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Forgotten Customs of All Saints Days for Religious Orders & Nations

The saints don’t need us to honor them. Our devotion adds nothing to what they already have. When we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, whenever I think of them, I feel inflamed by a tremendous yearning. . . So let us long for those who long for us. Let us hurry to meet those who await us. And let us ask those who envision our coming to intervene for us.
– Saint Bernard

While all Catholics should be aware of All Saints Day as a Holy Day of Obligation on November 1st, a much smaller subset are aware that All Saints Day used to have an Octave associated with it until 1955. And a much smaller subset is aware of various special All Saints Days throughout November. In fact, All Saints Day for various orders – and for many different countries – occur throughout the month of November. We do not need to belong to these orders to call to mind these days throughout the month, to invoke the saints of the orders or nations on these respective All Saints Days, and to encourage others to learn about and imitate saints they may have not known before.

All Saints of the Jesuit Order

November 5th is the Feast of All Saints and Blesseds of the Society of Jesus. This “All Saints Day” for the Jesuit Saints is kept to honor the many remarkable saints which grace their order. While the modern-day Jesuits have lamentably fallen far from their founder and often advance heresy and sin, we should still invoke the holy Jesuits that preceded them. May these holy and saintly Jesuits pray for restoration and cleansing of their Order.

Since the founder of the Jesuits, St Ignatius of Loyola, was canonized in 1622, there have been 52 other Jesuits canonized. Some of these holy Jesuits include:

St. José de Anchieta
St. Robert Bellarmine
St. Francis Borgia
St. John de Brébeuf
St. Edmund Campion
St. Peter Canisius
St. Peter Claver
St. Claude de la Colombiere
St. Peter Faber
St. Aloysius Gonzaga
St. Roque González
St. Alberto Hurtado
St. Isaac Jogues
St. Stanislaus Kostka
St. Ignatius Loyola
St. Paul Miki
St. Joseph Pignatelli
Blessed Miguel Pro
St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
St. Francis Xavier

The collect prayer for this feastday is as follows:

Grant us, we ask, O Lord, by the intercession of the blessed Father Ignatius and of all the Saints who have served under the banner of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, with him as their leader, so to serve Thee with a perfect heart; that after the course of this life, we may merit to share in their glorious end. Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen

All Irish Saints

November 6th is kept in Ireland as the Feast of All Irish Saints. The blog Pilgrim Progress explains:

Pope Benedict XV beatified Oliver Plunkett in 1920 and during his papacy also (1914-22) the Feast of All the Saints of Ireland was instituted. The same Pope also granted Ireland the honor of having a litany of its native saints approved for public recitation. Only four saints, St Malachy (1094-1148), St Lawrence O’Toole (1128-80) and St Oliver Plunkett (1625-81) and St Charles of Mount Argus (1821-93), have been officially canonized. All the other Irish saints, such as Saints Patrick, Brigid, and Colmcille, are saints, as it were, by acclamation of the local Church.

One of the best ways we can honor this day is by praying for the intercession of the Irish saints using the Litany of Irish Saints. The website, Daily Prayers explains:

The official Litany of Irish Saints commemorates sixty-five of the best known, among them St Patrick and St Bridget. Perhaps the less well known include greats like St Darerca and St Crea. However, there are many hundreds of other Irish Saints, most having lived during the 4th – 6th Centuries which led to Ireland being named, “The Land of Saints and Scholars.”

The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Volume 18 (1921) provided the official litany in Latin. And the blog Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae provided both that and the official English translation. Keep in mind when praying litanies for specific saints of nations or orders if the litany is a public or a private litany. The Church has an important distinction as private litanies should not be prayed in the context of the liturgy nor should they be prayed in common while priests, monks or religious are sitting in choir and would then normally be praying the Divine Office.

The collect prayer for All Irish Saints:

Grant, O Lord, an increase of Thy Grace to us who celebrate the memory of all the Saints of our Island; that as, on earth, we rejoice to be one with them in race, so, in Heaven, we may deserve to share with them an inheritance of bliss. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

All English Saints

November 8th is the Feast of All English Saints.

While many know that King Henry VIII broke away from the Church and that he is known for murdering and replacing a series of wives, few know the full history of Catholicism in England. After King Henry VIII’s death, after a brief experiment with Protestantism under his son Edward VI who ruled at a young age mainly through regents, Catholicism returned to England under his elder daughter Mary I (1555-58). But after her reign ended, England officially adopted Anglicanism in 1559 under his younger daughter Elizabeth I (1558-1603). Except during the reign of the Catholic James II (1685-88), Catholicism remained illegal for the next 232 years until the Catholic Mass could be legally celebrated again in 1791. Yet most Catholics could not hold any public office and had few civil rights. It took the Emancipation Act of 1829 to restore most civil rights to Catholics in England.

