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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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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