Saint Margaret Castello (Margaret of Metola)

1287-1320 Died at age 33

Because she was dwarfed, blind, hunchbacked and lame, Blessed Margaret was kept hidden by her parents throughout her childhood. When she was sixteen, she was taken from Metola to the miraculous shrine at Citta-di-Castello, where a cure was anticipated. Unfortunately, no miracle occurred, and it is recorded that the child was left abandoned. She was cared for by various families of the city and earned money for her board by attending small children. Her cheerfulness, based on trust and love of God, endeared her to everyone. Blessed Margaret of Castello became a Dominican tertiary and devoted herself to the sick and dying, but she showed special solicitude toward prisoners.

She was a mystic and her body was found incorrupt over 200 years later

Saint Alexius U Se-Yong

U Se-Yong was from a wealthy Korean family, while in his teens he learned the Faith from a Catholic catechist. His father refused to let him be baptized, so Se-Yong ran away. He learned the Faith from catechist Chong Mark, who instructed him in the Faith, baptized him and gave him the Christian name Alexius.

His father continued to be hostile, so he went back to live with Chong Mark. He translated Christian books and prayed for the conversion of his family. His father contacted him and asked to learn more about what had captured his heart. Returning home, he instructed his entire family and twenty entered the Church.  Then the family moved to a new town to avoid persecution.

In 1866 Alexius was visiting Chong Mark when authorities came to arrest them. Alexius renounced the Catholic faith and was released.  He even took part in beating another catechist to death. He was so overcome with sorrow and remorse, he confessed to the Bishop to apostasy and murder.  He was arrested again, but remained firm in his faith in the face of torture. He was executed on March 11, 1866, at the age of twenty-two.

 

Saint Basil the Great

Basil had saints for grandparents, parents and siblings. After studying in Athens, he wanted to teach, his sister Macrina urged him to consider his soul, and went on a life changing tour of monasteries.  He was ordained as a priest and founded a monastery.    In 370, he was named Bishop of Caesarea in the middle of a famine.  He used his influence to expand access to food, shelter and medical care. He founded a hospital and a community of monks to staff it. Doctors and surgeons came to work in this innovative place, where light and air were let in and infectious diseases quarantined. He then added a hostel for strangers and a school to train the unskilled.  Beyond this, Basil was a leader among bishops. His writings were a beacon in a time of confusion and heresy. When he died in 379, Christians, Jews and pagan paid their respects.  *information from the Magnificat  

 

Hermann of Reichenau

Also known as Herman the Cripple, was born in 1013 with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy and spina bifida. He was one of fifteen children of the Count and Countess of Altshausen. He was baptized soon after he was born. 

At the age of seven he could hardly grunt out his words and had to be carried or wheeled about.  His father brought him to the monastery on Lake Constance to meet the abbot.  His father told the abbot that "Our Hermann cannot read or write, but can see things I can't."  He would live at the monastery for the rest of his life.

Hermann was a polymath who attracted scholars from near and far. He wrote of math and music. Two of his musical works are still loved today, Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater.

Herman died on Reichenau on 24 September 1054, aged 41. The Roman Catholic Church beatified him in 1863.

*information from The Magnificat

Saint Camillus (1555-1614)

A native of Bocchianico in Abruzzi, Italy, Camillus became a soldier of fortune at seventeen and by twenty-five had gambled away everything he had.  He found work at a Capuchin friary and was moved to repentance. When the friars refused to permit him to make vows with them because of his ulcerous leg, Camillus sought treatment at Saint James Hospital in Rome.

In order to pay for his treatment, Camillus had to work in the hospital alongside the poorly paid nurses. They were dirty, rude and cruel.  In time he became an administrator, all while progressing in his spiritual life under the direction of Saint Philip Neri, who counseled him towards the priesthood. Camillus saw further, he wanted to become a priest who would serve Christ in the sick.  With like-minded men he founded a hospital where fresh air and good food were the norm. He gave priority to hygiene and privacy.  In 1595, the Camillians were the first nurses to serve in a mobile unit on a battlefield.

Throughout his life, Camillus' own pains only grew worse. He called them "God's Mercy" and never stopped serving the sick, even prostrating himself before them. The poor and sick are the heart of God, by serving them we serve Jesus Christ.

Camillus died at sixty-five on July 14, 1614. 

*Information from the Magnificat

Christina the Astonishing

1150-1224 The Life of St Christina the Astonishing by Thomas de Cantimpre inspired me to paint Christina. She is an unusual Saint, rising from her coffin, to taking the pains of Purgatory for others by sitting in ovens or soaking in frigid waters. She was arrested for her behavior twice.   Some thought she was possessed, others sought her council.  I'm still unsure and somewhat perplexed, but she helped me understand purgatory a little more.

Saint Monica

An early Christian (b 371) and mother of Saint Augustine. St. Monica is the patron of abuse victims, alcoholics, difficult marriages, disappointing children,  mothers, victims of adultery and unfaithfulness, widows, wives.

