Saturday, October 20, 2012


Blessed John Speed (Spence)
 Born in Durham; died there 1594; beatified in 1929. John was a layman martyred for befriending and aiding Catholic priests
John Speed OR Spence executed at Durham, 4 February 1594

English martyr, executed at Durham, 4 Feb., 1593-4, for assisting the venerable martyr St. John Boste, whom he used to escort from one Catholic house to another. He died with constancy, despising the inducements offered to bring him to conformity. With him was condemned Mrs. Grace Claxton, wife of William Claxton, of the Waterhouse, in the parish of Brancepeth, Durham, at whose house Boste was taken and probably Speed also. She was, however, reprieved on being found to be with child.

 In 1929, John Speed was beatified by Pope Pius XI as one of the Durham Martyrs. The priest John Boste was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.


Eutychius of Rome
St. Eutychius
Feast day: February 4
Died: 4th century

Roman martyr starved in a prison and then thrown into a well. St. Damasus wrote Eutychius’ inscription.

 Pope Saint Damasus's inscription on his tomb says that Eutychius was left for 12 days in prison without food before being thrown into a well at Rome

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


St. Vincent of Troyes

Feast day: February 4
Died: 546
 Bishop of Troyes from about 536 to 546

Bishop of Trayes, France, from about 536. He succeeded St. Aemilian as bishop and worked to evangelize the entire area.


St. Aventinus of Chartres

Feast day: February 4
Died: 520

Bishop and brother of St. Solemnis. Aventinus succeeded Solemnis as bishop of Chaitres, France, where he was revered.

 Aventinus succeeded his brother Saint Solemnis as bishop of Chartres, France


Saint Aldate

Feast day: February 4
Died 577

Bishop and leader of Gloucester, England. Aldate's life is not detailed historically. He is reported to have served as bishop of the region and to have roused the countryside to resist pagan invasion forces.

Saint Aldate was a bishop of Gloucester, venerated as a saint with the feast day of February 4. Aldate's life is not detailed historically, but he was probably a Briton killed by the Anglo-Saxons at Deorham. He is reported to have roused the countryside to resist pagan invasion forces. He is mentioned in the Sarum and other martyrologies; his feast occurs in a Gloucester calendar (14th-century addition);
churches were dedicated to him at Gloucester and Oxford, as well as a famous Oxford street: St Aldate's, Oxford and a minor street in Gloucester. But nothing seems to be known of him: it was even suggested (unconvincingly) that his name was a corruption of 'old gate'.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Elinand of Froidmont, OSB Cist.
Feast day: February 3
 (also known as Helinand)
 Born in Pronleroy, Oise, France; died 1237. Elinand, a court singer before his conversion, became a Cistercian of Froidmont. Beloved by Philip-Augustus, he was also a poet and writer of many lines about the saints. The Cistercians venerate him as a saint, though he is otherwise considered a beatus


Celsa and Nona
Feast day: February 3

 Date unknown.
Virgins of Brabant, whose bodies were found near that of Saint Berlinda


Aelred, OSB Cist. Abbot
 (also known as Ailred, Ethelred)

Feast day: February 3
Born 1110 Hexham, Northumberland, England
Died 12 January 1167 Rievaulx, Yorkshire, England
 Born in Hexham, Northumberland, England, c. 1109; died at Rievaulx Monastery, Yorkshire, England, on January 12, 1167; canonized by the General Chapter of Cîteaux in 1250 (and Attwater says he was canonized in 1191 but he is not in the Roman Martyrology so this statement may be in error); today is the feast celebrated by the Cistercians, feast day on calendar also on March 3, when it is celebrated in Hexham, Liverpool, Middleborough, and by the Cistercians; feast day formerly on January 12. Aelred belonged to a noble family. He was the son and grandson of parish priests of Hexham--sainthood was probably in his genes. He was educated at Durham in the arts, letters, and the new humanism of the time.

 At about age 20, Aelred was taken into the service of King Saint David at the beginning of his reign. Aelred became a clerk and then high steward of the household in the Scottish court because he was so beloved for his piety, gentleness, humility, and spirituality by King David, who, though son of Saint Margaret, considered the sword and knighthood more certain guarantees of his kingdom whose districts and frontier fiefs were in continual legal disputes.

 The favors that Aelred received at court won him enemies. One of the king's knights, a jealous man, developed a hatred for Aelred because of the favors constantly bestowed upon him. One day h
is intense hatred burst out in the presence of the king himself. Bitter reproaches and insults followed.

 Aelred replied without emotion: "You are right, Sir Knight, and you have said the truth: your words are exact, and I see that you are a true friend of mine." The soldier begged his pardon immediately, and swore that henceforth he would do everything he could for Aelred. "I am very happy you have repented," said Aelred, "and I like you the more for it, because your jealousy has been for you a means of advancing in the love of God."

 Aelred formed a close relationship with David's son, Earl Henry. His soul was so torn between answering God's call to the cloistered life and remaining at court with Henry. Aelred considered friendship a most precious gift. His dilemma was solved when he visited the recently-founded Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx on his return from an interview with the archbishop of York.

 Aelred chose not to return to the Scottish court. Thus, at age 24 (c. 1134), Aelred enter Rievaulx, where Saint Bernard had appointed his secretary William as abbot over the monks from Clairvaux who formed the community. In spite of delicate health, Aelred conformed to the austere regime and became so esteemed by his community that he was chosen as envoy to Rome in 1142 over the disputed election of Saint William of York and, soon afterwards, as master of novices.

 Within a short time, he was obliged to change monasteries to avoid being named a bishop; but no sooner had he relocated himself than he was chosen to be abbot of a new Cistercian monastery in Revesby, Lincolnshire, in 1143. His biographers say that this new position did not prevent his "living a life of the severest asceticism." Under his rule, the house prospered, increasing in size to 150 choir monks and 500 lay brothers and lay servants--the largest in England. It expanded to five other foundations in England and Scotland.

 Inspired by the writings of Saints John Chrysostom and Augustine and augmented by Aelred's own gentle holiness and natural charity, he was able to humanize the intransigence of Cistercian monasticism and attracted men of similar character to his own. Through his many friends as well as his writings, Aelred became a figure of national importance. He was chosen to preach at Westminster for the translation of Saint Edward the Confessor. This led him to compose a vita of Edward; he had already completed one on Saint Ninian and one the saints of Hexham.

 Four years later he returned to Rievaulx as abbot, succeeding Abbot Maurice. During his abbacy the number of monks at Rievaulx rose to over 600, attracted by his kindly, humane nature. In addition to looking after these he had every year to visit other Cistercian houses in England and Scotland, and even to go as far afield as the Cistercian centers of Cîteaux and Clairvaux. These journeys must have been a great trial to him, for during his later years Aelred suffered from a painful disease in addition to rheumatism.

 Aelred became known for his prudence and holiness throughout England. He was admitted to the councils of the highest dignitaries in the land and was constantly called upon to settle disputes. King Henry II of England was his friend, and, in 1160, during the papal schism, he was able to influence the king on behalf of Pope Alexander III.

 In 1164, he went to Galway in Ireland as a missionary but the following year he returned to England. Famed for his preaching, energy, sympathetic gentleness, and asceticism, Aelred was consider a saint in his own lifetime. He was also considered a delightful companion because of his wit, easy speech, and brilliant mind.

 His biographer and disciple, Walter Daniel records: "I lived under his rule for 17 years, and in that time he did not dismiss anyone from the monastery." Aelred's name, indeed, is particularly associated with friendship--human and divine. One of his two best known writings is a little work On Spiritual Friendship which is delicately beautiful. Only when Aelred's enormous capacity for friendship was transformed by charity was finally able to write the unique treatment of the subject. It resembles Cicero's dialogue on the topic, but is identifiably Christian in its approach.

 Aelred also penned the Mirror of Charity (Seculum caritas), a treatise on Christian perfection. His sermons on Isaiah are also fine writing and he also composed biographies of the saints. He was in the process of writing a treatise on the human soul, which was left unfinished, by his death at age 57. His writings and sermons are characterized by a constant appeal to the Bible and to a love of Christ as friend and savior that was the mainspring of his life.

 Saint Aelred's frequent travel and writings merited for him the title of "a second Saint Bernard" or "the Bernard of the North." On his way to his Scottish foundations, Aelred used to visit his friend Saint Godric of Finchale. In the last year of his life, he could no longer travel. After being for a time virtually in a state of physical collapse, Saint Aelred died his monastery, in a shed adjoining the infirmary that he had made his quarters. The historian of monasticism in England, Professor David Knowles, says that Aelred is "a singularly attractive figure . . . No other English monk of the 12th century so lingers in the memory."

