St. Joseph on the Brandywine

Adult Faith Formation: Summer of Saints

Our parish does not offer formal adult faith formation programs from May through August. Once again, however, we will
publish columns about well-known and not-so-well-known saints to pique your curiosity and direct your private reading.
This summer we are focusing on saints associated with four religious orders: the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Salesians.

MAY: The Society of Jesus (Jesuits)

The Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers, was founded by the soldier-turned-mystic Ignatius Loyola half a millennium ago.
The JESUITS seek to "find God in all things." They dedicate themselves to the "greater glory of God" and the good of all humanity. The Jesuits work in
collaboration with others who share their values, including laypersons. Together they are the extended Jesuit family. In their varied ministries,
caring for the whole person-body, mind, and soul-is essential to their calling. Ignatian spirituality is central in their lives, enabling them
to discern God's presence as part of man's journey and be companions of Jesus. St. Ignatius of Loyola

Ignatius Loyola was born in the Basque area in Spain. He was the youngest of 13 children. His mother died soon after his birth,
and he was brought up by the local blacksmith's wife. As a young man, he had a great love for military exercises as well as a
desire for fame. Ignatius framed his life around the stories of El Cid and The Song of Roland. At the age of 18, he joined the
military and engaged in many battles. However, at the Battle of Pamplona in 1521, Ignatius was severely injured and
his military career ended.

During his recovery, he underwent a spiritual conversion that led to him experiencing a call to religious life. After reading the
De Vita Christe, Ignatius was inspired to devote himself to God and to follow the example of St. Francis of Assisi.

In 1539, Ignatius formed the Society of Jesus and created its motto, "For the Greater Glory of God." He died in Rome in 1556 as a result of the
Roman fever. Pope Gregory XV canonized Ignatius, and today we celebrate his feast day on July 31, the day of his death. The powerful and respected
legacy of Ignatius continues to have a global impact, influencing numerous Jesuit schools and educational institutions worldwide.
Back to the list of Saints

St. Nicholas Owen

Engraving by Melchior Kusell of St. Nicholas Owen being tortured in the Tower of London
Nicholas Owen was born in Oxford, England, in 1562. In 1970, Pope Paul VI canonized him and recognized him as one of the
Forty Martyrs of England and Wales who died for their Catholic faith during the reigns of James and Elizabeth.

Nicholas was a Jesuit lay brother, very small of stature and crippled in one leg due to an accident in which a horse fell on him.
To hide Catholic priests-who could have been executed if caught-he built "priest-holes" in homes throughout England.
For eighteen years, in the dead of night and often alone, Nicholas broke through thick stonework and, with ingenious craftsmanship,
created hiding places in cramped spaces where priests could hide. He was finally captured in 1606 but refused to divulge the
whereabouts of his work, and for this he was brutally and continually tortured for several months.

We can learn much from this wonderful man, the priest-hole maker. He shows us that sanctity has nothing to do with social status
or educational attainments. In his simplicity he was ingenious; in his faith he was courageous and steadfast. His innocence and
prudence and his skill in devising hiding places saved the lives of many missionary brothers. A cleric from that time wrote,
"No man can be said to have done more good of all those who laboured in the English vineyard. Nicholas was the immediate
occasion of saving the lives of hundreds of persons both ecclesiastical and secular."
Back to the list of Saints

St. Alberto Hurtado

Alberto Hurtado, born in Chile in 1901, was a Jesuit priest, lawyer, social worker, and writer. Of Basque origins, he was canonized
by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. In his youth, he lived with relatives and was often moved from one family to another. Thus, from
an early age, he experienced what it meant to be poor and without a home and being at the mercy of others.

In October 1944, while giving a retreat, Alberto appealed to his audience to consider the many poor people of the city, especially
the numerous homeless children who were roaming the streets of Santiago. This was the beginning of the "initiative," a form of
charitable activity that provided not simply housing, but a home-like milieu for the homeless.

He once wrote, "I hold that every poor man, every vagrant, every beggar is Christ carrying his cross. And as Christ, we must love and help him.
We must treat him as a brother, a human being like ourselves. If we were to start a campaign of love for the poor and homeless, we would,
in a short time, do away with depressing scenes of begging, children sleeping in doorways and women with babies in their arms fainting in our streets. . . .
Christ stumbles through our streets in the person of so many poor who are hungry, thrown out of their miserable lodgings because of sickness and
destitution. Christ has no home! And we who have the good fortune to have one and have food to satisfy our hunger, what are we doing about it?"

