Catholic Saint Biographies

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Catholic Saints Biographies

Information on Popular Saints

Links to Saint Websites: Saints' Lives  |  Catholic Saints
Browse: St. Joseph | St. Francis | St. Michael | St. Augustine | St. Rita

St. JosephSt. Joseph

Saint Joseph was by birth of the royal family of David, but was living in humble obscurity as a carpenter, until God raised him to the highest office ever accorded a mortal man, by choosing him to be the spouse of the Virgin Mother, the virginal father and guardian of the Incarnate Word. Joseph, says Holy Scripture, was a just man. He was innocent and pure, as became the husband of Mary; he was gentle and tender, as one worthy to be named the father of Jesus; he was prudent and a lover of silence, as became the master of the holy house; above all, he was faithful and obedient to divine calls.

His conversation was with Angels rather than with men. When he learned that Mary bore within Her womb the Lord of heaven, he feared to take Her as his wife; but an Angel bade him put his fear aside, and all doubts vanished. When Herod sought the life of the divine Infant, an Angel told Joseph in a dream to fly with the Child and His Mother into Egypt. Joseph at once arose and obeyed. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed both him and his little Family to many inconveniences and sufferings; the journey with a newborn infant and a tender virgin was long, and the greater part of the way led through deserts and among strangers. Yet Saint Joseph alleges no excuses, nor inquires at what time they were to return.

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St. Francis of AssisiSt. Francis

Saint Francis, the son of a merchant of Assisi, was born in the year 1182 in a poor stable, his birth already prophesying the Saint who would preach poverty to a world seduced by luxury. Though chosen by God to be for the world a living manifestation of Christ’s poor and suffering life on earth, in his youth he was generous, always of equal humor, and much appreciated by his friends; he was fond of splendors, fine clothing, and good company, and easily won the affection of all who knew him. More than once various holy persons foretold for him a future of glory, but in veiled terms. Francis did not understand these predictions, and supposed he would become the leader of a large militia.

The military life he had adopted ended when Jesus told him he was destined to fight another kind of combat, one against the demon and sin; that the grandeurs predicted were spiritual, not temporal — and to return home. He became inspired with a great esteem for poverty and humiliation. The thought of the Man of Sorrows, who had nowhere to lay His head, filled him with holy envy of the poor, and constrained him to renounce the wealth and the worldly station which he had come to abhor. One day, while on horseback, he met a leper begging alms who inspired him with repugnance, and he took a path to avoid him. Then, repenting, he turned his horse around and returned to embrace him and give him a generous alms, as was his custom for all beggars. He continued on his way, but looked back, and nowhere on the plain could the stranger be seen, though there were no trees, no refuges anywhere. He was from that day a completely transformed person.

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St. Michael the ArchangelSt. Michael the Archangel

“MI-CA-EL,” or “Who is like unto God?” was the cry of the great Archangel when he smote the rebel Lucifer in the conflict of the heavenly hosts. From that hour he has been known as Michael, Captain of the armies of God, the archetype of divine fortitude, the champion of every faithful soul in strife with the powers of evil. What is more, we see him in Holy Scripture as the special guardian of the children of Israel, their comfort and protector in times of sorrow or conflict. It is he who prepares their return from the Persian captivity, when the prophet Daniel prays for that favor (Daniel 10:12-13); who leads the valiant Maccabees to victory in battle, after the prayer of Judas Maccabeus (I Mac. 7:41-44).

Ever since its foundation by Jesus Christ, the Church has venerated Saint Michael as her special patron and protector. She invokes him by name in her Confiteor, when accusing her faults; she summons him to the side of her children in the agony of death, and chooses him as their escort from the chastening flames of purgatory to the realms of holy light. Lastly, when Antichrist shall have set up his kingdom on earth, it is Michael who will unfurl once more the standard of the Cross. This we know from a prophecy of Scripture which states clearly that in those days the great prince Michael will rise up to protect the children of God. (Daniel 12:1-4)

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St. AugustineSt. Augustine

Saint Augustine was born in 354 at Tagaste in Africa. He was brought up in the Christian faith but did not receive baptism, result of the practice, common in the first centuries, of deferring it until adulthood. An ambitious schoolboy of brilliant talents and violent passions, he early lost both his faith and his innocence. He pursued with ardor the study of philosophy. He taught grammar, rhetoric and literature for nine years in his native town of Tagaste, and in Carthage. He persisted in his irregular life and doctrinal errors until he was thirty-two. Then one day, stung to the heart by the account of some sudden conversions, he cried out, “The unlearned rise and storm heaven, and we, with all our learning, for lack of courage lie inert!” The great heart of this future bishop was already evident.

When as a genial student of rhetoric, he was at Milan, where Saint Ambrose was bishop, Augustine tells us later in his autobiography, the Catholic faith of his childhood regained possession of his intellect, but he could not as yet resolve to break the chains of bad habit. His mother helped him to separate from the mother of his son, Adeodatus, who had died as a young man; and she, after this painful separation, retired for life to a convent, regretting that she had long enchained this soul of predilection. Augustine’s mother, Saint Monica, died soon afterwards.

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St. Rita of CasciaSt. Rita of Cascia

Saint Rita was born in Italy in the late 14th century, near the little city of Cascia, of parents who though advancing in age had no children; she was the fruit of their pious prayers. At the age of twelve she resolved to consecrate herself to God by the vow of chastity, but her parents required her to marry. She obeyed; and God, who perhaps wished her to serve as an example for those having to bear with violent spouses, permitted that she be joined to a man of ferocious character, who terrified the region where he lived.

During eighteen years she succeeded so well in pacifying him that he eventually even became submissive to the laws of God. Nonetheless, his enemies killed him; and then the pious widow had to overcome her twin sons’ desire for vengeance. Again she succeeded. When the two young men died not long afterwards, she was without any further bonds to keep her in the world, and she made application to a convent of Augustinian nuns at Cascia. Never had a widow been admitted there, but Saint John the Baptist, with Saint Augustine and Saint Nicholas, who had died during the 13th century in the nearby town of Tolentino, appeared to her to answer her fervent prayers. They transported her miraculously into the convent by night, despite all the locked doors. The Sisters, finding her there in the morning, could not refuse her request any longer.

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