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St. Bernardine of Siena


Name: St. Bernardine of Siena
Date: 20 May

One day in the year 1408 the great apostle Saint Vincent Ferrer suddenly interrupted hissermon, to declare that there was among his hearers a young Franciscan who would beone day a greater preacher than himself, and who would be placed in honor by theChurch before himself. This unknown friar, who would be canonized only six years afterhis death, was Bernardine, then 28 years old. Of noble birth, he had spent his youth inworks of mercy, caring for the sick before he entered religion at the age of 24.

Owing to a speech defect, Bernardine’s success as a preacher at first seemed doubtful, butby the prayers of Our Lady, this obstacle was miraculously removed in 1417, and theFranciscan friar began an apostolate which lasted until he died. One day, preaching inpraise of the Blessed Virgin, he applied to Her the verse of the Apocalypse: “A great signappeared in heaven, a Woman clothed with the sun...” At once a brilliant star appearedover his head. He was understood, when he spoke in Italian, by listeners of the Greeklanguage who knew only their maternal tongue. He obtained miraculous conversions andreformed the greater part of Italy by his burning words and by the power of the HolyName of Jesus. He preached that devotion, displaying at the end of his sermons, the HolyName written on a tablet. He was also a zealous apostle of the cult of Saint Joseph. It issaid that during sixteen years, and some say eighteen, he did not pass a single day withoutpreaching.

But his success had to be purified by the cross. The Saint was denounced as a heretic,and his devotion as idolatrous. After many trials he lived to see his innocence proved. In1427 he refused the bishopric of Siena, and a few years later two others, in order tocontinue his preaching. He miraculously cured lepers and other sick persons, and raisedto life several deceased persons. The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, established in1530, was extended to the entire Church in 1721 by Pope Innocent XIII.

Saint Bernardine was appointed Vicar General of his Order in 1438, which office he heldfor five years, then preached again for a time until his last illness forced his retreat in1444. He died on Ascension Eve of that year, while his brethren were chanting theantiphon, “Father, I have manifested Thy Name to men.” Already in 1450, a Jubilee year,he was canonized.


Sources: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the


St. Andrew Bobola


Name: St. Andrew Bobola
Date: 21 May

Saint Andrew Bobola, born in Poland in 1592, was sent while still young to the Jesuitschool at Sandomir; his family had always protected the Jesuits and shown itself veryliberal towards them. God blessed both the family and the Jesuits in this future martyr,who would bring both of them great glory. He entered that Order in 1611.

As a student he showed great talent, and after studying philosophy for three years taughtit in their institutes. In 1622 he was ordained a priest. Three years later he was employedin preaching at the church of Saint Casimir at Wilna; in 1630 he became Superior of theresidence of Bobruisk. During a pestilence he spared himself no pains in caring for thesick, without contracting the malady.

Saint Andrew in 1636 resigned his post as Superior to preach for twenty-one years alongall the roads of Lithuania, which he was evangelizing. Poland and Lithuania, itsneighbor, were being ravaged in those days by the Cossacks, Russians and Tartars, andthe Jesuits suffered much from these invaders, who did not like them and their religion. The people were enduring great misery; Father Andrew sustained their courage andhelped to combat the invading religious errors.

At Pinsk the Jesuits were offered a refuge by a Catholic prince. When Saint Andrewwent there, he was already certain that he was going to martyrdom, as this was a centerfor the enemies of the Latin Church. Everywhere he was hooted and harassed, and theorganized bad treatment continued for several years. Even the children hounded him,instructed by their elders. The holy priest considered it a joy to resemble his Master, foris not that the happiness of every disciple?

One day his enemies decided to put an end to him. They waited for him after he had saidMass, pursued him and attached him to a tree, where they beat him, then led him to theirleader with a cord around his neck. The barbaric soldiers, at their chief’s orders, tore outone of his eyes, nearly severed his hand with a blow from a saber, then burnt him withtorches, telling him to renounce his faith. He was then strangled and the skin of his headand back hacked off. Like the great Canadian martyr John de Brebeuf, his nose and lipswere cut off, and he was thrown on a heap of rubble; but two hours later it was stillnecessary to end the life of the victim for Christ with a blow from a saber. He was buriedby the Catholics at the Jesuit College at Pinsk.

