After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
Bartolomeu dos Mártires
Born Bartolomeu Fernandes in Portugal in 1541, Bartholomew joined the Order of Preachers and became a teacher. His teaching career led him to be chosen as the tutor of the son of Luis of Portugal; this in turn led to his being installed, against his will, as Archbishop of Braga in 1559. When the Council of Trent resumed in 1561, the new Archbishop attended and took an active part. At the conclusion of the Council, he devoted the rest of his career as Archbishop to implementing the Tridentine reforms. He repeatedly requested permission from the Pope to resign his see, which was finally granted in 1582, and lived until 1590 in retirement punctuated by occasional teaching. While his cause for canonization began early, it proceeded slowly; he was finally beatified by St. John Paul II in 2001, and canonized by Francis in July of 2019. His feast day is July 18.
Manuel Moralez wanted to be a priest, and even began attending seminary for it, but it turned out to be impractical; his family was very poor, and events forced him to drop out so that he could take care of them. Instead he became a baker, married, and had three children. He became very active in lay Catholic life, which was quite important under the increasingly anti-clerical government of Mexico: in the Unión Catolica Obrera, a Catholic trade union; in Catholic Action; in the Liga Nacional Defensora de la Libertad Religiosa, a Catholic civil rights organization devoted to nonviolent resistance to anti-clerical actions by the government. He eventually became president of these last, and it would lead to his arrest by Mexican soldiers in 1926. He was, with several other leaders of the organization, beaten and tortured, and then loaded into a car with the ostensible purpose of taking them to see the authorities. The soldiers never brought him before any authorities, however; instead, they stopped in the middle of nowhere and executed them all on August 15, 1926. He was beatified and canonized by St. John Paul II, and he is celebrated on both the anniversary of his death and with the other martyrs of the Cristero War on May 21.
Apollonius the Apologist
We only have fragmentary indications of the life of St. Apollonius of Rome, but the sources are consistent in treating him as an eminent Roman, philosophically trained, at least of a senatorial family and probably himself a Roman senator. A family slave denounced him to the Praetorian Prefect as Christian; brought before the Senate, instead of trying to prove that he was not Christian, he read a prepared defense of the Christian faith. He was executed. Because he was often confused with other saints of similar name -- Apollonius of Alexandria, Apollinaris Claudius, Apollonius the Companion of Valentine -- it is difficult to say more with any definiteness, but his current feast day is April 21, the traditional day of his execution in A.D. 185.
Henry II the Exuberant and Cunigunde of Luxembourg
Born to Henry II of Bavaria and Gisela of Burgundy, Henry had an odd but quiet early life; his father (also known as Henry the Wrangler) had repeatedly rebelled against the Holy Roman Emperors, and young Henry spent much of his youth practically raised by bishops, especially St. Wolfgang of Regensburg. He became Henry IV of Bavaria when his father died; the 'IV' is probably because his father, who had lost Bavaria and then had it restored, was probably being counted at the time as both the II and III. Shortly afterward he made a very good marriage with St. Cunigunde of Luxembourg, who was the daughter of Siegfried I of Luxembourg and Hedwig of Nordgau. It is said that St. Cunigunde had wanted to become a nun and before their marriage they both agreed that they would remain virgins, but it's unclear whether this was the truth or just a later interpretation of why the couple remained childless. Between the two of them, the couple controlled a territory of decent size and a wide range of allies. The result was that Henry was a serious contender for Holy Roman Emperor when Otto the Red died. Serious, but far from definitive. To try to force the matter, Henry tried to compel the bishops keeping the imperial regalia to turn them over to him, but failed to get any result from this, and having difficulty getting the nobles who attended Otto's funeral to support him, declared himself King of Germany, and when crowned took the name Henry II. He then managed to negotiate an alliance with the Duke of Saxony to consolidate his position, and Cunigunde was crowned Queen of Germany in 1002. Needless to say, Henry's position was highly controverted, and the two spent an active number of years consolidating Henry's rule, with Cunigunde taking part in Imperial councils and representing her husband when necessary, since Henry spent a great deal of time attempting to legitimize his claim by traveling and meeting people, donating to the Church and building monasteries, and the like, not to mention strategizing the various wars to bring other nobles of the Empire into line. All of this German uproar led to Italy declaring independence, so Henry next had to invade Italy. He finally managed to reconquer it in 1004, and had himself crowned King of Italy. Instead of going to Rome to be crowned Emperor, however, he returned home, probably because he didn't think he could get the support of the Pope. But there was plenty else to do, as Poland began to revolt. The Polish Wars would last for quite some time. But in 1012 the newly elected Pope Benedict VIII was forced to flee Rome due to the politically backed antipope, Gregory VI; he appealed to Henry, and Henry, having just concluded a peace treaty with Poland, responded by a full-scale invasion of Italy. Benedict was restored and Henry and Cunigunde were crowned Emperor and Empress by him in 1014. Tensions with Poland flared up again, so they returned home, but hardly had Henry managed to establish another peace treaty with Poland when Italy was invaded by the Byzantine Empire in 1018. Pope Benedict VIII regarded the threat as so serious, he left Rome to visit Henry personally, and Henry invaded Italy yet again. The Byzantines were a harder foe to handle, however, and he did little more than limit the scope of their conquest. Henry died on July 13, 1024, having returned from Italy to celebrate Easter, and Cunigunde ruled the Empire as Regent for several months until the nobles finally elected Conrad II to the throne. Then she retired, as she had often wanted to do, to Kaufungen Abbey, where she lived the rest of her life as a nun tending the sick and spending her hours in prayer. She died in 1040. Henry II was canonized in 1147 by Pope Eugenius III, and Cunigunde was canonized in 1200 by Pope Innocent III; his feast is July 13 and hers is March 3.
