August 4 -- St. John Vianney
August 6 -- Transfiguration
August 9 -- St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
August 11 -- St. Clare
August 15 -- Assumption
August 22 -- Queenship of Mary
August 28 -- St. Monica
St. John Baptist Vianney
John Baptist Vianney (1786-1859) -- The Curé of Ars, patron saint of parish priests.
Born at Dardilly, France, on May 8, 1786, Jean-Batiste Marie Vianney was a shepherd’s son. At the age of twenty, he began to study for the priesthood but was drafted into the army to fight in the Napoleonic Wars. Deserting, he returned home in 1810 and went to Lyons seminary in 1813.
John was ordained because of his goodness, despite the fact that he had great difficulties with his studies, especially Latin. Abbé Bailey, of Ecully, personally intervened on his behalf, and John was assigned to Ecully.
In 1818, he became the curé, as pastor of Ars. His mission there was conducted in the confessional, and toward the end of his life he spent sixteen to eighteen hours a day administering the sacrament of penance, or reconciliation, to the thousands who flocked to Ars.
He helped to found La Providence, a home for orphaned and abandoned children. John was gifted with discernment of spirits and read souls with ease, reclaiming thousands of lapsed Catholics. He also built a shrine to St. Philomena, a site that became a popular pilgrim destination.
or thirty years, he suffered diabolical attacks, and his fellow priests charged that he was too ignorant to be a curé. Refusing all honors offered to him, John died at Ars. He was canonized in 1925 and made patron of parish priests.
East day: August 4.
Transfiguration of the Lord
The August 6 feast commemorating the revelation of his divinity by Christ to Peter, James, and John on Mount Tabor (see Matthew 17:1-9).
The feast may have originally commemorated the dedication of the original basilica there. The Transfiguration has been observed in the East since the fifth century, but it did not enter the West until the middle of the ninth.
Pope Callistus III formally included it in the Roman Calendar in 1457 as a thank-offering for the victory of Christian troops over the Turks near Belgrade in 1456. In the Eastern Churches, it is still observed as one of the most important feasts of the year. (Information from Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices by Ann Ball.)
St. Edith Stein (Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)
Edith Stein (1891-1942) -- A brilliant philosopher, spiritual writer, and convert to the Church from Judaism, known in the religious life as Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross; she perished in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Born at Breslau to a Jewish family, she abandoned the Jewish faith in 1904 and became a self-proclaimed atheist. Entering the University of Göttingen, she became a protégé of the philosopher Edmund Husserl and a proponent of the philosophical school of phenomenology both at Göttingen and Freiburg in Breisgau.
She earned a doctorate in 1916 and emerged as one of Europe’s brightest philosophers. One of her primary endeavors was to examine phenomenology from the perspective of Thomistic thought, part of her growing interest in Catholic teachings.
Propelled by her reading of the autobiography of St. Teresa of Ávila, she was baptized on January 1, 1922. She gave up her university post and became a teacher in the Dominican school in Speyer, receiving as well in 1932 the post of lecturer at the Educational Institute of Munich. She resigned under pressure from the Nazis who were now in control of Germany.
In 1934, Edith entered the Carmelite Order. Smuggled out of Germany into the Netherlands in 1938 to escape the mounting Nazi oppression, she fell into the hands of the Third Reich with the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1940.
Arrested in 1942 with her sister Rosa (also a convert) as part of Hitler’s order to liquidate all non-Aryan Catholics, she was taken to Auschwitz and, on August 9 or 10, 1942, she died in the gas chamber.
In the years after the war, her extensive spiritual and philosophical writings were collected and published, receiving promotion by the Archivum Carmelitanum Edith Stein at Louvain, Belgium.
Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1987, then canonized her on October 11, 1998. He also named her co-patroness of Europe, with St. Brigid of Sweden and St. Catherine of Siena on October 1, 1999. Feast day: August 9.
St. Clare of Assisi
Clare of Assisi (d. 1253) -- Foundress of the Franciscan Poor Clares, mystic, friend of St. Francis of Assisi, and patroness of modern television. She was born in Assisi, Italy, on July 11, 1194, the daughter of the noble Faverone Offreducio Ortolanadi Fiumi. Impressed by a sermon preached by St. Francis during the Lenten season of 1212, Clare received the habit from him on Palm Sunday. She then went to the Benedictine convent near Bastia, where she was joined by her sister, Agnes.
In 1215, Clare moved into a house adjoining the church of St. Damiano, becoming superior of the growing community and remaining so for forty years. There she founded the Poor Clares and was joined by her mother, by another sister, Beatrice, and by three members of the noble Ubaldini family of Florence. Pope Innocent III (r. 1198-1216) granted them a rule of absolute poverty, a rule maintained firmly by Clare in later years. Other convents were founded, and the order flourished. Clare was visited by high-ranking clergy and secular officials because of her wisdom. Before she died, there were Poor Clares throughout Italy, and in France and Germany. Clare performed many miracles, including saving the city of Assisi from the army of Emperor Frederick II (r. 1220-1250). She also defended her convent by carrying the ciborium against an attack by Saracen raiders.
As she was nearing the end of her life, Clare had a vision of the Mass from her bed. Because of this mystical gift she was made patroness of modern television. She died on August 11 and was canonized two years later in 1255. Clare is patroness of Assisi, the blind, laundry women, embroiderers, gilders, glaziers, and glass painters. Her relics are in the St. Chiara Church in Assisi, placed there in 1260. In liturgical art, she is shown as a Poor Clare, sometimes carrying a ciborium or monstrance.
Feast day: August 11
Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1).
Presentation of Our Lord (February 2).
Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11, optional).
Annunciation of the Lord (March 25).
Visitation (May 31).
Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16, optional).
Dedication of the basilica in honor of St. Mary Major (August 5, optional).
Assumption (August 15).
Queenship of Mary (August 22).
Birth of Mary (September 8).
Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15).
Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7).
Presentation of Mary (November 21, optional).
Immaculate Conception (December 8).
Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12, optional).
Immaculate Heart of Mary (Saturday after the Second Sunday after Pentecost, optional).
(Information from Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Almanac.)
Monica (332-387) -- Widowed mother of St. Augustine of Hippo.
She was born in Tagaste, North Africa, and married Patricius, who was a dissolute and violent pagan, bearing his children Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Patricius and his mother became Christians in 371, and he died a year later.
She prayed earnestly for Augustine’s conversion, remembering the declaration of a clergyman to whom she had told her troubles, “It is impossible that the son of so many tears will be lost.”
Monica followed Augustine to Rome in 383. In Milan, in 386, she saw him baptized and then lived with her son and her grandson Adeodatus at Cassiciacum while Augustine prepared for his famed conversion.
Monica died at Ostia, Italy, while preparing to return to Africa. Her son’s conversion was the source of great joy to Monica, after which she retired to Cassiciacum. Deciding to return to Africa, she made it only to Ostia, where she died. Augustine recorded a long series of dialogues with her in De Ordine and De Beata Vita. She is the patroness of married women and a model for Christian mothers. Her relics are enshrined at the church of St. Augustine in Rome. Feast day: August 27.
Biographies of saints from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints, Revised, by Matthew and Stephen Bunson; illustrations by Margaret Bunson
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