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.
July 25. Saint James the Apostle, brother of Saint John and one of the three who spent time with the Lord on significant occasions, was a fisherman called by Jesus to follow him. Most likely, he was the first to be martyred, and witness to the faith with his blood. He and Saint John were nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus.
July 26. We believe that Jesus is truly God and truly human, and this feast of his grandparents is a testimony to our faith. While the names of Joachim and Anne may be legendary, we know that Jesus had grandparents, the parents of Mary (as well as those of Saint Joseph). Our God truly became human and lives among us.
July 27. Blessed Antonio Lucci, a Conventual Franciscan, was a noted theologian and teacher, who was appointed bishop of Bovino. He led the diocese for 23 years and was known for his generosity with the poor.
July 28. Blessed Stanley Rother grew up in Oklahoma on his parents' farm in what could be described as a normal environment. Life changed radically for him when he was ordained a priest in 1963, and again in 1968, when he volunteered for the missions in Guatemala. But the final change came when civil war reached his parish in 1980. He was assassinated on July 28, 1981.
July 29. Saint Martha and her sister and brother had the privilege of being personal friends of Jesus, whose home he went to, it seems, to relax with friends. Saint Martha also expressed her deep faith in Jesus at the time of her brother’s death. Friends are there for us in happy times and sad.
July 30. Blessed Solanus Casey became one of Detroit’s best-known priests, even though he was not allowed to preach formally or to hear confessions. Difficulties with studies led to his being limited in some areas of ministry, but he certainly shone in others. This well-beloved friar is a modern day example of humility and perseverance.
July 31. Founder of the Society of Jesus, Ignatius of Loyola, like Francis of Assisi, had a conversion experience while recuperating from a serious illness. Being a military man, the Rule of Life that Saint Ignatius wrote for his followers shows the discipline and rigor of a soldier, but a soldier of faith with the mercy and compassion of the Gospel.
August 1. Saint Alphonsus Liguori was a great moral theologian as well as the founder of the Redemptorists. He wrote in the areas of spirituality and doctrine to the edification of his diocese and others. He also suffered at the hands of some Redemptorists who betrayed his dream. Even the saints have difficulties in this life.