Saints of the Week

January 15
St. Arnold Janssen
Arnold Janssen, a German diocesan priest, founded the Society of the Divine Word in 1875, the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in 1889, and the Holy Spirit Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1896. The mission of the priests and Brothers of the Society of the Divine Word and the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters is to proclaim the Gospel where it has not yet been heard or has not been proclaimed adequately. The mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration is prayerful support for the missionaries.

January 16
Franciscan Martyrs of Morocco
During the General Chapter of 1219 Francis sent a group of six friars to the missions of North Africa. Their names were Vitale, Berardo, Pietro, Accursio, Adiuto and Ottone. Vitale, the superior, fell sick in Spain, and had to abandon his resolve to go to Morocco to evangelize the moors. The others proceeded under the leadership of Berardo. They first went to Seville, in southern Spain, which was occupied by the moors, and preached Christ publicly. They were taken in front of the emir, who gave them freedom to proceed to North Africa. They crossed over to Morocco, and preached in front of the king Miramolin. The king expelled them from his country, but they returned in their resolve to preach the Christian faith. On 16 January 1220, after cruel torments, they were slain by the king himself. Pope Sixtus IV canonized them in 1481. The account of their martyrdom is found in Analecta Franciscana III, pp. 579-596.

References: Franciscan Saints and Mystics; Society of the Divine Word.