Tag: Saint

5 Sinners turned Saints and what we can learn from them

5 Sinners turned Saints and what we can learn from them

In our today’s world, we tend to be quick to judge on the way others: look, talk, or sins they have committed, but we would do ourselves great favour to recall the Faith Hall of Fame contains terrible sinners who became saints.

In as much as St. Augustine is most often mentioned as a sinner who became a saint, his sins pale in comparison to many others. In this article, I listed 5  sinners who became servants of God and what we can learn from them.

1.) St. Paul – Murderer of Christians and apostle. Suffice it to say, St. Paul is one of the most recognizable and notable Christians in the Bible, but before he was Paul his name was Saul of Tarsus. Prior to his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul was a terror to Christians. He held the coats of those who stoned Stephen, the first martyr, to death for declaring Jesus. In essence, he was an accessory to the martyrdom of Stephen. He vigorously sought permission from authorities to gather up Christians, thrown them in prison for blasphemy, and have them killed. But, Paul met Jesus and everything about him changed. “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” was the question Jesus asked him. That’s the question that changed Saul into Paul and changed a sinner into a saint.

LessonThe greatest plans God has may include the worst of sinners, even the enemies of God’s people. Never permit fear and someone’s past cloud your attitude toward them and the hope they will come to Christ.

2.) St. Matthew –Apostle and tax collector. In as much Matthew was a Jew, he worked for the Roman government as a tax collector. The Romans would contract the job of collecting taxes out to individuals. The individuals, in turn, would not only collect taxes from citizens but would charge much more than the fees. The extra charges allowed tax collectors to skim off the top and take a share of the taxes for themselves. Often these tax collectors would bully and threaten individuals in order to collect the money. Citizens viewed tax collectors as the lowest individuals and most despised. They also viewed them as traitors. Moreover, Matthew met Jesus and his life changed dramatically as he became one of the original 12 and carried the news of Jesus all across the region. He’s also the author of one of the four gospels.

LessonEven those we label or see as the lowest of low in society are relevant to God and He wants to use them to spread the Word of God.

3.) St. Olga- murderer and cold-hearted torturer turned saint. St. Olga is venerated as the saint of widow and converts. She is the first canonized Russian saint. However, she clearly was not the type of person anyone would imagine becoming a saint. St. Olga was a princess who was the first documented female ruler of Russia.

Her husband, Igor I, was a prince of Kiev and was killed in 945 by those serving under him. Olga became the regent of the grand principality of Kiev because her son was still a minor at the time of Igor’s death. St. Olga set out for revenge against those who killed her husband. She had the murderers captured and scalded to death. But, she did not stop there. She had hundreds of people murdered who belonged to the tribe her husband’s murderers were members of. She is said to have ordered the execution of 5,000 men at a feast held in her remembrance.

St. Olga converted to Christianity and was baptized between 945 and 957 after being touched by the majesty and awe of the liturgy, despite her son’s disapproval. After her son took control of the country, she requested archbishops and priests to be appointed to her country but her son was a pagan and the Holy Roman Emperor accused her of lying and trickery and refused. But, she secretly kept a Catholic priest near her at all times and upon her death in 969, her son did allow a Christian burial rather than a pagan celebration. Her grandson, Vladimir, would later take control and make Christianity the official religion of the nation in the 980s.

LessonEven when we choose to let anger, vengeance, and retaliation take over our actions, despite how ugly our past may be and how many people we have hurt God touches even the hardest of hearts.

4.) St. Vladimir- He is the patron saint of Russian Catholics. He was the grandson of St. Olga. When civil war broke out between his half-brothers, he was forced to flee to Scandinavia. But, he did not stay long. He put together an army and returned to Kiev, capturing and murdering his own half-brother for power. He became the ruler of Russia after challenging and defeating his brother. As a ruler, he was known for his barbarism and immorality, much like his grandmother. He built a new temple to false gods and ordered the sacrifice of a father and son for the temple’s consecration. But, he became impressed and interested in Christianity because of Christianity’s progress and growth. After his conversion, he changed his life and became devoted to others becoming Christians. He brought Greek missionaries to Russia, led people to Christianity, built schools and even churches. He got rid of his 7 other wives (he had 8 wives at the time), tore down the pagan temple, and spent the rest of his life trying to convert Russians to Christianity.

LessonThose who have abused their power, lied and done horrific things to gain power and control can still turn around and follow God. They can be some of the greatest doors God uses to usher in Christianity to others.

5.) St. Mary of Egypt- Patron saint of penitents, prostitute. St. Mary ran away from home at the age of 12 and became a prostitute. She took so much delight in seducing men that it is said she didn’t even charge for her services most of the time. After being a prostitute and making a game out of seducing men for 17 years, she took an “anti-pilgrimage” to Jerusalem where she said she wanted to find more men to seduce. An unseen force is said to have stopped her from entering into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and it was this event that caused her to discover her sins and become remorseful for her lifestyle. As a result, she prayed for forgiveness at a statue of the Blessed Mother and promised to give up her lifestyle. After this, she tried to enter the Church again and was allowed to enter. She later received absolution and Holy Communion.

LessonThose in sexual sins are loved by Christ and He seeks to love them, change their lives, and use them.

50 Years After His Death, Padre Pio’s Body Has Refused To Decompose

50 Years After His Death, Padre Pio’s Body Has Refused To Decompose

St. Padre Pio’s 50-Year-Old Corpse Is Paraded Through The Streets Of Rome

A 50-year-old corpse was paraded through the streets of Rome on Saturday, cheered on by thousands of onlookers who took pictures of the dead body as it made its way to the Vatican.

