Blessed Amadeus IX of Savoy (AC)
Born at Thonon, Savoy, France, 1435; died 1472; beatified in 1677. Amadeus, an epileptic, began his rule as the third duke of Savoy in 1455. His reign was such that he endeared himself to his subjects. His wife, Yolande, the virtuous daughter of the king of France, governed in his place when he was making devotions. Eventually, he was compelled to resign in favor of his wife, possibly because of the severity of his condition. Immediately after his death he was proclaimed a saint by his former subjects, and selected as the patron of the royal house of Savoy, of whom he was an ancestor (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia). In art, he is portrayed as a prince dispersing alms, with a purse and scroll on which diligite pauperis is inscribed. He is invoked against epilepsy (Roeder).
Clinius of Pontecorvo, OSB Abbot (RM)
5th century (?). Greek monk of the Benedictine abbey of Monte Cassino. He was the superior of the daughter-house of Santo- Pietro-della-Foresta, near Pontecorvo, where he is venerated as patron (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Dodo of Asch, Hermit (PC)
(also known as Dodon)
Died 1231. Dodo retired with his mother and wife to the Premonstratensians of Mariagarden at Asch in Frisia. As a hermit at various places he became known for his amazing austerities. Dodo is said to have received the stigmata, which may have pre- dated that of Saint Francis of Assisi. Dodo died when he was crushed under a wall of his cell (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Domninus, Victor & Comps. MM (RM)
Died c. 304. Domninus, Philocalus, Achaicus, and Palotinus suffered martyrdom at Thessalonica under Maximian Herculius. Domninus is identical to the Saint Domninus honored on October 1, the date on which he is venerated by the Greeks. Saint Victor and about ten others were martyred elsewhere (Benedictines).
Fergus of Downpatrick B (AC)
(also known as Fergustus, Ferguisius)
6th century. Not much is known with certainly about this bishop of Downpatrick, Ireland. He may be identical to Saint Fergus of Scotland (Benedictines).
Blessed Joachim of Fiore, OSB Cist. Abbot (PC)
(also known as Joachim de Floris)
Born at Celico, Calabria, Italy, c. 1130; died 1202. Joachim was a visionary and prophet who, early in life, adopted an ascetic life. After a pilgrimage to Palestine, he entered the Cistercian abbey at Sambucina. In 1176, he became abbot of Corazzo, and about 1190, founded his own monastery at Fiore--a new Cistercian Congregation. His life was marked with great piety and simplicity. He looked for a new age of the Spirit, when the papal Church would be superseded by a spiritual Church in which popes, priests, and ceremonies would disappear, and the Holy Spirit would fill the hearts of all Christ's followers.
Thus, his heart was Franciscan and, in a way, he anticipated the reforming zeal and simple faith of the Quakers. It is not surprising that doubts were sometimes thrown upon his orthodoxy and that many were disturbed by his original and even startling views.
Nevertheless, he opened the way for others to follow, and kindled a hope that ran through the medieval world and stirred the intellect of the Church. Reformation was in the air, and many things which he foresaw or foretold came to birth in the century that followed, in the great days of Dominic, Francis of Assisi, and Ignatius Loyola.
A new emphasis was placed on the work of the Holy Spirit, and after the gloom which preceded, there burst upon the world fresh and radiant visions of saintliness and virtue, and with them a new warmth and glow of religious life. A wave of exhilaration swept across Europe, and in that golden age of art and genius men looked beyond the outward forms and found in their own hearts a living and personal experience of God.
Joachim helped to give birth to this new mood of feeling and spontaneity, which later found song in such words as "O Jesus, King Most Wonderful" and "Jesu, the very thought of Thee." It was Pentecost set to music:
When once Thou visitest the heart,
Then truth begins to shine,
Then earthly vanities depart,
Then kindles love divine.
O Jesus, Light of all below!
Thou Fount of living fire,
Surpassing all the joys we know,
And all we can desire.
With this inner fire went a consuming love that burned in the heart of Saint Francis and his friars, that sent Dominic and his preachers out of their churches into the hills and highways, and that in a thousand monasteries set up Christian communities to care for the welfare of the people.
He was a prolific ascetical writer. His commentary on the Book of Revelation gave his the title "the Prophet" by which he was described by Dante: "the Calabrian abbot Joachim, endowed with prophetic spirit" (Paradiso, XII). Thus Joachim was among the enthusiasts, who turned for inspiration to the Bible. Unfortunately, after his death the Franciscan Spirituals used his books to uphold their heretical tendencies. Nevertheless, Joachim has always been given the title of beatus, because, as a mystic and a prophet, he refreshed the life of the Church (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).
John Climacus, Abbot (RM)
(also known as John Scholasticus)
Born in Syria or Palestine; died on Mount Sinai on March 30, c. 650 (many older scholars place his death as early as 600).
