St. John Fisher

Made a bishop at 35, one of his interests was raising the standard of preaching in England. Fisher himself was an accomplished preacher and writer. His sermons on the penitential psalms were reprinted seven times before his death. With the coming of Lutheranism, he was drawn into controversy. His eight books against heresy gave him […]

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First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in 57-58 A.D. There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably […]

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Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul

We would probably go to confession to Peter sooner than to any of the other apostles. He is perhaps a more striking example of the simple fact of holiness. Jesus says to us as he said, in effect, to Peter: “It is not you who have chosen me, but I who have chosen you. Peter, […]

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St. Irenaeus

The Church is fortunate that Irenaeus was involved in many of its controversies in the second century. He was a student, well trained no doubt, with great patience in investigating, tremendously protective of apostolic teaching, but prompted more by a desire to win over his opponents than to prove them in error. As bishop of […]

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St. Cyril of Alexandria

Cyril’s importance for theology and Church history lies in his championing the cause of orthodoxy against the heresy of Nestorius, who taught that in Christ there were two persons, one human and one divine. The controversy centered around the two natures in Christ. Nestorius would not agree to the title “God-bearer” for Mary. He preferred […]

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Bl. Raymond Lull

Raymond was born at Palma on the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Sea. He earned a position in the king’s court there. One day a sermon inspired him to dedicate his life to working for the conversion of the Muslims in North Africa. He became a Secular Franciscan and founded a college where missionaries […]

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St. Thomas More

Beheaded on Tower Hill, London, on July 6, 1535, More steadfastly refused to approve King Henry VIII’s divorce and remarriage and establishment of the Church of England. Described as “a man for all seasons,” More was a literary scholar, eminent lawyer, gentleman, father of four children, and chancellor of England. An intensely spiritual man, he […]

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St. Peter Chanel

Anyone who has worked in loneliness, with great adaptation required and with little apparent success, will find a kindred spirit in Peter Chanel. Born in France, Peter’s interest in the missions began in school, when he read letters missionaries to America sent back home. As a young priest, Peter revived a parish in a “bad” […]

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St. Louis Mary Grignion de Monfort

Louis’s life is inseparable from his efforts to promote genuine devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus and mother of the Church. Totus tuus (“completely yours”) was Louis’s personal motto; Pope John Paul II chose it as his episcopal motto. Born in the Breton village of Montfort, close to Rennes, France, as an adult Louis […]

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St. Conrad of Parzham

Conrad spent most of his life as porter in Altoetting, Bavaria, letting people into the friary and indirectly encouraging them to let God into their lives. His parents, Bartholomew and Gertrude Birndorfer, lived near Parzham, Bavaria. In those days, this region was recovering from the Napoleonic wars. A lover of solitary prayer and a peacemaker […]

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