Liturgical Living

Liturgical Living

for the month of February

by Heather Gardner

February is the Month of the Holy Family

Read on for a list of this month's feast days and ways you can celebrate them with your families. Find links for prayers, recipes, activities, and videos. Live your faith out loud!

February 1st: St. Brigid of Kildare

St. Brigid's Well, County Kildare, Ireland, February 2017

St. Brigid’s Day is the traditional first day of spring in Ireland, and, much like Groundhog Day in the U.S., it is believed that if a hedgehog stays out of his burrow on this day, it’s a prediction of nice spring weather ahead (source).

St. Brigid was born to a pagan family in Ireland in 452, which was during the ministry of St. Patrick. She was named after the Druid goddess, Brigid, and as a child she worked tending her father’s cattle. She would milk the cows and make butter, and she frequently got into trouble for giving butter away to the poor.

Legend has it that one day, when she returned home after having given away all her butter, she decided to pray to God—as she had heard St. Patrick taught. She prayed to be spared punishment for giving away all the butter. Miraculously, when the steward looked in the butter churns, they were full again, and Brigid resolved that day to become a Christian. When she became a nun later in life, she founded the first order of nuns in Ireland with the help of seven followers. The sisters earned a living by selling jam made from wild berries they picked.

The convent they established was in Kildare on the grounds of an old pagan shrine to the Druid goddess, Brigid. Druid priestesses had once looked after a naturally-occurring eternal flame there. Rather than extinguish the flame, St. Brigid and her sisters began to tend the fire in honor of Christ. This simple act helped lead many pagans to conversion by showing them how their worship of nature could be brought to fullness through communion with the One True God.

St. Brigid died on February 1st, which is why we celebrate her feast on this day. Coincidentally (or not coincidentally at all), February 1st is also the date of Imbolc, which is a Druid festival honoring the goddess, Brigid. Thus, many of the customs and festivities that had once been used to celebrate a pagan goddess came to be used instead to honor the One True God through St. Brigid. Even in death she continued to lead souls to Christ. St. Brigid is held in such high esteem in Ireland that she is often referred to as “Mary of the Gael.”

The flame the Brigidine Sisters tended was kept alive in Kildare until the 16th century when Henry VIII of England suppressed the Irish monasteries. In the 20th century, the flame was rekindled and still burns today, faithfully tended by the Brigidine Sisters.

In my house, we celebrate our Bridget Catherine’s Name Day today, so she gets to choose what we have for dinner. But, if you’re looking for some tasty Irish recipes for today, I love this slow cooker Guinness beef stew (Make sure you use the Guinness extra stout, not the draught.). And, you could give this apple crumble a go for dessert. Yes, you MUST use the Irish butter and oats. Kerrygold butter is available at any grocery store, but you’ll probably have to get the oats on Amazon. I use McCann's.

Unpopular Truth: Corned beef and cabbage is American, not Irish. It’s delicious, to be sure, but no one in Ireland eats that.

St. Brigid's Day 2019

A fun activity to try today is making your own butter. This is WAY easier than it sounds. If you have heavy cream, salt, and a food processor, you can do this! And, here's an Amazon link for the storybook Bridget Catey is holding in the above photo.

VIDEO: How to make a St. Brigid's Cross

February 2nd: First Friday/Candlemas

First Friday

This is a devotion made known to St. Margaret Mary Alcoque through a series of visions of Our Lord. A plenary indulgence is granted by the Church for completing this devotion which includes going to Confession, attending Mass, and receiving Communion on the first Friday of the month for nine consecutive months. A complete list of the promises Jesus makes to those who practice this devotion, as well as written and video instructions for completing it, can be found here.


Also referred to as “The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord,” Candlemas commemorates the presentation of the baby Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem, Mary’s ritual purification post-childbirth, and the meeting of the Holy Family and St. Simeon and St. Anna the prophetess (“The Meeting of the Lord”).