We can and should fervently pray for a restoration of the True Faith – that is the Catholic Faith – in England and Wales. England is blessed with thousands of canonized and beatified Saints and Martyrs – many known and many more unknown. For this reason, it used to be known as “Mary’s Dowry.” How sadly times have changed.

St Arsenios of Paros prophesized: “The Church in the British Isles will only begin to grow when she begins again to venerate her own saints.” For this intention – the return of England and Wales back to the unity of the Catholic Faith – let us pray the Litany of the Saints and Martyrs of England, which is a private litany.

All Saints of the Dominican Order

November 12th is the Feast of All Dominican Saints. This Feast was moved to November 7th after Vatican II; however, those attached to Catholic Tradition, including Dominican communities that follow the Dominican Rite, still retain it on November 12th.

In Short Lives of the Dominican Saints published in 1901 by A Sister of the Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena, we read:

It may not be without interest to record in this place the number of Saint Dominic’s children who, up to the present date, A.D. 1900, have received the honors of canonization and beatification. The canonized Saints of the Order are 14 in number; its Beati, 215. By far the majority of these belong, of course, to the First or Great Order; but the Second Order of cloistered women has 10 representatives, and the Third Order, 66. We may add to the figures given above, Blessed Jane of Aza, the mother of our Holy Father, Saint Dominic, 58 members of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, beatified with our Japanese Martyrs, and 7 Martyrs belonging to the Dominican Mission of Eastern Tonquin.

The General Chapter of Valencia caused a list to be drawn up of the martyrs of the Order between the years 1234 and 1335, and it was found to contain 13,370 names. In the sixteenth century alone, 26,000 of the children of Saint Dominic gave their lives for the faith; and an author writing in the year 1882 states as an ascertained fact, that, from the foundation of the Order down to our own day, there has never been a single decade of years without some addition to the blood-stained roll of its martyrs. The century now closing has furnished its quota in the far East, where the chronicle of the Dominican Mission in Tonquin may be said to be written in blood.

But there are other martyrdoms besides that of blood, and who shall reckon up the number of Saint Dominic’s children whose lives have been consumed for the aim and object of his Order, the salvation of the souls for whom Christ died, in missionary labours, in the pulpit, the confessional, the professor’s chair, the hospital, or the school, or in the humbler sphere of domestic labour in the service of their Community, or again in the cloistered seclusion of their Convents, by the secret crucifixion of the spirit and the holy apostleship of intercessory prayer and suffering?

And since that text was written, more Dominicans have been canonized. The collect prayer for this feast day, which we can joyfully pray on November 12th is as follows:

O God, who hast vouchsafed to make the order of Preachers fruitful in an abundant progeny of Saints, and hast sublimely crowned in them the merits of all heroic virtues, grant us to follow in their footsteps, that we may one day be united in perpetual festivity in heaven with those whom we today venerate in common upon earth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

All Saints of the Benedictine Order

November 13th is the Feast of “All Saints of the Benedictine Order.” Published in 1944 by The Liturgical Press for the Benedictine Order, A Short Breviary for Religious and the Laity states: “Because this Office is also used by the Brothers and the Oblates of the Benedictine Order, the first and second class feasts of the Benedictine Calendar are added to those of the Roman Calendar.”

The collect for this feastday is:

O God, who has promised that those who have left all things to follow Thee will receive a hundredfold and possess eternal life. Grant to us, through the intercession of our father Benedict and all monastic saints who have followed his Rule, that we may be detached from all earthly things and prefer nothing to the riches of Thy love. Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen

All Saints of the Augustinian Order

November 13th is a day of multiple feasts. The Benedictines keep it as the Feast of All Benedictine Saints. In the Universal Church following the traditional calendar, November 13th is the Feast of Saint Didacus, the namesake for San Diego, California. And in some places, it is also the Feast of St. Frances Cabrini, the American saint.[1]

This day is also for the Augustinian Order their Feast of All Augustinian Saints. There are dozens of saints and blesseds of the Order. St. Fulgentius, St. Rita of Cascia, St. Clare of Montefalco, St. Nicholas of Tolentine, St. Thomas of Villanova, and others now see God face-to-face in Heaven along with St. Augustine and his mother, St. Monica.

