St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

January 29



Aquilinus of Milan M (RM)
Born in Bavaria; died in Milan, 650. Trying to escape appointment to high ecclesiastical office in Cologne, Saint Aquilinus became a wandering preacher against Arianism. He first went to Paris and then to Milan, where he was assassinated by Arians. His relics are venerated in Milan (Benedictines). Saint Aquilinus is pictured with a sword through his neck (Roeder).


Blath of Kildare V (AC)
(also known as Flora)

Died 523. Saint Blath was the lay-sister who served as cook at Saint Brigid's convent in Kildare. She earned a reputation for heroic sanctity, and of her cooking it is said that bread and bacon at Brigid's table were better than a banquet elsewhere (Benedictines, D'Arcy).


Caesarius of Angoulême (AC)
1st century. Saint Caesarius was a deacon at Angoulême under its first bishop, Saint Ausonius (Benedictines).


Blessed Charles of Sayn, OSB Cist., Abbot (AC)
Died 1212. Charles started his career in the military but became a Cistercian at Hemmerode in 1185. In 1189, he was elected prior of Heisterbach and in 1197 abbot of Villers in Brabant. In 1209, he resigned and returned to Hemmerode to prepare for his death. He has always been venerated as a beatus by the Cistercians (Benedictines).


Constantius and Companions MM (RM)
Died 170. The first bishop of Perugia, Italy, Saint Constantius, was martyred with many of his flock under Marcus Aurelius. The Acts of these martyrs are untrustworthy (Benedictines).


Dallan Forghaill M (AC)
(also known as Dallan of Cluain Dallain)

Born in Connaught, Ireland; died 598. Dallan, a kinsman of Saint Aidan of Ferns and a renowned scholar in his own right. The intensity of his study strained his eyes to the point where he became blind.

In 575, Dallan was the Chief Bard of Ireland, a position second only to the king in honor. When the king of Ireland, Aedh MacAinmire, called upon the Assembly of Drumceat to abolish the bardic guild and its privileges, Saint Columba successfully argued that the bards were necessary to preserve the history of the nation and that it would be prudent to punish abusive bards rather than destroy the order.

In recognition of Columba's defense of the bards, Saint Dallan wrote a panegyric, Ambra Choluim Kille or Eulogy of Columba. To account for its obscure and intentionally difficult language, legend tells us that in his humility Columba would only permit it to be written if it were incomprehensible to the Irish. Saint Dallan also wrote the Eulogy of Senan.

Today's saint reorganized and reformed the Bardic Order and initiated a strictly supervised school system for it that encouraged the cultivation of the Gaelic language and preservation of its literature. The order itself was active until 1738 when Turlough O'Carolan, the last of the great Irish bards and composer of the tune of the "Star Spangled Banner," died. Until that time, the bards participated in every major Irish celebration.

He is venerated as a martyr because he was murdered at Inis-coel (Inniskeel) by pirates who broke into the monastery (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Healy, Kenney, Montague, Montalembert, Muirhead).


Gildas (Badonicus) the Wise, Abbot Bishop (RM)
Born c. 500; died c. 570 (some scholars believe he may have died as early as 554).

Gildas may have been born in the lower valley of Clydeside in Scotland. He is often called "Badonicus" because he was born in the year the Britons defeated the Saxons at Bath. He may have married and been widowed, but he eventually became a monk at Llanilltud in southern Wales, where he was trained by Saint Illtyd together with Saint Samson and Saint Paul Aurelian, though he was much younger. Well-known Irish monks, including Saint Finnian, became his disciples. He made a pilgrimage to Ireland to consult with his contemporary saints of that land and wrote letters to far-off monasteries. He seems to have had considerable influence on the development of the Irish church.

Around 540 he wrote the famous work De excidio et conquestu Britanniae with the purpose of making known "the miseries, the errors, and the ruin of Britain." The work laid bare and severely criticized the lives of Britain's rulers and clerics, blaming their moral laxity for the triumph of the Anglo-Saxon invaders. Although the fierceness of its rhetorical invectives has been criticized the wide scriptural scholarship that it reveals is uncontested. It also shows that he was knowledgeable about Virgil and Ignatius. This work was cited by Saint Bede.

