Saint Andrew Corsini B
Aldate (Eldate) (AC)
5th century. Saint Aldate was a Briton who lived in western England and became celebrated for his patriotism. He roused his countrymen to resist the heathen invaders. In some legends he is bishop of Gloucester. Many churches have his patronage, but there are no trustworthy accounts of his life (Benedictines).
Andrew Corsini, OC B (RM)
Born in Florence, Italy, 1301; died January 6, 1373; canonized 1629 by Pope Urban VI.
The devout, Florentine Corsini family gave life to a wayward, bad- tempered youth, Andrew, though he was the fruit of his parents' prayers and was consecrated by vow to God before his birth. He spent his money on vice and carousing with evil friends.
One day his grieving mother, Peregrina, told Andrew of her deepest fears. Just before his birth, she had dreamed that she was giving birth to a wolf and Andrew realized that he was indeed living like a wild animal. She also revealed that he was dedicated to God's service under the protection of the Blessed Virgin while he was still in her womb. He hurried to a church to pray--and became a new man while praying at Our Lady's altar. He was so touched by God that he resolved never to return to his father's house but rather to embrace the religious life.
Andrew decided to join the Carmelites of Fiesole near Florence in 1318. He became utterly devoted to his new life and never departed from the first fervor of his conversion. He strenuously labored to subdue his passions by extreme humiliations, obedience to even the last person in the house, by silence and prayer. His superiors employed him in the meanest offices, often in washing the dishes in the scullery.
The progress he made in his studies, particularly in the holy scriptures and in theology, was great. In 1328 he was ordained a priest; but to prevent the music and feast, which his family had prepared according to custom, for the day on which he was to say his first Mass, he privately withdrew to a little hermitage seven miles away, where he secretly offered his first fruits to God with wonderful recollection and devotion.
After preaching and ministering for a time in Florence, he studied at Paris for three years and completed his studies under the direction of his uncle, a cardinal, at Avignon. In 1332, Father Corsini was chosen prior of his own monastery in Florence, whose church, situated in the artisan area of the town, was subsequently enriched by the Masaccio's paintings of the life of Saint Peter. God honored his extraordinary virtue with the gifts of prophecy and miracles, including the conversion of his cousin, John Corsini, an infamous gambler, by the cure of an ulcer in his neck.
The former ruffian was elected bishop of Fiesole in 1349. Believing himself unworthy of this office, Corsini ran away and hid in the charterhouse of Enna, but he was discovered by a child about the time they were ready to give up and elect another. He was forced to accept the bishopric to which he was consecrated in 1360.
As bishop he demonstrated a special talent for reconciling opponents. For this reason Pope Urban V sent him to Bologna, where the nobility and the common people were quarrelling violently. Although both sides initially insulted Corsini, in the end he won them over and restored peace. As a Corsini, he was linked with the nobility; while his life of poverty as a friar made him acceptable to the common folk.
As bishop he added to his extraordinary penances and set the example of a prelate of a most noble house living according to the austerity of the religious rule he had professed. To his hair shirt he added an iron girdle. Daily he prayed the seven penitential Psalms and the litany of the saints while using the discipline upon himself. His bed was vine-branches strewn on the floor.
Additionally, he was a father of the poor. His tenderness with the poor was incredible, and he had a particular regard for the bashful among them--those who were ashamed to make their needs known. These he sought out diligently and assisted them with all possible secrecy. He kept a list of the poor and furnished them all with allowances.
Because Andrew had been born into a rich family, he felt that it was a good practice to wash the feet of poor men every Thursday in memory of Our Lord's action at the Last Supper. When one man tried to excuse himself because his feet were covered with ulcers, the saint insisted upon washing them anyway and they were immediately healed.
Andrew became ill with a high fever while singing the high Mass on Christmas Eve in 1372. A few days later the 71-year-old died and was immediately declared a saint by the people of Florence. His tomb in the Franciscan friars' church in Florence was the site of miracles. In 1737 a chapel was built in his honor in Saint John Lateran at Rome by Pope Clement XII, who was a member of the Corsini family (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
Aquilinus, Geminus, Gelasius,
Magnus & Donatus MM (RM)
End of 3rd century. Martyrs at Fossombrone (central Italy) of whom little is known (Benedictines).
Aventinus of Troyes, Hermit (RM)
Born in central France; died 538. Aventinus served as almoner to Saint Lupus, bishop of Troyes, until he retired to live as a hermit. The site of his hermitage is now called Saint-Aventin (Benedictines).
