Born July 26, 1897, in Wattens in the Austrian Tyrol, Jakob was the seventh son of Martin Gapp and Antonia Wach. He attended elementary school in his native village and pursued his high school studies in Hall. On May 24, 1915, Italy declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This same year, Jakob enlisted in the Austrian army. He was sent to the Italian front, where he was wounded and decorated for his courage. At the end of the war he was taken prisoner. He underwent a great deal of suffering during his captivity. During the war Jakob came under the spell of an idealistic socialism, which led to a crisis of faith. On August 13, 1920, Jakob entered the Marianist novitiate at Greisinghof (Austria). He professed First Vows in the Society of Mary in 1921. He was ordained a priest in Fribourg, Switzerland, in 1930. In the following years he worked as a religion teacher and spiritual director and performed his priestly duties in various Marianist institutions in Austria. He had a special concern for the poor and the unemployed. Already in March 1937 Jakob Gapp had made his own the teaching Pope Pius XI had expounded in the encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge," that the National Socialist ideology was incompatible with Christianity. "I was convinced that it was my task to inform Catholics of these errors," Jakob wrote. Beginning in 1938, he was under the surveillance of the Gestapo for teaching his students that Jewish people should be loved. In 1939, at the wish of his superiors, he fled to France and then to Spain. in these countries he also preached the truth about how the Church was being persecuted by the Nazis. On November 9, 1942, at the Spanish-French border in Hendaye, he was betrayed by two catechumen who were in actuality German agents. He was kidnapped by the Gestapo, arrested, and brought to Berlin. During the interrogation, Jakob remained unshaken in his defense of the Church and of the faith. He was subsequently condemned to death, and on August 13, 1943, he was beheaded in the Plotzensee prison in Berlin. His remains were never released for burial, because the Nazis feared Jakob Gapp might be honored as a martyr. Jakob Gapp, Marianist priest and martyr, was beatified November 24, 1996, by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City. That day was the Feast of Christ the King.
Colette was the daughter of a carpenter named DeBoilet at Corby Abbey in Picardy, France. She was born on January 13, christened Nicolette, and called Colette. Orphaned at seventeen, she distributed ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin (Feast day November 13) St. Frances was born in Lombardi, Italy in 1850, one of thirteen children. At eighteen, she desired to become a Nun, but poor health stood in her way. She helped her parents until their death, and then worked ... continue readingMore Female Saints
St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading
The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading
St. Julie (Julia) Billiart was born in 1751 and died in 1816. As a child, playing "school" was Julie's favorite game. When she was sixteen, to help support her family, she began to teach ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes