by Richard A. Watson, M.D., Past President of the Catholic Medical Association (USA)

When we think of “Doctors of the Church”, our first inclination might understandably be to think in terms of theological doctors of our Church, ranging from Saint Thomas Aquinas to Saint Peter Damien to Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Nevertheless, it should be noted that we, too, as Catholic physicians, are also each serving, albeit in a much less elevated mode, as “Doctors in the Church.” In this light, it might prove helpful to reflect on the lives of those who have gone before us, achieving recognition for their extraordinary sanctity, as canonized Physician Saints of the Catholic Church. To draw from their meritorious example, and to invite prayerfully their intercession, should be much to our advantage, in the working out of our own salvation. To the advancement of this objective, the following roster of Physician Saints is offered.


Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in the Theology of the Blessed Sacrament, is, at one and the same time, both the High Priest of God and His Perfect Sacrificial Victim. Paralleling the duality of this Divine Mystery, in the Theology of Healing, Christ serves as our perfect model, again in a dual role: He is both the Divine Physician (“Christus Medicus”) and, at the same time, the archetype of the suffering patient (“Christus Patiens”). Meditation on these two reciprocal roles of Christ, central to the Christian perspective of the Healing Art, would serve us well, as prayerful Catholic physicians and caregivers.

Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is the Divine Physician and Healer — our first, best and only requisite intercessor. At our 1998 dual Convention of the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) and of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC) in New York City, two of the outstanding speakers who presented before that international gathering of Catholic physicians — Father Benedict Groeschel and Doctor Edmund Pellegrino – were both moved to focus on the topic of Christ the Physician – “Christus Medicus.” More recently, Archbishop Lozano Barragan has also brought attention to this special role for Jesus in our professional lives in his presentation at the FIAMC meeting in Rome in the Spring of 2000. Bishop Lozano reminds us, “The Catholic identity of the medical doctor is to be the transmittance of the Healing Christ.” (Bishop Lozano’s address is available at the FIAMC WebSite [see “References” below])


Archangel and Patron of Physicians

Feast day: September 29

Saint Raphael is one of seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord. Raphael’s name means “God Heals Us.” In the Old Testament (Tobit 11:10-15, 6:7-9,and 3:17), it was Raphael who taught Tobiah how to cure his father’s blindness, after the ministrations of several physicians had succeeded only in making the affliction worse (Tobit 2:10). Raphael is the angel who moved the waters of healing at the sheep-pool (John 5:1-4). Saint Raphael is the patron of the blind, of happy meetings, of travelers, and of nurses, as well as of physicians.


Pro-Life Physician and Evangelist

Feast day: 18 October

Saint Luke, the Evangelist, was a Greek doctor; he was called “Our Beloved Luke, the Physician” by the peripatetic Saint Paul of Tarsus (Col. 4:14). Evidence of Saint Luke’s medical background is peppered throughout his gospel. For example, when the other two synoptic evangelists recorded Christ’s warning that a rich man will have no more ease passing through the gates of heaven than would a camel passing through the eye of a needle, they use the household term for a woman’s sewing needle. Saint Luke, on the other hand, uses the Greek word for a surgeon’s suturing needle. At another point, in telling the story of the woman who suffered from hemorrhage, Saint Luke – keenly aware of the mercenary pitfalls of our profession — adds the sardonic observation that the woman had already spent all of her money seeking the advice of many physicians, and yet had been helped by not a one of them (Luke 8:43-48 vs Matthew 9:20-22) Luke alone of the evangelists recounts Christ’s stunning allegory of compassion and selflessness in the context of providing healing care for the helpless, the injured and afflicted — the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37)

An inherently pro-life physician, Luke uses the same Greek word for “baby”, whether writing about a baby in the womb or about a babe in the manger. And it is he who recounts how Saint John the Baptist, while still in the womb of Saint Elizabeth, leapt for joy at the approach of Jesus, unborn but very much alive, within the womb of his Virgin Mother (Luke 1:39-45). Finally, it is within the Gospel of Saint Luke, that Jesus makes his only reference to us practitioners of medicine: “Physician, heal thyself!” (Luke 4:23).

+ Prayer to Saint Luke +

Most charming and saintly Physician, you were animated by the heavenly Spirit of love. In faithfully detailing the humanity of Jesus, you also showed his divinity and his genuine compassion for all human beings. Inspire our physicians with your professionalism and with the divine compassion for their patients. Enable them to cure the ills of both body and spirit that afflict so many in our day. Amen.



Feast day: June 19

d. circa 67

Saint Ursicinus, a physician in Ravenna, was condemned for being a Christian during the persecution of Emperor Nero. His faith began to waver, but he found new strength through the encouragement of Saint Vitalis and met his death with resolve.2


Physician/Martyr of Lyons

Feast day: June 2

d. 177

Saint Alexander was born in Phrygia, but praticed medicine in Gaul, where he converted to Christianity. “Well known for his love of God and his boldness in spreading the Gospel,”4 he was arrested during the persecutions conducted by Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Alexander was caught encouraging fellow Christians, who had been condemned to death, to remain steadfast under torture. With forty-seven other Christians, Alexander was himself then tortured and executed, as one of the Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne.,


Merciful physician and martyr

Feast day: May 20

d. 284

Saint Thalelaeus, a physician, was martyred with Saints Alexander, Asterius and companions. The son of a Roman general, he earned the epithet, “the Merciful One,” owing to his charitable service to the poor and sick in the town of Anazarbus, in Cilicia (Asia Minor). He was martyred at Aegae, in Cilicia, by beheading after drowning failed to kill him.1


Physician Wonder-Worker

(also known as Panteleemon, Panteleimon)

Feast Day: July 27

d. circa 300

Saint Pantaleon is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, known for their efficacious response to prayer, who are especially venerated in France and Germany. Pantaleon’s name in Greek, means “the all-compassionate one.” It is said that he was a doctor of such skill that Emperor Maximian, a great persecutor of Christians, employed Pantaleon as his court physician. Pantaleon had been raised as a Christian, but in the fanatically anti-Christian and dissolute court of Maximian, he lost his faith and nearly his soul with his self-indulgent lifestyle.

In time, however, a fellow-Christian restored the Saint Pantaleon to the faith he had abandoned. From that time Pantaleon’s skills were at the disposal of the poor. The wealth he had gained from his successful practice he gave away. Other physicians, jealous of his position at court, saw Pantaleon’s renewed faith as an opportunity for discrediting him. When the persecution of Christians under Emperor Diocletian broke out in Nicomedia in 303, Pantaleon this time refused to reject the faith; instead he chose death. Vain attempts were made to put him to death in six different ways–including drowning, fire, and wild beasts–before he was successfully beheaded amidst a halo of other marvels.

