Educational: Saint Vincent Ferrer, O.P. (1357-1419)

St. Vincent Ferrer is the patron saint of builders because of his fame for
"building up" and  strengthening the Church: 
through his preaching, 
missionary work, in his
teachings, as confessor and
adviser. At Valencia in Spain, this illustrious son of St. 
Dominic came into the world on January 23, 1357. In the year 1374, he entered the Order of St. Dominic in a monastery near his native city. Soon after his profession he was commissioned to deliver
lectures on philosophy. On
being sent to Barcelona, he
continued his scholastic
duties and at the same time
devoted himself to preaching. At Lerida, the famous university city of Catalonia, he received his doctorate. After this he labored six years in Valencia, during which time he perfected himself in the
Christian life. In 1390, he was obliged to accompany Cardinal Pedro de Luna to France, but he soon returned home. When, in 1394, de Luna himself had become Pope at Avignon he summoned St. Vincent and
made him Master of the sacred palace.

In this capacity St. Vincent made unsuccessful efforts to put an end to the great schism. He refused all ecclesiastical dignities, even the cardinal's hat, and only craved to be appointed apostolical missionary. Now began those labors that made him the famous missionary of the fourteenth century. He evangelized nearly every province of Spain, and preached in France, Italy, Germany, Flanders, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Numerous conversions followed his preaching, which God Himself assisted by the gift of miracles. Though the Church was then divided by the great schism, the saint was honorably received in the districts subject to the two claimants to the Papacy. He was even invited to Mohammedan Granada, where he preached the Gospel with much success. He lived to behold the end of the great schism and the election of Pope Martin V. Finally, crowned with labors, he died April 5, 1419. His feast day is April 5.

-taken from: www.catholic.org

Educational: Blessed Venturino of Bergamo, O.P. (1304-1346)

Venturino of Bergamo was a Dominican preacher and missionary crusader. A native of Bergamo, Italy, he joined the Order of Friars
Preachers and received the habit at the convent of St. Stephen in Bergamo on January 22, 1319. He was ordained at Genoa in 1328. He joined the Dominican congregation of the Pilgrim Brothers and started for the
Eastern missions, but was forced to remain teaching and preaching in Italy. He had a reputation for holiness and was involved in the political­ religious problems of his times.

He was emaciated and high­ strung and spoke vividly in quick Latin or vernacular. His rich
spiritual life, given expression in his treatise De profectu spirituali, suggests the mystical idea of penance propagated by Saint Vincent Ferrer, O.P. He founded the monastery of nuns, St. Mary's in Bergamo. From 1328 to 1335 he soon distinguished himself as a brilliant preacher, attracting huge crowds throughout northern Italy.

Pleased with his ability to reach large numbers of believers, he announced in February of 1335 his intention to go on a pilgrimage to Rome with about thirty thousand of his converts. His purpose was misunderstood, and when Pope Benedict XII, then residing at Avignon, learned of the pilgrimage, he feared Venturino might be planning to crown himself pope, and so forbade the friar to proceed. Thus, his Holiness wrote letters to Giovanni Pagnotti, Bishop of Anagru, Venturino's spiritual vicar, to the Canons of St. Peter's and St. John Lateran's, and to the Roman senators empowering them to stop the pilgrimage.

This decree was joined by one issued by the Dominicans themselves at the Chapter in London (1335) condemning such pilgrimages. However, the pope's letters and commands did not reach Venturino, and he arrived in Rome on March 21, 1335. He was well received, and preached in various churches. Twelve days later he left Rome, without explanation, and the pilgrimage ended in disorder.

In June, he requested an audience with Benedict XII at Avignon; he was seized and cast into prison (1335-1343). He was restored to favour by Pope Clement VI, who appointed him to preach a crusade against the Turks on January 4, 1344; his success was remarkable. He urged the pope to appoint Humbert Il of Dauphine, whose friend and spiritual adviser he had been, leader of the crusade, but Humbert proved incapable and the crusade came to nothing. Venturino's writings consist of sermons (now lost) and letters. He died at Smyrna. The title "Blessed" is sometimes given him, but he was never formally beatified. ffis feast day is March 28.

-compiled from www.newadvent.org, www.catholic.org, & New Catholic Encyclopedia

Educational: Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo (1538-1606)

Together with Rose of Lima, Turibius is the first known saint of the New World, serving the Lord in Peru, South America, for 26 years. Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. He succeeded too well. But he was not sharp enough a lawyer to prevent a surprising sequence of events. When the archdiocese of Lima in Peru required a new leader, Turibius was chosen to fill the post: He was the one person with the strength of character and holiness of spirit to heal the scandals that had infected that area.

