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St. Dominic

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St. Dominic is most well-known for founding the Dominican order, as well as for popularizing the Rosary. The order that bears his name is one of the most active Catholic orders today, especially in education. He was also instrumental in combatting the Albigensian heresy, which he did by modeling an austere life and through rigorous theological study. Lifetime:  1170 to 1221 Region:  Spain; France; Italy Patronages: Astronomers; Dominican Republic; The falsely accused Iconograpy:  Dominican habit; Lilies; Rosary Feast Day:  August 8 When Dominic was still a baby in his mother's womb, she received a vision of a dog leaping from her belly, carrying a torch and setting the world ablaze. Not much else is known about Dominic's parents, but both are believed to have been nobility. He studied under his uncle for his primary education, then attended a university for ten years, during which he became well-known as a model student. However, Dominic was as compassionate as he was dedicated

Pope St. Victor I

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Pope St. Victor I was the 14th pope, and the first one to be born in Africa. His accomplishments include establishing that Easter would always be celebrated on Sunday, and declaring that Latin, rather than Greek, would be the official language of the church. Lifetime:  Early 100s to 199 Region:  Leptis (modern Libya) Patronages: African Christians; Latin speakers Iconograpy:  Papal vestments; Dark skin Feast Day:  July 28 Little is known about Victor's early life. Sources indicate that he was born in northern Africa, in an area that came under the control of the Roman empire during Victor's life. They also give his father's name as Felix, though there is no indication of other details about his family. Though there were several periods where the Roman empire persecuted Christians, Victor lived in a time of relative harmony between the two. In fact, one influential woman in the empire worked with Victor to create a list of all the Roman Christians who had been sent to a labo

St. Margaret of Antioch

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St. Margaret of Antioch is one of the 14 Holy Helpers , a group of saints widely venerated against disease starting in the fifteenth century. Along with Saints Catherine of Alexandria and Michael the Archangel , she spoke to St. Joan of Arc in a vision. Lifetime:  ~289 to ~304 Region:  Antioch (modern Turkey) Patronages: Pregnant women; Kidney disease; Exiles; The falsely accused Iconograpy:  Slain dragon or demon; Crucifix; Hammer Feast Day:  July 20 (Western); July 17 (Eastern) Margaret, also known as Marina, was the daughter of a pagan priest. Her mother died when Margaret was still a baby, so she was raised by a local nurse, who happened to be Christian. Margaret's foster mother had Margaret baptized and given a Christian education and she grew up modest and pious. When she returned to her father, he was very impressed with her grace and virtue, but he was upset that she would not join him in worshipping idols. She told him that she had dedicated her life to Jesus and that sh

St. Germaine Cousin

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St. Germaine Cousin was born into one of the hardest lives imaginable: disabled, sick, and abused. Yet despite all the challenges she faced, she found joy in loving God and made worshipping Him a part of her daily life. She's an excellent model of how we can find hope no matter how bad things in life can become. Lifetime:  1579 to 1609 Region:  France Patronages: Child abuse victims; Disability; Physical therapists; Illness Iconograpy: Lamb; Walking stick; Young girl in peasant clothing Feast Day:  June 15 Germaine Cousin was born to a poor family. Her father was a farmer, and her mother died when she was still a baby. Germaine was also born with disabilities and a dangerous lung infection. And while Germaine’s life started out hard, it wouldn’t be that easy for long, either. Germaine’s father remarried when Germaine was still very young, and her new stepmother was very cruel. Disgusted by Germaine’s disability and illness, she made fun of her stepdaughter and instructed her other

St. Barnabus

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St. Barnabus is an apostle featured heavily in the book of Acts and some Epistles. He was influential in the other apostles' acceptance of St. Paul, as well as in the conversion efforts among the Gentiles. After the Paul himself, Barnabas may be the most esteemed man of the first generation of Christians besides the Twelve. Lifetime:  Unknown to ~60 Region:  Roman Cyprus Patronages: Cyprus; Antioch; Against hailstorms Iconograpy:  Flame; Gospel scroll; Olive branch Feast Day:  June 11 Barnabas appears in scripture in the book of Acts, where he is introduced as a landowner who sold all he owned and laid it at the feet of the apostles. He is identified as being known as Joseph, or Joses prior to the apostles bestowing his new name upon him. Barnabus was a Levite, the tribe of Israel dedicated to religious and educational duties serving the priests and other tribes. After his conversion, he becomes an apostle in his own right, and is entrusted with several important missions. Barnabu

St. Bede the Venerable

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St. Bede the Venerable is famous for being an author, a teacher, and a scholar in the area that is now England. He was particularly interested in calendar calculations and trying to calculate the date of Easter, and is one of the main reasons that the B.C./A.D. calendar system became popular. He's also the only native of Great Britain to be declared a Doctor of the Church .  Lifetime:  ~672 to 735 Region:  England Patronages: English writers; English historians Iconograpy:  Writing a book; Feather pen; Biretta Feast Day:  May 25 (Western); May 27 (Eastern) Little is known about Bede's early life, and most of what is known is from an autobiographical chapter in one of his books. Nothing is known about his parents except that, when Bede was seven, they sent him to live and study at a monastery, a practice which was common among Irish nobility at the time, and possibly among his own people as well. When that monastery opened a sister monastery nearby, he transferred to the new one

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