According to a pious legend, St. Olivia was described as a ravishing beauty of 13 years when Saracens captured her at Palermo, Sicily in the 9th century. She was deported to Tunis where she began to perform miracles and convert Muslims to Christianity. Exasperated Muslim authorities arrested, tortured, and beheaded her. At the moment of her death, her soul was seen to fly to heaven in the form of a dove.
In the midst of the second world war Pope Pius XII put the whole world under the special protection of our Savior's Mother by consecrating it to her Immaculate Heart, and in 1944 he decreed that in the future the whole Church should celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is not a new devotion. In the seventeenth century, St. John Eudes preached it together with that of the Sacred Heart; in the nineteenth century, Pius VII and Pius IX allowed several churches to celebrate a feast of the Pure Heart of Mary. Pius XII instituted today's feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the whole Church, so as to obtain by her intercession "peace among nations, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, the love of purity and the practice of virtue" (Decree of May 4, 1944).
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus goes back at least to the 11th century, but through the 16th century, it remained a private devotion, often tied to devotion to the Five Wounds of Christ. The first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated on August 31, 1670, in Rennes, France, through the efforts of Fr. Jean Eudes (1602-1680). From Rennes, the devotion spread, but it took the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) for the devotion to become universal.
Saint Paul, Bishop of Constantinople, during the period of bitter controversy in the Church over the Arian heresy. Elected in 336 to succeed Alexander of Constantinople, the following year he was exiled to Pontus by Emperor Constantius II. Here he was deliberately starved and finally strangled by Arian supporters. He is considered a martyr for the orthodox cause and was a close friend St. Athanasius.
Saint Boniface of Mainz is often called The Apostle of Germany. Pope Gregory II renamed him Boniface, "doer of good," and delegated him to spread the gospel message in Germany. For 30 years Boniface worked to reform and organize the Church, linking the various local communities firmly with Rome.
Saint Petroc was the younger son of the King Glywys. On his father’s death, the people of Glywysing called for Petroc to take the crown of one the country’s sub-divisions, but Petroc wanted a religious life, and went to study in Ireland. After 30 years as abbot, Petroc made a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy. On his return, just as he reached Newton Saint Petroc, it began to rain. Petroc predicted it would soon stop, but it rained for three days. In penance for presuming to predict God’s weather, Petroc returned to Rome, then to Jerusalem, then to India where he lived seven years on an island in the Indian Ocean.
The Feast of Corpus Christi, or the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (as it is often called today), goes back to the 13th century, but it celebrates something far older: the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Last Supper. While Holy Thursday is also a celebration of this mystery, the solemn nature of Holy Week, and the focus on Christ's Passion on Good Friday, overshadows that aspect of Holy Thursday.
Saint Elmo, also known as St. Erasmus, is the patron of sailors and stomach ailments and against storms. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Legend records that when a blue light appears at mastheads before and after a storm, the seamen took it as a sign of St. Elmo's protection. This was known as "St. Elmo's fire".
Saint Justin Martyr (c.100-165) is the patron of Philosophers and Apologists and is a Father of the Church. He wrote many works, some of which are still extant. After giving a defense of the Faith, he was martyred under the Roman Prefect Rusticus in the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.