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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.

June 14
St. Albert Chmielowski
(1845-1916)


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Born in Igolomia near Kraków as the eldest of four children in a wealthy family, he was christened Adam. During the 1864 revolt against Czar Alexander III, Adam’s wounds forced the amputation of his left leg.

His great talent for painting led to studies in Warsaw, Munich and Paris. Adam returned to Kraków and became a Secular Franciscan. In 1888 he took the name Albert when he founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants to the Poor. They worked primarily with the homeless, depending completely on alms while serving the needy, regardless of age, religion or politics. A community of Albertine sisters was established later.

Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1983 and canonized him six years later.



Comment:

Reflecting on his own priestly vocation, Pope John Paul II wrote in 1996 that Brother Albert had played a role in its formation "because I found in him a real spiritual support and example in leaving behind the world of art, literature and the theater, and in making the radical choice of a vocation to the priesthood" (Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversay of My Priestly Ordination, p. 33). As a young priest, Karol Wojtyla repaid his debt of gratitude by writing The Brother of Our God, a play about Brother Albert’s life.

Quote:

The first reading at the canonization included Isaiah 58:6 (“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”). The pope referred to this passage and said: “This is the theology of messianic liberation, which contains what we are accustomed to calling today the ‘option for the poor’.... In this tireless, heroic service on behalf of the marginalized and the poor, he [Albert] ultimately found his path. He found Christ. He took upon himself Christ’s yoke and burden; he did not become merely ‘one of those who give alms,’ but became the brother to those he served...” (L'Osservatore Romano 1989, Vol. 49, No. 9).


Sunday, June 14, 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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Maria Goretti: One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. 
<p>She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class. </p><p>On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. “No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger. </p><p>She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack. </p><p>Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother. </p><p>Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, may the medals we wear be constant reminders of the lives they depict. While wearing them, may we be blessed through the saints’ intercession and protected from harm. Help us to continue to spread the messages of Jesus and Mary and the saints and angels.

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