St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

February 20



Amata of Assisi, OP Poor Clare V (PC)
Died c. 1250; feast day formerly June 9. Amata was sister to Blessed Diana and Cecilia in the community of Saint Agnes at Bologna, a niece of Saint Clare, and a good friend of Saint Dominic. Saint Clare healed Amata of a disease and thereby converted her heart to the life of the cloister. According to legend, Dominic give her the moniker "Amata," meaning 'beloved,' and very probably sent her to the convent. There is a Sister Amata from whom Saint Dominic is said to have cast out seven devils, but it is probably not this one. This is all that is known of her. Amata is in the Franciscan martyrologies (Benedictines, Dorcy, Encyclopedia).


Bolcan of Derken B (AC)
(also known as Olcan)

Died after 480. Bolcan was baptized by Saint Patrick, who sent him to study in Gaul. Patrick later consecrated him bishop of Derkan in northern Ireland. Bolcan's school there was one of the best equipped in the island. Another Saint Bolcan (Olcan of Kilmoyle) is venerated in the diocese of Elphin (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Colgan of Clonmacnoise, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Colchu, Colgu)

Died c. 796. Colgan, surnamed 'the Wise' and 'the Chief Scribe of the Scots,' was abbot of Clonmacnoise in Offaly. He was a friend and teacher of the Blessed Alcuin. Colgan is noted for the influence he exerted on the imperial schools in France, through his students (Benedictines, Montague).


Eleutherius of Byzantium BM (RM)
Died c. 310. Eleutherius is said to have been bishop of Byzantium and a martyr. Most writers, following the lead of the Bollandists, identify him with the Saint Eleutherius commemorated on August 4 (Benedictines).


Eleutherius of Tournai B (RM)
Born in Tournai, France; died July 1, 532. Eleutherius, born of parents who had been converted to the Christian faith by Saint Platon, became bishop of Tournai in 486, ten years before the baptism of Clovis at Rheims. Many Frankish pagans and heretics were converted to the faith by his preaching. Once, a young girl fell in love with him. The bishop would have nothing to do with her. In response she fell ill, and then passed into a coma. Eleutherius told her father that he could restore her to health, but would do so only if the father promised to become a Christian. Once the girl was cured, her father reneged on his vow. At this Eleutherius is said to have brought a plague on the land--an action which soon forced the recalcitrant father to repent and believe. He died from wounds inflicted by the Arian heretics of the district. Most of the early evidence of Eleutherius, including his relics, perished in a great fire which consumed his church in 1092. Of the sermons ascribed to St. Eleutherius, in the Library of the Fathers, none seem sufficiently warranted genuine, except three on the Incarnation and Birth of Christ, and the Annunciation (Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth). Saint Eleutherius is portrayed in art as a bishop with a monstrance. Sometimes he is shown (1) being blessed by Christ as he carries the monstrance among poor and wounded soldiers; or (2) as an angel frees him from stripes (Roeder).


Blessed Elisabeth Bartholomea Picenardi, OSM V (AC)
Born in Mantua, Italy, in 1428; died 1468; beatified in 1804. After her mother's death, Elisabeth joined the Third Order of Servites. Several young noblewomen of Mantua banded together to live in community under Elisabeth's direction (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Eucherius of Orléans, OSB B (RM)
Born at Orléans, France; died February 20, 743. Eucherius's sanctity was formed in the domestic church. His mother was a lady of great virtue. While she was carrying her son, she begged God daily for divine grace and offered the unborn Eucherius to the Father. At his birth, his parents dedicated him to God. When he was seven, his studies were planned to form both mind and soul. After being well-educated, especially in theology, Eucherius entered the Benedictine abbey of Jumièges on the Seine in the diocese of Rouen c. 714.

