St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Saint John of God
(Optional Memorial)
March 8



Arianus, Theoticus & Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 311. Arianus, governor of Thebes, Egypt, with Theoticus and three others was converted to Christianity on witnessing at Alexandria the martyrdom of SS. Apollonius and Philemon (below). The judge ordered them to be drowned in the sea (Benedictines).


Beoadh B (AC)
(also known as Beatus)

Died c. 518-525. Aeodh (Aidus), an Irish saint, acquired the prefix Bo on account of the greatness of his virtues, and was appointed bishop of Ardcarne (Roscommon). The "Bell of Saint Beoadh," a beautiful work of art, was long in veneration as a relic of this saint (Benedictines).


Cyril, Rogatus, Felix, Rogatus & Comps. MM (RM)
Dates unknown. Cyril, Rogatus, Felix, Rogatus, Herenia, Felicitas, Urbanus, Sylvanus and Mamilius were African martyrs. Cyril is described as a bishop. They are registered in all the ancient lists, but nothing is known about them (Benedictines).


Duthac of Ross B (AC)
Died 1065. An Irishman by birth, Saint Duthac became bishop of Ross in Scotland, where his memory is preserved in several place names, e.g., Kilduthie (Benedictines).


Blessed Faustino Miguez, Sch. P. (AC)
Born at Xamiras, Orense, Spain, March 24, 1831; died Getafe, March 8, 1925; beatified October 24, 1998.

Faustino was the fourth child of a hard-working Christian family. After studying Latin and the humanities in Orense, there he heard God's call to be a priest and teacher in the spirit of St Joseph Calasanz. In 1850 he entered St Ferdinand's novitiate of the Piarist Fathers in Madrid. In his long life as a Piarist, almost 50 years dedicated to education, he was sent to schools in San Fernando, Guanaboacoa, Getafe, Monforte de Lemos, Celanova, El Escorial and Sanlucar de Barameda.

Convinced that "those who want to teach need to learn," he worked tirelessly, training himself daily to fulfil his educational mission. God endowed him with a special love for the young and a sensitivity that enabled him to approach them with kindness, to know them and to seek their welfare. School was the place where he met the Lord, whom he loved and served in children. Through piety and learning he opened horizons of culture to them, encouraging them and teaching them to love what is true, noble and sublime. A Piarist for all children, his devotion to them was expressed in his concern for the weakest and neediest. Fr Faustino, like St Joseph Calasanz, lauded education as "the noblest work, the greatest and the most sublime in the world because it embraces the whole of man as God conceived him . . . ."

He spent many hours hearing confessions and was renowned for his patience and wise advice. His whole life was dedicated to the love of God and to learning. He combined scientific research with his vocation as an educator and studied the healing properties of plants, which he believed were Providence's remedy for illness. He prepared medicines and cured many of the sick who consulted him. The Miguez Laboratory in Getafe is one of his great legacies to society.

In Sanlucar de Barrameda, he encountered the illiteracy and marginalization of women and, aware of their importance in the family and in society, he felt an urgent need to assist with the human and Christian advancement of girls, especially the very poor. This Inspired him to found the Calasanctian Institute of the Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess on 2 January 1885. He devoted great wisdom to their formation, imbuing their life with a spirit of prayer, humility, simplicity and ardent love for Mary so that, as Mother and Shepherdess, she might be the model for their vocation of service to the young and the lowly. He outlined their charism in the Constitutions: "The aim of the Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess is to seek souls and lead them to God . . . ."

Obedience required him to leave his congregation for Getafe, but Fr Faustino knew that if it was God's work it would last. Indeed, the congregation expanded to Andalucia, Castille and Galicia, and he had the joy of seeing new foundations in Chile and Argentina. He died in Getafe, at the age of 94 (verbatim from the EWTN Library).


Felix of Dunwich B (RM)
Born in Burgundy; died in England in 648. Saint Felix was a Burgundian bishop who brought about the conversion of Sigebert, king of the East Angles, when that prince was in exile. Felix was summoned by the restored Sigebert and sent by Saint Honorius of Canterbury to preach the gospel in East Anglia. In 631, Felix established his see at Dunwich, a town on the Suffolk coast that has been almost wholly washed away by the sea. He labored with much success for 17 years in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire.

