In the middle of the third century, a plague spread through much of the Roman Empire. The illness was so lethal and so contagious that in just one day five thousand died from it in Rome. The plague was similarly catastrophic in Alexandria, Egypt. Frightened by the disease, many of the pagan residents abandoned those among them stricken with it, casting them into the streets to die alone. The dead were left unburied, filling the city with the stench of death. Amid these horrors, many of Alexandria's persecuted Christians, the clergy and the laity, voluntarily came forward to nurse the dying pagans as well as their own plague victims. These Christians knew the grave danger of contagion to which they were exposing themselves. Many contracted the plague from those they had tended. The bishop of Alexandria who recorded these events, Saint Dionysius, regarded the Christians who died from the plague in this manner as virtual martyrs of Christian charity in having sacrificed their lives to nurse those who had persecuted them. Their identity as martyrs was later promulgated in the Church's book of recognized saints, the Roman Martyrology.
Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November 24, 1713, and took the name of Junipero when in 1730, he entered the Franciscan Order. Ordained in 1737, he taught philosophy and ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
With the lives of so many early martyrs shrouded in legend, we are fortunate to have the record of the courage of Perpetua and Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself, her teacher Saturus, and others who knew them. This account, known as "The Martyrdom of ... 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
Pope from 461-468 and guardian of Church unity. He was born in Sardinia, Italy, and was a papal legate to the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449, barely escaping with his life from this affair. Hilary ... continue reading
By Justin Soutar
During his visit to the United States this coming September, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' Once that happens, the Golden State will have its own patron saint and the Church will have another great missionary role ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes