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Wednesday 01 February |
Saint of the Day: St. Brigid of Ireland
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And today we celebrate...Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day: Bl. Niels Stenson

Lutheran scientist who became a priest


Public Domain

Bishop (1638-1686)

His life

+ Niels was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. He became a doctor of medicine, and was a pioneer in the fields of anatomy, physiology, and paleontology. He is credited with scientific theories that are now fundamental precepts in the study of geology and crystallography. His contributions to medicine include discoveries about the operation of the glandular system.

+ In 1667, while working in a hospital in Florence, his search for the truth led him to the Catholic Church. After returning to Denmark, he lost his position at the exclusively Lutheran University of Copenhagen, but he retained his post as “Royal Anatomist.”

+ Stensen was ordained a priest in 1675 and was later named suffragan bishop of Münster, with episcopal oversight of Catholics in Germany and Scandinavia.

+ Blessed Niels Stensen died in 1686 and was beatified in 1988.

For prayer and reflection

God loves to make himself heard in the silence of creation, in which the intellect senses the transcendence of the Lord of Creation. Everyone who seeks to understand the secrets of creation and the mysteries of man must be ready to open their mind and heart to the deep truth which manifests itself there.”—Pope Saint John Paul II

Spiritual bonus

On this day we also remember the Carmelite priest Blessed Bartholomew Fanti. While he was serving as the spiritual director and rector of the “Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he composed a rule and statutes for the movement. During this time, he also served his own community as novice master. He became a spiritual teacher of the Carmelite priest Blessed John Baptist Spagnuolo, a poet and writer who also served as prior-general of the Carmelite Order. Bartholomew was a noted preacher and healer, known for his devotion to the Eucharist. He died in 1495 and devotion to him was confirmed by Pope Saint Pius X in 1909.


Lord God,
who graciously imbued blessed Niels Stensen with heavenly doctrine,
grant, through his intercession,
that we may keep that same teaching faithfully
and express it in what we do.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Prayer from The Roman Missal: Common of Pastors—For a Bishop)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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