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Chris Michalczuk

023 9282 8305||www.stswithuns.org.uk

June 2019

Saint Cyril of Alexandria

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

Saint Cyril of Alexandria’s Story (378 – June 27, 444) Saints are not born with halos around their heads. Cyril, recognized as a great teacher of the Church, began his career as archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, with impulsive, often violent, actions. He pillaged and closed the churches of the Novatian heretics–who required those who denied the faith to be re-baptized–participated in the deposing of Saint John Chrysostom, and confiscated Jewish property, expelling the Jews from Alexandria in retaliation for their attacks…

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Saint Irenaeus

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

Saint Irenaeus’ Story (c. 130 – c. 202) The Church is fortunate that Irenaeus was involved in many of its controversies in the second century. He was a student, well trained no doubt, with great patience in investigating, tremendously protective of apostolic teaching, but prompted more by a desire to win over his opponents than to prove them in error. As bishop of Lyons he was especially concerned with the Gnostics, who took their name from the Greek word for…

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Saints Peter and Paul

Jun 29
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom
Saint Peter and Paul

Saints Peter and Paul’s Story Peter (d. 64?). Saint Mark ends the first half of his Gospel with a triumphant climax. He has recorded doubt, misunderstanding, and the opposition of many to Jesus. Now Peter makes his great confession of faith: “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29b). It was one of the many glorious moments in Peter’s life, beginning with the day he was called from his nets along the Sea of Galilee to become a fisher of men for Jesus.…

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First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

Jun 30
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome’s Story There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in 57-58 A.D. There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews…

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July 2019

Saint Junipero Serra

Jul 1
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Junipero Serra’s Story (November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784) In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the…

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Saint Oliver Plunkett

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

Saint Oliver Plunkett’s Story (November 1, 1629 – July 1, 1681) The name of today’s saint is especially familiar to the Irish and the English—and with good reason. The English martyred Oliver Plunkett for defending the faith in his native Ireland during a period of severe persecution. Born in County Meath in 1629, he studied for the priesthood in Rome and was ordained there in 1654. After some years of teaching and service to the poor of Rome he was…

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Saint Thomas the Apostle

Jul 3
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Thomas the Apostle’s Story (1st Century – December 21, 72) Poor Thomas! He made one remark and has been branded as “Doubting Thomas” ever since. But if he doubted, he also believed. He made what is certainly the most explicit statement of faith in the New Testament: “My Lord and My God!” and, in so expressing his faith, gave Christians a prayer that will be said till the end of time. He also occasioned a compliment from Jesus to…

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Saint Elizabeth of Portugal

Jul 4
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Elizabeth of Portugal’s Story (1271 – July 4, 1336) Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father, Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father, James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality. Thus, fortunately prepared, she was able…

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Saint Anthony Zaccaria

Jul 5
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Anthony Zaccaria’s Story (1502  – July 5, 1539) At the same time that Martin Luther was attacking abuses in the Church, a reformation within the Church was already being attempted. Among the early movers of the Counter-Reformation was Anthony Zaccaria. His mother became a widow at 18 and devoted herself to the spiritual education of her son. He received a medical doctorate at 22 and, while working among the poor of his native Cremona in Italy, was attracted to…

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Saint Maria Goretti

Jul 6
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Maria Goretti’s Story (October 16, 1890 – July 6, 1902) One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members…

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Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and Companions

Jul 7
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and Companions’ Story (1804 – 1860) Not much is known of the early life of Emmanuel Ruiz but details of his heroic death in defense of the faith have come down to us. Born of humble parents in Santander, Spain, he became a Franciscan priest and served as a missionary in Damascus. This was at a time when anti-Christian riots shook Syria and thousands lost their lives in just a short time. Among these were Emmanuel, superior…

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Saint Gregory Grassi

Jul 8
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Gregory Grassi and Companions’ Story (d. July 9, 1900) Christian missionaries have often gotten caught in the crossfire of wars against their own countries. When the governments of Britain, Germany, Russia and France forced substantial territorial concessions from the Chinese in 1898, anti-foreign sentiment grew very strong among many Chinese people. Gregory Grassi was born in Italy in 1833, ordained in 1856 and sent to China five years later. Gregory was later ordained Bishop of North Shanxi. With 14 other…

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Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

Jul 9
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions’ Story (d. 1648 – 1930) Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria in the 600s. Depending on China’s relations with the outside world, Christianity over the centuries was free to grow or was forced to operate secretly. The 120 martyrs in this group died between 1648 and 1930. Most of them (87) were born in China and were children, parents, catechists, or laborers, ranging from nine years of age to 72. This group…

