Lesser Known Saints

Teresa of Ávila/Teresa of Jesus, baptized Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada (28 March 1515 – 4 October 1582)
One of the Doctors of the Church, she wrote the Interior Castle. Teresa sort of founded the Discalsed Carmelites with John of the Cross. Teresa’s grandfather was a marranos, Jewish converts to Christanity, but her mother and father were devout Catholics, although the question of how devout is debatable. At 14 her mother died and Teresa found great devotion to the Blessed Mother, after this she was sent to an Augustinian convent for education. While she was learning many believe that Teresa used many different forms of meditation taught by others (Ignatius of Loyola and Peter of Alcantara) as well as her own method which she compiled in the Third Spiritual Alphabet. Teresa is best known in art for her ecstacy.  Teresa and Catherine of Siena were the first women named Doctors of the Church.

Hedwig of Silesia or Saint Hedwig of Andechs (1174 – 15 October 1243)
She is of two places based on her birth and death one is German the other Polish. Hedwig was born in Andechs in Bavaria, at 12 she was married to Henry I the Bearded son and heir of the Duke of Silesia. Henry I eventually became High Duke of Poland when he died Hedwig moved to a monastery that she had insisted her husband set up, it is where he is buried. Hedwig and Henry were very pious and Hedwig donated a lot of her fortune to the church to help the poor. According to legend Hedwig would go out barefoot during the winter and when the bishop insisted she wear shoes she would carry them around. JK Rowling named Harry Potter’s owl after this Hedwig.

Margaret Mary Alacoque, V.H.M. (22 July 1647-17 October 1690)
Margaret Mary Alacoque was devoted to Mary and is best known for helping to elevate the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Margaret has an interesting story as she was the only daughter and after she received her First Communion she practiced extreme forms of self mortification which sent her to bed for the next three years at which time she made a promise to Mary to become a nun. Margaret’s mother encouraged her to go out into society when she was 17 in hopes that she would find a good husband. One evening when she came home from one of these events Margaret has a vision of Christ who asked her “Why did she forget about him.” After this Margaret went and joined a convent. It is here where she continued to have visions. These visions contained a few things to do receiving Communion on the first Friday of each month, Eucharistic adoration at  “Holy hour” on Thursdays, and the celebrating the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Not many people believed these visions and they would only be officially recognized 75 years after her death in Pius Xi’s encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor.

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