St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Our Lady of Lourdes
(Optional Memorial)
February 11



Adolphus of Osnabrück, OSB Cist. B (AC)
Died June 30, 1224. Westphalian count of Tecklenburg, Saint Adolphus became a canon of Cologne but resigned to enter the Cistercian monastery at Camp on the Rhein. In 1216, he was nominated and became the popular bishop of Osnabrück, where he was known as 'the almoner of the poor' (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Ardanus of Tournus, OSB Abbot (AC)
(also known as Ardaing, Ardagne, Ardagnus, Ardan)

Died 1058. Ardanus was the 13th abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Tournus, now in the diocese of Autun. He restored the monastic buildings and was a father to the people during the famine of 1030 to 1033 (Benedictines).


Benedict of Aniane, OSB Abbot Hermit (AC)
Born in Languedoc, France, 750; died at Cornelimuenster, Aachen, Germany, February 11, 821; feast day formerly on February 12.

The son of the Visigoth Aigulf, count or governor of Maguelone, Witiza was cup-bearer to King Pepin and Charlemagne and served in the army of Lombardy. About age 20 he made a resolution to seek the kingdom of God with his whole heart. For three years more he served at the court while mortifying his body.

In 774, having narrowly escaped drowning in the Tesin near Pavia while trying to save his brother during a military campaign in Lombardy, Italy, he made a vow to quit the world entirely. Witiza became a Benedictine monk at Saint-Seine near Dijon, France, where he took the name Benedict and was appointed cellarer. He spent two and one half years there living on bread and water, sleeping on the bare ground, often praying throughout the night, and going barefoot even in winter. He received insults with joy, so perfectly had he died to self. God bestowed upon him the gift of tears and an infused knowledge of spiritual things.

When the abbot died he refused the abbacy offered him there because he knew his brothers were unwilling to reform. In 779 Benedict returned to his estate at Languedoc, where he lived as a hermit near the brook of Aniane (Coriere), attracted numerous disciples including the holy man Widmar, and in 782 built a monastery and a church. The monks employed themselves in manual labor and copying manuscripts. They lived on bread and water except on Sundays and great feast days when they added wine or milk if they received any in alms. The results of his austere rule combining those of Benedict, Pachomius, and Basil were disappointing, so he adopted the Benedictine Rule and the monastery grew. From here his influence spread. He reformed and inaugurated other houses.

When Bishop Felix of Urgel proposed that Christ was not the natural, but only the adoptive son of the eternal Father (Adoptionism), Benedict opposed this heresy and assisted in the Council (synod) of Frankfurt in 794. He also employed his pen to refute this heresy in four treatises, which were published in the miscellanies of Balusius.

Throughout the Frankish empire monasticism had suffered from the dual evils of lay ownership and the attacks of the Vikings. Monastic discipline had decayed regardless of the efforts of 8th and 9th century emperors who had legislated in favor of the Rule of Saint Benedict as the fundamental and stable code of conduct throughout their domains.

Benedict of Aniane and Emperor Louis the Pious cooperated with each other to mutual benefit. The emperor, who built the abbey of Maurmünster as a model abbey for Benedict in Alsace and then Cornelimünster (initially called Inde) near Aachen (Aix-la- Chapelle, Germany), made Benedict director of all the monasteries in the empire. The monk instituted widespread reforms, though because of opposition they were not as drastic as he had wanted.

And Benedict supported the emperor, first by moving closer to his throne at Aachen. Then, at Aachen, he presided over a meeting of all the abbots of the empire in 817--a turning point in Benedictine history. During the meeting Benedict's Capitulare monasticum, a systematization of the Benedictine Rule was approved as the rule for all monks in the empire. He also compiled the Codex regularum, a collection of all monastic regulations, and Concordia regularum, showing the resemblance of Benedict's rule to those of other monastic leaders.

