St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day

May 4

Antony du Rocher, OSB Abbot (AC)
6th century. Saint Antony was said to have been a disciple of Saint Benedict and a companion of Saint Maurus during his mission to France. He was the founder and abbot of Saint-Julian at Tours. His surname comes from his ending his days as a recluse on a spot called le Rocher. Only Francophiles still accept the story of Saint Maurus's French mission as factual (Benedictines).

Augustine Webster, O. Cart. M (RM)
Died May 4, 1535; canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. After studying at Cambridge, Father Augustine became a Carthusian and then in 1531 prior of the charterhouse at Axholme, England. While on a visit to the London charterhouse, he accompanied Saint John Houghton and Saint Robert Lawrence to a meeting with Thomas Cromwell, who had the three arrested and imprisoned in the Tower. When they refused to accept the Act of Supremacy of Henry VIII, they were dragged through the streets of London, savagely treated, and executed at Tyburn outside London (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).

Blessed Carthusian Martyrs (AC)
Died 1535-40; beatified in 1886. This entry includes 18 Carthusian monks martyred in England for their allegiance to the Holy See under Henry VIII (Benedictines).

Blessed Catherine of Parc-aux-Dames, OSB Cist. V (PC)
Born in Louvain, France, in the 13th century. Born to Jewish parents, her given name was Rachel. The duke of Brabant's chaplain was a frequent visitor to her home, and the little Rachel was an eager listener when he would defend the Catholic faith against the attacks of her Jewish father. At the age of 12, Rachel secretly left home, received baptism, and joined the Cistercians at Parc- aux-Dames, near Louvain, where she took the name Catherine and where she lived until her death (Benedictines).

Cunegund, OSB V (AC)
Died after 1052. Cunegund was a Benedictine nun of Niedermunster convent in Regensburg (Benedictines).

Curcodomus of Auxerre, Deacon (RM)
3rd century. Curcodomus, a Roman deacon, was sent by the pope to attend Saint Peregrinus, first bishop of Auxerre, on his mission in Gaul (Benedictines).

Cyriacus of Ancona BM (RM)
(also known as Quiriacus, Judas Quiriacus)

Died c. 133. Saint Cyriacus, patron of Ancona, Italy, is variously and unreliably conjectured to have been the legendary Jew named Judas Quiriacus, who revealed where the Cross was hidden to Empress Saint Helena. Later he was baptized, consecrated as bishop of Jerusalem, and martyred during the persecutions of Julian the Apostate. Otherwise, he is said to have been the bishop of Ancona who died or was killed during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, or he is styled as Bishop Judas of Jerusalem, who was killed during a riot there in 133. In other words, we don't really know who he was, but we have a 12th- century illumination of his martyrdom (Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney).

Ethelred of Bardney, OSB King (AC)
Died 716. Ethelred, king of Mercia, abdicated to become a monk at Bardney, where he was later elected abbot (Benedictines). Saint Ethelred is depicted as a Benedictine abbot with royal regalia at his feet. He is venerated at Leominster (Roeder).

Florian of Austria M (RM)
Born at Ems; died 304. Florian was an officer (princeps officiorum) in the Roman army, who held a high administrative post in Noricum (now in Austria). He had secretly been converted to Christianity. When the governor of Lorch, Aquilinus, on instructions from Diocletian ordered his soldiers to hunt down Christians, Florian decided he no longer wished to conceal his faith. He gave himself up at Lorch to the governor's soldiers.

After professing his faith, he was scourged twice, then his skin was slowly peeled from his body. Finally, instead of being executed by the sword and thus given a soldier's death, Saint Florian was thrown into the River Ems (Anisus), near Lorch, with a stone around his neck.

His body was recovered and buried by a devout woman. It was removed to the Augustinian Abbey of Saint Florian, near Linz. It is held that his relics were later translated to Rome, and Pope Lucius III, in 1138, gave some of the saint's relics to King Casimir of Poland and to the bishop of Cracow. Many miracles are attributed to him, including the extinguishing of a huge fire with a pitcher of water (Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson, Delaney, Tabor, White).

Saint Florian is portrayed in art as a young man, sometimes in armor, sometimes unarmed, pouring water from a tub on a burning church. At times the picture may show him (1) with a palm in his hand and a burning torch under his feet; (2) as a bearded warrior with a lance and tub; (3) as a classical warrior leaning on a millstone, pouring water on a fire; (4) as a boy with a millstone; (5) setting out on a journey with a hat and staff (Altdorfer); (6) beaten; (7) being thrown into the river with a millstone around his neck; (8) lying dead on a millstone guarded by an eagle; or (9) with a sword (Roeder). The Sunserv site has Francesco del Cossa's painting.

Florian is one of the eight patron saints of Austria and the patron of Upper Austria and of Linz. He also holds patronage of Poland, brewers, coopers, chimney-sweeps, and soap-boilers (Roeder, Tabor). He is invoked against bad harvests, battles, fire, flood, and storm (Roeder). He is also the patron of those in danger from water and flood, and of drowning (White).

