Blessed Anne of Saint Batholomew, OCD V (AC)
(also known as Anne García)
Born at Almendral (diocese of Ávila), Spain, in 1549; died 1626; beatified in 1917. Anne was a shepherdess, the daughter of poor shepherds, who was the first to join Saint Teresa of Ávila's reformed order. She became Teresa's secretary and travelled throughout Spain with the foundress. In 1606, she was sent to France to introduce the reform there. Eventually, she was appointed prioress of the convents at Pontoise and Tours. She founded a convent at Antwerp for English refugees. Interestingly enough, though one would expect a shepherdess to be illiterate, Anne has left us some delightful religious verse (Benedictines).
Antony Mary Gianelli B (RM)
Born at Cereta (near Genoa), Liguori, Italy, in 1789; died June 8, 1846; beatified in 1925; canonized in 1951. As a youth Antony was conspicuous for his gentle docility, industry, and intelligence. A generous benefactress made it possible for this middle-class boy to study in Genoa. He so distinguished himself in his seminary studies that he was allowed to preach while he was still only a subdeacon. Even then his eloquence drew crowds. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1812 by special dispensation because he was not of canonical age for ordination. He engaged in pastoral and educational work as a parish priest, gave numerous missions, and became known for his preaching and as a confessor besieged by penitents. He became archpriest of Chiavari in 1826. Before he was 40, he had founded a congregation of priests (in 1827), Missioners of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, and one of women (in 1829), Sisters of Santa Maria dell'Orto ('of the Garden'), who were devoted to teaching poor children and caring for the sick. These sisters spread to the United States and Asia. In 1838, he was appointed bishop of Bobbio, where he ruled wisely until his death. Because he was a man of extraordinary virtue and prudence, he gained the support of his priests. He also restored the cultus of Saint Columbanus (Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Walsh).
Aventinus of Bagnères M (AC)
Born at Bagnères in the Pyrenees; died 732. Aventinus was a hermit in the Larboush Valley, where the Saracens discovered him and put him to death (Benedictines).
Colman (Mocholmoc) of Dromore B (AC)
Born at Argyll, c. 516; died c. 610; cultus approved in 1903; he has a second feast on October 27. If you are confused by the many saints named Colman, join the club: there are 126 Irish saints bearing that illustrious name. Today's saint was the first abbot of Muckmore, County Antrim, then chosen as the abbot-founder and bishop of Dromore in County Down. He is said to have been the teacher of Saint Finnian of Clonard. Jocelin, in his life of Saint Patrick, tells us that Colman's virtue was foretold by Patrick. His legend ascribes many miracles to the bishop. This Colman is titular saint of at least one church in Scotland, Inis Mo-Cholmaig, and one in Wales, Llangolman (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth, Montague).
Deochar, OSB Abbot (AC)
(also known as Deocarus, Theutger, Gottlief)
Died 847. Saint Deochar was a hermit living in the wilds of Franconia until Blessed Charlemagne founded the Benedictine abbey of Herriedon and appointed Deochar its first abbot. In 802, he was appointed missus regius. In 819, he participated in the translation of Saint Boniface's relics to Fulda (Benedictines, Roeder). In art, Saint Deochar is portrayed before an open tomb (possibly that of Saint Boniface) that exhales a sweet odor or enthroned under Christ among the apostles with a mitre, crozier,and book (Roeder).
Gottschalk (Gotteschalk) M (AC)
Died June 7, 1066. There is a long and a short version of this story about a man whom many doubt should be considered a martyr or a saint. The short version is that Gottschalk was murdered with 29 fellow missionaries in Lenzen, Pomerania, by assassins hired by his brother-in-law. The longer version requires weaving the details of the politics leading up to their deaths.
The Germanic tribes of the Winuli, Slavi, and Vandals were kept from overrunning Christendom only by fear of the arms of King Canute of Denmark and Duke Bernard of Saxony. These tribes were led respectively by Gneus and Anatrog, pagans, and Uto, a lapsed Christian and the father of Gottschalk--all of whom were vassals of Emperor Henry the Salic.
When Uto was murdered by a Christian Saxon for his extreme cruelty, Gottschalk, who had been educated in Lumburg Abbey by Bishop Gottschalk, renounced his faith. He joined in the vengeful plans of Gneus and Anatrog, harassing Saxony until he was captured by Bernard. When he was finally freed, he found that Ratibor had taken possession of his territories among the Slavi. So he went to Denmark with an army of his people. King Canute employed his troops against Norway and later sent Gottschalk with his nephew, Sweyn, on an expedition to England. Having acquitted himself well in England, Canute gave Sweyn's daughter to him in marriage. At some point Gottschalk returned to the faith.
Upon the death of Canute and his children, Gottschalk returned from England, subdued the whole country of the Slavi, and compelled part of the Saxons to pay him a yearly tribute to acknowledge their subjection. He reigned in peace for many years as one of the most powerful Slavi princes ever. His apostasy was replaced by zeal and piety that expressed itself in his efforts to convert his people. All the parts of his dominions, throughout northern Germany from the Elbe to Mecklenburg, he filled with churches and priests. He founded monasteries at Lübeck, Aldenburg, Lenz, Ratzeburg, Magdeburg, and elsewhere. He supported missionaries throughout his territories. Gottschalk himself often interpreted to the people in the Sclavonian tongue the sermons and instructions of the priests in the church.