The legislation emphasized the fundamental guidelines of the Benedictine Rule, stressing individual poverty and chastity with obedience to a properly constituted abbot, who was himself a monk. Under imperial pressure for uniformity in food, drink, clothing, and the Divine Office (which can be compared with Charlemagne's insistence on the Roman Rite), there was also some attempt to impose monastic observance in less important details. Benedict insisted upon the liturgical character of monastic life, including a daily conventual Mass and additions to the Divine Office. He also stressed the clerical element in monasticism which led to the development of teaching and writing as opposed to manual labor in the field. This innovative systematizing and centralization fell into desuetude after the death of Benedict and his patron Louis, but it had lasting effects on Western monasticism. The influence of his reforms can be seen in the reforms of Cluny and Gorze. For this reason, Benedict is considered the restorer of Western monasticism and is often called the 'second Benedict.'

Benedict died with extraordinary tranquility and cheerfulness at about age 71 and was buried in the monastery church, where his relics remain and are attributed with the working of miracles (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh).

In art, Saint Benedict is portrayed as a Benedictine abbot with supernatural fire near him. Sometimes he is shown (1) in a cave, food lowered to him in a basket (this is more generally Saint Benedict himself), or (2) giving the habit to Saint William of Aquitaine. He is venerated at Dijon (Saint-Seine) and Aniane (Languedoc) (Roeder).


Caedmon (AC)
Died 670. Saint Bede recorded the life of Caedmon, the cowherd of Whitby Abbey, who though rough and untutored, by some strange power, in his later years broke into song and became the father of English poetry. Some say he was quite old when he first exercised his gift. The legend is that for years he was so ashamed of his inability, on account of his shyness, to take his turn in singing on festive occasions that he would steal away and hide himself. 'Wherefore, being sometimes at feasts, when all agreed for glee's sake to sing in turn, he no sooner saw the harp come towards him than he rose from the board and turned homewards.'

One night, however, when he had left the feast and had taken refuge in the stable, he heard a voice saying: 'Sing, Caedmon. Sing some song to Me.' Caedmon stammered in reply: 'I cannot sing.' 'But you shall sing,' replied the voice. 'What shall I sing?' Caedmon asked in wonder. The voice answered: 'Sing the beginning of created things.' And Caedmon, in that moment, attempting to sing, found his stammering tongue had been loosened.

In the morning he recalled the words of his song and, adding other verses to it, appeared before the Abbess Hilda, to whom he related his strange story. He sang to her the song he had sung in the night, and she and all who heard were amazed, and agreed 'that heavenly grace had been conferred upon him by the Lord.'

He became a lay-brother and, still in the great abbey of Whitby, was taught by his fellow monks the truths of the Bible; these he turned into poetry 'so sweet to the ear that his teachers became his hearers.' 'He sang,' says Bede, 'of the creation of the world, the origin of man, and the history of Israel, of the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ, and the teaching of the Apostles.' This first Anglo-Saxon writer of religious poetry covered with his paraphrases the whole field of Scripture, and though 'others after him strove to compose religious poems, none could vie with him, for he learned the art of poetry not from men, but from God.'

He is said to have died in holiness and perfect charity to all, after showing that he knew his life was at an end, although he was not seriously ill.

It was a remarkable instance of the power of the Bible to stimulate the imagination and awaken natural genius. Thus, Caedmon brought to the common people the energy and realism of the Scriptures, which, entering deeply into the life of the nation, have never ceased through all the centuries to invigorate and inspire the culture of the English-speaking world. Though only nine lines of one of his hymns, Dream of the Road, said to have been composed in a dream, survives, he is called the 'Father of English Sacred Poetry.' His feast is still celebrated at Whitby (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Gill).


Calocerus of Ravenna B (RM)
Died c. 130. A disciple of Saint Apollinaris, whom he succeeded in the see of Ravenna (Benedictines).


Castrensis of Capua B (RM)
5th century. Saint Castrensis has a second feast day on September 1 together with Priscus, an African bishop, and his priests (Tamarus, Rosius, Heraclius, Secundinus, Adjutor, Mark, Augustus, Elpidius, Canion, and Vindonius) who were cast adrift in a rudderless boat by the Arian Vandals. They reached southern Italy, where eventually Priscus became bishop of Capua and several of the others were promoted to other sees. The Acta, however, are untrustworthy. It seems that the companions of Saint Priscus are Campanian (Italian) saints unconnected with the story in the Roman Martyrology. One opinion interprets Priscus Castrensis as meaning "Priscus formerly bishop of Castra in northern Africa" (Benedictines).


