Saint of the Month
Saint Francis Xavier: Saint of Many Missions
By Noah Ralofsky - Knight Writer
Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy
Saint Francis Xavier, possibly the greatest Roman Catholic missionary, was a conducive part in the institution of Catholicism in Japan, India, and the Malay Archipelago.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Saint Francis Xavier was born on April 7, 1506 in Navarre, Spain in the Xavier family castle. This is where he received his early education. He had two older brothers, and his father was the president of the council to the king of Navarre. As a son of nobility, it was intended for him to have an ecclesiastical career. In the year 1525, he traveled to the University of Paris to begin his studies in philosophy.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, while at the university in 1529, Francis roomed with former soldier Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius influenced Francis to join him and five others to devote their lives to celibacy and poverty in reflection to Jesus. On August 15, 1534, all seven of the men formally devoted their lives to celibacy, thus informally forming the now known Society of Jesus. Pope Paul III formally named Ignacious and Xavier’s society seven years after its inception.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, on March 15, 1540, Francis departed from Rome to Lisbon. He remained there for over two years, then traveling to the southeastern coast of India to minister to poor fishermen for three years.
In 1545, Francis relocated to the Malay Archipelago and ministered to its people for three years. By 1548, Francis returned to India, this time with converted people who accompanied him in his ministries.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, on August 15, 1549, Francis and several companions traveled by sea to Japan. In a letter home, Francis described his encounter with the Japanese as “the best people yet discovered.” He regressed back to India in 1551. On December 3, 1552, Francis died of a fever on the island of Sancian.
St. Francis Xavier helped spread the faith throughout the world by his missionary efforts, which fittingly gives him the title of patron saint of all missionaries.
Saint John Leonardi: Pharmacist
Tate Fabisch - Student Journalist
Knight Writer - Lourdes Academy
People think that saints are people who serve others before themselves, and this is the case for St. John Leonardi. St. Leonardi is known for his countless acts of kindness in hospitals and prisons, thus, earning him the title of pharmacist.
Before Leonardi became a priest, he dedicated himself to the Christian Formation of Adolescents in his local parish in Lucca, Italy. Not long after, he was ordained into the church as a priest, and Leonardi started helping in his community.
St. Leonardi went to many hospitals and prisons to help the sick and the broken come to God and to praise God’s name. In doing so, several young laymen began to help St. Leonardi in his mission to help those in need. Eventually, these men became priests themselves.
St. Leonardi went to the council of Trent soon after and proposed a new congregation of secular priests to convert sinners and to restore Church discipline. This association became known as the Lucca Father and lasted until 1617 when Pope Paul V issued a decree that made the group their own separate organization outside of the church. St. Leonardi fought this, but eventually he failed and was forced to spend the rest of his life outside of Lucca.
According to franciscanmedia.org, St. Leonardi died on October 9, 1609 due to the great plague. In 1621, his community opened two houses of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God shortly after he died. St. Leonardi was venerated for his miracles and for his religious beliefs. Eventually, he was beatified in 1861 and canonized in 1938 by Pope Pius XI.
St. Leonardi’s spiritual day is Oct. 9 and his prayer is, “O God, giver of all good things, who through the Priest Saint John Leonardi caused the Gospel to be announced to the nations, grant, through his intercession, that the true faith may always and everywhere prosper. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”
St. Francis of Assisi: Lover of all life
Regan Kraus - Student Journalist
Knight Writer - Lourdes Academy
When people think of saints, they imagine someone who serves people in need and puts others before him or herself. It is important to recognize that humans are not the only creatures who saints want to protect. Animals are also earth’s precious creatures, and St. Francis of Assisi recognized this.
According to biograpgy.com, St. Francis was not a typical Catholic. He would attend parties and drink before he became a saint. St. Francis even went to prison for ransom, and it was during that time that he began seeing visions from God. After nearly a year, St. Francis was released. Afterward, he began hearing the voice of God telling him to live a life of poverty and help fix the Catholic church. St. Francis later became known as the patron saint for ecologists because of his love of nature.
On Oct. 4, individuals around the globe celebrate to honor St. Francis. PETA, an animal rights organization, states on its website that, “St. Francis loved all God’s creatures and followed God’s example of kindness, mercy, compassion, and love for all creation.” St. Francis not only cared for the well-being of God’s people but for all of his creatures, and PETA wants to stress that this was St. Francis’ major focus.
According to the PETA website, some animals, such as calves used for veal, are kept in lonely isolation, while others, such as chickens, are crowded so closely together that they can barely move. St. Francis’ values of kindness and respect toward nature are still being considered by both individuals and organizations today.
St. Francis' brotherhood included all of God's creation and not just people. Catholic Online discloses the intense relationship St. Francis had with the world. “Much has been written about Francis' love of nature, but his relationship was deeper than that. We call someone a lover of nature if they spend their free time in the woods or admire its beauty. But Francis really felt that nature, all God's creations, were part of his brotherhood. The sparrow was as much his brother as the pope.”
St. Francis’ values portray to Catholics and non-Catholics alike the importance of protecting and honoring all creatures of earth.