August 13. Today we celebrate two men who were at odds most of their lives. Saint Pontian was a pope who abdicated his office when he was sent into exile. Saint Hippolytus had himself elected an anti-pope and opposed not only Saint Pontian, but others as well. Eventually, these two were exiled together where they reconciled and became good friends.
August 12. Saint Jane Frances de Chantal was a wife and the mother of six. When her husband was killed, Saint Jane took a vow not to remarry and sought to join a religious community. She was dissuaded by her spiritual director, Saint Francis de Sales. Eventually, she and two others founded a community intended for those who could not join the established congregations. They wanted to actively engage in the works of mercy, but social circumstances forced them to live a cloistered life.
August 11. Saint Clare referred to herself as a little plant. In many ways, she was a strong oak. The first woman to write a Rule of Life for her sisters, she insisted on the privilege of poverty until her dying breath, getting papal approval of her Rule just days before she died. A model of humility, Clare cared for her sisters even through her own years of illness. Her devotion to Jesus was extraordinary.
August 12. Devotion to Saint Lawrence dates back to the earliest days of the Church. While we do not know many facts about him, his courageous witness to the faith is well known, as well as some interesting legends which, as legends, may or may not be true. They show the fascination with Saint Lawrence and his testimony to the faith.
August 9. The story of Edith Stein begins with her life as a noted philosopher raised in the Jewish faith. Edith ended her life story as a Catholic Carmelite nun with the name Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942. A complicated story involving two faiths and many political events which swirled around her. She who was born Edith Stein is now known as Saint Teresa Benedicta.
August 8. Saint Dominic became aware that the preacher had to practice what he preached and connect with the people of God. He and a few Cistercians formed what was the beginning of the Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans. Living a life of simplicity, the Dominicans were committed to active contemplation, or contemplative action—whichever way it is said, it is the combination of two ways of life.
August 7. Saint Cajetan was a lawyer who became a priest working in the Roman Curia. He came to realize that the Church needed reform, so he and three friends founded the Theatines, a small congregation dedicated to addressing the very issues that were at the heart of the Protestant Reformation. They however, worked for reform within the Church rather than breaking from it.
August 6. Whatever happened on Mount Tabor within the hearts of Peter, James and John, we will never know. The experience was more than words can describe. But certainly, the three Apostles had an experience of the glory of Jesus, the Son of God. In the Gospels, this event follows shortly after Jesus’ description of his human suffering, which will come before the glory of the resurrection. Suffering and glory are inextricably link in the mind of Jesus.
August 5. Saint Mary Major is one of the four major churches in Rome known as patriarchal cathedrals. It is the largest church in the world honoring Mary. This day is also known as the feast of Our Lady of Snows. By whatever title, it is a day of celebrating the Mother of God.
August 4. Saint John Vianney is best known as the Curé d’Ars, the little French town where he was pastor. Saint John had great trouble with his studies and almost did not get ordained. After he became the pastor in Ars however, he gained great fame as a confessor, hearing confessions sometimes 12 hours a day. He is the patron saint of parish priests.