Mosaic Law required parents to consecrate their firstborn son to the Lord 40 days after his birth. Mothers also had to submit to ritual purification and offer sacrifice in the Temple. While the Son of God certainly did not need to be consecrated to God, and Mary, by virtue of her Immaculate Conception, was in no need of purification, Jesus and Mary offer us here an example of obedience to God’s Law.

There is a lovely tradition known as the “churching of new mothers” that has fallen out of use since Vatican II. This beautiful rite focused on blessing a woman after childbirth and giving thanks to God for her child. Kendra Tierney describes it as follows:

“This was the blessing of a woman, forty days after childbirth (regardless of outcome), that reintroduced her to society after her period of recovery at home. There was never an implication within the Catholic tradition that a woman was made impure by childbirth. Instead, the tradition was an acknowledgement of the difficulty of childbirth and new motherhood, and an official Church mandate for women to rest for six weeks after giving birth. In fact, the period between birth and churching was called the “gander month” because men were expected to tend to domestic affairs during that time…Our Church has specific, long-observed traditions in place to safeguard the time after birth as one of rest and recovery, and as a time humbly to allow others to help us (Tierney, 2018, pp. 132-133).”

For many centuries, newborns were baptized days, or even just hours, after birth. This meant that the baby’s mother was seldom able to attend the Baptism. Today, it is customary to wait several weeks to baptize a newborn, and the mother is almost always present. For this reason, the blessing of a new mother is given at the baby’s Baptism. I think “lying-in” is a sacred thing that society would benefit from rediscovering. Adequate rest and privacy in the weeks immediately following childbirth are critical for the mother’s recovery and for bonding with the new baby.

The third event in the life of the Holy Family commemorated by the Feast of Candlemas, The Meeting of the Lord, is described in Scripture in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 2:25-38). This is the well-known story wherein Simeon tells the Blessed Virgin Mary that she, too, would be pierced by a sword.

But, where did we get the name, “Candlemas?” St. Simeon says in Luke’s Gospel, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel (Luke 2:30-32). Jesus is the light of which Simeon speaks—the light of the world. For this reason, the Church traditionally blesses candles on this day, both those used in the Church and candles brought by parishioners for blessing. Hence, “Candlemas,” candle Mass. Fr. Randy will offer blessing of candles at daily Mass for Candlemas on Friday, February 2nd at 9:00 AM. You are welcome to bring candles to be blessed. These candles can then be used in your home throughout the year. I like to light them during dinner.

It is tradition to eat pancakes or crêpes on this feast day. I have a go-to recipe for each. Find them linked below. This strawberry sauce is a delicious topping for either one! It’s especially decadent paired with Nutella and banana slices. Top with fresh whipped cream!

buttermilk pancakes recipe

crepes recipe with video how-to

February 3rd: First Saturday/St. Blaise

First Saturday

In 1925, The Blessed Virgin Mary reappeared to the principal seer of Fatima, Lucia dos Santos, and requested the propagation of this devotion which consists of going to Confession, receiving Communion, praying the Rosary, and meditating on all the mysteries of the Rosary for 15 minutes on the first Saturday of the month for five consecutive months. Complete written instructions for the devotion can be found here, and video instructions can be found here.

St. Blaise

Not much is known about the life of St. Blaise, but persistent devotion to this saint is well-documented. Blaise was an Armenian bishop and physician in the early fourth century. Rather than live in a posh bishop’s mansion, St. Blaise chose to conduct his ministry from a hermitage. Eventually, he was arrested for being a Christian, and, as he was being carried off to jail, legend tell us that a distraught mother approached him. Her son was choking on a fishbone that had become lodged in his throat. She laid the boy at the bishop’s feet, and he was miraculously saved. For this reason, St. Blaise’s intercession is sought against choking and illnesses of the throat. He is also the patron of animals, wool combers, wool trading, and Bronte, Sicily.

