Articles Under: Saints and Holy Men & Women

Maybe it’s too much of a stretch to say that an unmarried tailor who lived with his mother is the reason communism fell in the west. Then again, maybe it’s not. Venerable Jan Tyranowski was, in many respects, an ordinary working class bachelor. But when he was 35, a homily changed his life. “It is not difficult to become a saint,” the priest said, and Tyranowski believed him. He began reading the Carmelite mystics and praying up to four hours a day. When many of Poland’s priests were sent to death camps in 1940, one of those left behind asked... Read more
To view this public domain image from the National Gallery in London, click here . Leonardo da Vinci, ca. 1495-1508 This mysterious painting by Leonardo depicts a non-biblical meeting between Our Lady, the Christ Child, and an angel with St. John the Baptist in a rocky grotto. It is the second version of a painting originally commissioned in 1483 to be the central panel of a large altarpiece for the Franciscan Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception in Milan, Italy. While the subject of the Madonna and Child with an infant St. John the Baptist was celebrated throughout the Renaissance, the... Read more
What is holiness? In our lead article, Dr. John Cavadini describes holiness as the Second Vatican Council did, as “the perfection of love.” [1] How can we begin to imagine love’s perfection? Considered abstractly, we cannot wrap our minds around it. We need to somehow see it, if we are to understand the aim above every other in the Christian life. For this, we look to the Trinity, and to Jesus, Holiness Incarnate. In every page of the Gospels, divine, self-sacrificing love emerges in its splendor. We also need to see holiness reflected in people who began life under the... Read more
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“We, the ordinary people of the streets, believe with all our might that this street, this world, where God has placed us, is our place of holiness.” Her words are a clarion call. Madeleine Delbrêl, a French laywoman made venerable in February of 2018, invites us to believe—passionately—that there is nothing accidental about our lives, about where we live, about the people whom we meet. That when we love, right where we are, we electrify the earth with God’s presence. “Our feet march upon a street, but our heartbeat reverberates through the whole world.” [1] I first read her words... Read more
On September 23, 2017, the Catholic Church celebrated the beatification of a farm boy from Oklahoma. Thirty-two years earlier, in a small town in Guatemala, “Padre Apla’s” was martyred in his rectory in the middle of the night. Stanley Rother was born in 1935 in Okarche, Oklahoma. His bucolic family was very faithful and prayed a Rosary every night after dinner, kneeling at the table. Unbeknownst to his family, Stanley contemplated a call to the priesthood while he rode the tractor in the field. In 1953, he went to seminary in San Antonio. There he worked in the seminary’s bindery... Read more
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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