Charles Lwanga and Companions
Albert (Aribert) of Como, OSB B (AC)
Died c. 1092. Although Albert died as bishop of Como, at first he was a hermit at Rho, then monk and abbot at San Carpofero (Benedictines).
Blessed Andrew Caccioli, OFM (AC)
Born at Spello near Assisi, Italy; died there c. 1254 or 1264; cultus confirmed by Clement XII. Andrew was ordained, then gave away his considerable wealth to the poor before becoming one of the original 72 followers of Saint Francis. Andrew favored a strict interpretation of the Franciscan Rule, against the innovations of Brother Elias. For this reason, he was persecuted and imprisoned (Benedictines).
Cecilius of Carthage (RM)
(also known as Caecilius, Caecilian)
3rd century. Caecilius, a priest of Carthage, brought Saint Cyprian to faith in Christ. Saint Cyprian for his part never ceased to revere Caecilius's name, adding it to his own. On Caecilius's death, Cyprian took charge of the wife and children of the deceased saint.
Baronius and other historians believe that this Caecilius is to be identified with the one who was a friend of two other Africans, Octavius, a philosopher, and Marcus Minutius Felix, a lawyer. Both were Africans of the same period and profession, and Saint Cyprian borrows many things from the dialogue below, which he probably received from Cecilius.
Caecilius, Octavius, and Marcus Minutius Felix were all learned men and close friends. In his old age Octavius converted to Christianity and turned his back on worldly preferences. He did all within his power to bring the other two to faith in Christ. First, Marcus joined in his joy. Finally, after much resistance and many prayers, Caecilius, too, embraced Christianity.
This last happened while the three were vacationing together at the sea. As they walked together through the town, Caecilius venerated a statue of the god Serapis by touching his hand to his lips and kissing it. The two Christians were appalled at this act of idolatry and ashamed that they had not already won their friend over to Christ but had allowed him to remain in ignorance. Of course, Caecilius bristled at being accused of ignorance and challenged Octavius to debate the subject.
Immediately the three sat down on the nearby rocks that provided shelter for the baths. Marcus was to take the role of arbitrator. Among Caecilius's arguments against Christianity were that its followers were the poor, the ignorant, and slaves who were subject to the "idolators" who ruled the prosperous empire. He noted that Christians suffer with seeming pleasure; a most content, pitiful, ragged tribe, who skulk about in holes without a word to say for themselves, and only cant in corners about a resurrection, and the joys another world. He railed against the resurrection of the body: which was a great stumbling-block to the ancient philosophers, as appears from the writings of Athenagoras, Tertullian, Origen, and other Christian apologists. Caecilius felt that his arguments were persuasive.
He then moved on to the calumnies often repeated. He loudly objected to the nocturnal assemblies of Christians, their solemn fasts, inhuman banquets and crimes perpetrated under the name of religion. Caecilius charged: "I hear that they adore the head of an ass, the knees of their bishop or priest, and a man who was punished for his crimes, and the cursed wood of the cross." He ridiculed Christians for despising ornaments and ostentation, for abstaining from lawful pleasures (public shows, pomp, banquets), and for reserving perfumes for their dead.
In response Octavius pointed to the divine providence governing human affairs as evident in the order, beauty, and design of nature. He argued: "Should you chance to come into a house and see all the rooms exquisitely furnished, and kept in great order, you would make no dispute but such a house is under the care and inspection of a master who is preferable to all the furniture. Thus, when you cast your eyes upon heaven and earth, and behold the admirable order and economy of things, can you question whether there is a Lord of the universe, and that he is more glorious than the stars, and more to be admired than all the works of his hands?"
From providence Octavius proceeded to prove the unity and eternity of God, the absurdity of polytheism, and the folly of the oracles. "Most of you know very well that the demons are forced to confess against themselves, as often as we rack them into confession by bare words only, and force them out of the bodies they possess, by such tormenting speeches as they cannot bear. You may well be assured they would never frame lies to their own shame, especially in the presence of you who adore them. Take their word then, and believe them to be devils, when you have it from their own mouths. For when we abjure them by the one living God, the wretches tremble, and either depart forthwith from the bodies they possess, or vanish by degrees, according to the faith of the patient, or the grace of the physician."