St. Blaise is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, a group of saints whose intercession has become sought with confidence due to proven efficacy. Devotion to the 14 as a group originated in 14th-century Germany where the bubonic plague was devastating entire villages. The group is composed of early Church martyrs, and they are individually invoked against specific ailments, most of which relate to the manner of their martyrdom. The 14 Holy Helpers are St. Acatius, St. Barbara, St. Blaise, St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Christopher, St. Cyriacus, St. Denis, St. Erasmus (Elmo), St. Eustace, St. George, St. Giles, St. Margaret of Antioch, St. Pantaleon, and St. Vitus. See this website for a complete list of these saints’ martyrdoms and afflictions they’re known to help cure.

It is traditional on St. Balise’s Day for the faithful to have their throats blessed. This is typically done during Mass (although it can be done afterward) following the homily and prayers of the faithful. Using two crossed, unlit candles (that were just blessed at Candlemas yesterday!) the priest touches each person’s throat as he prays:

Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from all ailments of the throat and from every other evil: + in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Blaise is often associated with bread as he is said to have used bread to save the choking boy. In Milan, it’s considered good luck to eat panettone first thing in the morning on St. Blaise’s Day. This is said to protect you from throat problems. So, if your kids get strep all the time like my oldest does, may I suggest this French toast recipe (scroll to the bottom of the page)? The recipe calls for a 2lb loaf of panettone, which you may have trouble finding around these parts (unless you make it yourself), but you can substitute brioche, which is readily available at most grocery store bakeries.

St. Blaise’s Day is a great time for a nature walk or visit to a zoo since the saint is a patron of animals and is said to have cured them right along side the people he cured. Here is a printable St. Blaise coloring sheet for the kiddos!

February 4th: First Sunday of St. Joseph

It has long been customary in the Catholic Church to prepare for the Feast of St. Joseph by dedicating to him the seven Sundays preceding his feast day, which is March 19th. We spend these weeks recalling the seven sorrows and seven joys of St. Joseph. This is as simple as adding some special prayers to your day on each of these Sundays. You can find meditations for all seven weeks here. You can also pray The Litany of St. Joseph.

In my Village, we add the prayers for St. Joseph from Kendra Tierney’s monthly prayer books to our meal time prayers at dinner. We bless the food, and then the kids are allowed to start eating while I read the St. Joseph meditation. Letting them eat while you talk is a great strategy for getting them to sit still and actually listen! If you wanted to use these specific devotions, you need both the February and March books since the seven Sundays are in both months. Catholic All February is still available on Amazon, and Catholic All March is available as a digital download on Kendra’s website. The February book is also available to download if you prefer that. Personally, I like real books.

February 8th: St. Josephine Bakhita

Josephine Bakhita lived an incredible life during which she overcame the wounds of slavery and horrific abuse, found peace in the Lord, and devoted her life to His service. She was born in Darfur, Sudan in 1869. Her family was large and happy, and her uncle was the village chief. At the age of nine she was kidnapped by Arab slave traders. The abuse she suffered at their hands was so severe that she forgot her own name, and the slavers gave her the name, “Bakhita,” which in Arabic means, “lucky.” Bakhita was bought and sold five times. One master forced her to submit to a painful process of decorative scarring over her breasts, belly, and right arm. This was intended to mark her as his property. In the home of another master, she offended the master’s son who beat her so severely that she was unable to move from her straw mat bed for a month.

In 1883, the Catholic Italian vice-consul, who was living and working in Sudan, purchased Bakhita, and, for the first time since her abduction, she lived with a family who did not physically abuse her. Two years later, after having returned to Italy with Bakhita, the vice-consul gave her as a gift to the Michieli family. The Michielis were Italians who owned hotels in Sudan, and Bakhita became their daughter, Alice’s, nanny. When their business required them to visit Sudan, the Michielis left Bakhita and Alice with the Canossian Sisters in Venice, and it was here that Bakhita first learned about the Catholic faith. When Signora Michieli returned and wanted Bakhita to go back to Sudan with her, Bakhita refused. Her freedom became the subject of a court case, and, in 1889, an Italian judge ruled that, because slavery was outlawed in Sudan before Bakhita was born, and definitely illegal in Italy, she was a free woman who had the right to remain at the convent if she chose.