He cited all the canons that forbade giving laymen ecclesiastical dignities, but he was overruled. Turibius was ordained priest and bishop and sent to Peru, where he found colonialism at its worst. The Spanish conquerors were guilty of every sort of oppression of the native population. Abuses among the clergy were flagrant, and he devoted his energies and suffering to this area first.

He began the long and arduous visitation of an immense archdiocese, studying the language, staying two or three days in each place, often with neither bed nor food. Turibius confessed every morning to his chaplain, and celebrated Mass with intense fervor. Among those to whom he gave the Sacrament of Confirmation was the future Saint Rose of Lima , and possibly the future Saint Martin de Porres. After 1590, he had the help of another great missionary, Francis Solanus, now also a saint.

Though very poor his people were sensitive, dreading to accept public charity from others. Turibius solved the problem by helping them anonymously. When Turibius undertook the reform of the clergy as well as unjust officials, he naturally suffered opposition. Some tried, in human fashion, to explain God's law in such a way as to sanction their accustomed way of life. He answered them in the words of Tertullian, "Christ said, 'I am the truth'; he did not say, 'I am the custom."' 

 -taken from: www.franciscanmedia.org to quiet crying infants.

Educational: Saint Patrick (387-461)

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints. He was born in Roman Britain and when he was fourteen or so, he was captured by Trish pirates during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. At the time, Ireland was a land of Druids and pagans but Patrick turned to God and wrote his memoir, The Confession. In The Confession, he wrote:

''The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, 1 have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on. the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.."

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britain and was reunited with his family.

A few years after returning home, Patrick saw a vision he described in his memoir:

"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: 'The Voice of the Irish.' As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea-and they cried out, as with one voice: 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.'"

The vision prompted his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years, and was later ordained a bishop and sent to take the Gospel to Ireland.

Patrick arrived in Slane, Ireland on March 25, 433. There are several legends about what happened next, with the most prominent claiming he met the chieftan of one of the druid tribes, who tried to kill him. After an intervention from God, Patrick was able to convert the chieftain and preach the Gospel throughout Ireland. There, he converted many people - eventually thousands - and he began building churches across the country.

He often used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity and entire kingdoms were eventually converted to Christianity after hearing Patrick's message.

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461. He died at Saul, where he had built the first Irish church.

He is believed to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick. His grave was marked in 1990 with a granite stone.

"Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me,Christ beside me,    Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, 
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in. quiet, 
Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger." - from "St. Patrick's Breastplate"

-taken from: www.catholic.org

Educational: Saint Katharine Drexel (1858-1955)

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. on November 26, 1858, Katharine was the second daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel, a wealthy banker, and his wife, Hannah Jane. The latter died a month after Katharine's birth, and two years later her father married Emma Bouvier, who was a devoted mother, not only to her own daughter Louisa (born 1862), but also to her two step-daughters. Both parents instilled into the children by word and example that their wealth was simply loaned to them and was to be shared with others.

Katharine was
educated privately at
home; she travelled widely in the United States and in Europe. Early in life she became aware of the plight of the Native Americans and the Blacks; when she inherited a vast fortune from her father and step-mother, she resolved to devote her wealth to helping these disadvantaged people. In 1885 she established a school for Native Americans at Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Later, during an audience with Pope Leo XIII, she asked him to recommend a religious congregation to staff the institutions which she was financing. The Pope suggested that she herself become a missionary, so in 1889 she began her training in religious life with the Sisters of Mercy at Pittsburgh.

In 1891, with a few companions, Mother Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. The title of the community summed up the two great driving forces in her life-devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and love for the most deprived people in her country.

Requests for help reached Mother Katharine from various parts of the United States. During her lifetime, approximately 60 schools were opened by her congregation. The most famous foundation was made in 1915; it was Xavier University, New Orleans, the first such institution for Black people in the United States.

In 1935 Mother Katharine suffered a heart attack, and in 1937 she relinquished the office of superior general. Though gradually becoming more infirm, she was able to devote her last years to Eucharistic adoration, and so fulfil her life's desire. She died at the age of 96 at Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, on March 3, 1955. Her cause for beatification was introduced in 1966; she was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II on January 26, 1987, by whom she was also beatified on November 20, 1988. -Taken from: "L'Osservatore Romano"

(weekly edition in English)November 21, 1988, page 2)

Educational: Saint Peter Damian (1007-1072)

St. Peter Damian, born around 1007, was the youngest of a large family; his parents were noble, but poor. At his birth an elder brother protested against this new charge on the resources of the family with such effect that his mother refused to suckle him and the babe nearly died. A family retainer, however, fed the starving child and by example and reproaches recalled his mother to her duty. Left an orphan in early years, he was at first adopted by an elder brother, who ill-treated and under-fed him while employing him as a swineherd. Finally, his other brother, who was archpriest of Ravenna, took him under his wing. His brother sent him to good schools and Peter became a professor. 

