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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Peter was known for his life of penitence and the virtue of patience. He founded a branch of the Franciscans known as the Alcantarines.