Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Founder of the Society of Jesus
(1491-1556)

Saint Ignatius was born at Loyola in Spain, in the year 1491. He served his king as a courtier and a soldier until his thirtieth year. At that time a cannon ball broke the right leg of the young officer, who in a few days had reached the brink of death and received the Last Sacraments. It was the eve of the feast day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul; he fell asleep afterwards and believed he saw Saint Peter in a dream, restoring him to health by touching his wound. When he woke, his high fever was gone and he was out of danger, although lame. To pass the time of his convalescence after three operations, he asked for books; the Life of Christ and lives of the Saints were brought to him. He read them distractedly at first, then with profound emotion. He underwent a violent combat, but finally grace won out. Continue reading

Saints Abdon and Sennen

Saints Abdon and Sennen

Persian Martyrs at Rome
(† 254)

The emperor Decius, enemy of Christians, had defeated the king of Persia and become master of several countries over which he reigned. He had already condemned to torture and death Saint Polychrome, with five members of his clergy. Saint Abdon and Saint Sennen, illustrious Persian dignitaries of the third century whom the king of Persia had highly honored, were secretly Christian; it was they who had taken up the body of the martyred bishop, which had been cast contemptuously before a temple of Saturn, to bury it at night, with honor. The two royal officials, now fallen under the domination of Rome, were grieved to witness the emperor’s cruelty towards the faithful, and believed it their duty to make known their love for Jesus Christ; thus, without fear of their new sovereign, they undertook by all possible means to spread and fortify the faith, to encourage the confessors and bury the martyrs. Continue reading

Saint Martha

Saint Martha

Virgin
(† 84)

Saint John tells us that Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus (John 11:5), but only a few glimpses are vouchsafed us of them in the Gospels. First, the sisters are set before us: Martha received Jesus into her house, and was busy in outward, loving, lavish service, while Mary sat in silence at the feet she had bathed with her tears. Then we learn that their brother is ill when they send word to Jesus concerning their brother Lazarus, Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick. (John 11:3) In His own time the Lord came, and they went out to meet Him; then follows that scene of unutterable tenderness and of sublimity unsurpassed: the silent mourning of Mary; Martha strong in faith, but realizing so vividly, with her practical turn of mind, the fact of death, and hesitating: Lord, by this time he is already decayed! He has been dead four days. Continue reading

Saints Nazarius and Celsus

Saints Nazarius and Celsus

Martyrs
(First century)

Saint Nazarius, born in Rome, was the son of a pagan military man who held an important post in the Roman army. His mother, honored by the Church as Saint Perpetua, was a zealous Christian, instructed by Saint Peter or his disciples in the most perfect maxims of Christianity. Nazarius at the age of nine embraced the Faith with so much ardor that he copied in his own young life all the great virtues he saw in his teachers. He was baptized by Saint Linus, who would later become Pope. His pagan father was touched by his son’s virtue and seconded his project to go elsewhere to preach the Gospel. Out of zeal for the salvation of others, Nazarius therefore left Rome, his native city, and preached the Faith in many places with a fervor and disinterestedness fitting for a disciple of the Apostles. Continue reading

Saint Pantaleon of Nicomedia

Saint Pantaleon of Nicomedia

Physician and Martyr
(† 303)

Saint Pantaleon was born in Nicomedia of a pagan father and a Christian mother, who died while her son was still a child. He was among the court physicians of the Emperor Galerius Maximianus. Deceived by hearing the false maxims of the world applauded, he was without religion when God decided to rescue his soul from its unhappy darkness. A zealous and prudent Christian named Hermolaus took special notice of him and awakened his conscience, telling him that although the famous physicians of ancient times had possessed the science which cures bodies, Jesus Christ was a far more excellent Physician, able to cure not only bodies, but souls, by His divine doctrine. Hermolaus succeeded in bringing him into the fold of the Church. Continue reading