With the help of King Sigebert, Felix established a school for boys, obtaining teachers from the school at Canterbury. Saint Felix was buried at Dunwich, but later on his shrine was at Ramsey abbey. This saint gives his name to the town of Felixstowe. He is venerated as the apostle of the East Angles (Attwater, Benedictines).


Humphrey of Pruem, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Hunfrid)

Died 871. Bishop Humphrey of Therouanne, who would have preferred to remain a monk of the Benedictine abbey of Pruem in the Ardennes, was persuaded by Pope Nicholas I who thought differently. At the same time he ruled the abbey of Saint Bertin. He was a source of strength and comfort to the people during the Norman invasion. He had the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady kept with special splendor in his diocese (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


John of God, Religious (RM)
Born at Montemoro Nuovo (diocese of Evora), Portugal, March 8, 1495; died in Granada, Spain, on March 8, 1550; canonized by Pope Alexander VIII in 1690; Leo XIII in 1886 declared him to be "patron of all hospitals and sick," along with Camillus de Lellis.

The several versions of Saint John's story are hopelessly confused with regard to a sequence of events in his early life.

Juan Ciudad was born of pious, peasant stock. His parents died when he was young (either before or after his misadventures). He was "seduced from his home by a priest, who abandoned him on the road" (Tabor with no further explanation). For a while he was a shepherd. He also served the bailiff of the count of Oroprusa in Castile for some time. After travelling for a while, he entered military service in 1522 where, his biographers report, he was guilty of many grievous sexual excesses and other sins. He served in the wars between the French and the Spaniards, and in Hungary against the Turks. After the count's company broke up, John worked as a shepherd near Seville. He even worked as a superintendent of slaves in Morocco at some point.

When he was about 40, he was profoundly moved with remorse and decided to dedicate himself to God's service in some special way. He initially thought of going to Morocco in Africa to minister to and rescue Christian slaves. Instead he accompanied a Portuguese family from Gibraltar to Ceuta, Barbary. There he served a Portuguese nobleman, who had lost all his possessions. John maintained the whole family by his labor. Then he returned to Gibraltar, where he peddled religious pictures and books. He business prospered, and in 1538, in obedience to a vision, he opened a shop in Granada.

After hearing Blessed John of Ávila preach on Saint Sebastian's Day (January 20), he was so touched that he cried aloud and beat his breast, begging for mercy. He ran about the streets behaving like a lunatic, and the townspeople threw sticks and stones at him. He returned to his shop, gave away his stock, and began wandering the streets in distraction.

Some people took him to Blessed John of Ávila, who advised him and offered his support. John was calm for a while but fell into wild behavior again and was taken to an insane asylum, where the customary brutal treatments were applied to bring him to sanity. John of Ávila heard of his fate and visited him, telling him that he had practiced his penance long enough and that he should address himself to doing something more useful for himself and his neighbor. John was calmed by this, remained in the hospital, and attended the sick until 1539. While there he determined to spend the rest of his life working for the poor.

On his release from the hospital, he began selling wood to earn money to feed the poor. With the help of the archbishop of Granada, hired a house as a refuge to care for the sick poor-- including prostitutes and vagabonds, which brought him criticism. Although he was constantly short of money, his work prospered because he served them with great zeal and discrimination.

On one occasion his hospital caught fire and he carried out most of the patients on his own back, returning again and again through the flames to rescue them. He had a good business head and was so efficient in his administration that soon he found himself the recipient of aid from the whole city of Granada and beyond. He found so many willing to join in helping him, that he was forced to think of starting a religious order. This was the beginning of the Borthers of Saint John of God, a group which was to have enormous influence in the Church. He had not intended to found a religious order, and so the rules were not drawn up until six years after his death.

He gave relief also to the poor in their homes and found work for the unemployed. In his eagerness that no case of want should go unrelieved, he instituted an inquiry into the problems and needs of the poor of the whole area. In addition to his relief work, bearing in his hand a crucifix, he sought out the fallen women of the city to reclaim them. The archbishop once sent for him and complained that he harbored idle beggars and bad women, to which he replied that the only bad person in the hospital was himself.

John of God practiced great penance, enjoyed visions and even ecstasies, but manifested great humility through a life in which he wore himself out, trying to aid every distressed person he met or heard of, in addition to preaching with cross in hand to crowds throughout the city streets. He fell ill after trying to save his wood and to rescue a drowning child from the River Ximel during a flood. He hid his illness and continued in his duties, but the news finally got out.

