Do You Know About These Amazing New Saints?
All the saints can teach us about the different ways we can be vessels of God's mercy in the world. These five saints canonized in the Year of Mercy remind us of the importance of service in all its varieties and vocations, from scholars and cloistered religious to missionaries and soldier martyrs.
1. St. Stanislaw Papczynski
St. Stanislaw Papczynski was born in 1631 in the rural town of Podergrodzie, Poland. As a young boy he worked tending his father's sheep. His low social standing and temperament initially indicated that he was not suited to a scholastic career. As he matured, however, he began to apply himself with diligence to the academic life, completing his philosophical studies at age twenty-three. The following year Stanislaus joined the Spanish-founded Piarist congregation. He then went as a novitiate to study Theology in Warsaw. We find in his writings the account of a particularly miraculous experience at this time in his life. Stanislaus found himself in Warsaw during the time of the Swedish invasion of Poland. Upon meeting a Swedish soldier with an unsheathed sword in hand, he knelt and stuck out his neck ready to die for his faith. He was struck three times on the neck without receiving any wounds––though he described experiencing great pain for over an hour after.
During his time at the seminary and after his ordination in 1661, Stanislaus was known for his academic abilities. He taught Rhetoric in three different colleges using his own book, The Messenger of the Queen of the Arts. A notable part of this work is the extensive description of his own special devotion to The Virgin Mary's Immaculate Conception—two whole centuries before the establishment of the dogma in 1854.
After nine years with the Piarists, he left the order in search of a more austere and rigorous lifestyle. He felt called to found the Marian order the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception. After overcoming much difficulty, the Marians were officially established in 1673. He saw in society a prevalence of drunkenness that prompted him to instate a law of abstinence from vodka amongst the Marians to combat this vice and to reflect on Christ's thirst on the Cross. Stanislaus additionally urged prayers for the souls in purgatory as many of his mystical experiences included visions of these souls. St. Stanislaus' life was characterized by apostolic service in spoken word, written word, and deed. He professed again his solemn vows before his death in 1701. We see in his a life a witness to a devotion to the poor in society as well as to scholarship. The two miracles leading to his beatification and sainthood both occurred in his homeland. His feast day is September 17th. We can pray through his patronage especially for the unborn, those with learning disabilities, and the Marian Helpers themselves.
2. St Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero
Born in 1840, St Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero was an Argentinian priest who joined the Dominican Third Order with the desire to spend his life serving those who were affected by poverty and illness. Along with his devoted care for their physical well-being, St. Jose Gabriel was unwavering in bringing the faith and the sacraments to those in need. This is largely evident in his great participation in the care of the sick during the 1867 cholera epidemic. On his travels serving those plagued by the illness, he contracted leprosy which would remain with him until death. It is said that this illness was the result of visiting and embracing a leper from the area. Leprosy would not discourage his love and determination of serving those in need as he proclaimed, “Woe if the devil is going to rob a soul from me.” In addition to his life of active service, St. Jose Gabriel was given the title of Master of Philosophy as the prefect of studies in the seminary and even went on to found a school for girls in 1880. St. Jose Gabriel's life is especially a witness to the richness of charity, humility and the generosity possible even in the most difficult of circumstances. He died in January of 1914 and was declared a saint in October 2016. St Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero's feast day is March 16th and he is honored as a special patron of the clergy.
