Competition now closedThe Vocations competition is now closed. Winners will be announced over the coming weeks.
How good is your knowledge of the lives of Saints like Damien of Molokai and Therese of Lisieux? Test your knowledge of 10 inspirational Saints to be in the running to win one of three Laser eTouch 10.1” tablets*.
To mark Good Shepherd Sunday on 17 April 2016, the Diocese of Parramatta has produced a set of collector’s cards featuring 10 Saints. Each card has a question about the featured Saint. Each correctly answered question equals an entry into the Know Your Saints Competition. Hint: All the answers can be found by reading about the lives of the featured saints in the section below.
The competition is open to students and young adults to age 25. There is no limit to the number of questions you can answer. Online entries only will be accepted.
The competition closes on Friday 29 April 2016.
1. Read the information about the saints next to their photo
2. Answer the quiz below the pictures and enter your details to be in the running.
*Or similar tablet device.
QUESTIONS ARE BELOW
1. Saint Damien of Molokai (1840-1889)
Saint Damian was born on 3 January 1840 and was christened Jozef. He took the name Damien when he joined the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary at the beginning of 1859.
Every day he would pray to St Francis Xavier, patron of missionaries, to be sent as a missionary to a foreign land. He was granted his wish when on 19 March 1864 he landed in Honolulu, where he was ordained to the priesthood the following year.
At this time, the Hawaiian Government decided to quarantine all those infected by leprosy to the island of Molokai in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Four members of Damien’s congregation volunteered to set up a mission that would minister to the Molokai lepers. Damien was the first to leave on 10 May 1873.
Damien served for 16 years among the lepers and died in 1889 at the age of 49 after contracting leprosy. His efforts to bring respect, sanitation and morality to the quarantined community on Molokai deeply impressed his contemporaries. The Belgian Government asked that his remains be buried in the crypt of the Church of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts at Louvain, Belgium.
It is famously recorded that during the lifetime of Saint Damien, the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson wrote an impassioned defence of his work among the Molokai lepers. This was in the face of critical comments noted in the papers of the time.
Saint Damien had a heart that was attuned to the most wretched members of society. He respected the religious beliefs of others and loved them because they were all children of the Heavenly Father. Saint Damian is the patron saint of people living with HIV-AIDS. His feast day is celebrated on 11 October.
2. Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)
Francis was born in Assisi, Italy, in 1182. His father was a wealthy merchant and expected great things from his son. During his youth, Francis participated in the life of the rich nobility, often attending the sumptuous parties that were on offer. At one time he was named ‘King of Feasts’ due to his exuberant nature and joviality.
Francis dreamed of becoming a chivalrous knight and in pursuit of this dream, at the age of 20 took part in the war that had broken out between Assisi and Perugia. During the battle Francis was wounded, taken prisoner and confined to a prison cell where he contracted malaria.
He was ransomed by his father and after overcoming his sickness, he set off for war once more, this time in the service of Count Walter of Brienne. On his journey, Francis heard the count had died. The shock caused the malaria to return and left Francis in a depressed and severely weakened state.
The next two years proved to be a time of profound change for Francis. His soul began to yearn for a peace that the world could not provide. One day he came upon a leper. His first impulse was to throw the leper a coin, but instead he dismounted from his horse and embraced the leper as a brother. He said this experience was the crowning moment of his conversion.
While praying in the abandoned Church of San Damiano soon afterwards, he heard a voice coming from the crucifix. The Lord Jesus asked Francis to “rebuild” the Church, and from that time Francis sought to live a life of conversion, which implied a living out of the Gospel message in his daily life.
Other men were attracted by Francis’ example and they started to live together as a community on the outskirts of a town near the abandoned Church of Our Lady of the Angels. It was here that the great order of the Franciscans was founded.
In the year 1224, as he was praying in deep contemplation on Mt Alverna, Jesus granted Francis the great gift of the stigmata; a miracle where the marks of Jesus’ own passion were imprinted on the saint’s body.