He spent six or seven years here practicing penitential austerities and obedience, until the senate, people, and clergy of Orléans deputed persons to Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, to beg his permission to elect Eucherius to the see vacated by the death of Eucherius's uncle, Bishop Suavaric. Charles Martel agreed and sent one of his principal officers to conduct Eucherius from his monastery to Orléans. Eucherius was horrified at the notion of being consecrated bishop and sought the protection of his brother monks. But they preferred the public good to their private inclinations, and resigned him up for that important charge. Eucherius was received and consecrated at Orléans with universal applause in 721.

Although he was apprehensive about assuming the responsibilities of a see, his prayer life was vital. He found all the help and encouragement he needed in his relationship with God. Eucherius devoted himself entirely to the care of his church. He was indefatigable in instructing and reforming his flock. His sweet spirit and charity were so genuine that, in general, he was loved and obeyed even by those whom he reproved. Except Charles Martel.

In order to finance his wars and reward his vassals, Charles Martel often stripped the churches of their revenues, and encouraged others to do the same. Eucherius, who reproved these encroachments, was represented to the prince as offering a personal attack; therefore, in 737, Charles stopped in Orléans on his return to Paris after having defeated the Saracens in Aquitaine. He ordered Eucherius to follow him to Verneuil upon the Oise, in the diocese of Beauvais, where he then kept his court. There Eucherius and all his relatives were exiled to Cologne in 737 by Charles Martel.

Yet even in exile, Eucherius bloomed where God had planted him. The citizens of Cologne soon highly esteemed his virtue. So Charles Martel ordered him to move again, this time to a fortress in Hasbain (Haspengaw) near Liège, where he was placed under house arrest. But the governor, Robert, so charmed with his virtue, that he made him almoner, and allowed him to retire to the monastery of Sarchinium, or Saint-Trond's near Maastricht, where he spent his last years in prayer and contemplation. His life was written by a contemporary (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).


Falco of Maastricht B (AC)
Died 512. Bishop of Maastricht from 495 until his death (Benedictines).


Leo of Catania B (RM)
Born in Ravenna, Italy, in 703; died in Catania, Sicily, 787. Saint Leo is known as 'il Maraviglioso' ('the Wonder- Worker') in Sicily, where he was bishop in Catania and highly esteemed for his learning. His Vita has been embellished with many delightful, though unreliable, fioretti' (Benedictines).


Martyrs of Tyre (RM)
Died 302-310. The historian Eusebius relates: "Several Christians of Egypt, whereof some had settled in Palestine, others at Tyre, gave astonishing proofs of their patience and constancy in the faith. After innumerable blows, which they cheerfully underwent, they were exposed to wild beasts, such as leopards, wild bears, boars, and bulls. I myself was present when these savage creatures, accustomed to human blood, being let out upon them, instead of devouring them or tearing them to pieces, as it was natural to expect, stood off, refusing even to touch or approach them, at the same time that they fell foul on their keepers, and others that came in their way.

"The soldiers of Christ were the only persons they refused, though these martyrs, pursuant to the order given them, tossed about their arms, which was thought a ready way to provoke the beasts, and stir them up against them. Sometimes, indeed, they were perceived to rush towards them with their usual impetuosity, but, withheld by a divine power, they suddenly withdrew; and this many times to the great admiration of all present.

"The first having done no execution, others were a second and a third time let out upon them, but in vain; the martyrs standing all the while unshaken, though many of them very young. Among them was a youth not yet twenty, who had his eyes lifted up to heaven, and his arms extended in the form of a cross, not in the least daunted, nor trembling, nor shifting his place, while the bears and leopards, with their jaws wide open, threatening immediate death, seemed most ready to tear him to pieces; but, by a miracle, not being suffered to touch him, they speedily withdrew.

"Others were exposed to a furious bull, which had already gored and tossed into the air several infidels who had ventured too near, and left them half dead: only the martyrs he could not approach; he stopped, and stood scraping the dust with his feet, and though he seemed to endeavor it with his utmost might, butting with his horns on every side, and pawing the ground with his feet, being also urged on by red-hot iron goads, it was all to no purpose.

