St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

April 27



Adelelmus of Flanders, Hermit (PC)
Born in Flanders; died 1152. Saint Adelelmus was a disciple of Saint Bernard of Thiron. He founded the monastery of Etival-en-Charnie (Benedictines).


Anthimus of Nicomedia BM (RM)
Born in Nicomedia, Bithynia; died 303. Bishop Anthimus of Nicomedia was beheaded under Diocletian for his confession of the Christian faith. His death was followed by a wholesale slaughter of the Christian communities in the area. In addition, life in the area was made unbearable for altars to the pagan gods were set up in every public place, including the courts and markets. Individuals were required to sacrifice in order to transact any type of business (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).


Blessed Antony de'Patrizi, OSA (AC)
Born in Siena, Italy; died 1311; cultus confirmed in 1804. Antony joined the hermit friars of Saint Augustine at Monticiano, where he later became the superior (Benedictines).


Asicus of Elphin B (AC)
(also known as Assicus, Assic, Tassach)



Castor and Stephen MM (RM)
Date unknown. Castor and Stephen suffered martyrdom at Tarsus in Cilicia in one of the early persecutions. They may be identical to Saints Castor and Dorotheus (Benedictines).


Enoder, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Cynidr, Keneder, Quidic)

6th century. Saint Enoder is said to be one of the grandsons of the prolific Welsh chieftain, Brychan. He may be identical to Saint Enodoch. Enoder's memory is perpetuated by Llangynidr in Brecknockshire, and possibly Saint Enoder or Enodoc in Cornwall (Benedictines).


Floribert of Liége B (AC)
Died 746. Floribert is often confused with the abbot of Ghent who bears the same name. This bishop is described as "vehement in correcting" (Attwater2, Benedictines).


Blessed Hosanna of Cattaro, OP Tert. V (AC)
(also known as Ossana)

Born in Kumano, Montenegro, in 1493; died 1565; cultus confirmed in 1928; beatified in 1934. Catherine Kosic (Cosie) was baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. As a young girl, whe tended her family's sheep; thus, left alone for long periods of time, she developed a habit of contemplative prayer. One day while watching the flocks, she saw a pretty child lying asleep on the grass. Attracted by its beauty, she went to pick up the baby, but it disappeared, leaving Catherine with a feeling of great loneliness.

She told her mother about the incident but received little understanding; her mother told her that God didn't appear to such poor people, and that the Christ Child was simply a figment of her imagination. After several more apparitions of which she wisely said nothing, Catherine developed a desire to visit Cattaro because there were several churches there in which she felt that she could pray better. Her mother thought this urge was unreasonable, but she finally arranged for Catherine to go to Cattaro as a servant of a wealthy woman. Her mother gave little thought to the fact that the woman was a pious Catholic, but the girl rejoiced in her good luck. At the age of 12, Catherine settled down as a servant to the kindly woman who made no objection to the fact that Catherine's errands invariably led her past the church, where she would stop for a visit.

After a few years of the pleasant life, Catherine consulted her spiritual director about becoming a recluse. He thought her too young, but she continued to insist. After much prayer and discussion, they decided that she should follow the life of a hermit.

In the Middle Ages, it was common for every church or place of pilgrimage to have one or more cells in which solitaries dwelt in prayer and penance. Such a cell was built near the Saint Bartholomew's in Cattaro. It had a window through which the anchorite could hear Mass and another tiny window to which people would come occasionally to ask for prayers or to give food. Catherine was conducted to her cell in solemn ceremony, and, after making promises of stability, the door was sealed.

In response to a vision, she was later transferred to a cell at the Church of St. Paul, where she followed the rule of the tertiaries of Saint Dominic for 52 years. Upon becoming a Dominican, she chose the name Osanna, in honor of Blessed Osanna of Mantua, a Dominican tertiary who had died in 1505.

