Saint Paul Miki M
Amand of Maastricht, OSB Abbot B (RM)
(also known as Amandus)
Born at Nantes, Lower Poitou, France, c. 584; died at Elnon in Belgium, c. 679; feast day formerly February 1.
Amand's pious parents are said to have been lords of the region where he was born. By vocation, Amand became a monk about 604 at a monastery on the island of Yeu (Oye). He had been there less than one year, when his father found him out, and desperately tried to persuade him to quit that state of life. To his threats of disinheritance, the saint cheerfully answered: "Christ is my only inheritance." Amand moved to Tours where he was ordained, and then was a hermit near the cathedral at Bourges, France, for 15 years under the direction of Bishop Saint Austregisilius before setting out to convert unbelievers. At Bourges he lived an austere life. His clothing was a single sackcloth, and his sustenance barley-bread and water.
On his return from a pilgrimage to Rome at about age 45, he was consecrated a missionary bishop in 629, with no see. Amand was a tireless preacher, a wandering saint who worked as far afield as Flanders, among the Slavs of Carinthia along the River Danube, among the Basques in Navarre, and possibly in Gascony. Although the saint was exiled for censuring King Dagobert I, Amand continued his work elsewhere. He was soon recalled by Dagobert, who threw himself at Amand's feet to beg his pardon and had him baptize his new-born son, Saint Sigebert III, afterwards king.
Despite initial difficulties, Amand was highly successful in evangelizing the area around Ghent. The idolatrous people about Ghent were so savage, that no preacher wanted to venture among them. This moved the saint to choose that mission. While he had the support of the Frankish kings, he often met with so much opposition from the peoples he tried to convert that Dagobert strongly suggested that Amand use force. During the course of his evangelizing Amand was often beaten, and sometimes thrown into the river. Undaunted, he continued preaching, though for a long time he saw no fruit, and supported himself by his labor. The miracle of his raising a dead man to life, at last opened the eyes of the barbarians, and the country came in crowds to receive baptism, destroying the temples of their idols with their own hands.
He founded numerous monasteries in Belgium, including Mont-Blandin (and perhaps Mount Bavon) at Ghent and the Abbey of Elnon (later called Saint-Amand), as well as a convent at Nivelles. Some incorrectly say that he was chosen bishop of Maastricht, and that after three years he resigned to return to missionary work, although Pope Saint Martin had encouraged him to persevere. He spent the last four years of his life as abbot of Elnon Monastery near Tournai and died there, aged almost 90, after dictating his testament which has survived. His relics are kept at the monastery where he died.
Amand's cultus was widespread in Flanders and Picardy, and reached England through visits of churchmen such as Saint Dunstan to his monasteries in Ghent or Elnon. His name occurs in several medieval English calendars, and a chapel is dedicated to him at East Hendred. The Sarum Breviary honored Saint Amandus and Saint Vedast with an office of nine lessons (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Duckett, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth). In art he is represented as carrying a church in his hand (Benedictines).
Amand of Moissac, OSB, Abbot B (AC)
(also known as Amandus)
Died 644. Abbot-founder of Moissac (Benedictines).
Amandus of Nantes, OSB, Abbot (AC)
7th century. Abbot-founder of Nantua (Benedictines).
Andrew of Elnon, OSB, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 690. Monk and disciple of Saint Amand of Maastricht, whom he succeeded as abbot. His relics were "raised" together with those of Amand in 694 (Benedictines).
Blessed Angelus of Furci, OSA (AC)
Born at Furci, Abruzzi, Italy; died 1372; cultus confirmed in 1888. Angelus joined the Augustinian friars at an early age, studied in Paris, where he became a lecturer in theology, and on his return to Italy, spent the rest of his life as a professor of theology at Naples. Without giving up his teaching, he became provincial of the order for a time. He refused many offers of bishoprics (Attwater2, Benedictines).
