Adam of Fermo, OSB Abbot (AC)
Born at Fermo, Italy; died after 1212. Saint Adam was a hermit, then a monk and an abbot of San Sabino on Mount Vissiano near Fermo. His relics are enshrined in the cathedral of Fermo, where his feast is kept (Benedictines).
Andrew Hubert Fournet, Founder (RM)
Born in Maillé (near Poitiers), France, on December 6, 1752; died at La Puye, France, on May 13, 1834; beatified in 1926; canonized in 1933; feast day formerly on May 13.
Instead of honoring his mother's desire for him to be a priest, Andrew's early life was devoted to frivolity. He was bored by religion, and apparently by life in general. As a student of law and philosophy at the university at Poitiers, he was idle and simply enjoyed himself. He did not even learn to write properly. After failing at several jobs, his parents sent him to live with an uncle who was a priest in a very poor parish.
Inspired by his uncle's work, he became a protector of the poor, returned to his native town, studied theology, was ordained, and became his uncle's assistant. Then he was appointed as parish priest to his home town church at Maillé. He completely changed his comfortable lifestyle and exchanged it for one of austerity and simplicity.
During the French Revolution he refused to take the oath of civil constitution of the clergy and was asked by his bishop to go to Spain for his own safety. He lived there five years but, ashamed by his lack of courage, he clandestinely returned to his flock in 1797 and remained at the risk of his life.
On one occasion he was forced to evade the bailiffs by impersonating a corpse. He leapt onto a bed, the lady of the house covered him with a sheet, surrounded him by mourning women and candles, and they deceived the authorities. Another time he was saved by a canny woman, who, when bailiffs came into the room, boxed him on the ears, chided him for not rising at their entrance, and angrily sent him out the back door. He commented later that she hit him so hard that he saw stars.
Once Andrew was in fact captured by the authorities on Good Friday, 1792. They put him in a carriage to take him to prison. The saint, insisting on walking, for he observed: "From the day that Jesus Christ carried his cross it has behooved his followers to travel on foot."
When Napoleon allowed the church back openly into France after the revolution (1807), Andrew was once again officially the parish priest at Maillé. He labored as a missionary, preacher, and confessor, and with Saint Elizabeth (Agnes) Bichier (f.d. August 26) founded the congregation of the Daughters of the Cross, dedicated to nursing and teaching. Andrew retired from his parish in 1820, but continued to direct the sisters until his death, at which time the order had over sixty convents in Poitou. Prayers to Saint Andrew were said to have miraculously increased food supplies for the nuns and their charges when they were in need (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, White).
Annobert (Alnobert) of Séez, OSB B (AC)
Died after 689. Annobert, monk of Almenèches, was appointed to the see of Séez about 685 (Benedictines).
Aquilinus and Victorian MM (RM)
Date unknown. This pair was martyred in Isauria, Asia Minor. This is all that is recorded of them (Benedictines).
Audas (Abdas) of Persia BM (RM)
Died 420. The Persian bishop Audas was martyred on a Friday in May during the reign of Sapor with 28 members of his flock, including seven priests, nine deacons, and seven virgins. Their deaths marked the beginning of a long reign of terror for Christians throughout the empire (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Brendan the Voyager, Abbot (RM)
Born c. 484-489; died at Annaghdown, Ireland, c. 577-583.
"I fear that I shall journey alone, that the way will be dark; I fear the unknown land, the presence of my King and the sentence of my judge."--The dying words of Saint Brendan to his sister Abbess Brig.
Like the wanderings of Ulysses, the story of Saint Brendan voyaging over perilous waters was a popular story in the Middle Ages. We see him as only a shadow in the old Celtic world, and who he was or where he came from is uncertain, though it is supposed that he was born the son of Findlugh on Fenit Peninsula in Kerry, Ireland, of an ancient and noble line. It is said that he studied theology under Saint Ita (f.d. January 15) at Killeedy, that he was a contemporary and disciple of Saint Finian (f.d. December 12) and later Saint Gildas at Llancarfan in Wales, and that later he founded a monastery at Saint Malo.
Another version of his early life says that the infant Saint Brendan was given into the care of Saint Ita, who taught him three things that God really loves: "the true faith of a pure heart; the simple religious life; and bountifulness inspired by Christian charity." She would have added the three things God hates are "a scowling face; obstinate wrong-doing; and too much confidence in money." When he was six he was sent to Saint Jarlath's monastery school at Tuam for his education, and was ordained by Bishop Saint Erc in 512.
