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It would have been easy for St. Francis Caracciolo to be a name dropper; born at Naples into Italian nobility in 1563, he was related on his mother's side to the great St. Thomas Aquinas. But the word that described him best was humility, for it was this virtue that guided him throughout his life.

When he was 22, Francis developed a skin condition resembling leprosy; he vowed that, if he was cured, he would devote the rest of his life to God. When the condition disappeared, Francis made good on his promise; he sold everything he owned, gave the proceeds to the poor, and went to Naples to study for the priesthood.

While there, he became cofounder of a religious order, the Congregation of the Minor Clerks Regular. Members of this new order took the usual three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, to which they added a fourth–that they would not actively seek positions of authority either within the Church or the order itself. Even though elected superior several times, Francis kept that vow by doing whatever menial tasks the members needed.

Francis, the patron saint of Naples, died of natural causes in 1608. His feast day is June 4.

Sources for these articles include:


Paoli, Francesco. "St. Francis Caracciolo." The Catholic Encyclopedia.Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909.

"Saint Francis Caracciolo," CatholicSaints.Info. 29 May 2015.

Schreck, Alan. Catholic Church History from A to Z. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 2002.




It is ironic, perhaps, that it was the witness of the martyrs that helped inspire the conversion of St. Justin from paganism to the Christian faith; it was because he clung to and defended that faith that his own life would end in martyrdom in 165.

Though his exact birth date is unknown, scholars surmise that he was born into a pagan family sometime around the year 100. As a young man, he was drawn to the study of philosophy as a way of discovering truth, and he spent a great deal of time reading and contemplating the works of Plato. As profound as those works were, they did not satisfy his desire to fully understand the most basic and important questions he was asking about life.

It was a chance meeting on a beach that led him toward the answers he was seeking. There he fell into conversation with an old man who shared with him the message of Jesus Christ. This, coupled with the witness of the Christian martyrs, convinced him that the truths he sought could be found, not in the speculations of philosophy alone, but in the person of the Word made Flesh–Jesus of Nazareth.

Justin, however, did not abandon his intellect or his intellectual pursuits. He simply put them to use defending his newfound faith, writing Christian apologies (a word which means, in a theological sense, explanations of the faith) for both Jews and Romans. He was able to combine the best elements of Greek philosophy with Christian theology to both defend Christianity and correct erroneous assumptions about it. Some of those errors–such as believing that Christians were "cannibals" because they spoke of "eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ"–we would find preposterous today. However, in Justin's time, such misconceptions were believed and his writings did much to dispel these misunderstandings. Two of his "Apologies," one each written to the Roman emperor and to the Roman Senate, as well as a "Dialogue to the Jew Tryphon" have survived.

When Marcus Aurelius became emperor in Rome in 161, an era of increased persecution of Christians began. Among those martyred for the faith was St. Justin, whose name would even come down to us with the cognomen "Martyr." One of Christianity's greatest apologists, Justin Martyr is honored as the patron saint of philosophers. His feast day is celebrated June 1.


Sources for these articles include:


Lebreton, Jules. "St. Justin Martyr." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910.

"Saint Justin Martyr," CatholicSaints.Info. 8 August 2015. 

Schreck, Alan. Catholic Church History from A to Z. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 2002.

College of St. Joseph baseball captures first USCAA national championship title

Just one year after the program's inception, members of the College of St. Joseph baseball team are national champions.

The Saints were awarded with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national title after going undefeated in the series, including a 14-3 victory over Cincinnati-Clermont in the championship game May 12.

Senior Derek Osborne from Springfield shut down Cincinnati-Clermont in the ninth to wrap up a complete-game win.

Saints players rushed the field at the game's conclusion, celebrating in a pile behind second base. A number of players emerged from the revelry covered in shaving cream. After that scene settled, Saints players got the jump on Coach Bob Godlewski and doused him with the water bucket.

Derek Edge, Nestor Velazquez, Jordan Matos, Colin McLeod, Jared Morello, Kevin Rodriguez and Connor Martin were all big contributors in the team's championship win.

Junior shortstop Nick Rodriguez from New Britain, Conn., was named Tournament MVP. Alan Madsen, Tyler Kunzmann, Bill Brancatella and Connor Martin were named to the All- Tournament Team.

Seniors Nestor Velazquez, Justin Lemanski, Tyler Demers, Jordan Matos, Alan Madsen, Derek Osborne and Bill Brancatella accepted the national championship trophy.

The Saints finished the season 52-11 overall.

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New Mater Christi principal

Patrick Lofton has been hired as the new president of Mater Christi School.

He was employed for 20 years as an associate superintendent of Catholic schools in Wisconsin and principal, teacher and fundraiser in Minnesota Catholic schools. Most recently, he was the executive vice president/chief operating officer of the National Catholic Educational Association in Virginia.

Lofton and his wife, Dr. Sheri Lofton, plan to relocate in Vermont. They have three college-age daughters. He is spending time in May and June in Burlington, sharing ideas with the principal of Mater Christi School, Anthony Fontana, and observing the school while it is still in session. His wife will spend some of that time transitioning out of her Virginia-based medical practice.

In his letter of acceptance, Lofton said: "As a lifelong Catholic educator, I am truly inspired by the history and legacy of the Sisters of Mercy and their efforts to found and support Mater Christi School. Your school has a long, proud and blessed history, as well as a promising future due to the dedication, sacrifice and unwavering commitment of the Sisters of Mercy as well as the larger community. I feel so very fortunate and privileged to be joining your community."

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