May 24. Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi is known as the “ecstatic saint” because of her unusual gifts from God. To safeguard the authenticity of her visions, her confessor had her dictate them to fellow sisters. The result was five volumes encompassing ecstasies, letters, and inspirational sayings. But her life was not all sweetness; she also battled with temptations.
May 23. Saint Gregory VII, originally known as Hildebrand, was a reformer before and during his papacy (1073-1085). He struggled to gain the Church's freedom from undue civil influence and paid a price for his efforts. Gregory VII died in exile in 1085. Thirty years after his death, the Church won its struggle.
May 22. Saint Rite of Cascia was a wife, widow, and mother before becoming an Augustinian nun. She seems to have done most of her ministry within the convent, yet counseled many lay people who came to the monastery. Rita was known for her austerity and charity, along with prayerfulness.
May 21. Saint Cristóbal Magallanes and Companions, 21 diocesan priests and three laymen, belonged to the Cristero movement during the 20th-century persecution of the Church in Mexico. Martyred over a number of years in eight Mexican states, they were beatified and canonized together.
May 20. Saint Bernardine of Siena seems to have been a man with a whole lot of energy. He preached, reconciled cities, fought heresy, and attracted great crowds. Bernardine always traveled by foot, and often preached in more than one city on a given day. He is best known today for his great devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus.
May 19. Saint Theophilus of Corte is a saint known more by reputation than by facts. We know that he was a Franciscan, ordained priest, and served at a retreat house near Subiaco. Theophilus was known for his poverty and his preaching.
May 18. Saint John I served as pope for about three years before he died of maltreatment at the hands of the emperor’s men. He had to face the Arian controversy and negotiate with the eastern part of the empire concerning the treatment of heretics.
May 17. Saint Paschal Baylon was born into the Golden Age of the Church in Spain: the 16th century. He worked as a shepherd where he had ample time for prayer and mortification. He eventually joined the Friars Minor and served as a brother in several capacities. Saint Paschal had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
May 16. Saint Margaret of Cortona’s life story certainly had its ups and downs. Having run away from her stepmother after her mother’s death, she lived with a man and bore him a son. When her lover was murdered, Saint Margaret had a change of heart, became a penitent, and founded a religious community. Her son became a friar.
May 15. A married man known for his love of prayer, Saint Isidore the Farmer is one of the five saints of Spain. Saint Isidore worked on the estate of a wealthy landowner and thus, attained the title of farmer.