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St. Bibiana

Feast date: Dec 02

The earliest mention in authentic historical authority of St. Bibiana, a Roman female martyr, occurs in the "Liber Pontificalis" where in the biography of Pope Simplicius (468-483) it is stated that this pope "consecrated a basilica of the holy martyr Bibiana, which contained her body". This basilica still exists today. In the fifth century, therefore, the bodily remains of St. Bibiana rested within the city walls. We have no further historical particulars concerning the martyr or the circumstances of her death, neither do we know why she was buried in the city itself. In later times a legend sprang up concerning her, connected with the Acts of the martyrdom of Saints John and Paul, and has no historical claim to belief.

According to this legend, Bibiana was the daughter of a former prefect, Flavianus, who was banished by Julian the Apostate. Dafrosa, the wife of Flavianus, and his two daughters, Demetria and Bibiana, were also persecuted by Julian. Dafrosa and Demetria died a natural death and were buried by Bibiana in their own house, but Bibiana was tortured and died as a result of her sufferings. Two days after her death a priest named John buried Bibiana near her mother and sister in her home, and the house was later turned into a church. It is evident that the legend seeks to explain in this way the origin of the church and the presence in it of the bodies of the above mentioned confessors. The account contained in the martyrologies of the ninth century is drawn from the legend.

An alternate account says that in the year 363, Emperor Julian made Apronianus Governor of Rome. Bibiana suffered in the persecution started by him. She was the daughter of Christians, Flavian, a Roman knight, and Dafrosa, his wife. Bibiana's father was tortured and sent into exile, where he died of his wounds. Her mother was beheaded, and their two daughters, Bibiana and Demetria, were stripped of their possessions and left to suffer poverty. However, they remained in their house, spending their time in fasting and prayer. Governer Apronianus, seeing that hunger and want had no effect upon them, summoned them. Demetria, after confessing her faith, fell dead at the feet of the tyrant. Bibiana was reserved for greater sufferings. She was placed in the hands of a wicked woman called Rufina, who in vain endeavored defile her virginity. She used blows as well as persuasion, but the Christian virgin remained faithful. Enraged at the constancy of this saintly virgin, Apronianus ordered her to be tied to a pillar and beaten with scourges, laden with lead plummets, until she died. The saint endured the torments with joy, and died under the blows inflicted by the hands of the executioner. Her body was then put in the open air to be torn apart by wild animals, yet none would touch it. After two days she was buried according to this legend. Read more

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St. Edmund Campion

Feast date: Dec 01

Edmund Campion was born in London on January 25, 1540. He was raised as a Catholic, and had such a powerful and flamboyant intellect that at the age of only 17, he was made a junior fellow at Saint John’s College of Oxford University.

On visiting the university, Queen Elizabeth I was so taken by Edmund’s brilliance, as were a few of her dignitaries, that she bid him to ask for anything that he wished. The exaltation and praise of so many fed his vanity and eventually led him away from his Catholic faith. He took the Oath of Supremacy and acknowledged the Queen as head of the church. He also became an Anglican deacon.

However, his brilliant intellect and his conscience would not allow him to be reconciled to the idea of Anglicanism for too long. After staying a period of time in Dublin, he turned back to his Catholic faith and returned to England.  At this point, he was suspected of being too Catholic, and was shaken when he witnessed the trial of a soon to be martyr. It carried him to the conviction that his vocation was to minister to the Catholic faithful in England who were being persecuted. He also felt the call to convert Protestants.

He set off to Rome barefoot, and in 1573, he entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained in 1578 and had a vision in which the Virgin Mary foretold him of his martyrdom. When he returned to England he made an immediate impression, winning many converts.

On July 17, 1581, he was betrayed by one of the faithful who knew his whereabouts, and was thrown into prison. The queen offered him all manner of riches if he would forsake his loyalty to the Pope, but he refused.

After spending some time in the Tower of London, he was sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering. His martyrom in Tyburn on December 1, 1581 sparked off a wave of conversions to Catholicism. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Read more

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St. Andrew, Apostle

Feast date: Nov 30

On Nov. 30, Catholics worldwide celebrate the feast of St. Andrew, apostle and martyr. A fisherman from Bethsaida and brother of Simon Peter, St. Andrew is said to have spread Christianity in Russia and Asia minor after Pentecost in the first century. He was crucified by the Romans in Greece on an X-shaped cross, which is now his distinctive symbol as well as the symbol of Scotland, of which he is the patron.

