May the Saints & Feast Days for the month of October inspire you to grow closer to Christ Jesus. This month is dedicated to the Holy Rosary and Respect Life.

October 1: St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897)

While still a child St. Therese felt the attraction of the cloister, and at fifteen obtained permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux. For the next nine years, she lived a very ordinary religious life. She attained a very high degree of holiness by carrying out her ordinary daily duties with perfect fidelity, having a childlike confidence in God’s providence and merciful love. She died of consumption on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24, and was canonized in 1925. She has never ceased to fulfill her promise: “I will pass my heaven in doing good on earth.” Her interior life is known through her autobiography called Story of a Soul. Pope Saint John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1997.

“The closer one approaches God, the simpler one becomes.”

– St. Therese

October 4: St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

The son of a wealthy cloth merchant, St. Francis lived a lavish and irresponsible life. At the age of twenty, he went to war against Perugia, but was captured and imprisoned. During his imprisonment, he experienced a vision from Christ that changed his life completely. He left all his possessions and embraced complete poverty, taking the Gospel as his rule of life. 

He founded the Friars Minor (Franciscans) which in ten years numbered five thousand brothers. His followers were called Friars Minor because they were to consider themselves as the least among the religious. Out of humility, Francis never accepted the priesthood but remained a deacon all his life. He was the first person (recorded) to receive the stigmata and he was canonized two years after his death.

“Every day He humbles Himself, just as He did when from His heavenly throne into the Virgin’s womb; every day He comes to us and lets us see Him in lowliness when He descends from the bosom of the Father into the hands of the priest at the altar.”

– St. Francis of Assisi

October 5: St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938)

St. Faustina grew up in a poor Polish family of 10 children. When she was 15 years old, she quit school in order to work as a housemaid to help support her family. By the time she was 18, she was called by God to religious life and joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. 

In 1931, Jesus appeared to Faustina as the King of Divine Mercy. He asked her to have a picture painted of Him as she saw Him — clothed in white, with red and white rays of light streaming from his heart. The rays represent the blood and water that flowed from the side of Jesus on the cross. Under the image are the words, “Jesus, I trust in you.”

In 1935, St. Faustina received a vision of an angel sent by God to chastise a certain city. She began to pray for mercy, but her prayers were powerless. Suddenly she saw the Holy Trinity and felt the power of Jesus’ grace within her. At the same time, she found herself pleading with God for mercy with words she heard interiorly: 

“Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us.”

As she continued saying this inspired prayer, the angel became helpless and could not carry out the deserved punishment. The next day, she again heard this interior voice, instructing her how to recite the prayer that our Lord later called “the Chaplet.” Later the Lord made it clear that the Chaplet was not just for her, but for the whole world. 

“Today the Lord said to me, ‘Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it.”

– St. Faustina

October 7: Our Lady of the Rosary

This feast was instituted by Pope St. Pius V in thanksgiving for the great naval victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. This victory was due to the recitation of the Rosary. The victory saved Europe from being overrun by the forces of Islam. This battle is also commemorated by the invocation “Help of Christians,” which was inserted into the Litany of Loreto. The name of this feast was changed from Our Lady of Victory to Our Lady of the Rosary in 1716 by Pope Clement XI, and added to the universal Church calendar.

“Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”.

October 15: St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

At the age of eighteen, St. Teresa joined the Carmelite Order and chose Christ as her heavenly Spouse. For eighteen years she suffered physical pain and spiritual dryness. After this, with the approval of Pope Pius IV, she began the work of reforming the Carmelite Order. In spite of heavy opposition and constant difficulties, she founded thirty-two reformed convents. She reached the highest degree of prayer and through prayer obtained such knowledge of divine things that in 1970 Pope St. Paul VI named her the first woman Doctor of the Church. 

She had extraordinary interior manifestations of her mystical union with God, especially during the last decade of her life. These graces reached a climax when her heart was transfixed, an event that is commemorated in the Carmelite Order by a special feast on August 27. She was very devoted to St. Joseph as a patron, and named her first convent after him. Her most famous work is Interior Castle.

