St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen M
(Optional Memorial)
April 24



Alexander and Comp. MM (RM)
Born in Greece; died 177. Saint Alexander was a friend and companion of Saint Epipodius. He was arrested and put to death in Lyons, France, together with 34 others (Benedictines).


Authaire of La Ferté (AC)
(also known as Oye)

7th century. Saint Authaire was a courtier at the palace of King Dagobert I of France and father of Saint Ouen of Rouen. He is the patron of the village of Le- Ferté-sous-Jouarre, where he usually resided (Benedictines).


Bova (Beuve, Bona) & Doda, OSB VV (RM)
7th century. Saint Bova, sister of Saint Balderic (Baudry) and near relative of King Dagobert, edified the royal court and entire kingdom by her virtues. She rejected all marriage proposals because she decided to devote herself to the service of God. After her brother founded Montfauçon Abbey, in 639 he built a convent near Rheims, where Bova ruled as abbess until her death c. 680. Her niece Doda followed in her footsteps and succeeded her as abbess. The relics of both saints were later translated to Saint Peter's Abbey in Rheims. Although their original vitae were destroyed in a fire, a later writer recorded the traditions related by the nuns in the 10th century (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).


Blessed Corona of Elche, OSB V (AC)
Date unknown. A Benedictine nun of Elche Abbey near Valencia, Spain (Benedictines).


Deodatus of Blois, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 525. Deodatus was either a hermit or an abbot in the area of Blois. At a later period the town of Saint-Dié grew up around his cell or monastery (Benedictines).


Dyfnan (AC)
5th century. One of the many saintly sons of the Welsh chieftain Brychan, Saint Dyfnan founded a church at Anglesey (Benedictines).


Egbert of Rathemigisi, OSB (RM)
Died April 24, 729. Saint Egbert was a Northumbrian monk of Lindisfarne who migrated to Ireland and lived at Rathelmigisi (Rathmelsigi) in Connaught. In 684, he unsuccessfully tried to dissuade King Egfrith from invading Ireland. At Rathelmigisi Egbert trained several bands of monks for the German missions that included Saints Wigbert and Willibrord. When his companion Ĉthelhun died of the plague and he contracted it, too, Egbert vowed voluntary exile for life if he recovered. Although he wanted to join the missionaries, his vow and a vision instructing him otherwise, led Egbert to become an admirable monk on the island of Iona in Scotland. There he attempted to induce the monks to adopt Roman liturgical practices. He succeeded at last: in fact, on the day of his death, Easter was celebrated at Iona for the first time according to the Roman reckoning. Egbert's feast is found in both the Roman and Irish martyrologies and in the metrical calendar of York (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Gill).


Eusebius, Neon,
Leontius, Longinus & Comp. MM (RM)

Date unknown. According to the Greek menologies, these were eight bystanders, who became Christians on witnessing the martyrdom of Saint George and were thereafter put to death. The legend must be studied in conjunction with that of George (Benedictines).


Fidelis of Sigmaringen, OFM Cap. M (RM)
Born in Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern, Germany, in 1577; died at Grüsch, Grisons, Switzerland, on April 24, 1622; canonized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1746.

In 1604, Mark Rey was teaching philosophy at the University of Freiburg-in-Breisgau, when he was appointed tutor to a small party of noble Swabian men who wanted to finish their education with supplementary studies in the chief cities of western Europe. During the six-year tour, Rey became greatly esteemed by his companions. He set them an example of religious devotion and goodness to the poor, to whom he sometimes literally gave the clothes off his back.

When he returned to Germany, he took his doctorate in law and began to practice as an advocate at Ensisheim in Upper Alsace. He gained a reputation for honesty and his refusal to use the vituperative language often then employed to level an opponent. His support of the poor led to the moniker "the Poor Man's Lawyer."

Repulsed by the unscrupulous measures used by his colleagues in practicing law, in 1612, he decided to enter the reformed Capuchin branch of the Franciscan Order, which his brother George had already joined. Mark Rey donated his wealth to the poor and to needy seminarians. After receiving holy orders, he took the name Fidelis. Upon completion of his theological course, he preached and heard confessions. Fidelis was successively appointed superior of Rheinfelden, Frieburg, and Feldkirch. During this last appointment, he reformed the town and outlying districts, and converted many Protestants. He also wrote a book of spiritual exercises that was translated into several languages.