Antholian of Auvergne M (RM)
(also known as Anatolianus)
Died c. 265. Saint Gregory of Tours mentions Antholianus as one of the martyrs of Auvergne under Valerian and Gallienus. Fellow sufferers were Saints Cassius, Maximus, Limininus, and Victorinus (Benedictines).
Blessed Diego de Azevedo, OSB Cist. B (PC)
(also known as Didacus)
Died December 30, 1207. A member of the clergy attached to the cathedral at Osma, Old Castile (Spain). He became provost and obtained a canonry for Saint Dominic GuzmŠn and in 1201 was named bishop of Osma. In 1206, he was sent by King Alfonso IX of Castile to the Marches (Italy) to escort back to Spain the bride-to-be of Prince Ferdinand. On arrival, Diego found the girl dead.
He then went to Rome, taking with him a member of his party, Saint Dominic, a visit that ultimately led to the founding of the Dominicans. In the same year Diego joined the Cistercians at CÓteaux in order to join the crusade against the Albigensians in Languedoc. He returned to Osma late in 1207 and died there. He has always been styled a beatus or saint by the Cistercians (Benedictines, Delaney).
Dorothy of Caesarea VM (RM)
(also known as Dora, Dorothea)
Born in Caesarea, Cappadocia (now Armenia); died there, c. 300. The story of Saint Dorothy as it has come to us is legendary. When the young maiden, Dorothy, was imprisoned as a Christian during the persecutions of Diocletian, she converted two apostate women warders sent to seduce her. This enraged Fabricius, the governor of Caesarea, who sentenced her to death.
On the way to execution, Dorothy was cruelly baited by a lawyer named Theophilus for refusing to marry or to worship idols. He mockingly asked her to send him back some fruit and flowers from the garden she had joyously announced she would soon be in. As she knelt for her beheading and prayed, a child (or an angel) miraculously appeared with a basket of golden apples and roses. She took a napkin and placed in it three roses and three apples. Then she begged a child to take them to Theophilus and tell him she would meet him in the garden. When he saw these gifts he himself was converted to Christianity and later he, too, suffered martyrdom. Before being killed, Dorothy was stretched on a rack. It is recorded that she was then still smiling, as she remembered the warders she had converted.
Although the early martyrologies, such as that of Saint Jerome place her death in Cappadocia during the persecution of Diocletian, Saint Dorothy's name is unknown in Eastern calendars. There was another holy virgin, whom Rufinus calls Dorothy, a rich and noble lady of the city of Alexandria, who suffered torments and a voluntary banishment, to preserve her faith and chastity against the brutish lust and tyranny of the emperor Maximinus, in the year 308, as is recorded by Eusebius and Rufinus; but many believe this latter, whose name is not mentioned by Eusebius, to be the famous Saint Catharine of Alexandria.
The center of her cultus was Italy and Germany; although she is also represented in 15th-century stained glass and screen paintings in England. Her legend was known by Saint Aldhelm (died 709) and later formed the basis for the play The Virgin Martyr (1622) by John Massinger and Thomas Dekker, as well as poems by Swithburne and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Dorothy's relics are believed to lie at her church in Rome (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
In art, Saint Dorothy is a maiden carrying a basket of fruit and flowers, especially roses, which are her special attribute. At times that angel attendant may carry the basket (Tabor). Sometimes she may be shown (1) leading the Christ-child by the hand; (2) with a basket of fruit and the Christ-child riding a hobby horse; (3) in an orchard with the Christ-child in an apple tree; (4) crowned with flowers and surrounded by stars as she kneels before the executioner; (5) crowned, carrying a flower basket; (6) crowned with palm and flower basket, surrounded by stars; (7) veiled, holding apples from heaven on a branch; (8) veiled with flowers in her lap. She is often confused with Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, who usually has the poor near her. On certain English roodscreens Saint Cecelia seems to have the attributes of Dorothy (Roeder).
Saint Dorothy is the patroness of brewers, brides, florists, gardeners, midwives, and newly-wedded couples (Roeder).
