Saint Scholastica V
Blessed Alexander of Lugo, OP M (AC)
(also known as Alexander Baldrati)
Born in Lugo, Italy, 1595; died on Chios Island in 1645.
If anyone ever was framed and destroyed by a tissue of lies, it was Alexander Baldrati a Lugo, who was martyred by the Islamics. Alexander was baptized in the Dominican church at Lugo, Italy. Showing early signs of piety, he was carefully educated and was received into the order in Lugo in 1612. He studied first in Faenza, then in Naples, in the convent of Our Lady of the Arch. After his ordination, he was sent to Bologna, where he carried on a heavy program of preaching and teaching. He devoted half his time to God and half to his neighbor; by arithmetic, that left none for himself. Eventually his health failed. It was during his convalescence in Venice that circumstances sent him on the great adventure of his life.
Just why a sick man should embark on a trip to the Orient is not quite clear; perhaps his superiors thought a sea voyage would help him. At any rate, he arrived on the island of Chios and--like many convalescent religious--promptly began devoting a full day to preaching.
He happened to incur the bitter hatred of an apostate Christian, who began planning his downfall. When the archbishop of Edessa arrived, en route to his see, and stopped over with the Dominicans, the apostate convinced his friends that the Christians were moving in on Chios (sort of like the pope is moving into the White House) and a furor of anti-Christian feeling arose among the fanatical Islamics. However, the target of wrath was not the archbishop of Edessa, nor the other transient archbishop staying with the Dominicans, but Alexander. The apostate, who had elected himself spokesman, went to the governor and denounced Alexander. This Dominican, he said, had secretly become a follower of Islam, and he could prove it.
Like many another brazenly false charge, this one was difficult to disprove. Alexander was haled into the Mohammedan court, and the governor praised him highly for his wisdom in converting to the beliefs of Islam. He was promised great rewards as his portion, especially if he could get some of his fellow Dominicans interested in the faith of the prophet.
Alexander protested indignantly that he had never been in the slightest danger of professing Islam, that he was a Christian and proud of it. The governor therefore informed him that he must be treated as an apostate from Islam. Alexander realized that he was bound for the sacrifice no matter what happened, but he wanted the record kept straight. "I have never believed in your prophet," he said. "I have never believed in the Koran, nor in any of its teachings!"
"This man has abandoned the faith of Mohammed," said the governor. "He has blasphemed. He is guilty of death." Without further discussion, the unhappy Dominican was taken off to prison, still protesting his orthodoxy. The governor sent soldiers to bring the Dominican prior and two archbishops. "Why did you harbor this traitor?" he demanded of them. "Our law commands us to kill anyone who abandons the faith of Mohammed, and you had no right to shelter him from his just punishment. We could seize all of you and put you to death for this treason."
The prior and the two visiting archbishops held up stoutly under the governor's polished trickery. They protested that Alexander was an excellent Christian and never had been anything else. As soon as they were released, they sent word to Alexander to be of good courage, that everyone would pray that he could bear up through the ordeal ahead. They called the Christians of the island to keep vigil in the churches, to pray for those who were to die.
Alexander, brought once more before the court, was given three days to reflect on whether or not he would proclaim himself a faithful son of the Prophet. "I do not need three days," he said. "I can give you a definite answer right now. I am a Christian, and have never been a Mohammedan. Your prophet is a prophet of lies, your law proceeds from the father of lies." His bold words met a chorus of fanatical screams from the populace already incited to murder by the apostate. "Avenge your prophet!" cried the governor, and the crowds pressed in until it was necessary to put Alexander in a dungeon to keep him alive until the governor's plans were complete.
Alexander was condemned to be burned at the stake. When he was led out to die, the maddened crowds pressed in as if they would tear him to pieces. No one listened to his protesting that he was and always had been a Christian. When he was tied to the stake, the governor said to him: "Lift one finger to show that you believe in the God of Mohammed, the one true God, and your life will be spare." Bleeding and stiff from torture, the Dominican raised three fingers and cried out: "I believe in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
The fire would not touch the martyr as he stood suffering at the stake. Wind blew the flames away, or put them out; faggots fell and rolled away from him. With a maddened roar, the crowd fought through its guard and hacked him to pieces. Then someone tossed gunpowder on the fire and, in the sight of 40,000 witnesses, Alexander Baldrati a Lugo gave up his valiant spirit (Benedictines, Dorcy).
