Diocese of Ogdensburg

The Roman Catholic Church in Northern New York

Don’t forget to put your shoes out the night before!


St. Nicholas

The real Santa Claus is called St. Nicholas.  He was born into a wealthy family in Turkey in 325 and orphaned at an early age.  He had always read his Bible, and decided he could best serve others by using his inheritance to help the poor in the area.  One day, he heard about a farmer who was so poor he was unable to feed his family.  Rather than starve, he decided to take his three daughters into town to sell them.  Nicholas heard about the poor man’s plight, and the night before he was to make the journey to sell his daughters, Nicholas visited the farmer’s house.  All was dark, so Nicholas quietly slipped three bags of money through the window and crept away without saying a word to anyone.  The farmer awoke the next morning to discover that he would not have to sell his daughters after all.  Because he was known as a kind and generous man, it didn’t take long for people in the region to associate Nicholas with the gift left for the farmer, and many attempted to mimic his quiet generosity.  Over time, Nicholas entered the priesthood, and eventually became a bishop.  He continued to practice remarkable acts of kindness, setting a fine example for others, often reminding them that the gift was in the giving rather than in the receiving.   Today, young people all over the world wake up on December 6th, St. Nicholas’ feast day, to discover that their shoes have been filled with prayers, religious medals, candies and other treats while they were asleep.