His reputation grew due to his devotion to the sick, many of whom he cured during an epidemic. The bishop of Chur requested that his superiors send him, with eight other Capuchins, to preach among the Zwinglian Protestants in the Grisons of Switzerland. This was the first attempt since the Reformation to recover the area from heresy. Fidelis courageously pretended to disregard threats of violence. From the very beginning, the mission made inroads, and the newly established Congregation for the Spreading of the Faith formally appointed him leader of the Grison enterprise.

So great were his powers of preaching that he enjoyed tremendous success, which enraged his adversaries. They then worked to turn the peasants against him by representing him as an agent of the Austrian emperor, and avowing to him an intention to balk their national aspirations for independence. Forewarned, Fidelis spent several nights in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament preparing for death.

On April 24, 1622, he preached at Grüsch. He then travelled to Sewis, where, in the middle of a sermon on "One Lord, one faith, one baptism," a Protestant fired his musket at Fidelis. The bullet missed and lodged in a wall. In the following confusion the Austrian soldiers who were in the vicinity were attacked. When a Protestant offered to harbor Fidelis, the saint replied that his life was in God's hands. Fidelis attempted to return to Grüsch but was beset by opponents who demanded that he repudiate his faith. He refused, and as his murderers stabbed him with their weapons he called out to God to forgive them. (Another source says that one assassin's bullet missed him, but a second killed him.) A Zwinglian minister who was present was converted. The body of Fidelis now rests in Coira cathedral (Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Walsh, White).

Fidelis is depicted in art with a club set with spikes or a whirlbat (White). He emblem is heretics. Generally, he is portrayed with Saint Joseph of Leonissa. Saint Fidelis tramples on "Heresy" and an angel carries the palm of martyrdom. The Morning Star may also be shown in his icon (Roeder).


Blessed Francis Colmenario (AC)
Died 1590. Francis was a Spanish missionary priest who evangelized the West Indies and preached in Guatemala (Benedictines).


Gregory of Elvira B (RM)
Died c. 400. Bishop Saint Gregory of Elvira in southern Spain (now in the diocese of Granada) was one of the champions of the faith against Arianism. He was one of the few bishops at the Council of Rimini in 359 who consistently refused to compromise with the heretics. In good faith he sided with the party of Lucifer of Cagliari, but never left the communion of the Roman see (Benedictines).


Honorius of Brescia B (RM)
Died c. 586. Saint Honorius went from being a hermit near Brescia to bishop of the city about 577 (Benedictines).


Ivo of Huntingdonshire, Hermit B (AC)
(also known as Ivia, Yvo)

Date unknown. According to medieval legend, Saint Ivo was a Persian bishop who enjoyed great honor and luxury in his own land but he yearned for a more disciplined and arduous life. Together with three companions he went to England. They settled as a hermits in the remote, wild fenlands in Huntingdonshire. There they died (in the 7th century according to the legend), and would have been forgotten.

However, about 1001, this story was attached to some bones with a bishop's insignia found in Slepe (near Ramsey abbey). Saint Ivo may have had no historical existence, though Saint Ives in Huntingdonshire is named for him. Goselin ("Vita S. Yvonis" in Patrologia Latina, ed. J. P. Migne, civ. 84 ff), who died about 1107, says that Ivo's cultus had been extant for a century. Following a peasant's dream, these episcopal bones were unhesitatingly identified as those of Ivo.

The four bodies, including those presumed to be Ivo, were translated to Ramsey Abbey, where a holy well sprung up, at which many miracles were performed as recorded by Ramsey's third abbot, Whitman. About a century later, light appeared at night reaching from Ramsey to Slepe, which was interpreted as meaning that the bones of Ivo's companions should be translated back to Slepe, where a new foundation from Ramsey could enjoy this subsidiary shrine.

The Saint Ives, formerly Porth Ia, in west Cornwall, however, is named for Saint Ia (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Farmer, Husenbeth).

In art, Saint Ivo is portrayed as a Persian hermit with the attributes of a bishop. He is venerated at Huntingdonshire (Saint Ives, Ramsey) (Roeder).


(Mary) Euphrasia Pelletier V (RM)
Born on Noirmoutier Island, Brittany, France, in 1796; died at Angers, France, on April 24, 1868; beatified in 1933; canonized in 1940 by Pope Pius XII.

Rose Virginia Pelletier, one of ten children of a refuge doctor of the Vendée wars, studied at Tours and in 1814 joined the Institute of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge, founded by Saint John Eudes in 1641 to help wayward and endangered women. She was professed in 1816, taking the names Marie-Euphrasie, was elected superior in 1825 (age 29), and, at the bishop's invitation made a new foundation at Angers in 1829. Two years later, Mother Euphrasia founded a contemplative community to complement the active social work of the others.

