Zeferino Agostini was born in Verona on September 24, 1813. He entered the seminary and was distinguished by his piety, his discipline, and his success in studies. He was ordained on March 11, 1837 and was immediately assigned to parish pastoral ministry in 1845 and he did not leave it until his death fifty years later. He started many social and pastoral initiatives in this very populated district of the city. To assist and continue his work, he founded in 1856 the congregation of the Ursuline Daughters of Mary Immaculate. He died at the age of 83 on April 6, 1896.
Antonio de Sant'Anna Galvao, a Franciscan Brazilian and priest, was born in Guaratingueta, in the heart of the State of Sao Paulo, to a wealthy and very Christian family. At 13 years old, he was sent by his father to study at a Jesuit seminary between 1752 and 1756. He then entered the novitiate of the Franciscans of the Reform of St. Peter of Alcantara near Rio, when he was 21 years old, in 1760. The following year, he made his solemn profession, committing himself to promoting the title of "Immaculate" Mary (in 1766, it would be officially given to the Virgin Mary). The following year, he was ordained a priest. At the end of his studies, in 1768, he was named preacher, confessor, and porter of his monastery and chaplain of a convent of religious sisters in Sao Paulo.
He founded a new monastery with Sister Helena Maria Espirito Santo who died suddenly in 1775. But the community continued to grow, under the guidance of Fra Antonio. He was named novice master in 1781, then guardian of the convent of Sao Paulo in 1798. He later founded a new convent of sisters before dying on December 23, 1822.
Faustino Miguez, a Piarist priest, was born to a family of Christian farmers, and later entered the Poor Clerics of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools (Piarists or Scolopes) and took the habit in Madrid, where he accepted the name of Faustino of the Incarnation. He then taught in Cuba, at the invitation of St. Anthony Mary Claret. He continued to teach in various colleges on his return to Spain, and dedicated himself to the manufacture of medicines for the sick. In 1885, he received authorization to found the congregation of the Maids of the Divine Shepherd for the education of children and poor girls. He died in Madrid on March 8, 1925, in his nineties.
Mother Theodore Guerin, French sister of Providence, foundress of the Sisters of Providence of "Saint-Mary-of-the Woods," was born Anne-Therese Guerin in Etables, France. She decided, at her first communion, at ten years old, to become a nun. With the death of her father, a soldier of Napoleon assassinated by bandits, she had to support her mother and to educate her younger sister. She was 25 years old when she was able to enter the Sisters of Providence of Ruille in Loir, devoted to the teaching of children and the care of the poor, the sick, and the dying. She took the holy name of Sister Theodore. She was asked later to accompany a group of five Sisters of Providence on a mission in the United States. She arrived at "Saint-Mary-of-the Woods," in Indiana, in 1840. The new community suffered from anti-Catholic prejudices, betrayals, misunderstandings, separation of the new community from the congregation of Ruille, diseases, fire, and more.
But less than one year after her arrival, Mother Guerin opened a school, then others, in Illinois. At her death on May 14, 1856, sixteen years after her arrival, the new congregation had established a firm foundation.
"It is essential that those who make the destinies of nations recognize and strengthen the matrimonial institution; indeed, marriage has specific legal rights and duties on behalf of the couple, one with respect to the other and with regard to the children, and the role of the families in society, which they are perennially assured is of primary importance," said the Pope.
He insisted on educational and social factors. "The family supports the socialization of young people and contributes to stemming the phenomena of violence, by the transmission of values as well as the experience of fraternity and the solidarity which makes it possible to live out each day."
The Pontiff distinguished the benefits and duties of traditional marriage from those of society in general and other forms of union. "In the search for legitimate solutions for modern society, it cannot be put on the same plane as simple associations or unions, and those cannot profit from the particular rights related exclusively to protection of the marital promise and the family, based on marriage, as a community of life and stable love, fruit of the total and faithful gift of the couple, open to life," he said.
He launches a call to the legislators in this area. "From the point of view of the responsibilities of civil society, it is important that they be able to create the conditions necessary to the specific nature of marriage, its stability and the openness to the gift of life. Indeed, while respecting the legitimate freedoms of people, legalizing other forms of relations between people, making them equivalent to marriage, is a serious decision which can only damage the marital and family institution."
"In the long run, it would be detrimental to have laws founded, not on principles of natural law, but on the arbitrary will of the person giving the same legal status to various forms of common life, creating great confusion."
He stressed that choices must be founded on moral and anthropological values and not on he technical progress "which is not in itself not a criterion of morality nor a criterion of legality." He called on the history of this century as a witness. "During this century," warned the pope, "we could observe on several occasions in Europe that, when values are denied, public decisions can only oppress Man and the people."
Recalling the principles of the international conference in Copenhagen on development, in 1995, the Holy Father affirmed the need for a just development, "to place the human person at the center of development efforts," and to take into account "ethical, cultural, and religious values." He added, "A profoundly anchored sense of the inviolable dignity of the human person must be the basis of social, economic, and educational projects to improve the life of people and confront in a more effective way the authentic needs of men."
The Pope also insisted on the urgent need to defend the family for better promotion of humans right. "Safe and united families exert their members to respect the rights and dignity of others, to recognize the sacred character of any human life, especially that of the most vulnerable, and to practice those qualities and virtues which promote and build up the common good."
He also insisted on the need for guaranteeing these values by adequate laws. "The efforts to bring a new social order to the national and international levels will succeed only thanks to laws guaranteeing the universal and immutable moral standards, founded in human nature and accessible to reason."
Without these transcendent principles, one risks totalitarianism, the Holy Father further explained. "Not recognizing the existence of a truth which transcends social and cultural realities is the way which leads quickly to the exclusive domination of the State in all the aspects of life," he said. Mentioning his pastoral journey to Ireland in 1979, the Pope evoked the recent peace agreements in Northern Ireland and affirmed a new "era of hope" had now started for this country, with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
Eamon O'Tuathail was born in 1936, and is unmarried. His diplomatic career has led to Washington, Lagos, to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in his country, Brussels, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and since 1993, South Africa.
"Two years ago the Holy See Mission to the UN withdrew its money from UNICEF because the agency was involved in supporting abortion overseas, especially in refugee camps," said Austin Ruse, director of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (CAFHRI). "We are told the Holy See would be happy to return to UNICEF under certain conditions. Those conditions have not been met."
Each year, UNICEF sponsors a special program for US children who carry the small donation boxes, often distributed at schools, door-to-door as they collect candy on Halloween. The funds are then returned to UNICEF to support its programs.
Ruse cited UNICEF's assistance in the preparation of a field manual for use by relief workers in refugee camps. "The field manual overtly supports the use of things like vacuum aspirators that are used for abortion. And they urge their use in refugee camps, the most dangerous and disease-ridden places on earth."