Saint Michael the Archangel: Defender of the Church

Saint Michael the Archangel is the subject of many legends, prayers, modern movies, and television programs. While not technically a saint, Michael is the leader of all angels in God’s heavenly army. Saint Michael is typically depicted as a defender and has earned the patronage of those in the Armed Forces. Often, Saint Michael is called upon during dangerous situations and, in many ways, he is the guardian angel of the Catholic Church itself.

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Saint Michael has been known to perform three important tasks:

  1. Fight against Satan
  2. Fight for and defend Christians and the Catholic Church
  3. Be with us during our time of death and guide us into the after-life.

Saint Michael’s third role of guiding the souls of the dead has earned him the nickname of “The Angel of Death,” as referenced during Passover in the Old Testament. Saint Michael has few direct mentions in the Bible, with his name appearing only four times: twice in Daniel, once in the Epistle of Saint Jude as guarding the tomb of Moses, and once in Revelation as he and his angels battle a dragon. In terms of documented human encounters, Saint Michael has been reported to be seen during battles and times of war across the world. Churches and shrines named in his honor can be found in nearly every country, as he still exists as one of the most well-known and familiar Saints to this day.

Undoubtedly, Saint Michael is many things to many people. He can be called upon for any variety of situations. Here at the Catholic Cemeteries, his function as deliverer of souls bears special meaning. Death is a frightening concept for many people, which is completely understandable. There is an innate fear of the unknown, and even those with the strongest faith may find themselves in fear of “what comes next.” However—there is much hope to be found in that God sends His greatest warrior to personally guide us through this transition. No one is alone when they pass away. They are surrounded and protected by an angel who combats the Devil himself.

Take a moment to pray to Saint Michael that he may protect you today, and every day hereafter—even in death.

Post written by Katie Karpinski
Edited by Joe Marques

Saint Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene is, perhaps, one of the most well-known biblical figures. As a close follower of Christ, Mary Magdalene’s story is one all of us can relate to in some regard. Perhaps her recognition can be attributed to her relatability—as someone who found themselves deep in the life of sin yet found hope and salvation after encountering Jesus Christ. After leading a life filled with sin, Mary comes in contact with Christ and is forever changed. Keep reading to learn more about this beloved saint and her lasting legacy.


While no specific information is known about Mary before her time with Christ, it’s been speculated by many historians that she was from the town of Magdala—a patronage clearly evidenced in her last name, Magdalene. Magdala was a small village near the Sea of Galilee, known for its fish markets. Her first name, Mary, was a common Jewish name at the time. Because of this commonality, there are many figures in the Bible with the first name Mary, including the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. For this reason, Mary Magdalene is always referred to by her first and last name.

Appearing in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, Mary Magdalene is first introduced as someone “from whom seven demons had gone out.” In other words, Mary Magdalene was someone fully corrupted by the powers of temptation and sin.

“Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.”

— Luke 8:1–3

However, what happened after her exorcisms is what we know and recognize today. As it states in the scripture passage above, Mary (along with other women with similar backgrounds) turned away from their former lives and walked with Christ along His missionary journey. Another interesting takeaway from this passage is that it mentions the charitable works of Mary Magdalene. As the passage concludes, “who provided for them out of their resources” it’s implied that Mary Magdalene was a woman from a wealthy family, someone who was able to provide for Christ and His followers as they traveled.

Most of us are familiar with the story of Mary’s life after meeting Jesus. She was there with Him throughout His ministry. She was there with Him when He died. And she was there when He resurrected from the dead. From the moment she encountered Christ, Mary Magdalene refused to leave His side, she abandoned her dependence on sin and offered up her material possessions in an effort to help Christ spread the word of God.

While Saint Mary Magdalene may have lived thousands of years ago, her life is still one we can all learn from. Her trust and reliance in Christ is an example to us all of how God can soften hardened hearts and give hope to those deep in sin or doubt. During the Easter season and beyond let us all remember that we are called to follow Christ just as Mary Magdalene did. Do not be ashamed of your previous mistakes or behaviors. Instead, forge a new path and follow Christ in everything you do.

