Born in Picardy, St. Anskar was the apostle to the Scandinavians. He was educated at Corbie, a Benedictine monastery, and taught at Corvey, a daughter house in Westphalia. Louis I the Pious had at that time allied himself with Harald of Denmark in a dynastic dispute on the condition that Harald and his country become Christian. When Louis sought a missionary, Archbishop Ebbo of Rheims and Abbot Wala of Corvey recommended Anskar. His mission began c. 826 in Schleswig and ended the following year with Harald's defeat. Bjorn of Sweden later permitted Anskar to preach in Sweden, where he established the first church in Scandinavia at Björnskö. Louis named Anskar first bishop of Hamburg in 831, and the following year, Gregory IV appointed him papal legate to the Scandinavians. The Swedish mission collapsed in 845, after Vikings destroyed Hamburg. Appointed Archbishop of Bremen in 851, Anskar renewed his missionary work and converted Haarik II of Sweden. Anskar did as much as he could to alleviate the harsh conditions of the Viking slave trade. He also founded hospitals. Nicholas I canonized Anskar shortly after his death.
It would be easy to concentrate on the mystical experiences God gave this saint, rather than on her life. In fact, it would be difficult to do differently, so overwhelming were those gifts from God. ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
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 legend of her life, we are told that she belonged to a rich, important ... 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
When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. Germanus had founded at Auxerre, there came to him a young man called Marcian (also known as Marian), a fugitive from Bourges then occupied by ... 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