Alberto's optimistic and joyful attitudes attracted people of all kinds-young, old, intellectuals, and workers alike. After his death in 1952
from pancreatic cancer, he was hailed as a national hero.
Back to the list of Saints

JUNE: The Order of Preachers (Dominicans)

The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, is a mendicant Catholic religious order founded by the Spanish priest Dominic in 1216. As an adolescent, Dominic had a love of theology and the Scriptures, and both of these studies became the foundation of his spirituality. Fundamentally, Dominic was a man of prayer who utilized the resources of the learning available to him to preach, teach, and assist those searching for the truth found in the Gospels.

The spiritual traditions of Dominic's Order stressed charity, study, and preaching. Dominic inspired the members of his Order to develop a "mixed spirituality." They were both active in preaching and contemplative in study, prayer, and meditation. Rather than earning their living on vast farms, the friars would survive by begging and "selling" themselves through persuasive preaching.

The mission of the Dominicans is to share with others the truth about God whom they contemplate in their hearts. Today the Dominicans serve the people of God throughout the world preaching the Gospel message of God's love for all mankind. St. Louis Bertrand

Born in Valencia, Spain, in 1526, Louis Bertrand decided at an early age that he wanted to be a preacher. After a childhood of exceptional piety, he was received into the Dominican Order when he was only twenty-one years old. Three years later, Louis was appointed master of novices.

When the area surrounding his monastery became infected with the plague, Louis nursed the sick and interred the dead with his own hands. His superiors, not wanting to lose such a valuable member of their Order, sent him to South America in 1862. He worked there for seven years among the Indians in the northwestern part of the continent, the tribe of the Caribs in the Caribbean Islands, and the natives on the Isthmus of Panama. After baptizing and catechizing more than 60,000 people, Louis was called back to Spain.

For the remaining eleven years of his life, he preached and once again became the master of novices at his monastery. He used his own growing reputation for sanctity, as well as family and other contacts, to lobby on behalf of the native peoples he had encountered in the Americas. He also became a spiritual counselor to many, including St. Teresa of Ávila. After a long illness, Louis died in Valencia in 1581.

Canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671, Louis is known as the "Apostle of South America."
Back to the list of Saints

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Dominican Tertiary

Born in Turin, Italy, in 1901, Pier Giorgio Frassati made a great impact during his short life. He developed a deep spiritual life that he never hesitated to share with his friends. What little money Pier received from his frugal father he gave to the poor. As a child, he gave his own shoes to a shoeless child. As a young man given the choice of receiving a gift of money or a car, he chose money-which he promptly distributed among the poor.

He once wrote, "Jesus comes to me every morning in Holy Communion; I repay him in my very small way by visiting the poor." Not only did he care for the poor, but once a week Pier also visited a nearby hospital. He would approach the physically and mentally handicapped patients, kiss them warmly, and talk with them as if they were really his brothers.

In late 1925 Pier was afflicted by an acute attack of polio, which doctors speculated he caught from the poor and sick he tended. In just six days he was dead. Thousands came to his funeral; most were the poor and needy he had served so unselfishly.

Pope Saint John Paul II dubbed Pier "The Man of the 8 Beatitudes" when he beatified him in 1990. Last year, Pope Francis said, "Pier Giorgio was a young man who understood what it means to have a young heart that responds to those in need. He gave them far more than material goods. He gave HIMSELF by giving his time, his words, his capacity to listen."
Back to the list of Saints

St. Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero

Father Jose was a Dominican of the 3rd Order who was born in Argentina in 1840. After teaching in the local seminary for a few years, he was assigned to St. Albert's, a parish of about 1,675 square miles with 10,000 far-flung parishioners in the rural Great Highlands. Known as "the gaucho (cowboy) priest," he road a mule throughout the countryside, carrying an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mass kit, and a prayer book so he was always prepared to offer the sacraments.

Known for his particular devotion to the poor and sick, Father Jose also founded a school for girls, built telegraph stations, and helped construct 125 miles of roads and a railroad system. He helped care for those who contracted cholera during the epidemic of 1867 and personally tended to an abandoned leper whom he always embraced to help him feel the peace and love of God. Ultimately, Father Jose contracted leprosy himself, and he was blind and deaf when he died in 1914.

When Pope Francis canonized Father Jose in 2016, he said, "I praise this cowboy for his open heart to all. He was a normal man, fragile, like all of us, but his greatness came from the fact that he knew the love of Jesus; he let his heart be touched by the mercy of God which he extended to ALL people . . . When he showed up in a village on his mule, it was like a visit from Jesus to each family."
Back to the list of Saints

JULY: The Franciscans

The Franciscans are members of a Catholic religious order founded in the early 12th century by St. Francis of Assisi. He and his friars wandered and preached among the people, helping the poor and the sick. They supported themselves by working and by begging for food. The Franciscans worked at first in Umbria and then in the rest of Italy and abroad. They had a tremendous impact on all who came in contact with them. At the time of his death in 1226, Francis was beloved and remembered for his humility and love for all creation.

