SAINTS OF CROISÉ
Our Featured Saints and Holy Ones
St. Pius X
Benedict Groeschel C.F.R.
The Croisé approach to saints is to emphasize several over a period of time allowing the true lessons, sufferings and wisdom of each saint to be appreciated. We include uncanonized holy ones who have earned great respect in the life of the Church in this category. Study their lives and you will find the roots of faith!
What is the goal of every saint?
Cathedral of St. Etienne, Auxerre, France
To move toward the light.
Strength of Innocence
to the Body
Many personal details of the lives of the early saints have been lost to history. The nature of the early persecutions often did not facilitate lengthy biographies even as the Church had of Our lord Himself in the Gospels. Many saints served a particular service to the growth of the Church: they arose, they served often by martyrdom and their true longevity is their intercession from their heavenly home. Many no doubt disappeared into the mist of time.
St. Tarcisius was just such a case. In the persecutions of Christians by the government of Rome what united the members of the Church was the belief that Jesus was the true son of God who was resurrected from the dead and that he fulfilled His promise to remain with them until the end of the age through the Holy Mass. This meant that the priests of the Church could call upon the Spirit of God and just as at the Last Supper, bread and wine would become the body and blood of Jesus. To receive it was the sign of one's commitment to Christ and to His Church. It strengthened the weaknesses of man and even kept the faithful from denying the faith in the face of death by the most heinous of means.
Many went to prison. They refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods or deny the one true God and often awaited a dismal fate. The greatest consolation they could receive at this time was to receive the Body of Christ that was upon occasion brought to the prisoners clandestinely through many different channels.
Upon one occasion when a deacon was not available to take the Holy Sacrament to the prisoners in Rome and death was imminent, a young man who had served as an acolyte volunteered to sneak through the streets of Rome with Holy Communion and attempt to deliver it to the prison connection. But as he made his way along a gang of pagan boys saw him and questioned him about what he was carrying under his cloak. They decided that they wanted to see whatever mysterious thing he had hidden on him. Tarcisius refused to open his cloak fearing it would be desecrated and so the boys proceeded to beat him viciously. Over and over they bludgeoned him.
At some point it is believed that some Christians came along and chased the boys away. As they carried their hero home to return him to sympathetic assistance he died in their arms. When they arrived at their safehouse they realized that even though the gang tried to force him to relenquish his burse they did not procure the Body of Christ from Tarcisius, for when they opened his cloak the precious cargo had disappeared. They believed that by his loyalty to the Church's most valuable gift given by its founder great insult to the Savior of the World was avoided.
Tarcisius was the kind of saint that did not receive a grand funeral in a church or who had scores of people come to seek his blessing as he approached eternal life. He was not buried from a great cathedral and his possessions had no one to fight over them. He lived simple pure faith and died a simple pure death heroic as they both were. This is why he is our patron saint. At Croisé we do not pretend that our spiritual journey will be one of attention or greatness, rather most of our lives will be lived in hidden simplicity. We seek only what Tarcisius did: to help offer to others what was been given to us by the opportunity to see the face of Christ and live, and to entrust our own death into the hands that were nailed to the cross of eternal life.
Tarcisius was buried in the cemetery of St. Callistus and today the church of San Silvestro in Capite makes claim to his relics.
St. Pius X, Pope
“That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.” 26 26 – Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 2
Born Giuseppe Sarto
in 1835 near
Died in 1914
What is Modernism?
In the mid to late 19th century there was a movement in the academic halls of Europe, especially in Germany, which was attempting to use as much of a "scientific" method in the approach to many academic disciplines as possible. The study of history had begun to use many discoveries about man's past including anthropology, archeology and even linguistics. The social sciences advocates pressed for claim for scientific legitimacy.
Some tried to extend this into the study of Holy Scripture. This, of course, has many limits as faith is not something that can be proven by the limits of science. As the scriptures are actually faith documents what ended up happening was that those attempting this "modern" approach which included priests of the Church began to "disprove" the Divinity of Jesus, If science refuses to recognize God then obviously one cannot approach the study of the character of Nazareth with even the possibility of the Divine.
Realizing that this terrible infection was spreading in the Church, Pope Pius X was completely committed to stopping its corrupting influence. See the quote on our home page (and upper right in this article section) from Pascendi Dominici Gregis, the great papal encyclical condemning "Modernism."
A concomitant difficulty with the modernist approach is that moral norms will always come into question as the very words of scripture are challenged as uninspired by the Divine or misinterpreted based on current apparent circumstantial needs of society or individuals thereof.
The question is begged: did this modernist tendency return and are the same worries posited by Pius X still valid?