A reputed relic of Pantaleon’s blood, kept at Ravello in southern Italy, displays the phenomenon of liquefaction on his feast day, similar to that of Saint Januarius. Saint Pantaleon has made the news recently, when his relics, on loan from Greece, were placed on display near what had until recently been the site of Lenin’s tomb. People were queuing up for hours, and youth, in particular, flocked to view the Saint’s relics. Russian media are calling the response phenomenal.

In art, Saint Pantaleon is a physician holding a phial of medicine. At times he may be depicted healing a sick child or bound with hands above his head to an olive tree, to which he is nailed. Together with Saint Raphael, Saints Cosmas and Damian, and Saint Luke, Pantaleon is a patron of the medical profession. He is invoked against tuberculosis and other lung diseases, and he is also patron of bachelors and of victims of torture (not that these two latter conditions are necessarily related). ,


Twin doctors who never charged a fee!

Feast Day: September 27

Date: circa 300

These two saints are venerated in the East as the “moneyless ones,” because they practiced medicine without ever charging their patients a fee. These twin brothers were born in Arabia and studied medicine in Syria. They practiced medicine on the coast of Cilicia in what is now Turkey, with remarkable generosity and outspoken zeal for their Christian faith. Their widespread reputation proved their undoing, when a persecution against Christians broke out. They were quickly arrested, tortured horribly, and beheaded, along with three of their other brothers. Many miraculous healings have since been attributed to their intervention. Saints Cosmas and Damian are considered Patrons of physicians and surgeons, as well as of pharmacists. They, along with Saint Luke, are the three physician saints cited in the canon of the Mass.


Martyrs from Arabia and Alexandria

Feast day: January 31

d. 303

Saint Cyrus was an Alexandrian doctor who used his calling to convert many of his patients to Christianity. He joined an Arabian physician named John in encouraging Athanasia and her three daughters to remain constant in their faith under torture at Canopus, Egypt. They, in turn, were both seized and tortured, and then all six were beheaded.3


Physician martyred with his sister.

Feast day: October 30

d. 305

Saint Zenobius was a priest and physician from the town of Aegae, in Asia Minor (modern Turkey), who practiced in Sidon (Palestine). He was tortured to death on the rack, in the city of Antioch, during the persecutions of Diocletian. Zenobia, his sister, was martyred with him.3,


Physician from Tarsus

Feast day: August 16

d. circa 350

A martyr of Nicaea, in Bythinia, Saint Diomedes was originally a physician in Tarsus, in Cilicia. Saint Diomedes was a fervent preacher of the faith. 5


Sainthood ran in his family

Feast day: February 25

d. 369

Brother of St. Gregory Nazianzus and son of St. Gregory the Elder, Saint Caesarius studied medicine and philosophy at Alexandria, Egypt, and in Constantinople. Famous as a physician, Caesarius was appointed to the court of Emperor Julian the Apostate, who tried repeatedly to get him to renounce the Christian faith. Caesarius was then only a catechumen, a Christian in training, but he resigned from the court rather than deny Christ. He later served Emperor Jovian as physician and was the treasurer for Emperor Valens.5


Physician/Priest and Father of the Poor

Feast day: June 27

d. 530

Also called Samson Xenodochius “the Hospitable,” this latter day Samson was noted not for his physical prowess, but rather for the heroic strength of his character and his compassion. Saint Samson was a doctor renowned for his selfless charity. A physician in Constantinople (modern Istanbul), he went on to become a priest, in order to tend to both the physical and spiritual welfare of his patients. Samson founded a well-known hospital near the Hagia Sophia, in Constantinople. He was revered as “Father of the Poor.”


Physician martyred with his cousin

Feast day: December 6

d. 484

Saint Emilian, a physician in Northern Africa, was flayed alive, along with Saint Tertius, for refusing to convert to the Arian heresy. His cousin, Saint Dionysia, and her son, Saint Majoricus, had already been tortured and burned at the stake.


Physician and Environmentalist

Feast day: April 24

d. 1103

Hermit and pilgrim, physician and canon at Saint-Venance in France, Saint William beheld a vision that prompted him to give away all of his considerable possessions to the poor. He spent the rest of his life on pilgrimages and residing as a hermit. William had a close relationship with nature and was honored by wild animals.2


Student of Galen and Servant of Mary

Feast Day: 23 August

d. 1285

Saint Philip was born in Florence, the answer to prayers of a couple long-married and childless. He undertook the study of medicine, beginning at age 13, in Paris. It is said that his study of the ancient teachings of Galen, though a pagan, spurred him strongly to raise his heart from the contemplation of nature to the worship of its Author. Having completed his studies for a doctorate in medicine and philosophy in Padua by age 19, he took up the profession of medicine in his native Florence. From his first year of practice, Saint Philip combined his commitment to medicine with a fervent devotion to the Holy Bible, and to contemplation of the crucifix – his “textbook” of Faith. Saint Philip was moved to join the newly formed Servites – the Order of the Servants of Mary — as a humble brother, gardener and common laborer. However, his eloquence and spiritual insights soon led his superiors to direct him to Holy Orders. He played an important leadership role in the early formation of the Servite Order and of the Third Order of the Servants of Mary. He was respected as a persuasive peacemaker during these chaotic times in the history of Italy, and as an advisor to Popes. And yet he remained faithful to the austere simplicities of his Order. He died at the hour of the Angelus on the Feast of the Assumption, 1285.


A physician saint named Mary

Feast Day: July 5

d. 1539

Saint Antony studied medicine at Padua and returned home to Cremona to practice. He soon learned that his vocation was to heal the souls of men, as well as their bodies. And he took up the study of theology, meanwhile continuing in his profession of medicine, offering spiritual help to the dying and being at the service of all. Ultimately, he was ordained a priest, and became the founder of the Clerks Regular of Saint Paul. His medical training again proved useful in bringing aid to those suffering when a plague afflicted Milan.


Physician Martyr of Nagasaki

Feast day: February 5

d. 1597

Francis was a native Japanese from Miyako. He became a physician and later was converted to Catholicism by the Franciscan missionaries there. He became a Franciscan tertiary, served as a catechist, and was one of the twenty-six Catholics crucified for their Faith near Nagasaki on February 5, 1597, during a bloody persecution of Christians. He is also known as Francis of Miyako. These saints were all canonized as the “Martyrs of Japan” in 1862.3

(According to Butler’s Lives of the Saints, it was Saint Caius Francis, who was a native-born Japanese physician; while Saint Francis Miyako, a companion martyr, was a native of Korea, but not a physician. However, Katherine I. Rabenstein avers that Francis of Miyako (of Nagasaki), OFM Tert., was a Japanese physician from Miyako, who later in life was converted to Catholicism by the Franciscan missionaries in Japan and became a tertiary and lay catechist.)


