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Another French Saint for the Poor

Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) only wanted to have a comfortable life as a priest in France, and it certainly appeared that the bright young man would get his wish quickly. But everything changed when he was serving as a tutor for the children of a count. In 1617, he was staying in the countryside […]

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A Forgotten Saint

It was an innovative and (to some) scandalous idea at the time: letting nuns organize retreats. But when Saint Teresa (Therese) Couderc (1805-1885) was still a member of a teaching order of nuns and was invited by the priest-founder of her order to help him establish an order of nuns to run retreat houses, she […]

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A French Saint for Teachers

As previous posts this month have demonstrated, many French Catholics, particularly priests, were executed during the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century. Today’s saint, Marie Guillemette Emily de Rodat (called Emily by her family and friends), was born in 1787 and was therefore a young girl living in a remote area of […]

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Saint of the Day

A Holy French Shepherd

When the man known to us now as Saint Peter of Tarentaise (1102-1174) was only twenty years old, he was so convinced of God’s call to religious life that he joined a Cistercian monastery in the Tarentaise hills of France—and he talked multiple relatives into entering religious life as well at the same time. Later, […]

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Another French Saint of the Prisons

In 1795, the brutal violence of the French Revolution had burned itself out. Prison hulks (unseaworthy ships that were used to warehouse prisoners) in the city of Rochefort were emptied, and the prisoners were released. Many of those who had been incarcerated in these hulks were Catholic priests and religious, whose only crime was refusing […]

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A French Saint for Former Slaves

Over the centuries, France has sent missionaries to many corners of the globe to preach and serve those who have never heard the Gospel before. One of them, Blessed Jacques-Desire Laval, is a more recent example. Born into a pious family of simple farmers in 1803, Jacques initially decided to become a medical doctor. But […]

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A French Saint for the Poor

When most people think of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society—a charitable organization that currently serves needy people all over the world—they think of Saint Vincent de Paul. Father Vincent is indeed celebrated by the Church on another day in September, but he wasn’t the original founder of the organization that bears his name. Blessed […]

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A French Saint for Trauma Survivors

When Saint Cloud (sometimes called Clodoald) was born in the year 522 in France, he was the son of a prince. His father, Clodomir, was killed in battle when he was still young, so Cloud and his two brothers were raised by their doting and faithful grandmother, Saint Clotilda. However, dysfunctional families are not a […]

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A French Saint of the Prisons

During the French Revolution, some regions of France were safer for Catholic priests than others. Blessed Scipion Jerome Brigeat Lambert (1733-1794) had become a priest and vicar general for his diocese, but he fled to his hometown to escape the anti-Catholic violence that was sweeping the countryside. Unfortunately, officials from the Revolutionary government found him. […]

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Saint of the Day

The Martyrs of September

On September 2, the Church commemorates the “Martyrs of September”. To better understand these martyrs, it helps to better understand the French Revolution. Though the American Revolution (1775-1783) preceded the French Revolution (1789-1799) by only a few years and though the two events are popularly assumed to be similar in their goals, the reality is […]

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September: A Month for the Church in France

Since the 1950s, many people living what used to be called “Christendom” have fallen away from faith in Christ. The nation of France is no exception. Although up to 80% of the French population called themselves Catholic as late as the 1980s, that number has dropped sharply in the decades since. Some say (pre-COVID19) that […]

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Uncomfortable Saints

All the saints should make us uncomfortable when we compare our all-too-human laziness with their heroic efforts in prayer, penance, and service of others. But some saints make us squirm because of the difficult trials they endured at the hands of other people. Three saints from the month of August fit in that category. On […]

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Saintly Teens

When my book about saints first came out, a good friend who has a lot of grandkids encouraged me to write a book about teenage saints. Such a book is much-needed for Confirmation gifts, she said. Maybe someday I will write such a book, but August 6 is the perfect day to talk about two […]

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Saints of 1936

Most Americans know very little about the Spanish Civil War. During this violent time in Spain’s history, the anti-Catholic government openly persecuted Catholic churches, religious orders, and individuals. (For more information, see volume 6 of Warren Carroll’s excellent series, A History of Christendom) In August of 1936, this persecution was particularly brutal, which is why […]

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Are They Martyrs of Marxism?

Should the people who have died during recent violent protests be considered martyrs of Marxism? To answer that question, it’s important to first define some terms. Since riots began occurring—and recurring—in our country, the word “Marxist” has often popped up in the news. At least one prominent leader involved in these violent, destructive protests has […]

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A New Blessed for the Knights

Since my book only includes those who have been named saints or blesseds by the Church, I unfortunately had to omit Venerable Michael McGivney, the priest who founded the Knights of Columbus. But the Congregation of the Causes of Saints recently announced the beatification of this holy man; see the news article here. But Michael […]

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