"God does not insist or desire that we should mourn in agony of heart; rather, it is His wish that out of love for Him we should rejoice with laughter in our soul. Take away sin and tears become superfluous; where there is no bruise, no ointment is required. Before the fall Adam shed no tears, and in the same way there will be no more tears after the resurrection from the dead when sin has been destroyed. For pain, sorrow, and lamentation will then have fled away."
A learned Syrian abbot and spiritual director, Saint John authored The Ladder to Paradise or Ladder of Perfection, from which he acquires the appellation, "Climacus," which is Greek for "ladder." John's early life is hidden in obscurity. Farmer says that he was married and became a monk at the death of his wife. He joined the monastery of Mount Sinai when he was only 16. His novitiate was spent in a hermitage near the monastery under the discipline of Martyrius. By silence, he learned to curb the insolent need to discuss everything, an ordinary vice in learned men, but usually a mark of pride and self-sufficiency. Instead he adopted humility and obedience, and never contradicted or disputed with anyone. After four years of training with the ancient anchorite, he was professed.
From the age of 35, after the death of Martyrius, John spent many years as a hermit at Thole at the foot of Mount Sinai, where he studied the Scriptures and the lives of the Fathers of the Church. He practiced the normal austerities of the desert monks: frequent fasting, nights of prayer, and abstinence from meat and fish. He is another of the saints who exhibited the gift of tears. Because he became a popular spiritual advisor, who was especially known for his ability to comfort the distraught, he often sought solitude in a nearby cave. When some who were jealous of his gifts accused him of spending too much time in vain discourse, he kept complete silence for a year until the accusers begged him to resume giving counsel. He went to the monastery only to celebrate the Eucharist with his brother monks on Saturdays and Sundays.
When he was about 70, he was elected abbot of the monks of Mount Sinai over his objections. Soon after his election, there was a severe draught in Palestine. The people beseeched him to storms the gates of heaven in intercession for rain. He earnestly begged God on their behalf and it immediately began to rain. John's contemporary, Pope Saint Gregory the Great wrote to the holy abbot asking his prayers, and sent him beds, other furniture, and money for his hospital near Mount Sinai for pilgrims. He governed the monastery until four years before his death in his hermitage on Mount Sinai.
At the request of the abbot of Raithu, John wrote his masterpiece, which uses the vehicle of a spiritual ladder with thirty rungs--one for each year of Christ's earthly life until His baptism--to discuss monastic spirituality and the pursuit of apartheia (passive disinterestedness), which was regarded as a perfect state. This work was enormously popular during the Middle Ages and was published in English in 1959 under the title The ladder of divine ascent. The book was the source of the Byzantine iconographic theme of the ladder to heaven, which is seen at Mount Athos and elsewhere.
In describing a monastery of 330 monks, which he had visited near Alexandria, Egypt, John mentions one of the principal citizens of that city, named Isidore, who, petitioning to be admitted into the house, said to the abbot: "As iron is in the hands of the smith, so am I in your hands." The abbot ordered him to remain outside the gate and to prostrate himself at the feet of every passerby, by, begging their prayers for his soul struck with a leprosy. Thus, he passed seven years in profound humility and patience. He told Saint John that during the first year he always considered himself as a slave condemned for his sins, and sustained violent conflicts. The second year he passed in tranquillity and confidence; and the third with relish and pleasure in his humiliations. So great was his virtue, that the abbot determined to present him to the bishop in order to be promoted to the priesthood, but the humility of the holy penitent prevented it--he begged respite and died within 10 days.
John also admired the cook of this community, who seemed always recollected, and generally bathed in tears amidst his continual occupation. When asked how he nourished so perfect a spirit of compunction in the midst of his busy work, the cook replied that, in serving the monks, he considered that he was serving not men but God in his servants. Additionally, the fire that always burned before his eyes reminded him of that fire which will burn souls for all eternity.
Here are some of the spiritual maxims from Saint John's book:
"Rule you own heart as a king rules over his kingdom, but be subject above all to the supreme ruler, God Himself."
"A person is at the beginning of a prayer when he succeeds in removing distractions which at the beginning beset him. He is at the middle of the prayer when the mind concentrates only on what he is meditating and contemplating. He reaches the end when, with the Lord, the prayer enraptures him."
"Without weapons there is no way of killing wild animals. Without humility there is no way of conquering anger."
"It is not without risk that one climbs up a defective ladder. And so with honor, praise, and precedence which are all dangerous for humility."
"In an instant many are pardoned for their mistakes, but no one, in a moment's time, acquires calmness of the soul which requires much time, much trouble and a great deal of help from God."
"The one who is dead can no longer walk. The one who despairs can no longer be saved."
"A small fire is enough to burn down an entire forest; a little hole may destroy an entire building."
