Acacius of Amida B (RM)
(also known as Agace)
Died after 421. Bishop Acacius of Amida (Diarbekir) in Mesopotamia is distinguished for his heroic charity to Persian prisoners. In order to ransom them, Acacius melted down and sold the sacred vessels of the church. This won for him the friendship of King Bahram V (Varannes) of Persia, who is said to have forthwith ceased to persecute his Christian subjects (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Antony of Pavoni, OP M (AC)
Born in Savigliano, Italy, in 1326; died in Turino, Italy, in 1374; beatified in 1868. Antony was obviously martyred for the faith, yet it took more than 500 years before he was even beatified. He is still not canonized.
Antony grew up to be a pious, intelligent youth. At 15, he was received into the monastery of Savigliano, was ordained in 1351, and almost immediately was engaged in combatting the heresies of the Lombards.
Pope Urban V, in 1360, appointed him inquisitor-general of Lombardy and Genoa, making him one of the youngest men ever to hold that office. It was a difficult and dangerous job for a young priest of 34. Besides being practically a death sentence to any man who held the office, it carried with it the necessity of arguing with the men most learned in a twisted and subtle heresy.
Antony worked untiringly in his native city, and his apostolate lasted 14 years. During this time, he accomplished a great deal by his preaching, and even more by his example of Christian virtue. He was elected prior of Savigliano, in 1368, and given the task of building a new abbey. This he accomplished without any criticism of its luxury--a charge that heretics were always anxious to make against any Catholic builders.
The consistent poverty of Antony's life was a reproach to the heretics, who had always been able to gain ground with the poor by pointing out the wealth of religious houses. He went among the poor and let them see that he was one of them. This so discomfited the heretics that they decided they must kill him. He was preaching in a little village near Turin when they caught him.
The martyrdom occurred in the Easter octave. On the Saturday after Easter, he asked the barber to do a good job on his tonsure because he was going to a wedding. Puzzled, the barber complied. On the Sunday after Easter, as he finished preaching a vigorous sermon against heresy at Brichera, seven heretics fell upon him with their daggers, and he hurried off to the promised "wedding." He was buried in the Dominican church at Savigliano, where his tomb was a place of pilgrimage until 1827. At that time the relics were transferred to the Dominican church of Racconigi (Benedictines, Dorcy).
Oddly enough, this Dominican Antony takes after his Franciscan namesake. He is also invoked to find lost articles (Dorcy).
Casilda of Briviesca V (AC)
Born in Toledo, Spain; died c. 1050. Saint Casilda was the daughter of a Moorish king of Toledo, who hated everything connected with Jesus Christ. Casilda secretly visited and fed Christian captives, which made her father angry. She escaped her father, illness, other horrors, and died as an anchorite near Briviesca in Burgos but with joy because she had been baptized (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).
In art, Saint Casilda is a Saracen maiden carrying roses in her lap. Sometimes she is pictured as a Saracen princess with roses or as bread changes to roses--a story that is also told of Elizabeth of Hungary and Elizabeth of Portugal (Roeder). Casilda is still especially venerated at Saragossa, Toledo, and Burgos. She is invoked in time of war (Roeder).
Demetrius, Concessus, Hilary & Comp. MM (RM)
Date unknown. This group includes martyrs from various places but nothing is known about them (Benedictines).
Dotto, Abbot (AC)
6th century. Saint Dotto is said to have been the abbot of a monastery in the Orkney Islands that is named after him and to have lived to a very venerable age (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Eupsychius of Caesarea M (RM)
(also known as Eupsyque)
Died 362. Before he was martyred under Julian the Apostate, Saint Eupsychius was a newly-wed in Caesarea, Cappadocia, and the leader of a group of Christians accused of attacking the pagan god Fortuna by destroying her temple, the last in the area. In addition to the physical persecution of Christians here during his march to Antioch, Julian confiscated all the goods of the Christian churches, including books and sacred vessels. The clergy were forced into hard labor and Christians heavily taxed. Upon his departure, Julian ordered the Christians to rebuild the pagan temples; instead, they built a church on the site of the temple of Fortuna, where Saint Basil celebrated the feast of Eupsychius on April 8, 370, to which he invited all the bishops of Pontus (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Gaucherius of Aureil, OSA Abbot (AC)
(also known as Gaultier, Walter)
Died April 9, 1140; canonized by Pope Celestine III. His spiritual vocation led him to found and govern two monasteries in the Limousin region: Saint John at Aureil for Augustinian canons regular and Saint Stephen of Grandmont at Muret. He fell from a horse and died at the age of 80 (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Hedda and Companions, OSB MM (AD)
(also known as Haeddi)
Died c. 870. Hedda was the abbot of Peterborough (Medehampstead). He and 84 monks of his community were slain by the Danes, who that same year killed Saint Edmund of East Anglia. Hedda and his monks are venerated as martyrs, even though modern scholars believe that the motivation for the murders was booty and not the hatred of Christianity. In the later Middle Ages the "Hedda stone" stood in the cemetery over the grave of the martyrs. Holes were cut into the slab to hold candles for using it as an altar at which to say Mass--a custom started by abbot Godric. In the 17th century, pilgrims would put their fingers into the holes, perhaps to take dust as a souvenir (Benedictines, Farmer).
