Saint George, Patron Saint of England. Feast Day 23rd April. George was born in to a wealthy Christian family of the nobility in Lydda in Syria in 280 AD ,his father Gerontius was from Cappadocia and an officer in the Roman army . After the death of his parents George decided to go to Nicomedia in Asia Minor to pursue a military career and rose to the position of imperial guard to the emperor Diocletian. In 303 Diocletian issued an edict that every guard who followed the Christian faith was to be arrested if he did not denounce his faith and offer sacrifices to the Roman gods. George refused blatantly to surrender and after being tortured on a wheel of swords was finally decapitated in front of the city wall of Nicomedia. The saint had no legendary connections with England where he probably only became known around the 8th century . His name is mentioned among the martyrs by Bede and many shrines have been erected in his honour. The synod of Oxford in1222 declared his saint day a national feast. Renown for his bravery he was often invoked by the English for protection in battle, thus he acquired the title of the Patron saint of England in the 14th century. The banner of St George consisting of a white flag on a red background became the standard English flag. The story of St George and the dragon is believed to have originated after the crusades, one legend states that he slay the dragon at the sea of Beirut. George was canonised by Pope Gelasius 1 in 494,he is also the patron saint of Beirut ,Portugal, Catalonia, scouts and soldiers.
Saint. Mark the Evangelist. Feast Day April 25th. Saint Marks Gospel written around 65 AD in Greek ,it is believed by many to be the first Synoptic Gospel to be written, his writings were addressed in the main to Christian gentile converts. The identity of Mark the Evangelist has long been an area of interest ,it has now been widely accepted that the author of Marks Gospel is the same John Mark whose mother Mary welcomed the apostles in to her house at Jerusalem and that he was a cousin of Barnabas. Mark was associated with St Paul and St Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but at Perga he left them to return to Jerusalem. St Paul was so angered with Marks decision to abandon them at this point that it caused a rift between him and Barnabas thus Barnabas and Mark went on to evangelise together alone in Cyprus. In Rome Mark became a disciple of St Peter who refers to him warmly as “my son”. It is thought that Mark based much of his Gospel on the eye witness accounts and teaching of Peter ,in 130 Papias bishop of Hierapolis called him the ” interpreter of Peter” a title supported by Clement of Alexandria. It is most probably while he was in Rome that he wrote his account of Christ´s life and teaching. A strong tradition states that Mark was the first bishop of Alexandria in Egypt where he was supposedly martyred during the reign of Nero. In 829 Marks relics were moved from Alexandria to Venice to be enshrined there in the original Church of St Marco. He is the patron Saint of Venice , notaries and those taken captive.
Saint Louis de Monfort. Feast day. April 28th. Saint Louis Marie de Monfort was born in 1673 in Monfort Sur Meu in France. When he was 12 years of age he entered the Jesuit college of St Thomas Becket in Rennes. In 1693 due to the generosity of a benefactor he went to Paris where he studied philosophy and theology at the Seminary of Saint Suplice. In 1700 he was ordained as a priest in Rennes and appointed the post of chaplain in a hospital in Poitiers His main desire was to preach abroad but his destiny was to remain in France where he preached missions from Brittany to Nantes. He had an extremely strong devotion to Mother Mary and the Holy Rosary. Joining the third order of the Dominicans he began to from Rosary fraternities and developed the order of the Company of Mary which consisted of a group of priests ,sent to preach missions and hold retreats under the standard and protection of the Blessed Virgin. He also established the foundation of the Sisters of Divine wisdom. Montfort despite his busy schedule found time to write a number of books and is considered as on of the early writers in the field of Mariology. His most notable works regarding Marian Devotion are contained in “The Secret of Mary”, and “The True Devotion to Mary”. In Monforts approach to Marian Consecration , Jesus and Mary are inseparable. .He died of exhaustion in Saint Laurent Sur Sevre where he came to preach his final mission in April 1716.He was canonised in 1947 by Pope Pius X11 and his most famous motto was ” God Alone”.