St. Fursey

When They Lived:

Saint Fursey, also known as Fursa, lived during the early medieval period. He was born around the year 567 AD and passed away in 650 AD.

Where They Lived:

Saint Fursey was originally from Ireland, where he began his monastic life. He later became a missionary and traveled to various parts of Europe, most notably in what is now France.

Notable World Events During Their Life:

  • The Lombard Invasion (568-572): The Lombards, a Germanic people, invaded Italy and established a kingdom, leading to significant changes in the political landscape of the region.
  • The Conversion of England (late 6th to early 7th century): Christianity was spreading across England during this time, with missionaries like Saint Augustine of Canterbury playing a crucial role in the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons.
  • The Reign of Emperor Heraclius (610-641): Heraclius was a Byzantine Emperor known for his military campaigns, including the successful defense against the Sassanian Empire and the recovery of the True Cross, an important relic in Christian history.
  • The Rise of Islam (7th century): The Islamic prophet Muhammad lived during this period, and the Islamic faith began to spread across the Arabian Peninsula, leading to significant geopolitical and religious changes in the Middle East.
  • The Rise of the Tang Dynasty in China (618-907): The Tang Dynasty marked a golden age of Chinese civilization, with advancements in art, literature, and science, including the invention of woodblock printing and significant contributions to mathematics and astronomy.

Their Patronage:

Saint Fursey is recognized as the patron saint of travelers, particularly those seeking safe journeys and protection during travel. His life as a missionary and his travels across Europe make him a fitting patron for those who embark on journeys, whether for spiritual, personal, or practical reasons. Saint Fursey’s story is a reminder of the importance of faith and courage in the face of unknown challenges. His legacy continues to inspire people to seek guidance and protection as they navigate the paths of life.

Early Life

Saint Fursey, also called Fursa, Fursy, Forseus, and Furseus, was born in Ireland in the region now known as Connacht in 597. Born of royal descent, his father was Fintan, and his Grandfather was Finlog, the pagan king of a community at that time. His mother, however, was the Christian daughter of Aed-Finn, the king of Connacht.

At Birth, Saint Fursey was baptized by his Father’s uncle, St. Brendan the Traveller, who ruled a monastery. Throughout his childhood, he was educated by the monks in the monastery, after which he was sent to the monastery at Inisquin.

St. Fursey studying the the monastary

At Inisquin, Saint Fursey became a devout Christian and studied the Scriptures. He lived in sanctity and spent his time praying and preaching. Eventually, he built his monastery, which would later go on to be one of the most famous monastic centers.

Dedication and Devotion

Saint Fursey didn’t begin to experience vision until his early twenties. These visions would, however, last his whole life and play an important role in helping the church understand the journey of a soul into spirituality.

The first account of Saint Fursey’s vision happened as he arrived at his father’s home.

Saint Fursey had grown to be respected. As he gained more popularity, many people traveled from far and wide to be admitted under his rule. This disturbed him, however, as he aimed to teach God’s word and not to be famous.

Saint Fursey wanted to have his relatives in his New monastery, so he set out with some monks for Munster, his father’s hometown. As he arrived, however, he suddenly fell ill.

Saint Fursey fell into a trance, where he was borne up to heaven by some angels. He saw angels and heard them sing. He was instructed by these angels to become a more devout worker for God.

He was returned to his body by these angels. This trance lasted 3 hours, according to legend.

The next vision came three days after the first. He was again taken to heaven, but this time he encountered demons who tried to attack him. Saint Fursey described how the angels fought with the demons six times for his soul.

In this vision, he saw saints Melden and Beoan, who taught him everything he needed to know about Monasticism. They warned him about the sins of disobedience and pride and the coming of a future famine.

It was also during this second vision that he bore the physical mark of his trip into the spiritual realm.

As Saint Fursey was being returned to his body through the fire of all,the body of a tortured sinner hit and burned him. This Mark stayed with him forever.

On the third account of Saint Furley’s vision, which occurred exactly 12 months after the first, the angel injuncted him to serve 12 years of apostolic labor.

Saint Furley served faithfully for 12 years, after which he retired to Ireland and started a monastery at Rathmat. Saint Fursey preached the Word of God and performed miracles all over the land.


Saint Furley was very instrumental in spreading Christianity to the untouched parts of East Anglia and England.

When Saint Furley and his brothers Foillan and Ultan arrived in the Kingdom of East Anglia, Sigeberht, the Christian king, provided them with land to build an abbey.

Saint Furley preached in East Anglia, gained souls, and the monastery grew in size.

After Sigeberht was killed in the war, Saint Furley was supported by the successor, King Anna of East Anglia.

Hurley retired for one year to live with his brother, where he practiced asceticism. However, his life of seclusion didn’t last long, as people continued to visit him. Eventually, as war threatened East Anglia, he left for France in 648, where he performed one of his most notable miracles.

Saint Furley prayed over the dead body of the son of Duke Hayson, who was then resurrected. Traveling on to Neustria, he continued to preach the word, perform miracles, cure sickness, and convert many.

He arrived at Peronne, where reports of his good deeds had already created respect for him in the people’s hearts. There he continued to pray, preach, and perform miracles. The King offered Saint Fursey any part of his land in his kingdom to set up a monastery. He selected Latinacum.

There, Saint Fursey built a monastery and three chapels.

Death and Canonization

Saint Fursey died in the year 650 in Mézerolles, which for some time was renamed Forsheim in his honor. He was buried in a church in Peronne.

Saint Fursey’s body was moved three times. After he was buried in Peronne, he was moved to the petico of the church of St. Peter, and then four years later, he was moved back to Peronne.

Saint Fursey was canonized Pre-Congregation.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Fursey

  • Did you know that Peronne adopted Saint Fursey as its patron saint?
  • Did you know that Saint Fursey dedicated two of the three chapels in
    Latinacum to Jesus Christ and St. Peter? The last chapel was later
    dedicated to him after his death.
  • Did you know that Saint Fursey’s body lay unburied for 30 days at
    St. Peter? It was visited by pilgrims and noted to have been
    corrupt and emitting a sweet smell.
  • Did you know that Saint Fursey’s body went without decay for four
  • Did you know Peronne became a favorite hot spot for pilgrims? It was
    so popular that it was called “Peronne Scottorum” or “Peronne of
    the Irish”.

Prayer to St. Fursey

The arms of God are around my shoulders. The touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head The design of Christ’s cross upon my forehead The sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears The fragrance of the Holy Spirit in my nostrils The vision of heaven’s company in my eyes The conversation of heaven’s company on my lips The work of God’s church is in my hands; the service of God and the neighbor is at my feet. A home for God in my heart, and to God, the father of all, my entire being. Amen.


