Our Lady of Sorrows

  FEAST September 15 This feast, a patronage for all the sorrowing, honors Mary’s tribulations as Jesus’s mother. Blessed Henry Suso, a German mystic who lived 1295-1366, practiced devotions he called the Five Joys of Mary and the Five Sorrows of Mary. Father John de Coudenberghe, a parish priest in Flanders, began preaching a devotion […]

Maximilian Kolbe

1894 – 1941 FEAST August 14 Raimund Kolbe, born in Russian Poland, was ordained a Franciscan, Maximilian Mary, in Rome. In the 1920s, he reopened a ruined Polish friary, started a Marian press and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Despite his illness, he had successful Marian missions to Japan and India before returning to Poland in […]

Mary Helen MacKillop

1842 – 1909 FEAST August 8 Mother MacKillop is Australia’s first native-born saint and its patron. The oldest of eight children of Scottish immigrants, Mary began working with children as a governess. With encouragement from a priest-adviser, Mary founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the continent’s first religious order, to open […]


604-642 FEAST August 5 St. Oswald won control of Northumbria at battle against a pagan army in 634. The night before the conflict he had constructed a huge wooden cross on the field and had his largely pagan army pray to God for victory. Then Oswald, a Christian who was converted by monks at Iona, […]


First century FEAST August 3 Lydia’s name is taken from her place of origin, Thyatira in the province of Lydia (now Turkey). Paul’s first convert in Philippi, Lydia is mentioned once in the Bible: Acts 16:13-15. Luke calls her “a dealer in purple cloth” and “a worshipper of God.” After listening to Paul, she and […]

Ignatius of Loyola

1491-1556 FEAST July 31 Born in his family’s ancestral Basque castle, Inigo Lopez de Loyola was a page in Castile and a soldier wounded in battle before he experienced a personal conversion that has had profound consequences for the church ever since. While convalescing, he read about Christ and the saints, made a long retreat […]


First Century FEAST July 12 Veronica does not appear in the Roman Martyrology, the church’s official list of feasts. According to legend, she was the woman who took pity on Jesus as he carried his cross, wiped his face with a cloth and was left with an image of the suffering Christ. Many such images, […]


c. 480-550 FEAST July 11 What’s known about the father of Western monasticism is from the “Dialogues of (Pope) St. Gregory the Great.” Sent to Rome to study, 20-year-old Benedict shunned the city’s wickedness to take up solitary living in Subiaco. He stayed there for about 25 years, with disciples he organized into 12 small […]

Kateri Tekakwitha

1656-1680 Feast Date: July 14 At her canonization in 2012, Pope Benedict XVI prayed, “St. Kateri, protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the First Nations and in all of North America!” The daughter of a Mohawk chief and Algonquin woman, Kateri was […]

Aloysius Gonzaga

1568 – 1591 Feast Date: June 21 Born to a noble Italian family, Aloysius served as a page in Spain and Italy. His father opposed a religious vocation, planning instead a military career for his oldest son. But Aloysius joined the Jesuits in Rome in 1585, taking his vows two years later. His health had […]


c. 675 – 754 Feast Date: June 5 Boniface, the apostle of Germany, started out as an English monk, a popular teacher, preacher and writer who was ordained at 30. He compiled a Latin grammar and wrote many biblical instructions. But he felt called to missionary work, and in 716 landed in Friesland, now in […]

Isidore the Farmer

c. 1070-1130 FEAST May 15 A humble peasant born near Madrid, Spain, Isidore married and worked the same fields all his life. The couple was said to have lived celibately after their young son died. Always devout, Isidore visited church on his way t work, prayed while ploughing and made local pilgrimages. Legends associate him […]