Sts. Peter and Paul –Peter and Paul laid the foundationsof the early Church and are among the most venerated saints. Peter was the
first to profess that Jesus is the Son of God, and the papacy is built on his
witness. Paul's mission trips expanded the reach of the young Church, and his
writings articulate our faith. Both men were willing to bear witness to the
point of death, and both were martyred in Rome.
St. Jerome – A Fourth Century Doctor of the Church,
Jerome made the Bible more accessible to everyday people when he translated it
into Latin from its original Hebrew and Greek. St. Jerome is famous for saying,
"Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ." We can follow
in Jerome's evangelizing footsteps by loving the Word of God.
St. Augustine – Bishop of Hippo, a contemporary of
Jerome, and another Doctor of the Church, Augustine was notorious for his life
of sinful indulgence prior to his conversion. He continues to inspire people,
not only because of his conversion, but also with the brilliance of his
writings—most famously his Confessions—which have had a profound impact on
Christian thought down to the present day.
...the communion of saints goes beyond earthly life, beyond death and
endures forever. This union among us goes beyond and continues in the
next life; it is a spiritual communion born in Baptism and not broken by
death, but, thanks to the Risen Christ, is destined to find its
fullness in eternal life." — Pope Francis, General Audience, October 30, 2013.
St. Patrick – As the Fifth Century Apostle of Ireland,
Patrick exemplifies how Christian witness can have a pervasive, lasting impact
on a culture. Following the example of Jesus, who taught with imagery, St.
Patrick is known for using the image of the shamrock to illustrate the Trinity,
making a great mystery of God accessible to all people.
St. Francis of Assisi – One of the most beloved saints,
Francis of Assisi lived the Gospel by identifying himself with the poor,
embracing outcasts and enemies, andcelebrating the goodness of God present in
all creation. His witness revitalized a Church that had "fallen into ruin,"
and his influence today goes beyond the order he founded and even beyond the
Catholic Church. When the last two popes held interreligious gatherings to pray
for peace, they met not in Rome, but in Assisi.
St. Ignatius of Loyola – Founder of the Society of Jesus,
or the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola was a former soldier from Spain. He founded
the Jesuits in 1540 as an effort to counter the effects of the Protestant
Reformation by the promotion and defense of the teachings and authority of
theChurch across Europe. Ignatius also developed his Spiritual Exercises, a
model of prayer still used today.
St. Francis Xavier – A close friend of St. Ignatius and
one of the first Jesuits, Francis Xavier was a great missionary to Asia,
visiting India, Indonesia, Japan and other countries. He was named the patron
of Catholic missions by Pope Pius XI.
St. Juan Diego – The peasant to whom Our Lady of
Guadalupe appeared Juan Diego is essentially the evangelizer of an entire
hemisphere. Blessed Pope John Paul II named Our Lady of Guadalupe the patroness
of the Americas in 1999 and canonized Juan Diego in 2002. He is the first
indigenous Mexican saint.
St. Daniel Comboni – Another great missionary in the
history of the Church, Daniel Comboni traveled from his native Italy to Central
Africa and founded the Comboni Missionaries and the Comboni Missionary Sisters
in 1867 and 1872, respectively. He spent nearly all of his priesthood in Africa
and was named a bishop and apostolic vicar to Africa in 1877. He died in 1881
and was canonized in 2003.
St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus – Also known as St.
Thérèse of Lisieux and the Little Flower, Thérèse was a French Carmelite in the
late 1800s. She is best known for pursuing the "little way" to
holiness, serving God in every little action of daily life, before dying of
tuberculosis at the age of 24 in 1897. She was named the patroness of Catholic
missions by Pope Pius XI because of her devotion of praying for missionaries.
She was named a Doctor of the Church (the third woman and youngest person ever
to to receive this honor) by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1997.