Saint Magloire

Abbot of Dol in Brittany
(† 586)

Saint Magloire

Saint Magloire was born in Brittany, or northwestern France, towards the end of the fifth century.

His noble and pious parents placed him while young under the tutelage of Saint Samson, his first cousin, who had become an abbot in England, but had later returned to Brittany and become bishop for his monastery of Dol, south of Saint Malo in that region.

Under this excellent master the young man made great progress in the various branches of learning and in virtue.

Saint Magloire, after his ordination, was first made Abbot of a monastery at Lanmeur. He governed that monastery with prudence and holiness for fifty-two years.

When Saint Samson died, he was elected to replace him at Dol as its Abbot. Despite his hesitation, based on his sentiments of unworthiness and incapacity, he accepted, but remained for only two or three years; he was already septuagenarian.

Then, with the consent of his people, he retired to a desert, where he built a cell. But soon his solitude was interrupted by souls who came seeking his prayers for their cure or deliverance from evil spirits.

A wealthy man cured of leprosy, which had afflicted him for seven years, gave him at first half, then the entirety of the Island of Jersey, which was his property.

There Saint Magloire built a new monastery, in which sixty-two religious served God, and in their arms he died a few years later.

In the church he received the Viaticum from the hand of an Angel, and refused afterwards to leave it, repeating constantly the words of David, the royal psalmist: I have asked but one thing of the Lord, and will not cease to ask it of Him — that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life.

Great miracles were effected at his tomb, placed in the same church.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12)


Saint Anthony-Mary Claret

Founder of the Claretian Fathers
and the Sisters of Mary Immaculate

Saint Anthony-Mary Claret

Saint Anthony Mary Claret is the Founder of the Claretian Fathers, or the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Born in 1807 in Spain, he was a very pious child.

He later wrote that, already at the age of five, my little heart trembled at the thought of hell, and I said to myself: Will those who fall into hell never stop suffering? No, never. Will they always suffer? Yes, always.

This thought remained profoundly engraved in my mind, and I can say that it is ever present to me. That is what has animated me to work for the conversion of sinners. Why? Because I received [from God] so tender a heart that I cannot see a misfortune without assisting it.

The young Anthony practiced his father’s trade, the weaving of fabrics, in which he excelled, until one day in church, All the efforts I made not to voluntarily entertain thoughts of my trade were in vain; I was like a wheel turning with great speed, which cannot be stopped all at once… There were more machines running in my head than there are Saints on the altars.

He entered the local seminary in the same year, 1829.

As a young priest he went to Rome to place himself at the disposition of the Congregation of the Propaganda; there the director of a retreat counseled him to enter the Society of Jesus.

He did so but was obliged to leave it soon afterwards because of poor health. He returned to Spain, and for nine years preached everywhere the word of God and promoted the Catholic Press.

In 1848 he founded a publishing house at Barcelona, and soon afterwards established his Claretian congregation of priests. The six priests of this Congregation had just received the formal approbation of the bishop of Vich, and completed a retreat at the Seminary in July of 1848, with the Exercises of Saint Ignatius; on August 11th, while their new Superior was preaching a mission to the clergy of the diocese, he received a royal decree nominating him Archbishop of Santiago, in Cuba.

He was inclined to refuse it categorically and attempted to do so, but was not heard; he asked his five companions to pray for light for several days, then to advise him as to their reply — should he or not accept the nomination?

They were unanimous in saying they believed he should accept, and he did.

For six years he dedicated himself to the organization and evangelization of his diocese. In Cuba he founded another new congregation, the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, dedicated to the instruction of the young.

A School of Arts and Trades was opened there, and Latin America saw established its first common funds resources. Abuses vanished under his strict and persevering disciplinary measures. In Cuba an attempt was made on his life; he received a severe wound of the head which limited his preaching capacity for a time, and he was recalled to Spain, summoned by Queen Isabella II to replace her deceased confessor.

He continued to travel to various places on the peninsula, preaching everywhere in Andalusia and elsewhere. In 1862, from September 12th until October 29th, during one royal visitation, one of the Queen’s servants counted the sermons he had given — two hundred and five: 16 to the clergy, nine to the seminarians; 95 to the various groups of Sisters; thirty-five to the poor in the various houses of charity; and twenty-two others to the people in general in the churches.

He created the Academy of Saint Michael for the Catholic intellectuals, called to sustain the influence of the Church; he founded popular libraries and saw to the diffusion of good literature; he accompanied the exiled Queen to Rome and took part in the First Vatican Council, 1869. Finally he settled in France, where he died in 1870.

He was commanded to write his life by his spiritual director; this he did, beginning in 1861. We are fortunate to possess this autobiography of an extraordinary soul, both contemplative and active in the love and service of God. It serves for the formation of missionaries, since his director told him it should be conceived with that purpose. In this book he wrote a paragraph which has become classic, to describe what an apostle of the Gospel should be.

