Feast Of St. Berard
Berard joined the Franciscans in 1213. He spoke Arabic and was an able preacher. He had a desire to spread the Gospel to the Saracens (muslims) and was sent by St. Francis to preach in Morocco. St. Berard along with 4 other friars were repeatedly imprisoned and beaten for their failure to stop preaching. Finally they were martyred by beheading. Upon hearing the news of the fate of his friars St. Francis is reported to have said: "Now I can truly say that I have five Friars Minor!"
(Sometimes you just got to have a sense of humor about these things)
The news of these martyrs affected a young man very deeply who then decided to become a Franciscan. St. Anthony of Padua became a loyal servant of God and achieved sainthood.
Thank you Jesus for the heroic lives of faith these saints modeled for us.
St. Berard, we ask for your intercession that we would be courageous in our sharing the Gospel with others around us.