St. Ramon is said to have received his unusual epithet, Nonnatus, Unborn, because his mother died before she could give birth to him, and he had to be removed from her womb. He eventually joined the Royal, Celestial and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy and the Redemption of the Captives, more commonly known as the Mercedarians, under the influence of its founder, St. Peter Nolasco. As the name suggests, one of the orders major missions was to ransom captives and slaves whose families could not ransom them, and they are unusual in that they take a vow to give up their lives, if necessary, to do so. Ramon was active in this part of the order's mission, and ransomed hundreds of prisoners in his lifetime. At one point, he negotiated an exchange in Tunis in which he gave himself up as a hostage in return for the lives of nearly thirty others; he was tortured until his order was eventually able to ransom him. Legend holds that they drilled hole in his lips and padlocked them so that he would stop preaching, so iconography and devotions to him often involve locks. He died in Cardona at the end of August in 1240. He was canonized by Alexander VII in 1657, and his feast day is August 31.
Francis Xavier Cabrini
Francesca Saverio Cabrini was born in Sant'Angelo Lodigiano in the empire of Austria to a family of cherry tree farmers. She was in poor health for much of her life; she thought she had a religious calling, but she had difficulty finding any order that would take her because of her health problems. So she simply devoted herself to living a religious life, and eventually others joined her. They founded in 1880 the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She was particularly interested in missionary work, and requested permission to engage in a mission of China. The Pope suggested that she instead go to the United States, which was dealing, not always successfully, with an influx of Italian immigrants. So to New York with her fellow sisters she went in 1889, and it was very difficult because the archbishop and diocese was not very friendly to them. However, the archbishop did give them permission to found an orphanage, where she also started organizing catechism and other classes for Italian immigrants. This led to the further foundation of orphanages, schools, and hospitals, often operating on shoestring budgets but supplying services for the immigrant population that were otherwise hard for them to obtain. Others would follow throughout the United States, and Francis Cabrini was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1909. She died in 1917. She was beatified by Pius XI and canonized by Pius XII. Her feast in the Roman Martyrology is December 22, but on November 13 in the U.S. calendar.
Juliana of Liège
Born in the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, in modern-day Belgium, Juliana joined the Premonstratensian Order as a teenager and worked for many years helping to attend lepers. At the age of sixteen, while engaged in devotion to the Eucharist, Juliana had a vision, one that she would have many times to come. The vision was of a large and brightly shining moon with a dark and shadowy band on it. After some time, considering that the moon reflects the light of the sun, she concluded that the moon represented the life of the Church on earth, especially the liturgical year, and that the shadow-band indicated that something was missing from the Church's liturgical commemoration of the life of Christ: a feast dedicated specifically to Christ's Body and Blood. She did not at the time see what she could possibly do about this, and so she did not get any further than telling some of her fellow sisters about it. In 1225, however, she became prioress, and discussed the vision with her confessor, John of Lausanne, who was intrigued and who consulted a number of theologians about the matter. Unanimously, the theologians he talked to said that such a feast would certainly be consistent with the faith and devotional life of the Church and would probably be a good idea. Together John and Juliana composed a draft version of an office for such a feast. Here and there people would celebrate it. Meanwhile, Juliana was accused of embezzlement of monastic funds; she was eventually cleared of all charges, but she continued to have difficulty, because Liège was a key diocese in the struggle between the Pope and the Emperor, and therefore her fortunes largely depended on who had the upper hand at any given moment. She eventually left to live in seclusion with the Cistercians and died in 1258. In 1264, Urban IV instituted the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, with the official office being composed by St. Thomas Aquinas. There was some local devotion to Juliana in Belgium, but she was not raised to the universal calendar until 1869. Her feast is April 6.
