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Martyrs, Saints, or Both?

There are some martyrs of the Church who could easily have been canonized as saints even if they had died of old age in their beds, rather than being killed for their Catholic faith. Saint Maximiliam Kolbe (1894-1941), for example, was widely known as a spiritual powerhouse long before he died in a bunker in […]

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September is a month for Mary too

May is the traditional month that Catholics particularly remember the Blessed Virgin Mary, but there are several lesser-known feasts associated with Mary in September that deserve our attention too. After all, these feasts teach us about God’s love for Mary and, by extension, for every Christian. On September 8, the Church celebrates the nativity of […]

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Is She Really a Saint?

Christians believe in the communion of the saints. After all, that’s something we proclaim every Sunday during the Apostles’ Creed, and to be a Christian is to believe that at least some of the holy men and women who have preceded us in life are waiting for us in Heaven. But how can we know […]

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Holy Popes of July

July and August are hot months of the year for the northern hemisphere, and the summer heat always weighs more heavily on those people who are sick or older. That’s why August is traditionally (and somewhat bluntly) known as the “dying month” in Rome, at least in the years before air conditioning. Since feast days […]

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Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day

June 30: Blessed Basil Velychkovskyi

Blessed Basil Velychkovskyi (1903-1973) was born in the Ukraine into a Greek Catholic family. He became a priest, teacher, and missionary in his native country.

In 1945, he was arrested by the Soviets for being a Catholic priest and sentenced to ten years in a forced labor camp. He served his fellow prisoners during his imprisonment and somehow survived its inhuman conditions.

When he was allowed to return to the Ukraine in 1955, he became bishop and then archbishop of the underground Greek Catholic Church there. In 1969, he was arrested again, this time for listening to Vatican Radio and for his Catholic faith, both of which were crimes under Communist rule. He was tortured during his imprisonment, but when his health began to fail, he was released. (Based on Soviet attitudes toward Catholics, this was probably less out of compassion than a desire not to make him a martyr to the many Ukrainian Catholics.) He was sent out of the country and traveled to Rome and then Canada, where he died in 1973.

Blessed Basil, give me your perseverance.

Want to read about a saint every day? The “Saint of the Day” blog posts for the entire month of June on this web site are designed to help you do that. Every day of the month of June, there’s a blog post about a holy man or woman you’ve probably never heard of, but who is formally acknowledged as a saint or blessed of the Church. Just like the book, Saints: Becoming an Image of Christ Every Day of the Year, these blog posts show you how to start (or interrupt or finish) your day with a brief, inspirational life story of a saint. Each biography concludes with a short prayer to help you identify some aspect of that saint’s life that might help you in your own spiritual life.

(Note that none of the saints in these blog posts are included in the book, Saints: Becoming an Image of Christ Every Day of the Year, but they are present in the Church’s latest official list of saints, the Martyrologium Romanum, dated 2004.)

As Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, there is nothing new under the sun, and the problems we face today are often startlingly similar to the problems that holy men and women of the past faced in their own lives. Other blog posts discuss saints celebrated in the current month or who have something to teach us about our current difficulties, such as dealing with an epidemic or how to handle suffering.

The saints and blesseds of the Church teach us that holiness is possible for anyone, in any state of life, and in any historical time period. We only have to be open to God’s grace so that He can form us into images of Jesus Christ.

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