Bishop Saint Stanislaus, Martyr
Agericus of Tours, OSB Abbot (PC)
(also known as Acry, Agery, Aguy, Airy)
Died c. 680. Saint Agericus was a disciple of Saint Eligius, who became abbot of Saint Martin's in Tours, France, and spent himself entirely for his abbey (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Aid of Achad-Finglas, Abbot (AC)
Date unknown. Abbot Saint Aid of Achard-Finglas, County Carlow, Ireland, may be identical with Saint Aed Maedhog. He is the titular of a church, an abbey, and several chapels (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Antipas of Pergamus BM (RM)
Died c. 90. Saint John calls Antipas, bishop of Perganum, Asia Minor, "my faithful witness" in Revelation 2:13; he died under Domitian, imprisoned in a bronze bull and roasted over the fire. His tomb was the site of many miracles (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Barsanuphius of Gaza, Hermit (RM)
Died c. 540. An Egyptian who for 50 years lived in absolute seclusion for the love of God, near the monastery of Saint Seridon of Gaza, Palestine, Saint Barsanuphius is greatly venerated by the Greeks who keep his feast on February 6. He 'conversed' only through his letters which have been preserved. A village near Sipontum (current Manfredonia) in southern Italy claims to possess his relics (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Domnio and Companions MM (RM)
Date unknown. According to an old legend, Saint Domnio was one of the 72 commissioned by Jesus to preach. The story continues that Saint Peter sent him from Rome to evangelize Dalmatia, where he was martyred as the first bishop of Salona. A more likely version of the tale says that Domnio was martyred during the persecution of Diocletian (Benedictines).
Eustorgius of Nicomedia M (RM)
Died c. 300. Eustorgius, a priest of Nicomedia, Asia Minor, was probably martyred under Diocletian (Benedictines).
Gemma Galgani V (RM)
Born at Borgo Nuovo di Camigliano near Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, 1878; died April 11, 1903; beatified in 1933; canonized in 1940.
Gemma's was the daughter of a poor pharmacist. Her mother died when she was seven, and from then on her life was one of domestic trials and great physical and spiritual pain. Through it all, however, she remained at peace and was the subject of extraordinary supernatural phenomena--visions, ecstasies, revelations, supernatural knowledge, visible conversations with her guardian angel, prophecy, miracles, recurring periodic stigmata, and diabolic assaults.
When she was 18, her father died, and Gemma joined the household of Matteo Giannini at Lucca as a domestic servant. She wished to join the Passionist congregation of which her spiritual director was a member, but she was prevented from doing so by her physical frailties, which included a condition of the spine (tuberculosis). Later Gemma believed herself to have been cured of the tuberculosis by the intercession of Saint Gabriel Possenti, who had himself died of consumption.
She was of a remarkably fervent religious disposition. Between 1899 and 1901, she was subject to various supernatural phenomena, which were carefully investigated by her confessor, Father Germano. For over 18 months she suffered the stigmata of Christ's Crucifixion and marks of His scourging while she prayed. She experienced visions of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and her guardian angel. When she spoke in ecstasies, the sound of her voice changed, and listeners recorded her words.
At other times, however, she seemed to suffer possession and performed such acts as spitting on a crucifix and breaking a rosary. Throughout her life she patiently endured her spiritual and physical sufferings--which included the scorn of unbelieving relatives and townspeople--and practiced severe austerities.
She died an early death on Holy Saturday and shortly thereafter a popular cult developed. Her popularity increased in 1943, when her correspondence with her spiritual director was published. She was canonized, despite much opposition because of some of the phenomena connected with her, based not on the phenomenal nature of her religious experiences but on the holiness of her life (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).
Blessed George Gervase, OSB M (AC)
Born in Bosham, Sussex, England; died at Tyburn, England, in 1608; beatified in 1929. In his youth, George had an adventurous career with Francis Drake in the West Indies. Later he was educated for the priesthood and entered the Benedictines at Douai. In 1603 George was ordained to the priesthood and sent to the English mission, where he was condemned and died for his priesthood (Benedictines).
