As you probably know, there are more Catholic saints than there are days in the year, so every day is a feast day for numerous saints. It would be an enormous effort to describe them all in the same post, so we’ve picked a few notable saints celebrated this month to highlight their lives and honor their memory.
January 3 – St. Genevieve
St. Genevieve is a patron saint of Paris. According to one account, her sainthood was predicted early by St. Germain of Auxerre who was traveling through her village and saw her as a child in a crowd. From an early age, Genevieve dedicated herself to serving God and helping people through charitable acts. When Attila the Hun was marching on Paris, she told everyone not to flee and instead fast and pray for protection from Heaven. Attila ended up not attacking Paris and Genevieve continued to practice charity and faith in God. Due to her generosity, St. Genevieve is often depicted with a loaf of bread.
January 5 – St. John Neumann
St John Neumann is an American saint, but he didn’t start that way. John Neumann was born in Bohemia in 1811 and from a young age wanted to be a priest. However, due to an overabundance of priests during that time, the local bishop stopped ordaining new ones. John Neumann felt that being a priest was his calling, so he wrote to bishops from all over Europe to see if they had a spot for him. But they didn’tâ€”Europe also had enough priests in the 1800s.
So John Neumann learned English and reached out to the bishop in New York who agreed to ordain him. He was given a parish in western New York, where he traveled a lot to help the sick and the poor. He was eventually appointed a bishop of Philadelphia, where he organized a Catholic school system.
January 13 – St. Hilary of Poitiers
St. Hilary of Poitiers is a patron saint against snake bites. Interestingly, he hadn’t been raised as a Christian, but his search for the meaning of life and the purpose of human existence had eventually led him to Christianity. He became a bishop and served in Poitiers under the emperor Constantius. Hilary was later exiled due to his conflicts in faith with the Arians who didn’t believe in the divinity of the Christ. When Hilary discovered that Arians used hymns as propaganda, he started writing his own hymns that helped spread the word of the Christian faith. It was nothing new back in the days, but his hymns turned out to be the first in the Western World to be attributed to a specific writer.
January 21 – St. Agnes
Agnes was born in Rome to a wealthy family and was a devoted Christian. Her devotion was so strong, that she refused to marry anyone because of her love for the Lord. Due to her exquisite beauty, many men sought to make Agnes their wife and pursued her constantly with gifts and promises. However, Agnes rejected every one of them, which upset and insulted the men, causing them to come up with a retaliation. Agnes was tried, tortured and eventually sentenced to death at the age of 12 or 13. Because of her purity and innocence, St. Agnes became the patron saint of young girls and chastity, as well as rape survivors.
January 30 – St. Bathildis
Bathildis was a Christian English girl who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in France, where she served at King Clovis’ castle. She was diligent and dedicated in everything she did, which eventually got her noticed by the king. He married Bathildis and they had 3 sons together. King Clovis died early, leaving Bathildis with children too young to take over. Bathildis ruled as a queen for several years, and she was a wise and a humble ruler. Knowing first-hand what it’s like to be poor and to be enslaved, she did her best to protect people from these misfortunes and to help the church spread the word of God.
At our Franciscan Monastery Gift Shop, we carry many items that commemorate various saints, particularly those who served in the Franciscan Order. Feel free to check out our assortment!