Post written by Katie Karpinski
Post edited by Joe Marques

John Kahl Jr: Servant Leadership and the Founding of Duck Tape

John J. “Jack” Kahl Jr. was not only a visionary leader in business, but also a devout Catholic. Jack was born and raised on the West Side of Cleveland and attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood and furthered his education at John Carroll University in University Heights. Jack passed away at the age of 78 in 2018, and is buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in Avon, Ohio (Section 3, Lot 419, Grave #2).


During his senior year at John Carroll, Jack was looking for a career path. This is when Jack met Melvin Anderson, whom he began to work for at Manco Inc. in 1963. After working there for 8 years, Jack bought the business. Nearly thirty years later, he sold the business to the Henkel Group. Jack used his business knowledge and skills to grow Manco, Inc. into a national corporation. Manco Inc. is famously known for Duck Tape Brand Duct Tape.

Throughout Jack’s 37 years as the CEO of Manco, Inc. he built the business through his servant leadership and fostering a caring culture. His book, “Leading from the Heart: Choosing to be a Servant Leader” is a true testament to his passion for his faith. Jack was named one of “America’s Most Admired CEOs” by Industry Week magazine in 1993 and Inc. Magazine recognized him as one of three CEOs in America to “benchmark leadership practices.” Much of Jack’s leadership manners were attributed to his strong faith.

To say that Jack Kahl lived a full life would be an understatement. From when he first began at Manco to when he retired, Jack did it all. While he pursued and advanced his career, he was able to keep his faith close to his heart. Today, many think that you have to separate the two – but Jack was a prime example of someone who used his faith and learnings at work. To his credit, he did a great job of utilizing both his business knowledge and strong faith to become successful.

Post written by Joe Marques

Saint Jude Thaddeus: Giving Hope to the Hopeless

While the name, prayers, and intentions of Saint Jude are often discussed in pop culture, not much is known about this remarkable follower of Christ. As one of the twelve Apostles, Saint Jude is believed to be the brother of St. James the Less, who was also an Apostle. In fact, their mother Mary was cousins with the Blessed Virgin Mary, making the brothers related to Jesus Christ.

Saint Jude

With so many commonly-used names, it’s easy to confuse key biblical and historical figures. In fact, Saint Jude was often confused with Judas Iscariot, betrayer of our Lord, in the centuries following Christ’s death and resurrection. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that his name was fully distinguished from that of Judas Iscariot. However, Saint Jude’s association with hopeless and impossible causes was actually founded before then in the early 14th century, when both Saint Bridget of Sweden and Saint Bernard received visions from God asking them to appeal to Saint Jude as the patron of lost causes. Since then, Saint Jude is widely known for his patronage, with several hospitals, police forces, and nonprofits adopting his namesake. Most notable of these examples is the Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.

Again, not much is known about Saint Jude’s life. However, he is mentioned in the Gospels several times in accordance with the other twelve Apostles. In fact, he is the one that voices a question over how Christ will return to His apostles after His death:

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” – John 14:22

After the resurrection of Christ, Jude was sent as a missionary to share the good news of Christ. He’s most well-known for his work in Armenia. While he is not the patron saint of the country, he is credited for first bringing Christianity to the region, along with fellow Apostle Saint Simon. The two apostles are often closely associated as they did much of their missionary work together, and were martyred together in Lebanon in 65CE.

Unlike many other saints, St. Jude doesn’t have many clear and documented miracles. Similarly, nothing we know about his life directly correlates to his patronage. In fact, the origin of Saint Jude’s patronage comes directly from scripture. In one of his letters in the New Testament, Jude encourages his readers to find hope in the most desperate and hopeless cases. He stresses that those who are faithful to God will always find hope and comfort in the most hopeless of situations.

In our own lives, we may often find ourselves in disparaging situations. However, a quick prayer to Saint Jude is sure to lift our spirits and eyes to the Lord for comfort and hope.


Prayer to St. Jude in Times of Suffering
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, I place myself into your hands at this difficult time.  Help me to know that I am not alone.  Please pray for me, asking God to send me comfort for my sorrows, bravery for my fears, and healing for my suffering.  Ask our loving God to strengthen my faith and give me the courage to accept His Will for my life. Thank you, St. Jude, for the hope you offer to all who believe in you.  Amen.