Octavius next dealt with the calumnies, which he showed were gross misunderstandings of Christian doctrines or practices. As to the old calumny of Christians' worshipping an ass's head--a prejudice formerly imputed to the Jews as evidenced by Josephus in his books against Appion--Octavius contented himself with denying the groundless a charge. He explained the senseless slander the Christians adored the knees of the bishop by explaining that they knelt before him to receive his absolution or blessing.
He confuted the charge of incest by pointing to the purity of Christian morals and the many who vow chastity. He pointed to the immorality of pagan worship that placed Priapus among her divinities, offered sacrifice to Venus the prostitute, and celebrated the festivals of Bona Dea and others with abominations and lewdness. He reminded Caecilius that Christians would not even see men justly put to death, or assist at public executions, and that they refrained from eating blood--which is far from the calumny that they feed on the flesh of children.
He continued by highlighting the sacredness of Christian marriage, the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the dead. In answer to the charge that Christians embrace poverty and simplicity, Octavius said: "Who can be said to be poor who finds himself in no want? He rather is the poor wretch who is necessitous in the midst of plenty. Here no man can be poorer than he came into the world. The Christian art of possessing all things is, by desiring nothing. As a traveler, the lighter he is, the easier he finds himself; so in this journey of life, he is happier who is lightened by poverty, than he who groans under a load of riches. Did we conclude riches necessary, we should ask them of God. Innocence is the top of our desire; and patience the thing we beg for. Calamity is the school of virtue. How beautiful a spectacle in the sight of God is a Christian entering the lists with affliction, and with a noble constancy menaces, racks, and tortures! When, like a conqueror, he triumphs over the judge that condemns him! For he is certainly victorious who obtains what he fights for."
Octavius concluded by stating the Christianity consists in practice, not in pompous words. "We do not look big, nor do we talk great things, but we live in them."
When Octavius had finished speaking, Cecilius cried out, "I congratulate both my Octavius and myself exceedingly: we are both conquerors. Octavius triumphs over me, and I triumph over error. But the chief victory and gain are mine, who, by being conquered, find the crown of truth."
Though this summarizes the celebrated conference, the train of thoughts and the beauty of the discourse are only to be understood from the original recorded by Marcus Minucius Felix in Octavius. If this excellent dialogue seems to have any fault, it is that it appears too short and leaves the reader looking for more. At the end of the book the three company promised another meeting to initiate Caecilius and instruct him in the discipline of Christianity. Unfortunately, the record of the second conference has been lost. In his apology (The seven books of Arnobius against the heathens, Arnobius seems to have been thinking of Octavius and Marcus when he tells his heathen readers that orators and lawyers of the first rank had embraced the faith.
Pontius assures us that the priest Cecilius was a just man, venerable for his age, and worthy of eternal memory and praise; adding, that Saint Cyprian ever respected him as his own father, and paid him all possible honor, deference, and gratitude (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Charles Lwanga and Companions MM (RM)
(also known as Ugandan Martyrs)
Died at Namugongo, Uganda, 1885-1887; beatified in 1920; canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964; feast added to the Roman Calendar in 1969; declared the protomartyrs of Black Africa. Twenty-two Catholic men, including seventeen young pages between the ages of 13 and 30, plus some Protestants, were martyred by King Mwanga of Uganda. Their heroic courage rivalled that of the early martyrs.
Catholic Christianity began to take root in Uganda after Cardinal Lavigerie's White Fathers established missions in central Africa in 1879. Progress was made under the rule of the not unfriendly local chieftain named Mtesa; however, his successor, Mwanga detested the faith that would accuse him of debauchery.
King Mwanga of Uganda took as chief steward a young Christian named Joseph Msaka Balikuddembe. Joseph detested the king's debauched ways, especially his attempts to corrupt other young men of Uganda, whom the steward tried to protect. Mwanga distrusted foreign visitors, fearing they might report his evil ways to the British government, which had given him his power.
In October 1885, Mwanga ordered his followers to kill an Anglican missionary, Bishop James Hannington. The Catholic steward Joseph protested at the murder of a fellow Christian. The following month, Mwanga had him beheaded. "A Christian who gives his life for God is not afraid to die," Joseph proclaimed. "Mwanga has condemned me without cause; but tell him I forgive him from my heart." To the king's astonishment, the Christians were not cowed by his sudden outrage.