Franciscans strive to cultivate the ideals of their founder: the call to a life of preaching, penance, and poverty. The Franciscans consist of three orders. The First Order is divided into three independent groups: Friars Minor, Friars Conventual, and the Capuchins. The Second Order consists of cloistered nuns who belong to the Order of Saint Clare and are known as "Poor Clares." The Third Order consists of religious and laymen and laywomen who try to emulate Saint Francis's spirit by teaching and performing works of charity and social service.

The Franciscans are the largest religious order in the Roman Catholic Church. They have contributed six popes to the Church. Sister Marianne Cope

Born in 1838 in Germany, Maria Anna Barbara Koob moved with her family to Utica, New York, in 1839. They subsequently Anglicized the family name as "Cope." When her father fell ill, Maria Anna left school and worked in a factory until her younger siblings could support themselves. In 1862, she joined the Sisters of Saint Francis and took the name "Marianne." She served as a teacher, a superior of a convent, and a member of the Council that governed her community. Sr. Marianne also helped found the first two Catholic hospitals in Central New York, with charters stipulating that medical care was to be provided to all, regardless of race or creed-a rarity for the time.

In November 1883, Sr. Marianne and six other Franciscan sisters went to Honolulu, Hawaii, to work among the lepers. Over thirty-five years, she completely revamped the care of leper-patients, founded a home for the daughters of patients who lived in the leper colony, and founded a home and school for girls on Molokai. In 1895, she took over the boys' home founded by St. Damien the Leper.

In a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage, and enthusiasm. She is a sterling example of the best of the tradition of nursing sisters and of the spirit of St. Francis. She met the Lord in those she fed and clothed and nursed. She set her patients free from a prison of self-pity, no matter how justified it might have been.

Known as "the nun who loved the lepers," Sr. Marianne died in Hawaii of natural causes in 1918. Pope Benedict XVI canonized her in 2012.
Back to the list of Saints

St. Albert Chmielowski

Born in 1845 into a wealthy aristocratic Polish family, St. Albert Chmielowski was christened Adam. He lost a leg at the age of 17 fighting in the 1864 revolt against Czar Alexander III. During his twenties and thirties, he became a popular, well-known, and well-loved artist. His interest in art made him keenly aware of the human misery around him. A gentle and compassionate man, he felt called to help those in need. After years of reflection, he became a Franciscan Tertiary and took the name Albert. He abandoned painting and began a life of working with and for the poorest people in Krakow.

In 1887, Albert founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants of the Poor (known as the Gray Brothers after their rough gray habits). In 1891, he founded the women's congregation of the Order (the Gray Sisters). The brothers and sisters organized food and shelter for the poor and homeless. Albert preached that the calamity of our time was that so many people refused to see and relieve the sufferings of their fellow countrymen and women. He believed the "haves" lived away from the "have-nots" in order to ignore them and leave their care to others. Albert died of stomach cancer on Christmas Day in 1916.

The 1997 film Brother of Our God recounts Albert's life story. Pope Saint John Paul II was deeply touched by Albert and wrote a play about his way of life and his commitment to the unfortunate. He canonized Albert in 1989.
Back to the list of Saints

St. Hyacintha Mariscotti

St. Hyacintha was born in 1585 to a noble Italian family and christened Clarice. Taking the name Hyacintha when she became a tertiary of the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans), she is exceptional among the saints for her "zigzag" path to sainthood. In the convent she was a petulant young woman who used every possible opportunity to scandalize her fellow sisters. Her robes were made of the finest fabrics; she had her own kitchen; she ignored the convent rules about receiving guests; and she left the convent whenever she pleased.

But then she got quite sick. The local priest who went to hear her confession was so shocked at the furniture and decor of her rooms he told her she had become a disciple of the devil. Hyacintha repented of her spiritual lethargy and began reforming her life. She became a model of heroic patience, penance, prayer, and untiring goodness in serving all.

Her good intentions didn't last. She soon fell back into her worldly ways.

A second serious illness prompted her to renew herself again, and she publicly confessed her faults. From that time to the end of her life in 1640, Hyacintha was renowned for her heroic works of charity, especially caring for the sick, the aged, and the disadvantaged.

This "zigzag saint" became a beautiful witness that God can work even in the most mediocre of hearts. Pope Pius VII canonized Hyacintha in 1807.
Back to the list of Saints

AUGUST: The Salesians

The Salesians are a religious congregation of Brothers and Priests founded in 1859 by Saint Don Bosco. Don Bosco's mission was clear and simple: to be a friend to young people who were poor, abandoned, or at risk, and in doing so to be a friend to Christ. Salesians seek to form the whole person, stressing the need for the integration of the physical, moral, and spiritual dimension of each individual. Wherever they work, their mission is the same, but its expression changes to suit the particular context. So Salesians serve in schools of all kinds, at youth clubs, and in homes for homeless or abandoned children. They work with street children; missionaries; chaplains in schools, colleges, and universities; and in parishes. Currently, the Salesian Congregation comprises almost 16,000 Priests and Brothers, and they work in 131 countries around the world.

