The discovery of the Americas in 1492 by Christopher Columbus marked the beginning of modern times, a period of History - our modern times - extending until the the present day.
Among the great witnesses of the faith, St Ignatius Loyola was active during the early modern times; he founded the Order of the Jesuits and soon afterwards St Francis Xavier, one of his first spiritual sons, left to evangelize the East Indies and Japan. This is also the time of the Protestant Reformation in the early 16th century. This was also the century of famous mystics such as St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila; it was the century of still another Jesuit, St Robert Bellarmin, whose "Controversies" refuted point by point the arguments of the Reform. This was the time of St Francis of Sales, the author of "Introduction to the Devout Life" and co-founder with St Jeanne de Chantal of the Marian Order of the Visitation.
The 17th Century produced for the Church St John Eudes who founded the Society of Jesus and Mary, St Veronica Giuliani, St Joseph of Cupertino, St Louis de Montfort who wrote "The Treaty of the True Devotion to Mary".
As for the 18th century, a very great name illustrates the field of Marian theology, that of St Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor and author of the "best-seller" of the time: "The Glories of Mary"
The 19th century: the beginning of a spiritual rebirth
Then with St Seraphim of Sarov, hermit and theologian of the Holy Spirit in the Orthodox Church, and St John Mary Vianney (the Curé of Ars named Patron Saint of parish priests of the whole world) the world entered into the 19th century, a century which saw a spiritual rebirth, in France especially after the particularly bloody persecutions of the Revolution (1789-1794). Some of the great witnesses of the faith at that time were a convert from the Anglican Church, Cardinal John H. Newman; the apologist August Nicolas, a precursor of modern Mariology; St John Bosco; St Mary Lataste, a mystic; St Bernadette Soubirous who saw the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, St Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church...
St Padre Pio, St Maximilian Kolbe, St Faustina Kowalska, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta... are all great saints of the 20th century. Many of them were universally known during their own life times, they were very quickly canonized after their deaths. The 20th century will be remembered as the century in the History of the Church as the one that gave the greatest number of martyrs... In addition to the hundreds of priests and the thousands of Christians such as St Edith Stein (Carmelite nun), who were killed in the Nazis' concentration camps, as well as the innumerable confessors of the faith who were victims of the persecutions of Stalin, let us not forget the great numbers of priests who gave up their lives during Spanish Civil War and in the many various civil wars in Latin America, as well as the Christians killed in Uganda, and the martyrs of China and Viet Nam throughout that violent century. In more recent times, at the end of the 20th century, we are reminded of Father Christian de Chergé and the seven monks of Tiberine who were martyres to the faith in Algeria.