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St. Luke


Name: St. Luke
Date: 18 October

Saint Luke, a physician at Antioch and a painter, was also an excellent rhetorician in Greek, his native language. He became a disciple of Saint Paul, the Apostle’s fellow-worker and his faithful friend during his two imprisonments, and is best known to us as the historian of the New Testament acts of both Christ and the Apostles. Though not an eye-witness of Our Lord’slife, the meticulous Evangelist diligently gathered information from those who had followed orlistened to Jesus of Nazareth, and wrote, as he tells us, all things in order. His command of Greek is much admired. Saint Clement of Alexandria, Saint Jerome and Saint Thomas Aquinas state that it is he who translated Saint Paul’s famous Epistle to the Hebrews, written in the language of the Jerusalem Christians, into the admirable Greek which we presently possess as the only ancient version.

The Acts of the Apostles were written by the Evangelist as a sequel to his Gospel, bringing the history of the Church down to the first imprisonment of Saint Paul in Rome, in the year 64. The humble historian never names himself, but by his occasional use of “we” instead of “he” or“they”, we are able to detect his presence in the scenes of Saint Paul’s life which he describes. We thus find that he sailed with Paul and Silas from Troas to Macedonia, where he remained behind, apparently, for seven years at Philippi. Finally, after remaining near Saint Paul during the time he was imprisoned in Palestine, he accompanied him, still a prisoner, when he was transported to Rome. Thus he shared the shipwreck and perils of that memorable voyage, narrated in Chapter 27 of Acts — which book no Christian should fail to read, along with the four Gospels. He then narrates the two years of Saint Paul’s first imprisonment, ending in his liberation.

There his narrative ends, but from Saint Paul’s Epistles we learn that Saint Luke was hisfaithful companion to the last. His paintings of Our Lady are still conserved with care in a number of places in Europe. Saint Luke certainly learned from the Mother of Christ Herself, the story of the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Angelic mission to the shepherds of Bethlehem. After the martyrdom of the Apostle to the Gentiles, Saint Epiphanus says that Saint Luke preached in Italy, Gaul, Dalmatia and Macedonia. Others say he went to Egypt and preached in the Thebaid,the region of the Fathers of the desert. Saint Hippolyte says he was crucified in Greece. Hismortal remains were transferred to the Church of the Apostles, built by Constantine the Great atConstantinople, with those of Saint Andrew and Saint Timothy. Some of his relics remain in theGreek monastery of Mount Athos.


Sources: The Holy Bible: Old and New Testaments; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers


St. Peter of Alcantara


Name: St. Peter of Alcantara
Date: 19 October

Saint Peter was born in 1499 near the Portuguese border of Spain. While still a youth of sixteen, he left his home at Alcantara and entered a convent of Discalced Franciscans near Valencia. He rose quickly to high posts in the Order, as a guardian, a definitor, and then Superiorof the Province of Saint Gabriel. But his thirst for penance was still unappeased, and in 1539,being then forty years old, he founded the Congregation of Saint Joseph of the “StrictObservance,” to conserve the letter of the Rule of Saint Francis. He suffered great tribulations toconserve that Rule in its integrity. Eventually Saint Peter himself, the year before his death, raised it to the status of a province under obedience to the Minister General of the entire Seraphic Order. The Reform he instituted has since been extended even to the farthest Orient and the Indies; it isbelieved God ordained that it repair the ravages to the faith of the sixteenth century.

The modesty of Saint Peter remains proverbial in the Franciscan Order; never did he raisehis eyes to look at the non-essentials of his interior life with God. His fast was constant andsevere; he lived perpetually on bread and water alone, even during his illnesses. He devised a sort of harness to keep him upright on his seat during the short hour and a half of sleep which he tookevery day, for forty years. He acknowledged to Saint Teresa of Avila that this mortification wasthe one which cost him the most. The cells of the friars of Saint Joseph resembled graves ratherthan dwelling-places. That of Saint Peter himself was four and a half feet in length, so that hecould never lie down; his sackcloth habit and a cloak were his only garments; he never covered hishead or feet. In the bitter winter he would open the door and window of his cell in order that, by closing them again, he might be grateful for the shelter of his cell. Among those whom he guidedto perfection we may name Saint Teresa, who fully appreciated this remarkable director. He readher soul, approved her spirit of prayer, and strengthened her to carry out her reforms.

