San Beda | Bartolomé Román

Saint Bede the Venerable

May 25. Saint Bede the Venerable almost never left his monastery once he became a monk, but he influenced the entire Church of his day. One of the most well-rounded scholars, he wrote and taught in all areas of knowledge. Bede's writings were read in church even before his death.

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The Madonna Apperaing to Saint Philip Neri | Sebastiano Conca

Saint Philip Neri

May 26. For many years after his student days, Saint Philip Neri lived as a layman engaged in prayer and apostolic works in Rome. During this time, he attracted many to join him—poor and rich. After ordination, he became a noted confessor and eventually founded the Oratory, a religious institute, with some of his followers.

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Stained glass of Apostle to the English | photo by Lawrence, OP

Saint Augustine of Canterbury

May 27. Saint Augustine of Canterbury, a monk, was the first bishop of Canterbury. While he only labored for another eight years after establishing the diocese, his influence lives on. Part of his success, limited though it was, was due to his compassionate approach to the local peoples.

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Tousssaint-Louverture | flickr

Venerable Pierre Toussaint

May 28. Born in Haiti and brought to New York City as a slave, Venerable Pierre Toussaint lived an exemplary Catholic life both before and after gaining his freedom. Married and then widowed, Pierre continued his charitable works well into his elder years. He originally was buried outside St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, a church to which he was once refused entrance because of his race.

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Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat | flickr

Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat

May 29. Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat lived in France during the French Revolution. Concerned about the education of children, especially girls, and feeling a call to the religious life, she founded the Society of the Sacred Heart. The sisters worked for the education of the poor and ran boarding schools for the well-to-do.

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Joan of Arc listening to his voice | Léon-François Bénouville

Saint Joan of Arc

May 30. Saint Joan of Arc has been the subject of many plays and books, and her life is riddled with legend. But we know that she was a very spiritual young woman who led the French in battle against the English. In a politically motivated trial, Joan was condemned to death and burned at the stake.

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Memorial Tablet | Master of the Spes Nostra

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

May 31. Today’s feast is both about two women and about two men. The Blessed Virgin Mary goes to visit Elizabeth to assist her in her final days of pregnancy. But as she greets Elizabeth, the babe in Elizabeth’s womb--John the Baptist--leaps for joy at the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb. Great mysteries of life are at play here.

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Mosaics in Mount of Beatitudes | photo by Deror avi

Saint Justin Martyr

June 1. Saint Justin Martyr was the first recognized philosopher of the Christian era. Converted to Christianity, he continued his love of philosophy and used it to defend the faith.

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Illumination from the Passionary of Weissenau | Frater Rufillus

Saints Marcellinus and Peter

June 2. We know very little about these two martyrs, but Saints Marcellinus and Peter are mentioned in the First Eucharistic Prayer of the Roman liturgy. They made the ultimate sacrifice for the faith and are remembered by the faithful for that reason.

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Stained glass of Saint Charles Lwanga | photo by Rachel Strohm

Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions

June 3. Today we celebrate 22 martyrs of Uganda, Saints Charles Lwanga and Companions. Their stories are set in the court of a chief who did not share their faith. Even though they were pages in his court, their faith meant more to them than his approval and support.

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