St. Paul the Hermit

When They Lived:

St. Paul the Hermit, also known as Paul of Thebes, is believed to have lived during the 3rd century AD. He is often considered one of the earliest Christian hermits and ascetics, making his life a remarkable example of early Christian spirituality.

Where They Lived:

St. Paul the Hermit’s ascetic journey led him to the deserts of Egypt. Specifically, he is renowned for his life of solitude and contemplation in the region now known as the Eastern Desert, near the Red Sea. His choice of a remote and arid landscape for his hermitage is an intriguing aspect of his story.

Notable World Events During the Time of Their Life:

  • Diocletian’s Persecution (303-313 AD): St. Paul the Hermit lived during the era of the Diocletianic Persecution, one of the most severe persecutions of Christians in the Roman Empire. His decision to withdraw from society into the desert can be seen as a response to this threat to Christian faith.
  • Rise of Christian Monasticism: St. Paul’s life coincided with the emergence of Christian monasticism. He is considered one of the pioneers of this movement, and his choice to live as a hermit significantly influenced the development of monasticism in Egypt and beyond.
  • Roman Emperor Constantine’s Conversion (312 AD): During his lifetime, St. Paul witnessed the momentous conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity. This event marked a significant turning point in the history of Christianity, as it led to the eventual legalization and later official adoption of Christianity as the state religion.
  • Antony the Great’s Asceticism (c. 251-356 AD): St. Paul was a contemporary of another famous desert hermit, Antony the Great. Their lives in solitude and their eventual meeting in the desert are part of Christian hagiography and illustrate the rise of asceticism in Egypt.
  • Emergence of Desert Fathers and Mothers: St. Paul’s era saw the emergence of numerous Desert Fathers and Mothers who sought spiritual growth through solitude and asceticism. These individuals played a vital role in shaping early Christian theology and monastic traditions.

Their Patronage:

St. Paul the Hermit is considered the patron saint of hermits, ascetics, and all those who seek a life of solitude and contemplation. His enduring legacy lies not only in his own pursuit of a solitary life but also in his influence on the development of Christian monasticism. His example continues to inspire those who are drawn to a life of prayer, meditation, and spiritual reflection, even in the bustling modern world.

Early Life

Saint Paul the Hermit, also called Paul of Thebes, was born around 227 A.D. He was born in Egypt, in the region of Thebaid. The names of Saint Paul’s parents and siblings are unknown, but it is recorded that he had a married sister.

At the age of 15, Saint Paul and his sister were orphaned and received some of their parents possessions.

In the year 250, Roman Emperor Traianus Decius began to persecute Christians. Saint Paul was a devout Christian and felt threatened by the Emperor. In a bid to escape Decius, Saint Paul the Hermit went into hiding in a friend’s house.

Fearing that his sister’s husband was going to sell him out to the Emperor, Saint Paul left his hiding spot and instead took to the safety of the wilderness.

Dedication and Devotion

Saint Paul the Hermit lived in a cave in the Egyptian desert, where he spent most of his time praying. He had planned to return home after the troubles had ended, but he got used to living in solitude and instead spent the rest of his life alone.

For the majority of the time he spent in the wilderness, he was provided with water from a spring that ran in the desert, and a palm tree provided him with food and clothing. He made his clothes out of the leaves of the trees.

This went on until he reached the age of 43. After that, a raven started to bring him bread for food every day.

St. Paul the Hermit receiving food from a raven

When Saint Paul turned 90, his presence in the wilderness was shown to St. Anthony the Great. Saint Anthony had a vision in which he saw Saint Paul and spent a year trying to find him.

Anthony finally found Saint Paul in his 113th year, in 342 AD. He met him in the cave, and they became fast friends. They dined on the bread the raven brought and prayed together.

While Saint Anthony was convinced that he had just found a new friend,Saint Paul knew that God sent him Anthony to help him die. He told Anthony this, and Anthony wept bitterly.

Saint Paul the Hermit requested the cloak that Athanasius had gifted Anthony and asked that his body be wrapped up and buried in it. While Anthony left to get the cloak, Saint Paul the Hermit passed away peacefully.

Death and Canonization

Saint Paul the Hermit died in 342 A.D. His grave was dug by two lions, and Saint Anthony laid him to rest. When Saint Anthony left the wilderness, he took with him the clothes made from woven leaves that Saint Paul always wore.

Saint Paul was canonized Pre-congregationally. He is commemorated in the Coptic and Armenian rites of the Mass.

He is described as the patron saint of hermits, weavers, and the clothing industry.

Saint Paul the Hermit is celebrated every year by the Catholic Church on the 15th of January in the West and by Orthodox Catholic Churches. The Oriental Orthodox Churches celebrate him on the 9th of February.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Paul the Hermit

  1. Did you know that Saint Anthony described Saint Paul the Hermit as
    the first monk and the Father of Monasticism?
  2. Did you know that Saint Paul is believed to be buried on the site of
    the cave where he lived? It is believed that the Monastery of
    Saint Paul the Anchorite, which is located in the eastern desert,
    mountains of Egypt near the Red Sea are where he spent most of his
  3. Did you know that Saint Anthony wore Saint Paul the Hermit’s woven
    clothes? He so treasured the Saint that he wore the garment on the
    feast days of Easter and Pentecost.
  4. Did you know that Saint Paul is the patron saint of the Diocese of
    San Pablo in the Philippines? He is also a titular member of the
  5. Did you know that Saint Paul grew up in an influential family? He
    was well educated and fluent in Greek.

Prayer to St. Paul the Hermit

Father and Prince of Hermits! Thou art now contemplating in all his glory that God, whose weakness and lowliness thou didst study and imitate during the sixty years of thy desert life; thou art now with him in the eternal union of the Vision. Instead of thy cavern, where thou didst spend thy life of unknown penance, thou hast the immensity of the heavens for thy dwelling; instead of thy tunic of palm leaves, thou hast the robe of light; instead of the pittance of material bread, thou hast the Bread of eternal life; instead of thy humble fountain, thou hast the waters that spring up to eternity, filling thy soul with infinite delights. Thou didst imitate the silence of the Babe of Bethlehem by thy holy life of seclusion; now, thy tongue is forever singing the praises of this God, and the music of infinite bliss is forever falling on thine ear. Thou didst not know this world of ours, save by its deserts; but now, thou mustst be compassionate and pray for us who live in it; speak for us to our dear Jesus; remind Him how He visited it in wonderful mercy and love; pray his sweet blessing upon us, and the graces of perfect detachment from transitory things, love of poverty, love of prayer, and love of our heavenly country. Amen.


St. Felix of Nola

Early Life

Saint Felix of Nola was born in the early 3rd century to Hermias in Nola, Italy. He was the elder son, and after his father passed away, he was bequeathed all of his property.

