Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Waltheof, Abbot

main article for Saint Waltheof of MelroseArticle

Saint Waltheof was brought up at the court of his step-father, King David of Scotland, and there formed a friendship with Saint Aelred. When the king took him out to the chase he would withdraw to some hidden spot, and spend his time in pious reading or prayer. At the first chance he stole away from court to the Augustinian priory of Saint Oswald’s in Yorkshire, where he hoped to lie hid and die. But such was not his lot. He was chosen prior of Kirkham, and was sent to Rome to appeal against the election of William, Archbishop of York. On his return, an interior call of grace, seconded by the advice of Saint Aelred, moved him to exchange to the Cistercian Order. Scarcely had he done so when a violent reaction set in, and it was only after bitter suspense that he felt assured of having followed God’s will. He became abbot of Melrose, and governed his monks with great charity. He had the gift of tears, his voice was sweet and soft, and a certain spiritual joy always shone on his pale face. Once he appeared before King Stephen in England with his bundle of clothes on his back. His brother, who stood by, said to the king, “See how my brother and thy kinsman does honour to his lineage.” But Stephen answered, “If thou and I had only the grace to see it, he is an ornament to our race.” Saint Waltheof died a.d. 1160. A stone in the ruins of Melrose marks his grave.

Saint Waltheof teaches us what he taught his monks — that we must never fear a cross because of its outward look, as we see not the interior unction by which it is made light, – Cruces vident, unctiones non indent.

God prepares souls for His graces by interior crosses. By them the affections are purged of all earthly dross, constancy is tried, and an occasion is afforded for the exercise of the most difficult and heroic virtues. — Saint John Climacus

Saint Waltheof’s trial in his novitiate is thus described. Observance of the rule became loathsome to him; while his former life, though less austere, seemed more guided by Christian prudence, and more fit for the saving of souls. The temptation increased the more he prayed against it, till at length one day he flung himself down in utter anguish, and asked only to do God’s will. An invisible hand raised him from the ground, his soul was filled with light, and from that moment he felt neither regret nor doubt. At the end of the year he received the white habit from his friend, Saint Aelred, who clothed him with the usual form: “The Lord put off thee the old man with his deeds.” Great indeed was the joy of his heart as the brethren answered, “Amen.”

It is I, fear ye not. - Mark 6:50

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Waltheof, Abbot”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. 3 March 2015. Web. 4 March 2015. <>

Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Alphonsus Liguori

detail of a devotional print of Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, c.1880, artist unknown; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Saint Alphonsus was born of noble parents near Naples in 1696. His spiritual training was entrusted to the Fathers of the Oratory in that city, and from his boyhood Alphonsus was known as a most devout Brother of the Little Oratory. At the early age of sixteen he was made doctor in law, and he threw himself into this career with ardour and success. A mistake, by which he lost an important cause, showed him the vanity of human fame, and determined him to labour only for the glory of God. He entered the priesthood, devoting himself to the most neglected souls, and to carry on this work he founded later the missionary Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. At the age of sixty-six he became Bishop of San Agatha, and undertook the reform of his diocese with the zeal of a Saint. He made a vow never to lose time; and though his life was spent in prayer and work, he composed a vast number of books, filled with such science, unction, and wisdom, that he has been declared one of the Doctors of the Church. He lived in evil times, and met with many persecutions and disappointments. For his last seven years he was prevented by constant sickness from offering the adorable Sacrifice; but he received Holy Communion daily, and his love for Jesus Christ and his trust in Mary’s prayers sustained him to the end. He died in 1787, in his ninety-first year.

Let us do with all our heart the duty of each day, leaving the result to God, as well as the care of the future.