Gerald of Ostia, OSB B (AC)
Died 1077. Gerald was prior at Cluny and raised by Pope Alexander II to the see of Ostia (Italy) as successor to Saint Peter Damian. He was the papal legate to France, Spain, and Germany. In the course of his duties, Gerald was arrested and imprisoned by the German emperor, Henry V. He is the principal patron of Velletri (Benedictines).
Guarinus of Palestrina, OSA B (RM)
Born in Bologna, Italy; died in Pavia, Italy, 1159; canonized by Alexander III. Saint Guarinus left his hometown to join the Augustinian canons at Montaria. There he enjoyed 40 years of religious life prior to being elected bishop of Pavia. Nothing, however, could induce him to accept the position. Nevertheless, Pope Lucius II created him a cardinal bishop of Palestrina because of his holiness and humility. There he is highly venerated (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson).
Hildegund of Meer, O. Praem., Widow (AC)
(also known as Hildegund of Mehre)
Died 1183. Hildegund, daughter of Count Herman of Lidtberg and widow of Count Lothair, turned her castle of Meer near Cologne, Germany, into a Premonstratensian convent. In the face of fierce opposition from her family, she and her daughter, Blessed Hedwig, entered religious life there. Hildegund became prioress of the new foundation. Hildegund was also the mother of Blessed Herman Joseph, who also became a Premonstratensian (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson).
Jacut and Guethenoc (AC)
5th century. Sons of Saints Fragan and Gwen and brothers of the more celebrated Saint Gwenaloe (WinwaloŽ--twin of Jacut), Jacut and Guethenoc became disciples of Saint Budoc, and like him were driven from their native Britain by the invading Saxons (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Martyrs of Japan (RM)
Died at Nagasaki, Japan, 1597; beatified in 1627; canonized in 1862; feast day formerly February 5.
Christianity was probably first brought to Japan in 1549 by the much beloved Saint Francis Xavier. When he left Japan after a stay of a few years, there were about 2,000 converts. Within the next 50 years the community grew even larger. It is said that by 1587 there were over 200,000 Christians, which caused the feudal lord, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan in the name of the emperor, consternation which grew into anger. In 1587, he ordered all missionaries to leave within six months. Some obeyed, but many remained behind in disguise.
As noted in the story of Philip de las Casas, this persecution was touched off by the irresponsible bragging of a Spanish sea captain in 1596 meeting the already provoked Hideyoshi, who was furious at the success of the Christian missionaries. The sailor had remarked that the object of the missionaries was to ease the conquest of Japan by Portugal or Spain.
Of the numerous Christian martyrs in Japan the canonization of this group of 26 has been completed. Six of them were European Franciscan missionaries led by the Spanish Saint Peter Baptist. Among the others were a Japanese Jesuit priest, Saint Paul Miki, and a Korean layman, Saint Leo Karasumaru. There were also 18 Japanese laymen, of whom three were young acolytes.
Of these martyrs, 24 had been brought to Miyako, where only a part of their left ears were cut off by mitigation of the sentence which called for the severing of both ears and nose. Thereafter, they were led through various towns, their cheeks stained with blood, in order to cause other Christians to apostatize. (The severed ears were displayed in still other towns to terrify others.) When they arrived at the place of execution on a hill in Nagasaki, they were allowed to make their confession to two Jesuits.
They were killed simultaneously by a sort of crucifixion. First they were bound or chained to crosses on the ground, with an iron collar around their necks. The crosses were then planted in a row about four feet apart and each saint was and then stabbed with a spear by his own executioner. Their blood and garments were procured by Christians, and miracles were attributed to them. The rest of the missionaries were deported, except for another 28 priests who stayed behind in disguise.
From their canonization until the revision of the Roman calendar in 1970, their feast was celebrated only in Japan and by the Franciscans and Jesuits. Now they are remembered universally as the first martyrs of the Far East. Others, not yet canonized, were martyred in 1617, 1622, 1624, 1629, and 1632. This group includes:
- Antony Deynan, born at Nagasaki, was a 13-year-old altar boy and a Franciscan tertiary.
