Monday, May 27: Augustine Of Canterbury, Monk, Martyr (died c 606)
Augustine was a monk and friend to Pope Gregory the Great. He was sent with 30 missionaries, by Pope Gregory to evangelize the fierce tribes of England. They spoke no English, and were challenged with the crossing of the English Channel. King Ethelbert of Kent was married to a Christian princess from Paris, so he allowed them to preach and gave them housing. From the advice of Pope Gregory the missionaries respected local customs, while giving witness by their own lives. King Ethelbert converted to Christianity, but Augustine died after seven years there, and never saw Christianity take root.
Tuesday, May 28: St Bernard of Montjoux, Priest (923-1008)
Bernard was a priest in the mountainous part of France. He visited homes, built churches, celebrated Mass in the area, but heard of travelers, who had been lost or ambushed in the mountains. He built two hospices for travelers, where they could find, food, shelter and safety. The were built along two of the most frequently traveled routes. These routes were eventually named the Great St. Bernard Pass and the Little St. Bernard Pass. Bernard brought in monks to run the hospices and patrol for travelers in need. They bred dogs to help rescue loss travelers, can you guess their names…St Bernards.
Patron: Skiers, Alpine Travelers
Wednesday, May 29: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat (1779-1865)
During the French , Christian schools were suppressed. Madeleine, who was highly educated by her seminarian brother, found her vocation in religious life, and had a desire to educate, especially women in all areas of study. She founded the Society of the Sacred Heart. These schools had their focus for the poor as well as boarding schools for young women of means. She died on the feast of the Ascension.
“Your example, even more than your words, will be an eloquent lesson to the world.“
Patron: school girls
Thursday, May 30:
The Ascension of Our Lord (see below)
St. Joan of Arc, Martyr (1412-1431)
In a vision St Joan was told by St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret to go the the king of France to help him reconquer his kingdom. In spite of much opposition this seventeen year old girl was given a small army to siege Orleans. She had several more military successes, and had won favor with the king. While trying to relieve Compiegne she was captured by Burgundians and sold to English. With no help from the French to save her, she sentenced to death for refusing to retract her profession that the saints had ordered her to fight for France.
She was condemned to death as a heretic, sorceress, and adulteress, and burned at the stake. About thirty years later, she was exonerated of all guilt.
Patron: soldiers, France
Friday, May 31: The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
“She immediately set out with haste for the house of her cousin, the Evangelist notes (cf. Lk 1: 39), to offer her help at a time of special need. How can we fail to see that the hidden protagonist in the meeting between the young Mary and the by-then elderly Elizabeth is Jesus? Mary bears him in her womb as in a sacred tabernacle and offers him as the greatest gift to Zechariah, to Elizabeth, his wife, and also to the infant developing in her womb. “Behold”, the Mother of John the Baptist says, “when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy”
Saturday, June 1, St. Justin, Martyr, (c 100-165)
Justin, born in Palestine was searching for truth. After reading the Old Testament prophets, he saw that the Christian religion was truth. at the start of the second century, searched everywhere for truth. He traveled to big cities, where he talked and studied with wise teachers. One day, a stranger told Justin to read the Old Testament prophets, who had foretold the coming of Christ. He did this, and it led him to see that the Christian religion taught the truth. He was baptized. He wrote several books in defense of Christianity. In one of them he described the ceremony of Baptism, similar to what is common today. In another place, he wrote that the Sunday meetings of the Christian community included readings from Scripture, a homily, offering of bread and wine, and giving Holy Communion. When brought before a judge for his beliefs, the judge asked him, “Do you have an idea that you will go to heaven and receive some suitable rewards?” Justin answered, “It is not an idea that I have; it is something that I know well and hold to be most certain.” The judge ordered him killed.
“We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.”
“To yield and give way to our passions is the lowest slavery, even as to rule over them is the only liberty.”
June 2: The Ascension Of Our Lord
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
“Out Of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace.”