Gertrude the Great

1256-1302 FEAST November 16 Born in Germany’s Thuringia state, this virgin was entrusted at the age of 5 to the Cistercian nuns at Saxony’s Helfta Abbey, where she was educated and became a nun. At 25, she had a mystical “conversion” and thereafter lived a contemplative life. Her experiences are included in “Revelations of Gertrude […]

Blessed John Duns Scotus

1265-1308 FEAST November 8 Born in Duns, Scotland, John was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1291. He studied in Paris, Oxford and Cambridge, and through his writings and teaching at the University of Paris became the preeminent English-speaking philosopher-theologian of his age. His Franciscan minister-general wrote of his “most subtle genius,” which led to the […]

Demetrian

ca. 912 FEAST November 6 After Demetrian’s young wife died after three months of marriage, he entered a monastery on Cyprus dedicated to St. Anthony. There he was ordained a priest and ultimately served as abbot for four decades. When Demetrian was chosen bishop of Khytri, he fled to a cave. But a friend persuaded […]

Clare of Assisi

1193 – 1253 Feast Date: August 11 Though 10 years younger than her townsman, Francis of Assisi, Clare was drawn to his radical message of serving God in abject poverty. Despite objections from her aristocratic family, who wanted her to marry, she gave up the world with Francis’ help and founded the Second Order of […]

Dominic

1170-1221 FEAST August 8 As a theology student, this Spaniard sold his books to help others during a famine, and later held positions at the Osma Cathedral, where community life followed the Rule of St. Augustine. Dominic and his bishop went to southern France on a papal mission to fight the Albigensian heresy. He remained […]

Peter Faber (Favre)

1506 – 1546 FEAST August 1 A Savoyard shepherd who longed for education, Peter began studies in 1525 at Sainte-Barbe in Paris, where his roommates were Sts. Francis Xavier and Ignatius of Loyola. Peter was ordained in 1534, and celebrated the Mass at which the first seven Jesuits, including himself, took vows. After missions in […]

Martha

First Century FEAST July 29 Martha and her siblings, Mary and Lazarus, are Jesus’ friends in Bethany. In Luke 10:38-42, while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, Martha is busy serving. When she complains to Jesus, he says: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. … Mary has chosen the better part and […]

Joachim and Anne

First Century FEAST July 26 Not mentioned in the Bible, Joachim and Anne are first named as the parents of Mary in the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James, which may date from the second century. In this story, they are old and childless, like the Old Testament Hannah, mother of Samuel, when angels deliver the news […]

James the Greater

First Century FEAST July 25 Jesus called James and John, the sons of Zebedee, to leave their livelihood as fishermen and follow him. Perhaps because of their zeal or temperament, Jesus called them “sons of thunder.” James was the first of the 12 to be martyred; he was beheaded in Jerusalem by order of Herod […]

Bridget of Sweden

1303-1373 FEAST July 23 Bridget, or Birgitta, married a Swedish nobleman and they had eight children, including St. Katherine of Vadstena. About 1335 Bridget was appointed chief lady-in-waiting at the Swedish court. After she was widowed in 1344, she founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior, known as Brigittines. Bridget spent much time in […]