Six months later Mwanga's savagery was even worse. He discovered that a 14-year-old page, Mwafu, had been receiving instruction in the Catholic faith. He called for Denis Sebuggwago, who had been teaching the page, and killed him by thrusting a butcher's cleaver or spear through his throat. That night Charles Lwanga, the new master of the pages, baptized five of them including Kizito, who he had repeatedly rescued from Mwanga's pederasty.
The next day the baptisms were discovered. Enraged, Mwanga assembled all the pages and ordered the Christians to separate themselves from the others. Fifteen, all under the age of 25, did so at once and were later joined by two others who were already under arrest and by two soldiers. They were asked if they wished to remain Christian and each replied, "Until death." The king then ordered every Protestant and Catholic living in the royal enclosure to be put to death.
Thirty-two Catholics and Protestants were led 37 miles away to a place called Namugongo to be burned to death in a literal holocaust. Three were killed on the way. One of these, a district judge named Matthias Kalemba, declared, "God will rescue me. But you will not see how he does it, because he will take my soul and leave you only my body." He was cut into pieces and left to die slowly by the roadside.
The rest of the martyrs were taken to Namugongo. They were imprisoned there for seven days while a huge pyre was prepared. At the appointed time on Ascension Day, they were forced to lie down on reed mats. Wrapped up in the mats and tightly bound, they were laid side by side. Fuel was poured on them, and they were set afire. As their executioners sang barbarously, the martyrs died confidently praying to their Savior.
The persecution spread. A leader among the confessors was Matthias Murumba, who was killed with revolting cruelty. During the reign of Mwanga about 100 Christians of various denominations were martyred.
Andrew Kagwa (Kaggwa, d. 1886) was a native chief of Kigowa and the royal bandmaster of King Mwanga. He was baptized in 1881, converted his wife, and became active in missionary work. He had gathered a large body of catechumens around him. Condemned to death for the faith, he right arm was severed from his body before he was beheaded.
Charles Lwanga (d. 1886) was a servant of the king, who was baptized in November 1885 and martyred the following June. He succeeded Joseph Mkasa as master of the pages and continued his predecessor's censure of the king's homosexual practices and corruption of the young pages. This intensified King Mwanga's hatred of Catholics.
Denis (Dionysius) Sebuggwago (Sebuggwawo) (d. 1885) was a servant of the King. He killed with a butcher's cleaver by the king himself because he was taught teaching the catechism. He was the first victim of the persecution.
John Maria Muzeyi (d. 1886) practiced the corporal works of mercy until his martyrdom.
Joseph Mikasa (Mkasa, Musaka) Balikuddembe (d. 1885), was the Christian steward in charge of the pages, at the court of King Mwanga of Uganda. He was beheaded on November 15, when he denounced the king's notorious immoralities and his murder of Joseph Harrington, a Protestant missionary, and his group.
Kizito (d. 1886), 13-year old boy, who went to his death "laughing and chattering," was saved from the king's pedophilic tendencies by Charles Lwanga, who baptized the child.
Mbanga (Mbaga) Tuzinde (d. 1886) was a page to the king and the adopted son of the chief executioner. He had to resist the pleas of his family up until the moment of he was thrown on the pyre at Namuyongo. At the last moment his father killed him with a blow to the neck to prevent him from suffering the agony of burning.
Matthias Kalemba (d. 1886) was a Membo judge, who was tortured to death.
Matthias Murumba, an Islamic assistant judge who converted, first to Protestantism, then to the Catholic faith. He was baptized by Fr. Livinhac, then martyred on Kumpala Hill.
Pontain Ngondwe (d. 1886), a soldier in the Royal Guard (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Farmer, Faupel, Gill, Thoonen, Walsh, White).
Charles Lwanga is the patron saint of African Catholic Youth Action (White).
Clotilda of France, Queen Widow (RM)
(also known as Clotilde, Clothilde)
Born at Lyons, France, c. 474; died at Tours in 545. Clothilde was matriarch to a family of saints and horrid sinners. Her granddaughter Bertha married Saint Ethelbert of Kent and prepared his heart for conversion. Their daughter Saint Ethelburga brought her husband King Saint Edwin to the Faith. Clothilde's other granddaughter Clotsinde married Albion, king of Arian Lombards, and converted him. Her grandson Clodoaldus, saved from his scheming uncle by his grandmother, became a priest and monk.