Mirabile dictu – a humble surgeon!

Feast Day: November 5

d. 1639

The life of Saint Martin de Porres is celebrated throughout the universal church for the example it provides of selfless humility, of kindness and of generosity to the poorest of men and to the least of God’s creatures, and of simple, unwavering faith in the Lord.

A mulatto, born out of wedlock, in Lima, Peru, Saint Martin was the illegitimate son of a Spanish knight and a freed slave from Panama. He was raised the victim of poverty and, as a “half-caste,” he was often the object of social contempt. At age twelve, he was apprenticed to a local barber. In those days, the barber, besides performing haircuts, was also expected to be skilled in blood-letting, minor surgery and dentistry. Saint Martin’s surgical and tonsorial skills, as well as his great love for the Lord in the person of the poor, soon brought many to seek his care. Throughout his subsequent life as a Dominican lay-brother, Saint Martin maintained his commitment to medicine and surgery. He ran an infirmary, and was instrumental in founding a foundling hospital. He remained attentive to healing of men’s bodies, as well as of their souls. Many extraordinary miracles are attributed to this humble, little, ‘half-caste’ lay-brother, whose symbols remain the broom and the cross.,


A physician/saint named Mary

Feast Day: July 5

d. 1539

Saint Anthony studied medicine at Padua and returned home to Cremona to practice. He soon learned that his vocation was to heal the souls of men, as well as their bodies. And he took up the study of theology, meanwhile continuing in his profession of medicine, giving spiritual help to the dying and being at the service of all. Ultimately, he was ordained a priest, and became the founder of the Clerks Regular of Saint Paul – the Barnabites. His medical training again proved useful in bringing aid to those suffering when the plague afflicted Milan.


Surgeon, Saint, and Proto-martyr of North America; Patron Saint of Anesthesiologists

Feast day: 26 September

d. 1642

Rene Goupil, surgeon and martyr, is one of the least known of those who might be considered physician saints. And yet he is the proto-martyr for all of the North American continent.

Of the North American martyrs, best known are the Jesuit Fathers, Saints Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf. Among their ‘companions,’ who suffered with them severely for their Catholic faith, and the first to suffer the ultimate sacrifice of life itself, was a Catholic layman, named Rene Goupil.

“This Rene Goupil was a remarkable man. He had tried hard to become a Jesuit and had even entered the novitiate, but his health forced him to give up the attempt. He then studied surgery and found his way to Canada, where he offered his services to the missionaries, whose fortitude he emulated…

In 1642, the Huron country was in great distress; harvests were poor, sickness abounded, and clothing was scarce. Quebec was the only source of supplies, and Jogues was chosen to lead the expedition. It reached its objective safely and started back, well supplied with goods for the mission, but the Iroquois, the bitter enemies of the Hurons, and the fiercest of all Indian tribes, were on the warpath and ambushed the returning expedition. The story of the ill-treatment and torture of the captives cannot here be told in detail. Suffice it to say that Jogues and his assistant Rene Goupil, besides being beaten to the ground and assailed several times with knotted sticks and fists, had their hair, beards and nails torn off and their forefingers bitten through. What grieved them far more was the cruelty practiced on their Christian converts. The first of all the martyrs to suffer death was Goupil, who was tomahawked on September 29, 1642, for having made the sign of the cross over the brow of children.” ,


Physician Saint Extraordinaire, truly a genius – He did all things well.

Feast day: 25 November

d. 1686

Niels Steensen is better known among historians of medicine and the natural sciences by the Latin translation of his name: “Nicolaus Steno.” This intellectually brilliant and spiritually devout physician proved the master of every field to which he turned his agile mind. A titan in both the worlds of Science and of Faith, his life should be a source of deep inspiration to physicians of this and every age.

Born a Lutheran in Denmark, Saint Niels’ cosmopolitan life rendered him a citizen of all Europe, an icon of the seventeenth century. He first studied medicine at the University of Copenhagen under the renowned Professor Thomas Bartholin. His studies were interrupted by serial sweeps of the plague through Denmark, and a call to man the walls of Copenhagen against a siege by the Swedes. Saint Niels completed his medical education with extraordinary recognition at the University of Leyden.

He was fluent, not only in his native Danish, but also in Latin, German, French and Italian, and he was conversant in Greek and Hebrew. He turned his genius to anatomical dissection, and discovered the salivary duct which today still bears his name, proved that the heart was essentially a muscular organ (refuting Galen), and described the Tetralogy of Fallot two hundred years before Fallot did. He turned to philosophy and debated the great philosphers Leibniz and Spinoza. He turned his sharp eye to anatomical dissection and, intrigued by his findings on the dissection of a shark’s head, arrived at conclusions which have marked him as the Father of Paleontology. His insights led to his being recognized as a great light in the fields of Geometry and Crystallography also. A product of the Baroque era, Nicolaus Steno was nevertheless a quintessential “Renaissance” physician.

Saint Niels converted to the Roman Catholic faith, paying a great price for doing so among his countrymen and among many contemporary scientists. However, Saint Niels saw his commitment to the Faith, not as a refutation, but rather as the culmination of his intellectual journey.

Pulchra sunt, quae videntur
(Beautiful are the things we see)

pulchriora quae sciuntur
(More beautiful are those things which we comprehend)

longe pulcherrima quae ignorantur
(By far most beautiful are those things which extend beyond our comprehension).

And Saint Niels addressed his commitment to faith with all the energy, brilliancy, insight and dedication which had characterized his former, scientific endeavors. He became not only a Catholic, but a Catholic priest; and not only a Catholic priest, but a Catholic bishop! First appointed Bishop of Hanover, Germany, he went on to become suffragan bishop of Münster. In these roles, he did much to uphold the Catholic Faith and to strengthen the resolve of the faithful. He did much, too, to reform the practice of the priesthood and to encourage vocations.

He compared his role as a priest with his role as a physician: A doctor must be familiar specifically with each of his patients as an individual, if he is to cure the illness. As there is an almost endless profusion of illnesses and medications, one must selectively prescribe one medicine for one patient, and another for another. In some cases, one must apply the knife or even fire. In the same way, spiritual illnesses are numberless, and the same remedy will not cure all. When, therefore, a priest would discharge his task, as a doctor of the soul, he must know each one’s spiritual illness as thoroughly as possible, as regards the symptoms, the causes and their corresponding remedies. We have a pattern in Christ, who is come to heal the sick, and actually heals each one of us in different ways.

(Niels Steensen’s words are even more remarkable when it is remembered that they were written 300 years ago, when the science of psychology was still undiscovered.)