 Saint Aelred was buried in the chapter house. Later his relics were translated to the church. Aelred was never formally canonized; however, his local cultus was approved by the Cistercians who promulgated his feast


Bl. Marie Rivier

Feast day: February 3
1768 - 1838
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II

At the age of two, Marie-Anne Rivier, of Montpezat, France, was severely crippled by a fall from a bunk bed. Over the four years that followed, Marie’s mother carried her daily to a statue of the Pieta in a nearby chapel, at the child’s own insistence. Marie told her mother, “That woman in the chapel will cure me.” She would pray, “Cure me, Blessed Mother, and I’ll give you a hat…Cure me. If you don’t, I’ll pout.” On September 7, 1774, Marie’s father died. The next day, the feast of the Birth of Mary, after the family had returned home from the father’s funeral, Marie miraculously began to walk again. Later, in the chapel, Marie’s mother discovered a hat she had made for her daughter resting upon the Madonna’s head, having been placed there by the grateful child as a votive offering. Marie grew up to become the foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, devoted to the care and education of needy children. Her spirituality was marked by a profound reverence for the sacred liturgy. Deeply devoted to Eucharistic adoration, she would spend hour upon hour on Holy Thursday praying before the Blessed Sacrament in the repository.


Oliver of Portonuovo, OSB
St. Oliver
 (also known as Oliverius, Liberius)
Feast day: February 3
Died: 1050

Benedictine monk of the community of Maria di Portonuovo at Ancona, Italy. No details of his life are extant.


St. Tigrides and Remedius
Feast day: February 3
Died: unknown

French or Gallic bishop of Gap, France, of whom virtually nothing is known.

. Two bishops who succeeded one another in the see of Gap


St. Lupicinus & Felix

Feast day: February 3
Died: 5th century

Bishops of Lyons, France. Nothing is known about them except that Lupicinus is assigned the date 486. They are recorded in early martyrologies.

 The martyrologies describe both as bishops of Lyons, France. To Saint Lupicinus the usual date of death is assigned as 486. Nothing else is known about either saint


Bl. John Nelson

Feastday: February 3
Died: 1578

Jesuit martyr of England, a native of Skelton, near York. He was ordained at Douai at the age of forty. Sent to London in 1576, he was arrested in London and martyred at Tyburn by being hanged, drawn, and quartered. John became a Jesuit just before his death
Blessed John Nelson, SJ M

 Born in Skelton near York, England; died at Tyburn, England, in 1578; beatified in 1886. At age 40, John Nelson began his studies for the priesthood at Douai and was ordained in 1575 (or 1576). He was sent to the English mission but was soon arrested in London and sentenced for refusing the Oath of Supremacy. He became a Jesuit shortly before his death by hanging, drawing, and quartering at Tyburn outside London


St. Ia of Cornwall

Ia of Cornwall VM
 (also known as Hia, Hya, Iia, Ives)

Feast day: February 3
Died: 450

She was an Irish martyr. She accompanied Sts. Fingar and Piala and others from Ireland to Cornwall, England. There they suffered martyrdom at Hayle, near Penzance. St. Ives in Cornwall commemorates her. +

 Died 6th century or 450 (sources are evenly split between the two dates); another feast on October 27. According to the late medieval legend, the sister of Saints Ercus (or Euny) and Herygh, Saint Ia, was a holy maiden who came from Ireland to Cornwall--sailing on a leaf that grew to accommodate her--and landed and settled at the mouth of the Hayle River where Saint Ives, formerly called Porth Ia, now stands. She is said to have crossed with Saints Fingar, Phiala, and other missionaries. In Cornwall she erected a cell where she lived the life of prayer and austerities. This version relates that Ia suffered martyrdom in Cornwall at the mouth of the Hayle River. Leland saw her vita at Saint Ives, which depicted her as a noble of Saint Barricus; a church was built at her request by Dinan, a great lord of Cornwall. Breton tradition makes her a convert of Saint Patrick, and says that she went to Armorica with 777 disciples, where she was martyred. She is the eponym of Plouyé, near Carhaix. Do not confuse her with Saint Ives of Saint Ives, Huntingdonshire


St. Deodatus
Deodatus of Lagny, OSB

Feast day: February 3
Died: 8th century

A monk of Lagny, in the archdiocese of Paris , France.


Sts. Tigides & Remedius

Feast day: February 3
Died: 6th century

Two bishops who served in succession to each other in the French Alps. The details of their labors are not extant.


St. Anatolius
Anatolius of Salins
Feast day: February 3

Died: 9th or 11th century.

Scottish bishop and hermit. Anatolius left his see and Scotland to make a pilgrimage to Rome. He became a hermit at Salins, France. Another tradition states that Anatolius was a bishop in Galicia, Spain.
 A Scottish or Irish bishop who went as a pilgrim to Rome and settled as a hermit at Salins in the diocese of Besançon, Burgundy, about 1029. He live the rest of life in a mountain retreat overlooking a favorite stopover of Irish pilgrims near the oratory of Saint Symphorian. At a later date a church was built in his honor at Salins. His biographer said that it would be impossible to enumerate all the miracles he worked in his lifetime


St. Philip of Vienne

Feastday: February 3
Died: 578

Bishop of Vienne, France. He served in a turbulent era of political wars and rampant heresies.

 Bishop of Vienne in Gaul from about 560 to about 578


Blessed Odoric Mattiuzzi, OFM
 (also known as Odericus of Pordenone)
Feast day: February 3
1286 - 1331
Beatified 1775 by Benedict XIV
  Born 1286 Pordenone
Died January 14, 1331  Udine

Franciscan missionary and traveler. Born Odoric Mattiussi at Villanova, near Pordenone, Italy, he entered the Franciscans in 1300 and became a hermit. After several years, he took to preaching in the region of Udine, northern Italy, attracting huge crowds through his eloquence. In 1316 he set out for the Far East, journeying through China and finally reaching the court of the Mongol Great Khan in Peking. From 1322 to 1328 he wandered through
out China and Tibet, finally returning to the West in 1330 where he made a report to the pope at Avignon and dictated an account of his travels. He died before he could find missionaries to return with him to the East. His cult was approved in 1755 owing to the reports of miracles he performed while preaching among the Chinese.

 Born in Villanova near Pordenone, Friuli, Italy, in 1285; died at Udine in 1331; cultus confirmed in 1775. Odoric Mattiuzzi became a Franciscan hermit, who made one of the most remarkable journeys of the middle ages. He became a missionary about 1317 and penetrated into Tibet by travelling through Armenia, Baghdad, Malabar, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. He was in Beijing for three years and returned home via Lhasa. Some believed he reached Japan. Odoric dictated an account of his adventures but does not recount much of his evangelical activities, though they were considerable. After 16 years in the mission fields, he returned to Europe to report to the pope at Avignon, but died en route


St. Margaret of England

Feastday: February 3
Patron of the dying
Died: 1192

Cistercian nun. She was born in Hungary, to an English mother who was related to St. Thomas of Canterbury, England. She went with her mother on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and lived a life of austerity and penance in Bethlehem. Her mother died there, and Margaret made pilgrimages to Montserrat, in Spain, and to Puy, France. There she entered the Cistercian convent at Suave-Benite. When she died, her tomb became a pilgrimage shrine.

Saint Margaret was possibly born in Hungary to an English mother and is probably related to Saint Thomas of Canterbury. She took her mother on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where they both led an austere life of penance for some years in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Her mother died there but Margaret continued on to Our Lady of Montserrat in the Spanish Catalonia, before joining the Cistercian nuns at Seauve-Bénite, in the diocese of Puy-en-Velay. She was greatly venerated in that district. Miracles followed her burial at Seauve-Bénite and her shrine became a principle feature of the church. Crowds came there to invoke 'Margaret the Englishwoman.' The local tradition that she was English was accepted by the Maurists and Gallia Christiana, yet an older French manuscript preserved by the Jesuits of Clermont College in Paris relates that she was indeed a Hungarian of noble birth


St. Hadelin

Hadelin of Dinant, OSB,
 (also known as Adelin of Dinant)

Feast day: February 3
Died: 690

Benedictine abbot, disciple of St. Remaclus. He was born in Gascony, France, and became the founder of Chelles Abbey in liege diocese. Hadelin spent his last years as a hermit on the Meuse River, near Dinart.

 Hadelin, a native of Gascony, followed Saint Remaclus first to Solignac, then to Maestricht  and Stavelot. He became the founder of Celles, in the diocese of Liége, Belgium. Hadelin lived as a hermit near Dinant on the Meuse . In art, Saint Hadelin is portrayed as a Benedictine abbot being visited by King Pepin and his knights. He might also be enthroned before the Abbey of Celles


St. Liafdag

Feast day: February 3
Died: 980

Bishop of Jutland, Denmark, where he was martyred by local pagans.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


St. Caellainn

Feast day: February 3
Died: 6th century

Irish saint also called Caoilfionn. She is listed in the Martymlogy of Donegal , and a church in Roscommon is named in her honor.