Clothilde, the daughter of King Chilperic of Burgundy, was born about the time of the fall of Rome. Western Europe was overcome by barbarians. Cathedrals and monasteries were the only civilizing influence. The Franks invaded and had to choose between pagan beliefs and Christianity. About 492, Clothilde married Clovis, king of the Salian Franks who was attracted by her beauty and wisdom.
According to Saint Gregory of Tours, she became the means of leading her husband to embrace Christianity. She had their first son baptized, but he died soon after. Her husband connected the child's baptism and death. The next child, Clodomir, became ill after baptism, but survived, as did two other sons and a daughter. Clovis was finally convinced of the truth of Christianity when he won a battle against the Alemanni that was seemingly lost after praying to "Clotilde's God" and promising that he would be baptized if the victory was his. After Clovis was baptized on Christmas Day in 496 by Bishop Saint Remigius of Rheims, the Roman Church turned its eyes west and north.
Later, Clovis and Clothilde together built the Church of the Apostles, later called Saint Geneviève, in Paris, where Clothilde was later buried. (Amazingly, her relics survived the French Revolution and can now be found at the church of Saint-Leu, Paris.)
Clothilde, after Clovis's death (511) retained enormous wealth, but could not control her children, who had become boy-kings. Visigoth Amalaric (an Arian) demanded her only daughter Clothilde II in marriage, in exchange for which, he might permit peace. Wars broke out among royal kinsfolk. Clodomir was killed and Clothilde took his three sons in her care. Anguished at the murder of two of Clodimir's sons by their uncle Clotaire, she placed the youngest (Saint Cloud or Clodoaldus, aged five) in the monastery at Versailles and retired to Saint Martin's at Tours. There she spent the rest of her life helping the sick and the poor, building churches and monasteries, and praying for her country. Churches at Laon, Andelys, and Rouen claim to have been built by her.
Amalaric treated her daughter cruelly, her brother Childebert killed her husband. But Clothilde II dies on the way home. Clothilde I prayed and did penance for her two assassin sons. Queen Clothilde died on June 3, 545, in the presence of these two sons. At her passing, a dazzling light and heavenly incense filled the room (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer Martindale).
In art, Saint Clotilda is dressed in royal robes with an angel near her bearing a shield with fleur-de-lys (Roeder). She is often shown at the baptism of Clovis or as a suppliant at the shrine of Saint Martin. If you go through the images at Clothilde at Prayer, you will find most of her story in pictures. In Normandy, she was the patroness of the lame and invoked against death and iniquitous husbands (Farmer).
Conus of Lucania, OSB (AC)
Born in Diano, Italy; died c. 1200. The relics of Conus, a Benedictine monk of Cardossa in Lucania, were enshrined in the neighboring village of Diano in 1261 (Benedictines).
Cronan the Tanner (AC)
Died 617. Saint Cronan was a disciple of Saint Kevin (Benedictines).
Davinus (Dalidus) of Lucca (RM)
Died at Lucca, Italy, 1051. Davinus was a native of Armenia who set out on a pilgrimage to Rome and Compostella. On his way he stopped at Lucca, where he succumbed to a fatal malady (Benedictines, Encyclopedia). In art, Saint Davinus is a pilgrim upon whose grave a vine grows. He may also be portrayed (1) as a pilgrim with long hair and beads, a conical Oriental cap on his head; (2) with a cross on his shoulder; or (3) at his funeral (Roeder). He is venerated at Lucca (Roeder).
Blessed Gausmarus of Savigny, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died 984. Gausmarus was the abbot of Saint Martin (Savigny) from 954 until his death (Benedictines).
