Joseph of Cupertino is most famous for levitating during prayer. After a short career with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventual Franciscans. Following a brief assignment caring for the friary mule, Joseph began his studies for the priesthood.
Little is known about the life of Januarius. Legend has it that he and his companions were thrown to the bears in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli, but the animals failed to attack them. They were then beheaded, and Januarius' blood ultimately brought to Naples.
The Korean martyrs, including Saints Andrew Kim Taegon and Paul Chong Hasang, spread the gospel in their native land under extremely difficult circumstances. The holy companion martyrs include bishops, priests, and laity, some of whom where French missionaries.
Matthew was a Jew who worked for the Romans as a tax collector. His fellow Jews considered him a traitor and resented him. The Pharisees viewed him, and all tax collectors, as sinners. So it was a real shock to hear that Jesus called such a man to be one of his followers. But that’s the kind of thing that Jesus did.
Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, the first canonized Filipino martyr, became a witness to the faith almost by accident. Fleeing a legal charge, he ended up with a group of Dominicans headed for Japan, where they were all arrested, tortured, and finally executed.
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, popularly known as Padre Pio, grew up in southern Italy. At the age of 15, he joined the Capuchins and was ordained in 1910. In 1918 he received the stigmata, the markings of the crucified Jesus, which he then bore for the next 50 years.
John Henry Newman, the 19th-century's most important English-speaking Catholic theologian, spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer, and eminent theologian in both churches.
Frustrated in their attempts to enter religious life, Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin married and had nine children. Their youngest child, who entered a Carmelite convent at 15, became Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, affectionately known as the Little Flower.
Pope Saint Paul VI helped prepare for the Second Vatican Council, and was the one to complete it after the death of his predecessor, Pope Saint John XXIII. In 1965, he instituted the Synod of Bishops, and spoke to the United Nations General Assembly during a historic visit to New York City.
The experience and needs of the poor turned Saint Vincent de Paul’s heart and energies to a life of care and compassion. A grumpy man by nature—and by his own admission--Vincent became a gentle and loving servant of the oppressed. The Saint Vincent de Paul Society carries on his work in many parishes today.