Saints Alive! | St John Damascene (of Damascus)

Saint John of Damascus or Saint John Damascene, a Syrian monk and priest, was the last of the Greek Fathers. He became a trusted magistrate under Arab rule and a monk at Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem where he died. His defense of the veneration of icons procured him the title of “The Doctor of Christian Art.” He is known for his poems, hymns or “canons,” and his treatise “Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.” He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1890. For more about this saint, please click on the image. Peace be with you!

Saints Alive! | St Barbara

St. Barbara was born in Nicomedia in modern day Turkey. According to tradition, after the death of her mother she was raised by her rich and tyrannical pagan father who, because of her beauty and intelligence, guarded her closely, keeping her locked away in a tower to protect her from the outside world. She became a Christian, dedicating her life of virginity to Christ. Her father, enraged by her choice, had her imprisoned and tortured hoping to change her mind. Eventually Barbara was beheaded by her own father for her refusal to renounce her faith in Jesus Christ. For more about this saint, please click on the image. Peace be with you!

Saints Alive! | St Francis Xavier

He was born in the Basque country of Spain in 1506. He met Ignatius Loyola when he was a student in Paris, and he was ordained priest in 1537. In 1541 the Pope sent him as part of a mission to India, and he spent the rest of his life in the East, preaching the Gospel in Goa and Malacca. He made many converts and fought against the exploitation of the native population by the Europeans. He spent two years on a successful mission to Japan, laying the foundations of many Christian communities; and in 1552, after entering China secretly to preach the Gospel there, he died of fever and exhaustion on the Chinese island of Shangchwan. For more about this saint, please click on the image. Peace be with you!

Saints Alive! | St Bibiana

St. Bibiana, also known as Vibiana or Viviana (d. 361), was born in Rome, the daughter of Christian parents who were martyred in the persecutions of Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate. Her father was severely beaten and sent to live in exile as a slave, but died from his wounds. Her mother was beheaded shortly after. St. Bibiana and her sister, Demetria, were stripped of their possessions and imprisoned in their family home in utter poverty and hunger. They were offered reward if only they would renounce Jesus, but the sisters, strong in faith and prayer, said they would rather die. Finding that they did not die from lack of food, the Roman governor summoned them. Demetria, after professing the faith, died at his feet. St. Bibiana was given to the guardianship of a pagan woman who tried to force her into prostitution. St. Bibiana refused and resolutely maintained her faith in Christ. For this she was beaten, tied to a pillar, and cruelly scourged. She eventually died from her tortures, and her body was discarded to be eaten by wild dogs. The animals, however, would not touch her. Her body was recovered by a priest and buried, with a chapel built over the tomb for her veneration. For more about this saint, please click on the image. Peace be with you!

Saints Alive! | St Edmund Campion

In 1580, the Jesuit mission to England began. His mission was to strengthen Catholics wavering under government pressure and win converts among the Protestants. He was eventually hunted down and was sentenced to death as a traitor. During his trial he answered: “In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all our ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England — the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter.” After spending his last days in prayer he was led with two companions to Tyburn and hanged, drawn and quartered on December 1, 1581, aged 41. For more about this saint, please click on the image. Peace be with you!