St. Andrew demonstrated his love for his brother as well as his apostolic zeal when, convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, he sought out St. Peter. “Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, 'we have found the Messiah.' Then he brought him to Jesus.” (Jn. 1:40-42)

Some of St. Andrew's remains were brought to Scotland in the fourth century, though parts of his skeleton lie in the crypt of the cathedral in Amalfi, Italy, where they are removed twice a year and produce a clear, water like substance. The substance, called “manna,” is said to have miraculous attributes. Read more

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All Saints of the Seraphic Order (Feast)

Feast date: Nov 29

On November 29, the Church celebrates the many Franciscan saints who followed in the footsteps of St. Francis. It is a special day for all Franciscans to celebrate the feast of ‘All the Saints of the Seraphic Order.’

According to tradition, St. Francis of Assisi prayed the following prayer:

"O Lord Jesus Christ, two favors I beg of you before I die. The first is that I may, as far as it is possible, feel in my soul and in my body the suffering in which you, O gentle Jesus, sustained in your bitter passion. And the second favor is that I, as far as it is possible, may receive in my heart that excessive charity by which you, the Son of God, were inflamed, and which actuated you willingly to suffer so much for us sinners."

In response to his earnest prayer, the Lord appeared in the form of  a seraph, or a six-winged angel (They are usually considered the highest order of angelic beings, immediately above the Cherubim, and their special duty is to love God).

Then Jesus bestowed on St. Francis the wounds of his suffering. St. Francis had been marked with the love of Christ, the stigmata.

St. Francis died two years later in 1226, leaving the world the Franciscan Order, which became synonymous with the Seraphic Order. To this day, seraph wings and seraphs are symbolic of the Franciscan Order.

The final Rule of life for Franciscan friars was also approved on this day in 1223. To commemorate this, and all the saintly examples produced in the Franciscan Order, on this day all the saints of the Seraphic order are remembered at Franciscan churches. Read more

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Saint Catherine Laboure

Feast date: Nov 28

On November 28, the Church honors St. Catherine Labouré, the humble Daughter of Charity to whom Mary appeared, requesting that the Miraculous Medal be stamped so that all who wear it would receive great graces.

Saint Catherine Labouré was born in France on May 2, 1806. She was the ninth of 11 children. Upon her mother’s death, when Catherine was eight years old, the young girl assumed the responsibilities of the household. It was said of her that she was a very quiet and practical child.

Eventually she became a Daughter of Charity, and when she was still a novice at the age of 24, the Virgin Mary appeared to her for the first time. Later, Mary appeared once again and requested that Catherine have a medal made portraying Mary just as she appeared.

It took two years before Catherine was able to convince her spiritual director to have the medal created, but eventually, he listened to her and 2,000 medals were made. Their dispersal was so rapid and effective that it was said to be miraculous itself.

After the visions ceased, St. Catherine Labouré spent the rest of her life in humble and obedient service as the portress, and worked with the sick in a convent outside of Paris. She spent that time in silence, not telling her superior that she was the one to whom Mary appeared and gave the medal until 45 years after.

She died in Paris on December 31, 1876 and was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII. Her incorrupt body lies in the crypt of the convent. Read more

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St. James of the Marches

Feast date: Nov 28

St. James of the Marches was a Franciscan priest in the 15th century. He was born into a poor family in Monteprandone, Italy in 1391 and was educated by his uncle who was a priest. He continued his education, eventually achieving the degree of Doctor in Canon and Civil Law from the University of Perugia. He worked for some time as a tutor in a noble family, but on July 26, 1416, he was received into the order of Friars Minor in the Chapel of the Portiuncula in Assisi.

After completing his novitiate, he studied theology under St. Bernardine of Siena. On June 13, 1420, St. James was ordained a priest, and soon began to preach in Tuscany, in the Marches, and in Umbria. For half a century, he continued as a missionary and preacher. St James of the Marches preached penance, combated heretics, and was on legations in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Bosnia. He was also appointed inquisitor against the Fratelli, a heretic sect that dissented from the Franciscans on the vow of poverty, among other things. He was offered the See of Milan in 1460, but he refused it.