Pulcheria was born to high things, being the daughter of Emperor Arcadius and his wife, Aelia Eudoxia; her younger brother Theodosius II would later become Emperor at the age of seven. At first, the Empire was run by the Praetorian Prefects, but when Pulcheria came of age at fifteen, she decided that she and her brother could handle matters, and had Theodosius dismiss the Prefect and name Pulcheria his guardian. Pulcheria was proclaimed Augusta, and at the time she took a vow of virginity; under her hand, the palace became a place of prayer and a source of charity. And Pulcheria herself worked hard for many years to teach Theodosius what he would need to be a good Emperor. She did not, however, get along with Theodosius's wife, Aelia Eudocia, who was an active supporter of a number of heresies, and left court for some time. Pulcheria was an opponent of both Monophysitism and Nestorianism, and regarded by partisans of both as one of the major formidable obstacles to be overcome; the Nestorians at one point attempted, with little success, to launch a smear campaign against her. But Pulcheria triumphed, and the victory of orthodoxy at the Council of Ephesus should arguably be seen as a joint victory between her and St. Cyril. When Theodosius died in 450, however, she returned to court, and took hold of the imperial power. The Senate, however, was opposed to a woman being sole ruler of the Empire; they forced her to marry, but she chose a relative unknown, Marcian, and only did so on condition that she could maintain her vow of virginity. (It turned out to be a reasonably good match; Marcian was quite competent and with Pulcheria's backing was able to become one of the most effective Byzantine Emperors.) Marcian and Pulcheria called the Council of Chalcedon in 451. She died in 453. Without any doubt, she was one of the great pillars of orthodoxy; while not directly involved in theological dispute, she furthered orthodox doctrine through her endowment of churches to the Theotokos and support of the Ecumenical Councils, and she blocked attempts by Monophysites and Nestorians to use Imperial power in their favor. Her feast is September 10.
John Henry Newman
Born in 1801 in London, John Henry Newman attended the University of Oxford and became an Anglican clergyman, eventually becoming the vicar of St. Mary's University Church. He would be actively involved in the Oxford Movement, a movement in the Church of England to restore much of the pre-Reformation doctrine and devotion of England and to resist what they perceived as a tendency to treat the Church of England as a purely national affair subordinate to Parliament and its politics. As one of the more articulate leaders of the movement, Newman became a center of controversy, and he eventually concluded that his attempt to maintain the view of the Church of England as a reasonable middle road between Reformation Protestantism and Catholicism was untenable. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1845, being ordained as a priest and joining the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri shortly afterward; he founded a chapter of the Oratory at Birmingham. When Pope Pius IX restored the Catholic hierarchy of England in 1850, he became a major defender of Catholics. In 1879, he was made Cardinal, but accepted the red hat only on the conditions that he not be made a bishop and that he not have to leave his work at Birmingham. He died in August 1890. He was beatified by Benedict XVI in 2010 and canonized by Francis in 2019. His feast day is October 9, the day of his reception into the Catholic Church.
Anna Schäffer was born in Bavaria in 1882 to an extremely poor family; starting at the age of fourteen, she began working as a maid to help her family eat. When she was sixteen, she had a vision in which Christ told her that she would suffer. While working in a laundery in 1901, she slipped into a vat of boiling water, severely burning her legs, and despite efforts of doctors, losing the use of them entirely. The damaged nerve endings caused her constant trouble, and made it very difficult to sleep for more than short periods of time. Since she could not move from her bed, the Eucharist was brought to her daily by the local abbott, and she spent her days praying, writing reflections in her notebook, and knitting for her friends. Impressed by her patience and gentleness toward others, many people in the area began coming to visit her regularly. She developed stigmata somewhere around 1910, which she attempted to hide, and occasionally had ecstatic visions. In 1925 she developed colon cancer, and her paralysis began to affect her spine, making it very difficult to move or even speak at all. On October 5 of that year, having taken communion, she suddenly said, "Jesus, I live for you!" In five minutes she was dead. Her grave became a regular pilgrimage site for people with problems to pray, and a very large number of stories about miracles taking place after prayer at her grave have collected over the years. She was canonized by Benedict XVI, and her feast day is October 5.
