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Saint of the Day—available on the iPhone!

Saint of the Day
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

April 1
Blessed Anaclete Gonzales Flores
(1890-1927)


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As a law student during the time of the persecution in Mexico, Anaclete Gonzales felt he needed to challenge his godless professors and, so, organized the Catholic students in defense of the Church. He himself joined the Third Order of St. Francis. Believing in the power of the press, he founded a weekly newspaper called The Word, and was a regular contributor to other Catholic periodicals. He also started a second weekly called The Sword. The government tried on a number of occasions to silence him by jailing him. His efforts would then turn to evangelizing his fellow prisoners.

Finally the government decided to make an example of Anaclete. Because he refused to reveal the whereabouts of the archbishop, he was hung up, whipped and pierced with daggers. Anaclete maintained his silence, but to one of his executioners said, "I have labored unselfishly to defend the cause of Christ and his Church. You will kill me: But know that the cause will not die with me. I go, but with the assurance that from heaven I shall behold the triumph of religion in my native country."

Anaclete was run through with a bayonet and died from a volley of bullets. It was April 1, 1927. He left a young wife and two small sons.

His funeral was cause for a great outpouring of faith among the people and loud cries of "Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long live Christ the King!), a powerful tribute to a lay Franciscan who lived and died for the kingdom.



Comment:

Ever since the first Christians refused to sacrifice to the gods of Rome, believers have maintained a dissident stance at the risk of their lives. We may not be called to join the company of martyrs, but we are certainly called to raise our voices in defense of the poor and the unborn, to protest dependence on violent solutions in the international arena. We may keep our lives, but we risk another kind of martyrdom: the disapproval of our peers.


Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.



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Peter of Alcantara: Peter was a contemporary of well-known 16th-century Spanish saints, including Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross. He served as confessor to St. Teresa of Avila. Church reform was a major issue in Peter’s day, and he directed most of his energies toward that end. His death came one year before the Council of Trent ended. 
<p>Born into a noble family (his father was the governor of Alcantara in Spain), Peter studied law at Salamanca University and, at 16, joined the so-called Observant Franciscans (also known as the discalced, or barefoot, friars). While he practiced many penances, he also demonstrated abilities which were soon recognized. He was named the superior of a new house even before his ordination as a priest; at the age of 39, he was elected provincial; he was a very successful preacher. Still, he was not above washing dishes and cutting wood for the friars. He did not seek attention; indeed, he preferred solitude.</p><p>Peter’s penitential side was evident when it came to food and clothing. It is said that he slept only 90 minutes each night. While others talked about Church reform, Peter’s reform began with himself. His patience was so great that a proverb arose: "To bear such an insult one must have the patience of Peter of Alcantara."</p><p>In 1554, Peter, having received permission, formed a group of Franciscans who followed the Rule of St. Francis with even greater rigor. These friars were known as Alcantarines. Some of the Spanish friars who came to North and South America in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were members of this group. At the end of the 19th century, the Alcantarines were joined with other Observant friars to form the Order of Friars Minor.</p><p>As spiritual director to St. Teresa, Peter encouraged her in promoting the Carmelite reform. His preaching brought many people to religious life, especially to the Secular Franciscan Order, the friars and the Poor Clares.</p><p>He was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Remember the widow’s mite. She threw into the treasury of the temple only two small coins, but with them, all her great love…. It is, above all, the interior value of the gift that counts: the readiness to share everything, the readiness to give oneself. —Pope John Paul II

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