- Bonaventure of Miyako (Meaco), OFM Tert., a Japanese native who became a Franciscan tertiary and catechist. (He may only have been beatified and isn't included in the group of 26 who were canonized).
- Caius Francis, OFM Tert., was a Japanese soldier who had only recently been baptized and received as a Franciscan tertiary. He insisted on being arrested with the friars.
- Cosmas Takeya (Tachegia, Zaquira), OFM Tert., a lay Franciscan from Owari, Japan, who served the Franciscan missionaries as interpreter and preached in Osaka.
- Diego (James) Kisai (Kizayemon), SJ, a Japanese layman who was the temporal coadjutor of the Jesuits and a catechist in Osaka. Like John Gotto, he was admitted to the Society of Jesus while he was imprisoned, just before his death at age 64.
- Francis Blanco, OFM, a native of Monterey, Galicia, Spain. He studied in Salamanca, and was professed as a Franciscan at Vallalpando. He first labored as a missionary at Churubusco, Mexico, and in 1594, he migrated from Manila to Japan.
- Francis of Miyako (of Nagasaki), OFM Tert., was a Japanese physician from Miyako, who later in life was converted to Catholicism by the Franciscan missionaries in Japan and became a tertiary and lay catechist.
- Francis of Saint Michael, OFM, was born at Parilla (near Valladolid), Spain. He joined the Franciscans as a lay brother and was sent from the Philippines to Japan as a missionary. He was arrested in Osaka with his companion Saint Peter Baptist, in 1596, and awaited execution the following year.
- Gabriel de Duisco, OFM Tert., the 19-year-old son of the Franciscans' native porter.
- Gundisalvus (Gonsalo) Garcia, OFM, born at Bassein near Bombay, India, in 1556 of Portuguese parents, although some claim that his parents were Indian converts who took Portuguese names. He first served the Jesuits as a catechist, then opened a flourishing business in Japan, and in 1591 joined the Franciscans as a lay brother in Manila, the Philippines. He returned to Japan as an interpreter to Saint Peter Baptist.
- Joachim Sakakibara (Saccachibara), OFM Tert., the Japanese lay cook (another source says the physician) for the Franciscans at Osaka, who also served as a catechist.
- John Soan de Goto, SJ, a 19-year-old native Japanese who was admitted to the Jesuits in prison shortly before his martyrdom. Prior to that he was a temporal-coadjutor of the Society of Jesus and catechist at Osaka.
- John Kisaka (Kimoia), OFM Tert., a Japanese silk-weaver, born at Miyako. He was baptized and received into the third order shortly before his crucifixion.
- Leo Karasumaru (Carasuma), a native of Korea, was a pagan priest prior to his conversion to Christianity. He was baptized by the Jesuits in Japan in 1589. He became the first Korean Franciscan tertiary and was the chief catechist for the friars. With him was crucified his brother Paul Ibaraki and their 12-year-old nephew Louis Ibaraki.
- Louis Ibaraki (Ibarki) the 12-year-old nephew of Paul Ibaraki and Leo Karasumaru, who served as acolyte for the Franciscans.
- Martin Loynaz (de Aguirre) of the Ascension, OFM, a native of Vergara near Pamplona, Spain. He studied in Alcala and became a Franciscan in 1586. He first worked as a missionary in Mexico, then Manila in the Philippines, and finally in Japan.
- Matthias of Miyako, OFM Tert., a Japanese native, became a Franciscan tertiary.
- Michael Cozaki was a Japanese catechist and hospital nurse to the Franciscan missionaries. He was martyred with his own son, Thomas.
- Paul Ibaraki (Yuanki, Yuaniqui), OFM Tert., was the brother of Leo Karasumaru and a lay tertiary, interpreter, and catechist.
