Saint of the Month for March is Venerable Mary Aikenhead

March saintMary Aikenhead was born in Cork, Ireland in 1787. Her father was Anglican and a doctor. Her mother was a Catholic but because of her father’s wishes Mary was raised in the Anglican faith. Her family was wealthy and her father made sure she lacked nothing. Mary’s nanny was Catholic and secretly taught her the Catholic faith. Mary’s father died when she was 15 years old, and he converted to the Catholic faith on his death bed. Shortly after, Mary too decided to join the Catholic Church. When Mary was 20, she went to Dublin to visit a friend and witnessed the widespread unemployment and poverty. She spent her time there visiting the poor and sick, bringing them food and comfort. From that point on, Mary felt called to the religious life to help those in need through charitable work. The bishop of Dublin approached Mary and asked her to start the congregation of the Sisters of Charity in Ireland and she agreed. Mary led this new group of nuns who all made a vow of service to the poor. The following sixteen years of her life were filled with organizing the congregation of nuns and making sure they were serving in all areas of the community but especially in hospitals. She started St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin which still stands today. Mary spent her entire life working to help the poor and sick, even visiting prisoners and caring for people during the outbreak of the plague in 1832. She died in Dublin at the age of 71, of natural causes. The congregation of nuns and her works of charity still are flourishing today. Because of her heroic virtues, she was declared venerable in 2015 by Pope Francis.