February 1. Saint Ansgar was a Benedictine missionary who spent his life trying to convert northern Europe. It seems for every step he took forward, he ended up taking two backward. Yet, he didn’t seem to become discouraged. He kept his focus on serving the poor wherever he was.
February 2. Being an observant Jewish couple, it stands to reason that Mary and Joseph went to the Temple for the purification of the Lord, as prescribed by Mosaic Law, 40 days after Jesus' birth. The blessing of candles and the procession of light were added to this feast, giving it the name “Candlemas.”
February 3. Popularly known as the saint who protects from ailments of the throat, Saint Blaise was a bishop and martyr of the fourth century. We know little else about him, except that he suffered persecution, even after the Edict of Toleration was to have freed the Roman world for worship.
February 4. Saint Joseph of Leonissa was known for his austerity of life and single-minded commitment to preaching. Arrested and warned to change his ways, Saint Joseph returned to his former behavior and was re-arrested and condemned to die. He escaped, however, and continued a life of preaching.
February 5. One of the four virgin martyrs celebrated in the Catholic calendar of saints, Saint Agatha was arrested during the persecution of Decius in 251. Tortured for her beauty and tempted to violate her chastity, Agatha was eventually martyred.
February 6. A Jesuit Brother and native of Japan, Saint Paul Miki was crucified, along with 25 other Catholics, for preaching his belief in Jesus. Proving that the faith is lived and died for in many lands, the Japanese martyrs take their place along with men and women of many nations.
February 7. Saint Colette is known as a reformer of the Poor Clares. Known as the Colettine Poor Clares, these nuns follow a more primitive rule of Saint Clare and are known for their austerity.
February 8. Kidnapped at the age of nine and being too terrified to remember her name, Josephine acquired the name “Bakhit” which means “fortunate one.” Her most "fortunate blessing" came when she was bought by an Italian consul which led eventually to her conversion and freedom. She joined the Canossian Sisters and ministered in Italy.
February 9. An orphan at the age of 15, Saint Jerome Emiliani ran away from home and ran into some trouble. He ended up in prison where he had time to think. After a conversion, Saint Jerome studied for the priesthood and, after his ordination, he worked for abandoned children. He founded the Clerks Regular of Somasca to continue that work.
February 10. Family ties and religious obligations may affect one another, but they are not necessarily opposed. Saint Scholastica’s relationship with her brother, Saint Benedict, is a good example. Close to one another as brother and sister, they also respected the Rule of Life of their respective communities.