March 5. Saint John Joseph of the Cross entered the Franciscan community at the age of 16. A humble man, he was asked to serve his community in a number of leadership roles, including provincial minister. Yet he retained his simplicity throughout and retired to the quiet service of confessor.
March 6. Saint Mary Ann of Jesus of Paredes was a Secular Franciscan who lived a life of quiet prayer and penance. She established a clinic where she helped to nurse plague patients, but seems to have succumbed to the disease herself.
March 7. The Church faced persecutions early on in its history. Saints Perpetua and Felicity are two well-known names among the martyrs. While we don’t know much about them, we do have Saint Perpetua’s diary that gives a few facts about their last days.
March 8. Saint John of God’s life story is proof of the possibility of conversion and change with the grace of our merciful God. The first part of his life was not very praiseworthy, but once he turned to God and asked for mercy, he became the saint that we know.
March 9. Saint Frances of Rome is a good example of what Vatican II hoped for—an active laity who take their baptismal call seriously. Although she lived centuries before the Council, her life shows that the call for an active, dedicated laity has been a part of the Church all along. Saint Frances is a good example of what are all called to today—and always.
March 10. A student of Saint John Bosco, Saint Dominic Savio organized a group of students to minister to boys who needed guidance and help. Due to illness, however, Dominic never fulfilled his dream of becoming a priest. He died at the age of 14.
March 11. A convert from Calvinism, Saint John Ogilvie joined the Jesuits and was ordained to the priesthood. Doing secret ministry in Scotland, Saint John was arrested and tortured for a number of days before being martyred on March 10, 1615. He became the first Scottish saint post-Reformation.
March 12. Blessed Angela Salawa was a maid for many years, and eventually became a Secular Franciscan who worked with wounded and sick soldiers during World War I. Abandoned by everyone before her death, she died on March 12, 1922.
March 13. Saint Leander of Seville was a Catholic bishop surrounded by Arians for much of his life. He fought hard to restore faith in the divinity of Christ, using the profession of the Nicene Creed as a tool.
March 14. Saint Maximilian, not to be confused with Saint Maximilian Kolbe who lived centuries later, refused military service and was martyred as a result. While other Christians did serve in the military, Saint Maximilian’s conscience said that he could not without compromising his faith. He set a high standard for all to follow.