Bakhita did choose to stay at the convent where she was baptized the following year with the name Josephine Margaret Fortunata. Ten years later, she made her final profession as a nun and lived the rest of her days in the convent. When asked once by a student what she would do if she ever met her kidnappers or abusers again, she answered, “If I were to meet those who kidnapped me, and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands. For, if these things had not happened, I would not have been a Christian and a religious today.” May God grant that we should all have such grateful hearts! St. Joesphine Bakhita died in 1947 in the convent, surrounded by her sisters. With her final breath, she spoke the words, “Our Lady! Our Lady!” She is the patron of Sudan and against human trafficking.

If you’d like to get adventurous with your food in honor of St. Josephine today, here is a list of Sudanese recipes you can try. But, if you have picky eaters in your house, you could definitely go with Italian food since the saint spent most of her life in Venice. There is a Sudanese children’s game called Hyena that your family might enjoy trying today, and you can print a coloring sheet of St. Josephine Bakhita here.

VIDEO: Children's Games in South Sudan

February 11th: Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Abigail/Second Sunday of St. Joseph

Our Lady of Lourdes

On February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous in a grotto above a rose bush in Lourdes, France. This was the first of several apparitions to Bernadette. On February 18, 1858, Bernadette said the Blessed Mother asked her to return daily to the grotto for two weeks. This period of daily visions is now referred to as la Quinzaine sacrée, which means, “holy fortnight.”

During the February 25th apparition, The Virgin Mary instructed Bernadette to drink the water from the spring in the grotto, to wash in the spring water, and to eat the herb that grew there. The next day, what had been a muddy spring, had been miraculously transformed into clear, fresh water. Many pilgrims have visited this spring in the hope of receiving a miraculous cure for their ailments.

In July 1866, Bernadette joined the Sisters of Charity. She died at the age of 35 on April 16, 1879 and was canonized by Pope Pius XI in December 1933.

Visit the official website of the Grotto of the Apparitions at Massabielle here. You can view a livestream of what is happening in the grotto, and you can even add prayer intentions to be carried to the grotto.

Here are some French recipes you might like to try for dinner tonight. I found this cute idea for a grotto cake, but I need to suggest some revisions: First of all, please do not use a box cake or jarred frosting. If you don’t have the time or the desire to bake a cake from scratch, just buy a plain one from a grocery store bakery, and decorate that. Here is a coloring sheet you can use to make the decorations. I would cut around Our Lady and St. Bernadette in one circle and then use three to four toothpicks across the bottom to support it in the cake.

There is a movie called The Song of Bernadette, and it looks like you can watch the whole thing for free on YouTube. And, here are some more crafts to do with kids.

VIDEO: The Story of Lourdes

St. Abigail

St. Abigail, or St. Gobnait, as she’s called in Irish, was born in County Clare, Ireland around the 6th century. Legend tells us that she once ran away from home to escape the constant feuding of her family. She took up residence on Inis Oírr (pronounced “Inish-ear”) in the Aran Islands where an angel appeared to her telling her that this was not her “place of resurrection.” The angel instructed Abigail to move inland in search of the place she was meant to spend her life. The angel said she would know the place when she saw a herd of nine white deer.

The path Abigail journeyed in search of the herd is now marked with churches and holy wells dedicated to her. The place where Abigail found the deer is now known as “St. Gobnait’s Wood,” and it is a protected natural reserve in Baile Bhuirne (Ballyvourney), County Cork. It is believed that Abigail’s brother, St. Abban helped her set the foundation for a convent here. Abigail served as the mother superior for the community of women religious in the convent where she spent the rest of her life devoted to works of charity.

Abigail was also a beekeeper. Early Celts believed that the soul left the body in the form of a bee or butterfly. Abigail, with her deep faith and profound belief in the Resurrection, was naturally drawn to these creatures. She was known to use their honey to cure illness and treat injuries. She is even credited with saving Baile Bhuirne from the plague. Abigail is the patron saint of bees and beekeepers.

