Saints Titus & Timothy
Alberic of Cîteaux, OSB, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Aubrey)
Died at Cîteaux (near Dijon), Burgundy, France, on January 26, 1108. A hermit in the forest at Collan near Châtillon- sur-Seine, France, Saint Alberic and fellow hermits built a monastery at Molesmes in 1075. There the abbot, Saint Robert, introduced the Rule of Saint Benedict and Alberic served as prior. The monastery flourished, but new monks were quick to modify the strict rule; Robert left in despair to live as a hermit elsewhere and Alberic was imprisoned. In 1093, he left too with the Englishman Saint Stephen Harding to live as hermits, but the bishop of Langres commanded them to return to their monastery. Alberic returned and was unsuccessful in reforming the monastery.
In 1098, twenty-one dissatisfied monks left Molesmes and established a new monastery in the wilderness at Cîteaux on land donated to them by the viscount of Beaune. They were joined by Saint Robert, who became their as abbot, while Alberic served as prior, and Saint Stephen Harding as subprior. Thus the trio became the co-founders of the Cistercians, although their aim was to live the Rule of Saint Benedict rather than to found a new order. (The name 'Cistercian' comes from the Latin name of its cradle, Cistertium (Cîteaux in Burgundy).)
Robert returned to Molesmes in 1100 and Alberic was elected abbot. He restored the primitive Benedictine rule and added new austerities to it, thus putting his stamp on the Cistercian observance, though his successor, Stephen Harding, was mainly responsible for the characteristics associated with the order: the extended use of lay brothers, and the almost puritan attitude toward the Benedictine rule and to customary monastic tradition as well as to Romanesque artforms. Nevertheless, during the years of his abbacy the foundations were laid of what was quickly to grow from a single obscure house into an influential religious order, which still exists.
The old Cistercian martyrology adds: "He had a filial devotion to our Lady, from whom he received the white cowl." It could also be that the white habit was adopted as an economy because unbleached wool was less expensive than dyed wool. Alberic set the example of humble poverty and hard work in God's service; when he died his successor Stephen told the community, "You have lost a revered father and spiritual guide; I have lost, not only a father and guide, but a friend and fellow soldier of the Lord . . . who carried us all in his heart with affectionate love" (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).
Saint Alberic's emblem is the white cowl, which he is shown receiving from the Virgin (Roeder). He is venerated at Collan, Chatillon-sur-Seine, and Cîteaux (Roeder).
Alphonsus of Astorga, OSB B (AC)
9th century. When Saint Alphonsus retired from his episcopal office in Astorga, he became a monk at the abbey of Saint Stephen de Ribas de Sil in Spanish Galicia (Benedictines).
Ansurius of Orense, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Aduri, Asurius, Isauri)
Died 925. Saint Ansurius was bishop of Orense in Spanish Galicia and helped in the foundation of the Benedictine abbey of Ribas de Sil. He was elected to the see in 915 and in 922 he resigned and became a monk at the monastery he helped to found. After his death he was venerated there, together with seven other bishops who had followed his example (Benedictines).
Athanasius of Sorrento B (AC)
Date unknown. Nothing is known about this saint who is honored at Sorrento in southern Italy. He may be identical to Saint Athanasius of Naples (Benedictines).
Conan of Iona B (AC)
(also known as Conon)
Died on the Isle of Man, c. 648. We know that Conan actually lived, but everything else is uncertain. He was probably from Scotland or Ireland, where he is said to have been a model of piety from his infancy. He may have taught Saint Fiacre during the latter's childhood (according to some vitas of Fiacre). He apparently lived and worked in the Hebrides, Scotland, and the Isle of Man, where he finished the evangelization of the people begun by Saint Patrick, because various places bear his name. He was probably consecrated bishop of the Isle of Man, where he is venerated as the first bishop of Sodor, which, anachronistically, is a Viking term denoting 'southern islands' as distinct from the Shetlands and Orkneys, which were 'northern islands.' The veneration of Saint Conan throughout the Hebrides continued after the Reformation (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Montague).
Eystein Erlandsson B (RM)
(also known as Austin, Augustine)
Born in Norway; died at Nidaros (Trondheim), Norway, on January 26, 1188. Saint Eystein, born of a noble family, was educated at Saint-Victor, Paris. When he returned to Norway, he served as chaplain to King Inge of Norway and, in 1157, was appointed second archbishop of Nidaros (Trondheim). At that time the metropolitan see had been in existence for only five years. In 1152, the Norwegian Church had been reorganized into 10 sees (including Iceland, Greenland, the Orkneys, and the Shetlands) under the archbishopric of Nidaros by an English legate of the Holy See, Cardinal Nicholas Breakspeare, who later became Pope Adrian IV. Eystein's appointment violated the regulations for canonical appointments established by Breakspeare, but he proved to be the man chosen by God for the work.
