The North American Martyrs, also known as the Canadian Martyrs or the Martyrs of New France, were eight Jesuit missionaries from Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, who were martyred in the mid-17th century in Canada, in what are now southern Ontario and upstate New York. The Martyrs are St. Jean de Brébeuf (1649), St. Noël Chabanel (1649), St. Antoine Daniel (1648), St. Charles Garnier (1649), St. René Goupil (1642), St. Isaac Jogues (1646), St. Jean de Lalande (1646), and St. Gabriel Lalemant (1649).
St. Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome [when helping them was considered a crime], Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. When he refused to renounce his faith he was beaten with clubs, and afterwards, beheaded on February 14, about the year 270.
Pope St. Simplicius reigned when the last of the western Roman Emperors fell in 476 a.d.. He defended the action of the Council of Chalcedon against the Eutychian heresy, labored to help the people of Italy against the marauding raids of barbarian invaders. He worked to maintain the authority of Rome in the West.
Although few people had as great an impact on the 20th century as Pope John XXIII, he avoided the limelight as much as possible. Indeed, one writer has noted that his “ordinariness” seems one of his most remarkable qualities. The date assigned for the liturgical celebration (where authorized) of Blessed John XXIII is not June 3, the anniversary of his death, as would be usual, but October 11, the anniversary of his opening of the Second Vatican Council.
Apart from the signal defeat of the Albigensian heretics at the battle of Muret in 1213 which legend has attributed to the recitation of the Rosary by St. Dominic, it is believed that Heaven has on many occasions rewarded the faith of those who had recourse to this devotion in times of special danger. More particularly, the naval victory of Lepanto gained by Don John of Austria over the Turkish fleet on the first Sunday of October in 1571 responded wonderfully to the processions made at Rome on that same day by the members of the Rosary confraternity.
Angels—messengers from God—appear frequently in Scripture, but only Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are named. The memorials of Gabriel (March 24) and Raphael (October 24) were added to the Roman calendar in 1921. The 1970 revision of the calendar joined their feasts to Michael's.
St. Pelagia was a well-known actress (some say prostitute) of Antioch. One day, with a throng of boys and girls dressed in gold she passed, sitting on a donkey and beautifully attired in gold, pearls and precious stones, close to where a group of bishops were in open-air conference. All the bishops hid their faces at the sight, except one, Bishop Nonnus, who gazed after her intently for a long time. "Were you not delighted by her beauty?" he exclaimed to his colleagues almost in tears. "This lady spends more time and care in adorning herself for those she will meet than we do in preparing our souls to meet our God."