Consider every occasion of self-denial as a gift which God bestows on you, that you may be able to merit greater glory in another life; and remember that what can be done to-day cannot be performed to-morrow, for time past never returns. - Saint Alphonsus

Saint Alphonsus wrote his first book at the age of forty-nine, and in his eighty-third year had published about sixty volumes, when his director forbade him to write more. Very many of these books were written in the half-hours snatched from his labours as missionary, religious superior, and bishop, or in the midst of continual bodily and mental sufferings. With his left hand he would hold a piece of marble against his aching head while his right hand wrote. Yet he counted no time wasted which was spent in charity. He did not refuse to hold a long correspondence with a simple soldier who asked his advice, or to play the harpsichord while he taught his novices to sing spiritual canticles.

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. - Ephesians 5:16

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Alphonsus Liguori”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. 3 March 2015. Web. 4 March 2015. <>

Miniature Lives of the Saints – Blessed Giovanni Colombini


Giovanni Colombini was a rich cloth-merchant of Siena, a shrewd, successful, worldly man, fond of gain, and absorbed from his boyhood in commercial affairs. One day he took up a book which he had just thrown down in anger, and found it to be the life of Saint Mary of Egypt. The story of her conversion pierced his soul, and he embraced a life of poverty. He took pains to mortify himself precisely where he had received honour. In the palace where he had lived when chief magistrate of Siena he became the lowest kitchen servant for a period corresponding to his term of office, begging his food meanwhile in the streets. Touched by his humility and fervent charity, many sinners were converted, and many left the world and joined him. It was a time of strife, pillage, and bloodshed; but Giovanni and his little band of followers went about the towns and villages of Tuscany preaching Christ crucified, reconciling enemies, winning hearts to God, and kindling in them the flame of Divine love. Pope Urban V, on his return from Avignon, constituted these poor little ones of Jesus into a religious Order, now extinct, called the ‘Gesuati’; not, however, before they had been accused of heresy, formally examined and acquitted, their Divine Master prompting their answers. Soon after, Giovanni fell sick, and on 31 July 1367, he passed to eternal peace.

When Saint Philip undertook the conversion of the condemned heretic Paleologus, he merely gave him the life of the Blessed Giovanni to read; and the apparently obdurate sinner was melted, as the Saint had foretold, by this simple tale of Divine love.

Let us, dearly beloved, mourn and weep, and take bitter vengeance on ourselves: for if we were guilty of no other sin but that of ingratitude and of despising and almost refusing God, who, whether we will or no, gives Himself to us, while we, proud ungrateful wretches that we are, wanting in faith and ardour, receive this immeasurable gift with irreverence and coldness, and keep it carelessly, we ought to seek to die for Him a thousand times, if that were possible. - Blessed Giovanni Colombini

Blessed Giovanni was by nature weak and chilly, and used to live delicately and dress warmly; but after his conversion he went barefoot and bareheaded, his chest exposed. A friend therefore said to him, ‘Art thou not cold, Giovanni?’ But the Saint took his friend’s hand, and placed it in his bosom, saying, ‘Thinkest thou I am cold?’ ‘Nay,’ said the other, ‘thou art so hot that I can scarcely bear my hand there.’

In this is, charity: not as though we had loved God, but because He hath first loved us. 1st John 4:10

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Blessed Giovanni Colombini”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. 3 March 2015. Web. 4 March 2015. <>

Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Ignatius of Loyola

detail of an illustration Saint Ignatius of Loyola; date unknown, by William Holl the Younger; swiped from Wikimedia Commons; click for source imageArticle

Saint Ignatius was born at Loyola in Spain in the year 1491. He served his king as a courtier and a soldier till his thirtieth year. At that age, being laid low by a wound, he received the call of divine grace to leave the world and follow Jesus Christ. He gave himselfup entirely to the love of Jesus Christ. Whatever he knew to be pleasing to Jesus Christ that he did. He sacrificed everything which could separate him from Jesus Christ. He embraced poverty and humiliation, that he might become more like to Jesus Christ. He loved Jesus Christ so ardently, that he won others to join him in serving Jesus Christ. Prompted by their love for Jesus Christ, he and his companions made a vow to go to the Holy Land: they wished to live where their Divine Master had lived, to labour for souls where He had laboured; they were prepared to die where He had died. But war broke out and prevented the execution of their project. Then they turned to the Vicar of Jesus Christ, and placed themselves under his obedience. This was the beginning of the Society of Jesus; its motto was Ad majorem Dei gloriamTo the greater glory of God. Our Lord promised Saint Ignatius that the precious heritage of His Passion should never fail his Society, a heritage of contradictions and persecutions,

Saint Ignatius went to his crown on the 31 July 1556.