"Just as clouds hide the sun so bad thoughts cast shadows over the soul."
"Birds which are too heavy cannot fly very high. The same is true of those who mistreat their bodies."
"A dried-up puddle is of no use for the pigs and a dried up body is of no use to the devils."
"A tool which is in good condition may sharpen one which is not in good condition, and a fervent brother may save the person who is only lukewarm about his faith."
"The one who says he has faith and continues to go against it resembles a face without eyes" (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Farmer, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Inevitably, Saint John is portrayed in art as an abbot carrying a ladder or having a vision of monks climbing one (Roeder).
Leonardo Murialdo, Priest (AC)
Born in Turin, Italy, in 1828; died 1900; beatified in 1963; canonized in 1970 by Paul VI; the Salesians celebrate his feast on May 18. Saint Leonard was a prophet: Conservative Catholics in his time condemned him as a "socialist" because he advocated for an eight-hour workday in 1885.
His work for social justice placed him squarely in line with other luminaries of his time: Saints John Bosco, Joseph Cafasso, and Joseph Cottolengo. Saint Leonard was ordained in 1851, and then devoted himself to the education of working-class boys at the Oratory of Saint Louis, fostered by John Bosco. After a short time at Saint-Sulpice in Paris in 1865, he was rector of a Christian college of further education and technical training in Turin.
He founded the Congregation of Saint Joseph to ensure the continuation of his work with young apprentices. He also promoted the Catholic Workers' Movement through the newspaper La voce dell'Operaio and the monthly La buona Stampa. He also established a national federation to improve the standards of the press in Italy.
At a goodly age, he died peacefully in his hometown and was buried in the Church of Santa Barbara there. At his canonization, the pope stressed that he was honored both for his personal holiness and for the social activities inspired by his virtue (Benedictines, Farmer).
Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka M (AC)
(also known as Helena Kafka)
Born at Brno, Czech Republic, May 10, 1894; died in Vienna, Austria, March 30, 1943; beatified June 21, 1998.
Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka, baptized Helena, was the sixth daughter of a shoemaker. Her family moved to Vienna, Austria, where she grew up and worked as a salesgirl, then as a nurse, which brought her into contact with the Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity (Hartmannschwestern).
Impressed by their lives, she joined the congregation in 1914 and took the name Restituta. After her novitiate, she was a surgical nurse for twenty years, during which she gained a particular reputation for her devotion to the materially and socially poor.
After the Anschluss, when Austria was united to Germany, Sister Restituta was vocal in her opposition to Nazism and Hitler, whom she called a "madman." Her first personal encounter with the Nazis occurred when she hung a crucifix in every room of a new hospital wing. The Nazis demanded that they or Sister Restituta be removed; neither were. Her community declared that Sister Restituta was irreplaceable.
The blessed nun was arrested and, on October 28, 1942, sentenced to death for "aiding and abetting the enemy in the betrayal of the fatherland and for plotting high treason" because she had hung the crucifixes and allegedly written a poem that mocked the Nazi leader. Sister Restituta was later offered her freedom in exchange for leaving the order. She refused. Martin Bormann expressly rejected the requested commutation of her sentence with the words: "I think the execution of the death penalty is necessary for effective intimidation." For the next five month, Blessed Maria Restituta tended to the needs of others in prison. On March 30, 1943, the sentence of decapitation was executed (L'Osservatore Romano English Edition).
Mamertinus of Auxerre, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 462. Saint Mamertinus was a convert of Saint Germanus. He became a monk, and later abbot, of the monastery of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Auxerre, France (Benedictines). In art, he is depicted lying in a cave surrounded by serpents or exhorting monks, lying on a mat in his cell before his death (Roeder).
Blessed Moricus (AC)
Died 1236. In his biography of Saint Francis, Saint Bonaventure tells the story of Blessed Moricus, a religious in the order of the Cruciferi. The Franciscans, who highly venerated him, claim Moricus was the fifth recruit to join Francis. He is also venerated in Orvieto, Italy (Benedictines).
Osburga V (AC)
(also known as Osberga)
Died c. 1016; feast day formerly March 28; cultus confirmed in the 15th century. Generally, she is thought to have been the first abbess of the convent founded at Coventry by Canute before he was recognized as king of England, although nothing is known for certain. Her shrine became the site of so many miracles that, in 1410, the clergy and people of Coventry requested that a feast be established in her honor, which was granted by a synod and is still celebrated in the diocese of Birmingham (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Farmer).
Pastor of Orléans B (RM)
6th century. Although Saint Pastor was bishop of Orléans, his name does not appear in the ancient lists (Benedictines).