In it the paths he followed himself are made articulate:

A son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man who is consumed with love and who sets on fire everything in his path.

He is a man who unceasingly expends himself to light the fire of divine love in the world.

Nothing stops him; he places his joy in privations, he undertakes all works for the glory of God; he embraces willingly every sacrifice, he is happy in the midst of calumnies; he exults in torments.

He can think of but one thing — working, suffering, and seeking at all times the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls, to imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ.

(SOURCE: Saint Antoine-Marie Claret: Autobiography. Translation from the Spanish by Rev. Léonor-Alban, F.S.C. Preface by Jean-Marie Lozano, C.M.F. (Les Éditions du soleil levant: Namur, 1961). Available in English with a biography, and a book narrating his miracles (Tan Books and Publishers: Rockford, 1985).)



Saint Francis of Assisi

Founder of the Franciscan Orders


Saint Francis, the son of a merchant of Assisi, was born in the year 1182 in a poor stable, his birth already prophesying the Saint who would preach poverty to a world seduced by luxury.

Though chosen by God to be for the world a living manifestation of Christ’s poor and suffering life on earth, in his youth he was generous, always of equal humor, and much appreciated by his friends; he was fond of splendors, fine clothing, and good company, and easily won the affection of all who knew him.

More than once various holy persons foretold for him a future of glory, but in veiled terms. Francis did not understand these predictions, and supposed he would become the leader of a large militia.

The military life he had adopted ended when Jesus told him he was destined to fight another kind of combat, one against the demon and sin; that the grandeurs predicted were spiritual, not temporal — and to return home. He became inspired with a great esteem for poverty and humiliation.

The thought of the Man of Sorrows, who had nowhere to lay His head, filled him with holy envy of the poor, and constrained him to renounce the wealth and the worldly station which he had come to abhor.

One day, while on horseback, he met a leper begging alms who inspired him with repugnance, and he took a path to avoid him. Then, repenting, he turned his horse around and returned to embrace him and give him a generous alms, as was his custom for all beggars.

He continued on his way, but looked back, and nowhere on the plain could the stranger be seen, though there were no trees, no refuges anywhere. He was from that day a completely transformed person.

He decided to use his wealth to care for the poor and the sick, and dedicate himself in person to the same works. When he prayed one day in the little chapel to do only what God willed of him, the Saviour spoke again to him, repeating three times the mysterious words: Go, Francis, and repair My house which is falling into ruin.

He then undertook to repair the old church of San Damiano where he had heard these words, retiring for refuge to a grotto. He was regarded as a fool by the people, when he returned to the city in the clothing of a poor beggar. This was indeed the folly of the Cross.

Francis renounced his heritage definitively, to beg thereafter his daily sustenance and what he needed for the repair of the church, and left the city singing the praises of God. He repaired two other churches. The love of God which was burning brightly in the poor man of Assisi began to give light and warmth to many others also, and it was not long before several came to join him.

One of them was a very wealthy man of Assisi, the second a Canon of the Assisi cathedral, and the third the now Blessed Brother Gilles. They adopted the absolute poverty of Francis, and the foundations of the Franciscan Order were laid. They were first called the penitents of Assisi.

No counsels could make Francis change his resolution to possess nothing at all. God revealed to him then that he was to found a religious Order.

Pope Innocent III, when Francis with his first twelve companions journeyed to Rome, after first rebuffing them, recognized him as the monk God showed him in a vision, supporting on his shoulders the Church of Saint John Latran, which was growing decrepit.

He received the profession of Francis and his twelve companions, and in 1215 they were formally constituted as a religious Order, which then spread rapidly throughout Christendom.

In 1216, Saint Francis after assembling his religious, sent them out to preach in France, Spain, England and Germany, where they established monasteries, lasting proofs of the efficacy of their missions.

A second general Chapter was held in 1219 on the feast of Pentecost, and the little Brothers gathered from all over the world at Saint Mary of the Angels, the church which Francis and his first twelve disciples had received only nine years earlier. Cabins of reeds and tents were put up all over the countryside.

The Cardinal who visited them exclaimed, with tears in his eyes, O Brother, truly this is the camp of the Lord! They were more than 5,000 in number. Saint Francis exhorted his brethren: My Brothers, above all, let us love the Holy Church; let us pray for her exaltation, and never abandon poverty. Is it not written, Trust in the Lord, and He Himself will sustain you’?

Francis, after visiting the Orient in a vain quest for martyrdom, spent his life like his Divine Master — now in preaching to the multitudes, now amid the desert solitudes in fasting and contemplation.

His constant prayer was My God and my All! During one of these retreats on Mount Alverno, he received on his hands, feet, and side the imprints of the five wounds of Jesus.

With the cry, Welcome, sister Death! he passed to the glory of his God, October 4, 1226, at the age of 44 years.

