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April Saints

2 April

Saint Francis of Paola: born at Paola in Calabria (Italy) in 1416, he founded a congregation of hermits which later became the “Order of Minims” and was approved by the Holy See in 1506. He died in France in 1507.


4 April

Saint Isidore: Isidore was born in Spain in 560, and brought up somewhat strictly by his brother Leander (himself bishop of Seville). He succeeded his brother as Bishop, and continued his work of establishing the discipline of the Spanish Church - calling the second Council of Seville in 619 and the fourth Council of Toledo in 633. He was renowned as the greatest teacher in Spain and wrote prolifically. He died peacefully in 636, and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1722.


5 April

Saint Vincent Ferrer: Vincent was born in 1350, and entered the Dominican Order aged 15; he lived through a time of turmoil in the Church, when the Pope was residing at Avignon in France. Vincent was assiduous in preaching throughout Spain and France, and died in 1419 while trying to end the Hundred Years War. A particular emphasis in his preaching was the Four Last Things. He was canonised in 1455.


7 April

Saint John Baptiste de la Salle: John Baptiste was born in Rheims in 1651, and ordained in 1678. He dedicated himself to the education of youth, founding the “Congregation of the Brothers of the Christian Schools” (or Christian Brothers) to provide free education especially for the poor. He died on Good Friday in 1719. Pope Pius XII declared him patron saint of teachers in 1950.


11 April

Saint Stanislaus: a story very similar to that of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, and from a similar period. Stanislaus became bishop of Krakow in Poland in 1071, and immediately took a stand against the brutality of King Boleslaus, eventually excommunicating him. Boleslaus replied by killing Stanislaus himself in 1097.


21 April

Saint Anselm: born in Aosta (Italy) in 1033, he was attracted to the abbey of Bec in Northern France eventually becoming Abbot, before following Lanfranc to become Archbishop of Canterbury himself in 1093. After a turbulent period of disagreement between Church and Crown, Anselm died in 1109. He left many fine writings, particularly in philosophy and mystical theology.


23 April

Saint George: George was martyred at Lydda (Israel) around 303, in the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian. His cult, which predates the legend of his slaying the dragon, spread quickly through East and West. During the crusades, George was seen to personify the ideals of Christian chivalry, and he was adopted as patron saint of several city-states and countries. King Richard I of England placed his crusading army under his protection, and in 1222 his feast was proclaimed a national holiday.


24 April

Saint Adalbert: the second bishop of the city of Prague, Adalbert was born in 956; after being ordained bishop in 983, he was professed as a Benedictine, and worked in France. In 996 he went to Poland, and from there he travelled as a missionary, bringing the faith and baptising many people, through Eastern Europe, and was martyred there in 997.


24 April

Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen: born in Germany in 1578, Fidelis abandoned his law career and became a Capuchin; he was chosen to preach in Protestant Switzerland, but was killed there in 1622.


25 April

Saint Mark: a cousin of Saint Barnabas. His close contact with Saint Peter is reflected in the composition of the Gospel that bears his name. Traditionally he is credited with founding the Church of Alexandria in Egypt


28 April

Saint Peter Chanel: the first martyr of Oceania; born in France in 1803, Peter joined the Marists and travelled to the Southern Pacific. After working there with indifferent success for five years, he was clubbed to death. His martyrdom succeeded in converting all the islanders to the Catholic faith.


28 April

Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort: born in 1673, he became a priest after great hardships, and later founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Wisdom and the Missionary Priests of Mary. He also wrote “The True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin”. He died in 1716


29 April

Saint Catherine of Siena: born at Siena (Italy) in the year 1347. She entered the Third Order of Saint Dominic while still an adolescent. She was on fire with love of God and her neighbour; she brought peace and harmony between her fellow citizens, strenuously fought for the rights and liberty of the papacy, and did much for the renewal of religious life. She died in the year 1380.


30 April

Saint Pius V: A Dominican, who became Pope in 1566, and began a wide-reaching reform of the Church, begun by the Council of Trent; among his works was the first systematic renewal of the liturgy, the creation of seminaries for the training of priests and the creation of a catechism of the Catholic faith. He died in 1572.