Inspired by St. Jame's apostolic example, more than 200 young men of Germany were impelled to enter the Franciscan Order. The crowds who came to hear him were so great that the churches were not large enough to accommodate them, and it became imperative for him to preach in the public squares. At Milan he was instrumental in converting 36 women of bad repute by a single sermon on St. Mary Magdalen. It is said that he brought 50,000 heretics into the Church and led 200,000 nonbelievers to baptism. In addition, God granted St James such wisdom that popes and princes sought counsel from him. He possessed the gifts or miracles and of prophesy in great measure, yet his humility surpassed all those distinctions. On Easter Monday, 1462, St. James, while preaching at Brescia, repeated the ideas of some theologians that the Precious Blood shed during the Passion was not united with the Divinity of Christ during the three days of His burial. He was accused of heresy for saying that, but no discussion or resolution was ever granted to his case, and the matter was ignored or forgotten. James spent the last three years of his life at Naples, and was buried there in the Franciscan church of St. Maria la Nuova, where his body can be seen today.

He was beatified by Urban VIII in 1624 and was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726. Naples venerates him as one of its patron saints. Read more

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St. James Intercisus

Feast date: Nov 27

A soldier and courtier to King Yezdigerd I of Persia in the early fifth century, James was a Christian who, during Yezdigerd’s persecution of Christians, renounced his faith for fear of death.

His family, who had not apostacized, contacted James upon the death of the king, and thus the end of the persecution, and chastised him for having renounced his Heavenly King before the worldy king of Persia.

Upon hearing the rebukes of his family for the denial of his faith, James was thrown into a deep crisis of conscience, and he went through a true, deep conversion, uniting and conforming himself to the living God. Wanting to make amends, he professed his faith before the new king, Bahram and was condemned to death.

He is referred to as ‘Intercisus’ because the name literally means ‘hacked to pieces,’ and this name was given to him documenting the manner of his death. He was hung from a beam and slowly cut into 28 pieces, beginning with his fingers and then his toes, hands, and so forth until his beheading, the final cut.

Even though the crowd, made up of many Christians, urged him to renounce his faith and worship the sun because they could not bear to see him suffer such excruciating torture, he never renounced his faith. Instead, he made every piece cut from his body an offering to the Living God, and won the crown of martyrdom.

James Intercisus is the patron saint of lost vocations and torture victims. Read more

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St. Francesco Antonio Fasani

Feast date: Nov 27

St. Francesco (Francis) Antonio Fasani was born as Giovanneillo in Lucera, Italy in 1681, the son of Giuseppe Fasani and Isabella Della Monaca. He entered the Conventual Franciscans in 1695 and took the names of St. Francis and St. Anthony. He spent much of his time studying, and was ordained a priest 10 years after entering the order. He then taught philosophy to younger friars, served as the guardian of his friary, and later became provincial of his order. When his term of office as provincial ended, Francesco became a novice-master, and eventually pastor in his hometown. In all his various ministries, he was loving, devout and penitential. He was a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical hearings regarding Francesco’s holiness testified, "In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbor; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deed of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance." Francesco showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed. He was also a mystic, known for his deep prayer life and supernatural gifts, and was known to levitate while praying. The people of Lucera were known to compare him with St. Francis of Assisi, from whom he derived his name. He died in 1742 and was canonized in 1986. Read more

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St. Peter of Alexandria

Feast date: Nov 26

Local commemorations of the fourth-century martyr Saint Peter of Alexandria will take place on Nov. 25 and 26. Although his feast day in the Western tradition (on the latter date) is no longer a part of the Roman Catholic Church’s universal calendar, he remains especially beloved among Catholic and Orthodox Christians of the Egyptian Coptic tradition.

Tradition attests that the Egyptian bishop was the last believer to suffer death at the hands of Roman imperial authorities for his faith in Christ. For this reason, St. Peter of Alexandria is known as the “Seal of the Martyrs.” He is said to have undertaken severe penances for the sake of the suffering Church during his lifetime, and written letters of encouragement to those in prison, before going to his death at the close of the “era of the martyrs.”

Both the date of Peter’s birth, and of his ordination as a priest, are unknown. It is clear, however, that he was chosen to lead Egypt’s main Catholic community in the year 300 after the death of Saint Theonas of Alexandria. He may have previously been in charge of Alexandria’s well-known catechetical school, an important center of religious instruction in the early Church. Peter’s own theological writings were cited in a later fifth-century dispute over Christ’s divinity and humanity.

