Saints & Feasts of the Liturgical Year

My Catholic Life!

If a list were made of the greatest human beings who have ever lived, the saints would be at the top. Though historians often attempt to judge greatness from a subjective perspective, there must be objective criteria by which human greatness is judged. The only Being capable of establishing that criteria is God. The criteria that God has established are the virtues, as identified by Jesus and revealed by Him through the holy Gospels.

The goal of this podcast is to present each saint found on the Catholic liturgical calendar in such a way so as to identify the Godly virtues that place each one on that list. The Church has already confirmed the saints’ greatness and their heroic virtues. Importantly, God chose the men and women found in these pages, not only for greatness in their lifetimes, but also as models of holiness in ours. These men and women are gifts to you, given by God through the Church.

Each podecast reflection comes from the four-volume series Saints and Feasts of the Liturgical Year. These reflections can be read at our website for free: mycatholic.life. They are also available for purchase in eBook and paperback. read less
Religion & SpiritualityReligion & Spirituality

Episodes

April 21- Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Bishop and Doctor of the Church—Optional Memorial
4d ago
April 21- Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Bishop and Doctor of the Church—Optional Memorial
Read entire reflection online >>>April 21- Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Bishop and Doctor of the Church—Optional Memorialc. 1033–1109Especially invoked by scholastic philosophers and in CanterburyPossibly canonized prior to 1170; canonization confirmed by Pope Alexander VI on October 4, 1494Declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Clement XI in 1720Liturgical Color: WhiteQuote: Man cannot seek God, unless God himself teaches him; nor find him, unless he reveals himself. God created man in his image, that he might be mindful of him, think of him, and love him. The believer does not seek to understand, that he may believe, but he believes that he may understand: for unless he believed he would not understand.Up now, slight man! flee, for a little while, your occupations; hide yourself, for a time, from your disturbing thoughts. Cast aside, now, your burdensome cares, and put away your toilsome business. Yield room for some little time to God; and rest for a little time in him. Enter the inner chamber of your mind; shut out all thoughts save that of God, and such as can aid you in seeking him; close your door and seek him… ~Proslogion, Saint AnselmPrayer:Saint Anselm, you had a profound, intimate, and personal love of God that arose from your fervent life of prayer. From that prayer, faith was enkindled within you. From that faith, understanding poured forth from your intellect to inspire others and teach them the way to God. Please pray for me, that I may always turn to God through prayer so that my interior life of prayer will be the foundation of all I do and all I am. Saint Anselm, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: mycatholic.lifeCopyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.Image: from Adobe Stock
April 7- Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Priest—Memorial
Apr 5 2024
April 7- Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Priest—Memorial
Read entire reflection online >>>April 7: Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Priest—Memorial1651–1719Patron Saint of educatorsCanonized by Pope Leo XIII on May 24, 1900Liturgical Color: White (Purple if Lenten Weekday)Quote: Indeed, if I had ever thought that the care I was taking of the schoolmasters out of pure charity would ever have made it my duty to live with them, I would have dropped the whole project. For since, naturally speaking, I considered the men whom I was obliged to employ in the schools at the beginning as being inferior to my valet, the mere thought that I would have to live with them would have been insupportable to me. In fact, I experienced a great deal of unpleasantness when I first had them come to my house. This lasted for two years. It was undoubtedly for this reason that God, who guides all things with wisdom and serenity, whose way it is not to force the inclinations of persons, willed to commit me entirely to the development of the schools. God did this in an imperceptible way and over a long period of time, so that one commitment led to another in a way that I did not foresee in the beginning. ~Memoir of Saint John de La SallePrayer:Saint John Baptist de La Salle, God led you one step at a time throughout your life. Your generosity to the promptings of grace in your heart led you down a path you could have never imagined. Please pray for me, that I will always be open to the plan God has for my life, and will generously respond to that plan no matter what. Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: mycatholic.lifeCopyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.Image: from Adobe Stock—featured