Blessed Elisabeth Salviati, OSB Cam. (AC)
Died 1519. Elisabeth was a Camaldolese nun and abbess of the convent of San Giovanni Evangelista at Boldrone. Pope Urban VIII allowed pictures of her with the title of beata underneath to be printed in Rome (Benedictines).


Gobnata of Ballyvourney V (AC)
(also known as Gobnet, Gobnait)

Born in County Clare, Ireland; died 5th or 6th century (?). In order to escape a family feud, Saint Gobnata fled to the Aran Islands. There she built a church, which is still named after her, but angels told her that she would find the place of her resurrection where nine white deer grazed. So she went to southern Ireland and founded the church of Kilgobnet (near Dungarvan), where she saw the nine deer.

Saint Abban of Kilabban, County Meath, Ireland, is said to have founded a convent in Ballyvourney, County Cork, on land donated by the O'Herlihy family, and to have placed Saint Gobnata over it as abbess. This is Ballyvourney, the place of which the angels spoke. A 13th-century wooden statue of Gobnata, in the hereditary keepership of the O'Herlihy family, was venerated there until 1843. A well still exists at Ballyvourney that is named after her. As with many Irish saints, there are stories of wondrous interactions with nature. Gobnata (meaning Honey Bee, which is the equivalent of the Hebrew "Deborah") used her bees to keep out unwelcome visitors.

Her grave in the churchyard at Ballyvourney is decorated with crutches and other evidence of cures obtained through Gobnata's intercession. Among the miracles attributed to her intercession were the staying of a pestilence by marking off the parish as sacred ground. Another tradition relates that she routed an enemy by loosing her bees upon them. Her beehive has remained a precious relic of the O'Herlihys.

The round stone associated with her is still preserved. Several leading families of Munster have a traditional devotion to this best-known and revered local saint. The devotion of the O'Sullivan Beare family may have been the reason that Pope Clement VIII honored Gobnata in 1601 by indulgencing a pilgrimage to her shrine and, in 1602, by authorizing a Proper Mass on her feast. About that time the chieftains of Ireland were making a final struggle for independence and the entire clan migrated to the North having dedicated their fortunes to Gobnata in a mass pilgrimage that included O'Sullivan Beare, his fighting men, and their women, children, and servants (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Farmer, Montague, Neeson, O'Hanlon, Sullivan).

In art, Saint Gobnata is represented as a beekeeper (Farmer).


Gregory II, Pope (RM)
Born in Rome, Italy; died 731; sometimes celebrated also on February 13. The 89th pope, Saint Gregory, became involved in church affairs in his youth, was educated at the Lateran, became a subdeacon under Pope Saint Sergius, served as treasurer and librarian of the Church under four popes, and became widely known for his learning and wisdom. In 710, now a deacon, he distinguished himself in his replies to Emperor Justinian when he accompanied Pope Constantine to Constantinople to oppose the Council of Trullo canon that had declared the patriarchate of Constantinople independent of Rome and helped to secure Justinian's acknowledgment of papal supremacy.

On May 19, 715, Gregory was elected pope to succeed Constantine, put into effect a program to restore clerical discipline, fought heresies, began to rebuild the walls around Rome as a defense against the Saracens, and helped restore and rebuild churches (including Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls), hospitals, and monasteries, including Monte Cassino under Petronax, which had been destroyed by Lombards about 150 years previously. He sent missionaries into Germany, among them Saint Corbinian and Saint Boniface in 719, whom he consecrated bishop. He also helped Saint Nothelm in his researches in the papal archives to provide material for Saint Bede's Ecclesiastical history. Gregory also received the Wessex king Ina, who became a monk in Rome in 726.

An old tradition makes Gregory a Benedictine monk, and his office figured for centuries in several Benedictine Propria.

