Blessed Aloysius Rabata, OC (AC)
Born c. 1430; died 1490; cultus confirmed by Gregory XVI. Blessed Aloysius was a Carmelite friar of Randazzo monastery in Sicily. He died, though not immediately, from a blow on the head from an assailant whom he refused to bring to justice (Benedictines).
Anastasius and Companions MM (RM)
Died 251. We honor two SS Anastasius today. This one was a tribune in the army of Emperor Decius. He converted to Christianity upon witnessing the courage of the martyrs he tortured to death in his capacity as tribune. A few days after his conversion, he was arrested and beheaded with all his family and servants. Their relics now lie in Camerino, Italy (Benedictines).
Anastasius of Lérida (AC)
Date unknown. The people of Lérida, Spain, insist that their patron was a native of this Catalonian town. It is, however, unknown with which of the many Anastasii martyrs he should be identified (Benedictines). Saint Anastasius is represented as a young man hung on a gibbet and pierced with arrows. He is venerated at Lérida, Spain (Roeder).
Ansfrid of Utrecht, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Ansfridus)
Died 1010; feast day formerly May 3. Count Ansfridus of Brabant was a knight in the service of Emperors Otto III and Henry II. In 992, he built the convent of Thorn for his daughter and wife, and wanted to become a monk himself. His plans were foiled when he was appointed archbishop of Utrecht. In that role, he founded the Benedictine abbey of Hohorst (Heiligenberg). It was not until he was afflicted with blindness that he could realize his dream of becoming a monk. He died in Heiligenberg Abbey (Benedictines).
Anthimus of Rome M (RM)
Died 303. Saint Anthimus, a Roman priest, is said to have converted the pagan husband of a Christian matron named Lucina, who was well-known for her charity to imprisoned Christians. Saint Anthimus was thrown into the Tiber, miraculously rescued by an angel, later recaptured, and beheaded (Benedictines).
Asaph of Wales B (RM)
Died c. 600; feast day formerly on May 1. The small town of Saint Asaph in northern Wales was once the scene of a busy and thriving monastery of Llanelwy founded by Saint Kentigern of Scotland by the riverside. Kentigern was probably built it after returning from a visit to Saint David. With him was Asaph, his favorite pupil, whom he left behind at Llanelwy as abbot to consolidate his work. Others say that it was Saint Asaph who founded the abbey after having been trained by Kentigern--the truth is shrouded by time. There is, however, certainty that Saint Asaph founded the church of Llanasa in Flintshire.
An interesting account exists of Llanelwy's establishment. "There were assembled in this monastery no fewer than 995 brethren, who all lived under monastic discipline, serving God in great continence." A third of these, who were illiterate, tilled the ground and herded the cattle; a third were occupied with domestic tasks inside the monastery; and the remainder, who were educated men, said the daily offices and performed other religious duties.
A distinctive feature was its unbroken continuity of worship, for, like the Sleepless Ones, the monks of Llanelwy divided themselves into groups and maintained an unceasing vigil. "When one company had finished the divine service in the church, another presently entered, and began it anew; and these having ended, a third immediately succeeded them." So that by this means prayer was offered up in the church without intermission, and the praises of God were ever in their mouths."
Among them, we are told, "was one named Asaph, more particularly illustrious for his descent and his beauty, who from his childhood shone forth brightly, both with virtues and miracles. He daily endeavored to imitate his master, Saint Kentigern, in all sanctity and abstinence; and to him the man of God bore ever a special affection, insomuch that to his prudence he committed the care of the monastery." A later medieval writer penned about Asaph's "charm of manners, grace of body, holiness of heart, and witness of miracles." Still little is actually known about him.
The story has been handed down to us that one bitter night in winter when Kentigern, as was his custom, had been standing in the cold river reciting from the Psalter, and had crawled back to his cell, frozen and exhausted, Asaph ran to fetch hot coals to warm him. Finding no pan, however, and being in great haste, fearing that the shivering abbot might die, he raked the glowing coals into the skirt of his monk's habit, and ran with them, at great risk and discomfort, and cast them on the hearth of the saint.
