December 12. The Blessed Virgin’s appearance at Tepeyac to Saint Juan Diego in 1531, was the beginning of a beautiful story of God’s and Mary’s love and care for the peoples of Mexico. As Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Blessed Virgin was named patroness of all of the Americas in 2003.
December 13. Little is known about Saint Lucy except that she had taken a vow of virginity, and that she was martyred in 304. Yet devotion to her sprung up in the early Church, and she is mentioned among the martyrs in the First Eucharistic Prayer.
December 14. Saint John of the Cross was a 16th century reformer of the Carmelite way of life. Together with Saint Teresa of Avila, he lived the primitive Rule of their Order, and paid a dear price for his commitment to reform and authentic living. Saint John of the Cross died in 1591.
December 15. Blessed Mary Frances Schervier founded the Sisters of the Poor of Saint Francis, devoted to caring for the poor of this world. To this day they run hospitals and homes for the aged in the United States and around the world. Blessed Mary Frances died in 1876.
December 16. Blessed Honoratus was born in 1829 and died in 1916. A Capuchin Franciscan, he founded many religious congregations for lay people, and wrote many volumes of sermons and ascetical theology. A true son of the Church, he showed many signs of humility, including accepting his removal from all leadership roles in the communities he had founded.
December 17. Saint Hildegard of Bingen was a remarkable woman who fulfilled many roles in her lifetime. A Benedictine nun, she became a rather well-known mystic whom Pope Eugene III encouraged to write. She ruffled feathers when she moved her monastery to Bingen, and confronted civil as well as ecclesiastical officials. Hildegard was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI.
December 18. Blessed Anthony Grassi had a deep devotion to Our Lady of Loreto from his childhood. He joined the Oratorian Fathers at 17, and was known as a very good student. Struck by lightning at age 29, Anthony was paralyzed for a few days before recovering, and becoming somewhat a changed man.
December 19. Blessed Pope Urban V was a simple man who never wanted to be pope. He was quite content to remain in his Benedictine monastery. But, when called to serve the Church, Blessed Urban did so with great devotion and wisdom.
December 20. The connection between Saint Dominic of Silos and Saint Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order, is a curious but interesting one. Separated by 1000 years, the two men were linked by a prophecy given by Saint Dominic of Silos to the mother of the other Dominic.
December 21. An important Catholic reformer in Germany, Saint Peter Canisius earned a master’s degree at age 19, and then joined the Jesuits. He was a great writer and patron of the sick and imprisoned. Peter Canisius was an active member of the Council of Trent, and implemented its decisions. He also taught at the university level and helped found many colleges and seminaries.