Upon his appointment as bishop, Eystein went on a pilgrimage to Rome to be consecrated by Pope Alexander III, who gave him the pallium and made him a papal legate a latere. He returned from Rome late in 1161. Eystein labored to strengthen the ties between the Norwegian Church and Rome, implement the Gregorian Reform, and to free the Church in Norway from interference by the nobles. He brought to the Norwegian Church the practices and customs of the churches of Europe at that time, though celibacy for the clergy was largely unobserved in his country. Perhaps this is the reason he established communities of Augustinian canons regular to set an example for the parochial clergy.
He crowned the eight-year-old child Magnus as king of Norway at Bergen in 1164, and was closely associated with the boy's father, Jarl Erling Skakke, who approved Eystein's code of laws. Most of Eystein's activities as they have come down to us are matters of the general history of Norway and were directed towards the free action of the spiritual power among a unified people. This set him on a collision course with Magnus's rival for the throne, Sverre. Eystein was forced to flee to England in 1181 when Sverre claimed the throne on the grounds that he was the illegitimate son of King Sigurd and the rightful heir; from England Eystein excommunicated Sverre.
In England he stayed at the abbey of Saint Edmundsbury (a.k.a., Bury St. Edmunds), and it was probably there that he wrote his account of Saint Olaf, The passion and miracles of the Blessed Olaf, of which a manuscript was discovered in England. He helped them to obtain from Henry II the free election of Abbot Samson. It is probable, too, that he visited the shrine of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, to whose memory he was very devoted, which later became common in the Norwegian Church. (Eystein may have met Saint Thomas during the Englishman's exile and saw in him another who struggled to free the Church from secular control.)
Eystein returned to Norway in 1183 and was aboard a ship in Bergen Harbor when Sverre's fleet defeated Magnus, causing the king to flee to Denmark. The following year Magnus was killed in battle, Sverre became king, and Eystein made peace with him. Eystein enlarged Christ Church cathedral, where Saint Olaf was buried; some of his improvements remain to this day.
After his death, his body was enshrined in Nidaros cathedral. Immediately after his death Eystein was considered a saint, but various papal inquiries were unfinished. Eystein was proclaimed a saint by a Norwegian synod in 1229. Many miracles occurred at his tomb (Attwater, Attwater2, Coulson, Delaney, Farmer, Walsh).
Margaret of Hungary, OP V Queen (AC)
Born in Turoc Castle, 1242; died in Budapest on January 18, 1270; beatified in 1789; canonized in 1943; feast day was January 18.
Margaret, the daughter of King Bela IV, champion of Christendom, and Queen Mary Lascaris of Hungary, was offered to God before her birth, in petition that the country would be delivered from the terrible scourge of the Tartars. The prayer having been answered, the king and queen made good their promise by placing the rich and beautiful three-year-old in the Dominican convent at Vesprim. Here, in company with other children of nobility, she was trained in the arts thought fitting for royalty.
Margaret was not content with simply living in the house of God; she demanded the religious habit--and received it--at the age of four. Furthermore, she took upon herself the austerities practiced by the other sisters--fasting, hairshirts, the discipline (scourge), and night vigils. She soon learned the Divine Office by heart and chanted it happily to herself as she went about her play. She chose the least attractive duties of the nuns for herself. She would starve herself to keep her spirit humble. No one but Margaret seemed to take seriously the idea that she would one day make profession and remain as a sister, for it would be of great advantage to her father if she were to make a wise marriage.
This question arose seriously when Margaret was 12. She responded in surprise. She said that she had been dedicated to God, even before her birth, and that she intended to remain faithful to that promise. Some years later her father built for her a convent on the island in the Danube between Buda and Pest. To settle the matter of her vocation, here she pronounced her vows to the master general of the order, Blessed Humbert of the Romans, in 1255, and took the veil in 1261.
Again, when Margaret was 18, her father made an attempt to sway her from her purpose, because King Ottokar of Bohemia, hearing of her beauty, had come seeking her hand. He even obtained a dispensation from the pope and approached Margaret with the permission. Margaret replied as she had previously, "I esteem infinitely more the King of Heaven and the inconceivable happiness of possessing Jesus Christ than the crown offered me by the King of Bohemia." Having established that she was not interested in any throne but a heavenly one, she proceeded with great joy to live an even more fervent religious life than she had before.