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Saint Veronica Giuliani

Jul 10
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Veronica Giuliani’s Story (December 27, 1660 – July 9, 1727) Veronica’s desire to be like Christ crucified was answered with the stigmata. Veronica was born in Mercatelli, Italy. It is said that when her mother Benedetta was dying she called her five daughters to her bedside and entrusted each of them to one of the five wounds of Jesus. Veronica was entrusted to the wound below Christ’s heart. At the age of 17, Veronica joined the Poor Clares directed…

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Saint Benedict

Jul 11
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Benedict’s Story (c. 480 – c. 547) It is unfortunate that no contemporary biography was written of a man who has exercised the greatest influence on monasticism in the West. Benedict is well recognized in the later Dialogues of Saint Gregory, but these are sketches to illustrate miraculous elements of his career. Benedict was born into a distinguished family in central Italy, studied at Rome and early in life was drawn to the monastic life. At first he became a…

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Saints John Jones and John Wall

Jul 12
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saints John Jones and John Wall’s story These two friars were martyred in England in the 16th and 17th centuries for refusing to deny their faith. John Jones was Welsh. He was ordained a diocesan priest and was twice imprisoned for administering the sacraments before leaving England in 1590. He joined the Franciscans at the age of 60 and returned to England three years later while Queen Elizabeth I was at the height of her power. John ministered to Catholics…

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Saint Henry

Jul 13
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Henry’s Story (May 6, 972 – July 13, 1024) As German king and Holy Roman Emperor, Henry was a practical man of affairs. He was energetic in consolidating his rule. He crushed rebellions and feuds. On all sides he had to deal with drawn-out disputes so as to protect his frontiers. This involved him in a number of battles, especially in the south in Italy; he also helped Pope Benedict VIII quell disturbances in Rome. Always his ultimate purpose…

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Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

Jul 14
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s Story (1656 – April 17, 1680) The blood of martyrs is the seed of saints. Nine years after the Jesuits Isaac Jogues and John de Brébeuf were tomahawked by Iroquois warriors, a baby girl was born near the place of their martyrdom, Auriesville, New York. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin, taken captive by the Iroquois and given as wife to the chief of the Mohawk clan, the boldest and fiercest of the Five Nations. When she…

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Saint Bonaventure

Jul 15
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Bonaventure’s Story (1221 – July 15, 1274) Bonaventure: Franciscan, theologian, doctor of the Church, was both learned and holy. Because of the spirit that filled him and his writings, he was at first called the Devout Doctor; but in more recent centuries he has been known as the Seraphic Doctor after the “Seraphic Father” Francis, because of the truly Franciscan spirit he possessed. Born in Bagnoregio, a town in central Italy, as a boy he was cured of a…

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Saint Swithun -Our Parish Patron Saint

Jul 15
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Swithun’s Story (c. 800 to 2 July 862) The life of St Swithun, an Anglo-Saxon bishop, is rich in legend. A century after his death in 863, he was chosen as patron saint for the Cathedral’s Benedictine monastery. His bones, housed in a splendid reliquary, became famed for their healing powers. His cult lasted until the Reformation, when all traces of his shrine were swept away. The story of St Swithun, our parish’s much-loved Saxon patron saint, combines a…

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Jul 16
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

The Story of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Hermits lived on Mount Carmel near the Fountain of Elijah in northern Israel in the 12th century. They had a chapel dedicated to Our Lady. By the 13th century they became known as “Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.” They soon celebrated a special Mass and Office in honor of Mary. In 1726, it became a celebration of the universal Church under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For…

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Saint Francis Solano

Jul 17
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Francis Solano’s Story (March 10, 1549 – July 14, 1610) Francis came from a leading family in Andalusia, Spain. Perhaps it was his popularity as a student that enabled Francis in his teens to stop two duelists. He entered the Friars Minor in 1570, and after ordination enthusiastically sacrificed himself for others. His care for the sick during an epidemic drew so much admiration that he became embarrassed and asked to be sent to the African missions. Instead he…

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Saint Camillus de Lellis

Jul 18
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Camillus de Lellis’ Story (1550 – July 14, 1614) Humanly speaking, Camillus was not a likely candidate for sainthood. His mother died when he was a child, his father neglected him, and he grew up with an excessive love for gambling. At 17, he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient and servant, but was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine…

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Saint Mary MacKillop

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

Saint Mary MacKillop’s Story (January 15, 1842 – August 8, 1909) If Saint Mary MacKillop were alive today, she would be a household name. It’s not that she sought the limelight. On the contrary, she simply wanted to serve the poor wherever she found them in her native Australia. But along the way, she managed to arouse the ire of some rather powerful churchmen. One even excommunicated her for a time. Born in Melbourne in 1842, to parents who had emigrated…

