Saint Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia in 1858 to a very rich family. Giving up her worldly wealth she helped create a system of black Catholic schools in 13 states and established 50 missions for Native Americans in 16 states. Her crowning achievement was the founding of Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic university in the United States for African Americans.
Pope Saint Simplicius reigned when the last of the western Roman Emperors fell in 476 a.d.. He defended the action of the Council of Chalcedon against the Eutychian heresy, labored to help the people of Italy against the marauding raids of barbarian invaders. He worked to maintain the authority of Rome in the West.
Saint David is the patron saint of Wales and perhaps the most famous of British saints. Unfortunately, we have little reliable information about him.
Saint Oswald was widely known for his sanctity, especially his love for the poor. On Leap Year Day, February 29, he died after kissing the feet of the 12th man and giving a blessing. He has been revered ever since as one of the three saints who revived English monasticism.
Pope St. Hilarius (d. 468) had been a trusted aide to Pope Saint Leo the Great. Papal legate. As pope, Hilarius confirmed the work of several general councils, rebuilt and remodeled many churches, fought Nestorianism, and held several Councils at Rome.
Saint Gabriel (Confessor) was born in Assisi in 1838, was guided by Our Lady into the Passionist Institute and became a veritable Apostle of her Sorrows. His life was throughout perfect and irreproachable. He died at the age of twenty-four and many miracles to his holiness. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XV, who gave him as a pattern to young people.
In the Roman Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. (In Eastern Rite Catholic churches, Lent begins two days earlier, on Clean Monday.)
At the age of twenty-five, Saint Porphyry of Gaza (d.420), a rich citizen of Thessalonica, left the world for one of the great religious houses in the desert of Sceté. In 393 he was ordained priest and intrusted with the care of the relics of the true cross; three years later, in spite of all the resistance his humility could make, he was consecrated Bishop of Gaza.
Saint Ananias was a missionary, martyr, and the patron of St. Paul. A Christian in the city of Damascus, Ananias was commanded by Christ in a vision to seek out Saul, the future Paul. It was he who cured his blindness and baptized St. Paul.
Blessed Thomas Maria Fusco was an Apostle of Charity of the Most Precious Blood, a friend of boys and girls and young people and attentive to every kind of poverty and human and spiritual misery.