The life of an anchorite is barren of comforts and replete with penances. Even without the spiritual punishments that she endured, it was a rugged life. Osanna wore the coarsest of clothes, ate almost nothing, and endured the heat and cold and misery of enclosure in a small space for half a century. Her tiny cell, however, was often bright with heavenly visitors. Our Lord appeared to her many times, usually in the form of the beautiful baby she had seen while tending her flocks. Our Lady visited, too, with several of the saints, as well as demons who attempted to distract her from prayer. Once the devil appeared to her in the form of the Blessed Virgin and told her to modify her penances. By obedience to her confessor, she managed to penetrate this clever disguise and vanquish her enemy.

Although she lived alone, there was nothing selfish about Osanna's spirituality. A group of her Dominican sisters, who considered her their leader, consulted her frequently and sought her prayers. A convent of sisters founded at Cattaro regarded her as their foundress, because of her prayers, although she never saw the place. When the city was attacked by the Turks, the people ran to her for help, and they credited their deliverance to her prayers. Another time, her prayers saved them from the plague (Benedictines, Dorcy).


Blessed James of Bitetto, OFM (AC)
James received the habit of Saint Francis at Zara, but served as a lay brother at Bitetto, near Bari in southern Italy. James possessed heroic humility and reached the heights of heaven in his contemplation. During the process of beatification, a fellow friar testified that he had seen James levitate during prayer and heard him accurately predict the future.

While James was the cook of the abbey at Conversano (18 miles from Bari), he would contemplate the cooking fire and see the fires of hell or the spark of God's love that ignites hearts. Often he would be found in the kitchen, motionless, rapt in ecstatic contemplation. This happened one morning as he was fixing beans for that night's dinner. He stood with his hand in the beans, tears streaming down his face into the vessel before him. Thus he was found by the duke on whose estate the monastery was founded. King Ferdinand I's courtier watched in amazement before declaring, "Blessed are the religious brethren whose meals are seasoned with such tears." Later that day James, learning of the duke's presence, went to him and asked what he would like for his dinner. The nobleman replied that he wanted nothing but some of the beans seasoned with James' tears.

Eventually James was sent back to Bitetto where he died and where his incorrupted body remains. Many miracles attributed to James' intercession have been recorded (Benedictines, Husenbeth).


John of Constantinople, Abbot (RM)
Died 813. Abbot Saint John governed Cathares Abbey in Constantinople. For his staunch defense of the veneration of images, he was imprisoned and exiled by the iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Armenian (Benedictines).


Laurence Hung M (AC)
Born in Tonkin (Vietnam), c. 1802; died 1856; beatified in 1909; canonized in 1988 as one of the Martyrs of Vietnam. There were several major persecutions of Christians in was is today known as Vietnam. In 1847, they were revived when Christians were suspected of complicity in rebellion, while Spanish and French efforts to protect their nationals created a xenophobic and anti-Christian fervor. Christians were marked on their faces with the words ta dao (false religion). Families were separated. Christian villages were destroyed and their possessions distributed. Laurence was a native priest, who was beheaded near Ninh-biuh in western Tonkin, during this period (Benedictines, Farmer).


Liberalis of Ancona (AC)
Died c. 400. Father Liberalis worked zealously in the district around Ancona to convert the Arians and, of course, he suffered much at their hands. His relics are enshrined at Treviso (Benedictines).


Blessed Maria Antonia Bandres y Elosegui (AC)
Born at Tolosa (Guipuzcoa), Spain, March 6, 1898; died at Salamanca, Spain, April 27, 1919; beatified May 12, 1996. More will be added in 2000.


Blessed Mariana of Jesus, O. Merc. V (AC)
Born in Madrid, Spain, in 1565; died there in 1624; beatified by Pius VI. Known as the "Lily of Madrid," Mariana was a Discalced Mercedarian in Madrid, where she distinguished herself by her life of penance (Benedictines).


Maughold of Man B (AC)
(also known as Macaille, Maccaldus, Machalus, Machella, Maghor, Maccul) Died c. 488; feast day formerly December 28.

Saint Maughold was an Irish prince and reputedly a captain of robbers who was converted by Patrick. Upon his conversion, he became a new man by putting on the spirit of Christ. One version of the legend says that Patrick told him to put to sea in a coracle without oars as a penance for his evil deeds. Another says that he set sail in order to avoid the temptations of the world. In both stories, he retired to the Isle of Man (Eubonia) off the coast of Lancashire, England.