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Saint Apollinaris

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

Saint Apollinaris’ Story (d. c. 79) According to tradition, Saint Peter sent Apollinaris to Ravenna, Italy, as its first bishop. His preaching of the Good News was so successful that the pagans there beat him and drove him from the city. He returned, however, and was exiled a second time. After preaching in the area surrounding Ravenna, he entered the city again. After being cruelly tortured, he was put on a ship heading to Greece. Pagans there caused him to be…

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Saint Lawrence of Brindisi

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

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi’s Story (July 22, 1559 – July 22, 1619) At first glance, perhaps the most remarkable quality of Lawrence of Brindisi is his outstanding gift of languages. In addition to a thorough knowledge of his native Italian, he had complete reading and speaking ability in Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French. Lawrence was born on July 22, 1559, and died exactly 60 years later on his birthday in 1619. His parents William and Elizabeth Russo gave…

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Saint Mary Magdalene

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

Saint Mary Magdalene’s Story (d. c. 63) Except for the mother of Jesus, few women are more honored in the Bible than Mary Magdalene. Yet she could well be the patron of the slandered, since there has been a persistent legend in the Church that she is the unnamed sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7:36-50. Most Scripture scholars today point out that there is no scriptural basis for confusing the two women. Mary Magdalene, that…

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Saint Bridget of Sweden

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

Saint Bridget of Sweden’s Story (c. 1303 – July 23, 1373) From age 7 on, Bridget had visions of Christ crucified. Her visions formed the basis for her activity—always with the emphasis on charity rather than spiritual favors. She lived her married life in the court of the Swedish king Magnus II. Mother of eight children–the second eldest was Saint Catherine of Sweden–Bridget lived the strict life of a penitent after her husband’s death. Bridget constantly strove to exert her good…

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Saint Sharbel Makhluf

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

Saint Sharbel Makhluf’s Story (May 8, 1828 – December 24, 1898 ) Although this saint never traveled far from the Lebanese village of Beka-Kafra where he was born, his influence has spread widely. Joseph Zaroun Makluf was raised by an uncle because his father, a mule driver, died when Joseph was only three. At the age of 23, Joseph joined the Monastery of St. Maron at Annaya, Lebanon, and took the name Sharbel in honor of a second-century martyr. He…

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Saint James the Apostle

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

Saint James the Apostle’s Story (d. 44) This James is the brother of John the Evangelist. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: Peter and Andrew. “He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he…

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Saints Joachim and Anne

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

Saints Joachim and Anne’s Story In the Scriptures, Matthew and Luke furnish a legal family history of Jesus, tracing ancestry to show that Jesus is the culmination of great promises. Not only is his mother’s family neglected, we also know nothing factual about them except that they existed. Even the names Joachim and Anne come from a legendary source written more than a century after Jesus died. The heroism and holiness of these people however, is inferred from the whole…

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Blessed Antonio Lucci

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

Blessed Antonio Lucci’s Story (August 2, 1682 – July 25, 1752) Antonio studied with and was a friend of Saint Francesco Antonio Fasani, who after Antonio Lucci’s death, testified at the diocesan hearings regarding the holiness of Lucci. Born in Agnone in southern Italy, a city famous for manufacturing bells and copper crafts, he was given the name Angelo at baptism. He attended the local school run by the Conventual Franciscans and joined them at the age of 16. Antonio completed…

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Saint Leopold Mandic

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

Saint Leopold Mandic’s story Western Christians who are working for greater dialogue with Orthodox Christians may be reaping the fruits of Father Leopold’s prayers. A native of Croatia, Leopold joined the Capuchin Franciscans and was ordained several years later in spite of several health problems. He could not speak loudly enough to preach publicly. For many years he also suffered from severe arthritis, poor eyesight, and a stomach ailment. For several years Leopold taught patrology, the study of the Church…

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Saint Martha

Jul 29
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Martha’s Story (b. 1st century) Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus were evidently close friends of Jesus. He came to their home simply as a welcomed guest, rather than as one celebrating the conversion of a sinner like Zacchaeus or one unceremoniously received by a suspicious Pharisee. The sisters feel free to call on Jesus at their brother’s death, even though a return to Judea at that time seems almost certain death. No doubt Martha was an active sort…

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Saint Peter Chrysologus

Jul 30
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Peter Chrysologus’ Story (c. 406 – c. 450) A man who vigorously pursues a goal may produce results far beyond his expectations and his intentions. Thus it was with Peter “of the Golden Words,” as he was called, who as a young man became bishop of Ravenna, the capital of the empire in the West. At the time there were abuses and vestiges of paganism evident in his diocese, and these Peter was determined to battle and overcome. His principal…

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Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Jul 31
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s Story (October 23, 1491 – July 31, 1556) The founder of the Jesuits was on his way to military fame and fortune when a cannon ball shattered his leg. Because there were no books of romance on hand during his convalescence, Ignatius whiled away the time reading a life of Christ and lives of the saints. His conscience was deeply touched, and a long, painful turning to Christ began. Having seen the Mother of God in…