Godeberta of Noyon, Abbess V (AC)
(also known as Godebertha)
Born in the diocese of Amiens, France; died at Noyon, c. 700. In 567, Godeberta received the veil from Saint Eligius, bishop of Noyon, who also composed a rule for the convent of which she was the first abbess. It is said that she was a discrete advisor of Saint Eligius (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Guthlac of Croyland, OSB Hermit (AC)
Born in Mercia, c. 673; died at Crowland, Lincolnshire, England, in 714; feast day formerly on April 12; feast of his translation is August 30 and there is a commemoration on August 26.
As a young man of royal blood from the tribe of Guthlacingas, Guthlac had been a soldier for nine years, fighting for Ethelred, the King of Mercia. At age 24, he renounced both violence and the life of the world and became a monk in an Benedictine double abbey at Repton, which was ruled by an abbess named Elfrida.
Even in these early years his discipline was extraordinary. Some of the monks in fact disliked him because he refused all wine and cheering drink. But he lived down the criticism and gained the respect of his brothers. After two years in the monastery it seemed to him far too agreeable a place. On the feast of Saint Bartholomew about 701, he found a wet, remote, unloved spot on the River Welland in the Fens, which could be reached only by boat, and lived there for the rest of his life as a hermit, seeking to imitate the rigors of the old desert fathers.
His temptations rivalled theirs. Wild men came out of the forest and beat him. Even the ravens stole his few possessions. But Guthlac was patient, even with wild creatures. Bit by bit the animals and birds came to trust him as their friend. A holy man named Wilfrid once visited Guthlac and was astonished when two swallows landed on his shoulders and then hopped all over him. Guthlac told him, "Those who choose to live apart from other humans become the friends of wild animals; and the angels visit them, too- -for those who are often visited by men and women are rarely visited by angels."
Apparently, Guthlac was also had a vision of Saint Bartholomew, his patron. Nor was he entirely alone in his refuge: He had several disciples, Saints Cissa, Bettelin, Egbert, and Tatwin, who had cells nearby. Bishop Hedda of Dorchester ordained him to the priesthood during a visit. The exiled prince Ethelbald, often came to him for advice, learned from Guthlac that he would wear the crown of the Mercians.
When he was dying, Guthlac sent for his sister, Saint Pega, who was a hermitess in the same neighborhood (Peakirk or Pega's church). Abbess Edburga of Repton sent him a shroud and a leaden coffin. A year after his death, Guthlac's body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. Soon his shrine, to which his sister had donated his Psalter and scourge, began popular. When both King Wiglaf of Mercia (827-840) and Archbishop Ceolnoth of Canterbury (who was cured by Guthlac of the ague in 851) became devotees, Guthlac's cultus grew and spread. A monastery was established on the site of Saint Guthlac's hermitage, which developed into the great abbey of Crowland, to which his relics were translated in 1136. There was another translation in 1196.
Guthlac's vita was recorded in Latin by his near contemporary Felix. Several others were composed in Old English verse and prose. Together with Saint Cuthbert, Guthlac was one of England's most popular pre-Conquest hermit saints (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Farmer, Gill, Husenbeth).
In art, Saint Guthlac is depicted holding a scourge in his hand and a serpent at his feet. At times he may be shown (1) receiving the scourge from Saint Bartholomew; (2) being ordained priest by Saint Hedda of Winchester; or (3) with devils molesting and angels consoling him (Roeder). A magnificent pictorial record of his life survives in the late 12th-century Harleian Roll Y.6 at the British Museum, which is usually called the Guthlac Roll. This is a series of eighteen roundels, cartoons for stained glass windows, based on Felix's vita and the pseudo-Ingulph's history of Crowland.
Crowland also has several 13th-century sculptures of his life. Abbot Henry of Crowland's 13th-century seal depicts Guthlac receiving a scourge from Saint Bartholomew for fending off diabolical attacks (Farmer). He is venerated in Lincolnshire (Roeder).
Isaac of Spoleto, Hermit (RM)
(also known as Isaac of Monteluco)
Died c. 550. Saint Isaac was a Syrian monk who fled from the Monophysite persecution and founded a laura at Monteluco, near Spoleto, Umbria, Italy. He was one of the restorers of eremitical life in 6th century Italy (Benedictines).
Blessed John of Cupramontana, OSB Cam. (AC)
Died 1303. John lived in the cave of Cupramonatan on Mount Massaccio for many years as a Camaldolese monk-hermit (Benedictines).
