Lesser Known Saints

This week we have a wide variety of saints, ranging from couple of Doctors of the Church, a modern Saint and a Russian Orthodox Saint.

Peter Chrysologus (c. 380 – c. 450)

Peter was a deacon from Imola and according to legend Pope Sixtus III had a vision of Peter and when Peter arrived in Rome with a group from Ravenna and was ordained Bishop of Ravenna.  He is perhaps best known for his homilies, and he explained the Apostles’ Creed, the mystery of the Incarnation, and other topics in simple and clear language. This is where the name Chrysologus come from as it means “golden-worded.” We have 176 homilies that have been collected and saved. For this he was named a Doctor of the Church. If you are looking for something faith based to read this is a suggestion.

Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori, C.Ss.R. (27 September 1696 – 1 August 1787)

Alphonsus is the other Doctor of the Church. At the age of 27 after being a successful lawyer he decided that there was something missing in his life and found it in the priesthood. After Liguori was ordained he founded Evening Chapels which attracted many young people who were alienated by the faith. He would eventually go on to found the Redemptionists Order as well. Liguori wrote a lot and it is said that he is one of the most widely read Catholic Authors. The books focused on spirituality and theology. Of his works The Glories of Mary and The Way of the Cross are the best known as many parishes continue to use his Way of the Cross during Lent.

Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrix (d. 302 or 303)

These siblings according to legend are quite remarkable. Brothers Simplicius and Faistinus were tortured because of their faith, they were beaten with clubs and beheaded. Their bodies were tossed into the Tiber or as another one puts it they were drowned in the Tiber with rocks tied to their feet.  Either way into the story comes their sister Beatrix who has the bodies taken from the water and properly buried. Then for the next seven months or so Beatrix would work with the women she shared a house with Lucina to help other persecuted Christians. Eventually Beatrix was name a Christian and she herself was put into jail where she was strangled, and her friend Lucina would bury Beatrix near her brothers. Now the fun part of the story begins. The person who accused Beatrix went to a party and was mocking the folly of the martyrs when a  child said, “You have committed murder and have taken unjust possession of land. You are a slave of the devil.” The Devil then took possession of him and tortured him three hours. From this event the accuser getting a comeuppance was enough for many of the individuals at the event that they converted to Christanity.

Basil the Blessed (known also as Basil, fool for Christ; Basil, Wonderworker of Moscow; or Blessed Basil of Moscow, fool for Christ (December 1469-2 August 1552 or 1557)

Basil popped out to me as he is known as a fool for Christ. Not much is really known about Basil as he was a shoemaker who gave up everything, adopted an eccentric lifestyle and give to the poor to shame the miserly and help those in need. He often went around naked and weighed down with chains. He even admonished Ivan the Terrible for not paying attention in church, and for Ivan’s violent behavior towards the innocent. At his Funeral Ivan would be a pall bearer for Basil. St. Basil’s Cathedral is named after him. The Holy Fool is a form of Eastern Orthodox asceticism as he acts intentionally foolish in the eyes of men. The tradition of Holy Fools is something that would be wonderful if it happened in the Catholic tradition as the has really been only Saint Francis, who has been a fool for Christ.

Alphonsa Muttathupadathu, F.C.C (19 August 1910 to 28 July 1946

Alphonsa or Anna Muttathupadathu is an interesting Saint as she is the first Female Indian Saint and the first canonized saint in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, which is the Church set up by St Thomas in India and it one of the Eastern Catholic Churches. Anna had a rough childhood with her mother dying when she was little and as soon as it was possible she went and joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation. When she received her postulant’s veil she took the name Alphonsa after the Saint Alphonsus Liguori, who’s feast fell on that day. During her years on the way to becoming a nun she suffered lots she was sick for throughout much of her time. At her canonization Pope Benedict XVI noted that her life was “extreme physical and spiritual suffering.” Benedict continued saying that “[She] was convinced that her cross was the very means of reaching the heavenly banquet prepared for her by the Father.” “By accepting the invitation to the wedding feast, and by adorning herself with the garment of God’s grace through prayer and penance, she conformed her life to Christ’s and now delights in the ‘rich fare and choice wines’ of the heavenly kingdom.” I hope that we can be inspired by Alphonsa to see joy in suffering.



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