St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

April 15



Basilissa & Anastasia MM (RM)
Died c. 62. The story is told that these two noble Roman women were converted to Christianity by the preaching of SS. Peter and Paul. After each of the apostles was martyred in Rome, Basilissa and Anastasia found their bodies and buried them secretly under the screen of night. This infuriated the authorities, who discovered who had buried the apostles and cast the two women into jail, eventually bringing them before the tribunal of Nero. Neither Basilissa nor Anastasia would renounce their Christian faith. In consequence, both were sentenced to be savagely mutilated--tongues ripped out and limbs cut off--before they were beheaded. Only the Greeks have recorded their story; many modern hagiographers doubt the existence of these ladies (Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Butler, Coulson, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

In art, SS. Basilissa and Anastasia are portrayed with their hands, feet, and heads cut off. They may also be shown burying the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul (Roeder).


Crescens of Myra M (RM)
Date unknown. A martyr in Myra, Lycia, Asia Minor, who perished at the stake (Benedictines).


Eutychius of Ferentino M (RM)
Date unknown. A martyr of Ferentino in the Roman Campagna (Benedictines).


Hunna of Alsace, Matron (AC)
(also known as Huva)

Died c. 679; canonized by Pope Leo X in 1520 at the urging of Duke Ulric of Würtemberg. The daughter of an Alsatian duke and widow of the nobleman Huno of Hunnaweyer, Saint Hunna devoted herself to the poor of Strasbourg. Hunna earned the title of "holy washerwoman" because she would lend a hand with any job--even to doing the laundry for the poor. Her family appears to have been influenced by Bishop Saint Deodatus of Nevers, because Hunna's son was named for and baptized by him. When he was of age, he entered the monastery founded by Deodatus, Ebersheimmünster near Strasbourg. A local cult developed after her death (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Walsh). Saint Hunna is represented as a noblewoman with linen near her; sometimes she is washing it for the poor and sick. She is venerated in Alsace. Patroness of laundresses (Roeder).


Joseph de Veuster (RM)
(also known as Father Damien)

Born January 3, 1840 at Tremeloo, Belgium; died April 15, 1889; declared venerable by Pope Pius VI in 1977; canonized by Pope John Paul II on June 3, 1995.

Joseph de Veuster studied at the College of Braine-le-Comte, and in 1860 joined the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (the Picpus Fathers), taking the name Damien. While still a novice in a Parisien monastery, volunteered for missionary work in the southern seas, and was refused because he was not yet ordained, but when one who should have gone was prevented through illness, Damien was allowed to go in his stead. His superiors need not have feared, for of the ten monks who sailed for Hawaii in 1864, Damien's name and work to outlive them all.

Damien was ordained in Honolulu two months after his arrival and was given a remote parish covering an area as large as his native Belgium, in a barren and volcanic land, where with no white colleague and no church building he began his work. He worked for nine years to evangelize the peoples of Puno and Kohala.

First he labored with his own hands under a blazing sun to build a chapel, then visited his parish from end to end, journeying past the craters and lakes of fire and through the sulphurous fumes or the mud which followed torrential rains. Often he took his life in his hands, as when once at midnight he burst into a secret burial cave where 30 natives were engaged in a ghoulish ritual. Without hesitation he interrupted the ceremony, spilling their vessels of animal blood and with angry scorn tearing to shreds their pagan symbols.

He is remembered most for his work among the lepers of Molokai, where the authorities had established a self-supporting leper settlement to which all who had contracted the high-contagious disease were compulsorily deported and where under appalling conditions they were left to their fate. When the call came in 1873 for a priest for Molokai, with the proviso that under new government regulations he must remain there for life, though whoever volunteered to go was almost certain to contract and die of the disease, Damien pleaded for the post.

Within an hour he was on his way. At Honolulu he transferred to a ship carrying 50 lepers, and at Molokai he was greeted by his new parishioners, who lined the beach in the last stages of disease and despair. He found only one hopeful sign among the squalor of his new surroundings--a rude wooden chapel, where his first act was to kneel in prayer. He spent that night in cleaning it, and was disturbed by the drunken laughter of the dissolute--for it was a lawless community, by the cries of the dying, and by the howling of the wild dogs that devoured the dead.

