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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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Three “Ordinary” Saints of June

If you consider yourself to be an ordinary follower of Jesus Christ, you might find the descriptions of the lives of some of the most famous saints of the Church to be somewhat annoying. After all, your everyday life probably looks nothing like the daily life of Saint Louis IX, who was the king of […]

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Easter Season and Incorruption

It is fitting that we commemorate Saint Rita of Cascia on May 22. This is fitting not only because it’s the date of her death, but also because the date is situated deep in the heart of the season of Easter. Only in the light of Easter can we understand one of the many remarkable […]

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Saint Margaret of Castello

When I wrote my first book about saints, I believed it was important for it to include every well-known saint and blessed, as well as many lesser-known ones. After all, it had annoyed me greatly as an adult convert to find out that some great saints had been omitted from the only saint book I […]

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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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