The fourth of seven children born to Tomas Rodríguez Sopeña, a lawyer, magistrate and administrator, and Nicolasa Ortega Salomon. Eye surgery at age eight left her with limited sight the rest of her life. A debutante at age 17, Maria did not care for the wordly life, and fearing that her parents would stop her, she secretly began working with the sick and poor. This was a time when a lady of her standing in society would never be found in the poor neighborhoods, never working with the poor herself. But Maria's faith gave her endless confidence, and she was motivated by a desire to have "one family in Christ Jesus"
In 1868 when she was 20, Maria's father was transferred to Puerto Rico where he eventually became a state attorney; the rest of the famly moved to Madrid, Spain. There Maria found a spiritual advisor and began catechizing women in prisons, hospitals and Sunday schools. The entire family moved to Puerto Rico in 1872 during a time of schism and religious disruption, and she found a Jesuit priest to be her spiritual director. Maria's poor sight ended an attempt to join the Sisters of Charity, and when she tried to work on her own, the religious upheaval limited her to visiting only the sick in the safety of a military hospital. When the situation settled she founded the Centers of Instruction and the Association of the Sodality of the Virgin Mary who staffed the Centers. There they taught reading, writing and religion, and provided medical help where needed.
Maria's mother died, her father retired, and the family returned to Madrid in 1877. Maria became the matriarch of the family, found a new spiritual advisor, and resumed her work with the poor and sick. Following the death of her father in 1883, she joined a Salesian convent. That lasted ten days; she realized that the cloistered, contemplative life was not for her.
In 1885 Maria opened a center where the poor could bring social problems to be resolved, and which was similar to a modern half-way house, helping prisoners return to society. The terrible conditions of the poor that she witness led to the formation of the organization Works of the Doctrines; due to anti-clerical attitudes in the 20th century, these became known as the Center for the Workers. In 1892 she founded the Association of the Apostolic Laymen (Sopeña Lay Movement), and in 1893 she received government approval to expand her work into eight poor and crowded Madrid neighborhoods.
In 1896 she began working throughout Spain, founding additional Works of the Doctrines. She made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1900, and received approval to form a religious institute to continue the work of the Works and Association. With eight companions and co-workers, she founded the Ladies of Catechistical Institute on 24 September 1901 in Toledo, Spain. She founded the Social and Cultural Work Sopeña (OSCUS) which received government approval in 1902, papal approval in 1907, and is today known as the Sopeña Catechetical Institute. Maria was chosen Superior General of community in 1910, and they expanded into the Americas in 1917. Her legacy continues today in the Sopeña Catechetical Institute, The Sopeña Lay Movement and the Sopeña Social and Cultural Work working in Spain, Italy, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
30 December 1848 in Velez Rubio, Almería, Spain
10 January 1918 in Madrid, Spain of natural causes
23 March 2003 by Pope John Paul II
• Frances de Sales Aviat
• Francesca Salesia Aviat
• Francisca Salesia Aviat
• Francisca Salesia
• Françoise de Sales
• Fransiska Salesia Aviat
• God's Little Instrument
• Leonia Aviat
• Leonie Aviat
• Léonie Aviat
• Léonie Françoise de Sales Aviat
• Mother Francoise
• Mother Françoise de Sales Aviat
Daughter of Theodore Aviat, a shopkeeper, and Emilie Caillot. Baptized 17 September 1844; Confirmed on 2 July 1856. Educated at the Visitation School in Troyes, France from age eleven to sixteen. With Father Louis Brisson and Mother Marie Therese de Sales Chappuis, she founded the Sister Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales in Troyes, dedicated to helping young women who poured into the cities during the Industrial Revolution. She took the Salesian Rule for the congregation. She entered religious life on 11 April 1866, took the veil on 30 October 1868, taking the name Sister Frances de Sales, and made her final vows on 11 October 1871. Superior of the Institute in 1872. Opened homes and schools for working class girls. Exiled from France on 11 April 1904 due to religious persecution and anti-religious legislation. She rebuilt her congregation from Perugia, Italy, and the Order was approved by Pope Saint Pius X in 1911.