He named Antony Martin superior over his helpers. John remained so long in front of the Blessed Sacrament that the Lady Anne Ossorio took him home with her by force. She surrounded him with every comfort, and read to him the story of the Passion of Jesus. He worried that while Jesus drank gall, he, a miserable sinner, was being fed good food.

Outside, the whole city gathered at the door--nobles and beggars alike--craving his blessing. The magistrates begged him to bless his fellow townsfolk, but he said that he was a sinner. The archbishop finally convinced him to confer his blessing. John died on his knees before the altar of his hospital chapel, and was buried by the archbishop (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill, Tabor, White).

In art, Saint John is portrayed as a Capuchin monk with a long beard, two bowls hung around his neck on a cord, and a basket. At times he may be shown (1) as a crown of thorns is brought to him by the Virgin, (2) with an alms box hung up near him, (3) with a crucifix, rosary, and collection box, (4) holding a pomegranate (pome de Granada) with a cross on it, (5) washing Jesus's feet as a pilgrim, (6) carrying sick persons, or (7) with a beggar kneeling at his feet (Roeder, Tabor). He is venerated in Granada, Spain (Roeder, White). John of God is the patron of the sick, of hospitals, and of nurses, printers, and booksellers (White).


Julian of Toledo B (RM)
Died at Toledo, Spain, in 690. An able and learned monk of Agali under Saint Eugene, Saint Julian succeeded Eugene as abbot and then, in 680, as archbishop of Toledo. Julian was important as a bishop and writer in the history of the Spanish church, which during his episcopate was centralized for the first time at Toledo. In addition to presiding over several national councils, Julian had a strong influence on the development of the Mozarabic rites of public worship, formerly proper to Spain but now all but extinct. Julian is said to have been of Jewish descent, but he presided at a council whose legislation in respect to Jews was ruthless and unjust in the extreme (Attwater, Benedictines).


Ogmund of Holar B (AC)
(also known as John of Holar)

Died 1121; cultus confirmed in 1201.

Iceland had a resident bishop as early as the 11th century. Its second bishop was John Ogmund, the son of a man of rank and property, who, before taking up his duties, had travelled widely in Scandinavia, Ireland, and Scotland, and had visited Iona. He was consecrated in Lund, and afterwards set said for his diocese with a shipload of wood for church building.

He built his cathedral at Holar, in the loveliest valley of Iceland, where the swift streams from the glacier ranges pour through the broad meadows into the polar sea. It was a rich diocese, possessing over 300 farms with pasturage for 1,500 cows, also an island and two large Icelandic ships.

In later years, in an outbreak of cruelty and bloodshed, the chruch was destroyed. Only its cracked bell and stone altar remained as pathetic witnesses of those fruitful and happy years when it was crowded with worshippers "inflamed with zeal and hungering to be satisfied with the food of life, which is the Word of God," with a school attached to it full of eager scholars.

It had been a vigorous Christian settlement where, in place of heathen festivals and the dark rites of Odin and Thor, "when the bells struck up, all fell at once into their places, and went to church, and there was nought to be heard in choir but fair songs and hallowed prayers." All this and much else belongs to the stoyr of John of Holar, who built his churhc in a green valley, and who is venerated as one of the apostles of Iceland (Benedictines, Gill).


Philemon and Apollonius MM (RM)
Died c. 305. Apollonius was a deacon at Antinoe in the Thebaid, Egypt, and was said to have converted Philemon, a popular musician and entertainer. According to legend, he was arrested during the persecution of Diocletian and, fearful of torture, offered the pagan Philemon four gold pieces if he would perform the rite of eating food sacrificed to false gods in his place.

Philemon agreed. He dressed himself in Philemon's clothes and his hooded cloak to hide his face. Philemon appeared before the judge, who asked him to carry out the rite. The Holy Spirit entered Philemon, and he claimed himself a Christian and refused to partake of the sacrifice.

The judge Arrian argued with him, and finally thinking he was speaking to Apollonius, asked that Philemon be brought to him. Unable to find Philemon, the court officers brought Philemon's brother, Theonas. Asked where his brother was, he pointed out Philemon in Apollonius's cloak.

The judge saw the situation as a joke but insisted that Philemon perform the rite. Philemon refused. Arrian responded that it was foolish of him to refuse when he was not even baptized. Philemon prayed, and a cloud miraculously appeared and rained upon him. He claimed that he was thus baptized.

Arrian appealed to him, begging him to think of what a terrible loss of musical skill such resistance would mean. The musician's pipes were then said to have been destroyed by Philemon himself or to have spontaneously burst into flames. Officers arrested Apollonius, proclaimed the two men as Christians, and they were condemned to death.

One legend says that before the execution, Apollonius and Philemon asked that a great pot be brought before them and a living baby be placed inside it. They then asked soldiers to shoot arrows at it, which they did, the arrows piercing the pot. The baby remained unharmed. The judge then ordered the soldiers to shoot the men with arrows, but all the arrows hung suspended int he air, except one, which blinded Arrian.

Despite this and several other miracles, Apollonius is said to have been tied in a sack, thrown into the sea, and drowned. Arrian's sight was said to have been restored when clay from Apollonius's tomb was applied to his eyes. This led to the conversion of Arrian and four other officials (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, White).

In art, Apollonius is depicted on a funeral pyre or drowning in the sea or being crucified (White).


Pontius of Carthage, Deacon (RM)
Died c. 260. Deacon of the Bishop Saint Cyprian of Carthage, Saint Pontius attended his bishop during his exile and at his trial and execution. He has left a graphic account of the life and passion of Cyprian (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Provinus of Como B (AC)
Died c. 420. A native of Gaul, Saint Provinus became a disciple of Saint Ambrose of Milan. Later he was coadjutor to Saint Felix, bishop of Como, whom he succeeded in the see in 391 (Benedictines).


Quintilis of Nicomedia BM (RM)
Date unknown. A martyr of Nicomedia. Most ancient records mention Saint Capitolinus as a fellow-martyr (Benedictines).


Rhian, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Ranus, Rian)

Date unknown. The saint who has left his name to Llanrhian in Pembrokeshire. He is described as an abbot, but there are no authentic details of his life available (Benedictines).


Senan of Scattery (AC)
(also known as Senames of Inis Cathaigh)

Died c. 560. Senan, best known of the numerous Irish saints with this name, is credited with making a remarkable succession of monastic foundations on islands at the mouths of rivers and elsewhere, from the Slaney in Wexford to the coast of Clare. The stories that have survived about Saint Senan suggest a man of considerable complexity of character. He is said to have visited Rome and on his way home stayed with Saint David in Wales. On his return to Ireland, he founded more churches and monasteries, notably one at Inishcarra near Cork. He finally settled on Scattery Island (Inis Cathaig) in the Shannon estuary, where he founded a bishopric, established a school, and was buried. On the island there is still a fine round tower and other early remnants. There are indications that he spent some time in Cornwall, but appears to have had no connection with the Land's End parish of Sennen. The Cloghan Oir or Golden Bell of Saint Senan is in the National Museum of Dublin (Attwater, Benedictines, Montague).


Stephen of Obazine, OSB Cist. Abbot (AC)
Died 1154. Stephen and another priest withdrew into the forest of Obazine near Tulle, France, to lead a solitary life. When disciples wished to join them they obtained permission from the bishop of Limoges to build a monastery. The new abbey had no written rule, and Saint Stephen arranged for its affiliation to the Cistercian order, and was himself blessed as its first abbot (Benedictines).


Veremund(us) of Hirache, OSB, Abbot (AC)
Died 1092. Like his uncle in Navarre, Veremund was a Benedictine at the abbey of Our Lady of Hirache. He eventually became abbot, and during his abbacy the monastery was reckoned the most influential religious center of Navarre. Saint Veremund himself was the advisor of its kings. He was remarkable for his charity towards the poor and for his zeal for the accurate recitation of the Divine Office. In the controversy concerning the use of the Mozarabic rite, he won for it the approval even of the Roman see which was suppressing it. He also performed miracles (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Vincent Kadlubeck, OSB Cist. B (AC)
Born in the Palatinate; died 1223; cultus approved in 1764. Saint Vincent studied in France and Italy. Thereafter, he was appointed provost at Sandomir in Poland. In 1208, he was consecrated bishop of Cracow, but resigned in 1218 to become a Cistercian at Jedrzejo Abbey. He is one of the earliest Polish chroniclers (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.