Blessed Aloysius Stepinac, Cardinal M (AC)
(also known as Louis or Alojzije of Zagreb)
Born at Brezaric near Krasic, Croatia, on May 8, 1898; died at Krasic, on February 10, 1960; beatified on October 3, 1998, by Pope John Paul II at the Marian shrine of Marija Bistrica.
Aloysius Stepinac, the eighth of 12 children of a peasant family, was always the special object of his mother's prayers to he might be ordained. In 1916, he was conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian army and fought on the Italian front until he was taken prisoner. Upon his return to civilian life in 1919, Stepinac entered the University of Zagreb to study agriculture, but soon recognized his call to the priesthood. In 1924, he was sent to Rome for his seminary studies leading to his ordination on October 26, 1930.
He returned to Zagreb in July 1931 with doctorates in theology and philosophy. Soon afterwards, Stepinac was chosen to become secretary to Archbishop Antun Bauer. On June 24, 1934, he was nominated as coadjutor to the Archbishop of Zagreb. After this nomination, Stepinac stated: "I love my Croatian people and for their benefit I am ready to give everything, as well as I am ready to give everything for the Catholic Church." After Bauer's death on December 7, 1937, Stepinac became the Archbishop of Zagreb. He took as his motto, "In You, O Lord, I take refuge!" (Psalm 31:1), which was the inspiration for his service to the Church.
During the Second World War, Stepinac never turned his back on the refugees, or the prosecuted. His door was always open not only for Croatians, but also Jews, Serbs, and Slovenes that needed his help. Stepinac always stood for political freedom and fundamental rights, and he always advocated the rights of the Croatian people. Stepinac wanted Croatia to be a country of God.
At the end of the war, Stepinac was found guilty of collaborating with the Nazis at a mock trial. He was convicted and sentenced sixteen years' hard labour on October 11, 1946. At his trial when his life was on the line, Stepinac asked his communist prosecutors: ". . . every nation has the right to independence, then why should it be denied to the Croatians?" He spent five years in the prison of Lepoglava, 1,864 days in hard labor, and, in 1951, Tito's government released him and confined him to the village of Krasic.
Even though he was forbidden by the government to resume his duties, Stepinac was created cardinal by Pope Pius XII on January 12, 1953. He died under house arrest from the many illnesses he contracted while in prison and was buried three days later behind the main altar in the cathedral in Zagreb. One story reported that poison was found in his bones
In 1985, his trial prosecutor Jakov Blazevic publically admitted that Stepinac was framed; he was prosecuted because of the regime's hatred of religion and Stepinac's loyalty to the Holy See.
Without a doubt, Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac is one of the greatest Croatian patriots of the 20th century. He spent his entire life serving God and the Croatian people, demonstrating the importance of faith, charity and virtue (Savor).
Andrew and Aponius MM (AC)
1st century. Andrew and Aponius are said to have been martyred at Bethlehem during the persecution mentioned in Acts 12, in which Saint James the Great was put to death (Benedictines).
Austreberta of Pavilly, OSB Abbess (RM)
(also known as Eustreberta)
Born near Thérouanne, Artois, France, 630; died in Normandy, 704. Austreberta (means 'wheat of God'), was the daughter of Saint Framechildis and the Count Palatine Badefrid. She received the veil from Saint Omer in the convent of Abbeville (Port-sur-Somme), where she later became abbess. She left the convent at Port to direct and reform a new and laxly established garret of 25 nuns in Parvilly, (Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopedia).
Baldegundis, Abbess (PC)
Died c. 580. Abbess of Sainte-Croix, Poitiers, one of the most ancient of French convents (Benedictines).
Blessed Clare of Agolanti, OFM Tert., Widow (AC)
(also known as Clare of Rimini)
Born in Rimini, Italy, 1282; died 1346; cultus approved 1784. Clare, though born and brought up in circumstances of great wealth and comfort, learned early the meaning of misfortune. She lost her husband while still young, was herself exiled during a time of civil war, and saw her father and a brother die on the scaffold.
It was after her second marriage that, with the approval of her husband, she turned to a life of self-discipline. Laying aside her jewels, she wore in their stead rings of iron on her wrists, fingers, and neck. She slept always on a hard bed and imposed upon herself long periods of fasting and prayer. Some of her physical austerities were so extravagant that they were questioned by even her contemporaries.
