Christian heroes and martyrs | William A. Foster | The Library of Congress

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

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.

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A bronze statue of Blessed Junipero Serra by sculptor Arthur Putnam stands on the grounds of the Presidio Hill in San Diego July 27. Serra chose the spot for the first Alta California mission in 1769. The mission was later moved a few miles away from the presidio. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec) See SERRA-IMAGES Aug. 17, 2015.

Saint Junipero Serra

July 1. Embroiled in some controversy due to the interpretation of historical facts, Saint Junipero Serra was canonized by Pope Francis on the steps of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC on September 23, 2015. Known for having traveled the west coast of the country, Saint Juniper founded many of the famous California Missions in the 18th century.

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Oliver Plunket | Edward Luttrell

Saint Oliver Plunkett

July 2. Saint Oliver Plunkett may not be a household name in the United States but he certainly is well known in the British Isles. The Archbishop of Armagh, Saint Oliver Plunkett led his archdiocese through the rough days of persecution of Catholics. Finally apprehended, Saint Oliver was hanged, drawn, and quartered July 1, 1681.

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Saint Thomas | Georges de La Tour

Saint Thomas the Apostle

July 3. We don’t know a lot about Saint Thomas the Apostle, but tradition has it that he traveled to and preached the gospel in India, where he was eventually martyred. His name means “twin,” and due to his skepticism, he is also known as “Doubting Thomas.”

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Santa Isabel de Portugal | Francisco de Zurbarán

Saint Elizabeth of Portugal

July 4. Saint Elizabeth of Portugal did not have an easy life in spite of the fact that she was royalty. She spent her life seeking peace between herself and her unfaithful husband, and between many of her relatives. She had some success before retiring to a Poor Clare monastery where she died.

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Sculpture of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria, at St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican | Cesare Aureli

Saint Anthony Zaccaria

July 5. Saint Anthony Zaccaria lived only 36 years, but founded three religious communities, and contributed to the reformation of the Church. He insisted on various religious or devotional practices to renew the spiritual life of the clergy, religious, and laity.

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Stained glass window of Saint Maria Goretti | Reinhard Müller

Saint Maria Goretti

July 6. Saint Maria Goretti has captured the love and affection of thousands of people because of the simplicity and purity of her life. Killed defending her chastity, Saint Maria Goretti posthumously witnessed the conversion of her murderer and his reconciliation with her family.

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Stained glass window in St. Peter church | Jaffa | photo by yiftah-s

Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and Companions

July 7. Franciscan friar Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and his Companions were tortured and killed in 1860, for their faith. Little else is known about them, but the testimony of their lives speaks volumes.

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Saint Gregory Grassi. OFM

Saint Gregory Grassi and Companions

July 8. The 120 martyred in China, including Saint Gregory Grassi and Companions, were the victims of political maneuverings by other countries which sparked the anti-foreigner movement in China. These Franciscan men and women, along with lay men and women, gave their lives in service of the Chinese people. Caught up in the Boxer Uprising, they were martyred on various dates in 1900.

Saint of the Day

Stained glass window of Saint Augustine Rhao Rong and companions | The Hong Kong Catholic Cathedral of The Immaculate Conception | photo by hugo poon

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

July 9. Among the Chinese martyrs was a diocesan priest, Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, and his companions. Facing the strong anti-foreign and anti-Catholic feeling present in China at the time, these martyrs were caught up in a situation that, in many ways, had nothing to do with religion or the Church. But they stayed loyal to the Church and their people, and gave their lives in witness.

Saint of the Day


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