St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

April 6



Amandus of Bergamo
Died April 6, 515. Count of Grisalba near Bergamo. Nothing more is known (Benedictines)


Berthanc Fer-da-Leithe B (AC)
(also known as Berchan of Kirkwall)

Born in Scotland; died in Ireland, c. 840. Saint Berthanc was reputedly a monk of Iona and later bishop of Kirkwall in the Orkneys. He was buried at Inishmore in Galway Bay. Sometimes he is given the surname of "Fer-da-Leithe," meaning "the man of two parts (or countries) (Benedictines, Montague).


Blessed Catherine of Pallanza, OSA V (AC)
Born in Pallanza, Novara, Italy, c. 1437; died 1478; cultus confirmed in 1769. At age 14, Catherine began to live the life of a hermit in the mountain district above Varese, near Milan. Disciples gathered around her, whom she gathered into a community under the Augustinian Rule. She fought epidemics, which wiped out her entire family, and against wicked tongues that spread slander about her little convent of Santa Maria di Monte (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Celestine I, Pope (RM)
Born in Campania, Italy; died at Rome, July 27, 432; feast day formerly on July 27 and/or August 1. Saint Celestine was a deacon in Rome when he was elected pope on September 20, 422, to succeed Saint Boniface. He was a staunch supporter of Saint Germanus of Auxerre in the fight against Pelagianism, and a friend of Saint Augustine with whom he corresponded, and which demonstrates that the bishop of Rome was the central authority even at that early date.

Augustine exhorts Celestine not to fall under the spell of Bishop Antony of Fussala, who had been convicted by a council at Numidia of tyranny and violence against his flock. Augustine was particularly concerned because he had originally nominated Antony for episcopal consecration. Antony appealed to Celestine's predecessor, who, unaware of the decision of the synod, pressed for Antony's reinstatement. The matter was not fully settled at Boniface's death, but at Augustine's urging, Celestine deposed the unseemly prelate.

Celestine also wrote to the bishops of Vienne and Narbonne in Gaul to correct several abuses, and ordered, among other things, that absolution should never be refused to the dying who sincerely asked for it. He stated that repentance does not depend on timing but rather on the heart. In the beginning of this letter he says: "By no limits of place is my pastoral vigilance confined: it extends itself to all places where Christ is adored."

After receiving two artful letters from Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople, and further information from Patriarch Saint Cyril of Alexandria regarding the errors proposed by the first, Celestine convened a council in Rome, in 430, to condemn Nestorianism. He threatened Nestorius with excommunication if he did not desist from his heretical teaching. In 431, Celestine sent three legates to and appointed Cyril president of the General Council of Ephesus, which formally condemned the heresy.

Saint Prosper of Aquitaine recorded that, acting on Saint Palladius's suggestion, Celestine sent Saint Germanus of Auxerre to Britain in 429 to deal with Pelagianism there. He also wrote a treatise against semi-Pelagianism and, in 431, sent Palladius to Ireland to evangelize that people. Some scholars think that Celestine may also have sent Patrick there, but this is unlikely.

Saint Celestine was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla in a tomb decorated with paintings representing the Council of Ephesus. Later his relics were translated into the church of Saint Praxedes. His ancient original epitaph testifies that he was an excellent bishop, honored and beloved of every one, who for the sanctity of his life now enjoys the sight of Jesus Christ, and the eternal honors of the saints; however, very little is known of person named Celestine (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Husenbeth).

In art, Saint Celestine is a pope with a dove, dragon, and flame (Roeder).


Elstan of Winchester, OSB B (AC)
Died 981. Saint Elstan was a model of obedience at Abingdon Abbey under the direction of its founder Saint Ethelwold, whose example he followed both as abbot and, from 970, as bishop of Winchester or Ramsbury. Before he attained these dignities, Elstan was the community's cook, who is reputed to have plunged his hands into boiling water at the command of Ethelwold-- and removed them unscathed! It may be that he cultus is not well documented because his see was poor (Benedictines, Farmer).


Eutychius of Constantinople B (AC)
Died 582. After he was appointed patriarch of Constantinople in 552, Saint Eutychius bravely opposed Emperor Justinian's interference in Church affairs. For this reason, he was exiled for twelve years. Eutychius is highly honored in the Eastern Church (Benedictines).


Gennard of Flay, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died 720. Saint Gennard was educated at the court of Clotaire III at Rouen. Thereafter he was trained as a monk by Saint Wandrille at Fontenelle. Eventually, he became abbot of Saint-Germer-de-Flay (Beauvais), but he returned to Fontenelle to die (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Marcellinus of Carthage M (RM)
Died 413. As tribunal secretary to Emperor Honorius in Africa, the married Marcellinus and his brother, the judge Apringius (Agrarius), were sent to Carthage to preside over a meeting between Catholic and Donatist bishops. At the end of the conference, Marcellinus ordered the Donatists to return to the Catholic faith and with his brother Apringius enforced his decree with severity.

