Monday 9th, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, (Edith Stein) Martyr, Patron of Europe: born in 1891 in Breslau, the youngest of seven children of a Jewish family. A brilliant student, she gained her doctorate in philosophy at twenty-five. Became a Catholic in 1922 and a Carmelite nun. Both Jewish and Catholic, she fled to Holland when the Nazis came to power but she was captured and sent to Auschwitz where she died in its gas chamber on August 9th, 1942.
Tuesday 10th, St. Lawrence: Deacon and Martyr. Died in 258, is seen as the cheerful giver seeing that he was one of the seven deacons of the Roman Church in charge of the material needs of the faithful. Gifted with a sense of humour, he met his death cheerfully on a gridiron. From earliest times seen not only as a patron saint of the poor, but also of cooks.
Wednesday 11th, St. Clare: born in Assisi in 1193, died 1253. She followed St. Francis in his life of poverty and was founder and ruler of the Poor Clares. She led an austere life, abounding in works of piety and charity. Patron of television.
Thursday 12th, St. Jane Frances de Chantal: (1572-1641). Married at twenty, she was left widowed with four children nine years later. Her friendship with St. Francis de Sales led to the foundation of the Congregation of the Visitation. St. Muredach: is regarded as the founder of the Church at Killala. He may also be founder of the monastery of Inishmurray off the Sligo coast. St. Attracta: lived in the 6th or 7th century. Local tradition remembers her great healing powers. Her convents were famous for hospitality and charity to the poor. St. Lelia: had a church at Kileely, near Thomond Bridge. She is said to have been baptised by St. Patrick.
Friday 13th, Ss. Pontian, pope and Hippolytus, priest, both martyred: Pontian became Bishop of Rome in 230 but was exiled in Sardinia where he abdicated during persecution in 235, while Hippolytus was a Roman priest. Both died from ill-treatment and are honoured as martyrs. St. Fachtna: founder of the monastery of Ross Carbery. He died around 600. His monastery became the principal monastery of West Cork and later had a famous scripture school.
Saturday 14th, St. Maximilian Kolbe: (1894-1941), a Conventual Franciscan who worked in the apostolate of the press in Poland and Japan, died in Auschwitz.
Usually when I finish the weekly list of saints on the liturgical calendar I tend to move on to the next section of the newsletter or maybe take the quote for the week from one of the saints mentioned. Today, however, as I was typing, two things came to mind – firstly, both St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and Maximilian Kolbe were detained and killed in Auschwitz and both of them were members of religious orders. My first time coming across St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was by her own name, Edith Stein in a philosophy lecture in Maynooth. She was quite involved in a relatively new branch of philosophy in her time while studying in Sweden. I always remember Maximilian Kolbe for his last act: to give himself for a fellow prisoner who had a family. The second thing that struck me was the unusual patronages held by St. Clare and St. Lawrence the deacon. St. Lawrence, burnt alive on a gridiron, is patron saint of cooks. St. Clare, born in 1193, more than 700 years before the television was invented, was made patron of television – because she had the gift of bilocation!