We learn from the life of Blessed Clare of Rimini what a misfortune it is for a child to lose its mother at an early age.
Born at Rimini in Italy about the year 1300, Clare lost her mother when she was but seven years old, and because her father could not devote much time and attention to the training of the vivacious girl, she grew up into maidenhood in a frivolous rather than in a Christian manner.
Blessed Anthony of Stroncone, scion of the ancient and noble family of the Vici, was born in the year 1381 at Stroncone, a small town in the province of Umbria. He was blessed with very devout parents, who provided their son with an excellent education. Both parents were members of the Third Order and great benefactors of the Franciscan convent at Stroncone; the Franciscan Friar John of Stroncone was the youth’s uncle.
Saint Jane of Valois, the daughter of Louis XI, king of France, was born April 23, 1464. Favored with great gifts of mind and heart from her earliest years, she despised the pomp of the court and sought her joy in solitude, prayer, and meditation. This manner of life greatly displeased her proud and morose father as being unworthy of a royal princess, and he always treated her harshly.
Saint Jane, however, bore it patiently and complained of her sufferings only to God. One time the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the distressed girl and spoke to her:
In the year 1556, at Leonissa in the Abruzzi in the kingdom of Naples, the devout couple John Desiderius and Frances Paulina were blessed with a son, to whom they gave the name Euphranius at baptism, though he would one day become famous under the name of St Joseph of Leonisse. Under their faithful guidance the little boy made such progress in piety that at a very tender age he resolved upon certain feast days, and took the greatest pleasure in practices of piety.
About the year 1592, Hideyoshi, the military dictator of Japan, planned to invade and conquer the Philippine Islands, situated near his domain but belonging at the time to the Spanish crown.
To negotiate peace, King Philip II of Spain delegated Father Peter Baptist Blasquez, a Franciscan of Manila, as his ambassador to Hideyoshi.
Peter Baptist, who came from an ancient Spanish family of the nobility, was learned, capable, and known for his holy life. He arrived in Japan with three companions at the end of the month of June, 1593. He succeeded in winning the dictator to terms of peace, and even obtained permission to spread Christianity throughout Japan without interference.
Born in County Tyrone, Father O’Loughran administered the sacraments to exiled Irish noblemen who had fled to Belgium. He returned to Ireland in June 1611 and was arrested in Cork. Under interrogation, O’Loughran admitted that he had given sacraments to the exiled noblemen, and that he had assisted the Irish bishop, Blessed Conor O’Devany. Upon his confession he was committed to a dungeon and in January 1612, he and Bishop O’Devany were condemned to death.
St John Bosco, considered one of the greatest saints of modern times, was born in a Piedmontese village in 1815. When he was 2 years old he lost his father, a humble peasant farmer, and he was brought up by his saintly Tertiary mother, Margaret. It was no doubt due to her example and influence that John too joined the Third Order of St. Francis.
Even as a youngster, John recognized that it was his vocation in life to help poor boys; and he began to teach catechism to the boys of his own village and bring them to church. Acrobatic stunts and conjuring tricks were the means he used to get them together.
St Hyacintha, born in 1585, belonged to a wealthy and prominent family. Her father was Count Antonio of Mariscotti, her mother descended from the princely Roman family of the Orsini.
After her younger sister had been given in marriage, the disappointed Clarice, as Hyacintha was then called, entered the convent of the Tertiaries at Viterbo, but apparently only as a secular Tertiary. She permitted herself to be supplied with all sorts of things by way of eatables and articles of dress which enabled her to enjoy quite an agreeable and comfortable existence. Her rooms were furnished with much worldly apparatus.