Hermogenes, Caius & Companions MM (RM)
Date unknown. Hermogenes, Caius, Expeditus, Aristonicus, Rufus and Galata are Armenian martyrs who are believed to have suffered at Melitene (Benedictines).
Hugh of Rouen, OSB B (RM)
Died 730. Saint Hugh became a monk at either Fontenelle or Jumièges at a very early age. Then he was called to be primicerius of Metz and, shortly thereafter, in 722, bishop of Rouen and Paris while still abbot of Fontenelle and Jumièges. During his tenure in these offices Hugh fostered piety and learning. Before his death, however, he resigned them all and died at Jumièges as a simple monk (Benedictines).
In art, Saint Hugh is a bishop with a monstrance that the devil tries to wrest from him (Roeder). He is venerated at Fontenelle, Jumièges (Roeder).
Blessed John of Vespignano (AC)
Born at Vespignano (diocese of Florence), Italy; died 1331; cultus approved by Pius VII. During the civil wars, John devoted himself to works of charity among the refugees who flocked to Florence (Benedictines).
Madrun, Widow (AC)
(also known as Materiana)
5th century; a second feast is celebrated on October 19. According to a dubious vita, Madrun was the daughter of Vortimer and wife of Ynyr Gwent, ruler of the area around Caerwent (Monmouthshire). Following the battle described by Nennius in which Vortigern was killed, Madrun fled with the youngest of her three children, Ceidio, first to Carn Fadryn and then to Cornwall. She was either Welsh or Cornish, and churches are dedicated to her honor in Tintagel and Minster (near Boscastle), where she was buried (Benedictines, Farmer).
Marcellus of Avignon B (RM)
Born in Avignon, France; died 474. Saint Marcellus was educated by his own brother Saint Petronius, bishop of Die (not of Saint-Dié), and later succeeded him. Marcellus was consecrated by Bishop Saint Mamertius of Vienne. Marcellus suffered much from the Arians and died after a long episcopate. Meanwhile, Mamertius was censured by the Holy See for the consecration without the proper authority (Benedictines). Saint Marcellus is portrayed as a bishop leading a dragon with his stole around its neck. (This is typical of several saints because casting the stole round the creature's neck was the accepted way of subduing dragons or devils.) Marcellus is venerated at Avignon (Roeder).
Martyrs of Sirmium (RM)
Died c. 303. A group of seven anonymous virgin martyrs who suffered under Diocletian at Sirmium (Mitrovica) in the Balkans (Benedictines).
Martyrs of Pannonia (RM)
Date unknown. This group may possibly be the same as the one above. The Roman Martyrology states: "At Sirmium in Pannonia the passion of seven holy virgins and martyrs." Modern research has found no further particulars about them (Benedictines).
Mary of Cleophas, Matron (RM)
(also known as Mary of Alpheus or Clopas)
1st century. Mary of Cleophas, the 'other Mary,' followed our Lord to Calvary (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25) and saw Him after His Resurrection (Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10). She was the mother of James the Younger, Joseph (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40), Simon, and Jude; wife of Cleophas (John 19:25); and sister of the Blessed Virgin (John 19:25).
Later legend says that Mary went to Spain, where she died at Ciudad Rodrigo. Another legend had her accompanying Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, and Martha to Provence. Both these stories are unreliable (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill).
Mary Cleophas is normally portrayed with all four of her children. Occasionally the sons carry the following emblems: Jude, a boat; Simeon, a fish; James, a palm branch or a mill (probably a fuller's mill); and Joseph Barsabas, three leaves or a cup. Mary Cleophas may also be portrayed with Mary Salome who together support the Virgin during the Crucifixion or are present with Mary Magdalene at the Resurrection (Roeder).
