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May 2019

Saint Theophilus of Corte

May 19
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Theophilus of Corte’s Story (October 30, 1676 – June 17, 1740) If we expect saints to do marvelous things continually and to leave us many memorable quotes, we are bound to be disappointed with Saint Theophilus. The mystery of God’s grace in a person’s life, however, has a beauty all its own. Theophilus was born in Corsica of rich and noble parents. As a young man, he entered the Franciscans and soon showed his love for solitude and prayer.…

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Saint Bernardine of Siena

May 20
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Bernardine of Siena’s Story (September 8, 1380 – May 20, 1444) Most of the saints suffer great personal opposition, even persecution. Bernardine, by contrast, seems more like a human dynamo who simply took on the needs of the world. He was the greatest preacher of his time, journeying across Italy, calming strife-torn cities, attacking the paganism he found rampant, attracting crowds of 30,000, following St. Francis of Assisi’s admonition to preach about “vice and virtue, punishment and glory.” Compared with…

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Saint Cristobal Magallanes and Companions

May 21
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Cristóbal Magallanes and Companions’ Story (d. between 1915 and 1937) Like Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, S.J., Cristóbal and his 24 companion martyrs lived under a very anti-Catholic government in Mexico, one determined to weaken the Catholic faith of its people. Churches, schools, and seminaries were closed; foreign clergy were expelled. Cristóbal established a clandestine seminary at Totatiche, Jalisco. He and the other priests were forced to minister secretly to Catholics during the presidency of Plutarco Calles (1924-28). All of…

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Saint Rita of Cascia

May 22
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Rita of Cascia’s Story (1381 – May 22, 1457) Like Elizabeth Ann Seton, Rita of Cascia was a wife, mother, widow, and member of a religious community. Her holiness was reflected in each phase of her life. Born at Roccaporena in central Italy, Rita wanted to become a nun but was pressured at a young age into marrying a harsh and cruel man. During her 18-year marriage, she bore and raised two sons. After her husband was killed in…

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Saint Gregory VII

May 23
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Gregory VII’s Story (c. 1025 – May 25, 1085) The 10th century and the first half of the 11th were dark days for the Church, partly because the papacy was the pawn of various Roman families. In 1049, things began to change when Pope Leo IX, a reformer, was elected. He brought a young monk named Hildebrand to Rome as his counsellor and special representative on important missions. Hildebrand was to become Gregory VII. Three evils plagued the Church then:…

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Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi

May 24
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi’s Story (April 2, 1566 – May 25, 1607) Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the “ecstatic saint.” Catherine de’ Pazzi was born into a noble family in Florence…

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Saint Bede the Venerable

May 25
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Bede the Venerable’s Story (c. 672 – May 25, 735) Bede is one of the few saints honoured as such even during his lifetime. His writings were filled with such faith and learning that even while he was still alive, a Church council ordered them to be read publicly in the churches. At an early age, Bede was entrusted to the care of the abbot of the Monastery of St. Paul, Jarrow. The happy combination of genius and the instruction…

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Saint Philip Neri

May 26
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Philip Neri’s Story (July 21, 1515 – May 26, 1595) Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy: the whole post-Renaissance malaise. At an early age, Philip abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence, and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were…

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Saint Augustine of Canterbury

May 27
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Augustine of Canterbury’s Story (? – May 26, 605) In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to Gregory the Great—the pope who had sent them—only to be…

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Venerable Pierre Toussaint

May 28
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Venerable Pierre Toussaint’s Story June 27, 1766 – June 30, 1853) Born in modern-day Haiti and brought to New York City as a slave, Pierre died a free man, a renowned hairdresser, and one of New York City’s most well-known Catholics. Plantation owner Pierre Bérard made Toussaint a house slave and allowed his grandmother to teach her grandson how to read and write. In his early 20s, Pierre, his younger sister, his aunt, and two other house slaves accompanied their…

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