Already in those days Peter was very strict with himself. He wore a hair shirt under his clothes, fasted rigorously and spent many hours in prayer. Soon, he decided to leave his teaching and give himself completely to prayer with the Benedictines of the reform of St. Romuald at Fonte Avellana. They lived two monks to a hermitage. Peter was so eager to pray and slept so little that he soon suffered from severe insomnia. He found he had to use some prudence in taking care of himself. When he was not praying, he studied the Bible.

The abbot commanded that when he died Peter should succeed him. Abbot Peter founded five other hermitages. He encouraged his brothers in a life of prayer and solitude and wanted nothing more for himself. The Holy See periodically called on him, however, to be a peacemaker or troubleshooter, between two abbeys in dispute or a cleric or government official in some disagreement with Rome. 

Finally, Pope Stephen IX made Peter the cardinal-bishop of Ostia. He worked hard to wipe out simony (the buying of church offices), and encouraged his priests to observe celibacy and urged even the diocesan clergy to live together and maintain scheduled prayer and religious observance. 

He wished to restore primitive discipline among religious and priests, warning against needless travel, violations of poverty and too comfortable living. He even wrote to the bishop of Besancon, complaining that the canons there sat down when they were singing the psalms in the Divine Office. 

He wrote many letters. Some 170 are extant. We also have 53 of his sermons and seven lives, or biographies, that he wrote. He preferred examples and stories rather than theory in his writings. The liturgical offices he wrote are evidence of his talent as a stylist in Latin. 

e asked often to be allowed to retire as cardinal-bishop of Ostia, and finally Alexander II consented. Peter was happy to become once again just a monk, but he was still called to serve as a papal legate. When returning from such an assignment in Ravenna, he was overcome by a fever. With the monks gathered around him saying the Divine Office, he died on February 22, 1072. In 1828 he was declared a Doctor of the Church. 

Educational: Blessed Jordan of Saxony, O.P. (1190-1237)

 
 

Blessed Jordan of Saxony, O.P. was born c. 1190 to the noble German family of the Counts of Eberstein in the Castle of Borrenstrick, in the diocese of Paderborn. He began his studies in his native land, and was sent to complete them at the University of Paris. While a student he met Dominic de Guzman, the founder of the Order of Preachers, and was inspired by the preaching of Reginald of Orleans (also known as Reginald of Saint-Gilles) to join the Dominican Order. He received the habit on Ash Wednesday, 1220. Jordan was a Master of Arts and a grammarian, and taught in the schools of Paris. 
In 1221, a General Chapter of the Order held in Bologna appointed Jordan Prior Provincial of Lombardy in Italy. On 6 August 1221, Dominic died, and in 1222 Jordan was elected as his successor as Master General of the Order of Preachers. Like Saint Dominic, Jordan was famed as a strict disciplinarian whose commitment to the Rule was tempered with kindness. 
During Jordan's administration, the young Order increased to over 300 priories. Jordan is particularly remembered for his eloquence in attracting candidates to join the Order. Through his lectures in university towns, he won many-allegedly well over 1,000-professors and students for the Order from the universities of Europe, among whom was Albertus Magnus who is thought to have been recruited in Padua. He added four new provinces to the eight already existing. Twice he obtained for the Order a chair at the University of Paris and helped to found the University of Toulouse. He estab­lished the first general house of studies of the Order. 
Additionally, Jordan was a spiritual guide to many, including one of the first Dominican nuns, the Blessed Diana degli Andalo, O.P. He also found time to write a number of books: A Life of St. Dominic and several other works. An1ong them was the Libel/us de principiis Ordinis Prcedicatorum ("Booklet on the begi.Jmings of the Order of Preachers"), a Latin text which is both the earliest biography of Saint Dominic and the first narrative history of the foundation of the Order. 
A section of a work by Friar Gerald de Frachet describing the lives of the first Dominicans, the Lives of the Brothers (Vitce Jratrurn), is dedicated to describing his character, virtue, and miracles. All of the first chroniclers of the Order describe Jordan's kindness and personal charm. He had the ability to console the troubled and to inspire the despondent with new hope. 
Jordan died, at the age of forty-seven, in a shipwreck on his return from Palestine, where he was visiting the local monasteries of the Order. The shipwreck occurred off the coast of Syria on February 13, 1237. Jordan was buried in the Dominican Church of St. John in Akko, in present-day Israel. His feast day is 13 February. Jordan of Saxony was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1825. 
Jordan of Saxony is credited with introducing the practice of singing the Salve Regina in procession at the end of Compline, done, it is recorded, to calm the spirits of the Brothers, who were being tried by the Devil.

