Pope Saint Martin, Martyr
Agathonica, Papylus (Pamfilus),
Carpus & Companions MM (RM)
Died at Pergamum c. 170 or 250. Eusebius (History of the Church, iv, 15) records that during the Decian persecution, Carpus, bishop of Gordus in Asia Minor; Papylus, deacon of Thyatira; Agathonica, the sister of Papylus; and Agathodorus, their servant, were arrested. They were brought before Valerius, the Roman governor at Pergamos in Asia Minor, examined three times, and required to sacrifice to the gods. The third time, Agathodorus, was scourged to death in front of his masters.
Still the Christians remained resolute. Carpus answered the proconsul Optimus:
"I am a Christian, I worship Christ, the Son of God, who came in these latter times for our salvation and delivered us from the snares of the devil. I will not sacrifice to such idols. The living do not sacrifice to the dead . . . (the gods) look like men, but they are unfeeling. Deprive them of your veneration . . . and they will be defiled by dogs and crows."
When the proconsul insisted, Carpus said:
"I have never before sacrificed to images that have no feeling or understanding . . . I have pity on myself, choosing as I do the better part."
Carpus was hung up to be tortured with iron claws that flayed the skin from his sides. He continued to answer steadfastly until the pain overcame his voice.
The attention of the judges turned next to Papylus, a wealthy father of many children according to his testimony. A bystander interpreted his words as "He means he has children in virtue of the faith of the Christians." Papylus agreed that this was correct. Like Carpus, he continued to refuse and was treated in the same fashion as the bishop. After a time of silent endurance, he said:
"I feel no pain because I have someone to comfort me: one whom you do not see suffers within me."
The last words of Carpus were:
"Blessed are You, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, because You judged me, a sinner, worthy to have this part in You!"
They refused to offer the oblations, and no arguments or ill treatment could overcome their resistance. They were therefore burnt alive in the amphitheater.
Saint Agathonica, a married woman, was admired by the crowd for her physical beauty. When they urged not to make her children motherless by her obstinacy, she replied, "God will look after them, but I will not obey your commands nor will I sacrifice to demons." She, too, went to the stake to be burnt to death. As the flames consumed her, she cried out: "Lord, Lord, Lord, help me, for I fly to You." The Christian witnesses came and took away the remains of the martyrs to cherish them.
Another version of the story relates that Agathonica was simply a woman in the crowd at the death of Carpus and Papylus, who was moved to share in their martyrdom, rather than the sister of the latter (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Farmer, Husenbeth).
Blessed Edward Catherick M (AC)
Born at Carlton, Yorkshire, England; died at York in 1642; beatified in 1929. Blessed Edward was educated for the priesthood at Douai. Upon his ordination, he returned to the mission fields of England, where he worked from 1635 until his execution (Benedictines).
Guinoc of Scotland B (AC)
(also known as Guinochus)
Died c. 838. Bishop Guinoc of Scotland is commemorated in the Aberdeen breviary and is especially venerated in Buchan. Some scholars believe that Guinoc was a counsellor to King Kenneth. It is said that Guinoc's prayers helped the king to vanquish the Picts in seven battles on a single day (Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).
Hermenegild, King M (RM)
Died c. 583-586. Son of the Visigoth King Leovigild of Spain and his first wife, Theodosia, Saint Hermenegild was raised in Arian court of Seville. He married the Christian Inezonde (Ingunda), daughter of Sigebert of Austrasia. His conversion to orthodox Christianity was the result of the fervent prayers and virtuous example of his wife, as well as the teaching of Archbishop Saint Leander of Seville. At his conversion, his father disinherited him, whereupon he rose in arms.
Hermenegild sent Saint Leander to Constantinople to garner support. Finding no assistance there, he begged the help of the Roman generals who still governed a strip of land along the Mediterranean coast. They took his wife and son as hostages and made promises that they failed to fulfill. After being besieged by his father's troops for a full year at Seville, Hermenegild fled to the Roman camp, only to find that his father had bribed them to betray him.