April 5- Saint Vincent Ferrer, Priest—Optional Memorial
Apr 3 2024
April 5- Saint Vincent Ferrer, Priest—Optional Memorial
Read entire reflection online >>>April 5: Saint Vincent Ferrer, Priest—Optional Memorialc.1350–1419Patron Saint of builders, plumbers, fishermen, and prisonersCanonized by Pope Calixtus III in 1455Liturgical Color: White (Purple if Lenten Weekday)Quote: By study of Holy Scripture and by factual experience we know that when any great and heavy affliction is about to come on the world, often some warning sign is shown in the sky or in the upper air. And this happens by the mercy of God, so that people forewarned of impending tribulation by means of these signs, through prayer and good works, may obtain in the tribunal of mercy a reversal of the sentence passed against them by God the judge in the heavenly courts; or at least by penance and amendment of life, may prepare themselves against the impending affliction. ~Sermon of Saint Vincent on the Last JudgmentPrayer:Saint Vincent, you put prayer first in your life, and from that prayer became an exceptionally effective minister of the Gospel. God used you to convert countless thousands as you submitted yourself to His divine will with generosity and zeal. Please pray for me, that I may always seek God in prayer and allow my life of prayer to be the fuel for the ministry to which I am called. Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: mycatholic.lifeCopyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.Image: Alonso Cano, via Wikimedia Commons
April 4- Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor of the Church—Optional Memorial
Apr 2 2024
April 4- Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor of the Church—Optional Memorial
Read entire reflection online >>>April 4: Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor of the Church—Optional Memorialc.560–636Patron Saint of computer technicians, the Internet, and studentsPre-Congregation canonizationProclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1722 by Pope Innocent XIIILiturgical Color: White (Purple if Lenten Weekday)Quote: Isidore, a man of great distinction, bishop of the church of Seville, successor and brother of bishop Leander, flourished from the time of Emperor Maurice and King Reccared. In him antiquity reasserted itself—or rather, our time laid in him a picture of the wisdom of antiquity: a man practiced in every form of speech, he adapted himself in the quality of his words to the ignorant and the learned, and was distinguished for unequaled eloquence when there was fit opportunity. Furthermore, the intelligent reader will be able to understand easily from his diversified studies and the works he has completed, how great was his wisdom. ~Tribute to Saint Isidore by Bishop Braulio of SaragossaPrayer:Saint Isidore, God gifted you with a keen intellect that you wholeheartedly devoted to the service of Christ and His Church. Coupled with your personal holiness and charismatic nature, you left an enduring legacy of faith for countless generations. Please pray for me, that I will devote every gift I have been given to the glory of God and the building up of His Church. Saint Isidore, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: mycatholic.lifeCopyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.Image: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, via Wikimedia Commons
March 18- Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor—Optional Memorial
Mar 16 2024
March 18- Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor—Optional Memorial
Read entire reflection online >>>March 18- Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor—Optional Memorialc. 315–c. 387Pre-Congregation canonizationDeclared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1883Liturgical Color: Purple (Lenten Weekday)Quote: God is loving to man, and loving in no small measure. For say not, I have committed fornication and adultery: I have done dreadful things, and not once only, but often: will He forgive? Will He grant pardon? Hear what the Psalmist says: “How great is the multitude of Your goodness, O Lord!” Your accumulated offenses surpass not the multitude of God’s mercies: your wounds surpass not the great Physician’s skill. Only give yourself up in faith: tell the Physician your ailment: say thou also, like David: “I said, I will confess me my sin unto the Lord:” and the same shall be done in your case, which he says immediately: “And you forgave the wickedness of my heart.” ~Saint Cyril, Catechetical Lecture 2Prayer:Saint Cyril, you were a loving shepherd and a firm defender of the Truth of the divinity of Christ. You never wavered in your mission, not even during persecution and exile, but proclaimed Christ Jesus to your flock. Please pray for me, that I will always remain firm in my faith, especially when challenged by a hostile world, and will lovingly proclaim the truth to those who need it most. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: mycatholic.lifeCopyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.Image: Anonymous, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
