Saint Francis de Paula, hermit
He was born in the town of Paola, in the Calabria region, in southern Italy, in 1416 AD, to pious parents. Motivated by his intense love for the crucified Christ, since his youth he desired to retire and devote himself to a life of prayer and austerity. He established an association for ascetic life, known as the “Frati minimi”, because he followed the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi, whose monks were called “Frothers Minor”. The Holy See recognized it and established it in 1506. God blessed him with the gift of healing, so King Louis XI of France called him when he was on his death bed, to pray for him. God did not want the king to heal, but he faced death with a spirit of faith and trust, thanks to the presence of Francis at his side. He rested in the Lord in the city of Tours in France on Good Friday in the year 1507. Among his sayings: “I strongly urge you, brothers, to take care of your salvation seriously and wisely. Death is certain and life is short and vanishes like smoke. Therefore fix your thoughts on the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, who kindled with love for us.
Saint John De La Salle, Priest
He was born in the city of Reims (Rheims) in northern France, in 1651 AD. He studied theology in Paris and was ordained a priest. He devoted his life to raising children and juveniles, establishing schools for the poor and facing many difficulties for their success and survival. He gathered around him some companions, and established a monastic order, which is known in our country today as the schools of “Frères” or “Brothers of De La Salle.” He devised a new educational method that suits the popular class to which he addressed in his message, so he adopted the French language instead of the Latin language, and stressed the importance of educating the teachers. He rested in the Lord in the city of “Rouen” in France in 1719, after showing extreme humility and meekness towards the betrayals and abuses he faced. Pope Pius XII declared him, in 1950, the patron saint of teachers. Among his sayings to them: “The children who have been placed under your care should see through your education that you are servants of God, carrying out your mission with love without favoritism and sincere endeavor.”
Saint Stanislaus, the martyr bishop
He is the patron saint of Poland, and was born in it around 1030 AD, from a rich family. He studied theology and canon law in his country and in France. After returning home, he inherited the inheritance of his parents who had died, and he did not hesitate to distribute it to the poor. He was ordained a priest and lived his life in extreme austerity and in a deep study of the Holy Books. He succeeded Bishop Lambertus on the Chair of Krakow in 1071. He was a good shepherd of his church, who cared especially for the poor and his priests, so he visited them constantly to check on their conditions and fix their affairs with kindness and meekness. King Boleslaus II was hostile to him because he was reprimanding him for his oppression of the poor people, but Stanislaus did not disdain the tyrant, but rather deprived him of church communion after many warnings. The king became angry with him and killed him while he was celebrating mass, and that was in the year 1079.
What little we know about the life of Mark the Evangelist has come down to us from the books of the New Testament. He is of Jewish origin, and the son of the “Nabila” Mary, in whose house the early Christians used to gather to pray. St. Paul met in Jerusalem in the year 44 A.D., when the apostle came to it, accompanied by Barnabas, to deliver aid that had been sent by the Church of Antioch. So he joined them and accompanied them on their first missionary journey. After that, he separated from them and became a spiritual son of Peter (1 Peter 5:13). He went around the year 66 to Rome, where he stayed with Paul at his request (2 Timothy 4:11), and there he wrote his Gospel between the years 67-68, at the request of the believers in Rome. The Gospel of Mark is the oldest of the four Gospels, in which the oral and written traditions were collected and organized, using the memoirs of Saint Peter. It is symbolized by the image of the lion, due to its style of writing, which is characterized by brevity, vitality, and strength. Tradition mentions that he was martyred in the city of Alexandria, and that is why he is considered the founder of the Church of Alexandria.
Saint Mark, the Evangelist
Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and teacher of the Church
Saint Catherine is considered one of the most important figures of the fourteenth century in Europe. She was born in the city of Siena in central Italy in 1347 AD. At the age of fifteen, she desired a better spiritual life, so she joined the third Order of St. Dominic. Despite being uneducated, she received heavenly wisdom from God. Many people gathered around her to draw from the depth of her spiritual experience. She traveled throughout Europe carrying the message of the Gospel, and influenced public affairs. In the midst of the wars of that era, it succeeded in establishing peace and harmony between the cities. She worked to renew the monastic life. Thanks to her efforts, Pope Gregorius XI was able to return from his exile in Avignon, France, to his chair in Rome. It has many spiritual compositions. She fell asleep in the Lord in 1380, while she was still thirty-three years old. Pope Paul VI proclaimed her the "teacher of the Church" in 1970. Among her prayers: "O deep love, O eternal Trinity, O God, O deep sea, what could you give me more than yourself?" You are an ever burning fire that does not melt. You dissolve with your heat all selfish love in the soul.