Category: Lives of the Saints

The reason that the Church honors the saints is not just to give them glory, but to hold them up as exemplars for imitation. Many of the saints became saints themselves by reading the lives of saints. Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s by reading the Life of Christ and the Lives of the Saints. If these men can make such heroic sacrifices for God, then why can’t I, he wondered. Wonder turned into determination.

Some saints wrote biographies of other saints. Saint Athanasius wrote the Life of Saint Anthony of the Desert, a work that indirectly influenced Saint Augustine. Saint Gregory of Nyssa wrote the Life of Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus. Saint Bonaventure wrote the Life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Bede wrote the Life of Saint Aidan. Some saints wrote autobiographies: Saints Augustine, Thérèse of Liseux, Antonio Maria Claret, and Margaret Mary Alacoque are among them.

In a letter to her aunt, Isidore Guerin, Saint Thérèse wrote: “I love to read the lives of the saints very much. The account of their heroic deeds inflames my courage and spurs me on to imitate them.”

Saint Ignatius Loyola

In the sixteenth century the University of Paris was a fair-sized town. It had fifty colleges and schools and some sixteen thousand students thronged its numerous buildings. They were divided into four “na­tions”: the French, Picards, Normans, and Germans. The … Continue reading

Crowns for Armenia

Armenia, a land of towering mountains, fertile valleys, shimmering lakes[1] , and shifting borders, is located on the continent of Asia, between the Black and the Caspian Seas, pressed between Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. In the past, Greater Armenia’s … Continue reading

Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the winter, 2002, issue of our magazine, under the title, “Venerable Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916).” In the intervening time — on Sunday, 13 November, 2005 — Pope Benedict XVI beatified our subject. We have … Continue reading

A Letter Home

This is the only complete letter from the first thirty-five years of Blessed Junípero Serra’s life. Today it is kept in the Capuchin Convent (monastery) in Barcelona. “Most Dear Friend in Jesus Christ, Father Francisco Serra, “Words cannot express the … Continue reading