Saint Felix sold off a large percentage of his properties and gave the proceeds to the needy. He then pursued a life of faith. Saint Maximus,the Bishop of Nola, ordained him a priest and made him his right-hand man. From then on, Felix worked closely with Maximus.

St. Felix of Nola giving fresh water to the poor

Dedication and Devotion

It was in the year 250 that Emperor Decius began his reign of terror and decree against Christians. Bishop Maximus fled to a hiding place to escape the Emperor’s slaughter, but continued to govern from this hiding place.

When Emperor Decius realized Bishop Maximus was missing, he ordered the immediate arrest of Saint Felix.

Saint Felix of Nola was jailed and tortured in place of Maximus as punishment for his faith. However, he was able to escape jail, according to reports, with the help of an angel.

The angel directed him to the desert, where Bishop Maximus was. Maximus was gravely ill, and Saint Felix arrived in time to help him. They hid away until the scourge ended with the death of Emperor Decius in 251.


After Maximus passed on, the people unanimously requested that Felix be the new Bishop of Nola. Saint Felix, however, declined and asked that Quintus, a fellow priest, be named Bishop in his stead.

Felix continued to serve as a priest and later retired to his remaining farmland, where he lived and planted crops. He continued his charitable work by giving his proceeds to the needy even as he continued to live as a poor man.

He was so admired by many, including Saint Paulinus of Nola, who adopted Saint Felix as his very own patron saint.

Death and Canonization

Saint Felix of Nola died in 255 A.D. How he died, however, remains a debate. Some people speculate that he died a Martyr, sacrificing his life for the cause of his faith, in the year 255 under the rule of Emperor Valerian.

There are others who believe that he died during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Decius.

Saint Paulinus, however, believes that Saint Felix of Nola “died as a confessor,”, as he describes in one of his poems.

Saint Felix was canonized pre-congregation. He was interred within the precincts of Nola, and his tomb became a reported spot for miracles. He is celebrated by the Catholic Church on January 14.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Felix of Nola

  1. Did you know that the remains of Saint Felix are kept at different
    locations? Some are kept in the cathedral, close to where he was.
    first interred, and some parts are kept in several places, like Rome.
    and Benevento.
  2. Do you know that Saint Felix is the Patron Saint of domestic animals?
    and spiders? He is also a patron saint against lies, eye diseases,
    and false witnesses.
  3. A legend attributes God’s use of spiders to saving Bishop Maximus and
    Saint Felix of Nola on two occasions. It claims that as they hid
    In the caves, spiders whipped the web over the entrances, causing
    Decius’ guards, who came searching, thought it had been abandoned.
    for a long time.
  4. Did you know that Saint Felix’s story was preserved by Saint
    Paulinus? Saint Paulinus wrote about him almost a century later.
    his death.
  5. In one account, Saint Felix found Maximus dying of hunger and
    thirst. He miraculously found some grapes in a bush and squeezed
    them into the Bishop’s mouth before carrying him to safety.

Prayer to St. Felix of Nola

Dear St. Felix, help me to accept any suffering that comes my way and to offer it up in the Name of the Lord. Amen.


St. Hilary of Poitiers

When they lived:

St. Hilary of Poitiers, also known as Hilarius, lived during the 4th century. He was born around 310 AD and passed away in 367 AD.

Where they lived:

St. Hilary of Poitiers lived in Poitiers, a city in the western part of present-day France. This region was known for its vibrant Christian community during his time.

Notable world events during the time of their life:

  • The Council of Nicaea (325 AD): This landmark event in Christian history aimed to address the Arian controversy, specifically the nature of the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. The Nicene Creed was formulated during this council, establishing important doctrinal foundations for Christianity.
  • The Edict of Milan (313 AD): Issued by Emperor Constantine, this edict granted religious tolerance to Christians within the Roman Empire. It marked a significant turning point in the history of Christianity, leading to its eventual establishment as the state religion.
  • The Fall of the Western Roman Empire: St. Hilary lived during a time of great turmoil in the Roman Empire. The Western Roman Empire faced numerous challenges, including invasions by various Germanic tribes. The events leading up to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD had significant cultural and political repercussions for Europe.
  • The Birth of Monasticism: During St. Hilary’s lifetime, monasticism began to gain prominence in Christian practice. Figures like St. Anthony the Great and St. Pachomius laid the foundations for monastic communities, which became influential centers of spirituality and learning in the medieval period.

Their patronage:

St. Hilary of Poitiers is recognized as the patron saint of scholars, students, and theologians. His commitment to defending and explaining the Christian faith, as well as his prolific writings, make him an important figure in the history of theological thought. His dedication to education and his efforts to bridge the gap between the Latin-speaking West and the Greek-speaking East contributed significantly to the development of early Christian doctrine. St. Hilary’s intellectual legacy continues to inspire those who seek to deepen their understanding of theology and Christian teachings.

St. Hilary of Pointiers reading the bible

Early Life

Although Saint Hilary believed in the Divinity of God, it hadn’t always been that way.

The date of birth of Saint Hilary cannot be pinpointed or established as a fact. Saint Hilary was born in Poitiers between the end of the 3rd and the beginning of the 4th century A.D. He was born to pagan parents.

Saint Hilary grew up receiving an extensive and quality education in various subjects, including Greek. He took great interest in the writing of the Old and New Testaments. He was so invested in the writings that he took an interest in the religion and abandoned Neoplatonism for Christianity.

Saint Hilary was held in high esteem so much that between the years 350 and 353, he was voted Bishop by all of Poitier.

Dedication and Devotion

It was at that time that the Arian Heresy threatened to take down the Orthodox Christian Church. Hilary took a stand against the Arians, refusing to let their beliefs be forced upon the people.

One of the methods by which Saint Hilary took a stand against Arianism was by protecting the excommunication. Saint Hilary also sent a letter to Constantius II, a Roman Emperor who backed the Arians. His efforts to convince the Emperor to stop the persecution of Orthodox Christians, however, were not successful.

Between the years 356 and 360, Saint Hilary was banished to Phrygia, somewhere in Ancient Greece, by the Command of Constantius as a punishment for not renouncing in support of Arian’s biggest enemy, Saint Athanasius the Great.

While in exile, Saint Hilary remained Bishop and continued to guide his people. He continued to write while in exile, creating books that would continue to be important to theology in the coming years.

Saint Hilary continued to remain a staunch believer in the divinity of God’s trinity. He continued to attend synods. He continued and failed to secure a chance to see Constantius in order to plead for public debates with his opponents. He didn’t stop until his opponents considered him a threat and had him return home to his diocese.

On his return to his diocese, Saint Hilary continued to fight against Arianism, striving to call out the semi-Arian Bishops in Gaul, Germania, and Britain. In 364, Saint Hilary impeached Auxentius, a Bishop who supported the Arians but, as a result, got exiled from Milan.

