On December 9, 1531, St. Juan Diego rose before dawn to walk fifteen miles to daily Mass in what is now Mexico City. A woman's voice called him to the top of the hill. There he saw a beautiful young woman dressed like an Aztec princess. She then told Juan to climb to the top of the hill where they first met. Juan was shocked to find flowers growing in the frozen soil. He gathered them in his cloak and took them at once to the bishop.
The Immaculate Conception, a solemnity, a day on which all Catholics are obligated to attend Mass. In 1854, Pope Pius IX's solemn declaration, Ineffabilis Deus, clarified with finality the long-held belief of the Church that Mary was conceived free from original sin.
Bishop of Milan from 374 to 397; born probably 340, at Trier, Arles, or Lyons; died 4 April, 397. He was one of the most illustrious Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and fitly chosen, together with St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Athanasius, to uphold the venerable Chair of the Prince of the Apostles in the tribune of St. Peter's at Rome.
Saint Nicholas was Bishop of Myra in modern Turkey. St. Nicholas is venerated as the patron of children. The legend of the "three children" gave rise to his patronage of children and the giving of presents in his name at Christmas time.
Saint Sabas is one of the most highly regarded patriarchs among the monks of Palestine and is considered one of the founders of Eastern monasticism. Over the years St. Sabas traveled throughout Palestine, preaching the true faith and successfully bringing back many to the Church.
Saint John Damascene has the double honor of being the last, but one of the fathers of the Eastern Church, and the greatest of her poets. His eloquent defense of images has deservedly procured him the title of "The Doctor of Christian Art.
Saint Francis Xavier is the Apostle of the Far East and is considered the greatest missionary since the time of the Apostles, and the zeal he displayed, the wonderful miracles he performed, and the great number of souls he brought to the light of true Faith, entitle him to this distinction.
Saint Bibiana was reserved for greater sufferings. She was placed in the hands of a wicked woman called Rufina, who in vain endeavored to seduce her. She used blows as well as persuasion, but the Christian virgin remained faithful. Enraged at the constancy of this saintly virgin, Apronianus ordered her to be tied to a pillar and beaten with scourges, laden with lead plummets, until she expired. The saint endured the torments with joy, and died under the blows inflicted by the hands of the executioner.
St. Edmund Campion was born in London, the son of Catholics who later became Protestants. Doubts about Protestantism increasingly beset him, and he returned to Catholicism. Campion was sentenced to death by the English Crown as a traitor and was hanged, drawn and quartered.
Saint Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus. He was the younger brother of Saint Peter and was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. The brothers were fishermen by trade. Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he would make them “fishers of men.”