Whether or not Saint Mary Magdalene was a notorious sinner—and she most likely was not—she was one of the women who traveled with Jesus and the Apostles, and was present at the cross. She also was the one chosen to bring the good news of the resurrection to the Apostles.
Saint Bridget of Sweden was married, a mother of eight, and the foundress of a monastery for men and women. She spent her final days in Rome seeking to correct Church abuses for which she received much opposition.
Saint Sharbel Makhlouf was a Lebanese Maronite Rite monk, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches who follow a slightly different liturgy and canon law. We in the Latin or Roman Rite often forget that we have sisters and brothers in the East. Saint Sharbel is a good reminder of the wider Church.
Apostle Saint James the Greater, brother of Saint John and one of the three who spent time with the Lord on significant occasions, was a fisherman called by Jesus to follow him. Most likely, he was the first to be martyred, and witness to the faith with his blood. He and Saint John were nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus.
We believe that Jesus is truly God and truly human, and this feast of his grandparents is a testimony to that faith. While the names Joachim and Anne may be legendary, we know that Jesus had grandparents in the parents of Mary (as well as those of Saint Joseph). Our God truly became human and lived among us.
Blessed Stanley Rother grew up in Oklahoma on his parents' farm in what could be described as a normal environment. Life changed radically for him when he was ordained a priest in 1963, and again in 1968, when he volunteered for the missions in Guatemala. But the final change came when civil war reached his parish in 1980. He was assassinated on July 28, 1981.
Pope Francis approved the memorial for Martha, Mary and Lazarus after "considering the important evangelical witness they offered in welcoming the Lord Jesus into their home, in listening to him attentively, (and) in believing that he is the resurrection and the life."
Blessed Solanus Casey became one of Detroit’s best-known priests, even though he was not allowed to preach formally or to hear confessions. Difficulties with studies led to his being limited in some areas of ministry, but he certainly shone in others. This well-beloved friar is a modern day example of humility and perseverance.
Founder of the Society of Jesus Ignatius of Loyola, like Francis of Assisi, had a conversion experience while recuperating from a serious illness. Being a military man, the Rule of Life that Saint Ignatius wrote for his followers shows the discipline and rigor of a soldier, but a soldier of faith with the mercy and compassion of the Gospel.