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Author: Benedict

Every Student Should Know These Patron Saints

Every Student Should Know These Patron Saints

If you’re a college student, you should be getting ready for the upcoming semester. You look over the syllabus provided in your classes and start your plan for success. If you’re a parent, you start to ensure your child has all the materials required to start the school year right.

For some people, resuming for school after the holiday is their favorite. For others, the dread of going back to school is real. But, not to worry! There are a number of saints who’ve got your back and will assist you to survive the next academic year. Here are 6 saints all students should become familiar with.

If you’re struggling to get through the semester or academic year

Bl. Pier Giorgio struggled with school in his entire life. He had to repeat an entire school year and had to really work at passing his courses. Since he knew his academic weaknesses, he ensured that he put as much effort into his studies as he could, even neglecting social outings with his friends. He died at the young age of 24, two exams short of his degree. If you find yourself not doing well in your academics, Bl. Pier Giorgio is the saint for you!

If you dislike school and/or have to deal with bullies… St. Therese of Lisieux

Poor St. Therese. She really did not like school. In fact, she said that “the five years (1881 – 1886) I spent [at Benedictine Abbey school of Notre-Dame du Pre] were the saddest of my life.” Not only did she deeply dislike school, she was also bullied as a child due to jealousy. St. Therese was younger than some of her peers and, despite her hatred of school, received high grades. This incurred a lot of jealousy and the bullying started. If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t delay to call on the Little Flower for assistance.

If you have major test anxiety… St. Joseph of Cupertino

St. Joseph was a poor student and barely made it out of seminary, as a result, of his poor grades. Legend has it that he asked to know the answer to the exam question that he needed to known to “graduate” from seminary. Miraculously, he passed the exam and was able to get ordained as a result. Now, don’t think that if you don’t study you can just request for his intercession so that you’ll pass. Study as best as you can. If you have major test anxiety, as St. Joseph to pray so you have clarity of mind and will be able to recall what you’ve studied for the exam.

If writing isn’t your strong suit and you have a major essay or research paper due… St. Francis de Sales

Writer’s block doesn’t discriminate. Even those of us who love writing don’t always find the words to write. If you find yourself in this circumstance and have a big essay or research paper due soon, why not plead with the patron saint of writers and journalists for a little assistance? Sure, you won’t have your paper automatically done (it doesn’t work that way) but St. Francis can intercede to ensure you get that little bit of inspiration required to begin.

If you’re on a deadline and/or doing homework and there’s a computer, printer, or internet glitch… St. Isidore of Seville

We’ve all been there before. It’s the morning something major is due. You’re printing out the physical copy when disaster strikes. It could be a major paper jam you don’t have time to fix or maybe you ran out of ink and can’t run out to purchase a new cartridge. Probably your assignment is due online and your internet suddenly fails you. How about those blue screens we all dislike seeing? Whatever technological obstacle is thrown your way, say a quick prayer to the unofficial patron saint of the internet to lend you a hand.

If “Procrastination” is your middle name… St. Expeditus

You will not find a single student who has not procrastinated at some point in their academic career. Oftentimes it’s not completely our faults — a sudden illness or emergency comes up, making it hard for us to do something with enough time. Oftentimes, though, we prioritize other things ahead of the academic and then we’re crunched for time. When this occurs, St. Expeditus is your friends. His name says it all — you need speedy assistance.

Try These Three Saints If You Are Praying For An Impossible Situation

Try These Three Saints If You Are Praying For An Impossible Situation

On the journey to Heaven, many of us will face circumstances that seem tragedic and impossible. In times like these, it can be easy to give into despair and to give up hope. The cross that Christ gives may seem unbearably heavy.

If you’re praying for what seems like an impossible petition, you’re not alone. There are many saints who are the patrons of impossible situations. You can read three of their life stories beneath, and find a prayer for their special intercession!