FOOTNOTE: The prayer of Saint Francis, My God and my All! explains both his poverty and his wealth.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12;Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).)


Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Franciscan Priest

Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Joseph Desa was born in the little city of Cupertino, near the Gulf of Tarento, in 1600.

It is said in the acts of the process of his canonization that at the age of five he already showed such signs of sanctity that if he had been an adult, he would have been venerated as a perfect man.

Already in his youth he was ravished in ecstasies which literally tore him away from the earth; it has been calculated that perhaps half of his life for some sixty years was spent literally above the ground.

But much remains to be said of Saint Joseph, apart from his visible divine favors.

He almost died at the age of seven from an interior abscess, which only his prayer to Our Lady cured. He learned to be a shoemaker to earn his living, but was often absent in spirit from his work. He treated his flesh with singular rigor.

The Cardinal de Lauria, who knew him well for long years, said he wore a very rude hair shirt and never ate meat, contenting himself with fruits and bread. He seasoned his soup, if he accepted any, with a dry and very bitter powder of wormwood.

At the age of seventeen he desired to become a conventual Franciscan, but was refused because he had not studied. He entered the Capuchins as a lay brother, but the divine favors he received seemed everywhere to bring down contempt upon him.

He was in continuous contemplation and dropped plates and cauldrons.

He would often stop and kneel down, and his long halts in places of discomfort brought on a tumor of the knee which was very painful.

It was decided that he lacked both aptitude and health, and he was sent home. He was then regarded everywhere as a vagabond and a fool, and his mother in particular was harsh, as had been her custom for long years.

She did, however, obtain permission for him to take charge of the stable for the conventual Franciscans, wearing the habit of the Third Order.

Saint Joseph proved himself many times to be perfectly obedient. His humility was heroic, and his mortification most exceptional.

His words bore fruit and wakened the indifferent, warned against vice and in general were seen to come from a man who was very kind and very virtuous. He was finally granted the habit.

He read with difficulty and wrote with still more difficulty, but the Mother of God was watching over him.

When by the intervention of the bishop he had been admitted to minor Orders, he desired to be a priest but knew well only one text of the Gospel. By a special Providence of God, that was the text he was asked to expound during the canonical examination for the diaconate.

The bishop who was in charge of hearing candidates for the priesthood found that the first ones answered exceptionally well, and he decided to ordain them all without any further hearings, thus passing Joseph with the others.

He was ordained in 1628.

He retired to a hermitage where he was apparently in nearly continuous ecstasy, or at least contemplation.

He kept nothing for himself save the tunic he wore. Rejoicing to be totally poor, he felt entirely free also.

He obeyed his Superiors and went wherever he was sent, wearing sandals and an old tunic which often came back with pieces missing; the people had begun to venerate him as a Saint, and had cut them off.

When he did not notice what was happening, he was reproached as failing in poverty.

The humble Brother wanted to pass for a sinner; he asked for the lowest employments, and transported the building materials for a church on his shoulders.

He begged for the community.

At the church he was a priest; elsewhere, a poor Brother.

Toward the end of his life all divine consolations were denied the Saint, including his ecstasies.

He fell victim to an aridity which was unceasing, and he could find no savor in any holy reading.

Then the infernal spirits inspired terrible visions and dreams.

He shed tears amid this darkness and prayed his Saviour to help him, but received no answer.

When the General of the Order heard of this, he called him to Rome, and there he recovered from the fearful trial, and all his joy returned.

He still had combats with the enemy of God to bear just the same, when the demons took human form to attempt to injure him physically.

Other afflictions were not spared him, but his soul overcame all barriers between himself and God.

He died on September 18, 1663, at the age of 63, in the Franciscan convent of Osino.

He had celebrated Holy Mass up to and including the day before his death, as he had foretold he would do.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 11)


Saint Bede the Venerable

Father of the Church

Saint Bede the Venerable
Saint Bede the Venerable

Saint Bede, the illustrious ornament of the Anglo-Saxon Church and its first English historian, was consecrated to God in 680 at the age of seven, and entrusted to the care of Saint Benedict Biscop at Weremouth.

He became a monk in the sister-house of Jarrow, which he would never leave, and there he trained no fewer than six hundred scholars, whom his piety, learning, and sweet disposition had gathered around him.

He was ordained a priest in 702.

To the toils of teaching and the exact observance of his Rule he added long hours of private prayer, with the study of every branch of science and literature then known.

He was familiar with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. I

n a treatise which he compiled for his scholars, still extant, he assembled all that the world had then conserved of history, chronology, physics, music, philosophy, poetry, arithmetic, and medicine.

In his Ecclesiastical History he has left us beautiful lives of Anglo-Saxon Saints and holy Fathers, while his commentaries on the Sacred Scriptures are still in use by the Church.

