Saints for Today

Young Catholic Adults

The English and Welsh Martyrs

These forty were canonised by Pope Paul VI on October 25th., 1970. They are representative of the English and Welsh martyrs of the Reformation who died at various dates between 1535 and 1679. Some 200 of these martyrs had already been declared ‘Blessed’ (i.e. ‘beatified’) by previous Popes. 

Here is the Story of just Two Martyrs Blessed Robert Grissold and Blessed John Sugar
If we think that things are bad in the Church at the moment, with Priests (and even Bishops) openly disobeying the will of the Holy Father etc. then just spare a thought for our spiritual forefathers. Their problems were nigh on insurmountable, but they displayed a courage and strength of faith that would put us to shame. Two such forgotten heros are Blessed John Sugar and Blessed Robert Grissold.
Blessed Robert Grissold (or Greswold) came from a village called Rowington, which is approximately 2 miles from Baddesley Clinton, which is a small village in Warwickshire.

The Grissold’s were devout Catholics in a troubled time, because in the early 1600’s in England it was against the law for anyone to attend Mass. Instead they were forced to attend vernacular communion services, introduced by Archbishop Cramner (a few years earlier), which were very different to the Traditional Latin Masses that Catholics were used to. For a start the service was entirely in English, the pastor faced the congregation, any references the Mass as a sacrifice had been banished and there were vernacular hymns sung throughout the ceremony to emphasise the communal sense of the service. Stained glass windows and images had either been destroyed or whitewashed over; and Communion was offered under both kinds, inline with the Hussite and Protestant belief , which maintained that Communion under both kinds was necessary for salvation. 

In 1603 the authorities were searching for Priests, who because of the impossible legal situation, led double lives, often taking on alias names and hiding for hours in secret hiding places (constructed in houses) called Priest holes. 

On Sunday, 8th July, Robert Grissold was found on a road near Baddesley Clinton House, a place notorious for ‘popery’, with Father John Sugar – it is quite possible that Fr. Sugar had just come back from celebrating Mass. Both Fr. Sugar and Robert Grissold were arrested and then imprisoned in Warwick Gaol for one a year.

On 13th July 1604 John Sugar was convicted of being a Catholic Priest and was condemned to be hung drawn and quartered, which was the punishment for being a Priest in England at that time. Robert Grissold was told that he would be freed if he would recant and attend the communion services of the Established Church , at one point an exasperated Justice shouted at him ‘Grissold, Grissold, go to Church or else thou shalt be hanged’. He refused to accept this and was found guilty of being in the company of and of assisting a Catholic Priest. Being a layman he was sentenced to be hung.

On 16th July 1604 both men were taken to a place called Gallows Hill - to their execution. Both prayed in Latin before courageously meeting their death in the most horrific manner . Blessed John Sugar was hung first and then Blessed John Grissold who told the multitude (who had come to watch the execution) ‘Bear witness, good people, that I die here not for theft, nor for felony, but for my conscience.’ Fr. Sugar’s head and quarters were hung on the gates of Warwick, while Blessed Robert Grissold was buried beneath the gallows.

Blessed John Sugar was 42 years old and Robert Grissold was just 29 years of age. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987. 

St. Francis de Sales
“If you wish to labor with fruit in the conversion of souls, you must pour the balsam of sweetness upon the wine of your zeal, that it may not be too fiery, but mild, soothing, patient, and full of compassion. For the human soul is so constituted that by rigor it becomes harder, but mildness completely softens it. Besides, we ought to remember that Jesus Christ came to bless good intentions, and if we leave them to His control, little by little He will make them fruitful.” (St Francis de Sales)
Saint Francis was born at Savoy in 1567. After being ordained a priest he labored diligently for the restoration of Catholicism in his country. Chosen bishop of Geneva, he showed himself as a true pastor toward his clerics and the faithful, strengthening their faith by his writings, works and example. he died at Lyons on December 28, 1622, and was buried at Annecy on this day.
St. John Vianney
“Love for your neighbour consists of three things: To desire the greater good of everyone; to do what good we can when we can; to bear, excuse and hide others' faults'” (St. John Vianney)
The Curé of Ars
John Mary Vianney was born on May 8, 1786, in a tiny village, Dardily, 3 miles north of Lyons. His parents were small farmers. He was the third of six children. The family was known to be kind to beggars. In fact, sixteen years before his birth, St Benedict Joseph Labre, known as beggar saint, had visited the family and left them his blessing. 

