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Two great saints of July

Two of my favorite lesser-known saints are celebrated in July: Saint Christina the Astonishing and Blessed Titus Brandsma. Saint Christina’s life story is, well, astonishing, and would make a great movie, as described here. Many people know about great Carmelite saints such as Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross, and Therese of Lisieux. But […]

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July Saints: What makes a great (Catholic) leader?

One of the advantages of reading about a few saints each day is that you learn about hundreds of saints in the course of a year. One of the disadvantages is that it becomes difficult to “see the forest for the trees”; that is, it’s hard to notice what similar saints teach us. In the […]

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June: A Month for Martyrs

June is traditionally known as the month of the Sacred Heart, but it could also be known as the month of martyrs because there are so many great witnesses to the faith on the Church’s calendar for June. The month ends with the First Martyrs of Rome, the title given to the Christian men and […]

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Saint Makers of the Month of May

Proverbs 27:17 teaches us that, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (RSV).” Nowhere is this more obvious than in the saints of the Church in the month of May. Some saints have a particular gift for inspiring other men and women to become saints. Of course, there are many saints and blesseds commemorated […]

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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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