From Casimir to Joseph: Saints to remember during Lent

| Father Michael Van Sloun for The Catholic Spirit | February 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

Several saints have feast days during this year’s Lenten season. Here are short profiles of some of them, along with suggested Lenten activities that recall their legacy.

  • March 4, St. Casimir (1448-1484)

St. Casimir was the son of King Casimir IV of Poland. He was tutored in the faith by a priest, and he sought personal holiness from his youth. He refused his father’s orders when he was advised to marry and told to lead the army against Hungary. He was confined to a castle where he spent hours in prayer and study, practiced the virtues and cared for the poor. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 26 and was buried in Vilna; many pilgrims who visited his tomb reported miracles through his intercession.

To do: Go through the closet or garage, simplify by eliminating some possessions, and share with the less fortunate.

  • March 7, Sts. Perpetua and Felicity (d. 203)

St. Perpetua was a noble woman and St. Felicity was her servant. Both were in the process of converting to Christianity when they were ordered to renounce their newfound faith during the persecution of Septimus Severus. They were arrested and imprisoned as catechumens and were baptized in jail. They were martyred in Carthage, North Africa, in 203.

To do: Offer prayers or support to someone on the journey to the Easter sacraments in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program at your parish.

  • March 8, St. John of God (1495-1550)

St. John was born in Portugal and moved to Spain. He spent periods as a mercenary soldier, shepherd and manual laborer, and he experienced a profound conversion at age 40. Some of his religious practices were so extreme that he was committed to an asylum, but later he was released. He was so disenchanted with the bad care given to the asylum inmates that he founded a hospital, and he gathered a group of co-workers who eventually became the Order of Hospitallers. He died in Granada, Spain, in 1550.

To do: Do something for someone who is sick. Say a prayer for them, or pray with them. Visit a hospital or nursing home. Drive them to a medical appointment or the pharmacy. Run an errand. Do a chore. Make a phone call. Send a card.

  • March 9, St. Frances of Rome (1384-1440)

Frances was a wife and the mother of three. She distinguished herself by her aid to the poor and sick, particularly during times of plague and famine. After her husband of 40 years died, she founded the Congregation of Oblates of Mary, and they followed the Rule of St. Benedict. Their charism was care for the destitute poor.

To do: Make a special almsgiving donation to a food shelf, homeless shelter or relief agency.

  • March 17, St. Patrick (385-461)

St. Patrick was born in Great Britain, captured by pirates and forced to work as a shepherd. After his captivity ended, he became a priest and later was appointed a bishop. He is the “apostle” of Ireland, and he tirelessly and courageously preached the Gospel.?He made many converts.

To do: Read an entire Gospel, one chapter per day, until the book is completed. Speak about Jesus to a non-believer.

  • March 18, St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386)

Cyril was born in Jerusalem into a Christian family. He was ordained a priest at age 30, was well-schooled in Scripture and was a brilliant teacher. He was chosen bishop of Jerusalem in 348. He battled the Arian heresy and was exiled from Jerusalem on three separate occasions for a total of 16 years. He wrote many homilies and catechetical lessons that explained and defended the faith, and he is a doctor of the Church.

To do: Pray and reflect upon the Nicene Creed. Review the Church teaching that Jesus is both true God and true man (Catechism, paragraphs 464-469).

  • March 19, St. Joseph

Joseph is the husband of Mary, the stepfather of Jesus, a righteous man, a worker and a carpenter, and a member of the Holy Family. The angel of the Lord appeared to him on four separate occasions, and he obeyed God’s messenger every time.

To do: Reserve time to be with a family member. Do a family activity together.

Father Van Sloun is pastor of St. Stephen in Anoka.

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Category: Lent