Father Michael, pastor of one of the poorer suburbs of Madrid, was aware of the problem of the poor and abandoned sick who often could not afford hospitalization. So he began an order which would provide nurses to go to the homes of the sick whether or not they could pay. Because of his special devotion to Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, he wanted to begin with seven "servants" of Mary. The seventh applicant was little Vibiana Torres. Vibiana was born December 2, 1826, the second of five children of a dairyman. She loved to gather children of the neighborhood and have childish processions in honor of Our Lady. Later she began to visit the sick of the neighborhood and perform small penances for the souls of others. In spite of her kindness and outgoing nature, Vibiana secretly longed for the contemplative life. She applied for admittance to the Dominicans as a lay sister, but she would have to wait for a vacancy. As she realized that chances for an opening with the Dominicans were slim, she requested an interview with Father Michael. On August 15, 1851, the twenty-four year old Vibiana and six others took the three religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, received the habit of the new congregation, and changed their names. Vibiana became Sister Maria Soledad. Many problems beset the young Congregation. The first superior left the Congregation and tried to undo all its works. The sisters were very poor and hardly had enough to eat. In 1856, Father Michael appointed Sister Soledad superior general of the community. Through many hardships, she persevered in charity, humility, and in her wise guidance. She spent many hours praying for more sisters. Mother Soledad had the joy of living to see her congregation given full papal approval in 1876. Mother Soledad contracted pneumonia in 1887. She died quietly at the motherhouse after receiving the Last Sacraments at the age of sixty. She was originally buried in the sisters' plot at the cemetery, but on January 18, 1893, her remains were exhumed and transferred to the motherhouse. Her body was intact and it exuded a bloody liquid, and a sweet odor was noticed by all present. A few years later, only the bones remained. Mother Soledad was beatified in 1950 by Pope Pius XII, and canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Her feastday is October 11.
Saints Joaquin (sometimes spelled "Joachim," pronounced "wal-keem") and Anne, are the parents of the Virgin Mary. There are no mentions of them in the Bible or Gospels, what we know comes from ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
St. Catherine of Siena was born during the outbreak of the plague in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. Catherine herself was a twin, but her sister did not ... continue readingMore Female Saints
Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading
St. Stephen the Great (977-1038), was the son of the Magyar chieftain Geza, Stephen succeeded him as leader in 997. Already raised a Christian, in 996 he wed the daughter of Duke Henry II of Bavaria and devoted much of his reign to the promotion of the Christian faith. ... continue reading
Christians who breathed a sigh of relief when Constantine proclaimed Christianity the state religion, believing this would end the bloodshed and martyrdom. But it was all too short a time until they were facing persecution once more -- from others who claimed to be ... 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 very ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes