Saint Vitus, Martyr
Abraham of Saint-Cyrgues, Abbot (RM)
Died c. 480. Born on the banks of the Euphrates River, Abraham travelled to Egypt, where he was attacked by thieves and held captive for five years. When he escaped, he boarded a ship sailing to Gaul. Thus, the Oriental settled as a hermit near Clermont in the Auvergne. Eventually he was made abbot of the nearby monastery of Saint-Cyrgues (Cyriacus) and ordained a priest. His is invoked against fever (Benedictines).
Adelaide of La Cambre, OSB Cist. V (AC)
(also known as Aleydis, Alice)
Died 1250; cultus confirmed in 1907. Saint Adelaide was a young Cistercian nun of the La Cambre convent who endured many physical afflictions. She became blind, contracted leprosy, and then paralysed. She had to be segregated from her community. Adelaide offered up her sufferings for the souls in purgatory and had visions of their being set free through her intercession. Her life was written by a contemporary (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Bardo of Mainz, OSB B (AC)
Born at Oppershofen, Germany, in 982; died in Mainz, in 1053; feast day formerly June 10. A helmet, a lamb, and a Psalter were gifts presented to Bardo as a child, and these symbolized courage, gentleness, and piety, each of which marked his later career. He was a German of good birth, and received his first schooling from an old woman who taught him his letters and to read the Psalms as he sat in her lap. Years later he still remembered what he owed to her and made good provision for her care.
The balance of his education came at Fulda, where he also received the Benedictine habit and became the dean. Upon his ordination as a priest in 1029, Bardo was appointed an abbot at Werden am Ruhr because of his family connection with the empress. One day, when he was at court, the archbishop of Mainz, seeing in his hand his richly wrought abbot's staff, remarked: "Abbot, I think that staff would become my hand better than yours," to which Bardo replied: "If you think so, it will not be hard for you to get it."
On returning to his quarters, he called one of his attendants and, giving him the staff and other insignia of his office, told him to take them as a gift to the archbishop. When the attendant returned, Bardo asked him how the archbishop had received them, "Middling well," was the answer. "Only middling well?" said the abbot, "Heaven knows, perhaps before long they will be mine again."
And sure enough, before long his words came true: he was restored to his abbey. In 1031, Bardo was appointed abbot of Hersfeld and was also appointed to succeed the archbishop of Mainz.
He made, however, an unfortunate beginning. When preaching before the emperor one Christmas morning, through sickness or nervousness he made a very poor impression. "What a man for an archbishop!" said those who heard him. "He is a stick. He cannot preach. Why did your Majesty appoint such a boorish monk?" And the emperor himself felt that he had made a mistake in appointing an ignorant monk to the most important diocese in Germany.
Bardo was due to preach again before the emperor a few days later, and his friends advised him not to, but he replied: "To every man his own burden," and faced the ordeal. This time he preached with such ease and power and created so admirable an impression that the emperor was delighted, and said as he sat down to dinner: "The archbishop has restored my appetite."
For a time Bardo was chancellor and grand almoner of the empire, yet to the end Bardo preserved the simple habits of a monk. He practiced austerities so severe that Pope Saint Leo IX advised him to relax them. He was noted for his love of the poor, the destitute, and animals. He was also a lover of birds, many rare specimens of which he collected and tamed, and taught to feed from his own plate. Bardo was diligent in his diocese and, as a prelate, a true father in God. He completed the building of his great cathedral in honor of Saint Martin. He had a great sense of justice, and protected many from the harsh treatment or wrong conviction; and, hating drunkenness and other gross habits, he advocated, especially to young people, the virtues of self-discipline and temperance (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).
Benildis of Cordova M (RM)
Died 853. Benildis was so moved by the fortitude displayed by St. Athanasius, a Spanish priest, during his martyrdom at the hands of the Moors, that she braved death at the stake on the following day. Her ashes were thrown into the Guadalquivir (Benedictines).
Constantine of Beauvais B (AC)
Died c. 706. Saint Constantine is reputed to have been a monk under Saint Philibert at Jumièges. He later became bishop of Beauvais (Benedictines).
