Saints in July
St Oliver Plunkett, bishop and martyr
Oliver Plunkett was born in 1625 in County Meath. He went to Rome in 1647 and was ordained in 1654. He taught in the Roman College of Propaganda Fide from 1657 to 1669, when he was appointed Archbishop of Armagh. Reaching Dublin in 1670, he began his pastoral duties, held synods and visitations. When the persecution of Catholics had become more searching and severe Archbishop Plunkett was arrested in 1679. He was first imprisoned in Dublin, but eventually tried in London and condemned to death. He was hanged at Tyburn Cross, London in 1681.
St Thomas, Apostle
Thomas, called the “Twin, ” was one of the twelve chosen by Jesus. Noted for his initial disbelief in the resurrection and his subsequent proclamation of faith upon seeing the resurrected Christ:”My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). An early tradition venerates him as the Apostle of India.
St Elizabeth of Portugal
Born in 1271; died at Estremoz (Portugal) on this day in 1336. A princess of Aragon and a grand-niece of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary . Upon being widowed, she gave away her wealth and joined the Third Order of Saint Francis. Honoured as a peacemaker and for assisting the poor and sick.
St Anthony Zaccaria, Priest
Born at Cremona (Italy) in 1502; died there on this day in 1539. Initially a medical doctor, he was ordained to the presbyterate and went on to found an order of priests (Barnabites) and an order of women religious (Angelicals). Noted for his devotion to Saint Paul, to the eucharist, and to the crucifixion. Noted for his concern for renewal, his personal austerity, and the apostolic zeal that led to his premature death.
St Maria Goretti, Virgin, Martyr
Born at Corinaldo (Italy) in 1890; died on this day in 1902. Her death at the age of eleven, a few weeks after her first communion, resulted from knife wounds sustained during an attempted rape. Noted for her innocence and simplicity, for her devotion to God, and for forgiving her attacker on her deathbed.
St Moninne of Killeavy
St Moninne was one of Ireland’s early women saints. After instruction on the religious life, she founded a community which initially consisted of eight virgins and a widow with a baby at Sliabh Gullion, Co. Armagh. They lived an eremitical (secluded) life, based on that of Elijah and St John the Baptist. Moninne died in 517 or 518.
St Maelruain (Maolruain), bishop and abbot
Maelruain founded the monastery of Tallaght, Co, Dublin, in 774 which introduced a reform. Important liturgical and spiritual writings emerged from this movement known as the Céli Dé reform. He died in 792.
St Killian, Abbot, missionary
Killian was born in the parish of Mullagh in the Diocese of Kilmore. With eleven companions he left Ireland and became known as the apostle of Thuringia and eastern Franconia. With Kolonat and Totnan he was put to death in 659. There is a strong devotion to him in Würzburg, where his remains lie, and also throughout the Bavarian countryside.
St Augustine Zhao Rong and companions, Martyrs
Diocesan priest Augustin Zhao Rong (1746-1815) is one of 120 people martyred in China between 1648 and 1930. The 87 Chinese include children and parents, catechists and seminarians, and four priests. The 33 Europeans were missionary bishops, priests and religious. Noted for their steadfast faith before cruel persecutions.
St Benedict, Abbot
Born at Norcia (Italy) about 480; died at Monte Cassino about 547. After studies in Rome he became a hermit at Subiaco, where many sought his counsel, and then founded the monastery at Monte Cassino. Noted for his widely influential monastic rule, combining work and prayer, and for his charity and moderation.
St Henry, Emperor
Born about 973; died on this day in 1024. Duke of Bavaria and then Holy Roman Emperor, the husband of Saint Kunigunde, both of whom are buried in the cathedral he built at Bamberg (Germany). Noted for combining his temporal leadership with piety and for supporting reform within the Church.
St Camillus de Lellis, Priest
Born at Bucchianico (Italy) in 1550; died at Rome on this day in 1614. A soldier and a gambler when he experienced conversion. Eventually ordained a priest after laying the foundations for the Servants of the Sick (Camillians), a religious community devoted to the care of the sick. Afflicted with lifelong ulcers. Noted for his special love for and service of the sick.
