Tag: Catholic saints

The Saint Who Rode Into Battle Armed With Only The Crucifix

The Saint Who Rode Into Battle Armed With Only The Crucifix

St Lawrence of Brindisi put all the strength of his heart, soul and mind into both his interior life and outward activities.

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, O.F.M. Cap. (22 July 1559 – 22 July 1619), born Giulio Cesare Russo, was a Roman Catholic priest and a theologian as well as a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

Brief Biography 

Giulio Cesare Russo was born in Brindisi, Kingdom of Naples, to a family of Venetian merchants. After the early death of his parents, he was raised by his uncle and educated at Saint Mark’s College in Venice. Cesare joined the Capuchins in Verona as Brother Lawrence. He received further instruction from the University of Padua. An accomplished linguist, in addition to his native Italian, Lawrence could read and speak Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French fluently. Brother Lawrence was ordained a priest at the age of 23.

At the age of thirty-one, Father Lawrence was elected superior of the Capuchin Franciscan province of Tuscany. He was appointed definitor general to Rome for the Capuchins in 1596; Pope Clement VIII assigned him the task of preaching to the Jews in the city. He was sufficiently proficient in Hebrew that the rabbis assumed he had been a convert from Judaism. Beginning in 1599, Lawrence established Capuchin monasteries in modern Germany and Austria, furthering the Counter-Reformation and bringing many Protestants back to the Catholic faith.

In 1602, he was elected vicar general of the Capuchin friars, at that time the highest office in the Order. He was elected again in 1605, but refused the office. He entered the service of the Holy See, becoming papal nuncio to Bavaria. After serving as nuncio to Spain, he retired to a monastery in 1618. He was recalled as a special envoy to the King of Spain regarding the actions of the Viceroy of Naples in 1619, and after finishing his mission, died on his birthday in Lisbon.

He was entombed at the Poor Clares’ Convento de la Anunciada (Convent of the Annunciation) in Villafranca del Bierzo, Spain.


In 1959 John XXIII bestowed the title of Doctor Apostolicus on the Franciscan friar St. Lawrence of Brindisi (d 1619). He was a gifted linguist and theologian who produced many works on a wide variety of topics. He was a diplomat, apologist, scholar and general of his Capuchin order. The Capuchins collected his works into 15 volumes, 11 of which are sermons. In both the traditional and post-conciliar calendars the Apostolic Doctor is honoured at the altar on July 21.

With conviction he defended the Catholic Faith in places where Protestant errors had taken hold and with his knowledge of Hebrew and Scripture he evangelised among Jews in Italy. With conviction in 1601 he literally led troops into battle facing great odds against Islamic invaders. Thirty years after the Christian victory at Lepanto, Sultan Mehmed III, having slain his 19 brothers to secure power, swore that he would turn the altar of St Peters Basilica into a horse trough. While Elizabeth I sent envoys with gifts to Mehmed, Clement VIII asked Lawrence to help organise Catholic princes into a crusade to save Europe.

Speaking of conviction, at Székesfehérvár (Stuhlweissenburg) in Hungary, Lawrence, armed only with a crucifix, rode to battle and victory with 18,000 men against 80,000 invaders.

St. Lawrence was intensely active in the world and his accomplishments are staggering. 

However, as Benedict XVI explained in a 2011 audience series about Doctors of the Church, “At the school of the saints, every priest … may only avoid the danger of activism – acting, that is, without remembering the profound motives of his ministry – if he attends to his own inner life.” Lawrence of Brindisi was grounded in prayer and in the celebration of Holy Mass, which in his devotion could last for hours.

The devout conviction of St. Lawrence is exemplary. He put all the strength of his heart, soul and mind into both his interior life and outward activities, and the two dimensions were unified in love of God and neighbour, even when in great physical peril. Each of us has God-given vocations, with interior and outward dimensions. To fulfil them we must rely on both grace and elbow grease, putting our whole selves forward in conviction. As Lawrence taught, “The Holy Spirit sweetens the yoke of the divine law and lightens its weight, so that we may observe God’s commandments with the greatest of ease and even with pleasure.”