During the reign of Emperor Saint Henry II, the Slavi, Bohemians, and Hungarians lived in peace and in subjection to his empire. But when his son, a child only eight years old, succeeded him, various rebellions arose. Duke Bernard, who had governed Saxony forty years, died soon after Saint Henry. His dominions were divided between his two sons Ordulf and Herman. Ordulf, who took the title of duke of Saxony, was not a military leader. With little now to hold them in check, within five years after Bernard's death the pagan Vandals or Slavi, led by Gottschalk's brother-in-law, revolted, and began their sedition by murdering Gottschalk and a priest named Ebbo, whom they stabbed upon the altar. The only reason for their demise was hatred of Christianity (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Landulf Variglia, OSB B (AC)
Born at Asti, Piedmont, Italy, in 1070; died 1134. Landulf was a Benedictine at San Michele in Ciel d'Oro at Pavia, Italy, who was chosen as bishop of Asti in 1103 (Benedictines).
Lycarion of Egypt M (RM)
Date unknown. Martyr of Egypt (Benedictines).
Meriadoc (Meriadec) II of Vannes B (AC)
Born in Brittany; died 1302. Meriadoc was known for his charity when he lived in the world. After stripping himself of his estates, he became a priest and then retired to live a hermit's life in Rohan, Brittany. Against his will he was elected bishop of Vannes by its canons. The bishops of the province seconded that election and forced him to fill the episcopal seat. It did offer him an advantage: He had far greater resources as bishop to give to the poor. Under his episcopal finery he wore a rough hair shirt, and had no better to bring to his bed than sackcloth. The old breviaries of Nantes and Vannes contain an office in his honor on this day. He is titular saint of the chapel of the castle of Pontivi, and of several others in Brittany (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Meriadoc of Vannes B (AC)
(also known as Meriadec, Meriasek)
Died c. 688.
"Poverty is a remover of cares and the mother of holiness."
-- Saint Meriadoc.
Meriadoc, though venerated especially in Cornwall and northern France (Brittany), was probably a Welshman who lived in the 5th or 6th century. He came to Cornwall and founded several churches, one of which at Camborne was once dedicated to him. He became renowned in these parts and a miracle play in Cornish still survives, recounting his legendary exploits.
He then crossed over into Brittany, where his memory is still strong. In the 16th-century church at Plougasnou is a reliquary containing what may well be part of Meriadoc's skull. At Stival is preserved what purports to be his bell. Placed on the heads of the deaf and those suffering migraine, it is said to heal them. Some documents state that Meriadoc even became bishop of Vannes at a time when it was one of the most important cities of Brittany.
Meriadoc had been a rich man. Before becoming a hermit he gave all his money to poor clerics, distributing his lands to the needy. So great became his reputation for sanctity that he feared he would become vain and retired even further from the world. Instead of the silks and purple that he once wore, Meriadoc new dressed in rags, eating simple food, living in complete poverty.
When his relatives tried to make him leave his new life and return to the world, he told the viscount of Rohan who had come with these relatives that he would be better engaged extirpating the thieves and robbers of the neighborhood. The viscount took the saint at his word, and a great evil was removed from Brittany.
Although Meriadoc was unanimously elected bishop of Vannes, he took the bishopric reluctantly. After his consecration he continued a life of abstinence and love for the poor. He died kissing his brethren and crying, "Into your hands, Lord, I commend my Spirit" (Bentley).
Blessed Odo of Massy, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died 967. Benedictine abbot (935-967) of the Cluniac house of Massay (Benedictines).
Paul of Constantinople BM (RM)
Died c. 350. Patriarch Saint Paul spent most of his episcopate in exile. He was elected in 336; exiled to Pontus 337-338; exiled to Trèves by an Arian synod until 340; and, in 342, he was sent in chains to Mesopotamia by Emperor Constantius. Recalled in 344, he was banished for the last time to Kukusus, Armenia, where he was left without food for six days and then strangled (Benedictines). In art, Saint Paul is depicted as a bishop with a stole in his hand or as strangled with his own stole (Roeder).
Peter, Wallabonso, Sabinianus, & Companions MM (RM)
Died 851. This sextet was martyred at Cordova, Spain, by the Moorish Abderrahman II. Peter was a priest; Wallabonso, a deacon; Sabinianus and Wistremundus, monks of Saint Zoilus; Habentius, a monk of Saint Christopher's; and Jeremias, a very old man who had founded the nearby monastery of Tábanos. Jeremias was scourged to death; the others were beheaded or burned (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Potamioena the Younger VM (AC)
Died c. 304. A young girl martyred at Alexandria under Diocletian (Benedictines).
Robert of Newminster, OSB Cist. Abbot (RM)
Born at Gargrave, Yorkshire, England, in 1100; died at Newminster in 1159.
Saint Robert, described as "gentle in companionship, merciful in judgment," studied in Paris and wrote a commentary--since lost--on the Psalms.