St Bonaventure, Bishop, Religious, Doctor of the Church
Born at Bagnoregio (Italy) about 1218; died at Lyons (France) on this day in 1274. He joined the Franciscans when studying in Paris and eventually became minister general of the order. Later appointed cardinal-bishop of Albano and died assisting Pope Gregory X during the Council of Lyons. Known as the “Seraphic Doctor.” Honoured as a teacher, for his extensive biblical and mystical writings, and for his holiness, gentleness, and compassion.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The cult of Mary under this title originated in the fourteenth century and came to be observed throughout the West during the eighteenth century. Commemorates the Virgin Mary as associated with Mount Carmel (Israel), site of the prophet Elijah’s altar to the one true God and of the twelfth century eremitical forerunners of the Carmelites. Mary is celebrated on this day as a model of reflection, solitude, and prayer.
St Apollonaris, Bishop, Martyr
Probably first century. Bishop of Ravenna (Italy) where a church bears his name. A fifth-century sermon identifies him as a martyr. Honoured as a link to the Apostolic age.
St Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest, Doctor of the Church
Born at Brindisi (Italy) in 1559; died at Lisbon (Portugal) on this day in 1619. A presbyter in the Capuchin order and later its minister general. A noted biblical scholar and linguist, charged with preaching to Lutherans. He organised Christian princes against the incursions of the Ottomans. Noted for his zealous teaching and promotion of the Catholic reform that followed the Council of Trent.
St Mary Magdalene, Apostle
A faithful disciple of Christ, Mary ministered to his needs after having seven devils cast out from her. Witnessed his crucifixion, was present at his burial, and was the first to see the risen Lord. Commissioned by Christ to proclaim the good news of his resurrection to the apostles (John 20:17-18). Noted in the East as the “Apostle to the Apostles.”
St Bridget of Sweden
Religious. Born in Sweden about 1303; died at Rome on this day in 1373. A devoted wife and the mother of eight children, one of whom was also reputed a saint (Catherine of Sweden 1331-1381) though not canonised. After being widowed, Bridget founded a religious order (Bridgettines). Noted for her asceticism, her dedication to reform within the Church, and her lifelong mystical experience of Christ. Bridget of Sweden was canonised by Boniface IX in 1391.
St Declan of Ardmore
Declan is considered to be one of the pre-Patrician saints. He was of noble blood. Colman, a local priest, baptised him. Later he went to Europe to continue his studies where he was ordained priest and possibly bishop. He settled in Ardmore (Waterford) and evangelised the Decies territory.
St Sarbel Makhluf, Priest
Born on 8 May 1828 at Beka’Kafra (Lebanon); died on Christmas Eve 1898 at Annaya. Maronite monk, whose religious name is Sarbel or Charbel, received a good education and was ordained priest. Spent his last 23 years as a hermit. Noted for his ascetic poverty, solitary contemplation and devotion to the Eucharist.
Apostle. Born at Bethsaida in Galilee, a son of Zebedee; died about 44, the first apostle to die, beheaded by Herod. A fisherman, summoned by Jesus together with his brother Saint John. They were called the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). Honoured as a favoured apostle:with Peter and John he was present at the transfiguration, the raising of the daughter of Jairus, and the agony in the garden.
Ss Joachim and Ann, Parents of Our Lady
Joachim and Ann are named as Mary’s parents in a late second century tradition. Churches dedicated to Saint Ann are found in Jerusalem and Constantinople from the middle of the sixth century. The feast of Saint Ann was kept in Rome by the eighth century, that of Saint Joachim from the fifteenth century. The feast honours the parents of the Virgin Mary and grandparents of the Lord.
St Martha, Friend of Jesus
The sister of Mary and Lazarus of Bethany. Honoured for her confession of faith in the Lord in which she beseeched him to restore life to her dead brother (John 11:27). Noted too for her hospitality to Jesus and her concern for the details of service to guests.
St Peter Chrysologus
Bishop, Doctor of the Church. Born late in the fourth century at Imola (Italy); died on 31 July about 450. Bishop of Ravenna, known as “Chrysologus” (golden-worded). Noted for his eloquent sermons, his loyalty to the bishop of Rome, and his dedication pastoral service.
St Ignatius of Loyola, Priest, Religious
Born at Loyola (Spain) in 1491; died on this day at Rome in 1556. A Spanish nobleman trained in diplomacy and the use of arms, wounded in battle against the French. The experience of conversion while convalescing led him to write the Spiritual Exercises. Then founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and became its first superior general. Noted for his loyalty to the Church and its renewal, his ministry to the marginal, his concern for education, and his dedication “to the greater glory of God, ” the motto of the Jesuits.