Saint John of Sahagun
Amphion of Cilicia B (RM)
Died after 325. Amphion is described in the Roman Martyrology as "an excellent confessor in the time of Galerius Maximian." He was then bishop of Epiphania, Cilicia. Amphion attended the Council of Nicaea as a member of the Catholic party. He was elected to the see of Nicomedia. Saint Athanasius commended Amphion's writings (Benedictines).
Antonia (Antonina) VM (RM)
Died c. 304 (?); feast days also on March 1 and May 4. There is no verifiable data on Saint Antonia. There are entries for her on three separate days where her martyrdom is claimed by three different places called Cea. It is, however, likely that she suffered at Nicomedia (Benedictines).
Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor, and Nazarius MM (RM)
Date unknown. The Roman Martyrology contains this laus: "At Rome on the Aurelian Way, the birthday of the holy martyrs Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor, and Nazarius, soldiers who were cast into prison in the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian, under the prefect Aurelius for confession of the Christian name, scourged with scorpions and beheaded." The quartet is mentioned in the sacramentaries of Pope Saint Gelasius and Saint Gregory the Great as interred on the Aurelian road. Their unreliable acta states that they were four soldiers in the army of Maxentius.
It seems, however, more likely that this group is the result of a confusion of names in the martyrologies. Basilides is probably the Roman martyr of June 10, who died in the late 3rd century; Cyrinus (Quirinus), the martyr of June 4; and Nabor and Nazarius, two Milanese martyrs of whom nothing reliable is known. All four were venerated together on June 12 until 1969, when their feast was suppressed because of this confusion.
In 756, Saint Chrodegang, bishop of Metz procured the relics of several martyrs from Rome. He placed those of Nazarius in the abbey of Lorch in the diocese of Worms and those of Nabor in that of Saint Hilary (now corrupted to Saint Avol's) in the diocese of Metz (Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).
Christian (Croistan) O'Morgair of Clogher B (AC)
Died 1138. Bishop Christian was the brother of Saint Malachy of Armagh. In 1126, he became bishop of Clogher and obtained several privileges from the Holy See for his diocese. His sanctity was specially noted by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in his biography of Malachy (Benedictines, Montague).
Cunera V (AC)
Date unknown. Cunera is particularly venerated in Germany, but is said to have been of British birth. No trustworthy records of her life survive (Benedictines).
Eskil (Eskill) BM (AC)
Died c. 1080; feast day formerly June 13. Eskil is said to have been an Englishman and a relative of Saint Sigfrid, whom he accompanied on the latter's mission to reconvert Sweden, whose people had returned to paganism following the death of Saint Ansgar. Sigfrid consecrated him bishop of Strangnäss. Eskil preached the Gospel with some success in Södermanland, until the heathens reacted after the murder of the friendly king Inge. Then, because he had protested against an idolatrous festival and called down a violent storm that destroyed a pagan altar and its sacrifices, he was stoned to death by the people at Strangnäss. His body was buried on the spot where he died. Within a short time a church was built there in which his sacred remains were exposed to the veneration of the faithful, and were honored with miracles. Prior to the Reformation, Saint Eskil was greatly honored in Sweden, and the place where he was buried, Eskilstuna, was named after him (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
Gerebald of Châlons-sur-Seine B (AC)
Died 885. Saint Gerebald was bishop of Châlons-sur-Seine from 864 to 885 (Benedictines).
Blessed Helen of Poland, Widow (AC)
(also known as Jolenta)
Died 1298; cultus approved in 1827; feast day formerly March 6. Daughter of King Bela IV of Hungary, Jolenta was raised by her elder sister Blessed Cunegund (Kinga), wife of Boleslaus V of Poland. In 1256, Jolenta married Duke Boleslaus V of Kalisz. When he died in 1279, she, Cunegund (now widowed), and one of her daughters retired to the Poor Clare convent that Cunegund founded at Sandeck. Later Jolenta became superioress of the convent at Gnesen, which she had founded, and died there (Benedictines, Delaney).
