June 21. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was a precocious child who had a spiritual awakening at the age of 7. As a young adult, and after a prolonged battle with his father, he entered the Jesuits where he had to learn to live and maneuver within community, and give up some of his independent ways of doing things. Aloysius helped nurse patients of the plague which he caught and from which he died.
June 22. Made famous by his own holy life and featured in the movie "A Man for All Seasons," Saint Thomas More is the patron of those in the law profession. Husband, father, chancellor, and lawyer, Saint Thomas More stands out as a leading figure in British history. He was reluctantly martyred by King Henry VIII in 1535.
June 23. Saint John Fisher’s name is usually associated with Saint Thomas More and their difficulty with King Henry VIII. Saint John Fisher, a bishop and cardinal, refused to agree with Henry VIII’s divorce and remarriage as well as the idea that the king, rather than the pope, was the head of the Church in England. He was imprisoned and eventually martyred.
June 24. Saint John the Baptist is one of the few saints who has two feast days. Today we celebrate his birth, which Saint Luke narrates in his Gospel. There Saint Luke draws a parallel between the births of Jesus and John, pointing out the important role in the history of salvation that Saint John the Baptist would play.
June 25. Blessed Jutta of Thuringia, a noble woman with children, became a widow at a young age. She used her means to provide for the children, but once they were grown, she disposed of her wealth, became a Secular Franciscan, and lived a life of austerity.
June 26. Blessed Raymond Lull, a Secular Franciscan, 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.
June 27. 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. This definition was the source of much controversy in the early Church.
June 28. While we know little about the birth and death of Saint Irenaeus, we know that his life’s work of fighting Gnosticism had a tremendous influence on the theology of the Church. A man of learning and high passions, Saint Irenaeus refuted the Gnostic claims of “secret” knowledge, and supported the teachings of the Apostles and Scripture.
June 29. 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.
June 30. Around the year 64, the city of Rome experienced a devastating fire. The 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.