May Our Mother of Good Counsel pray for all of us, especially for all who are members of the Augustinian Order on earth. And may we pray to all these Augustinian saints to keep the Order of St. Augustine faithful to Christ and Tradition.

On November 13th, we can add to our daily prayers an adapted collect:

Almighty, everlasting God, Who hast granted us to venerate in one solemnity the merits of all Thy Saints of [the Augustinian Order], we beseech Thee, that as our intercessors are multiplied, Thou wouldst bestow upon us the desired abundance of Thy mercy. Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen

All Saints of the Premonstratensian Order

Joining an already crowded day, November 13th is kept by the Canons Regular of Prémontré (i.e., the Premonstratensians) the Feast of All Saints of the Premonstratensian Order. This Order is more commonly known as the Norbertines, after the name of their founder. Living a worldly life, St. Norbert decided to receive Holy Orders only as part of a career move. St. Nobert joined the Benedictines at Siegburg and after a narrow escape from death, took his vows seriously and experienced an interior conversion. Ordained a priest in 1115 AD, St. Norbert accepted the duty of preaching, particularly in France and Germany. St. Norbert founded a religious community of Augustinian canons at Premontre, France, who became known as the Norbertines or Premonstratensians.

As described in The Life of Saint Norbert:

Norbert established a clergy dedicated to the ideals of the Gospel and the apostolic Church. They were chaste and poor. They wore the clothing and the symbols of the new man; that is to say, they wore “the religious habit and exhibited the dignity proper to the priesthood.” Norbert asked them “to live according to the norms of the Scriptures with Christ as their model.”

The priests lived in community, where they continued the work of the apostles. When Norbert was appointed as archbishop, he urged his brothers to carry the faith to the lands of the Wends.

Faith was the outstanding virtue of Norbert’s life, as charity had been the hallmark of Bernard of Clairvaux. Affable and charming, amiable to one and all, he was at ease in the company of the humble and the great alike. Finally, he was a most eloquent preacher; after long meditation he would preach the word of God and with his fiery eloquence purged vices, refined virtues and filled souls of good will with the warmth of wisdom.

Like other Orders which keep feast days in honor of their saints sometime during the month of November, today’s Feast of the Norbertines should further inspire us to pray for the success of Traditional Norbertines active in our world today. May the intercession of all Norbertines in Heaven help them – and us – to spread the Catholic Faith, to do penance, and to one day save our souls. For a list of the many Norbertine saints, see the blog Norbertine Vocations.

All Saints of the Carmelite Order

November 14th is the Feast of All Saints of the Carmelite Order. Like other major religious orders, the Carmelite Order is blessed with many saints and blessed. It is thanks to the Carmelite Order that we have the Brown Scapular.

Who are the Carmelite Saints? The Order of Carmelites answers:

They are hermits of Mount Carmel who “lived in small cells, similar to the cells of a beehive, they lived as God’s bees, gathering the divine honey of spiritual consolation.” They are mendicants of the first medieval communities, who discovered the presence of God in the events of ordinary daily life and especially seeing God in his brothers and sisters. They are teachers and preachers, missionaries and martyrs who searched for the face of God among the people. They are nuns who have contributed to the growth of God’s people by their mystical experience and especially through their fervent prayer and contemplative life. They are religious, who showed us the face of Christ through their apostolate in hospitals or schools, especially in the mission lands. They are laity, who were able to embody the spirit of Carmel and lived that spirit in the midst of the people. Simon Stock, Andrew Corsini, Albert of Trapani, John of Cross, Teresa of Ávila, Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Edith Stein, Titus Brandsma, Angelo Paoli and countless saints and blesseds of Carmel together with Mary, the Mother of Carmel, are now singing a song of praise to the Father in Heaven.

On November 14th, besides calling to mind all of these saints, we pray for the intercession of all Carmelites – known and unknown – that they especially intercede for all Carmelites on this earth. May everyone in the Carmelite Order – including the many Carmelite Third Order members – grow in sanctity, stay true to the authentic Catholic Faith, and persevere to the end. For this, let us add this prayer to our morning prayers on November 14th:

Almighty and merciful God, Who dost rejoice us by the memory of all the Saints of the Carmelite Order: grant that, inspired by their example and merits, we may live for Thee alone in the continual observance of Thy law and in the perfect abnegation of self, and that we may attain to perfect happiness with them in heaven. Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen

All Saints of the Servite Order

November 16th is the Feast of All Saints of the Servite Order. While not as well-known as the Dominicans, Jesuits, or Carmelites, the Servite Order is illustrious in its own right. The Order of Servites is the fifth mendicant order, founded in 1223, and its primary ends are “sanctification of its members, preaching the Gospel, and the propagation of devotion to the Mother of God, with special reference to her sorrows.”