But she is chiefly remembered as the saint of the watch-tower on the town walls. This watch-tower was an old and disused lookout to which she retired during Lent and where, exposed to the wind and rain, she prayed for herself and her fellow citizens. But she did more than pray. She lived a life of perfect charity with all men. As a result of her close communion with God and of her constant watching over the city, her heart overflowed with love and goodwill, which showed itself in many practical ways, and from her watchtower she came down and ran to where the need for help was greatest.
At the call of an exiled brother who had fallen ill she flew at once to his bedside, nursed him with devoted care, and brought him home. On another occasion, learning that the sisters of a convent were without fuel, she went into the country, gathered wood, and carried it through the streets to their door. On the way she met a relative, a noble of the city, who, horrified to see her thus demean herself, sent a servant to carry the wood, but she refused to give up her burden, saying that just as our Lord was not ashamed to carry His Cross through the streets, so she was proud to carry firewood for the needs of His people.
At another time, hearing that a poor man was sentenced to pay a heavy fine or have his hand cut off, she sold herself as a slave to pay his fine; when the magistrates heard the story they were so touched with pity that they refused the money and pardoned the man. Once when she gave way to angry speech she punished herself by nipping her tongue with a pair of pincers.
In addition to these and many other acts of charity and discipline, she built a convent near the old sentry-box on the city walls, but she never joined the convent herself. For ever after, those who followed her kept alive her spirit and, like her, watched over the city. Towards the end of her life, she went blind. Those eyes that had looked out so kindly upon her brothers and which had shone with the love of Christ could no longer see. But she was still the saint of the watchtower of Rimini, and when she died she was buried in her own chapel under the city walls (Attwater2, Benedictines, Gill).
Desideratus of Clermont B (AC)
(also known as Désiré)
6th century. Successor of Saint Avitus as bishop of Clermont in Auvergne (Benedictines).
Erluph of Werden BM (AC)
Died 830. Saint Erluph was one of ten bishops of Verden, Germany, who were said to be of Irish extraction. Erluph came to Germany as a missionary and became the third bishop of Verden, succeeding Saint Tanco. Like his predecessor, he was killed by a pagan mob. In 1630, his relics were discovered with those of other bishops during the repair of the old cathedral. The remains were encased in a casket and placed in back of the high altar until Bishop Francis William fled with them in 1659 to Regensburg in the wake of Swedish invaders (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Fitzpatrick, Kenney, O'Hanlon).
Blessed Eusebius of Murano, OSB Cam., Hermit (PC)
Died 1501. Saint Eusebius, a member of the Spanish nobility, was sent as ambassador to the republic of Venice. Here, he left everything to become a Camaldolese monk at San Michele on the isle of Murano (Benedictines).
Blessed Hugh of Fosse, O. Praem. (AC)
Born at Fosse near Namur, Belgium; died 1164; cultus confirmed in 1927. Hugh was ordained and in 1119 joined Saint Norbert, the founder of the Premonstratensians (Canons Regular of Prémontré), as his companion and principal assistant. At first Hugh accompanied Norbert on his preaching missions in Hainault and Brabant. After the founding of Prémontré, he assumed most of the responsibility for directing the house. Hugh succeeded Norbert as abbot general of the order when Norbert was consecrated archbishop of Magdeburg. During Hugh's thirty-five-year administration, the order grew to over 100 houses. A letter from Saint Bernard to Hugh suggests that he was a man of impetuous disposition (Attwater2, Benedictines).
Blessed Paganus of Sicily, OSB Monk (AC)
Died 1423. Saint Paganus professed himself as a monk of the Sicilian abbey of San Niccol• d'Arena. He lived as a hermit near the monastery, but returned to it before his death (Benedictines).
Prothadius of Besançon B (AC)
(also known as Protagius)
Died 624. Prothadius succeeded Saint Nicetius in the see of Besançon, where Clothaire II consulted him on all important matters (Benedictines).
Salvius of Albelda, OSB Abbot (PC)
Died 962. This Benedictine monk of Albelda, northern Spain, was a prudent adviser at the courts of Navarre and Castile during the time of the reconquest (Benedictines).
Scholastica, OSB V (RM)
Born in Nursia (Nurcia), Italy, c. 480 (?); died near Monte Cassino, Italy, c. 543. Almost everything we know about Saint Scholastica comes from the Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great.
