Saint Ludger of the Netherlands . Feast Day March 26th. Ludger was born in to a wealthy Dutch noble family in Zuilen in Holland around 742. He was trained by St Gregory of Utrecht and later moved to England where he studied under Blessed Alcuin of York. In 777 he was ordained in Cologne in Germany and spent seven years as a missionary converting pagans to Christianity. In 785 He met up with Charlemagne and was given charge of the spiritual direction of five surrounding provinces. His approach was far more gentle than Charlemagne’s and he was often accused of distributing the Churches money reserved for ornamental decoration as alms for the poor. When he was offered the See of Trier he refused it but in 804 he became the first Bishop of Munster in Westphalia, here he founded Werden abbey. Ludger died a peaceful death of natural causes on Passion Sunday March 26th ,809 in the company of his followers having just celebrated the holy Mass at Butterbreck Westphalia. He is often portrayed holding a cathedral reciting his Breviary with a swan on either side , he is patron saint of the Netherlands and Munster.
Saint John Climacus. Feast Day March 30th. Saint John is also referred to as John Scholastic or John of the Ladder. He was born in Palestine in 525 AD , little information is given about his earlier life but we are told that at the age of 16 he arrived at Vatus monastery, now St Catherines at Mount Sinai. John was instructed in spiritual knowledge by an older monk called Martyrius and took the habit. However he longed for a life of deeper contemplation, solitude and ascetism and after Martyrius died he withdrew to a hermitage at the foot of a mountain where he dwelled alone 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 abbot to the monks at the monastery at Sinai. Saint John is a revered theological writer his most famous work is ,”The ladder of perfection”, known in Latin as “Scala Paradisi”. this treatise describes how to raise ones soul and body to God through the acquisition of ascetic virtues ,principally prayer, fasting ,self denial and solitude.” The ladder of perfection”, which is compiled in thirty chapters, corresponds to the age of Christ at the time of His baptism by John the Baptist. God bestowed upon Saint John an extraordinary grace of healing spiritual disorders of the soul. John died in the monsatery at Sinai in 606.
Blessed Joan of Toulouse. Feast Day March 31st. Joan lived in the French town of Toulouse in the thirteenth century and was the daughter of a noble family from Navarre. Due to her strong devotion to Mother Mary she desired to live as a recluse near the Carmelite convent in her home town. In 1240 some Carmelite brothers from Palestine founded a Carmelite monastery at Toulouse ,twenty five years later the head of Carmelite order Simon Stock from England visited Toulouse,Joan asked if she could see him, a meeting was consequently arranged and she requested to join the order as an associate. Due to her strong devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, Joan’s wish was granted and she received the habit and veil form Simon Stock himself. Joan made a vow of perpetual chastity devoting her life to God ,continuing her simple life in her own home. Joan is known as the foundress of the third Carmelite order, also referred to as the tertiary order. Joan visited the monastery daily attending Mass ,training young Carmelite friars and attending to the sick and poor. Joan always carried a picture of the Crucified Christ in her bag ,people stated that each time joan gazed upon this picture of Jesus that she read some new and wonderful lesson. Joan died peacefully in 1286 and was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1895.