Earlier Patrick had sent his nephew, Saint Germanus, as bishop to plant the Church on the island. Germanus was succeeded by Saints Romulus and Conindrus during whose time Maughold arrived on the island and began to live an austere, penitential life in the mountainous area now named after him Saint Maughold. After their deaths, Maughold was unanimously chosen as bishop by the Manks.

In one of the 18 parish churchyards on the island can be found Saint Maughold's well. The very clear water of the well is received in a large stone coffin. Those seeking cures of various ailments, particularly poisoning, are seated in the saint's chair just above the well and given a glass of well-water to drink. Maughold's shrine was here until the relics were scattered during the Reformation.

Maughold, commemorated in both the British and Irish calendars, is described in the Martyrology of Oengus as "a rod of gold, a vast ingot, the great bishop MacCaille." Many topological features on the Isle of Man, which he divided into 25 parishes, bear Maughold's name. A church at Castletown, Scotland, is dedicated to him. William Worcestre said that he was a native of the Orkneys, and that his shrine was on the Isle of Man (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Gill, Husenbeth, Montague).


Blessed Nicolas Roland (AC)
Born at Rheims, France, 1642; died April 27, 1678; beatified October 16, 1994. More will be added in 2000.


Peter Armengol, O. Merc. M (RM)
Born in Tarragona, Spain, in 1238; died there in 1304; cultus confirmed 1686. Peter, born into the family of the counts of Urgell, exercised his boldness with a band of brigands before joining a Mercedarian community of monks in 1258. He devoted all his energy to the ransoming of captives, going so far as to offer himself as a hostage for 18 Christian children. His offer was accepted. Peter underwent horrible tortures during his African captivity, for which his is considered a martyr, although he actually died back in his hometown. His story, as we have received it, is unreliable (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Stephen Pechersky B
Died 1094. Saint Stephen, a disciple of Saint Theodosius, became abbot of the monastery of the Caves in Kiev upon the death of its founder. Later he built Blakhernae Monastery at Klov. In 1091, Stephen was consecrated bishop of Vladimir (Attwater2).


Tertullian of Bologna B (RM)
Died c. 490. Eighth bishop of Bologna (Benedictines).


Theodore the Sanctified, Abbot (RM)
(also known as Theodore of Tabenna)

Died April 27, c. 368; feast day in the East is May 16. Saint Theodore was a disciple of Saint Pachomius, whom he succeeded as abbot of Tabennisi and superior general of the whole "congregation." One of his miracles provides an early example of the efficacy of holy water as a sacramental (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Theophilus of Brescia B (RM)
Died after 427. Bishop of Brescia and successor to Saint Gaudentius (Benedictines).


Winebald of Beverley, OSB Abbot (AC)
(also known as Winewald)

Died c. 731. Saint Winebald succeeded Saint Bercthun as abbot of Beverley (Benedictines).


Zita of Lucca V (RM)
(also known as Sitha, Citha)

Born at Monte Sagrati, near Lucca, Tuscany, Italy; died in Lucca on April 27, 1278; liturgical cultus permitted locally by Leo X (early 16th century); canonized in 1696; name added to the Roman Martyrology in 1748 by Benedict XIV.

For two hundred years before and after the crowning of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day in 800 AD, female saints were obscured by time and circumstance. Thereafter, in the Age of Mysticism from about 1000 to 1500, we witness the re-emergence of saintly female mystics, such as Hildegard and Catherine of Siena.

Christian mysticism is an endeavor to reach a knowledge of and union with God directly and experientially. The mystic renounces his senses and the images they offer of God, seeking instead to wander down a negative road. Often, this type of contemplative prayer leads to abnormal psychic states that culminate in ecstasy, which is sanctified when perfectly united with God. The individuals who reach this state normally exhibit extraordinary self-knowledge and become fully free, unique human beings. The heightened mystical sense also leads to an ever more passionate love of God.