It was to the study of the Divine Word that he devoted the whole energy of his soul, and at times his compunction was so overpowering that his voice would break with weeping, while the tears of his scholars mingled with his own.

Once he was accused of heresy by certain jealous ones, but this scholar who had always made a great effort not to depart from tradition, wrote a letter which vindicated him and stopped the bad reports.

He had little aid from others, and during his later years suffered from constant illness; yet he worked and prayed up to his last hour.

It has been said of him that it is easier to admire him in thought than to do him justice in expression.

The Saint was employed in translating the Gospel of Saint John from the Greek, even to the hour of his death, which took place on the eve of the Ascension in the year 735.

He spent that day joyfully, writes one of his scholars. In the middle of the afternoon he said: It is time that I return to the One who gave me being, creating me out of nothing… The moment of my liberty is approaching; I desire to be freed from the bonds of the body and to join Jesus Christ. Yes, my soul longs to see Jesus Christ its king, in the splendour of His glory.

In the evening a scribe attending him said, Dear master, there is yet one chapter unwritten; would you be disturbed if we asked you additional questions?

He answered, No; take your pen, and write quickly, which the disciple did.

He prayed then until his last breath.

Reflection. The Imitation of Christ says: The more a man is at peace within himself and interiorly simple, the more and deeper things does he understand without labor; for he receives the light of understanding from on high.

(SOURCE: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 6)


Saint Joan Antide Thouret


Saint Joan Antide Thouret
Saint Joan Antide Thouret

Born in the diocese of Besançon in November of 1765, Saint Joan Antide lost her pious mother when she was 16 years old, and for several years took charge of the household and her family of younger brothers and sisters.

After many hesitations, her father permitted her to enter the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris in 1787.

She worked in various hospitals caring for the sick, until the Revolution in France brought about the dispersion of the Congregations.

She was ordered to abandon her religious habit in 1792, but refused and fled; she was struck so violently that she remained for eight months between life and death.

In 1793 she returned from Paris to her native village of Sancey on foot, begging her bread; there she opened a school and cared for the sick.

Times were growing ever more difficult, and Sister Thouret again had to depart, this time journeying to Switzerland, where she assisted a French priest who had gone into exile with a few members of his little community.

Again she cared for the sick; but the entire group was forced to move once again and go to Germany.

After two years she went to the village of Landeron in Switzerland.

There she met the Vicar General of Besançon, and he asked her to found a school and a hospital in that city.

In 1799 the foreseen school was opened at Besançon, and with a few novices the Foundress began work in France again.

She wrote a rule for her Daughters of Saint Vincent de Paul, as she called them to distinguish them from the larger group, the Sisters of Charity, of whom they were independent.

The Congregation’s members multiplied, as did their works; in 1802 they were given the direction of a house of detention at Bellevaux, sheltering more than 500 prisoners.

They opened schools in eastern France and Switzerland. The foundress was invited to go to Naples to take on the direction of a hospital and initiate other works; she accepted this invitation in 1810.

She remained in Naples until 1818, obtaining from Pope Pius VII the approval of her Institute in 1819.

Problems arising in Besançon caused her many sufferings, when the new bishop there desired to maintain the Community under diocesan authority.

Saint Joan Antide died in Naples in 1826, having left for her Sisters many examples of heroic virtue.

She was canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI, who invited the French nation to exult with joy on seeing its crown enriched by a new flower of holiness.

(SOURCE: Almanach Catholique français pour 1927; pour 1934 (Librairie Bloud et Gay: Paris, 1927, 1934).)


Saint Brendan the Navigator

Abbot of Clonfert

Saint Brendan the Navigator
Saint Brendan the Navigator

Saint Brendan was born in County Kerry, Ireland, in the year 484.

His education was confided to Saint Ita, called the Bridget of Munster, and later to Saint Erc; the latter ordained him a priest in 512.

Between the years 512 and 530 he built monastic cells at Ardfert and Shanakeel, at the foot of Brandon Hill.

From the latter colony he set out on his famous voyage of seven years, accompanied by a number of monks, according to the account of Saint Aengus at the close of the eighth century.

When Saint Brendan’s narration of the trip was transcribed and read after his return, crowds of pilgrims and students came to Ardfert, and it was necessary to found many religious houses at various sites for those who wished to live under the Saint’s direction.

He established the See of Ardfert, then founded a monastery in County Clare in about 550.

He journeyed afterwards to Wales and Iona.

After a three years’ mission in Britain, he returned to Ireland and concerned himself with charitable works in the region of Leinster.

He founded another see at Annaghdown, and at least four churches in different counties of Ireland.

The monastery of Clonfert was founded in 557, and there Saint Brendan died, in an advanced old age.

(SOURCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908).)




