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Friday, March 26, 2010

Saint Arnold Janssen

Feast Day: January 15

Arnold Janssen was born in Goch, Germany on November 5, 1837. At a young age, he manifested an inclination for the priesthood. He took up philosophy at the Academy of Munster and then studied at the University of Bonn and was ordained a Catholic priest on August 15, 1861.  He is best known for founding 3 congregations.  One is the Society of the Divine Word also known as the Divine Word Missionaries. This society  was designed to provide priests and lay brothers for the missions. The first missionaries were sent out in the mid 1890's and rapidly spread around the world. The 2 other congregations are for women in recognition of the important role women played in the missionary outreach. "Servants of the Holy Spirit served as educators especially for young girls while the "Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration" are contemplative nuns who devote themselves to praying for the success of the missions. 

Father Arnold Janssen died in Steyl on January 5, 1909, and was beatified in 1975 by Pope Paul VI. He was canonized on October 5, 2003 by Pope John Paul II after the miraculous healing of a Filipino teenager.


Saint Arnold Janssen demonstrated how it is to be a true servant of God.  He was in constant search for God's will and he let God use him for His purposes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saint Vincent Ferrer

Feast Day: April 5

Saint Vincent Ferrer was born at Valencia, Spain on January 23, 1357.

In 1374, he entered the Order of St. Dominic and on the following year was sent to the house of studies at Barcelona. He received his doctorate at Catalonia and devoted most of his time to preaching. For twenty years, St. Vincent Ferrer evangelized nearly every province of his country and had tread through Western Europe preaching in France, Italy, Germany, the Alpine Region, Flanders, England, Ireland and Scotland.  People flocked as he preached in marketplaces and squares and though St Vincent Ferrer could only speak the language of Valencia, multitudes were won over by his preaching and numerous conversions were made.   For this, he was known as the missionary of the fourteenth century.

Saint Vincent labored zealously among the people.  He not only preached but he lived them.  He arose at two in the morning for prayer and meditation. Celebrated the daily Mass at six, preached, visited the sick and made himself available for spiritual counseling.  At eight in the evening, St. Vincent Ferrer would prepare his sermon for the next day.  He lived simply and refused all ecclesiastical dignities, including the opportunity to be a cardinal.  

 St Vincent Ferrer lived in an era when the Church was divided by the great schism. During his last days, St Vincent lived to see the Council of Constance ending the Western Schism and electing Martin V as pope.

Because of his work in uniting and building the church in brotherly love, St. Vincent Ferrer became the patron saint of builders.


St. Vincent Ferrer’s zeal is remarkable. He worked for the salvation of souls and for unity in the Church.  He also showed great humility and patience in bearing all things for the love of Christ and for the work of the Church.

For someone who had constantly preached about brotherly love and unity, the schism must have been a constant source of misery to St. Vincent Ferrer.  And what amazes me is that God in His goodness, relieved St Vincent of this burden by letting him witness the end of the great schism.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saint Josephine Bakhita

Feast Day: February 8

Bakhita was not the name given to her by her parents at birth. The trauma of her abduction caused her to forget her own name and Bakhita, an Arabic name which means “lucky” or “fortunate”, was given to her by her captors.

St. Josephine Bakhita was born in the Darfur region of Sudan in 1869. At about 9 years old, she was kidnapped and sold into slavery, and resold in the markets of El Obeid and of Khartoum. She experienced a series of humiliations, was tortured, mutilated and was even left half dead.

Finally, Bakhita was bought by an Italian diplomat, Callisto Legnani. When the consul had to leave for Italy, Bakhita obtained permission to go with them. On arrival in Genoa, at the request of Michieli’s wife, Bakhita became the nanny to Michieli’s daughter, Mimmina. Josephine Bakhita was loved and treated well by the family.

When the Michieli’s moved to the Red Sea to manage their hotel business in Suakin, Bakhita and Mimmina were entrusted to the Institute of the Daughters of the Canossian Charity. It was there that Bakhita came to know about God. After several months, Bakhita was baptized into Catholic faith on January 9, 1890 and was given the name, Josephine.

When Mrs. Michieli came back to get her daughter and her nanny, Bakhita in her great desire to know and serve God, remained with the Canossian Sisters.

For another 50 years, Bakhita lived in the community in Schio doing various services. And because one her duties was attending to the door, she was in frequent contact with the local community. She is well-known for her smile, gentleness as well as charisma and everyone calls her “Mother Moretta (Our little brown mother).
Josephine Bakhita died on February 8, 1947 and on her death bed she uttered her last words with a smile saying “Our Lady! Our Lady!”


In her trials, Bakhita met Jesus. She didn’t know His name. Perhaps, she just called Him hope until she met this familiar face again whom the nuns in the Canossian Charity called Jesus. Bakhita’s hope is in the Lord and her trials led her into a deeper spiritual life that made Bakhita’s life fruitful.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, there is hope. It maybe difficult to see or feel it at the moment, but it is there for you.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."- Jeremiah 29:11

Please feel free to share your reflections/input/insights in the comment box below.  Thank you and God bless