He continued to write about his failed attempts against the Arians, with some of his works exposing bishops and rulers who stood in full support of the Arians.

Death and Canonization

Saint Hilary of Poitiers died in 367. He is highly respected, and his works continue to remain influential in Christianity today.

Saint Hilary was declared a doctor of the church in 1851. He is celebrated by the Catholic Church and remembered by the Anglican Communion on the 13th of January.

5 Interesting Facts About Saint Hilary of Poitiers

  • Did you know that some people consider Saint Hilary the first Latin Christian hymn writer? It is speculated that he has three hymns attributed to him.
  • Did you know that Saint Hilary’s daughter, Abra, is a venerated saint? Saint Abra was a nun, although she was also born a pagan. She took a vow of virginity on her father’s advice.
  • Did you know that Saint Hilary is also cited as a patron saint against snake bites, snakes, and rheumatism?
  • Did you know that Saint Hilary wrote the first Latin Commentary on Matthew to survive until today? He did this in his book Commentarius in Evangelium Matthaei, which he wrote before the exile.
  • Did you know Saint Hilary’s major impact on theology was the 12 books he wrote during exile? The books are known as De Trinitate.

Prayer to Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Grant, we pray to You, Almighty God, that the example of St. Hilary and that of all Your Saints may lead us to a better life, so that by keeping their feast days we may be brought to imitate their good deeds. St. Hilary was a champion of the Truth; may we never tell lies to excuse ourselves, to hurt others, to gain, or to make ourselves look more important. Through Christ, Our Lord Amen.

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St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

When they lived: St. Marguerite Bourgeoys lived from April 17, 1620, to January 12, 1700.

Where they lived: St. Marguerite Bourgeoys spent a significant part of her life in Ville-Marie, which is now known as Montreal, Canada. She was a French teacher and founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal.

Notable world events during the time of their life:

  • Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648): This devastating conflict shaped much of Europe during Marguerite Bourgeoys’ lifetime, involving religious, political, and territorial struggles among various nations and religious groups.
  • Salem Witch Trials (1692-1693): In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a series of witch trials and hysteria occurred, resulting in the execution of several people accused of witchcraft. This event highlights the complexities of societal fears and beliefs during the period.
  • Scientific Revolution: Marguerite Bourgeoys lived during a time when scientific thinking was rapidly evolving. The works of prominent figures like Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton laid the foundation for modern science, challenging traditional beliefs and encouraging empirical inquiry.
  • Great Fire of London (1666): This catastrophic fire swept through London, causing widespread destruction and leading to significant urban planning changes. It was a pivotal moment in the city’s history and marked the transition towards more organized and fire-resistant architectural designs.
  • Treaty of Westphalia (1648): Ending the Thirty Years’ War and the Eighty Years’ War, this series of treaties reshaped the political and religious landscape of Europe. It established the principle of state sovereignty and religious tolerance, contributing to the development of modern international relations.
  • Glorious Revolution (1688): The overthrow of King James II in England marked a crucial turning point in constitutional history. This event led to the establishment of parliamentary supremacy and paved the way for modern constitutional monarchies.
  • Enlightenment Era: Marguerite Bourgeoys’ lifetime coincided with the Enlightenment, an intellectual movement that emphasized reason, science, and individual rights. Thinkers like Voltaire, Rousseau, and Locke were shaping new ideas about society, government, and human nature.

Their patronage: St. Marguerite Bourgeoys is the patron saint of educators and the founder of the first uncloistered religious community in Canada. She dedicated her life to providing education to young girls, particularly from less fortunate backgrounds. Her legacy continues to inspire educators around the world who are committed to providing quality education and improving the lives of those in need.

Early Life

Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys was born in Troyes, France, on April 17, 1620. Marguerite, the seventh of thirteen children born to Abraham Bourgeoys and Guillemette Garnier, loved and cared for her siblings until her death.

Up until the age of 15, Saint Marguerite did not belong to the confraternity of the Congregation Notre-Dame attached to the town’s monastery. However, between the ages of 15 and 16, she made a decision to join the ritual associated with the Congregation.

Dedication and Devotion

Saint Marguerite knew she was destined for religious work. This was further confirmed after her divine experience with the Blessed Virgin, after which she saw a marked change in her life.

Paul De Chomedey, the governor of the French settlement at Montreal, New France, and brother to an Augustinian Canoness in Troyes, visited France in 1652. His sister was in charge of the sodality where Marguerite belonged. It was during this visit that he met Marguerite and invited her back to Canada with him to start a school in Ville-Marie, New France.

By 1653, Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys had accepted his invitation and left on a 3-month journey to New France.

Along with the joys of starting to do something with her life, this new land brought challenges and hardships. Instead of being deterred by these limitations, however, Saint Marguerite made the most of her situation.

Saint Marguerite assisted in the building of the institution. After the completion of the institution, she gathered a workforce to build the very first church in Ville-Marie, the Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel, or the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Counsel. This church would be Ville-Marie’s first permanent church.

In 1658, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys convinced the governor to allow her to open a school in Ville-Marie. In April of the same year, she was provided with a vacant stable to be used as the school. This represented the first marked change in education in New France.

St. Marguerite Bougeoys teaching in her newly establish school to a group of young nuns


St. Marguerite traveled out of France several times in search of new teacher recruits for her new school. It was during this time that she became guardian to Filles du Roi, young orphan girls sent by the monarch to start new families. She cared for the girls, acted as a matchmaker, and mentored them on their new path.

Through all this, St. Marguerite’s belief in spirituality continued to grow. She worked as a preacher throughout the colony as well as educating the local children.

Eventually, in 1669, François de Laval, the Apostolic Vicar, issued an ordinance that allowed the congregation of Notre-Dame to preach anywhere on the Island of Montreal. This enabled Saint Marguerite to widen her reach outside her community.

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys fought to have her community left uncloistered, and in 1670, she was presented with letter patents from Louis XIV,securing her community.

St. Marguerite continued to provide institutions for the betterment of the colony. She established a boarding school for girls and a school for the training of artisans.

Between 1678 and 1680, St. Marguerite established institutions in mission villages and Quebec. Her community remained very active and continued to grow in various countries.

On July 1, 1698, the congregation was “canonically constituted a community.”.

Saint Marguerite was a pioneer of the uncloistered congregation and liberating education. She continued to provide hope, charity, and service to the people until she passed away.

Death and Canonization

Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys spent her last years praying and encouraging her sisters to build a spiritual character. She died in her adopted home, Montreal, on January 12, 1700.

Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1982, the process taking almost a century. She is celebrated by the Catholic Church, and even in death, she is said to be a bearer of miracles.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

  • Did you know that St. Marguerite Bourgeoys was the first female saint?
    in Canada?
  • Did you know that St. Marguerite Bourgeoys was the first teacher in
  • Did you know that it is said that St. Marguerite gave her life for a
    woman of her community? Numerous stories state that a younger
    A woman in the congregation suffered from an illness. St. Marguerite
    Bourgeoys prayed to God to make her suffer in the woman’s place.
    after which she fell ill and died 12 days later.
  • Did you know that St. Marguerite worked with Jeanne Mance at the
    hospital? After arriving at Ville-Marie, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys
    noticed that very few children survived until school age. She
    worked to help more children survive this tragedy.
  • Did you know that the clay from Saint Marguerite’s tomb was used to
    heal the sick? On two occasions, men with illnesses that caused
    their skin to rot, she applied clay from her tomb to the affected
    limbs, and we’re healed. These miracles were what caused her

Prayers to St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

O, Mother Bourgeoys, you whose compassionate power is ever increasing, show us your way of Truth, Faith, and Holiness. Make us humble enough to abandon ourselves to the will of God and generous enough to find in the cross the joy of the Loving Giver. May your Fidelity to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament lead us ever closer to this source of light and peace. May your spirit of openness help us to be concerned for our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Finally, may our Lady of the Trinity bring us to the unity of eternal grace, to which God has called you for all eternity. Amen.


St. William of Bourges

When they lived:

Saint William of Bourges was born in 1155 and lived through the 12th century, passing away in 1209.

Where they lived:

Saint William was primarily associated with the town of Nevers in France. He was known for his dedication to the Church and his efforts to promote spiritual growth in the region.

Notable world events during the time of their life:

  • Third Crusade (1189-1192): One of the most significant events during St. William’s lifetime was the Third Crusade. Led by prominent figures like Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, this crusade aimed to recapture the Holy Land from Muslim control. While St. William wasn’t directly involved, this event had a profound impact on the Christian world and the region.
  • Medieval Renaissance: The 12th century witnessed the revival of learning and culture in Europe, often referred to as the “12th-century Renaissance.” This intellectual awakening laid the foundation for later developments in science, philosophy, and theology. St. William’s life coincided with this period of renewed interest in knowledge.
  • Birth of Gothic Architecture: During St. William’s time, Gothic architecture began to flourish. The construction of iconic cathedrals like Chartres Cathedral and Notre-Dame de Paris represented remarkable achievements in engineering and design, emphasizing the spiritual importance of the era.
  • Al-Idrisi’s Geography: In the realm of science and exploration, the Muslim geographer Al-Idrisi created his famous world map in the 12th century, showcasing a comprehensive understanding of the world’s geography. This work contributed to further exploration and the exchange of knowledge between East and West.
  • Birth of the University: The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, became a model for higher education during St. William’s time. The rise of universities marked a shift toward organized education and the systematic pursuit of knowledge.

Their patronage:

Saint William of Bourges is the patron saint of pregnant women, midwives, and people in difficult labor. His devotion to aiding women during childbirth and his deep compassion for those in pain earned him this special patronage. It’s a testament to his unwavering commitment to helping others and his enduring legacy in the realm of compassion and care.

St. William’s life was intricately woven into the tapestry of the 12th century, a period marked by both religious fervor and intellectual enlightenment. His story is not only one of spiritual devotion but also a reminder of the dynamic and transformative era in which he lived, where faith and knowledge intertwined to shape the course of history.

Early Life

St. William (also known as Guillaume de Donjeon) was born around 1140 in Nevers, France.

His father initially intended for Guillaume to join the army. However, Guillaume took the ecclesiastical way of life instead. His ecclesial tutoring was handled by his uncle, the Soissons archdeacon Pierre (Peter the hermit). William eventually abandoned worldly pursuits and joined the Order of Grandmont.

He stayed with the order for some time and followed their practices with immense dedication. When he discovered that the members were no longer cordial with each other, he left and joined the Cistercians. At the Pontigny Abbey in France, he donned the habit and was soon made Prior. He was appointed Abbot of Fontaine-Jean Abbey in 1184. Also in 1200, he was made abbot of Chaalis Abbey.

Saint William nurtured a genuine and true dedication to the Blessed Sacrament. For this reason, he was often at the altar, meditating on the true meaning of the Sacrament.

St. William of Bourges kneeling before the alter in the monastery praying

Call to Dedication and Devotion

In 1200, William was appointed Archbishop of Bourges. He was reluctant to accept this new appointment because it meant abandoning his solitary life of meditation and prayer. Pope Innocent III, as well as other religious superiors, encouraged him to take the position. William agreed but continued his asceticism practices throughout the rest of his life. He always wore a shirt made from hair beneath his bishop’s habit and completely gave up meat.


Bishop William oversaw the ongoing building of the Gothic Cathedral of Saint Stephen that had been started by his predecessor in 1195. He paid visits to the poor and sick regularly. He did not forget the imprisoned as well. He also stood up for the rights of the clerics against government intrusion.

Death and Canonization

Saint William of Bourges died in 1209 at midnight while meditating at the foot of the altar. He died at the age of 59.

Before his death, he had been making plans to visit the Albigensians as part of his missionary work. In his will, he asked that his body be buried in ashes while wearing his hair shirt. His remains are currently interred in the Basilica reliquary chapel.

Pope Honorius III declared the canonization of Saint William on May 17, 1218.

The feast of Saint William is celebrated on the 10th of January.

Saint William is the patron saint of Gunsmiths.


Some people claim that Saint William carried out eighteen miracles while he was alive and another eighteen after he died.

5 Interesting Facts About St. William of Bourges

  • Did you know Saint William is the patron saint of the University of Paris?
  • Saint William once issued an interdict against Innocent III for divorcing his wife. This action made King Philip II very angry at him.
  • Did you know Saint William was born into an old family of illustrious counts? This makes his devotion to Piety all the more remarkable.
  • Saint William was one of the most sought-after confessors in France.
  • Did you know Saint William never wore any extra clothes during the winter or lesser clothes during the summer? His dedication to a life of austerity was truly absolute.

Prayer to St. William of Bourges

St. William, we ask that you watch over us and pray that we may combat pride and remain aware that all we have and all we are are from God. Pray for us, dear St. William, that we serve Him in love and humility, praising Him always for His mercy and kindness. Amen.

Source: [] {.ul}

St. Thorfinn

When they lived: St. Thorfinn of Norway lived during the 11th century, specifically from 1070 to 1115 AD.

Where they lived: St. Thorfinn lived in Norway, primarily in the northern regions of the country, during a time when Norway was still a collection of small kingdoms and chiefdoms.

