You’ve probably heard of St. John the Baptist and Sts. Peter and Paul, and maybe even St. Josemaria Escriva, St. Irenaeus, or St. Cyril of Alexandria! But the Church boasts a calendar full of saints and feasts. Here are seven with feasts this week, you may never have heard of before
1. St. John of the Goths
This St. John was bishop of the Goths in southern Russia. He defended the use of sacred images in a time when the Iconoclast Controversy was underway. Later, when the Khazars invaded, St. John was permanently exiled.
2. St. Marie Magdalen Fontaine
St. Marie Magdalen was a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and was the superior of the congregation’s house in Arras, France. The French Revolution erupted at this time and she and three other members of the congregation were martyred by the guillotine at Cambrai, France.
3. St. Ferdinand of Aragon
Yes, he’s related to those Aragons! He was related to the royal family of Spain and to the rulers of the two Sicilies. More importantly, though, he was the fifth bishop of Cajazzo, Sicily.
4. St. Samson
St. Samson, sometimes called Samson Xenodochius (“the Hospitable”) or “the Father of the Poor”, was a doctor in Constantinople. In order to serve both the physical and spiritual needs of the people, he also became a priest. He founded a well-known hospital in Constantinople near the Hagia Sophia.
5. St. Vincenza Gerosa
Born in Lovere, Italy and born with the name Catherine, she was orphaned in her youth and then dedicated her life to aiding the poor. Along with St. Bartolomea Capitanio, she founded the Sisters of Charity of Lovere to help the poor and sick and to educate children. She eventually took over directorship of the Order and expanded its efforts. She held that position until her death, which came after a long illness.
6. St. Mary Salome
St. Mary Salome was the mother of John Mark, mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, and lived in Jerusalem. Her home was a favorite gathering place of the Apostles and St. Peter even went to her home when he was released from prison by King Herod.
7. First Martyrs of the See of Rome
Also called the “Protomartyrs of Rome”, these men and women were accused by Nero of burning Rome to cover his own crimes. Some were burned as living torches at evening banquets, some crucified, and some fed to wild animals. They died before Sts. Peter and Paul, hence their “protomartyr” status, and are also called “the disciples of the Apostles…whom the Holy Roman Church sent to their Lord before the Apostles’ death.”