Catherine Labouré, D.C.. (2 May 1806 – 31 December 1876)
Catherine was born in France into a very large family she was the ninth of 11 living children. At the age of nine Catherine’s mother died and at her funeral Catherine picked up a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and kissed it saying “Now you will be my mother.” After this Catherine’s Aunt offered to watch after the youngest of the children so Catherine went to live her. Catherine was extremely devout and would eventually become a member of the nursing order established by Vincent dePaul, the Daughters of Charity. Catherine is best known for her visions one in particular. In 1830 Mary appeared to her with an image, that of Mary in an oval frame, standing upon a globe, of her hands came out rays of light in the direction of a globe, some of which did not arrive to land. Around the frame appeared the words “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” On the obverse it showed a circle of twelve stars, a large letter M surmounted by a cross, and the stylized Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary underneath. Mary told Catherine to put what she had see on medallions, this is what we know today as the Miraculous Medal. Catherine is one of the Incorruptible Saints.
Barlaam and Josaphat or Joasaph
This pair of saint are interesting as they are legendary and widely believed to be based on the life of the Buddha. The story goes that Josaphat’s father was a king in India who persecuted the Christians in his realm. After hearing from astrologers that Josaphat would one day become a Christian himself the king locked his up away from all contact. Despite all of this Josaphat eventually met a hermit Barlaam who converted Josaphat to Christianity. Josaphat kept his faith despite his father’s objections, the king eventually became a Christian himself and abdicated the throne becoming a hermit. Josaphat eventually follow and became a hermit with Barlaam. I liked this story as it sort of pulls two religious traditions together Buddhism and Christanity.
John Berchmans (13 March 1599 – 13 August 1621)
John is a Flemish Jesuit. In 1615 after he enrolled in a Jesuit college he had a pull to join the order, his family dissuaded him. The following year he enter the novitiate and requested that after he be ordained to be place as a chaplain in hopes of becoming a martyr. In 1618 he made his first vows and began studying philosophy, he would die in Rome while studying. The Cathedral in Shreveport is named after him.
Elizabeth of Reute, T.O.R., (25 November 1386-25 November 1420)
Elizabeth is a Blessed and not a Saint. She was born in Germany and raised in a pious home, hearing bible stories told by her mother. At 14 she became a Third Order Franciscian, that is the order of lay and religious who do not take vows but participate in the works of an order. Eventually Elizabeth with several others sought to go deeper in the Franciscian vocation, so they bought a house and attached themselves to a monestary. She threw herself into prayer and service working in the garden and kitchen. Elizabeth was devoted to the Blessed Sacrement and the hosts was the only thing she ate for her last 12 years. She also showed the stigmata and her head showing the marks from the crown of thorns and her body with the marks of the scourging. Elizabeth also had the gift of prophecy as she predicted that Martin V would be elevated to Pope and the Western Schism would end.