Godehard of Hildesheim, OSB B (RM)
(also known as Gothard, Gotthard)

Born at Reichersdorf, Bavaria, Germany, c. 960; died at Hildesheim, May, 4, 1038; canonized by Innocent II in 1131. Godehard was educated by the canons of Nieder-Altaich Abbey, who employed his father. Archbishop Frederick of Salzburg took him to Rome and made him a provost when he was 19. Godehard was ordained, and became a monk at Nieder-Altaich in 990 when the Rule of Saint Benedict was reintroduced there with the help of the prelates of Salzburg, Passau, and Regensburg.

When, in 996, Godehard became abbot, Duke Henry of Bavaria attended his installation. Under his direction the house kept such a good religious discipline that the emperor, Saint Henry II, entrusted him with the reform of several other monasteries, including those of Tegernsee (Freising), Hersfeld (Thuringia), and Kremsmünster (Passau). He successfully accomplished the reforms while retaining the direction of Nieder-Altaich through a deputy during his long absences. In the course of 23 years, Godehard formed nine abbots for various houses.

After Saint Bernward died in 1022, Godehard was made bishop of Hildesheim at the nomination of Emperor Henry. He carried his reforming activities into the diocese with the vigor of a young man, although he was over 60. He showed particular care for the cathedral school but not neglecting the enforcement of clerical discipline nor his pastoral duties.

Because the relief of the poor was always one of his greatest concerns, he founded a large home for the poor at Saint Moritz near Hildesheim. Godehard had a great love of the truly needy, but he looked less favorably on able-bodied professional tramps; he called them "peripatetics," and would allow them to stay for only two or three days in the hospice.

The pass and railway tunnel from Switzerland into Italy takes its name from the Saint Godehard, in whose honor the neighboring hospice for travellers and its chapel were dedicated. The girdle made for him by the Empress Saint Cunegund is venerated as a relic (Attwater, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney, Husenbeth, Walsh).

In art, Saint Godehard hangs his cloak on a sunbeam. Pictures of him may include him holding Hildesheim Cathedral; raising two shrouded corpses from the grave; or with a dragon at his feet (Roeder). He is venerated in Switzerland and is invoked against gallstones (Roeder). Many places in Germany have him as patron and several bear his name (Husenbeth).

Blessed Gregory Celli, OSA (AC)
(also known as Gregory of Verucchio)

Born in Verucchio, diocese of Rimini, Italy; died 1343; cultus confirmed in 1769. Gregory's mother founded a monastery for the Augustinians in Verucchio, where Gregory later became a monk. After a time he was dismissed for some unjust reason, but was charitably received by the Franciscans of Monte Carnerio, near Rieti, where he died (Benedictines). In art, Gregory is an Augustinian hermit with an iron ring around his body. He is venerated at Urbino and invoked in times of drought (Roeder).

Hilsindis, OSB Abbess (AC)
Died 1028. Hilsindis was born into the family of the dukes of Lorraine (France). In her widowhood she was the abbess-founder of the convent of Thorn on the Marne River (Benedictines).

John Houghton, O Cart. M (RM)
Born in Essex, England, in 1487; died at Tyburn on May 4, 1535; beatified in 1886; canonized by Pius VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Saint John served as a parish priest for four years after his graduation from Cambridge. Then he joined the Carthusians, where he was named prior of Beauvale Charterhouse in Northampton and, just a few months later, prior of London Charterhouse.

In 1534, he and his procurator, Blessed Humphrey Middlemore, were arrested for refusing to accept the Act of Succession, which proclaimed the legitimacy of Anne Boleyn's children by Henry VIII. They were soon released when the accepted the act with the proviso "as far as the law of God allows."

The following year Father Houghton was again arrested when he, Saint Robert Lawrence, and Saint Augustine Webster went to Thomas Cromwell to seek an exemption from taking the oath required in the Act of Supremacy. He, as the first of hundreds to refuse to apostatize in favor of the crowned heads of England, gave a magnificent example to his monks and the whole of Britain of fidelity to the Catholic faith.

As the sentence of drawing and quartering was read to Father Houghton, he said, "And what wilt thou do with my heart, O Christ?" The three were dragged through the streets of London, treated savagely, and then hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. After his death, John Houghton's body was chopped into pieces and hung in various parts of London (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).

John Houghton is depicted as a Carthusian with a rope around his neck, holding up his heart (Roeder).

Blessed Martyrs of England (AC)
Died 1535-1681. For nearly 150 years British-born Catholics suffered terribly at the hands of their Protestant brothers. About 600 English martyrs during this period have been recognized: 54 were beatified by Leo XIII in 1886, nine in 1895, and 137 by Pius XI in 1929. The causes of more than 100 others are still officially being examined in Rome. The claim of martyrdom has not yet even been considered for another 284. Of course, in 1970, some of this group was canonized under the title "Forty Martyrs of England and Wales" (Attwater, Benedictines).

