Saint Anne - Mother of the Blessed Virgin - Feast Day 26 July.
Of Saint Anne we have no certain knowledge. She is not mentioned in the New Testament, and we must depend on apocryphal literature, chiefly the Protoevangelium of James, which dates back only to the second century.
In this document we are told that Anne, wife of Joachim, was advanced in years and that her prayers for a child had not been answered. Once as she prayed beneath a laurel tree near her home in Galilee, an angel appeared and said to her, "Anne, the Lord hath heard thy prayer and thou shalt conceive and bring forth, and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world."
Anne replied, "As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life". And thus Anne became the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The devotion of Saint Anne was known in the East in the fifth century, but it was not diffused in the West until the thirteenth. A shrine at Douai, in northern France, was one of the early centres of the devotion. In 1382 her feast was extended to the whole Western Church, and she became very popular, especially in France.
She is patroness of housewives, women in labour, cabinet-makers, and miners. Her emblem is a door. Saint Anne has been frequently represented in art, and the lovely face depicted by Leonardo da Vinci comes first to mind in this connection. The name Anne derives from the Hebrew Hannah, meaning 'grace'.
Taken from 'Lives of Saints'. Published by John J Crawley & Co
Reception - Saint Francis of Assissi
Saint Francis cared greatly for all of God’s creatures and in pieces of art work he is often shown alongside animals.
He is the patron Saint of animals, merchants and ecology.
Feast Day 4 October.
Year 1 - Saint Bernadette Soubirous
Saint Bernadette Soubirous was born in Lourdes, France on January 7, 1844. Her parents were very poor and she was the first of nine children. She was baptized at St. Pierre's, the local parish church, on January 9. As a toddler, Bernadette contracted cholera and suffered extreme asthma. Unfortunately, she lived the rest of her life in poor health.
At the age of fourteen years old, Bernadette was sent to gather firewood. While collecting firewood, a very beautiful lady appeared to Bernadette above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle. This lady appeared eighteen times to her and asked for a chapel to be built at the nearby garbage dump of the cave-grotto at Massabielle. She would later receive recognition when the lady who appeared to her identified herself as the Immaculate Conception.
When Bernadette was 35 years old, she became very ill and died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard.
Feast Day 16 April.
Year 2 - Saint Juan Diego
Juan Diego was born in Mexico.
When he went to Tepeyac Hill, he met Mary standing by the roses. She said that she would like a church built there. Juan Diego picked up the roses and showed them to the Bishop. A church was then built on Tepeyac Hill.
Year 3 - Saint Martin de Porres
St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru on December 9, 1579.
Martin spent long hours in prayer. When he was 15, he asked to join the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was allowed to join as a servant boy. He was eventually moved up to the church officer in charge of distributing money to deserving poor.
Later, Martin was assigned to the hospital where he would remain in charge until his death. He became known for his careful and patient care for the sick, even in the most difficult situations.
Martin's life reflected his great love for God and all of God's gifts. It is said he had many extraordinary abilities, miraculous and spiritual knowledge and an excellent relationship with animals.
When Martin was 60 years old, he became very ill and he passed away on November 3, 1639.
Feast Day 3 November. Patron of Mixed Race, Barbers, Public Health Workers, Innkeepers. Death 1639. Beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI. Canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXII.
Year 6 - Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe
St. Maximilian Kolbe was born on January 8, 1894. He was very active in promoting the Immaculate Virgin Mary and is known as the Apostle of Consecration to Mary. Much of his life was strongly influenced by a vision he had of the Virgin Mary when he was 12.
He became a priest and started a magazine so that more people would know about Mary, our Mother.
In 1938, the Nazis invaded the Polish City of the Immaculate. They stopped the wonderful work going on there. In 1941, the Nazis arrested Father Kolbe. They sentenced him to hard manual labour at Auschwitz.
Three months after he arrived at Auschwitz a prisoner managed to escape. The Nazis became very angry and decided to punish the rest of the prisoners. They decided to choose ten prisoners and put them in a bunker without food or water so that they would starve to death. All the prisoners stood straight, while ten men were pulled out of line.
One prisoner they chose was a married man with a family. He begged and pleaded to be spared for the sake of his children. Father Kolbe, who was listening, felt deeply moved and decided to help that suffering prisoner. He stepped forward and asked the commander if he could take the man's place. The commander agreed.
Father Kolbe and the other prisoners were sent into the bunker and they remained alive without food or water for many days. One by one, as they died, Father Kolbe helped and comforted them. He was the last to die on August 14, 1941.
Feast Day 14 August.