That story is typical of his spirit, for he was devoted both to his master and to the welfare of his monks. We are not surprised that Kentigern, with every confidence, left the monastery in his care. Under Asaph's leadership it flourished, and when Asaph was made bishop, it became the seat of his diocese. The goodness of one man spread and infected many others with holiness, including many of his kinsmen, e.g., Deiniol (September 11) and Tysilo (November 8). Today on the banks of the River Elwy stands the cathedral that bears his name (Attwater, Benedictines, Gill).
Blessed Benincasa of Montechiello, OSM (AC)
Born in Florence, Italy, 1376; died 1426; cultus confirmed in 1829. Blessed Benincasa joined the Servites at Montepulciano and spent the rest of his life as a hermit, first at Montagnata near Siena and later in the almost inaccessible cave of Montechiello (Benedictines).
Comgall, Abbot (AC)
Born in Ulster, Ireland, c. 517; died at Bangor, Ireland, in 603; some list his feast as May 10. It is said that Comgall was a warrior as a young man, but that he studied under Saint Fintan at Cluain Eidnech Monastery, was ordained a priest before he was 40, and with several companions became a hermit in Lough Erne. The rule he imposed was so severe that seven of them died.
He left the island and founded a monastery at Bangor (Bennchor) on the south shore of Lake Belfast, where he taught Saint Columban and a band of monks who evangelized Central Europe. Two other of his monks actively evangelized Scotland, Saint Moluag of Lismore in Argyll and Saint Maelrubha of Applecross in Ross. In time, it became the most famous monastery in Ireland, and Comgall is reported to have ruled over some 8,000 monks there and in houses founded from Bangor. Bangor was one of the principal religious centers of Ireland until it was destroyed by the Danes in 823.
Comgall went to Scotland for a time, where he lived in a monastery on the island of Tiree. He also accompanied Saint Columba on a missionary trip to Inverness to evangelize the Picts. There he founded a monastery at Land of Heth. The manuscript called the Bangor Antiphonary, written there less than a century after Saint Comgall's death, contains a long hymn in his praise. Comgall died after years of suffering resultant from his austerities (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).
In art, Saint Comgall's emblem is a fish. Usually he is portrayed as an abbot holding a stone, to whom an angel brings a fish (Roeder).
(also known as Credus, Credanus)
Date unknown. Evidence of the existence of this obscure saint from Cornwall can be found in Counties Moyne and Wicklow in Ireland, as well as in the church of Sancreed, which he founded. According to Roscarrock, he "killed by misfortune his own father, with which he was so moved as abandoning the world he became a hogherd, and lived so exemplary as he was after esteemed a saint" (Farmer).
Evellius of Pisa M (RM)
Died c. 66. Saint Evellius, reportedly a counsellor to Nero, converted to Christianity upon witnessing the patience of the martyrs. He was himself martyred at Pisa, Italy (Benedictines).
Francis di Girolama, SJ (RM)
(also known as Francis Jerome)
Born at Grottaglie, near Taranto, Italy, in 1642; died 1716; canonized in 1839. Francis was the oldest of 11 children. Once he had received his first communion at age 12, he was received into the house of some secular priests. Recognizing his intelligence, the fathers promoted him to teaching catechism, and he received the tonsure at 16. He accompanied one of his brothers to Naples. While his brother wanted to study under an eminent painter, Francis went learn canon and civil law.
In 1666, he was ordained a priest under a special dispensation because he was under 24. He taught in the Jesuit Collegio dei Nobili for five years. At 28, having persuaded his family to consent, he entered the Society of Jesus. During his first year of novitiate, he was severely tested by his superiors, but he received their complete approval by the time he finished, and they sent to help the preacher Father Agnello Bruno in his mission work. For three years the two worked tirelessly and with great success, primarily among the peasants in the province of Otranto. Francis was then recalled to Naples, finished his theological studies, and was professed.
