Saint of the Month

March Saint

Saint Rafqa: Patron Saint of Sufferers

By Annie Schraa - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Saint Rafqa was born in Lebanon on June 29, 1832 and has a Feast Day of March 23.

She was an only child, baptized on July 7, 1832 and named Boutroussieh. Rafqa’s parents were devout Christians and taught her daily prayers. She had a happy, carefree childhood until her mother died when Rafqa was just seven years old, according to

After her mother’s death, Rafqa and her father began to experience financial difficulties. Rafqa was sent to work as a servant for four years in Damascus to help support her family. In 1847, she returned home and found out that her father remarried, and his new wife wanted Rafqa to get married.

At the same time, an aunt wanted to arrange a marriage between Rafqa and her cousin. Rafqa had to decide on her own who to marry, so she turned to prayer and asked God to guide her. Rafqa surprised everyone when she decided not to marry either man but, instead, would devote her life to Jesus by becoming a nun, according to

Rafqa traveled to a convent and joined the Mariamettes convent, founded by Fr. Joseph Gemayel. There is a legend that states when she entered the convent and gazed upon the icon of Our Lady of Deliverance, she heard the voice of God tell her that she would become a nun.

The Mother Superior of the convent accepted her immediately. Rafqa’s father and his new wife visited her to try and persuade her to change her mind of becoming a nun, but she refused. She was sent to the city, Deir El Qamarto, to teach catechism where she served for a year, according to

In 1861, she returned to her congregation and became a novice. On March 19, 1862 she took her temporary vows and was assigned to kitchen service in a seminary. She spent her free time learning Arabic, writing, and practicing math. She also helped convince other girls to join the congregation.

In 1863, she continued her work as a teacher. During this time, Rafqa repeatedly heard messages from heaven. When her order faced a crisis, God told her, “You will remain a nun,” and she heard the voices of saints directing her to enter the Lebanese Maronite Order which she obeyed, according to

Sister Rafqa took her solemn vows in the new order on August 25, 1872. She was best known to be quiet and contemplative. She was devoted to prayer and spoke little. She made sacrifices and lived in great austerity. In 1885, Sister Rafqa asked Jesus to share in his suffering.

She immediately began to experience pain in her hand which then moved to her eyes. Her superior was worried about Rafqa’s pain and ordered that she be examined by doctors and given treatment. As she passed through the nearby church in Byblos, the congregation made note that an American doctor was in the area, according to

The doctor recommended immediate surgery for Sister Rafqa. She refused anesthesia during surgery and her doctor made a mistake which caused her eye to come out of her socket and fall to the floor. Rafqa did not panic; rather, she blessed the doctor. The surgery was not successful, and pain entered her left eye.

For the next 12 years, Rafqa experienced pain in her eyes and suffered headaches, but she never wished to reverse her request in sharing Christ’s pain. Instead, she remained joyful in prayer and patient in her suffering. She remained quiet for long periods, barely speaking, but always joyful, according to

In 1887, she was sent with five other sisters to found a new monastery in Lebanon. In 1899, she became blind and paralysis began to set in. Eventually, she was confined to bed, was mostly paralyzed and, was only able to lie on her right side, according to

Her hands were one of the only things that still fully worked, and she used them to knit socks while on bed rest. There was a wound that developed in her left shoulder which she referred to as “the wound in the shoulder of Jesus.”

Her shoulder pain continued for seven years. On March 23, 1914, she received her last communion and called upon Jesus and the Holy Family then passed away. After she was buried in the monastery cemetery, a light appeared on her grave and was witnessed by many, according to

In 1925, a case for her beatification was opened in the Vatican, and the investigation into her life began. In 1927, her grave was exhumed, and she was reburied in the monastery church. Pope John Paul declared her venerable on Feb. 11, 1982, and she was beatified on Nov. 17, 1985. She was finally recognized as a saint on July 10, 2001.


We ask You, Saint Rafqa, to spread real joy in our world which is suffering; to comfort sad people and make them happy and caring; to teach us to pray with faith in Jesus Christ and to live our life peacefully.

Medicine was incapable of curing you, so you cured sick people by supporting pain and sharing with Jesus Christ the Mystery of Redemption.

