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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.

May 21
St. Eugene de Mazenod
(1782-1861)


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Born into a noble family in Aix (Provence), Eugene spent part of his childhood in Italy because of the French Revolution. Ordained a priest at Amiens in 1811, he soon organized missionaries to go to rural parts of Provence, instructing the people whose religious training had been disrupted for many years by the French Revolution and its aftermath.

Eugene began the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1816, obtaining papal approval for them 10 years later. From rural preaching, they soon moved into running seminaries to improve the quality of the clergy. Their first foreign mission was in Canada in 1841; soon they were in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

In 1851, Eugene followed his uncle as archbishop of Marseilles; Eugene died in that city 10 years later. He had focused his energies on Church renewal and reform while vigorously defending the Church’s right to spread the Good News.

His congregation has grown to become one of the largest in the Church, serving in over 50 countries, especially in northern and western Canada. Many of its members have become missionary bishops.

At Eugene’s canonization in 1998, Pope John Paul II praised his vision, perseverance and conformity to God’s will.



Comment:

Eugene de Mazenod allowed the grace of God to bear rich fruit in his life. That required a certain amount of flexibility as well as courage to face the problems every growing group encounters. We look to saints like Eugene not to borrow their courage and zeal but, with God’s grace, to discover our own, always seeking first God’s kingdom (see Matthew 6:33).

Quote:

“Holiness is the grace of God operating in and through human beings” (Kenneth Woodward, Making Saints).


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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Angela Merici: Angela has the double distinction of founding the first teaching congregation of women in the Church and what is now called a “secular institute” of religious women. 
<p>As a young woman she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis (now known as the Secular Franciscan Order), and lived a life of great austerity, wishing, like St. Francis, to own nothing, not even a bed. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the elements of religion. Angela’s charming manner and good looks complemented her natural qualities of leadership. Others joined her in giving regular instruction to the little girls of their neighborhood. </p><p>She was invited to live with a family in Brescia (where, she had been told in a vision, she would one day found a religious community). Her work continued and became well known. She became the center of a group of people with similar ideals. </p><p>She eagerly took the opportunity for a trip to the Holy Land. When they had gotten as far as Crete, she was struck with blindness. Her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going through with the pilgrimage, and visited the sacred shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. On the way back, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost. </p><p>At 57, she organized a group of 12 girls to help her in catechetical work. Four years later the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the Company of St. Ursula (patroness of medieval universities and venerated as a leader of women) for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through solid Christian education of future wives and mothers. The members continued to live at home, had no special habit and took no formal vows, though the early Rule prescribed the practice of virginity, poverty and obedience. The idea of a teaching congregation of women was new and took time to develop. The community thus existed as a “secular institute” until some years after Angela’s death.</p> American Catholic Blog I hear far more people discuss the presence of evil in their lives than they do the supreme power of grace. God is bigger than evil!

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