Everywhere he could do so, he planted crosses, for the Passion of Our Lord was engraved in his heart. Wherever they were to be placed, even on mountains, and however heavy they might be, he went to the destined sites carrying them on his shoulders. From these heights he would then preach the mysteries of the Cross, afterwards remaining in prayer there. Shepherds saw him several times in the air, at the height of the highest trees of the forests. Never did he go anywhere except on foot, even in his old age. He was often seen prostrated before a large crucifix, shedding torrents of tears; and he was found in ecstasy once at the height of the traverse of a crucifix. Saint Peter died at the age of sixty-three, repeating with the Psalmist, “I rejoiced when it was said unto me, let us go unto the house of the Lord!” The date was October 18, 1562; he was kneeling in prayer.


Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris,


St. John Cantius


Name: St. John Cantius
Date: 20 October

Saint John was born at Kenty in Poland in 1403. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Cracow with great intelligence, industry, and success, while his modesty and virtue drew all hearts to him. After earning his degrees, he was appointed to the Chair of Theology at the university. He inflamed his hearers with the desire of every kind of piety, no less by his deeds than by his words. He was ordained a priest and was for a short time in charge of a parish, where he manifested great concern for the poor, at his own expense. At the University’s request, he resumed the professor’s Chair and taught there until his holy death.

He found a poor man on the snow one day, dying of hunger and cold; he clothed him in his own frock and took him to the rectory, to eat at his table. Afterwards, for many years, every professor of the College of Varsovie was obliged, once every year, to invite a poor man to dine with him.

He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, preaching along the way to the Turks, and hoping for the grace of martyrdom. He went four times to Rome to visit the tombs of the Apostles and pay honor to the Holy See, desiring thereby to be spared the pains of purgatory. He always traveled on foot, carrying his own effects. Robbed one day by bandits, he forgot he had a few gold pieces sewn into his cloak; he soon remembered and called them back to give them to his benefactors. They were so astonished they refused to accept the offering, and even returned to him what they had taken.

Saint John Cantius wrote on the walls of his residence some verses which showed the horror he had for the vice of backbiting or detraction, talking without cause of our neighbor’s faults. He slept very little and often spent entire nights praying before a crucifix. After his classes he went to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in a church. Before his death, he gave absolutely everything he still had to the poor. He died in 1473, at the age of seventy-six years. The purple robe which he had worn as a Doctor was religiously conserved and always given to the venerable Head of the School of Philosophy on the day of his reception; and a promise was required of the teachers there, to imitate the virtues of this beloved Saint. He is a patron of both Poland and Lithuania; Clement XIII canonized him in 1767.


Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris,


St. Ursula and her companions


Name: St. Ursula and her companions
Date: 21 October

Saint Ursula was born in Great Britain of Christian parents; her father, Maurus, was king of Cornubia in Scotland. Ursula was sought in marriage by a young pagan prince, but had already vowed her life and her heart to Jesus Christ.

In the year 383 she was boarded onto a boat with a large number of young girls and Christian women whom a Roman conqueror wished to give as wives to his soldiers, after havingendowed them with rich terrains. But during the crossing of the Channel a storm arose, and theships, instead of reaching western Gaul, were driven towards the mouth of the Rhine. The Hunswho at that time were ravaging Europe saw the ships, and were making ready to pillage them andinflict on these virgins and women a dishonor more dreaded by them than death. Commanded byUrsula, they resisted heroically and so well that suddenly the sentiments of the barbarianschanged. They took up their arms to be rid of this peaceful army. Soon the victims fell under the blows of the executioners, and their souls winged their way to heaven.

The prince of the Huns, struck by Ursula’s beauty, spared her at first; he tried to consoleher for the death of her companions and promised to marry her. When she did not assent he shother with an arrow, and this consecrated virgin fell with the others. She was considered the leader of the eleven thousand brought by the Romans from Great Britain. Many churches have relics of this army of martyrs, but no region is more richly endowed than that of Cologne, since it is to that city that the Christians of the region devotedly carried the mortal remains of the martyrs.

In the seventh century a magnificent church rose over their tomb, whose walls itself served as reliquaries. This holy cemetery has been rendered illustrious by many miracles. Pilgrims and especially young girls have come from all over Europe, to beg protection for their virginity fromSaint Ursula and her companions. The very arrow which pierced Saint Ursula is still conservedthere. A religious, who had great devotion to these martyrs, had fallen dangerously ill; a virginappeared to him and said: “I am one of the virgins whom you honor. To reward you for theeleven thousand Our Father’s you recited to honor us, you will have our assistance at the hour of death.” And soon the glorious troop came to escort his soul. Saint Ursula is the patron of young teachers, and many congregations of nuns, dedicated to education, bear her name.


Source: Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950).