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August 2019

Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Aug 1
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Alphonse Liguori’s Story (September 27, 1696 – August 1, 1787) Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement. In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of…

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Saint Eusebius of Vercelli

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

Saint Eusebius of Vercelli’s Story Someone has said that if there had been no Arian heresy denying Christ’s divinity, it would be very difficult to write the lives of many early saints. Eusebius is another of the defenders of the Church during one of its most trying periods. Born on the isle of Sardinia, he became a member of the Roman clergy and is the first recorded bishop of Vercelli in Piedmont in northwest Italy. He is also the first to…

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Saint Peter Julian Eymard

Aug 3
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Peter Julian Eymard’s Story (February 4, 1811 – August 1, 1868) Born in La Mure d’Isère in southeastern France, Peter Julian’s faith journey drew him from being a priest in the Diocese of Grenoble (1834) to joining the Marists (1839) to founding the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (1856). In addition to those changes, Peter Julian coped with poverty, his father’s initial opposition to Peter’s vocation, serious illness, a Jansenistic overemphasis on sin, and the difficulties of getting diocesan…

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Saint John Vianney

Aug 4
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint John Vianney’s Story (May 8, 1786 – August 4, 1859) A man with vision overcomes obstacles and performs deeds that seem impossible. John Vianney was a man with vision: He wanted to become a priest. But he had to overcome his meager formal schooling, which inadequately prepared him for seminary studies. His failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced him to discontinue. But his vision of being a priest urged him to seek private tutoring. After a lengthy battle with…

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Dedication of Saint Mary Major Basilica

Aug 5
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

The Story of the Dedication of Saint Mary Major Basilica First raised at the order of Pope Liberius in the mid-fourth century, the Liberian basilica was rebuilt by Pope Sixtus III shortly after the Council of Ephesus affirmed Mary’s title as Mother of God in 431. Rededicated at that time to the Mother of God, St. Mary Major is the largest church in the world honoring God through Mary. Standing atop one of Rome’s seven hills, the Esquiline, it has…

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Transfiguration of the Lord

Aug 6
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom
transfiguration of the Lord

The Story of the Transfiguration of the Lord All three Synoptic Gospels tell the story of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36). With remarkable agreement, all three place the event shortly after Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus’ first prediction of his passion and death. Peter’s eagerness to erect tents or booths on the spot suggests it occurred during the Jewish week-long, fall Feast of Booths. In spite of the texts’ agreement, it…

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Saint Cajetan

Aug 7
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Cajetan’s Story Like most of us, Cajetan seemed headed for an “ordinary” life—first as a lawyer, then as a priest engaged in the work of the Roman Curia. His life took a characteristic turn when he joined the Oratory of Divine Love in Rome, a group devoted to piety and charity, shortly after his ordination at 36. When he was 42 he founded a hospital for incurables at Venice. At Vicenza, he joined a “disreputable” religious community that consisted…

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Saint Dominic

Aug 8
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Dominic’s Story ( August 8, 1170 – August 6, 1221) If he hadn’t taken a trip with his bishop, Dominic would probably have remained within the structure of contemplative life; after the trip, he spent the rest of his life being a contemplative in active apostolic work. Born in old Castile, Spain, he was trained for the priesthood by a priest-uncle, studied the arts and theology, and became a canon of the cathedral at Osma, where there was an…

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Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Aug 9
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross’ Story (October 12, 1891 – August 9, 1942) A brilliant philosopher who stopped believing in God when she was 14, Edith Stein was so captivated by reading the autobiography of Teresa of Avila that she began a spiritual journey that led to her Baptism in 1922. Twelve years later, she imitated Teresa by becoming a Carmelite, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Born into a prominent Jewish family in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland),…

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Saint Lawrence

Aug 10
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Lawrence’s Story (c. 225 – August 10, 258) The esteem in which the Church holds Lawrence is seen in the fact that today’s celebration ranks as a feast. We know very little about his life. He is one of those whose martyrdom made a deep and lasting impression on the early Church. Celebration of his feast day spread rapidly. He was a Roman deacon under Pope Saint Sixtus II. Four days after this pope was put to death, Lawrence and…

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Saint Clare of Assisi

Aug 11
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Clare of Assisi’s Story (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253) One of the more sugary movies made about Francis of Assisi pictures Clare as a golden-haired beauty floating through sun-drenched fields, a sort of one-woman counterpart to the new Franciscan Order. The beginning of her religious life was indeed movie material. Having refused to marry at 15, she was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis. He became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide. At 18, she escaped…

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Saint Jane Frances de Chantal