Domitian and Hadelinus (Adelin) of Lobbes, OSB (AC)
Died c. 686. They were disciples and companions of Saint Landelin at Lobbes Abbey and, apparently, at Créspin Abbey (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Edburga of Winchester, OSB V Abbess (AC)
Died 960. Saint Edburga was a granddaughter of King Alfred and the daughter of Edward the Elder. It is reported that, while she was still a young child, her royal father offered her precious jewels in one hand and a penitential habit in the other. Edburga chose the latter joyfully. At that her parents placed her in Saint Mary's Convent, which was founded by Alfred's widow, Alswide, at Winchester, finished by her own father, and placed under the direction of Saint Etheldreda. Having finished her education, Edburga became a nun and later the abbess of the foundation. After Edburga died of a fever, Bishop Saint Ethelwold placed her remains in a rich shrine, which Abbess Saint Elfleda covered with gold and silver. When the Earl Egilwald of Dorsetshire sought relics for his newly rebuilt foundation of Pershore in Worcestershire after its pillage by the Danes, the abbess give him part of Edburga's skull, some of her ribs, and other bones, which were enclosed in a rich case. She was especially venerated at Pershore in Worcestershire, where these relics were enshrined and many miracles have taken place, and at Saint Mary's in Winchester (Attwater, Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Germaine Cousin V (RM)
(also known as Germana of Pibrac)
Born at Pibrac (near Toulouse), France, in 1579; died 1601; beatified on May 7, 1854; canonized on June 29, 1867 by Pope Pius IX.
Saint Germaine was the daughter of Laurent Cousin, a farm worker, and his wife, Marie Laroche. Her mother died while she was still an infant. A sickly child, she suffered scrofula among other conditions, and her right hand was deformed. Her father and his second wife (or her half-brother's wife) treated her badly. After her stepmother's children were born, Germaine was kept isolated from her siblings. She slept in the stable or in a cupboard under the stairs and was poorly fed on scraps. At the age of nine, Germaine was put to work as a shepherdess, which is not a terrible business for one who liked to pray.
Germaine was very devout, however, and refused to miss Mass. If she heard the bell calling the faithful to Mass while she was tending the sheep, she set her crook and her distaff in the earth, declared her flock to be under the care of her guardian angel, and went to church. Her sheep never came to any harm during her absences, even though ravening wolves inhabited the nearby forest of Boucône. It is reported that once she crossed the raging Courbet River by walking over the waters so that she could get to church.
Germaine was so poor that it is hard to imagine she would have the resources to exercise the corporal works of mercy. Yet love can always find a way. She was always ready to lend a hand to anyone needing it, especially the children whom she would gather in the fields to teach a simple catechism. She shared what little food she received with those poorer than herself.
The neighbors laughed at her religious devotion and called her 'the little bigot'; Germaine took it all in good humor. Once in the winter her stepmother accused her of stealing bread and pursued her threateningly with a stick. When Germaine opened her apron, summer flowers tumbled out. The neighbors and her parents were awed and began to treat her as a holy person. Her parents invited her to rejoin the household, but Germaine chose to continue living as before.
At 22, she was found dead on her straw pallet under the stairs. Her body was buried in the Church of Pibrac opposite the pulpit. When it was accidentally exhumed in 1644 by workmen renovating the church and identified by the withered hand, it was found incorrupt. After being exposed for one year for veneration, her relics were transferred to a leaden coffin and placed in the sacristy. Sixteen years later, her body was found to be still well preserved, and miracles were attributed to her. Her relics remain in the church at Pibrac, and an annual pilgrimage is made there. The process of canonization, begun in 1700, was delayed for Germaine because of the intervening French Revolution and similar problems. She was, however, successfully invoked by Popes Pius VII in 1813 and Pius IX in 1849 (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Walsh, White).
In art, Saint Germaine is depicted as a peasant girl with flowers falling around her in winter. She might also be portrayed tending sheep or dying alone in poverty (Roeder). She is venerated in Pibrac, Toulouse, France (Roeder). Germaine is the patroness of young country girls (Encyclopedia).
Hesychius of Dorostorum M (RM)
Died c. 302. Hesychius, a Roman soldier, was martyred at Dorostorum (Sillistria) in Moesia (Bulgaria) together with the veteran Saint Julius (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Isfrid, O. Praem.
Born c. 1114; died 1204. The Norbertine Saint Isfrid was provost of the church of Jerichow in the diocese of Havelberg. He was elected bishop of Ratzeburg (Regensburg), Germany. He is honored on this day by his order (Norbertines).
Landelinus, OSB Abbot (RM)
Born at Vaux near Bapaume, France, c. 625; died c. 686. Though carefully raised by Bishop Saint Aubert of Cambrai, Saint Landelinus went astray for a time. We often take it for granted that we must teach children about the lures and dangers of the world and the need for continual prayer and watchfulness to avoid the pitfalls. Apparently, Bishop Aubert instilled only innocence and virtue into Landelinus. Unprepared to handle the seductions of the world, Landelinus fell in with bad company and became a robber. He was struck with terror when one of his companions died suddenly. Recognizing his error, he flew to Saint Aubert and threw himself at the feet of the good bishop who had never ceased praying for Landelinus's repentance.
Aubert gave him the penance of making reparations in a monastery for some years. This Landelinus undertook with fervor and contrition. His zeal became such that Aubert ordained him deacon and, at the age of 30, priest. He was assigned to preach but begged to be allowed to continue his penitential life as a hermit. With Aubert's permission, Landelinus retired to Laubach on the banks of the Sambre.
He attracted several disciples to him, who each lived in a separate cell. In 654, they joined in community life by founding the Lobbes (Lanbacum) Abbey. When the abbey was complete, the brothers tried to convince Landelinus to govern them. Feeling himself unworthy to lead saints, he left them under the direction of Saint Ursmar and again sought solitude. A second time, disciples gathered leading to the establishment of Aulne Abbey in 656, which now belongs to the Cistercians. The pattern repeated itself with the founding of the abbey at Walers (657). Finally, Landelinus and his companions Saints Domitian and Hadelinus erected some cells in a thick forest between Mons and Valenciennes. Again, disciples found them and Créspin (Crepy, Crespiacum) Abbey was founded in 670. Realizing that God might be telling him something, Landelinus agreed to govern this flock, which he did until his death. While continuing his penitential courses, Landelinus began preaching in the nearby villages. Thus, he fulfilled God's plan for his life (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
In art, Saint Landelin is portrayed as he is dying in sackcloth and ashes, while the devil carries his former companion to hell. He might also be shown in Mass vestments, striking water from the earth with his pastoral staff (Roeder). Landelinus is venerated in Cambrai (Roeder).
Lybe, Leonis, and Eutropia MM (RM)
Died 303. Lybe was beheaded; Leonis, her sister, died at the stake; and the 12-year-old slave girl, Eutropia, was used as a target for the soldiers to practice their shots. Their martyrdom took place under Diocletian at Palmyra in Syria (Benedictines).
Melan of Viviers B (AC)
Died after 549. Saint Melan was consecrated bishop of Viviers in 519. He was still bishop in 549, when he sent representatives to a council at Orléans (Benedictines).
Orsiesius the Cenobite, Abbot Hermit (AC)
(also known as Orsisius)
Died c. 308. Orsiesius was a favorite disciple of Saint Pachomius at Tabennisi, and his assistant in drawing up the rules for the cenobites. He succeeded Pachomius as abbot. He was praised by Saint Antony and Saint Athanasius, but some 12 years before his death he was forced by his monks to resign because of the harshness of his rule. He resumed that office several years later. He is the author of an ascetical treatise that Saint Jerome translated into Latin (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Tatian (Dulas) of Cilicia M (RM)
Died 300. Saint Tatian was a Christian of Zepherinum, Cilicia, who was martyred after having undergone horrid tortures (Benedictines).
BB Thomas Green, Thomas Scryven &
Thomas Reding, O.Cart. (AC)
Died 1537; beatified in 1886. Thomas Green (or Greenwood), who was a fellow at Saint John's College in Cambridge, took monastic vows and was ordained a priest at the Carthusian Charterhouse in London. Scryven and Reding were lay brothers in the same house. The trio, plus an additional four companions, were starved to death in Newgate Prison because of their refusal to sign the Oath of Supremacy (Benedictines).