St. Celerinus

Feastday: February 3
Died: 250

Celerinus of Carthage
 Died after 250.
An African who, without shedding his blood, earned the title of martyr because of the sufferings he endured under Decius during a visit to Rome. Set at liberty, he returned to Carthage where he was ordained a deacon by Saint Cyprian. A church was dedicated to his honor in Carthage

African martyr who is revered for his sufferings while imprisoned by Emperor Trajanus Decius in Rome. He was freed and returned to Carthage, where St. Cyprian ordained him as a deacon.


St. Werburg

Werburg of Mercia, OSB, Matron
Feast day: February 3
Died: 785

Widow and abbess. A woman from Mercia, England, she became a nun after her husband died. Werburg entered a convent, possibly Bardney, where she became abbess.

 When Ceolred of Mercia died, his wife Werburg retired to a convent  of which she became abbess


St. Werburga

Werburga of Chester, OSB
 (also known as Werburg, Werebrurge, Werbyrgh)
 Born at Stone, Staffordshire, England; died at Threckingham, England, . 690-700; feast of her translati on at Chester, June 21.
Feastday: February 3
Patron of Chester, England
Died: 699

Benedictine nun and patroness of Chester, England. The daughter of King Wulfhere of Mercia and St. Ermenilda, she was born in Staffordshire. Werburga resolutely refused to marry, insisting instead that she become a nun at Ely. After studying under St. Etheldreda, she departed the convent of Ely in 675 and assisted her uncle Ethelred, who was now king, in reforming the convents of the realm. She also founded communities at Hanbury, Trentham, and in Wedon, in Northamptonshire. Her remains were transferred from Trentham to Chester, where she became venerated as the patron saint of the city. She was reputed to have the ability to read the minds of others and was revered in her lifetime for miracles.

 The patroness of Chester, England, Saint Werburga, was born of a line of kings, being a daughter of Wulfhere, King of Mercia. From her mother, the saintly Ermingilde (Ermenilda), she learned as a child the Christian faith. By temperament she was pious and virtuous, and her beauty attracted many admirers, among them a prince of the West Saxons, who offered her rich gifts and made flattering proposals, and also Werbode, a powerful knight of her father's court. But refusing all her suitors, she secured, after much persuasion, her father's permission to enter a convent (or she did so after her father's death).

 When the time came, he and his courtiers escorted her in great state to the abbey of Ely, where they were greeted at the gates by her aunt, the royal abbess, Ethelreda, and her nuns. Werburga fell upon her knees and asked that she might be received as a novice, and to the chanting of the Te Deum they entered the cloister, where she was stripped of her costly apparel, exchanged her coronet for a veil, and in a rough habit began her new life.

 She made good progress, and after many years, at the request of her uncle, King Ethelred, was chosen to superintend all the convents of his kingdom. This opened to her a large and fruitful sphere of duty, and the religious houses under her care became models of monastic discipline. Through the wealth and influence of her family she also founded new convents at Trentham in Staffordshire, Hanbury near Tutbury, and Weedon in Northamptonshire, and secured the interest of Ethelred in establishing the collegiate Church of Saint John the Baptist in Chester, and in giving land to Egwin for the great abbey of Evesham.

 Werburga won many from dissipation and vice, and God crowned her life with many blessings. Her work was deeply rooted in prayer and discipline. She took but one meal daily and that only of the coarsest food; she set before her the example of the desert fathers; and she recited the whole of the Psalter daily upon her knees.

 She lived to a ripe age, and before her death she journeyed to all her convents, paying to each a farewell visit; she then retired to Trentham (Threckingham in Lincolnshire), where she died. She was buried in the monastery of Hanbury in Staffordshire. Later, her remains were transferred with great ceremony in the presence of King Coolred and many bishops to a costly shrine in Leicester, which attracted many pilgrims.

 In 875, for fear of the Danes, her relics were removed to Chester. In 1095, they were translated within Chester, where in the course of time a great church, now the cathedral, was built over it, and where the remains of it may still be seen, carved with the figures of her ancestors, the ancient kings of Mercia. On its four sides the deep niches remain, where the pilgrims knelt, seeking healing, afterwards receiving a metal token to show that they had visited her shrine. This final translation was the occasion for Goselin to write her vita. The shrine was destroyed under King Henry VIII, although part of its stone base survives. Twelve ancient English churches were dedicated to her, including Hanbury and Chester .

 In art Saint Werburga holds the abbey, while her crown lays at her feet. Sometimes there are wild geese near her (Roeder), because, according to Goselin she restored one to life (see below); however, the writer borrowed the story from his own vita of the Flemish Saint Amelburga (Farmer). She is, of course, the patroness of Chester .

 Like a cheerful gossip, William of Malmesbury writes this tale of a local miracle wrought by Saint Werburga:

 "It was in the city of Chester that the girl Werburga, daughter of Wulfhere, King of Mercia, and Ermenilda . . . took her vows, and her goodness shone for many years. The story of one miracle done by her I now shall tell, which made a great stir and was long told about the countryside.

 "She had a farm outside the walls, where the wild geese would come and destroy the standing corn in the fields. The stewart in charge of the farm took all shifts to drive them off, but with small success. And so, when he came to wait upon his lady, he added his complaint of them to the other tales he would tell her of the day.

 "'Go,' said she, 'and shut them all into a house.' The countryman, dumbfounded at the oddness of the command, thought that his lady was jesting: but finding her serious and insistent, went back to the field where he had first spied the miscreants, and bade them, speaking loud and clear, to do their lady's bidding and come after him. Whereupon with one accord they gathered themselves into a flock, and walking with down-bent necks after their enemy, were shut up under a roof. On one of them, however, the rustic, with no thought of any to accuse him, made bold to dine.

 "At dawn came the maid, and after scolding the birds for pillaging other people's property, bade them take their flight. But the winged creatures knew that one of their company was missing; nor did they lack wit to go circling round their lady's feet, refusing to budge further, and complaining as best they could, to excite her compassion. She, through God's revealing, and convinced that all this clamor was not without cause, turned her gaze upon the steward, and divined the theft.

 "She bade him gather up the bones and bring them to her. And straightway, at a healing sign from the girl's hand, skin and flesh began to come upon the bones, and feathers to fledge upon the skin, till the living bird, at first with eager hop and soon upon the wing, launched itself into the air. Nor were the others slow to follow it, their numbers now complete, though first they made obeisance to their lady and deliverer.

 "And so the merits of this maid are told at Chester, and her miracles extolled. Yet though she be generous and swift to answer all men's prayers, yet most gracious is her footfall among the women and boys, who pray as it might be to a neighbor and a woman of their own countryside" (Malmesbury).


St. Berlinda

Berlinda of Meerbeke, OSB
 (also known as Berlindis, Bellaude)

Feast day: February 3

Died: 702
A hermitess of Belgium. Berlinda, also called Berlindis or Bellaude, was a niece of St. Amandus. She entered the Benedictine convent of St. Mary's at Moorsel, in Belgium. She later became a hermitess at Meerbeke.

 A niece of Saint Amandus, Berlinda was disinherited by her father, the rich Count Odelard, in a fit of rage. He had leprosy and thought that she would not take proper care of him. She fled to Saint Mary's convent at Mooriel (Moorsel), near Alost, Belgium, where she became a Benedictine nun. After her father's death, she became a hermit at Meerbeke near his tomb and spent her life helping the poor and suffering

 Saint Berlinda is pictured as a Flemish nun with a cow and either a pruning hook or branch. Sometimes she is portrayed with Saints Nona and Celsa. She is venerated at Mooreel (Mooriel) convent and Meerbeche (Meerbeke) . Berlinda is protectress of trees and invoked against cattle diseases


St. Anskar

Feast day: February 3
801 - 865

Born in Picardy, St. Anskar was the apostle to the Scandinavians. He was educated at Corbie, a Benedictine monastery, and taught at Corvey, a daughter house in Westphalia. Louis I the Pious had at that time allied himself with Harald of Denmark in a dynastic dispute on the condition that Harald and his country become Christian. When Louis sought a missionary, Archbishop Ebbo of Rheims and Abbot Wala of Corvey recommended Anskar. His mission began c. 826 in Schleswig and ended the following year with Harald's defeat. Bjorn of Sweden later permitted Anskar to preach in Sweden, where he established the first church in Scandinavia at Björnskö. Louis named Anskar first bishop of Hamburg in 831, and the following year, Gregory IV appointed him papal legate to the Scandinavians. The Swedish mission collapsed in 845, after Vikings destroyed Hamburg. Appointed Archbishop of Bremen in 851, Anskar renewed his missionary work and converted Haarik II of Sweden. Anskar did as much as he could to alleviate the harsh conditions of the Viking slave trade. He also founded hospitals. Nicholas I canonized Anskar shortly after his death.