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Saint Josephine Bakhita: Trusting in God’s Unpredictable Path

Many saints are known for their harrowing and unbelievable stories. For many, converting to Christianity and finding Christ was not a straight and narrow path. Rather, the road to sainthood and Christ is often paved with complexity, ambiguity, and challenges. For Josephine Bakhita, this path was also paved with great personal suffering. While not often discussed, St. Josephine’s story is truly inspiring. When one learns about her life prior to Christ and the atrocities committed against her, it would be understandable to assume she never would put faith in God. However, just the opposite is true. Keep reading to learn more about this holy woman and her unconventional path to Christ.

saint josephine

Josephine was born in 1869 in Sudan. Her uncle was the chief of the Daju tribe, placing Josephine and her family in a very comfortable position. That being said, Josephine had a very happy childhood at the start. However, at the young age of eight, Josephine was kidnapped by local slave traders. Taken from the comfort and love of her family, Josephine was forced to walk hundreds of miles to various slave trade markets. This marked the beginning of the 12 year period she would be a slave.

During this time, she was traded to dozens of families. Because of her rapid transfers, it’s been said that Josephine forgot her actual name. While some of her owners were kinder than others, Josephine suffered through several awful households.

One owner was especially cruel. He was a Turkish general who bought Josephine to be a maid for his wife. This mistress made it her intention to hurt Josephine in as many ways as possible. The mistress would trace patterns on Josephine’s back, then carve into these patterns with a knife, rubbing in salt soon after to ensure the carvings scarred. In her writings, Josephine states that as soon as one wound healed, they would open another one. In the end, Josephine accumulated over 113 scars from this household. Just when Josephine believed she couldn’t bear any more suffering, she was traded to a kinder owner. The year was now 1883, and Josephine traveled with her new owner across the Red Sea to Italy. This owner did not beat her. In fact, when the owner (an Italian consulate) had business in Sudan, instead of bringing Josephine with him for the rough journey, he placed her in the care of the Canossian Sisters of Venice.

During her time with the sisters, Josephine learned more about God. While she had heard of God and His creation of the Universe before, she had no personal or intimate relationship with Him. As she began to learn more and more, she developed a deep love for Christ. This led to her ultimate discernment of religious life. There was, however, a problem. When Josephine’s master returned, he still claimed ownership of her, and demanded that she leave the convent and return home to work. She resisted these demands, and with the help of the sisters was able to file a formal case against him. As it turned out, slavery was illegal in Sudan at the time of Josephine’s kidnapping. Therefore, Josephine was a free woman.

Josephine stayed with the sisters. She was baptized on January 9, 1890 with the name Josephine Margaret Fortunata. Fortunata is the Latin version of her birth name Bakhita. She became a Novice with the Canossian Daughters of Charity in 1893 and she took her final vows in 1896. She stayed with the sisters throughout the rest of her life, helping as a cook and doorkeeper within the convent. She also traveled and prepared other convents for missionary work in Africa.

Josephine was known for her very kind and gentle nature. Even after enduring a life filled with such hardship and great physical and emotional anguish, she found the courage to publicly thank her kidnappers for ultimately bringing her to Christ. While there are few documented miracles attributed to Josephine, the Italian village of Schio claims to have been under her protection during World War II. While the village was severely bombed, not a single person died.

Toward the end of her life, Josephine was confined to a wheel chair. Despite this hindrance, she still maintained her joyful demeanor, simply saying her life was “as the heavenly Master desires.” She would pass away on February 8, 1947. In 1992 she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and she was canonized in 2000, also by Pope John Paul II.

Josephine’s story truly highlights that the road to Christ is often filled with trials and sorrows. Sometimes in order to grow closer to Him, we must understand to some extent the pain and suffering He endured on the cross. It is also by living through this pain and finding Christ in spite of it that we can truly appreciate the gifts and blessings He bestows on us all. If you find yourself struggling with sorrow in your life, say a quick prayer to Saint Josephine. As someone who endured such suffering, she may offer help, guidance, and comfort during our most difficult times here on earth.

Information gathered from: 

Post written by Katie Karpinski