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Earache? We have a cure for that! Pray to the patron saint of earaches, St. Polycarp, one of the disciples of St. John the Evangelist. He was the bishop of Smyrna, and a devoted follower of Christ, facing many heresies bravely. He was condemned to be burned alive by the pagans; when that didn't work, he was stabbed.He was eighty-six years old at the time of his death.
One of the proofs of a really close friendship is when you can't say one person's name without thinking of the other. This shows up in history, with names like Lewis and Clark. It's in story books, with names like Hansel and Gretel, or Jack and Jill. When it comes to saints, there are many examples, but one of the most prominent duos is Perpetua and Felicity. Perpetua was a young Christian noblewoman and Felicity was a young Christian slave. The two were arrested for their belief in Christ, during the persecution of Emperor Septimius Severus: at this time, Perpetua was a new mother, and Felicity was eight months pregnant. Together, the two women helped each other through the heat, darkness and brutality of the guards in the prison. Two days before their scheduled death, Felicity gave birth to her daughter in the prison, and the child was adopted by a Christian woman. Perpetua and Felicity were sent out to face the arena together, and after being exposed to the beasts, were killed by having their throats cut. These last days of the women were recorded by Perpetua, whose diary became one of the most famous accounts in the early church of the suffering of the martyrs.
How many of the firefighters out there know who their personal patron saint is? It is St. John of God, who was extremely dedicated to the sick and dying. Once, when he heard that a hospital was going up in flames, he ran in and rescued the patients and much of the bedding, just before the roof fell in – and took John with it. Moments later, he walked out of the building, miraculously spared. A few thoughts of St. John's can be found on the Vatican Web site.
When his cause first came up for canonization, people complained that this saint was too young to be a saint. Thankfully, Pope Pius X wisely announced that no one is too young to be a saint. St. Dominic Savio was only fifteen-years-old when he died, but those short fifteen years were enough to inspire all those who knew him. Born in 1842 in Riva, Italy, Dominic became a student of St. John Bosco when he was 12-years-old. As a child, he founded a group called the Company of the Immaculate Conception, devoted to prayer and to helping the mission of St. John: All of the members of this group, save Dominic, would later become priests. He was a peacemaker among his friends, intervening in various fights and misbehaviors and re-directing them along the path to holiness. His health kept him from big endeavors, and because of this, he often said, "I can't do big things. But I want all I do, even the smallest thing, to be for the greater glory of God." He died on March 9, 1857, with the words, "What beautiful things I see!" He is the patron saint of boys, children's choirs and falsely-accused people.
de Salles and St. Vincent de Paul were both dear friends and confidants of St. Louise de Marillac. Sge fully trusted these men, and after she was widowed,
became the avid assistant of St. Vincent de Paul in his work among the poor.
Under his guidance, she founded the Sisters of Charity, a group of women who
ministered to the poor and children. Read a short talk about the Sisters.
Silence is golden… St. Joseph, the model of humility, and one of the world's greatest saints, is often mentioned as being silent. This silence speaks volumes. In it, the Church realizes his faithfulness, his love and his acceptance of the Holy Will of God. St. Joseph was not a man of many words: he was a man of action. We have only one direct statement about his personality: in Matthew's Gospel, he is described as "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:19). His actions alone reveal everything else we know about him. He brings Mary and the Child she bears into his home when, in the sight of the world, he would be justified in divorcing her. He leads the expectant Mary into Bethlehem, and flees with her and her Child into Egypt. When it is safe, he returns with the two into Galilee. He does all of this, because God asks it of him. He never hesitates. Each time we read that the angel spoke to Joseph, the following sentence begins with the action St. Joseph took. "Joseph awoke," "Joseph rose," "He went." Each time he received a summons, his reaction was to follow the call immediately. Never once did he hesitate. Read more about the poignant silence of Joseph.
Now HERE is a movie-worthy story. We tend to think that saints are these perfect people, portrayed on holy cards with glowing lights all around them. Saints are definitely above-average people, but not because of that iridescent glow: it's because of the extraordinary things they have accomplished through the grace of God. St. Nicholas Owen was a carpenter and a lay Jesuit brother. His carpentry was so incredible, that for twenty years he was employed to build secret passages and rooms in various mansions to conceal persecuted Catholics from the authorities. Under the pseudonym of John Owen (affectionately nicknamed "Little John" due to his short stature) Nicholas worked on these mansions as an innocent-looking mason by day, so that the authorities would not question his presence there. Before each new project, he would receive the Eucharist, to steel him for the new challenge. He saved countless priests and laymen, and even masterminded the escape of two of his fellow Jesuits from the Tower of London. He was caught once and released, then caught again and tortured, and the torture led to his death on March 1, 1606.
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