16 September 1844 at Sezanne, France as Leonia Aviat
10 January 1914 at Perugia, Italy of natural causes
• 25 November 2001 by Pope John Paul II
• her canonization miracle involved the healing of the paralyzing spinal disease of a 14 year old girl from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
[She] dedicated her life to educating young working women. Union with the redemptive sacrifice of Christ by the daily practice of self denial was Mother Francois's central orientation throughout her life. Her sole desire to be, as she said, ‘God's little instrument.'" - Pope John Paul II in the beatification ceremony for Saint Francisca
May my love unceasingly offer something to my Divine Jesus. - Saint Frances
Let us establish a permanent Spring season in our heart through ‘yes' often repeated to all of God's permissions and wills. - Saint Frances
Born to a wealthy, noble, and prominent family. Married at age 18 to Felicitas, and the father of one son, Peter, who became the Doge of Venice in 991. Admiral and commander of the Venetian fleet by age 20. Rid the Adriatic Sea of pirates.
Chosen Doge of Venice on 12 August 976, the day after a revolt, the murder of his predecessor, and a fire that destroyed much of the city. Built hospitals and orphanages, started reconstruction of the Cathedral of Saint Mark, and began social programs to help widows, orphans, pilgrims, and the abandoned. He poured much of his own fortune into the effort, and within two years Peter had restored law and order, and rebuilt much of the city. Rightly considered one of Venice's greatest rulers.
In the night of 1 September 978, believing his duty to the world fulfilled, and possibly feeling crushed by it all, Peter secretly left Venice for the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa in the Pyrenees on the border of France and Spain, not even telling his family of his plans. Benedictine monk. While the move was sudden, it was apparently something he'd been considering for over a decade. When his wife learned of his move, she approved; they'd lived chastely since the birth of their son, and she knew of his spiritual yearnings. Spiritual student of Saint Romuald at Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa at whose suggestion he built a hermitage, and retired even further from the world, spending the rest of his life in solitude and prayer.
928 at Rivo alto, Province of Udine, Venice, Italy
• 10 January 987 at Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa Abbey, Pyrenees mountains, France of natural causes
• his tomb became a site for pilgimages and miracles
• recognized in 1027 by the bishop of Elne, France
• cultus confirmed by Pope Clement XII in 1731
• Paul the First Hermit
• Paul of Thebes
• Paul the Anchorite
• Pavly, Pavlos
15 January (Eastern calendar)
Paul grew up in an upper-class, Christian family. He was well educated, fluent in Greek and Egyptian. His parents died when the boy was 15. When the persecutions of Decius began a few years later, Paul fled into the desert to escape both them, and the machinations of his brother Peter and other family members who wanted his property. He lived as a desert hermit in a cave the remainder of his 113 year life, surviving off fruit and water, wearing leaves or nothing, spending his time in prayer; legend says a raven kept him supplied with bread. Late in life he came to know, and was buried by Saint Anthony the Abbot. His biography was written by Saint Jerome.
c.230 at Lower Thebes, Egypt
• 5 January 342 of natural causes
• grave reported to have been dug by desert lions near his cave who guarded the body
• buried by Saint Anthony the Abbot
• basket weavers
• clothing industry
• dead man whose grave is being dug by a lion
• man being brought food by a bird
• man clad in rough garments made of leaves or skins
• old man, clothed with palm-leaves, and seated under a palm-tree, near which are a river and loaf of bread
• with Saint Anthony the Abbot
• Guillaume de Bourges
• William Berruyer
• William de Don Jeon
• William the Confessor
8 November as one of the Saints of the Diocese of Evry
Member of the family of the Counts of Nevers, his father Baldwin planned a military life for William. Educated by his maternal uncle, Peter the Hermit, archdeacon of Soissons, France. Drawn to religious life from an early age, William became a priest, canon of Soissons, and canon of Paris. Monk in the Order of Grandmont, noted for his austerities, his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and for the time spent praying at the altar. Internal dissension in the Order caused him to leave Grandmont for the recently formed Cistercians, taking the habit at Pontigny. Abbot at Fontaine-Jean in Sens, France. Abbot at Chaalis near Senlis, France in 1187.