Ivo of Chartres
We now little about the first part of his life, but Ivo, or Yves, is said to have been a fellow student under Lanfranc with St. Anselm in Bec, where he is thought to have spent some of his early years. He eventually became abbot of St. Quentin at Beauvais, which under his administration became a widely respected school for theology. Ivo himself became recognized as one of the foremost canonists of his day, and after about twenty years at St. Quentin was appointed Bishop of Chartres. It was not an easy see to receive; it had a reputation for simony, his predecessor had been deposed despite powerful friends, and as a respected canonist in an influential see, he was always in the midst of conflict between the Church and the secular government. This latter led to his being imprisoned for some time when he refused to support King Philip I's desire to set aside his wife, Bertha of Holland. His feast is May 23.
Paul I of Constantinople
Paul was elected to the see of Constantinople in 337; it was not an enviable time to be Patriarch of Constantinople. The Emperor Constantius, an Arian sympathizer, was later furious that he was not consulted on the choice (he had been away at war with Persia); he had him banished almost immediately. He made his way to Rome, where it is said he met St. Athanasius, who was in his second exile at the time, and where Pope St. Julius took their side in the dispute. Paul eventually got his see back in 341, but the Arians elected their own anti-patriarch; the city devolved into riots of one side against the other, and Constantius, who had been away again, had him exiled again. Constantius's Western co-emperor, his brother Constans, eventually wrote Constantius demanding that Paul be restored to his see, which Constantius reluctantly did to avoid having to fight a civil war as well as all the border wars he was having to fight already. When Constans died in 350, however, St. Paul was exiled for a third time. While in exile this time, he was assassinated. A very unhappy career, but he was steadfast through it. His feast day is November 6.
Another All Saints post will be up later today.
2019 All Saints Post, Part I
Matteo Correa Magallanes, Nicholas Owen, Knud IV and Knud Lavard, Mariana de Jesús de Paredes, Joseph Vaz, Zdislava Berka, Caterina Fieschi Adorno, Pietro I Orseolo, Ðaminh Hà Trọng Mậu, Jeanne-Françoise Frémiot de Chantal, Stephen Min Kŭk-ka, Rabanus Maurus Magnentius
2018 All Saints Post
Gianna Beretta Molla, Margaret of Scotland, Yu Tae-chol Peter, Justa and Rufina of Seville, Giuseppe Moscati, Kazimierz Jagiellończyk, Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghaţţas, Salomone Leclerq, Arnulf of Metz, Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez, Frumentius of Tyre, Jeanne Jugan, Joseph Zhang Dapeng, Maroun and Abraham of Harran, Magnus Erlendsson, Callixtus I, Hippolytus, Urban I, Pontian, Anterus, Fabian, Jean de Brébeuf
2017 All Saints Post
John Ogilvie, Leo IV, Andrew Stratelates and the 2593 Martyrs, Theodore the Studite, The Martyrs of Gorkum, Margaret Ward and John Roche, Mesrop Mashtots, José María Robles Hurtado, Genevieve of Paris, Pedro Calungsod, Isaac of Nineveh, George Preca, Denis Ssebuggwawo Wasswa, Anthony of Padua
2016 All Saints Post
Theodore of Tarsus, Nilus the Younger, Anne Line, Mark Ji Tianxiang, Maria Elisabetta Hesselbad, Sergius of Radonezh, Anna Pak Agi, Jeanne de Valois, Vigilius of Trent, Claudian, Magorian, Sisinnius, Martyrius, Alexander, Euphrasia Eluvathingal, José Sanchez del Rio, Andrew Kaggwa, Roberto Bellarmino
2015 All Saints Post
Margaret Clitherow, Kaleb Elasbaan of Axum, Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin, Gertrude of Nivelles, Pius V, Clare and Agnes of Assisi, Kuriakose Elias Chavara, Scholastica, Vinh Sơn Phạm Hiếu Liêm, Thorlak Thorhallson, John Damascene
2014 All Saints Post
Marie Guyart, Alphonsa Muttathupadathu, John Neumann, Hildegard von Bingen, Pedro de San José Betancurt, Benedict the Moor
2013 All Saints Post
María Guadalupe García Zavala, Antonio Primaldi, Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, Gabriel-Taurin Dufresse and Augustine Zhao Rong, Josephine Margaret Bakhita, John Chrysostom
2012 All Saints Post
Jadwiga of Poland, Kateri Tekakwitha, André Bessette, Rafqa Pietra Choboq Ar-Rayès, Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga
2011 All Saints Post
Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro, Celestine V, Olga of Kiev, Cyril of Jerusalem, Joseph Mukasa and Charles Lwanga
2010 All Saints Post
Moses the Black of Ethiopia, Micae Hồ Đình Hy, Katherine Mary Drexel, Robert Southwell, Lojze Grozde, Andrew Kim Tae Gon