Bantayog 365 days of Saints

Saint Basil "The Great"

St. Basil the Great, Patriarch of the Eastern Monks, was born in Caesarea ,Turkey in 329. His studies in Athens were gladdened by his friendship with St. Gregory of Nazianzen. After some years of teaching. Basil withdrew into the dessert and was soon followed by a great number of disciples. In 370, he was appointed Bishop of Caesarea, where he fought against Arianism and the abuses of the clergy. In time of famine, he could be seen wearing an apron and dealing out food to the hungry. He was called the Great on the account of his brilliant books and homilies. To the rich he said " Look at that ring shining on your finger, How many debtors could be released from prison with one of those rings? How many poor people could be clothed from only one of your robes? He died in 379, worn out with austerities and hard work. He is also remembered on January 1, the day he died by the eastern church and june 14, the day of his consecration, by the west.

Saint Genevieve

Saint Genevieve
Virgin 422-512

     Saint Genevieve, The patroness of Paris, led a life of austerity, constant prayer and works of charity.She was born on the year 422 at Nanterre near Paris. She died in the year 512.
     Saint Germaine of Auxerre was on his way to Great Britain  to fight the heresy of Pelagius when he dropped by the village of Nanterre and spoke about God to the village people. The young Genevieve was in the middle of the crowd who gathered around the man of God who singled her out and told her of her future sanctity. At her desire and in the presence of all the faithful, she was led to a church where the holy bishop consecrated her to God as a virgin.
     The Bishop's prediction  of St. Genevieve's sanctity was confirmed when Attila changed the course of his march. The barbarian was reported to be marching on the streets of Paris so that the people of the city prepared to evacuate. But, Saint Genevieve persuaded them to stay and ask God's protection by means of fasting and prayer.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton 

"First American Saint"

Holy Woman 1774- 1821

     Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, The first american saint was born in New York city in 1774 of a wealthy Episcopalian family. In 1794, Elizabeth married William Seton, and they were blessed with five children. During their trip to Livorno,  Italy in 1803, William died. Roman Catholic friends displayed such great kindness to her that she became interested in their faith. In 1805, despite strong opposition from her Episcopalian friends she became a catholic.

     Three years later, she opened a grade school in Baltimore. The following year, she established in Emmitsburg , Maryland, the first house of what later grew into Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, Elected the first superior of the order, she held that position until her death in 1821. The Sisters of Charity, whose rule was modeled upon that daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, laid the foundation for the parochial school system in America.

Saint John Nepomucene Neumann
Bishop 1811- 1860

 Saint John Nepomucene Neumann was born in Bohemia Czech Republic in 1811. Since he had a great desire to dedicate himself to the American mission, he was sent to the United states when still a seminarian. He was ordained in New York in 1836, and work for four years for the German immigrants near Buffalo. In 1840 he entered the Redemptorist Congregation and became a travelling preacher. After his appointment as bishop of Philadelphia, he established new seminaries, churches and schools. Each year he visited his parishes and mission stations, displaying his pastoral concern for the spiritual welfare of his people.
     Worn out with his labors, Saint Neumann died in 1860 at the age of 49 and was canonized by Pope Paul VI on June 19, 1997.

Saint Raymond of Penyafort

Priest 1175-1275

Saint Raymond was born of noble family of Penyafort, Spain in 1175 of bright intelligence, he was already teaching Philosophy in Barcelona at age 20.
    At thirty, he obtained a doctorate in canon and civil law. In 1219 he was appointed archdeacon of Barcelona, proving himself a perfect model by his zeal, devotion, and generosity to the poor. Three years later, he entered the Dominicans and began laboring for the conversion of the Jews.
     Together with St. Peter Nolasco he founded the Order of Our Lady of Ransom , whose members were concerned with ransoming captives among Muslims. During this period he composed his work of canon law known as the Five Decretals. Pope Gregory IX chose him for his personal confessor, and the penance he always received was to answer all the petitions presented by the poor. In 1238 St. Raymond was elected Third Master General of the Dominicans. He visited his order on foot and installed into his spiritual children a love of regularity, studies, and the apostolate. He spent the rest of his life opposing heresy and working for the conversion of the Muslims in Spain. He died in 1275 at the age of one hundred.

