Feast of the Presentation
Adalbald of Ostrevant M (AC)
(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 (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopedia).
Adeloga of Kitzingen, OSB V (AC)
(also known as Hadeloga)
Died c. 745. Saint Adeloga, a Frankish princess, founded and was the first abbess of the great Benedictine convent of Kitzingen in Franconia (Benedictines).
Apronian the Executioner M (RM)
Died c. 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 (Benedictines).
Columbanus of Ghent, Hermit (AC)
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 (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Fitzpatrick2, Montague).
Cornelius the Centurion B (RM)
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 (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill).
Feock V (AC)
Date unknown. 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 (Benedictines).
Flosculus of Orléans B (RM)
(also known as Flou of Orléans)
Died after 480. Bishop Flou of Orléans was a contemporary of Sidonius Apollinaris (Benedictines).
Fortunatus, Felician, Firmus, & Candidus MM (RM)
Date unknown. The names were originally found in the martyrology of Usuard. Nothing is known of them (Benedictines).
Jeanne de Lestonnac, Widow Foundress (RM)
(also known as Jane or Joan de Lestonnac)
Born in Bordeaux, France, in 1556; died there February 2, 1640; beatified in 1900; canonized in 1949.
The story of Joan's long life reflects the importance of the domestic church in forming God's servants. Our saint triumphed over ill-health and the evil plottings of a wicked woman. Joan was the daughter of a good Catholic father of a distinguished family at a time when Calvinism was flourishing in Bordeaux. Her mother, however, was Joan Eyquem de Montaigne, the apostate sister of the famous essayist Michael de Montaigne. Her mother continually tried to undermine Joan's faith; when her attempts failed, she would abuse the child. These troubles, however, turned Joan's heart more fervently to God and made her long for a life of prayer and mortification.
At age 17 (1573), Joan was happily married to Gaston de Montferrant, who was related to the royal houses of France, Aragon, and Navarre. Joan was devoted to her husband and bore him one son and three daughters. After 24 years of deeply happy marriage, Gaston died in 1597. She continued to care for her children until they were old enough to be independent.
Two of Joan's daughters had felt drawn to religious life, and, at age 47 (1603), Joan herself then decided to enter the Cistercian monastery of Les Feuillantes at Toulouse despite the objections of her son and her anxiety over leaving her youngest daughter. The harsh regimen of life there caused her to become seriously ill.
She wanted to die in the convent, yet her wise superiors perceived what an exceptional woman Joan was and understood that God had other plans for her. They encouraged her to attempt a great service for God by founding an order of women devoted to Our Lady. She miraculously recovered her health the moment she left the convent. Joan gathered a band of young girls on her estate, La Mothe in Périgord, where she spent two quiet years. Returning to Bordeaux, their first task became bravely serving as nurses during a savage plague that struck the people of Bordeaux.
A number of priests, including the Jesuit fathers Jean de Bordes and Raymond, had come to recognize the utter devotion of Joan, and realized the devastation Calvinism was working among young girls of all classes who were deprived of Catholic education. They saw the need for an order to educate young girls as the Jesuits educated boys. To both of these priests the assurance was given simultaneously, while they were celebrating Mass, that it was the will of God that they should assist in founding an order to counteract the evils of the surrounding heresy, and that Mme de Lestonnac should be the first superior. In 1606, Fathers de Bordes and Raymond helped Joan persuade Cardinal de Sourdis, archbishop of Bordeaux, to support her religious order.
The congregation was affiliated with the Benedictines, but its rule and constitutions were founded on those of Saint Ignatius Loyola. Her scheme was approved by Pope Paul V in 1607. The following year the sisters received the habit from the cardinal and, in 1610, Joan became the mother superior on the first house in Bordeaux of the Sisters of Notre Dame.
Seeking only the barest necessities for themselves, her sisters founded schools throughout the region, welcoming into them any girl who could come, with the aim of stemming the tide of Calvinism. But while this work prospered, exceeding all expectations but God's, two problems arose at Bordeaux. The archbishop of Bordeaux resented attempts to gain extradiocesan freedom, and one vicious sister named Blanche Hervé, the director of one of the houses, began to spread lies about Joan. The authorities, including the cardinal, believed the concoctions, and Joan was dismissed as superior and Blanche intruded in her place as superior.
Here her great meekness triumphed. For three years Joan was beaten and humiliated, but she bore all so patiently that even Blanche Hervé was moved to confess her own maliciousness and the two reconciled. Joan de Lestonnac no longer wished to work as mother superior, but passed her last years highly honored by her order.
From 1625 to 1631, Joan visited each of the other 26 houses in turn. By the time she had returned to Bordeaux, two of her daughters and at least one grand-daughter had joined the Company of Mary, for which the revised rules and constitutions were drawn up in 1638. Meanwhile, her health began to fail and she died. Miracles of different kinds were reported at her tomb in Bordeaux. Her nuns now number about 2,500 and serve in 17 countries (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Walsh).
Martyrs of Ebsdorf:
Bruno, Marquard, OSB B & Comp. (AC)
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 episcopacy (Attwater2, Benedictines).
Blessed Peter Cambiano, OP M (AC)
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 (Attwater2, Benedictines, Dorcy)
Presentation of the Lord
"The Lord said to Moses, 'Tell the Israelites: When a woman has conceived and gives birth to a boy, she shall be unclean for seven days, with the same uncleanness as at her menstrual period. On the eighth day, the flesh of the boy's foreskin shall be circumcised, and then she shall spend thirty-three more days in becoming purified of her blood; she shall not touch anything sacred nor enter the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled. . . . When the days of her purification for a son or for a daughter are fulfilled, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the meeting tent a yearling lamb for a holocaust and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. The priest shall offer them up before the Lord to make atonement for her, and thus she shall be clean again after her flow of blood. . . . If she cannot afford a lamb, she may take two turtledoves or two pigeons, the one for a holocaust and the other for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for her, and thus she will again be clean'" (NAB, Lev. 12:1-8).
And so Mary and Joseph followed the law prescribed for the Israelites and on the 33rd day (February 2) "When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord'" (Luke 2:22-23a).
God had redeemed the Israelites from captivity in Egypt by killing all the first-born of the Egyptians, but he passed over the homes of the Israelites, who had marked their lintels with the blood of the lamb. For this reason God commanded: "Consecrate to me every first-born that opens the womb among the Israelites, both of man and beast, for it belongs to me" (Exodus 13:2).
We, too, have been spared by the blood of the Lamb of God. We, too, belong to the Lord. Jesus was the first-born of many sons of the Father, and so it was appropriate that he was consecrated to the Lord, even though he already belonged to the Godhead. Now it is time for us to consecrate ourselves to God the Father through Christ our Lord in the Holy Spirit.
Nevertheless it is worthwhile contemplating the new order of creation wrought by the birth of Jesus. Jesus, Holiness Himself, was touched many times each day before the purification by the sanctuary of God, Mary, who sheltered the Presence of God, Emmanuel, for nine months within her womb. Yet she followed the law of Moses.
We know that they are a poor family, because they do not make the offering of a lamb, but of two doves. The Holy Spirit moves many at this moment. Old Simeon is there to greet the holy family. This is another Visitation for Mary again presents Jesus to those awaiting His coming. Simeon knows it and in joy sings that hymn sung daily in Night Prayer, "Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel" (Gospel Canticle). God, indeed, has shown us His salvation!
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.