Saint Rose Venerini

Pioneer of education for women and girls in 17th century Italy and foundress of the Religious Teachers Venerini

Blessed Victora Fornari Strata

1562-1617

Nine years after a happy marriage, Victoria was left a widow with six children.  Deeply anxious about her children's future and considering marrying again, Victoria had a vision from the Virgin Mary. Mary told her "Be brave and courageous. I will take you and your children under my wing. Live in peace without anxiety. Trust yourself to my care and above all devote yourself to the love of God."

Victoria continued to live charitably, giving most of her wealth away. She began a religious house with ten other women. A contemplative community, the Order of the Annunciation, because of their blue cloaks, they are known as the Blue Nuns.

Saint Casilda of Toledo

A Spanish martyr who died in 1050. A native of Toledo, Spain, of Moorish parentage, Casilda became a Christian and a hermitess near Briviesca, Burgos. According to her legend, St Casilda, a daughter of a Muslim king of Toledo (likely Yahya ibn Ismail Al-Mamun), showed great compassion for Christian prisoners by frequently bringing bread hidden in her clothes into the prison, to feed them.  Once, she was stopped by Muslim soldiers and asked to reveal what she was carrying under her skirt. When she began to show them, the bread turned into a bouquet of roses. She was raised a Muslim, but when she became ill as a young woman, she refused help from the local Arab doctors and traveled to northern Iberia to partake of the healing waters of the shrine of San  Vicente. When she was cured, she was baptized at Burgos (where she was later venerated)  and lived a life of solitude and penance not far from the miraculous spring. It is said she lived to be 100 years old.

Saint Catherine of Siena

She is a saint, a mystic and one of four women who are doctors of the Church. One of 25 children, born into the Benincasa family in 1347 in Siena. At an early age dedicated her life to Christ, leading a life of prayer and penitence. She worked with the poor and sick, those with the most repellant and incurable diseases. Catherine of Siena lived, and helped others during the most devastating plague in human history. She was known to dig graves and bury the dead herself. Catherine visited the condemned in prison, hoping to persuade them to make peace with God. Her spiritual family included two Dominican confessors, priests, poets, artists, a noble woman and English hermit (who left his solitude to be near her, because he found greater peace and virtue following her). She became politically active, writing many manuscripts. Her ministry eventually moved beyond her local community, and Catherine began to travel and promote church reform.

She lived only 33 years due to her ascetic life of spiritual discipline, but her vibrant faith and writings were so influential she has been declared a Doctor of the Church.​

Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn and the 103 Korean Martyrs  

Andrew Kim Taegon, was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is the patron saint of Korean clergy. Christianity came to Korea in secret in the 17th century. People who traveled to foreign lands learned about Jesus and were baptized. When they returned home, they shared their faith with others. The Korean government did not allow Christians to practice their faith. The Church in Korea was led quietly by lay people for many years until priests and a bishop were brought into the country and hidden from the government. When these Church leaders were discovered, they were martyred.
Andrew Kim Taegon was the son of Korean parents who became Christians after hearing the Word of God. When Andrew was 15, his father was executed for being a follower of Jesus. The faith of his father and other brave Catholics inspired Andrew to become a priest, the first born in Korea.
Andrew traveled 1,300 miles to the nearest seminary in faraway Macao, China. After six years of training, Andrew was ordained and returned to his country. Members of the Christian community helped him get past the border patrol. The Korean Catholics were overjoyed to finally have a priest who could celebrate the sacraments with them. But in 1846, Father Taegon was arrested and put to death for his faith at the age of 25.
Paul Chong Hasang was a catechist training him for the priesthood with Father Taegon. He, too, was captured and martyred. In all, 103 Catholics died for their faith between 1839 and 1867. They were young and old, men and women, peasants and wealthy people.
Pope John Paul II traveled to Korea in 1984 and canonized these Martyrs of Korea. We honor their sacrifice. They help us to remember that faith is a virtue that makes it possible to know and believe in God. Their sacrifice also reminds us that we are blessed to live in a country where we are free to live our faith.

St. Rose of Lima

The patron of Peru, South America, and the Philippines. Her name was Isabel de Flores. She was born in Lima, Peru on April 20, 1586.. As a young girl growing up, Rose was given to austerities: fasting and mortification. Because her parents denied her permission to enter a convent, and because she preferred not to marry, she endured much misunderstanding from her parents and friends. She continued, however, to remain at home, but she lived a secluded life. To do her share in supporting the family, she did needlework and sold the flowers she cultivated. When she was twenty years of age, she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic and converted a little hut in the backyard into a hermitage, where she often went to pray. She also transformed a room in her parents’ house into a sort of infirmary, where she cared for destitute children and elderly people. She died on August 24, 1617, at the age of thirty-one, and she was canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671. St. Rose of Lima is the first saint from the Americas. The Mass prayer on her feast day recalls her austerity of life and the fervor of her love of God.

l on wood panel 16x20x1.5  inspired by coffee stained paper