The Life of Pius X
Born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto on June 2, 1835 in northern Italy near Venice. A brilliant student all of his young life he went to the seminary immediately after high school. He was ordained at the age of twenty-five. After a series of priestly assignments where was very popular especially due to his sense of poverty, he began to be promoted into a series of administrative positions and became the Bishop of Mantova in 1884 quickly being moved to be the Patriarch of Venice two years later. In 1903 Cardinal Sarto was elected pope after several ballot efforts.
In his early years of priesthood he met with much success in teaching classes in the faith for young and old. As Pope Pius X he advocated using venacular instead of Latin to teach the faith. He also encouraged the daily reception of holy communion as he relaxed fasting and lowered the age for First Communion.
As education in universities began changing including the development of the social sciences in the late 1800s Pius found in the early 1900s that a new "modernist" attitude toward academia was spilling into the teaching of the faith. He was alarmed as some clergy began to question the nature of Jesus as the Divine Son of God. Due to his concern he demanded an oath against modernism be taken by all clerics. The teaching approach of St. Thomas Aquinas was reinstated as the standard for the whole Church.
Pope Pius renewed the breviary (priest's official daily prayer book) and restored Gregorian Chant as the preferred music for Mass countering the rise of baroque and other classical music styles that had become popular. In accord with his emphasis on the Holy Eucharist he also cut down applauding during Mass. These were all reflections of his own pious personality and devotion to restore all things in Christ as stated in his official motto.The new code of Canon Law of 1917 was also a result of his efforts (he had studied Canon Law in early career) and he mandated that all Catholic parishes offer catechism classes to keep the faithful educated and protected from the forces of modernism which he felt had run amuck.
Miraculous cures were said to have occurred in the presence of Pius X as well as several after his death. He beatified Joan of Arc, John Bosco, and John Eudes all to become saints. He suffered a heart attack in 1913 and died the following year after suffering from continued poor health.
Pope Pius X was canonized a saint in May of 1954 in front of 800,000 people, the first pope canonized since 1712. He was truly one of the most important and accomplished popes of the Church.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard
The Apostle of the Eucharist
..."Heaven should be the object of all our desires, our only true goal. We are on the earth only to make ourselves worthy of heaven. But heaven is not simply given away"...
Never has anyone written about loving Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament like St. Eymard founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament which included as in its lay brothers the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Bringing to a new height the devotion of St. Francis for the Holy Eucharist, St. Peter Julian from his young years pursued the Lord at church in the tabernacle going to visit and speak to Him.
Functioning in France when it was coming out of an extremely hostile environment toward clergy St. Peter Julian worked tirelessly to spread both the worthy frequent reception of Holy Communion and the devotion of adoring the Blessed Sacrament. He was a confrer of St. John Vianney of Ars during a time when the faith was beginning to recover in the life of common people and grew due to both of their efforts.
Born in 1811 near
Died in 1868
The Life and Accomplishments of St. Eymard
St. Eymard founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, the best bio of him comes from
that Congregation at blessedsacrament.com. Therefore most of the following is a brief overview from that site.
Peter Julian Eymard was born in France in 1811. This was shortly after the French Revolution during which thousands of priests and religious brothers and sisters died at the hands of the revolutionary forces (in addition to tens of thousands of Catholics loyal to the Church and Crown.) This meant that there was a carryover anti-clerical attitude that dominated much of France.
The first and most touching story about the saint was that when he was five his sisters were frantically searching for him and finally found him over the parish church. Peter Julian was standing on a stool close to the tabernacle at the high altar. His reply to them was "I am here listening to Jesus."
His early life saw immense changes in society which filtered into his own life. The Industrial Revolution came as well as the Age of Romanticism embracing an unchaining of culture from religion. His father did not want PJ to enter the seminary because two of his sons had already died. He tried but became very ill and had to leave. Later after his father's death PJ was finally ordained a priest of the Diocese of Grenoble. How to be holy and a religious person had many influences in this age. Eymard would struggle to find in his interior life the way to offer himself totally to God.
Having a deep devotion to St. Mary Fr. Eymard took vows as a member of the Society of Mary (Marists) in 1839. Through his intense work ethic, his ability to organize and proclivity for the contemplative life Eymard was looked at as a prophetic figure in the Marist religious order.
Through his travels with the Marists he witnessed the effect of Eucharistic devotion in many places. His own preaching on the Blessed Sacrament was very well received. Then one day in Lyon, France while carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession he was overwhelmed with the call to "bring all the world to the knowledge and love of our Lord; to preach nothing but Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Eucharistic." So began what would consume his life.