Genesius (Genet) of Clermont B (AC)
Died 662. Genesius gave up worldly honors, to which he was entitled by his birth into a distinguished family, in order to serve God in the lowest rank of the clergy in the diocese of Auvergne. Against his inclinations, he was promoted to archdeacon, where he was to spur the clergy into imitating his spirit of perfection in Christian virtue. He treated his own body austerely while his charity to the poor knew no bounds. The reverence with which he fulfilled his sacred functions inspired his assistants, including the future Saint Praejectus (Prix), with awe and the desire to strive for perfection themselves. In 656, Genesius succeeded Proculus as bishop of Clermont at the insistence of the other bishops of the province. His episcopate was peaceful and successful in stamping out the heresy of Novatian and Jovinian and instilling in his flock the love of virtue. He built a church in honor of Saint Symphorian (later renamed Saint Genesius), Grandlieu (Magnus Locus) Abbey, and a hospital. The beloved bishop, described as learned, benevolent, surpassingly good, was buried in the church he had built. He is liturgically honored in the diocese of Clermont. Two ancient English churches have been named after him (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
7th century. Saint Kevin preached the Gospel and the Holy Spirit led the heart of the Irish Saint Glunshallaich to conversion. He became penitent for the balance of his life. He was buried at Glendalough in the same grave as his evangelist (Benedictines).
Hilary of Carcassone B (AC)
4th century. Nothing is known about Hilary except that he was the bishop of Carcassone near Toulouse in France (Benedictines).
Isaac of Cordova M (RM)
Born in Cordova, Spain, c. 825; died there in 852. Saint Isaac was a Christian and so proficient in Arabic that he became a notary under the Moors. He resigned to become a monk at Tabanos near his hometown, emerged from the monastery to engage the chief magistrate in debate, and in the course of the debate he denounced Mohammed. He was arrested for this, tortured, then executed (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
Blessed John Grande (AC)
Born at Carmona, Andalusia, Spain, in 1546; died at Xeres, in 1600; beatified in 1853. John was a linen merchant but decided to become a hermit at Marcena. From that time to his death he made a pun of his surname, which means "great." He called himself Juan Grande Pecador or John the Great Sinner. He left his cell to work in the prisons and hospitals at Xeres, where a new hospital was left entirely in his care. This he handed over to Saint John of God and took the habit of the latter's new order at Granada. He died while care for prisoners and the sick (Benedictines).
Kevin of Glendalough, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Coaimhghin, Coemgen, Keivin)
Born at Fort of the White Fountain in Leinster, Ireland; died c. 618. Kevin was born of Irish royalty, but that doesn't tell us much because there were as many kings in Ireland as there were saints in Cornwall. He was baptized as Kevin or Coemgen, which means the "Fair-begotten" by Saint Cronan. As a boy he was sent to be educated at a monastery, where he was fortunate enough to be a pupil of Saint Petroc of Cornwall, who was then in Ireland. Kevin is best remembered as the abbot-founder of Glendalough, County Wicklow, one of the most famous abbeys of Ireland.
After his ordination he settled as a hermit in the scenic Valley of the Two Lakes by the Upper Lake, supposedly led there by an angel. This is probably at a place now marked by a cave called "Saint Kevin's Bed," which was formerly a Bronze Age tomb that he reused, and the Teampull na Skelling (the rock church). After seven years as a solitary living on nettles and herbs, he was persuaded to founded a monastery at Disert-Coemgen for the many disciples he attracted. He made a pilgrimage to Rome and brought back many relics for his foundation. When the number who gathered around him became too numerous for the site, the monastery was moved after his death (at age 120) down to the Lower Lake. Still more churches were added to the east of the site during the abbacy of Saint Laurence O'Toole. Glendalough has always been a popular pilgrimage site.
Kevin's extant vita are romantic, untrustworthy legends, which may be based on actual facts although the earliest was recorded about 400 years after his death. Most were written to further the claims of Glendalough, which was already an important monastery and diocese. He is said to have fed his community for some time on salmon supplied by an otter.
(Unfortunately, one of the monks wanted to make a pair of warm gloves out of the otter's hide; the otter guessed what was on his mind and was careful never to appear again!) It is also claimed that he visited Saint Ciaran of Clonmacnoise just before his death and that Ciaran gave him his bell. A few of the stories are repeated below: (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Gill, Montague, White).
"Wandering by himself though lonely places, the blessed Kevin came one day upon a glen set in a hollow of the hills and lovely with running water. For there were two lakes, and clear streams here and there flowing down from the mountains. And he went up the valley to the head of the glen where it narrows; there is a lake there, and the mountains very high above it; it lies at their feet, and they rise from its very verge. This valley used to be called in the Irish Glen De, but now it is called Glen da Lough, that is the glen of the two lakes. And Saint Kevin settled himself beside the lake in a hollow tree and lived in these strait quarters for some while. Now and then he would go out to gather a few herbs and eat them, and drink a little water. And so he lived, for many days.
