Saint of the Day for Friday, August 16th, 2019

St. Stephen the Great

St. Stephen the Great (977-1038), was the son of the Magyar chieftain Geza, Stephen succeeded him as leader in 997. Already raised a Christian, in 996 he wed the daughter of Duke Henry II of Bavaria and devoted much of his reign to the promotion of the Christian faith. He gave his patronage to Church leaders, helped build churches, and was a proponent of the rights of the Holy See. Stephen also crushed the pagan counter reaction to Christianity, forcibly converting the so-called Black Hungarians after their failed rebellion. In recognition of his efforts, Stephen was anointed king of Hungary in 1000, receiving the cross and crown from Pope Sylvester II. The remainder of his reign was taken up with the consolidation of the Christian hold on the region. His crown and regalia became beloved symbols of the Hungarian nation, and Stephen was venerated as the ideal Christian king. Canonized in 1083 by Pope St. Gregory VII, he became the patron saint of Hungary.

Saint of the Day for Thursday, August 15th, 2019

St. Alipius

Bishop and companion of St. Augustine. He was born in Tagaste, North Africa, and was raised as a friend of St. Augustine. He went to Rome to study law and became a magistrate there. When Augustine arrived in Rome, Alipius resigned his post and accompanied him to Milan. There he was baptized with Augustine in 387 or 394 by St. Ambrose. The two were ordained in Hippo, North Africa, and Alipius became the bishop of Tagaste, serving in that capacity for thirty years. Alipius' name was placed in the Roman Martyrology by Pope Gregory XIII in 1584. The evidence of Alipius' sanctity was clearly stated by Augustine's account of his life.

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

St. Hippolytus

Martyr of Rome, with Concordia and other companions, he is a controversial figure who censured Pope St. Callistus I. Hippolytus was slain in Sardinia where he had been exiled for being elected as an antipope, the first in the history of the Church. He was reconciled to the Church before his martyrdom. His writings were important, including A Refutation of All Heresies, Song of Songs, and The Apostolic Tradition.

Saint of the Day for Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian Kolbe was born as Raymund Kolbe on January 8, 1894, in the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. He was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar and a martyr in the German death Camp of Auschwitz during World War II.

St. Maximilian Kolbe 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.

"That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both."

One year after his vision, Kolbe and his elder brother, Francis joined the Conventual Franciscans. In 1910, Kolbe was given the religious name Maximilian, after being allowed to enter the novitiate, and in 1911, he professed his first vows.

At the age of 21, Kolbe earned a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He would also earn a doctorate in theology by the time he was 28.

St. Maximilian Kolbe organized the Militia Immaculata (Army of the Immaculate One) after witnessing demonstrations against Pope St. Pius X and Benedict XV. His goal was to work for the conversion of sinners and enemies of the Church, specifically, the Freemasons and he would so with the intercession of Mary.

In 1918, he was ordained a priest and continued his work of promoting Mary throughout Poland. Over the next several years, Kolbe took on publishing. He founded a monthly periodical titled, "Rycerz Niepokalanej" (Knight of the Immaculate). He also operated a religious publishing press and founded a new Conventual Franciscan monastery at Niepokalanow, which became a major religious publishing center.

Kolbe also founded monasteries in both Japan and India. To this day, the monastery in Japan remains prominent in the Roman Catholic Church in Japan.

In 1936, Kolbe's poor health forced him to return home to Poland, and once the WWII invasion by Germany began, he became one of the only brothers to remain in the monastery. He opened up a temporary hospital to aid those in need. When his town was captured, Kolbe was sent to prison but released three months later.

Kolbe refused to sign a document that would recognize him as a German citizen with his German ancestry and continued to work in his monastery, providing shelter for refugees - including hiding 2,000 Jews from German persecution. After receiving permission to continue his religious publishing, Kolbe's monastery acted as a publishing house again and issued many anti-Nazi German publications.

On February 17, 1941, the monastery was shut down; Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo and taken to the Pawiak prison. Three months later, he was transferred to Auschwitz.

Never abandoning his priesthood, Kolbe was the victim to severe violence and harassment. Toward the end of his second month in Auschwitz, men were chosen to face death by starvation to warn against escapes. Kolbe was not chosen but volunteered to take the place of a man with a family.

It is said during the last days of his life Kolbe led prayers to Our Lady with the prisoners and remained calm. He was the last of the group to remain alive, after two weeks of dehydration and starvation. The guards gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid. The stories tell that he raised his left arm and calmly awaited death.

St. Maximilian Kolbe died on August 14 and his remains were cremated on August 15, the same day as the Assumption of Mary feast day.

Recognized as the Servant of God, Kolbe was beatified as a "Confessor of the Faith" on October 17, 1971 by Pope Paul VI and canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 10, 1982. Pope John Paul II declared Kolbe not a confessor, but a martyr.

 

Kolbe's is often depicted in a prison uniform and with a needle being injected into an arm. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, prisoners, families, and the pro-life movement and his feast day is celebrated on August 14.

 

Saint of the Day for Monday, August 12th, 2019

St. Michael My

Martyr of Vietnam. He was the mayor of a town in Vietnam when the persecution of Christians started. Michael was martyred with Blessed Anthony Dich, his son-in-law, and with St. James Nam. He was canonized in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.