In 302, the Emperor Diocletian and his subordinate Maximian attempted to wipe out the Church in the territories of the Roman Empire. They used their authority to destroy Church properties, imprison and torture believers, and eventually kill those who refused to take part in pagan ceremonies. As the Bishop of Alexandria, Peter offered spiritual support to those who faced these penalties, encouraging them to hold to their faith without compromise. 

One acute problem for the Church during this period was the situation of the “lapsed.” These were Catholics who had violated their faith by participating in pagan rites under coercion, but who later repented and sought to be reconciled to the Church. Peter issued canonical directions for addressing their various situations, and these guidelines became an important part of the Eastern Christian tradition for centuries afterward.

Around the year 306, Peter led a council that deposed Bishop Meletius of Lycopolis, a member of the Catholic hierarchy who had allegedly offered sacrifice to a pagan idol. Peter left his diocese for reasons of safety during some portions of the persecution, giving Meletius an opening to set himself up as his rival and lead a schismatic church in the area.

The “Meletian schism” would continue to trouble the Church for years after the death of Alexandria’s legitimate bishop. Saint Athanasius, who led the Alexandrian Church during a later period in the fourth century, claimed that Meletius personally betrayed Peter of Alexandria to the state authorities during the Diocletian persecution.

Although Diocletian himself chose to resign his rule in in 305, persecution continued under Maximinus Daia, who assumed leadership of the Roman Empire’s eastern half in 310. The early Church historian Eusebius attests that Maximinus, during an imperial visit to Alexandria, unexpectedly ordered its bishop to be seized and killed without imprisonment or trial in 311. Three priests – Faustus, Dio, and Ammonius – were reportedly beheaded along with him.

St. Peter of Alexandria’s entry in the “History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria” (a volume first compiled by a Coptic Orthodox bishop in the 10th century) concludes with a description of the aftermath of his death. 

“And the city was in confusion, and was greatly disturbed, when the people beheld this martyr of the Lord Christ. Then the chief men of the city came, and wrapped his body in the leathern mat on which he used to sleep; and they took him to the church … And, when the liturgy had been performed, they buried him with the fathers. May his prayers be with us and all those that are baptized!” Read more

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St. Leonard of Port Maurice

Feast date: Nov 26

St. Leonard was born on December 20, 1676 in Porto Maurizio, Italy. He was given the name Paul Jerome Casanova by his father, Domenico Casanova, a sea captain, and his mother, Anna Maria Benza.

When he was 13, he was placed with his uncle Agostino to study for a career as a physician, but when the boy decided against medicine, his uncle disowned him. He then began to study at the Jesuit College in Rome.

On October 2, 1697, he joined the Franciscans of the Strict Observance and took the name Brother Leonard. He was ordained in Rome in 1703. He taught for a while, and expected to become a missionary in China, but a bleeding ulcer kept him in his native Porto Maurizio for the four years it took for him to recover and regain his strength.

In 1709, St. Leonard of Port Maurice was sent to Florence where he preached in the city and nearby region. A great preacher, he was often invited to visit and preach in other areas. He worked to increase devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, Sacred Heart, Immaculate Conception, and the Stations of the Cross.

One of his accomplishments was to set up the Stations of the Cross in over 500 different places, including the Colosseum. He was sent as a missionary to Corsica by Pope Benedict XIV in 1744 and restored discipline to the holy orders there, but local politics greatly limited his success in preaching.

He returned to Rome exhausted, and died that night on November 26, 1751 at the monastery of Saint Bonaventure in Rome.

From St. Leonard of Port Maurice, a Modern Catholic can find an example of great servitude and spiritual stamina. One may look at how he lived his life with Christian perseverance, always seeking out opportunities to build the Kingdom of God, until his death. Read more

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St. Catherine of Alexandria

Feast date: Nov 25

Catholics and other Christians around the world celebrate today, Nov. 25, the memorial of St. Catherine of Alexandria, a revered martyr of the fourth century.

St. Catherine was the subject of great interest and devotion among later medieval Christians. Devotees relished tales of her rejection of marriage, her rebuke to an emperor, and her decision to cleave to Christ even under threat of torture. Pope John Paul II restored the celebration of her memorial to the Roman Catholic calendar in 2002.