Ask Saint Ignatius to obtain for you the grace to desire ardently the greater glory of God, even though it may cost you much suffering and humiliation.

When thou shalt arrive thus far, that tribulation becomes sweet and savoury to thee for the love of Christ, then think that it is well with thee: for thou hast found a paradise on earth. - The Imitation of Christ

Saint Ignatius was cast into prison at Salamanca on a suspicion of heresy. To a friend who expressed sympathy with him on account of his imprisonment he replied, “It is a sign that you have but little love of Christ in your heart, or you would not deem it so hard a fate to be in chains for His sake. I declare to you that all Salamanca does not contain as many fetters, manacles, and chains as I long to wear for the love of Jesus Christ.”

I have glorified Thee on earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. - John 17:4

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Ignatius of Loyola”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. 3 March 2015. Web. 4 March 2015. <>

Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Mary Magdalen of Pazzi

detail of a statue of Saint Maria Magdalena of Pazzi; date and artist unknown; Estrela basilica, Lisbon, Portugal; photographed in April 2010 by Alvesgaspar, and a great job he did, too; swiped from Wikimedia Commons; click for source imageArticle

Saint Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, of an illustrious house in Florence, was born in the year 1566, and baptized by the name of Catherine. She received her first Communion at ten years of age, and made a vow of virginity at twelve. She took great pleasure in carefully teaching the Christian doctrine to the ignorant. Her father, not knowing her vow, wished to give her in marriage, but she persuaded him to allow her to become a religious. It was more difficult to obtain her mother’s consent; but at last she gained it, and she was professed, being then eighteen years of age, in the Carmelite monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence, 17 May 1584. She changed her name Catherine into that of Mary Magdalen on becoming a nun, and took as her motto, ‘To suffer or die’, and her life henceforth was a life of penance for sins not her own, and of love of our Lord, who tried her in ways fearful and strange. She was obedient, observant of the rule, humble and mortified, and had a great reverence for the religious life. She loved poverty and suffering, and hungered after Communion. God raised her to high states of prayer, and gave her rare gifts, enabling her to read the thoughts of her novices, and filling her with wisdom to direct them aright. She was twice chosen mistress of novices, and then made superioress, when God took her to Himself, 25 May 1607. Her body is incorrupt.

Saint Mary Magdalen of Pazzi was so filled with the love of God, that her sisters in the monastery observed it in her love of themselves, and called her ‘the Mother of Charity,’ and ‘the Charity of the Monastery.’

I love souls because Jesus loves them, and I would bear anything to comfort them; for God cannot rest in a heart ill at ease. - Saint Mary Magdalen of Pazzi

Charity is the presence of God Himself in the soul, transforming it into a new creature. Saint Mary Magdalen of Pazzi called the day of Communion the day of love. The charity that burned in her heart led her in her youth to choose the house of the Carmelites, because the religious therein communicated every day. She rejoiced to see others communicate, even when she was not allowed to do so herself; and her love for her sisters grew when she saw them receive our Lord.

He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is charity. By this hath appeared the charity of God towards us, because God hath sent His Only-begotten Son into the world that we may live by Him. - 1st John 4:8,9

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Mary Magdalen of Pazzi”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. 3 March 2015. Web. 4 March 2015. <>

Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Martha, Virgin

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Martha; designed by Comper, c.1905-7; east window, All Saints' Convent chapel, Oxford, England; swiped with permission from the flickr account of Father Lawrence Lew, OPArticle

