After several months in which parishioners have nominated and voted on possible saints, we have six that have been chosen! One was chosen specifically by the young people of the parish, including the children in the religious education program, high school programs, and Piqua Catholic School.
Here are the six saints who will be depicted in Saint Boniface Church when the artwork is completed by next Easter:
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Feast: Jan. 4), b. Aug. 28, 1774 in New York City to wealthy Episcopalian family. Her husband’s business failed; then he died. She became Catholic; her family disowned her. She founded first parish school, initiating Catholic school system. Founded Sisters of Charity, who serve in Piqua presently. Died Jan. 4, 1821; canonized 1975, first American-born saint. Patroness for: in-law problems; death of children and of parents; Apostleship of the Sea; opposition of church authorities; people ridiculed for piety; widows.
Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio (April 1)—along with 8 companions. At the age of 14, Jose joined a rebel military force formed to fight against the Mexican government who was persecuting the Catholic Church. He was captured in January of 1928 by government forces who ordered him to renounce his Faith in Christ. He refused. They cut his feet with machetes and forced him to walk to the town cemetery. At times they stopped him and said, “If you shout ‘Death to Christ the King’, we will spare your life.” He refused and shouted, “Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long live Christ the King!). When they reached the place of execution, they bayoneted him, but he only shouted, “Viva Cristo Rey!” louder. This angered the commander so he and the rest of the group shot Jose with their guns. Before Jose died, he made the sign of the cross on the ground with his blood and kissed it.
Blessed Jose was the choice of those under 18.
St. Angelo (Feast: May 5), b. 1145 in Jerusalem to Jewish converts to Christianity. With his twin brother, founded first Carmelite house. Sent to evangelize Sicily, won many conversions, was martyred (stabbed to death) by a man whose incestuous relationship he denounced in 1220.
Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta (Feast: Sep. 5), b. Aug. 26, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia to an Albanian family. Baptized Agnes; youngest of three children; active in her parish youth group; drawn to mission work. Joined Sisters of Loretto, took name of Theresa after the Little Flower, went to India to teach. Heeded God’s call to form Missionaries of Charity to serve the poorest of the poor, caring for many lying in the streets of Calcutta. She—and her order—traveled the globe. She died Sep. 5, 1997 in Calcutta. Declared blessed 2003. Patroness of World Youth Day.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus (Feast: Oct. 1), b. Jan. 1, 1873 to a middle-class family in Normandy, France. Her parents, Louis and Marie-Azelie Martin are both “blesseds”; all her sisters became nuns. Just before her 14th birthday, received vision of the child Jesus. Sought to join Carmelite order but was too young. Traveled to Rome to meet Pope Leo XIII and asked permission to join early! Made final vows at 17 at convent in Lisieux. Her “little way” of spirituality gave rise to her name, “Little Flower.” Died Sep. 30, 1897 of tuberculosis. Canonized 1925; named Doctor of the Church in 1997 and patroness of Australia, France, Russia; foreign, particularly African missions; parish missions; bodily ills, and illness; tuberculosis; AIDS patients; air crews and pilots; florists and flower-growers; loss of parents.
St. Francis of Assisi (Feast: Oct. 4), b. 1181, Assisi, Italy, to a wealthy merchant. Street brawler and sometime soldier, had conversion while a prisoner of war. He began living poverty and preaching; his family disowned him but he attracted others. In 1210, he began the Order of Friars Minor (“little brothers”), better known as Franciscans. In 1219, went to Egypt and preached to the Muslim Sultan, who allowed him to preach the Gospel there and to visit Jerusalem. Later received the wounds of Christ. Died Oct. 4, 1226. Canonized 1228. Patron against dying alone and fire; for animal welfare; birds; ecology and the environment; families; lace-, needle- and tapestry-workers; zoos. Patron of Italy.