Before his death in 1226 at the age of 44, Francis had founded three religious orders, including a congregation for women now known as the Poor Clares. Such was the holiness of this saint that he was canonised on 16 July 1228, just two years after his death. The feast of Saint Francis is celebrated on the anniversary of his death on 4 October.
3. Saint John Paul II (1920-2005)
Karol Józef Wojtyła was born in Wadowice, Poland, on 18 May 1920. After completing high school he enrolled in the Jagellonian University of Krakow in 1938. With the onset of World War II, the university was closed and young Karol was forced to work in a chemical factory in order to earn a living.
During this time he felt called to the priesthood and studied clandestinely in the underground seminary in order to avoid arrest. After the war ended he was ordained and sent to Rome where he attained a doctorate in theology.
Returning to Poland, he worked with families in local parishes as well as with students in the university as their chaplain. In 1953, he became professor of moral theology and ethics in the Krakow seminary and in 1958, Pope Pius XII appointed Father Wojtyła Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow. On 13 January 1964, Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Wojtyła as Archbishop of Krakow and created him a Cardinal in 1967.
Cardinal Wojtyła was elected Pope on 16 October 1978 and went on to become one of the most influential men of his time. During his pontificate he made 104 international apostolic journeys, wrote more than 90 Cwhurch documents, letters and books, and proclaimed 482 new saints.
In 1981, he miraculously survived an assassination attempt. He attributed this life-saving gift to the maternal hand of the Mother of God and, following a lengthy stay in the hospital, he forgave the would-be assassin after meeting him face to face in his prison cell.
Pope John Paul II was especially mindful of young people and was the pope responsible for beginning the celebration of World Youth Day.
John Paul II died on the vigil of the feast of Divine Mercy Sunday on 2 April 2005; a feast which he had instituted and had great devotion to. He was beatified on 1 May 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI and was canonised by Pope Francis on 27 April 2014. His feast day is celebrated on 22 October.
4. Saint Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)
Rajmund Kolbe was born in 1894. As a child he is reported to have been quite mischievous, but this all changed when in 1906 at the age of 12, he received a vision of the Virgin Mary. She came offering him two crowns, one white and the other red. She asked him if he was willing to accept either of the crowns, with the white one representing purity and the red representing martyrdom. Rajmund told Our Lady that he would accept both.
At the age of 16, he became a novice in the Conventual Franciscan Order and in 1918 he was ordained a priest and given the name Maximilian. Along with six of his friends, he founded the Militia Immaculatae, an organisation that taught that devotion to Our Lady was the surest and quickest path to knowing and loving Jesus Christ.
At the age of 24, he received his doctorate in theology and it was at this time that he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, an illness that would plague him for the rest of his life.
In 1922, he began publication of the magazine Knight of the Immaculate and five years later, the publication had a circulation of 70,000. In 1930, he went to Japan on mission work. He founded a Franciscan monastery in Nagasaki, which survived the nuclear bombing of World War II and remains a centre of Franciscan life.
Back in Poland, he and several of his brothers were arrested by the Nazis on 19 September 1939. In 1941, Maximilian was transferred to the Auschwitz concentration camp and branded as prisoner 16670.
After some men had escaped from this prison, camp protocol required that 10 men be killed in the place of each escaped prisoner. When Franciszek Gajowniczek was selected as one of the 10 to be killed, Maximilian volunteered to take his place as Franciszek was a married man with young children.
After three weeks of being held in a tiny underground cell and facing the ravages of dehydration and starvation, Maximilian was finally given a lethal injection of carbolic acid, after which his body was burned in the camp oven.
Father Kolbe was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1971 and was canonised by Pope John Paul II on 10 October 1982. Upon canonisation, the Pope declared Saint Maximilian Kolbe a martyr. Saint Maximilian is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners and the pro-life movement. His feast day is celebrated on 14 August.
5. Saint John Bosco (1815-1888)
Giovanni Melchior Bosco was born in Becchi in the north of Italy in 1815. At the age of nine, he had a dream in which he was surrounded by a group of children who were swearing and fighting. Suddenly, a beautiful woman appeared and said to Giovanni: “Take your shepherd’s staff and lead them to pasture.” As she spoke, Giovanni saw the children transform from their wild ways into gentle lambs. From that time forward, Giovanni knew that it was his vocation in life to lead young people to know truth and goodness.