The mortal remains of Catholic monk Saint Pio da Pietralcina, which were exhumed in 2008, were taken to St Peter’s Basilica to be blessed by Pope Francis, part of a celebration for the Catholic jubilee.

Speaking over the corpse on Saturday, Francis called Pio a “servant of mercy.”

“He did so full-time, practicing, at times in exhaustion, the apostolate of listening,” the pontiff reflected.

Pio’s bearded form, which is usually interred in San Giovanni Rotondo in the south of the country, has become a tourist attraction for the Foggia region, drawing more than a million visitors annually.

The corpse is held in such high regard due to claims that before death the monk was able to cure the sick. He was also said to have received visions and suffered stigmata — bleeding from the hands mimicking the wounds of Christ. Pio could also tell the future and be in two places at once.

The monk died in 1968 at the age of 81. He was beatified in 1999, and canonised in 2002 by Pope John Paul II. Pio’s body is to go on display in the Vatican in a climate controlled crystal coffin until Feb. 11. A second dead body, that of Croatian Leopold Mandic, who died in 1942, will also be available for viewing at the Basilica.

This Saint Was Once A Satanic Priest

This Saint Was Once A Satanic Priest

God can transform us if we want to be transformed:

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” – Isaiah 1:18

“Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away” John 6:37

Matthew 11:28, Revelation 22:17, Joel 2:32, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20. These other verses express similar teachings of God’s forgiving love and the transformation it brings to the lives of people who open up their hearts.
The Story of Bartolo Longo:

Blessed Bartolo Longo was born in February 10, 1841, in Latiano near Brindisi, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. He was a lawyer and a former Satanist priest who upon conversion to the faith became a third order Dominican, dedicating his life to the Rosary and our Blessed Mother until death. In life he was awarded a papal knighthood of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and at death beatified by St John Paul II. He died on October 5, 1926 in Pompei, Naples, Campania, Kingdom of Italy. He was 85 years when he passed.
Early Life

Bartolo Longo was born into a wealthy family on February 10, 1841 in the small town of Latiano, near Brindisi, in southern Italy. His parents were devout Roman Catholics. In 1851, Longo’s father died and his mother remarried a lawyer. Despite Longo’s stepfather wanting him to become a teacher, Longo was set on becoming a lawyer. In 1861, Longo succeeded in convincing his stepfather and was sent to the University of Naples to study law.

In the 1860s, the Catholic Church in Italy found itself at odds with a strong nationalistic movement. General Giuseppe Garibaldi, who played a key role in Italian unification, saw the Pope as an antagonist to Italian nationalism and actively campaigned for the elimination of the papal office altogether. The Catholic Church in Europe was also competing with a growing popularity in Spiritualism and Occultism. Because of this, many students at the University of Naples took part in demonstrations against the pope, dabbled in witchcraft and consulted Neapolitan mediums. Longo became involved with a movement that he claimed led him into a Satanist cult. After some study and several “spiritual” experiences Longo said that he was ordained as a satanic priest.

In the following years, Longo’s life became one of “depression, nervousness, and confusion”. Bothered by paranoia and anxiety, he turned to a hometown friend, Vincenzo Pepe, for guidance. It was Pepe who convinced him, in Longo’s account, to abandon Satanism and introduced him to the Dominican Father Alberto Radente who led him to a devotion to the rosary. On October 7, 1871, Longo became a Dominican tertiary and took the name “Rosario”. Around this time, he reportedly visited a séance and held up a rosary, declaring:
“I renounce spiritualism because it is nothing but a maze of error and falsehood.”

He also came to know some Franciscans with whom he helped the poor and incurably ill for two years. Bartolo also kept up his law practice, which took him to the nearby village of Pompei. He went to Pompei to take care of the affairs of Countess Marianna Farnararo De Fusco.

In Pompei, Longo later recounted, he was shocked at the erosion of the people’s faith. He wrote:

“Their religion was a mixture of superstition and popular tradition. … For their every need, … they would go to a witch, a sorceress, in order to obtain charms and witchcraft.”

Through talking to the citizens, Bartolo came to recognize their severe lack of catechesis. When he asked one man if there was only one God, the fellow answered:

“When I was a child, I remember people telling me there were three. Now, after so many years, I don‘t know if one of them is dead or one has married.”

Longo wrote of his personal struggles with mental illness, paranoia, depression and anxiety. At one point, he noted struggling with suicidal thoughts, but rejected them by recalling the promise of Saint Dominic:

“he who propagates my Rosary will be saved.”

Longo wrote that this promise is what convinced him to encourage public devotion to the rosary.
Later life and death

At the suggestion of Pope Leo XIII, Bartolo Longo and the Countess Mariana di Fusco were married on April 7, 1885. The couple remained continent and continued to do many charitable works and provided for orphaned children and the children of prisoners which for its time was revolutionary. In 1906 they donated the entire property of the Pompeii shrine to the Holy See. Longo continued promoting the Rosary until his death on October 5, 1926, at the age of 85. The piazza on which his basilica stands has since been named in memory of Longo. His body is encased in a glass tomb and he is wearing the mantle of a Knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a papal order of knighthood.

On October 26, 1980 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II, who would call him the “Apostle of the Rosary” and mentioned him specifically in his apostolic letter “Rosarium Virginis Mariae” (The Rosary of the Virgin Mary).

On October 7, 2003 Pope John Paul II prayed for world peace at the Basilica. More than 30,000 people were waiting to greet him as he flew in by helicopter. From Wikipedia