The Roman Catholic Church established by Christ Himself is the most beautiful thing this side of heaven, then you also understand the importance of the lives of the saints. All throughout history the Church has produced great saints, proving that the Church is holy and able to provide us with what we need to reach sanctity. In reading the lives of the saints, we see that the saints each reflect, in a unique way, a special facet or virtue of God Himself. Learning about Catholic saints and their lives can inspire us to reach the summit of perfection that God wills for each of us.
What is the definition of a Roman Catholic saint? Simply speaking, a saint could be said to be anyone who is currently residing in heaven. The Catholic Church, through the process of canonization, officially recognizes this fact. In the book “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma”, we read that a saint is “…a member of the Church [who] has been assumed into eternal bliss and may be the object of general veneration.”
A saint is also a person of remarkable holiness who lived a life of heroic virtue, assisted by the Church, during their pilgrimage on earth. They are as varied and exceptional as only God could create them, and each has his own distinct story.
There are great saints whose stories are well known to us, like St. Francis of Assisi, or St. Gerard Majella, and other saints whose stories have received legendary status, such as the Legend of St. Patrick. Some of the saints wore armor, like Saint Joan of Arc or King Saint Fernando III, and others, like Saint Valentine, who is usually forgotten even on his own feast day. All are saints of virtue, and their lives are celebrated by the Catholic Church and her members.
There are also great Catholic heroes in history who are not recognized by the Church as saints. Among them are Rodrigo Diaz, also known as El Cid, Charlemagne, Queen Isabella of Spain, Iskandur, John Sobieski, and Garcia Moreno, and many more. Like the saints, they shed a light for us in these dark times, teaching us to bear our crosses and to conquer ourselves, seeking to do God’s will in all things, no matter to what vocation we are called.
- Roman Catholic Saint
List of Saints
Monthly Devotions of the Church
Each month of the year is dedicated to a particular devotion within the Catholic faith; the dedication of each month is based on historical events or a particular aspect of the liturgical calendar, or a combination of the two. These monthly Catholic devotions do not line up exactly with the period of the liturgical calendar, since they are fixed to standard calendar months rather than the Church seasons. Some countries and areas have developed monthly dedications to devotions more specific to their area, but the following are the common, widespread Catholic devotions for each month throughout the year.
January: Month of the Holy Name
January is the month of the Holy Name of Jesus. The feast of the Holy Name originated in the 1500s and was formerly celebrated on the second Sunday of Epiphany. It was removed from the calendar in 1969, “since the imposition of the name of Jesus is already commemorated in the office of the Octave of Christmas.” It was restored in 2002 as an optional memorial on the first free day after January 1st. Because of the feasts in January which pertain to Christ’s infancy and childhood, January has also become a month dedicated to the Holy Childhood of Jesus.
February: Month of the Passion of Our Lord
February is the month dedicated to the Holy Family. Though the start of the Lenten season changes within the calendar year, a fair-sized portion of February gives us a space of time between the Christmas celebrations and the increased focus on Jesus’s public life and ministry, which occurs in Lent. It is a transition from the feast of Christmas to the fasting of Lent. Therefore traditionally February has become a time to recall the Holy Family; within the Holy Family is where Jesus spent the time between his birth and embarking on his public journey.
March: Month of St. Joseph
March is the month of devotion to St. Joseph, whose feast falls on March 19th. The date of the solemnity of St. Joseph dates to the end of the 15th century; within the next few centuries, the entire month as a time for devotion to St. Joseph became part of tradition. In a society which seems to discourage the importance of marriage and fatherhood, St. Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin and the man given the responsibility of raising Jesus, is an incredible model of an obedient, faithful, Christian father.
April: Month of the Holy Eucharist
The month of April is dedicated both to devotion to the Eucharist and devotion to the Holy Spirit. This tradition has developed because Easter Sunday often falls in April, and when it does fall in March, the Easter season continues on through all of April. In essence, April is a month of Easter, and during the Easter celebration we remember the Eucharistic sacrifice Christ gave us and the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which would come after Jesus’s resurrection.
May: Month of Our Lady
May is the month of Mary; devotion to the Blessed Mother throughout May originated in Rome in the 18th century to counter immorality and infidelity among students at a college there. It has spread through most of the Latin Church now. Because the North American holiday of Mother’s Day falls in May, Catholics take this time to recall and try to emulate Mary’s role as mother. Therefore devotion to Mary in the month of May focuses both on Mary as a role model for Christian mothers, and Mary’s ever lasting chastity and purity, and her fidelity to God’s will.
June: Month of the Sacred Heart
June is the month of the Sacred Heart. A devotion long practiced privately, it was officially approved in the 1800s. Devotion the Sacred Heart encourages participation in Holy Hour Eucharistic Adoration and to receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month.
July: Month of the Most Precious Blood
The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood. The feast of the Precious Blood of our Lord was instituted in 1849 by Pius IX, but the devotion is as old as Christianity. The early Fathers say that the Church was born from the pierced side of Christ, and that the sacraments were brought forth through His Blood.
The Precious Blood, which we worship, is the Blood, which the Savior shed for us on Calvary and reassumed at His glorious Resurrection. It is the Blood, which courses through the veins of His risen, glorified, living body at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. It is the Blood made present on our altars by the words of Consecration; it is the Blood, which merited sanctifying grace for us, and through it, washes and beautifies our soul and inaugurates the beginning of eternal life in it.
August: Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
The month of August is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, and increased adoration of the Eucharist is encouraged. August is also dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and on August 15th, the church celebrates the Assumption of Mary into heaven.
September: Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
September is traditionally dedicated to the Seven Sorrows (or Dolours) of Mary, and the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows falls in September. The Sorrows are the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the loss of the Holy Child at Jerusalem for three days, meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary, standing at the foot of the Cross-, Jesus being taken from the Cross-, and the burial of Christ.
October: Month of the Most Holy Rosary
October is the month of the Rosary, because of the anniversary of victory at the Battle at Lepanto and the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary occurring in October. The Battle of Lepanto and the institution of the feast day took place in the 17th century; in the late 1800s, Pope Leo XIII officially dedicated the entire month to devotion to the Holy Rosary.
November: Month of the Holy Souls
The month of November is dedicated to the poor souls in purgatory. All souls day falls on November second, which is when we commemorate all the faithful departed. The indulgences attached to this devotion are seven years and seven quarantines each day; plenary indulgence on any day of the month under the usual conditions.
December: Month of the Divine Infancy
December is dedicated to Advent and the coming of Christ. This refers to the preparation for the celebration of remembering Christ’s birth 2000 years ago, but also the prayerful, spiritual preparation for the second and final coming of the Lord.
- Sunday: The Holy Trinity
- Monday: The Souls in Purgatory
- Tuesday: Our Guardian Angels
- Wednesday: Saint Joseph
- Thursday: The Eucharist
- Friday: The Passion of Jesus (Divine Mercy) and / or the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Saturday: The Immaculate Heart of Mary
Days each of the Rosary Mysteries
- Sunday: The Glorious Mysteries
- Monday: The Joyful Mysteries
- Tuesday: The Sorrowful Mysteries
- Wednesday: The Glorious Mysteries
- Thursday: The Luminous or Joyful Mysteries
- Friday: The Sorrowful Mysteries
- Saturday: The Joyful Mysteries (or Glorious Mysteries after 3pm)