August 8. Saint Dominic became aware that the preacher had to practice what he preached and connect with the people of God. He and a few Cistercians formed what was the beginning of the Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans. Living a life of simplicity, the Dominicans were committed to active contemplation, or contemplative action—whichever way it is said, it is the combination of two ways of life.
August 9. The story of Edith Stein begins with her life as a noted philosopher raised in the Jewish faith. Edith ended her life story as a Catholic Carmelite nun with the name Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942. A complicated story involving two faiths and many political events which swirled around her. She who was born Edith Stein is now known as Saint Teresa Benedicta.
August 10. Devotion to Saint Lawrence dates back to the earliest days of the Church. While we do not know many facts about him, his courageous witness to the faith is well known, as well as some interesting legends which, as legends, may or may not be true. They show the fascination with Saint Lawrence and his testimony to the faith.
August 11. Saint Clare referred to herself as a little plant. In many ways, she was a strong oak. The first woman to write a Rule of Life for her sisters, she insisted on the privilege of poverty until her dying breath, getting papal approval of her Rule just days before she died. A model of humility, Clare cared for her sisters even through her own years of illness. Her devotion to Jesus was extraordinary.
August 12. Saint Jane Frances de Chantal was a wife and the mother of six. When her husband was killed, Saint Jane took a vow not to remarry and sought to join a religious community. She was dissuaded by her spiritual director, Saint Francis de Sales. Eventually, she and two others founded a community intended for those who could not join the established congregations. They wanted to actively engage in the works of mercy, but social circumstances forced them to live a cloistered life.
August 13. Today we celebrate two men who were at odds most of their lives. Saint Pontian was a pope who abdicated his office when he was sent into exile. Saint Hippolytus had himself elected an anti-pope and opposed not only Saint Pontian, but others as well. Eventually, these two were exiled together where they reconciled and became good friends.
August 14. Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, a Conventual Franciscan, is best known for volunteering to take the place of a condemned prisoner in the death camp. But he also worked tirelessly for the spiritual welfare of people through a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother. His whole life seemed to revolve around Mary as the path to God.
August 15. The doctrine of the Assumption of Mary is recent: 1950. But the belief among the faithful that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven at the time of her death dates to the early Church. Mary is also the summation of all Christians—what happened to her, will happen to us. Thus, she is the testimony of our own resurrection at the end of time.
August 16. Saint Stephen was both a king and a Christian. So, he embodied both the civil and the religious aspects of life in his person. Saint Stephen expressed those aspects in the best way he knew how according to his culture and period of history. He serves as proof that the faith is definitely rooted in the persons who believe.
August 17. Transformed from greedy and surly businesswoman to saint is the story of Saint Joan of the Cross. Her conversion is credited to an elderly woman whom most people thought was crazy, but who reached Saint Joan’s heart. Saint Joan of the Cross went on to found a religious congregation and several charitable institutions.