"Now a herd from a neighboring farm (the master's name was Bi) would some days bring his cows to pasture in this valley, where
Saint Kevin lived as a hermit. And God, being minded to show His servant Kevin to men, made a cow from that herd come daily to Saint Kevin in his hollow; and it would lick the Saint's clothes. And towards evening when she would hear the lowing of the herd returning, sated with green grass and well watered, and the high shouting of the herdsmen driving their beasts, she would hurry to the front of the herd, content with her own pasture.
"And every day as the herd made its way from the lap of the mountain into the valley, that cow would steal away from the rest, and come to the man of God. And every day she did as on the first day. And that cow had abundance of milk past belief, from the touch of the garments of the man of God. And the byremen, marvelling at the rich streams of milk from her, spoke of it to the master. And he said to the herdsman, 'Do you know what has come to that cow?' The herd knew nothing of it and his master said, 'Keep a close eye on her, and see where she gets her good favor from.'
"So the next day the herdsman left his charge to the youngsters and himself followed after the cow, wherever she went. And the cow took her wonted track to the hollow tree, in which Saint Kevin lived. And the herd, finding her licking the Saint's coat, stood agape; and then he fell to threatening the cow, and miscalling the man of God as a countryman might.
"And the Saint was ill-pleased, for he feared that the man would betray his presence there. And then the herdsman drove the beasts home to the byre. But when they had got tot he farm, the cows and calves fell into such a frenzy that the mothers did not know their own calves and would have killed them. The herdsman, terrified, told his master what he had seen in the valley, and at his bidding, came straight back to Saint Kevin, and fell on his knees and begged God's Saint to grant him his forgiveness.
"The Saint adjured him, and he vowed not to betray him; for Saint Kevin did not know that the story was already told. The man had his pardon, and was given holy water; and when he sprinkled it on the cows and calves, they recognized one another with the old love between them, and were tame again on the spot. But the fame of Saint Kevin was carried over the whole countryside. And it came to the ears of some of the older saints, Eogan and Lochan and Enna, that Saint Kevin was in that deserted valley; and they took him away with them, against his will, to his monastery. . . ." (Plummer).
In the end Saint Kevin went back to the place where he had been a hermit in his youth and built a monastery there for those who followed him. He went off by himself, about a mile away, and built a hut for his dwelling. He forbade the monks to visit him unless it was urgent. He had the wild animals for company.
After seven years Kevin built himself an oratory of osiers and still lived alone. One day the huntsmen of the King of Leinster, Brandubh, came into the glen with hounds following a boar. The boar sought refuge in Kevin's oratory, but the hounds did not follow him in. Instead, they lay on their chests outside, before the gate.
"And there was Kevin praying under a tree, and a crowd of birds perched on his shoulders and his hands, and flitting about him, singing to the Saint of God. The huntsman looked; and dumbfounded he took his way back with his hounds, and for the sake of the holy solitary's blessing, let the boar go free. He told the marvel that he had seen to the King and to all of them. And there were times that the boughs and the leaves of the trees would sing sweet songs to Saint Kevin, that the melody of heaven might lighten his sore travail" (Plummer).
"Colman, son of Carbri, chief of the fourth of the men of northern Leinster, in his youth took to wife a woman of rank, but since their habits did in no way agree, sent her away, and took another in her place. Now the woman thus dismissed was wise and dangerous in the magic arts, and being passionate against her husband, Colman, the chief, she brought to death all the children of the other by her incantations; for as soon as she heard that a son or daughter had been born to him, she would come from wherever she was to stand over the dun where the child lay, and sing magic songs, until the little creature was dead.
"So, when a little son was born to him in his old age, he was straightway baptized, lest he should die through her witchcraft unchristened; and he was called Faolain. And then the chief his father sent him to Saint Kevin, that he might protect him by the strength of God from this woman, and bring him up in the ways of the world. And he offered him to Saint Kevin, promising that he and his seed after him should be buried by the house of Saint Kevin for ever, and should serve him, if Faolain should escape alive.