Reluctant archbishop of Bourges, France in 1200, accepting the position only after receiving orders from the general of his order, and from Pope Innocent III. Lived an even more austere life, defended clerical rights against the state, cared personally for the poor, sick, imprisoned and debauched, and converted many Albigensians in his diocese to orthodox Christianity. Witnesses claim he performed 18 miracles during his life, and another 18 after his death.
12th century in Nevers, France
10 January 1209 at Bourges, France of natural causes while in prayer
17 May 1217 by Pope Honorius III
• Teobaldo Visconti
• Theobald Visconti
Worked for Cardinal Jacopo of Palestrina. Archdeacon of Liege, Belgium. Assigned to preach the last Crusade. Accompanied the Crusaders to Palestine, and was still there when elected Pope; he was elected before being ordained a priest. Ordained on 19 March 1272. 184th pope.
Worked to restore peace between Christian nations and rulers, for the recovery of the Holy Lands from Muslims, and to reform the spiritual lives of clergy and laity. Called the Council of Lyons which briefly reconciled the Orthodox and Latin Churches. Tried to restore peace between the Guelphs and Ghibellines in Tuscany and Lombardy, and excommunicated those who worked against the reconciliation. Crowned Rudolf of Habsburg as Holy Roman Emperor and settled the fight over the crown among German princes.
1210 in Piacenza, Italy as Theobald Visconti
• elected on 1 September 1271 following the longest election in the history of the Church
• ascended to the throne on 27 March 1272
10 January 1276 at Arezzo, Italy of a fever
8 July 1713 by Pope Clement XI (cultus confirmed)
Ana de los Angeles Monteagudo
Educated at a convent. Over the objection of her family, she became a Dominican nun in 1618; she wore the veil for 68 years. Novice mistress for many years. Prioress at the monastery of San Caterina da Siena.
26 July 1602 in Arequipa, Peru as Anna Monteagudo Ponce de Leon
• 10 January 1686 in Arequipa, Peru of natural causes
• interred at the monastery of Saint Catherine of Siena in Arequipa
2 February 1985 by Pope John Paul II in Arequipa, Peru
Bountiful God, you gave Blessed Ann the gifts of contemplation, of penitence and of charity towards her neighbors. With the help of her prayers and example may we worship you with this sacrifice of praise and learn what is pleasing to you through the signs of the times. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. - Dominicans
Married layman and successful businessman for most of his life. In maturity he finally followed a call to God, and with his wife's blessing, he became a monk at Saint Hermes' monastery in Palermo, Sicily. Vatican treasurer. Pope.
As pontiff, Agatho brought his business skills to the throne, maintaining the accounting records himself. He worked to resolve a dispute between Saint Wilfrid of York and Saint Theodore of Canterbury concerning diocesan boundaries in England; this was the first known occasion of English bishops appealing to Rome for a decision. He condemned the Monothelite heresy, and wrote definitive texts concerning the nature of Christ's will; his writings and authority swayed the Council of Constantinople, and reunited Constantinople with Rome, though he died before the good news reaches him.
in Sicily, possibly at Palermo
27 June 678
10 January 681 in Rome, Italy of natural causes
Palermo, Sicily, Italy
pope holding a long cross
Member of a Roman family of Constantinople. Related to Emperor Theodosius II. Ordained in 455. He lived such an austere life that he was wrongly accused of the heresy of Novatianism. Treasurer of the great church Hagia Sophia. Appointed Oikonomos, a position second only to the patriarch in authority. Gave away huge sums from his family fortune, but always anonymously so as not to draw attention to himself. Restored several churches. Composed several hymns, and was known as a miracle worker.
