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 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 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 northern 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.
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.