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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.

February 4
St. Joan of Valois
(1464-1505)


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Joan, or Jane, the physically deformed daughter of King Louis XI of France, was endowed with wonderful gifts of mind and heart. Although she suffered much throughout her life, she accepted her disabilities with patience and spent many of her days in prayer and meditation.

Under the guidance of her spiritual director, a Franciscan priest from whom she received the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis, young Joan prepared to give her life in service to God as a member of a religious community.

But her father had other plans. He announced that Joan would marry the Duke of Orleans, and no objections were to be voiced. Joan dutifully obliged, though her marriage was not a happy one. When the duke ascended the throne as King Louis XII, his first act was to divorce the queen on the grounds that he had only agreed to the marriage to escape the anger of the king, his predecessor. The pope agreed that compulsion had been involved, and declared the marriage null and void.

Joan felt an immediate sense of relief and made her way to Bourges. There she lived a secluded life of prayer and, in 1501, founded a contemplative order of nuns—the Sisters of the Annunciation. God called Joan home only a few years later.

She was canonized in 1950.



Comment:

Life dealt Joan a bad hand from the beginning. Born with deformities, she yearned to seek the arms of the only Lover who could see her real beauty, but her royal father had other plans for her. Only when she was at last ejected from her unhappy marriage was she free to devote herself to conversation with God. Life doesn’t always deal us the cards we want either but like Joan, we can play them with grace.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015
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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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Anthony Zaccaria: At the same time that Martin Luther was attacking abuses in the Church, a reformation within the Church was already being attempted. Among the early movers of the Counter-Reformation was Anthony Zaccaria. His mother became a widow at 18 and devoted herself to the spiritual education of her son. He received a medical doctorate at 22 and, while working among the poor of his native Cremona in Italy, was attracted to the religious apostolate. He renounced his rights to any future inheritance, worked as a catechist and was ordained a priest at the age of 26. Called to Milan in a few years, he laid the foundations of three religious congregations, one for men and one for women, plus an association of married couples. Their aim was the reform of the decadent society of their day, beginning with the clergy, religious and lay people. 
<p>Greatly inspired by St. Paul (his congregation is named the Barnabites, after the companion of that saint), Anthony preached with great vigor in church and street, conducted popular missions and was not ashamed of doing public penance. </p><p>He encouraged such innovations as the collaboration of the laity in the apostolate, frequent Communion, the Forty Hours devotion and the ringing of church bells at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays. </p><p>His holiness moved many to reform their lives but, as with all saints, it also moved many to oppose him. Twice his community had to undergo official religious investigation, and twice it was exonerated. </p><p>While on a mission of peace, he became seriously ill and was brought home for a visit to his mother. He died at Cremona at the age of 36.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, help me make my life more about you and less about me. May others see you in me—your image and likeness. Teach me ways to increase my time with you, my service to others, and my love for my family, for strangers, and for the poor. You are the light in the darkness. With each new day, may we be light to one another.

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