A Catholic Monthly Magazine

May Saints

St AthanasiusSaint Athanasius (c296-c373)

by Killian de Lacy

by Killian de Lacy

Saint Athanasius was born at Alexandria, about the year 296, of Christian parents. Educated under the eye of Alexander, later Bishop of his native city, he made great progress in learning and virtue. In 313, Alexander succeeded Achillas in the Patriarchal See, and two years later Athanasius went to the desert to spend some time in retreat with Saint Anthony.

In 319, he became a deacon, and even in this capacity he was called upon to take an active part against the rising heresy of Arius, an ambitious priest of the Alexandrian Church who denied the Divinity of Christ. This was to be the life struggle for Athanasius.

In 325, he assisted his Bishop at the Council of Nicaea, where his influence began to be felt. Five months later Alexander died. On his deathbed he recommended Athanasius as his successor. Consequently, Athanasius was unanimously elected Patriarch in 326.

His refusal to tolerate the Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions for St. Athanasius. He spent seventeen of the forty-six years of his episcopate in exile. After a life of virtue and suffering, this intrepid champion of the Catholic Faith, the greatest man of his time, died in peace on May 2, 373.

Saint Athanasius, teach us to be champions of our Catholic faith.

(Source: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=336)

St Andrew BobolaSaint Andrew Bobola

He was born a member of a noble Polish family in 1590. Entering the Society of Jesus at Vilna in 1622, he took solemn vows in 1630 and was made superior of the Jesuits in Brobuisk. There he preached and distinguished himself by his works of mercy during a plague.

In 1636, Andrew was sent to the Lithuanian missions. A house was provided for him in Pinsk, Belarus, and he worked there despite attacks by Protestants and schismatics.

On May 10, 1657, Andrew was kidnapped by two Cossacks who beat him and tied him to the saddles of their horses so they could drag him to a place of torture. He was partially flayed alive and finally decapitated.

Saint Andrew, help us to be fearless in proclaiming our faith.

(Source: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=539)

Blessed Celine-MarieBlessed Marie-Celine of the Presentation (1878-1897)

Jeanne-Germaine Castang was born in 1878 at Nojals, France, into an impoverished but deeply religious family. A pretty, resourceful child of strong character, she early showed an inclination to the religious life. At age four, poliomyelitis left her with a permanent limp, despite which she helped around the house, especially after her eldest sister entered the convent and her mother died. She also cared for her eldest brother, a victim of tuberculosis, in time contracting the disease herself. At the local school run by the Sisters of St Joseph, she grew in faith and became known for her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

When her father’s business floundered, the family was forced to live in a damp, dilapidated barn. Jeanne-Germaine had to go about begging for food, despite a festering sore on her paralysed foot. When her father, later followed by the surviving children, moved to Bordeaux in search of work, she stayed with the Sisters of Nazareth where she underwent surgery on her foot, learned to sew and prepared for her First Communion and Confirmation.

Jeanne-Germaine’s disability led to her being turned down by two religious orders, but she eventually entered the Ave Maria Community of the Poor Clares at Talence. Here, seeing beyond the girl’s handicap, the Mother Superior was able to discern her exceptional religious disposition. Her father reluctantly gave his permission, so Jeanne-Germaine was clothed in the habit of the Second Order of St Francis, taking the name Marie-Céline of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The relentless advance of tuberculosis did not stop her from immersing herself fully in the austere lifestyle of the contemplative nuns. Her love for God, the Church and her Sisters increased and she accepted with humility the supernatural manifestations of God’s love. When the Superior became aware of the deterioration of her health and called the doctor, it was too late. Sister Marie-Céline was permitted to make her final vows on her deathbed in 1897 at the age of 19 years. This young nun who wrote, “I am determined to be a violet of humility, a rose of charity, and a lily of purity for Jesus”, lives on as a model for all those who are ill or suffer from physical handicaps, poverty and marginalisation.

Blessed Marie-Céline, inspire us to suffer generously for God.   

(Source: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20070916_celina-presentazione_en.html)

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