John of Sahagun, OSA (RM)
(also known as John of Saint Facundo)
Born at Sahagun, León, Spain, c. 1430 (?); died in Salamanca, June 11, 1479; beatified in 1601; canonized in 1690.
Saint John was educated by the Benedictines at the great abbey of his native Sahagun (from Sant'Facun). While he was still a boy, his father, Don Juan Gonzalez de Castrillo, procured for him a small benefice. The bishop of Burgos and the abbot of Sahagun gave him four other benefices by the time he was 20, because his family was influential and these leaders recognized a promise of greatest in John. Thus, when John was ordained in 1453, he held five benefices in Burgos at the same time without holding residence in any of them--two acts of disobedience to Church ordinances. Instead he was majordomo in the household of the bishop.
Repenting of such pluralism upon the bishop's death, he gave up all but the one assigned to the chapel of Saint Agnes in Burgos, where he celebrated the Eucharist daily, catechized the ignorant, and preached. He had converted his life to one of evangelical poverty. With this benefice John financed his theological studies at the University of Salamanca. The education he received there gave him the confidence he need to minister more effectively in the nearby parish of Saint Sebastian, while holding a chaplaincy in the College of Saint Bartholomew.
At that time Salamanca was deeply divided and crime-ridden, which gave John ample opportunity to preach reconciliation and conversion. He followed up his preaching with individual counselling in the confessional. John had a remarkable gift for reading souls, which drew still more to his confessional. He was rigid in refusing or deferring absolution to habitual sinners and ecclesiastics who did not live in accordance with the spirit of their profession. John's fervor in offering the Mass edified all who assisted. In fact, it is related that he was privileged to see the bodily form of Jesus at the moment of consecration. The grace God poured into his soul during his prayers and communions overflowed into his preaching--especially against vice in high places.
After a grave illness in 1463, he requested entry into the Augustinian friary in the same city and was professed on August 28, 1464. Soon after he undertook the office of novice-master, while continuing his public preaching. His work for reconciliation bore fruit: a pact of peace was signed by hostile parties in 1476. About that time he was elected prior by his community.
In 1479, John predicted his own death, which occurred the same year. At Alba de Tormes his life was threatened by two thugs hired by the duke because of his public denunciation of oppressive landlords. In John's presence, however, the would-be assassins were struck with remorse, confessed their errand, and begged his forgiveness. But John's preaching brought further rancor. It is said that John's death was hastened by poisoning, brought about by a woman in Salamanca whose paramour he had reformed.
By his fearless preaching, John effected profound change in the social life of Salamanca; for this he won the popular acclamation of apostle of Salamanca. Soon after his death, miracles and pilgrimages occurred at his tomb. His relics survive in a feretory in the cathedral of his adopted city of which he is patron. In art, he is portrayed with a host in his hand in memory of his devotion to the Eucharist (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Walsh).
Leo III, Pope (RM)
Born in Rome, Italy; died June 12, 816; canonized 1673.
Son of Atypius and Elizabeth, Leo was chief of the pontifical treasury or wardrobe (vestiarius) and a cardinal-priest of Santa Susanna when he was elected pope on the day his predecessor, Hadrian I, was buried, December 26, 795. Hadrian's two nephews both hoped to be made pope themselves. In 799, they incited a gang of young nobles to attack Leo. On Saint Mark's day Leo was riding in a procession when these roughs dragged him from his horse, tried to cut out his tongue and attempted to blind him. Leo escaped to the monastery of Saint Erasmus with the help of the duke of Spoleto. There he recovered quickly, miraculously according to some.
Leo enlisted the help of the most powerful layman of the age, Charlemagne, who was at Paderborn. Charlemagne provided troops a few months later to guard the pope as he journeyed from Paderborn back to Rome, where he entered the city amid rejoicing.
