October 21. The life of a hermit living in the desert strikes many people as mysterious, if not inexplicable. Yet this is what Saint Hilarion, and many others, sought and hoped for and, in some cases, fought for. They teach the value of solitude and prayer to our noisy and busy world.
October 22. Born in Wadowice, Poland, Pope Saint John Paul II had lost his mother, father, and older brother before his 21st birthday. Then his promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II, during which he worked in a quarry and a chemical factory while attending an underground seminary.
October 23. Born at a time when the bubonic plague had decimated the population and the Church was split with two, maybe three, claimants to the papacy, Saint John Capistrano was a voice of strength and hope. He was known for his preaching and his ability to reconcile warring factions. His talents were felt in the Church and in the Franciscan Order.
October 24. Anthony Claret was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris, and to the First Vatican Council.
October 25. Born in Guarantingueta near São Paulo, Antônio attended the Jesuit seminary in Belem but later decided to become a Franciscan friar. Invested in 1760, he made final profession the following year and was ordained in 1762.
October 26. Saint Peter of Alcantara lived in the 16th century, a time of great Church reform. He was confessor for Saint Teresa of Avila, another great reformer. Saint Peter was known for his life of penitance and the virtue of patience. He founded a branch of the Franciscans known as the Alcantarines.
October 27. Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza, a Dominican, challenged the heresies of his day. Known for his ability to preach, he overcame his adversaries and helped his diocese become more loyal to Rome in a time when anti-papal feeling ran high.
October 28. Legend has it that Saints Simon and Jude traveled to Persia together where they were both martyred. This may explain why they share the same feast day. Saint Simon is usually referred to as "the Zealot,” and Saint Jude, also known as Thaddeus, is often considered the brother of Saint James the Lesser.
October 29. Some speculate that Saint Narcissus lived well beyond 100; some say he lived to 160. We don't know much about him, but a number of miracles are attributed to him. Narcissus served as bishop of Jerusalem in the late 2nd century.
October 30. Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez lost his mother, wife, and daughter within a period of three years. He retired to his sister’s home, and after the death of his son, he entered the Jesuit Order, where he served as college porter. Saint Peter Claver was a seminarian during Saint Alphonsus’ time at the college.