Forty-five years later, by a miracle, God revealed the whereabouts of his forgotten tombto the Jesuit Fathers, who had seen the continuing evils of war ruin many of their works. His tombstone, then buried underground, was found after the Saint appeared twice invision to the Rector of the College, saying he wished to protect his brethren and thestudents, and indicating to him the location of his grave. His mutilated body wasincorrupt, and a fine fragrance came from the open tomb. Saint Andrew was beatified byPope Pius IX in 1853, and canonized in April of 1938 by Pope Pius XI.


Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 5.


St. Hospitius


Name: St. Hospitius
Date: 21 May

Saint Hospitius shut himself up in the ruins of an old tower near Villafranca, one leaguefrom Nice in Provence. He girded himself with a heavy iron chain and lived only onbread and dates. During Lent he redoubled his austerities, and, in order to conform hislife more closely to that of the anchorites of Egypt, ate nothing but root vegetables.

For his great virtues Heaven honored him with the gifts of prophecy and of miracles. Heforetold the ravages which the Lombards would make in 575 in Gaul, and advised thereligious of a nearby monastery to flee at once. They said they could not resignthemselves to abandon him, but he replied that although the invaders would insult him,they would not kill him. The barbarians he had foretold came to the tower in whichHospitius lived, and seeing the chain with which he was bound, mistook him for acriminal who was imprisoned there. When they questioned him, he acknowledged that hewas indeed a great sinner and unworthy to live, whereupon one of the soldiers lifted hissword to strike him. God, however, did not desert His faithful servant; the soldier’s armstiffened and became numb. It was not until Hospitius made the sign of the cross over itthat he recovered the use of it. This soldier embraced Christianity, renounced the worldand spent the rest of his days in serving God.

When Saint Hospitius felt that his last hour was nearing, he asked the monks of thenearby monastery to send word to the bishop Austadius that he was going to die, so thathe might see to his burial. He took off his chain and knelt in prayer for a long time. Then, stretching himself on a little bank of earth, he calmly gave up his soul to God onthe 21st of May, 581.


Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the


St. Yves


Name: St. Yves
Date: 22 May

Saint Yves Helori, descended from a noble and virtuous family near Treguier in Brittany,was born in 1253. At fourteen years of age he went to Paris, and afterwards to Orleans topursue his studies. His mother was accustomed to say to him often that he ought to livein such a way as became a Saint, to which his answer always was that he indeed hoped tobe one. This resolution took deep root in his soul, and was a constant spur to virtue and acheck against the least shadow of any dangerous course. His time was chiefly dividedbetween study and prayer. For his recreation he visited the hospitals, where he attendedthe sick with great charity, and comforted them in the severe trials which their sufferingsoccasioned.

Saint Yves made a private vow of perpetual chastity; but this was not known, and manyhonorable matches were proposed to him, which he modestly rejected as incompatiblewith his studious life. He deliberated long whether to embrace the religious or theclerical state; but his desire to serve his neighbor determined him at length in favor of thelatter. He wished, out of humility, to remain in the lesser orders; but his bishopcompelled him to receive the priesthood, a step which cost him many tears, though he hadqualified himself for that sacred dignity by his perfect purity of mind and body, as well asa long and fervent preparation.

He was appointed ecclesiastical judge for the diocese of Rennes. Saint Yves protectedorphans and widows, defended the poor, and administered justice to all with animpartiality, application, and tenderness which gained him the good-will even of thosewho lost their causes. He was surnamed the advocate of the poor. He built near his ownhouse a hospital for the poor and sick; he washed their feet, cleansed their ulcers, servedthem at table, and ate only the scraps which they left. He distributed among the poor hisgrain, or the price for which he sold it, immediately after the harvest. When a certainperson endeavored to persuade him to keep it for a few months, that he might sell it at abetter price, he answered, “I know not whether I shall then be alive to give it.” Anothertime the same person said to him, “I have gained a 20% profit by keeping my grain.” “But I,” replied the Saint, recalling the Lord’s promises, “a hundredfold, by immediatelygiving it away.”