(1656 – 1728)


Rosa Venerini was born in Viterbo, on February 9, 1656. Her father, Goffredo, originally from Castelleone di Suasa (Ancona), after having completed his doctorate in medicine at Rome, moved to Viterbo where he practiced the medical profession brilliantly in the Grand Hospital. From his marriage to Marzia Zampichetti, of an ancient family of Viterbo, four children were born: Domenico, Maria Maddalena, Rosa and Orazio.

Rosa was naturally gifted with intelligence and an uncommon human sensibility. The education that she received in her family allowed her to develop her many talents of mind and heart, forming her in steadfast Christian principles.

According to her first biographer, Father Girolamo Andreucci, S.I., she made a vow to consecrate her life to God at the age of seven.

During the early years of her youth, she lived through a conflict between the attractions of the world and the promise made to God. Rosa overcame this crisis with trusting prayer and mortification.

At age twenty, Rosa raised questions about her own future. The women of her time could choose only two orientations for their live: marriage or the cloister. Rosa esteemed both, but she felt called to realize another project for the good of the Church and the society of her time.

Urged on by prophetic interior occurrences, she committed much time in suffering and searching before reaching a resolution that was completely innovative.

In the autumn of 1676, on the advice of her father, Rosa entered the Dominican Monastery of St. Catherine, with the prospect of fulfilling her vow.

With her Aunt Anna Cecilia beside her, she learned to listen to God in silence and in meditation. She remained in the monastery for only a few months because the sudden death of her father forced her to return to her suffering mother.

In the years immediately following, Rosa had to bear the burden of serious events for her family: her brother Domenico died at only twenty-seven years of age; a few months later her mother died, unable to bear the sorrow.

In the meantime, Maria Maddalena married. There remained at home only Orazio and Rosa, by now twenty-four years old. Challenged by the desire to do something great for God, in May of 1684, the Saint began to gather the girls and women of the area in her own home to recite the rosary.

The way in which the girls and women prayed, and above all, their conversation before and after the prayer, opened the mind and heart of Rosa to a sad reality: the woman of the common people was a slave of cultural, moral and spiritual poverty.

She then understood that the Lord was calling her to a higher mission which she gradually identified in the urgent need to dedicate herself to the instruction and Christian formation of young women, not with sporadic encounters, but with a school understood in the real and true sense of the word.

On August 30, 1685, with the approval of the Bishop of Viterbo, Cardinal Urbano Sacchetti and the collaboration of two friends, Gerolama Coluzzelli and Porzia Bacci, Rosa left her father’s home to begin her first school, according to an innovative plan that had matured in prayer and her search for the will of God.

The first objective of the Foundress was to give the girls of the common people a complete Christian formation and prepare them for life in society. Without great pretense, Rosa opened the first “Public School for Girls in Italy”.

The origins were humble but the significance was prophetic: the human promotion and spiritual uplifting of woman was a reality that did not take long to receive the recognition of the religious and civil authorities.

Expansion of the Work:

The initial stages were not easy. The three Maestre (teachers) had to face the resistance of clergy who considered the teaching of the catechism as their private office. But the harshest suspicion came from conformists who were scandalized by the boldness of this woman of the upper middle class of Viterbo who had taken to heart the education of ignorant girls.

Rosa faced everything for the love of God and with her characteristic strength, continuing on the path that she had undertaken, by now sure that she was truly following the plan of God.

The fruits proved her to be right. The same pastors recognized the moral improvement that the work of education generated among the girls and mothers.

The validity of this initiative was acknowledged and its fame went beyond the confines of the Diocese. Cardinal Mark Antonio Barbarigo, Bishop of Montefiascone, understood the genius of the Viterbo project and he called the Saint to his diocese.

The Foundress, always ready to sacrifice herself for the glory of God, responded to the invitation. From 1692 to 1694, she opened ten schools in Montefiascone and the villages surrounding Lake Bolsena.

The cardinal provided the material means and Rosa made the families aware, trained the teachers, and organized the schools.

When she had to return to Viterbo to attend to the strengthening of her first school, Rosa entrusted the schools and the teachers to the direction of a young woman, St. Lucia Filippini, in whom she has seen particular gifts of mind, heart and spirit.

After the openings in Viterbo and Montefiascone, other schools were started in Lazio. Rosa reached Rome in 1706, but the first experience in Rome was a real failure which marked her deeply and caused her to wait six long years before regaining the trust of the authorities.

On December 8, 1713, with the help of Abate Degli Atti, a great friend of the Venerini family, Rosa was able to open one of her schools in the center of Rome at the foot of the Campidoglio.

On October 24, 1716, they received a visit from Pope Clement XI, accompanied by eight Cardinals, who wanted to attend the lessons.

Amazed and pleased, at the end of the morning he addressed these words to the Foundress: “Signora Rosa, you are doing that which we cannot do. We thank you very much because with these schools you will sanctify Rome “.

From that moment on, Governors and Cardinals asked for schools for their areas.

The duties of the Foundress became intense, consisting of travels and hard work interwoven with joys and sacrifices for the formation of new communities.