Aventinus of Chartres B (AC)
Died c. 520. Aventinus succeeded his brother Saint Solemnis as bishop of Chartres, France (Attwater2, Benedictines).
Eutychius of Rome M (RM)
4th century. 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 (Benedictines).
Gillebert of Limerick B
Died 1140. The date of Saint Gillebert's appointment as apostolic delegate to Ireland about 1106 (or a little earlier) is inferred from an extant congratulatory letter he wrote in 1107 to Archbishop Saint Anselm of Canterbury. Gillebert, together with Saint Malchus of Waterford and Ceallach of Armagh, launched a reorganization of the Irish church from monastic to episcopal rule. Gillebert is remembered for his tract entitled De statu ecclesiae, which outlined the episcopal and parochial reorganization, as well as advocated for a uniform liturgy. This movement was blessed by the High King Murcertach at the Council of Cashel at which time he bestowed the famous Rock of Cashel on the church. At the National Synod of Rath Breasel in 1110, Ireland was divided into 24 dioceses, and, in 1162, Archbishop Saint Gelasius decreed a uniform liturgy for the entirety of Ireland (Curtis, D'Arcy, MacNeill, O'Hanlon)
Isidore of Pelusium, Abbot (RM)
Born in Alexandria; died c. 450. Isidore (image) left Alexandria in his youth and became a monk at the monastery of Lychnos near Pelusium. He was ordained and in time became an abbot in Egypt, who was much admired by Saint Cyril of Alexandria. He was revered for his devotion to his religious duties, and was famous for his voluminous correspondence; some two thousand letters of pious exhortation and theological instruction are still extant, though he is reported to have written 10,000 letters in his lifetime (a true act of self-mortification!). He was a vigorous opponent of Nestorianism and Eutychianism and wrote Adversus gentiles and De fato, neither of which has survived (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney).
Joan of Valois, Queen Widow Foundress
(also known as Jane, Jeanne, Joanna of France)
Born 1464; died at Bourges, 1505; beatified in 1738; canonized 1950.
Saint Joan was the hunch-backed, pock-marked, deformed daughter of King Louis XI and Charlotte of Savoy. At age 9 (1476), she was married to the future King Louis XII (then Duke Louis of Orléans). The marriage was forced upon Louis and never consummated.
Joan saved her husband's life when her brother, King Charles VIII determined to execute him for rebellion. When the duke ascended to the throne in 1498 and wanted to marry Ann of Brittany, he had Pope Alexander VI declare his marriage to Joan null. Joan offered no objections and accepted the situation with the patience that marked her entire life.
She retired to the duchy of Berry given her by Louis and lived a secluded life of prayer and good works in its capital of Bourges. In 1501, with the help of a Franciscan friar, Blessed Gabriel Mary (Gilbert Nicholas; August 27) Nicolas, Joan founded Les Annonciades of Bourges, a contemplative order of nuns to pray and work for reconciliation of enemies. She herself was professed in 1504. Joan suffered much throughout her life for her physical deformities, which she accepted with great patience and equanimity (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Forster).
In art, Joan is a crowned abbess in the habit of the Annunciation sisters with a crucifix and rosary. Sometimes she may be shown (1) holding the Christ-child by the hand with a basket on His arm (not to be confused with Saint Dorothy who is never a nun); (2) with a cup of wine and basket of bread; (3) as the Christ-child places a ring on her finger; or (4) with Blessed Gabriel Mary, OFM, who co-founded the Annunciations (Roeder). She is venerated in Bourges (Roeder).
Blessed John Speed (Spence) M (AC)
Born in Durham; died there 1594; beatified in 1929. John was a layman martyred for befriending and aiding Catholic priests (Attwater2, Benedictines).
John de Britto, SJ M (RM)
Born in Lisbon, Portugal, March 1647; died in India, February 4, 1693; beatified in 1853; canonized in 1947.
When John de Britto fell gravely ill as a child, his mother, a lady of noble birth and connected with the court of Lisbon, invoked the aid of Saint Francis Xavier and dedicated her son to him. Perhaps this is the source of John's calling. He was the favorite companion of the Infante Don Pedro, who later became king of Portugal. John, however, aspired only to wear the habit of the great missionary to whom he was dedicated and to follow in the footsteps of Saint Francis.
At age 15 (1662), John joined the Society of Jesus in spite of opposition from his family and friends. His success in his studies was so remarkable that great efforts were made to keep him in Portugal after his ordination. But John was determined to take the Gospel to the Far East. In 1673, he set sail for Goa (southern India) with 16 other Jesuits to begin a life of incredible hardships, including frequent fevers, and many obstacles to success.
