Once every four years, February 29 appears on our calendars, and we celebrate leap day. The Catholic Church’s official collection of saints, the Martyrologium Romanum, only lists four saints on this date.
Does every diocese in the world celebrate Catholic Schools Week during the last week of January or just mine? It’s certainly the perfect time to do so. After all, the calendar of saints practically demands that we celebrate the teaching profession in late January.
Saint of the Day
Blessed Mary de Bagnesiis (1514-1577) was born into a wealthy family in Florence, Italy. But money did not protect her from severe mistreatment at the hands of her foster-mother, who ignored and underfed her when she was a child. Mary suffered from physical maladies as a result for many years.
However, she enjoyed visiting a sister who was a Dominican nun, and she became a pious young woman who hoped to also enter religious life. She was so shocked when her father arranged a marriage for her that she broke down and became bedridden. For many years, she suffered from physical pain, some of which was caused by the quack remedies prescribed by the “doctors” that her father sent to care for her.
But Mary bore her sufferings with great patience, and she became a great peacemaker and consoler for those who came to visit her. She almost died several times, but she also experienced spiritual ecstasies. As a result of her devotion to the apostle, Saint Bartholomew, she took his name as her own and became known as Mary Bartholomea. After forty-five years as an invalid, she died in the year 1577.
Blessed Mary Bartholomea, help me to accept physical difficulties with Christ’s peace.
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.