Trillo (Drillo, Drel) of Wales (AC)
6th or 7th century. Trillo, son of a Breton chieftain, migrated to Wales with Saint Cadfan. He is the patron of two places named Llandrillo in Denbighshire (now Gwynedd) and Monmouth. At Gwynedd there is an ancient oratory in the Irish style built over a spring that is used for baptisms named after him. Another Llandrillo in Merionethshire (now Gwynedd) had a well where rheumatism was cured. A third church at Lladrygarn in Anglesey still celebrates his feast today in accordance with early Welsh calendars (Benedictines, Farmer).
Vauge (Vorech) (AC)
Died June 15, 585. Vauge, a holy priest of Armagh, Ireland, fled to Penmarch, Cornwall, when it appeared he was to be consecrated archbishop. There he built himself a hermitage. But that doesn't mean that he kept to himself: He often preached to the local people and instilled the desire for Christian perfection in their breasts. Vauge appears to be the titular saint of Llanlivery in Cornwall under the name of Saint Vorech (Husenbeth).
Vitus, Modestus, & Crescentia MM (RM)
(Vitus also known as Guy, Veit, Guido)
Died c. 303. Unreliable legend has Vitus, the only son of Hylas, a senator in Sicily, become a Christian when he was very young-- between the ages of seven and 12--by the influence of the servants who tended him. His Christian tutor, Modestus, and his nurse, Crescentia (wife of Modestus), accompanied him on his journeys throughout Sicily. When his conversions and miracles became widely known to the administrator of Sicily, Valerian, he had Vitus brought before him to shake his faith. (Another version says that his incensed father gave him up to Valerian.) He was unsuccessful, but Vitus with his tutor and nurse fled to Lucania and then to Rome, where he exorcised Emperor Diocletian's son of an evil spirit.
When Vitus would not sacrifice to the gods his cure was attributed to sorcery. He, Modestus, and Crescentia were subjected to various tortures, including a cauldron of molten lead, from which they emerged unscathed. For example, when throw into the den of a hungry lion, the beast merely licked Vitus affectionately. One version says that the tormentors gave up and freed the trio when during a storm temples were destroyed and an angel guided them back to Lucania, where they eventually died.
The facts are that their cultus is ancient. We are not really even certain about when they lived, although most place their martyrdom at the time of Diocletian. There is even some confusion about the site of their martyrdom. It appears that they may be two separate groups: Vitus alone in Lucania (whose cultus is the oldest), and Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia in Sicily.
The Vitus who is alone is celebrated in the Gelasian Sacramentary and an early South Italian Book of the Gospels, which assigns to his feast a pericope of the cure from demonic possession and sickness. The Martyrology of Bede and the Old English Martyrology also list Vitus by himself. There is an ancient church dedicated to him on the Esquiline Hill of Rome. Vitus's relics were moved to Saint-Denis in Paris. A great devotion to Vitus developed in Germany when his relics were translated to Corvey Abbey in Saxony in 836. Most of the medieval abbeys in England celebrated Vitus and Modestus without Crescentia, but five who followed the Sarum Rite added her name.
Saint Vitus is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, who, as a group, are especially venerated in France and Germany. The Holy Helpers were believed to possess especially efficacious intercessory power. The relics of Vitus are said to possess many healing properties, especially when epileptics prayed before them (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Sheppard, White).
In art, Saint Vitus is depicted as a boy with a rooster and a cauldron. At times he may be shown (1) with his Modestus and Crescentia as they refuse to worship idols; (2) being put into an oven; (3) with a palm and cauldron; (4) with a palm and dog; (5) with a chalice and dog; (6) with sword and dog; (7) with a sword and rooster; (8) with a book and rooster; (9) with a wolf or lion; or (10) as a young prince with a palm and sceptre (Roeder).
Saint Vitus is the patron of Prague, dogs, domestic animals, young people, dancers, coppersmiths, actors, comedians, and mummers. He is invoked against epilepsy, lightning, poisoning by dog or snake bite, sleeplessness, snakebite, storm, and Saint Vitus Dance (Sydenham's chorea, a nervous disorder) (Bentley, Roeder).
Vouga of Lesneven B (AC)
(also known as Vougar, Veho, Feock, Fiech)
6th century. Saint Vouga, an Irish bishop, settled in Brittany, where he lived as a hermit in a cell near Lesneven (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.