Saint Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his Norman wife, Emma, daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy. He was born at Islip, England, and sent to Normandy with his mother in the year 1013 when the Danes under Sweyn and his son Canute invaded England. Canute remained in England and the year after Ethelred's death in 1016, married Emma, who had returned to England, and became King of England. Edward remained in Normandy, was brought up a Norman, and in 1042, on the death of his half-brother, Hardicanute, son of Canute and Emma, and largely through the support of the powerful Earl Godwin, he was acclaimed king of England.
In October of 1717, three Brazilian fishermen were out fishing, in order to supply a banquet the townspeople of Guaratinguetá were giving in honor of a visiting nobleman. Since it was outside the season for finding fish, they prayed to the Immaculate Conception for help.
Although few people had as great an impact on the 20th century as Pope John XXIII, he avoided the limelight as much as possible. Indeed, one writer has noted that his “ordinariness” seems one of his most remarkable qualities. The date assigned for the liturgical celebration (where authorized) of Blessed John XXIII is not June 3, the anniversary of his death, as would be usual, but October 11, the anniversary of his opening of the Second Vatican Council.
St. Pelagia was a well-known actress (some say prostitute) of Antioch. One day, with a throng of boys and girls dressed in gold she passed, sitting on a donkey and beautifully attired in gold, pearls and precious stones, close to where a group of bishops were in open-air conference. All the bishops hid their faces at the sight, except one, Bishop Nonnus, who gazed after her intently for a long time. "Were you not delighted by her beauty?" he exclaimed to his colleagues almost in tears. "This lady spends more time and care in adorning herself for those she will meet than we do in preparing our souls to meet our God."
Apart from the signal defeat of the Albigensian heretics at the battle of Muret in 1213 which legend has attributed to the recitation of the Rosary by St. Dominic, it is believed that Heaven has on many occasions rewarded the faith of those who had recourse to this devotion in times of special danger. More particularly, the naval victory of Lepanto gained by Don John of Austria over the Turkish fleet on the first Sunday of October in 1571 responded wonderfully to the processions made at Rome on that same day by the members of the Rosary confraternity.
Saint Faustina Kowalska, an apostle of the Divine Mercy, belongs today to the group of the most popular and well-known saints of the Church. Through her the Lord Jesus communicates to the world the great message of God's mercy and reveals the pattern of Christian perfection based on trust in God and on the attitude of mercy toward one's neighbors.
Saint Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a sense of self-importance. Volumes could be written about this most holy man and no short biography can truly give justice to the humble and inspiring life that he led.