His enemies, however, did not rest. They accused Leo of perjury and adultery. In 800, Charlemagne came to Rome and appointed learned commissioners to examine whether any fault in Leo could account for the attacks made on him. The convened synod found none. Leo took an oath that he was innocent of any of the charges before the assembled bishops.
On Christmas Day Leo crowned Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor in Saint Peter's Basilica. This was the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire, an attempt to realize Saint Augustine's ideal of the City of God, which profoundly affected European history for many centuries. On this alliance was founded the unity of medieval Christendom; but opinions vary about the precise significance of the coronation and whether pope or emperor gained most from it in authority and protection. Nevertheless, Leo and the emperor now worked side by side to resolve quarrels throughout the Holy Roman Empire, and to combat the spread of Islam.
In 804, Leo visited the emperor and came to an agreement with him about the division of the empire among Charlemagne's sons. Leo formally agreed to it two years later. With Charlemagne's help Adoptionism was fought in Spain, but when Charlemagne wanted the expression Filioque ("and the Son") added to the Nicene Creed, Leo refused, in part because he would not permit secular interference in ecclesiastical affairs, and in part because he did not wish to offend the Byzantine Church.
Generally, the two acted in concert. They settled the dispute between Canterbury and York (see under Saint Wilfrid). In the quarrel between Archbishop Wilfrid and King Cenulf of Mercia, Leo intervened, suspended the archbishop, and put the kingdom under interdict. After the death of Offa, who had requested that Pope Hadrian create a metropolitan at Lichfield, Leo restored Canterbury to its former status in 803.
At the suggestion of Charlemagne, Leo also created a fleet to combat the Saracens, recovered some of the Church's patrimony in Gaeta with the emperor's help, and was the beneficiary of much treasure from him. Charlemagne's bounty permitted Leo to restore many churches both in Rome and Ravenna, help the poor, and patronize the arts.
When Charlemagne died in 814 and Leo's protection was gone, his enemies again rose against him. He crushed one conspiracy by executing the ringleader, and another revolt by the nobles of Campagna, who planned to march on Rome, was suppressed by the duke of Spoleto. The saint died two years after his great ally, Charlemagne (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).
Pope Saint Leo is generally depicted in art as he crowns Charlemagne [Grandes Chroniques de France, 14th century) (Roeder). A restored, near-contemporary mosaic survives in the Lateran depicting Saint Peter giving the pallium to Leo and a standard to Charlemagne (Farmer). Another image from the Grandes Chroniques de France illustrates the Torture of Leo III.
Blessed Louis Naisen M (AC)
Born in 1619; died in 1626; beatified in 1867. Louis was a seven year old Japanese boy, son of Blessed John and Monica Naisen. He was beheaded in Nagasaki (Benedictines).
Marinus, Vimius, and Zimius, OSB (AC)
Died after 1100. The "Three Holy Exiles" were Benedictine monks of the Gaelic abbey of Saint James at Regensburg, Germany. About 1100, they became hermits at Griesstetten (Benedictines).
Odulf of Stavoren, OSA (AC)
(also known as Odulphus)
Born in Oorschot, Brabant; died in Utrecht, June 12, c. 855; feasts of his translations on October 10 and November 24. In his youth, Odulf was remarkable both for his intelligence and his piety. He was ordained a priest and appointed canon of Utrecht by Saint Frederick. A few years later Frederick sent him to evangelize the partially converted Frisians. He founded a church and monastery of Augustinian canons at Stavoren, which became his center of operations for many years. He retired to Utrecht, where his body was enshrined and his cultus grew after his death. Many churches are dedicated to him in both the Netherlands and Belgium.
His relics are said to have been stolen in 1034 by Viking pirates and taken to London. Bishop Aelfward of London bought them for a huge sum and gave them to Evesham Abbey, which he still governed. A later Norman abbot, Walter, tried to move them to Winchcombe, but the shrine became so heavy as they continued toward their destination that they had to turn back; it became light as a feather the closer they got to Evesham. Another time, Queen Edith tried to take some of Odulf's relics for her private collection, and was blinded. Thus, says the chronicler, Odulf demonstrated his desire to remain at Evesham. Unfortunately, these are probably not Odulf's relics. They were supposedly stolen from Stavoren, while the Utrecht tradition says they have never been translated from their original burial spot there (Benedictines, Farmer). In art, Saint Odulf is an Augustinian canon with a bowl for baptizing in his hand (Roeder).