Saint Scholastica, twin sister of Saint Benedict of Nursia who founded of the Benedictine order, was consecrated to God at a very early age but probably continued to live in her parents' home. It is said that she was as devoted to Jesus as she was to her brother. So, when Benedict established his monastery at Monte Cassino, Scholastica founded a convent in nearby Plombariola, about five miles south of Monte Cassino. The convent is said to have been under the direction of her brother, thus she is regarded as the first Benedictine nun.
The siblings were quite close. The respective rules of their houses proscribed either entering the other's monastery. According to Saint Gregory, they met once a year at a house near Monte Cassino monastery to confer on spiritual matters, and were eventually buried together, probably in the same grave. Saint Gregory says, "so death did not separate the bodies of these two, whose minds had ever been united in the Lord."
Saint Gregory tells the charming story of the last meeting of the two saints on earth. Scholastica and Benedict had spent the day in the "mutual comfort of heavenly talk" and with nightfall approaching, Benedict prepared to leave. Scholastica, having a presentiment that it would be their last opportunity to see each other alive, asked him to spend the evening in conversation. Benedict sternly refused because he did not wish to break his own rule by spending a night away from Monte Cassino. Thereupon, Scholastica cried openly, laid her head upon the table, and prayed that God would intercede for her. As she did so, a sudden storm arose. The violent rain and hail came in such a torrential downpour that Benedict and his companions were unable to depart.
"May Almighty God forgive you, sister" said Benedict, "for what you have done."
"I asked a favor of you," Scholastica replied simply, "and you refused it. I asked it of God, and He has granted it!"
Just after his return to Monte Cassino, Benedict saw a vision of Scholastica's soul departing her body, ascending to heaven in the form of a dove. She died three days after their last meeting. He placed her body in the tomb he had prepared for himself, and arranged for his own to be placed there after his death. Her relics were alleged by the monk Adrevald to have been translated (July 11) to a rich silver shrine in Saint Peter's Church in Le Mans, France, which may have been when Benedict's were moved to Fleury. In 1562, this shrine was preserved from the Huguenots' plundering.
Some say that we should only petition God for momentously important matters. God's love, however, is so great that we wishes to give us every good thing. He is ever ready to hear our prayers: our prayers of praise and thanksgiving, and our prayers of petition, repentance, and intercession. Nothing is too great or too trivial to share with our Father. The dependent soul learns that everything we are and have is from His bountiful goodness; when we finally learn that lesson we turn to Him with all our hopes and dreams and needs. Saint Scholastica is obviously one of those who learned the lesson of her own helplessness (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh, White).
Saint Scholastica is usually depicted in art as a habited nun, holding a crozier and crucifix, with her brother. Sometimes she may be shown (1) with Saint Justina of Padua, with whom she is confused though Justina was never a nun; (2) receiving her veil from Saint Benedict; (3) her soul departing her body like a dove; (4) with a dove at her feet or bosom; or kneeling before Saint Benedict's cell (Roeder, White).
She is the patroness of Monte Cassino and all Cassinese communities (Roeder). She is invoked against storms (White).
Silvanus of Terracina B (RM)
Date unknown. Bishop Silvanus of Terracina is described in the Roman Martyrology as a 'confessor,' which would mean that he had suffered for the faith by imprisonment, torture or, perhaps, even death (Benedictines).