3 Saints Who Could Levitate (Fly), Bilocate and Bend the Laws of Nature

3 Saints Who Could Levitate (Fly), Bilocate and Bend the Laws of Nature

3 Saints Who Could Levitate (Fly), Bilocate and Bend the Laws of Nature

Saint Joseph of Cupertino

His Superior Ordered Him to Return to Earth. Saint Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint of air travelers and pilots because he had the ability to levitate and fly through the air.

He was born in 1603 to a desperately poor family who had just lost their home and their sole provider. His mother was a widow at the time of his birth. She also had a quick temper and was prone to angry outbursts.

It would be very safe to say that Saint Joseph of Cupertino had a miserable childhood. It didn’t help that he was a very poor student, and the people of his village considered him retarded.

He did have a great love of God and desired to enter religious life as soon as he was old enough. Rejection was swift at the first two communities he approached. The third, however, accepted him. He was able to complete his studies for the priesthood.

Saint Joseph of Cupertino often levitated as he was saying Mass. These flights above the altar were witnessed by many of the Mass-goers. Sometimes he would also fly around outside.

The gift of levitation in the Catholic Church is generally considered a sign of sanctity. Many other canonized saints were also able to do this.

Saint Joseph of Cupertino is, however, among the first to come to mind when Catholics think of levitation. He is often depicted hovering above an altar.

It has been recorded that this saint would fly dangerously close to candles without the cloth of his religious habit catching fire.

When Saint Joseph of Cupertino journeyed with his religious superior to visit Pope Urban, he, once again, flew into the air and stayed there until his superior ordered him down. Another sign of sanctity for someone in religious life is to obey their superior.

Saint Martin de Porres

Saint Martin de Porres patron of mixed-race people.Many other saints also defied gravity, time and space. Another notable example was Saint Martin de Porres of Lima, Peru. He could fly through the air, as well as bilocate, another gift given to very holy souls, that allows them to be in multiple places at once.
If you are not Catholic and reading this, please understand that many devout Catholics truly believe these miracles happened and they are highly scrutinized by Church authorities. They are outward signs of God working through one of His servants. God exists outside of time and space, and He sometimes allows humans to do the same.

Saint Martin de Porres was of mixed race, born in Lima in 1579. His father was a Spanish aristocrat, and his mother was a former African slave who might also have been part Native American.

Saint Martin’s father was not married to his mother. He and his sister had very low social standing in Lima, as they were poor and considered illegitimate. Eventually, Saint Martin’s father left the family and moved elsewhere.

He had many supernatural gifts

To earn money, Saint Martin learned to cut hair from a local barber before entering a Dominican monastery as a lay servant. Later, he took religious vows and became a brother. He also cut the hair of the other monks.

During his lifetime, Saint Martin practiced extreme austerity. He was exceptionally kind to all and once brought a beggar back to the monastery to care for him.

Very reliable eyewitnesses testified that Saint Martin de Porres was seen doing missionary work in Asia and Mexico, even though he never left Lima.

Because Saint Martin was also given the gift of healing, he worked in the monastery infirmary. It was there that witnesses reported him walking through closed doors to reach the sick. He also healed people on the street and developed a reputation in Lima as a wonder worker.

When my children were young, I bought them a book about Saint Martin de Porres because he is such an interesting example of the graces God can bestow upon one a man or a woman who has found favor in His eyes.

The book contained a wonderful tale of Saint Martin’s overriding compassion and ability to bring peace to all.

Making Peace with Mice

At one point, the monastery was overrun with rodents. But the holy monk was able to work out a deal with the creatures, as the plan was to kill them. He told one mouse to please lead the other mice away from the monastery. Saint Martin de Porres promised to feed them if they complied.

The saint then walked to the far end of the monastery grounds, with the mice forming a line behind him. They never returned to trouble the other monks.

Saint Martin de Porres is the patron saint of barbers and mixed-race people.

Saint Francis Xavier Could Bilocate

Saint Francis Xavier, a Basque Spanish missionary to India and the Far East, is credited with converting countless people to the Catholic faith. He also established a string of churches in India.