He worked in Malabar, Tanjore, Marava, and Madura, India, where he was given charge of the Madura mission. He travelled on foot throughout the vast region, which is only 10 degrees north of the equator. Those who worked with him reported in their letters home of John's courage, devotion, austerity, and harvest of souls that were the fruit of his labors.
Like Father de Nobili before him, Father de Britto adapted himself so far as possible to the manners, dress, and customs of the indigenous people among whom he lived, even to becoming a member of the Brahmin caste in an endeavor to reach the nobility. His methods were unconventional in many other respects, but the success of his mission eventually led to his death.
Many times Father de Britto and his Indian catechists were subjected to brutality. One time in 1686, after preaching in the Marava area, he and a handful of devoted Indians were seized, and upon their refusal to pay homage to the god Siva, were subjected for several days in succession to excruciating tortures. They were hung up by chains from trees, and at another time by means of a rope attached to an arm or foot and passing over a pulley, were dipped repeatedly into stagnant water, with other indescribable outrages.
Father de Britto's recovery was deemed miraculous. Not long after his emancipation, he was summoned back to Lisbon. His old friend, now King Pedro II and the papal nuncio made great efforts to keep him in Europe, but Father de Britto begged to be allowed to return to the mission fields. Back in Madura he had three more years of labor ahead of him.
A former polygamist convert to Christianity in the Marava country, put aside his many wives. One of them complained about this to her uncle, Raja Raghunatha of Marava, and placed the blame on Father de Britto. The raja thereupon began a persecution of the Christians. John de Britto was captured, tortured, and ordered to leave the country; but he refused. Therefore, he was beheaded at Oriur for subverting the religion of the country, but only after a delay caused by the nervousness of the local prince about taking de Britto's life.
A moving letter he wrote to his fellow missionaries on the eve of his execution still exists. Another letter was addressed to the father superior. In it he writes: "I await death and I await it with impatience. It has always been the object of my prayers. It forms today the most precious reward of my labors and my sufferings."
When news reached Lisbon, King Pedro ordered a solemn service of thanksgiving; and the martyr's mother came, not dressed in mourning but in a festal gown to celebrate her son's new life (Attwater, Benedictines, Walsh).
Joseph of Leonissa, OFM Cap. (RM)
Born in Leonissa near Otricoli in 1556; died in Italy in February 4, 1612; beatified in 1737 by Clement XII; canonized by Benedict XIV in 1745. At age 18, Eufranius professed himself as a Capuchin and took the name Joseph. He was always mild, humble, chaste, charitable, obedient, patient, and penitential to a heroic degree. With the utmost fervor and on the most perfect motive he endeavored to glorify God in all his actions.
Three days each week he fasted on bread and water and passed entire Lenten seasons in the same manner. His bed was hard boards, with the trunk of a vine as his pillow. He found joy in chastisement and humiliations, identifying himself with the sufferings of Jesus. He looked upon himself as the basest of sinners, and said that God indeed, by His infinite mercy, had preserved him from grievous crimes, but that by his sloth, ingratitude, and infidelity to the divine grace, he deserved to have been abandoned by God. The sufferings of Christ were his favorite meditations. He usually preached with a crucifix in his hands and the fire of the Holy Spirit in his words.
In 1587, he was sent to Turkey as a missioner, primarily to tend to the Christian galley-slaves. He contracted the pestilence but recovered. He converted many apostates, one of whom was a pasha. By preaching the faith to the Islamics, he incurred the wrath of the Turkish law and was twice imprisoned and tortured. The second time he was condemned to death. He did not die, so he was banished instead.
Upon his return to Italy, he continued to preach. To complete his sacrifice, he suffered much at the end of his life from a painful cancer. He underwent two operations (without anesthesia) without the least groan or complaint, except the repetition of, "Holy Mary, pray for us miserable, afflicted sinners." When someone said before the operation that he ought to be restrained, he pointed to the crucifix in his hand and said, "This is the strongest band; this will hold me unmoved better than any cords could do." The operation was unsuccessful and he died at age 58. Many miracles were reported in the acts of his beatification (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
In art, Saint Joseph is always shown with Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, OFM Cap. Both are old Capuchins who were canonized on the same day. Saint Fidelis tramples on Heresy and an angel carries the palm of martyrdom (Roeder).
Liephard BM (AC)
Died 649. An Englishman by birth, Saint Liephard may have been a bishop. He accompanied King Cadwalla on a pilgrimage to Rome. Liephard was killed near Cambrai on his return to England (Benedictines).
