3 Great Saints To Celebrate
Wednesday, 22 July 2020
People all over the world have heard of Saint Patrick, even many people who are neither Irish nor Catholic thanks to the famous St Patrick’s Day. As vital as Saint Patrick was for Irish Catholics, we wanted to take some time to remind ourselves of, and celebrate, some Catholic Saints that maybe aren’t acknowledged as often.
1. Saint Brigid of Kildare (c. 451 - c. 525)
Feast Day: February 1st
Along with Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid was a patron Saint. Born in Dundalk Ireland, legend tells us that Brigid was initially born into slavery before being returned to her father as a house servant at the age of 10. Even at this young age, Brigid was known for her kindness in feeding the poor and was rumoured to have performed healing miracles.
Brigid was said to be so kind that she regularly gave away her fathers possessions to anyone who asked; Infuriated, he journeyed to sell her to the King of Leinster. Luckily for the Brigid the King recognised her kindness and convinced her father to free her. Where she continued her childhood isn’t completely clear, however, it is known she founded several monasteries as an adult, including one in Kildare in 480. She was also associated with many miracles including turning water to beer, and prayers that stopped wind and rain.
2. Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887 - 1968)
Feast Day: September 23rd
Saint Padre Pio is a relatively recent saint, being canonized in 2002. Born in Benevento as Francesco Forgione, after expressing interest in becoming a friar at a young age, his father travelled to America to find better paying work to grant his son a better education, so he could join the Order. He was successful, and now named Fra (Friar) Pio, he began his seven years of education to become a priest. In this time he became ill regularly, complaining of insomnia, migraines and loss of appetite. Despite this, he managed to make his profession on January 27th, 1907.
Saint Padre Pio became known for numerous supernatural happenings. Most famously, his incurrence of stigmata (marks, pain or bleeding in locations that correspond with crucifixion), that he suffered from for over 40 years. From a young age, Padre Pio told people he would experience heavenly visions and sometimes full apparitions, and a fellow priest he studied with claimed to witness Padre Pio floating above the ground during prayer. There are also multiple instances of stories in which Padre Pio was able to cure blindness. Despite these strange happenings and constant battles with ill health, Saint Padre Pio was able to live until the age of 81 and now rests in the Sanctuary of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina.
3. Saint Francis of Assisi (1181 - 1226)
Feast Day: October 4th
Saint Francis is another Italian saint, born in the times of the Roman Empire. His family were relatively wealthy and he lived comfortably in his youth, but began to become disenfranchised with this world when he was mocked by his friends, and scolded by his father, for giving to a beggar generously. Years later whilst Francis sought spiritual enlightenment, he claimed to have a vision of Jesus Christ telling him to help fix a local chapel. Francis sold some of his fathers wares to try and help, enraging his father and causing him to take his son captive in a storeroom. His mother freed him and Francis chose to renounce his father and his inheritance.
Francis spent the next two years begging for money so that he could restore several ruined chapels around Assisi. Inspired during Mass, Francis went on to be the founder of several Franciscan Orders and began to amass followers in 1209. He set rules for the Orders, and in his determination to spread the Catholic faith he often travelled to various parts of the world including Jerusalem and Egypt. At the end of his life, like Saint Padre Pio, Saint Francis claimed to experience stigmata. He returned to a place where the Franciscan movement had begun, Porziuncola, and spent his final days dictating his testament.
As you can see, saints were often subjected to difficult circumstances in their life, but their good deeds and strong faith remained ever-present. We hope you’ve learnt something new about some great saints, and if not then at least enjoyed refreshing your memory.
At Memorial Card Shop we offer memorial cards and thank-you cards for funeral services - photographs we offer in the customization process include some of the saints mentioned in this article. You can browse the cards here, or click here to find our contact details.