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Rejoicing in a busy calendar

No one likes to look at a busy calendar; it can seem overwhelming. The Church’s liturgical calendar can seem that way too. After Jesus Christ rose up into Heaven, the early Christians had to develop their own calendar of celebrations. Dates associated with our Lord, such as Easter, obviously came first. Over the centuries, as […]

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Patron Saints of December

In ancient Rome, it was important to have a patron. That is, it was important to have a wealthy, powerful person to rely upon if you needed protection, money, a job, social contacts, or some other favor. The word “patron”, after all, comes from the Latin word for “father”. In that culture and time, becoming […]

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Remembering All of the Saints

Who exactly do we remember on All Saints’ Day? The official liturgical calendar of the Church, the Martyrologium Romanum, says that the Solemnity of All Saints commemorates all the saints who are in Heaven with Jesus Christ. The Martyrologium Romanum also reminds us that, even though we are still pilgrims on earth, some human beings […]

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Making Sense of Church Feasts

The liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church is a complicated thing, with varying liturgical colors, two cycles of daily Mass readings, three cycles of Sunday Mass readings, and a four-week psalter for the Divine Office. Add in important dates related to the Son of God and commemorations of the saints, and it can start to […]

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Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day

June 29: Blessed Emma of Gork

Blessed Emma (also called Hemma) was born around the year 980 in Austria, was related to nobility (including Holy Roman Emperor Henry II), and knew a future saint (Saint Cunegund).

Her marriage to William of Friesach was arranged by their families, but it was a happy marriage. William was the landgrave (a sort of feudal governor), and the couple had two sons. Unfortunately, those adult sons, who were serving as administrators of their father’s mines, were murdered by the miners during a revolt. Grieving deeply, the couple turned to God for consolation. Her husband went on a pilgrimage and died on his return journey.

Emma spent the rest of her life living quietly away from society, giving generously to the poor, and supporting new Benedictine houses. She died in Gurk on this date in 1045.

Blessed Emma, show me how to turn to God in my suffering.

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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