St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Mark and Marcellian, Martyrs
(Regional Memorial)
June 18



Amandus of Bordeaux B (RM)
Died c. 431. Saint Paulinus of Nola, who was converted and prepared for baptism by Saint Amandus, provides most of the details we have about his spiritual father. They developed a lasting friendship that is recorded in many letters. From him we know that Amandus served God from his infancy and was given an early education in the things of God, including Sacred Scripture. Bishop Saint Delphinus ordained Amandus and employed him in his church. Upon the death of Delphinus about 404, Amandus succeeded him to the episcopal chair of Bordeaux, but shortly after his election he resigned in favor of Saint Seurin. Seurin died about 420 and, again, Amandus was cajoled into resuming the role of bishop. Saint Paulinus tells us that Amandus always conducted himself as a zealous guardian of faith of Christ. He is credited with preserving the writings of his son in faith (Benedictines, Husenbeth).


Cyriacus and Paula MM (RM)
Died 305. The virgin Saint Paula and Cyriacus were stoned to death at Málaga, Spain, during the Diocletian persecution (Benedictines).


Elizabeth of Schönau, OSB V (RM)
Born 1130; died June 18, 1164.

Mysticism was a phenomenon that found expression in the mid-11th century. It is an endeavor to reach a knowledge of and union with God directly and "experimentally." The mystic renounces his senses and the images they offer of God. This is the "Negative road" that begins by recognizing the complete "Otherness" of God. The pseudo- Dionysius wrote On the Divine Names, which influenced this movement in the Middle Ages.

It is characterized by abnormal psychic states which culminate in ecstasy. Such states are sanctified when perfectly united with God and the whole personality is fully free. As a rule, mystics exhibit extraordinary self-knowledge, which leads to an ever more passionate love of God and His Son. Mystical life in no way need conflict with a married, intellectual, or active life, although many mystics, like Elizabeth were professed religious.

Elizabeth of Schönau entered the great Black Benedictine double monastery at Schönau (16 miles northeast of Bonn, Germany) at age 11 or 12. She was professed in 1147, and shortly thereafter, she began to experience clairvoyance. This was the origin of her experiences, but she distinguishes them from her later ones.

In 1157, Elizabeth became abbess of Schönau and a friend of Saint Hildegard. In a letter to Hildegard, Elizabeth describes how an angel had told her to proclaim a series of judgements that would fall on the world unless they did penance, and how, because she delayed obeying him, he had beaten her so severely with a whip that she had been ill for three days! At a later time, when some prophecies had failed in their fulfillment, the angel informed her that penance had actually averted the impending doom. She was assailed with terrible temptations, but prayed against them.

She would often fall into ecstasies while saying the Divine Office or at Mass on Sundays and on feast days. At the prompting of the abbey's founder, Abbot Hildelin, she recorded some of her visions on wax tablets, which were sent to her brother, canon Egbert, in Bonn. Later he took the habit at Schönau and succeeded Hildelin as abbot in the same Benedictine monastery. He wrote her vita and three books of her visions using the tablets she wrote, supplemented by her oral explanations.

The first book seems to be the simple language that Elizabeth might have used herself, but the others are more sophisticated--probably written by Egbert. The last and most famous book dealt with her vision of Saint Ursula. This was the result of pressure placed on her brother by Bishop Gerlac of Deutz, who had assisted in the translation of the supposed relics of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgins after searching nine years for them. Under strong pressure from her brother, Elizabeth evolved an elaboration of the already fantastic story of Ursula. She even introduced into it a Pope Cyriacus, who never existed.

Elizabeth "saw" the whole of Our Lord's life and that of various saints, but had to describe it in terms of which she had "real" knowledge. We need to discriminate between gift as given and the way in which it is described by the recipient--some may be part of the imagination without basis in historical fact. For example, inculpably, Elizabeth contributed to the further elaboration of the mythical legend of Saint Ursula. She knew when she had been in ecstasy, which was different than being "near" ecstasy. She described her visions in moral and allegorical rather than mystical terms. Like most medieval mystics, she was practical, and believed in her smallness before God. This is the "heart of the mystical life--the self, as such, is nothing; it needs to be wholly filled and activated by God" (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Martindale, Walsh).


Etherius of Nicomedia M (RM)
Died c. 303. Martyr under Diocletian at Nicomedia (Benedictines).


Fortunatus the Philosopher (AC)
Died c. 569. Bishop Saint Fortunatus, who is often confused with Saint Venantius Fortunatus, was driven from his see in northern Italy by the Lombards. Saint Germanus of Paris held him in high esteem (Benedictines).