Part of the reason, no doubt, he was so successful in his evangelization efforts, is that he was reportedly able to be in multiple places at once. These bilocations happened very frequently and were seen and documented by many eye witnesses.

Saint Francis Xavier also had the gift of healing and performed many other miracles with God’s divine help.

There’s one notable miracle that occurred after his death in 1552. The body of Saint Francis Xavier was exhumed on at least two occasions, and, each time, was found to be remarkably preserved from decomposition, despite the fact it was buried with limestone, which breaks down the flesh.

Saint Francis Xavier, like many other saints in the Catholic Church, was spared from the visible ravages of death when he died. He, and others like him, are known as “incorruptibles.” His intact body now rests at the Basilica of the Born Jesus in Goa, India.

He is the patron saint of numerous entities, including the country of India and foreign missionaries.

SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Francis of Assisi

SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Francis of Assisi

SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Francis of Assisi

Feast Day: October 4


Francis was born around 1181. As a young man in his Italian hometown of Assisi, he loved parties and good times. He was handsome and rich, so he bought himself the finest clothes and spent money freely. Francis had no desire to study or to learn his father’s business-he just wanted to have fun. After two illnesses and other adventures, Francis realized that he was wasting precious time. He became aware that he should be serving Jesus. He began by praying more and making sacrifices to grow strong in spirit. Once he kissed a horrible-looking leper, while giving him money. Often he gave his clothes and money to the poor. He served the sick in hospitals. Still he felt he must do more. He fasted and began to go around in rags to humble himself.

It is not hard to imagine how his former rich friends must have looked at him now! His father was so angry that he beat him and locked him up at home. Francis bore all this suffering for love of Jesus. When his father took everything from him in disgust, Francis put all his trust in his Father in heaven. He said that he was married to “Lady Poverty” and he began to live as a beggar. He had no shelter. His food was what kind people gave him. Everywhere he went, he urged people to stop sinning and return to God. Soon many men began to realize how close to God this poor man was, and they became his disciples. That is how the great Franciscan order of priests and brothers began. They helped the poor and sick and preached everywhere. Even after the order had spread all over Italy, Francis insisted that they should not own anything. He wanted the friars to love poverty as he did.

St. Francis had the power of working miracles and even of making birds and animals obey him! As a reward for his great love, Jesus gave him his own wounds in his hands and feet. The humble Francis tried to hide them.

Toward the end of his life, he became very sick. He was told he would live only a few more weeks. Then he exclaimed, “Welcome, Sister Death!” He asked to be laid on the ground and covered with an old habit. Then he urged his brothers to love God, to love being poor, and to obey the Gospel. “I have done my part,” he said. “May Jesus teach you to do yours.” Francis died on October 3, 1226. He was proclaimed a saint.

Saint Of The Day: St John Chrysostom

Saint Of The Day: St John Chrysostom

Feast Day :Sept 13th

St John Chrysostom was the son of a pagan father and a Greek mother. At 23, his friend St Basil, and St Meletius, Bishop of his native Antioch, turned him away from Greek classical studies to the study of Scripture. Two years later he was baptized, ordained a “lector” and thereafter lived for several years as an anchorite in a cave.

Ordained priest in 386, John became the very “eyes, ears and hands of his Bishop”, and turned more and more to the writing of treatises and books, his greatest asset being the spiritually deep content of his preaching, which came to influence life throughout the East, earning him, in the process, the Greek suffix, Chrysostom, meaning “golden-mouthed”.

After he had spent 12 years in priestly ministry, John was consecrated Bishop of the great Eastern metropolis of Constantinople. He immediately began to correct abuses and to initiate much needed ecclesiastical reform. He reduced radically the expenses of his Episcopal household even as he, himself, continued to live in utter simplicity, purging the clergy of unworthy elements and tightening monastic discipline.

In the 5th year of his episcopate, he was deposed and sent into exile. But the temper of the people ensured that he was recalled almost immediately. 

As soon as things had calmed down, however, and after two failed attempts on his life, John was again banished to Armenia where he passed away.

Reflection: “There is nothing which so much aids to keep the soul in tranquillity and calm as meekness and modesty” (St John Chrysostom).

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