Before we jump into the August liturgical calendar, I have some fun news! My friend Claire interviewed me for The Catholic Feminist podcast last week, and the episode goes live today!! I’ve been a loyal listener since episode #1 and was so honored when she invited me on to the show. Fittingly for this post, Claire and I chatted about liturgical living, how it has impacted my faith this year, and how to make it happen in any season of life. Find the link here, or search for The Catholic Feminist wherever you listen to your podcasts :)
There are a TON of amazing feast days in August, making it the perfect opportunity to put something I’ve learned this year into practice: I don’t need to do something extra special for every feast day. I read somewhere that for each day of the year, there are at least three saints whose feast day it is…so really, trying to celebrate ALL of them would be near impossible.
Here’s a different strategy: pick and choose the days that have the MOST meaning to you and your family. This may mean your namesakes, confirmation saints, patrons of your professions or passions, or simply your favorites. In our house, we definitely put the most emphasis on our confirmation saints (St. Thomas More and St. Gemma Galgani), our family patron saint (St. John Paul II), and Charlie’s namesake (St. Maximilian Kolbe–Charlie’s middle name is Kolbe!), but since learning about saints and celebrating them is something I’ve grown to love so much, I also choose a few each month that either 1. I already love and have a devotion to, or 2. I want to learn more about. On top of that, we celebrate all of the feasts that pertain specifically to the lives of Jesus and Mary. August contains some of all of the above! I’ve listed a bunch of ideas for celebrating this month’s feast days below (from this day forward, at least–sorry to have this up a little late in the month!)…both for keeping it simple and for going all out, depending on how much you’d like to commemorate each particular day.
August 8: St. Dominic
Keep it simple: Pray the rosary. According to legend, St. Dominic received the rosary during prayer in 1214 A.D. While historians aren’t 100 percent sure the rosary originated with him, there is no record of the rosary beforehand and devotion to it spread after his vision. Either way, it never hurts to pray it, right? :)
Go all out: Along with praying the rosary, make/enjoy something with oranges! St. Dominic is said to have planted one of the first orange trees in Rome in 1220 A.D.
August 9: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
Keep it simple: Go to a church and spend some time in prayer. Seeing a woman do just that, in the midst of her busy day and with groceries by her side, was one of the first turning points of Edith Stein’s conversion. We have no idea who that woman is, but I love what we can learn from her.
Go all out: Join or sign up to host a study on Edith Stein through Endow Groups. It looks fascinating!
August 11: St. Clare of Assisi
Keep it simple: Simplicity is one of the biggest characteristics of St. Clare’s life so, inspired by her, simplify something in your own life today. Clean out your closet and donate items you don’t need. Unfollow people who make you feel envious on Instagram. Make the simplest meals you can think of for the day. Declutter your desk or shelves.
Go all out: Watch a movie about her, since she is the patron saint of television (designated in 1958 because when she was very ill and couldn’t attend Mass, she reportedly was able to see and hear it on the wall of her room!). Clare and Francis is available on Formed if you have an account there, or rent the documentary St. Clare of Assisi and The Poor Clares on Amazon Prime.
August 14: St. Maximilian Kolbe
Keep it simple: Read a little about this heroic man’s life. Many Catholics know him as the priest who willingly laid down his life at Auschwitz, offering himself in place of a young father who was sentenced to the starvation bunker, but there is so much more to him than that. He had a vision of Mary as a child that inspired his lifelong devotion to her, and foretold his priestly vocation and martyrdom. He was the founder of the Militia Immaculata, a movement consecrated to Mary as the Immaculate Conception. He founded a huge mass media apostolate and printed and distributed a monthly magazine and daily newspaper (the latter which grew to reach a million people). He founded a mission in Japan and published a magazine there as well. I could go on and on–his story is fascinating and captivating. Find a brief bio online here, or join me in reading his biography, Forget Not Love, this month.
Go all out: Pray St. Maximilian Kolbe’s Act of Consecration (that link also includes a great line-by-line explanation). This prayer is so close to my heart because I had the opportunity to pray it outside of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s prison cell at Auschwitz a few years ago.
August 15: The Assumption of Mary
Keep it simple: This is a Holy Day of Obligation, so don’t forget to go to Mass!
Go all out: There is a tradition in Germanic countries that this is the day for “the blessing of the herbs,” so I like the idea of sipping a lavender latte in Our Lady’s honor :)
August 22: The Queenship of Mary
Keep it simple: Pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. (I love this podcast version for when I’m on the go and try my best to listen to it daily. It has helped me pray the rosary regularly more than anything else I’ve tried!)
Go all out: Read Ad Caeli Reginam, Pope Pius XII’s encyclical about the queenship of Mary.
August 23: St. Rose of Lima
Keep it simple: This one is a no-brainer–pick up a bouquet of roses from the grocery store for your dining room table. Flowers that call saints to mind are one of my absolute favorite ways to celebrate feast days.
Go all out: St. Rose of Lima is the patron saint of embroiderers, gardeners, and florists–all crafts we can do with our hands in order to bring greater beauty to the world. Arrange a centerpiece (with the aforementioned roses, perhaps?), plant something, or maybe even try your hand at embroidery (this, this, and this kit are amazing).
August 28: St. Augustine
Keep it simple: Pray, reflect, and journal on one of his most famous quotes: “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Go all out: Spend some time in St. Augustine’s rich writings, like his Confessions or City of God. Also, visit a brewery or pick up a six-pack of local craft beer because, kind of hilariously, St. Augustine is the patron saint of brewers!
I’d love to hear, which feasts are you celebrating this month? Do you have any additional ideas or traditions to share? Our top priorities are St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, the Assumption, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and the Queenship of Mary, though I will probably not turn down the excuse to buy flowers for St. Rose of Lima either :)