He is considered to be the first English historian. He lived as a hermit for some time on Flatholm Island in the Bristol Channel, where he copied a missal for Saint Cadoc and may have written De excidio. Gildas made a pilgrimage to Rome and on his return founded a monastery on an island near Rhuys (Rhuis or Morbihan) in Brittany, which became the center of his cult. Though he lived for a time on a tiny island in Morbihan Bay, he gathered disciples around him and does not seem to have cut himself off entirely from the world; he did travel to other places in Brittany. He is said to have died on the isle of Houat, though this is uncertain.

The De excidio, which very influential in the early Middle Ages, may not have been written entirely by Gildas. Some of it may have been a forgery shortly after his time. The work serves as an example of the classical and early Christian literature that was then available in England. Gilda's writings were used by Wulfstan, archbishop of York, in the 11th century in his Sermon of the Wolf to the English people during the disordered reign of Ethelred the Unready.

The chronology of Gildas's life has been disputed. Some say that the lives of two men of the same name have been confused. Some early Irish martyrologies commemorate his feast as does the Leofric Missal (c. 1050) and Anglo-Saxon calendars of the 9th through 11th centuries (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Gill, Farmer, Walsh, White).

He is portrayed in art with a bell near him (White).


Papias and Maurus MM (RM)
Died c. 303. These two are always pictured as the Roman soldiers they were. They were martyred under Maximian in Rome, where they are venerated (Benedictines, Roeder).


Sabinian of Troyes M (RM)
Born in Samos; died at Rilly near Troyes, France, c. 275. Disenchanted with the society and morals of his native land, the pagan Sabinian journeyed to Gaul. At Troyes he was converted and baptized by Saint Patroclus who was later martyred c. 259. Saint Sabinian carried on the work of Patroclus for another 26 years or so. He preached and baptized in the region of the upper Seine, and many were converted. When Sabinian was brought to judgement before the Emperor Aurelian, he mocked the imperial threats and refused to renounce his Christian faith. Arrows and burning failed to kill him, however, and eventually he was beheaded (Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson)

Saint Sabinian is generally pictured with his throat pierced by a sword; sometimes with his sister Saint Sabina of Troyes. They are, of course, venerated in Troyes (Roeder).


Sarbellius & Barbea MM (RM)
(also known as Sharbel and Bebaia)

Died 101. This is a brother and sister pair who were tortured with red-hot irons and martyred at Edessa under Trajan. Before his conversion, Thatueles Sarbellius had been the pagan high priest of Edessa (Benedictines).


Sulpicius 'Severus,' B (RM)
Born in Aquitaine; died 591. There was a great writer named Sulpicius Severus, not numbered among the saints, who authored the Life of Saint Martin of Tours. This is not he, though his moniker has often caused confusion. Saint Sulpicius, bishop of Bourges from 584 until his death, was born into a wealthy and illustrious Roman family. He was highly learned in secular literature and the law, which he practiced for a time. Sulpicius began to consider the religious life following the death of his beloved wife, from whom he inherited even greater wealth. For a time he continued to live in the same household as his pious mother-in-law, Bassula, with whom he shared a mutual affection. Her example and exhortations confirmed the resolution of Saint Sulpicius to turn his life over to Christ unreservedly. His conversion at about age 32 occurred during the same year of Saint Paulinus of Nola's conversion about 392. (Some of what we know about Saint Sulpicius comes from the testimony of the latter saint.)

He was venerated by Saint Gregory of Tours (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).


Triphina of Brittany, Widow (RM)
6th century, feast may be July 5. Saint Triphina was the mother of the infant-martyr Saint Tremorus. She passed the later years of her life in a convent in Brittany (Benedictines).


Valerius of Trèves B (RM)
Died c. 320. Legend makes Saint Valerius the second bishop of Trier (Trèves), Germany, and a disciple of Saint Peter. It is more likely that he was the bishop there at the beginning of the 4th century (Benedictines).


Voloc B (AC)
Died c. 724. Saint Voloc was an Irish missionary bishop who labored in Scotland (Benedictines).



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.