Eucharistic Crusade
Saints who loved the Blessed Sacrament

Saints of the 13th Century

The great lovers of the Holy Eucharist in the 13th century were St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure.  They are known as the "Heralds of the Blessed Sacrament".  There were also many other great lovers of the Blessed Sacrament in that century. 


St. Dominic

St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order who died in 1211, worked very hard to convert the heretics, known as the Albigenses.  They did not believe in the Mass or the Blessed Sacrament.  But St. Dominic had a great love for the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament and depended on Jesus and Mary to help him convert the heretics.

The great St. Francis of Assisi, (1182-1226), divided the world into different parts so that his Franciscan monks would be able to work in certain areas.  He reserved for himself the city of Paris, because he said, "In that country the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar is more honoured, than in any other place in the world". 

The heart and soul of St. Francis was on fire with love for the most Blessed Sacrament.  He preached, “My people, it is your duty to give all you can, to buy beautiful chalices and beautiful vessels for the altar".  From then on, people have made an effort to have chalices and other altar vessels, made of gold and silver, wherever it was possible.

St. Francis of Assisi


But greater than his love for the precious vessels, was his concern about the living tabernacles of men.  He encouraged his Third Order Franciscans to receive Holy Communion often, and not just once a year.  Although St. Francis was not a priest, he heard Mass every day and if he was sick he assisted at the Mass in a spiritual way.  Every time he received the Blessed Sacrament he went into ecstasy. 

He used to say, "We religious bear the weight of the great sin and ignorance that certain ones have in regard to the Most Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and to His Most Holy Name.  If the Blessed Virgin Mary was honoured because she carried in her womb the very Son of God…  If Blessed John the Baptist trembled and dared not touch the head of Christ…  If the sepulcher which Jesus occupied is venerated; then it is just that he should be holy who touches with his hands, who receives with his lips and heart the immortal and glorious Body of Christ."

He would encourage the people, "With humility and charity I beg you dear people to use all the reverence and honour possible toward the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, where Christ dwells in the midst of sinful men."

St. Clare

St. Clare, (1193-1253) the first woman to become a nun in the Franciscan Order, also had a very great devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament.  She received Holy Communion as often as she was permitted.  One day after she had been to Communion, the Child Jesus came to visit her.  He lay in her arms and covered her with kisses.  This same miracle also took place at her death. 

We often see pictures of St. Clare holding a monstrance, which contains the Most Blessed Sacrament.  This was something that really happened in the life of St. Clare.  The Saracens of the army of Frederick II attacked Assisi.  They wanted to kill all the Christians, and before long they stormed towards St. Clare's convent, in San Damiano.  At this time Clare was sick, and asked the sisters to carry her to the convent gate and set her before the enemy.  She begged the sisters to bring her the monstrance, which was holding the Blessed Sacrament.  Then St. Clare in tears, begged Our Lord, "Ah sweet Lord God, is it Thy Holy Will that these who serve Thee, should fall into the hands of the heathen?  O sweet Jesus, I pray Thee, help Thy handmaids, for I cannot help them at this moment!" 

At that moment, Our Lord spoke to her with the voice of a child, "I will keep you always."  Suddenly, Our Lord worked a miracle, and the Saracens were turned back from their attack and Assisi was saved!

St. Anthony

St. Anthony (1195-1231) was another great witness of the Holy Eucharist.  One day he was arguing with a man named Guillard, an Albigensian heretic, who denied the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  Guillard said to Anthony, "If you can prove to me by a public miracle, that the body of Christ is really in the Eucharist, I promise you that I will at once give up all my beliefs and humbly believe all the doctrines that you preach!" 

St. Anthony was not afraid but humbly trusted that God would prove to this heretic, that the Body of Christ was really in the Eucharist.  "Well," said Guillard, "I have a mule which I shall keep without food for three days, and then I will bring it out to the public square.  On your part, you will bring the Sacred Host.  I will offer my mule some hay.  If the mule kneels down before the Blessed Sacrament, instead of eating the hay, I will truly believe that I am wrong in my beliefs and I will believe in the Holy Eucharist."

Anthony offered the whole affair to God and prayed earnestly that proof would be given to the man.  On the third day, after he said his Mass, St. Anthony, came from the church carrying the Blessed Sacrament and at the same time singing a hymn.  There was a great crowd of believers and unbelievers present to witness the miracle.  Anthony then spoke to the mule, "In the name of God, your Creator, Whom I am unworthy to carry in my hands, I command you to come at once with all humility, and show God the respect that you owe Him.  By doing this, God will prove to heretics that they must know that all creatures are subject to God their Creator who becomes present on the altar at Mass, by the words of the priest!"

Guillard then offered the hay to his hungry mule and suddenly received a great surprise.   He was amazed to see his mule refuse to eat the hay and kneel down before the Blessed Sacrament.  Guillard the heretic was converted on the spot and humbly knelt down before the Most Blessed Sacrament.  Afterwards, to honour the occasion and to show that he was thankful for this grace, he had a church built on the spot where the miracle had taken place.