The outstanding concern of his pontificate was his difficulties with Emperor Leo III the Isaurian. Gregory opposed Leo's illegal taxation on the Italians, and counseled against the planned revolt of Italy against Byzantium and the election of an emperor in opposition to Leo. He also demanded that Leo stop interfering with church matters, vigorously opposed iconoclasm supported by the emperor, and severely rebuked him at a synod in Rome in 727. Gregory also supported Germanus, patriarch of Constantinople, against Leo. Gregory's relations with the Lombards who were intent upon conquering Italy were friendly mainly due to his influence with their leader, Liutprand (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).


Blessed Helwisa of Coulombs, OSB V (AC)
Died after 1066. Helwisa was a recluse under the obedience of the Benedictine abbey of Coulombs in Normandy (Benedictines).


Jonas of Demeskenyanos, Hermit (RM)
(also known as Jonas the Gardener)

4th century. Saint Jonas was an Egyptian monk of Demeskenyanos under Saint Pachomius. He was the gardener for the community for 85 years, working in this capacity during the day, and at night plaiting ropes and singing Psalms (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).


Lazarus of Milan B (RM)
Died March 14, c. 450; feast day formerly March 14. Lazarus, archbishop of Milan, supported his flock during the invasion of the Ostrogoths. He suffered much as the hands of the invaders, but filled his office well and faithfully. Lazurus is said to have introduced Rogation days with processions, litanies, and fasts as means of invoking God's protection in each season; however, the practice appears to have predated him. His feast was translated from the day of his death to today in deference to the Milanese custom of not celebrating saints' days in Lent (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson).


Lucius BM and Companions MM (RM)
Died 350. Lucius, who succeeded Eutropius as bishop of Adrianople, was driven from his see to Gaul for having opposed Arianism. He played a leading role in the Council of Sardica in 347. Under the protection of Pope Saint Julius I, he returned to Adrianople, but refused to be in communion with the Arian bishops condemned at Sardica. On this account he was arrested and died in prison. A group of his faithful Catholics, who had been siezed with him, were beheaded by order of the Emperor Constantius (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson).


Martyrs of Africa (RM)
Died c. 303. These martyrs are known as the "Guardians of the Holy Scriptures." They chose to die during the Diocletian persecutions rather than to deliver the sacred books to be burned. Saint Augustine of Hippo mentions especially those of Numidia. (See also Saint Saturninus et al.) (Benedictines).


Our Lady of Lourdes
To learn more about the visitation of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, see the entry for Saint Bernadette Soubirous, April 16.


Paschal I, OSB, Pope (RM)
Died 824; feast day formerly May 14. Saint Pascal, son of the Roman Bonosus, studied at the Lateran and was named abbot of Saint Stephen's monastery, which housed pilgrims to Rome. He was elected as the 94th pope on the day Pope Stephen IV (V) died, January 25, 817.

Emperor Louis the Pious agreed to respect papal jurisdiction, but when Louis's son Lothair I came to Rome in 823 to be consecrated king, he broke the pact by presiding at a trial involving a group of nobles opposing the pope. When two papal officials who had testified for the nobles were found blinded and murdered, Paschal was accused of the crime.

Paschal denied any complicity but refused to surrender the murderers, who were members of his household, declaring that the two dead officials were traitors and the secular authorities had no jurisdiction in the case. The result was the Constitution of Lothair, severely restricting papal jurisdiction and police powers in Italy.

Paschal loved religious art even though he lived at a time when many people in the Eastern churches were breaking up sacred pictures in the belief that these were idolatrous images. Fanatics would even murder those who supported the use of fine art to decorate Christian churches and foster the spirit of worship.

Though he was unsuccessful in ending the iconoclast heresy of Emperor Leo V, Pascal did his best to help Eastern Christians who were fighting to stop this destruction of great religious art. He sent his aides to try to secure the release of Abbot Theodore the Studite, who had been imprisoned for defending sacred icons, and encouraged Saint Nicephorus. And Paschal gave shelter to many Greek monks who had fled from the east in fear of those who were destroying what they held to be precious aids to the Christian life.

While Pascal did not succeed in ending this strife, the influence of Eastern artists can be seen in the work done between 817 and 824 (while he was pope) to embellish Rome. Pascal, for instance, rebuilt the Roman church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, and made it into a fitting shrine for the bones of Saint Cecilia. This church has been considerably rebuilt since then, but another church in Rome, Santa Maria in Domnica, remains substantially as it was after Pascal had restored it and shows his deeply held beliefs.

