Page from a manuscript | Anonymous

Saint Hilary of Arles

May 5. Saint Paul counsels against taking advantage of the youth of a person in authority. That advice applies well for Saint Hilary of Arles who was ordained a bishop at age 29. He suffered because of his young age, but managed to be an effective prelate before his death at age 49. He also set a good example for his diocese by living simply and working hard.

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"The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer" | Jean-Léon Gérôme

Saints Marian and James

May 6. Two almost unknown martyrs courageously witnessed to the world many years ago about their faith. Saints Marian and James were martyred in the 3rd century, yet their deaths still speak to the Church today.

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Saint Rose Venerini (when she was a Blessed) | Unknown

Saint Rose Venerini

May 7. The death of a fiancé can be traumatic, and Saint Rose Venerini responded by joining a convent. That is not where God was calling her, however. She returned home to care for her widowed mother and eventually became a teacher, a career at which she thrived. Rose also gathered others to expand her ministry.

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Papal Bull of Pope Alexander III establishing the Abbey de Fontenay | photo by Ji-Elle

Saint Peter of Tarentaise

May 8. Have you ever felt like running away from your job? Saint Peter of Tarentaise “disappeared” from his diocese to an abbey where he quietly prayed for about a year. Called back to ministry, Peter performed his duties to his diocese well, focusing his energies on the poor.

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Portrait of Juan de Ávila | El Greco

Saint John of Avila

May 9. Saint John of Avila had some pretty impressive friends—Saints Francis Borgia, Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila--to name just a few. These saints, along with Saint John, were all part of a reform of the Church in Spain. Little did they know at the time the holiness of their group.

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Father Damien on his deathbed, resting on his side | photo presumably by Dr. Sydney B. Swift

Saint Damien de Veuster of Moloka’i

May 10. Saint Damien de Veuster became so well known for his work among the lepers in Hawaii that Moloka’i almost became his surname. Dedicating his life to those suffering from Hansen's disease, Damien made the world aware of their plight. He succumbed to the disease and died in 1889.

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Statue of Saint Ignatius of Laconi | Unknown

Saint Ignatius of Laconi

May 11. Saint Ignatius of Laconi spent 40 years begging for the friars. He endeared himself to the local people and inspired them by his virtue. If it hadn’t been for an accident, Ignatius might never have become a Capuchin friar.

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"Flavia Domitilla van Terracina, Nereus en Achilleus" | Peter Paul Rubens

Saints Nereus and Achilleus

May 12. Today we celebrate two praetorian soldiers who are reputed to have left their posts to become Christians. Little else is known about them, but devotion to them dates back to the fourth century.

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Our Lady of Fátima | Ceramic tiles (Azulejo) at the wall of the Igreja de São Bento | photo by H. Zell

Our Lady of Fatima

May 13. Like the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes, this appearance was not given to Church officials, but to children. Through them, Mary requested that the Church spread devotion to the rosary to all the faithful.

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"Saint Matthias" | Serra Brothers workshop

Saint Matthias

May 14. The Acts of the Apostles records that Saint Matthias was selected by the early Church to replace Judas Iscariot in the ranks of the apostles. We know little more about him except that he was a witness to Jesus from his baptism to his ascension.

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