The few months of summertime are jam-packed with tons of amazing saints to get to know and grow closer to. Here are a selection of the powerhouse women celebrated in these months.
Bl. Olivia, June 10
Let’s start with someone you’ve probably never heard of! Olivia was a young girl living in Italy when her city was raided by Muslims and she was carried off. However, they allow her to live in a nearby cave for a time. Once they found out that she was miraculously healing people and had converted many Muslims, they imprisoned and tortured her, and then burned her to death and beheaded her.
St. Paula Frasinetti, June 11
Paula was an Italian woman who, with six others, started the order, the Daughters of Holy Faith. Later, they were asked to take up the work of a priest friend in helping the poorest and most needy people. They did and then their order became known as the Sisters of St. Dorothy. Her body was found to be incorrupt.
St. Germaine Cousin, June 15
A real-life Cinderella, Germaine was a sickly girl whose step-mother despised her. She was a shepherdess, but everyday, she left her flock in the care of the Lord so she could go to Mass. No harm ever came to her flock, though their grazing field was bordered by woods filled with vicious wolves. She had a very intimate relationship with the Lord and villagers reported that they had seen her cross a stream without getting wet. Germaine eventually died of her illnesses, on the straw pallet in the barn, surrounded by animals, that had become her beloved home.
St. Ethelreda/Audrey, June 23
St. Audrey was a princess who lived around 640. She was once married but widowed after three years. It is said that the marriage was never consummated, as Audrey had taken a perpetual vow of virginity. She did marry again, for reasons of state, and her new husband did not like being unable to consummate their marriage. He started making advances on Audrey, which she refused, and even tried to get the bishop to release her from her vow, but he also refused. Audrey fled and her husband eventually took on a new, more willing wife. Audrey then founded an abbey and took the veil.
St. Marie Magdalen Fontaine, June 26
Marie Magdalen was a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in France during the French Revolution. She was the superior of one of the congregation’s houses and was arrested. She and three members of her community were guillotined for not observing the strict and anti-Catholic ordinances of the time.
St. Vincenza Gerosa, June 28
Vincenza was an Italian nun who co-founded the Sisters of Charity. She was orphaned as a child and thereafter gave her life to helping the poor. In about 1824, she and St. Bartolomea Capitanio founded the Sisters of Charity of Lovere to help the poor and sick, and to educate children. When Bartolomea died, Vincenza assumed ruled of the Order. She died of a long illness.
Bl. Eugenia Joubert, July 2
Eugenia was a French nun who lived in the late 1800s and was the fourth of eight children in a devout family. She received her First Holy Communion at age twelve and, in 1895, entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of the Heart of Jesus. She took permanent vows two years later. She taught catechism to children near Paris and other places in France and Belgium. In 1902, she came down with tuberculosis and died of the disease at 28 years of age, in 1904.
St. Elizabeth of Portugal, July 4
Elizabeth was a Spanish princess married off at age twelve. She was extremely devout and went to Mass everyday. Her husband, though, was not as devout and his sexual impropriety often caused scandal. Believing a lie, he once accused Elizabeth of having an affair with one of his pages, which was ridiculous because everyone knew she was devout and he was the reckless one. Through a mixup with the good and bad pages, the king found out that Elizabeth had done no wrong and he repented. Elizabeth took care of the poor and also successfully made peace between members of her family and in their kingdom.
St. Zoe of Rome, July 5
Zoe was a noblewoman, married to a high Roman court official. For some reason, she had been unable to speak for six years, until St. Sebastian made the cross over her. Then she began to unceasingly speak of Jesus. She and her husband immediately asked for baptism. Zoe held a great devotion to St. Peter and was praying by his tomb when she was arrested for being a Christian. She was hung from a branch by her hair over a fire. She died from smoke inhalation. After this, her body was thrown in the River Tiber.
St. Amalburga/Amelia, July 10
Amelia was born in 741 near Belgium and was preparing to become a nun when young Charlemagne saw her and fell in love. She rebuffed his advances and so he tried to carry her off to his castle. She struggled with him and he broke her arm in the struggle but he was unable to remove her from the altar where she sat. When he withdrew, Amelia cured him from an illness and her arm was healed. Legend also has it that she crossed a river on the back of a fish!
St. Agnes De, July 12
Agnes was born in Vietnam in the 1800s to a Christian family. Because of her faith, she was eventually arrested and was supposed to be put to death. Instead, she died in prison in 1841.
