The month of November, which begins with the Solemnity of All Saints, is appropriately the time for many feasts of specific saints. In fact, there is almost a saint each day—and in some cases more than one:
November 3: St. Martin de Porres. St. Martin de Porres was born at Lima in Peru of a Spanish father and a Negro mother in 1579. As a boy he studied medicine which later, as a member of the Dominican Order, he put to good use in helping the poor. He led a humble and disciplined life and was devoted to the holy eucharist. He died in 1639.
November 4: St. Charles Borromeo. Saint Charles Borromeo was born at Arona in Lombardy in the year 1538. After having taken honors in both civil and canon law, he was made cardinal and bishop of Milan by his uncle, Pope Pius IV. As a true pastor of his flock he tirelessly promoted Christian life by the reform of his diocese, the convocation of synods, and the promulgation of regulations intended to foster the Church’s mission. He died on November 3, 1584.
November 9: Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. The anniversary of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, which was erected by the Emperor Constantin, has been observed on this day since the twelfth century. This feast was first observed only in Rome but later in honor of the basilica, which is called the mother church of Christendom, the celebration was extended to the whole Latin Church. This action was taken as a sign of devotion to and unity with the Chair of Peter which, as Saint Ignatius of Antioch wrote, “presides over the whole assembly of charity.”
November 10: St. Leo the Great. Saint Leo was probably born in Rome and was raised to the See of Peter in 440. He was a true pastor and father of souls. He labored strenuously to safeguard the integrity of the faith and vigorously defended the unity of the Church. He pushed back or at least softened the onrush of the barbarians. He has then dservedly won the title “the Great.” He died in 461.
November 11: St. Martin of Tours. Saint Martin of Tours was born in Pannonia of pagan parents around the year 316. He gave up military life and was baptized. Soon after, he founded a monastery at Ligugé in France where he led a monastic life under the direction of Saint Hilary. He was ordained a priest and chosen bishop of Tours. He provided an example of the ideal good pastor, founding other monasteries, educating the clergy, and preaching the Gospel to the poor. He died in 397.
November 12: St. Josaphat. Saint Josaphat was born in the Ukraine of Orthodox parents about the year 1580. Embracing the Catholic faith, he became a Basilian monk. Ordained to the priesthood and chosen bishop of Polock, he worked faithfully for the unity of the Church. Enemies plotted his death, and he was martyred in 1623.
November 13: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was born in Lombardy, Italy, in 1850. At Codogno, Italy, in the diocese of Lodi, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1880. In 1887 she established many schools, hospitals and orphanages. With the encouragement of Pope Leo XIII, she set out for the United States in 1889, where, for the next twenty-eight years, she established many schools, hospitals and orphanages. Her missionary zeal also led her to South America where she founded schools in Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua. Mother Cabrini died in Chicago on December 22, 1917, and on July 7, 1946 she became the first United States citizen to be canonized.
November 15: St. Albert the Great. Saint Albert was born at Lauingen along the Danube about the year 1206. Having studied at Padua and Paris, he entered the Order of Preachers and excelled as a teacher. Ordained bishop of Ratisbon, he strove earnestly to establish peace among peoples and between cities. He wrote brilliantly on many subjects to the advantage of sacred and secular sciences alike. He died at Cologne in 1280.
November 16: St. Margaret of Scotland. Saint Margaret was born around the year 1046 in Hungary where her father was exiled. She was married to King Malcolm III of Scotland and gave birth to eight children. The ideal mother and queen, she died at Edinburgh in 1093.
Also on November 16: St. Gertrude. Saint Gertrude was born at Eisleben in Thuringia in 1256. As a young girl she was received into the Cistercian nuns at Helfta and applied herself to her studies, concentrating on literature and philosophy. Devoting her life to God, she dedicated herself to the pursuit of perfection, and gave herself over to prayer and contemplation. She died November 17, 1301.
November 17: St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Saint Elizabeth, born in 1207, was the daughter of Andrew, king of Hungary. While still a young girl she was married to Louis the Landgrave of Thuringia, and gave birth to three children. She devoted herself to prayer and meditation. After her husband’s death, she embraced a life of poverty, erecting a hospital in which she herself served the sick. She died at Marburg in 1231.
November 18: Dedication of the Churches of Sts. Peter and Paul. Anniversaries of dedication were celebrated in the Vatican Basilica of Saint Peter and in the Basilica of Saint Paul on the Ostian Way as early as the twelth century. The two basilicas had been completed under Popes Sylvester and Siricius in the fourth century. More recently this commemoration was extended to the entire Latin Rite. Just as the Maternity of the Virgin Mother of God is celebrated on the anniversary of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (August 5), so on this day we honor the two princes of Christ’s apostles.
Also on November 18: St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. Born in Grenoble, France, in 1769, St. Rose joined the Society of the Sacred Heart. In 1818, when she was forty-nine years old, she was sent to the United States where she founded a boarding school for daughters of pioneers near St. Louis and opened the first free school west of the Missouri. At the age of seventy-one, she began a school for Indians, who soon came to call her “the woman who is always praying.” Her biographers have also stressed her courage in frontier conditions, her singlemindedness in pursuing her dream of serving Native Americans, and her self-acceptance. This holy servant of God was beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1940 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988.
November 21: Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast commemorates the dedication of the church of Saint Mary which was built in Jerusalem near the site of the Temple. With Christians of the East, the Latin Church also recalls on this day the tradition according to which Mary as a small child was presented to the Lord by her parents in the Temple.
November 22: St. Cecilia. In the fifth century a basilica dedicated to Saint Cecilia was erected at Rome. From that time devotion to her spread, largely owing to accounts of her sufferings. She is praised as the most perfect model of the Christian woman because of her virginity and the martyrdom which she suffered for love of Christ.
November 23: St. Clement I. Saint Clement, the third pope to rule the Roman Church after Saint Peter, reigned toward the end of the first century. He wrote the famous epistle to the Corinthians to strengthen and encourage peace and unity among them.
Also on November 23: St. Columban. Saint Columban was born in Ireland before the middle of the sixth century. He was well trained in the classics and theology. After entering the monastic life, he went to France and founded many monasteries which he ruled with strict discipline. After being forced into exile, he went to Italy and founded the monastery of Bobbio. He died in 615.
Also on November 23: Bl. Miguel Agustín Pro. Born into a prosperous, devout family in Mexico, Miguel Agustín Pro entered the Jesuits in 1911 but three years later fled to Granada, Spain, because of religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925. He immediately returned to Mexico, where he served a Church forced to go underground. He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics. Finally he was arrested and sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. “Long live Christ the King” were the last words Father Pro uttered before he was executed for being a Catholic priest and serving his flock. He was beatified in 1988.
November 24: St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions. St. Andrew was one of 117 people who were martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862.
November 25: St. Catherine of Alexandria. This martyr was a learned woman of the early fourth century, who, following her conversion at the age of eighteen, preached the Gospel throughout Alexandria in Egypt. While imprisoned by the emperor Maximus, she converted both the empress and the leader of the armed forces and for this she was martyred.
November 30: St. Andrew. Saint Andrew, born at Bethsaida, was a disciple of John the Baptist before he became a follower of Christ, to whom he also brought his brother Peter. With Philip he presented the Gentiles to Christ and, before the miracle in the desert, he pointed out to Christ the boy carrying the loaves and fishes. After Pentecost he preached the Gospel in many lands and was put to death by crucifixion at Achaia.