Almost without hope, Hermenegild sought refuge in a church at the altar, where not even his father would violate the sanctuary. Instead, Leovigild sent his son Reccared, another Arian, to offer Hermenegild forgiveness if he would repent. Hermenegild believed his father and was reconciled for a time. Some of his former dignities were restored until Leovigild's second wife, Gosvinda, succeeded in estranging the two again. This time Hermenegild was arrested for heresy, rather than treason, and imprisoned at Tarragona. He was promised liberty if he would recant his profession of faith.
On Easter Day, his father sent the Arian bishop to him, offering to restore him to favor if he would receive the Eucharist from the prelate. Hermenegild, fortified by prayer and penance since his arrest, refused absolutely. Enraged, his father sent soldiers to behead him--which was accomplished by one blow from an axe. Saint Gregory the Great attributes the conversion of Reccared and the whole of Visigothic Spain to the witness of Hermenegild; however, many dispute his entitlement to be honored as a martyr (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopedia, Walsh).
Saint Hermenegild is depicted in art as a young prince wearing armor and being borne to heaven while contemplating the crucifix. Angels carry an axe, chains, royal regalia, a palm, and a rose wreath. Heretical bishops and king stand below. He might also be shown as a prince with an axe (Roeder). Venerated in Spain (Roeder).
Blessed Ida of Louvain, OSB Cist. V (PC)
Born in Louvain; died c. 1300. Ida became a Cistercian at the convent of Rossendael (Vallis Rosarum-Rosenthal), near Malines. According to a somewhat dubious biography, she exhibited many amazing supernatural charisms. Her cultus still survives in Louvain and among the Cistercians (Attwater2, Benedictines).
Blessed Ida of Boulogne, Widow (AC)
Died 1113. Ida, daughter of Duke Godfrey IV (Dode) of Lorraine, was a descendent of Blessed Charlemagne. At age 17, she became the wife of Count Eustace II of Boulogne. She was the mother of Godfrey and Baldwin de Bouillon. After her husband's death, Ida endowed several monasteries in Picardy, and became a Benedictine oblate under the obedience of the abbot of Saint Vaast (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).
Blessed James of Certaldo, OSB Cam. (AC)
Born at Certaldo, Italy; died 1392. James Guidi, son of a knight of Volterra, joined the Camaldolese Benedictines at the abbey of Saints Clement and Justus in his hometown. He spent 40 of his 60 years there as parish priest of the abbey church. Twice he was offered and refused the abbacy. His example was so powerful that both his father and his brother also joined the abbey as lay brothers (Attwater2, Benedictines).
Blessed John Lockwood M (AC)
Born at Sowerby, Yorkshire, England; died at York in 1642; beatified in 1929. During the persecution of Catholics in England, John Lockwood, alias Lascelles, studied for the priesthood in Rome. After his ordination in 1597, he worked covertly in England for 44 years until his arrest in 1642. He was 81 years old when he was hanged, drawn, and quartered for the treasonable crime of being a Catholic priest (Attwater2, Benedictines).
Blessed Margaret of Cittą di Castello V (AC)
(also known as Margaret of Metola)
Born in at Meldola (or Metola, diocese of S. Angelo), Umbria, Italy, in 1287; died 1320; cultus approved in 1609.
Margaret was born blind into a poor, mountain family, who were embittered by her affliction. When she was five years old, they made a pilgrimage to the tomb of a holy Franciscan at Castello to pray for a cure. The miracle failing, they abandoned their daughter in the church of Cittą-di-Castello and returned to their home.
Margaret was passed from family to family until she was adopted by a kindly peasant woman named Grigia, who had a large family of her own. Margaret's natural sweetness and goodness soon made themselves felt, and she more than repaid the family for their kindness to her. She was an influence for good in any group of children. She stopped their quarrels, heard their catechism, told them stories, taught them Psalms and prayers. Busy neighbors were soon borrowing her to soothe a sick child or to establish peace in the house.
Her reputation for holiness was so great that a community of sisters in the town asked for her to become one of them. Margaret went happily to join them, but, unfortunately, there was little fervor in the house. The little girl who was so prayerful and penitential was a reproach to their lax lives, so Margaret returned to Grigia, who gladly welcomed her home.
