January 13. Saint Hilary of Poitiers was converted to Christianity through his reading of the Sacred Scriptures. A married man, he was chosen as Bishop of Poitiers in France where he arduously fought Arianism. As a result, he was sent into exile, but returned home to Poitiers before he died.
January 14. Saint Gregory Nazianzen paid a huge price for his faith. In conflict with the Emperor, Valens, who defended the Arians, Saint Gregory worked hard to defend the Catholic faith. Toward the end of his life, Saint Gregory gained some peace and quiet as he gardened and wrote religious poetry.
January 15. Saint Paul the Hermit first experienced life in the dessert at about age 15 during the persecution of Decius. The life must have agreed with him, because he is reported to have lived about 112 years. Little else is known about him, but there are legends.
January 16. Saint Francis considered Saints Berard and his Companions as true Friars Minor because they were willing to lay their lives on the line for the faith. Such heroic virtue inspired Saint Anthony to join the Franciscans. Those who give their lives for the faith today, have also inspired others in the faith for often the faith grows by the blood of martyrs.
January 17. Saint Anthony was a solitary ascetic who practiced great mortification yet drew many people to himself. He responded by founding an early form of monastic life. He lived until age 105.
January 18. Like many people, Saint Charles of Sezze thought he knew what God wanted, only to find out that he was mistaken. Instead of going to India as a missionary, Saint Charles settled in Rome where he cooked and cared for the friary and friary chapel. While being simple, Saint Charles was no simpleton as is obvious from his life story.