St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

March 1



Blessed Bonavita, OFM Tert. (PC)
Died 1375. A blacksmith of Lugo (near Ravenna), Italy, Bonavita was a Franciscan tertiary wholly devoted to prayer and good work (Benedictines, Gill).


Blessed Christopher, OP (AC)
Died in Taggia, Italy, in 1484; cultus confirmed by Pope Pius IX in 1875. Nothing is known of the early years of Blessed Christopher. He received the Dominican habit in the convent of San Eustorgio in Milan, Italy, in the early 15th century. He is recorded as being "holy and abstemious, humble and studious"--the ordinary virtues that we have come to take for granted among the beati; there is nothing to indicate the type of person Christopher was, or what peculiar circumstances might have led him to the Dominicans. He is noted especially for his preaching and for his gift of prophecy.

The age in which Christopher lived was a rough and dangerous one, and a time for prophets and penitents to thrive. He was himself an apostolic preacher throughout Liguria and the Milanese, famous for the impact of his sermons on sinners. He had a vivid power of description and this, coupled with his gift of prophecy, made his sermons unforgettable.

Christopher worked in many parts of Italy, but his name is particularly venerated in Taggia, where he spent many years. As a result of his preaching, the people of Taggia built a monastery and church dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy and Christopher became its first abbot. A great wave of spiritual revival was felt in Taggia during his tenure, but he was not optimistic about the future.

In a vision he saw that most of the population would be carried off by plague. Twenty years before anyone was paying any attention to the Turks, he told the people of Taggia that Turks would invade the city, and they did, as he had prophesied. A disastrous flood swept the area, fulfilling another of his prophesies.

He wrote four volumes of sermon aids, containing scriptural examples and quotations from the Fathers of the Church.

In 1484, when he was absent from Taggia preaching a mission, Christopher fell ill and knew that he was about to die. He insisted on returning to his own monastery at Taggia. There he received the last sacraments and immediately died (Benedictines, Dorcy).


David of Wales B (AC)
(also known as Dewi)

5th or 6th century. There is no certainty about the date though we know that St. David was a real personage, son of King Sant, a prince of Cardigan in far western Wales. All the information we have about him is based on the unreliable 11th century biography written by Rhygyfarch, the son of Bishop Sulien of St. David's. Rhygyfarch's main purpose was to uphold the claim of the Welsh bishopric to be independent of Canterbury, so little reliance can be placed on the document.

David, who may have been born at Henfynw in Cardigan, lived during the golden age of Celtic Christianity when saints were plentiful, many of them of noble rank--kings, princes, and chieftain--who lived the monastic life, built oratories and churches, and preached the Gospel.

Saint Cadoc founded the great monastery of Llancarfan. Saint Illtyd turned from the life of a soldier to that of a mystic and established the abbey of Llantwit, where tradition links his name to that of Sir Galahad. But greatest among them was David, cousin of Cadoc and pupil of Illtyd, who was educated in the White House of Carmarathen and who founded the monastery of Menevia in the place that now bears his name.

According to his biography, David became a priest, studied under Saint Paulinus, the disciple of Saint Germanus of Auxerre, on an unidentified island for several years. He then engaged in missionary activities, founded 12 monasteries from Croyland to Pembrokeshire, the last of which, at Mynyw (Menevia) in southwestern Wales, was known for the extreme asceticism of its rule, which was based on that of the Egyptian monks.

Here in this lovely and lonely outpost he gathered his followers. The Rule was strict, with but one daily meal, frequent fasts, and hours of unbroken silence. Their days were filled with hard manual labor and no plough was permitted in the work of the fields. "Every man his own ox," said St. David. Nor did David exempt himself from the same rigorous discipline: he drank nothing but water and so came to be known as David the Waterman; and long after vespers, when the last of his monks had retired to bed, he prayed on alone through the night.

We are told that he was of a lovable and happy disposition, and an attractive and persuasive preacher. It was perhaps his mother, the saintly Non, who had nurtured him carefully in the Christian faith, that he owed so many of his own fine qualities. It was not surprising, therefore, that when the time came for the appointment of a new archbishop of Wales the choice fell upon him.

At Brevi, in Cardiganshire, a great synod had been convened about 550, attended by a thousand members, but David, who kept aloof from temporal concerns, remained in his retreat at Menevia. The synod, however, insisted on sending for him. So great was the crowd and so intense the excitement that the voice of the aged and retiring archbishop Saint Dubricius could hardly be heard when he named David as his successor. David, who at first refused, came forward reluctantly, but when he spoke his voice was like a silver trumpet, and all could hear and were deeply moved; and in that hour of his succession a white dove was seen to settle upon his shoulders as if it were a sign of God's grace and blessing.

Without any facts to support the event, it is said that David was consecrated archbishop by the patriarch of Jerusalem while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. But he loved Menevia and could not bring himself to leave it for Caerleon, the seat of the archbishopric, which he transferred to his own monastery by the wild headlands of the western sea, and which to this day is known by his name and remains a place of pilgrimage.

Again according to unsubstantiated legend, David convened a council, called the Synod of Victory, because it marked the final demise of Pelagianism, ratified the edicts of Brevi, and drew up regulations for the British Church.

"He opened," we are told, "many fountains in dry places, and across the centuries his words spoken in the hour of death still reach us: "Brothers and sisters, be joyful and keep your faith."

He died at Menevia and his cultus was reputedly approved by Pope Callistus II about 1120. Even his birth and death dates are uncertain, ranging from c. 454 to 520 for the former and from 560 to 601 for the latter (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Gill, Wade- Evans).

In art, St. David is a Celtic bishop with long hair and a beard, and a dove perched on his shoulder. He may be shown preaching on a hill, or holding his cathedral. He is the patron saint of Wales and especially venerated in Pembrokeshire (Roeder). No one seems to have a satisfactory explanation regarding the association of leeks with St. David's Day as in Shakespeare's Henry V, IV, 1 (Attwater).


Blessed Jane Mary Bonomo, OSB V (AC)
(also known as Jeanne-Marie)

Born at Asiago, diocese of Vicenza, Italy, in 1606; died 1670; beatified in 1783; feast day formerly February 22. Jeanne-Marie was educated by the Poor Clares of Trent and became a Benedictine at Bassano in 1622. She fell into ecstasy for the first time during the ceremony of her profession. Three times Jeanne-Marie held the office of abbess. At other times she was mistress of novices and prioress. Like so many saintly religious, she was bitterly persecuted by some members of her own community (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).



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.