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March 7, Blessed Christopher of Milan

Blessed Christopher came into this world at the beginning of the fifteenth century. The place of his birth was Milan. His family were members of a noble house of that city. As a youth he had distinguished himself by the piety and purity of his life, but his virtues certainly advanced to a state of singular perfection after he had donned the garb of St Francis. The exactness with which this young man of noble descent practiced Franciscan poverty was admirable.

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March 6, St Colette de Corbie

In the little town of Corbie, France, St Colette was born on January 12, 1381, of exemplary working people. She was a child of grace, an answer to her mother’s incessant prayers, for the latter was already 60 years old then and had been childless up to that time.

The little girl took great pleasure in prayer, in compassion for the poor, and in rigorous mortification, making of her soul and of her tender body a sacrifice to God. Up to her 14th year St Colette de Corbie remained unusually small in stature; the was a great grief to her father. St Colette begged God to console her father in this matter, and then she began to grow very rapidly to normal height.

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March 5, Saint John Joseph of the Cross

The Island of Ischia is the flower among the beautiful islands with which the Gulf of Naples is surrounded. In this earthly paradise a saint was born, Saint John Joseph of the Cross, on the feast of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady in the year 1654.

Saint John Joseph was a man who sacrificed himself to God in a life of rigorous penance and contempt of all earthly comforts. Even as a boy he practiced extraordinary virtue and self-denial. At the age of sixteen, he proved to be the first Italian to enter the reform movement of St Peter of Alcantara, a convent which had been established in Naples.

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February 27, Blessed Louise Albertoni

Louise first saw the light of the world at Rome in the year 1474. Her parents belonged to the distinguished families of this city because of their wealth, but still more because of their piety. They bestowed great care upon the training of their daughter, and she responded fully to their efforts, so that she developed into a model for all young women. She had resolved to remain unmarried; but when her parents urged her to be betrothed to an illustrious young man, she believed she recognized the will of God in their desire and agreed to the marriage.

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February 26, Blessed Antonia of Florence

Blessed Antonia of Florence was born of a noble family at Florence, Italy, in 1401. She entered the married state at a very early age, in compliance with the wish of her parents. When her husband died in 1428, she allowed nothing to induce her to contract a second marriage, but resolved to withdraw from the world and live only for God and the salvation of her soul.

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February 25, Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio

‘Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio’ ~1789 Mariano Maella

Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio was born of poor peasants in the year 1502, at Gudena in the Spanish province of Galicia. In his youth he attended his father’s sheep. When he was twelve years old, he was seized with a pestilential disease. His anxious mother carried him to a little hut far out in the field, so that no one else would be infected by him. While he lay there one day quite helpless and alone, a wolf from the neighboring woods approached by the providence of God, and bit open the plague spot with the result that Sebastian recovered completely.

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February 23, Blessed Isabella of France

Isabella was the sister of King Saint Loius IX of France. Her mother, the saintly Queen Blance, bore this child special affection because, after the death of her husband, Isabella was the only daughter still living. Her cousin was King Saint Fernando III of Castile and Leon. Isabella was endowed with remarkable gifts, and special attention was paid to educate her in the requirements of her high position. She knew Latin perfectly and could read the writings of the Fathers of the Church in that language. She was, however, no less capable in accomplishments that are peculiarly feminine. With consummate artistry she embroidered vestments for divine services, and took great pleasure in working for the poor and the sick.

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February 21, St Margaret of Cortona

‘Ecstasy of St Margaret of Cortona’ 1622 Giovanni Lanfranco

This Magdalen of the Franciscan Order, Saint Margaret of Cortona, came into the world in the year 1247 at Laviano near Cortona in the province of Tuscany. When Saint Margaret of Cortona was 7 years old, she lost her pious mother. She was neglected by her careless father, who married again within a short time, and her unsympathetic stepmother dealt harshly with her, so that when Margaret was 18 years old, she left home to earn her bread among strangers.

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