The angry Donatist sought revenge. Before Marinus, the general in charge of quelling the insurrection, the Donatists accused the brothers of conspiracy in the rebellion led by Heraclius. Marinus had Marcellinus and Apringius peremptorily executed at Carthage, an action for which he was later reprimanded by the emperor.

Saint Augustine dedicated his greatest work City of God to "My dear friend Marcellinus" (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).


Notker Balbulus, OSB (AC)
(also known as Notker the Stammerer)

Born in Heiligau (Elk), Canton of Zurich, Switzerland, c. 840; died on April 6, 912; cultus confirmed in 1512. Saint Notker was placed in Saint Gall's Abbey as a child and remained there for the rest of his life as a lay brother. He held the offices of librarian, guest-master, and precentor. He excelled as a musician and was the originator of the liturgical sequences of which he composed both the words and the music. His literary works include an anthology of the writings of the Fathers of the Church and a method for learning Gregorian chant (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Notker's emblem in art is a rod. He can be recognized as a Benedictine with a book in one hand and a broken rod in the other with which he strikes the devil. He is venerated at Saint Gall. Notker is the patron of musicians and invoked against stammering (Roeder).


Blessed Paul Tinh M (AC)
Born in Trinh-ha, Tonkin (Vietnam); died 1857; beatified in 1909. Paul became a priest and was beheaded at Son-tay in West Tonkin (Benedictines).


Platonides & Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 308. Saint Platonides was a deaconess and the founder of a convent at Nisibis, Mesopotamia. The entry in the Roman Martyrology is apparently wrong. It describes her as a martyr and places her death in Ascalon. Nothing is known of her companions (Benedictines).


Prudentius Galindo B (AC)
(also known as Prudentius of Troyes)

Born in Spain; died in Troyes, France, April 6, 861. In the days of the Franks, there came from Spain to the court of France a young and gifted lawyer named Prudentius, baptized Galindo, who was a patriotic citizen of the Roman Empire. He had come to Gaul fleeing the persecutions of the Saracens and studied at the Palatine school, where he changed his name to Prudentius.

He had distinguished gifts and rose to high office. In the course of time he held, we are told, "the reins of power over famous cities." In later middle life, however, he turned from his public offices to the Church and devoted himself and his talents to the service of God.

He now came to regard the empire that he had served so well as an instrument in God's hands for the advancement of Christianity, and he lived to see the tide turn against Julian the Apostate, who had bee "faithful to Rome, but faithless to God." He was appointed chaplain to the Frankish court and, in 840 or 845, was elected bishop of Troyes, thus becoming a leading member of the episcopate.

Prudentius was appointed by Bishop Hincmar of Rheims to judge the case of a monk named Gottschalk, whom Hincmar had tortured, imprisoned, and excommunicated for teaching that God would save only the elect and condemn most of humanity. Prudentius defended the theory of double predestination and that Christ died only for those who are saved--a theory that set off a widespread dispute.

Known for his learning and as a theologian, Prudentius was also a poet, and one of his poems reflects his experience:

Now then, at last, close on the very end of life,
May yet my sinful soul put off her foolishness;
And if by deeds it cannot, yet, at least,
by words give praise to God,
Join day to day by constant praise,
Fail not each night in songs to celebrate the Lord,
Fight against heresies, maintain the catholic faith.

He became widely known by his writings, including a history of the Western franks called Annals of Saint Bertin, an extant treatise against John Scotus Erigena De praedistinatione contra Johannem Scotem (851), a defense of his own theory in Epistola tractoria ad Wenilonem (856). Prudentius was the best author of his day--"the prince of Christian poets," and "the Homer and the Virgil of the Christians." Today he is chiefly remembered for his fine hymn, Of the Father's love begotten, Ere the worlds began to be. The feast of Prudentius is still kept at Troyes (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill).


The Martyrs in Persia (RM)
Died at Seleucia in 345. This group includes 120 martyrs--nine virgins, and many priests and deacons--who were beheaded in Persia after six months in prison under King Shapur II. Throughout their imprisonment, a virtuous lady of Arbela, Hadiabena (Assyria), named Yasandocht or Jazdundocta, supported them by her charity. When she heard that they were to be executed the following day, Yasandocht flew to the prison and gave each a long white robe. That evening she prepared and served a sumptuous banquet for them. As they ate, she exhorted them to triumph and read Scripture to them. On the day they were to meet their Maker, she begged their prayers and pardon, threw herself on the ground before each and kissed their feet. The evening following their beheading, Yasandocht came with undertakers to embalm the bodies, wrap them in fine linen, and buried them (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).


Timothy and Diogenes MM (RM)
Died c. 345. Timothy and Diogenes were martyred in Macedonia. They were probably victims of the Arians (Benedictines).


