St. Athanasius – 2nd May Athanasius was born in Alexandria in Egypt in 296 AD of Christian parents and was schooled under the influence of Bishop Alexander. As a young man he spent a considerable amount of time in retreat with Saint Anthony in the desert. In 319 he became a deacon and later rose to the position of Bishop of Alexandria succeeding his mentor Alexander. His episcopate lasted 46 years in which 17 of those years were passed in 5 exiles commandeered by 4 different Roman Emperors .He was a fervent defender of the Trinity as opposed to Arianism, this led to his many trails and tribulations and disputes with the Emperors of the time. He is a renown Christian theologian and his writings were well regarded by all Church Fathers in the East and West. Athanasius is counted as one of the 4 great Eastern Doctors of the Catholic Church ,in the Eastern orthodox Church he is given the title ” Father of Orthodoxy” .He died a peaceful death on May 2nd 373 AD in Alexandria.
St. Philip and Saint James “The Just”. – 3rd May. Saint James the Lesser was the author of the first Catholic Epistle and was the son of Alphaeus he is not to be confused with James the Greater the son of Zebedee and brother of John. According to tradition he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem and attended the council there around 50 AD. St Paul says that he was present at the Resurrection and a “Pillar of the Church “,whom he consulted about the Gospel. He was martyred for his faith in AD 62 by the Jews and had been given the name “James The Just”.Philip was born in Bethsaida like Peter and Andrew ,he was most likely an early follower of John the Baptist.He is only listed as one of the 12 in the Synoptic Gospels ,St John however makes several references to Philip . In Johns Gospel Philip was present at the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, he is approached by Hellenistic Jews to introduce them to Jesus, Jesus answers Philips question to show them the Father ( Jn 14.8) and he is mentioned as one of the disciples at Pentecost. John states also the it was Philip who introduced Jesus to Nathanael.. After Christ´s death it is believed that Philip preached in Greece and Phrygia and died in Hierapolis around 80 AD martyred by crucifixion upside down under the rule of Emperor Diocletian. His relics are enshrined in the Basilica of the 12 Apostles in Rome. He is the patron saint of Uruguay and hatters.
Blessed Catherine of Augustine- 8th May. Catherine was born in a small town in the province of Normandy in 1632. During childhood she began to develop a great concern for the sick and needy . In 1644 she entered the Monastery of the Canonesses of St Augustine of the Mercy of Jesus in Bayeux and was received in to the novitiate. In 1648 aged only 16 she journeyed to Quebec in Canada to help the Canonesses of Mercy who had founded the” Hotel Dieu” there to help the new settlers in the colony. Here she attended to the sick not only nursing their physical wounds but attending to their spiritual needs bringing them closer to God. For nine years she held the position of head of the treasury of the monastery and as Novice Mistress where she was responsible for guiding and forming new candidates in the community. Catherine was known for her patience and gentle disposition for her great commitment to God and those who suffered. Spending many hours in prayer she subjected herself to harsh self mortification which no doubt affected her health. Catherine died at the hospital she helped to run in 1668 aged 36 and was wildly held by the people of French Canada as a Saint. Pope John Paul II beatified her in April 1989.