Saint of the Day

May 31: Blessed James Salomone

Blessed James Salomone (1231-1314) came from a noble family of Venice, Italy. But his father died when he was young, and his mother left to become a Cistercian nun, leaving James to be raised by his grandmother. Perhaps unsurprisingly, James also considered a religious vocation and decided to enter the Dominican order as a young man.

His generosity was legendary; on the way to enter the Dominicans, he gave away his money to the poor (saving only enough to buy books) and then later gave away the money he had left to help a lay-brother who needed clothing. James lived as a Dominican priest for sixty-six years, and he became well-known for his gifts as a spiritual director. Hating the notoriety, he asked for a transfer to a stricter, more remote Dominican house. It is said that hundreds of miraculous cures resulted from his prayers. He died of cancer on this date in Forli, Italy.

Blessed James, show me how to help the poor today.

Saint of the Day

May 30: Blesseds Richard Newport and William Scott

When King James I became the king of England, Catholics had reason to hope that they would be better treated than in previous reigns. However, the Gunpowder Plot (an assassination attempt on the king’s life by a group of Catholics which failed) changed all that. While James did tolerate the presence of some Catholics to remain Catholics, as long as they swore their allegiance to him and kept quiet about their faith, he was not so tolerant toward an essential aspect of the Church: priests.

Blessed Richard Newport and Blessed William Scott were Englishmen who had been ordained as priests outside England so that they could return and serve English Catholics secretly. Both men had been arrested and exiled from England more than once for the crime of being Catholic priests. But their luck ran out. On this date in 1612, they were hanged, drawn, and quartered in London, dying as martyrs for their faith.

Holy Martyrs, show me how to help my priests.

Saint of the Day

May 29: Saint Senator

Saint Senator was only a priest when he was sent by Pope Saint Leo the Great to attend a council in Constantinople as one of his appointed legates. He also attended, at the pope’s request, the Council of Chalcedon, an important council in the year 451 in which the Church responded to heresies about the nature of Christ. Later, he was named bishop of Milan, and he died around the year 451.

Saint Senator, help me to understand the mystery of Jesus Christ as true God and true man.

Saint of the Day

May 28: Blessed Mary Bartholomeo of Florence

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.

Saint of the Day

May 27: Saint Eutropius

Saint Eutropius was born in Marseilles, France, and lived during the fifth century. He lived a wild life as a young man, but marriage settled him down. After his wife died, and with the encouragement of his bishop, he decided to become a priest.

As a priest, he began to live his faith much more rigorously, particularly through fasting and prayer. Shortly after the Visigoths had brutally attacked and raided the region, he was named bishop of Marseilles. His people were so devastated, spiritually and materially, that Eutropius considered fleeing the area. But instead he became a pillar of Christ-like strength to his hurting flock until his death around the year 475.

Saint Eutropius, protect me from discouragement.

Saint of the Day

May 26: Saint Lambert

Saint Lambert was born in the late eleventh century in France. He was educated in a Benedictine abbey and decided to become a monk when he was only fourteen years old.

Lambert was a kind man and beloved by his fellow monks. He loved the life of solitude and study that was lived by the monks at Lerins abbey. However, because of his obvious gifts, he was asked to leave the monastery and serve as bishop of the city of Vence. Despite all his attempts to avoid that honor, he was ordained and governed his diocese for forty years. His people respected him for his learning, but they loved him for the many miracles that occurred through his prayers, such as the healing of the sick. He died of natural causes in 1154.

Saint Lambert, teach me how to love others with the heart of Christ.

Saint of the Day

May 25: Saint Aldhelm

Saint Aldhelm was born in the year 640 in England into a noble family. He decided to live as a hermit, then became a monk, and eventually served as a spiritual director to other monks. When he became abbot, he reformed his abbey along the lines of the Benedictine reform that was sweeping Europe at the time. The changes he made were so successful that he established other houses, as well as churches. The first church organ in all of England was installed around the year 700 under his direction.

But Aldhelm’s building skills weren’t his only gift. He was an inspiring preacher, a poet and musician, and was widely known for his spiritual writing. When disputes arose between the Celtic Christians and the Anglo-Saxon Christians, Aldhelm was sent to Rome to discuss and resolve the differences between the two groups of people with the pope.

Aldhelm was named bishop of Sherborne in 705 and died four years later of natural causes.

Saint Aldhelm, show me how to reform my life.

Saint of the Day

May 24: Blessed John of Prado

Blessed John of Prado was born into a noble family in Spain in the late sixteenth century. He became a Franciscan friar with the great hope of bringing the Gospel to those who had never heard it before, but his superiors first ordered him to preach in his native country. He was a humble, holy, and gifted priest, so it was probably out of jealousy that cruel gossip about him later caused him to be relieved of his position as superior. But when the lies were proved to be lies soon afterward, John was restored to his position and even made minister of a new Franciscan province in Spain.

A plague caused the death of many Franciscan friars serving in Morocco in north Africa, so John begged to be sent to serve there. When he arrived, he immediately began serving the Christian slaves living in the country, particularly by administering the sacraments to them. The Muslim authorities arrested John, along with the priest and brother who accompanied him, and put them to work at slave labor.

He was brought out of prison and interrogated by the local sultan on two occasions. John was scourged after the first examination because he tried to explain the Christian faith to the sultan. During the second interrogation, John turned to talk to Christians in the room who had apostatized and become Muslims, rather than addressing the sultan. In anger, the sultan struck him, had him shot with arrows, and then had him burned to death. John died on this date in 1636.

Blessed John, teach me how to forgive.

Saint of the Day

May 23: Saint Michael of Synnada

Saint Michael of Synnada was just a young man when he moved to Constantinople (modern Turkey) in the late eighth century. He studied under one future saint (Tarasius) and became friends with another (Theophylact) at that time. He lived as a monk, was ordained a priest, and then was named bishop of Synnada.

As a prominent bishop of the Church, Michael attended the Second Council of Nicaea in the year 787. Over the next two decades, he served on important diplomatic missions for the Byzantine emperor to a Muslim caliph, the pope, and Charlemagne, the king of the Franks. When a new Byzantine emperor began mercilessly punishing those who used icons to pray—a heresy later known as iconoclasm—Michael was put in prison in the year 815. His friends, Saint Tarasius and Theophylact, also suffered persecution for their opposition to the emperor’s iconoclasm. Michael survived imprisonment and died in 826 of natural causes.

Saint Michael, help me to find holy friends.

Saint of the Day

May 22: Saints Castus and Aemilius

Today’s saints, Castus and Aemilius, teach us that not every Christian went cheerfully and quickly to martyrdom.

The early Church father, Saint Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, tells us most of what we know about the two men. During the persecution of the Roman emperor Decius, they were arrested for being Christians and were brutally tortured. Because of the pain, they gave in. They were released when they capitulated about their Christian faith.

Later, they were bitterly sorry for having renounced their faith in Christ and repented. Around the year 250, they were arrested again for the same reason. This time, they remained faithful, even when they were executed by being burned to death.

Saints Castus and Aemilius, help me to rely not on my strength, but on Christ’s.