“First, that you dwell together in harmony in the house and be of one mind and one heart in God, remembering that this is the reason you are gathered here. Call not anything your own, but let all things be held in common among you.”

Saints with us

The Oratory of the Holyrood, no longer in existence, housed four first class relics (still cared for by the community): those of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Veronica Giuliani, St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows and Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God. The Canons Regular remember them and count them among their many spiritual friends. The relics of St. Aloysius and Blessed Dominic are now housed at St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, the others are at the Holy House Priory next door.

St. Aloysius was a Jesuit who left his aristocratic life behind in 1585 in favour of a radical Christian discipleship. He is known for his faithfulness, devotion to the Christian life of simplicity and for kindness to those who fell victim to the plague. While tending the sick, he contracted the disease himself and died six days before his twenty-third birthday—with the Holy Name upon his lips. Purity was St. Aloysius’ notable virtue. He is the patron saint of Christian youth, and students and owing to his manner of death, he has always been considered a patron saint of plague victims. For his compassion and courage in the face of an incurable disease, he has also become the patron of those who suffer from HIV/AIDS as well as their caregivers.

St. Veronica Giuliani joined the Capuchin Poor Clares in 1677 and eventually served there as Novice Master and Abbess. She was known as a very practical woman of able leadership with a life-long devotion to Christ crucified. She was given the gift of the stigmata, which caused her great humiliation due to the wounds themselves but also because of the rigorous testing of her experience by her bishop. She is remembered as one of the most extraordinary mystics of her era.     

St. Gabriel of our Lady of Sorrows received the Passionist habit in 1856. Despite his colourful past and love of the social scene, St. Gabriel proved himself an exemplary Religious and follower of the Passionist Rule. He had a particular devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows and died cheerfully at twenty-three of tuberculosis sitting up and reaching out to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the moment of his death. He is another patron of Catholic youth and of students, as well as those preparing for the priesthood.

Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God, was another Italian Passionist. He felt a particular call to preach to the English for the sake of their conversion. He was given this opportunity at long last and despite poor health in 1841. Though he wasn’t well received at first, he won many to the Church including Blessed Cardinal Newman of the Oxford movement. Blessed Dominic Barberi is remembered and loved for his efforts to return England to the Catholic faith. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council. We pray, as many others do, that he will be Canonised.

The Canons Regular of St. Gilbert of Sempringham have been given permission, by Bishop Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, to venerate the relic publicly, and to take up (in their own small way) the cause for Blessed Dominic’s sainthood.

Matter matters, and so the relics of the Saints are a tangible way to encounter real and abiding holiness.
— Fr. Robert-Charles Bengry