Carmelite Nuns of Compiegne, July 17
When the French Revolution began in 1789, there was a group of twenty-one discalced Carmelites living in a monastery in Compiegne. The next year, the monastery was ordered to close and the nuns were disbanded. However, four years later, sixteen of those twenty-one nuns were accused of living in religious community together. They were arrested and imprisoned in a repurposed Visitation convent in Compiegne and they openly resumed their religious life there. They were transferred to Paris and sentenced to death. All of them went to the guillotine singing the Salve Regina. Their names are Marie Claude Brard, Madeleine Brideau, Maire Croissy, Marie Hanisset, Marie Meunier, Rose de Neufville Annette Pebras, Anne Piedcourt, Madeleine Lidoine, Angelique Roussel, Catherine Soiron, Thérèse Soiron, Anne Mary Thouret, Marie Trezelle, and Elizabeth Verolot.
An old French movie depicts their struggle and martyrdom
St. Martha Wang, July 29
Martha Wang was a Vietnamese Christian remembered as part of the Martyr Saints of China, a group of 120 Catholic martyrs during the Boxer Rebellion. Martha was arrested while carrying letters from imprisoned Christian, Blesseds Joseph Tshang and Paul Tcheng. She was martyred by beheading.
St. Lydia Purpuraria, August 3
Lydia’s last name means “purple seller” which was fitting because that’s what she did! She lived in a town in Asia Minor known for its illustrious dye works. She became St. Paul’s first convert at Philippi and was baptized with her whole family. She also helped to fund some of Paul’s missions. Rightfully, she is the patron saint of the colored purple.
St. Mary MacKillop, August 8
Mary was an Australian nun born in 1842, the oldest of eight children. She worked as a governess for her aunt and uncle, looking after and educating the children. Because she and her family were so poor, she took to teaching the other poor farm children, too. Later, Mary opened Catholic schools across Australia and she and her sisters founded the religious order, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, dedicated to educating children. It was the first religious order to be founded by an Australian.
St. Clare of Assisi, August 11
Clare is best known as a companion and contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi and the foundress of the order now known as the Poor Claires. Many miracles are attributed to her and she once fended off a raiding party of Saracens by raising the Holy Eucharist high out her window. Honestly, she needs several books to capture her completely radical, trusting, and miraculous life. This is definitely a powerhouse saint to get to know.
St. Helena, August 18
Helena was the mother of Constantine and, after he became emperor, she began to embrace Christianity. Later, she organized pilgrimages and eventually found remnants of the True Cross. She constructed many churches and spread Christianity far and wide.
St. Maria Michaela Demaisieres, August 25
Maria Michaela was a Spanish lady born in Madrid in 1809. She lost her mother while very young and resisted all attempts to marry. She lived for a time with her brother in Paris and Brussels to escape suitors and dedicated her life to instructing the ignorant, helping the helpless, and relieving sickness and poverty. Once back in Spain, she founded the congregation of the Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament and of Charity of which she was Mother Superior. She died of cholera, which she contracted while helping the sick.
St. Monica, August 27
Monica was the mother of St. Augustine and it was through her fervent prayers that he became a Christian at all. Monica boasts not just the power of mothers but the power of women to exact good change upon the world and inspire others in the ways of righteousness.
Bl. Teresa Bracco, August 28
Teresa was born in 1924 in Italy to poor farmers in Savona, Italy. She showed a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament from an early age and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She would rise very early and walk over a kilometer every day to go to Mass and receive the Blessed Sacrament. At the age of nine, she saw a picture of St. Dominic Savio with the words, “Death rather than sin,” and declared, “That goes for me!” She cut out the picture and adhered it to cardboard; it remained her favorite object of devotion until her death. She was captured by a soldier who tried to rape her but who, instead, choked and shot her, and crushed part of her skull with his boot. She was only 20 years old.
St. Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, August 30
Narcisa lived in Ecuador in the 1800s and was orphaned at an early age. To support herself and her siblings, she worked as a seamstress. She was a consecrated virgin and, although she never joined a religious order, she spent eight hours a day in prayer, in solitude and silence. She also practiced various mortifications for four hours every night, including wearing a crown of thorns. Narcisa was often in a state of ecstasy. She died in Lima, Peru at the age of thirty-seven.
So who are you going to get to know better this summer? Anyone on this list you’ve never heard of?
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