Saints are ordinary people who did extraordinary things out of love for God. The Church honors their sacrifices through the title of sainthood. If we want to become heroes in the culture of life, we need to learn to imitate the saints and their love for Jesus. Celebrate the culture of life this coming All Saints Day (November 1) with saints who truly lived the message of the gospel of life.
Saint John Paul II’s given name was Karol Wojtyła before he was chosen to be the first Polish pope to lead the Catholic Church. During his papacy, Saint John Paul II was a great hero for life. John Paul II traveled more than his predecessors, making 104 trips outside of Italy. He had a special love for young people and instituted World Youth Day as a way to bring them to Christ. In addition to his many general audiences and public addresses throughout his 27-year pontificate, John Paul II wrote many encyclicals and other documents for the Church, showing his respect for human beings. He believed that all human beings need to be protected and loved—from the moment of creation until death! Evangelium Vitae, or The Gospel of Life, was John Paul II’s encyclical about the beauty of every human being and how each of us has a special duty to defend all persons—born and preborn. John Paul II was beatified in 2011 and canonized in 2014.
Feast Day: October 22
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla was born on October 4, 1922, in Magenta, Italy, to a large, devout Catholic family. She became a doctor and specialized in treating children and mothers because she felt especially close to them. In 1955, Gianna married Pietro Molla and the couple had three children. When she was pregnant with her fourth child, doctors discovered that Gianna had a tumor. Her doctor recommended abortion, but Gianna refused, valuing the life of her child above her own. Being a doctor herself, Gianna fully understood the risks she was taking in her decision. Before the operation, she told her husband that if they had to choose which life to save, to choose that of her child. Saint Gianna made a heroic sacrifice for life out of love so that her baby would be saved.
Feast Day: April 28
Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla: A Woman’s Life by Guiliana Pelucchi
Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother, Doctor by Pietro Molla
Gianna: The Love Letters of a Saint by Paolo Iofolla
St. Gianna Beretta Molla: A Modern Day Hero of Divine Love by Thomas J. McKenna
Love Letters to My Husband by Gianna Beretta Molla (author) and Elio Guerriero (editor)
Feast of the Holy Innocents
When Herod heard the Magi speak about a king born in Bethlehem, he was worried that this new king would grow up and pose a threat to his earthly throne. Secretly plotting to kill this newborn king upon the Magi’s return, Herod asked the Magi to find this new king and bring word back to Jerusalem. But God had other plans. The Lord sent an angel to warn the Magi in a dream not to return to Herod and to warn St. Joseph to take his family to Egypt. When Herod realized that the Magi would not return, he ordered the massacre of every infant boy in Bethlehem under the age of two years. The murder of the innocents committed by King Herod was an unspeakable crime. Even worse today is the sin of abortion which takes the lives of over 3,000 babies every day in America. The Church commemorates the Holy Innocents as some of the first martyrs of the Church because they died in place of Jesus. Pray through the intercession of the Holy Innocents for the protection of preborn babies in danger of abortion.
Feast Day: December 28
St. Juan Diego was born in Mexico and lived a simple life. He attended daily Mass and walked 15 miles to get there! What a sacrifice! On December 9, 1531, he saw an apparition of Our Lady. She wanted the bishop to build a church on Tepeyac Hill so that she could offer her grace to those who visited, and she asked Juan Diego to carry her message to him. Juan Diego went to the bishop and told him about the apparition, but the bishop was not convinced. When Juan Diego told Our Lady, she sent him with a sign for the bishop—roses blooming in December—which he carried in his tilma. When Juan Diego let the roses fall out of his tilma at the feet of the bishop, everyone saw the beautiful image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was left miraculously imprinted on it. In this image, Our Lady of Guadalupe is seen as pregnant—a sign that she encouraged all of us to see the tiniest human beings as a blessing.
Feast Day: Dec. 9
Blessed Margaret of Castello was born in 1287 in Italy to wealthy parents. At her birth, her parents were so shocked and horrified that their child could have any disabilities that they locked her in a cell attached to a little church in the forest. The priest at the church took pity on Margaret and began to teach her quick mind about the mysteries of God and the prayers of the Church. Margaret lived in her small prison, fasting and praying with great religious fervor. When Margaret was 19, her parents took her to Castello to the tomb of a saint, hoping for a miracle, but abandoned her when no miracle happened. Trusting in God, Margaret was able to find shelter with some nuns and spent the last years of her life comforting those in prison and bringing food and medicine to the sick. Blessed Margaret of Castello is considered to be the patroness of the pro-life movement because of her dedication to helping others and her personal understanding of what it means to be unloved and unwanted.
Feast Day: April 13
St. Joseph was the foster father of Jesus and the protector of the Holy Family. Known as the silent saint, Joseph’s words were not recorded in the Bible, but we know by his actions that he was faithful to God. When Joseph found out that Mary was going to have a baby, he patiently followed God’s plan for his family. After Jesus was born, Joseph helped his family travel to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod during the murder of the Holy Innocents. Saint Joseph is an amazing saint for the pro-life movement because of his willingness to accept God’s plan, his immediate response to what God asked him to do, and his industrious spirit. Saint Joseph’s life should be a reminder to us of the importance of fatherhood. We can always turn to him as a spiritual father in times of need.
Feast Day: March 19
Saint Teresa of Calcutta became known for her work among the poor in Calcutta, India. As a religious sister in the order of the Sisters of Loreto, Blessed Teresa heard a call from Jesus to found the Missionaries of Charity dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor in India and all over the world, especially children, the sick, the helpless, and the dying. Blessed Teresa believed that all people are great gifts from God! She treated every person with dignity and respect, no matter how dirty, poor, or helpless they were, and worked tirelessly in the defense of preborn babies. She was beatified in 2003 by Saint John Paul II and remains one of the greatest saints of our day. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is a great example of how we should live our lives as pro-lifers—always willing to help those in need and respecting the dignity of every human being from creation until death. Take some time to ask Blessed Teresa to help you see ways you can live the gospel of life in your daily life.
Feast Day: September 5