May 2012 Saints

Some heroes to imitate and intercessors to call on during May.  Chock full of links (all the underlined words) to learn more if you care to.  Add your favorites to your calendar and do something special to remember them and pray with them on their feast days.  It’s not an exhaustive list, but a great place to start.

  • 5/1 St. Jospeh the Worker – (1st century, before the Passion)  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. His name means “whom the Lord adds”.
  • 5/2 St. Athanasius – (c.295-373)  Early Church Father, Bishop of Alexandria, defender of Truth against Arianism, Doctor of the Church.
  • 5/3 Sts. Philip & James – (James d.c.62, Philip d.c.80)  Apostles, Martyrs – 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”?
  • 5/3 St. Philip of Zell – (d.c.770)  Benedictine hermit, Anglo-Saxon pilgrim, friend and advisor to King Pepin the Short.  Patron of babies.
  • 5/4 St. Florian – (d.c.304)  Martyr, Roman army officer.  Patron of firefighters, brewers, and soap-boilers, and against drowning and floods.
  • 5/5 Bl. Edmund Ignatius Rice – (1762-1844)  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 –(c.400-449)  Bishop, had a reputation for learning and eloquence
  • 5/7 St. Duje – (d.304)  Bishop, Martyr.  If you know anyone who has been looking for an excuse to name a child “Duje”, here it is.
  • 5/10 St. John of Avila – (1499-1569) Priest, itinerant preacher, soon-to-be Doctor of the Church, and model of the New Evangelization.  Wanted to be a missionary to the West Indies and Mexico, but instead became a traveling preacher in Andalusia (part of Spain previously ruled by the Moors).  Spiritual advisor to St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Francis Borgia, St. Peter of Alcanatara and St. John of God!!  Click here to check one of the letters he wrote to St. Teresa.
  • 5/10 St. Damien Joseph de Vesteur of Moloka’i – (1840-1889)  “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.”
  • 5/11 St. Gengulphus – (d.760)  Knight.  Had an unfaithful wife whose lover murdered him in bed.  Patron of difficult marriages and victims of unfaithfulness.
  • 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.  Also check out our SaintMakers link Fuel up on Fatima.
  • 5/13 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.
  • 5/14 St. Matthias – (d.80)  Apostle, Martyr.  Replaced Judas Iscariot as one of the twelve Apostles.  Read about him in Acts 1:15-26.  Patron of carpenters and against alcoholism.
  • 5/15 St. Dymphna – (7th century)  Martyr, Patron of those suffering for nervous and mental afflictions
  • 5/15 St. Isidore the Farmer – (c.1070-1130)  Patron of farmers, rural communities, and Madrid, Spain.  Hard worker who had an intense love for the poor and had an extremely devout prayer life.
  • 5/16 St. Brendan the Navigator – (460-c.577)  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 – (c.1165-1265)  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 Feast of the Ascension – 40 days after Easter.  Holy Day of Obligation.  Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:2.
  • 5/17 St. Pascal Baylon – (1540-1592)  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 – (d.526)  53rd Pope, Martyr.
  • 5/19 St. Pope Celestine V – (1210-1296)  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 the 192nd Pope.  He was known for his humility and simplicity.
  • 5/20 St. Bernardine of Sienna – (1380-1444)  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 SiennaSt. Ignatius of Loyola later adopted it as part of the emblem for the Jesuits.
  • 5/20 St. Ethelbert – (552-616)  King of Kent, England.  His example of conversion led to the baptism of 10,000 more.
  • 5/21 St. Eugene de Mazenod – (1782-1861)  Patron of dysfunctional families and founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, an incredible missionary order.
  • 5/22 St. Rita of Cascia – (1386-1457)  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 – (672-735)  Bible scholar, theologian, scientist, and historian (“father” of English history).  The only English Doctor of the Church.
  • 5/26 St. Philip Neri – (1515-1595)  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.”
  • 5/27 Pentecost – “The 50th day”. Catechism of the Catholic Church 731-747.  Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:1-31). 10 days after the Ascension (see 5/17 above).  Same day as the ancient Jewish festival of the feast of weeks, or Pentecost (Ex 34:22, Deut 16:10). After the Ascension, the disciples prayed for 9 days, then the Holy Spirit descended on them.  That’s why a novena is 9 days.
  • 5/29 St. Bona – (c.1156-c.1207)  Mystic, Pilgrim.  Patron of pilgrims and flight attendants.
  • 5/30 St. Joan of Arc – (1412-1431)  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?




  1. St. Simon Stock and St. Joan of Arc are my favorites! But being since I am discerning with Carmel, I am a bit biased. Hahaha!

    • LOVE the Carmelites! St. Simon is why our 4th child is named Simon (born of the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, no mistake).

      • He was such a true man. People only see what was revealed to him and not who he was. I mean, it’s great that people know about the beauty of the brown scapular and the Discalced Carmelite order, but to know a saint as a saint, we must also know them as a man. 🙂

  2. Awesome list! Glad you got Ethelbert on there, and that you clarified that Jesus’ middle initial was not H!

    • Thanks! Thought you might be more worried about Gengulphus (5/11), but good to see you are still learning.

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