Saint Ambrose

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Saint Ambrose

Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
(340-397)

When in the year 369 Saint Ambrose, the young son of a Roman Senator, was sent by Probus, the Prefect of Italy, to the large province of Liguria Emilia in Italy, the officer said to him, Go and act not as a judge, but as a bishop. Ambrose, though not Christian, had already resisted by his probity the corrupting influence of the Roman youth of his day. In Liguria he showed himself to be clement as directed, and his great erudition also became well known to the inhabitants of the region. In the year 374 he was already governor of the province, at the moment when at Milan, in this same region, a bishop was needed for that great see. Since the heretics in Milan were many and fierce, he went to preserve order during the election of the new prelate. Though he was still only a catechumen, it was the Will of God that the provincial governor be chosen by acclamation. Despite his protestations and his subsequent flight from Milan when they were not accepted, he was found, baptized and consecrated for the archiepiscopal see.
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Saint Nicholas

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Saint Nicholas

Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
(† 342)

Saint Nicholas, the patron Saint of Russia, has won the warmest of praises from other Saints such as Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Peter Damian, who called him the glory of young men, the honor of the elderly, the splendor of priests and the light of Pontiffs. All the world was filled with his praises, Saint Peter added. The universal Church, in the Collect of his office, claims that God made known his nobility by an infinite number of miracles.
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Saint Sabas

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Saint Sabas

Patriarchal Abbot in Palestine
(439-531)

Saint Sabas, one of the most renowned patriarchs of the monks of Palestine, was born in the year 439, near Caesarea. At the age of fifteen, in the absence of his parents, he suffered under the conduct of an uncle, and weary of the world’s problems decided to forsake the world and enter a monastery not far from his family home. After he had spent ten years in religious life, his two uncles and his parents attempted to persuade him to leave the monastery to which he had migrated in Palestine. He replied: Do you want me to be a deserter, leaving God after placing myself in His service? If those who abandon the militia of earthly kings are severely punished, what chastisement would I not deserve if I abandoned that of the King of heaven?
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Saint Barbara

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Saint Barbara

Virgin and Martyr
(† 235)

Saint Barbara was brought up by a pagan father, Dioscorus. With the intention of protecting her beauty, he kept her jealously secluded in a lonely but very luxurious tower which he built for that purpose; for in his own way he loved her. In her forced solitude, this very gifted young girl undertook to study religion, and soon saw clearly all the vices and absurdities of paganism; her clear mind realized that there could be only one supreme Creator-God, and that He is entitled to the worship of His reasonable creatures. Divine Providence by its wonderful ways contrived to obtain for her the means to send a message to Origen, the famous exegete, asking for knowledge of the Christian faith. That teacher of Alexandria immediately sent to her, at Nicomedia, a disciple named Valentinian. Soon she was baptized, and Our Lord appeared to her, as He would appear to others such as Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Teresa of Avila, to tell her He had chosen her to be His spouse. Saint Barbara, rejoicing, hoped to be able to communicate her precious new faith to her father, but would soon discover that hope was vain.
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Saint Francis Xavier

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Saint Francis Xavier

Jesuit Missionary to the Orient
(1506-1552)

A young Spanish gentleman, in the dangerous days of the Reformation, was making a name for himself as a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris. He was aspiring, apparently, to a high dignity, until Saint Ignatius of Loyola decided to undertake the spiritual conquest of this ardent soul. What does it profit a man to gain the entire world, if he suffers the loss of his soul? Ignatius often repeated to the brilliant teacher. The words of Christ, joined to the example of Ignatius and his disciples, prevailed. It was not long before his gifted friend decided to labor for the glory of God, by adopting the evangelical life of an apostle, to which he was indeed called. He was among the first five members of the Society of Jesus, those who with Ignatius made their religious vows in the church of Montmartre in Paris, on the feast of the Assumption in 1534.
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