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December 2018

Blessed Adolph Kolping

Dec 10

Blessed Adolph Kolping’s Story (December 8, 1813 – December 4, 1865) The rise of the factory system in 19th-century Germany brought many single men into cities where they faced new challenges to their faith. Father Adolph Kolping began a ministry to them, hoping that they would not be lost to the Catholic faith, as was happening to workers elsewhere in industrialized Europe. Born in the village of Kerpen, Adolph became a shoemaker at an early age because of his family’s…

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Saint Damasus I

Dec 11

Saint Damasus I’s Story (304 – December 11, 384) To his secretary Saint Jerome, Damasus was “an incomparable person, learned in the Scriptures, a virgin doctor of the virgin Church, who loved chastity and heard its praises with pleasure.” Damasus seldom heard such unrestrained praise. Internal political struggles, doctrinal heresies, uneasy relations with his fellow bishops and those of the Eastern Church marred the peace of his pontificate. The son of a Roman priest, possibly of Spanish extraction, Damasus started…

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

Dec 12

The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the 16th century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story. A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower and lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady. He was…

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Saint Lucy

Dec 13

Saint Lucy’s Story (283 – 304) Every little girl named Lucy must bite her tongue in disappointment when she first tries to find out what there is to know about her patron saint. The older books will have a lengthy paragraph detailing a small number of traditions. Newer books will have a lengthy paragraph showing that there is little basis in history for these traditions. The single fact survives that a disappointed suitor accused Lucy of being a Christian and she…

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Saint John of the Cross

Dec 14

Saint John of the Cross’ Story (June 24, 1541 – December 14, 1591) John is a saint because his life was a heroic effort to live up to his name: “of the Cross.” The folly of the cross came to full realization in time. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34b) is the story of John’s life. The Paschal Mystery—through death to life—strongly marks John as reformer, mystic-poet, and…

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Blessed Mary Frances Schervier

Dec 15

Blessed Mary Frances Schervier’s Story (January 3,1819 – December 14, 1876) This woman who once wanted to become a Trappistine nun was instead led by God to establish a community of sisters who care for the sick and aged in the United States and throughout the world. Born into a distinguished family in Aachen (then ruled by Prussia but formerly Aix-la-Chapelle, France), Frances ran the household after her mother’s death and established a reputation for generosity to the poor. In…

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Blessed Honoratus Kozminski

Dec 16

Blessed Honoratus Kozminski’s Story (October 16, 1829 – December 16, 1916) Wenceslaus was born in Biala Podlaska in 1829. By the age of 11 he had lost his faith. By the age of 16 his father died. He attended architecture school at the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Suspected of participating in a rebellious conspiracy against the Czarists in Poland, he was imprisoned from April 1846 until March of 1847. His life then took a turn for the better,…

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Saint Hildegard of Bingen

Dec 17

Saint Hildegard of Bingen’s Story (September 16, 1098 – September 17, 1179) Abbess, artist, author, composer, mystic, pharmacist, poet, preacher, theologian—where to begin describing this remarkable woman? Born into a noble family, she was instructed for ten years by the holy woman Blessed Jutta. When Hildegard was 18, she became a Benedictine nun at the Monastery of Saint Disibodenberg. Ordered by her confessor to write down the visions that she had received since the age of three, Hildegard took ten years…

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Blessed Anthony Grassi

Dec 18

Blessed Anthony Grassi’s Story (November 13, 1592 – December 13, 1671) Anthony’s father died when his son was only 10 years old, but the young lad inherited his father’s devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. As a schoolboy, he frequented the local church of the Oratorian Fathers, joining the religious order when he was 17. Already a fine student, he soon gained a reputation in his religious community as a “walking dictionary” who quickly grasped Scripture and theology. For some…

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Blessed Pope Urban V

Dec 19

Blessed Pope Urban V’s Story (1310 – December 19, 1370) In 1362, the man elected pope declined the office. When the cardinals could not find another person among them for that important office, they turned to a relative stranger: the holy person we honor today. The new Pope Urban V proved a wise choice. A Benedictine monk and canon lawyer, he was deeply spiritual and brilliant. He lived simply and modestly, which did not always earn him friends among clergymen…

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