Paschal also supported missionary activities in Denmark. Although Paschal is listed in the Roman Martyrology, he has never been formally canonized (Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Schamoni).


Saturninus, Dativus, Felix, Ampelius & Comps. MM (RM)
Died 304. The Acta of these African martyrs are believed to be authentic, contemporaneous to their deaths. Emperor Diocletian had order Christians to give up the holy Scriptures during a year- long persecution.

In the town of Abitina, Saturninus celebrated the Eucharist on a Sunday in the house of Octavius Felix. The officials became aware of it and sent soldiers to arrest the entire congregation of 49 people. Arrested with Saturninus were his four children Saturninus (junior) and Felix (both lectors), Mary (who had consecrated her virginity to God), and Hilarianus (a child); and Dativus and another Felix (senators), Thelica, Emeritus, Ampelius, Rogatus, and Victoria.

The procession of prisoners was led by the senator and Saturninus, who were followed immediately by the latter's children. Their courage in professing Jesus was in stark contrast to the infamous sacrilege committed just before by Bishop Fundanus of Abitina, who had given up the sacred books to be burned, but a violent storm put out the fire.

After their resolute confession, the Christians were shackled and set to Carthage, residence of the proconsul Anulinus. They thought themselves blessed to be chained for Christ and sang hymns of praise along the way.

Dativus was the first to be questioned, racked, torn with iron hooks, and then beaten with cudgels as was each in turn. The women no less than the men resolutely underwent the trials.

When Anulinus continuously asked why they presumed to celebrate the Lord's Day against imperial orders, they repeatedly answered: "The obligation of Sunday is indispensable. It is not lawful for us to omit the duty of that day. We celebrated it as well as we could. We never passed a Sunday without meeting at our assembly. We will keep the commandments of God at the expense of our lives." No dangers nor torments could deter them from this duty, from which so many now seek to excuse themselves.

Previously, Victoria, a professed virgin of pagan parents, had leaped from her window on her wedding day to prevent the marriage but was miraculously saved from death and escaped to the refuge of a church. Because she was counted among the nobility and her brother was a pagan, Anulinus tried every means to prevail upon her to renounce her faith and save herself.

She continued to profess her faith. Her pagan brother Fortunatianus undertook her defense, but she refuted his intimation that she had simply been led astray. Anulinus asked Victoria if she would return home with her brother. She said that she could not because she only acknowledged as brethren those who kept the law of God. Continued entreaties did not move her.

Anulinus then turned his attention to the child Hilarianus, son of Saturninus, thinking that he could sway one of such a tender age. But the child showed more contempt than fear of the tyrant's threats, and continued to answer that he was a Christian of his own free will. While his elders were being tortured, he replied, "Yes, torture me, too; anyhow, I am a Christian."

These Christians died from the hardships of their confinement and are all honored in the ancient calendar of Carthage and the Roman Martyrology on February 11, though only two (both named Felix) actually died on that day (Benedictines, Husenbeth).


Severinus of Agaunum, Abbot (RM)
Died at Château-Landon, c. 507. Severinus is said to have been a Burgundian abbot of Saint Maurice in Agaunum, Switzerland, who caused the fever of Clovis to go down and worked many other miraculous cures. The details of his life given to us are unreliable. Saint-Séverin in Paris is dedicated to his honor (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia). Saint Severinus is represented in art as a bishop curing King Clovis (Roeder).


Theodora, Empress (AC)
Died 867. Theodora, wife of the iconoclast emperor Theophilus, did her utmost during the reign of her son, Michael the Drunkard, to restore the veneration of sacred images. Together with Saint Methodius, Theodora instituted the Feast of Orthodoxy on the first Sunday in Lent, which celebrates the restoration of holy images for veneration. While she ended her life in a convent, her claim to sanctity is questionable (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia). In Ravenna, Italy, a contemporary mosaic shows her among her ladies. Most often she is holding a ring or an evil spirit takes her hand (Roeder). She is venerated in the East (Attwater2).



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.