- Paul Miki, SJ (born 1562, died at age 33), son of a Japanese military leader, was born at Tounucumada, Japan, was educated at the Jesuit college at Anziquiama, joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent preaching. His last sermon was delivered from the cross on which he was martyred.
- Paul Suzuki, OFM Tert. (born 1563), a native of Owari, Japan, was baptized by the Jesuits in 1584, became a Franciscan tertiary, and was an outstanding catechist until he, too, was crucified near Nagasaki.
- Peter Baptist, OFM, (born 1545) was a native of Avila, Spain. He joined the Franciscans in 1567, worked as a missionary in Mexico, was sent to the Philippines in 1583, and on to Japan in 1593, where he served as commissary for the Franciscans. He had the gift of working miracles and is considered the leader of the Franciscan martyrs.
- Peter Sukejiro (Xukexico), OFM Tert., a Japanese Franciscan tertiary who served as a catechist, house servant, and sacristan to the Franciscan missionaries. He was sent by a Jesuit priest to help the prisoners, and was then arrested.
- Philip de las Casas, OFM.
- Thomas Cozaki (Kasaki), a 15-year-old Japanese native, who served as acolyte and was martyred with his father, Michael.
- Thomas Xico (Dauki), OFM Tert., a Japanese Franciscan tertiary, catechist, and interpreter to the missionaries.
- Ventura, a Japanese layman from Miyako, who had been baptized by the Jesuits, gave up his Catholicism on the death of his father, became a bonze, and was brought back to the Church by the Franciscans (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh, White).
Mel (Melchno) of Ardagh and Melchu BB MM (AC)
Died c. 488-490. According to untrustworthy legend, Mel and his brother Melchu (plus Munis and Rioch) were sons among the 17 sons and two daughters of Saint Patrick's sister, Darerca and her husband Conis. While all of the children are reputed to have entered religious life, Mel and Melchu, together with their brothers Muinis and Rioch, accompanied Patrick to Ireland and joined him in his missionary work.
Patrick ordained Mel and Melchu bishops. Patrick is reputed to have appointed Mel bishop of Ardagh, and Melchu to the see of Armagh (or vice versa). There is some evidence that Melchu may have been a bishop with no fixed see, who may hae succeeded his brother. Some scandal was circulated about Mel, who lived with his Aunt Lipait but both cleared themselves by miraculous means to Patrick, who ordered them to live apart.
According to an ancient tradition, Mel professed Saint Brigid as a nun. During the rite, he inadvertently read over her the episcopal consecration, and that Saint Macaille protested. The ever serene Mel, however, was convinced that it happened according to the will of God and insisted that the consecration should stand.
Nothing is definitely known about these saints; however, Mel has a strong cultus at Longford, where he was the first abbot-bishop of a richly endowed monastery that flourished for centuries. The cathedral of Longford is dedicated to Mel, as is a college. The crozier believed to have belonged to Saint Mel is now kept at Saint Mel's College in a darkened bronze reliquary that was once decorated with gilt and colored stones. It was found in the 19th century at Ardagh near the old cathedral of Saint Mel.
The various sources are rather confusing. It is possible that Mel was bishop of Armagh and/or that Melchu and Mel are the same person (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Curtayne2, D'Arcy, Delaney, Farmer, Healy, Henry2, Montague, Ryan).
Mun of Lough Ree B (AC)
5th century. Described as another nephew of Saint Patrick, who consecrated him bishop of what is now County Longford. He ended his days as a hermit on an island in Lough Ree (Benedictines).
Philip of Jesus, OFM M (RM)
(also known as Philip de las Casas
Born in Mexico City, Mexico, May 1, 1571; died in Nagasaki, Japan, 1597; beatified by Pope Urban VIII; canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1862; feast day formerly February 5.
The life of Saint Philip points again to the importance of the domestic church--the family. Early in life Saint Philip ignored the pious teachings of his immigrant Spanish family, but eventually he entered the Reformed Franciscan Convent of Santa Barbara at Puebla, Mexico--and soon exited the novitiate in 1589. Grieved at the inconstancy of his son, Philip's father sent him on a business trip to the Philippines.
