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Wednesday 07 December |
Saint of the Day: St. Ambrose of Milan
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And today we celebrate...Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day: St. Josaphat

Bishop who offered his life for the Unity of Christians


Bishop and Martyr (1850-1623)

His life

+ Josaphat Kuncevyc was born in Poland in 1580. He was a member of the Order of St. Basil and worked to reform the formerly monastic community, giving it a more active character.

+ In 1617, Josaphat was appointed archbishop of Polotsk. As archbishop, he campaigned for the reconciliation of separated Christians, as well as for reform of the clergy. He became the first great leader of the Ruthenian Catholics, a group of separated Christians who were reunited with the Holy See through the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1595.

+ During a pastoral visit to Vitebsk, Belarus, he was murdered by radical Orthodox Christians on November 12, 1623. Saint Josaphat was canonized in 1867, becoming the first Eastern saint to be formally canonized by Rome. He is honored as one of the patron saints of Poland and of Belarus and as a special patron of Christian unity.

For prayer and reflection

Let us turn to all the saints of heaven and ask their intercession so that we may be granted this great grace. In particular, let us have recourse to those saints who were once celebrated among the Easterners for their wisdom and sanctity, and who are still celebrated because of the veneration and devotion of the people for them. And from among all these saints, let us first call upon St. Josaphat that as he was during his lifetime a most strenuous champion of unity, so now before God may he promote and vigorously support the same holy purpose.”—Pope Pius XI

Spiritual bonus

On this day we also remember Blessed María Natividad (Úrsula) Medes Ferris. A Cistercian nun in the region of Valencia, Spain, she was martyred on November 12, 1936, during the anti-Catholic violence of the Spanish Civil War. Blessed María Natividad was beatified with other martyrs in 2015.


To learn about the Basilian Fathers of St. Josaphat, visit:


Stir up in your Church, we pray, O Lord,
the Spirit that filled Saint Josaphat
as he laid down his life for the sheep,
so that through his intercession
we, too, may be strengthened by the same Spirit
and not be afraid to lay down our life for others.
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.
(from The Roman Missal)

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

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