 (also known as Anskar, Anschar, Anscharius, Scharies) Born near Amiens, Picardy, France in 801; died in Bremen, Germany on February 3, 865.

 With the coming of the barbarian after the death of Charlemagne, darkness fell upon Europe. From the forests and fjords of the north, defying storm and danger, came a horde of pirate invaders, prowling round the undefended coasts, sweeping up the broad estuaries, and spreading havoc and fear. No town, however fair, no church, however sacred, and no community, however strong, was immune from their fury. Like a river of death the Vikings poured across Europe.

 It's hard to believe that there would be an outbreak of missionary activity at such a time, but in Europe's darkest hour there were those who never faltered, and who set out to convert the pagan invader. Saint Ansgar was such a man. As a young boy of a noble family he was received at Corbie monastery in Picardy and educated under Saints Abelard and Paschasius Radbert. Once professed, he was transferred to New Corbie at Westphalia. He once said to a friend, "One miracle I would, if worthy, ask the Lord to grant me; and that is, that by His grace, he would make me a good man."

 In France a call was made for a priest to go as a missionary to the Danes, and Ansgar, a young monk, volunteered. His friends tried to dissuade him, so dangerous was the mission. Nevertheless, when King Harold, who had become a Christian during his exile, returned to Denmark, Ansgar and another monk accompanied him. Equipped with tents and books, these two monks set out in 826 and founded a school in Denmark. Here Anskar's companion died, and he was obliged to move on to Sweden alone when his success in missionary work led King Bjoern to invite him to Sweden.

 On the way, his boat was attacked by pirates and he lost all his possessions, arriving destitute at a small Swedish village. After this unpromising start, he succeeded in forming the nucleus of a church--the first Christian church in Sweden--and penetrated inland, confronting the heathen in their strongholds and converting the pagan chiefs.

 Ansgar became the first archbishop of Hamburg, Germany, and abbot of New Corbie in Westphalia c. 831. The Pope Gregory IV appointed him legate to the Scandinavian countries and confided the Scandinavian souls to his care. He evangelized there for the next 14 years, building churches in Norway, Denmark, and northern Germany.

 He saw his accomplishments obliterated when pagan Vikings invaded in 845, overran Scandinavia, and destroyed Hamburg. Thereafter, the natives reverted to paganism. Ansgar was then appointed first archbishop of Bremen around 848, but he was unable to establish himself there for a time and Pope Nicholas I united that see with Hamburg. Nicholas also gave him jurisdiction over Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

 Ansgar returned to Denmark and Sweden in 854 to resume spreading the Gospel. When he returned to Denmark he saw the church and school he had built there destroyed before his eyes by an invading army.

 His heart almost broke as he saw his work reduced to ashes. "The Lord gave," he said, "and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." With a handful of followers he wandered through his ruined diocese, but it was a grim and weary time. "Be assured, my dear brother," said the primate of France, who had commissioned him to this task, "that what we have striven to accomplish for the glory of Christ will yet, by God's help, bring forth fruit."

 Heartened by these words, and with unfailing courage, Anskar pursued his Swedish mission. Though he had but four churches left and could find no one willing to go in his place, he established new outposts and consolidated his work.

 King Olaf had cast a die to decide whether to allow the entrance of Christians, an action that Ansgar mourned as callous and unbefitting. He was encouraged, however, by a council of chiefs at which an aged man spoke in his defense. "Those who bring to us this new faith," he said, "by their voyage here have been exposed to many dangers. We see our own deities failing us. Why reject a religion thus brought to our very doors? Why not permit the servants of God to remain among us? Listen to my counsel and reject not what is plainly for our advantage."

 As a result, Ansgar was free to preach the Christian faith, and though he met with many setbacks, he continued his work until he died at he age of 64 and was buried at Bremen. He was a great missionary, an indefatigable, outstanding preacher, renowned for his austerity, holiness of life, and charity to the poor. He built schools and was a great liberator of slaves captured by the Vikings. He converted King Erik of the Jutland and was called the 'Apostle of the North.' Yet Sweden reverted completely to paganism shortly after Ansgar's death.

 Ansgar often wore a hairshirt, lived on bread and water when his health permitted it, and added short personal prayers to each Psalm in his psalter, thus contributing to a form of devotion that soon became widespread.

 Miracles were said to have been worked by him. After Ansgar's death, the work he had begun came to a stop and the area reverted to paganism. Christianity did not begin to make headway in Scandinavia until two centuries later with the work of Saint Sigfrid and others. A life was written about Ansgar by his fellow missionary in Scandinavia, Saint Rembert (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Gill, Robinson, White).

 In art Ansgar shown with converted Danes near him (White), wearing a fur pelisse (Roeder). He may sometimes be shown otherwise in a boat with King Harold and companions or in a cope and miter, holding Hamburg Cathedral (Roeder).

 Saint Ansgar is the patron of Denmark, Germany, and Iceland (White). He is venerated in Old Corbie (Picardy) and New Corbie (Saxony) as well as in Scandinavia

 While the Roman calendar lists both Anskar and Ansgar on this day-- as two separate individuals. It appears that they are one and the same person.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Blaise of Sebaste BM

 (also known as Blase, Blasien, Blasius, Biagio)
St. Blaise

Feast day: February 3
 Died . 316.
As someone who loves to sing and suffers from frequent sore throats, I always look forward to the feast of Saint Blaise. Since the 16th century, the throats of the faithful are blessed on this day using the sacramental of two crossed or intertwined candles. I hope this is still customary in all Cathol ic churches. The reason for Blaise's patronage of throats is that he reportedly revived a boy who choked to death on a fishbone (in some versions he raised the already dead boy). The candles used during the blessing are derived from the candles brought to Blaise in prison by the grateful mother. (I also wonder if there is some significance to the candles that were blessed the day before at Candlemas--Feast of the Presentation--being used to bless?) In the acta of Saint Eustratius, who perished in 303 under Diocletian, it is said that Blaise received his relics, deposited them with those of Saint Orestes, and executed every article of his last will and testament. This is all that can be confirmed of Saint Blaise with any accuracy as there is no evidence of a cultus for Blaise prior to the 8th century. According to Blaise's legendary acta, which date no earlier than the 8th century, he was born into a rich and noble family, received a Christian education, and was consecrated a bishop of Sebaste, Cappadocia (now Armenia), while still quite young. Blaise was a physician in Sebaste, as well as bishop. As a doctor Blaise went into every home at all hours of the day and night, knew both the rich and the poor, comforted, cured, and advised them all. As a bishop, he did the same thing.

Saint Blaise confronting the Roman governor- scene from a stained glass window from the area of Soissons (Picardy, France), early 13th century.

 When the governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia, Agricolaus, began persecuting Christians, Bishop Blaise of Sebastea hid in a cave where the wild beasts, including lions, tigers, and bears, tended him because he cared for them whenever they were hurt. His hiding place was discovered by hunters seeking animals for the amphitheatre, who observed him curing sick and wounded animals. Because the wild animals were so tame around him, they thought that Blaise was a wizard and wanted to present him as such to the governor.

 As he was being brought to Governor Agricolaus, a poor woman appealed for help because a wolf had taken her pig and Blaise persuaded the wolf to release the pig unharmed. Blaise was presented to the governor, who had him scourged and decided to starve Blaise to death in prison. But his plans were thwarted when the grateful woman secretly brought Blaise food and candles to dispel the darkness of his gloomy prison. When it was discovered that Blaise was still alive, the governor ordered soldiers to rake away the saint's skin with a woolcomb, and then Blaise was beheaded.

 This is only one version of Blaise's story. In another he is repeatedly tortured, but refuses to give in. He is thrown into a nearby lake, but the waters remain frozen like ice, unwilling to be an accomplice in the death of this holy man. So, he is finally killed by the sword. Canterbury claimed his relics, and at least four miracles were said to have occurred at his shrine, one dated 1451. Parson Woodforde described a solemn procession in his honor at Norwich on March 24, 1783

 Saint Blaise is the patron of wild animals (Coulson), physicians, sick cattle, wax-chandlers, and woolcombers. He is invoked against afflictions of the throat (Bentley, Roeder). Water with the blessing of Saint Blaise is also given to sick cattle (Farmer). As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Saint Blaise was much venerated throughout Central Europe.

The legend of his life that sprang up in the eighth century tell us that he was born in to a rich and noble family who raised him as a Christian. After becoming a bishop, a new persecution of Christians began. He received a message from God to go into the hills to escape persecution. Men hunting in the mountains discovered a cave surrounded by wild animals who were sick. Among them Blaise walked unafraid, curing them of their illnesses. Recognizing Blaise as a bishop, they captured him to take him back for trial. On the way back, he talked a wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman. When Blaise was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman, in gratitude, sneaked into the prison with food and candles. Finally Blaise was killed by the governor.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Blessed Peter Cambiano, OP
Feast day: February 2

 Born in Chieri, Piedmont, Italy, in 1320;
died February 2, 1365;
 beatified in 1856.