Physician and Cathechist

Feast Day: November 24

d. 1840

Saint Anthony was a physician in Vietnam, who also served as a catechist for the Faith. In 1838, he was arrested and kept in prison for two years, then strangled. He was canonized in 1988. 5


Martyr of Indochina

Feast Day: 11 July

d. June 1840

Blessed Joseph Canh, a physician, was among those imprisoned, subjected to hideous, prolonged torture and finally executed, under the persecution of the Annamite sovereign, Minh-Mang. Saint Joseph’s torture and death took place within Southeast Asia in a region which is now part of Vietnam. While in prison Doctor Canh and his fellow Christians converted many of those imprisoned with them. Dominican friars, tertiaries and others closely associated with the Order of Preachers were prominent among the large number of faithful who suffered martyrdom during the violent persecution of Christians in Indochina from 1836 to 1841.


The Holy Doctor of Naples – Medical School Professor who became a Saint

Feast day: 16 November

d. 1927

Born at Benevento, Italy, 1880, Giuseppe Moscati, a lifelong bachelor, became a respected physician, researcher, educator, and administrator. He served as Director of the Pathological Anatomy Institute in Naples and reinvigorated the reputation of that organization. He also served as the Head Physician for the Hospital for Incurables in Naples.

Doctor Moscati played an important role in the evacuation of mass-casualties during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Also he was charged with the care of some 3000 wounded soldiers in a military hospital during World War I.

This physician’s generosity to impoverished patients was legendary. He was a role model for the students of medicine who learned from his example, as well as from his word. Here is a doctor who sometimes actually paid his patients! The story is told of how Doctor Moscati, on more than one occasion, on completing a house-call to the bedside of an impoverished patient, would secretly place a small gift of money under the patient’s pillow, to help with payment for medications and food.

Saint Joseph Moscati, like his fellow physician saints – Saints Luke and Pantaleon – is considered a patron saint of bachelors. Like his fellow physician saint – Saint Rene Goupil – he is also considered a patron of those rejected by religious orders.

Giuseppe Moscati died suddenly, while between patient-appointments, at the age of 46, in Naples, 12 April 1927. Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of Doctor Moscati’s canonization, said of him. “The man that today we invoke as a Saint of the Universal Church, presents us with a concrete realization of the Lay Christian ideal. Joseph Moscati, an executive physician, a great researcher, a university teacher of human physiology and of physiological chemistry, lived out his life of many tasks with all the will and seriousness that these intricate lay professions require. From this viewpoint, Doctor Moscati is not only an example to be admired, but, most of all, to be imitated by Christian physicians. He is an example, too, to those physicians who do not share his faith…”

“Sick people are Jesus Christ’s creatures. Many wicked people, criminals, and false-swearers find themselves in a hospital by God’s mercy. God wants them to be saved! Nuns, doctors and nurses that work in a hospital have a mission: cooperating with God’s endless mercy, helping, forgiving and sacrificing themselves.” (written by Saint Joseph Moscati, Jan. 17th, 1922.)


Short, but action-packed life — physician, military medic, dental officer, religious and victim of tuberculosis

Feast day: 1 May

d. 1930

Born Erminio Pampuri in Northern Italy in 1897, Saint Richard Pampuri, the tenth of eleven children, was orphaned at a young age and raised by his kindly physician uncle. As a youth, he was a member both of the Third Order of Saint Francis and of the Saint Vincent dePaul Society. His medical studies were interrupted by military service in World War I, during which he served as a military medic – a Second Lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps. His military service was marked by his compassion for the many badly wounded soldiers and his revulsion at warfare. “What a stupid waste of human life; so many wounded; so many broken bodies!” It was during his service on the front that Saint Richard contracted the tuberculous pleurisy that would lead to his own painful and premature demise. Returning at war’s end to the University of Pavia, he completed his studies, graduating at the top of his class in medicine and surgery. A physician known throughout the province of Milan for his generosity and kindness, Doctor Pampuri ultimately experienced an irresistible attraction to the religious life. He was received into the Hospitallers of Saint John of God (the Fatebenefratelli), and took the name of “Riccardo” – “Brother Richard.” He was placed in charge of a dental clinic for the poor, where once again Doctor Pampuri showed exemplary compassion and selflessness. Mothers brought their babies to be touched and blessed by him. In less than three years, recrudescence of his lung infection led to a painful death at the age of 32. Saintly no less in his dying than in life, Saint Richard was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1989.15

Most recently, a priest of the Movement for Communion and Liberation is undertaking the construction of a chapel, adjacent to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, dedicated to Saint Richard Pampuri. “..Because I was miraculously saved by him, and I want him to protect this enormous hospital, so he can answer those who, like I did, call on him in the certainty that he will respond.”

Doctor Pampuri explained to his sister, a missionary nun in Egypt, “I always see Jesus in my patients, so it is He for whom I care, comforting Him who suffered and died to expiate our sins.”


Pediatrician, mother and saint

Feast day: 28 April

Died: 28 April 1962

Canonized: 16 May 2004

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, a physician and pediatrician, was herself the mother of four. She rejected a recommendation to undergo a ‘therapeutic’ abortion late in the pregnancy of her fourth child, and died postpartum of peritoneal sepsis. In this sense, Doctor Molla is a pro-life martyr of maternal love. She had a special devotion during medical school in Italy to Our Lady of Desperate Cases.

Saint Gianna provides an exceptional model for us Catholic physicians, in that

  1. she is the first woman physician to be beatified by the Church,
  2. while many other physician saints have achieved their sanctity outside the field of medicine, proceeding on, without spouse or child, to become a priest, missionary, martyr, bishop or even an evangelist, Blessed Gianna discovered opportunities to achieve holiness within the everyday practice of medicine and of family life,
  3. she attained her sanctity within dual roles, both as dedicated physician and as a terminally-ill patient in extraordinary pain,
  4. she joined the role of physician to those of wife and mother, and
  5. recognizing her professional and moral commitment to pro-life principles, Blessed Gianna was ready to risk sacrificing her own life in order to spare that of her unborn child.

Saint Gianna advises us, “I have always been taught that the secret of happiness is living moment by moment and thanking God for everything that in His goodness He sends us, day after day.”,,


Patron Saint of Malpractice Litigation?

Feast Day: March 28

d. 592

As a cautionary reflection, lest this review of physician saints lead us to an unseemly inflation of our self-esteem, I offer the history of Saint Guntramnus, King of Burgundy, 561-592. This medieval patient-advocate reportedly executed those physicians who failed to meet expectations regarding the medical treatment of his wife.


Patron Saint of Urologists?

