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St. Mark Ji Tianxiang

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The opium epidemic in China, spurred on by British trade, plagued the country for over 100 years, leading to countless lives ruined or outright lost, and two actual wars. But amidst that, St. Mark Ji Tianxiang, an addict for 30 years of his life, found a way to love God deeply despite being denied Eucharist due to his addiction. Lifetime:  1834 to 1900 Region:  Hengshui, Hebei, China Patronages:  Drug addicts Iconograpy:  Opium pipe; Long mustache; Palm of martyrdom Feast Day: June 9 Before he became addicted to opium, Mark Ji was a doctor. Born to a Christian family and raised Christian himself, he wanted to help where he could, and even treated poor people in his clinic for free. Sadly, when Mark Ji was in his mid 30s, he contracted a serious illness, and prescribed himself opium as a treatment. At the time, the effects of opium were not yet known, and it was a common medicine for many illnesses. As was the case for many, he became addicted to the drug. Through the rest of his life,

St. Columba of Iona

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Along with Saints Patrick  and Brigid , Columba is one of the patron saints of Ireland. Because of his relocation to the island of Iona, and his subsequent evangelization in Scotland, he also has patronage over that country, as well as the Irish city of Derry. He's also considered one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. Lifetime:  521 to 597 Region:  Ireland; Scotland Patronages:  Floods; Bookbinders; Ireland; Scotland Iconograpy:  Celtic tonsure; Dove or seabird; Coastline Feast Day: June 9 Columba was called Colmcille in his native tongue, though he may have had a different name at birth. In Irish, Colmcille means "church dove". He was descended from a legendary high king of ancient Ireland, and was therefore raised as a sort of minor royalty, though he joined a monastery at a young age.  Legends around Columba's life abound, and it's impossible to know for sure what is true about his life, but his impact as an evangelist in Scotland, among the Picts, and in his

St. Charles Lwanga

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Charles Lwanga, or Kaloli Lwanga in his native Luganda, was executed by the king he served for refusing to abandon the Christian faith which he converted to just a year earlier. He was only 26 when he was burned at the stake. Lifetime:  1860 to 1886 Region:  Buganda, Uganda Patronages:  Converts; Torture victims; African Catholic Youth Action Iconograpy:  Flame; White robe; Palm Feast Day: June 3 Little is known about Kaloli's early life. When he was first encountered by the White Fathers, African missionaries from a French colony in Algeria, Kaloli was already working in the home of his king, first as chief of the pages, and later as the majordomo of the king's house. The king was a cruel man who abused the boys and young men who served his house. Around Kaloli's own conversion, the king killed a group of missionaries. A steward of the house, who had been close friends with the king, and had recently converted to Christianity himself, scolded the king for his action. The k

St. Christopher Magallanes

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Known in his life as Cristóbal Magallanes Jara, St. Christopher Magallanes was arrested on his way to celebrate Mass and killed shortly after without trial on May 25, 1927. He and the other Saints of the Cristero War were canonized for facing death after continuing their ministry during the Mexican government's suppression of religion via anticlerical laws such as outlawing wearing priest's garments in public or priests speaking out against the government. 25 martyrs of the Cristero war were canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000, all sharing the same feast day of May 21. Pope Benedict XVI declared several more Blessed in 2005, with the shared feast day of November 20, the anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution. Pope Francis canonized one more, José Sánchez del Río in 2016, a boy of 14 who was tortured and killed by his government for refusing to deny his faith. His feast day is February 10. Lifetime:  1869 to 1927 Region:  Jalisco, Mexico Patronages:  Cancer Iconog

St. Dymphna

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St. Dymphna is most well known as the patron saint of mental illness and anxiety, including mental and neurological disorders, depression, and sleep disorder. She's the inspiration behind St. Dymphna's Playbook , an excellent podcast about mental health and the Catholic faith which I recommend to everyone, but especially to those struggling with any mental health issues or with loved ones who do. Lifetime:  600s Region:  Ireland; Belgium Patronages:  Mental illness; Runaways; Anxiety Iconograpy:  Sword; Lily; Crown Feast Day: May 15 Dymphna was born in Ireland sometime in the 600s. Her father was a pagan king (another princess saint!), but her mother was Christian and raised Dymphna with a strong faith. So strong, in fact, that Dymphna took a vow dedicating herself and her body to Christ when she was just 14. Sadly, her mother died very soon after Dymphna's vow, and her mother's death led her father to suffer from extreme mental health issues. Her father's advisors

St. Catherine of Siena

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St. Catherine of Siena is one of the most famous Dominican saints, one of 36 Doctors of the Church , and an influential mystic and author. Nearly 400 letters, 26 prayers, and a treatise penned by Catherine are known today, even though she didn't learn to write until she was 30 (though many of her letters were dictated to scribes). Some of her letters were later carried by soldiers as a sort of good luck charm during battle. Lifetime:  March 25, 1347 to April 29 1380 Region:  Alexandria, Egypt Patronages:  Fire; Miscarriages; Illness; Italy Iconograpy:  Crown of thorns; Lilies; Dominican habit Feast Day: April 29 Catherine was the 23rd child born to her mother, though half of her older siblings had died young. Catherine was a joyful and pious child, earning the Greek word for "joy" as a family nickname, having her first vision of  Jesus at five or six, and declaring at seven her intention to dedicate her life to God. When Catherine was 16, one of her older, married sisters

St. Mark the Evangelist

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St. Mark the Evangelist is most famous for authoring the Gospel book that bears his name, but there are actually three to four different accounts of relevant people named "Mark" in the early church. Besides the gospel author, there is also a man referred to as "John Mark" in the book of Acts, and a Mark who is the cousin of Barnabas in the Epistles. Finally, Mark is mentioned alongside Luke in 2 Timothy. These Marks could be anywhere from all one person to four different people, but the two main traditions either interpret them as one or two individuals. The Catholic church distinguishes between Mark the Evangelist, and John Mark as two separate people. Lifetime:  5 to 68 Region:  Alexandria, Egypt Patronages:  Barristers; Venice; Egypt Iconograpy:  Writing in a scroll or book; Winged lion Feast Day: April  25 As with many saints of the very early church, not much is known about Mark's life. Instead, I'll focus on how he is depicted in iconography, some of t