October Feast Days: Honoring saints

By Ted King
The Sooner Catholic


The Holy Guardian Angels
Oct. 2, is the feast day of The Holy Guardian Angels. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith.” (CCC 328). It defines Guardian Angels as “Angels assigned to protect and intercede for each person.” (Glossary, page 881). The Catechism also states: “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. 'Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.' Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.” (CCC 336). This prayer imparts a partial indulgence: “Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to Whom His love commits me here, Ever this day be at my side, To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.” 

Saint Francis of Assisi
Oct. 4, is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi. Born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernadone in 1181 or 1182 in Assisi in modern Italy, although he was baptized John, he was called Francesco (the Frenchman) because his father, a rich cloth merchant, happened to be on a business trip to France when he was born. As a young man, Francis was a soldier and spent a year in captivity as a result of being captured in a battle, after which he began an enthusiastic and wholehearted conversion to the spiritual life. He embraced poverty, wore rough clothes, was barefoot, begged alms for the poor, etc. He attracted many men as his followers and founded the Order of Friar Minors, also known as Franciscans. He was ordained as a deacon, not as a priest. At Christmas time in 1223, he told a friend, “I would make a memorial of that Child who was born in Bethlehem and in some sort behold with bodily eyes the hardships of His infant state, lying on hay in a manger with the ox and the ass standing by. “He, accordingly, set up a cri, which began the centuries old tradition of the Christmas crib. In 1224, he received the stigmata of the wounds of the crucified Christ. On Oct. 4, 1226, he died and two years later was canonized by Pope Gregory IX. He is the patron saint of Italy, animals, the environment, and San Francisco. He is one of the most beloved of all the saints and greatly revered even by non-Catholics. Benedict XV said Francis of Assisi was the most perfect image of Christ that ever was. Lord Kenneth Clark in his 1969 Civilization series said Francis was the greatest religious genius Europe ever produced. When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope, he became the first pope to take the name Francis.

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos
Oct. 5, is the feast day of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos (1819-1867), who came to America from Bavaria in 1843 and was ordained in Baltimore. He was considered an excellent priest, especially as a confessor. He also served as a mission priest in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin. At the end of his life he was assigned to New Orleans and caught the yellow fever, which ended his life on Oct. 4, 1867.  He was proclaimed Blessed by Saint Pope John Paul II in 2000.

Saint Bruno and of Blessed Marie Rose Durocher
Oct. 6, is the feast day of Saint Bruno and of Blessed Marie Rose Durocher. Saint Bruno (1035-1101) was born to a wealthy family in Cologne in modern day Germany. He was considered one of the best philosophers and theologians of his time. As chancellor of the Diocese of Rheims in France, he appeared at the Council of Soissons in 1077 to prosecute his Bishop Manasses I for simony. For this he was stripped of his position and possessions. As a result of this misfortune, Bruno sought a contemplative life, settling in the mountains in the French region of Dauphiny, where he founded the Carthusian order of monks, undoubtedly or arguably the most austere of all the religious orders. Carthusian monks make Chartreuse, a very fine liqueur. 

Blessed Marie Rose Durocher (1811-1849), born Eulalie Mélanie Durocher, was a French-Canadian nun who was one of the founders of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. She was beatified by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1982.

Our Lady of the Rosary
Oct. 7, is the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. The present form of the Rosary is from Saint Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, also known as Dominicans, in obedience to a revelation to him from the Blessed Virgin Mary about the year 1206. The devotion of praying the Rosary has produced many great results, among which was the defeat of the Muslim Turks and the famous battle of Lepanto in 1572 that caused the institution of this feast day.

Saint Denis and Companions and of Saint John Leonardi
Oct. 9, is the feast day of Saint Denis and Companions and of Saint John Leonardi. Saint Denis, also known as Denis of Paris, was a bishop of Paris. He was martyred with companions Rusticus and Eleutherius. He is a patron saint of Paris and France.

Saint John Leonardi (1541-1609) was born in Lucca in modern day Italy. He was a pharmacist's apprentice and was ordained a priest. In his work with the sick and poor he attracted the attention of men who became priests, and he founded the Congregation of Regular Clergy of the Mother of God in 1595. John Leonardi was committed to the counter-reformation and in 1579 created the Confraternity for Religious Doctrine, the basis of modern Catholic religious instruction. He was a friend of Saint Philip Neri. On Oct. 9, 1609, he died as a result of treating people with the plague.   

Saint Pope John XXIII
Oct. 11, is the feast day of Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963). Born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli in the town of Sotto il Monte in northern Italy, his sharecropper family was poor. He was elected Pope John XXIII in 1958 and was expected, at age 75, to be a caretaker pope. However, despite his age, he called the Second Vatican Council that led to many changes in the Church including Mass in the vernacular. He died in 1963 and was canonized along with Pope John Paul II by Pope Francis in 2014. 

Our Lady of Fatima
Oct. 13, is the anniversary of Our Lady's sixth and final apparition to three children at Fatima, Portugal, Oct. 13, 1917, 100 years ago. It is not a feast day of that event, but is mentioned here because of the extraordinary Miracle of the Sun, which danced in the sky that day. It was witnessed by thousands of people.

Saint Callistus I
Oct. 14, is the feast day of Saint Callistus I (155-222). He was a Roman slave who had been made to work in a mill and a mine. He was eventually freed and became a deacon under Pope Saint Zephyrinus, whom he succeeded in 217. It is believed he was martyred in 222. 

Saint Ignatius of Antioch
Oct. 17 is the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, surnamed Theophoros, meaning God bearer. Born about the year 35, Ignatius became a disciple of the Apostle John. He was Bishop of Antioch in modern day Turkey. Saint Ignatius wrote about the sacraments, ecclesiology (the study of Christianity), and the role of bishops. He was martyred in Rome about the year 108. He was the first person to use and write the words “the Catholic Church:” “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.”

Saint Luke the Evangelist
Oct. 18 is the feast day of Saint Luke the Evangelist. He was the author of one of the Gospels and of the Acts of the Apostles. He was a Greek physician and bachelor, and the missionary companion of Saint Paul. He was martyred. Luke is the patron of artists, physicians, and bachelors. 

Saints John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and companions
Oct. 19 is the feast day of Saints John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, and companions, all of whom were martyred. John de Brebeuf (1593-1649) was a Jesuit priest from Normandy, France, who was a missionary to the Indian people of New France, modern day Canada. He worked to convert the Huron Indians. In 1649, he was taken captive by the Iroquois and martyred. Saint Isaac Jogues (1607-1646) was another Jesuit missionary from France. He, like John de Brebeuf, was born in Normandy and came to Canada as a missionary. He was martyred by the Mohawks. John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues and their companions were canonized in 1930 by Pope Pius XI.

Saints Simon and Jude
Oct. 28 is the feast day of Saints Simon and Jude, two of the apostles. Simon is mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jude is mentioned in Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. In Matthew and Mark, Jude is called Thaddeus.

Ted King is a freelance writer for the Sooner Catholic.

The Catholic Church assigns one date out of the year for each canonized saint – known as the saint's feast day. The saints are remembered on their individual feast days with special mention, prayers and possibly a scripture reading. Blessed Stanley Rother’s feast day is July 28.