He was appointed preacher at the church known as the Gesu Nuovo in Naples. From the start, he attracted huge crowds. He was commissioned to train other missionaries and conducted at least one hundred missions in the provinces. His very effective preaching was marked by brevity and vigor: He was, it is said, 'a lamb when he talks and a lion when he preaches.' In search of sinners he penetrated into prisons, the brothels, and the galleys, and continued his missions in hamlets, back lanes, and at street corners. He converted 20 Turkish prisoners on a Spanish galley.
One of his most interesting penitents was a Frenchwoman, Mary Alvira Cassier. She had murdered her father and served in the Spanish army, impersonating a man. Under Francis, she repented and became very devout.
He rescued many children from dangerous surroundings, opened a charitable pawnshop, and organized an association of workingmen to help the Jesuit fathers in their work.
Although Francis was credited with miracles, he disclaimed that they were due to his own powers, attributing numerous cures to the intercession of Saint Cyrus, for whom he had a special devotion. He died at age 74, after a painful illness, and at his funeral all the poor of Naples thronged around his coffin. His remains were interred in the Jesuit Church of Naples (Attwater, Benedictines, Walsh, White).
Fremund of Dunstable M (AC)
Died 866. An unreliable, possibly fictitious account, relates that Fremund was related to King Offa of Mercia and King Edmund of East Anglia. Although Fremund was an Anglo-Saxon hermit, he was a possible claimant to the throne of Mercia. Therefore, he was killed by his kinsman Oswy with the help of the Danish invaders who had also murdered King Edmund. He is honored as a martyr. His relics were first enshrined at at Offchurch in Warwickshire and later (1212) translated to Dunstable, where many miracles are recorded. Cropredy in Oxonshire also claimed his relics. His feast is recorded in three medieval calendars including that of Syon Abbey (Benedictines, Farmer).
Gangulphus of Burgundy M (RM)
(also known as Gengoul, Gangulf)
Died 760. Saint Gangulf was a Burgundian courtier, who retired to live the life of a hermit and was killed by his wife's paramour (Benedictines). In art, Gangulf is pictured as a Burgundian knight with a fountain springing under his sword. He holds a shield with a cross. He may also hold the spear with which he was murdered. He is invoked by husbands unhappily married (Roeder).
Ignatius of Laconi (AC)
Born in Laconi, Sardinia, in 1701; died at Cagliari, Italy, in 1781; canonized in 1951; feast day formerly May 12. I would like to be more like this Saint Ignatius because I think he is a wonderful role model. Vincent Peis' parents were of modest means, but his was not a modest devotion to God. In fact, his childlike devotion was so remarkable that he would be found daily at the church doors before dawn, waiting in prayer, for them to be opened.
With some difficulty he was received into the Capuchin branch of the Franciscan Order at Buoncammino (near Cagliari) in 1722 as a lay-brother, taking the name Ignatius. He passed his life doing mundane tasks and, at age 40 (1741), was entrusted with the work of questor, that is, begging for his convent at Cagliari. This office, which was his occupation for 40 years, gave him an opportunity to exercise his gentle love of children, the poor, and the sick. He travelled about on foot in all kinds of weather, meeting with refusals and contradictions but he never gave up.
An unusual legend tells us that he would never beg alms from an unscrupulous moneylender, who complained of this neglect. The local guardian ordered Ignatius to call upon him. The saint returned with a sack of food, but when it was opened, it dripped with blood. More reliable accounts tell of his levitation in prayer and miracles of healing wrought through his intercession.
Though he was illiterate, he loved to listen to the Gospels, especially the Passion accounts, and was favored with the gifts of prophecy and miracles. He would pass whole hours in prayer before the tabernacle. The particulars about his Christ-centered life that have survived show a determined, gentle character like those in the Little Flowers of Saint Francis. A contemporary portrait of the saint at Cagliari confirms a written description of him as medium height with slight features, a white beard and hair, upright in gait, and easy in manner (Attwater, Benedictines, Farmer).
