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Saint of the Day:    St. Ursula and the Virgins of Cologne
St. Ursula and the Virgins of Cologne

In the fourth century the pagan Saxons began to invade England, intent on destroying the Catholic Faith and violating the purity of all young English virgins. It was in the midst of this that a group of remarkable English girls fled from England to the Continent. This group included Saint Ursula and ten of her friends, each having a thousand companions, making their number 11,011 in all. However, in the year 383 Saint Ursula and her 11,010 companions were all found slaughtered for their purity and their Faith.

This great martyrdom occurred in Cologne, at Germany, and a shrine has been erected to them there, containing as may of their bones as could be rescued.  A Religious Order of nuns in the Catholic Church was established by Saint Angela Merici in honor of Saint Ursula in the year 1535. They are known as the Ursulines.

The Order of Ursulines, founded in 1535 by St. Angela de Merici, which is especially devoted to the education of young girls, has also helped to spread throughout the world the name and the cult of St. Ursula.

Saint Ursula is the patroness of Catholic education (especially of girls), Cologne, Germany, educators, holy death, schoolchildren, students, and teachers. She is often represented in art and icons as a maiden shot with arrows, with a clock, and is often accompanied by a number of other companions who are being martyred in assorted, often creative ways.


Saint of the Day:    Blessed Charles of Austria
Blessed Charles of Austria

Charles was born in 1887 in Lower Austria to Archduke Otto and Princess Maria Josephine of Saxony. He grew up in a Catholic family, received a solid Catholic education, and developed a strong devotion to both the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

As a young man he took for his personal motto: “I strive always in all things to understand as clearly as possible and follow the will of God, and this in the most perfect way.” In 1911, at age 24, he married Princess Zita of Bourbon and Parma, and together they had eight children.

The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 triggered World War I. At this point, Charles became the presumptive heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Two years later, upon the death of his great-uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph, Charles became emperor and king of Hungary. He saw his office as a mandate from God and as a way to implement Christian charity and social reform.

He worked to end the war and was the only leader to support Pope Benedict XV's efforts for peace. In March 1919, he was exiled to Switzerland. From there, he tried to prevent the rise of Communism in Central Europe. He also tried to return to power twice in 1921, but gave up at the risk of a civil war. He never gave up his crown, even when exiled to the island of Madeira, Portugal, where he lived in prayerful poverty until his death from pneumonia one year later.

Charles was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004.


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