August 12. Saint Jane Frances de Chantal was a wife and the mother of six. When her husband was killed, Saint Jane took a vow not to remarry and sought to join a religious community. She was dissuaded by her spiritual director, Saint Francis de Sales. Eventually, she and two others founded a community intended for those who could not join the established congregations. They wanted to actively engage in the works of mercy, but social circumstances forced them to live a cloistered life.
August 13. Today we celebrate two men who were at odds most of their lives. Saint Pontian was a pope who abdicated his office when he was sent into exile. Saint Hippolytus had himself elected an anti-pope and opposed not only Saint Pontian, but others as well. Eventually, these two were exiled together where they reconciled and became good friends.
August 14. Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, a Conventual Franciscan, is best known for volunteering to take the place of a condemned prisoner in the death camp. But he also worked tirelessly for the spiritual welfare of people through a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother. His whole life seemed to revolve around Mary as the path to God.
August 15. The doctrine of the Assumption of Mary is recent: 1950. But the belief among the faithful that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven at the time of her death dates to the early Church. Mary is also the summation of all Christians—what happened to her, will happen to us. Thus, she is the testimony of our own resurrection at the end of time.
August 16. Saint Stephen was both a king and a Christian. So, he embodied both the civil and the religious aspects of life in his person. Saint Stephen expressed those aspects in the best way he knew how according to his culture and period of history. He serves as proof that the faith is definitely rooted in the persons who believe.
August 17. Transformed from greedy and surly businesswoman to saint is the story of Saint Joan of the Cross. Her conversion is credited to an elderly woman whom most people thought was crazy, but who reached Saint Joan’s heart. Saint Joan of the Cross went on to found a religious congregation and several charitable institutions.
August 18. Born into royalty and headed for the throne of his father, Saint Louis of Toulouse renounced his status, became a Franciscan, and was named a bishop. It was during the years that he was held hostage and under the tutelage of the Friars, that Saint Louis began to realize his call to something other than the throne. He was known for his generosity to the poor.
August 19. Saint John Eudes was a noted preacher and confessor. He founded several seminaries because he saw the need for clerical formation. He also founded a couple of religious communities to address the needs that he saw. Saint John had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
August 20. Wanting to be a simple monk in the quiet of a monastery, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux was called upon to be a very active member of the Church in his day. Preacher, reconciler, adviser, healer—just a few of the roles he was called to play. A man of many talents, he used his abilities for the service of the Church.
August 21. A man of humble background, and wanting to maintain a simple lifestyle, Saint Pius X endured the trappings of the papacy as best he could. Known for encouraging frequent reception of Holy Communion, and concerned about world affairs, he led the Church in holiness and grace. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest popes of the 20th century.