Notable world events during the time of their life:

  • The Norman Conquest of England (1066): St. Thorfinn’s lifetime saw one of the most significant events in medieval European history. William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invaded England and established Norman rule, forever altering the course of English history.
  • The Investiture Controversy (1075-1122): In the midst of Thorfinn’s life, the Investiture Controversy raged in Europe. This conflict between the papacy and secular rulers, particularly the Holy Roman Emperor, revolved around the appointment of bishops and church officials. It had profound implications for the relationship between church and state.
  • The First Crusade (1096-1099): During St. Thorfinn’s lifetime, the First Crusade took place. Christian armies from Western Europe embarked on a holy mission to recapture Jerusalem from Muslim control. This marked the beginning of a series of Crusades that would shape European history and interactions with the Middle East.
  • The Domesday Book (1086): In 1086, just a few years before Thorfinn’s birth, the Domesday Book was completed in England. This detailed survey of landholdings and resources provided invaluable insights into the socioeconomic conditions of medieval England.

Their Patronage: St. Thorfinn is the patron saint of Arctic Norway, particularly the regions of Tromsø and Finnmark. His life and sanctity are associated with the enduring Christian faith in the face of challenging northern climates and the spread of Christianity in the remote parts of Norway.

St. Thorfinn’s story is a remarkable blend of faith, resilience, and the historical context of his time. His dedication to Christianity in the harsh northern landscapes of Norway, set against the backdrop of significant world events, makes for a compelling narrative of a lesser-known medieval saint.

Early Life

Thorfinn was born in the city of Trondelag around the 1200s. It is suspected that he may have been a Cistercian monk before he was made Bishop of the Ancient Diocese of Hamar in medieval Norway. Only a few details can be gathered about Thorfinn, even if he’d been a popular saint to a reasonable extent. He lived a really low-profile life. St.Thorfinn is known to have lived a just life and to have stood up for only what was right. He is remembered as a good man whose goodness was joined with strength. A poem was written about him by Father Walter and left at his gravestone. He was named as a witness to the agreement of Tonsborg in the year 1277, which led to his being sent one hundred miles by King Eric.

Call to Dedication and Devotion

Because he was identified as a witness to the agreement of Tonsborg, he was exiled by King Eric (who was referred to at the time as Priesthater”), with claims that Thorfinn had supported the Archbishop of Nidaros by being a witness to the agreement. This support was in the case of the dispute that had occurred as a result of the state’s interference with the matters of the Church. On exile, Thorfinn found home in Flanders, in a Cistercian abbey. This act of injustice vested in him did not prevent him from continually doing good and standing for what was right.

St. Thorfinn leaving his hometown in exile

It is believed that in his earlier years, St. Thorfinn had been a Cistercian monk before becoming the Bishop of Hamar. He had carried out both duties in service to humanity and God, most importantly. He was driven by love and passion for God to do good works.


Knowing that his death was drawing near, the saint drafted a will in which he distributed his properties between his family and the church.

The Saint wasn’t intrigued by the pursuit of fame and recognition for his acts of goodness, generosity, patience, and aversion to evil; he was more focused on pleasing the Lord.


Upon his return from exile, St. Thorfinn fell deeply ill and passed away as a result in the year 1285. His grave, discovered fifty years later, smelt pleasantly, and Father Walter’s poem to him, which hung on the gravestone, still felt very fresh. This miraculous display proclaimed Thorfinn’s holiness, and devotions to him soon spread around the Cistercian Church and Norway.

Feast Day

The feast day of St. Thorfinn is usually celebrated on the 8th day of January.

3 Interesting Facts About St. Thorfinn

  • St. Thorfinn was exiled by King Eric for deciding to stand with the
    Archbishop of Nidaros over an argument with the king.
  • On exile, St. Thorfinn took shelter in the abbey of Cistercia, and
    did not stop doing good.
  • Did you know that fifty years after his death, St. Thorfinn’s grave,
    which had been long forgotten still smelled pleasantly, and the
    sheet on which Father Walter had written his poem to the saint
    still appear fresh?

Prayer to St. Thorfinn

All-powerful and ever-living God, you called Saint Thorfinn to guide your people by his word and example. With him, we pray to you: watch over the pastors of your Church and the people entrusted to their care, and lead them to salvation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.


St. Raymond of Pennafort

When they lived:

St. Raymond of Penafort, also known as Sant Ramon de Penyafort in Catalan, lived during the late 12th and early 13th centuries. He was born in 1175 and passed away in 1275.

Where they lived:

St. Raymond of Penafort lived primarily in Spain, with much of his life spent in Catalonia. He was closely associated with the city of Barcelona.

Notable world events during the time of their life:

  • Third Crusade (1189-1192): This major event in Christian history took place during Raymond’s early years. European monarchs like Richard the Lionheart and Philip II of France led their armies to the Holy Land, aiming to retake Jerusalem from Saladin.
  • Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229): Raymond witnessed the beginning of this brutal crusade against the Cathars in southern France. It was a significant religious and political conflict during his lifetime.
  • University of Paris Founded (1150): Although predating his birth, the University of Paris became a renowned center for education and intellectual development during Raymond’s lifetime. It played a pivotal role in the development of medieval scholasticism.
  • Fourth Lateran Council (1215): This important ecumenical council convened by Pope Innocent III addressed various aspects of church doctrine and organization. It had a profound influence on the Catholic Church’s structure and teachings.
  • Magna Carta (1215): While not directly related to Raymond’s work, the sealing of the Magna Carta in England marked a significant step towards the limitation of royal power and the establishment of legal rights, influencing the development of constitutional governance.
  • Invention of the Magnetic Compass (c. 1180s): The magnetic compass, which revolutionized navigation, was developed during Raymond’s lifetime. This innovation had far-reaching consequences for exploration and trade.

Their patronage:

  • Canon Lawyers: Raymond himself was a prominent canon lawyer, and his expertise in this field led to his canonization. He is often invoked by those studying or practicing canon law.
  • Mariners: This patronage relates to his association with the magnetic compass and its impact on navigation. Sailors and those involved in maritime activities seek his protection.
  • Confessors: St. Raymond of Penafort is celebrated for his work as a confessor, guiding individuals in the sacrament of confession. He is seen as a model of pastoral care and reconciliation.
  • Spanish Lawyers and Catalonia: Given his Spanish heritage and his time in Catalonia, he is revered as a patron of Spanish lawyers and the Catalan people.
  • Conversion of Jews and Muslims: St. Raymond is sometimes invoked for the conversion of non-Christians due to his historical efforts to engage in theological dialogues and missionary work.

St. Raymond of Penafort’s life spanned a time of great historical significance, marked by religious crusades, intellectual developments, and advancements that would shape the world for centuries to come. His multifaceted patronage continues to resonate with various aspects of modern life, making his legacy enduring and multifaceted.

Early Life

Raymond of Pennafort was born around the mid-1170s in a small town called Vilafranca del Penedes to a noble bloodline of the Aragon royalties. He trained in Canon and Civil Law at the University of Bologna. He went on to become a teacher of canon law at age twenty in 1195 up until 1210, when he moved to Bologna, staying there for twelve years.