1. Saint Jude

Saint Jude was one of the twelve called by Christ to follow Him as an apostle. He preached the Gospel after Christ’s Ascension and was martyred for his faith when preaching in Persia. He is the patron saint of impossible situation because he urges Christians to stay close to Christ during tough times. We petition his intercession, praying:

“Most holy Apostle, Saint Jude Thaddeus, friend of Jesus, I place myself in your care at this difficult time. Assist me to understand that I need not face my troubles alone. Kindly join me in my need, asking God to send me: consolation in my sorrow, courage in my fear, and healing in the midst of my suffering. Beseech our loving Lord to fill me with the grace to accept whatever may lie ahead for me and my loved ones, and to uphold my faith in God’s healing powers. Thank you, Saint Jude Thaddeus, for the promise of hope you hold out to all who believe, and inspire me to give this gift of hope to others as it has been given to me.”

Saint Jude, an apostle of hope, pray for us!

2. Saint Rita of Cascia 

Saint Rita of Cascia was born in the late 1300s in Italy. In as much as she desired to enter religious life, her parents arranged her marriage to a man who was both unfaithful and cruel. She prayed twenty years for his conversion, but shortly after he came to know the faith, he was murdered. Shortly after, her two sons died. After many attempts, she was finally accepted to go into an Augustinian convent, where she tended to those dying from the plague. We request her intercession for impossible causes:

“O powerful St. Rita, rightly called Saint of the Impossible, I come to you with confidence in my great need. You know well my trials, for you yourself were many times burdened in this life. Come to my aid, speak for me, pray with me, pray on my behalf before the Father. I know that God has a most generous heart and that he is a most loving Father. Join your prayers to mine and obtain for me the grace I desire (here mention your request).

You who were so very pleasing to God on earth and are so much so now in heaven, I promise to use this favor, when granted, to better my life, to proclaim God’s mercy, and to make you more widely known and loved. Amen.”

Saint Rita of Cascia, bride of Jesus crucified, pray for us!

3. Saint Philomena

Not much is known about Saint Philomena, whose name means “daughter of light.” When she was a young teenager, she took a vow of virginity. Emperor Diocletian wanted to marry her, but she refused and was thrown into prison. She persevered throughout the awful torture she passed through and was at last beheaded. Her tomb was found in 1802. There are so many miracles attributed to her intercession that she was canonized based solely on the miraculous events and her death as a martyr. We intercede to Saint Philomena, praying:

“O faithful and glorious martyr, Saint Philomena, who works so many miracles on behalf of the poor and sorrowing, have pity on me. You know the multitude and diversity of my needs. Behold me at your feet, full of misery, but full of hope. I plead for your charity, oh great saint! Graciously hear me and obtain from God a favorable answer to the request which I now humbly lay before you (here specify your petition).

I am firmly convinced that through your merits, through the scorn, the sufferings and the death you endured, united to the merits of the Passion and death of Jesus, your Spouse, I shall receive what I request of you, and in the joy of my heart I will bless God, who is admirable in His Saints. Amen.”

Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us!

What a Rule of Life Is and Why You Need One

What a Rule of Life Is and Why You Need One

Do you follow a Rule of Life? Is there a particular way that you exercise your faith in the pubic square? Do you share in these same routines with a community through which you find companionship and accountability?

Many Catholics throughout the centuries have discovered themselves seeking to live their lives more perfectly for God. They sought the wisdom of the spiritual leaders of their time who, to “make their election complete” (2 Peter 1:10) wrote down the attitudes and behaviors that they believed formed a person in virtue in order to grow to divine heights in their faith.

These written documents are called “Rules,” and there are five Rules that have been acknowledged by the Catholic Church.

Note that the following Rules have gone through several changes and additions over the course of the past 1,800 years. Since each religious Order has grown into several congregations, each Rule has consequently been amended and diversified to fit the needs of each community. That being said, this article supplies the original Rule as transcribed the founders of each audience.