St. Louis


St. Louis, King of France, (1215-1270), who was also a Third Order Franciscan, had a great hatred of sin.  His mother would often say to him, "Louis my son, SIN is the only great evil in the world.  Though I love you very much, I would rather see you dead at my feet than see you commit one mortal sin!"  The boy had promised Our Lord that he would never commit a mortal sin.  When Louis was older, even though he had so many affairs to look after, he attended two Masses and said the Divine Office every day. It is also St. Louis who started the custom of genuflecting during the Creed when the priest said the words, “Et homo factus est”, (and was made man).

St. Louis gave a wonderful example when he received Holy Communion.  He would walk toward the sanctuary with great humility, in deep thought, and then crawl on his knees to the altar.  After saying the Confiteor with groans and tears, Louis would receive Holy Communion with great love and devotion.  One day, during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the palace chapel, St. Louis was working in his study when suddenly one of his servants excitedly burst into the room exclaiming, "Your Majesty, a beautiful miracle is taking place in the chapel.  The Infant Jesus is appearing in the Host upon the altar!"  But St. Louis calmly continued his writing replying gently, "I could not believe more firmly in Christ's presence in the Eucharist if I were to see a miracle!  Miracles are not needed for those who already believe!"

St. Margaret of Cortona

Another lover of the Holy Eucharist was St. Margaret of Cortona (1247-1297).  She had been a great sinner in her past life, but she converted and became a Third Order Franciscan.  She went to confession and received Holy Communion almost every day!  As she approached the altar, she was so overcome with the thought of God’s majesty and her unworthiness that she trembled.  She was afraid that on account of the wickedness of her past life, her desire to receive Holy Communion so often was displeasing to God.  She would say to God, “Do I offend Thee O Lord, by my great desire to receive often in Communion, Thy Holy Body and Blood?” 

Jesus replied, “This frequent Communion is so pleasing to Me that I shall bless thy confessor and guide and grant him a special grace for having encouraged you not to be afraid to receive Communion very often.

Blessed Angela of Foligno

Another great sinner, Blessed Angela of Foligno, Italy (1248-1309), also converted from her past way of life, and was favoured with seven visions of the Holy Eucharist.  She saw Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, sometimes as a beautiful child, sometimes crucified, bleeding and dying, and other times surrounded with glory and majesty.  One day when Blessed Angela had a great longing for Holy Communion but could not get a priest to bring her the Blessed Sacrament, the Angels brought Holy Communion to her!  She received Holy Communion every day, and for twelve years it was her only food!  Imagine; she lived on Holy Communion alone, nothing else!

Blessed Angela said, “The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love that stirs up the soul to fervent (well done), prayer.  It stirs up our hearts to beg graces from God and this forces God to grant our petition.  The Holy Eucharist makes us more humble, and above all It makes the flame of love grow in our hearts; Because the Blessed Sacrament gives our souls so many blessings, it is truly the Gift of Gifts, and the Grace of Graces.” 

St. Yves of Brittany, France (1253-1303), was truly a great lover of the Holy Eucharist.  He was afraid to become a priest, because he felt unworthy to say Mass, but he was determined to become a saint.  His motto was, "I must become a saint!"  For a time, St. Yves was a lawyer and a member of the Third Order of St. Francis.  He was very generous to the poor, and one day he decided to become a priest because of his great love for the Blessed Sacrament.  Every morning as he went to say Mass, he shed tears because he felt so unworthy.  Then one day at the elevation, a cross of light surrounded the Host and then rested above the chalice, as it was raised for adoration.  St. Yves is honoured as the patron of priests, lawyers, and judges, but best of all; he is the patron of those who love the Blessed Sacrament.

In the same century, Mary of Oignies, who died in 1213, often saw at the Elevation of the Host, Our Lord as a little Baby surrounded by Angels.  She received Communion often and when she did, her face would light up.  At the moment the priest received Communion, Mary saw Jesus descend into his soul and fill it with marvelous brightness.  At times the holy woman saw Our Lord in the form of a lamb or a dove.  Jesus would also show himself to her sitting on his Mother’s lap; at Candlemas, in the arms of Simeon; and at Passiontide, on the Cross.

St. Gertrude, (1256-1302), a Benedictine nun from Germany, also had a great love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  She spoke to God as though He was her dearest friend.  She cried every time she meditated on the Holy Eucharist.  Our Lord told St. Gertrude, “Those who have received me in Holy Communion more often, shall be more glorious in Heaven!”  Jesus also told her, “My delights are to be with the children of men.  To satisfy My love I have set up this Sacrament.  I desire to remain in this Sacrament until the end of the world and I wish that people would receive Me often, in the Holy Eucharist”.          

St. Elizabeth of Portugal, (1271-1336), heard Mass and said the Divine Office daily.  She prepared for her frequent communions by doing much penance, fasting three times a week, and by many works of charity, especially towards the poor.

All ye holy saints of the Blessed Sacrament,

Pray for Us!                                                                  

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