In Bologna, he was made head of the department of law at the university, serving the duty for three years. Coming to the knowledge of the Dominican Order here in the later years, Raymond developed so much interest in the course. His interest in the Dominican Order was spurred by listening to the Blessed Reginald’s preaching.

Upon reaching the age of sixty, he was retired and was reassigned the post of Archbishop of Tarragona, which he turned down, preferring to pursue other courses such as ensuring the wellbeing of the poor and needy.

Dedication and Devotion

Saint Raymond of Pennafort, from a very tender age, was in love with and showed great devotion to the Blessed Mother. He was dedicated, among several other things, to helping Christian captives in the Crusade era. He was also instrumental in the organization of the Church’s legal code, and as such, he was frequently met by people to explain some canonical concepts.

At the age of twenty, Raymond was made a teacher of Philosophy in Barcelona, given that he appeared to exercise great intelligence in the gift of philosophy. He showed great compassion to those who were suffering from one problem or another and to the poor, too.

In the year 1222, Raymond became a member of the Dominican Order, spending almost his entire life there. In Barcelona, Raymond had helped form the Order of Our Lady of Mercy with the vision of ransoming people who had been held in Muslim territory.

St. Raymond preaching to raise funds in support of the people kept captive by the Muslims


Saint Raymond wrote the Summa de casibus poenitentiae, a book of cases for confessors, and also established the Order of Our Lady of Mercy.

The saint performed really great work in the conversion of some Jews and Muslims to Christianity.

At the University of Santo Tomas, there is a building named in his honor, The St. Raymond Pennafort Building.

Death and Canonization

Saint Raymond died on the 6th day of January 1275 and was canonized in 1601.

Feast Day

January 7th is marked as the feast day of St. Raymond, which took hold in the year 1968. Before now, the date was the 23rd of January, as it was inserted in the General Roman Calendar in the year 1671.

4 Interesting Facts About St. Raymond of Pennafort

  1. Did you know that St. Raymond was called by Pope Gregory IX in the year 1230 to examine conscience cases?
  2. St. Raymond was assigned to be the master general of the Dominican Order in 1238.
  3. Did you know that St. Thomas Aquinas was able to write his Summa contra gentiles because St. Raymond urged him to?
  4. Did you know that St. Raymond is the patron saint of canon lawyers?

The Litany of St. Raymond of Pennafort

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. St. Raymond of Penafort, pray for us. Master of Preachers, Patron of Lawyers, Father of Confessors, Counselor of Penitents, Apostle of Gentiles, Evangelist to Israelites, Ransomer of Captives, Teacher of the Learned and the Ignorant, Friend of Princes and Paupers, Protector of Sailors, Comforter of the Aged, Defender of Marriage, Champion of Religious Rights, Advocate of Reason, Guardian of Justice, Promoter of Freedom, Worker of Miracles,… Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Son of St. Dominic, Son of the Church, Holy Priest of Jesus Christ, Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us. Let us pray. Glorious Saint Raymond of Penafort, wise and holy patron, come to the aid of those entrusted to your care and all who flee to your protection. Intercede for us in our need and help us, through your prayers, example, and teaching, to proclaim the truth of the Gospel to all we meet. And when we have reached the fullness of our years, we beseech you to guide us home to heaven, to live in peace with you, Our Mother Mary, and Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Source: [] {.ul}

St. Andre Bessette

The Miraculous Journey of St. André Bessette: A Life Defined by Faith and Resilience

When They Lived:

St. André Bessette, born Alfred Bessette, lived from August 9, 1845, to January 6, 1937. His remarkable life spanned a period of profound societal changes and transformative events.

Where They Lived:

St. André Bessette spent the majority of his life in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is closely associated with the Congregation of Holy Cross, specifically the College of Notre Dame in Montreal and the Oratory of St. Joseph, a monumental basilica that became his spiritual legacy.

Notable World Events During Their Life:

  • American Civil War (1861-1865): St. André’s early years coincided with the turmoil of the American Civil War. The conflict over slavery and states’ rights had far-reaching implications for the entire North American continent.
  • Completion of the Suez Canal (1869): The opening of the Suez Canal connected the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, revolutionizing global trade and travel by providing a shortcut between Europe and Asia.
  • Invention of the Telephone (1876): Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone radically transformed communication, bringing distant voices closer and paving the way for rapid technological advancements.
  • First Electric Light Bulb (1879): Thomas Edison’s development of the practical incandescent light bulb illuminated the world in a new way, sparking a revolution in indoor lighting and power distribution.
  • World War I (1914-1918): St. André lived through the tumultuous years of World War I, witnessing the devastating impact of a global conflict on societies and individuals.
  • Russian Revolution (1917): The fall of the Russian monarchy and the rise of communism in Russia had profound ideological and geopolitical consequences that reverberated around the world.
  • Women’s Suffrage Movement: St. André’s life coincided with the rising wave of the women’s suffrage movement, which fought for women’s right to vote and paved the way for greater gender equality.

Their Patronage:

St. André Bessette is widely recognized as the patron saint of those who are sick, marginalized, and in need of healing. His deep compassion for the suffering and his dedication to serving others, especially through his work as a porter at the College of Notre Dame and later at the Oratory of St. Joseph, earned him this role. Despite facing personal health challenges and living during a time of great social change, St. André’s unshakable faith and unwavering commitment to helping others make his life story an inspiration for people of all walks of life.

St. André Bessette’s life embodies the power of faith, resilience, and compassion. His story is a testament to how an individual can make a significant impact on the world, not only through grand achievements but also through simple acts of kindness and empathy. Whether it was offering comfort to the sick, praying for the afflicted, or embracing those on the fringes of society, St. André’s legacy continues to shine as a beacon of hope and a reminder of the transformative power of unwavering dedication to others.

Early Life

Andre Bessette was born on the 9th of August, 1845, near Montreal to a French-Canadian couple. His parents sadly passed away when he was 12 years old. He was adopted, and as he grew, he tried his hands at several professions. First, he worked as a farmhand, then as a shoemaker, baker, blacksmith, and factory worker in the civil war, all of which he could barely sustain due to his health challenges.

When Bessette turned 25, he applied to join the Congregation of Holy Cross. He was refused admission after a year’s novitiate because of his poor health. Eventually, after an extension and with a recommendation from Bishop Bourget, he was finally admitted into the Congregation.

Dedication and Devotion

At Notre Dame College in Montreal, he worked as a doorkeeper, messenger, barber, gardener, laundry worker, and sacristan. In his small room, he prayed on his knees most nights, next to the statue of Saint Joseph on his windowsill. He firmly believed that one day Saint Joseph would be specially honored on Mount Royal.

