A Catholic Monthly Magazine

January Saints

Saint4Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin  (1809 - 1890)

Esther Blondin, born in 1809, came from a family of deeply Christian Canadian farmers. From her mother she inherited a Eucharistic piety and from her father a deep faith and strong patience in suffering. Still illiterate at the age of 22, she worked as a domestic in the Convent of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame in her village. A year later, she registered as a boarder in order to learn to read and write.

In 1833, Esther became a teacher in the parochial school of Vaudreuil. In the face of widespread illiteracy in the district, the Spirit called Esther to found a religious congregation for the education of poor country children, both girls and boys in the same schools. This was a revolution for her time, but permission was granted by the bishop.

Esther, now named Mother Marie-Anne, was the first superior of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Anne, which came to birth in 1850. The community grew quickly and soon the mother house was transferred to another town. Here, the chaplain interfered extensively in the private life of the community and caused new elections to be held in 1854. Mother Marie-Anne was asked “to resign”. She obeyed and took up new duties as Directress at another convent.

The chaplain soon became a dictator at the mother house. Under the pretext of poor administration, Mother Marie-Anne was recalled to the mother house and kept away from administrative responsibilities, even when she was actually re-elected in 1872 and 1878. Assigned to mostly hidden work in the laundry and ironing room, she led a life of total self-denial and thus ensured the growth of the Congregation.

Deprived of her most legitimate rights, she offered no resistance. Prevented from being called Mother by those in authority, she chose annihilation, just like Jesus, “her crucified Love”, so that her community might live. Like any prophet, Mother Marie-Anne lived persecution by forgiving without restriction, convinced that there is more happiness in forgiving than in revenge.

Her testament to her daughters at her death in 1890? “May Holy Eucharist and perfect abandonment to God’s Will be your heaven on earth.”

Blessed Marie-Anne, teach us to accept criticism in the spirit of Jesus.

(Source: Internet – various)

Saint5Saint Raymond of Pennafort (1175-1275)

Raymond of Pennafort was born in Spain. From childhood he had a tender love and devotion to the Blessed Mother. He finished his studies at an early age, and became a famous teacher. He then gave up all his honours and entered the Order of the Dominicans. Raymond was very humble and close to God. He did much penance and won many sinners to God through his goodness and kindness. With King James of Aragon and St. Peter Nolasco he founded the Order of Our Lady of Ransom to save poor Christians captured by the Moors.

He was summoned to Rome by Pope Gregory IX for the study of canon law. His five books of the laws were the best-arranged part of the canon until it was codified in our own day. In 1238 he was elected master general of his order, and encouraged Saint Thomas Aquinas to write the famous Contra Gentiles (Against the Gentiles).

He was taken by King James of Aragon to the island of Majorca, where he undertook the reformation of his sovereign’s morals. Failing in this, he returned to Barcelona in striking fashion – sailing on his cloak. He died at the age of 100.

Saint Raymond, inspire us with the desire to save others through the Gospel.

(Source: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=315)

Saint6Saint Angela Merici (1470-1540)

Angela Merici was born near Brescia, Italy, in 1470. Orphaned at age ten, she was brought up by an uncle’s family. When her sister died suddenly without the sacraments, Angela became a Franciscan tertiary. Following the death of her uncle, she returned home and converted her house into a school for teaching local girls the catechism.

Stricken blind while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she was eventually cured and was asked by the Holy Father to remain in Rome. However, she returned to Brescia to continue her work and founded the Ursulines, the first specifically teaching order to be established by the Church. She served as superior for five years, dying on January 27, 1540.

Saint Angela, help us to appreciate our faith so much that we want to share it with others.

(Encyclopedia of the Saints, Matthew, Margaret & Stephen Bunson.1998 Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, Indiana)


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