Like many of us, Philip sought to escape God's love in worldly pleasures but the Hound of Heaven tracked him down. Gaining courage by prayer, Philip was again able to follow his vocation, joined the convent of Our Lady of the Angels in Manila in 1590, and took his vows in 1594. The richest cargo Philip could have sent back to Mexico couldn't have pleased his father more than the message that Philip had been professed a friar. Alonso de las Casas obtained directions from the commissary of the order that Philip should be sent to Mexico to be ordained a priest.
He embarked with other religious on the Saint Philip in July 1596 but storms shipwrecked them in Japan. Amid the storm, Philip saw over Japan a white cross, in the shape used in that country, which after a time became blood-red, and remained so for some time. It was an omen of his coming victory.
The ship's captain sent Philip and two others to the emperor to gain permission for them to continue their voyage, but they could not obtain an audience. He then continued to the Franciscan house in Macao to see if they could apply pressure. In the meantime, the pilot of the Saint Philip had excited the emperor's fears of Christians, causing him to contemplate their extermination.
In December, officers seized a number of the Franciscan fathers, including Philip, three Jesuits, and several of their young pupils. When Philip had that they were to die, he responded with joy. His left ear was cut off, and he offered the first fruit of his blood to God for the salvation of Japan.
The martyrs were taken to Nagasaki, where crosses had been erected on a high hill. When Philip was led to the one on which he was to die, he knelt down, clasped it, and exclaimed, "O happy ship! O happy galleon for Philip, lost for my gain! Loss--no loss for me, but the greatest of all gain!" He was bound to the cross, but the footrest under him gave way, so that he was strangled by the cords that bound him. While repeating the name of Jesus, he was the first of the group to die. Philip was 25. Miracles attested the power before God of these first martyrs of Japan (Benedictines, Butler, Delaney).
Saint Philip is the patron of Mexico City, Mexico.
Born in Constantinople, c. 810; died there c. 891; canonized by the Orthodox Church. Photius, a member of a patrician family, was a man of very great ability and learning who until mid-life followed a career of scholarship and public service at the imperial court, where he was secretary of state and filled other offices. Then, in 858, Emperor Michael III banished the patriarch Ignatius, and Photius, who until then had been a layman, was made patriarch.
From that time Photius's life is one of difficulties between himself and Pope Saint Nicholas I and his successor Adrian II, complicated by the fluctuations of Byzantine politics--a long, complex, and often obscure struggle that is a matter of ecclesiastical history. It did not end until 879 when, Ignatius being dead, Pope John VIII recognized Photius as the legitimate patriarch of Constantinople and peace was restored between the churches.
For Orthodox Catholics, Saint Photius was the standard-bearer of their church in its disagreements with the pope of Rome; to Roman Catholics, he was a proud and ambitious schismatic: the relevant work of scholars over the past generation has somewhat modified partisan judgements. All agree on the virtue of his personal life and his remarkable talents, even genius, and the wide range of his intellectual aptitudes. Pope Nicholas himself referred to his 'great virtues and universal knowledge.'
Of his extensive writings the one of most general interest is the Bibliotheca or Myriobiblion, which has been translated into English and which includes descriptions and summaries of 279 books of all kinds, including extracts from works whose original text no longer exists. His Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit is important as a classical statement of Orthodox objections to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit's proceeding from the Father and the Son (Filioque) (Attwater).
Relindis of Eyck, OSB, Abbess (AC)
(also known as Renildis, Renula, Renule)
Died c. 750. Relindis was educated with her sister Herlindis in the Benedictine monastery of Valenciennes. She became an expert in embroidery and painting. Saint Boniface appointed her abbess of the convent of Eyck (Maaseyk) on the Meuse, which had been founded by her parents (Benedictines).
Saturninus, Theophilus & Revocata MM (RM)
Date unknown. A group of martyrs concerning whom neither place nor date of martyrdom is known (Benedictines).