He began by teaching the Catechism to the young boys in his village as well as taking them to church. He would induce them to attend his lessons by doing magic tricks or challenging them to acrobatic and juggling competitions.
When he turned 16, he joined the seminary in order to study for the priesthood. In between his studies, he undertook volunteer work with neglected or homeless boys who had begun to gather around him on Sunday afternoons.
After Giovanni had made his final vows as a priest, Don Bosco as he was now known, hired an old shed as a meeting place for the boys and soon after made the decision to devote himself completely to this mission.
By 1856, 150 lived in the accommodation and schools that Don Bosco had established. The boys were able to become apprentices in a variety of trades, complete higher academic studies, learn music and, most importantly, participate in the therapeutic value of play.
Don Bosco’s understanding of the needs and interests of young people gave him great influence over them, such that he could manage them without punishment. As an educator, Don Bosco was an innovator who knew that pure academic learning was not enough. His lessons and programs often combined learning with play, song, prayer and manual work.
He could not have achieved all this on his own. In 1859, the new society of the Salesian was formed and within five years there were 39 members. At the time of Don Bosco’s death there were 800 members and by 1929 the number had increased to about 8000.
Don Bosco was also responsible for building the magnificent basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians in Turin. It was inspired by a dream he had in October 1844 and was completed in 1868. The Blessed Virgin had shown Don Bosco a vast and lofty church and said: “This is my house; from it my glory shines forth.”
Towards the end of his life, it had become apparent that Don Bosco was worn out. He died on the morning of 31 January 1888 in his home city of Turin. As he was laid to rest, 40,000 people same to pay their respects. Don Bosco’s legacy highlighted that ‘the loving care and attention of a wise and interested adult was essential to the healthy growth of every child’. He was canonised on Easter Sunday 1934 and his feast day is celebrated on 31 January. He is the patron of young people, apprentices, and Catholic publishers and editors.
6. Saint Mary MacKillop (1842-1909)
Mary MacKillop was born of Scottish parents on 15 January 1842 in Fitzroy, Victoria. Mary received a strong foundation in the Catholic faith as well as a well-rounded education from her father, who had spent some years studying for the priesthood in Rome. His financial prowess, however, was quite lacking and the family was often without a home of their own and had to depend on the generosity of relatives and friends to get by.
Mary started to earn a living at the age of 16 and used her wages to help support the family. She worked as a governess, as a clerk and then as a teacher. In her position as governess for her uncle’s children at Penola in South Australia, Mary encountered Father Julian Tenison Woods. The priest had a parish that covered 56,000sqkm and was in need of someone who could provide for the religious education of children in the outback.
As Mary’s family still depended on her financial support, she was not able to assist at that time. However, in 1866, greatly inspired and encouraged by Father Woods, Mary opened the first free Catholic school in a disused stable in Penola.
Other young women soon joined Mary and so the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph was formed in 1866. The following year, the sisters were asked to start a school in Adelaide and from there the order spread to other small rural communities and the larger cities of both Australia and New Zealand. Mary, along with these early sisters, was instrumental in the formation of a Catholic education structure that is, today, widely respected and esteemed the world over.
Orphanages and refuges were set up to provide for the destitute and homeless, along with accommodation for ex-prisoners and prostitutes who had a desire to make a fresh start. Mary and her sisters often shared the life of the poor people whom they served and were eager to discover God’s will in all things due to their abiding trust in God’s providence.
This was most evident in how Mary coped with ill health and suffering throughout her life. Mary had a special devotion to St Joseph and continually encouraged her sisters to turn to this most powerful of heavenly intercessors when the way ahead seemed overly difficult or even impossible.
Mary died on 8 August 1909 in the congregation’s convent in Mount Street, North Sydney. Saint Mary’s tomb is now enshrined there in the chapel as a place of pilgrimage at which those in need often place their petitions.