Feast Day: June 29

d. circa 64

And finally, as a urologist, I would be remiss not to mention Saint Peter the Apostle. This Prince of the Apostles has been pictured in medieval art as a uroscopist. It was he whom the Lord chose to walk, albeit falteringly, over the waters. And Peter’s name itself means (kidney?) stone.


The following physicians have been recognized for the sanctity of their lives and their example, through the process of beatification. At least one confirmed miracle has been attributed to their intercession. They are honored with the title, “Blessed.”

Ophthalmologist, Military Surgeon, Prince, Father of 13 Children.

Also known as:
– Ladislaus Batthyány-Strattmann
– László Batthyány-Strattmann

Memorial Day: 22 January
d. 22 January 1931 at Vienna, Austria of bladder cancer

Born into an ancient noble Hungarian family, the sixth of ten brothers. His
family moved to Austria when he was six years old, and his mother died when
he was twelve. He studied medicine at the University of Vienna, graduating with a medical degree in 1900. On 10 November 1898 he married Countess Maria Teresa Coreth, a pious woman, and the couple had thirteen children; the whole family attended Mass and prayed the Rosary every day.

In 1902 Ladislaus opened a private 25-bed hospital in Kittsee, Austria. He
worked there as a general practitioner, and when he had sufficient staff,
specialized as a surgeon and eye doctor. During World War I the flood of
injured soldiers required him to expand the hospital to 120 beds.

In 1915 Ladislaus inherited the castle of Körmend, Hungary, and with it the
family name *Strattman* and the title of *Prince*. In 1920 he moved his
family to the castle, and turned one wing into a hospital specializing
in eye diseases. Ladislaus’ skills led him to become an internationally
known specialist in Ophthalmology.

Dr Ladislaus never turned away a patient because they could not pay, and
provided funds to the destitute. He treated all, kept them in hospital as
long as necessary, gave away medications, accepted what patients would pay
when they would, but never asked a fee from anyone, except that they pray an
*Our Father* for him. He prayed over each patient before working on them,
knew that his skills were simply God working through his hands, and saw his
family fortune as a way to help the poor. He was considered a saint in life
by his family, his patients and fellow healers.

Beatified – 23 March 2003 by Pope John Paul II


Physician Priest who signed a pact with Satan

Memorial Day: May14

d. 1265

So many romantic legends intertwine themselves with the story of Blessed Giles that it is difficult to see the man himself. His life, even stripped of its legend, is, nonetheless, a story of the triumph of grace in the human soul.

Giles, born in Portugal, was ordained at an early age, but with no good intention, for he saw in the priesthood only a chance to wield power. A thoroughly irreligious and pleasure-seeking young man, Giles became a student of the black arts. According to one legend, he met the devil and signed a contract with him, in which he promised his soul in return for a universal knowledge of medicine. Thereupon he spent seven years in bondage to his evil master, learning all his arts.

Having gained the highest degrees in medicine, Giles went to Paris and became a successful physician. At the peak of his worldly success, as the result of a series of fearful visions, Giles, repented of his misspent life and destroyed his magic books and potions. At Palencia, he met the friars of the newly founded Order of Preachers, who helped him to make his peace with God. Blessed Giles occupied several positions of authority in the order, including provincial of Portugal, and his medical skill proved to be a blessing in the care of his sick brethren. He lived to be very old, regarded by all but himself as a very great saint.,


Physician, Franciscan preacher and financier

Memorial Day: 20 March

d. 1497

Born an Italian noble man, Blessed Mark completed his studies in medicine, and went on to marry. Later, both he and his wife agreed to separate and each join the Franciscans, she becoming a Poor Clare and he a priest. Blessed Mark spent the remainder of his life in austerity and prayer, actively preaching the message of Christ’s Love throughout all Italy. To relieve the anguish of those caught up hopelessly in debt from usury, he established a chain of charitable loan-banks all over Italy, which were named “monti di pietà.” Beloved throughout Italy, his countryman called him the “New Star of Love.”


Martyred missionary to Japan

Memorial Day: 3 September

d. 1637

Born in Fonseca, New Castile, this Franciscan lay brother studied medicine in Manila. Beginning in 1622, he spent a decade ministering to the sick in Japan, at a time when Christianity was outlawed there. Ultimately captured, he was burned at the stake at Nagasaki in 1632.


“Servant of God” is the title awarded to those holy men and women whose causes for beatification and ultimate canonization have been advocated, but have not yet been brought through the entire process necessary for formal beatification. The following physicians have been so designated.


Medical student with a passion to defend his Catholic Faith boldly

d. 1930

Ludvico (“Vico”) Necchi, a physician and professor of Biology at the University of Milan, had a deep love for Christ, Saint Francis, and the Catholic Church. A prayerful, humble, charming and cheerful physician, he stood at the forefront of the newly formed Italian Catholic Action. Vico Necchi was a devoted husband and father. While yet a medical student, Vico proudly defended his Catholic Faith, at a time in Italy when the civilian government, as well as many officials within the medical school itself were openly hostile to the Catholic Church. As one result of Vico’s courageous witness to the faith, the leader of one of the main student groups which had been attacking the Church went on to become, not only a practicing Christian, but a Roman Catholic priest.

Vico Necchi, serving as a military physician during World War I, was deeply moved by the seemingly senseless loss of life and limb. (It might be of interest to note that, at the same time that Dr. Necchi was serving in support of the many Italian troops who had been wounded in World War I, two other Italian physicians — both of whom would be later recognized as canonized saints, were also so serving – Saints Richard Pampuri and Joseph Moscati. And Blessed Padre Pio was also serving as a soldier in the Military Hospital at Naples!) Despite many trials and harsh opposition, Vico Necchi persevered in using his medical profession as a holy apostolate for the conversion of his patients, while also lavishing great charity on care for retarded children.


Military physician

d. 1950

Pere Taras, a doctor in the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War, is to be beatified by Pope John Paul II in the very near future. Pere Tarres (1905-1950) was a physician in the bloody 1938 Battle of Valadredro. In addition to serving as a physician, Pere Tarres was a spiritual guide to the troops. After the war, Pere was ordained a priest and founded the Federation of Christian Youth of Catalonia. He also established a tuberculosis treatment center in Catalonia.,


Medical Student, Hiroshima Survivor, and Superior General of the Jesuits

d. 1991

Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J. born in Pais Basque, 1907, left medical school in Spain, to join the Jesuit Order, after witnessing a miraculous healing at Lourdes. Ordained a priest in 1936, he was pursuing doctoral studies in medical ethics in the United Sates, when he was unexpectedly assigned to serve as a missionary in Japan in 1939. He was appointed master of novices in Hiroshima, and was living in a suburb there on 6 August 1945. Thanks to his earlier medical training, he was able to provide at least rudimentary medical care to many victims of the atomic bomb detonation. The Jesuit novitiate, located in the outskirts of Hiroshima, was transformed into a makeshift hospital for over 200 grievously injured patients.