Blessed Michael Gedroye, OSA (AC)
(also known as Michael Giedroyć)

Born near Vilna, Lithuania; died 1485. Of noble lineage, Michael was a cripple and a dwarf. He took up his abode in a cell adjoining the church of the Augustinian canons regular at Cracow, Poland, and there he lived his entire life. He was famous for his gifts of prophecy and miracles (Attwater2, Benedictines).

Nepotian of Altino (AC)
Died 395. Saint Heliodorus, bishop of Altino, ordained his nephew Nepotian as priest after he abandoned his high position as an officer in the imperial bodyguard. Nepotian was much esteemed by Saint Jerome, who dedicated to him a treatise on the sacerdotal life. It seems, however, that he has never been the object of a public cultus (Benedictines).

Paulinus of Sinigaglia B (AC)
Died 826. All that is known is that Paulinus was bishop and now patron of Sinigaglia, Italy (Benedictines).

Paulinus of Cologne M (RM)
Date unknown. Even less is known about this Saint Paulinus, whose relics are enshrined at Cologne, Germany (Benedictines).

Pelagia of Tarsus VM (RM)
Died c. 300; feast day formerly October 8. During the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian, Pelagia, the daughter of pagan parents in Tarsus, Cilicia, is said to have caught the eye of Diocletian's son. She, however, had no desire to marry. On the pretext of visiting her old nurse, she sought help and counsel from a Christian bishop.

Under his inspiration, Saint Pelagia became a Christian herself, and the bishop baptized her. At this point not only did the emperor's son turn against Pelagia; so did her own mother. Both reported her to the emperor, no doubt hoping that her faith would weaken under the threat of torture. Diocletian himself is said to have personally interviewed her--the legend alleges that he was as attracted to her beauty as was his son--but completely failed to change Pelagia's mind.

A singular torture was now prepared for the beautiful girl. A hollow bull was made out of bronze. Pelagia was put inside it and roasted to death. The bishop is said to have buried her relics

Another version of the story has Diocletian's son committing suicide after Pelagia's rejection. When she repulsed Diocletian's advances, he decided to kill her. Today's saint is only one of several Pelagias and Marinas (the stories get very mixed up and the two names are the same in Greek and Latin). The idea that these, perhaps, fictitious stories are a christianized version of those of Aphrodite or Venus has been examined and firmly rejected by the eminent hagiographer Hippolyte Delehaye (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson).

The scene of Pelagia's martyrdom shows her burned in a brazen bull (Roeder).

Porphyrius of Camerino M (RM)
Died 250. Porphyrius is said to have preached in Umbria, Italy, chiefly at Camerino, and to have been beheaded under Decius. He belongs to the apocryphal legend of Saint Venantius (Benedictines). Porphyrius is depicted in art dressed in a doctor's cap and gown, holding a book, with Saint John the Baptist. He might also be portrayed as a priest with Saint Venantius (Roeder).

Richard Reynolds, Priest M (RM)
Born in Devon, England, c. 1490; died at Tyburn on May 4, 1535; beatified in 1886; canonized by Pius VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Richard studied at Cambridge, was elected a fellow of Corpus Christi College in 1510, and took the degree of B.D. and was appointed university preachers in 1513. That same year, he professed himself as a Bridgettine monk at Syon Abbey, Isleworth, and became known for his sanctity and erudition. He was imprisoned when he refused to subscribe to the Act of Supremacy issued by Henry VIII and was one of the first martyrs hanged at Tyburn, after being forced to witness the butchering of four other martyrs (Benedictines, Delaney).

Robert Lawrence, Priest M (RM)
Died at Tyburn on May 4, 1535; beatified in 1886; canonized by Pius VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Saint Robert was prior of the charterhouse of Beauvale, Nottinghamshire, England. He was on a visit to the London charterhouse, as was Saint Augustine Webster, when they accompanied its prior, Saint John Houghton, to see Thomas Cromwell, who had them seized and imprisoned in the Tower of London. When they refused to sign the Act of Supremacy, which placed Henry VIII as head of the Church of England, they were savagely treated and hanged (Benedictines, Delaney).

Sacerdos of Limoges, OSB B (RM)
(also known as Sardot, Sadroc, Sardou, Serdon, Serdot)

Born near Sarlat, Périgord, France, 670; died c. 720. Sacerdos became a monk, then abbot-founder of Calabre (Calviat) Abbey. He was appointed bishop of Limoges and shepherded his flock until shortly before his death (Benedictines).

Silvanus and Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 311. Silvanus led a group of 41 from Egypt and Palestine, whose martyrdom is recounted by Eusebius. Silvanus, bishop of Gaza, was sentenced to the mines in Palestine but was too old for heavy work, so he was beheaded together with the others (Benedictines).

Venerius of Milan B (RM)
Died 409. Venerius is one of the breed of fast-track bishops. He was ordained a deacon by Saint Ambrose. About 400 AD, Venerius was promoted to the see of Milan following the death of Saint Simplician. Venerius is best remembered as a loyal supporter of my hero, Saint John Chrysostom (Benedictines, Coulson).

About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on 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.