Later, Margaret was received as a Dominican Tertiary and clothed with the religious habit. Grigia's home became the rendezvous site of troubled souls seeking Margaret's prayers. She said the Office of the Blessed Virgin and the entire Psalter by heart, and her prayers had the effect of restoring peace of mind to the troubled.
Denied earthly sight, Margaret was favored with heavenly visions. "Oh, if you only knew what I have in my heart!" she often said. The mysteries of the rosary, particularly the joyful mysteries, were so vivid to her that her whole person would light up when she described the scene. She was often in ecstasy, and, despite great joys and favors in prayer, she was often called upon to suffer desolation and interior trials of frightening sorts. The devil tormented her severely at times, but she triumphed over these sufferings.
A number of miracles were performed by Blessed Margaret. On one occasion, while she was praying in an upper room, Grigia's house caught fire, and she called to Margaret to come down. The blessed, however, called to her to throw her cloak on the flames. This she did, and the blaze died out. At another time, she cured a sister who was losing her eyesight.
Beloved by her adopted family and by her neighbors and friends, Margaret died at the early age of 33. From the time of her death, her tomb in the Dominican church was a place of pilgrimage. Her body, even to this day, is incorrupt.
After her death, the fathers received permission to have her heart opened. In it were three pearls, having holy figures carved upon them. They recalled the saying so often on the lips of Margaret: "If you only knew what I have in my heart!" (Attwater2, Benedictines, Dorcy).
In art, Margaret is pictured as a Dominican tertiary holding a cross, lily, and heart with two flames offered to the crucifix (Roeder).
Martin I, Pope M (RM)
Born in Todi in Umbria, Italy; died in the Crimea, September 16, 655; feast day was previously November 12 (November 10 in York); the Eastern Church celebrates his feast on September 20.
Martin became a deacon in Rome. He displayed a great intellect and charity, was sent by Pope Theodore I as nuncio (apocrisiarius) to Constantinople, and was elected pope in 649 to succeed Theodore I. At once, he convened the council at the Lateran that condemned Monothelitism (the denial that Christ had a human will), the Typos--the edict of the reigning Emperor Constans II, which favored it, and Heraclius's Ekethesis. Although he was supported by the bishops of Africa, England, and Spain, the imperial wrath fell upon the pontiff who was arrested by Constans and taken to Constantinople in 653.
He had taken refuge in the Lateran, but the officers broke in to capture him. His own letters give an account of how his health broke down under the long voyage and a three-month imprisonment on the island of Naxos en route. He writes:
"For forty-seven days, I have not been given water to wash in. I am frozen through and wasting away with dysentery. The food I get makes me vomit. But God sees all things and I trust in Him."
He was so ill when he arrived in Constantinople that he had to be carried to jail on a stretcher. He was tried for treason, although he was clearly being incarcerated for not accepting the Typos. He was condemned to death during his trial without being able to speak in his own defense. He was insulted publicly, flogged, and imprisoned. The intercession of the dying Patriarch Paul of Constantinople saved his life, but he was exiled to Kherson in the Crimea.
From exile he wrote of the bad treatment he received and berated the Romans for forgetting him while he had prayed steadily for their faith to remain in tact. It is likely that he died of starvation. He was the last pope to die a martyr. He is portrayed in art vested as a pope, holding money (alms); or with geese around him (possibly a confusion with Saint Martin of Tours); or seen through prison bars (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Farmer, White).
(also known as Mars)
Died c. 530. A sober-minded and austere native of Auvergne, Martius the hermit, attracted disciples. For them he founded the friary of Clermont in 530 in the mountains above the city. Some information about Martius is found in Saint Gregory of Tours' Vitae Patrum (Attwater2, Coulson, Encyclopedia).
Maximus, Dadas & Quintilianus MM (RM)
Died 303. Maximus, Dadas, and Quintilianus, brothers from Dorostorum (now Silistraia) on the Danube, Bulgaria, were beheaded at Ozobia under Diocletian. Maximus was a lector (Benedictines).
Ursus or Ravenna B (RM)
(also known as Ours)
Died 396. Bishop of Ravenna for 20 years, Ursus revived the celebration of the feasts of the saints in that city. Beyond that little is known of him (Attwater2, 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.