Father Arrupe went on to become Provincial Superior to all the Jesuits in the Japanese Province. And finally, in 1965, Father Arrupe was elected 28th Superior General of the Order of Jesus, serving in that position until 1981.


In addition to these physician saints and martyrs, we should be no less mindful of those many saintly men and women who, while not physicians, nevertheless dedicated their lives heroically to the care of the sick. Saint Camillus de Lellis, for example, (1614; Feast day: 18 July; Founder of the Ministers of the Sick) suffered from a chronic, festering lesion in his lower extremity and also from several other maladies. The consequences of all these physical handicaps paled in comparison to the impact of his compulsive addiction to gambling. After his conversion, Saint Camillus dedicated his life to the care of impoverished patients. Saint Camillus developed, with his companions, the first ‘military field ambulance’ and he is considered a forerunner of the modern day “Red Cross.”

Of course, there are countless others — not the least of whom is Father Damien of Molakai. Father Damien DeVeuster not only served as a selfless caretaker of the victims of leprosy on the island of Molokai (in what was later to become our fiftieth state, Hawaii), but he himself ultimately suffered as a mortal victim of Hansen’s Disease. His death reminds us to celebrate the sainthood, not only of noble doctors, but of heroic patients as well — saints as diverse as Saint Thérèse, the Little Flower, who died painfully but patiently of tuberculosis while still in the flower of her youth, and Saint Roche, a medieval saint who suffered from a fungating tumor on his leg, and who is now considered a Patron Saint of Surgeons.

In most recent history, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina and Mother Teresa of Calcutta have both combined, throughout their saintly lives, their concern for the souls of those entrusted to their care with a compassionate commitment to assuage physical suffering, as well. Mother Teresa would inspire her medical volunteers by saying, “Blessed are you who touch the body of Christ 24 hours a day!” Padre Pio established a modest medical care-center to reach those in need of physical, as well as of mental and spiritual healing. From its humble beginnings, this initiative has since progressed to become a large, modern hospital, under the direct auspices of the Vatican – Padre Pio’s “House for the Relief of Suffering.” This medical center now encompasses an associated international institute for research and study in the fields of bioethics and medicine.

We would do well to be mindful, too, of the Feast Day of Saint Mary, Our Lady, Health of the Sick, which is celebrated on August 24.


Hippocrates: The Father of Medicine, this pagan Greek physician, in his Oath, as well as in his other writings (“Corpus Hippocraticum”), set a standard of practice, which has remained the hallmark for the Christian practice of ethical medicine through the centuries. Today, when our profession needs to be reminded of these values most, we seem to be attending to them least. “Primum Non Nocere” – First, Do No Harm.

Pope John XXI: Only once has a physician been chosen Pope. Pedro Juliano, or Peter of Spain, was born in Lisbon c. 1210. The son of a physician, he studied at the University of Paris and taught medicine at the University of Siena. Elected pope in 1276, his was only a nine-month papacy. Pope John was the author of “The Poor Man’s Treasury,” a book of cures. He also wrote a medical treatise on the eye and a book on the soul. 5 While Pope John was never canonized a saint by the Church, it may be noteworthy that this Physician Pope was the only pope encountered by Dante in the Paradise of his “Divine Comedy.”

Albert Schweitzer: This great physician, skilled musician and African missionary has established a high-water mark for humanism in medicine. His commitment, both in word and deed, to “Reverence for Life” stands as the epitome of altruism in medicine. “The basic concept on which goodness rests is reverence for life – the great mystery in which we find ourselves with all living things…The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is sacred, and we are united to all this life…[We must accept] as being good: to preserve life, to promote life, to raise to its highest value life which is capable of development; and as being evil: to destroy life, to injure life, to repress life which is capable of development.”

Thomas Dooley, M.D.: This remarkable native of Saint Louis first became aware of the suffering of peasants in South East Asia, while he was a U.S. Navy physician serving off the coast of Vietnam. His subsequent, heroic service as a medical missionary in that region inspired many of us, in the mid-1900’s, into undertaking a career of selfless service to our fellow man through Medicine. His adventurous personal accounts — “The Edge of Tomorrow,” “The Night They Burned the Mountain,” and “Deliver Us From Evil” — have left an indelible impression on the minds and hearts of many high school and college students, who were on their way to becoming the Catholic physicians of today. Both I and my wife, Leonie S. Watson, M.D., proudly count ourselves among those who were so inspired. Had he not inspired us, we might never have gone to medical school and never have met or married. But he did, we did, and we are; and the rest, as they say, is history!

Sadly, his legacy has most recently been attacked both by left-wing advocates who resent his communication with US Military and Intelligence sources (as though cooperating with our own government were a source of shame), and by cruel homosexual activists, who ironically exploit Doctor Dooley’s personal struggles to embarrass him among his admirers. On his deathbed, Doctor Dooley reportedly pled with the priests and friends who knew him best, that they not let his personal failings ever compromise his hope for the work he had begun. He remains today, for me and many others, a true, first-class hero.

Jerome LeJeune, M.D.: This noble French physician and researcher was instrumental in discovering the genetic cause of Down Syndrome. He was a Professor of Fundamental Genetics on the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, but even more impressive than his research was his dedication to the care and protection of these handicapped children. It is rumored that he would have been awarded the Nobel Prize, had not liberal consultants resented his unwavering commitment to pro-life principles.



Who is called to be the next physician saint? To appreciate Christ’s personal answer to each of us, the only reflection we need is the one in our mirror! Each of us is called to sanctity. Our medical profession and our very lives are – to paraphrase the words of a talk-show commentator – “Gifts on Loan from God.” Canonized sainthood might seem hopelessly beyond the grasp of most of us. To live quietly and unassumingly, a life of prayerful devotion, of good works, and of selfless sacrifice, while seemingly a more readily reachable goal, is certainly not without its own challenges and setbacks. Yet God assures us that, aided by our prayer life and our own good works, by the sacraments of His Holy Church and, yes, by the intercession of His physician saints, His Grace, which has brought us safe thus far, will see us surely home.

In the spirit of the “Little Way,” espoused by that very special Doctor of the Church, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, I have offered, in a previous article, published in the 1998 Linacre Quarterly — “Doctor, Thou Shalt Not Kill” — this consideration for personal reflection:

“Under the strain of contemporary medical practice, it is easy to become inadvertently ill-tempered, abrupt, and coldly removed. And few patients test the mettle of our bedside manner more than do demanding and dying cancer patients. To every Christian, whether lay or professional, Christ calls, ‘Let him who would follow, first renounce himself, take up his cross; and come, follow Me’ (Matthew 16:24). In an ironic twist, the Lord may be beckoning to those of us in the medical profession, ‘If any of you would seek the Kingdom of God, you must first forget your self-importance, put down your crossness; and come, follow Me.’