Wherever a new school sprang up, in a short time a moral improvement could be noted in the youth.

Rosa Venerini died a saintly death in the community of St. Mark’s in Rome on the evening of May 7, 1728. She had opened more than forty schools.

Her remains were entombed in the nearby Church of the Gesù, so loved by her.

In 1952, on the occasion of her Beatification, they were transferred to the chapel of the Generalate in Rome.

She was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 15, 2006 at Rome.

Her Spirituality:

During her entire life, Rosa moved in the ocean of the Will of God. She said, “I feel so nailed to the Will of God that nothing else matters, neither death nor life. I want what He wants; I want to serve Him as much as pleases Him and no more”.

After her first contacts with the Dominican Fathers at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Oak Tree, near Viterbo, she definitely followed the austere and balanced spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola under the direction of the Jesuits, especially Father Ignatius Martinelli.

The crises of adolescence, the perplexity of youth, the search for a new way, the institution of the schools and the communities, the rapport with the Church and the world-all were oriented to the Divine Will.

Prayer was the breath of her day. Rosa did not impose on herself or her Daughters long vocal prayers, but recommended that the life of the Maestre, in the practice of the precious education ministry, be a continuous speaking with God, of God and for God.

Intimate communion with the Lord was nourished by mental prayer, which the Saint considered “essential nourishment of the soul”.

In meditation, Rosa listened to the Teacher who taught along the roads of Palestine and in a particular way from the height of the Cross.

With her gaze upon the crucifix, Rosa always felt more strongly her passion for the salvation of souls.

For this reason, she celebrated and lived daily the Eucharist in a mystical way. In her imagination, the Saint saw the world as a great circle; she placed herself in the center of it and contemplated Jesus, the immaculate victim, who offered Himself from every part of the world to the Father through the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

She called this means of elevating herself to God “The Greatest Circle”. With incessant prayer, she participated spiritually in all the Masses being celebrated in every part of the world.

She united with love the sufferings, hard work and joys of her own life to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, concerned that His Precious Blood would not be shed in vain.

The Charism:

We can summarize the charism of Rosa Venerini in a few words. She lived consumed by two great passions: passion for God and passion for the salvation of souls.

When she understood that the girls and women of her time needed to be educated and instructed in the truths of the faith and of morality, she spared nothing of time, hard work, struggle, and difficulties of every kind, as long as it responded to the call of God.

She knew that the proclamation of the Good News could be received if people were first liberated from the darkness of ignorance and error.

Moreover, she intuited that professional training could give woman a human promotion and affirmation in society.

This project required an educating Community and Rosa, without pretense and well before its time in history, offered to the Church the model of the Apostolic Religious Community.

Rosa did not practice her educational mission only in the school but took every occasion to announce the love of God.

She comforted and cured the sick, raised the spirits of the discouraged, consoled the afflicted, called sinners back to a new life, exhorted to fidelity consecrated souls not observing their call, helped the poor and freed people from every form of moral slavery.

“Educate to save” became the motto that urged the Maestre Pie Venerini to continue the Work of the Lord intended by their Foundress and radiate the charism of Rosa to the world: to free from ignorance and evil so that the project of God which every person carries within can be visible.

This is the magnificent inheritance that Rosa Venerini left her Daughters.

Wherever the Maestre Pie Venerini strive to live and transmit the apostolic concern of their Mother, in Italy as in other lands, they give preference to the poor.

After having made its contribution to the Italian immigrants to the USA from 1909 and in Switzerland from 1971 to 1985, the Congregation extended its apostolic activity to other lands: India, Brazil, Cameroon, Romania, Albania, Chile, Venezuela and Nigeria.
(SOURCE: Libreria Editrice Vaticana)





        “My love, what can I do to make the whole world love you? … Make use once again of this wretched instrument to renew the faith and the conversion of sinners”.

This generous outburst, uttered at the feet of her ‘Supreme Good’ – who drew her ever closer to him – constituted the deepest yearning of Anna Rosa Gattorno’s heart, leading her to offer her life totally in a continuous sacrifice for the glory and pleasure of the Father.
She was born in Genoa on 14 October 1831 into a deeply Christian, well-to-do family of good name. She was baptized the same day in the parish of S. Donato and received the names Rosa, Maria, Benedetta.
In her father Francesco and her mother Adelaide Campanella, like their other five children, she found the first models for her moral and Christian life. When she was 12 years old, she was confirmed at S. Maria delle Vigne by Cardinal Archbishop Tadini.
As a young girl she was educated at home, as was the custom in rich families at that time. With her serene and loveable character, open to piety and charity, she was nonetheless firm and knew how to react to the confrontations of the political and anticlerical climate of the time, which did not spare even some members of the Gattorno family.
At the age of  21 Rosa married her cousin Gerolamo Custo (5 November 1852), and moved to Marseilles. Unforeseen financial difficulties very soon upset the happiness of the new family which was forced to return to Genoa in a state of poverty.