Though Brendan was a real person, fabulous stories are told how his wanderings in search of an unknown land, perhaps the Faroes, the Canaries, or the Azores. For seven years he voyaged to find the Promised Land of the saints.
On the Kerry coast, with 14 chosen monks, he built a coracle of wattle, covered it with hides tanned in oak bark softened with butter, and set up a mast and a sail, and after a prayer upon the shore, he embarked in the name of the Trinity. After strange wanderings he returned to Ireland and, about 559, founded a great monastery at Clonfert in Galway of 3,000 monks and a convent under his sister Briga (f.d. January 21). He gave his monks a rule of remarkable austerity.
Later he visited the holy island of Iona, which was the center of much missionary activity. He founded numerous other monasteries in Ireland and several sees. And he himself made missionary journeys into England and Scotland.
From Ireland's Eye
It is said that Columbus, to whom Brendan's story would have been familiar, may have been inspired by the saint's epic saga Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis. Long before Columbus, the Irish monks were renowned as travellers and explorers. Tradition says that they reached Iceland and explored even farther afield in the Atlantic--perhaps as far as America.
Scholars long doubted the voyage to the Promised Land described by Brendan could have been to North America, but some modern scholars now believe that he may have done just that. In 1976-77, Tim Severin, an expert on exploration, following the instructions in the Navigatio built a hide-covered curragh and then sailed it from Ireland to Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland, demonstrating the accuracy of its directions and descriptions of the places Brendan mentioned in his epic.
Brendan himself stands out in a dark age as the captain of a Christian crew. Like the Greeks and the Vikings, he had a craving for the sea, but he built his boat, and launched it in the name of the Lord and sailed it under the ensign of the Cross. It is a thrilling saga, for all its strangeness, and set many a sailor later to search in vain for Saint Brendan's Island; but none ever found it, though it was said at times to be seen, like an Isle of Paradise, riding above the surface of the sea.
Now the great mountain that juts out into the Atlantic in County Kerry is called Mount Brandon, because he had a little chapel atop it, and the bay at the foot of the mountain is Brandon Bay. Brendan probably died while visiting his sister Briga, abbess of a convent at Enach Duin (Annaghdown) (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Gill, Little, Severin, Webb).
Below I've recounted some of the many legends surrounding Saint Brendan:
There is a graphic description of one of their expeditions: "Three Scots came to King Alfred, in a boat without oars, from Ireland, whence they had stolen away, because for the love of God they desired to be on pilgrimage, they recked not whither. The boat in which they came was made of two hides and a half; and they took with them provisions for seven days; and about the seventh day they came on shore in Cornwall, and soon after went to King Alfred" (Gill).
Saint Brendan was chanting the office for the Feast of Saint Paul the Apostle, when his brethren asked him to do so quietly for fear of disturbing the sea monsters. He laughed, "What has driven out your faith? Fear naught but the Lord our God, and love Him in fear. Many perils have tried you, but the Lord brought you safely out of them all. There is no danger here. What are you afraid of?" And he celebrated Mass more solemnly than before.
"Thereupon the monsters of the deep began to rise on all sides, and making merry for joy of the Feast, followed after the ship. Yet when the office of the day was ended, they straightway turned back and went their way" (Plummer).
They sailed to another small, lovely island, in which there was a whirlpool. "They went across the island, and found a church built of stone, and in it a venerable old man at his prayers. . . . And the old man said to them, 'O holy men of God, make haste to flee from this island. For there is a sea-cat here, of old time, inveterate in wiles, that hath grown huge through eating excessively of fish.' Thereupon they turned back in haste to their ship, and abandoned the island.
"But lo, behind them they saw that beast swimming through the sea, and it had great eyes like vessels of glass. Thereupon they all fell to prayer, and Brendan said, 'Lord Jesus Christ, hinder Thy beast.' And straightway arose another beast from the depths of the sea, and approaching fell to battle with the first; and both went down to the depth of the sea, nor were they further seen. Then they gave thanks to God, and turned back to the old man, to question him as to his way of living and whence he had come.
"And he said to them, 'We were twelve men from the island of Ireland that came to this place, seeking the place of our resurrection. Eleven be dead; and I alone remain, awaiting, O Saint of God, the Host from thy hands. We brought with us in the ship a cat, a most amiable cat and greatly loved by us; but he grew to great bulk through eating of fish, as I said; yet our Lord Jesus Christ did not suffer him to harm us.'