Illuminatus of San Severino, OSB (RM)
Died c. 1000. A Benedictine monk of the abbey of San Mariano in his home town of San Severino in the Marches of Ancona (Benedictines).
Illuminatus, OFM (AC)
Died c. 1230. This saint is often confused with the one above. He is said to have been a disciple of Saint Francis of Assisi (Benedictines).
Blessed James Walworth &
John Rochester, O. Cart. MM (AC)
Died York, England, 1537; beatified in 1886. James Walworth and John Rochester were Carthusian monks of the London Charterhouse. Together they were hanged in chains at York at the command of King Henry VIII. Rochester was born at Terling, Essex (Benedictines).
Blessed Julian Cesarello de Valle, OFM (AC)
Date unknown; cultus approved in 1910. Not much is known of Julian except that he was born and died in Valle in Istria, where he is venerated (Benedictines).
Lua of Killaloe (AC)
Died 7th century. Saint Lua gave his name to the ancient town of Killaloe (Church of Lua). He is said to have been born of noble parents in Limerick, and educated at Bangor and Clonard. He founded a church and school on the River Shannon, where one of his pupils was the future Bishop Flannan, who succeeded Lua as abbot.
His refuge on Friar's Island, County Tipperary, was a pilgrim's destination even in the 20th century--until a power dam raised the level of the Shannon in 1929 and submerged the island. Lua's chapel had been removed, its stones numbered, and reassembled on the former site of Brian Boru's palace overlooking the Shannon.
A legend relates that the horse's hoof-prints in the rock of Friar's Island were those of Saint Patrick's beast--left when the apostle of Ireland was forced to leap one-eighth of a mile from one shore to the other to escape hostile pagans. His charger rose to the challenge and landed with such force on the island that his hoof prints sank deep into the rock (D'Arcy, Montague).
Majolus of Cluny, OSB Abbot (RM)
(also known as Maieul, Mayeule)
Born at Avignon, France, c. 906; died at Souvigny, on May 11, 994. Invading Saracens forced Saint Majolus to flee his large estates near Rietz to relatives at Mâcon. His uncle, Bishop Berno, gave him a canonry and then sent Saint Majolus to study at Lyons under Abbot Antony l'Isle Barbe. Upon his return and while still very young, he was chosen to be archdeacon of Mâcon. He was offered the bishopric of Besançon, but declined in order to join the monks of Cluny. In 954, shortly after his profession, he was named abbot-coadjutor to the blind abbot, Saint Aymard. In 965, he succeeded as head of the Cluniac congregation, which grew and spread through Western Europe during his tenure. Emperor Otto the Great entrusted the monasteries of Germany to him and Majolus reformed many of them. Majolus was a man of distinguished presence, devoted to learning and the monastic life, and a peace-maker: He settled a disagreement between Empress Saint Adelaide and her son, Emperor Otto II. Once Majolus was captured by Saracens as he crossed the Saint Bernard Pass, and ransomed by the monks of Cluny for a thousand pounds of silver. Majolus, friend of emperors and popes, was several times offered and refused to be made pope, preferring to remain a monk. In 991, he appointed Saint Odilo as his coadjutor and devoted himself to prayer and penance. He died while on his way to make a visitation of the abbey of Saint-Denis in Paris at the request of King Hugh Capet (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Gill).
Mamertus of Vienne B (RM)
(also known as Mamertius, Mammertus)
Died 475. Mamertus of Vienne was responsible for the litanies and processions that once marked the Rogation days of spring, the three days before Ascension Day when solemn intercession was made for God's blessing on the crops and other fruit of the earth. "Bless all farmers in all their labors, and grant such seasonable weather that they may gather the fruits of the earth and ever rejoice in Your goodness, to the praise of Your holy Name."
