The Holy North American Martyrs

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The Holy North American Martyrs


The Holy North American Martyrs are eight in number; five died in what is now Canada, three in what is now the United States. All are Jesuits, all are French in origin. They came in the 1640’s to New France, to add their strength to that of the Franciscan Recollets, who had preceded them by a few years. There was not yet any bishop to assist them; the first bishop of Quebec, Blessed Monsignor Francis Montmorency de Laval, arrived only in 1658. Continue reading


Saint Cyprian and Saint Justina

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Saint Cyprian and Saint Justina, Martyrs

The native place of St. Justina was Antioch. Her parents were pagans, and hence, educated their daughter in the blindness of idolatry. As Justina had been gifted by the Almighty with great intellect, she early in life recognized the nothingness of idolatry and was easily moved to embrace Christianity. No sooner had she been converted, than she rested not until her parents had also joined the faithful. Her desire to serve God most perfectly in the Christian faith incited her zealously to practice all virtues. Especially did she esteem virginal purity, and she consecrated herself to the Almighty by a solemn vow. Continue reading

Saint Firmin

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Saint Firmin

First Bishop of Amiens and Martyr
(† Beginning of Second Century)

Saint Firmin, son of a senator, was a native of Pampeluna in Navarre. With his father he was taught the Christian faith by Honestus, a disciple of Saint Saturninus, the bishop of Toulouse, himself the disciple of Saint Peter the Apostle.

Saint Firmin, who had been confided by his father to Honestus for his education and had accompanied him on his apostolic journeys, was eventually consecrated bishop by Saint Honoratus, successor to Saint Saturninus at Toulouse. Firmin received the mission to preach the Gospel in the remoter parts of the Occident, or Gaul; thus he preached in the regions of Agen, Angers, and Beauvais. In what is now Clement-Ferrand, after long discussions with two ardent idolaters, he won them over. Error, wherever he passed, seemed to flee before him, as if the infernal powers feared to undertake a combat with this formidable adversary who was sure to defeat them. Continue reading

Saint Finbarr

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Saint Finbarr

Bishop of Cork
(† Sixth Century)

Saint Finbarr, who lived in the sixth century, was a native of Connaught, Ireland. He founded a monastery or school at Lough Eire, to which great numbers of disciples flocked, changing, as it were, a desert into a large city. This was the origin of the city of Cork, built chiefly upon stakes on marshy little islands formed by the river Lea.

The baptismal name of our Saint was Lochan; the surname Finbarr, or Barr the White, was afterwards given him. He was Bishop of Cork for seventeen years, and died in the midst of his friends at Cloyne, fifteen miles from Cork. His body was buried in his own cathedral at Cork; his relics were put into a silver reliquary a few years later and kept in the great church, which bears his name to this day. Saint Finbarr’s cave, or hermitage, used to be shown in a monastery situated to the west of Cork, which tradition affirms was established by the holy bishop.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Saint Vincent Strambi

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Saint Vincent Strambi

Passionist Priest, Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino

Born in 1745 at Civitavecchia near Rome, the son of a wealthy businessman, Saint Vincent Strambi never showed any inclination for any occupation other than the service of God. He found his vocation when after his ordination as a deacon in 1767, he made a retreat amid the Passionists of Monte Fogliano, where Saint Paul of the Cross, their founder, was residing at the time. The Passionist houses are called retreats, and by their Rule must be situated outside cities. Saint Paul of the Cross told his brethren on his deathbed, as he had taught them during his active years, to conserve always the spirit of prayer, solitude and poverty; in that way the apostolic success of their works would also be conserved. The life of contemplation, essential formation for any fruitful works, was what Saint Vincent Strambi already desired.
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