Soteris of Rome VM (RM)
Died 304. Saint Ambrose boasts that the virgin Soteris was the fairest flower of his illustrious Roman family, the Aureli family, which included a long line of consuls and prefects. She seems to have been a sister of his great-great- grandmother. She renounced her high birth, riches, and beauty to more perfectly consecrate her virginity to God. In order to avoid the dangers to which her beauty exposed her, she neglected her looks entirely, and dressed instead in Christian simplicity and modesty. Her virtue prepared her well for the coming persecution of Diocletian and Maximianus. It is said that after capture, Soteris wore out her tormentors. The judge commanded that her face be disfigured. This didn't bother her much because she gave no thought to her looks. Instead, she rejoiced to be treated as Jesus had been. They tortured her in other ways, and she exasperated them because she never gave any indication of discomfort or fear. Having worn their patience to the quick, the judge ordered that she be beheaded (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Trumwin of Whitby, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Trumma)
Died c. 700; feast day formerly December 2. Saint Bede tells us that, in 681, Saint Trumwin was appointed bishop over the southern Picts by Saint Theodore and King Egfrid. Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury had divided the Northumbrian diocese governed by Saint Wilfrid into three, establishing the sees of Deira, Bernica, and Lindsey. Three years later, two more diocese were created for Hexham and on the Firth of Forth to govern the Pictish lands recently conquered. This last became the seat for Trumwin, who organized his see at the monastery of Abercorn and later founded a monastery at Lothian on the Firth of Forth. Trumwin also accompanied Theodore to Farne to persuade Saint Cuthbert to be consecrated bishop of Hexham. In 685, King Egfrid was killed by the Picts in the disastrous battle of Nechtansmere and Saint Trumwin and all his monks had to flee south when the English were ousted. He went to Whitby Abbey, where he was welcomed by Abbess Saint Elfleda. There he lived out his last days in "austerity to the benefit of many others beside himself" (Bede). Trumwin's relics were translated during the 12th century with those of King Oswy and Saint Elfleda (Benedictines, Coulson, Farmer).
William of Maleval, OSB Hermit (RM)
(also known as William of Malval or Malvalla)
Born in France; died at Maleval, Italy, February 10, 1157; canonized by Innocent III in 1202. After carefree years of licentious military life, William experienced a conversion of heart of which we are told nothing. The first real piece of information we have is that the penitent Frenchman made a pilgrimage to the tombs of the apostles at Rome. Here he begged Pope Eugenius III for pardon and to set him on a course of penance for his sins. Eugenius enjoined him to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1145. William followed his counsel and spent eight years on the journey, returning to Italy a changed man.
In 1153, William became a hermit in on the isle of Lupocavio (near Pisa) in Tuscany for a time. So many joined his until he was prevailed upon to undertake the governance. He wasn't well suited to lead other men. First he failed to maintain discipline at the abbey. Unable to bear the tepidity and irregularity of his monks, he withdrew to Monte Bruno. But same thing happened when he organized the disciples who had gathered around him into his own abbey on Monte Bruno.
Finally, in September 1155, he realized this was not God's plan for him and he embraced the eremitical life amid the solitude of Maleval (then called the Stable of Rhodes) near Siena. At Maleval he lived in an underground cave until the lord of Buriano discovered him some months later and built him a cell. For the first four months, William had only the beasts for company and only forage for food.
The example of his life soon attracted another of like mind. On the Feast of the Epiphany 1156, he was joined by a companion named Albert, who lived with him the rest of his life--only 13 months-- and recorded William's vita. Like most of the early hermits, William used extreme penances to atone for his earlier sinful life. He slept on the bare ground, ate sparingly of only the coarsest fare, and drank only limited amounts of water. Prayer, contemplation, and manual labor employed all his waking moments. William had the gift of working miracles and of prophecy.
Shortly before William's death, which he predicted, he and Albert were joined by a physician named Rinaldo. The two disciples buried William in his little garden, and together studied to live according to William's maxims and example. Later their number increased and they built a chapel over their founder's grave with a hermitage; however his relics were dispersed in the wars between Siena and Grosseto.
This was the origin of the Gulielmites, or Hermits of Saint William, which spread throughout Italy, France, Flanders, and Germany. Gregory IX, mitigating their austerities, gave the Rule of Saint Benedict to the group organized as the Order of Bare- Footed Friars, but they were eventually absorbed by the Augustinian hermits except for 12 houses in the Low Countries.
William is honored in the new Paris Missal and Breviary, where his feast is kept at the Abbey of Blancs-Manteaux, founded in 1257 as a mendicant order, called the Servants of the Virgin Mary, but bestowed on the Gulielmites after the second council of Lyons in 1297 (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
In art, William of Maleval is similar to William of Aquitaine but with no ducal coronet. He carries a pilgrim's staff and sometimes wears a monastic habit over armor. At times he may be shown (1) bearing a cross staff, one arm of which ends in a crescent, or (2) bearing a shield with four fleur-de-lys (Roeder). He is the patron of armorers and venerated in Siena, Italy (Roeder), and Paris (Husenbeth).
Zoticus, Irenaeus, Hyacinth, Amantius & Comp. MM (RM)
Died 120. This was a group of 10 soldiers martyred in Rome and buried in the Via Lavicana (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.