Silvanus, Luke, and Mucius MM (RM)
Died 312. Bishop Silvanus of Emesa, Phoenicia, his deacon Luke, and his lector Mucius were martyred under Maximian following a long imprisonment. The Roman Martyrology identifies this Silvanus with the companion of Tyrannio (Benedictines).
Theophilus of Caesarea M (RM)
Died c. 300. According to the apocryphal life of Saint Dorothy, Theophilus is the lawyer who mocked her on her way to martyrdom. She sent him apples and flowers 'from the heavenly garden' and he was converted to Christianity. He himself was beheaded at Caesarea, Cappadocia, several years later, perhaps with Saturninus and Revocata (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).
Vedast of Arras B (AC)
(also known as Foster, Gaston, Vat, Vaast, Waast)
Born in western France, died February 6, 539; other feasts at Arras are celebrated on July 15 and October 1.
When he was still very young, Vedast had left his home and led a holy life concealed from the world in the diocese of Toul, where the bishop, charmed with his virtue, consecrated him to the priesthood. Vedast, a fellow-worker with Saint Remigius in the conversion of the Franks, was instrumental in the conversion of Clovis I to Christianity.
The occasion of Clovis's conversion was a victory over the Alemanni in 496. He had already been influenced by Saint Clothilde, whom he had married four years earlier. After his victory, he was heading to Rheims to receive baptism at the hands of Remigius, but at Toul he requested the help of a priest who might instruct and prepare him for the holy sacrament as he travelled. Vedast was presented to his majesty for this purpose. When Vedast restored the sight of a blind man along the Aisne River with a prayer and the sign of the cross, Clovis was strengthened in his resolve to become a Christian and some of his courtiers converted immediately.
After being consecrated in 499 as bishop of Arras (united with Cambrai in 510) by Remigius, Vedast ruled the united sees of Arras- Cambrai for about 40 years. Upon his arrival in Arras, he restored sight to a blind man, and cured another who was lame. These miracles excited the attention, and disposed the hearts of many to open themselves to receive the Gospel. Although the region had been Christianized during the Roman occupation, the repeated incursion of Vandals and Alans had virtually destroyed any remnant of the faith. At the beginning of episcopacy, the only vestige of Christianity in his see was a ruined church. Though nearly discouraged at the ravages done to the faith, Vedast's patience, meekness, charity, and most especially prayers, allowed God to triumph over superstition and lust, and the faith was restored throughout that area.
Vedast was buried in the cathedral, but 128 years later Bishop Saint Aubertus changed a little chapel which Vedast had built in honor of St. Peter into an abbey, and translated the Vedast's relics into this new church, leaving a small portion of them in the cathedral. The great abbey of Saint Vedast was finished by Bishop Saint Vindicianus and endowed by king Theodoric or Thierry, who lies buried in the church with his wife Doda.
Many sites through Arras, Cambrai, and Belgium commemorate his name, as do three ancient church in England (in London, Norwich, and Tathwell in Lincolnshire). Although it is unlikely that Vedast ever visited England, his cultus there dates to the 10th century, which was heightened in the 12th century by the presence of Arrouaise Augustinians in the country. In England, he is sometimes known as Saint Foster, which is the derivation of that family name.
The feast of Vedast was included in the Benedictional of Saint Ethelwold, the Missal of Robert of Jumiäges, and the Leofric missal, as well as the calendars of Sarum, York, and Hereford. Blessed Alcuin wrote a vita for Vedast, as well as an Office and Mass in his honor for usage at Arras. In a letter to the monks of Arras in 769, Alcuin calls Vedast his protector (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
As in the stained glass image in the church of Blythburgh, Suffolk, Saint Vedast is pictured as a bishop with a wolf carrying a goose in its mouth (Roeder) (which had been rescued by Vedast for its poor owners). Other attributes include a child at his feet or a bear (Farmer). He is invoked on behalf of children who walk with difficulty, and for diseases of the eyes (Roeder).
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.