 Peter Cambiano's father was a city councillor and his mother was of nobility. They were virtuous and careful parents, and they gave their little son a good education, especially in religion. Peter responded to all their care and became a fine student, as well as a pious and likeable child. Peter was drawn to the Dominicans by devotion to the rosary. Our Lady of the Rosary was the special patroness of the Piedmont region, and he had a personal devotion to her. At 16, therefore, he presented himself at the convent in Piedmont and asked for the habit.

 Here the young student continued his study and prayer, becoming a model religious, and was ordained at 25. His skill as a preacher had already become evident, not the least of his talents being a loud clear voice, which in those days of open-air preaching was a real asset.

 Peter's span of active life was 20 years, most of which he spent among the heretics of northern Italy. The fathers of the Lombard province had a fine reputation to uphold. They were walking in the footsteps of martyrs, and they made a point of preparing their men carefully for controversy as well as for martyrdom. Peter's first assignment was to work among the Waldensians. These zealous and misguided folk, coming from France, had already infiltrated the Low Countries and were well established in northern Italy, by way of Switzerland.

 The inquisition had been set up to deal with these people in Lombardy before the death of Peter Martyr, a century before. So well did young Peter of Ruffia carryout the work of preaching among them that the order sent him to Rome to obtain higher degrees. The pope, impressed both by his talent and his family name, appointed him inquisitor-general of the Piedmont. This was a coveted appointment; to a Dominican it meant practically sure martyrdom and a carrying on of a proud tradition.

 In January 1365, Peter of Ruffia and two companions left the convent in Turin to go on a preaching tour that would take them into the mountainous country bordering Switzerland, where the heretics had done great damage. Their lives were in hourly danger. The Franciscans at Suse gave them hospitality, and they made the friary their basis of operations for a short, but very active, campaign against the Waldensians.

 His preaching occasioned several notable defections from the ranks of the heretics, and it was decided that Peter must die. On the February 2, three of the heretics came to the friary and asked to see Peter of Ruffia, saying that they had an important message for him. They waited for him in the cloister, near the gate, and, when he appeared, surrounded him and killed him with their daggers. Peter died almost instantly, too soon to give any information about his assailants, and the murderers disappeared into a valley, where the heretics would protect them. All Piedmont, Switzerland, and Savoy were in an uproar over the death of Peter, who had been 'a saint in his life, a martyr in his death.'

 The Franciscans at Suse claimed the holy relics, pointing out that it would not be safe to transport them to the nearest Dominican house, so Peter was buried among the Franciscans. Here he remained for 150 years until the Franciscan house was razed and desecrated by an invading army. Finally, in 1517, the relics of the great inquisitor were brought to Turin, and Peter was laid to rest among his brethren in the convent there


Feast day: February 2

Fortunatus, Felician, Firmus, & Candidus
 Date unknown. The names were originally found in the martyrology of Usuard. Nothing is known of them


Columbanus of Ghent, Hermit
Feast day: February 2
 Died February 15, 959.
 Saint Columbanus was probably an Irish abbot who led his community to Belgium following the constant raids of the Norsemen. On February 2, 957, Columbanus became a hermit in the cemetery near the church of Saint-Bavo at Ghent, where he acquired a wide reputation for holiness. He is buried in the cathedral and is one of the patrons of Belgium as demonstrated by the inclusion of his name in the litany to be recited in time of public necessity or calamity

Saturday, June 23, 2012


St. Lawrence of Canterbury

Feast day: February 2
Died: 619

Archbishop of Canterbury, England, sent there by Pope St. Gregory I the Great. A Benedictine, Lawrence accompanied St. Augustine to Canterbury in 597 and succeeded him as archbishop in 604. When the Britons lapsed into pagan customs, Lawrence planned to return to France, but in a dream he was rebuked by St. Peter for abandoning his flock. He remained in his see and converted the local ruler King Edbald to the faith. He died in Canterbury on February 2. Lawrence is commemorated in the Irish Stowe Missal and is reported to have been scourged by St. Peter in his dream, carrying the physical scars on his back.


St. Feock

Feast day: February 2
Died: unknown

Patron of a church in Cornwall, England, possibly Irish by birth, who may be St. Fiace.
 Nothing is known of Saint Feock's life but her name is perpetuated by a
church dedication in Cornwall, England. She may have been an Irish immigrant. Some have 
postulated that the name is a variation of Saint Fiace (Fiech) or Saint Vougas of Brittany


St. Cornelius

Cornelius the Centurion 
Feastday: February 2
 1st century.
 Cornelius was the centurion of the Italica cohort stationed at Caesarea, 
Palestine, who was baptized by Saint Peter. He had a vision telling him to send for Peter, 
who came to his home and baptized him and his whole family (Acts 10), which points to the 
legitimacy of infant baptism. According to tradition and the Roman Martyrology, he became 
the first bishop of Caesarea 


Apronian the Executioner
St. Apronian

Feast day: February 2
 Died  304.
Saint Apronian is one of those who gave extra courage to Christians. He was a
Roman executioner, who was convicted of the truth of the Gospel as he escorted Saint
Sisinnius before the tribunal. He was himself thereupon put to death


Adalbald of Ostrevant
St. Adalbald of Ostrevant

Feast day: February 2
Died: 652
 (also known as Adelbaldus)
 Born in Flanders, died 652.
Adalbald kept very good company. He was the grandson of Saint
Gertrude of Hamage, son of Rigomer, friend of Saint Amandus, spouse of Saint Rictrudis,
father of Saints Mauront, Eusebia, Clotsindis, and Adalsindis. He met his Gascon wife, with
whom he lived in great holiness and happiness, during his service at the court of Dagobert I
for whom he fought in Gascony. The family devoted itself to pious works. Sixteen years after
their wedding, Adalbald was slain by family members of Ricturdis who disapproved of the  marriage. It was a political martyrdom but he was soon after venerated as a saint .Noble and martyr, who faced some of the most vicious in-laws ever recorded


St. Flosculus

Feast day: February 2
Died: 480
Flosculus of Orléans

 (also known as Flou of Orléans)
 Died after 480. Bishop Flou of Orléans was a contemporary of Sidonius Apollinaris


Martyrs of Ebsdorf:
 Bruno, Marquard, OSB B & ComP
Feastday: February 2
 Died 880. During the winter of 880,
 Duke Saint Bruno led the army of King Louis III against

the invading Norsemen. On the marshy heath of Lüneberg at Ebsdorf, Saxony, the army was

caught in ice and snow and defeated by the attackers. Bruno, four bishops, 11 noblemen, and

many others were slain and thereafter venerated as saints. Among them was Bishop Marquard of

Hildesheim, who had been a monk at New Corbie, Saxony, prior to his consecration to the



St. Theodoric

Feast day: February 2
Died: 880

Bishop and martyr
. While serving as bishop of Ninden, he entered into battle against the invading Norsemen at Ebsdorf and was slain. As the Norse were pagans, he was venerated as a martyr


St. Adeloga

Adeloga of Kitzingen,
 (also known as Hadeloga)

Feast day: February 2
Died: 745

Benedictine abbess, also called Hadeloga. She was a Frankish princess who founded and was the first abbess of the great Benedictine convent o f Kitzingen in Franconia


St. Joan de Lestonnac

Jeanne de Lestonnac was beatified in 1900 by Pope Leo XIII and was canonized on May 15, 1949 by Pope Pius XII.
Feast day: February 2

1556 - 1640
Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac (December 27, 1556 – February 2, 1640), alternately known as Joan of Lestonnac, was a Roman Catholic saint and founderess of the order The Company of Mary Our Lady. Though she lived in the 17th century her body remains incorrupt.

St. Joan de Lestonnac was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1556. She married at the age of seventeen. The happy marriage produced four children, but her husband died suddenly in 1597. After her children were raised, she entered the Cistercian monastery at Toulouse. Joan was forced to leave the Cistercians when she became afflicted with poor health. She returned to Bordeaux with the idea of forming a new congregation, and several young girls joined her as novices. They ministered to victims of a plague that struck Bordeaux, and they were determined to counteract the evils of heresy promulgated by Calvinism. Thus was formed the Congregation of the Religious of Notre Dame of Bordeaux. In 1608, Joan and her companions received the religious habit from the Archbishop of Bordeaux. Joan was elected superior in 1610, and many miracles occurred at her tomb. She was canonized in 1949 by Pope Pius XII. Her feast day is February 2

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Sigebert III of Austrasia, King
Feast Day : February 1
 Born in 631; died 656. Saint Sigebert, son of Dagobert I and baptized by Saint Amand at Orléans, became king of Austrasia (eastern France) at the age of seven, while his brother Clovis II ruled the western portion of his father's domain. Under the influence of Blessed Pepin of Landen, Saint Cunibert of Cologne, and other saintly souls, the young king grew into pious adulthood. He died at the age of 25. Though not a secular success as a ruler, he was revered as the founder of numerous monasteries (including Stavelot and Malmédy), hospitals, and churches. He is the patron saint of Nancy

Sigebert III (c. 630–656/660) was the king of Austrasia from 634 to his death; probably on 1 February 656, or maybe as late as 660. He was the eldest son of Dagobert I.