We ask you to wipe off the tears; to cure sick people; to fill people’s hearts with joy and love; to make us follow your steps and virtues in order to glorify, with you the Virgin Mary, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit forever.


February Saint

Saint Joseph: Patron Saint of Dying, the Universal Church, and Families

By Noah Ralofsky - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Although there is not much known about Saint Joseph, knowledge of his life while fathering Jesus is abundant.

Joseph is said to have been born in 90 BC in Bethlehem according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. It is believed that Joseph came from the royal lineage of David, as the angel who told Joseph of Jesus referred to him as “son of David.”

Saint Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus. Joseph was a middle/lower class carpenter betrothed to Mary. When Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit and Joseph was not aware she was carrying Jesus, Joseph decided to send Mary away quietly out of compassion instead of exposing her and having her possible stoned for adultery. Later, an angel came to Joseph in a dream explaining how Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was carrying the Son of God.

Joseph also shows compassion for his family again when an angel came to him in another dream and told him they needed to flee to avoid King Herod killing Jesus. Joseph, therefore, left all of his possessions to take his family to Egypt to escape King Herod.

Christians know that Joseph loved Jesus and treated Him as his own child. He constantly showed concern for Jesus’ safety by fleeing to Egypt. Upon their return, the family settled in the small city of Nazareth to ensure Jesus’ safety. The Bible also mentions that Joseph was stricken with anxiety for three days when he and Mary lost Jesus when He went to the Temple.

Joseph also loved and feared God. He obeyed God by taking Jesus to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and traveled back there for the Passover every year.

Joseph is not mentioned in Jesus’ ministry life, so it is believed that Joseph died on July 20, 18 AD, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. Although there is knowledge of his death date, the cause of death is unknown.

According to, Saint Joseph is the patron saint of dying, the Universal Church, families, fathers, expectant mothers, travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, engineers, and craftsmen. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of dying because he died while close to Jesus and Mary, the way every Catholic wishes to die.

Saint Joseph’s feast day is March 19 according to

While there is not much known about Saint Joseph, we do know that he was a loving and caring foster father of Jesus. Scripture quotes Joseph as a “righteous man.”

Prayer to Saint Joseph: Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton: saint of schools

By Tate Fabisch - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is widely known for being the first American to be canonized as a saint, and she was the founder of the first Catholic school in the United States making her the patron saint of schools.

As Elizabeth was growing up in the upper class of New York’s society, Elizabeth was a very enthusiastic reader, and especially spending time reading the Bible. As Elizabeth grew older, the Bible would become her continual instructor, supporter, and comforter for the rest of her life. With the Bible as her guide, Elizabeth married a young wealthy man named William Seton in 1794.

According to, Elizabeth and William were happily married for five years when suddenly, in a span of four years, William’s father died, leaving the young couple in charge of William’s seven half brothers and sisters and the family importing business. Both the business and William's health began to fail, and he was forced to file bankruptcy. Elizabeth sailed to Italy to ask for help from William’s business friends, but William died shortly after while Elizabeth was still in Italy.

Elizabeth soon started losing loved ones which drew her heart to God and to her eternity. Elizabeth's deep concern for the spiritual welfare of her family and friends eventually led her to join the Catholic Church in 1806. Soon after on March 25, 1809, Elizabeth Ann Seton pronounced her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to become Mother Seton. Elizabeth soon guided more children to the Catholic church and soon started her first Catholic school. says, “Lord God, you blessed Elizabeth Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to your people. Through her example and prayers may we learn to express our love for you in love for our fellow men and women. We ask this through Christ our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”

December Saint

Saint Francis Xavier: Saint of Many Missions

By Noah Ralofsky - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Saint Francis Xavier, possibly the greatest Roman Catholic missionary, was a conducive part in the institution of Catholicism in Japan, India, and the Malay Archipelago.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Saint Francis Xavier was born on April 7, 1506 in Navarre, Spain in the Xavier family castle. This is where he received his early education. He had two older brothers, and his father was the president of the council to the king of Navarre. As a son of nobility, it was intended for him to have an ecclesiastical career. In the year 1525, he traveled to the University of Paris to begin his studies in philosophy.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, while at the university in 1529, Francis roomed with former soldier Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius influenced Francis to join him and five others to devote their lives to celibacy and poverty in reflection to Jesus. On August 15, 1534, all seven of the men formally devoted their lives to celibacy, thus informally forming the now known Society of Jesus. Pope Paul III formally named Ignacious and Xavier’s society seven years after its inception.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, on March 15, 1540, Francis departed from Rome to Lisbon. He remained there for over two years, then traveling to the southeastern coast of India to minister to poor fishermen for three years.