"And then he showed them the way to the land which they sought; and receiving the Host at the hands of Brendan, he fell joyfully asleep in the Lord; and he was buried beside his companions" (Plummer).
Then they came to an island filled with flowers and fruit trees and found harbor. "The Brendan said to his brethren, 'Behold, our Lord Jesus Christ, the good, the merciful, hath given us this place wherein to abide His holy resurrection. My brothers, if we had naught else to restore our bodies, this spring alone would suffice us for meat and drink.'
"Now there was above the spring a tree of strange height, covered with birds of dazzling white, so crowded on the tree that scarcely could it be seen by human eyes. And looking upon it the man of God began to ponder within himself what cause had brought so great a multitude of birds together on one tree."
[He prayed with tears that God might reveal the mystery of the birds to him.]
"And the bird spoke to him. 'We are,' it said, 'of that great ruin of the ancient foe, who did not consent to him wholly. Yet because we consented in part to his sin, our ruin also befell. For God is just, and keeps truth and mercy. And so by His judgment He sent us to this place, where we know no other pain than that we cannot see the presence of God, and so hath He estranged us from the fellowship of those who stood firm. On the solemn feasts and on the Sabbaths we take such bodies as you see, and abide here, praising our Maker. And as other spirits who are sent through the divers regions of the air and the earth, so may we speed also.
"'Now hast thou with thy brethren been one year upon thy journey; and six years yet remain. Where this day thou dost keep the Easter Feast, there shalt thou keep it throughout every year of thy pilgrimage, and thereafter shalt thou find the thing that thou hast set in thy heart, the land that was promised to the saints.' And when the bird had spoken thus, it raised itself up from the prow, and took its flight to the rest.
"And when the hour of evening drew on, then began all the birds that were on the tree to sing as with one voice, beating their wings and saying, 'Praise waiteth for Thee, O Lord, in Sion: and unto Thee shall the vow be performed.' And they continued repeating that verse, for the space of one hour.
"It seemed to the brethren that the melody and the sound of the wings was like a lament that is sweetly sung. Then said Saint Brendan to the brethren, 'Do ye refresh your bodies, for this day have your souls been filled with the heavenly bread.' And when the Feast was ended, the brethren began to sing the office; and thereafter they rested in quiet until the third watch of the night.
"Then the man of God awaking, began to rouse the brethren for the Vigils of the Holy Night. And when he had begun the verse, 'Lord, open Thou my lips, and my heart shall show forth Thy praise,' all the birds rang out with voice and wing, singing, 'Praise the Lord, all ye His angels; praise ye Him, all His hosts.' And even as at Vespers, they sang for the space of one hour.
"Then, when dawn brought the ending of the night, they all began to sing, 'And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,' with equal melody and length of chanting, as had been at Matins.
"At Tierce they sang this verse: 'Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing ye praises with understanding.' And at Sext they sang, 'Lord, lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us, and have mercy upon us.' At Nones they said, 'Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.' And so day and night the birds sang praises to God. And throughout the octaves of the Feast they continued in the praises of God. . . .
"Here then the brethren remained until the Whitsun Feast; for the sweet singing of the birds was their delight and their reviving. . . . But when the octave of the feast was ended, the Saint bade his brethren to make ready the ship, and fill their vessels with water from the spring. And when all was made ready, came the aforesaid bird in swift flight, and rested on the prow of the ship, and said, as if to comfort them against the perils of the sea: 'Know that where ye held the Lord's Supper, in the year that is past, there in like fashion shall ye be on that same night this year. . . . After eight months ye shall find an island . . . whereon ye shall celebrate the Lord's Nativity.' And when the bird had foretold these things, it returned to its own place.
"Then the brethren began to spread their sails and go out to sea. And the birds were singing as with one voice, saying, 'Hear us, O God of our salvation, Who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea.' And so for three months they were borne on the breadth of ocean, and saw nothing beyond the sea and sky" (Plummer; these stories are also told in Curtayne).
In art, Saint Brendan is shown saying Mass on ship as the fish crowd round to listen to him. He may also be shown holding a candle. Just inside the main doors of Saint Patrick's, across from Saint Brigid (f.d. February 1), stands a statue of Saint Brendan holding his ship. Brendan is the patron of seafarers and travellers, and is venerated in Ireland (Roeder).