Saint Severinus of Noricum
Abbot 410-482

          Saint Severinus, Who preached and lived of great austerity, was born about 410 of a noble Roman family. He lived on ascetic life of penance. He wore only one tunic both in summer and winter, went barefoot, ate but once a day at sundown, and slept on a sack cloth spread out on the ground. He had a great love for both a completely contemplative life and his social mission among the Roman peoples of Noricum in Austria. After his stint as a monk in the east, he became a superior of different monasteries.
     His monks received an education that imbibed the great love for the poor, the sick, and the oppressed. Saint Severinus constantly preached penance and piety that led his monks and the people they also taught, to live lives of faith and virtue.
     Saint Severinus became famous for his prophecies that were confirmed and the miracles that he performed. He prophesized correctly the destruction of Astura in Austria at the hands of the Huns. He also helped Faviana, a city on the Danube, which was experiencing a horrible famine. He preached penance among his people and the ice of Danube cracked. For these he earned the fame of wonder worker. He died in his monastic cell at Favianae while singing Psalm 150. Six years after his death, his monks were driven from their abbey, and his body was taken to Italy, where it was at first kept in the Castel dell'Ovo, Naples, then eventually interred at the Benedictine monastery rededicated to him, the Abbey of San Severino near Naples. Severinus was the childhood guardian and spiritual father of St. Anthony the Hermit.

Saint Adrian of Canterbury

        Saint Adrian of Canterbury, A Latin and Greek scholar, was a learned and saintly man from Africa. He was well versed in the Holy Scriptures and in the Fathers of the church.
     During his early years as a religious, he became the abbot of a monastery near Monte Cassino, Italy. Later Pope St. Vitalian, who believed in St. Adrians talents, was instrumental in making him the abbot of the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul at Canterbury. His talents and his commitment to Christianity were needed in the country whose people needed much instruction and inspiration. Being a learned man, especially in the Holy Scriptures, he was sought out by many who later became his followers. He also excelled in Greek and in Latin. The subjects he taught included poetry, astronomy, and calendar calculations. Under his administration, the monastic school attracted many students from all over and Saint Adrian had a far reaching influence. Saint Adrian died on January 9,710.

Saint Peter Orseolo
Religious 928-987

          Saint Peter Orseolo was born 928 in Venice, Italy. He embraced a completely religious life after leading a multifaceted one.
     At the age of twenty he became the commander of the city’s fleet and he was able to clear his area from pirates who were victimizing their ships. Later, he was chosen as the new Doge to succeed Peter Candiani IV who was murdered. He was able to renew the fire raved city and bring back peace among its residents. He had a son by his wife of thirty-two years with whom he lived as celibate after the birth of their only child Peter.
     When decided to become a religious, he joined the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Michael at Cuxa in Roussillon on the border between France and Spain. He built a hermitage and after nine years of dedicated life of prayer and penance, he died in 987. Many miracles were reported to have happened at his tomb. Forty years later he was recognized as a saint by the local bishop as this was the custom for canonization in the church at the time.

Saint Theodosius the Cenobiarch
Abbot 423-529

         Saint Theodosius the Cenobiarch was born in Garisus, Cappadocia in 423, he had a very pious parents whose example contributed much to his excelling knowledge of the scriptures. His stay in the Holy land exposed him more to different means of sanctification.
     Having chosen a solitary life, he settled in the dessert in Judah. His extraordinary piety reached the many hermits who were also living in the dessert and this bought many disciples to his place. He built a monastery of cathismus to house these disciples. Attached to the monastery were three hospitals; for the sick, for the aged, and for the insane. Saint Theodosius’s friend and compatriot Saint Sabbas was appointed head of all those living in the hermitages in Palestine and Saint Theodosius took charge of all living in the community. That’s the reason for the name of cenobiach which means head of persons living in common.
He was removed from cenobiach by Emperor Anastacius because he honestly defended church teaching and fought against heretical doctrine. However, he was recalled when Justinian became Emperor. Saint Theodosius assumed his duties as the overall head of those living in his community until his death in 529.

Saint Margaret Bourgeoys
Virgin and Foundress 1620-1700

         Saint Margaret Bourgeoys, the first Canadian Saint, was born in Troyes France in 1620. She emigrated to Canada in 1652, opened the first school for children in 1657, founded the Congregation of Notre Dame in 1671 and died in 1700.
     She was only twenty years old when she followed a call to consecrate herself to the service of God. She became a member of congregation of Troyes made up of Pious and charitable young women who were dedicated teachers of the children of the poorest in the neighborhood. At the direct invitation of the governor, Margaret migrated to Montreal, Canada to tutor the children of the French garrison. Her devotion to the service of others also included the young women who went to the French colony to marry and start their own families. This led to the establishment of a school system that eventually extended to the whole country. This holy and dedicated servant gained the titles Mother of Colony  and Cofoundress of the Church of Canada.
     Saint Margaret founded the Congregation of Notre Dame brought about by other women who wished to follow her life of prayer, heroic poverty, and service to others. Her Congregation, which received its civil charter from King Louis XIV in 1671, its canonical approval from Bishop Laval of Quebec in 1676, and the approbation of its religious constitutions in 1698, spread throughout Canada and later in different parts of the world.
     She was beatified and canonized in 1982. 