In my house, we celebrate my Abigail Clare’s Name Day today, so she gets to choose dinner, but this page offers two recipes made with honey for the feast (Scroll to the bottom.). Your children may enjoy some of the activities on this list of bee crafts or going on a backyard bug hunt today! You can find a complete Georgia insect guide here. Your family might also be interested in the videos on this TikTok account: Erika Thompson, Texas Bee Works This Texas beekeeper shares many videos where she relocates hives to keep bees from being exterminated.

Second Sunday of St. Joseph

See First Sunday of St. Joseph above.

February 13th: Shrove Tuesday

More commonly known in this country as, “Mardi Gras,” Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, and it is a final day for celebrations and rich foods before the great fast of Lent. The word “shrove” is the past tense of shrive, which means to administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation or to free from guilt. Traditions for Shrove Tuesday vary greatly from place to place. You may have also heard the day referred to as, “carnival,” which comes from the Latin words carne and vale, literally, “meat farewell.”

In my house, we have often observed the very British tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. In times past, Catholics fasted not only from meat, but from all meat byproducts as well during Lent. Making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday was a way to use up all the eggs, butter, and milk before Lent began. My buttermilk pancake recipe is linked above under Candlemas.

I have only recently learned that, in Ireland, it is customary to eat crêpes on Shrove Tuesday, so I think I’m going to try these chicken florentine crepes this year. I’ll use my own crêpe recipe (also linked under Candlemas) with the filling from this recipe. Then, for dessert, I’ll fold remaining crêpes and top with bananas foster, which is my all-time favorite dessert. Heads up: That recipe calls for dark rum, which you’re welcome to use if you want. But, I think rum is gross, and I always substitute bourbon. I find that Buffalo Trace works well in this recipe. The original recipe also says you can cook it without flambéing it, but come on. What fun is that?

You’re also down to the wire today if you haven’t chosen a voluntary Lenten discipline. Many people choose to give up a food they particularly enjoy. But, I’ve also heard of people giving up things like speeding, the snooze button on their alarms, or hot showers. Full disclosure: I love Jesus SO MUCH, but unless He comes to ask me personally, I am not signing up for cold showers. If you are, please stop by my office, so I can high five you. You’re a rock star!

Learn about other Shrove Tuesday traditions from around the world here.

February 14th: Ash Wednesday/St. Valentine

Ash Wednesday

A Catholic Guide to Ashes by Bill Donaghy

Remember man that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.

Today we begin the season of Lent, a penitential season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. Although not a Holy Day of Obligation, Ash Wednesday is an important day in the liturgical year, and the Masses are typically well-attended. Ash Wednesday Masses at St. Anna’s will be at 12:15PM and 6:00PM. The ashes, made from the burned palms from last year’s Palm Sunday, represent our mortality as well as our grief over our own sins. All people—adults, children, infants, Catholic or not, Christian or not, even those who have been excommunicated—are welcome to receive ashes. The ashes are a sacramental, not a Sacrament.

Ash Wednesday is an obligatory day of fast and abstinence. This means that all Catholics who are 14 or older are required to abstain from eating meat, and all Catholics aged 18-59 years are required to fast. Fasting is defined as one, full, meat-free meal and two lesser meatless snacks that, when combined, do not equal your full meal. Those who cannot fast due to illness are exempt, as are pregnant and nursing mothers.

Today is also the day to take up our voluntary Lenten sacrifices and disciplines. In my family, there are some things we all do together for Lent and some things we each choose individually. In general, we are meat-free and treat-free as a family for all of Lent. The kids will still sometimes take a lunchmeat sandwich to school, or something, but, as I’m the one who prepares the dinners, those are all meatless. We also avoid going out to eat.

I’m going to choose not to share my personal Lenten sacrifices because Matthew chapter 6 tells us: When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you (Matt. 6:16-18). Now, this isn’t to say that I would never discuss my voluntary penance with my friends. I’m just not going to lay it out point-by-point on the internet. I would just encourage you to choose a Lenten sacrifice that is truly a sacrifice for you. Pick something that feels a little difficult. We are all in different places in our lives and in our faith. What is extremely sacrificial for one person may be no bother at all for another. God knows your heart.

