Saint Edmund Arrowsmith: born in 1585 at Haydock, Edmund was ordained at Douai and began his work in Lancashire Mission, including Salmesbury and Walton-le-Dale; he was amazingly zealous in his work, despite one arrest; eventually arrested in 1628, he was imprisoned and martyred at Lancaster.
Saint Gregory the Great: born in Rome in 540; he became a civil servant, and eventually was Prefect of the City. He entered the Abbey of Saint Andrew, and was ordained deacon in 578. On the death of Pope Pelagius II in 590 Gregory was elected Pope, showing marvellous pastoral care in preaching, writing, caring for the poor and working for the civil welfare of the City of Rome, then deserted and threatened. He is called the Apostle of England because it was he who sent Augustine, the prior of Saint Andrews to minister there, after encountering English slaves in the Forum.
Saint Cuthbert: born about 634, Cuthbert died on Farne (Northumberland) on 20 March 687. By tradition a shepherd boy, he became monk and prior at Melrose. After the Synod of Whitby in 664, he became prior of Lindisfarne, and gradually won over the community to Roman customs. In 676 left the monastery to live in solitude on the island of Inner Farne. For the last two years of his life he served as bishop of Lindisfarne but returned to his island to die. He is remembered as the most popular of the Anglo-Saxon saints of Northern England.
Saint Peter Claver: born in Spain in 1580, Peter studied at the University of Barcelona before becoming a Jesuit; he joined the Jesuit mission in Colombia, where he spent his life in ministering to the slaves arriving from Africa in the most dreadful conditions. He referred to himself as the servant of the slaves, and continued this work until his death in 1654.
Saint Ambrose Barlow: born in 1585 at the still-standing Barlow Hall in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Ambrose became a Benedictine after his studies at Douai and Valladolid, before returning to Manchester to work for the many Catholics of this region. He was particularly famed for his preaching and love of the poor, walking long distances in order to fulfil his ministry. He was imprisoned at least four times, before his final arrest and execution at Lancaster in 1641. His skull is preserved at Wardley Hall, and his jaw-bone at Saint Ambrose, Chorlton-cum-Hardy.
Saint John Chrysostom: John was given the name Chrysostom (Golden Mouth) because of his excellent preaching, and the many exhortations and catecheses he produced; he was born in Antioch in 349 and after a glowing career as priest was made Bishop of Constantinople in 397. Here, because of his preaching and care for justice he faced opposition from the Imperial court (mainly the Empress Eudoxia) and was twice exiled. He died in exile in 407.
Saint Cornelius and Cyprian: both men lived in a time of great turbulence in the Church: they were at the forefront of the debate on reconciling those who had denied the faith under persecution. Together Cornelius and Cyprian struck a middle course and guided the Church onward by their writing and preaching. Cornelius died in exile in 253; Cyprian was martyred in 258.
Saint Robert Bellarmine: born in Montepulciano in 1542, he became a Jesuit and was made cardinal and Bishop of Capua, and advised five Popes and the Roman Congregations in the questions and problems of that age. He died in 1621.
Saint Januarius: he was Bishop of Benevento in Italy, and together with his companions suffered martyrdom under the Emperor Diocletian around 305. He is still greatly venerated in Naples, where a relic of his blood liquefies on his feast.
Saint Theodore of Canterbury: born around 601, he was a monk in Italy who was ordained when Pope Vitalian appointed him archbishop of Canterbury in 666. For the rest of his life reorganised and reformed the life of the Church throughout this country, holding visitations and synods, establishing new dioceses and reconciling divisions between the Celtic and Roman traditions. He died in 690.
Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gôn and companions: Andrew, Paul Chong Hasang and 101 other Korean martyrs were canonised in 1984, representatives of the 10,000 Catholics, of all ages and social status, martyred in Korea before 1882. Andrew, born in 1821, was the first native Korean priest to be martyred.
Saint Matthew: born at Capernaum. He was a tax-gatherer when called by Jesus. He wrote his Gospel in the Hebrew language, and tradition has it that he preached the Faith in the East.
Saint Pius of Pietrelcina: Born on 25 May 1887, at the age of sixteen he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars and was ordained priest in 1910. His ministry displays a remarkable devotion to prayer and the sacraments. He also committed himself to relieving the pain of many families, chiefly through the foundation of the House for the Relief of Suffering. He died in 1968.
Our Lady of Walsingham: The lady of the manor of Walsingham, Richeldis de Faverches, was instructed by a vision of the Virgin Mary to build in her village an exact replica of the house of Nazareth in which the Annunciation had taken place. The vision occurred, according to tradition, in 1061. The original house was destroyed at the Reformation, but during the 19th and early 20th centuries pilgrimage to Walsingham was revived.
Saints Cosmas & Damian: according to ancient tradition, Cosmas and Damian were doctors who were martyred in Syria around 300. There is evidence that their tomb was at Cyrrhus, where a basilica was built in their honour.
Saint Vincent de Paul: born in France in 1581, he became a parish priest in Paris where he founded the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) for the formation of the clergy and the relief of the poor. He also founded the Congregation of Sisters of Charity. He died in 1660. His work also inspired the foundation, in 1833, of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society by Frederick Ozanam.
Saint Wenceslaus: born in Bohemia in 907; Wenceslaus was a Christian in a pagan land. He became king, and began to encourage the faith, bringing back priests, building churches and practising a life of charity and care for the poor. His brother Boleslaus became jealous and had him killed in 935.
Saint Laurence Ruiz: born in Manila in the Philippines in 1600, Laurence became a Dominican, and travelled to Japan; he was arrested, taken to Nagasaki and executed in 1637. He is the first Filipino martyr.
The Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: the feast of the archangels celebrates Gods constant care for his people and intervention in their lives. The names of the angels reveal the aspect of Gods care: Michael means Who is like God?, Gabriel means Strength of God and Raphael God has healed.
Saint Jerome: born in Dalmatia in 340, he studied in Rome and was baptised; he became secretary to Pope Damasus I, when he set about translating the Bible into Latin and promoting the monastic life. He settled in Bethlehem where he trained others in Scriptural studies and died in 420 at the age of 80.