A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Saints for August

Saint Maximilian Kolbe

St Maximilian KolbeMaximilian was born in 1894 in Poland and became a Franciscan. He contracted tuberculosis and remained frail all his life. Before his ordination as a priest,
Maximilian founded the Immaculata Movement devoted to Our Lady and helped form a community of men.

He went to Japan where he built a monastery and then on to India where he furthered the Movement. In 1936 he returned home because of ill health. After the Nazi invasion in 1939, he was imprisoned and released for a time. But in 1941 he was arrested again and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz.

On July 31, 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner’s escape, ten men were chosen to die. Father Kolbe offered himself in place of a young husband and father. And he was the last to die, enduring two weeks of starvation, thirst, and neglect.

Saint Maximilian, give us the courage to offer our lives for others.


Saint Jeanne Delanoue

St Jeanne DelanoueSaint Jeanne Delanoue was born in Saumur, France, in 1666. Her parents owned a business near the sanctuary of Notre Dame des Ardilliers. Although only six when her father died, she helped her mother run the store in order to maintain the family. Her early life was one of self-centredness, pride and avarice. She was described as bad-tempered and egotistical. Other qualities, though, set her apart: she was skilful, energetic and indefatigable. When her mother died, Jeanne, then 25, took over the shop. She provided accommodation for pilgrims to the shrine and caused great scandal by opening her shop on Sundays and holy days. Her only interest was making herself rich, and she paid no heed to what others thought or said about her.

But God intervened when an elderly woman, a faithful pilgrim to the shrine, invited Jeanne to consecrate herself to the many poor people of her neighbourhood. Despite her responsibilities, Jeanne believed this call to have come from God and started to turn towards the poor. Gradually they assumed more of her time until finally they became her fulltime occupation. In 1700, she started taking in orphans, the sick, the aged and the destitute. At first she was criticised by many who did not believe in her sincerity, but over time she won their hearts by her unselfish love and care for all those in need.

Within four years some young girls offered their services, assumed a religious habit and the congregation of Sainte Anne de la Providence was born. Jeanne’s tenacity, supported by these dedicated women, brought about the foundation of Saumur’s first home for the poor. Very quickly her charity spread beyond the limits of her city and diocese, and many women came to follow her example of self-sacrifice, prayer and mortification. While everyone could admire her zeal and the work she accomplished, only some knew about her mortification, and her life of prayer and union with God from which her untiring charity proceeded. She was attracted to all those who suffer, but especially the poor.

Worn out by her efforts, Jeanne died on 17 August 1736, a monument to the power of God to change lives. She left a dozen communities, as well as homes for the poor and schools. “The saint is dead,” the people of Saumur asserted.

Saint Jeanne, help us to turn away from our worldly way of life.

(Source: Internet – various)

Saint Pius X (1835-1914)

St Pius XJoseph Sarto was born of humble parents in Venetia in 1835. He was ordained priest in 1858; bishop of Mantua, 1884; patriarch of Venice and cardinal, 1892; Pope, 1903.

The motto of Pius X’s pontificate was “the renewal of all things in Christ”. He urged daily communion at a time when it was still unusual and looked on with some suspicion. He facilitated the communion of children and the sick, and strongly encouraged Bible reading. He dealt with the tendency called Modernism and boldly tackled the difficulties of the Church in France.

Pius X was a man of remarkable simplicity and sweetness of character, one who “knew the unhappiness of the world and the hardships of life, and in the greatness of his heart wanted to comfort everybody. His threefold crown was poverty, humility and gentleness.

He died a fortnight after the outbreak of war in 1914.

Saint Pius, obtain for us a great love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  

(Source: A New Dictionary of the Saints, Donald Attwater. 1993 Burns & Oates, Kent)


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