It is easy for the saints of the past to seem, well, out of date. After all, early Church martyrs and cloistered nuns didn’t have to deal with the problems we have today, right?
Wrong. With a little effort, it’s easy to find at least one saint commemorated by the Church every day of April* who has something to teach us about dealing with our modern problems.
|Concerned about the women (and men) who are forced into a life of prostitution because of pornography? Pray for the intercession of Saint Mary of Egypt (d. 421), who lived as a prostitute for seventeen years before repenting and spending the rest of her life in the desert as a penitent and holy woman.
|Ever been asked by your boss to do something impossible? Saint Francis of Paolo (d. 1507) had such a reputation as a miracleworker that the king of France asked him to come pray over him and heal him. (Francis managed to convince the king to be resigned to God’s will for his health.
|Proving that sibling rivalry happens to saints too, Saint Richard of Wyche (d. 1253) only earned his brother’s resentment when he saved his family from debt. After their parents’ death, Richard was the one who threw himself into the hard work of recovering the family fortunes. His older brother grudgingly offered him the family title. Fortunately, Richard had very different plans for his life and disinterestedly left it all behind to become a priest and bishop.
|Those who have suffered under a harsh teacher can ask Saint Isidore of Seville (d. 636) for help in forgiveness. Isidore’s older brother may have been a demanding teacher, but Isidore eventually learned to love learning—and became a Doctor of the Church.
|Ever had to confront a friend with his sinful behavior? One of the friends of Saint Vincent Ferrer (d. 1419) was an anti-pope. Three men claimed to be the pope at the same time, which caused violence and confusion all over Christendom. When Vincent’s friend, anti-pope Benedict XIII, refused to stop calling himself the pope, Vincent had to publicly oppose him.
|All those who hope for a revival of sacred music today can ask for the intercession of Blessed Notkar Balbulus (d. 912). Although his name sounds awkward to us and although he had a stutter, he composed beautiful music for Mass.
|Those suffering from throat cancer can ask for the intercession of Blessed Edward Oldcorne (d. 1606). Edward was miraculously healed of cancer after a pilgrimage; he died a martyr in anti-Catholic England.
|Trauma victims have a patroness in Saint Julie Billiart (d. 1816), who was paralyzed for decades after experiencing the traumatic experience of seeing someone shoot at her father. Her paralysis was later cured, but not until after she had begun her work as a founder of a religious teaching order.
|The Holy Family of Nazareth is not the only holy family. Saint Waldetrudis (d. 688) can pray for holiness in our families; her parents, husband, sister, and four children are also saints.
|Need comfort during any trial? Try reading and memorizing the Bible. Saint Terence was one member of a group of Catholics who were arrested during the third century because they were Christian; he recited passages from the Gospels to strengthen himself during interrogation.
|Afraid of being ridiculed for being too devout? Ask Saint Gemma Galgani (d. 1903) to help. People made fun of her too, until the stigmata appeared on her hands and feet every Thursday night through Friday afternoon.
|If you suffer from stubbornness, ask for the help of Saint Teresa of the Andes (d. 1920). Teresa worked hard to train her stubborn nature to obey God; she died a holy novice to the Carmelite order when she was only twenty years old.
|Saint Caradoc of Wales (d. 1124), an English hermit, is an excellent patron for those who love animals as he did.
|Those who love to build things (Lego projects or buildings) should turn to Saint Benedict (d. 1184). Following divine inspiration and with little training or help, he built a bridge to help travelers.
|Concerned about a family member who is far from the Church? Blessed Cesar de Bus (d. 1607) is the perfect intercessor. He lived a wild life until the memory of a deceased friend and an image of the Blessed Mother brought him to a complete conversion.
|If you are ever tempted to look down on a homeless person on the street, remember Saint Benedict Labre (d. 1783). He chose to be homeless so that he could make innumerable pilgrimages to holy sites and live only for God.
|Do your kids think you are too strict? Saint Robert of Molesme (d. 1111) had a similar problem as abbot. Some of his monks were so resentful of the way he ordered monastic life that he left them to their own devices twice. (The pope ordered him to return and straighten them out.)
|Our priests always need our prayers. Blessed Robert Moreau (d. 1794) was executed for merely being a priest during the French Revolution.
|Pope Saint Leo IX (d. 1054) is an excellent person to remember when preparing oneself for death. After being imprisoned, his health deteriorated. At the end of his life, he asked to be taken to St. Peter’s Basilica and laid next to his coffin, as a reminder of the need to prepare to face God.
|Difficult teenagers in your life? Saint Agnes of Montepulciano (d. 1317) was only fifteen years old when she was made abbess of a new convent. Ask her to intercede.
|Need help defending the faith to others? Ask for the prayers of Saint Apollonius (d. 185). He was a Roman senator when he began studying philosophy and discovered Christianity. He gave an eloquent explanation of the faith—before he was executed.
|If your family of origin is far from perfect, Saint Theodore of Sykeon (d. 613) is the saint for you. His mother never married and was apparently a prostitute who ran an inn. (Some say she repented and later lived a good Christian life.)
|Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu (d. 1939) is yet another patroness for difficult adolescents. She was the kind of teen who would stubbornly criticize any request from a parent—but then go do what was asked. Her love for Christ softened her heart, and she died as a Trappist nun.
|The legal profession needs prayers in every age; Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen (d. 1622) was a lawyer who gave up the profession because of rampant dishonesty and became a priest and martyr.
|Saint Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur (d. 1667) was a Franciscan tertiary who encouraged people to pray for one another and care for the poor. That recommendation is needed in every age.
|We can always pray for priests who will celebrate Mass in a manner which is both beautiful and prayerful, just as did Saint Stephen of Perm (d. 1396).
|Mothers everywhere can ask for the wisdom and humility of Saint Zita of Lucca (d. 1278), who lived her life as the housekeeper of a large household and brought peace and charity to all those who lived under the same roof with her.
|Not comfortable with devotion to Mary? Ask for help from Saint Louis de Montfort (d. 1716), a French priest whose writings have inspired generations of Catholics with a greater love of the Blessed Mother.
|Do you want a greater devotion to the Blessed Sacrament? Pray for the intercession of Saint Catherine of Siena (d. 1380), a Dominican tertiary who lived on Communion—and nothing else—for the final years of her life.
|Don’t know what to do when life seems out of control? Follow the example of Pope Saint Pius V (d. 1572). While the future of Europe was hanging in the balance during the Battle of Lepanto, he prayed the rosary and encouraged others to do the same.
All you saints, pray for us!
* Note that Holy Week begins during the latter part of March and early part of April in 2021. Saints are therefore not commemorated by the Church in the liturgy on those dates.