Mary was canonised on 17 October 2010 and her feast is celebrated as a Solemnity in Australia on 8 August. She was formally proclaimed the Patron of the Diocese of Parramatta during the Silver Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving in St Patrick’s Cathedral on 19 May 2011.
7. Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938)
Mary Faustina was born on 25 August 1905 in Gwogowiec, Poland, being the third of 10 children. She was baptised Helena and from a young age was known for her sense of devotion and her sensitivity towards the poor. She felt the call to a religious vocation from the age of seven, and as her parents would not give her permission to enter a convent, at the age of 16 she obtained a position as a housekeeper.
The suffering Jesus appeared to her and called her personally to give her life to Him as a religious sister. On 1 August 1925, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy where she took the name Mary Faustina. She spent the next 13 years living in the congregation’s houses in Kraków, Plock and Vilnius. Her main occupations as a sister were porter, cook and gardener.
Externally, anyone who met Faustina would not have known that she was any different from the other sisters who lived alongside her in the convent. She worked hard, strove to follow the congregation’s rule of life and was full of kindness and service towards her neighbour.
However, within her was hid a mystical life of extraordinary union with the Most Holy Trinity, which is recorded most faithfully in her ‘diary’. Faustina wrote her ‘diary’ in obedience to a request from her spiritual director.
It reveals the extraordinary gifts she experienced over her lifetime, including revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, participation in the Passion of the Lord, bilocation, the reading of human souls and prophecy. It notes Faustina’s living relationship with God, the Blessed Mother, the angels and saints as well as the souls in purgatory.
Faustina is especially known as being the Apostle and Secretary of Divine Mercy. The special mission entrusted to her by Jesus was to initiate the Divine Mercy movement, which sought to encourage people to live a life of child-like trust in God expressed most authentically in living a life of mercy towards one’s neighbour.
Today, millions of people around the world live out the Divine Mercy message and celebrate it annually on the Second Sunday of Easter, which is now officially known as Divine Mercy Sunday.
Sister Mary Faustina died in Krakow at the age of 33 on 5 October 1938, having suffered for many years from tuberculosis and the voluntary sufferings she accepted as a personal sacrifice for the salvation of sinners. Pope John Paul II canonised Faustina as the first saint of the new millennium on 30 April 2000. Her feast day is celebrated on 5 October.
8. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897)
Thérèse Martin was born at Alençon, France, on 2 January 1873. Her parents, Louis and Zélie, are the patron saints of married couples and widowers
As a child, Thérèse was healed from a serious illness through the intercession of Our Lady of Victories. At the age of 15 and on a visit to Italy, she attended an audience for pilgrims granted by the pope of the time, Leo XIII. With great courage, Thérèse asked the Holy Father for permission to enter a Carmelite convent, with Pope Leo granting her this request.
Thérèse received the habit on 10 January 1889 and made her religious profession on 8 September 1890 on the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the convent of Carmel she embraced the ‘little way of perfection’; a way inspired by the Gospel, which calls us to place ‘love’ at the centre of everything.
In her autobiographical journal, ‘The Story of a Soul’, Thérèse recounted her recollections of childhood and adolescence and shared with readers a portrait of her soul by describing her most intimate experiences of union with her spouse Jesus Christ.
Throughout her life, she suffered from many occasions of ill health and learnt to offer these periods of sickness, for the benefit of other souls that they might know and love Jesus too.
On the afternoon of 30 September 1897, Thérèse passed away with the words, “My God … I love you!” on her lips. She was canonised by Pope Pius XI on 17 May 1925 with the same pope proclaiming her Universal Patron of the Missions, alongside Saint Francis Xavier, on 14 December 1927.
Pope John Paul II announced Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus to be a Doctor of the Universal Church on World Mission Sunday, 19 October 1997. Her feast day is celebrated on 1 October.