"After repeated trials of this kind with other wild beasts, with as little success as the former, the saints were slain by the sword, and their bodies cast into the sea. Others who refused to sacrifice were beaten to death, or burned, or executed diverse other ways." This happened in 304 under Veturius, a Roman general, in the reign of Diocletian. Other martyrs from Tyre include Tyrannio et al. (Husenbeth).


Blessed Peter of Treja, OFM (AC)
Died at Sirolo, Piceno, Italy, 1304; cultus approved 1793. Peter was one of the early Franciscans associated with Blessed Conrad of Offida in his apostolate. They preached with great success throughout Italy (Benedictines).


Pothmius and Nemesius MM (RM)
(also known as Potamius)

Date unknown. Potamius and Nemesius was martyrs in Cyprus. Nothing else is known of them. Eusebius attaches them to the Church of Alexandria (Benedictines).


Sadoth BM & Comp. MM (RM)
(also known as Shahdost, Schadost, Schiadustes)

Died c. 342. Sadoth, meaning friend of the king in Persian, succeeded Saint Simeon Barsabba'e as bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, the two main cities of Persia situated on the Tigris River. A new persecution of Christians by King Shapur II began soon after his election. Sadoth and his clergy hid, although they remained in close contact with their flock. During this time, Sadoth had a vision the God was calling him to shed his blood. He called his clergy together to relate the message: "I saw in my sleep, a ladder environed with light and reaching from earth to the heavens. Saint Simeon was at the top of it, and in great glory. He beheld me at the bottom, and said to me, with a smiling countenance: 'Mount up, Sadoth, fear not. I mounted yesterday, and it is your turn today': which means, that as he was slain last year, so I am to follow him this." He urged them to serve God with increased zeal to ensure they were ready to take possession of their inheritance. They did not seek death be were ready to embrace it.

Saint Maruthas, who wrote Sadoth's acta, meditated: "A man that is guided by the Spirit, fears not death. He loves God, and goes to him with an incredible ardor; but he who lives according to the desires of the flesh, trembles, and is in despair at its approach: he loves the world, and it is with grief that he leaves it."

During the second year of the persecution, Sadoth and 128 others were arrested. Most of these were martyred immediately after their arrest, but Sadoth and eight others were detained for five months in a filthy dungeon at Bei-Lapat and tortured before being executed. Three times they were racked and questioned. Amid the sound of bones being broken and urgings to apostatize, Sadoth answered in the name of all, that the sun was but a creature, the work of God, made for the good of mankind; that they would pay supreme adoration to none but the Creator of heaven and earth, and never be unfaithful to him; that it was indeed in their power to take away their lives, but that this would be the greatest favor they could do them. And the soldiers urged them to renounce Christ.

As with one voice the martyrs cried: "We shall not die, but live and reign eternally with God and his Son Jesus Christ. Kill us as soon as you please; for we repeat it to you that we will not adore the sun." The king sentenced them to death. The martyrs thanked God and encouraged one another. They were chained two and two together, and led out of the city to execution, singing psalms and canticles of joy as they went. At the place of their martyrdom they sang louder and even more joyfully, giving thanks to God for his mercy, and begging for the grace of perseverance and that by this baptism of their blood they might enter into his glory. These prayers and praises of God did not cease but until the last of this blessed company was beheaded.

Shapur II ordered that Sadoth be separated from his flock and sent into the province of the Huzites, where he was beheaded and rejoined his happy flock in the kingdom of glory. Ancient Chaldaic writers quoted by Assemani say that Simeon Barsabba'e was Sadoth's maternal uncle (Attwater, Benedictines, Husenbeth). In art, Saint Simeon appears on a ladder and invites Sadoth to ascend to heaven (Roeder).


Tyrannio, Zenobius & Martyrs of Tyre MM (RM)
Died 310. Tyrannio, Silvanus, Peleus, Nilus and Zenobius were other martyrs who won the crown in Phoenicia. Tyrannio was the bishop of Tyre, who had been present during the victory of the Martyrs of Tyre described in Eusebius, but did not follow their footsteps for another six years. At Antioch he was tortured and thrown into the sea or, perhaps, the Orontes River.