“If unmerited suffering is redemptive for our patients, can it be any less so for us? How often, when we were younger, would our Mom, or some good nun, be sure to remind us, whenever we faced some little pain or unavoidable discomfort, ‘Offer it up!’? The role to which God calls us, in this great battle against euthanasia and assisted-suicide, may merely consist, in no small part, in the simple act of offering up the many little pains and inconveniences that are the inevitable price of humane patient care. It is a pain to stop in the midst of hectic ward rounds and quietly listen for a minute; a pain to stop back again after a grueling day in the office or the OR; a pain to actually touch a patient – to hold a hand or rub a foot; a pain to accept cheerfully a late-night call for yet another change in the orders for pain medication; a pain to breach, on appropriate occasion, the impenetrable wall of professional reserve and share emotionally with a patient. What better prayer to offer our Crucified Lord, than the action-prayer of these little pains, suffered cheerfully and uncomplainingly, in His Name?

“Jesus holds up to us as a model the Good Samaritan: It was the lowly Samaritan, and he alone, who stopped, not to lecture the bleeding wretch on the redemptive value of his suffering, not to prescribe on a distant chart a treatment for others to administer, nor to pre-certify the financial reimbursement status. No, he stopped to touch, to bind, to soothe, to care personally regardless of the cost. In the light of this example, could it be that the Lord is holding up to our profession today, the vision of a patient in the throes of terminal illness, to challenge us, ‘Of all the professionals that paraded by this pain-wracked patient in the last days of his life – the primary-care physicians, consultants, diagnosticians, chemotherapists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, chaplains, corpsmen, aides and technicians – which one of these was his true neighbor? With so many involved in hastily and officiously caring for him, was there not even one who honestly and compassionately cared about him? Cared about Me?’

“Every Christian is called to renounce violence and to serve gently and selflessly, as a life-affirming ‘alter Christus’ – to represent Christ, reaching out through each of us to those in greatest need. All the more then, should not those of us who are, as Christian physicians, entrusted with this unique profession of healing, be challenged, in a special way, to model our lives after Our Lord, Christus Medicus – the Divine Physician?…

“Christian ethical insights ought not only inform our own individual professional practices, but should move us, as well, to serve as effective advocates of Christian ideals in the marketplace of secular medicine – a light unto our professional colleagues, our patients, our nation and the world.”,


The following prayer was released at the meeting of the International Federation of Catholic Health Associations (FIAMC), 3-8 July 2000.

Lord Jesus,

Divine Physician, who in your earthly life showed special concern for those who suffer, entrusting to your disciples the ministry of healing, make us ever ready to alleviate the trials of our brethren. Make each one of us more fully aware of the great mission that is entrusted to us, that we may strive always to be, in the performance of daily service, an instrument of your merciful Love. Enlighten our minds, guide our hands, make our hearts diligent and compassionate. Insure that, in our every patient, we learn to discern the features of your divine Face.

You, Lord, are The Way. Provide us with the gift of knowing how best to imitate you every day, as medical doctors, not only of the body, but of the whole person, that we may help those who are sick to tread with trust their own earthly path, until the moment of their eternal encounter with You.

You, Lord, are The Truth. Provide us with the gift of wisdom and science, that we might penetrate the mystery of man and his transcendent destiny, as we draw near to him in order to discover the causes of his malady and to find suitable remedies.

You, Lord, are The Life. Provide us with the gift of preaching and bearing witness to the ‘Gospel of Life’ in our profession, committing ourselves to defending life always, from its conception to its natural end, and respecting the dignity of every human being, especially of the weakest and of those most in need.

Make us, O Lord, Good Samaritans — ready to welcome, treat, and console those we encounter in our work. Following the example of the holy medical doctors who have preceded us, help us to offer our generous contribution to the constant renewal of health care structures.

Bless our studies and our profession, enlighten our research and our teaching. Lastly, grant to us, having constantly loved and served You in our suffering brethren, that at the end of our earthly pilgrimage, we may contemplate your glorious Countenance and experience the Joy of the encounter with You in your Kingdom of Joy and Everlasting Peace.


The Vatican, 29 June 2000

John Paul II



  • re: Saints in General

Catholic Online Saints & Angels

Catholic Forum

American Catholic .Org/ Saint of the Day

Daughters of Saint Paul

Calendar of Saints O’the Day – Saint Patrick’s Parish

  • re: Saint Luke

  • re: Saints Cosmas and Damien

  • re: Saint Pantaleon

  • re: Saint Rene Goupil:

Catholic Encyclopedia on-line – re: Saint Rene Goupil

also, Saint Yves Mission, Packwood Catholic Group, Western Washington State>

and, Wyandot Nation of Kansas Website:

The National Shrine to the Jesuit Martyrs at Auriesville, NY, commemorates the ravine in Osserenon where Saint Rene was tomahawked to death.

  • re: Saint Richard Pampuri:

  • re: Saint Niels Steensen:

“Niel Steensen/Nicolaus Steno” Website of the Royal Danish Embassy.

  • re: Saint Martin de Porres

WebSite for the RC Church of Saint Martin de Porres:

  • re: Saint Joseph Moscati

  • re: Blessed Gianna Molla Berreta

  • re: Servant of God Vico Necchi

  • re: Servant of God Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

  • re: Anthony Mary Zaccaria

On the World Wide Web

An exceptionally valuable site on the InterNet for related information is the WebSite for the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Healthcare Workers.

(At that WebSite, Msgr Jose L Redrado, OH, would also recommend, in particular, the prayers for the Jubilee Year which were composed by Pope John Paul II, the prayer composed by Pope Pius XII, and the prayer to Sancta Maria Salus Infirmorum — to Saint Mary, Health of Those Who Suffer Illness.)

Doctor Jerome LeJeune’s legacy, as well as his important, pro-life research on behalf of the handicapped, are carried on today, through the auspices of the Michael Fund:


The Catholic Medical Association (USA) has a WebSite:


The two extraordinary presentations by Father Groeschel and Doctor Pellegrino are still available on audiocassette from Saint Joseph Communications at $6.00 each. Please refer to Code CMA98 when ordering them. Saint Joseph Communications, P.O. Box 720, West Covina, CA 91793-0720 / Phone: (626) 331-3549, FAX: (626) 858-9331 / Web:.


Pellegrino ED: “Christ, Physician and Patient, An Inclusive Model,” The Linacre Quarterly 66(3):70-78, (August) 1999.