Fr. Mike Schmitz on Picking a Thing for Lent

Recall also that Catholics are required to go to Confession at least once a year, and, if you’re only going to go once a year, it should be during Lent. The Lenten Penance Service at St. Anna’s will be Thursday, February 22nd, at 7:00PM. Regular Confessions are every Saturday afternoon at 3:30 or by appointment. During Lent, Fr. Randy will also be offering Confession in his office from 10:00AM-Noon on Wednesdays.

Here's a fun fact you may not know: If you count how many days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, it’s more than 40. That’s because the Sundays do not count. Every Sunday is a solemnity, and every Sunday gets to be celebrated, even those during Lent. This means you get to knock-off your Lenten penance on Sundays. The same applies to any other solemnity falling during Lent. For example, the Solemnity of St. Joseph is March 19th, and it’s a Tuesday this year. You don’t have to do penance that day, and, in fact, you shouldn’t. You may have heard this practice of forgoing one’s voluntary disciplines described as “cheating" on Sundays during Lent, but it’s not cheating because the Sundays don’t count. Enjoy your chocolate and coffee, friends! You’re welcome!

St. Valentine

This is how you ended up gifting flowers and chocolates to each other to commemorate one man’s savage martyrdom:

Valentine was a Roman priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius II (Claudius the Cruel). Because Rome was involved in so many bloody conflicts at that time, maintaining a sufficiently strong army was a challenge. Claudius believed that men were reluctant to join the army because they were too devoted to their wives and children, and he therefore outlawed all marriages.

St. Valentine, recognizing the terrible injustice of this law, continued to officiate weddings for young lovers in secret. When he was found out, he was immediately sentenced to death. He was to be beaten to death with clubs and beheaded. This brutal sentence was carried out on February 14th in or around the year 270. Valentine is now known as the patron saint of engaged couples, happy marriages, and love, among a few other less pleasant things such as the plague and epilepsy.

Of course, this year, Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday. I suppose you could still gift your sweetie a heart-shaped box of chocolates, but it would be wildly inappropriate of her to eat them today.

Roses are red

Ashes are black

Jesus loves you

Don’t eat that snack

February 18th: Third Sunday of St. Joseph

See First Sunday of St. Joseph above.

February 21st, 23rd, & 24th: Spring Ember Days

What are Ember Days???

From Kendra Tierney’s book, The Catholic All Year Compendium:

“Before the second Vatican Council, Catholics observed Ember and Rogation Days as special times of penitence. These days arose from the agrarian lifestyle of European Catholics and were linked with planting and the harvest of certain crops. As of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, observance of these penitential days is no longer mandatory, and they are no longer universally marked on the General Roman Calendar. They do, however, still appear on the calendar for Masses according to the Extraordinary Form.

Ember Days were observed four times per year for three days over the course of a week: Wednesday, as the day Judas betrayed Jesus; Friday, as the day Jesus was crucified; and Saturday, as the day He was in the tomb. The traditional dates for the Ember Days were the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after these days: St. Lucy’s Day, December 13th; The first Sunday of Lent; Pentecost; and Holy Cross on September 14th.

Historically tied to agriculture, these days were for giving thanks to God for the seasonal harvests. The spring days were offered for the flower harvest and recalled Baptism. The summer days were offered for the wheat harvest in thanksgiving for the Holy Eucharist. The fall days were offered for the grape harvest in thanksgiving for the Precious Blood. The winter days were offered for the olive harvest in anticipation of the holy oils used in anointing the sick. Priestly ordinations were traditionally performed on the Saturday Ember Days, so these days were also offered as a prayer for priests and for vocations.

Formerly, these were days of required fasting and abstinence, allowing one full meal and two collations, with meat allowed at the principal meal only, except on Fridays, when complete abstinence from meat was required.”

