in that area, to be educated for life. While most would go back to their regular lives, he went on to become a monk and was subsequently appointed as abbot of the monastery of Prufening. St Erminold was famous of his compassion and his desire to tend to those that were in need, such as those that were hungry and sick. During the famine that struck the land, he actually emptied the storehouse of all of their food to feed those in need, regardless of if they had to suffer from starvation. The people mattered more. However, St Erminold prayed to God to intervene and provide the monks with food in their hour of need.
Their prayers were answered when the next day a rich nobleman arrived and wanted to relieve their need from his own wealth. They were given food and supplies. This seemed to invoke jealousy within the other monks that hadn’t agreed with his measures or the way he had done things. He wanted to bring back the discipline that they had lived by before that had slowly seemed to grow lack. There were those that liked the way that things were and resented him for wanting to change it. One of these monks let his resentment get the better of him and struck St Erminold with a heavy wooden beam. He was gravely injured from this. While everyone gathered around his sick bed, he predicted to them that the following day when they sang Glory to God in the Highest, he would depart this world to join God. His prediction came true.
God Bless him and may we also put others first and show God’s love through our actions towards them.
Today, January 4, we celebrate the life and works for St John Neumann. St John was born in Bohemia in 1811 and wanted nothing more than to be ordained as a priest. It seemed as if his dream was coming true in 1835 when there was put a halt on all ordinations in Bohemia because they had an overflow of priests. St John didn’t give up though. He wrote to every bishop that he could in Europe to find one that would ordain him, but it was all the same everywhere. There was too many priests and not enough parishioners. St John took on other jobs, all the while still trying to find a bishop that would ordain him. As luck would have it, one of those jobs involved him working with English-speaking workers in a factory. Because of this and learning the language, more doors opened to him and he began to write letters to bishops in America.
It was on bishop in New York that finally agreed to ordain him. The catch was that St John would have to leave everything he knew behind. His home, his family, the life that he had grown up in. St John didn’t hesitate, knowing that this was his calling. He went to New York and was ordained as one of the 35 priests to over 200,000 parishioners. The territory that they served stretched from Pennsylvania all the way up to Lake Ontario. This didn’t bother St John nor did the fact that the church had no steeple or floor. He spent his time traveling from village to village to reach the people. He would go far and wide to deliver the word of God as well as tend to those in need.
St John was actually later appointed bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. It was while he was bishop that he organized the first diocesan Catholic school system, bringing the Catholic schools in his diocese from two to 100.
God Bless him and may we also never give up on the path that we feel God is leading us towards.
Today, January 3, we celebrate the life and works of St Elizabeth Ann Seton. St Elizabeth was the first American to be canonized by the church. St Elizabeth didn’t lead a normal life. It was simple, true, but it was filled with much heartbreak and suffering. She was an avid reader as a child and read anything that she could get her hands on, including the Bible. In a sense, there was one area of her life that she was lucky in and that was love. She married the man that she was deeply in love with, Will Seton. For a year or so, life seemed perfect. She had nothing to worry about and was blissful in her new marriage. It seemed to only bring her closer to God.
However, that came to an end with the death of Will’s father. With his father’s death, they became the caregivers of his seven half brothers and sisters as well as the owners of his father’s import business. It was a tough few years and he eventually had to file for bankruptcy. With all of this, his health was failing him as well. So he and St Elizabeth went to Italy where he eventually passed away. Her one conciliation in this was that he had found the Lord before this happened. Knowing that he was in a better place, she turned herself over to her religion completely.
St Elizabeth was known for being kind, courteous, witty, patient, and having a good sense about her. These were things that she took with her when she focused all of her attention on her religion. She had friends in Italy help her to learn more about Catholicism and showed her the truth. She took these lessons with her to Baltimore, Maryland where she opened a school. She used all that she had learned to help others starting the first free Catholic school for others to attend.
God Bless her and the work that she did to bring Him to the lives of others. May she inspire us to do like works.
Today, January 2, we celebrate the life and works of St Genevieve, patron of Paris. Born near Paris, she knew what her future would hold at the young age of seven when St Germain of Auxerre came to her small village to drive out heresy. While she was standing in the crowd among all the people, she was singled out and told of her future sanctity. She went right that moment with others that were faithful and wanted to commit their lives to God with the Bishop to be consecrated to God as a virgin.
When Attila was coming towards Paris and everyone was preparing to evacuate, St Genevieve was the one that told them that God would protect them, that they should dedicate their time and efforts towards fasting and prayer. This prediction came true when their efforts were rewarded when Attila changed his direction suddenly, not coming to Paris. St Genevieve was a woman that dedicated her life to God through prayer and great works of charity. Her symbol is a loaf of bread because of how generous she was to those in need.
God Bless her and may we also dedicate our own lives towards helping others and showing them the love of God through us.
Today, January 1, we celebrate the life and works of St Adelard. St Adelard was born of royal blood, being the nephew of King Pepin as well as first cousin of Charlemange. He became a monk of Corbie before moving forward in his life to become an abbot and the counselor of Charlemange. He was forced by the king after this to quit the monastery and become the chief minister for Charlemange’s son, Pepin. There are always politics to be dealt with in any role of power and he was subject to such things himself. He was forced into exile at the monastery of Heri where he stayed for five years until he was recalled back to court. He had been accused of supporting the rival power of the king’s.
He stayed on at the court for a number of years until he finally decided to retire to the Abbey of Corbie where he finally joined the Lord due to illness. There were many miracles reported after his death that people attributed to him.
God Bless him and may we also dedicate our life towards God and spreading his love and Word to others even when it is hard to do so.