There follows the epic of his transformation of this living hell. In 1885, at the age of 49 he himself caught the disease, but crippled and deformed, he carried on, refusing to be transhipped for treatment. Before he died, four other priests and a band of nurses had joined him, and under his influence the island of death became a civilized welfare community.

Though he was often slandered during his lifetime, his holiness and dedication were quickly recognized after his death. (Robert Louis Stevenson wrote an impassioned defense of his character in 1905, which was used to support the canonization.) His body was brought home, and this man who was born a peasant and had spent his life, and sacrificed it, among the banished lepers of Molokai, was buried like a prince in Antwerp Cathedral (Delaney, Gill).


Blessed Laurentinus Sossius M (AC)
Died 485; cultus approved in 1867. Laurentinus was a five-year-old boy presumed to have been killed by the Jews on Good Friday. Laurentinus died at Valrovina (diocese of Vicenza), Italy (Benedictines).


Maro, Eutyches & Victorinus MM (RM)
Died c. 99. Maro, Eutyches, and Victorinus belonged to the entourage of Saint Flavia Domitilla, whom they accompanied in her exile to the island of Ponza. Eventually they returned to Rome and were martyred under Trajan. Eutyches was stabbed; Victorinus, hung upside down over a sulphur spring; Maro, beheaded (Benedictines).


Maximus and Olympiades MM (RM)
Died 251. These Persian noblemen were martyred by being beaten to death with crowbars under Decius (Benedictines).


Mundus of Argyle, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Munde, Mund, Mond)

Died c. 962. Saint Mundus was a Scottish abbot of a large abbey, who made several monastic foundations at Argyle, where he was once venerated as patron. His other heritage included excellent maxims relating to fraternal charity, meekness, the value of solitude, and the need to be aware of the Divine presence. The details of his career are obscure and he is often confused with Saint Fintan Munnu, but he was previously honored as the primary patron of Scotland (Attwater2, Benedictines, Husenbeth).


Blessed Nidger of Augsburg, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Nidgar, Nitgar)

Died c. 829. Nidger is said to have been abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Ottobeuren in Bavaria. He became bishop of Augsburg, Germany, in 822 (Benedictines).


Padarn of Vannes B (AC)
(also known as Patern(us), Pern)

Born in Brittany; died c. 500. First, I have to admit that there is a confusion of saints named Paternus, who all lived about the same period. This one appears to have been consecrated bishop of Vannes, Brittany, c. 465. One source says: "Following his father's example he became a monk, founded convents, churches; he went on pilgrimages and was appointed bishop of Vannes from which post he retired to die in peace (565)." However, the date is different and appears to refer to a saint honored tomorrow (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Ruadan of Lothra (Lorrha), Abbot (AC)
(also known as Ruadhan, Rodan)

Born in Leinster, Ireland; died 584. Saint Ruadan, born of royal Munster stock, became a disciple of Saint Finian of Clonard. Because he was the founding abbot of Lothra Monastery in Tipperary, where he directed 150 fervent monks who produced the masterpiece Stowe Missal, Ruadan is considered one of the 12 apostles of Ireland. He divided his time between prayer and manual labor sanctified by prayer. One legend of Ruadan involves the Cursing of Tara, wherein the saintly abbot invoked a solemn curse against the High King of Tara for violating the sanctuary of the monastery to capture the king of Connaught. It is said that the curse was so efficacious that Tara was ruined and deserted. His hand was preserved in a silver shrine at Lothra until the Reformation. The parish church of Lothra was built on to an ancient oratory, which may have been that of Ruadan (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth, Montague).


Silvester of Réome, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 625. Saint Silvester was the second abbot of Moutier- Saint-Jean at Réome in the diocese of Dijon, France (Benedictines).


Theodore and Pausilipus MM (RM)
Died c. 130. Martyrs near Byzantium under Hadrian (Benedictines).



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.