The Rule of Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine is one of the most popular and well researched of the Early Church Fathers. His desire for holiness among his people led him to write a Rule of Life that would be exercised by the monks he would build up informally as a audiences around the year 400 AD (the Augustinians would not be formally created until March 1st, 1244).  These monks would live lives so extremely devoted to God that every minute of their lives seemed to be accounted for in the Rule. Even their thoughts were regulated by the guidelines laid out by Augustine whose ability to delve deep into the psyche of spirituality made this Rule the first of many to come. In fact, many other religious audiences looked to the Augustinian rule as a template by which they would add their own tenets as described by the charism that defined their Order.

Both the Dominican Rule and the Norbertine Rule were originally established on the tenets of the Rule of Saint Augustine. They were almost a carbon copy to the Augustinian Rule that each founder adopted so as to accentuate the relevance of preaching as the central charism for his congregation. Saints such as Saint Dominic, Saint Tomas Aquinas, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Rose of Lima, and Saint Martin de Pores lived this rule in order to serve God through their lives.

The Rule of Saint Benedict

The Benedictine Order was founded c. AD 529 by Saint Benedict of Nursia The Rule of Saint Benedict has been at the forefront of monastic communities for centuries. It has also helped lay men and women come to comprehend the beauty of having order in their spiritual lives and the place in which the central charism of “work” has its place in their lives. Saints such as Benedict himself, Saint Scholastica (his sister!), Saint Peter Damien, Saint Gregory the Great and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux all vowed to withhold the tenets of this rule, which led to their pathway toward sanctity.

The Rule of Saint Francis

The Franciscan Order was founded on February 24th, 1209 by Saint Francis of Assisi. The Rule of Saint Francis has its roots in detachment of worldly things and in chastity. Such was the charism of its founder in that he desired to reach out to souls with the empty hands of his poverty. In his own words, he aspired “To observe the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience without anything of our own, and in chastity.”

Saints who have followed versions of this Rule in order to arrive at their final destination of Paradise include Francis of Assisi, Saint Claire, Saint Boneventure, Saint Anthony of Padua and Blessed John Duns Scotus. Saint John Bosco was a Third Order Franciscan before he established the religious congregation of the Salesians.

The Rule of Saint Albert (The Rule of the Carmelite Order)

Saint Albert Avogadro was a Latin Patriarch in whose jurisdiction there was Mount Carmel, the legendary mountain range where a spring surged by the hands of the great prophet Elijah. Journeymen would come to live alongside this spring as monks and, as such, they asked Saint Albert to instruct them how to live good, holy lives. So, Saint Albert assisted them design the rule that would be the source document for the Carmelite Order. It was written in 1208 and, in 1247, Pope Innocent IV made a few changes that allowed the brother to adapt to living in cities as the migrated to Europe.

The key tenets include a focus on contemplation and prayer as well as detachment.

Saints who followed this Rule of life on their way to salvation include Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). Pope Saint John Paul II was also a Third Order Carmelite before he began his studies to become a priest.

The Basilian Rule

This rule was created in two parts – the “Greater” and the “Lesser” rule. Saint Basil  created the rule for his congregation of monks in 356 AD. It is written in a catechetical manner, drawing upon the virtues that need to be practiced over vices and how each relate to Sacred Scripture, which Basil claims to be the “Ultimate Rule”.

What is your rule of life?

These are the only five official Rules in existence in the Catholic Church. Every other religious audience either pulls from one of these rules or has their own formula by which they live out their charism. So, the Society of Jesus, Opus Dei, the Missionaries of Charity, the Salesians, the Lasallians, etc. all provide their members with a way of life, a constitution or a formula, but not particularly a “Rule”.

The reason being is that they have been spread across continents, cultures, and customs, which need their members to uphold a particular kind of freedom to participate in their diversified ministries. A Rule, on the other hand would need them all to live the same exact way which, for several audiences, isn’t prudent or efficient when given the richness of the multiple talents of their members, especially as cultures transform and evolve over time.

So, what is your Rule of Life? Study through the above mentioned Rules and see if you might glean a sense of God-light that shone on the pathways of the Saints who followed them closely.