St. Juliana Falconieri, St. Philip Benizi, St. Anthony Pucci, and others are canonized members of the Servite Order. The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order are remembered together with their Feast on the Universal Calendar on February 17th.

November 16th is also a good day to learn more about the Black Scapular, which comes from the Servite Order which began in 1255 and was sanctioned by Pope Alexander IV. This scapular honors the Seven Sorrows of Mary. It is one of 17 approved Scapulars in the Church.

All Saints of the Order of Malta

On November 19th, the Order of Malta keeps their Feast of All Saints of their Order, a feast day known as “All Saints of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.” This feast, like the various feasts of All Saints for other religious orders, commemorates both the known and the unknown saints of their Order who now possess the beatific vision in Heaven.

Let us pray to some of these holy intercessors ranging from Blessed Gerard, Founder and First Grand Master of the Order, St. Toscana, St. Nicasius, St. Nuno Alvarez Pereira, Blessed Charles of Austria, Blessed Alfredo Schuster of Milan, and all others with connections to this venerable order.

We pray especially for an end to the controversies that engulf the Order now, including the illegal prohibition of the Tridentine Mass a few years ago by the Master of the Order at that time. May they also be unwavering in fidelity to the Teachings of the Church on the impossibility of artificial contraception, especially in light of the scandal from a few years ago.

To this end, we can add to our prayers the collect prayer from this feast day:

God, the source of all holiness and of varying forms of it that endow Thy Church and build up the Body of Christ, give us the grace to follow the saints of [this] Order in living for Thee alone by meditating on Thy law and by perfect self-denial so that we may come with them to the bliss of eternal life. Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen

All Saints of the Franciscan Order

Rounding out the month of November, the Franciscan Order keeps a feast day in honor of all their saints on November 29th. November 29 was selected for this feast day because on that day in 1223 Pope Honorius III gave his approval to the final Rule which St. Francis gave to the Friars Minor. Known as the Feast of All Saints of the Seraphic Order, we can spend time honoring these saints with a private Litany in their honor and by similarly praying the collect prayer for this feast day:

Almighty everlasting God, we thank Thee for granting us the joy of honoring our holy Father Francis and his sainted followers and enjoying the protection of their unceasing prayers. Grant us also the grace to imitate their example and so attain their fellowship in eternal glory. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

All Souls Day for the Various Orders

Just as the Church celebrates All Saints Day and then immediately turns on November 2nd to commemorating and praying for the souls of all the faithful departed in Purgatory, so too the various orders keep various “All Souls” Days for their orders. We may also wish to add these to our calendars in November and pray in a special way for all departed members of these orders including Third Order members:

November 13th: All Dominican Souls
November 14th: All Benedictine Souls
November 15th: All Carmelite Souls
November 17th: All Servite Souls


There are over 10,000 known saints from all walks of life. While St. Ulrich of Augsburg was the first saint to be formerly canonized, thousands have followed him, and many others preceded him before formal canonizations began.[2] However, our goal is for the salvation of our own souls, those souls of our family and friends, the souls of our countrymen, and the souls of as many others as possible. We pray to be among them one day in Heaven and join the numberless myriad of unknown saints who we honor not only on November 1st but throughout the month of November. May our honoring of the saints of various orders and nations help us to learn more about different saints and truly pray for and work for the salvation of others.


[1] Her feast day was assigned for the United States to November 22nd until the change to the calendar in 1960 when her feast was moved to November 13th, the day of her beatification, in order to avoid conflicting with the greater ferias of Advent. In both instances, her feast day is not kept on the Universal Calendar – it is kept only in the United States.

[2] As summarized by Encyclopedia Britannica: “In the early church there was no formal canonization, but the cult of local martyrs was widespread and was regulated by the bishop of the diocese. The translation of the martyr’s remains from the place of burial to a church was equivalent to canonization. Gradually, ecclesiastical authorities intervened more directly in the process of canonization. By the 10th century, appeals were made to the pope. The first saint canonized by a pope was Ulrich, bishop of Augsburg, who died in 973 and was canonized by Pope John XV at a synod held in the Lateran in 993. Pope Alexander III (1159–81) began to reserve the cases of canonization to the Holy See, and this became general law under Pope Gregory IX (1227–41).”

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