Saint of the Day

May 11: Saint Gengulf

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Saint Gengulf (d. 760) was a trusted knight serving under Pepin the Short (who was at the time Mayor of the Palace but later became King of France). When Gengulf discovered that his wife had been repeatedly unfaithful to him, he tried to reconcile with her and restore their marriage. She refused. So he left her and lived a penitential, simple life in solitude. Several years later, it’s said that his wife’s lover snuck in and killed him during the night. Miracles through his intercession caused him to be named a saint.

Saint Gengulf, help me to love those who betray so much that I will even offer penances for them.

Saint of the Day

May 10: Blessed Beatrice of Este

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Blessed Beatrice (d. 1226) was born in a castle in d’Este, Italy. But despite the wealth and power of her noble family, her childhood was full of losses: her mother died when she was a baby, her father died when she was six years old, and her older brother died of poisoning when she was only ten, leaving her in the care of a stepmother and an aunt.

From the time her father died, Beatrice would only wear simple clothing, and when her family began planning a suitable marriage for her, she begged to enter religious life instead. Her older brother refused to consider this, so she secretly left the castle one night and entered a Benedictine abbey. She was only fourteen years old. Until her death at the age of twenty, she lived a holy life as a Benedictine nun, living only for her Lord.

Blessed Beatrice, pray that my grief will only lead me closer to Christ.

Saint of the Day

May 9: Blessed Stefan Grelewski

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Blessed Stefan Grelewski (1899-1941) was born in Poland. An outstanding priest, he also earned a doctorate in canon law, wrote and translated works from French and German into Polish, founded a Catholic magazine, and organized the first Eucharistic Congress in his diocese.

He was the director of a boys’ grammar school when World War II broke out. He secretly continued teaching the faith to his flock during the Nazi occupation until he and his younger brother were arrested–solely because they were priests–and sent to a concentration camp. Stefan died of starvation on this date in the Dachau camp.

Blessed Stefan, help me to forgive those harm me.

Saint of the Day

May 8: Saint Gibrian

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An old tradition says that seven brothers and three sisters, all members of the same family, left Ireland and settled in France in the late fifth century. They lived as solitaries, though they lived close enough to one another to visit each other occasionally. Saint Gibrian was the oldest and was a priest, and he lived a life of such deep prayer and personal austerity that a chapel was built over his tomb.

Saint Gibrian, teach me your love of being alone with God.

Saint of the Day

May 7: Blessed Albert of Bergamo

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Blessed Albert was born at Villa d’Ogna, Italy, into a devout family of farmers in the thirteenth century. He married, became a farmer, and also became a tertiary in the Dominican order. Though he was poor himself, he was generous with others who were in need. He also showed his devotion through making multiple pilgrimages—no small task in an age without modern transportation and tour guides–traveling to Rome, to Jerusalem, and to Compostela in Spain. After he settled in Cremona, Italy, he became known as a wonderworker through his prayers. He died in 1279.

Blessed Albert, teach me how to pray like a saint.

Saint of the Day

May 6: Blesseds Edward Jones and Antony Middleton

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In the sixteenth century, it was illegal to be Catholic and deadly to be a Catholic priest. Edward Jones was born in Wales; Antony Middleton was born in Yorkshire. They both traveled to France to study for the priesthood and then returned to England secretly.

Edward had a youthful appearance and was able to remain undetected for some time. Antony became known as a zealous preacher, making him a more obvious target in anti-Catholic England. Spies who pretended to be Catholic tracked down both men and had them arrested. Though the trial, according to witnesses, was full of irregularities, the two men were condemned to death. Blesseds Edward and Antony died by hanging on this date in 1590.

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

Saint of the Day

May 5: Saint Angelo of Siciliy

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As is sometimes the case, accurate details about the life of this saint are hard to disentangle from later, embroidered accounts. Saint Angelo (d. 1220) was one of the earliest members of the Carmelite order and lived in Sicily, Italy. His preaching about the Gospel apparently included admonitions to live a virtuous life, rather than a sinful life, which annoyed a powerful man named Berengarius. One day, a band of Berengarius’ men attacked Angelo while he was preaching to a crowd and stabbed him. Saint Angelo prayed for his murderer as he died, and the Church acknowledges him as both a saint and a martyr.

Saint Angelo, show me how to forgive.

Saint of the Day

May 4: Blessed Michael Giedroyc

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Blessed Michael Giedroyc (d. 1485) was the only son of noble parents in Lithuania. He suffered all his life from poor health, dwarfism, and an accident that deprived him of the use of one of his feet. Obviously, the secular career that his parents hoped for him would be difficult or impossible.

But Michael apparently accepted all his physical limitations with peace, offering up additional mortifications on his own initiative, praying, and choosing to become an Augustinian Canon Regular. He lived in a cell next to the church as a hermit, living an extremely austere life—only eating vegetables, bread, and salt—even into his old age. But Michael’s life was full in a different way, as God blessed him with consolations in prayer, the gifts of prophecy and miracles, and even spoke to Michael from a crucifix on one occasion.

Blessed Michael, show me how to accept my physical limitations with peace.

Saint of the Day

May 3: Saint Juvenal of Narni

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There are have been several saints named “Juvenal”; this Saint Juvenal was bishop of the city of Narni in Italy and died around the year 376.

He was a priest of the city when the pope separated the city into its own diocese, making Juvenal the bishop. Many of the residents of the town were pagans, and it’s said that while he was passing a statue of a bull in front of a temple one day, a pagan priest struck him with a sword for failing to make a sacrifice in honor of the god. According to tradition, Juvenal caught the sword in his teeth and survived. This public miracle brought many people to the faith.

A few years later, invaders from a neighboring town threatened Narni. Juvenal climbed up the city wall and recited a psalm asking for God’s deliverance; a storm broke out, and many of the opposing soldiers died, saving the city.

Saint Juvenal, show me how to trust in God to do the seemingly impossible.

Saint of the Day

May 2: Saint Wiborada

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Saint Wiborada (d. 926) was born in Klingnau, Switzerland, into a noble family. By the time her brother became a priest, their parents had died, so Wiborada joined him, cared for him, and cared for the sick people of their own. After the brother and sister completed a pilgrimage, her brother became a monk, and she began to live as a recluse.

Unsurprisingly, as word spread about her holiness, prophecies, and miraculous healings of the sick, vicious rumors spread too. Some say she accepted trial by ordeal (that is, some sort of painful test; if you survived, you were considered innocent) to prove her faithfulness. For the rest of her life, she lived in a cell next to Saint Magnus church, praying for hours and practicing many mortifications. Shortly before an invasion of Hungarian forces, she accurately predicted that she would be killed, but her warning allowed the monks and nuns of the area to escape. She was killed with a hatchet while praying (and, one may safely assume, praying for her murderers) and is considered a martyr.

Saint Wiborada, help me to forgive those who harm me.