In 1545, Francis relocated to the Malay Archipelago and ministered to its people for three years. By 1548, Francis returned to India, this time with converted people who accompanied him in his ministries.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, on August 15, 1549, Francis and several companions traveled by sea to Japan. In a letter home, Francis described his encounter with the Japanese as “the best people yet discovered.” He regressed back to India in 1551. On December 3, 1552, Francis died of a fever on the island of Sancian.

St. Francis Xavier helped spread the faith throughout the world by his missionary efforts, which fittingly gives him the title of patron saint of all missionaries.

November Saint

Saint John Leonardi: Pharmacists

Tate Fabisch - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

People think that saints are people who serve others before themselves, and this is the case for St. John Leonardi. St. Leonardi is known for his countless acts of kindness in hospitals and prisons, thus, earning him the title as a pharmacist.

Before Leonardi became a priest, he dedicated himself to the Christian Formation of Adolescents in his local parish Lucca. Not long after he was ordained into the church as a priest, St. Leonardi started helping in his community.

St. Leonardi went to many hospitals and prisons to help the sick and the broken come to God and praise God’s name. In doing so, several young laymen began to help St. Leonardi in his mission to help those in need. Eventually, these men became priests themselves.

St. Leonardi went to the council of Trent soon after and proposed a new congregation of secular priests to convert sinners and to restore Church discipline. This association became known as the Lucca Father, and lasted until 1617 when Pope Paul V issued a decree that made the group their own separate organization outside of the church. St. Leonardi fought this, but eventually he failed and was forced to spend the rest of his life outside of Lucca.

According to, St. Leonardi died on October 9, 1609 due to the great plague. In 1621, his community opened two houses of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God shortly after he died. St. Leonardi was venerated for his miracles and for his religious beliefs, and eventually was beatified in 1861 and canonized in 1938 by Pope Pius XI.

St. Leonardi’s spiritual day is Monday, October 9 and his prayer is, “O God, giver of all good things, who through the Priest Saint John Leonardi caused the Gospel to be announced to the nations, grant, through his intercession, that the true faith may always and everywhere prosper. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”

October Saint

St. Francis of Assisi: Lover of all life

Regan Kraus - Student Journalist

Knight Writer - Lourdes Academy

When people think of saints, they imagine someone who serves people in need and puts others before him or herself. It is important to recognize that humans are not the only creatures who saints want to protect. Animals are also earth’s precious creatures, and St. Francis of Assisi recognized this.

According to, St. Francis was not a typical Catholic. He would attend parties and drink before he became a saint. St. Francis even went to prison for ransom, and it was during that time that he began seeing visions from God. After nearly a year, St. Francis was released. Afterward, he began hearing the voice of God telling him to live a life of poverty and help fix the Catholic church. St. Francis later became known as the patron saint for ecologists because of his love of nature.

On Oct. 4, individuals around the globe celebrate to honor St. Francis. PETA, an animal rights organization, states on its website that, “St. Francis loved all God’s creatures and followed God’s example of kindness, mercy, compassion, and love for all creation.” St. Francis not only cared for the well-being of God’s people but for all of his creatures, and PETA wants to stress that this was St. Francis’ major focus.

According to the PETA website, some animals, such as calves used for veal, are kept in lonely isolation, while others, such as chickens, are crowded so closely together that they can barely move. St. Francis’ values of kindness and respect toward nature are still being considered by both individuals and organizations today.

St. Francis' brotherhood included all of God's creation and not just people. Catholic Online discloses the intense relationship St. Francis had with the world. “Much has been written about Francis' love of nature, but his relationship was deeper than that. We call someone a lover of nature if they spend their free time in the woods or admire its beauty. But Francis really felt that nature, all God's creations, were part of his brotherhood. The sparrow was as much his brother as the pope.”

St. Francis’ values portray to Catholics and non-Catholics alike the importance of protecting and honoring all creatures of earth.