"I will send you a faithful servant of mine and perfect friend," Jesus had promised Margaret Mary Alacoque, then going through a difficult time because the authenticity of her visions of the Sacred Heart was not believed. That God-sent friend was Claude de la Colombière (1641-1682), superior of the Jesuit house in Paray-le-Monial from 1675.
On the same day as Saint Valentine, bishop of Terni, martyred in Rome, the Church celebrates the feast of the brothers Cyril and Methodius, evangelisers of the Slavic peoples and proclaimed patrons of Europe by John Paul II with the apostolic letter Egregiae Virtutis (31st December 1980).
According to the most renowned Passio, Fusca was born into a pagan family of Ravenna. When she was about 15, she became interested in the Christian faith. She confided her desire to learn more about Christianity to Maura, her affectionate nurse, who encouraged her.
On February 11, 1858, at the Massabielle cave in Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin appeared to the 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous, an illiterate peasant, poor and sickly, who on that day had gone to collect wood along the gravel bank of the Gave de Pau. It was the first of a series of eighteen Marian apparitions, which would end on July 16th.
The Ecclesiastical History by Eusebius of Caesarea (265-340) reports the contents of a letter from Saint Dionysius of Alexandria (190-265) to Bishop Fabius of Antioch, where the martyrdom of Saint Apollonia is described as a consequence of the preaching of a fortune-teller who had incited the pagan crowds of Alexandria to persecute Christians.
John of Triora (1760-1816) was one of the missionaries who proclaimed Christ in China without yielding to compromise, to the point of sacrificing their lives. He was canonised by John Paul II on October 1st, 2000, together with 119 other martyrs (beatified at different times and whose leader in the Martyrology is Augustine Zhao Rong) killed in China between 1648 and 1930.
By postponing their liturgical memory by one day, to avoid the coincidence with that of Saint Agatha, the Church today remembers the martyrdom that took place on February 5th, 1597 on a hill near Nagasaki, where 26 crucified Christians glorified Christ to their last breath.