Mamertus, the elder brother of the poet Claudian, lived in France, was known for his erudition, and was bishop of Vienne from 461 to 475. In 463, he was censured by Rome for consecrating, without the authority to do so, a new bishop of Die, which had been transferred to the jurisdiction of Arles; but no papal action seems to have been taken in the matter.
During his episcopate the Goths invaded Gaul. The countryside never seemed free from the perils of the enemy, as well as from natural dangers of pestilence, forest fires, and prowling wolves and bears, and when every night brought its unknown fears and each day was threatened with calamity.
During this period of catastrophe, Mamertus spent his days prostrate before the altar beseeching God to help his stricken people and tirelessly visiting his flock to comfort them in their distress. As a result of his prolonged vigils, he conceived the idea of an annual procession and litany, called a Rogation, to take place every spring, in which the whole community would together intercede with God to have mercy on His people and to bless their crops throughout the year.
He made this decision one Easter night as he watched before the altar, when there came through the windows of the darkened church the lurid reflection of flames from a fresh fire threatening to overwhelm Vienne. In that hour of fearful conflagration, for it was the worst of all the fires the village had known, he prayed to God to have pity. When he next preached to his flock, he set forth his plan. "We shall pray to God," he said, "that He will turn away the plagues from us, and preserve us from all ill, from hail and drought, fire and pestilence, and from the fury of our enemies; to give us favorable seasons, that our land may be fertile, good weather and good health, and that we may have peace and tranquility, and obtain pardon for our sins." Thus, out of that night of fire and storm came the custom of Rogationtide (Benedictines, Delaney, Gill).
In art, Saint Mamertius is shown as an archbishop walking in a procession with a lighted candle because he was the originator of Rogation Days (Roeder).
Maximus, Bassus, and Fabius MM (RM)
Died 304. Romans martryed under Diocletian (Benedictines).
Possessor of Verdun B (AC)
Died c. 485. Possessor, magistrate of Verdun, was consecrated its bishop in 470. He and his flock were greatly affected by the barbarian invasions as they passed through in waves: Franks, Vandals, Goths, and other (Benedictines).
Principia of Rome V (AC)
Died c. 420. Saint Principia was one of the holy women, a Roman virgin, who surrounded Saint Marcella.
Sisinius, Diocletius, & Florentius MM (RM)
Died at Osimo, near Ancona, Italy, 304. These three suffered martyrdom under Diocletian. They were stoned to death at the same time as the better known Roman priest, Saint Anthimus (Benedictines).
Blessed Vivaldus, OFM Tert. (AC)
(also known as Ubaldo, Gualdo)
Died 1300; cultus confirmed in 1909. The Franciscan tertiary Vivaldus is a saint in my books. He did not abandon his role model and friend Blessed Bartholomew Buonpedoni when the latter contracted leprosy. Instead he nursed his companion for twenty years (Benedictines).
Walbert of Hainault (AC)
(also known as Vaubert)
Died c. 678. Walbert, duke of Lorraine and count of Hainhault, is someone about whom we need to know more. He was the husband of Saint Bertilia, with whom he took a vow of continence. He is also the father of Saints Waldetrudis, the mother of four more saints, and Aldegundis (Benedictines).
Walter of L'Esterp, OSA Abbot (AC)
Died 1070. Walter was abbot of L'Esterp Abbey in Limousin, France for 38 years until his death. Even when he went blind in 1062, the saint's fellow-monks begged him to continue in office. So wise were his judgments that Pope Victor II granted the abbot the power even to excommunicate those whom he considered were insufficiently penitent for their sins.
Yet he was also gentle. One day the monks of L'Esterp to a man forgot that it was Friday and cooked meat for their midday meal. When they remembered the rule about abstaining from meat on the day that Christ was crucified, they were horrified. Walter told them that they would be forgiven. To show that he genuinely believed this, he himself sat down and ate some meat, which relieved them greatly (Benedictines, Bentley).
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.