July 19. Australia’s first canonized saint, Saint Mary MacKillop founded the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, better known as the Josephite Sisters. They addressed the educational and social needs of the poor, especially of the aborigines. Today the Sisters serve throughout Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Peru, East Timor, Scotland, and Brazil.
July 20. Unwilling to take no for an answer, Saint Apollinaris was exiled from Ravenna several times, but he always returned trying to preach the good news to the people. He finally died of a beating he received in a suburb of Ravenna.
July 21. Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, a Capuchin Franciscan, was a scholar, administrator, preacher, and lover of the poor. Versed in many languages, Saint Lawrence was an outstanding scripture scholar and used his knowledge of the holy writings to produce many homilies. He served his community as Minister General and served the papacy as an emissary and peacemaker.
July 22. Whether or not Saint Mary Magdalene was a notorious sinner—and she most likely was not—she was one of the women who traveled with Jesus and the Apostles, and was present at the cross. She also was the one chosen to bring the good news of the resurrection to the Apostles.
July 23. Saint Bridget of Sweden was married, mother of eight, and the foundress of a monastery for men and women. She spent her final days in Rome seeking to correct Church abuses for which she received much opposition.
July 24. Saint Sharbel Makhluf was a Lebanese monk who belonged to the Maronite Rite. The Maronites are one of the Eastern Catholic Churches who follow a slightly different liturgy and canon law. We in the Latin or Roman Rite often forget that we have sisters and brothers in the East. Saint Sharbel is a good reminder of the wider Church.
July 25. Saint James the Apostle, brother of Saint John and one of the three who spent time with the Lord on significant occasions, was a fisherman called by Jesus to follow him. Most likely, he was the first to be martyred, and witness to the faith with his blood. He and Saint John were nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus.
July 26. We believe that Jesus is truly God and truly human, and this feast of his grandparents is a testimony to our faith. While the names of Joachim and Anne may be legendary, we know that Jesus had grandparents, the parents of Mary (as well as those of Saint Joseph). Our God truly became human and lives among us.
July 27. Blessed Antonio Lucci, a Conventual Franciscan, was a noted theologian and teacher, who was appointed bishop of Bovino. He led the diocese for 23 years and was known for his generosity with the poor.
July 28. Blessed Stanley Rother grew up in Oklahoma on his parents' farm in what could be described as a normal environment. Life changed radically for him when he was ordained a priest in 1963, and again in 1968, when he volunteered for the missions in Guatemala. But the final change came when civil war reached his parish in 1980. He was assassinated on July 28, 1981.