Saint Hilary
Bishop and Doctor of the Church 315-367

     Saint Hilary the leading Theologian of the 4th  Century, was born of a noble family at Poitiers, France in 315. He was brought up in idolatry, got married and had a daughter, Apra. At thirty he discovered the absurdity of polytheism and got convinced that there could only be one eternal God, the author of all things. He found an answer in search for truth in the Christian Scriptures that led him to conversion and baptism.
     Though a layman, he was chosen by the people to become Bishop of the Poitiers. He did all in his power to escape the promotion, but his humility only made the people more confident with their choice. Elected Bishop in 353, he distinguished himself by his stand against Arianism and became one of the most strenuous defenders of the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Exiled in 356 by Emperor Constantius because of his anti-arian efforts, he used the time to write his theological masterpiece, On the Trinity. He returned to Poitiers in 361 and continued to defend the Catholic faith until his death in 367. He was the mildest of men, affable to all; but he was steadfast against the enemies of the church.

Saint Sava

Bishop 1175-1235

Saint Sava was  born in 1176, joined the monastery of Mt. Athos  in 1191, became a bishop in 1219  and  Archbishop  in 1222 in Serbia, and died in 1235.
A descendant of a family of leadership and great responsibility, he was the younger son of Stephen I who founded the Nemanydes dynasty and the independent state of Serbia people, but unlike his father his concerns included secular and religious affairs.
Through his dedicated efforts and example, he mobilized the other monks in the pastoral and missionary work among the poor and abandoned. He was able to organize a stronger Christian Faith among the Serbians. Establishing Serbians Bishops contributed much to the more consolidated Christianity among his people. His participation in secular or non – religious affairs helps in the integration of the Serbian kingdom under his brother, King Stephen II. His life of holiness, commitment, and dedication ended on his death in 1235. 

Also venerated on this day is St. Felix, a priest and a martyr from Nola in Italy. He experienced brutal suffering during the persecution under Decius in 250. Many pray to him that they may be also have the strength to stand firm in defend in their faith.

Blessed Arnold Janssen
Priest and Founder 1837-1909

Blessed Arnold Janssen was born in Goch, Germany in 1837, was ordained a priest in August 1861, and became the Chaplain and director of the Ursuline convent in Kempen in 1873. He led the diocesan Apostleship of Prayers as Director in 1874.
He established a missionary society named Society of Divine Word in Steyl, Holland in 1875 which received the approval from the Pope in 1901.
The house in Holland soon branched out to other countries in Europe, and now the society has houses in different parts of the globe.
The SVD congregation is composed of missionary priest who work in countries in practically all the continents of the world.
Bl. Arnold Janssen is also remembered as the founder of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters who assist the priest as teachers in mission lands. He also formed the Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration whose members are contemplative Sisters who spend most of their time in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and in prayer for their missionary work. Because of the color of their habit, they are called “Pink Sisters.”
Blessed Arnold Janssen died in 1909 and was beatified John Paul VI in 1975.

St. Fursey
Abbot 567 – 648

         St. Fursey led a life of dedication for God’s people, and St Bede’s Ecclesiastical History contains an article that talks about his zealous and unrelenting labor that made him one of the best – known Irish Saints in England and France.
He was born in Munster, Ireland in 567 and died near Paris in 648. He was buried at Peronne where many miracles were reported at his tomb. 
While a priest, he was imbued with a pioneering religious spirit. He travelled for 12 years throughout Ireland where he preached and established monasteries. He also went to England and France where he continued his mission of preaching and founding more monastic houses.
This great saint was favored with visions which he related to his followers and which are found in his book entitled Visions of Fursey. The book talks about the struggle between the forces of evil and the power of God and it also contains glimpses of heaven and hell.
Also remembered on this day is St. Marcellus, the pope on the last year of the religious persecution under Diocletian. A tyrant – Emperor, Maxentius, sent him onto exile when he refused to pardon the sinners who were not sorry for their misdeeds.

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