Interested in learning more about Saint Brendan? Visit The Voyage of Brendan the Navigator and La Isla Fantasma: San Borondon (in Spanish but some great pictures). The first discusses the possibility that Brendan reached the New World. The second speaks of the legend of Brendan's visit to the Canary Islands. Enjoy!
Carantoc, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Carantog, Cairnach, Carnath)
5th century. A Welsh prince who labored under Saint Patrick (f.d. March 17) in the evangelization of Ireland (Benedictines).
Carantock (Carannog), Abbot (AC)
6th century. A Welsh abbot, founder of the church of Llangrannog, Wales, Carantock visited Ireland and on his return founded a monastery at Cernach of which he was abbot. (He is associated with Crantock in Cornwall and Carhampton in Somerset.) He is also said to have visited Brittany, where he is highly venerated, but to have returned to Cernach where he died. Some writers identify him with Saint Carantac (f.d. today) (Benedictines, Delaney).
Domnolus of Le Mans B (RM)
Died 581. Abbot Domnolus of Saint Laurence monastery near Paris was chosen as bishop of Le Mans in 543. He founded many monasteries, hospitals, and churches (Benedictines). Domnolus can be identified in art as a bishop holding the plan of a monastery (Roeder).
Felix and Gennadius MM (RM)
Date unknown. These two martyrs have been venerated from ancient times in the city of Uzalis in Proconsular Africa, where their relics were enshrined (Benedictines).
Fidolus (Phal) of Aumont, Abbot (RM)
Died c. 540. Saint Fidolus, son of a Roman official in Auvergne, France, was taken prisoner by the soldiers of King Clovis and sold into slavery. He was ransomed by Aventinus, abbot of Aumont near Troyes. Later, Fidolus was himself abbot of the same monastery, which was eventually called Saint-Phal (Benedictines).
Fort of Bordeaux BM (AC)
1st century(?) Believed to have been the first bishop of Bordeaux (Benedictines).
Francoveus (Franchy), Monk (AC)
7th century. Saint Francoveus, a monk of Saint Martin de la Bretonnière, suffered much because of the jealousy of his fellows. After the monastery was destroyed, he lived as a hermit in the Nivernais (Benedictines).
Germerius of Toulouse B (AC)
Died c. 560. Saint Germerius, whose cultus is ancient, governed the church of Toulouse, France, for fifty years (Benedictines).
Hilary of Pavia B (AC)
Died 376. Bishop Hilary of Pavia is one of the prelates of northern Italy who fought Arianism (Benedictines).
Honoratus (Honorius) of Amiens B (RM)
Born at Port-le-Grand (Porthieu) near Amiens, France; died there c. 600. Saint Honoratus was bishop of Amiens. He had a widespread cultus in France following reports of numerous miracles when his body was exhumed in 1060. The Faubourg church, built by a gentleman named Renaud Cherins, and rue Saint-Honoré in Paris are named after Saint Honoratus. He is also the patron of a chartreuse at Abbeville, which was founded in 1306 (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Husenbeth). In art, Saint Honoratus is a bishop with three Hosts on a baker's shovel. Sometimes he may be shown with a large Host or with a hand reaching down from heaven to give him bread for the Mass (Roeder). He is the patron of bakers of holy wafers and others, confectioners, candle-makers, florists, flour merchants, oil refiners, and pastry chefs (Delaney, Roeder).
John Nepomucen M (RM)
Born at Nepomuk, Bohemia, 1340; died in Prague, March 20, 1393; canonized in 1729. Saint John used the name of his native town for his surname instead of his family name of Woelflein or Welflin. He studied at the University of Prague, was ordained, and became a canon. In time, he became vicar general of Archbishop John of Genzenstein at Prague and according to tradition incurred the enmity of dissolute King Wenceslaus IV when he refused to reveal what Queen Sophie, Wenceslaus' second wife, had told him in confession. Of a retiring disposition, Father John repeatedly refused bishoprics which were offered to him.
In 1393 (or 1383 according to some), he became involved in a dispute between Wenceslaus and the archbishop when the king sought to convert a Benedictine abbey into a cathedral for a new diocese he proposed to create for a favorite when the aged abbot died. The archbishop and John thwarted him by approving the election of a new abbot immediately on the death of the old abbot. At a meeting with John and other clerics, Wenceslaus flew into a rage, tortured them so that John was seriously injured, and then had him murdered and thrown into the Moldau River at Prague (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney)
Saint John is portrayed in art as an Augustinian canon with a fur almuce and a bridge near him. He may hold his finger to his lips and have seven stars around his head, or wear a padlock on his lips (in Austria and Bohemia). John, patron of confessors and bridges, is venerated in Austria and Spain (Roeder).