To satisfy the Austrasian aristocracy, who exercised a certain autonomy, Sigebert's father gave him the kingdom of Austrasia although it remained part of the larger Frankish realm. On the death of Dagobert, Sigebert ruled Austrasia independently, and free from any subjection to Neustria. Under the tutelage of Blessed Pepin of Landen and other saints of the time, the young king grew into pious adulthood.

He tried in vain to add Thuringia to his kingdom, but was defeated by Duke Radulph in 640. Though only ten years of age, he was the leader of his army. The Chronicle of Fredegar records that the rout left him weeping in his saddle. From this, we can surmise that, at least in part, the downfall of the Merovingian dynasty was a result of child rule, for both Sigebert and his younger brother Clovis II, who ruled in Neustria, were prepubescent children who could not fight on the field and whose regents had their own interests at heart.

It was under his reign that the mayor of the palace began to play the most important role in the political life of Austrasia. That mayor, Grimoald, the son of Pepin I, managed to convince the king to adopt his son Childebert. When Sigebert finally had a son of his own, the future Dagobert II, the mayor of the palace felt threatened, and on the death of Sigebert (at the age of 25) he exiled the young Dagobert to Ireland. Sigebert's remains, defiled during the French Revolution, are preserved in the cathedral at Nancy.

Though not a success as a king, he was revered as the founder of numerous monasteries, hospitals, and churches. He is regarded as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and is the patron saint of Nancy.

He has been described as the first roi fainéant—do-nothing king—of the Merovingian dynasty


Feast Day : February 1

Severus of Ravenna
 Died c. 348.
 Severus was a poor weaver of Ravenna, Italy, who never dreamed that God would one day call him from his weaver's loom to rule a diocese, but God has strange ways of calling His servants and sometimes lays His hand upon them in the least likely places: from the plough and the bench have come some of the greatest of His apostles.

 So it happened that when the bishopric of Ravenna fell vacant in 283 and the cathedral was filled with those who had gathered to elect a new bishop, Severus said to his wife, Vincentia, that he would visit the minister and see what was going on. She replied that he had much better remain at home and not show himself in his working clothes among the nobles and well-dressed citizens. "What harm is there in my going?" he asked. "Why, you have work to do here," she answered, "instead of gadding about sightseeing." When he persisted, she said, "Go, and may you come back with a good box on your ear," and added sarcastically: "Go, then, and get elected bishop."

 Severus, accustomed to her sharp tongue, set out and, entering the crowded cathedral, stood at the back, ashamed of his working clothes covered with flocks of wool. When, in the course of the service, the power of the Holy Spirit was invoked in prayer, there appeared in the cathedral a white dove that attracted the attention of the assembly, and which after flying around fluttered at the ear of the poor spinner. He beat it off, but it returned and finally came to rest upon his shoulder. Every eye was now turned in his direction, and the people, regarding it as a heavenly sign, with one accord chose him to be their bishop.

 Vincentia was still at home, and when a neighbor came running, breathless, to her door with the news, she laughed and would not believe it. "What a tale," she said, "that a man who tosses a shuttle should be made a prelate!" But when another came with the same story, and yet another, and a crowd gathered at her door, and she found it was true, she was speechless.

 Thus, it came to pass that Severus the weaver became bishop of Ravenna and who can doubt that he was a good weaver, well respected for his work and character, and that he was chosen not only because of a good omen but also for his own fine qualities. For these he was chosen to accompany the papal legate to the synod of Sardica in 344.

 He made a good bishop, and when at last he came to die, he said his last Mass before all the people, then quietly dismissed them with his blessing. When all had departed save a single boy who served at the altar, he bade the boy close the doors, and clothing himself in his episcopal robes, went to the tomb of his wife and daughter, who had died before him. There with the help of the boy he raised the stone, and descending into the grave, laid himself down, and after a prayer closed his eyes and fell asleep. After his death he was canonized a saint, and is usually portrayed in his bishop's robes and with a weaver's shuttle (Benedictines, Gill).

 It may be that the dove was a common phenomenon, or that it was simply a pious addition to the story of unlikely bishops, but it occurs in several stories.

 In art, Severus is a bishop weaving. He may have a loom and weaver's tools and, possibly, a dove on his shoulder . He is the patron of glove makers, hatters, and weavers .


Severus of Avranches
Born Cotentin, Normandy, France
Died . 690
Canonized Pre-Congregation

Feast Day : February 1

Severus of Avranches B (AC)
 Died c. 690. Born of poor parents in the Cortenin, Saint Severus successively became priest, abbot, and bishop of Avranches. Before his death, he resigned his see and returned to monastic life (Benedictines). Saint Severus is generally pictured as a bishop with a horse near him . He is invoked against fever and migraine

Severus of Avranches was born to a poor peasant family in France. He was a shepherd in his youth. After joining the priesthood, he rose through the ranks of monk, priest and later abbot. He became bishop of Avranches. In his later years, he resigned his bishopric and returned to monastic life.


Blessed Reginald of Saint-Gilles,

Born: at Saint-Gilles, Languedoc, France, 1183
Died: 1220

Canonized: Pius IX confirmed his cult in 1875.
Feast Day  : February 1 OR 12 0R 17
 also known as Reginald of Orléans
 Born at Saint-Gilles, Languedoc, France,

 Reginald received his training at the University of Paris and thereafter taught canon law from 1206 to 1211 with great success. Because of his evident talents and virtues, he was appointed dean of the cathedral chapter (Saint-Agnan) of Orléans. Here as in Paris, he was renowned for the brilliance of his mind and the eloquence of his preaching, as well as for his tender devotion to the Mother of God.

 Since he was a very zealous young man, Reginald was not content with his life as it was. He was in truth leading a very holy life, but he yearned for more. He determined on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, perhaps to pray for light to know his vocation, and on his way to Jerusalem he visited Rome. Here he discussed his desires with Cardinal Hugh de Segni, explaining that he felt a great call to the primitive poverty and preaching of the apostles but knew of no way to realize his hopes. The cardinal replied that he knew the exact answer to his seeking and sent him to Saint Dominic, who was in Rome at the time. Reginald hastened to open his heart to the holy founder, and at Saint Dominic's words he knew he had come to the end of his seeking.

 Reginald had scarcely made his decision to enter the Dominican order when he became so ill that his life was in danger. Saint Dominic, who was greatly attracted to the young man and knew what an influence for good he would be in the order, prayed earnestly for his recovery. It was said of Dominic that he never asked anything of God that he did not obtain. In any case, it was the Queen of Heaven herself who came to cure the dying man and ransom him a little time on earth.

 Our Lady, accompanied by Saint Cecilia and Saint Catherine of Alexandria, appeared at Reginald's bedside and anointed him with a heavenly perfume. The Blessed Mother showed him a long white scapular and told him it was to be a part of the habit of the order. Going away, she left him completely cured and filled with great joy. The friars, who until that time, 1218, had worn the garb of he canons regular, gladly changed to the scapular especially designed for them by the Mother of God. Reginald was himself clothed with the Dominican habit, and in fulfillment of his vows proceeded to the Holy Land.

 On his return, Reginald embarked on his brief but brilliant career of preaching. In Bologna and in Paris, his eloquence and the shining beauty of his life drew hundreds to follow him into the order. Among these were not only students but many famous professors and doctors of law. One of his greatest conquests was the young German dynamo, Jordan of Saxony, who was to be like Reginald himself--a kidnapper of souls for the service of God.

 The first to be given the scapular and the first to wear the Dominican habit in the Holy Land, Reginald was also the first Dominican to die in it. Consumed with the fiery zeal of his work, he died in 1220, mourned by the entire order, when he had worn the habit scarcely two years. He displayed no fear of death--perhaps Our Lady had told him, on the occasion of the cure, that he was only loaned to life and the order--but received the last sacraments with touching devotion (Benedictines, Dorcy).