How the Angelus Can Change the World in 3 Minutes a Day

How the Angelus Can Change the World in 3 Minutes a Day

The Catholic Church traditionally celebrates May as the Month of Mary. It is a time when we honor and recognize the Blessed Virgin Mary for her unique role as the Mother of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Angelus, which is based on scripture, is an ancient Marian prayer that is on the Incarnation. The Angelus only takes approximately one minute to recite, three times daily (typically, in the early morning [at 6:00 a.m., or at least when you wake up], at noon, and in the evening [at 6:00 p.m., or at least before you go to sleep]). We Catholics can transform the world by volunteering to the kingdom of God, and we can start by reciting the Angelus three times a day.

Catechist, writer, and speaker Jared Dees recently released his latest book Praying the Angelus: Find Joy, Peace, and Purpose in Everyday Life. At 140 pages, Praying the Angelus shows the prayer itself in a couple of ways: it is rather short, but not in a shallow way, and it gives us the opportunity to step away from the busy-ness of life in order to ponder on what actually matters.

Praying the Angelus is divided into three parts: 1) “An Invitation,” 2) “Angelus Meditations,” and 3) “Regina Caeli Meditations.” The following are examples of each section, which will hopefully inspire you to both read Dees’ book and to take up the devotion of praying the Angelus three times a day (hint: you can start praying the Angelus today – you do not have to wait to read Dees’ book first, but studying the book will aid you to comprehend the relevance of the prayer even more).

As Dees expressed,

“I invite you to come along – to pray the Angelus with me and thousands of other Catholics around the world – and comprehend how it can transform your life and the lives of the people you know and love around you.”

“An Invitation”

In this section, Dees shares with us the historical background of the Angelus, as well as how to pray it. In the chapter “Why Pray the Angelus Today?,” Dees shares the following regarding the relevance of encouraging the prayer of the Angelus in modern times: “I want to place [the Angelus] in the context of the larger cultural milieu in which we find ourselves in the twenty-first century. The devotion, though centuries old, is unknown to most people in the Church recently.”

“Angelus Meditations”

Here, Dees goes through the sequence of the recitation of the Angelus, providing reflections based on the scriptural context of each line. He likewise gives a meditation to invite a deeper comprehension of how the Angelus can draw us to greater gratitude of how we can celebrate God’s presence in our life for the entire day. In relation to Dees, “My hope is that these reflections, whether read intermittently, all at once, or in bits and pieces, will encourage deeper meditation on how the words that you pray make an impact at this specific moment in your life.”

“Regina Caeli Meditations”

In the third and final section of Praying the Angelus, Dees guides us on a reflection of another well-known Marian prayer, the “Regina Caeli” (“Queen of Heaven”). the Regina Caeli is usually prayed during the Easter season. As in the previous section, Dees shows a reflective description of the scriptural context of each part of the prayer, along with a meditation on this aspect of personal devotion. Dees brings to our the very reason why both the Angelus and the Regina Caeli bring us to a better understanding of how much the Lord loves us and wants to center our lives around him: “[Mary] lived a life of total service to and love for God. She opened herself up to God’s will in her life and always stayed in the background. Look closely at her role in the Gospels, in Acts, and even in the letters of the New Testament; she is not the focus of attention. Instead, the attention centers on her son and on the work of the Holy Spirit in this world. She lived out what she expressed in the Magnificat (see Luke 1:46-55), declaring the greatness of the Lord and not her own” (page 108).

In the midst of a very busy life, imagine how much more personal purification we could foster, not to mention how much good we could bring into the world, by holding on to the same humility and selflessness that Mary exhibited. Reading Praying the Angelus is worthwhile because it inspires a greater devotion to this ancient Marian devotion during a time when we need increasingly contemplative laypersons in the midst of the world. Buy a copy for yourself and for the most stressed-out people you know, reminding them that we would all do well to spare three minutes a day to commit ourselves to this ancient Marian devotion that primarily directs us to step outside of ourselves and of the world and into a reflection on the eternal importance of the Paschal Mystery.