Ulched (AC)
(also known as Ulchad, Ylched)

Date unknown. All that is known is the name, which was given to the church of Lleuchulched in Anglesey (Benedictines).


Urban of PeŮalba, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died c. 940. Saint Urban was a Benedictine abbot of PeŮalba in Astorga, Spain. He helped Saint Gennadius initiate a revival within the Benedictine order (Benedictines).


William of Eskhill, OSA Abbot (RM)
(also known as William of Aebelholt or EskilsoŽ)

Born in Paris, France, c. 1125; died in Denmark, on April 6, 1203; canonized in 1224 by Pope Honorius III.

William of EskilsoŽ, the English equivalent of EskiloŽ (Ise Fjord), a Danish town that once housed an abbey, was one of the most revered saints of Denmark, and his extant letters are a valuable source for the history of the Danish church. His early experiences stood him in good stead in Denmark. After being educated by the monks of Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris under the direction of his uncle Hugh, he became a canon of the church of Sainte-GeneviŤve-du-Mont. But his fellow-canons were lax, and frequently mocked their new recruit for his disciplined life. They so disliked him that William was forced to resign and take a living at Epinay outside Paris.

Fortunately, Pope Eugenius III visited Paris in 1148, perceived the laxity of the canons of Sainte-GeneviŤve-du-Mont, and replaced them with more devout men. William rejoined the canons and became the sub-prior, where he reputation for canonical discipline and holiness grew and reached the ears of Bishop Axel (or Absalom) of Roskilde, Denmark. About 1170, the bishop sent a young Dane, Saxo Grammaticus, who became a leading historian, to invite William to undertake the reformation of the monasteries in his diocese. William accepted the invitation.

His early trials in Paris fitted him for reforming the abbey of EskilsoŽ. William first expelled two monks, setting about the reformation of the rest. His enemies tried to overcome his zeal by appealing to powerful lords, but for 30 years William unflinchingly persisted, in spite of inner strain and painful illnesses. He also founded the Abbey of St. Thomas in Aebelhold (Ebelholt), Zeeland.

William sanctified himself by a life of prayer and austere mortification, added to the suffering caused by extreme poverty and a severe climate. He wore a hair-shirt, lay on straw, and fasted every day. Imbued with a deep sense of the greatness and sanctity of our mysteries, he never approached the altar without watering it with his tears, offering himself to God in the spirit of adoration and sacrifice.

About 1194, William went to Rome on behalf of Ingelburga, sister of the Danish king, who had been repudiated by her husband, King Philip Augustus of France, but he returned to EskilsoŽ to die (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth, Walsh).

In art, Saint William has a torch which lights itself on his grave. Sometimes he is shown as Saint GeneviŤve appears to him (Roeder).


Winebald of Troyes, OSB Abbot (AC)
(also known as Vinebaud)

Died c. 650. Winebald was a hermit who later became a Benedictine at Saint-Loup-de-Troyes, where he was chosen abbot (Benedictines).


Blessed Zefirino Agostini (AC)
Born in Verona, Italy, September 24, 1813; died there on April 6, 1896; beatified October 24, 1998.

Blessed Zefirino was the elder son of the physician Antonio Agostini and his wife Angela Frattini. Upon the death of the pious Antonio, the two boys were raised by their mother with a gentleness and wisdom that left its mark on the souls of her children and led Zefirino to his priestly vocation.

Following his ordination on March 11, 1837, at the hands of Bishop Grasser of Verona, Zefirino was assigned to the poor parish of Saint Nazarius, where he had been baptized on September 28, 1813. The first eight years he had responsibility for teaching the catechism and running the recreational program for boys.

In 1845, he was named pastor. Although the parish was large and poor, Father Agostini never allowed his fatherly heart to be overcome by its problems. He knew that his first priority was to develop his relationship with God through personal prayer because God was the source of his joy and power to do good.

God filled Father Agostini with apostolic zeal. He established an after-school program for girls and catechetical instruction for their mothers. To inspire women, he held up the ideal of Saint Angela Merici and celebrated her feast. Three young women followed that inspiration and devoted themselves to the neediest in the community.

Realizing that this was indeed God's will, Father Agostini founded the Pious Union of Sister Devoted to Saint Angela Merici, even though he lacked the means to support them. Their rule was approved by Bishop Ricabona in 1856 and the first charitable school was opened in November. The first women who assisted him in this endeavor continued to live with their families until after 1860 when Father Agostini wrote a rule that was approved for the first Ursuline community. On September 24, 1869, the first twelve Ursuline Daughters of Mary Immaculate made their professions. They had the option of living in community or with their families.

Father Agostini's humility and trust in the providence of God was revealed clearly in his 1874 statement to the sisters: "Do not be dismayed by toil or suffering, nor by the meager fruit of your labors. Remember that God rewards not according to results, but effort" (L'Observattore Romano).



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.