One day as he rushed to the consecration of a new church, he encountered a miserable, nearly naked beggar on the street. Marcian gave the man all his clothing, keeping only his chasuble. When he arrived at the church, however, he appeared to be wearing a golden robe under the chasuble; Patriarch Gennadius even rebuked Marcian for dressing so richly. The saint then pulled off the chasuble to show he was naked.
Daughter of Saint Isidore of Lentini; related to Saint Neofyta and Saint Neofytus. Thecla was a consecrated virgin, a form of nun that pre-dates congregations. She worked with the poor in Lentini until an unspecified disease left her paralyzed and bed-ridden for six years; she was healed by the prayers of three holy brothers who were immediately imprisoned. Thecla and her servant Justina bribed the guards to let them visit, feed and minister to the brothers and other prisoners until they were each martyred, and then the two women gave them a Christian burial.
3rd century Lentini, Sicily, Italy
10 January 264 in Lentini, Sicily, Italy of natural causes
• young woman holding a cross in one hand and the early church of Lentini in the other
• cross and olive branch
• Giles di Bello
• Bernardin, Bernardino, Egidio, Egidius
Raised on a farm at Laurenzana, Naples. Franciscan lay brother. Lived as a hermit in the garden of the Franciscan friary at Laurenzana. Noted for a great love of animals.
1443 in Laurenzana, Italy as Bernardin de Bello
10 January 1518 in Laurenzana, Italy of natural causes
27 June 1880 by Pope Leo XIII (cultus confirmed)
Married. Noted scholar in literature, philosophy and Biblical studies. Widower. Monk. Bishop of Melitene, Armenia at age 30. Had a special ministry to the poor. Diplomat, sent by the Byzantine emperor to Persia to handle difficult negotiations. Corresponded with Saint Gregory the Great. Spiritual director of the emperor.
• c.602 in Constantinople of natural causes
• relics transferred to Melitene, Armenia (modern Malatya, Turkey)
Benedictine monk. Abbot of La Cava, Salerno, Italy from 1171 to 1194. Helped found a new monastery at Monreale, Sicily, sending a hundred monks to staff it.
• 10 January 1194 of natural causes
• buried in the crypt of La Cava Abbey
• relics to the Chapel of the Fathers at the monastery on 20 October 1675
16 May 1928 by Pope Pius XI (cultus confirmed)
19 January (diocese of Viviers, France)
Bishop of Viviers, France. Killed by a mob for defending the rights of the Church in a local matter. Martyr.
• beheaded in 745 in Viviers, France
• interred in the church of San Vincenzo in Viviers
• relics burned by Calvinists in 1568
• Dermot of Clothrann
• Dermot the Just
• Diarmis, Diarmaid, Diermit
Abbot. Founder of a monastery on Innis-Closran, Ireland. Noted teacher, writer, and preacher. Spiritual director of Saint Kiernan of Clonracnois. Built seven churches on Quaker Island.
542 of natural causes
Eighth-century hermit charcoal-burner in northern Italy known for his holiness.
• buried in the chapel of Saint Colombano
• relics later transferred to the basilica of San Michele
Mercedarian friar. A redeemer who ransomed Christians who had been enslaved by Muslims in North Africa, working in Algeria and Mauritania.
Thomas, Toiman, Toimen, Tomianus, Thomianus
Bishop of Armagh, Ireland, from c.623. Involved in the controversy over the proper date for celebrating Easter.
c.660 of natural causes
Step-daughter of the king of the Angles. Half-sister of Saint Ethelburga and Saint Ethelfreda. Benedictine nun in a convent in Gaul. Abbess.
660 of natural causes
Son of an imperial Roman senator from the area around modern Avignon, France. Monk at Lerins Abbey. Bishop of Die, France c.456.
463 of natural causes
Bishop of Jerusalem who worked to maintain orthodox Christian doctrine, and keep peace within the disputing factions within the Church.
Bishop of Cahors, France. Known for knowing the entire Bible by heart.
Hermit near Limoges, France.
Antipas of Valaam
Fulk of Montdidier
Gonzalo of Braga
John the Gardener
Peter of Zeliv and Companions
• Theosebia the Deaconess
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