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Learn about the saints whose feast days will be celebrated this week:
Saint Anthony Mary Claret | Dec. 23, 1807 – Oct. 24, 1870
Patronage: Helper of those suffering from cancer
St. Anthony Mary Claret was a Spanish Roman Catholic archbishop who founded the congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, or the Claretians. As a child, he often made pilgrimages to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fussimanya which was close to his home. At the age of 28, he was ordained at the diocesan seminary in Vic. St. Anthony Mary Claret had a strong passion for missionary work and helped the people of Catalonia after they were invaded by the French. Since he was fluent in Catalan, he attracted many people around the area due to his preachings and was known to have the gift of discernment for his wisdom in the confessional. Because of this missionary work, he was threatened and sent to the Canary Islands. Despite these adversities, he continued his missionary work in the Canary Islands by giving retreats and continually preaching to the public. Upon his return to Spain, he founded the Claretians, an order that is still actively serving the world today with the motto, “To Light the Whole World on Fire with the Love of God.” In 1849, he was appointed by Pope Pius IX to be the archbishop of Santiago, Cuba where he initiated many programs to help the poor in the community. As archbishop, St. Claret was known to have intense experiences of prayer, including times that he levitated up to six feet in the air, he radiated supernatural light during mass, and he stopped several earthquakes by kneeling on the ground and praying. He passed away on Oct 24, 1870 at the Cisercian abbey in southern France where he had retired.
“Christian perfection consists in three things: praying heroically, working heroically, and suffering heroically.”
Saints Crispin and Crispinian | 3rd Century AD – 286
As twin brothers, saints Crispin and Crispinian courageously lived for the faith. Although they were born into a noble Roman family, saints Crispin and Crispinian fled from Rome due to persecution. From there, they made their way to Soissons where they preached Christianity. At night, they would make shoes to support themselves and to give to the poor. Their ministry was made known to the governor of Belgic Gaul who had them tortured and thrown into a river with millstones around their necks. Yet, when this torture did not kill them, the emperor ordered to behead them, making them martyrs for the faith. Saint Crispin’s feast day is remembered in William Shakespeare’s play, Henry V. The play recalls the Battle of Agincourt, which fell on Saint Crispin’s feast day, with the Saint Crispin’s Day speech. In the play, the speech was used to motivate the British army which was greatly outnumbered by the French but unexpectedly won the battle.
St. Alfred the Great | 848 or 849 – 899
Patronage: Arts, literature
St. Alfred the Great was king of the West and Anglo-Saxons who made great advancements in his kingdom and had a reputation of being a gracious and merciful leader. Besides organizing military strategies and improving the legal system, St. Alfred prioritized the kingdom’s spiritual revival by appointing pious bishops and abbots who would help restore Christianity of his people.
Saint Abraham the Poor | c. 4th Century AD – 372
Saint Abraham, born in Menuf, Egypt, is known for his humble way of life. He was a cenobitic monk in a community founded by Saint Pachomius that emphasized solitary living. After being a disciple of the community for 23 years, Saint Abraham went on to live as a cave hermit for 17 years near the Pachomius’ foundations in the Delta.
Saint Jude the Apostle | 1st Century AD – 1st Century AD
Patronage: Lost Causes
St. Jude, one of the Twelve Apostles, is mentioned throughout the New Testament. Although not much is known about St. Jude, it is believed that he preached in Judea, Samaria, Syria, Mesopotamia and Libya. Due to his ministry in these areas, he is thought to have been clubbed to death or attacked with an axe, making him a martyr for the faith. His remains were eventually buried in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica. Many people mistakenly believe that St. Jude and Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ betrayer, were the same person due to their similar names. Therefore, devotion to St. Jude decreased for years until the United States entered the Great Depression and World War II which led many to pray to St. Jude to help them through these desperate times. Because of his patronage, many children’s hospitals are named after St. Jude as a reminder to have hope despite seemingly hopeless situations.
“Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, ‘Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.’”
Saint Narcissus of Jerusalem | c. AD 99 – c. AD 216
Saint Narcissus was the 30th bishop of Jerusalem. He was 80 years old when he was appointed to be bishop but still faithfully led his people. Saint Narcissus performed several miracles during his time as bishop. One account claims that he turned water into oil to light lamps in church in order to celebrate Easter mass. As bishop of Jerusalem, Saint Narcissus was falsely accused of committing crimes, making him subject to controversy. Therefore, he took time away from his duties as bishop to live as a hermit for several years until the disputes were settled. Despite his old age, Saint Narcissus eventually returned to his duties as bishop in Jerusalem where he fervently led his people to Christ.
Saint Marcellus of Tangier | c. Mid 3rd Century – 298 AD
Patronage: The city of León and the Province of León, Spain
St. Marcellus of Tangier was a centurion at Tingis, a city in Morocco, who refused to participate in Emperor Maximan’s birthday celebrations due to the sacrifices to Roman gods that would take place at the events. Because he failed to be loyal to the emperor, St. Marcellus was found guilty of disobeying authority and was subsequently martyred with a sword.