February 5. One of the four virgin martyrs celebrated in the Catholic calendar of saints, Saint Agatha was arrested during the persecution of Decius in 251. Tortured for her beauty and tempted to violate her chastity, Agatha was eventually martyred.
November 19. Often confused with Saint Agnes of Bohemia to whom Saint Clare wrote her famous letters, Saint Agnes of Assisi was Saint Clare’s younger biological sister as well as first follower in the way poverty.
March 2. Saint Agnes of Bohemia, also known as Saint Agnes of Prague, never married, but had a number of nobles interested in her as a possible wife. Preferring the religious life, Saint Agnes joined the Poor Clares, but not until after she had built a hospital and a friary for the local Friars. She lived the Poor Clare life for 45 years.
June 14. Saint Albert Chmielowski was a talented painter and a Secular Franciscan. In mid-life, he founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants to the Poor, who worked with the poor and homeless. Known also as the Albertine Brothers, this community was renowned for depending completely on alms.
November 15. Saint Albert the Great was a highly influential 13th-century German Dominican. Probably best known in philosophical circles as the master of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert deserves recognition on his own. He was a voracious writer who composed a compendium of all knowledge.
June 21. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was a precocious child who had a spiritual awakening at the age of 7. As a young adult, and after a prolonged battle with his father, he entered the Jesuits where he had to learn to live and maneuver within community, and give up some of his independent ways of doing things. Aloysius helped nurse patients of the plague which he caught and from which he died.
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.
December 7. One of Ambrose’s historical claims to fame is that he was instrumental in the conversion of Saint Augustine, and also baptized him. Known for his lively preaching and writing, Saint Ambrose must have been a force to be reckoned with. Maybe those qualities were what attracted Saint Augustine. But Saint Ambrose stands on his own merits--independent of his protégé.