A Secular Franciscan, Blessed Raymond Lull spent his life supporting the study of languages necessary for successful work in the missions. It wasn’t until late in life that he saw any fruition of his labors, when language chairs were established in several universities.
Saint Cyril of Alexandria was instrumental in the Church’s doctrinal statement that there is one person but two natures in Christ. The practical implication of this teaching is that we believe that Jesus is truly God and truly human.
We celebrate two great saints today, Saints Peter and Paul. Saint Peter is often considered the Apostle to the Jews and Saint Paul to the Gentiles (based, most probably, on his extensive travels among the Gentiles). Together they witnessed to the budding of Christianity, and both laid down their lives for the faith.
Around the year 64, the city of Rome experienced a devastating fire. Emperor Nero blamed it on the Christians, and a severe persecution followed. Included in the mass murder of Christians were the First Martyrs of Rome. We don’t know their names, but their witness to the faith is certain.
Embroiled in some controversy due to the interpretation of historical facts, Saint Junipero Serra was canonized by Pope Francis on the steps of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2015.
Saint Oliver Plunkett may not be a household name in the United States but he certainly is well known in the British Isles. The Archbishop of Armagh, Plunkett led his archdiocese through the rough days of persecution of Catholics.
We don’t know a lot about Saint Thomas the Apostle, but tradition has it that he traveled to and preached the gospel in India, where he was eventually martyred. His name means “twin,” and due to his skepticism, he is also known as “Doubting Thomas.”
Saint Elizabeth of Portugal did not have an easy time in spite of the fact that she was royalty. She spent her life seeking peace between herself and her unfaithful husband, and between many of her relatives. Elizabeth saw some progress in this endeavor before retiring to a Poor Clare monastery where she died.