The first Frenchman elected pope, Sylvester was so widely-educated that his contemporaries said he must be in a league with the devil. Born Gerbert c. 945, he began his studies at Aurillac, where he later became abbot. In Spain, he learned music, geometry, arithmetic, and astronomy. His skill at math so impressed John XIII that he recommended Gerbert to Otto I as a tutor for Otto II. In that post, Gerbert continued his own education and studied logic under Gerann of Rheims. Otto made Gerbert abbot of Bobbio, where he was unpopular with the monks. In 987, Gerbert became secretary to Hugh Capet, who appointed him archbishop of Rheims four years later. Gerbert was as unpopular with the clergy in his diocese as he had been with the monks at Bobbio. He was removed from this post in 995, when the Council of Monzon determined that the previous archbishop had been wrongfully deposed and was the rightful archbishop. Otto II choose Gerbert to succeed Gregory V in 999 and gave the pope the eight counties of the Pentapolis (Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Senigallia, Ancona and the adjacent territories). The Romans rebelled against Otto and Sylvester in the same year and drove both from Rome. Sylvester was later allowed to return as spiritual leader only. He died the following year.
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
Famed visionary of Lourdes, baptized Mary Bernard. She was born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844, the daughter of Francis and Louise Soubirous. Bernadette, a severe asthma sufferer, lived in abject poverty. On February 11, 1858, she was granted a vision of the ... 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 little is known about Simon Stock's early life, legend has it that the name Stock, meaning "tree trunk," derives from the fact that, beginning at age twelve, he lived as a hermit ... 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