More serious misfortunes were looming: their first child, Carlotta, after a sudden illness was left deaf and dumb for life; Gerolamo’s attempt to find fortune abroad ended with his return, aggravated by a fatal illness; the happiness of the other two children was deeply disturbed by her husband’s disappearance which left her a widow less than six years after their marriage (9 March 1858) and, a few months later, by the loss of her youngest little son.
The succession of so many sad events in her life marked a radical change which she called her “conversion” to the total gift of herself to the Lord, to his love and to love of neighbour.

Purified by her trials and strengthened in spirit, she understood the true meaning of pain and was confirmed in the certainty of her new vocation.
Under the guidance of her confessor, Fr. Giuseppe Firpo, she made private perpetual vows of chastity and obedience on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 1858; followed by vows of poverty (1861) in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, as a Franciscan tertiary.

Since 1855, she had also obtained the benefit of daily communion, which was uncommon in those days. She remained constantly anchored to this source of grace and, encouraged by ever growing intimacy with the Lord, she found support, missionary fervour, strength and zeal in service to her brothers and sisters.
In 1862, she received the gift of hidden stigmata, perceived most intensely on Fridays.
As a faithful wife and exemplary mother, never depriving her children of anything – always following and loving them tenderly – with greater availability she learned to share in the sufferings of others, giving herself in apostolic charity: “I dedicated myself with greater zeal to pious works and to visiting hospitals and the poor sick at home, helping them by meeting their needs as much as I could and serving them in all things”.
The Catholic associations in Genoa competed for her, so that although she loved silence and concealment, her genuinely evangelising way of life was remarked by all.
Progressing on this path, she was made president of the “Pious Union of the New Ursulines Daughters of Holy Mary Immaculate”, founded by Frassinetti, and was entrusted with the revision of the Rule destined for the Union at the express wish of Archbishop Charvaz.
On that precise occasion (February 1864), redoubling her prayers to Christ Crucified, she received the inspiration for a new Rule, her own specific Foundation.
Fearful of being forced to abandon her children she prayed, made acts of penance and asked advice. Fra Francis of Camporosso, a lay Capuchin, who is hom a saint,  to whom she also expressed her apprehension before the serious troubles that were imminent, supported and encouraged her, as did her confessor and the Archbishop of Genoa.
However, feeling her maternal duties more and more acutely, she sought authoritative confirmation in the words of Pius IX, with the secret hope of being relieved. The Pontiff, at an audience on 3 January 1866, instead enjoined her to start her foundation immediately, adding: “This Institute will spread in all the parts of the world as swiftly as the flight of the dove. God will take care of your children: you must think of God and his work”

She therefore accepted to do the Lord’s will, and as she then wrote in her Memoirs: “I generously offered them to God and repeated to him Abraham’s words: ‘Here I am, ready to do your divine will’…. Having offered myself for his Work, I received immense consolations…”.
Overcoming the resistance of her relatives and, to the disappointment of her Bishop, leaving the associations in Genoa, she founded her new religious family in Piacenza, and named it definitively “Daughters of St. Anne, mother of Mary Immaculate” (8 December 1866).

She was clothed on 26 July 1867 and on 8 April 1870 made her religious profession, together with 12 sisters.
Fr. Tornatore, a priest of the Congregation of the Mission, collaborated with her in the Institute’s development. Expressly requested, he wrote the Rule and was then considered Co-Founder of the Institute.
Entrusting herself totally to divine Providence and motivated from the start by a courageous charitable impulse, Rosa Gattorno began with a spirit of motherly dedication to consolidate God’s Work as the Pope had called it and as she too, chosen to cooperate in it, would always call it, attentively caring for any form of suffering and moral or material poverty, with the one intention of serving Jesus in his painful and injured members and of “evangelising first and foremost with life”.
Various works came into being for the poor and the sick with any form of illness, for lonely, elderly or abandoned persons, the little and the defenceless, adolescents, and young girls “at risk” for whom she arranged appropriate instruction and subsequent integration in the working world.

In addition, she soon opened schools for the people and for the education of the children of the poor, and other works of human and evangelical advancement in accordance with the greatest needs of the time and with an effective presence in ecclesial and civil life. “Servants of the poor and ministers of mercy” she called her daughters, and she urged them to accept, as a sign of the Lord’s favour to serve their brethren with love and humility: “Be humble … only think that you are the lowliest and the most wretched of all creatures who render service to the Church… and have the grace to belong to her”.
Less than 10 years after its foundation, the Institute obtained the Decree of Praise (1876), and its definitive approval in 1879. For the Rule, it had to wait until 1892.
Highly esteemed and appreciated by all, she also worked in Piacenza with Bishop Scalabrini, who has now been beatified, and in particular in the institute for deaf-mutes which he founded.
However Mother Rosa Gattorno was not spared humiliations, difficulties and tribulations of all kinds. Despite this, the Institute spread rapidly, in Italy and abroad, thus achieving the Foundress’ ardent missionary desire: “Oh my Love! How I feel myself burning with the desire to make you known and loved by all! I would like to attract all the world, to give to all, to appease all … I would like to go everywhere and shout out for everybody to come and love you”. To be “Jesus’ voice” and to bring all people the message of the love that saves was and always remained her heart’s deepest desire.