Machai of Bute, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Maccai)
5th century. Machai, a disciple of Saint Patrick, founded a monastery on the isle of Bute (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Maedhog- Aedhan, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Aedhan, Mogue)
6th century. The Irish Abbot Saint Maedhog of Clonmore, was closely associated with SS. Onchu and Finan (Benedictines).
Philip of Gortyna B (RM)
Died c. 180. An early bishop of Gortyna, Crete, Saint Philip authored a now-lost work against the Marcionite Gnostics (Benedictines).
Blessed Raynerius Inclusus, Hermit (AC)
Died 1237. Raynerius Inclusus (i.e., 'shut up') lived as a hermit in a cell near the cathedral of Osnabrück. He spent 22 years in his cell wearing a coat of mail and heavy chains next to his skin (Benedictines).
Stanislaus Szczepanowsky BM (RM)
(also known as Stanislaus of Cracow)
Born at Szczepanow, Poland, on July 26, 1030; died at Cracow, Poland, on April 11, 1079; canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1253; feast day formerly on May 7.
Stanislaus was born to noble parents who had been childless and prayed for a child. They raised him religiously, encouraging him in his devotion to God. He was educated at Gnesen and Paris, and was ordained a priest by Bishop Lampert Zula of Cracow. He was given a canonry in the cathedral and was later appointed preacher and archdeacon by the bishop.
His expressive preaching and good example brought about a spiritual revival among his congregation, and he was sought out by clergy and laymen for his spiritual advice. He was generous to the poor and was successful in bringing about religious reforms. The bishop wished to resign his office to Stanislaus, but Stanislaus convinced him not to. When the bishop died, however, Stanislaus was chosen to succeed him; after Pope Alexander II endorsed the choice, he was consecrated in 1072. He was a tireless preacher, zealous reformer, and generous benefactor to the poor.
Now the story becomes a little confused. Stanislaus is greatly venerated in Poland as a martyr, but there is much uncertainty about the events which led to his violent death.
At that time Poland was governed by Boleslaus II--"King Boleslav the Cruel"--whose virtues were eclipsed by his unbridled lust and savage cruelty. The story commonly told is that Stanislaus chastised King Boleslaus for his disordered private behavior. At first the king did what many of us do--he tried to justify his actions, but the saint pressed the ruler until he was temporarily brought to repentance. But his good intentions did not last long, and he had the beautiful wife of one of his noblemen kidnapped and taken to his palace. Stanislaus was the only one of the clergy or offended nobility brave enough to confront Boleslaus, whom he reprimanded for his action. Finding this to be in vain, he excommunicated the king, and the king feigned nonchalance.
When Boleslaus entered the cathedral of Cracow, Stanislaus halted the services. Enraged, Boleslaus followed him to the chapel of Saint Michael outside the city and ordered his guards to kill him. The men returned and said that they could not kill him because he was surrounded by a divine light. Upbraiding his men for their cowardice, the king himself entered the chapel and killed Stanislaus as he was celebrating the Mass. The guards cut the body up and scattered it to be eaten by wild animals. Three days later his remains were collected by cathedral canons and buried at the door of the chapel.
It is probable that the murder was motivated by politics--some historians hold that Stanislaus was conspiring to dethrone Boleslaus--but the available evidence is variously interpreted by historians. Boleslaus's action, however, did speed his fall from power. Pope Saint Gregory VII placed Poland under an interdict and Boleslaus fled the country, dying as a fugitive in Hungary (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Walsh, White).
Stanislaus, the symbol of Polish nationhood, is the patron saint of Poland and Cracow. He is depicted in art being hacked to pieces at the foot of an altar (Roeder, White). He is invoked by soldiers in battle (Roeder), and is the patron of Poland. His cultus extends also to Lithuania, Byelorussia, and the Ukraine (Farmer).
Blesseds Stephen & Hilderbrand, OSB Cist. MM (PC)
Died 1209. Stephen, a Cistercian abbot, and Hilderbrand, one of his monks, were killed by the Albigenses at Saint-Gilles, Languedoc, where they are venerated through a popular cultus (Benedictines).
Blessed Waltmann of Cambrai, O. Praem., Abbot (AC)
Died 1138. Waltmann accompanied Saint Norbert to Cambrai to preach against heresy. He remained there as abbot of Saint Michael's of Anvers, which he directed with great vigor (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.