Aug 12
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal’s Story Jane Frances was wife, mother, nun, and founder of a religious community. Her mother died when she was 18 months old, and her father, head of parliament at Dijon, France, became the main influence on her education. Jane developed into a woman of beauty and refinement, lively and cheerful in temperament. At 21, she married Baron de Chantal, by whom she had six children, three of whom died in infancy. At her castle, she restored the custom…

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Saints Pontian and Hippolytus

Aug 13
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saints Pontian and Hippolytus’ Story (d. 235) Two men died for the faith after harsh treatment and exhaustion in the mines of Sardinia. One had been pope for five years, the other an antipope for 18. They died reconciled. Pontian. Pontian was a Roman who served as pope from 230 to 235. During his reign he held a synod which confirmed the excommunication of the great theologian Origen in Alexandria. Pontian was banished to exile by the Roman emperor in 235,…

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Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe

Aug 14
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe’s Story (January 8, 1894 – August 14, 1941) “I don’t know what’s going to become of you!” How many parents have said that? Maximilian Mary Kolbe’s reaction was, “I prayed very hard to Our Lady to tell me what would happen to me. She appeared, holding in her hands two crowns, one white, one red. She asked if I would like to have them—one was for purity, the other for martyrdom. I said, ‘I choose both.’ She…

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Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

Aug 15
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

The Story of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of faith: “We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.” The pope proclaimed this dogma only after a broad consultation of bishops, theologians and laity.…

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Saint Stephen of Hungary

Aug 16
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Stephen of Hungary’s Story (975 – August 15, 1038) The Church is universal, but its expression is always affected—for good or ill—by local culture. There are no “generic” Christians; there are Mexican Christians, Polish Christians, Filipino Christians. This fact is evident in the life of Stephen, national hero and spiritual patron of Hungary. Born a pagan, he was baptized around the age of 10, together with his father, chief of the Magyars, a group who migrated to the Danube…

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Saint Joan of the Cross

Aug 17
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Joan of the Cross’ Story (June 18, 1666 – August 17, 1736) An encounter with a shabby old woman many dismissed as insane prompted Saint Joan to dedicate her life to the poor. For Joan, who had a reputation as a businesswoman intent on monetary success, this was a significant conversion. Born in 1666 in Anjou, France, Joan worked in the family business—a small shop near a religious shrine—from an early age. After her parents’ death she took over…

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Saint Louis of Toulouse

Aug 18
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Louis of Toulouse’s Story (February 9, 1274 – August 19, 1297) When he died at the age of 23, Louis was already a Franciscan, a bishop and a saint! Louis’s parents were Charles II of Naples and Sicily and Mary, daughter of the King of Hungary. Louis was related to Saint Louis IX on his father’s side and to Elizabeth of Hungary on his mother’s side. Louis showed early signs of attachment to prayer and to the corporal works of mercy.…

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Saint John Eudes

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

Saint John Eudes’ Story (November 14, 1601 – August 19, 1680) How little we know where God’s grace will lead. Born on a farm in northern France, John died at 79 in the next “county” or department. In that time, he was a religious, a parish missionary, founder of two religious communities, and a great promoter of the devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He joined the religious community of the Oratorians and was ordained…

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Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

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

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux’s Story Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe’s “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, had to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture…

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Saint Pius X

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

Saint Pius X’s Story (June 2, 1835 – August 20, 1914) Pope Pius X is perhaps best remembered for his encouragement of the frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially by children. The second of 10 children in a poor Italian family, Joseph Sarto became Pius X at 68, one of the 20th century’s greatest popes. Ever mindful of his humble origin, he stated, “I was born poor, I lived poor, I will die poor.” He was embarrassed by some of…

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Queenship of Mary

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

The Story of the Queenship of Mary Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.” As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the…

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Saint Rose of Lima

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

Saint Rose of Lima’s Story (April 20, 1586 – August 24, 1617) The first canonized saint of the New World has one characteristic of all saints—the suffering of opposition—and another characteristic which is more for admiration than for imitation—excessive practice of mortification. She was born to parents of Spanish descent in Lima, Peru, at a time when South America was in its first century of evangelization. She seems to have taken Catherine of Siena as a model, in spite of…

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Saint Bartholomew

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

Saint Bartholomew’s Story (b. 1st century) In the New Testament, Bartholomew is mentioned only in the lists of the apostles. Some scholars identify him with Nathanael, a man of Cana in Galilee who was summoned to Jesus by Philip. Jesus paid him a great compliment: “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him” (John 1:47b). When Nathanael asked how Jesus knew him, Jesus said, “I saw you under the fig tree” (John 1:48b). Whatever amazing revelation this…

