Portrait of Juan de Ávila | El Greco

Saint John of Avila

May 8. 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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Statue at Saint Isidore Catholic Church, Bloomingdale, Illinois | photo by Nheyob

Saint Isidore the Farmer

May 15. A married man known for his love of prayer, Saint Isidore the Farmer is one of the five saints of Spain. Saint Isidore worked on the estate of a wealthy landowner and thus, attained the title of farmer.

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Saint Margret of Cortona | Giovanni Battista Piazzetta

Saint Margaret of Cortona

May 16. Saint Margaret of Cortona’s life story certainly had its ups and downs. Having run away from her stepmother after her mother’s death, she lived with a man and bore him a son. When her lover was murdered, Saint Margaret had a change of heart, became a penitent, and founded a religious community. Her son became a friar.

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Saint Paschal Baylon | Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Saint Paschal Baylon

May 17. Saint Paschal Baylon was born into the Golden Age of the Church in Spain: the 16th century. He worked as a shepherd where he had ample time for prayer and mortification. He eventually joined the Friars Minor and served as a brother in several capacities. Saint Paschal had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

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U.S. Archives, Book Reader Images | Unknown

Saint John I

May 18. Saint John I served as pope for about three years before he died of maltreatment at the hands of the emperor’s men. He had to face the Arian controversy and negotiate with the eastern part of the empire concerning the treatment of heretics.

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