Saint John tells us that ‘Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus,’ and yet but few glimpses are vouchsafed us of them. First, the sisters are set before us with a word. Martha received Jesus into her house, and was busy in outward, loving, lavish service, while Mary sat in silence at the feet she had bathed with her tears. Then their brother is ill, and they send to Jesus, “Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick.” And in His own time the Lord came, and they go out to meet Him; and then follows that scene of unutterable tenderness and of sublimity unsurpassed: the silent waiting of Mary; Martha strong in faith, but realizing so vividly, with her practical turn of mind, the fact of death, and hesitating; “Canst Thou show Thy wonders in the grave?” And then once again, on the eve of His Passion, we see Jesus at Bethany. Martha, true to her character, is serving; Mary, as at first, pours the precious ointment, in adoration and love, on His divine Head.

And then we find the tomb of Saint Martha at Tarascon in Provence. When the storm of persecution came, the family of Bethany, with a few companions, were put into a boat, without oars or sail, and borne to the coast of France. Saint Mary’s tomb is at San Baume; Saint Lazarus is venerated as the founder of the Church of Marseilles; and the memory of the virtues and labours of Saint Martha is still fragrant at Avignon and Tarascon.

If in all things, says the Imitation, thou seekest Jesus truly, thou shalt find Jesus; but if thou seek thyself, thou shalt find thyself also, but to thy own ruin.

Those who are at sea rest, though the ship be in perpetual movement, and the needle is still true to the pole. Let us regard God aloae in all our actions; so shall we find interior rest in the most agitated life. — Saint Francis of Sales

When Martha received Jesus into her house, she was naturally busy in preparations for such a guest Mary sat at His feet, intent alone on listening to His gracious words. Her sister thought that the time required other service than this, and asked our Lord to bid Mary help in serving. Once again Jesus spoke in defence of Mary. “Martha, Martha,” He said, “thou art lovingly anxious about many things; be not over-eager; do thy chosen work with recollectedness. Judge not Mary. Hers is the good part, the one only thing really necessary. Thine will be taken away, that something better be given thee.” The life of action ceases when the body is laid down; but the life of contemplation endures and is perfected in heaven.

He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. - John 15:5

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Martha, Virgin”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. 2 March 2015. Web. 4 March 2015. <>

Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Guthlake, Hermit

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Guthlac of Croyland; artist unknown, 19th century; Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire, England; swiped from Wikimedia Commons; click for source imageArticle

Of royal birth, but of a wild and adventurous disposition, Guthlake at the age of fifteen joined a robber band, and became famous through the kingdom of Mercia for his daring deeds. One night, after nine years of this life, as he lay awake in the forest, new thoughts of death, the vanity of earth, and the joys of heaven stirred his heart; whereupon, waking his companions, he bade them choose another chief, as he had vowed himself to the service of Christ. Tearing himself from their entreaties and embraces, he exchanged his arms for the dress of a rude peasant, and humbly begged admittance into the abbey of Repton. There he did penance two years, when, moved by the example of the desert Saints, he withdrew to the marshes of Lincolnshire to lead a hermit’s life. In this solitude he suffered the most terrible assaults from the evil spirits. They cast him into foul swamps, reproached him incessantly with the sins ofhis youth, and once seemed to have brought him to the mouth of hell itself. But Guthlake was stronger in his weakness than in the most brilliant days of his youth. He prayed constantly, and when quite worn out drove the devils off by the name of Jesus, and made frequent acts of hope. He died, in 714, in the odour of sanctity, at the age of forty-seven, and the famous abbey of Croyland rose over his grave.

Every good thought is the whisper of grace in our hearts. Listen and instantly obey, lest you grieve and extinguish the Holy Spirit of God.

How indispensably necessary to me is Thy grace, O Lord, in order to begin, to continue, and to accomplish what is good! For without it, I can do nothing; but in Thee I can do everything by the strength of Thy grace. — Imitation of Christ

It was a dreary and fearful waste to which God called Guthlake, but it became a holy and refreshing sanctuary before he died. Morning and night an angel visited him, and whispered the secrets of heaven to him as he knelt in prayer. The lower creatures obeyed him. The birds and the fishes came at his call and ate out of his hand, while the swallows would perch on his head and knees, and let him help them to build their nests. To one who expressed surprise he said, “Know ye not that all created beings unite themselves with him who unites himself with God?”