Brennan S: “Medical Saints,” Catholic Medical Quarterly Feb 1999.


The Hippocratic Oath is available on the InterNet at:

We are honored that Archbishop Lozano Barragan consented to participate as a principal speaker at our Year 2000 Convention of the Catholic Medical Association in Pittsburgh, October 2000. His noteworthy address, “The Identity of the Catholic Medical Doctor,” is available now for your review on the WebSite for our Catholic Medical Association:

©1997 Catholic Online. All Rights Reserved.

©1998 Catholic Online. All Rights Reserved.

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Thurston H & Attwater D, editors, Christian Classics Inc, Westminster, Maryland,pubs., 1956/1980, Vol IV, page 457.

“Real Relics Replace Lenin” National Catholic Register 75(32):1, 6-12 Aug 2000.

Attwater, D. (1983). The penguin dictionary of saints, 2nd edition, revised and updated by Catherine Rachel John. New York: Penguin Books. Also Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Sheppard

©1999 Catholic Online. All Rights Reserved

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Thurston H & Attwater D, editors, Christian Classics Inc, Westminster, Maryland,pubs., 1956/1980, Vol 1, page 379-380.

©1999 Catholic Online. All Rights Reserved.

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Thurston H & Attwater D, editors, Christian Classics Inc, Westminster, Maryland,pubs., 1956/1980, Vol IV, page 507.

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Thurston H & Attwater D, editors, Christian Classics Inc, Westminster, Maryland, pubs, 1956/1980, Vol III, pages 385-388.

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Thurston H & Attwater D, editors, Christian Classics Inc, Westminster, Maryland, pubs, 1956/1980, Vol III, pages 19-20.

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, 1956 ed., (5 Feb, page 259).

The candy-striped barber pole which identifies a barber’s shop today, was initially derived from a sign of red blood tricking down around a patient’s white arm – an advertisement for therapeutic blood-letting.

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Thurston H & Attwater D, editors, Christian Classics Inc, Westminster, Maryland, pubs, 1956/1980, Vol IV, pages 269-270.

WebSite for the RC Church of Saint Martin de Porres:

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Thurston H & Attwater D, editors, Christian Classics Inc, Westminster, Maryland, pubs, 1956/1980, Vol III, pages 19-20.

A favorite of mine, I featured his life story at the Executive Board meeting of the 1999 annual convention of the Catholic Medical Association in Buffalo,

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Thurston H & Attwater D, editors, Christian Classics Inc, Westminster, Maryland,pubs., 1956/1980, Vol III, pages 645 – 652.

A dramatic account of Saint Rene’s heroic martyrdom, narrated by Saint Isaac Jogues himself, is available on the InterNet at:

“Niel Steensen/Nicolaus Steno” Website of the Royal Danish Embassy.

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Thurston H & Attwater D, editors, Christian Classics Inc, Westminster, Maryland,pubs., 1956/1980, Vol III, page 78.

On the World Wide Web: http://www.clicnetit/moscati

 MacNamara RF: “Saint Richard Pampuri.” Website for Saint Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church. “Saints Alive Index”.

 Vittadini G: “North America On Tour: the New Frontier.” Traces magazine September 2000.

As many of you may remember, Joseph Cunningham espoused Blessed Gianna’s canonization at our 1998 FIAMC meeting.

On the World Wide Web:

Dans, PE: Movie Reviews: Physicians who were canonized. Linacre Quarterly. 2013; 80:190-191

On the World Wide Web:

 (Benedictines, Dorcy)

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Thurston H & Attwater D, editors, Christian Classics Inc, Westminster, Maryland,pubs., 1956/1980, Vol I, page 648.

 American Copyright St Anthony Messenger Press.

 (Zenit 00052606)

On the World Wide Web:

On the World Wide Web:

Butler’s Vol III, page 134-136.

1998 Saints Calendar and Daily Planner. The Wanderer Forum Foundation. Catholic Truth Publications. Hudson, WI, 1997. P 83.

Brennan S: “Medical Saints.” Catholic Medical Quarterly, Feb, 1999.

Atwood A and Anderson E: For All That Lives. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1975.

Watson RA: “Doctor, Thou Shalt Not Kill”, Linacre Quarterly 65(3):23-42, (Aug) 1998.

 Watson RA: “To Take Up Our Cross”, Celebrate Life (American Life League) 22(2):18-19, (Mar-Apr) 2000


Doctor Paul Dochier
“Doctor Luc” – Martyred Monk of the TibHirine
Declared Blessed in AlgerIA  – 8 December 2018
Doctor Paul Dochier, a French physician, joined the Trappists in 1941, but Brother Luc (‘Doctor Luc’ – as he became known) continued to practice medicine throughout World War II, treating anyone who needed it, and never charging. He moved to Algeria in 1947, where he continued his free medical practice.  In 1959, he was kidnapped by members of the Front de Libération Nationale (National Liberation Front), a nationalist party fighting in the Algerian War, but was later released.
In a conflict between extremist rebels and Algerian government forces, which had begun in 1992, human rights groups estimate that at least 44,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed.  The 19 Catholic priests and religious, now beatified, died in this conflict. Included among them were seven Trappist monks who had been kidnapped from the monastery of Tibhirine and were beheaded. The monks’ story was dramatized in the film “Of Gods and Men,” which won the grand prize at its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.*
Brother Luc was one of those monks at the Atlas Abbey of Tibhirine near Médéa, Algeria who were kidnapped over the night of 26–27 March 1996.
The monks of Tibhirine knew that they were in danger and would likely be killed if they remained in Algeria. French Father Christian de Cherge, the slain prior of the monastery, had written in a letter, nearly three years before his death, that he and the other monks would willingly offer themselves as a sacrifice for the people of Algeria.
Father de Cherge wrote, “When the time comes, I would like to be able to have that stroke of lucidity which would permit me to ask forgiveness of God and of my brothers in humanity, forgiving wholeheartedly, at the same time, whoever my killer might be. May we meet each other again, happy thieves, in paradise, should it please God.”
 ‘Doctor Luc,’ along with  Bishop Pierre Claverie and 17 other companions, were declared blessed on Saturday, December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, in the very country to which they had been sent and where they freely chose to stay, among the people they loved so much, even at the height of the violence.
The words of Pope Francis resounded powerfully over the magnificent esplanade of the Santa-Cruz sanctuary in Oran. “A great sign of fraternity in the Algerian sky addressed to the whole world.” An event that seemed impossible had finally occurred.
As incredible as it may seem, Algeria, a country still trapped between the temptation to look inward and to open up, has now hosted the first beatification ever in a country with a large Muslim majority.
31 January 1914 in Bourg-de-Péage, Drôme, France
21 May 1996 near Médéa, Algeria