Modan, Abbot (AC)
6th century (?). About 522, Modan, son of an Irish chieftain, professed himself at Dryburgh Abbey near Mailros, Scotland. Being persuaded that a Christian grows in holiness only by spending time with God, he gave six or seven hours daily to prayer and meditation and seasoned all his other activities with more prayer. A spirit of prayer is founded in the purity of the affections, the fruit of self-denial, humility, and obedience. Therefore, Modan practiced austerity to crucify his flesh and senses. He practiced humility by subjecting his will so swiftly and cheerfully to that of his superiors that they unanimously declared they never saw any one so perfectly divested of all self-will as was Modan.
He became abbot of Dryburgh and proved the maxim that no man can govern others well unless his masters the art of obedience himself. He was inflexible in maintaining discipline, but did so with winning sweetness and charity. His prudence in providing instruction or reproof gave pleasure, gained hearts, inspired love, and communicated the spirit of every duty.
He also preached the faith at Stirling and other places near Forth, especially, Falkirk, but frequently interrupted his apostolic employments to retire among the craggy mountains of Dumbarton, where he usually spent 30-40 days at once in contemplation. He died at Alcluid (later called Dunbritton, now Dumbarton) where he is venerated (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Nicholas Studites, Abbot (AC)
Born at Sydonia (Canea), Crete, in 793; died at Studius Monastery, Constantinople, in 863. Saint Nicholas was a disciple of Theodore Studites, educated at Studius Monastery from age 10, and at age 18 became a monk there. During the iconoclastic persecution he followed his abbot into exile, and aided others who had been banished.
In 842, on the death of Emperor Theophilus, peace was temporarily restored and he returned to the monastery where he was elected abbot. When Emperor Michael III exiled Saint Ignatius and made Photius patriarch of Constantinople in 858, Nicholas refused to recognize Photius as patriarch, was imprisoned, and then went into voluntary exile; Michael then appointed a new abbot.
After several years in exile, Nicholas was brought back to his monastery and imprisoned. When Emperor Basil restored Ignatius, the lawful patriarch, Nicholas considered himself too old to resume charge of the monastery, and died as a simple monk (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
Nithard of Corbie, OSB M (AC)
Died 845. Saint Nithard was a monk at Corbie in Saxony and a companion of Saint Ansgar, whom he followed to Sweden as a missionary. He was martyred there by the pagan natives (Benedictines).
Obitius of Brescia, OSB (AC)
Died c. 1204; cultus approved in 1900. Saint Obitius, a knight of Brescia, narrowly escaped drowning. Terrified by a vision of hell during the incident, he gave himself up to a life of austere penance as a Benedictine layman in the service of the Benedictine nuns of Saint Julia at Brescia (Benedictines).
Phileas BM, Philoromus & Comps. MM (RM)
Died in Alexandria, Egypt, c. 304-305. Saint Phileas was a rich, eloquent, learned nobleman of Thmuis in Lower Egypt, who was converted to the faith and became bishop of Thmuis. Soon after his consecration at Alexandria, Diocletian's successors captured and arrested him. While in prison for his faith there, he wrote a moving letter to his flock, which has been preserved in part by Eusebius, describing the sufferings of the Alexandrian Christians.
He wrote that his fellow-confessors were permitted to be insulted, struck, and beaten with rods, whips, or clubs by any person who so desired. Some of the confessors, with their hands tied behind their backs, were secured to pillars, their bodies stretched out with engines, and their sides, belly, legs, thighs, and cheeks hideously torn with iron hooks. Others were hung by one hand, suffering excessive pain by the stretching of their joints. The governor, Culcian, thought no treatment was too bad for Christians.
The extant account of his examination in court was most probably written up from the notes of an eye-witness (and are published by Combefis, Henschenius, and Ruinart). This fragmentary, Greek manuscript was written within about 15 years of his death and records the fifth and last interview between the bishop and the prefect Culcian. It reveals genuine, if ironic, interest in Christian doctrines, such as the resurrection of the body and the role of conscience, by the prefect and the cool but inflexible rationality of Bishop Phileas.
The prefect asked, "Can you now be reasonable?" To which Phileas answered, "I am always reasonable and I exercise myself in good sense." In response to repeated demands to offer sacrifice, Phileas answered that the sacrifices that God asks are "a pure heart, a spotless soul, and spiritual perceptions which lead to deeds of piety and justice."
"Was Jesus God?" asks Culcian. "Yes . . . He did not say of Himself that He was God because He performed the works of God in power and actuality . . . He cleansed lepers, made the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the dumb speak . . . He drove demons from His creatures, at a command; He cured paralytics, raised the dead to life, and performed many other signs and wonders." Culcian continues: "Was he not a common man? Surely he was not in the class of Plato." Phileas replied: "Indeed He was superior to Plato."