If you be willing, and will hearken to Me, you shall eat the good things of the land. - Isaiah 1:19

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Guthlake, Hermit”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. 2 March 2015. Web. 4 March 2015. <>

Catholic Encyclopedia – Blessed Vincent Kadlubek

Blessed Vincent KadlubekArticle

(Kadlubo, Kadlubko) Bishop of Cracow, chronicler, born at Karnow, Duchy of Sandomir, Poland, 1160; died at Jedrzejow, 8 March 1223. The son of a rich family in Poland, he made such progress in his studies that in 1189 he could sign his name as Magister Vincentius (Zeissberg, in “Archiv fur osterreichische Geschichte”, XLII, Vienna, 1870, 25), from which some conclude that he was then a canon of Cracow and principal of the cathedral school. Another document of 1212 (Zeissberg, 29) bears his signature as quondam Sandomirensis praepositus. At the death of Bishop Fulk of Cracow 11 September 1207, the chapter voted for Vincent. Innocent III approved the election 28 March 1208, and Vincent was consecrated by Henry Kielicz, Archbishop of Gnesen. Poland was then in a state of political and ecclesiastical demoralization, and Innocent had asked the archbishop, his schoolmate, to bring about a reform in clergy and people. Vincent worked in harmony with his metropolitan, and in visitations and sermons sought to obey the papal instructions. He assisted the religious in his diocese, and made notable donations to the monasteries of Sulejow, Koprzywnica, and Jedrzejow. It was also through his influence that in 124 peace was restored between Andrew of Hungary and Leszek of Poland who were contending for the possession of Galicia.

In 1218 Vincent sent in his resignation, and, after its acceptance by Honorius III entered the Monastery of Jedrzejow. He was the first Pole to receive the habit of the Cistercians (Starovolscius, 56). In due time he made his profession and lived in retirement until his death. He was buried before the high altar of the abbey church. In 1682 John Sobieski petitioned the Holy See for his beatification. A similar request was made in 1699 by the General Chapter of the Order of Cîteaux. On 18 February 1764, Clement XIII ratified his cult on supplication of Wojciech Ziemicki, Abbot of Jedrzejow.


“Chronica seu originale regum et principum Poloniae”, in four books. The first three are in the form of a dialogue between Archbishop John of Gnesen (1148-65) and Matthew, Bishop of Cracow (1145-65). The first is legendary the second is based on the chronicle of Gallus, the third and fourth contain matters in Vincent’s own experience. Some claim that the work was written at the request of King Casimir, others say at the request of King Leszek, while Vincent was bishop; and others, that it was written in the seclusion of the monastery. The latest edition of the work is by Bielowski in “Mon. Pol. hist.”, II (Lemberg, 1870).

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Vincent Kadlubek”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. 1 March 2015. Web. 4 March 2015. <>

František Munk


Married layman of the archdiocese of Bratislava, Slovakia. Jewish convert to Catholicism in 1939. Father of Tomáš Dezider Munk. He and his entire family was arrested by Nazis in late 1944 for the crime of being Jewish, and sent to the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen, Germany. Murdered during the death march from Sachsenhausen to Berlin, Germany on 20 April 1945.



Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “František Munk“. 28 February 2015. Web. 4 March 2015. <>

Tomáš Dezider Munk


Oldest son of František Munk. Jewish convert to Catholicism in 1939. Studied in Bratislava and Ruzomberok in Slovakia. Jesuit novice, entering on 30 July 1943. He and his entire family were arrested by the Nazis in late 1944 for the crime of being Jewish, and sent to the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen, Germany. Murdered during the death march from Sachsenhausen to Berlin, Germany on 20 April 1945.



Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Tomáš Dezider Munk“. 28 February 2015. Web. 4 March 2015. <>