Saint Mark

Mark is the author of the Gospel of Mark.  He is believed to have been Jewish. He and his mother, Mary were loved in the new Christian community. His mother’s house in Jerusalem was a meeting place for Christians there. When Peter was to be killed after the Passover, he went to Mark’s mother’s home. Mark was not one of the twelve apostles. We don’t know if he actually knew Jesus.

Paul and Barnabas took Mark on their first missionary trip, but Mark alone returned to Jerusalem. Paul refused to let Mark go on the second missionary trip, even when Barnabas insisted. Mark had displeased Paul.  It did not last long because Paul later asks Mark to visit him in prison

Peter met Mark on the way to Antioch. Mark the Evangelist wrote down the sermons of Peter, around the year 60. It is believed to have been written in Italy. These are the Gospel according to Mark. He wrote it in Greek. for the Roman Gentiles who had converted to Christianity. The Gospel of Mark is the oldest and shortest of the Gospels.

. In 49, about 19 years after the Ascension of Jesus, Mark went to Alexandria. There he founded the Church of Alexandria. He became the first Bishop of Alexandria and founded Christianity in Africa.  He was martyred in 68. He is the patron saint of notaries. A notary is a person who makes sure someone signing a paper is who they say they are.

Magnificent Doctor – Saint Anselm

Saint Anselm was born to noble parents in Italy in 1033.  At age 15 he wanted to enter a monastery, but was refused because his father didn’t want him there. After several additional years, he went to a French monastery to lead a quiet life of quiet life of prayer and study. He was there three years when he was made prior of the monastery. He was put in charge of the school  With Anselm leading the school, it became one of the great centers of learning during the medieval years.

In 1087, Anselm was elected abbot of the monastery. In 1092, the archbishop of Canterbury died.  King William Rufus would not allow the position to be filled. The king took the money from the Church. The king promised there would be no archbishop  of Canterbury while he was living. The king immediately became so ill, it was believed he would die. Anselm had been recommended to be the archbishop, but Anselm didn’t want the job.  He was afraid of the king.

As the king recovered from being ill, his greed returned.  The king demanded huge sums of money from Anselm. Anselm was forced to flee to Rome. The king refused to allow Anselm to return to England. He king was nearly ex-communicated. Ex-communication is an extreme penalty for the most severe sins. This means  you aren’t part of the Church until you are sorry for your sins. Anselm kept the king from being excommunicated. He was afraid of what that might do to everyone in England.

King Rufus died in 1100. Archbishop Anselm was able to return to England.  He was greeted by the people and by King Henry I. King Henry claimed he had the right to appoint all bishops. King Henry insisted he reinvest Anselm.  Anselm refused. Many letters were sent between the king and the pope, who supported Anselm. The argument between the pope and the king continued and grew more intense. It seemed that England would separate from the Church after all. King Henry was threatened with excommunication. Anselm was exiled again. The king finally backed down. He not only made up with Anselm, but he also returned the money to the Church. He also agreed he did not have the right to invest bishops or abbot.

The last two years of Anselm’s life were spent as the Archbishop. He died on Holy Wednesday, April 21, 1109.  At the Council of Tours in 1163, Thomas Becket asked Pope Alexander to make Anselm a saint. Anselm was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Clement IX in 1720. He is known as the Magnificent Doctor.

Harmless girl, declared enemy of the State–Blessed Julie Billiart

Blessed Sister Julie Billiart

Julie Billiart was born in Cuvilly, France on July 12, 1751. She lived her early life in the village. She had an unusual piety and intelligence. She knew the catechism when she was seven years old. She often helped other children understand it

Her faith was noticed by the village priest, Father Dangicourt. He allowed her to make her First Communion when she was nine. That was very young at that time. When she was fourteen, she was allowed to take a vow of chastity. She continued to with her family because she needed to help work. When someone tried to kill her father, she was so shocked she became paralyzed.

While Julie was helpless she learned the virtue of fortitude. Fortitude is courage while in pain. She practiced daily prayer and receiving communion.
In 1790, the French Jacobin government sent a constitutional priest to her village. Julie lead a boycott of him. This caused her to have to go into hiding. She was a young crippled girl, living quietly, and praying.  She also taught the faith to small groups of children during the French Revolution. She made linens and laces for the altar. She was a peaceful, harmless seemingly unimportant person. Yet she ended up being declared an enemy of the state. She was hunted down from house to house. She had to be hidden by friends and carried around on a stretcher.

Why were the Jacobins so afraid of her? She wasn’t helpless at all. She had the hearts and imaginations of the people. She was called “the saint Cuvilly” by the people. There wasn’t room for a saint in the new French Republic. Her ideas were thought to be dangerous.

Father Varin had been a member of the suppressed Jesuits. He asked her and a group of women to help teach thousands of children, who had grown up without religion.