 “You must not build upon foundations of prayer and contemplation alone, for, unless you strive after the virtues and practice them, you will never grow to be more than a dwarf.”

– St.Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle

October 16: St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690)

At the age of 24, St. Margaret Mary entered the cloister, choosing the most menial tasks. Gifted with intelligence and common sense, she made great progress in holiness. Our Lord entrusted to her the mission of establishing the reign of the Sacred Heart. Criticism did not hamper her zeal, and her charity toward her opponents eventually won them over. 

In the first revelation of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret, Our Lord made known His burning desire to be loved by all men, and His design of manifesting to them His Sacred Heart with its treasures of mercy. St. Margaret Mary also communicated Our Lord’s wish that the faithful receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month and observe the Feast of the Sacred Heart on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi. During these visions from 1673 to 1675 the promises Christ made, for those who devote themselves to His Heart, are summarized in The 12 Promises Of The Sacred Heart.

After nineteen years in the convent, St. Margaret Mary died on October 17, 1690. Many pilgrims to her tomb have sought and obtained favors. Through her apostolate of devotion to the Sacred Heart, many have found grace with God.

“Cling to God, and leave all the rest to Him: He will not let you perish. Your soul is very dear to Him, He wishes to save it.”

– St. Margaret Mary

October 18: Feast of St. Luke (~14 BC – ~70 AD)

St. Luke, is the author of the third Gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles. He was born in Antioch, Syria, and was a physician by profession. He accompanied St. Paul on a considerable part of his missionary journeys and was his companion while in prison at Rome on two different occasions. According to St. Jerome, St. Luke died in Greece at the age of 84, and it is unknown whether or not he died a martyr’s death.

Luke’s Gospel is the Gospel of the Merciful Heart of Jesus. It emphasizes the fact that Christ is the salvation of all men, especially of the repentant sinner and of the lowly. He emphasizes this through parables that are unique to his Gospel, such as the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, the Lost Sheep, and the Rich Man and Lazarus. St. Luke’s Gospel has preserved for us some of the great prayers (hymns) of the early Church such as Mary’s Magnificat, Zechariah’s Benedictus, Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis, and the Gloria sung by the angels at the birth of Christ.

“And the angel said to Mary, the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

– Luke 1:35

October 22: St. John Paul II (1920-2005)

Karol Józef Wojtyła was born in 1920 in Poland. After his ordination to the priesthood and theological studies in Rome, he returned to his homeland and resumed various pastoral and academic tasks. He became an auxiliary bishop and, in 1964, Archbishop of Krakow and took part in the Second Vatican Council. On 16 October 1978, he was elected pope and took the name John Paul II. He died on April 2, 2005, the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.

No other Pope met as many people as St. Pope John Paul II. More than 17 million pilgrims attended his Wednesday General Audiences (which numbered over 1,160). He met millions of the faithful in the course of his pastoral visits in Italy and throughout the world. He made 146 pastoral visits in Italy and, as the Bishop of Rome, he visited 317 of the current 322 Roman parishes. His international journeys numbered 104. He was also an inspired and prolific writer. His principal documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions, and 45 Apostolic Letters. He was also the guiding force in promulgating the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church.

“Here is the most magnificent, the most profound gift of the Heart of Jesus that we find in creation: man born of God, man adopted as a son in the Eternal Son, and humanity given the power to become children of God.”

– St. John Paul II

October 28: Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude

The Apostles Saints Simon and Jude are celebrated on the same day because tradition holds that they were paired together and preached the Gospel in Mesopotamia and Persia.  But nothing is known for certain about them beyond both being called as Apostles in the New Testament. St. Jude is the author of a short Epistle that forms part of the New Testament.

St. Simon is said to have preached in Egypt before joining St. Jude in Persia, where he was crucified. St. Jude is said to have been martyred in either Armenia or Beirut.

Many people pray to St. Jude for his intercession in hopeless situations. Two Saints, St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Bernard, had visions from God asking them to accept St. Jude as “The Patron Saint of the Impossible.” In addition, his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of difficult circumstances, further emphasizing him as the patron saint of desperate cases.

“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” – Jude 1:17-21

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