Margaret's royal parentage was, of course, a matter of discussion in the convent. But the princess managed to turn such conversation away from herself to the holy lives of the saints who were related to her by blood--King Saint Stephen, Saint Hedwig, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, and several others. She did not glory in her wealth or parentage, but strove to imitate the saints in their holiness. She took her turn in the kitchen and laundry, seeking by choice much heavy work that her rank might have excused her from doing. She was especially welcome in the infirmary, which proves that she was not a sad-faced saint, and she made it her special duty to care for those who were too disagreeable for anyone else to tend.
Margaret's austerities seem excessive to us of a weaker age. The mysteries of the Passion were very real to her and gave reason for her long fasts, severe scourgings, and other mortifications detailed in the depositions of witnesses taken seven years after her death (of which records are still in existence). Throughout Lent she scarcely ate or slept. She not only imitated the poverty- striken in their manual labor and hunger, but also in their lack of cleanliness--a form of penance at that time. Some of her acts of self-immolation have been described as "horrifying" and verging on fanaticism, and there seems to have been an element of willfulness in her mortifications.
She had a tender devotion to Our Lady, and on the eve of her feasts, Margaret said a thousand Hail Mary's. Unable to make the long pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to Rome, or to any of the other famous shrines of Christendom, the saint developed a plan by which she could go in spirit: she counted up the miles that lay between herself and the desired shrine, and then said an Ave Maria for every mile there and back. On Good Friday she was so overcome at the thoughts of Our Lord's Passion that she wept all day. She was frequently in ecstasy, and very embarrassed if anyone found her so and remarked on her holiness.
A number of miracles were performed during Margaret's lifetime and many more after her death because Margaret had an implicit faith in the power and efficacy of prayer. The princess nun was only 28 when she died. Most of the particulars of her life are recorded in existing depositions of witnesses taken in 1277. Her friends and acquaintances petitioned for her to be acclaimed a saint almost immediately after her death. Among them was her own servant, Agnes, who rightly observed that this daughter of a monarch showed far more humility than any of the monastery's maids. Although their testimony expressed Margaret's overpowering desire to allow nothing to stand between her and God, the process of canonization was not complete until 1943. The island where her convent stood, called first the "Blessed Virgin's Isle," was called "Isle of Margaret" after the saint (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson, Dorcy, Farmer).
In art Saint Margaret is a crowned Dominican nun with the stigmata. Sometimes she is shown (1) as a crowned Dominican with a processional cross; (2) as a crowned Dominican with a nun at her feet; or (3) with the stigmata, cross, lily, and book; the crown at her feet. She can be distinguished from the Dominican Saint Catherine of Siena by her crown, which is never absent. Saint Catherine may have three crowns, but never just one. Venerated in Budapest (Roeder).
She is invoked against floods, in memory of a miracle she performed in stopping a flood on the Danube (Dorcy).
Paula of Rome, Widow (RM)
Born in Rome, May 5, 347; died in Bethlehem, Palestine, on January 24, 404.
This noble Roman lady of learning and mother of saints, lived Christ's message by being able to truly love that most unlikable crank Saint Jerome. Testimony about the life of Saint Paula is preserved in the e pistles of Jerome and in his eulogy to her (Epistle 108).
Paula was born into a patrician, Christian family. She was a descendent of the Scipios and Gracchi. When she was 15, Paula married the senator Toxotius with whom she had a son and four daughters. Although it was an arranged marriage, it was a happy one. Paula and Toxotius thoroughly enjoyed their wealth and position. The happiness this world offers, however, is ephemeral. Paula learned this lesson when, at age 32 (379 AD), she was widowed.
She loved her husband and was inconsolable at his loss. She comforted herself with her children (Blaesilla, Paulina, Eustochium, Rufina, and Toxotius). Even that was not enough; she grieved terribly until her friend, Saint Marcella, suggested that she devote herself to God. Finally, Paula took her friend's advice, converted her heart, and dedicated her life to God.
She gave up earthly treasures and social activities, slept on sackcloth, ate little, and indulged in nothing immoderately. Then she proceeded to consecrate her household to an ascetic way of life together with similar groups of Roman noblewomen, who resided on the Aventine and Coelian Hills of Rome. These ladies encouraged one another to live according to the Gospel, studied the Scriptures together intensely and scientifically to learn the ways of God, and did not wait until disaster forced the ascetic life upon them; they saw that luxury is out of place in a Christian.
