*** *** *** “John the Baptist is ‘more than a prophet.’ In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets… John ‘came to bear witness to the light.’ In John’s sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels.” (CCC 719)

— We honor the birth of St. John the Baptist with the highest order of liturgical feast. As the Forerunner of the Savior, St. John prepared the way for Jesus, instructing his followers to turn and follow the “Lamb of God.”

*** *** ***

— St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591) was born into Italian aristocracy. At a young age he signed away his claim to his title and family wealth and entered the Society of Jesus. He died as a result of caring for the those stricken with the plague in the 1591 outbreak. St. Aloysius was canonized in 1726 […]

*** *** *** Born in Ravenna to a family of nobility, St. Romuald (d. 1027) grew up in a lavish environment. Yet, a particular life experience would prompt his journey to monasticism. St. Romuald founded the Camaldolese Order; a combination of hermit life and an austere form of community. He helped to establish and reform many monasteries, reviving the practice of hermit life to allow for more solitude.

— from St. Romuald’s Brief Rule: “Sit in your cell as in paradise; put the whole world behind you and forget it; like a skilled angler on the lookout for a catch keep a careful eye on your thoughts. The path you follow is in the psalms — don’t leave it. If you’ve come with […]

*** *** ***

— Teresa of Ávila was a Carmelite nun, Spanish mystic, and Doctor of the Church. She authored many prominent works on Christian mysticism, including The Interior Castle, and The Way of Perfection. — The idea of living a simple, purposeful life and that material possessions are not essential for true happiness goes back to ancient […]

*** *** *** Born in Nisibis, St. Ephrem (306– 373) was a deacon, poet, teacher, and defender of the faith. He is remembered for his hymns and biblical commentaries, many of which are still in existence. His works not only give praise and worship to God, but also teach the Christian faith. Confronting the heresy of his time, St. Ephrem helped to spread Christianity in Syria, and is considered one of the most significant Church Fathers in the Syriac tradition.

— from St. Ephrem’s ‘Hymn to the Light’: “The Light of the just and joy of the upright is Christ Jesus our Lord. Begotten of the Father, He manifested himself to us. He came to rescue us from darkness and to fill us with the radiance of His light.”

*** *** *** courageous young men gave witness to Christ…

— As master page in the royal court of King Mwanga, St. Charles (d. 1886) led a group of young men to uphold their Christian faith in opposition to King Mwanga’s immoral actions. St. Charles was martyred along with many of his fellow pages, including St. Kizito, who was only fourteen. Some of the men […]

*** *** ***

— A Christian convert, St. Justin (d. 165) was a philosopher in the Greek tradition and one of the earliest Christian apologists. He passionately sought after the truth, which he found in Christ, and his defense of the faith is evidenced in his “Apologies” and “Dialogue with Trypho,” the only of his writings to have […]