Born in Rome, Stephen was a member of the ruling house of Spoleto. Before he was elected pope in 931, he was bishop of Agnani. Shortly after his election, he ordered the corpse of his predecessor, Formosus, disinterred, and he tried the dead pontiff on various charges in what is now called the Cadaver Synod. Formosus, whose part was taken by a deacon, was found guilty, and his corpse was mutilated and thrown into the Tiber. Stephen declared all of Formosus' ordinations invalid and required that any clergyman whom Formosus had ordained write a letter acknowledging that his ordination had been and was invalid. Formosus had ordained Stephen, who argued that he had been ordained against his will. However, he did accept demotion and was reordained. The basilica of the Lateran collapsed not long after this bizarre event, and many credited divine judgement. Fifteen months after his election, Stephen was ousted and imprisoned; he was strangled in prison. Rumors abound that he was insane.
St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France. On January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc was born to pious parents of the French peasant class, at the obscure village of Domremy, near the province ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, she begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent. Instead they arranged a marriage for her. Rita became a good wife and mother, but her husband was a man of violent temper. In anger he often mistreated ... 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
Although we have evidence that Agatha was venerated at least as far back as the sixth century, the only facts we have about her are that she was born in Sicily and died there a martyr. In the ... 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