Patto of Werden, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Pacificus)
Born in Britain; died at Werden (Verden), Saxony, Germany, c. 788. Saint Patto was abbot of the Irish monastery of Anabaric in Saxony, which was established by Blessed Charlemagne about 780. Later he was consecrated bishop of Werden to succeeded its first bishop, Suibert. Because many miracles have been attributed to him, his body was exhumed in 1630 (a common action during a papal investigation of sanctity), but no record was made of the result. This may have been because the remains of Bishops Suibert, Saint Tanco, Saint Patto, Cerelon, Nortrila, Saint Erlulf, and Saint Harruch, plus debris of mitres, sandals, and episcopal ornaments were all found in the same tomb. The relics were collected into a new casket and rested behind the high altar until they were taken by the bishop to Regensburg during the Swedish invasions in 1659 (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Fitzpatrick2, Kenney, Montague, O'Hanlon).
Quirinus the Jailer M (RM)
(also known as Cirino)
Died c. 117. Conversion is possible! Saint Quirinus was jailer to Pope Saint Alexander I, who led both he and his daughter Balbina to the faith. Shortly after his baptism, Quirinus was martyred under Hadrian. The story is an integral part of what is described as "the Romance called the Passion of Saint Alexander (Benedictines).
The story of Quirinus is a perfect ploy for art. He is generally depicted as a knight with a device of balls on a shield or pennant. At times he may be shown (1) with a lamb and hog at his feet; (2) with a horse and hawk near him; (3) with his tongue cut out and thrown to a hawk; or (4) hacked to pieces, his limbs being thrown to the dogs. He is highly venerated in Germany, Switzerland, and Bardia a Settimo in Tuscany, Italy. Saint Quirinus is invoked against earache, epilepsy, foot and bone troubles, fistula, gout, and lameness (Roeder).
Regulus of Senlis B (RM)
(also known as Rieul)
Born in Greece; died in Senlis, France, c. 260. As with many early saints, it's difficult to sort out the various strains of the story. An old tradition connects him to Arles, France, perhaps as its bishop, from where he evangelized the area around Senlis about the same time as Saint Denis was taking the Gospel to Paris. Regulus is honored as the first bishop of Senlis, who died in peace among his flock. Legendarily he is said to have lived in the first century, but the third is more likely (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Regulus of Scotland, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Riaghail or Rule of Saint Andrews)
4th or 6th century; Attwater2 gives his feast as October 17. The real story of Saint Regulus is uncertain. There was no vita before the 9th century. Some it seems confuse this abbot with a mythical Greek, also named Regulus, who is said to have brought relics of Saint Andrew to Rigmond, Scotland, thus founding Saint Andrews.
The legend relates that Saint Regulus was born in Patras and led by a dream to take some of the relics in his care to an unknown destination to which an angel would lead him. He followed the angel to Fife, where he built a church to house the relics of Saint Andrew. (The rest of the relics were taken to Constantinople.)
In fact, the relics were acquired by a Pictish king, who founded the city, in 736; the abbot at that time was the Irish Tuathal. Regulus is the patron of Kylrewni and is commemorated in the Aberdeen Breviary.
He is also confused with the Gaelic Saint Rieul (Attwater, Benedictines, Farmer, Montague).
Tola B (AC)
Died c. 733. This Irish saint was the abbot-bishop of Disert Tola in Meath (Benedictines).
Zozimus of Syracuse B (RM)
(also known as Zosimus)
Died c. 660. At the tender age of seven, Saint Zosimus was offered to the monastery of Santa Lucia, near Syracuse, Sicily, by his wealthy parents. As a child, he was deputed to watch over the relics of the virgin martyr--anathema to a boisterous country boy. He ran away from the monastery, back to his home. In disgrace, he was returned to Santa Lucia's, where he experienced a vision of the saint who seemed angry with him. She was appeased by Our Lady and accepted the boy's promise to diligently undertake his responsibility.
After that, he settled down and was a good and simple monk for thirty years, then quickly succeeded to the positions of abbot and bishop of Syracuse. The scene of his selection of abbot is reminiscent of the selection of the Old Testament King David: The uncertain monks sought the help of their bishop. After scrutinizing all the monks gathered, he asked if there was no other monk belonging to their number. Then they remembered Zosimus, whom they had left to guard the shrine and answer the door. The bishop sent for the missing monk. Immediately upon seeing him the bishop exclaimed: "Behold him whom the Lord has chosen." He appointed him abbot and ordained him priest.
His reputation as a wise and charitable abbot led him to be elected bishop by the people at the death of Peter in 649. He did not want the position and the clergy had elected another, Vanerius, a vain and ambitious man. Pope Theodore settled the question by appointing and consecrating Zosimus. He faithfully discharged all the duties of a worthy pastor and showed great liberality to the poor until his death at the age of 90. These details are drawn from a reputedly contemporary vita (Attwater2, Benedictines, 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.