January 19. Be careful of birds landing on your head. That happened to Saint Fabian, and it was taken as a sign that he should be elected pope. So he was. And he served for 14 years until he was martyred in 250.
January 20. In art, Saint Sebastian is often depicted as standing near or strapped to a pole riddled with arrows. Indeed, he was executed by archers, but didn’t actually die. Later he was beaten to death with clubs. Little else is known about this third century martyr.
January 21. Like other young martyrs, the death of Saint Agnes reminds us that length of years is not a requirement for a holy life. Little is known about Saint Agnes other than that she was a martyr..
January 22. Very little is known about Saint Vincent of Zaragossa other than some details about his martyrdom. We know that he was a deacon and that a large devoted following survived his death. Most of what we know comes from the "Acts" of Prudentius.
January 23. Born in Germany, Saint Marianne Cope’s family soon moved to Utica, NY. In 1862 she entered the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis where she served as superior for a number of years. In 1883, Saint Marianne went to Hawaii where she, and other members of her community, cared for women and girls with leprosy.
January 24. Saint Francis de Sales was born into a senatorial family where he was destined to work in government positions of authority. Instead, he felt a call to the priesthood and was ordained for the Diocese of Geneva. Later he became bishop of that diocese and was known for his gentleness and his strong defense against Calvinism. He authored a couple of books and helped found the Sisters of the Visitation.
January 25. Saint Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus was to be the turning point in his spiritual life. There he met Jesus and nothing was the same after that. Thereafter, all his zeal and energy were focused on the spread of the gospel message. We know him from his wonderful letters to the early Christian communities.
January 26. Saint Timothy and Titus were trusted friends and co-workers with Saint Paul through many of his trials. He eventually set both up as heads of local Churches and encouraged them as would a father. Saint Paul seems to have truly relished their support and friendship.
January 27. Saint Angela Merici was a courageous woman who saw a need and answered it even though society may not have been ready for her solution. Women teaching and, what we call today, a secular institute were new forms of living and ministering which proved very beneficial to the Church.
January 28. Saint Thomas Aquinas is well known for his writings, especially the "Summa Theologica." But he was far more than a philosopher/theologian. He was a devout man who wrote beautiful prayers and hymns. Perhaps the best known is the "Pange Lingua." He truly was able to combine human reason and revelation and show the fruits of the union.