Saint of the Day

June 30: Blessed Basil Velychkovskyi

Blessed Basil Velychkovskyi (1903-1973) was born in the Ukraine into a Greek Catholic family. He became a priest, teacher, and missionary in his native country.

In 1945, he was arrested by the Soviets for being a Catholic priest and sentenced to ten years in a forced labor camp. He served his fellow prisoners during his imprisonment and somehow survived its inhuman conditions.

When he was allowed to return to the Ukraine in 1955, he became bishop and then archbishop of the underground Greek Catholic Church there. In 1969, he was arrested again, this time for listening to Vatican Radio and for his Catholic faith, both of which were crimes under Communist rule. He was tortured during his imprisonment, but when his health began to fail, he was released. (Based on Soviet attitudes toward Catholics, this was probably less out of compassion than a desire not to make him a martyr to the many Ukrainian Catholics.) He was sent out of the country and traveled to Rome and then Canada, where he died in 1973.

Blessed Basil, give me your perseverance.

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.

Saint of the Day

June 28: Saint Heimrad

Saint Heimrad died in Germany in the year 1019, and so many miracles occurred at his tomb when people asked for his intercession that he became known as a saint. The details of his life appear to have been collected after his death.

Some of the stories about Heimrad’s life may have been embroidered upon, but what seems most certain is that he made many pilgrimages to holy sites when he was a younger man before becoming a Benedictine monk and hermit. Since he was essentially a homeless beggar as he traveled on these pilgrimages, some thought he was a crazy homeless beggar. But the miracles tell us otherwise.

Saint Heimrad, show me how to expect miracles from our Lord.

Saint of the Day

June 27: Saint Marguerite Bays

Saint Marguerite Bays was born into a pious family of Swiss farmers in 1815. She never married, but she devoted herself to the care of those who were sick or poor in her community, and she supported herself as a seamstress.

Marguerite was deeply devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and our Lady, and she attributed the miraculous healing from intestinal cancer that she received to the Blessed Mother’s intercession. Attributing the cure to Mary was obvious since the healing occurred on December 8, 1854, the date that the pope declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. After her healing, Marguerite experienced Christ’s Passion every Friday. She died on this date, at 3 p.m. on a Friday in 1879.

Saint Marguerite, teach me how to draw close to Christ through His Passion.

Saint of the Day

June 26: Saint Pelagius of Cordoba

Saint Pelagius was born around the year 912 in Muslim-controlled Spain. He was kept in prison as a hostage for his Christian uncle for two years.

During that time he was repeatedly offered his freedom of he would convert to Islam. When he refused, his captors finally resorted to torture. After he had been tortured for six hours, he was executed and died in the year 925. The Spanish people have been inspired by the boy’s faithfulness under pain ever since.

Saint Pelagius, help me persevere in my suffering.

Saint of the Day

June 25: Saints Dominic Henares and Francis Do Minh Chieu

Saint Dominic Henares was born in Spain in 1765 and became a Dominican priest. He was sent to Vietnam in 1803 and served the Catholics there as their bishop.

Saint Francis Do Minh Chieu was born in Vietnam around 1797 into a Christian home and became a lay catechist. He particularly helped priests and served as an aide to Bishop Dominic.

When the persecution of Catholics in Vietnam intensified, both men were arrested. For their refusal to give up their faith, they were martyred by beheading on this date in 1838.

Holy Martyrs, show me how to stay faithful to Christ.

Saint of the Day

June 24: Saint Theodgar of Denmark

Saint Theodgar was born in Germany, studied in England, and became a missionary to Norway. In 1028, he went into exile with the Norwegian king, Olaf. He ended up in Denmark, bringing the faith to the pagans living there.

Theodgar was known for his ability to heal the sick through his prayers, but it wasn’t until a spring of water appeared overnight in a spot where he had preached that the local people began to listen to his message. The number of converts to the faith increased, allowing him to build the first church in Jutland. Many years later, he died on this date in the year 1065.

Saint Theodgar, show me how to build up the body of Christ in my own community.

Saint of the Day

June 23: Blessed Marie of Oignes

Blessed Marie of Oignes was born into a wealthy family in Nivelles, Belgium, in 1167. Though she wanted to be a nun, she agreed to an arranged marriage when she was only fourteen, and she talked her husband into living chastely. Together, they made their home into a hospice for lepers, and she cared for their patients personally.

One of Marie’s friends was a holy and unusual woman named Christina (described in my book and now known as Saint Christina the Astonishing). Marie also had a great devotion to, and had visions of, Saint John the Evangelist.

In her later years, Marie lived as a hermit in Oignes, received several mystical gifts, such as visions and prophecies, and prayed particularly for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. She died on this date in 1213.

Blessed Marie, help me find holy friends.

Saint of the Day

June 22: Saint Alban of Britain

Saint Bede, a great English saint and Doctor of the Church, wrote the best and only history of the early days of Catholicism in England. In his Ecclesiastical History, he wrote about today’s saint, Alban.

Saint Alban was a soldier living in Britain during the late third or early fourth century, when it was ruled by the Roman Empire. He sheltered a Catholic priest from the authorities, and in time, he converted to the faith. Alban was arrested for being a Christian—and was perhaps mistaken for the Catholic priest—when he was executed. Saint Bede said he died during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian, but later scholars say this may have happened a few decades earlier, under the Roman emperor Decius.

Saint Alban, help me to be open to the truth, even if it may cost me.

Saint of the Day

June 21: Saint Leutfridis of La Croix

Saint Leutfridis was born into a noble and devout family—his brother is also acclaimed a saint—in Evreux, France, in the late seventh century. He became a teacher, then a Benedictine hermit, and then a founder of a new abbey. It’s said that when he was abbot, a fire started in the monastery; he prayed, and the building was saved.

After his death of natural causes on this date in the year 738, so many miracles were attributed to his intercession that his tomb at La Croix became a destination site for pilgrimages.

Saint Leutfridis, teach me to how to pray with trust.