In my family, we traditionally reserve the principal meal for dinner on these fasting days, so we can all eat together. And, I like to make a meal with each of the four harvests represented. For example: pasta (wheat) with a meat-free sauce, broccoli (flowers), fresh bread (wheat) and olive oil (olives), and wine (grapes) for adults or grape juice for the kids.

February 25th: Fourth Sunday of St. Joseph

See First Sunday of St. Joseph above.

February 29th: St. Auguste Chapdelaine

I had to include a Leap Day saint! I was surprised to discover that there are a few. In addition to Auguste Chapdelaine, Pope Saint Hilary, Saint Oswald of Worcester, and Blessed Antonia of Florence are all remembered on February 29th.

Auguste Chapdelaine was a French missionary who served in the Guangxi province of China. He was born in La Rochelle-Normande, France, entered seminary at the age of 20, and was ordained a priest in 1843. He celebrated his first Mass in Guangxi on December 8 (Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception!), 1854.

Chapdelaine was arrested just ten days after his arrival in Guangxi and held prisoner for about two and a half weeks.

After just over a year of priestly ministry, he was arrested again on February 25, 1856 along with other Chinese Catholics. He refused to pay a bribe when he was accused of inciting rebellion and was condemned to “cage torture.” This involved 100 lashes on the cheek with a leather throng, which caused Chapdelaine’s teeth to be knocked out and his jaw to be gruesomely torn. The small, iron cage in which he was imprisoned was hung at the entrance of the jail, and the planks supporting his weights were gradually removed. This caused increasing strain in the neck muscles and ultimately resulted in death by suffocation. Chapdelaine was decapitated postmortem, and his head was hung from a tree by the hair (source).

Although Chapdelaine was French, his ministry was in China, so I fully endorse Chinese takeout for dinner tonight! But, you really do not have to twist my arm to get me to eat sesame chicken and egg rolls. After dinner, maybe play a game of Chinese checkers, and check out this short video describing how the Chinese government has attempted to discredit Chapdelaine by falsely accusing him of atrocities.

Other Feasts in February:

February 1st: St. Tryphon; St. Verdiana

February 2nd: St. Joan of Lestonnac; St. Maria Katharina Kasper; Our Lady of Help

February 3rd: Blessed Dom Justo Takayama; St. Ansgar; St. Simeon; St. Werburgh

February 4th: St. Joseph of Leonessa

February 5th: St. Agatha

February 6th: St. Dorothy of Caesarea; St. Francesco Spinelli; St. Paul Miki & Companions; St. Vedast

February 7th: St. Theodore Stratelates

February 8th: St. Jerome Emiliani

February 9th: St. Apollonia

February 10th: St. José Sáchez del Río; St. Paul’s Shipwreck; St. Scholastica

February 12th: St. Eulalia of Barcelona

February 13th: St. Catherine de Ricci; St. Ermenilda of Ely

February 15th: St. Claude de la Colombière; St. Georgia

February 16th: St. Juliana of Cumae

February 17th: The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

February 18th: St. Fra Angelico

February 19th: St. Odran

February 20th: Sts. Francisco & Jacinta Marto; St. Amy

February 21st: St. Peter Damian

February 22nd: St. Margaret of Cortona; The Chair of St. Peter

February 23rd: St. Polycarp

February 24th: St. Adela

February 25th: St. Walburga

February 26th: St. Isabelle of France

February 27th: St. Anne Line; St. Gabriel; St. Gregory of Narek; St. Leander of Seville

I encourage you to do some research on any of these that may be important to your family. Catholic culture is universal AND personal. Celebrate the feasts that are significant to you. Our faith is super fun!

Recommended FREE Catholic apps for iPhone and Android:

Laudate: The most comprehensive Catholic app: daily readings, prayers, podcasts, rosaries, and more!

iBreviary: brings the traditional Catholic prayer of the Breviary and all the texts of the Liturgy to your device


Tierney, K. (2018). The catholic all year compendium: Liturgical living for real life. Ignatius Press.

Catholic All Year Compendium on Amazon

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