Saint Zenobius was a holy priest and physician of Sidon, who had accompanied Tyrannio, died on the rack as his sides and body were torn open with iron hooks and nails. His body was thrown into the River Orontes.

After governing as bishop of Emesa, Phoenicia, for more than forty years, Saint Silvanus, was some time after (under Maximinus) devoured by wild beasts in the midst of his own city with two companions. Peleus and Nilus, two other Egyptian priests in Palestine, were consumed by fire with some others.

Saint Silvanus, bishop of Gaza, was condemned to the copper mines of Phoenon near Petra in Arabia, and afterward beheaded there with 39 others. Peleus and Nilus were, according to Eusebius, Eygptian bishops, among the martyrs of Palestine (Benedictines, Husenbeth).


Valerius of Conserans B (AC)
Date unknown. Saint Valerius is mentioned by Saint Gregory of Tours as the first bishop of Conserans in France (Benedictines).


Wulfric of Haselbury, Hermit (AC)
(also known as Ulfrick, Ulric)

Born at Compton Martin (near Bristol), England; died at Haselbury, Somerset, England, in February 20, 1154. Saint Wulfric was an ordained priest, but not because he felt a religious vocation. He like to hunt and eat and party with the lords of the manors near Deverill, Wiltshire, England. He performed all the functions of a priest, but he did not have his heart in them.

Legend reports that, one day in the early 1120's while he was a priest at Deverill, near Warminster, he was suddenly touched by divine grace. Some say that he had underwent a metanoia during a chance encounter with a beggar. Other say that Wulfric was converted to a life of penance one day upon recitation of the Lavabo verse: "I will wash my hands among the innocent." It was as if all the easy ways of his past rose up at once to torment him, and he fled immediately to a place in search of solitude.

We don't know how long he remained a hermit, but there are seemingly endless reports of his austerities and arduous mortifications: going down in the icy waters to recite the Psalms, flagellations, prostrations, mail-shirts. When Wulfric finally returned to his flock, he was a new man. He ministered to his flock until 1125.

A knight offered him a cell adjoining a church at Haselbury- Plunkett (Plucknett) near Exeter in Somerset. He had no official episcopal authorization, but was supported by the neighboring Cluniac monks of Montacute. There he lived the remainder of his life, starving himself until his body was skin and bones. He was famous for his gift of prophecy and for his priestly care of all who sought his counsel, including Kings Henry I and Stephen. In 1130, Henry and Queen Adela obtained through his intercession the healing of the knight Drogo de Munci from paralysis. In 1133, Wulfric prophesied the death of the king which occurred in 1135. Stephen visited him with his brother, Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester, when Wulfric greeted him as king even before his disputed accession. On another occasion, Wulfric reproached him for misgovernment.

A curious story is recounted in detail that he cut the iron links of his mail-shirt with ordinary scissors as if they were only linen in order to shorten it to permit the numerous prostrations that were a part of the penitential exercises of that era. He said Mass daily with the assistance of a boy named Osbern, who later became a priest and who recorded Wulfric's vita. The near- contemporary life of Wulfric by Abbot John of Ford is accurate and informative.

The saint employed himself primarily in copying books, which he bound himself. He also made elements for the celebration of Mass. Many miracles were attributed to his intercession, both in this life and after his death. (Although the first miracle at his tomb is not recorded to have occurred until 1169; they were numerous between 1185 to 1235.) The Cistercians lay claim to Wulfric, as did the monks of Montacute, but he was unaffiliated with an religious order.

Wulfric's cultus was slow to develop. He was mentioned favorably by Henry of Huntingdon, Roger of Wendover, and Matthew Paris. William Worcestre and John Leland also mention his tomb. In 1633, John Gerard recorded that his cell was still standing as was his memory. A 16th-century martyrology and a French menology include Saint Wulfric. He is venerated at Haselbury, where he is buried in the cell in which he lived, which is now the site of the church's vestry (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh).



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.