In 1878, she was already sending the first Daughters of St. Anne to Bolivia, then to Brazil, Chile, Peru, Eritrea, France and Spain.

In Rome, where her work began in 1873, she organised boys’ and girls’ schools for the poor, nursery schools, assistance for the new-born babies of workers in the tobacco factory, houses for former prostitutes, serving women, nurses for home care, etc.

There she also had the Generalate built, with its adjacent church.
In all, at her death there were 368 houses in which 3,500 sisters were carrying out their mission.

The secret of her journey of holiness, of the dynamism of her charity and of the strength of mind with which she could face all obstacles with firm faith and guide the Institute with full dedication, courage and far-sightedness for 34 years, was her continuous union with God and total, trusting abandonment in him: “Although I am in the midst of such a torrent of things to do, I am never without the union with my Good”; her attention and docility to the impulses of the Spirit; her deep and loving participation in Christ’s Passion; her ceaseless prayers for the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of all mankind.
She had a deep sense of belonging to Church and was ever humble, devout and obedient to the directives of the Pope and the hierarchy.
With her fondness of St. Anne, she had a special love for Mary, to whom she entirely entrusted herself, in order to belong totally to God and totally to her brethren.

A pure and simple instrument in the hands of the “superfine Craftsman”, conformed to the Poor Christ and with him, a victim of love, she fulfilled in her life the desire she inculcated in her daughters: “To live for God, to die for him and to spend life for love”.
She lived like this until February 1900, when she caught a dangerous form of influenza and rapidly deteriorated: her health, sorely tried by her acts of penance, frequent exhausting journeys and an enormous mass of correspondence, worries and serious disappointments, no longer resisted.

On 4 May she received the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, and two days later, on 6 May, at 9.00 a.m., having ended her earthly pilgrimage, she died a holy death in the Generalate.
The fame of holiness which had surrounded her during her life, spread after her death and grew unimpeded all over the world.
As an expression of a rare plan of God, in her three-fold experience of wife and mother, widow and then religious and Foundress, in her mission of service to humanity and to extending the kingdom Rosa Gattorno brought great honour to the “feminine genius”. Although she was ever faithful to God’s call and a genuine teacher of Christian and ecclesial life, she remained essentially a mother: of her own children, whom she constantly followed, of the Sisters, whom she deeply loved, and of all the needy, the suffering and the unhappy, in whose faces she contemplated the face of Christ, poor, wounded and crucified.
Her charism has spread in the Church with the birth of other forms of evangelical life: Sisters of Contemplative Life; a Religious Association of Priests; the Secular Institute and the Ecclesial Movement for the Laity, which are active in the Church in almost all the parts of the world.

She was beatified by John Paul II on April 9, 2000 at Rome.

(SOURCE: Libreria Editrice Vaticana)




St. José Maria Rubio y Peralta
Priest (1864 – 1929)

Born in 1864 and raised in a large farm family in Spain, Joseph entered the seminary in 1876 when he was only 12 years old.

After ordination in 1887, he worked as a parish priest and was a professor at the seminary in Madrid.

After a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Joseph asked his bishop for permission to join the Society of Jesus.

Becoming a Jesuit was something he had always wanted, but he delayed this dream for many years because as a young priest he took on the responsibility of caring for an elderly priest.

Father Joseph took his first vows as a Jesuit when he was 44.

He became known as the “Apostle of Madrid.”

People came from great distances to celebrate the sacrament of Penance with him because of his compassion and healing words.

He helped people to change their lives and to live for Christ.

He  had a great love and concern for the poor and he preached often about our responsibility for our brothers and sisters.

Many lay people came to Father Joseph to ask how they could help.

He guided them to open tuition-free schools, to nurse the sick, to find housing for needy families and jobs for the unemployed.

Father Joseph also provided for the spiritual needs of the poor by making the sacraments more available to them and by organizing missions where he preached about Jesus’ care for them.

At the centre of the priest’s life and ministry was his love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

He told the people he ministered with that prayer must always come first.

He said that it is through prayer that we receive the strength to serve others.

He died in 1929, and the Church has honoured Father Joseph Rubio as a saint since 1985.

Pope John Paul II praised him for following the example of Christ. Joseph’s motto was, “Do what God wants and want what God does!”

(SOURCE: Vatican Library)