A Catholic Monthly Magazine

April Saints

St Mary of EgyptSaint Mary of Egypt (c344-c421)

by Killian de Lacy

by Killian de Lacy

Mary’s claim to fame was her early life. At the age of twelve, she left her home and came to Alexandria, where for upwards of seventeen years she led a life of public prostitution. She joined a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, not for pious reasons but to carry on her shameless way of life.

On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, she found herself outside the church where the sacred relics were venerated. Here a strange sequence of events led her to renounce her sinful life and throw herself on the mercy of Mary, Mother of God. In response to an inner call, she travelled across the Jordan River into the desert, where she lived absolutely alone for forty-seven years, fasting and praying.

A monk intending to spend Lent in the desert came across her and in due course brought her Holy Communion. A year later he returned to the spot to find her corpse. She had died soon after receiving her Lord.

Saint Mary, obtain for us true contrition for our sins.

 (Source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09763a.htm)

St Luigi ScrosoppiSaint Luigi Scrosoppi

Luigi Scrosoppi was born in Udine, Italy in 1804. He grew up in a family atmosphere of faith and Christian charity. At twelve years of age he began preparing for the priesthood at the Udine diocesan seminary and was ordained in 1827. His two brothers, Charles and John Baptist, were both also priests.

In the wretchedly poor conditions of the 1800s, Luigi, with some other priests and a group of young teachers, dedicated himself to gathering together and educating poor and abandoned girls from Udine and the surrounding countryside. To them he devoted all his material possessions, his energies and his affection. He did not spare himself, even begging for them when required. He relied on people’s help but, above all, on Divine Providence. He lost no opportunity in fostering this confidence in the girls and in the young teachers. These came to be called ‘school mistresses’ because they were skilled in sewing and embroidery as well as teaching the three Rs.

In 1837, nine of these young women, from different ages and backgrounds, decided to consecrate themselves to the Lord in poverty. Thus was born Father Luigi’s Congregation of the Sisters of Providence. The founder himself spared no effort in ensuring that the Sisters’ vocations were nurtured and tested so that they might grow strong in the spiritual life.

In his own life, he studied to carry out Jesus’ injunction: “Whatever you did to the least of my brethren…” He was attracted by the poverty and simplicity of St Francis, but eventually followed in the footsteps of St Philip Neri, becoming an Oratorian at the age of 42. Although the work of the Oratorians was suppressed during the unification of different regions of Italy in the second half of the nineteenth century, Father Luigi remained to the end a faithful disciple of St Philip. During these difficult times, he had to struggle to save his work on behalf of the orphans in the face of increased anticlericalism, but he succeeded.

As an old man, he handed over the reins of government of the Sisters to the women themselves but maintained contact with them all through his letters and paternal concern. By the time he died in 1884, he had gained also a reputation for spiritual wisdom and being able to read hearts. Saint Luigi, teach us to rely always on God to provide for us.

(Source: Internet – various)

St Mary EuphrasiaSaint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier (1796-1868)

Rose Virginia Pelletier was born in 1796 in the island of Noirmoutier off the coast of Brittany. At age 18 she joined the Institute of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge in Tours and took the name Euphrasia. Elected superior eleven years later, she took over a new foundation in Angers and made a great success of it.

As Superior, she realised how much more effective the work of the Sisters would be if they were centralised and more organised and, while deeply humble and respectful of authority, she succeeded in creating what was virtually a new institute of the Good Shepherd. Papal approbation was obtained in 1835, and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd spread rapidly and did immense good wherever they set up foundations. Mother Euphrasia died in 1868, having spent her last years working to promote her congregation.

Saint Euphrasia, help us to achieve God’s purpose in our lives.

(Source: www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=869)


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