During the Lent of 1303 he felt his strength failing him; yet, far from abating anything inhis austerities, he thought himself obliged to redouble his fervor in proportion as headvanced nearer to eternity. On the eve of the Ascension he preached to his people andsaid Mass supported at the altar by two persons, and he gave advice to all who addressedthemselves to him. After this he lay down on his pallet of plaited twigs and branches, andreceived the Last Sacraments. From that moment on he spoke with God alone, until hissoul went to possess Him in His glory. His death occurred in May, 1303, in his fiftiethyear.


Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the


St. Rita of Cascia


Name: St. Rita of Cascia
Date: 22 May

Saint Rita was born in Italy in the late 14th century, near the little city of Cascia, ofparents who though advancing in age had no children; she was the fruit of their piousprayers. At the age of twelve she resolved to consecrate herself to God by the vow ofchastity, but her parents required her to marry. She obeyed; and God, who perhapswished her to serve as an example for those having to bear with violent spouses,permitted that she be joined to a man of ferocious character, who terrified the regionwhere he lived.

During eighteen years she succeeded so well in pacifying him that he eventually evenbecame submissive to the laws of God. Nonetheless, his enemies killed him; and then thepious widow had to overcome her twin sons’ desire for vengeance. Again she succeeded. When the two young men died not long afterwards, she was without any further bonds tokeep her in the world, and she made application to a convent of Augustinian nuns atCascia. Never had a widow been admitted there, but Saint John the Baptist, with SaintAugustine and Saint Nicholas, who had died during the 13th century in the nearby town ofTolentino, appeared to her to answer her fervent prayers. They transported hermiraculously into the convent by night, despite all the locked doors. The Sisters, findingher there in the morning, could not refuse her request any longer.

Saint Rita practiced severe mortifications, eating but once a day and taking only breadand water for food. She was a model of perfect obedience; she meditated every night,from midnight until dawn, on the Passion of Our Lord, and begged to share Hissufferings. On one of these nights she felt in her forehead the pain of sharp thorns, whichmade there an incurable wound. The festering wound isolated her from the other Sisters,and she lived thereafter almost as a hermit in the convent. The wound was cured once fora short time, when the entire group of Sisters were to go to Rome on the occasion of auniversal jubilee; on their return her wound opened again.

It was discovered that Saint Rita had the gift of miracles when a young girl was curedduring her mother’s visit to the convent, to beg the Saint’s prayers for that intention. Soon many visitors were coming even from distant regions to ask her charity. Sheexpired peacefully in May of 1456. The wound of her forehead, until then very ugly,became brilliant at the moment of her death. The shrine of Saint Rita is still a favoritepilgrimage site in Italy.


Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral:


Other Highlights
»The Eternal Father
»The Circumcision of Our Lord
»St. William Berruyer
»St. Theodosius
»St. Alfred or Aelred
»St. Margaret Bourgeois
»St. Veronica of Milan
»The Baptism of Our Lord
»St. Hilary of Poitiers
»St. Paul the First Hermit
»St. Honoratus
»St. Marcellus, Pope
»Blessed Stephanie Quinzani
»St. Anthony Abbott
»St. Peters' Chair at Rome
»St. Canutus
»St. Fulgentius
»St. Macarius
»St. Fabien
»St. Sebastian
»St. Agnes
»St. Vincent, martyr
»St. Raymond of Pennafort
»St. Timothy
»St. Paul, The Conversion of
»St. Polycarp
»St. John Chrysostom
»St. Peter Nolasco
»St. Francis de Sales
»St. Genevieve
»St. Martina
»St. John Bosco
»St. Gregory, Bishop of Langres
»St. Angela of Foligno
»St. Simeon Stylites
»The Epiphany of Our Lord
»St. Lucian
»St. Claude Apollinaire
»St. Julian the Hospitalarian
»St. Basilissa
»St. Remi or Remigius
»St. Francis Borgia
»St. Tarachus
»The Divine Maternity of Mary
»St. Wilfrid
»Bl. Jane Leber
»St. Edward
»St. Callistus I
»St. Teresa of Avila
»St. Gall

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