February 1. Saint Brigid of Ireland
Ever since she was a young girl, this Irish saint of the 6th century distinguished herself by her devotion and love for the poor. Her father wanted her to get married but she felt a call to the religious life and entered a convent. Later on she founded a new convent and devoted her whole life to prayer.
What else should you do or give up in order to give yourself totally to God?
February 2. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
This day is marked by two great signs: Mary brings the Light in her arms and Simeon recognizes salvation in a baby. In a certain sense, this is our life as Christians; we recognize salvation and bring that light to others. All of us are Simeon and Mary, recognizers and bearers of light.
In which ways can you give light today?
February 3. Saint Blaise
Jesus said it one day: what is important is not what enters the mouth, but what comes out of it. Blaise is the patron saint of illnesses of the throat, but they don´t have to be only physical. What is sick inside comes out in wrong and hurtful words, in gossip and in verbal aggression.
What are the words that most often come out of your mouth? What type of healing are you in need of?
February 4. Saint Joan of Valois
She was the daughter of the King Louis XI of France, in the 15th century. Since her father wanted a male heir, he was disappointed when Joan was born and did not even want her to live in the palace, because, besides, she was born with a malformation. When Joan grew up, she fell the call t the religious life, but her father forced her to get married. She was married to the Duke of Orleans for 22 years and when he took the throne, he forced her to leave the palace. Far from feeling resentment, Joan felt a great relief. She would now be able to devote herself to prayer and to works of charity. She gave all her money to the poor and founded a congregation of religious women, the Sisters of the Annunciaton.
Do you allow the difficulties and rejections fill you with bitterness? How do you respond to those difficulties?
February 5. Saint Agatha
She was a very beautiful Sicilian young women. The governor, who was a pagan, took her to his palace, but she resisted his advances. The governor then sent her to a house of prostitution, but Agatha managed to keep her integrity. When she returned to the palace of the governor and he realized that nothing would make Agatha renounce her faith, he became indignant and ordered her tortured. She died a martyr in 250.
What are the temptations I need to resist today?
February 6. Saint Paul Miki and companions
They are twenty six martyrs of Japan who were part of a very numerous group of Catholics in the country that had been evangelized by Saint Francis Xavier. In 1597, a Japanese officer listened to an evil Spanish trader who told him that Catholics were not loyal to Japan. The officer arrested twenty six Christians, including six Franciscans from Spain, Mexico and India, three Jesuit Japanese catechists, including Paul Miki and seventeen Japanese lay people, including three children. The twenty six martyrs were crucified and pierced by swords. They died almost at the same time
Do you find any conflicts between faith and culture? Where are faith and culture most in agreement?
February 7. Blessed Giles
He was born in Italy in the 18th century. When he was already twenty five years old, he discovered his religious vocation and entered the convent of the friars of saint Peter Alcantara. He was the doorman of the convent and apparently, he did not do anything extraordinary. He simply distinguished himself by his simplicity and humility. He gave alms to the poor and, regardless of how much he gave, the needs of the convent were always covered.
Do you think that to be a saint you have to do extraordinary things?
February 8. Saint Jerome Emiliani
He was born to a noble Venetian family and was a good soldier. He was taken prisoner once and condemned to prison where he began to reflect on his life and promised Our Lady to change his life if she helped him. Mary listened to his prayers and Jerome could escape. At the first church he found, he presented his chains to Our Lady and decided to become a priest. He was particularly concerned about orphaned children and rented a house for them where he started to educate them. He founded a congregation called Company of the Servants of the Poor. Jerome died during a plague, when he was taking care of the sick.
What events in your life have forced you to reflect and rethink your life?