Gerland of Caltagirone (AC)
13th century. Gerland was either a Knight Templar or a Knight Hospitaller, whose relics are venerated in Caltagirone, Sicily (Benedictines).


Gregory Barbarigo (Barbadigo) B (AC)
Born in Venice, Italy, 1625; died June 15, 1697; beatified in 1761; canonized in 1960.

When Saint Gregory was born into a noble family, Protestants and Catholics in Europe had been waging a vicious war against each other for seven years--the start of the Thirty Years War. He was educated at Venice.

Gregory was in his early twenties when the Venetian government chose him to go with their ambassador, Luigi Contarini, to Münster, Germany, where in 1648 the Treaty of Westphalia was drawn up to establish peace. At the conference was the papal representative, Fabio Chigi. He found Gregory to be a quite exceptional young man, and they became friends. Gregory was ordained priest in 1655 and worked heroically during the plague of 1657.

When Fabio Chigi was consecrated Pope Alexander VII, he did not forget the impression the Venetian had made at Münster: he consecrated Gregory bishop of Bergamo. Three years later (1660) he named him cardinal and then, in 1664, bishop of Padua--an office he held for 33 years.

Gregory was equally distinguished as a churchman and as a statesman. He set about improving the training of the clergy, endowing an excellent college and seminary for them, building its fine patristic library, setting up its own printing press, appointing teachers who knew the writings of the Church Fathers and who were devoted to sacred Scripture. Some of the works published on his press were distributed to Christians in Islamic countries. His charities were on a princely scale (he is said to have given at least 8,000 crowns in charity), and his benefactions to Padua numerous and lasting. He was an earnest worker for the reconciliation of the dissident Greeks.

Gregory's pastoral commitment was comparable to that of Saint Charles Borromeo. While very demanding of himself, he was kind to others, treating those in trouble with great compassion. As a cardinal, he participated in five conclaves and was himself considered a serious candidate for the papacy. He was buried in Padua cathedral (Bentley, Benedictines, Farmer, White).


Gregory, Demetrius, and Calogerus the Anchoret (AC)
Late 5th century. Bishop Gregory, Deacon Demetrius, and Abbot Calogerus were driven from their homeland in North Africa by the Arian Vandals. They settled at and evangelized the area around Fragalata (near Messina), Sicily, of which they are not patrons (Benedictines).


Guy of Baume, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died after 940. Saint Guy succeeded Saint Berno as abbot of Baume-les-Messieurs. He resigned about 940 and retired to a hermitage near Fay-en-Bresse (Benedictines).


Blessed Hosanna of Mantua, OP Tert. V (AC)
(also known as Osanna)

Born in Mantua, Lombardy, Italy, 1449; died 1505; cultus confirmed by Popes Leo X and Innocent XII; beatified in 16. Osanna Andreassi was the daughter of the wealthy patrician Andreasio. She experienced visions from her early childhood, but kept the experiences to herself. At the age of six, she saw the Child Jesus carrying a cross and wearing a crown of thorns. He told her that He has a special love of children and purity. She was so impressed, as we all would be, that she immediately consecrated her entire life to God.

Osanna begged her father to allow her to learn to read so that she might be able to pray the Divine Office. He refused her request because it was a waste for a woman who was expected simply to raise a family. Osanna couldn't explain why she wanted to learn; she couldn't reveal her plans to him. When she was 14 and knew that he was arranging a marriage for her, she furtively went to the Dominican church and received the habit of its tertiaries. When she appeared at home in her religious garb, she explained that she had made a vow and must wear it until she had fulfilled her promise.

Now, this should not be understood as condoning deceit, but it served God's purpose. Her pious father accepted her explanation for a time. As the months passed he began to suspect what had happened. He had already refused to give her permission to enter the convent, and he was displeased that she should try to live as a tertiary in his own home. Eventually, his father's heart melted and he allowed Osanna to continue her routine of prayer, penance, and charity for the rest of her life. She was not professed until a few months before her death forty-two years later.

After the early death of both her parents, Osanna spent her fortune in the service of the poor. Her house became a center for people to discuss spiritual matters, for the needy and the sick, for the wealthy and the noble.

It is said that like Saint Catherine, she miraculously learned to read. One day she saw a piece of paper with two words and said, "Those words are 'Jesus' and 'Mary.'" From that time she could read anything pertaining to spiritual matters. By the same sort of favor, she also learned to write.