Massylitan Martyrs (RM)
Date unknown. Little is known of these African martyrs, although they are mentioned by Saint Bede and in ancient calendars. We have a sermon that was preached by Saint Augustine on their festivals. They probably suffered a Massyla, or the adjacent country, on the sea-coast of Africa (Husenbeth).
Prochorus of Nicomedia BM (RM)
1st century. One of the seven deacons ordained the by Apostles. Tradition says that he afterwards became bishop of Nicomedia and was martyred at Antioch (Benedictines).
Blessed Reginald Montesmarti, OP (AC)
Born in Montesmarti (near Orvieto), Italy, in 1292; died at Piperno, Italy, 1348; cultus approved in 1877 (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Roman Captives (RM)
Died in Persia, 362. Nine thousand Christians, including Bishop Heliodorus, the ancient priests Dausas and Mariabus, and many other priests and nuns, were captured by Persians who besieged Bethzarbe Castle on the Tigris. The bishop died on the road after ordaining Dausas as his successor, even though canon law requires three bishop for episcopal consecration except in necessity. Daily the captives celebrated the Eucharist with Dausas. When they arrived in Assyria, 300 were given the option of worshipping the sun or dying. Twenty-five apostatized and were rewarded with gifts of land. The others remained constant and were all massacred together. Details can be found in Sozomen (Ecclesiastical History 2) and their original Chaldaic acts (Husenbeth).
Theodore and Companions, OSB MM (AC)
Died c. 870. This is another group martyred by the invading Danes. Theodore, abbot of Croyland, and several others of his large community were mentioned by name: Askega, prior; Swethin, subprior; Elfgete, deacon; Savinus, subdeacon; Egdred and Ulrick, acolytes; Grimkeld and Agamund (Argamund), both centenarians (Benedictines).
Blessed Thomas of Tolentino & Comp., OFM MM (AC)
Born in Tolentino, Italy; died 1321; cultus approved in 1894. Thomas became a Franciscan and went into the mission fields in Armenia and Persia. He was on his way to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), with a view to proceeding to China, when he was seized and beheaded by the Islamics in the East Indies. Three companions Blessed James of Padua (cultus approved 1809) and Peter of Siena, Franciscans, and Demetrius of Tiflis, layman, suffered with him (Benedictines).
Blessed Ubald Adimari, OSM (AC)
Born in Florence, Italy, in 1246; died 1315; cultus confirmed in 1821. Born into Ghebelline nobility, Ubald was notorious for his wild and dissolute life. In 1276, he was converted by Saint Philip Benizi, who admitted him to the Servite institute. Ubald spent the rest of his life on Mount Senario, a model to penitent souls (Benedictines).
Waldetrudis of Mons, OSB Widow (RM)
(also known as Vaudru, Waltrude, Waudru)
Died April 9, c. 686-688. The family of Saint Waudru, patroness of Mons (Belgium), was amazingly holy, too. Both her parents (Walbert and Bertille) and her sister (Aldegund) were canonized. Her four children were also declared saints (Landericus, Dentelin, Aldetrude, and Madelberte) and so was her husband (Madelgaire).
Madelgaire was the count of Hennegau (Hainault), and one of the courtiers of King Dagobert I. After their children were born both he and Waudru longed to live lives totally devoted to meditation and prayer. He retired to an abbey he had founded at Haumont near Maubeuge, where he took the name Vincent. For two additional years, Waudru remained in the world, devoting herself to the care of the poor and the sick under the direction of Saint Gislenus.
After Madelgaire's death, Waudru received the religious veil from Saint Autbert in 656, built a tiny home for herself near Castriloc (Châteaulieu), and, giving away her possessions, lived there alone. Though she clung to her solitude, her great wisdom and piety meant that countless men and women pressed on her for advice. Eventually Waudru had so many followers that she was obliged to found her own convent at Châteaulieu. She dedicated this convent to the Mother of Jesus, and around it grew the present town of Mons. By the time of Waudru's death she had become famous not only for her charity but also for her miraculous powers of healing, her patience in the face of trials, continual fasting, and prayer. Her relics are considered the most precious treasure of the church that bears her name in Mons (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth, Walsh).
In art, Saint Waudru is depicted protecting her children under her mantle, offering her husband a crucifix, and refusing a crown of roses (Roeder). She is venerated in Mons (Roeder).
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.