"And so Saint Kevin took the child gladly, and brought him up as a layman should be, even as his father had said; and he loved him dearly. But Saint Kevin knew not where to look for new milk to feed the small babe, because women and cows were far from his monastery; and he prayed to God to give him some assistance in the matter. And God sent Saint Kevin a doe from the mountain near by, and on her milk the babe Faolain was reared. Twice a day until the child was grown, the doe would come to Saint Kevin's monastery, and there be milked by one of the brethren, and go back in all gentleness to her pasture.
[Another version tells us that the doe was killed by a she-wolf. When Kevin saw this, he commanded the wolf to provide the milk and the wolf obeyed.]
"But there came a day when the brother, milking her out of doors, set down the vessel with the milk on the ground; and up came a greedy rook intent upon a drink, and with its beak upset both pail and milk on the ground. And seeing it, Saint Kevin spoke to the rook.
"'For long enough,' said he, 'shalt thou and thy race do penance for this crime. For on the day of my departure to heaven, there shall be much preparing of beef, and ye shall not eat thereof. And if any one of you make so bold as to touch so much as the blood or the offal of the cattle that shall be slain during those days, he shall die on the spot. And everywhere shall be merrymaking, but ye on the heights of these mountains that stand round us shall be sad, cawing and having the law of one another for very dismalness.' And this marvel is fulfilled every year unto this day, even as the Saint foretold" (Plummer).
"After these things the Angel of God came to Saint Kevin saying, 'O Saint of God, God hath sent me to thee, to bring thee to the place which the Lord hath appointed thee, to the east of the lesser lake, and there thou shalt be with thy brethren; for in that place shall thy resurrection be.'
"Saint Kevin said, 'If it had not displeased my Lord, in this place where I have borne travail for Christ, I would fain have remained until my death.'
"Then answered the Angel, 'If thou wilt go with thy monks to this place, there shall be many of the sons of life in it until the end of the world, and when thou art gone thy monks shall have a sufficiency of this world's goods. And many thousands of blessed souls shall rise with thee from that place, to the kingdom of heaven.'
"Said Saint Kevin, 'Indeed, O holy messenger, it is not possible for monks to dwell in that valley hemmed in by the mountains, unless God should aid them by His power.'
"Then answered the Angel, 'Hear these words, O man of God. Fifty men of thy monks, if thou wilt have it so, shall God fill with heavenly bread, and naught of earthly sustenance at all, if they remain of one spirit in Christ after thy death; and to each of them that dies shall another succeed in the fear and the love of God, in habit and in vow, until the Day of Judgment.'
"Said Saint Kevin, 'I like it not that there should be so few monks after me in that place.'
"Then answered the Angel, 'If thou likest it not that there should be so few in that place, then shall many thousands live there, without stint or poverty, God supplying their worldly store, for ever. And thou from thy heavenly seat shalt rule thy family on earth, even as thou wilt, in Christ. And by God's aid, thou shalt rule thy monks here and hereafter. For this place shall be holy and revered; the kings and the great ones of Ireland shall make it glorious to the glory of God because of thee, in lands, in silver and in gold, in precious stones and silken raiment, in treasures from over sea, and the delights of kings, and rich shall be its harvest fields. A great city shall rise there. And the burial place of thy monks shall be most sacred, and none that lie beneath its soil shall know the pains of hell. And verily if thou shouldst will that these four mountains which close this valley in should be levelled into rich and gentle meadow lands, beyond question thy God will do it for thee.'
"Said Saint Kevin, 'I have no wish that the creatures of God should be moved because of me; my God can help that place in some other fashion. And moreover, all the wild creatures on these mountains are my house mates, gentle and familiar to me, and they would be said of this that thou hast said.' And in such discourse the Angel of God and Saint Kevin made their way across the waters of the lake" (Plummer).
"At one Lenten season, Saint Kevin, as was his way, fled from the company of men to a certain solitude, and in a little hut that did but keep out the sun and the rain, gave himself earnestly to reading and to prayer, and his leisure to contemplation alone. And as he knelt in his accustomed fashion, with his had outstretched through the window and lifted up to heaven, a blackbird settled on it, and busying herself as in her nest, laid in it an egg. And so moved was the Saint that in all patience and gentleness he remained, neither closing nor withdrawing his hand; but until the young ones were fully hatched he held it out unwearied, shaping it for the purpose. And for a sign of perpetual remembrance of this thing, all the images of Saint Kevin throughout Ireland show a blackbird in his outstretched hand" (Giraldus Cambrensis).