Olympius of Enos B (RM)
Died after 343. Bishop Olympius of Enos (Aenos) in Rumelia was a contemporary of Saint Athanasius. For his opposition to Arianism he was deposed by the Emperor Constantius (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Onuphrius of Egypt, Hemit (RM)
(also known as Humphrey, Onofrio)
Died c. 400. When Abbot Saint Paphnutius was trying to discern whether the eremitical life was for him, he met Onuphrius, who had been a hermit for 70 years in the Thebaid of Egypt. Onuphrius told him that he had been a monk in an austere monastery of 100 monks near Thebes but, having felt called to imitate Saint John the Baptist, had left to follow the eremitical life. He related that he had struggled for many years against grievous temptations, but by perseverance overcame them. Paphnutius was amazed when food miraculously appeared for their evening meal.
The abbot spent the night with the hermit. The next morning Onuphrius told Paphnutius that the Lord had told him he, Onuphrius, was to die and Paphnutius had been sent by the Lord to bury him. Onuphrius did die, Paphnutius buried him in a hole in the mountainside, and the site immediately disappeared, as if to tell the abbot that he was not to remain there. The story was put into writing by one of his monks and was already popular in the sixth century. During the Middle Ages he was very popular in both the East and the West. (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
In art, Onuphrius is an old hermit dressed only in long hair and a loincloth of leaves. Sometimes he may be shown (1) as an angel brings him the Eucharist or bread; (2) with a crown at his feet; or (4) being buried by two lions (this is a confusion with the story of Saint Paul the Hermit told in Saint Jerome's The Life of Antony). There are several images available on the Internet:
Onuphrius is the patron of weavers, probably because "he was dressed only in his own abundant hair and a loin-cloth of leaves," and of a Sienese confraternity (Roeder).
Peter of Mount Athos
Blessed Placid of Val d'Ocre, OSB Cist. Abbot (AC)
Born at Rodi near Amiterno, Italy; died 1248. Saint Placid was born to working class parents. He became a monk at Saint Nicholas in Como, then a hermit at Ocre in the Abruzzi, and ultimately the abbot-founder of the monastery of Santo Spirito, near Val d'Ocre. It is said that he slept in a standing position for 37 years (Benedictines).
Blessed Stephen Bandelli, OP (AC)
Born at Castelnuovo, diocese of Piacenza, Italy, in 1369; died at Saluzzo, 1450; cultus approved by Pope Pius IX in 1856. Stephen Bandelli was born into a noble family. Little is known of his early years except that he applied for admission to the Dominicans in his hometown and received the habit while still very young.
Stephen earned a degree in canon law and a master's degree in theology, and lectured at the University of Pavia. He was a man of superior intellect and a careful student. Tradition holds that he was "another Saint Paul," and that his sermons were effective in bringing many Christians to a more fervent life and many sinners back into the fold. Aside from this, one reads only the traditional assurances--that he was prayerful, penitential, had a spirit of poverty, was charitable, and was a model religious.
When Stephen died, he was buried in the Dominican church of Saluzzo. Many miracles were worked at his tomb, and the citizens of Saluzzo invoked him, in 1487, when the town was attacked by one of their neighbors. Their preservation was attributed to Stephen's intercession, as it was claimed that he had appeared in the sky above them while they were fighting. An annual feast was kept there in his honor for many years (Benedictines, Dorcy).
Ternan of Culross B (AC)
5th century. Saint Palladius consecrated Ternan as an early missionary bishop among the Picts of Scotland. He is said to have lived at Abernathy and is the reputed founder of the abbey of Culross in Fifeshire (Benedictines, 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.