Maxima of Fréjus V (RM)
Date unknown. Saint Maxima is widely venerated in Fréjus, France, where several villages are named in her honor; however, nothing definitive is known about her life (Benedictines).
Peregrine (Peregrinus) of Auxerre BM (RM)
Born in Rome, Italy; died c. 261 or c. 304. Saint Peregrine is said to have been appointed as the first bishop of Auxerre by Pope Saint Sixtus (f.d. August 7). That he was martyred at Bouhy under Diocletian is testified in the Martyrology of Saint Jerome. His legend says that his death was the result of his intervention in the dedication of a temple of Jupiter in the town (Benedictines, Farmer).
Peregrinus of Terni B (AC)
Died c. 138. This Peregrinus was a bishop in Terni, Umbria, Italy, and the founder of its cathedral (Benedictines).
Possidius of Calama B (RM)
Died 450. Saint Possidius, a favorite disciple and biographer of Saint Augustine of Hippo (f.d. August 28), became bishop of Calama, Numidia. He was driven from his see by the Arian Vandals and ended his days in Apulia. Possidius was one of the ablest controversialists of his time (Benedictines).
Primael of Quimper, Hermit (AC)
Born in Britain; died in Quimper, c. 450. Saint Primael crossed the Channel to Brittany, where he became a hermit in Quimper. There one finds churches dedicated to his memory (Benedictines).
Simon Stock, OC (PC)
Born at Aylesford, Kent, England, 1165; died in Bordeaux, France, on May 16, 1265. A late tradition tells us of Simon's birthplace but nothing much is known of him until c. 1247, when he was elected the sixth prior general of the Carmelite order. He is said to have been a hermit and then went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he joined the Carmelites. He returned to Kent when the Islamics drove the Carmelites out.
Simon became prior general at a time of difficulty for the order, and was the English leader who consolidated its position. He laid the groundwork for new foundations in four university cities (Cambridge (1248), Oxford (1253), Paris (1260), and Bologna (1260)) and expanded the order into Ireland and Scotland as well.
He also revised the rule to make the Carmelites an order of mendicant friars rather than hermits, which was approved by Pope Innocent IV in 1237.
According to another late tradition, in 1251, Saint Simon experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary, as a consequence of which there arose the widespread "Scapular devotion." In this controversial vision the Blessed Mother promised salvation to all Carmelites who wore in her honor the brown scapular that she showed him. The authenticity of the occurrence is seriously contested by scholars. Two well-known hymns to Mary are usually attributed to his authorship.
In 1951, what remained of Saint Simon's relics were removed from Bordeaux to the old friary, now renewed, at Aylesford. The surname Stock is not found attributed to Simon until a century after his death; it may have come from a legend that he lived inside a tree trunk in his youth. Simon Stock has never formally been canonized, though he has long been venerated, and the celebration of his feast was permitted by the Holy See (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).
In art, Saint Simon Stock is a Carmelite holding a scapular in his hand. He might also be shown receiving the scapular from the Blessed Virgin or interceding for the souls in purgatory who surround him (Roeder).
Ubaldus Baldassini B (RM)
Born in Gubbio near Ancona, Umbria, Italy; died there in 1160; canonized in 1192. While dean of the cathedral in his home town, Ubaldus induced the canons of the chapter to live a common life together, under the rule given by Peter degli Onesti to his community at Ravenna. Ubaldus himself wanted to be a hermit, but was advised otherwise, and, in 1128, he had to accept the bishopric of Gubbio. He was an admirable bishop, noted for his patience and forbearance. His character was remarkable for its combination of gentleness and courage with which he succeeded in disarming the tyrannical Frederick Barbarossa. His shrine is still a place of pilgrimage (Benedictines, Delaney).
In art, Saint Ubaldus is depicted as a bishop giving a blessing as angels carry his crozier. On his book is written Sacerdos et Pontifex et virtutum opifex pastor bone, etc. The devil may be shown fleeing the blessing (Roeder). Ubaldus is invoked against demoniac possession, migraine, neuralgia, and for sick children (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.