To be a priest, to win many souls, were the thoughts shaping in John Mary's mind as he turned seventeen. His mother was overjoyed, but it took another two years for his father to be brought around.
In spite of his poor marks, John Mary was finally accepted because of his holiness. He would rise from bed at around one in the morning, then make his way with a lighted candle to the church where people would already be waiting for him. He would kneel at the foot of the altar and pray, then enter the confessional and hear confessions without a break until the hour for Mass. After Mass, he would again sit in the confessional until eleven. Then he would give his catechism lesson for about forty-five minutes. In order to recite his breviary, he would frequently tell his penitent to remain quietly at the confessional while he said the office, this being the only way to find time for it. 

A young priest wrote to him: "Monsieur le Cure, a man with as little theology as yourself ought never to enter a confessional." The Cure of Ars replied: "My very dear and respected colleague, how right I am to love you. You alone really know me. As you are good and charitable enough to deign to take interest in my poor soul, help me to obtain the favour for which I have been asking for so long, so that I may be moved from a post I am unworthy to fill because of my ignorance and retire into obscurity to atone for my wretched life."
Visitors began appearing at Ars in large numbers, some out of curiosity, but most of them in order to make their confession and received Holy Communion from his hands.

Worn out by his labours and austerities, he grew weaker. He kept fainting in the confessional. His voice in the pulpit became very feeble. At one o'clock in the morning on July 30, 1859, he called for the Cure of Jassons and humbly made his confession. He received Holy Viaticum at three in the afternoon. He wept. "It is sad to receive the Lord for the last time," he said. "How good God is! When we cannot go and see him, he comes to us." 

He was beatified on January 8, 1905, by Pius X and canonized on May 31, 1925, by Pius XI. In 1929, Pius XI declared him patron Saint of parish Priests all over the world. His incorrupt body now reposes in the new basilica at Ars in a glass coffin.
Pope St. Pius X
“To restore all things in Christ ” (Pope St. Pius X)
History:

St. Pius X was born June2, 1835 in Venice. His parents were Giovanni Battista Sarto and Margarita (née Sanson); the former, a postman, died in 1852, but Margarita lived to see her son a cardinal. He was ordained in 1858, and for nine years was chaplain at Tombolo, having to assume most of the functions of parish priest, as the pastor was old and an invalid. He sought to prefect his knowledge of theology by assiduously studying Saint Thomas and canon law; at the same time he established a night school for adult students, and devoted himself of the ministry of preaching in other towns to which he was called. Became Pope in 1903.

In his first Encyclical, wishing to develop his program to some extent, he said that the motto of his pontificate would be "instaurare omnia in Christo"[Restore all things to Christ] from Ephesians 1:10).
He encouraged daily Holy Communion and that the first Communion of children should not be deferred too long after they had reached the age of discretion. It was by his desire that the Eucharistic Congress of 1905 was held at Rome, while he enhanced the solemnity of subsequent Eucharistic congresses by sending to them cardinal legates.
He was a promoter of sacred music; as pope, he published, November 22, 1903, a Motu Proprio on sacred music in churches, and at the same time ordered the authentic Gregorian Chant to be used everywhere, while he caused the choir books to be printed with the Vatican font of type under the supervision of a special commission. In the Encyclical "Acerbo nimis" (April 15, 1905) he treated of the necessity of catechismal instruction, not only for children, but also for adults, giving detailed rules, especially in relation to suitable schools for the religious instruction of students of the public schools, and even of the universities. He caused a new catechism to be published for the Diocese of Rome.

As bishop, his chief care had been for the formation of the clergy, and in harmony with this purpose, an Encyclical to the Italian episcopate (July 28, 1906) enjoined the greatest caution in the ordination of priests, calling the attention of the bishops to the fact that there was frequently manifested among the younger clergy a spirit of independence that was a menace to ecclesiastical discipline.

The pope has at heart above all things the purity of the faith. On various occasions, as in the Encyclical regarding the centenary of Saint Gregory the Great, Pius X had pointed out the dangers of certain new theological methods, which, based upon Agnosticism and upon Immanentism, necessarily divest the doctrine of the faith of its teachings of objective, absolute, and immutable truth, and all the more, when those methods are associated with subversive criticism of the Holy Scriptures and of the origins of Christianity. Wherefore, in 1907, he caused the publication of the Decree "Lamentabili" (called also the Syllabus of Pius X), in which sixty-five propositions are condemned. The greater number of these propositions concern the Holy Scriptures, their inspiration, and the doctrine of Jesus and of the Apostles, while others relate to dogma, the sacraments, and the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Soon after that, on September 8 , 1907, there appeared the famous Encyclical "Pascendi", which expounds and condemns the system of Modernism.
He died in 1914. He was canonized in 1954 by Pius XII.

(Principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition )