Afra of Brescia VM (RM)
Date unknown. Saint Afra was martyred at Brescia. She is connected with Saints Faustinus and Jovita. The rest of the legend is untrustworthy (Benedictines).
David I, King of Scotland (PC)
Born 1084; died at Carlisle, Scotland, on May 24, 1153.
Saint David was the son of King Malcolm III and Queen Saint Margaret of Scotland. He was sent to the Norman court in England in 1093. In 1113, he married Matilda, the widow of the earl of Northampton, thereby becoming earl himself, and added the title earl of Cumbria when his brother Alexander I became king. He waged a long war against King Stephen for the throne of England on behalf of his niece Matilda, but was defeated at Standard in 1138.
As King of Scotland from 1124, he was much more successful, ruling with firmness, justice, and charity. David established Norman law in Scotland, set up the office of chancellor, and began the feudal court. He also learned the spirit of Cistercian monks from Ailred of Rievaulx, who for a time was David's steward. Scottish monasticism began to flower from the start of David's reign and countless almshouses, leper-hospitals, and infirmaries were established.
The monasteries founded under David's patronage were superb architecturally as well as spiritually. The king refounded Melrose Abbey on the main road from Edinburgh to the south, and it remained one of the richest houses in Scotland. David also founded Jedburgh Abbey in 1138, filling it was monks from Beauvais in France. At Dundrennan in Dumfries and Galloway he founded in 1142 a splendid abbey and staffed it with Cistercians from Rievaulx. The monks were so well managed that they even started their own shipping line and traded from the Solway Firth less than two miles away.
David has never formally been canonized, though he is listed on both Protestant and Catholic calendars (Attwater, Bentley, Delaney).
Donatian and Rogatian MM (RM)
Died 289 or 299 or 304. Of a notable Roman-Gallo family living at Nantes, Brittany, Donatian received baptism and began evangelizing others with zeal. During the persecution of Emperor Maximian or Diocletian, Donatian was arrested by Rictovarus and charged with being a Christian and refusing to worship the gods. His elder brother, Rogatian, moved by the edifying fire of his pious example, also sought baptism but the bishop had been forced into hiding during a persecution. Nevertheless, Rogatian soon joined his brother. When Rictovarus arrived at Nantes, he endeavored persuade Rogatian to apostatize, but he remained steadfast and was thrown into prison, too. Rogatian grieved that he had not been able to receive baptism, and prayed that the kiss of peace which his brother gave him might supply it. Donatian also prayed that his brother's faith might procure for him the effect of baptism, and the effusion of his blood that of the sacrament of chrism-- confirmation. They passed that night together in fervent prayer. The next day they again declared their readiness to suffer for Christ. And suffer they did. First they were stretched on the rack. Then their heads were pierced with lances. Finally they were beheaded; thus, Rogatian was baptized--in blood. Their bodies were buried nearby, where Christians later built a sepulcher at the foot of which the bishops of Nantes were buried. At the end of the fifth century, the Christians built a church over their tomb. Bishop Albert of Ostia translated their relics to the cathedral in 1145 (Benedictines, Delaney, Husenbeth).
Gerard de Lunel, OFM Tert. (AC)
Born in France in 1275; died at Monte Santo, near Ancona, Italy, in 1298; cultus approved by Benedict XIV and Pius VI. Gerard was a pilgrim who died in Italy on his return trip from the Holy Land. He is venerated as the patron of Monte Santo (Benedictines).
Joanna, Widow (RM)
1st century. Joanna, wife of Herod Antipas's steward Chusa, was one of the women who helped provide for Jesus and the apostles (Luke 8:3) and was one of the three women who discovered the empty tomb of Jesus on the first Easter morning (Luke 24:10) (Benedictines, Delaney, Gill). In art, Saint Joanna's emblem is an ointment box, which she carries. Sometimes she is shown with a lamb near her and a cross in her arms; carrying a pitcher in a basket; or with her husband, among court ladies hearing Jesus preach. She is venerated by the Jesuits (Roeder).
Blessed John del Prado, OFM M (RM)
Born at Morgobresio, León, Spain; died on May 24, 1636; beatified by Benedict XIII in 1728. As a member of the Observant Franciscans, John was sent by the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith to preach the Gospel in Morocco. His zeal attracted the attention of the Islamic authorities and he was thrown into prison in chains. He patiently endured torture until he was burned to death with two other Spanish friars (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Blessed John of Montfort, OSB Knight (AC)
Died at Nicosia, Cyprus, on May 25, 1177 or 1178. John was a Knight Templar of Jerusalem who was wounded in battle against the Saracens and taken to Cypus, where he died (Benedictines).
Blessed Lanfranc of Canterbury, OSB B (PC)
Born at Pavia, Italy, c. 1005; died at Canterbury, England, on May 24, 1089. Born into a family of senatorial rank, Lanfranc studied law in Pavia (or Bologna), practiced for a time in Pavia, and about 1035 went to France. He continued his studies at Avranches, Normandy, taught there, and in 1042 became a monk at Bec. He was made prior in 1045 and head of the monastery school, which became famous for its scholarship under his tutelage.
He became embroiled in the quarrel over the Eucharist with Berengarius and was brought by Pope Leo IX to the Councils of Rome and Vercelli in 1050, where Berengarius was condemned.
Lanfranc's opposition to the proposed marriage of Duke William of Normandy to Matilda of Flanders in 1053 caused William to draw up a decree of exile, but the two were reconciled, and Lanfranc became a close adviser of the duke and secured a papal dispensation for the marriage in 1059. Lanfranc was appointed abbot of Saint Stephen's in Caen about 1063, accompanied William on his conquest of England, and was named archbishop of Canterbury in 1070.
He brought Norman practices to the English Church, built churches, founded new sees, and in 1072 compelled the archbishop of York to accept the primacy of Canterbury when a council of bishops and abbots of Winchester so decreed. Lanfranc was regent for William in 1074 and put down a revolt against the Conqueror, fought any secular intrusion on ecclesiastical rights, and in 1076, at a synod at Winchester, ordered clerical celibacy for future ordinandi.
Though he persuaded William to name his son William Rufus his heir to the throne and crowned him on his father's death in 1087, he never had the influence over William Rufus that he had over William.
Lanfranc's De Sacramento Corporis et Sanguinis Christi became the classic statement of transubstantiation in the Middle Ages. He died at Canterbury, and though he has always been honored with the title Blessed, there does not seem to have ever been any public cultus (Benedictines, Delaney).
In art, Lanfranc is an archbishop holding a monstrance. Under one foot there is a devil; under the other there is a man dashing a stone to the ground (an image that may have been borrowed from Saint Norbert.) He is venerated in Caen, Bec, and Canterbury (Roeder).
Manahen, Prophet (RM)
1st century. Manahen is mentioned in Acts 13:1 as the foster- brother of King Herod Antipas and as a prophet. Traditionally, he is believed to have died at Antioch, Syria (Benedictines).
Meletius M (RM)
Date unknown. The laus in the Roman Martyrology reads: "The passion of the holy martyrs Meletius, a general of the army, and his 252 companions, who suffered martyrdom in various ways." Nothing else trustworthy is known (Benedictines).
Nicetas of Pereaslav M
I can find nothing about him.
Patrick of Bayeux B (AC)
Died c. 469. The fourth bishop of Bayeaux (Benedictines).
Blessed Philip Suzanni, OSA (AC)
Born in Piacenza, Italy; died 1306; cultus approved in 1756. Philip joined the Augustinians in his hometown. He was known for his spirit of prayer and compunction (Benedictines).
Robustian of Milan M (RM)
Date unknown. Robustian was an early Milanese martyr. He may be the same Robustian venerated at Milan and celebrated with Saint Mark on August 31 (Benedictines).
Susanna, Marciana, Palladia, & Companions MM (RM)
2nd century. These women were the wives of soldiers in the military unit commanded by Saint Meletius. They were martyred with their children and others in Galatia. Their Acta are legendary (Benedictines). In art, this group is depicted as three female martyrs with palms, a child near them (Roeder).
Vincent of Porto M (RM)
Date unknown. Vincent was martyred at Porto Romano, Italy, the former port of Rome that disappeared a long time ago (Benedictines).
Vincent of Lérins (RM)
Died c. 445. Vincent, a member of a noble family of Gaul, called himself a stranger and pilgrim who had fled from the service of the world to serve Christ in the seclusion of the cloister. He abandoned his military career to become a monk at Lérins, off the coast of Provence, where he was ordained a priest. He is best known as the writer of the Commonitorium or Commonitory for the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith, in which he deals with the doctrine of exterior development in dogma and formulates the principle that only such doctrines are to be considered true as have been held "always, everywhere, and by all the faithful" (Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus)-- which is a difficult statement to interpret. He deals with the discernment of truth from falsehood and the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, which is needed to correctly interpret Scripture.
In reacting against some excesses of Saint Augustine of Hippo concerning predestination, he adopted some semi-Pelagian tenets that were later considered unorthodox. Although his views were supported by such luminaries as Saint Robert Bellarmine, they were not quoted by Vatican II or the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (Benedictines, Farmer).
Blessed William of Dongelberg, OSB Cist. (AC)
Died c. 1250. William was a Cistercian monk at the abbey of Villers, Belgium (Benedictines).
Zoëllus, Servilius, Felix, Sylvanus & Diocles MM (RM)
Date unknown. It is not even certain whether these martyrs died in Istria or in Syria (Benedictines).
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.