Catherine's popularity as a figure of devotion, during an era of imaginative hagiography, has obscured the facts of her life. It is likely that she was of noble birth, a convert to Christianity, a virgin by choice (before the emergence of organized monasticism), and eventually a martyr for the faith.

Accounts of Catherine's life also agree on the location where she was born, educated, and bore witness to her faith. The Egyptian city of Alexandria was a center of learning in the ancient world, and tradition represents Catherine as the highly educated daughter of a noble pagan family.

It is said that a vision of the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus spurred her conversion, and the story has inspired works of art which depict her decision to live as a virginal “spouse of Christ.”

The Emperor Maxentius ruled Egypt during Catherine's brief lifetime, a period when multiple co-emperors jointly governed the Roman Empire. During this time, just before the Emperor Constantine's embrace and legalization of Christianity, the Church was growing but also attracting persecution.

Catherine, eager to defend the faith she had embraced, came before Maxentius to protest a brutal campaign against the Church. At first, the emperor decided to try and persuade her to renounce Christ. But in a debate that the emperor proceeded to arrange between Catherine and a number of pagan philosophers, Catherine prevailed – with her skillful apologetics converting them instead.

Maxentius' next stratagem involved an offer to make her his mistress. She not only rebuffed the emperor, but also reportedly convinced his wife to be baptized.

Enraged by Catherine's boldness and resolve, the Emperor resolved to break her will through torture on a spiked wheel. Tradition holds that she was miraculously freed from the wheel, either before or during torture. Finally, she was beheaded.

Maxentius later died in a historic battle against his Co-Emperor Constantine in October of 312, after which he was remembered disdainfully, if at all. St. Catherine, meanwhile, inspired generations of philosophers, consecrated women, and martyrs.

Ironically, or perhaps appropriately – given both her embrace of virginity, and her “mystic marriage” to Christ – young women in many Western European countries were once known to seek her intercession in finding their husbands. Regrettably, the torture wheel to which she herself may have been subjected was subsequently nicknamed the “Catherine wheel,” and used even among Christian kingdoms.

Today, St. Catherine of Alexandria is more appropriately known as the namesake of a monastery at Mount Sinai that claims to be the oldest in the world. Read more

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St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

Feast date: Nov 24

During his papacy, Pope John Paul II canonized a group of 117 martyrs who died for the Roman Catholic Faith in Vietnam during the nineteenth century. The group was made up of ninety-six Vietnamese, eleven Spaniards, and ten French. Eight of the group were bishops, fifty were priests and fifty-nine were lay Catholics including a 9-year-old child. Some of the priests were Dominicans, others were diocesan priests who belonged to the Paris Mission Society.

This feast day, and the witnesses of the lives of the martyrs, give testament to the sufferings inflicted on the Vietnamese Church, which are among the most terrible in the long history of Christian martyrdom. Read more

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Blessed Miguel Pro Juarez

Feast date: Nov 23

Born in Guadalupe on January 13, 1891, Miguel Pro Juarez was one of 11 children. Miguel was, from an early age, intensely spiritual and equally intense in his mischievousness, frequently exasperating his family with his humor and practical jokes. As a child he had a daring precociousness that sometimes went too far, tossing him into near death accidents and illnesses. Miguel was particularly close to his older sister, and after she entered a cloistered convent he began to discern his own vocation, leading him to enter the Jesuit novitiate in El Llano, Michoacan at the age of 20. He studied in Mexico until 1914 when a tidal wave of governmental anti-Catholicism crashed down upon Mexico, forcing the order to flee to Los Gates, California. He then taught in Nicaragua from 1919 until 1922.

By the time Fr. Pro was ordained a priest in Enghien, Belgium in 1925, the political situation in Mexico had deteriorated: all Catholic churches were closed, bishops, priests, and religious were rounded up for deportation or imprisonment, and those caught trying to elude capture were shot. The celebration of the sacraments was punishable by imprisonment or death, and the Church was driven underground. Fr. Pro received permission from his superiors to return to Mexico incognito and to carry on his ministry undercover. Fr. Pro slipped into Mexico City and immediately began celebrating Mass and distributing the sacraments, often under imminent threat of discovery by a police force charged with the task of ferreting out hidden pockets of Catholicism. He became known throughout the city as the undercover priest who would show up in the middle of the night dressed as a beggar or a street sweeper to baptize infants, hear confessions, distribute Communion, or perform marriages. Several times, disguised as a policeman, he slipped unnoticed into the police headquarters itself to bring the sacraments to Catholic prisoners before their execution. Using clandestine meeting places, a wardrobe of disguises and coded messages to the underground Catholics, Fr. Pro carried on his priestly work for the Mexican faithful under his care.

