Saint Alphonsus Liguori: after a career as a lawyer, he became a priest and founded the Redemptorists. He wrote on Moral Theology and was vigorous in combating Jansenism. He died in 1787.
Saint Eusebius of Vercelli: fourth century bishop, who preached and worked against Arianism; he was exiled for his opposition and suffered greatly. he returned to Vercelli before his death in 371.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard: born in France in 1811, ordained in 1834; after 20 years in the Society of Mary he was dispensed from vows to found the “Priests of the Blessed Sacrament”, dedicated to fostering devotion to the Blessed Eucharist. St John Vianney assisted him in his labours. Peter died in 1868.
Saint John Mary Vianney: born in Lyons in 1786; after years of struggle he was ordained and was sent to Ars, where by preaching and example of holiness he drew people back to the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance. He died in 1859.
Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major: the doctrine of Mary, Mother of God was proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus (431); afterwards Pope Sixtus III erected a Basilica on the Esquiline Hill in Rome to honour her, later to be known as St Mary Major.
Saint Sixtus II and companions: Sixtus became Pope in 257; celebrating Mass in the catacombs, he and his deacons were arrested and executed there and then.
Saint Cajetan: Cajetan, a brilliant lawyer, founded the Congregation of Clerks Regular or “Theatines", to work with the poor and needy. The order spread and its work also embraced the earliest 'credit unions' to assist the poor. Cajetan died in 1547.
Saint Dominic: born in 1170 in Spain, Dominic became a priest and after strenuous preaching against the Albigensians he founded the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) to continue his work. He died in 1221.
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: born in 1891, Edith Stein was killed with her sister Rosa in the gas chamber of Auschwitz in 1942. A convert from Judaism, she became a Discalced Carmelite, and embraced in her life the cross of Christ. Canonised by Pope John Paul II in 1998, she was declared a Patron of Europe.
Saint Lawrence: a deacon in Rome in the time of Pope Sixtus II. He was responsible for the charitable work of the Roman church. When arrested, he was asked for the treasure of the Church: his answer was to point to the poor and hungry, lepers and widows he served. Tradition tells that he was killed by being roasted on a grid.
Saint Clare: born in Assisi in 1193, she followed Saint Francis in his life of poverty and was the founder of an order of nuns (Poor Clares). She led a very austere life, abounding in works of piety and charity. She died in 1253.
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal: she was born in Dijon in 1572, and was married with six children. After the death of her husband she entered religious life and founded the Visitation Order. She died in 1641.
Saints Pontian and Hippolytus: Pontian, the Pope, and Hippolytus, a priest, had disagreed on matters of Church Law, but were eventually reconciled to each other when they were both exiled to the mines of Sardinia in 235; they died there, and their bodies were returned to Rome, where their cult began in the forth century.
Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe: born in Poland in 1894, he became a Franciscan in 1910. He was arrested by the invading German forces in 1939 and sentenced to heavy labour in the extermination camp at Auschwitz; when a married man was chosen to be executed, Maximilian volunteered to take his place: he was killed by lethal injection on 14 August 1941. He was canonised in 1982 in the presence of the man whose life he saved.
Saint Stephen of Hungary: crowned as King in the year 1000, Stephen was just, peaceful and religious, and dedicated to spreading Christianity in his realm. He established dioceses and strengthened the life of the Church; he died in 1038.
Saint John Eudes: born in 1601, John became a priest and a Missioner, travelling to many parishes in his native France. He propagated devotion to the Sacred Heart, and founded a congregation to promote the formation of priests; he also founded the Congregation of Our Lady of the Refuge, to rescue women and girls trying to escape from a life of prostitution. He died in 1680.
Saint Bernard: born near Citeaux in 1090, Bernard joined the monastery there in 1111; his presence revitalised the Cistercian house, and he became abbot of nearby Clairvaux; much in demand for his advice, he worked to overcome divisions in the Church.
Saint Pius X: born in Riese (Italy) into a poor family in 1835, he was ordained and worked as parish priest for 17 years before being made spiritual director at the seminary, then bishop of Mantua, patriarch of Venice, and finally Pope in 1903. He sought to renew Christian life, by emphasising charity and the Eucharist; he worked to avoid war in 1914, but died shortly after its outbreak.
Saint Rose of Lima: born in Peru in 1586, she entered the third order of Saint Dominic and became known as a great mystic, all the time living at home. She died, aged 31, in 1617.
Saint Bartholomew: born at Cana in Galilee; he was led to Jesus by the apostle Philip, and after the Lord’s Ascension tradition has it that he preached the Gospel in India and there suffered martyrdom.
Saint Louis: born in 1214, he became King Louis IX of France in 1236; he undertook Crusades to the Holy Land, and was famed for humility and love of the Church. He died in Carthage in 1270.
Saint Joseph Calasanz: born in Spain in 1557, he went to Rome as a priest devoting great energy to the education of the children of the poor. He faced opposition to this work, but was finally vindicated by the Pope.
Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God: Dominic Barberi was born in Viterbo in 1792; he became a Passionist and travelled to England in 1841; here he laboured tirelessly, establishing four Passionist houses and bringing many people into the Church by his preaching and writing; he received John Henry (later Cardinal) Newman into the Church. He died at Reading in 1849.
Saint Monica: born in North Africa in 233, she married a pagan called Patricius, with whom she had three children, one of whom was Augustine. Eventually, thanks to her patience and prayer, Patricius was baptised. Monica also prayed for her son Augustine, living an unregulated and wild life; he was baptised in Milan in 387, but as he returned with Monica to Ostia to embark for Africa she fell ill and died.
Saint Augustine: born in 354, and thanks to the example and prayers of his mother Monica he became a Christian and was chosen as bishop of Hippo, in North Africa. Here his pastoral care, teaching and writings were exemplary. He died in 430, leaving many works, the most famous of which are his “Confessions”.
Saints Margaret Clitherow, Anne Line and Margaret Ward:
Saint Aidan and All Saints of Lindisfarne: born in Ireland, Aidan died at Bamburgh (Northumberland) in 651. A monk of Iona, he was sent to Northumbria when King Oswald asked for help in converting his kingdom, and established his monastery on the island of Lindisfarne. With him are remembered all those holy abbots and bishops, teachers and missionaries who made Lindisfarne a cradle of English Christianity.