Articles Under: Saints and Holy Men & Women

Introduction Sofia Cavalletti was arguably the most effective catechetical theorist and practitioner of her era. Born in 1917, she belonged to a noble Roman family, who had served in the papal government. Marchese Francesco Cavalletti had been the last senator for Rome in the papal government, prior to its takeover in 1870 by the Italian state. Sofia herself bore the hereditary title of Marchesa, and lived in her family's ancestral home in the Via Degli Orsini. In 1946, the young Sofia Cavalletti began her studies as a Scripture scholar at La Sapienza University with specializations in the Hebrew and Syriac... Read more
As the horrors of World War II were unfolding in Europe, a certain parish in Krakow with a thriving youth ministry was particularly hard hit. Of the dozen or so Salesian priests who served there, all but two were arrested and removed to Nazi concentration camps. With a parish full of young people who were being traumatized on a daily basis, how could they possibly pick up the pieces? The man who stepped in to fill the gap was a layman named Jan. He was not an obvious pick. Besides his already intense personality, he had stomach problems and a... Read more
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In this final installment, we reflect on the most essential characteristic of an effective catechist for the new evangelization: allowing Christ to transform us through holiness of life. Among all of the words spoken during the pontificate of Blessed Paul VI, there is one phrase most often repeated today that came to prominence in one of his last letters, Evangelli Nuntiandi . It was his observation that “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses” (41). This phrase might mistakenly be used to suggest that... Read more
Seventeen years ago this May, I had the extraordinary blessing of meeting one of my heroes: Pope St. John Paul II. I did not meet the young pope who had once famously escaped the Vatican in disguise to enjoy a day of skiing. Rather, this was the much older man whose body was being ravaged by Parkinson’s Disease. As I stood in line inching forward to meet him, I noticed the muscles in his face were so weakened that saliva was pooling by his feet. I was deeply moved, that this great man was giving himself to the Church and... Read more
Adoration: Losing Self, Finding Peace This article is the second in a three part series on the spiritual mission of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity for our time. We are arguing that contemplation of the Triune God can heal the wounds of social alienation that so profoundly mark the experience of believers today and, more than this, offers a fullness of Christian living no other kind of prayer can match. In our last article, we distinguished St. Elizabeth’s confidence in presenting a contemplative approach to the Trinity in contradistinction to the tentativeness that often comes through the preaching of those... Read more
In the first part of this series, we reflected on the life and times of St. John Vianney and the great obstacles he had to overcome to fulfill his mission to draw his flock into a closer union with Christ. He did so with humility and trust in the God who called him to this vocation. In this second part, Bishop Davies offers St. John Vianney as a role model for priests in their responsibility as catechists. A great English Cardinal, Henry Edward Manning, may have inadvertently started a misunderstanding with regard to Saint John Vianney. In the Preface to... Read more
In this three-part series, I want to focus on a Saint of the New Evangelization who many of you will already have met in the Communion of Saints: St. John Baptist Mary Vianney, more popularly known as “the Curé of Ars.” In this first part, I wish to lead you in mind and heart to that tiny village in the obscurity of the French countryside, to meet this saint, whose witness the great John Paul II declared would never fade in the sight of the Church. In a letter to the priests of the world, John Paul II writes of... Read more
To view this image on a smart board or other computer projection technology click here . “God is the author of Sacred Scripture,” and “God inspired the human authors of the sacred books.” [1] These catechetical truths are brought to life in a masterpiece painting titled, “Saint Jerome and the Angel,” from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Completed around 1625, this ethereal image is the work of the French Baroque painter, Simon Vouet. His masterful use of color, light, and line offers a visual catechesis on the power and beauty of God’s Word in the life of Saint... Read more