Paula's life was such a powerful witness that she inspired her own daughters, Saints Blaesilla and Eustochium to sainthood. Eustochium was single-hearted for the Lord; she consecrated herself to a life of virginity, having learned austerity from her mother and Saint Marcella.
She gave hospitality to Saint Epiphanius of Salamis and Saint Paulinus of Antioch, when they visited Rome. Some say that it was through these saints that Paula met Saint Jerome. When Saint Jerome arrived in Rome in 382, Marcella insisted he should teach their group Hebrew and exegesis. Young Jerome was very sarcastic, nevertheless, he became the spiritual director of this evolving Christian community and provided them with instruction in the Scriptures.
Paula's second daughter Paulina married a school-friend of Jerome, but her children were stillborn and she died young--her husband became a monk. (Melania's houses rivalled those Jerome and Paula founded, but she wouldn't submit to his direction.)
At first Blaesilla followed in her mother's early elegant footsteps. Blaesilla threw herself so vehemently into the ascetic life that in 384 she died. Paula was almost crazy with grief, but Jerome, who received the news in Jerusalem, rebuked her. He wrote that she had the right to mourn the loss of her husband and daughter; nevertheless, she ought to realize that they had entered a realm of greater happiness than this world can offer. To assuage her sorrow, Jerome promised to glorify Blaesilla by writing about her.
Paula determined to enter a new life. In 385, Paula and her third daughter, Eustochium, abandoned her palace in Rome, intending to become hermits and devote themselves entirely to God. They visited Epiphanius in Cyprus and met Jerome in Antioch. The made a pilgrimage through Palestine and continued into Egypt to visit the monks and hermits there. The following year (386), mother and daughter settled in a mean house in Bethlehem. When Paula first arrived in Bethlehem, she cried, "I greet you, Bethlehem, the 'house of Bread,' for here was born that living Bread who came down from heaven." The Bread of heaven satisfied all her needs.
Austerity and prayer marked the passing of the years in this convent where every attention was given the poor and the study of the Scriptures. For 20 years Saint Paula presided over the sisterhood she founded near Saint Jerome's monastery. Everyone dressed in exactly the same fashion, quite simply, showing that they were all equal in God's sight.
She learned enough Hebrew to daily recite the Psalms in the original tongue. With her knowledge of Greek, which she had learned from her father, and Hebrew, Paula helped Jerome in his work of translating the Scriptures into Latin, and caring for him personally. She prodded Jerome to take an interest in the dispute over Origen.
Jerome praises Paula's efficient practicality and tactfulness; but he was alarmed by her excessive, self-imposed mortifications, and warned her than her lavish gifts to charity would land her in difficulties (which they did).
In the city of our Lord's birth, Paula used her wealth to build a large hospital, a monaster, convent, and churches, before she died penniless and serene at age 56. Her grand-daughter Paula, who had been placed in her care, succeeded her as directress of the convent. Saint Paula was buried near the birthplace of her Lord and Savior, under the Church of the Nativity. Her biographer was none other than Saint Jerome (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Farmer, Gill, Martindale, White).
In art, Saint Paula is a Jeronomite abbess with a book. Otherwise, she may be shown (1) as a pilgrim, often with Saint Jerome and her daughter Saint Eustochium; (2) prostrate before the cave at Bethlehem; (3) embarking in a ship, while a child calls from the shore; (4) weeping over her children; (5) with the instruments of the Passion; (6) holding a scroll with Saint Jerome's epistle Cogite me Paula (Roeder); (7) with a book and a black veil fringed with gold; or with a sponge in her hand (White). Saint Paula is the patroness of widows (Delaney, White).
Theofrid of Corbie, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Theofroy)
Died c. 690. Saint Theofrid was a monk of Luxeuil who became abbot of Corbie in 622 and a regionary bishop (Benedictines).
Theogenes & Companions MM (RM)
Died 258. Theogenes was bishop of Hippona (Hippo Regius) in Africa, where he suffered with 36 of his flock under Valerian. A modern scholar places these martyrs at Laodicea in Phrygia (Benedictines).
Timothy BM (RM)
(also known as Timotheus)
Died 97; feast day was January 24; in the East it is January 22. Saint Timothy was born in Lystra, Lycaenia, the son of a Greek father and Eunice, a converted Jewish mother. Eunice, her mother Lois, and Timothy embraced Christianity during Paul's first visit (2 Timothy 1:5) to Lycaenia. When Saint Paul preached at Lystra seven years later, Timothy replaced Barnabas (Acts 16:1-4). The two became close friends, and Saint Paul would write of him affectionately as "the beloved son in faith."