March 8- Saint John of God, Religious—Optional Memorial
Mar 5 2024
March 8- Saint John of God, Religious—Optional Memorial
Read onlineMarch 8: Saint John of God, Religious—Optional Memorial1495–1550Patron Saint of hospitals, nurses, firefighters, booksellers, alcoholics, and the sickCanonized October 16, 1690 by Pope Alexander VIIILiturgical Color: White (Purple if Lenten Weekday)Quote: Lord be blessed for in your great kindness to me who am such a great sinner having done so many wicked things, yet you see fit to set me free from such a tremendous temptation and deception which I fell into through my own sinfulness. You have brought me into a safe harbor where I shall endeavor to serve you with all my strength. My Lord, I beg you with all my might, give me the strength of your grace and always let me see your clemency. I want to be your slave, so kindly show me what I should do. Give peace and quiet to my soul which greatly desires this. O most worthy Lord, may this creature of yours serve and praise you. May I give my whole heart and mind to you. ~Prayed by Saint John of God at the time of his final conversionReflection: Saint John of God was born in the village of Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal to middle-class, faith-filled parents. According to his early biographer, John was abducted from his home when he was only eight years old and taken to the town of Oropesa, Spain, more than 200 miles away. In Oropesa, John found himself homeless and alone. He met a good man named El Mayoral who gave him a job as a shepherd and a place to live. John worked hard until he was twenty-two years old, never returning to his parents’ home. El Mayoral wanted John to marry his daughter, but John wanted to see the world. He joined the army of the Holy Roman Emperor and battled the French. During his service, he was assigned to guard some captured clothing that went missing. John was accused of theft and condemned to death, but others intervened and he was released. Frustrated with military life, John returned to El Mayoral’s farm where he worked for another four years before entering the army once again to fight the Turks for the next eighteen years.Upon the completion of his military service, John decided to return to his home country in Montemor-o-Novo to learn what became of his parents. After much searching, he found one of his elderly uncles who informed him that his mother died of heartbreak after his abduction and that his father joined the Franciscans and advanced in holiness. John said to his uncle, “I no longer wish to stay in this country; but rather to go in search of a way to serve Our Lord beyond my native place, just as my father did. He gave me a good example by doing that. I have been so wicked and sinful and since the Lord has given me life, it is fitting that I should use it to serve him and do penance.”John began an interior search for the best way he could serve God and decided to journey to Africa, to ransom himself to the Muslims in exchange for their prisoners. On the journey, he met a knight and his family who were destitute and unable to care for themselves. The knight begged for John’s help that John gladly gave by working and giving them his earnings. When one of John’s fellow workers fled to Muslim territory and converted to Islam, John began to despair, thinking he should have done more for his friend. After seeking counsel from a Franciscan monastery, he decided to return to the mainland of Spain for the good of his soul.Upon his arrival, John threw himself into a life of prayer, made a general confession, and tearfully went from church to church begging God for the forgiveness of his sins. To support himself, he began to buy and sell religious pictures and books as a traveling salesman. He found this to be spiritually rewarding and fruitful for the salvation of souls. Eventually, at the age of forty-six, he set up a small shop of religious items at Granada’s city gate.Soon after, the great preacher Saint John of Ávila came to town to preach a mission. John was in attendance and was so moved by John of Ávila’s sermons, and so keenly aware of his own sins, that he started running through the streets like a madman, shouting for mercy. He returned to his shop and destroyed every book that was not religious, gave every other religious book and picture away to those passing by, gave away the rest of his possessions, and continued crying out in the streets that he was a sinner. “Mercy! Mercy, Lord God, on this tremendous sinner who has so offended you!” Many thought John was a lunatic. Some good men brought him to Saint John of Ávila who heard his confession, counseled him, consoled him, and offered his continued guidance. But John was so deeply touched by the priest’s holy help that he wanted everyone in the town to know how sinful he was, so he ran