Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan. He was crucified on Februay 5 with twenty-five other Catholics during the persecution of Christians under the Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan in the name of the emperor. In total, 26 martyrs of Japan were crucified on the hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki.
St. Joan of Valois, 1464 - 1505, was the second daughter of Louis XI, King of France, and Charlotte of Savoy. St. Joan was by no means a prepossessing figure: she was hunch-backed, lame and pock-marked. On her husband's succession to the throne he obtained a declaration that the marriage was invalid. Joan, therefore, was not to be queen of France; she was given instead the title of Duchess of Berry. “If so it is to be, praised be the Lord”, was her remark on this occasion.
Saint Blaise's feast day because of the Blessing of the Throats that took place on this day. Two candles are blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against the throat as the blessing is said. Saint Blaise's protection of those with throat troubles apparently comes from a legend that a boy was brought to him who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. The boy was about to die when Saint Blaise healed him.
St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti (1585 - 1640 ) was a religious of the Third Order of St. Francis and foundress of the Sacconi. At length she was touched by God's grace, and the earnest exhortations of her confessor at the time of serious illness made her see the folly of the past and brought about a complete change in her life. She made a public confession of her faults in the refectory, discarded her costly garments, wore an old habit, went barefoot, frequently fasted on bread and water, chastised her body by vigils and severe scourging, and practised mortifications to such an extent that the decree of canonization considers the preservation of her life a continued miracle.
Servant of God Brother Juniper (1210- 1258) - Several stories about Juniper in the Little Flowers of St. Francis illustrate his exasperating generosity. Once Juniper was taking care of a sick man who had a craving to eat pig’s feet. This helpful friar went to a nearby field, captured a pig and cut off one foot, and then served this meal to the sick man. The owner of the pig was furious and immediately went to Juniper’s superior. When Juniper saw his mistake, he apologized profusely. He also ended up talking this angry man into donating the rest of the pig to the friars!