 In art, Reginald is generally portrayed in his sick bed being attended by Saint Dominic, at whose prayer the Blessed Virgin appears with two female saints to anoint Reginald. He may also be shown as a Dominican offering his scapular to the Virgin

HE  was sent to the University of Paris in early manhood, where he not only met with signal success in his studies, but also (in 1206) obtained the doctor's degree with applause. Then he taught canon law for some five years in his alma mater, being considered one of the bright lights of the institution. The high esteem which all showed him did not cause him to be any the less a man of God. His great devotion to the Blessed Virgin stood him in good stead; for, we are told, it acted as a safeguard against the snares of pride, luxury, and ambition. He gave much time to meditation on things divine. One of his pronounced traits was love for the poor; another was humility. Whilst kind to others, he practised great austerity with himself. Thus we are not surprised to learn that his progress in virtue was as rapid as that which he made in knowledge; or that, when the post of dean for the canons at Saint Aignan's, Orleans, became vacant, all eyes were turned towards the model professor as the best man for the place.

    The canons elected Reginald their dean without delay. One of the things which specially recommended him for the position was the fact that he did not desire it. Just when he received this promotion we do not know. But (on page 82 of his Antiquities of the Church and Diocese of Orleans -- Antiquities de 1'Eglise et Diocese d'Orleans) Francis Lemaire says that the subject of our sketch was dean of Saint Aignan's in 1212. Here he found himself bound to the service of God and His altar by new bonds, which gave a fresh impulse to his zeal to walk in the path of justice and to carry on his good works.

    History tells us that the life of our dean was most edifying. It was hidden, as the apostle expresses it, in that of Christ our Lord. His charity towards those in need was almost boundless. He showed himself a model in all things. Yet he felt that something more was demanded of him. He feared the malediction which our Lord placed on the rich, reflected on the number of those who die impenitent after lives spent in sin, or without a knowledge of God's justice, and trembled lest he should be condemned for burying the talent given him. Without any suspicion of the designs of heaven on him, the holy man longed to dispose of all he possessed and to go about the world poor and preaching Christ crucified. This he believed was his vocation; and he doubled his prayers and penances that he might learn the divine will.

    At this juncture, providence came to Reginald's assistance. The Right Rev. Manasses de Seignelay, bishop of Orleans, determined to visit Rome and the Holy Land. As the prelate was a close friend of the young dean, and enjoyed his enlightened conversation, he requested Reginald to accompany him on this journey. The subject of our sketch readily accepted the invitation, for it would give him an opportunity of satisfying his devotion at the places rendered sacred by the tread of our Lord and the blood of His martyrs.

    The two travelers arrived in the Eternal City shortly before Easter, or in April, 1218. In a conversation with Cardinal Ugolino di Segni Reginald spoke of his ardent desire to imitate the apostles, and to go from place to place as a poor ambassador of Christ preaching the Gospel. As yet, however, he did not know how he was to put his wish into execution. His eminence (later Gregory IX) then proceeded to tell the pious dean that the way was already open to him; that a new religious order had just been instituted for that very purpose; and that its founder, who was renowned for his miracles, was actually in Rome, where he preached every day with marvelous effect. Filled with joy at the prospect of realizing his design in the near future, our blessed made haste to meet the harvester of souls, of whom he had been told. Charmed with Dominic's personality and sermons, he determined to become one of his disciples without delay.

    Indeed, the attraction between the two holy men was mutual. Meantime, however, Reginald became so ill that the physicians despaired of his life. In this extremity Dominic had recourse to his usual remedyprayer; and in a few days his new friend was again in perfect health. In their piety both attributed the miraculous cure to the intercession of the Mother of God. Jordan of Saxony assures us that the Blessed Virgin appeared to Reginald in his sickness, told him to enter the new Order, and showed him the distinctive habit which the Friars Preacher should wear. Until this time they had dressed like the Canons Regular of Osma, of whom Dominic bad been a member. Practically all the historians tell us that, in consequence of Reginald's vision, the saint now adopted the garb which his followers have worn ever since, and that the former dean of Saint Aignan's was the first to receive it from his hands.

    Reginald was clothed in the religious habit immediately after the recovery of his health. At the same time, or very shortly afterwards, he made his profession to Dominic. However, this new allegiance did not prevent his journey to the Holy Land; for the saint permitted him to continue his way with Bishop de Seignelay. On his return to Italy from Jerusalem, perhaps in the middle fall of 1218, Dominic, who was still at Rome, sent the former dean to Bologna, which he reached in December. The high opinion which the patriarch had conceived of Reginald is shown by the fact that he appointed him his vicar (some say prior) over the incipient convent in that university city.

    More than one thing evidently contributed to this immediate promotion to leadership. The house in Bologna had been started in the spring of the same year. While the first fathers stationed there were very cordially received, and were given Santa Maria della. Mascarella for a convent by Bishop Henry di Fratta, they found it hard to make the rapid headway which both they and Dominic evidently desired to see in the noted educational center. Reginald's reputation, ability, eloquence, and experience at the University of Paris, it was felt, would combine with his rare virtue to bring about this desideratum. Nor were these expectations disappointed.

    Hardly, indeed, had the former dean of Saint Aignan's arrived at his destination, before the entire city were flocking to hear him preach. The effect of his sermons was marvellous. Hardened sinners gave up their evil ways; inveterate enemies buried their differences of long standing; the religion and moral tone of the people changed notably for the better. None seemed able to resist the attraction of the orator's personality, or the persuasion of his burning eloquence. All felt that a new Elias had come among them. He held the place, as it were, in the palm of his hand. No one could doubt but that he had found his vocation.

    Reginald drew the clergy as well as the laity; those of the university, whether professors or students, as well as the citizens. His example quickened the zeal of his confrères, for he preached every day-sometimes twice or even thrice. Vocations to the Order were so frequent that, within a few weeks, Santa Maria della Mascarella was overcrowded. They came from every walk in life. The university contributed a large number of both students and masters, some of whom were among the brightest lights of the institution with worldwide fame.Sketches of several of these are given earlier in our pages.

    Bishop di Fratta and the papal legate, Cardinal Ugolino di Segni, were so pleased with the good effected by Reginald and his Friars Preacher that they gave him the Church of Saint Nicholas of the Vines, in order to enable him to receive more subjects. This was in the spring of 1219. Here a much larger convent was built at once. Rudolph of Faenza, the zealous pastor of Saint Nicholas', not content with surrendering his church to the Order, also received the babit from our blessed that he might join in the harvest of souls. He helped to erect the Convent of Saint Nicholas, now known as Saint Dominic's, to which the community was transferred as soon as ready for occupation.
    In his government of the large Bolognese community Blessed Reginald combined great charity and gentleness with a wise strictness. He did not suffer even slight transgressions to go uncorrected. Yet he was so skillful in his management of men and in his administration of punishment that his confrères, for they knew he ever acted for their good, held him in even greater affection than those not of the Order. All regarded him as a true man of God seeking to lead them to heaven. His every word, his very silence, bespoke virtue. With profound humility and a rare spirit of recollection he joined an extreme personal austerity.

    The days the holy man spent in preaching to the people and spiritual conferences to his religious. The nights he gave largely to prayer. God blessed his efforts. Scarcely nine months had he been superior. Within that brief time Saint Nicholas' had become not merely a large community; it was a famed sanctuary of prayer, the zeal of whose members recalled that of the apostles. Far and wide they bore the message of salvation with wonderful effect.

    Such was the status, in point of size, discipline, and labors, in which Saint Dominic found the Bolognese institution on his arrival in the city, after his return from Spain, via Prouille, Toulouse, and Paris. This was late in the summer of 1219. The patriarch's heart rejoiced at the sight of what had been accomplished. At Paris, owing to a strong opposition, the crooked paths had not yet been straightened, nor the rough ways made smooth. If, thought Dominic, Reginald had done so well in Bologna, why would he not be invaluable to Matthew of France in ironing out the difficulties at Paris. Besides, the saint had determined to make the Italian city the center of his own spiritual activities. So off to the French capital the subject of this sketch now went. His departure was keenly regretted by the community which he had governed so happily. But the voice of God spoke through the Order's founder, and all bowed in humble submission. To Reginald's brief sojourn in those far-flung days is due, in no small measure, the bond of regard that has ever since existed between the citizens of Bologna and the Friars Preacher.

    Our blessed's arrival in Paris was a source of great joy to his confrères there -- especially to the superior, Matthew of France. The newcomer bad been one of the university's most beloved professors, and had had the only Friar-Preacher abbot as a pupil. Much was expected of his virtue, personality, and eloquence. Unfortunately, these hopes were realized only in part. As he had done in Bologna, so in Paris he began to preach incessantly. Together with this apostolate, he taught at the Convent of Saint James, whilst he relaxed not in the least his penances, or his nightly vigils.

    Zeal for the salvation of souls,  simply consumed the holy man. Enormous numbers flocked to his sermons. Vocations to the Order increased. Many came from among the students at the university. But such labors and mortification were too much for his strength. His health began to fail, and kindly Matthew of France ventured to warn him that he should be more moderate. Yet, as no positive order was given, the relaxation was not sufficient.Possibly Matthew afterwards intervened more sternly. However, it was too late. The fire of life had burned out, and Reginald surrendered his pure soul to God in the first days of February, 1220. In his death the Friars Preacher nearly everywhere mourned the loss of one whom they considered, next to its founder, the strongest support of their new Order.

    Had he lived, Reginald would most likely have succeeded Saint Dominic as Master General. In the language of Jordan of Saxony, our blessed lived a long life in the span of a few years. He spent less than two years in the Order; yet he left a memory that still seems fresh after a lapse of more than seven centuries. One of the things which continued to be denied the fathers by the ecclesiastical circles of Paris, at the time of his death, was the right of burial for the community in their Church of Saint James. Accordingly, his remains were laid to rest in that of Our Lady of the Fields (Notre Dame des Champs). The faithful soon began to visit and pray at his grave. Several miracles were reported. When, between 1605 and 1608, his body was taken up to be placed in a shrine, it was found to be incorrupt. This served to increase the devotion towards the man of God.

    A few years later (1614), Our Lady of the Fields became the property of the Carmelite Sisters. Thus the tomb of Saint Dominic's early disciple, because in their cloistered church, ceased to be visited by the people at large, who had been accustomed to seek his intercession for nearly four hundred years. The holy sisters, however, held him in the deepest veneration, and poured out their hearts in prayer before his sacred remains. In 1645, they had Father John Francis Senault, general of the Oratorians, write his life. His relies remained in this secluded place, ever an object of devotion for Christ's cloistered spouses, until they were desecrated and destroyed by the villains of the terrible French Revolution.

    Fortunately, as is proved in the process of his beatification, devotion to Reginald had become too deeply rooted to be annihilated by even such a catastrophe. This was particularly the case in the Order of Preachers, whose members had ever cherished an undying affection and veneration for him. In 1875, Pius IX, after a thorough examination of the matter by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, approved his cult, and granted the divine office and mass of Reginald to the Friars Preacher and the dioceses of Paris and Orleans. w


Pionius and Companions
St. Pionius, Priest and Martyr
 Died 251
Saint Pionius was a priest of Smyrna who suffered under Decius together with 15 companions. They were arrested during a liturgical celebration commemorating the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp. They were burned at the stake after a long interrogation and torture, as recounted by an eye-witness

He was priest of Smyrna, a true heir of the spirit of St. Polycarp, an apostolic man, who converted multitudes to the faith. He excelled in eloquence, and in the science of our holy religion. The paleness of his countenance bespoke the austerity of his life. In the persecution of Decius, in 250, on the 23rd of February, he was apprehended with Sabina and Asclepiades, while they were celebrating the anniversary festival of St. Polycarp’s martyrdom. Pionius, after having fasted the eve with his companions, was forewarned thereof by a vision. On the morning after their solemn prayer, taking the holy bread (probably the eucharist) and water, they were surprised and seized by Polemon, the chief priest, and the guardian of the temple. In prolix interrogatories before him, they resisted all solicitations to sacrifice; professed they were ready to suffer the worst of torments and deaths rather than consent to his impious proposals, and declaring that they worshipped one only God, and that they were of the Catholic church. Asclepiades being asked what God he adored, made answer: “Jesus Christ.” At which Polemon said: “Is that another God?” Asclepiades replied: “No: he is the same they have just now confessed.” A clear confession of the consubstantiality of God the Son, before the council of Nice. Being all threatened to be burnt alive, Sabina smiled. The pagans said: “Dost thou laugh? thou shalt then be led to the public stews.” She answered: “God will be my protector on that occasion.” They were cast into prison, and preferred a low dungeon, that they might be more at liberty to pray, when alone. They were carried by force into the temple, and all manner of violence was used to compel them to sacrifice. Pionius tore the impious garlands which were put upon his head, and they resisted with all their might. Their constancy repaired the scandal given by Eudæmon, the bishop of Smyrna, there present, who had impiously apostatized and offered sacrifice. In the answers of St. Pionius to the judges, and in all the circumstances of his martyrdom, we admire the ardent piety and courage of one who had entirely devoted himself to God, and employed his whole life in his service. When Quintilian the proconsul arrived at Smyrna, he caused Pionius to be hung on the rack, and his body to be torn with iron hooks, and afterwards condemned him to be burned alive: he was accordingly nailed to a trunk or post, and a pile heaped round him and set on fire. Metrodorus, a Marcionite priest, underwent the same punishment with him. His acts were written by eye-witnesses, quoted by Eusebius,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Henry Morse, Priest, SJ M
Feast day: February 1
Born 1595 Brome, Suffolk, England
Died 1 February 1645 Tyburn, London

Beatified 15 December 1929, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Canonized 25 October 1970, Rome by Pope Paul VI, as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

 Born in Broome, Suffolk, England, in 1595; died at Tyburn, England, February 1, 1645; beatified in 1929; canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

 Saint Henry, like so many saints of his period in the British Isles, was a convert to Catholicism. He was a member of the country gentry, who studied at Cambridge then finished his study of law at Barnard's Inn, London. In 1614, he professed the Catholic faith at Douai. When he returned to England to settle an inheritance, he was arrested for his faith and spent the next four years in New Prison in Southwark. He was released in 1618 when a general amnesty was proclaimed by King James.

 Henry then returned to Douai to study for the priesthood, and finished his studies at the Venerabile in Rome, where he was ordained in 1623. He was sent on the English mission the following year and was almost immediately arrested after his landing in Newcastle, and imprisoned at York with the Jesuit Father John Robinson. Before leaving Rome he had obtained the agreement of the father general of the Society of Jesus that he should be admitted to the Jesuits in England. His time in prison with Robinson served as his novitiate; thus, he became a Jesuit in 1625. After three years in prison was exiled to Flanders, where he served as chaplain to English soldiers in the army of King Philip IV of Spain.

 He returned to England in 1633, where he worked in London under the pseudonym of Cuthbert Claxton. Father Morse made many converts by his heroic labors in the plague of 1636-37. He had a list of 400 infected families--Protestant and Catholic--whom he visited regularly to bring physical and spiritual aid. He devoted service made such an impression that in one year nearly 100 families were reconciled to the Church. He himself caught the disease three times, but each time recovered. At the same time his brothers in faith were urging him to moderate his zeal, the authorities deemed it suitable to arrested Father Morse for his priesthood. They charged him with perverting 560 of his Majesty's loyal subjects 'in and about the parish of St. Giles in the Fields.'

 Released on bail through the intercession of Queen Henrietta Maria, he again left England in 1641 when a royal decree ordered all Catholic priests from the country, but returned again from Ghent in 1643. He was arrested in Cumberland eighteen months later while making a sick-call. He escaped with the help of the Catholic wife of one of his captors, but was recaptured and brought to trial. He was convicted of being a Catholic priest at the Old Bailey. On the day of his execution, Father Morse celebrated a votive Mass of the Most Holy Trinity. He was summarily hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. His hanging was attended by the French, Spanish, and Portuguese ambassadors in protest




Blessed Ela, Widow
Feast day: February 1
 Died 1261. Wife of the crusader William Long-Sword, Blessed Ela placed herself under the direction of Saint Edmund Rich. She founded a monastery of Carthusians at Hinton and a convent of Augustinians nuns at Laycock of which became abbess


Clarus of Seligenstadt, OSB Hermit
Feast day: February 1
 Died c. 1048. Saint Clarus lived as a recluse monk of Seligenstadt (diocese of Mainz, Germany) for thirty years in austerity. His motto was: "Christ and Him crucified"


Cecilius of Granada
Bishop and martyr
Died 1st century

 Granada, Spain
Feast day: February 1;second feast on May 15
 Date unknown; . Saint Cecilius was the first bishop of Granada, Spain. Legend claims that he was one of the seven disciples of Saint James, and consecrated bishop at the hands of Saint Peter himself. As in the case of many early French bishops, the Spanish try to link their saints directly to the Apostles; however, it is likely that Saint Cecilius lived in the 3rd century

He is one of the group of Seven Apostolic Men (siete varones apostólicos), seven Christian clerics ordained in Rome by Saints Peter and Paul and sent to evangelize Spain. Besides Caecilius, this group includes Sts. Hesychius, Ctesiphon, Torquatus, Euphrasius, Indaletius, and Secundius (Isicio, Cecilio, Tesifonte, Eufrasio, Hesiquio y Segundo).


Autbert of Landevenec, OSB Monk
Feast day: February 1
 Died 1129. Saint Autbert, a Benedictine monk at Landevenec, Brittany, became chaplain to the nuns of Saint Sulpice, near Rheims, where he is still venerated


Agrepe (Agreve)
Feast day: February 1

 7th century. Bishop of Velay, returning from Rome, was decapitated through the trickery of a lady of Chiniac (later Saint Agreve) in Vivarais