This week’s saints are not that lesser known I just like them all.
Good King Wenceslaus I or Wenceslas I (c. 907 – 28 September 935)
This is the guy who that song is about. Now, Good King Wenceslas wasn’t a king but only the Duke of Bohemia. His grandfather was supposedly converted by Saints Cyril and Methodius so the family was pretty well in Christianity. His mother was the daughter of a pagan tribal chief. After his father died in 921, his mother and grandmother got into a dispute over Wenceslas, should he be a christian or a pagan, then ended with his mother arranged to have the grandmother strangled. A few years later he took his rightful place and had his mother deported. He was a good duke who according to legend went out one night on the feast of Stephen and gave things to the poor hagiographers called him “the father of the wretched.” His life ended tragically when his brother killed him. Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, would eventually confer the title of King to Wenceslaus.
Thérèse of Lisieux or Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, O.C.D.,(January 2, 1873 – September 30, 1897)
Therese of the Child Jesus was a decalced Carmelite. She wrote The Story of a Soul, which is widely considered one of the greatest religious autobiographies. If you haven’t read it I would strongly recommend it. The big thing wiith Therese was the Little Way. She wrote “Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.” It is not necessary for us all to do great deeds to gain holiness and show our love of God, we can do it is small way. She is the youngest Doctor of the Church and one of the more popular saints since the apostles. Therese and her whole family should all be people we should look up to and admire. Her parents Zélie and Louis Martin were beatified in 2008 and there is a presumed miracle attributed to them so they could eventually be named Saints as well. One of her sisters Leonie, the one who didn’t become a Carmelite is also being considered to be named a venerable.
Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone or Francis of Assisi (1181/1182 –3 October 1226)
Francis of Assisi is a popular saint, perhaps the most popular saint of all time, he founded the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans). Order of St. Clare (Poor Clares), and the lay group (Third Order). Francis was born into a wealthy family his father was a silk merchant. Francis had money and there is that story where he gave everything to a beggar. He was a solider for Assisi as well in 1201 he was captured and perhaps this is what lead to the his spiritual conversion by 1205 Francis was becoming more of the person we know him as. According to legends Francis worked with lepers and he had a vision at San Damiano in which Christ called to him “Francis, repair my house”. When he returned home he and his father had an argument and Francis took off his clothes and gave them back to his father. In 1209 Francis formed his order. The first rule of the Franciscans is simple “Follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in his footsteps.” No one followed Jesus like Francis and he is the first documented case of the appearance of stigmata. Francis created the Creche or the Natvity scenes that are so popular at Christmas time as a way to reemphasize the role of Christ in Christmas. Francis is best known for his love of everything in nature caring for animals and the environment are important in the world. Pope Francis selected his name in honor of him as Pope Francis said that “Francis of Assisi brought to Christianity an idea of poverty against the luxury, pride, vanity of the civil and ecclesiastical powers of the time.” Many have also speculated that the name might signal some big reforms happening just as Francis was asked to repair my house so to is Pope Francis.