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Make It a Family Affair: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Feast Day: March 9

Every Christian is called to holiness. By living out this call in our own state of life, a call that necessarily tends toward perfection in love, we can help others grow in holiness as well. The Second Vatican Council document Lumen Gentium puts it this way: “It is therefore quite clear that all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love, and by this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered also in earthly society.” (para. 40)

The story of the fourth century saint Gregory of Nyssa bears witness to this reality. St. Gregory was known as one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”, along with his brother, St. Basil the Great, and St. Gregory of Nazianzus. However, the family of St. Gregory was steeped in holy men and women. In addition to St. Gregory and St. Basil, three other siblings went on to become saints: St. Macrina the Younger, St. Naucratius and St. Peter of Sebaste.

St. Gregory’s parents were the primary witnesses for these saints as they grew up. As a couple, they had suffered persecution for their faith including, as St. Gregory tells us, having their goods confiscated for confessing Christ. St. Gregory’s grandmother, Macrina the Elder, is revered as a saint and his grandfather was martyred for the faith during the persecution of the Roman Emperor Maximinus II.

St. Gregory attended the first Council of Constantinople in 381, during which the Nicene Creed was confirmed. The Trinitarian discourse of the Cappadocian Fathers was influential at this council. St. Gregory also traveled to Arabia to settle disputes among the churches in that region. He is thought of as an original thinker, and is well-known for his theological writings on the Trinity and universal salvation. 

St. Gregory and his family serve as an example of the responsibility we have to each other to both walk the path to holiness ourselves and to help our brothers and sisters in Christ along the way.


Aug. 24-Sept. 3, Imperial Cities Tour: Looking for the trip of your lifetime? Join Father Andrew Czajkowski, St. John, Davison and fellow travelers for a tour of Europe’s finest cities – Prague, Budapest and Vienna – and a great Old World experience. Included is roundtrip from Davison to Detroit Metro Airport, 11 days, 14 meals, hotels, fees, tour guide, bus driver, air taxes and fees/surcharges and transfers. Early bird booking: double $3,949; single $4,699. Save $200 before Feb. 25. For more information, call 810.653.2377 or visit

Nov. 8-17, join Father Mark Rutherford and John and Marjorie Jeter on a 10-day Catholic Family Pilgrimage to Italy. Pilgrimage includes roundtrip airfare from Detroit to Rome, daily Mass and professional Catholic European tour escorts. Some of the daily sightseeing includes Assisi, the National Shrine of St. Maria Goretti in Nettuno, the eucharistic miracle of Orvieto and the Sunday noon Angelus with Pope Francis. Space is limited. Call Corporate Travel Service at 313.565.8888, ext. 121/150, or visit for reservations and information.