3. Saint Elizabeth Catez of the Trinity
Saint Elizabeth Catez of the Trinity was born into a military family in 1880 in Cher, France. After the sudden death of her father in 1887, her mother relocated with her two daughters to Dijon. As a young girl, Elizabeth was rambunctious and lost her temper easily. Her temperament altered however, after her first intimate experience with God. When she received her First Holy Communion, Christ's presence moved her profoundly and she began to gain a deep understanding of The Holy Trinity as well as a mature interior spiritual life. Her writings show that her spiritual life was mystical. She emphasizes strongly the Trinity's relationship to us and the importance of silence in the presence of the Heavenly Father. She iterates her thoughts in a letter to a friend saying,“The whole Blessed Trinity dwells in us, the whole of that mystery which will be our vision in heaven.” She worked for a time catechizing young children and teaching them how to approach God in prayer. Her greatest desire was to enter the Carmelite monastery not far from her home in Dijon. Despite her mother's urging her to attend parties and consider a life in marriage, Elizabeth joined the Carmelites in 1901. She lived joyfully at the convent seeing the opportunity for love of God in joyful simplicity of their tasks. She died at the young age of twenty-six having suffered much from Addison's disease. Elizabeth reminds us of the importance of silence in building an interior prayer life and relationship with our Lord. We can learn from the fortitude and joy that characterized her life as well as the need for a steadfast prayer life. Her writings urge us to encounter, participate and live in the presence of the profound love that God has for each soul. After the confirmation of a second healing attributed to her intercession, Elizabeth was canonized by Pope Francis in 2016. St. Elizabeth of the Trinity has been named the patron against illness and the loss of parents. Her feast is celebrated on November 8. Let us look to her as a model of love and great interior freedom in life's simplest times.
4. Saint Salomone Leclercq
Saint Salomone Leclercq was born in Bolougne, France in 1745. He was taught in the local school of business by religious brothers and experienced his first interest in a vocation to the priesthood there. His father was a merchant and had plans for Salomone to assume his business after the completion of his studies. He was sent to Paris for a time for this work, but soon returned to his home in Bolougne to tell his father that he must follow his desire to become a priest. He was admitted to the De La Salle Brothers and made his vows in 1769 after which he was sent to teach in Marveille. He was appointed procurator of the major house at Marveille but was soon moved to teach mathematics in a newly founded school in Melun. During these years, the unrest that lead to the persecutions of the Catholic Church in the French Revolution had already begun and by the time he was in Melun, there were executions and arrests taking place throughout France. He was arrested and imprisoned in an old Carmelite convent for a time for refusing to take the oath of the Civil Constitution of the clergy and the new order of the government. He was martyred by the swords of revolutionaries in the Carmelite gardens. Saint Salomone Leclerq's life testifies to the importance of hope, trust, and perseverance in our faith. Amidst the uncertainty and instability of the times he lived in, he maintained a peace in doing God's will. He did not lose hope in accomplishing the duties he was called to perform joyfully, while the events around him could easily have made these appear purposeless. His feast day is September 2nd and as a martyr for Christ he is honored as a patron of persecuted Christians.
5. Saint José Luis Sanchez del Rio
Saint José Luis Sanchez del Rio born in 1913 in Sahuayo, Mexico. He was just thirteen years old when the Cristero War broke out. The Mexican government wrote anti-Catholic laws into their new constitution and proceeded to enforce them by persecuting the faithful in an effort to eliminate the Church from Mexico. José's brothers joined the forces that fought in rebellion against the government, the Cristeros, though they were greatly outnumbered. José longed to fight for Christ as well saying that it would be an honor to die for Christ and arrive in heaven easily. Because of his age, José's mother would not at first allow him to join the cause. Eventually, José convinced her, and being so young, he became the flag-bearer for his fellow soldiers. During a battle, the rebel's general lost his horse. José immediately gave his horse to him, allowing him to continue to lead the opposing forces. José was captured by the government troops and kept in the sacristy of the local church. There, he prayed the rosary daily ready to accept death for Christ. A relative of his tried to raise money to ransom José from the government but was not successful. José was ordered to renounce Christ or to accept death. Because he refused to deny his faith, he was put through a series of brutal tortures in an effort to make him apostatize. Cutting off the bottom of his feet he was made to walk to the village cemetery, while they tempted him to renounce Jesus Christ, wounding him at times with their swords. José continued to shout in response “Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long live Christ the King!) At the place they chose to execute him, he was stabbed with bayonets and shot out of anger by the commander. He fell to the ground, drew a cross in the dirt and kissed it before he passed. His martyrdom occurred in 1928. He was declared a saint by Pope Francis in October 2016. St. Jose Luis Sanchez displays a purity and zeal as characteristic of his witness to Christ. His feast celebrated on February 10. St. José Luis Sanchez is especially remembered as the patron of children, adolescents, and persecuted Christians.