Having done this successfully, Mother Euphrasia returned to Tours; but experience had suggested to her the desirability of radical changes in her congregation's organization. She decided that a new congregation under a central authority was needed rather than individual foundations under separate bishops. Of course, Mother Euphrasia met with opposition and was accused of being an ambitious, insubordinate innovator. Even her detractors, however, said that "she was capable of ruling a kingdom."

With modesty and determination she rode out the storm, and in 1835, papal approval was given to the Institute of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, dedicated to working with wayward girls, at Angers. The institute spread rapidly and by the time of Mother Euphrasia's death had thousands of sisters in 110 convents on four continents.

In all her work, Euphrasia provided the compassion and solicitude of the Good Shepherd to her sisters, penitents, and young girls in difficult family situations. Her strength and cheerfulness during the stormy times offer us an example of effectuating the gift of hope (Attwater, Benedictines, Bernoville, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).


Mellitus of Canterbury, OSB B (RM)
Died at Canterbury, England, on April 24, 624. Saint Mellitus was a Roman abbot, probably of Saint Andrew's Monastery on the Coelian Hill. He is one of the second band of monks sent by Pope Saint Gregory the Great to England in 601 in the wake of Saint Augustine. Gregory sent him a famous letter that modified the pope's earlier ruling to Augustine. Through Mellitus, Gregory told Augustine not to destroy the pagan temples of the Saxons but only their idols. The temples, he said, should be converted into churches and their feasts taken over and directed to Christian purposes, such as dedications. This directive was important for the whole direction of missionary activity.

In 604, after three years of mission work in Kent, Mellitus was consecrated the first bishop of the East Saxons, with his see in London. As bishop, Mellitus travelled to Rome to consult with Pope Saint Boniface IV. While in Rome Mellitus participated in a synod of Italian bishops concerning the life of monks and their relationship to bishops. The decrees of the synod he carried back to England, together with letters from the pope to Archbishop Saint Laurence of Canterbury and King Ethelbert of Kent, who had built the first church of St. Paul in London.

Mellitus converted the king of the East Saxons, Sabert (Sigebert or Saeberht). Unfortunately, his royal sons did not follow suit. When Sabert died about 616, his three pagan sons (Sexred, Seward, and Sigebert) succeeded him and drove Mellitus out; for they had asked him to give them the "white bread" (the Eucharist), and he had refused because they were not baptized (or had apostatized according to some). Mellitus withdrew to Gaul for a year with Saint Justus of Rochester, who had experienced a similar setback in Kent.

Laurence recalled them both. Soon after Mellitus's return in 619 he was made archbishop of Canterbury, in 619, to succeed Saint Laurence. Bede says of him that he suffered from gout but that in spirit he was healthy and active, ever reaching out to the things of God: "Noble by birth, he was yet nobler in mind." Bede attributes the change of wind that saved the church of the Four Crowned Martyrs in Canterbury from incineration to Mellitus's being carried into the path of the flames to pray. It was Saint Mellitus who built Saint Mary's church at Canterbury, of which a fragment remains outside the east end of the foundations of the abbey church of SS. Peter and Paul (now Saint Augustine's).

The feast of Saint Mellitus was observed on numerous English calendars before and after the Norman conquest. He is also mentioned in the commemoration of the dead in the Stowe Missal, together with Laurence and Justus. His relics can be found near those of Augustine in the abbey church of Saints Peter and Paul in Canterbury (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).

Saint Mellitus is portrayed in art as Saint Peter brings him a salmon to present to the king (Roeder).


Musa of Rome V (AC)
6th century. A child living in Rome who was favored with visions and other mystical experiences. She is referenced by Saint Gregory the Great, her contemporary (Benedictines).


Sabas and Companions MM (RM)
Died 272. Saint Sabas, a Christian officer of Gothic descent, was martyred with 70 companions in Rome under Aurelian. Some writers believe he is identical with the Saint Sabas celebrated on April 12 (Benedictines, Gill).


William Firmatus, Hermit (AC)
Died 1103. Saint William was both a canon and a physician at Saint-Venance. Because of a divine warning against avarice, William gave all his possessions to the poor and spent the rest of his life on pilgrimages and as a hermit at Savigny and Mantilly, where he is venerated (Benedictines).

In art, Saint William thrusts his arm in a fire. He may also be represented with a raven that shows him the way to the Promised Land. He is invoked against headache (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.