May Heroes

Every Saint is an incredible model of heroic virtue and powerful intercessor.  Some stories affect our lives more intimately or reveal God’s power more extraordinarily.  Here are some May Saints to be sure to check out.  Add ’em to your calendar and do something special to remember them and pray with them on their feast days.

  • 5/1 Divine Mercy – The first Sunday after Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday (May 1st in 2011). What is the Divine Mercy message and devotion?   Who was St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, the person Jesus revealed this devotion to?
  • 5/1 St. Jospeh the Worker – Carpenter, Foster father, Patron of the Universal Church.  St. Joseph got a feast day in March, but May 1st is dedicated to his patronage of workers.
  • 5/1 Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • 5/2 St. Athanasius – Early Church Father, Bishop of Alexandria, defender of Truth against Arianism.
  • 5/3 Sts. Philip & James – Apostles – Philip gets more mention in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.  Can you find where (hint: multiplication of the loaves; another time in Acts 8)?  Why is this James  called “the Lesser”?
  • 5/5 Bl. Edmund Ignatius Rice – Founder of Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers, married, widowed, and father of one daughter – Edmund left a wealthy business to dedicate his life to serving the poor and uneducated.
  • 5/5 St. Hilary of Arles – Bishop, had a reputation for learning and eloquence
  • 5/7 St. Duje – Bishop, Martyr.  If you know anyone who has been looking for an excuse to name a child “Duje”, here it is.
  • 5/8 Mothers’ Day – Don’t forget!  In the US it is always the second Sunday in May.  Check out some of the articles on this link.
  • 5/10 Bl Damien of Molokia – “The Leper Priest”, Cared for lepers in present day Hawaii – During the beatification homily, Pope John Paul II said: “Holiness is not perfection according to human criteria; it is not reserved for a small number of exceptional persons. It is for everyone; it is the Lord who brings us to holiness, when we are willing to collaborate in the salvation of the world for the glory of God, despite our sin and our sometimes rebellious temperament.”
  • 5/13 Our Lady of Fatima – On May 13, 1917 Mary appeared for the first time to three shepherd children bringing a message of personal conversion, praying the Rosary, praying for the conversion of sinners, and praying for the conversion of Russia.  Two of the visionaries, Bl. Jacinta & Francisco Marto died young and have been beatified.  Sr. Lucia, the third visionary, died only a few years ago, in 2005, and is on the fast track to canonization.  Pope John Paul II attributed his surviving an assassination attempt on May 13 to the intercession of Our Lady.  Explore some of the “External links” at the bottom of the Wikipedia article linked above on Our Lady.
  • 5/14 St. Matthias – Replaced Judas Iscariot as one of the twelve Apostles.  Read about him in Acts 1:15-26.
  • 5/15 St. Dymphna – Martyr, Patron of those suffering for nervous and mental afflictions
  • 5/15 St. Isidore the Farmer – Patron of farmers, rural communities, and Madrid, Spain.  Hard worker who had an intense love for the poor and extremely devout prayer life.
  • 5/16 St. Brendan the Navigator – 6th century Irish monk renown for his semi-legendary  quest to find the Isle of the Blessed.  He and 60 other Irishmen may have been the first Europeans to discover America (even before Leif Erickson, another Catholic who sailed to America around the turn of the last millennium).  Patron of sailors and travelers.
  • 5/16 St. Simon Stock – Lived as a hermit on a hollow trunk of an oak tree and founded many Carmelite Communities.  Mary appeared to him and gave us the tradition of the brown scapular.
  • 5/17 Paschal Baylon – 16th century Spanish Franciscan known for his humility, generosity to the poor, and intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  He is patron of Eucharistic congresses and societies.
  • 5/18 St. Pope John I – 6th Century Pope and Martyr
  • 5/19 St. Pope Celestine V – One of twelve siblings, he became a hermit at 20 and spent his days praying and reading the Bible.  He was 84 when he was made Pope.  He was known for his humility and simplicity.
  • 5/20 St. Bernardine of Sienna – Great Franciscan Preacher.  Pope Pius II called him a second Paul.  Also known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, he popularized a version of the “IHS” symbol we see often in churches.
    • Jesus’ Monogram – Have you ever seen “IHS” on something in the church and wondered what it stood for?  It’s derived from the first three letters of the name of “Jesus” in Greek.  (His middle initial is not H.)  It was greatly popularized in the middle ages by St. Bernardine of Sienna.  St. Ignatius of Loyola later adopted it as part of the emblem for the Jesuits.
  • 5/21 St. Eugene de Mazenod – Patron of dysfunctional families and founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, an incredible missionary order.
  • 5/22 St. Rita of Cascia – Patron of Impossible Causes.  Wanted to be a nun, but was forced to marry a harsh, cruel man.  She was a good wife and mother, and after her husband was killed in a brawl and her two boys died,  she became an Augustinan nun. Rita bore a deep wound on the forehead that many associated with the crown of thorns.
  • 5/25 St. “Venerable” Bede – Bible scholar, theologian, scientist, and historian (“father” of English history).  The only English Doctor of the Church.
  • 5/26 St. Philip Neri – One of my personal favorites! At, they start the biography saying “If one had to choose one saint who showed the humorous side of holiness that would be Philip Neri.”
  • 5/30 St. Joan of Arc – Patroness of soldiers and of France.  Burned at the stake at 19 years old on May 30, 1431.  You’ve heard of her… how much do you really know about her?


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