As will be shown frequently in these biographies of the saints, the mystical life in no way conflicts with the duties of any Christian state of life: married (e.g., Francis of Rome), avowed celibate (Saint Teresa of Avila), or domestic servant.

Saint Zita was born in a mountain village near Lucca into a very devout family. Her elder sister became a Cistercian nun and her uncle, Graziano, was a hermit who was locally regarded as a saint. From the age of 12, Zita was a domestic servant in the family of Pagano di Fatinelli of Lucca, a wool and silk merchant. This devoted woman, who was deeply religious, remained with this family all her life. She served it for 48 years--as maid servant, then housekeeper, and governess--and every member of the family had the deepest respect and affection for her.

There are numerous stories of her attention to household duties, of her care for beggars, of her devotion to religious practices, and of the fidelity with which she attended Mass each day of her adult life at the Church of San Frediano. The good food she was provided by her employer, she would distribute to the poor. More often than not, she could be found sleeping on the bare ground or lost in prayer, after having given up her bed to a beggar. Her work was part of her religion, as it should be for us, a way of serving God in our neighbor.

At first her fellow servants mocked her piety and kindness. Zita paid no attention, and in the end they grew to admire her. But her master was often irritated that she gave away so much. During a local famine she secretly gave away much of the family supply of beans. When her master inspected the kitchen cupboards, to Zita's relief the beans had been miraculously restocked (recall the similar story about Saint Frances of Rome). Another story tells that angels baked her bread while she was rapt in ecstasy

A characteristic story of her generous nature is of how one Christmas Eve, when she was setting out for the early morning service, the cold was so intense that her employer, seeing her in her thin gown, wrapped his own fur cloak round her shoulders, and insisted on her taking it. "But take care of it," he said, "and be sure to bring it back." At the church door, however, Zita saw a poor man in rags, numb with cold and begging for alms. She could never resist a beggar and on the impulse of the moment she took off her master's cloak and put it round him. "It will keep you warm," she said, "and you can return it to me when the service is over." But when she came out of the church, the man had gone, and in great distress she returned home without the cloak. Her employer, naturally, was angry, but what troubled Zita most was that, out of pity for another, she had abused his kindness.

The story had a happy sequel, for the next day a stranger came to the door and restored the missing cloak. People later decided that the poor old man must have been an angel in disguise, and so the door of the Church of San Frediano, Lucca, where he first appeared, is called the Angel Portal.

Zita was always moved by generous impulse, and endeared herself to all by her compassionate nature, and all her life long she was sustained by a simple and strong faith in God. Zita was embarrassed by the veneration in which her employers and neighbors held her later in life. Nevertheless, she was happy that some of her domestic duties were relieved because it gave her the time to tend to the sick, the poor, and prisoners. She had a special devotion to criminals awaiting execution, on whose behalf she would spend hours in prayer.

Zita died peacefully at the age of 60, having sanctified herself in a life of humble domestic tasks, and as the little Maid of Lucca is numbered among the saints. Immediately, a popular cultus developed around her tomb at San Frediano. Her cultus spread to other countries in the later Middle Ages, as testified by chapels in her honor as scattered as vat Palermo, Sicily, and Ely, England (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Farmer, Gill, Encyclopedia, Martindale, Walsh, White).

In art, Saint Zita is depicted in the working clothes of a maid servant with her emblem: keys. She may be shown (1) with a rosary, bag, and keys; (2) with a rosary; (3) with two keys and three loaves; (4) with keys and a book; (5) with a basket of fruit; (6) with a bag and book; (7) with a book and rosary; or (8) praying at a well (Roeder, White). She appears in mural paintings (Shorthampton, Oxon.), in stained glass (Mells and Langport, Somerset), and on rood screens in Norfolk (Barton Turf), Suffolk (Somerleyton), and Devon (Ashton) (Farmer).

Saint Zita is the patroness of housewives and servants. In England, she was known as Sitha and invoked by housewives and servants searching for lost keys or crossing raging rivers (White). She is still venerated at Lucca, where her body is housed in the Cappella di Santa Zita in the church of San Frediano (Jepson, 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.