Whenever Brother Andre heard someone was sick, he would visit the person to pray for them and offer good cheer. He would take some oil from a lamp burning within the college chapel and rub it gently on their bodies while he prayed to St. Joseph for their healing.

When an epidemic broke out at a college nearby, Brother Bessette volunteered to help nurse the ill, and not a single person died. From then on, the sick began to crowd at his doorstep, asking to be healed. This made the diocesan authorities and his superiors uneasy, while doctors labeled him a quack. Through all this, Bessette maintained over and over that he was not the cause of the cure but just a vessel for Saint Joseph.

St. Andre Bessette serving a sick woman bed ridden


In 1904, he requested permission from the Archbishop of Montreal to build a chapel to Saint Joseph on the mountain close to the college. The Archbishop granted permission on the basis that Brother André would build only what he could afford.

Part of the money Andre had was from the nickels and dimes he had saved from giving haircuts to the college boys over the years. The remainder came from a small donation plate he had placed in a picnic shelter on the mountain top, close to the statue of St. Joseph. Put together, the money amounted to a few hundred dollars. Undeterred by the little funding, he put the money into building a tiny wood shelter.

Three years later, Brother Andre returned to the Archbishop to request more building permission. He had gathered some more money from donations and wanted to expand the shelter. Once permission was given, Brother André added a roof, walls, and a pilgrim shelter and paved the mountain road. He lived there full time, caring for and healing as many people as he could.

Death and Canonization

Brother Andre Bessette died at the age of 91 on January 6th, 1937, in Montreal and was buried in the beautiful Oratory on Mount Royal after a life of service to humanity and devotion to St. Joseph.

He was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2010. The feast of St. André-Bessette is held on the 6th of January every year.

5 Interesting Facts About St. André Bessette

  1. Did you know that when St. André was alive, he received over 50,000
    letters annually and needed the help of four secretaries to handle
    the outpouring of letters?
  2. Saint Andre Bessette was popularly called the “Miracle Man of
  3. Did you know that Saint André is one of the most popular Canadian
  4. When Saint Andre passed away, nearly one million people came to the
    oratory to mourn him and pay their last respects.
  5. Did you know there are five different Catholic churches named after
    St. Andre Bessette is located respectively in Pennsylvania and New York.
    Hampshire, Michigan, Ontario, and Oregon?

Prayer to St. André Bessette

Lord, you have chosen Brother André to spread devotion to Saint Joseph and to dedicate himself to all those who are poor and afflicted. Grant through his intercession the favor that we now request… [State your intention(s) here…]Grant us the grace to imitate his piety and charity so that, with him, we may share the reward promised to all who care for their neighbors out of love for you. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.


St. Roger

Editors note: There is very little known about St. Roger. Creative license has been taken to fill in some details on his life.


In a quiet corner of southern Italy, along the windswept shores of the Adriatic Sea, lies the ancient village of Cannae. Though now but a sleepy hamlet, its storied history reaches back through the mists of time to the days when Hannibal defeated the legions of Rome on the bloody banks of the Aufidus River. And in this unassuming place, over nine centuries past, lived a man whose faith and benevolence would echo through the ages.

Early Life

Roger of Cannae was born in the 11th century, in the year 1060 AD, during a turbulent time when Norman adventurers carved out new kingdoms from the scattered remnants of the old Roman empire. As a boy, Roger would have gazed up at the imposing castle built atop Monte di Spirito Santo, keeping watch over the village below. He would have heard tales of the great battle between Carthage and Rome, of bold warriors clashing shield against shield, tales now faded into legend.

But while most boys his age aspired to be knights and men-at-arms, young Roger felt a different calling. In the quiet solitude of the village chapel, he sought a life of contemplation and service to God. As a young man, he joined the local monastery, finding meaning in study and prayer. Patient and dutiful, Roger distinguished himself with his devotion to the scriptures and his kindness towards all living things. Many were the times his brothers would find him in the vegetable garden, a dove perched gently on his shoulder as he went about his chores.

Rise to Bishop

In time, word of Roger’s patience and wisdom spread beyond the cloistered walls of the monastery. When the bishopric of Cannae fell vacant, the people called for the monk Roger to take up the mantle of leadership. Though hesitant at first, Roger accepted the call, becoming bishop of the small but spiritually vibrant community.

Turmoil and Rebuilding

The 11th century was a time of tumult and change, as Norman and Italian leaders vied for power and influence. In 1083, Cannae itself was attacked and burned during the conquests of Robert Guiscard. Many priceless relics and artifacts were lost in the ensuing chaos. But Roger rallied his flock, providing solace and succor as they rebuilt their homes and chapels.

Where some saw only destruction, Roger saw an opportunity to create an even more welcoming and compassionate community. He opened his home to travelers seeking rest and refreshed the spirits of the downtrodden. The old bishop’s house became a living testament to Christian charity.

St. Roger setting out to rebuild his community as bishop with his fellow priests

A Life of Service

Roger saw that true power lay not in earthly splendor and riches but in service to one’s fellow man. He tended diligently to the needs of his people, securing food for the hungry and shelter for the poor. Yet he himself lived humbly, praying each night on a simple straw mat.

As bishop, Roger was often called upon to help resolve conflicts between warring families or quarreling clergy. With patient wisdom and empathy, he was able to soothe angered hearts and find compromise where none seemed possible.

During morning Mass, when bright sunbeams streamed through the stained glass windows, the sweet choral singing seemed to give voice to the divine presence Roger so humbly embodied. In the dark of night, families huddled safely in their homes would see the lone candle burning in Roger’s spartan quarters as he worked tirelessly to guide his community.


Over decades of service, Roger became a venerated figure, known for his charity, wisdom, and devotion. As old age crept in, the former monk continued his work, sustained by an abiding faith. When at last he felt Death’s hand on his shoulder, Roger surrendered himself, like the setting sun slipping below the sea. His earthly labors ended on December 30, 1129.

Though Roger desired no monuments or memorials, the people of Cannae could not let his memory fade. In 1276, his remains were moved to the city of Barletta, where a great shrine was erected so that future generations might draw inspiration from his life.

In Cannae today, though centuries have swept past, something of Roger’s spirit endures. A quiet strength seems to emanate from the weathered stones of the village chapel. The candlelight glow of the stained glass fills the air with unspoken mysteries. And if you listen closely on still nights, you can almost hear whispered voices through the olive groves, as if carried on the winds of time.

The Eagle of Cannae, as he came to be known, has flown back to the heavens. But his earthly example, encapsulated in small acts of kindness, remains an eternal testament to the power of faith and compassion. For in Roger’s eyes, all people were equal under the sight of God. By serving the needs of his fellow man, Roger achieved a humble immortality – his legacy woven into the very fabric of humanity.