"If you were one of the uncultured, I should not spare you. But now you possess such abundant resources that you can nourish and sustain not only yourself but a whole city. Therefore, spare yourself and sacrifice." Phileas answered, "I will not. I have reflected many times and this is my decision."
He was put to death shortly thereafter, together with an official, Saint Philoromus, who had protested to the prefect against the efforts made to make Saint Phileas apostatize. They both rejected the magistrate's appeal that they should save their lives by compliance for the sake of their wives and children who were present for the trial.
On the way to execution, Phileas's brother told the governor that Phileas desired a pardon. Culcian called him back and asked if it were true. Phileas answered, "God forbid! Do not listen to this unhappy man. Far from desiring the reversion of my sentence, I think myself much obliged to the emperor, to you, and to your court, for by your means I become co-heir with Christ, and shall enter this very day into the possession of his kingdom" Shortly thereafter, Phileas and Philoromus were beheaded During this persecution about 660 were martyred including Faustus (priest), Didius, Ammonius, Hesychius (bishop), Pachomius (bishop), and Theodore (bishop), whose feast is celebrated on November 26 (Attwater, Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).
Blessed Rabanus Maurus, OSB B (AC)
Born at Mainz, Germany, c. 776-784; died at Winkel, Germany, 856.
While Rabanus was probably a German by birth, there is a possibility that he may have been from Ireland or Scotland. He was offered as a child to the abbey of Fulda, was educated and spent most of his life there. After receiving his early education at the abbey school of Fulda under Abbot Bangulf, he completed his studies at Tours under Alcuin, whose favorite he became.
He returned to Fulda as a monk, became known for his learning and knowledge of the early Church Fathers and the Bible, and in about 799 became headmaster of Fulda's school. He was ordained a deacon in 801 and a priest in 815, and became abbot in 822. As abbot he completed the monastery buildings, and founded several churches and monasteries.
He resigned his abbacy in 847 to go into retirement, but that same year--at age 71, he was name archbishop of Mainz (Mayence), which he governed with remarkable ability. He imposed strict discipline on his clergy (which led to an abortive conspiracy on his life), held two synods that condemned the heretical teachings of Gottschalk, a monk in his see. He was noted for his charity to the poor, 300 of whom he entertained daily at his house, which helped alleviate a famine.
Rabanus was the outstanding scholar of his century and one of the most prolific writers of any age. Under Alcuin, who nicknamed him Maurus in memory of Saint Benedict's favorite disciple, he learned Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac. His biblical commentaries and other works are still considered valuable. His martyrology; poetry, including the hymn Veni creator spiritus; and some 64 of homilies are still extant (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
Rembert of Bremen B (RM)
Born near Bruges, Flanders; died June 11, 888. Saint Rembert entered religious life as a monk of Turholt. He shared an apostolate to Scandinavia with and succeeded his friend Saint Ansgar as bishop of Hamburg-Bremen in 865. This feast day commemorates his episcopal consecration. He wrote an excellent biography of Saint Ansgar (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Simon of St.-Bertin, OSB, Abbot (AC)
Died 1148. Simon was successively monk of Saint-Bertin, abbot of Auchy, and abbot of Saint-Bertin. His election as abbot of Saint Bertin in 1131 was contested, and he was unable to take his office until 1138 (Benedictines).
Theophilus the Penitent (PC)
Died c. 538. Likely to be a legendary figure. A 10th c. Latin play by Hrosvitha of Gandesheim depicts Theophilus as administrator (or archdeacon) of Adana, Cilicia, who declined a bishopric because of his humility. He was deposed of his office in the Church by the man who became bishop and was so furious that he made a pact with Satan, who had him restored to his position. He later repented, appealed to Our Lady, found the pact he had signed with satan on his chest when he awoke on morning, did penance for his deed, made a public confession of his sin, and had the bishop burn the pact before the congregation. This story, of course, is the basis of Goethe's Faust (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
In art Saint Theophilus is an archdeacon making a pact with the devil from which he is rescued by the Virgin; sometimes she is shown handing him back the contract. There is an interesting representation of this on the Romanesque portal at Souillac, Languedoc, France (Roeder).
Vincent of Troyes B (AC)
Died c. 546. Bishop of Troyes from about 536 to 546 (Benedictines).
Vulgis of Lobbes, OSB B (AC)
Died c. 760. Vulgis was regionary bishop (chorepiscopus) and abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Lobbes in Hainault (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.