Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

July 5 | The Power of Progress

Saint Antony Zaccaria

A.D. 1502–1539

Are you making progress?

It’s an important question to ask ourselves: “Am I making progress?” None of us have much experience with being perfect, but most of us have had considerable experience with making progress. Progress animates us. It brings us to life. 

When we sense that we are making progress, we tend to be filled with passion, energy, enthusiasm, purpose, and a real and sustainable joy. Progress fills us with gratitude for the now and hope for the future. Progress creates enduring happiness. And we are never done making progress. 

Saint Antony Zaccaria graduated from one of the most prestigious medical schools in the world at the age of 22. He may have been tempted to believe that was the pinnacle of his progress, but instead he kept seeing ways to grow and improve.

Antony was working as a doctor in his home city of Cremona, Italy when he realized God’s next step for him was serving the poor. So he began administering medical services to the poorest patients in the city. This work inspired him to take another step and help people not just with their physical health, but their spiritual health. So he became a priest at the age of 26. 

Antony administered the Sacraments and carried out his priestly duties to the best of his abilities. Soon, he became shocked by the spiritual decay he witnessed in society and the clergy, so he took the next step and decided to propose reforms for the Catholic Church. In 1530, he founded the first religious order under his reforms: The Barnabites, named after the companion to Saint Paul, Barnabas. 

Then, Antony turned his attention to secular society, and spiritual renewal. He played a crucial role in promoting many of the spiritual exercises Catholics still practice today, like daily Communion and the Forty Hours devotion.

So much progress, and yet Antony chose to keep moving forward. He became a missionary to bring Christians back to the Catholic Church who had recently left during the Reformation. It was on one of these trips that he became seriously ill, returned back home, and passed on to the next life at the age of 36.

Saint Antony Zaccaria made a lot of progress in those 36 years. Are you making progress?

Progress is change for the better. Progress is change that makes something more perfectly itself. Progress is any change, however small, that makes someone more perfectly himself or herself.

Ask yourself what positive change you can make today. Then, make that change!


I will harness the power of progress.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Feast Day: July 5

Patron Saint of: The Barnabite order, Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul, Laity of Saint Paul, and Physicians

Symbols: Holding a Crucifix

Canonized: May 27, 1897

Canonized By: Pope Leo XIII

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