Jozef De Veuster was once a gregarious boy who loved life — even a skating champion near his Tremelo, Belgium, hometown. Brought up in a faithful family, he chose to follow in the footsteps of his older brother and entered religious life with the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1859. Better known by his religious name, Damien, this saint had the heart of a missionary and was known to pray each day to become one. In 1863, Damien volunteered for Hawaiian missions in place of his sickly priest-brother who was supposed to go. Soon, his zeal for souls earned St. Damien De Veuster the title “apostle to the lepers,” and ultimately led to his canonization by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.
When Saint Francis de Sales was born in 1567 in Thorens-Glières, France, his father had his life planned out for him. This life would be one of nobility, with a career in law that would culminate with his appointment as a magistrate. Francis’ earthly father planned a prosperous and prestigious future for him, but it turned out that his heavenly Father had other plans. Find out about those plans online.
The family of Barbara Koob — St. Marianne’s birth name — emigrated from Germany for America the year after her birth in 1838, and the immigrant family’s name became Cope. Although she felt called to religious life, Cope began factory work after eighth grade to help her family’s finances when her father became ill. When her father died in 1862, Cope could finally profess vows with the Franciscan Sisters in Syracuse. The newly named Sister Marianne soon began service in German immigrant schools. Discover more about her life and watch a short video online.
It’s hard to find a more substantial definition of missionary zeal than a 72-year-old French nun serving in an eighteenth-century Potawatomi mission. And that’s exactly what the godly missionary, Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, whose feast is celebrated November 18. She wanted to do, even though her life seemed to be going in a different direction at first. Her story is an illustration of the greatness that can come from trusting in God’s providence. Read her biography online.
St. Margaret of Scotland, whose feast is celebrated November 16, was the granddaughter of an English king. She was born in Hungary due to her father’s exile there as a child. Her early years were spent in the Hungarian court, among pious and observant Catholic royals. St. Margaret’s piety was evident in the considerable amount of time she spent in prayer. The saint also illustrated the importance of silence and solitude when she would often retreat to the cloister of a cave for occasions of prayer and quiet reflection. Saint Margaret was a voracious reader, particularly of spiritual material. Read her complete biography online.