July 15. Saint Bonaventure was in many ways the second founder of the Franciscan Order. Through his teaching, writing, and mysticism, Saint Bonaventure captured the spirit of Saint Francis and renewed the order accordingly. Saint Bonaventure served as the Minister General of the Franciscans and served the Church as the Cardinal Bishop of Albano.
July 16. The Blessed Virgin has many, many titles. Today we celebrate one of them—Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel is in norther Israel and has long been the site of a group of religious monks. The entire Church celebrates this feast along with the Carmelite Monks and Nuns.
July 17. Saint Francis Solano asked to be sent to Africa as a missionary. Instead he was sent to South America, where he spent the rest of his life working. After years of ministering in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, he died in the city of Lima, Peru.
July 18. Saint Camillus de Lellis has an unusual story. Rejected by the Capuchins because of an ongoing medical condition, and against the advice of a friend, Saint Camillus founded a religious community on his own to care for the sick. These men proved to be invaluable during the plague, caring for the worst of its victims. Saint Camillus’ persistence won out in the end.
July 19. Australia’s first canonized saint, Saint Mary MacKillop founded the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, better known as the Josephite Sisters. They addressed the educational and social needs of the poor, especially of the aborigines. Today the Sisters serve throughout Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Peru, East Timor, Scotland, and Brazil.
July 20. Unwilling to take no for an answer, Saint Apollinaris was exiled from Ravenna several times, but he always returned trying to preach the good news to the people. He finally died of a beating he received in a suburb of Ravenna.
July 21. Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, a Capuchin Franciscan, was a scholar, administrator, preacher, and lover of the poor. Versed in many languages, Saint Lawrence was an outstanding scripture scholar and used his knowledge of the holy writings to produce many homilies. He served his community as Minister General and served the papacy as an emissary and peacemaker.
July 22. Whether or not Saint Mary Magdalene was a notorious sinner--and she most likely was not--she was one of the women who traveled with Jesus and the Apostles, and was present at the cross. She also was the one chosen to bring the good news of the resurrection to the Apostles.
July 23. Saint Bridget of Sweden was married, mother of eight, and the foundress of a monastery for men and women. She spent her final days in Rome seeking to correct Church abuses for which she received much opposition.
July 24. Saint Sharbel Makhluf was a Lebanese monk who belonged to the Maronite Rite. The Maronites are one of the Eastern Catholic Churches who follow a slightly different liturgy and canon law. We in the Latin or Roman Rite often forget that we have sisters and brothers in the East. Saint Sharbel is a good reminder of the wider Church.