St. John Climacus – 30th March. Saint John also referred to as John Scholastic or John of the Ladder was a 6th century monk at Mount Sinai. Little information is given on his earlier life but we know that at the age of 16 he arrived at the Vatus monastery (now St Catherine´s at Mt Sinai.) He was instructed in spiritual knowledge by an older monk called Martyrius and took the habit. However he longed for a life of deeper contemplation and asceticism and after his instructors death, he withdrew to a hermitage at the foot of the mountain where he remained in solitude for 20 years. Constantly he meditated upon the lives of the saints and the Word of God. When he was in his seventies he was requested to become the abbot to the monks at the Monastery at Sinai. St John is a revered theological writer his most famous work is “The Ladder Of Perfection” known in Latin as ” Scala Paradisi “. The treatise describes how to raise ones soul and body to God through the acquisition of ascetic virtues. It is composed in 30 chapters to correspond to age of Christ at the time of his baptism by John the Baptist . God bestowed on St John an extraordinary grace of healing spiritual disorders of the soul. John died in the monastery at Sinai in 606 of natural causes.
St. Catherine of Palma – 1st April.. Saint Catherine also known as Catalina Thomas was a Spanish nun, born in 1533 in Valldemossa Mallorca .When she was only 7 years old her parents died and she was entrusted to the care of her paternal uncle in whose house she was treated like a servant. From the age of 15 she felt a strong called to the religious life having experienced visions of St Anthony of Padua and Catherine of Sienna. Unfortunately she had to wait to enter convent life as she was not provided with a dowry and worked as a domestic servant in Palma until she was secured a place at the age of 20 at St Magdalena´s convent which followed the Augustinian rule. Saint Catherine was a mystic who possessed the gift of prophesy, continually she was subjected to many strange phenomena and visions of angels at the same time she was assaulted spiritually and visually by dark powers. Sometimes she went in to ecstatic trances that could last for several weeks, annually for 13 or 15 days before the feast of St Catherine of Alexandria she was observed to be in a profound trance. The physical wounds she suffered through evil forces were said to be treated by St Comos and St Damien. Catherine died in the convent in Palma in 1574 her body is preserved in a marble Sarcophagus there. She was canonized by Pope Pius X1 IN 1930 and is the patron saint of Mallorca.
St. Richard of Chichester – 3rd April. Also known as Richard of de Wych he was born in 1197 in Burford near Droitwich in to a noble family of landowners. When his parents died his older brother took over the estate but due to money problems he was encouraged to help his brother by working on the farm . A marriage was proposed for him but Richard nursed other ideas desiring to be closer to God. He went to pursue his studies in Oxford where he eventually became the earliest Doctor of Canon Law. To further his knowledge he travelled to France and Bologna . On returning to England in 1235 he was elected Chancellor to the University of Oxford and in 1237 obtained the position as chancellor to the archbishop of Canterbury, St Edmund of Abingdon. Longing to join the priesthood he studied theology with Dominican friars in Orleans. On returning to England he was appointed parish priest at Charing and Deal. In 1244 he was elected Bishop of Chichester where he dedicated the majority of his time to reforming the manners and morals of the clergy introducing greater order and reverence in to the services of the church. Richard died aged 56 in 1253 at the Maison Dieu , a house for poor priests in Dover where the Pope had ordered him to preach a crusade. Various miracles were attributed to him ,the most famous is known as the “overturned Chalice”. The story tells that Richard tired from his labours accidently tipped over the Chalice during the Holy Mass, miraculously none of the Communion wine was spilled .He was canonized in in 1262 by Pope Urban 1V and is the Patron Saint of Sussex, Chichester and Coach men.