As part of our continuing efforts to grow the Catholic Feast Day Site, we have added one lesser-known saint or blessed per week. While these saints might not have the renown of St. Patrick or St. Francis of Assisi, they still are powerful role models and intercessors. When I was helping compile the resources to add these saints and blesseds to the site, I would try to put myself in their shoes. It is easy to write about them abstractly, just like a laundry list, but as I would imagine their situations, I would find myself in awe at how Christ worked through their life. During the rest of this month, we will celebrate the feasts of three incredible individuals in the life and history of the Church.
St. Clement Mary Hofbauer
Tomorrow, on March 15th, we will celebrate the feast day of the Redemptorist priest St. Clement Mary Hofbauer. Clement Mary Hofbauer lived from 1751 to 1820, a very tumultuous time in central Europe, especially around Poland and Austria where he lived. He helped open the first congregations of the Redemptorists north of Italy, helping the order spread throughout Europe. Clement Mary was responsive to the extreme poverty and need throughout Poland which was the result of the violent political conflict. He tried to help everyone he could. It must have felt like he was trying to drink from a fire hydrant with a straw, but he kept working for all the impoverished in Poland. Even after the political situation caused him to leave Poland for Vienna, he continued his work of helping individuals, even when some people might have seen it as futile. In honor of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer’s feast day, let us pray for his intercession, so that we too may trust that even when our works seem small, God can do great things through us.
Next week, on March 23rd, we will celebrate the feast of St. Rafqa. For me, St. Rafqa was one of those saints that made me glad I took the time to reflect on her life. Biographically, she was born in 1832 in Lebanon and died in 1914. She was a Mariamette Sister until 1871, and when the sisters merged with a different order, she joined the Lebanese Maronite Order and lived a quiet life of personal piety afterwards. That alone is impressive. But then I think about the incredible uncertainty and stress that must have come with the change from the Mariamette Sisters to the Lebanese Maronite Order. And I read that she lived the last twenty-nine years of her life with chronic headaches and eye pain, yet she continued her work in the order. Then she spent the last seventeen years of her life, while still in chronic pain, helping found a new monastery. In honor of St. Rafqa’s feast day, let us pray for her intercession, so that we too may keep Christ at the center of our lives, no matter the obstacles thrown in our way.
Bl. Francesco Faà di Bruno
On March 27th, we get to close out the month by celebrating the feast of Bl. Francesco Faà di Bruno. Faà di Bruno lived in the mid- and late nineteenth century in Italy. In the early part of his life, he was a well-known mathematician, especially renowned for his study of elliptic functions and higher order calculus. After becoming friends with St. John Bosco, Faà di Bruno became an active social reformer throughout Turin, helping those who otherwise would be forgotten by society. Unusual for the customs of the time, Faà di Bruno decided to become a priest in his late forties and spent the rest of his life as a priest, social reformer, and mathematician. It wasn’t that being a priest precluded him from being a mathematician; he lived his life in three-fold harmony. He even has a formula for high-level calculus named after him today! I find his life an inspiring model of how high-level math, faith, and social justice can all live in harmony while complementing each other. In honor of Bl. Francesco Faà di Bruno’s feast day, let us pray for his intercession, so that we too may let our God-given gifts shine and bring Christ’s love to others.
St. Clement Mary Hofbauer, pray for us.
St. Rafqa, pray for us.
Bl. Francesco Faà di Bruno, pray for us.
To learn more about the saints, visit our Catholic Feast Days Website by clicking here.