Saint of the Day

June 10: Blessed Henry of Treviso

Blessed Henry of Treviso was born into a poor family in Bolzano, Italy, in the thirteenth century. He never learned how to read or write, and he spent his whole life working as a day laborer. Yet this poorly dressed man with a long nose, who was sometimes ridiculed by children and strangers, was a truly holy man.

All of Henry’s time, apart from the time spent working, was spent on God. He went to Mass daily. He went to Confession daily. He gave the money he earned to the poor. The people of Treviso noticed his great calm and peace, regardless of circumstances or how he was treated. He died in 1315, known by all for his devotion to prayer.

Blessed Henry, show me how to remain unruffled by the ups and downs of daily life.

Saint of the Day

June 9: Blessed Joseph Imbert

During the French Revolution of the late eighteenth century, the anti-Catholic government imprisoned and killed many priests, nuns, and vowed religious.

Blessed Joseph Imbert was born around 1720 in the city of Marseilles and became a Jesuit priest. He was the apostolic vicar of Moulins when he was arrested for being a faithful Catholic priest and sentenced to imprisonment in the rotting ships of Rochefort, which were being used as prisons at the time. On this date in 1794, Joseph died from the wretched conditions of the ship hulks and died a martyr. Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1995.

Blessed Joseph, give me your courage in facing persecution.

Saint of the Day

June 8: Saint Mariam Chiramel Mandkidiyan

Saint Mariam Chiramel Mandkidiyan was born in 1876 in Trichur, India. Devout from a young age, she decided to give her life to prayer and service of the poor, sick, and lonely members of her parish. The prayer group she started even served those considered “untouchables” in India’s caste culture.

She was only twenty-seven years old when she asked permission from church authorities to build a retreat house. She was told to test her vocation to religious life first; ten years later, having tried several religious communities, her bishop allowed her to establish the first of many religious houses. By the time she died of natural causes, her sisters had opened convents, schools, and other group homes.

Saint Mariam, show me the “untouchable” people who need my help in my community.

Saint of the Day

June 7: Saint Robert of Newminster

Saint Robert of Newminster was a priest and then a Benedictine monk before he joined a group of monks to establish a new abbey at Newminster in twelfth century England. The new abbey followed the Cistercian reform of religious life, with the manual labor and strong emphasis on prayer typical of the order.

His fellow monks loved Robert for his modesty and kindness, and he became a greatly beloved abbot for many years, even founding three more religious houses. He was known for being strict with himself, particularly through long fasts, but he was merciful with his monks. He died on this date in 1159.

Saint Robert, teach me how to be gentle with others.

Saint of the Day

June 6: Blessed Innocent Guz

Born Joseph Guz in 1890 in Poland, he was turned down when he tried to enter the Jesuit order, but the Franciscans accepted him. He took the name of Innocent in religious life and was ordained a priest.

Blessed Innocent became a collaborator with the future saint Maximilian Kolbe, serving as a confessor to the priests at one of Kolbe’ s monasteries. When Russians troops invaded Poland, Innocent was arrested for being a priest, though he somehow managed to escape; when German troops invaded shortly afterward, he was arrested again for the same reason. He was imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and working at forced labor when he was beaten and injured so badly he could no longer work. The Nazis executed him on this date in 1940.

Blessed Innocent, help me to forgive.

Saint of the Day

June 5: Saints Dominic Toai and Dominic Huyen

The two men who are commemorated as saints today were both born in the nineteenth century in Dong Thanh, Vietnam, both married and had children, both worked as fishermen, and both were had the first name Dominic. One was named Dominic Toai, and the other was named Dominic Huyen.

They were also Catholic, and when the Emperor Tu Duc began persecuting Christians, they were arrested. They were also tortured to try to make them give up their faith. When they refused to give in, both men were martyred by being burned alive on this date in 1862.

Holy Martyrs, show me how to live and die for Christ.

Saint of the Day

June 4: Saint Philip Smaldone

Saint Philip Smaldone (1848-1923) was born in Naples, Italy. He volunteered to help deaf-mute people while he was still in the seminary studying for the priesthood and continued to serve them after being ordained. But he became depressed and frustrated at one point and seriously abandoning this work and joining the foreign missions. Fortunately, his spiritual advisor talked him out of it.

For the rest of his life, Philip served the disabled, first by founding a school for deaf-mutes, then expanding to serve children who were blind, abandoned, or orphaned. He was also a priest with deep devotion to the Eucharist, as well as our Blessed Mother, who he believed had miraculously cured him of the plague through his prayers to Our Lady of Pompeii. His fellow priests as well as religious communities sought him out for spiritual direction.

Saint Philip, help me persevere when I am discouraged.

Saint of the Day

June 3: Blessed John the Sinner

Though he was born with the name John Grande, today’s saint is generally known today as Blessed John the Sinner.

Born in Spain in 1546, he lost his father when he was fifteen years old and had his own business in the linen trade by the time he was twenty-two. But he soon found that business life didn’t satisfy him.

John gave away his possessions and lived as a hermit. Though he had apparently always lived a moral life, he was deeply repentant over his past weaknesses and moved by God’s greatness; he therefore began calling himself not John Grande, but John the Grand Sinner.

Like many other saints, he found his vocation when he came across two homeless men lying by the side of the road. He brought them to his hut and cared for them. The rest of his life was spent caring for and begging for the sick, prisoners, and orphans. He joined the Order of Hospitallers, an order that was founded by Saint John of God to directly serve those who were sick and in need.

Not everyone appreciated John’s dedication, of course. Some local officials resented him, naturally seeing his compassionate care as a rebuke to their perfunctory care of the needy. It was also noticed that Blessed John would occasionally be swept up in prayer while performing works of mercy; strangers mistook him for a drunk and ridiculed him. But John would simply beg their pardon and continue on his way. He died during an epidemic in the year 1600.

Blessed John, show me how to show compassion to those who are ill.

Saint of the Day

June 2: Saint Pothinus and Companions

An ancient manuscript describes the martyrdoms of the Christians of the cities of Vienna and Lyons in the year 177.

According to this document, the local governor resumed the persecution of Christians under the orders of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. But, as is often the case, persecution didn’t begin with arrests and executions. Instead, Christians were first publicly ostracized; they were prohibited from using the public baths, selling in the marketplaces, and assigned other serious but lesser restrictions on their freedoms. Having turned popular sentiment against the Christians, sporadic and random mob violence against Christians soon followed.

The local authorities then arrested and tried prominent Christians. Some of those who were arrested renounced their faith out of fear, and pagans who were arrested because they were servants of Christians made up ridiculous stories about their masters because they were afraid they would be arrested and killed too.

Many Christians of these cities remained faithful, however, enduring (though sometimes also dying from) torture. The bishop of Lyons, Pothinus, was ninety years old when he was martyred.

The other Christians of Lyons and Vienna, young and old, male and female, held fast to their faith in Christ despite being brutally and publicly executed. Which, as often happens, simply prepared the way for many conversions to the faith in the future.

Holy Martyrs, help me love and forgive those who ridicule my faith and those who have abandoned the faith out of weakness.

Saint of the Day

June 1: Saint Proculus

In the city of Bologna, Italy, a man named Proculus was executed for refusing to give up his faith in Christ. So why does the city of Bologna claim two martyrs with that name?

The first Proculus was a soldier and died in the year 304, under the Roman persecution of Christians. A few centuries later, the bishop of Bologna, also named Proculus, was arrested and killed during the invasion of the Goths, in the year 542.

The people of Bologna put the bodies of both saints in the same tomb and have asked for their intercession ever since.

Saint Proculus, ask the Lord to bless my community.