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Saint Louis of France

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

Saint Louis of France’s Story (April 25, 1214 – August 25, 1270) At his coronation as king of France, Louis IX bound himself by oath to behave as God’s anointed, as the father of his people and feudal lord of the King of Peace. Other kings had done the same, of course. Louis was different in that he actually interpreted his kingly duties in the light of faith. After the violence of two previous reigns, he brought peace and justice.…

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Saint Joseph Calasanz

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

Saint Joseph of Calasanz’ Story (September 11, 1556 – August 25, 1648) From Aragon, where he was born in 1556, to Rome, where he died 92 years later, fortune alternately smiled and frowned on the work of Joseph Calasanz. A priest with university training in canon law and theology, respected for his wisdom and administrative expertise, he put aside his career because he was deeply concerned with the need for education of poor children. When he was unable to get…

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Saint Monica

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

Saint Monica’s Story (c. 330 – 387) The circumstances of Saint Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law, and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had…

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Saint Augustine of Hippo

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

Saint Augustine’s Story (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430) A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most…

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Martyrdom of John the Baptist

Aug 29
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

The Story of the Martyrdom of John the Baptist The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But…

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Saint Jeanne Jugan

Aug 30
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Jeanne Jugan’s Story (October 25, 1792 – August 29, 1879) Born in northern France during the French Revolution—a time when congregations of women and men religious were being suppressed by the national government, Jeanne would eventually be highly praised in the French academy for her community’s compassionate care of elderly poor people. When Jeanne was three and a half years old, her father, a fisherman, was lost at sea. Her widowed mother was hard pressed to raise her eight…

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Saints Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus

Aug 31
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saints Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus’s Story (1st century) The actions of these two influential Jewish leaders give insight into the charismatic power of Jesus and his teachings—and the risks that could be involved in following him. Joseph was a respected, wealthy civic leader who had become a disciple of Jesus. Following the death of Jesus, Joseph obtained Jesus’ body from Pilate, wrapped it in fine linen and buried it. For these reasons, Joseph is considered the patron saint of…

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September 2019

Saint Giles

Sep 1
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Giles’ Story (c. 650 – 710) Despite the fact that much about Saint Giles is shrouded in mystery, we can say that he was one of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages. Likely, he was born in the first half of the seventh century in southeastern France. That is where he built a monastery that became a popular stopping-off point for pilgrims making their way to Compostela in Spain and the Holy Land. In England, many ancient churches and…

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Blessed John Francis Burté and Companions

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

Blessed John Francis Burté and Companions’ Story (d. September 2, 1792 and January 21, 1794) These priests were victims of the French Revolution. Though their martyrdom spans a period of several years, they stand together in the Church’s memory because they all gave their lives for the same principle. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1791) required all priests to take an oath which amounted to a denial of the faith. Each of these men refused and was executed. John…

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Saint Gregory the Great

Sep 3
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Gregory the Great’s Story (c. 540 – March 12, 604) Gregory was the prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome. Ordained a priest, he became one of the pope’s seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, and at the age…

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Saint Rose of Viterbo

Sep 4
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Rose of Viterbo’s Story (1233 – March 6, 1251) Even as a child, Rose had a great desire to pray and to aid the poor. While still very young, she began a life of penance in her parents’ house. She was as generous to the poor as she was strict with herself. At the age of 10, she became a Secular Franciscan and soon began preaching in the streets about sin and the sufferings of Jesus. Viterbo, her native…

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Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Sep 5
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s Story (August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997) Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the tiny woman recognized throughout the world for her work among the poorest of the poor, was beatified October 19, 2003. Among those present were hundreds of Missionaries of Charity, the order she founded in 1950 as a diocesan religious community. Today the congregation also includes contemplative sisters and brothers and an order of priests. Born to Albanian parents in what is now Skopje,…

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Blessed Claudio Granzotto

Sep 6
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Blessed Claudio Granzotto’s Story (August 23, 1900 – August 15, 1947) Born in Santa Lucia del Piave near Venice, Claudio was the youngest of nine children and was accustomed to hard work in the fields. At the age of 9, he lost his father. Six years later, he was drafted into the Italian army, where he served more than three years. His artistic abilities, especially in sculpture, led to studies at Venice’s Academy of Fine Arts, which awarded him a…

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Blessed Frédéric Ozanam

Sep 7
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam’s Story (April 23, 1813 – September 8, 1853) A man convinced of the inestimable worth of each human being, Frédéric served the poor of Paris well and drew others into serving the poor of the world. Through the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, which he founded, his work continues to the present day. Frédéric was the fifth of Jean and Marie Ozanam’s 14 children, one of only three to reach adulthood. As a teenager he began having…

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Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sep 8
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

The Story of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary The Church has celebrated Mary’s birth since at least the sixth century. A September birth was chosen because the Eastern Church begins its Church year with September. The September 8 date helped determine the date for the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s birth. However, the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James fills in the gap. This work has no historical value,…