Since Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman, Saint Paul permitted him to be circumcised to satisfy the Jews (Acts 16:3). He accompanied Saint Paul on his second missionary trip. When the opposition of the Jews compelled Saint Paul to leave Beroea, Timothy remained behind to baptize, organize, and confirm the new converts in the faith (Acts 17:10-14). He was then sent to Thessalonica to investigate the status of the Christians there and to shore up their faith in the face of persecution. His report was the basis for Saint Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians (generally thought to be the earliest New Testament writing).
In 58, Timothy and Erastus went to Corinth to reinforce Paul's teachings. Then they accompanied Saint Paul into Macedonia and Achaia. It is probable that Timothy was with Paul when he was imprisoned in Caesarea, and again in Rome, where he himself was imprisoned for a time, then freed.
Tradition, recorded by Eusebius, has it that Timothy went to Ephesus, became its first bishop (some say consecrated by Paul), and was there stoned and clubbed to death after denouncing the pagan festival of Katagogia, a celebration that honored Dionysius (not Diana, as often stated).
Saint Paul directed two letters to Timothy: one from Macedonia about 65, and one while Paul was incarcerated in Rome, awaiting his own death. They directed Timothy to correct innovators and teachers of false doctrine and to appoint bishops and deacons. Timothy manifested such virtue and dedication that he merited great praise from Paul, such as that in 1 Corinthians 16:10.
Timothy's relics were allegedly translated to Constantinople in 356; cures at that shrine are mentioned by Saint Jerome and Saint John Chrysostom (Attwater, Benedictines, Butler, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, White).
In art, Saint Timothy is a bishop with a club and stone. Sometimes he is shown receiving the epistle from Saint Paul (Roeder) or being stoned to death (White).
He is invoked against weakness of the stomach because of Paul's words addressed to him in 1 Timothy 5:23: "have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses" (Roeder).
Titus B (RM)
1st century; feast days formerly January 4 (according to the Roman Martyrology) and February 6 (from the time of Pius IX until the revision of the Roman Calendar in 1970); the Greeks and Syrians keep his feast on August 25.
Titus was a Gentile (Acts 18:7), probably born in Gortyna, Crete. He was converted by Saint Paul and became one of Paul's favorite disciples and his secretary. Saint Paul refers to him as "my true child after a common faith" (Titus 1:4). He acted as Saint Paul's secretary and travelled with him to the Council of Jerusalem, where Paul refused to allow him to be circumcised.
Paul sent Titus to Corinth to settle dissension, and again later to collect alms for the poor Christians of Jerusalem. Saint Paul ordained him the first bishop of Crete. Paul's letter to Titus certainly leaves that impression. He met Paul in Epirus and later Paul sent a letter to him from Macedonia giving directions on spiritual matters and the proper performance of a good bishop. After travelling to Dalmatia he returned to Crete, where he probably died an old man.
The untrustworthy Acts of Titus, supposedly written by Zenas the lawyer (Titus 3:13), say that Titus was a royal descendent born on Crete, and he went to Judea at age 20 after receiving a divine command; other equally unreliable sources say he was born at Iconium or Corinth.
Titus was presumably buried at Gortnya (Crete). His head was brought to Venice after the invasion of the Saracens in 823, and it is venerated in Saint Mark's (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Butler, Coulson, Delaney, Farmer, White).
Titus is portrayed in art bareheaded, in a chasuble with a pastoral staff; or with a bright, smiling face (White). According to Roeder, he is pictured as a bishop with a palm, lion of Saint Mark, and the words Provincia Candiae above him; often there is a radiance beaming from his face (Roeder). Saint Titus is invoked against free-thinkers (Roeder).
Tortgith of Barking, OSB (AC)
(also known as Theorigitha, Thordgith, Thorctgyd)
Died c. 681-700; feast day sometimes given as January 25. Tortgith, novice-mistress of Barking Abbey under Saint Etheldreda, was the friend of its founder, Saint Ethelburga. She is described as a miracle of patience under suffering, zeal, and care for the young. She suffered paralysis for six years (669-675) and experienced a vision of Ethelburga just before the abbess's death. Three years later, after losing her power of speech, too, she had another vision and spoke with Ethelburga about her imminent death. Her words but not those of Ethelburga were recorded by witnesses and sent to the Venerable Bede (Benedictines, Farmer).
About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on www.saintpatrickdc.org with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.