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St. Damien of Molokai

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Father Damien famously lived out his life willingly among a Hawaiian leper colony, despite it being untreatable and considered highly contagious in that time. The model he used with the people of Molokai inspired others in the US during the height of the HIV/AIDS outbreaks. Lifetime:  1840 to 1889 Region:  Belgium; Hawaii Patronages: People with leprosy; Hawaii Iconograpy:  Missionary's hat; Lei; Leprosy wounds Feast Day:  May 10 Father Damien (as he came to be known) was born Jozef, the youngest of seven children born to corn merchant parents in Belgium. He went to school when he was young, but dropped out at 13 to help his family on the farm. However, his education did resume later when his father sent him to college, but while Damien was there, he encountered a religious mission and decided to instead pursue a religious life himself. Because of his lack of education, Damien was almost prevented from becoming a priest, but he was allowed due to his fluency in Latin, which his

St. Benedict Joseph Labre

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St. Benedict Joseph Labre was an extreme ascetic, who voluntarily lived by begging alone. Though he died young, he was well known by his death because of his pilgrimages to major shrines throughout Europe and the ecstatic states he would achieve during contemplative prayer. Lifetime:  1748 to 1783 Region:  France; Rome Patronages: Married men; Mental illness; Beggars; Rejects Iconograpy:  Tattered clothing; Alms; Tricorn hat Feast Day:  April 16 Benedict was the oldest of fifteen children born to a wealthy shopkeeper family. As a child, he studied under his uncle, who was a parish priest, hoping to one day become a parish priest himself. However, he changed his mind at the age of sixteen and instead desired to become a monk. At eighteen, an epidemic struck, and Benedict and his uncle worked together to care for the victims, but near the end of the outbreak, his uncle too died of the illness. Benedict applied to join a Trappist abbey, but was turned away for being too uneducated and

St. Casilda of Toledo

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St. Casilda was a Muslim princess who later converted to Christianity. One way that she stands out from many other convert saints, is that her life was characterized by charity and miracles even before her conversion. Lifetime:  ~950 to ~1050 Region:  Toledo and Briviesca, Spain Patronages: Muslim converts; Hemorrhages; Toledo, Spain Iconograpy:  Dress holding roses; Tiara Feast Day:  April 9 Casilda was a princess, the daughter of the king of Toledo in Spain. When she was young, Casilda’s mother died of a blood-related illness. Her parents, and Casilda herself when she was young, was Muslim. Despite their religious differences, young Casilda liked to visit the Christian prisoners and was known for showing them exceptional kindness. She often smuggled bread and meat in to feed the prisoners, hidden in her skirt. One time when Casilda was on her way to feed the prisoners, the guard saw her and stopped her. He had noticed the shape in the folds of her clothing and he demanded for her

St. Enda of Aran

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St. Enda is considered the father of Irish monasticism. Even better, his feast day is also my birthday! Lifetime:  ~450 to ~530 Region:  Ireland Patronages: Aran islands; Irish monks Iconograpy:  Cloak (often green); Staff; Stone abbey Feast Day:  March 21 Enda was born an Irish prince in the county of Ulster. As he grew up, he became a fierce warrior, and eventually inherited the throne and became king of Oriel. However, Enda’s sister, St. Fanchea had become an abbess of a convent, and she was growing concerned about her brother and his violent ways. She begged him to lay down his arms and at least be a peaceful king. Enda thought about it, and made an agreement with his sister. He would put aside his sword and his taste for conquest, but only if she would find one of the sisters in her abbey who would marry him. His sister agreed, and found him a suitable bride, but when Enda arrived to receive his wife, he found the girl had died suddenly. His sister took the opportunity to make

St. Katharine Drexel

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St. Katharine Drexel is the first natural-born US citizen to be canonized as a saint. She is famous for her philanthropic efforts, especially those regarding race relations in the United States. Among many other schools and parishes, Katharine founded Xavier University of Louisiana. Lifetime:  1858 to 1955 Region:  Pennsylvania, United States Patronages: Philanthropy; Racial justice Iconograpy:  Habit; Glasses; Black and/or Native American child(ren) Feast Day:  March 3 Katharine was born into a wealthy family, the daughter of an investment banker whose mother died giving birth to her. She had one older sister, and after her father remarried, one younger sister, and all three were educated at home by private tutors. As children the sisters traveled often throughout the US and Europe, as their father wanted them to learn geography firsthand. Three times a week, the family also distributed food, money, and clothing to the needy in their neighborhoods. Katharine entered the public eye

St. Agatha of Sicily

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St. Agatha is one of the many early virgin martyrs, and one of several who is mentioned by name in the eucharistic prayer. In classic hagiographic humor, she is a patron saint of wet nurses, owing to her breasts being torn off as part of the tortures she underwent. Lifetime:  ~231 to ~251 Region:  Sicily Patronages:  Breast cancer; natural disasters; jewelers; Wet nurses Iconograpy:  Tongs; Severed breasts; Palm of martyrdom Feast Day:  February 3 Agatha was a beautiful girl, but very early in her life she consecrated herself to God, vowing that she would have no husband other than Christ. However, because of her beauty, many men continued to try to woo her despite her vows. One of these men was a high-ranking diplomat who thought that because of his political power he could force Agatha to marry him. He proposed to her many times, but Agatha always said no, and that she had dedicated herself only to God. The diplomat grew increasingly angry that his advances were rejected. Eventually

Bl Justo Takayama

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Bl. Justo Takayama was a samurai who was exiled for refusing to recant his catholic faith. He was also a daimyo, the feudal lord of a regional land in the shogunate era in Japan (fans of the Disney+ series Book of Boba Fett  may recognize the term from that show too). Lifetime:  1552 to 1615 Region:  Nara Prefecture, Japan; Manila, Philippines Patronages:  Japanese immigrants; Persecuted Christians Iconograpy:  Crucifix; Sword; Samurai armor Feast Day:  February 3 Justo Takayama is known by many names. His birth name was Hikogoro Takayama. When he was baptized, he added Justo to his name, after St. Justin Martyr . When he became an adult, he earned the name Shigetomo. He is also known as Takayama Ukon (or Ukon-dono), as well as Dom Justo Takayama, with Dom and Ukon being affectionate honorific titles. He's known by other names as well, and the Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation  documents his many names and their meaning, purpose, and ways of writing. Justo was born the oldest son a