Friday, April 28, 2006

Wonderful Saints


Today we commemorate three saints who had a special devotion to the Blessed Mother exemplified by their heroic lives.

1. St. Peter Chanel, Martyr, Marist priest

St Peter Chanel was born on 12 July 1803, the fifth of eight children in a farming family with a small holding in south-western France. The area was still troubled by the political instability that followed the Revolution. That, plus the need to help on the farm, meant his primary schooling was rather fragmented.

In his early teens the parish priest helped him with special lessons in the presbytery, so that at 16 he was ready to begin his four years of secondary education at the minor seminary. He progressed to the major seminary to be ordained at 24 as a priest for the Belley diocese. For his first year of priesthood he was assistant in a medium sized town, already thinking seriously about applying for an apostolate in the foreign missions. Then followed three years as parish priest in a small country town where the Church was still in disarray a generation after the Revolution. With quiet zeal, tact and compassion he transformed it. Underlying his approach was his personal motto “Aimer Marie et faire l'aimer” - to love Mary and bring others to love her.

In 1831, at 28, with his bishop's agreement he joined the small group of diocesan priests who had hopes of starting a Society of Mary. He was one of the three representatives who went to Rome to ask the Pope's approval for their planned Society of Mary. This approval was given in April 1836 when Marists accepted responsibility for new missions in the little-known south-west Pacific. By the end of that year Peter was one of the first band of missionaries, four priests and three catechist brothers, attached to Bishop Pompallier, who sailed from Le Havre on Christmas Eve for this pioneering mission.

Read more of his life

2. St. Louis de Montfort, priest member of the Third Order Dominicans

Louis Marie Grignion was born 31 January 1673 in the small town of Montfort-sur-Meu, just West of Rennes in Brittany, France. He was the eldest surviving child of the large family of Jean-Baptiste Grignion and his wife Jeanne Robert.

Louis Marie passed most of his infancy and early childhood in Iffendic, a few miles from Montfort, where his father had bought a farm known as "Le Bois Marquer". According to those who knew him at this early stage, he showed signs even then of a spiritual maturity uncommon in one of his age.

At the age of 12, he entered the Jesuit College of St Thomas Becket in Rennes, where, as well as doing well in his studies, he developed some of the enthusiasms which were to mark his later life. Listening to the stories of a local priest, the Abbé Julien Bellier, about his life as an itinerant missionary, he was fired with zeal to preach missions. And, under the guidance of some other priests he began to develop his strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin. At the same time, he began to experience the deprivations suffered by the very poor, and his love and care for them grew, not only in theory but in a practical way.
Read more from Monfortian Religious Family.

Make the Total Consecration to Mary.

3. St. Gianna Molla, wife, mother, doctor, profile witness

Gianna Beretta Molla made a heroic choice, but it was something her family members and friends testified she prepared for every day of her life. Her heroic virtue, genuine holiness of life, selflessness, and quiet joy remind all of us that God entrusts us with a personal vocation. Each and every day presents us with choices that have the power to prepare us to take heroic action whenever it will be called for. We can do that, however, only if we surrender ourselves and what we desire to God and His will for us.

" Dr. Molla threw light on the importance of the Christian family, by her life and conscious sacrifice. She threw light on the importance of Christian schools and Catholic Action, in the formation of the human being in Christian values and it gives us guiding principles, to which the Christian subordinates his own life, as Dr. Beretta Molla knowingly did. The heroism of her Christian life will bear fruit."This example of lay sanctity, lived in the Sacrament of Matrimony, as the Vatican Council II teaches, will encourage many Christians to seek God in holy Matrimony. The exemplary fame of Christian conduct, lived by Gianna Beretta Molla is valid proof.

Read more of her heroic life here.


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