July 8. The 120 martyred in China, including Saint Gregory Grassi and Companions, were the victims of political maneuverings by other countries which sparked the anti-foreigner movement in China. These Franciscan men and women, along with lay men and women, gave their lives in service of the Chinese people. Caught up in the Boxer Uprising, they were martyred on various dates in 1900.
July 9. Among the Chinese martyrs was a diocesan priest, Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, and his companions. Facing the strong anti-foreign and anti-Catholic feeling present in China at the time, these martyrs were caught up in a situation that, in many ways, had nothing to do with religion or the Church. But they stayed loyal to the Church and their people, and gave their lives in witness.
July 10. A Capuchin Poor Clare, Saint Veronica Giuliani received the unique gift of the stigmata of Christ. Few people have been blessed with these marks; Saint Francis of Assisi was probably the most notable among them. Saint Veronica suffered misunderstandings because of the gift, but she endured through it all and was able to serve her community in several administrative roles.
July 11. Saint Benedict is known as the Father of Western Monasticism due to his great influence on the shape and character of monastic life in the West. Living the life of a hermit, others witnessed his lifestyle and wanted to follow. He eventually organized these men and wrote a Rule governing their communal life. Noted for its moderation and hospitality, the Rule continues to nurture the Cistercians as well as the Benedictines of today.
July 12. Saints John Jones and John Wall were both ordained diocesan priests who later joined the Franciscans. Living almost a century apart, these two saints shared a common characteristic—both ministered to the faithful during dangerous times for Catholics in England. Eventually arrested, they were both martyred for the faith: one in 1598 and the other in 1679.
July 13. Saint Henry, a German king and Holy Roman Emperor, lived life according to the customs of his times, but did it in a holy way. He is a clear witness to the holiness of secular life lived according to the gospel norms.
July 14. Known as the Lily of the Mohawks, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s story is one of courage and humility. Courageously facing her uncle’s dislike for anything Christian, she converted to Catholicism at age 19. This led to a life of extreme penance and austerity for the young woman. Escaping to Montreal, Kateri continued to live a life of prayer and penance.
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, and Paraguay, he died in the city of Lima, Peru.