Educational: Saint Scholastica (480-547)

St. Scholastica (cira 480 - February 10, 547), sister of St. Benedict, consecrated her life  to God from her earliest youth.  After her brother went to Monte  Cassino, where he established  his famous monastery, she took up her abode in the neighborhood at Plombariola, where she founded and governed a monastery of nuns, about five miles from that of St. Benedict, who, it appears, also directed his sister and her nuns. She visited her brother once a year, and as she was not allowed to enter his monastery, he went in company with some of his brethren to meet her at a house some distance away. These visits were spent in conferring together on spiritual matters. On one occasion they had passed
the time as usual in prayer and pious conversation and in the evening they sat down to take their reflection. St. Scholastica begged her brother to remain until the next day. St. Benedict
refused to spend the night outside his monastery. She had recourse to prayer and a furious thunderstorm burst so that neither St. Benedict nor any of his companions could return home. They spent the night in spiritual conferences. The next morning they parted to meet no more on earth. Three days later St. Scholastica died, and her holy brother beheld her soul in a vision as it ascended into heaven. He sent his brethren to bring her body to his monastery and laid it in the tomb he had prepared for himself. She died about the year 543, and St. Benedict followed her soon after. Her feast day is February 10th.

Please do not leave me tonight; let us go on until morning talking about the delights of the spiritual life.
— - Saint Scholastica to her twin brother Saint Benedict of Nursia

Educational: Saint Catherine De Ricci, O.P. (1522-1589)

St. Catherine was born in Florence in 1522. Her baptismal name was Alexandrina, but she took the name of Catherine upon entering religious life. From her earliest infancy she manifested a great love of prayer, and in her sixth year, her father placed her in the convent of Monticelli in Florence, where her aunt, Louisa de Ricci, was a nun. After a brief return home, she entered the convent of the Dominican nuns at Prat in Tuscany, in her fourteenth year. While very young, she was chosen Mistress of Novices, then subprioress, and at twenty-five years of age she became perpetual prioress. The reputation of her sanctity drew to her side many illustrious personages, among whom three later sat in the chair of Peter, namely Cerveni, Alexander de Medicis, and Aldo Brandini, and afterward Marcellus II, Clement VIII, and Leo XI respectively. She corresponded with
St. Philip Neri and, while still living, she appeared to him in Rome in a miraculous manner. She is famous for the Ecstasy of the Passion which she experienced every Thursday from noon until Friday at 4:00 p.m. for twelve years. After a long illness she passed away in 1589. Her feast day is February 13.

Look down, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, on this Thy family for which Our Lord Jesus Christ did not hesitate to be delivered into the hands of the wicked, and suffer the torments of the Cross.
— - Saint Catherine de Ried

Educational: Saint Thomas Aquinas, O.P. (1225-1274)

By universal consent, Thomas Aquinas (1225 - March 7, 1274) is the preeminent spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and of divine revelation. He is one of the great teachers of the medieval Catholic Church, honored with the titles Doctor of the Church and Angelic Doctor.

At five he was given to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino in his parents' hopes that he would choose that way of life and eventually become abbot. In 1239, he was sent to Naples to complete his studies. It was here that he was first attracted to Aristotle's philosophy. 

By 1243, Thomas abandoned his family's plans for him and joined the Dominicans, much to his mother's dismay. On her order, Thomas was captured by his brother and kept at home for over a year. 

Once free, he went to Paris and then to Cologne, where he finished his studies with Albert the Great. He held two professorships at Paris, lived at the court of Pope Urban IV, directed the Dominican schools at Rome and Viterbo, combated adversaries of the mendicants, as well as the Averroists, and argued with some Franciscans about Aristotelianism.

His greatest contribution to the Catholic Church is his writings. The unity, harmony and
continuity of faith and reason, of revealed and natural human knowledge, pervades his writings. One might expect Thomas, as a man of the Gospel, to be an ardent defender of revealed truth. But he was broad enough, deep enough, to see the whole natural order as corning from God the Creator, and to see reason as a divine gift to be highly cherished. The Summa Theologice, his last and, unfortunately, uncompleted work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology. He stopped work on it after celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, "I cannot go on .... All that l have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me." He died March 7, 1274.