As we have moved closer to modern times there are fewer and fewer named Saints, there are a bunch of individuals named blesseds though. Two of these Blesseds will be canonized on Sunday and I will talk about them next week. The 20th century had some serious wars the World Wars and the Cristero War all of which produced many martyrs, but it seems the vast majority of these saints is that they where monks and nuns.
Maria Gemma Umberta Pia Galgani (12 March 1878 – 11 April 1903)
Gemma is a relatively young saint as she died at 25 so she is someone that young men and women can look at for inspiration. Gemma had a rough life as it seems tuberculosis followed her taking her mother, a brother, and eventually her. Like so many other saints she wanted to join an order but the Passionists rejected her because of her health. By 18 both her parents had passed so it was up to her to run the family which she did with the help of her aunt. Gemma declined two marriage proposals and worked as a housekeeper. At 21, she developed a stigmata and was frequently found in a state of ecstasy, some have claimed that she could levitate as well. Gemma had visions of Mary and her guardian angel and sometimes received messages from them about current or future events. Gemma is one of the fastest individuals to become a saint (37 years).
Maximilian Maria Kolbe, O.F.M. Conv.( 8 January 1894 – 14 August 1941)
Maximilian is one of the most well known Saints of the last century as Pope John Paul II named him “The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century”. It is said that is life was influenced from a vision of Mary he had in his childhood, Mary offered him two crowns, and he took both (white to persevere in purity and red to become a martyr). At 13 he left home with his older brother to join the Franciscans. Maximilian formed the Militia Immaculata, which works for conversion of sinners and enemies of the Catholic Church, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary. He traveled to Japan numerous times and founded a monastery in Nagasaki. When World War II broke out he hid many Jews in his friary in Poland. He was arrested and eventually transferred to Auschwitz. While there he volunteered to take the place of a man who was picked to be starved to death in an underground bunker in order to deter further escape attempts. After two weeks he was the only one left and was injected with carbolic acid and died. The man who Kolbe saved would live until 1995 and was a guest at both Maximilian’s beatification and canonization.
Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, OCD , better known as Edith Stein, (12 October 1891 – 9 August 1942)
Edith Stein is one of those individuals who you wouldn’t think as Catholic. Edith was the youngest in her family and was born on Yom Kippur in 5652. As a teen she became an atheist. She was a skilled learner earning a doctorate of philosophy, and became a teaching assistant. Edith was drawn to the Catholic faith by reading Teresa of Avila’s writings she was baptized in 1921 and she left the assistantship and began teaching at a Dominican nun school. Edith also went about translating Aquinas’ De Veritate and trying to connect phenomenology and Thomism. In 1933 with the rise of Nazism there were antisemitic laws passed which forced Edith out of work. She wrote to Pope Pius XI which might have played a role in the drafting of Mit brennender Sorge. Edith became a discalsed Carmelite and to avoid a Nazi threat she was transferred to a monastery in the Netherlands. This didn’t last long as Dutch Bishops would denounce the Nazi racism which brought the hammer down on all Jews who were spared. Edith and her sister a lay sister would be arrested and sent to Auschwitz where they both were killed in a gas chamber. She is one of the six patron saints of Europe, together with Benedict of Nursia, Cyril and Methodius, Bridget of Sweden, and Catherine of Siena.
Today is the eighth day in the Divine Mercy Novena, today Jesus asks us to bring to me the souls who are detained in purgatory.