St. Hilarion


Name: St. Hilarion
Date: 22 October

Saint Hilarion was born of pagan parents near Gaza, and was converted while studying grammar in Alexandria. He renounced games, the theater and all the vain amusements of young people, to attend the reunions of his fellow Christians. He desired to see the great Saint Anthony in the desert and went to Egypt, where he remained near him for two months. He carefullyobserved everything in his life and conduct — his affability, his gentleness towards others and his severity towards himself, then returned to Palestine with a few solitaries to settle his affairs. His father and mother had both died, and he kept nothing of his heritage for himself. At this time he was only fifteen years old.

Despite his youth and delicate health, he retired to a desert; he practiced severe mortification, tempted continually by the demons expending all their efforts to make him abandon this life of total renouncement. He redoubled his austerities, tilled the ground and, following the example of the Egyptian monks, made baskets of reeds and willow branches. He lived first in a cabin of reeds, then in one of clay, so low and narrow that it seemed more like a tomb than a lodging for a young man. He learned all of Holy Scripture by heart and repeated it with admirable devotion. When thieves approached him one day he told them he did not fear them, because he had nothing to lose, and death did not alarm him since he was ready to die. They were so touched by his answers they promised him to abandon their life of pillage.

He soon began to work miracles by his prayers, and visitors made their way to his former solitude. Several remained nearby to become his disciples, and thus gave rise to the monastic lifein Palestine, of which Hilarion is regarded as the founder. Saint Anthony esteemed him highly,sometimes wrote him letters, and sent to him the sick persons who came to him from Syria, tellingthem they had no need to make so long a journey. Saint Hilarion was a master exorcist and healerof all illnesses, but he refused all remuneration for his assistance, saying to his visitors from the city that they were better placed than he to distribute in alms the money they were offering him. Frequently the scattered solitaries of Palestine came to him to listen to his instructions, and he alsovisited them. The pagans too gathered around him. His exhortations to abandon idolatry were sopowerful that on one occasion a group of Saracens promised to convert, asking him to send thema priest to baptize them and establish a church. One day, accompanied by three thousand personswho were following him, he blessed the vine of a solitary who received him. The vine furnished atriple harvest and all in the crowd were well nourished.

Saint Hilarion found his solitude transformed into a city, and decided at the age of sixty-five to go elsewhere. His Palestinian disciples attempted to change his mind without success, and taking with him only forty monks, he set out for Egypt on foot. Saint Anthony had recently died, and he wished to visit the places where he had dwelt. After spending some time in Egypt, he went with only two religious to a village a few days’ distance from Babylon. He remained only a short time there also, afterwards going elsewhere, and everywhere assisting those who had recourse to his prayers. In Sicily he delivered a demoniac, and then a crowd came to surround him once again. In Dalmatia he worked still more miracles, and saved a city from being engulfed by tidal waves raised by an earthquake. These traditions are still alive in the regions where he passed. He tried many times to live unknown but never could succeed.

Saint Hilarion died in 372 on the island of Cyprus, at the age of seventy years. His last words were: “Go forth, my soul; why dost thou doubt? Nigh seventy years hast thou served God, and dost thou fear death?” His body was found incorrupt some time afterwards, and was transported to Palestine to his original monastery. Saint Jerome was his original biographer.


Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12.


Other Highlights
»The Eternal Father
»The Circumcision of Our Lord
»St. William Berruyer
»St. Theodosius
»St. Alfred or Aelred
»St. Margaret Bourgeois
»St. Veronica of Milan
»The Baptism of Our Lord
»St. Hilary of Poitiers
»St. Paul the First Hermit
»St. Honoratus
»St. Marcellus, Pope
»Blessed Stephanie Quinzani
»St. Anthony Abbott
»St. Peters' Chair at Rome
»St. Canutus
»St. Fulgentius
»St. Macarius
»St. Fabien
»St. Sebastian
»St. Agnes
»St. Vincent, martyr
»St. Raymond of Pennafort
»St. Timothy
»St. Paul, The Conversion of
»St. Polycarp
»St. John Chrysostom
»St. Peter Nolasco
»St. Francis de Sales
»St. Genevieve
»St. Martina
»St. John Bosco
»St. Gregory, Bishop of Langres
»St. Angela of Foligno
»St. Simeon Stylites
»The Epiphany of Our Lord
»St. Lucian
»St. Claude Apollinaire
»St. Julian the Hospitalarian
»St. Basilissa
»St. Remi or Remigius
»St. Francis Borgia
»St. Tarachus
»The Divine Maternity of Mary
»St. Wilfrid
»Bl. Jane Leber
»St. Edward
»St. Callistus I
»St. Teresa of Avila
»St. Gall

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