January 5. Saint John Neumann was the first member of his community, the Redemptorists, to profess vows in the United States. He did missionary work in Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio and became the bishop of Philadelphia. Noted for his humility and organizational skills, he helped form the Church in the new world.
January 6. Saint André Bessette was orphaned at 12, and eventually worked in the United States during the Civil War. At 25, he became a Brother of the Holy Cross. Having a deep devotion to Saint Joseph from childhood, Saint André built the Oratory on Mount Royal in his honor. Although sickly most of his life, Saint André lived to be 92.
January 7. Saint Raymond of Peñafort was a lawyer who used his talents to both compile legislation for easy access and to write legal treatises on penance for the use of confessors. He was named the Archbishop of Tarragona, but resigned due to sickness within two years. He lived to be 100.
January 8. Saint Angela of Foligno was a wife and mother who had little interest in the spiritual life until about the age 40. After her husband and children died, Saint Angela entered the Secular Franciscans living a life of prayer and service. Others were attracted to her way of life and they formed a religious community.
January 9. An African by birth, Saint Adrian was assigned by the Pope as Archbishop of Canterbury. Feeling unworthy, he declined the position, but the Pope sent him to Canterbury anyway where he became an abbot and teacher.
January 10. Saint Gregory of Nyssa, the brother of Saint Basil and the son of Saints Basil and Emmilia, was a married man when he began studying for the priesthood. He became Bishop of Nyssa and fought Arianism and was a prominent figure at the Council of Constantinople. He became a great writer and defender of orthodoxy.
January 11. Born in London, Blessed William Carter was a printer who got in trouble for printing Catholic material during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Eventually brought to trial, he was convicted and hanged, drawn, and quartered on January 11, 1584.
January 12. Born in France but adopting Canada as her home, Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys definitely won the hearts of the Canadians. She moved to Canada at the request of the governor of the French settlement. She later founded a school for girls in Montreal and founded the Sisters of Notre Dame
January 13. Saint Hilary of Poitiers was converted to Christianity through his reading of the Sacred Scriptures. A married man, he was chosen as Bishop of Poitiers in France where he arduously fought Arianism. As a result, he was sent into exile, but returned home to Poitiers before he died.
January 14. Saint Gregory Nazianzen paid a huge price for his faith. In conflict with the Emperor, Valens, who defended the Arians, Saint Gregory worked hard to defend the Catholic faith. Toward the end of his life, Saint Gregory gained some peace and quiet as he gardened and wrote religious poetry.