A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Saints for March

St Colette (1380-1447) March 6

St Colette

St Colette

After a holy childhood, Colette joined a society of devout women called the Beguines. Not finding their state sufficiently austere, she entered the Third Order of Saint Francis, and lived in a hut near her parish church of Corbie in Picardy. Here she had passed four years in extraordinary penance when Saint Francis, in a vision, ordered her to undertake the reform of her Order, then much relaxed. She doubted for a time and was struck with muteness for three days and blindness for another three. Finally, fortified by ecclesiastical authority, she established the reform throughout a large part of Europe, and, in spite of the most violent opposition, founded seventeen convents of the strict observance.

By the same wonderful prudence she helped to heal the great schism which then afflicted the Church. Colette also assisted the Council of Basle by her advice and prayers.

Saint Colette never ceased to pray for the Church, while the devils, for their part, never ceased to assault her. The saint once complained to Our Lord that the demons prevented her from praying. The devil told her, “You torment us more by your prayers than we do you.” Yet the virgin of Christ triumphed alike over their threats and their allurements, and said she would count the day during which she suffered nothing for her God, the unhappiest of her life. She died March 6, 1447, still interceding for sinners and the Church.

Saint Colette, never let us be led astray by the devil.

St Abraham Kidunaia (300-370) March 16

Abraham was a rich nobleman of Edessa, born in the year 300. Ceding to his parents’ desire, he married while still very young, but

St Abraham

St Abraham

escaped to a cell near the city as soon as the feast was over. God had called him to a life of penance He walled up his cell door, leaving only a small window open for the food to be brought him.

His parents’ death left Abraham a wealthy man, but he had all his goods distributed to the poor. Ordained a priest by the Bishop of Edessa, Abraham was sent to another city where for three years he worked to overcome the wickedness of the people by his penance and humility under persecution. After providing for the citizens’ spiritual needs, he returned to his cell where, for fifty years, he praised God in prayer and penance. He was known never to reprove anyone sharply but always with charity and gentleness.

His brother on dying left an only daughter, Mary, to the Saint’s care. He placed her in a cell near his own, and devoted himself to training her in perfection. After twenty years of innocence she fled to a distant city, where she lived a life of sin. For two years the Saint prayed earnestly for her before going in disguise to seek the lost sheep, and experiencing the joy of bringing her back to the desert a true penitent. Saint Abraham died in about 360.

Saint Abraham, keep us true to our Christian commitment.

St Joseph Sebastian Pelczar (1842-1924) March 28

Joseph was born in southwestern Poland in 1842 and was raised in an atmosphere of traditional Polish piety. Recognising his exceptional talents, his parents sent him to the district town of Rzeszow after he had completed his elementary schooling.

Even when still a young student, Joseph decided to devote himself to the service of God. Following his ordination in 1864, he was appointed to a parish in Sambor, after which he was sent to study in Rome. On his return, he was appointed as a university professor.

Apart from his academic duties, Father Pelczar worked with young people, joined the St Vincent de Paul Society and the Society for the Education of the People, and established a Fraternity to care for the poor, especially the sick and unemployed. He also founded a Congregation of Sisters to carry out similar works.

In 1900 he was appointed Bishop of Przemysl. Despite poor health, he worked tirelessly in the religious and social needs of his diocese, making regular pastoral visits and raising the moral and intellectual awareness of the clergy. He exemplified a life of deep piety, with special devotion to Our Lady and the Blessed Sacrament. Always responsive to the needs of the faithful, he took special care of the poorest, opening numerous institutions for their care.
Among his gifts was a rich literary heritage – he wrote prolifically. Having fulfilled God’s will, despite many obstacles, he died in 1924.

Saint Joseph, obtain for us the grace to fulfil your will in our lives.

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