Over the last 158 years, the Church has recognized 166 members of this Congregation as Servants of God, Venerables, Blesseds, and Saints. Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá

Source: salesians/blessed-ceferino-namuncura.html
Ceferino Namuncurá was born in Argentina in 1886 and baptized when he was eight years old by a Salesian missionary priest. His father was the last leader of the Mapuche Aborigines, Chief Manuel Namuncurá. Ceferino studied with the Salesians at the College of Pope Pius IX, a technical academy, where he was noted for his piety, charity, and self-sacrifice. Despite his frail health, he yearned to become a Salesian priest so he would be able to evangelize his people. In 1904, Ceferino traveled to Rome to study for the priesthood, but he succumbed to pulmonary tuberculosis in 1905.

Soon after his death, devotion to Ceferino quickly spread throughout his homeland. In particular, the humbler classes of Argentina recognize this saintly Mapuche Aborigine as one of their own. Because he also belonged to the Salesians of Don Bosco, the Order has faithfully promoted him as a model of youthful holiness and selflessness.

In 1972, Ceferino became the first Catholic Argentine and the first South American Aborigine to be proclaimed Venerable. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI beatified Ceferino. Although most beatification ceremonies take place in Saint Peter's Square in Rome, Ceferino's ceremony took place in his hometown of Chimpay, Argentina, with the active participation of Mapuche tribal delegations.
Back to the list of Saints

Blessed Artemides Zatti

Altar of Artemides Zatti in the Basilica of María Auxiliadora y San Carlos, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Photo by Gabriel Sozzi
Born in Boretto, Italy, in 1880, Artemides Zatti was a professed religious of the Salesians of Don Bosco and a pharmacist well known for his ardent faith and commitment to the sick. Zatti and his family moved to Argentina in 1897 to seek a better life. Encouraged by a local priest, Zatti began studies to become a secular member of the Salesians in 1900. He was forced to postpone those studies when he contracted tuberculosis while caring for a priest afflicted with that disease. His superiors sent him to the mission hospital in Viedma, which turned out to be the pivotal moment in his life. There Zatti met Father Evarisio Garrone, a physician and the hospital administrator, who prayed with him to Mary Help of Christians for the grace of recovery. In return, Zatti promised to dedicate his life to looking after the sick.

When he was cured, Zatti resumed his training as a Salesian religious brother, professing his vows in 1908. When Fr. Garrone died in 1911, Zatti took charge of both the mission hospital and its pharmacy. He was a trained pharmacist, nurse, operating-room assistant, as well as juggler of finances and head of personnel. Despite the demands of the sick and the needs of the hospital, Zatti was known for his "Salesian joy," a sign of his holiness to those around him. One doctor said, "I believe in God because I know Mister Zatti."

He died of liver cancer in 1951. The Bishop of Buenos Aires-the future Pope Francis-inaugurated the process of investigating a miracle worked by Zatti, which was validated in 2001. Pope Saint John Paul II beatified Artemides Zatti in 2002.
Back to the list of Saints

Saint Maria Mazzarello

Maria Mazzarello was born in northern Italy in 1837, the eldest of 10 children. When she was 15, Maria joined the Association of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate run by her parish priest. The Daughters were known for their charitable works, and Maria soon set herself apart for her sound judgment, dedication, joy, and love for the young.

The education of girls was a particular need in the 19th century, and Maria devoted herself to this work as well as to a project aimed at the many farm girls, shop girls, and other poverty-stricken young woman vulnerable to the perils of juvenile prostitution. She persuaded 15 of her friends to join her in this ministry. The Daughters took in a few young girls and housed them, schooling them in the Catholic Faith, and handing down their knowledge of dressmaking.

In 1867, Don Bosco, the founder of the Salesian Order, investigated the possibility of forming a female counterpart from the Daughters of Mary Immaculate. After meeting with them and receiving the Daughters' enthusiastic response to his proposal, Don Bosco founded the order in 1872 and drew up their first rule of life. Maria became the Order's first superior.

As the feminine branch of the Salesian religious family, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians were well loved for their work with young women-nurturing, teaching, and encouraging them along the way of Christian and personal growth.

Sister Maria died in 1881. Pope Pius XII formally canonized her in 1951.
Back to the list of Saints

Copyright © by St. Joseph on the Brandywine. All rights reserved.