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Saint Peter Claver

Sep 9
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Peter Claver’s Story (June 26, 1581 – September 8, 1654) A native of Spain, young Jesuit Peter Claver left his homeland forever in 1610 to be a missionary in the colonies of the New World. He sailed into Cartagena, a rich port city washed by the Caribbean. He was ordained there in 1615. By this time the slave trade had been established in the Americas for nearly 100 years, and Cartagena was a chief center for it. Ten thousand…

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Saint Thomas of Villanova

Sep 10
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Thomas of Villanova’s Story (1488 – September 8, 1555) Saint Thomas was from Castile in Spain and received his surname from the town where he was raised. He received a superior education at the University of Alcala and became a popular professor of philosophy there. After joining the Augustinian friars at Salamanca, he was ordained and resumed his teaching–despite a continuing absentmindedness and poor memory. He became prior and then provincial of the friars, sending the first Augustinians to the…

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Saint Cyprian

Sep 11
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Cyprian’s Story (d. 258) Cyprian is important in the development of Christian thought and practice in the third century, especially in northern Africa. Highly educated, a famous orator, he became a Christian as an adult. He distributed his goods to the poor, and amazed his fellow citizens by making a vow of chastity before his baptism. Within two years he had been ordained a priest and was chosen, against his will, as Bishop of Carthage. Cyprian complained that the…

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Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sep 12
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

The Story of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary This feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus; both have the possibility of uniting people easily divided on other matters. The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary began in Spain in 1513 and in 1671 was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples. In 1683, John Sobieski, king of Poland, brought an army to the outskirts of…

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Saint John Chrysostom

Sep 13
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint John Chrysostom’s Story (c. 349 – September 14, 407) The ambiguity and intrigue surrounding John, the great preacher (his name means “golden-mouthed”) from Antioch, are characteristic of the life of any great man in a capital city. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria, John found himself the reluctant victim of an imperial ruse to make him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing but dignified, and troubled by stomach ailments from…

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Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Sep 14
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

The Story of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Early in the fourth century, Saint Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life. She razed the second-century Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior’s tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher on that spot. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died…

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Our Lady of Sorrows

Sep 15
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

The Story of Our Lady of Sorrows For a while there were two feasts in honor of the Sorrowful Mother: one going back to the 15th century, the other to the 17th century. For a while both were celebrated by the universal Church: one on the Friday before Palm Sunday, the other in September. The principal biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27. The Lucan passage is Simeon’s prediction about a sword piercing Mary’s soul;…

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Saint Cornelius

Sep 16
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Cornelius’ Story (d. 253) There was no pope for 14 months after the martyrdom of Saint Fabian because of the intensity of the persecution of the Church. During the interval, the Church was governed by a college of priests. Saint Cyprian, a friend of Cornelius, writes that Cornelius was elected pope “by the judgment of God and of Christ, by the testimony of most of the clergy, by the vote of the people, with the consent of aged priests and of good…

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Saint Robert Bellarmine

Sep 17
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Robert Bellarmine’s Story (October 4, 1542 – September 17, 1621) When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain.…

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Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Sep 18
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Joseph of Cupertino’s Story (June 17, 1603 – September 18, 1663) [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws97oMZIRUo]Joseph is most famous for levitating at prayer. Already as a child, Joseph showed a fondness for prayer. After a short career with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventual Franciscans. Following a brief assignment caring for the friary mule, Joseph began his studies for the priesthood. Though studies were very difficult for him, Joseph gained a great deal of knowledge from prayer. He was ordained in 1628. Joseph’s tendency…

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Saint Januarius

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

Saint Januarius’ Story (c. 300) [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoOfffuQ5xg] Little is known about the life of Januarius. He is believed to have been martyred in the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of 305. Legend has it that Januarius and his companions were thrown to the bears in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli, but the animals failed to attack them. They were then beheaded, and Januarius’ blood ultimately brought to Naples. Reflection It is defined Catholic doctrine that miracles can happen and are recognizable. Problems arise, however,…

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Saints Andrew Kim Taegon Paul Chong Hasang and Companions

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

Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions’ Story (d. between 1839 – 1867) [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujmM3tmbspU]This first native Korean priest was the son of Korean converts. His father, Ignatius Kim, was martyred during the persecution of 1839 and was beatified in 1925. After Baptism at the age of 15, Andrew traveled 1,300 miles to the seminary in Macao, China. After six years, he managed to return to his country through Manchuria. That same year he crossed the Yellow Sea to…

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Saint Matthew

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

From such an unlikely situation, Jesus chose one of the foundations of the Church, a man others, judging from his job Saint Matthew The Tax Collector