through the streets crying out again and rolled in mud as a sign of his sinfulness. Eventually, two compassionate men took John to the local insane asylum for treatment.The theory of the day was that those who were insane were best cured by locking them in a dungeon and torturing them continuously until they chose to abandon their insanity, and this is what happened to John. Saint John of Ávila heard of this and began communicating with John, encouraging him, and guiding him. He received every beating in the asylum with joy as penance and offered each sacrificially to God. Throughout, John exhorted the warden and other officers to treat the patients better. When John began to exude a peaceful disposition, the warden was pleased and permitted him to be freed of his shackles. John showed mercy and compassion to others, performing menial charitable tasks and spreading God’s love. He thought to himself, “May Jesus Christ eventually give me the grace to run a hospice where the abandoned poor and those suffering from mental disorders might have refuge and that I may be able to serve them as I wish.”After receiving permission to leave the asylum, John made a pilgrimage and had a vision of the Blessed Mother who encouraged him to work for the poor and infirm. Upon his return to Granada, he moved forward with his desire to open a hospital. Through begging, he was able to rent a building, furnish it, and begin seeking out the sick. He worked tirelessly to care for them, begged for food, brought priests to hear their confessions, and nursed them back to health. In the years following, John extended his mission of mercy to the poor, the abandoned, widows, orphans, the unemployed, prostitutes, and all who suffered. Soon, others were so inspired by the work John was doing that they joined him. His companions in the work made up what would eventually become the Order of Hospitallers. In John’s life, the group would be only an organized group of companions, but twenty-two years after John’s death, the pope would approve this group of men as a new religious order. Among the many miracles that have been reported, the most notable was when John ran in and out of a burning hospital to rescue patients without being burned himself. Saint John of God is a shining example of God’s power. He was a sinner and was thought to be mentally ill, but God did incredible things through him. If you ever feel as though you have nothing to offer God, think of Saint John and know that the weaker you may feel, the more God can use you.Prayer: Saint John of God, you struggled in many ways throughout your life. Through it all, you never gave up your desire to serve God and others. Please pray for me, especially when I lose hope, that I may imitate your example and offer myself to God for His glory and the service of all. Saint John of God, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: mycatholic.lifeCopyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.Image: Church of St Bartholomew on the Tiber Island in Rome
March 7- Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs—Memorial
Mar 4 2024
March 7- Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs—Memorial
Read OnlineMarch 7: Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs—MemorialSaint Perpetua: c. 182–203Patron Saint of cattle and martyrsInvoked against the death of childrenSaint Felicity: Unknown–203Patron Saint of martyrs, help to have male children, and widowsInvoked against sterility and the death of childrenPre-Congregation canonizationsLiturgical Color: Red (Purple if Lenten Weekday)Quote: Now dawned the day of their victory, and they went forth from the prison into the amphitheater as it were into heaven, cheerful and bright of countenance; if they trembled at all, it was for joy, not for fear. Perpetua followed behind, glorious of presence, as a true spouse of Christ and darling of God; at whose piercing look all cast down their eyes. Felicity likewise, rejoicing that she had borne a child in safety, that she might fight with the beasts, came now from blood to blood, from the midwife to the gladiator, to wash after her travail in a second baptism. ~The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity #18Reflection: The first records of martyrdom in North Africa took place in 180 when twelve Christians were tried and put to death for their faith. After those first martyrs, the Christian faith in North Africa grew stronger and new converts became commonplace. In an attempt to slow the growth of Christianity, Roman Emperor Septimius Severus issued a decree forbidding subjects of the Roman Empire to convert. If they did, they were given the opportunity to renounce their faith and honor the Roman gods. If they refused, they were put to death. In 203, five catechumens preparing for baptism were arrested in the Roman city of Carthage (modern-day Tunisia). Among those catechumens were the two martyrs we honor today.Vibia Perpetua was a twenty-two-year-old married noblewoman at the time of her arrest. She was also a mother, having recently given birth to a son whom she was still nursing. Her father was a pagan, but her mother and a brother were baptized Christians. A second brother was preparing for baptism alongside Perpetua, and a third brother had already died as a pagan. Perpetua had been touched by Christ and decided to become a Christian, but she was arrested before her baptism. Her pagan father came to her in prison and pleaded with her to renounce the Christian faith and refuse baptism to save her life so she could raise her son. Perpetua records that conversation as follows: “‘Father, do you see this vessel lying here to be a little pitcher, or something else? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?’ And he said, ‘No.’ ‘Neither can I call myself anything else than what I am, a Christian’” (Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity). A few days later, Perpetua was secretly baptized in prison.While in prison, Perpetua’s heart yearned for her baby. To her joy, the infant was brought to her so she could nurse him. When that happened, she said, “My prison suddenly became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else.”Felicity, a slave, was also a young woman and pregnant at the time of her arrest. One eyewitness stated, “Felicity had feared that she might not be allowed to suffer with the rest, because pregnant women were not sent into the arena. However, she gave birth in the prison to a daughter whom one of their fellow Christians at once adopted.”When these brave women stood before their judge, Perpetua’s father showed up with her baby, pleading with her to renounce Christ, save her life, and be there for her son. The judge also encouraged her: “Spare your father’s white hairs. Spare the tender years of your child. Offer sacrifice for the prosperity of the emperors.” Perpetua refused. When asked directly if she were a Christian, she responded, “Yes, I am.” At that, her father violently inserted himself into the situation but was struck by the guard. When Perpetua saw this, her heart broke. She later recounted, “I felt this as if I myself had been struck, so deeply did I grieve to see my father treated thus in his old age.” The judge passed sentence and all were condemned to death by wild beasts. Still, they were filled with great joy as they returned to their prison. After the sentencing, Perpetua was no longer allowed to see her baby boy.On the day of their martyrdom, Perpetua and Felicity walked to the arena with heads high and joyful spirits. With them were Revocatus, a fellow slave with Felicity, and two freemen, Saturninus and Secundulus. The men were sent into the arena first to be devoured by a leopard, a wild boar, and a bear. Saturnius was the last standing. When a second leopard attacked and blood poured out, the crowd cried out, “He is well baptized now!”Perpetua and Felicity were then placed in the arena, and a wild cow was let loose as a way of mocking them as nursing mothers. The beast gravely wounded them but did not kill them, so an executioner was dispatched. Perpetua cried out to her brother, “Stand fast in the faith, and love one another. Do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you.” She then noticed the fear in the eyes of the executioner so she guided his sword to her neck and the young women received their eternal reward.Perpetua and Felicity were both new young mothers at the time of their martyrdom. They loved their newborn babies with tender love. But they also loved their God Whom they had both recently come to know. They were forced to choose. Either reject Christ and be there to raise their babies or remain Christian and leave their babies. With heroic courage and faith, they remained true to both. They remained faithful to Christ, dying as martyrs, and they fulfilled their greatest motherly duty by giving heroic witnesses of faith to their babies. We can only hope that as their children grew and were told the stories of their mothers’ love of God, those children were inspired and sought to imitate their mothers’ Christian faith.Place yourself in that same situation. Would you have had the courage to face death? Would you be able to stay true to your profession of faith under such extreme emotional and familial pressures? Pray to these saintly mothers and be reminded that the greatest gift we can pass onto others is the witness of our faith in Christ. Life is empty unless Christ is loved and professed, and death loses its sting when our lives are Christ’s.Prayer: Saints Perpetua and Felicity, you loved your infants and you loved your God. By embracing martyrdom for your faith, you gave the greatest witness possible to your children. Please pray for me, that I will never shy away from living my faith openly in a hostile world and that I will be a holy witness of God’s most pure love to all. Saints Perpetua and Felicity, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: mycatholic.lifeCopyright © 2024 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.Image from National Museum in Warsaw, via Wikimedia Commons