Patron Saint of the Sick
"St. Alyssa (Ayssa is a modern variant of the name Alice) ) was born at Shaerbeck, near Brussels. At the age of seven, she entered a Cistercian convent named Camera Sanctae Mariae, and she remained there for the rest of her life. The Cistercian community was inspired by her spirit of humility. However, at an early age, she contracted leprosy and had to be isolated. The disease caused Alyssa intense suffering, and eventually she became paralyzed and was afflicted with blindness. Alyssa's greatest consolation came from reception of the Holy Eucharist, although she was not allowed to drink from the cup because of the danger of contagion. Known for visions and ecstasies, she died in 1250.
Feast Day: June 15
Patron Saint of The Sick,
Those Ridiculed for Their Piety
"St. Bernadette is the famed visionary of Lourdes, baptized Mary Bernard, oldest of six children in a very poor family. She was born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844. Bernadette, a severe asthma sufferer, lived in abject poverty.
On February 11, 1858, she was granted a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a cave on the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. She was placed in consider able jeopardy when she reported the vision, and crowds gathered when she had further visits from the Virgin. The civil authorities tried to frighten Bernadette into recanting her accounts, but she remained faithful to the vision. On February 25, a spring emerged from the cave and the waters were discovered to be of a miraculous nature, capable of healing the sick and lame. On March 25, Bernadette announced that the vision stated that she was the Immaculate Conception, and that a church should be erected on the site. Many authorities tried to shut down the spring and delay the construction of the chapel, but the influence and fame of the visions reached Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Napoleon III, and construction went forward.
In 1866, Bernadette was sent to the Sisters of Notre Dame in Nevers. There she became a member of the community, and faced some rather harsh treatment from the mistress of novices. This oppression ended when it was discovered that she suffered from a painful, incurable illness. She died in Nevers on April 16,1879, still giving the same account of her visions.
Lourdes became one of the major pilgrimage destinations in the world, and the spring has produced 27,000 gallons of water each week since emerging during Bernadette's visions. She was not involved in the building of the shrine, as she remained hidden at Nevers. Bernadette was beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.
Feast Day: April 16
Prayer to Saint Bernadette
"O God, protector and lover of the humble, You bestowed on Your servant, Bernadette, the favor of the vision of Our Lady, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, and of speech with her. Grant that we may deserve to behold You in heaven. Amen."
Patron Saint of Hospitals, Nurses
"St. Camillus was born in 1550 at Naples, Italy. He was the son of a military officer who had served both for Naples and France. After his mother died when he was very young he spent his youth as a soldier, fighting for the Venetians against the Turks, and then for Naples. He was reported to be a large individual, perhaps as tall as 6'6", and powerfully built. Also a gambling addict, he lost so much he had to take a job working construction on a building belonging to the Capuchins; who converted him.
He entered the Capuchin noviate three times, but a nagging leg injury, received while fighting the Turks, forced him each time to give up. He went to Rome for medical treatment where St. Philip Neri became his priest and confessor. He moved into San Giacomo Hospital for the incurable, and eventually became its administrator. Lacking education, he began to study with children when he was thirty-two years old. He became a priest and founded the Congregation of the Servants of the Sick (the Camellians) who care for the sick both in hospital and home. The order expanded with houses in several countries.
Camillus honored the sick as living images of Christ, and hoped that the service he gave them did penance for his wayward youth. He died July 14, 1614 at Genoa, Italy.
Feast Day: July 14
Patron Saint of Sick Children, Sick People, Swans
"St. Hugh was the son of William, Lord of Avalon. His mother Anna died when he was 8, and he was raised and educated at a convent at Villard-Benoit. He became a monk at age fifteen, and a deacon at age nineteen. He was the Prior of a monastery at Saint-Maxim. In 1175 he became abbot of the first English Carthusian monastery, which was built by King Henry II as part of his penance for the murder of Thomas Becket.
His reputation for holiness spread through England, and attracted many to the monastery. He admonished Henry for keeping dioceses vacant in order to keep their income for the throne. He was made bishop of Lincoln September 21, 1181 and restored clerical discipline in his see. He rebuilt the Lincoln cathedral, destroyed by earthquake in 1185.
St. Henry denounced the mass persecution of Jews in England in 1190-91, repeatedly facing down armed mobs, making them release their victims. He worked as a Diplomat to France for King John in 1199, a trip that ruined his health. While attending a national council in London a few months later, he was stricken with an unnamed ailment, and died two months later."
Feast Day: November 17
Patron Saint of the Sick
"St. Isabella with the sister of St. Louis and daughter of King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile. She refused offers of marriage from several noble suitors to continue her life consecrated to God.
She ministered to the sick and the poor, and after the death of her mother, founded the Franciscan Monastery of the Humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Longchamps in Paris. She lived there in austerity but never became a nun and refused to become abbess. She died there on February 23, and her cult was approved in 1521."
Feast day: February 26
Patron Saint of Prisoners, The Sick
"St. Jane was the daughter of a tanner. Her mother died when Jane was 16 years old, leaving the girl to manage the family and help her father raise her younger siblings. She joined the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in 1787 at Paris, and worked in various hospitals over the next five years. During the suppression of religious orders in the French Revolution, she was ordered to return home to a secular life. Jane refused, and tried to escape the authorities. She was beaten so badly that it took months to recover.
She finally returned on foot to Sancey where she cared for the sick, and opened a small school for girls. In the late 1790's, the government repression forced her to flee to Switzerland. There she teamed up with other exiled religious and clergy to minister to the sick. However, due to anti-Catholic prejudice, the group was forced to move on to Germany.
Jane later returned to Landeron, Switzerland where she founded a school and hospital for her Order, and in 1799 the school opened in Besançon. The congregation Jane founded to run these institutions was the Institute of the Daughters of Saint Vincent de Paul. Her people soon began to expand, to operate other schools and hospitals in France, Switzerland, and Italy, and moved into prison ministry. The Institute received papal approval in 1819. St. Jane died in 1828 at Naples, Italy of natural causes."
Feast Day: May 23
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