After being ordained and serving as a parish priest in his native place, he was made rector of Gargrave. He then became a Benedictine at Whitby and joined a band of monks from Saint Mary's Abbey, York, to establish a monastery in which the strict Benedictine Rule would be revived. They settled, in the middle of winter in 1132, in the valley of Skeldale on land given to them by Archbishop Thurston.
The monastery became known at Fountains Abbey due to the presence of springs within its borders. The group became affiliated with the Cistercian reform, and the house became famous for the holiness and austerity of its members and its way of life. Robert was one of its most devout monks. The abbey became one of the centers of the White Monks in north England.
Impressed by the establishment, Ralph de Merly, Lord of Morpeth, built a Cistercian monastery on his own land, the Abbey of Newminster. In 1137 he brought 12 monks from Fountains Abbey and appointed Robert abbot. The monastery flourished under Robert's rule, and he established a house at Pipewell in Northamptonshire in 1143, one at Sawley and another at Roche in the West Riding.
He is said to have had supernatural gifts, and visions and encounters with demons have been attributed to him. He fasted so rigorously during Lent that a brother asked him in concern why he would not eat. He responded that he might eat some buttered oatcake, but once it was placed before him, fearing gluttony, he asked that it be given to the poor. A beautiful stranger at the gate took it--and the dish. While a brother was explaining the loss, the dish suddenly appeared on the table before the abbot. It was thought that the stranger was an angel.
Robert travelled to France again to see Saint Bernard, after he was slandered by some monks about his relations with a pious woman. Saint Bernard appears to have decided that the accusations were false. As a symbol of his belief in Robert's innocence, he gave him a girdle, which was kept at Newminster for performing cures.
Before he returned home, Robert had an interview with Pope Eugenius III, who asked the bishop of Durham to give Robert some land at Wolsingham. Robert frequently visited his close friend the hermit Saint Godric. The night Robert died, Godric is said to have seen his soul ascending to Heaven like a ball of fire.
His relics were translated to the church at Newminster. Miracles were reported at his tomb, including one in which a monk is said to have fallen unhurt from a ladder while whitewashing the dormitory. His tomb became a center of pilgrimage. He is depicted in art holding a church (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).
Vulflagius of Abbeville, Hermit (AC)
(also known as Vulphy, Wulfalgius, Wulphy)
Died c. 643. Though married, Vulflagius was chosen to be priest of a parish at Rue, near Abbeville. He later made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and ended his life as a hermit. His memory is greatly venerated at Montreuil-sur-Mer (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Willibald (Willebald) of Eichstätt B (RM)
Born in Wessex, October 21, c. 700; died on July 7, 786; canonized 938 by Pope Leo VII; feast day formerly on July 7.
The life of Saint Willibald had been despaired of as a child and he had been cured, so it was believed, by being placed at the foot of a market cross where his royal parents had prayed and made a vow that if his life were spared it should be dedicated to the service of God. As a result, when five years old, he was placed for education in Waltham Monastery in Hampshire.
In 721, he accompanied his father, King Saint Richard of the West Saxons, and brother, Saint Winebald, to Rome and the Holy Land. Richard died at Lucca in Italy. At some point Willibald was arrested at Emessa as a spy and imprisoned at Constantinople for two years. After an absence of six years, during which he visited many lauras, monasteries, and hermitages, Willibald settled in the great monastery of Monte Cassino, where he assisted Saint Petronax in its restoration. During his ten years there, Willibald was appointed sacristan, dean and, for eight years, porter.
While on a visit to Rome in 740, he met Pope Saint Gregory III, who sent him to Germany to join his uncle (or cousin) Saint Boniface in his missionary labors. Soon after his arrival, Boniface ordained him priest (741) and then consecrated him bishop of Eichstätt in Franconia (742). It was a hard and rough task in a barbarous land, for it was pioneering work demanding great qualities of energy and evangelism.
During that period he lived in the Heidenheim Abbey ruled by his brother, Saint Winebald, and afterwards by his sister, Saint Walburga. There he found a welcome retreat from the cares of his work, but was no less diligent in his pastoral oversight. "The field which had been so arid and barren soon flourished as a very vineyard of the Lord."
For over 50 years he labored for God in a foreign land and no story of missionary enterprise is more exhilarating than that of this faithful prince, who, whether as porter of a monastery or bishop of a diocese, served the needs of men and to the glory of God. And thus these three children of the good Saxon King Richard came to be numbered among the saints.
Willibald was the first known Englishman to visit the Holy Land. The account of his wanderings, Hodoeporicon, is the earliest known English travelogue. It was dictated from his memories and recorded by a nun at Heidesheim (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill).
Saint Willibald is depicted in art holding two arrows. Sometimes he may be shown (1) with a crown at his feet as he talks to a woodsman who fells a tree; (2) in infancy as he is dedicated by his parents at the foot of the cross; (3) as a pilgrim with his father and brother; (4) receiving the mitre from the pope; (5) with the words fides, spes, charitas on his cloak or arm; (6) with a broken glass; or (7) directing the building of a church (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.