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Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions

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

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions’ Story (1600 – September 29 or 30, 1637) [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoWJyp2xeQw]Lorenzo was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons…

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Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

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

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina’s Story [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flZUKsbT8Xg]In one of the largest such ceremonies in history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio of Pietrelcina on June 16, 2002. It was the 45th canonization ceremony in Pope John Paul’s pontificate. More than 300,000 people braved blistering heat as they filled St. Peter’s Square and nearby streets. They heard the Holy Father praise the new saint for his prayer and charity. “This is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio’s teaching,” said…

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Blessed John Henry Newman

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

Blessed John Henry Newman’s Story (February 21, 1801 – August 11, 1890) [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v2ZyxMfBc0]John Henry Newman, the 19th-century’s most important English-speaking Roman Catholic theologian, spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer, and eminent theologian in both Churches. Born in London, England, he studied at Oxford’s Trinity College, was a tutor at Oriel College, and for 17 years was vicar of the university…

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Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guerin

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

Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guerin’s Story (August 22, 1823 – July 29, 1894; December 23, 1831 – August 28, 1877) [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqNEd9_Pzqk]Born into a military family in Bordeaux, Louis trained to become a watchmaker. His desire to join a religious community went unfulfilled because he didn’t know Latin. Moving to Normandy, he met the highly-skilled lace maker, Zélie Guerin, who also had been disappointed in her attempts to enter religious life. They married in 1858, and over the years were…

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Blessed Paul VI

Sep 26
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom
Pope John Paul VI

Blessed Paul VI’s Story (September 26, 1897 – August 6, 1978) [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at_s_jbgHgk]Born near Brescia in northern Italy, Giovanni Battista Montini was the second of three sons. His father, Giorgio, was a lawyer, editor, and eventually a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. His mother, Giuditta, was very involved in Catholic Action. After ordination in 1920, Giovanni did graduate studies in literature, philosophy, and canon law in Rome before he joined the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1924, where…

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Saint Vincent de Paul

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

Saint Vincent de Paul’s Story (1580 – September 27, 1660) [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6MC1nye1yk]The deathbed confession of a dying servant opened Vincent’s eyes to the crying spiritual needs of the peasantry of France. This seems to have been a crucial moment in the life of the man from a small farm in Gascony, France, who had become a priest with little more ambition than to have a comfortable life. It was the Countess de Gondi (whose servant he had helped) who persuaded…

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Saint Wenceslaus

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

Saint Wenceslaus’ Story (c. 907 – 929 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ig9DtNiBiOA]If saints have been falsely characterized as “other worldly,” the life of Wenceslaus stands as an example to the contrary: He stood for Christian values in the midst of the political intrigues which characterized 10th-century Bohemia. He was born in 907 near Prague, son of the Duke of Bohemia. His saintly grandmother, Ludmilla, raised him and sought to promote him as ruler of Bohemia in place of his mother, who favored the anti-Christian…

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Saints Michael Gabriel and Raphael

Sep 29
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael’s Story Angels—messengers from God—appear frequently in Scripture, but only Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are named. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXik_oED4vc]Michael appears in Daniel’s vision as “the great prince” who defends Israel against its enemies; in the Book of Revelation, he leads God’s armies to final victory over the forces of evil. Devotion to Michael is the oldest angelic devotion, rising in the East in the fourth century. The Church in the West began to observe a feast honoring Michael…

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Saint Jerome

Sep 30
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Jerome’s Story (345 – 420) [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4rw6jfTRJI]Most of the saints are remembered for some outstanding virtue or devotion which they practiced, but Jerome is frequently remembered for his bad temper! It is true that he had a very bad temper and could use a vitriolic pen, but his love for God and his son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and Saint Jerome went after him or her with his mighty…

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October 2019

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Oct 1
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux’s Story (January 2, 1873 – September 30, 1897) “I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul.” These are the words of Thérèse of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun called the “Little Flower,” who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. And her preference for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God are more popular than this young…

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Feast of the Guardian Angels

Oct 2
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom
Feast of theGuardian Angels

The Story of the Feast of the Guardian Angels Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not only for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer, and to present their souls to God at death. The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each…

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Saint Theodora Guérin

Oct 3
St Swithun’s Church, 105 Waverley Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 2PL United Kingdom

Saint Theodora Guérin’s Story (October 2, 1798 – May 14, 1856) Trust in God’s Providence enabled Mother Theodore to leave her homeland, sail halfway around the world, and found a new religious congregation. Born in Etables, France, Anne-Thérèse Guerin’s life was shattered by her father’s murder when she was 15. For several years, she cared for her mother and younger sister. She entered the Sisters of Providence in 1823, taking the name Sister Saint Theodore. An illness during novitiate left her with…

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