On June 1, 1804, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, Julie Billiart stood up and walked. She had been completely cured.

She took her religious vows on October 15, 18014. She founded the Institute of the Sisters of Notre Dame, with three other sisters. By June 19, 1806, when approved, there were 30 sisters. The Sister educated girls and provided religious training of teachers.

Their work spread from France and into Belgium. In twelve years, Mother Julie founded fifteen convents, made one hundred twenty trips. She died on April 8, 1816, while praying the Magnificat. Her feast day is April 8.

Founder of Catholic Schools – Saint John de la Salle

John Baptist de la Salle was born in France on April 30, 1651. He was oldest of ten children. He studied in Paris.  He is known for his work educating poor children.

La Salle devoted his life to God when he was eleven. He attended college and earned a Master of Arts degree before entering the seminary to become a priest. A seminary is a school to prepare a man to become a priest, minister or rabbi. He had to leave the seminary for a time when his parents died to take care of his siblings. He eventually returned and was ordained a priest in 1678. Two years later he also earned a Doctorate of Theology degree.

At the time education in France was only for the nobles and wealthy. La Salle changed that. He was chaplain to a group of Sisters who were caring for and educating poor girls He met the French educator Adrian Nyel. With his help, and a financial gift from a wealthy benefactor he began a school for poor boys. He became convinced this was God’s purpose for him. He also discovered that even the teachers needed inspiration and instruction on how to teach.

La Salle founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. This was the first Catholic teaching religious institute which did not include any priests. It grew quickly and soon parish priests were sending young men to the Institute so they could return and be schoolmasters in their own villages.He wrote the “Manual for Christian Schools” which included original and practical ideas for education. He divided students into classes, according to their age and abilities. He taught in French for the first time, instead of in Latin. His curriculum included ethics, literature, physics, philosophy, and mathematics.

While living in exile in France, King James II of England urged La Salle to found a school for Irish boys living in France as well. There were about 50 boys at this school.  He began another school which provided technical education with religious teachings.

Father La Salle died on April 7, 1719.  His Institute continued to grow until the French Revolution when it suffered great losses.  In 1799, the community grew and expanded steadily expanded into Europe, England, Ireland, North and South America and Australia.

He was make a saint by Pope Leo XIII in 1900.  He considered the founder of Catholic Schools and is the patron saint of teachers.

Mathematician Priest – Blessed Francesco Faa di Bruno

File:Francesco Faà di Bruno.jpg

Francesco Faa di Brunow was the youngest of twelve children. He was born into a noble Italian family. His father was Louis, the Marquis of Bruno. He lived during a time when many people did not support the Catholic Church or the Pope. He was trained in mathematics geography, surveying, and cartography.  Surveying is recording an area to plan for a map. Cartography is the science of drawing maps. He became a military officer in the Army of Savoy. He was asked and agreed to tutor the King’s sons. This angered many people because Francesco was openly Catholic. He soon left military life behind.  In 1853, he earned a doctorate from the Sorbonne in mathematics and astronomy. He also studied religion and asceticism. Asceticism is the choice to live with self-discipline usually for religious reasons. Even though he was incredibly busy studying, he was involved in several charities. He created a home for unmarried mothers and others.  He helped the elderly and poor. He even oversaw the construction of a Church. He later went to work at the French National Observatory in 1855.

He was well into adulthood when he decided to become a priest.  He has to receive permission of Pope Pius IX because his archbishop denied him.  He was ordained a priest at the age of 51. He died on March 27, 1888, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988.  

Faith – Faa di Bruno’s open faith cost his a job tutoring.  He also had to overcome opposition to becoming a priest from his own archbishop.  He believed in what he was doing and is now on his way to becoming a saint.


Science —  Faa di Bruno invented some scientific apparatus.  He also made many important contributions to mathematics.  He is known for a chain rule to higher derivatives in Calculus. {\begin{aligned}g'(x)^{4}&&\leftrightarrow &&1+1+1+1&&\leftrightarrow &&f''''(g(x))&&\leftrightarrow &&1\\[12pt]g''(x)g'(x)^{2}&&\leftrightarrow &&2+1+1&&\leftrightarrow &&f'''(g(x))&&\leftrightarrow &&6\\[12pt]g''(x)^{2}&&\leftrightarrow &&2+2&&\leftrightarrow &&f''(g(x))&&\leftrightarrow &&3\\[12pt]g'''(x)g'(x)&&\leftrightarrow &&3+1&&\leftrightarrow &&f''(g(x))&&\leftrightarrow &&4\\[12pt]g''''(x)&&\leftrightarrow &&4&&\leftrightarrow &&f'(g(x))&&\leftrightarrow &&1.\end{aligned}}