At age 28 (1477), Osanna received the mark of the wound in Jesus' side, caused by a long nail. For the next year various of the sacred wounds would appear, including the crown of thorns. Others saw them only on Wednesdays, Fridays, and during Holy Week, but it appears that they were visible to her and caused both pain and joy.

At this time Osanna felt the need for a spiritual director and prayed for one with wisdom, patience, and understanding. She found him during Mass when an interior voice said to her, "That's the one you need, the one who is saying Mass." Osanna thought he was too young, but, upon meeting him in the confessional a few days later, all doubts were erased.

Before her death, the soul of Blessed Columba of Rieti, another Dominican tertiary, appeared to her and told Osanna to prepare for death (Benedictines, Dorcy).

In art, Osanna is a Dominican tertiary wearing a crown of thorns, surrounded by rays of light (not the halo of a saint), a lily, a broken heart with a crucifix springing from it, the devil under her feet, two angels (one with a lily, one with a cross). This is similar to the image of Saint Catherine of Siena, who has a halo. Osanna is the patroness of school girls (Roeder).


Blessed Jerome of Vallumbrosa, OSB Vall. (AC)
Died 1135. Jerome lived for 35 years on nothing but bread and water. He moved from the abbey of Masso delle celle into a hermitage (Benedictines).


Leontius, Hypatius (Ipazio), and Theodulus MM (RM)
Died in Tripoli, Phoenicia (Syria), 135? Saint Leontius of Tripoli was a Greek general in the Roman army serving in Syria. A religious man, he was tortured and beaten to death under the Emperor Vespasian for converting non-Christians. Two soldiers who were to arrest him, Hypatius and Theodulus were converted and martyred as well. Leontius was buried in the yard of a woman by the name of Giovannia (Joanna). Her husband built a church in honor of Leontius and it was there that many miracles occurred and were attributed to him. Many other churches were dedicated to him. A cathedral at Bosra, Syria was consecrated to him, SS. Sergio and Bacco in 513. He was formerly the patron saint of Syria (Benedictines, Bibliotheca Sanctorum, VII, 1966, researched by Robert Leonzio; Encyclopedia).


Blessed Marina Vallarina of Spoleto V (AC)
Died c. 1300. Marina had a lively cultus in Spoleto, Umbria, Italy, where she was an Augustinian nun (Benedictines).


Marina (Marinus, Maria) VM (RM)
8th century? The Roman Martyrology names Marina a virgin martyr of Alexandria; however, many ancient martyrologies identified her only as a virgin. She is so often confused with Saint Margaret, with the Saint Marina who lived at a monastery dressed as a boy, and her Greek duplicate, Saint Pelagia. Her life was the model for the legends of Saints Euphrosyne, Theodora, and others. Marina's relics were translated from Constantinople to Venice in 1230, and are venerated there in a church which bears her name. She is also titular saint of a parish church in Paris, which is mentioned by the celebrated William of Paris, in 1228. In it is preserved a portion of her relics, brought from Venice. The feast of the translation of her relics is kept at Venice on July 17 (Benedictines, Husenbeth).


Mark and Marcellian MM (RM)
Died c. 287; second feast on July 29. These twins were both married deacons in Rome, who suffered martyrdom under Maximianus Herculeus. After they were condemned and thrown into prison, their powerful friends convinced the judge to delay their execution for thirty days, so that they might try to dissuade the twins their present course. They were released into the custody of Nicostratus, the public register. Their pagan parents, Tranquillinus and Martia, their wives, and their children all tried to entreat them to renounce their faith. Meanwhile, Saint Sebastian, visited the twins daily to encourage them to persevere. With Sebastian's help, their parents, wives, the wife of the judge Nicostratus, and Chromatius, were all converted. Chromatius set his prisoners free, resigned his position, and retired to the country. Castulus, a Christian officer, hid them in his apartments in the palace, but they were betrayed by an apostate, Torquatus, and again taken into custody. Chromatius's successor, Fabian, condemned them to be bound to two pillars with their feet nailed to them. They hanged there for a full day until they were pierced with lances. They were buried in the Arenarium two miles from Rome between the Appian and Ardeatine roads. Their basilica in the catacombs of Saint Balbina was rediscovered in 1902 (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).


Osmanna of Jouarre, OSB V (AC)
(also known as Argariarga)

Died c. 700. This Irish maiden crossed the Channel to become a hermitess near Brieuc (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.