Thus in 1856 he left the Marists and founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. As he proceeded with this idea his intent was not to just promote adoration but to bring souls back to the Eucharist who had been estranged from the Church. Due to the fact that the order worked with the poor they had no money themselves and the first years were very lean and they had difficulty attracting vocations.
In his work Eymard was a proponent of frequent Holy Communion which was ratified later by Pope Pius X. He was friends with Peter Chanel and John Marie Vianney whom he visited in Ars. St. Peter Julian began establishing houses in various cities in France but died at the age of fifty-seven due to complications from a stroke. He was a prolific retreat master writing scores of conferences on the religious life and the value of adoring the Blessed Sacrament. These conferences have been collected in a series of books by the congregation. He was buried in La Mure in 1868 and remained there until 1877 when his body was moved to the order's chapel in Paris where it remains to this day. It is believed to be incorruptible.
Some Quotes From St. Eymard
""And he told them a parable, shewing them that they ought to pray continually, and never be discouraged.
Prayer, incessant prayer, - in other words the habit of prayer, - is a necessity for every Christian. All of us receive this grace at baptism: it is the Holy Ghost Who inspires us to cry out to God: "Father, Father?" Prayer is the gift, the grace, and the strength of everyone: we can do nothing worthwhile nor accomplish any good at all without prayer, which obtains for us the grace of good works and of virtue. Prayer is at the root of all the virtues, and faith itself, the beginning of righteousness, is nothing other than the habit of prayer.
And so the prophet thanked God for leaving to him - amidst his weaknesses, his tribulations and his failures - the power of prayer. He said "Blessed be God who hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me," as though to be able to pray and to obtain mercy were one and the same thing. He understood the importance of prayer, and that to pray was to possess the Heart of God and the salvation of the soul."
".....I do not know what vanity in us tries to persuade us that it is we ourselves who should pray, and for this reason we think that we are bound to make enormous efforts. Well! it is the Holy Ghost in us who wants to pray! We are incapable of doing it by ourselves:"
This is the bust of St. Eymard by sculptor August Rodin who joined the congregation after the death of his sister when he decided to give up art. St. Eymard convinced him to return to his career due to his great talent.
Not only brilliant and insightful in spiritual issues; Benedict Groeschel was one of the funniest characters in American religious life.
"If you want me to come back from the dead, just wave a microphone over my head."
Benedict Groeschel in a
Benedict Groeschel was a man for his times but only if that time was the of a distant age. He himself said that if a movie was ever made about his life it would be made by "14th Century Fox." He was more than aware that he was attracted to the life of times past, especially when religion played a larger part in the structure of society and the Franciscan response to Jesus was more of a transformational experience culturally and ecclesially than it is today. A superior student who ravaged Dante's Inferno at fourteen and who's father was the head engineer on the construction of Penn Station and the United Nations Building young Peter (his name at the time) moved directly into studies with the Franciscans upon completing high school. Involved with the civil rights movement including the original cases in Selma, Groeschel lived poverty in its rawest authenticity and spent every day all day long "cooking the Lord's stew." Using his doctorate education in psychology to mingle spirituality with secular insights he had a unique ability to offer retreat and conference experiences that others could not create. This was compounded with a photographic memory that served humor as much as observation "of the passing scene" regarding everything Church. He traveled the globe offering retreats many times to groups of bishops.
Serving as the Director of Spirituality for the Archdiocese of New York and head of Trinity Retreat Center for Priests Father Benedict was deeply involved in the lives of thousands of priests. Perhaps no one knew more about the psychological aspects of priests than he. Along with all these things he authored and co-authorized almost 40 books on religion and psychological perspectives on faith, the religious life and living as a lay Catholic. Serving in New York City most of the time gave Groeschel a unique view of humanity in what he called "Jerusalem and Babylon wrapped up in a hot dog roll." He served the poorest of the poor and he tended to the high and mighty for he knew that the salvation brought by Christ was needed by all.
The five goals of Croisé are found in a quote from Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones on our Goals Page. In books such as these by Groeschel there was no one better to synthesize the complicated theological, historical and spiritual concepts in order to be understood by plumber or prince than Benedict Groeschel. From an impact point of view in terms of the rich, the clerical and the poor and needy there were few church personalities that had more impact on Catholicism in America in the last half of the 20th and beginnings of the 21st century than little Peter Groeschel who after being scared by someone he thought was a witch headed into church to the altar of St. Mary and said he was told "Be a priest," "Be a priest." And what a priest he was.
The incorrupt bodyof St. Eymard lies in the Church of Saint Sacrament in Paris, about 300 metres from the Arch de Triomphe. The church is operated by the Blessed Sacrament Fathers.