A failed attempt in November 1927 to assassinate the President of Mexico which only wounded him provided the state with a pretext for arresting Fr. Pro with his brothers Humberto and Roberto. They were put in jail and held without trial for ten days, accused of the attempted assassination. On July 17, 1928, President Calles ordered Fr. Pro to be executed, ostensibly for his role in the assassination plot, but in reality for his defiance of the laws banning Catholicism. As Fr. Pro walked from his cell to the prison courtyard, he blessed the firing squad and then knelt and prayed silently for a few moments. Refusing a blindfold, he stood, faced the firing squad, and with a crucifix in one hand and a rosary in the other, he held his arms outstretched in the form of a cross and in a loud, clear voice cried out, "May God have mercy on you! May God bless you! Lord, Thou knowest that I am innocent! With all my heart I forgive my enemies!" As the soldiers lifted their rifles, he exclaimed in a loud voice, "Viva Cristo Rey!" - "Long live Christ the King!" A volley rang out and Fr. Pro fell to the ground riddled with bullets. A solider stepped up and discharged his rifle at point blank range into the priest’s temple. 30,000 people attended his funeral procession. Fr. Miguel Pro was beatified on September 25, 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

Fr. Pro used his natural gifts of intense determination and courage, seen throughout all parts of his life, to further the kingdom of God. Modern Catholics may follow Fr. Pro by taking courage and using their natural talents and gifts as God asks of them. Read more

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Pope St. Clement I

Feast date: Nov 23

On Nov. 23 Roman Catholics remember the fourth Pope, St. Clement I, a disciple of the apostles who inherited the authority of St. Peter in the first century. Eastern Catholics celebrate his feast on Nov. 25.

The details of Clement's life, before his conversion and even afterward, are largely unknown. Some aspects of his writings have led scholars to believe that the fourth Pope either came from a Jewish background, or had converted to Judaism earlier in life before entering the Catholic Church.

Tradition suggests that Clement was the son of a Roman named Faustinus, and that he joined the Church in Rome during its early years through the preaching of Saint Peter or Saint Paul. He went on to share in the missionary journeys of the apostles, and may even have assisted the first Pope in running the Church on a local level.

After the deaths of St. Peter's first two successors, the canonized Popes Linus and Cletus, Clement took up St. Peter's position of primacy in the Church around the year 90. One of his most important tasks, during nearly 10 years as Pope, was to resolve serious problems in the Church of Corinth, which St. Paul had also struggled to discipline.

Clement's own letter to the Corinthians, though not part of the biblical canon, offers an important look at the role of authority and charity in the early Church. Its introduction suggests that Pope Clement composed it while his own local Church faced persecution from the Roman Emperor Domitian.

In the letter, the Pope describes how the Corinthians had once been “distinguished by humility,” being “in no respect puffed up with pride” and “more willing to give than to receive.” But in time, “the worthless rose up against the honored, those of no reputation against such as were renowned, the foolish against the wise, the young against those advanced in years.”

“Let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling,” Pope Clement wrote in his call to repentance. “Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of him who formed us.”

Order and discipline, he noted, are at least as important in the Church as they are in the rest of creation, where the powers of nature follow God's decrees. The Pope also warned the Corinthians to follow “those who cultivate peace with godliness,” rather than “those who hypocritically profess to desire it.”

The Church Clement headed was one that honored tradition and right order as fundamentals of its life.

“It behooves us to do all things in order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times,” he told the Corinthians. God, he said, “has enjoined offerings and service to be performed ... not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours.”

“Where and by whom (God) desires these things to be done, he himself has fixed by his own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to his good pleasure, may be acceptable to him.”

The fourth Pope's writings reveal much about the early Church, but little about his own life. According to one later account, he died in exile during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, who purportedly banished Clement to Crimea (near modern Ukraine) and had him killed in retaliation for evangelizing the local people. In 868 the Greek missionary St. Cyril claimed to have recovered St. Clement's bones.

St. Clement I probably died around the year 100. He is among the saints mentioned in the Western Church's most traditional Eucharistic prayer, the Roman Canon. Read more