9. Blessed Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
Mother Teresa of Calcutta was born on 26 August 1910 in Skopje, Albania, and was baptised Gonxha Agnes. Her father’s sudden death when she was eight left the family in difficult circumstances, but Agnes was still brought up with much love and was well formed in the knowledge of her Catholic faith.
She left home when she was 18 in September 1928 to join the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland. She received the name Sister Mary Teresa and in December of that year she departed for India, arriving in Calcutta on 6 January 1929.
Until 1946, Teresa lived out her religious vocation at St Mary’s School for girls, where she was both a teacher and principal. However, on 10 September 1946, during the train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, Mother Teresa received her ‘call within a call’ to leave behind the school gates of Loreto and to enter the world of the poor and forgotten. After some months, she was joined by some of her former students.
In 1950, the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially established and by the 1960s, Mother Teresa began to send her sisters to other parts of India and then to other parts of the world, including Venezuela, Albania, the Soviet Union and Australia.
The rapid growth of the order and its work among the poorest of the poor meant that the world had begun to take notice of Mother Teresa and her work. She was presented with numerous awards, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She received these awards with the words that her work was done “for the glory of God and in the name of the poor”.
Mother Teresa suffered from bad health, especially at the end of her life, but she continued to govern her congregation and to seek to respond to the needs of the poor and the Church. By 1997, the congregation’s sisters numbered approximately 4000 and was established in 123 countries.
Mother Teresa died on 5 September 1997. She received a state funeral and her body was taken in procession through the streets of Calcutta.
She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 19 October 2003 and on 17 December 2015, Pope Francis recognised a second miracle attributed to her involving the healing of a Brazilian man with multiple brain tumors. This miracle paved the way for the Vatican to set 4 September 2016 as the date for Mother Teresa to be canonised.
10. Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942)
Edith Stein was born in Breslau, Germany, on 12 October 1891 while her family was celebrating Yom Kippur, an important Jewish festival. Her father died when Edith was two and her mother had to look after the family and their large business. During her youth, Edith lost her faith in God. She later said, “I consciously decided, of my own volition, to give up praying.”
In 1913, already an academically brilliant student, Edith was given the opportunity to study under the famous German philosopher Edmund Husserl. She became his teaching assistant and passed her degree with distinction in January 1915, though she did not follow it up with teacher training.
During World War I, she served as a nurse in an operating theatre in an Austrian field hospital. She witnessed the suffering and death of young people as they died from typhus along with the wounds of battle. This was a difficult time for her and upon resuming her studies, she wrote a thesis with her wartime experience in mind entitled, ‘The Problem of Empathy’.
Around this time, Edith became friends with a fellow academic Adolf Reinach and his wife. Adolf soon died and upon paying a visit to his widow, Edith found that she was “a woman of faith” despite the sorrow of losing her beloved husband.
Edith later wrote: “This was my first encounter with the Cross and the divine power it imparts to those who bear it … it was the moment when my unbelief collapsed and Christ began to shine his light on me.”
In 1921, Edith spent some weeks with a friend Hedwig Conrad-Martius, who was another pupil of Husserl’s. During this time, Edith stayed up all night to read the autobiography of St Teresa of Avila. She commented on this pivotal moment of her life with these words, “When I had finished the book, I said to myself: this is the truth.”
Edith was baptised on 1 January 1922 with Hedwig as her godmother. In 1932, she accepted a position at the University of Munster. Here she successfully combined scholarship and faith in the midst of her work and had as her maxim, “If anyone comes to me, I want to lead them to Him.”
In 1933, she discerned God’s call for her to join the Carmelite sisters and did so in Cologne on 14 October 1934, taking the name Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
On 9 November 1938, the anti-Semitism of the Nazis became apparent to the whole world. Sister Teresa was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 August 1942 while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. Together with many other Jewish Christians, including her own sister, she was taken to a transit camp and from there deported to Auschwitz on 7 August. It was probably on 9 August that Sister Teresa, her sister and many others were gassed to death.
Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was canonised by Pope John Paul II on 11 October 1998. He also proclaimed her to be a Heavenly Co-patroness of all of Europe on 1 October 1999. Her feast day is celebrated on 9 August.