Saint Kevin is one of the patrons of Dublin. His feast is celebrated throughout Ireland.
Liphardus (Lifard) of Orléans, Abbot (RM)
Died c. 550. Well-born Saint Liphardus was a prominent lawyer of Orléans. His conscientious attention to duty did not hinder him from progressing spiritually. He regularly prayed all parts of the Divine Office, either publicly or privately, and was assiduous in participating in the sacraments. When he was about 40 years old, he retired from his profession and was ordained a deacon. He was so filled with awe in the presence of God that when he assisted in the holy Mass he looked like an angel at the altar. Nevertheless, his love of penance and holy contemplation grew so strong that he felt called to withdraw entirely from the world in order to embrace the eremitical life at a place called Mehun or Meung on the Loire. His disciple, Saint Urbicius accompanied him. Together they built a hermitage of twigs and rushes wherein they led a life of penance: a diet of bread and water, clothes of sackcloth, night-time vigils, and constant prayer. Upon witnessing the virtue of Liphardus, Bishop Mark of Orléans, who then resided at Cleri, ordained him to the priesthood and allowed him to found a monastery on the site of the hermitage, now known as the abbey of Meung-sur-Loire (before 541). The community grew in size and virtue because the many miracles worked by Liphardus drew others to him. Upon his death, the body of Liphardus was buried at Meung over which a chapel, then a collegiate church, were built. A church in Orléans and several nearby are dedicated to his memory (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Liphardus is portrayed in art as an abbot kneeling in ecstasy with a dragon near him. He is invoked against snakes (Roeder).
Lucillian, Claudius, Hypatius, Paul & Dionysius MM (RM)
Died at Byzantium in 273. Lucillian converted to Christianity in his old age. He was crucified at the same time that the four youths were beheaded. Another version of the story says that Lucillian was the father of the other four and makes Paula of Nicomedia, his wife (Benedictines).
Morandus of Cluny, OSB (AC)
Born near Worms, Germany; died c. 1115. The nobly born Morandus was educated at the Worms cathedral school. He was ordained, and after a pilgrimage to Compostella, became a Benedictine monk under Saint Hugh of Cluny. He spent several years at Cluniac monasteries in Auvergne, but about 1100 he was sent as a missionary to lower Alsace at the request of Count Frederick Pferz, who had just restored Saint Christopher Church at Altkirk. Morand became the confidant of the count and was highly regarded for his holiness, concern for the people, ability to preach missions, and miracles (Benedictines, Delaney). In art, Saint Morandus is depicted as a Benedictine with grapes and a pruning knife or with a book and pilgrim staff. He is venerated at Cluny and is the patron of Alsatian wine growers because tradition holds that he once fasted throughout Lent eating nothing except a bunch of grapes (Roeder).
Oliva of Anagni V (RM)
Date unknown. Nothing is known of Oliva except that she was a nun at Anagni near Rome (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Paula of Nicomedia VM (RM)
Died c. 273. The virgin Paula ministered to the imprisoned Saint Lucillian and the four youths martyred with him. For this reason she was arrested, tortured, and finally sent to Byzantium to be beheaded. Her association with the other five martyrs led to later stories that she was Lucillian's wife and the mother of the others (Benedictines).
Peregrinus I and Peregrinus II, OSB Cam. (AC)
Died c. 1291. These two confessors were Camaldolese monks. The first was abbot of Santa Maria dell'Isola, who returned to the mother house in 1290 as its prior and sacrist. The second was a simple monk who lived and died there at the same (Benedictines).
Pergentinus and Laurentinus MM (RM)
Died 251. These two were brothers who were martyred under Decius at Arezzo. They may not be historical personages (Benedictines). This pair is depicted in art as martyred by swords and laid in the same tomb, or interceding for the people of Arezzo (Roeder).
Urbicius, Abbot (RM)
6th century. Disciple of Saint Liphardus and second abbot of Meung monastery (Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
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.