St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

William of Vercelli, Abbot
(Regional Memorial)
June 25



Adalbert of Egmond, OSB (RM)
Born in Northumberland, England; died c. 740. Saint Adalbert, a prince by birth, became a monk at Rathmelgisi and accompanied Saint Willibrord as one of his deacons to Friesland. He labored especially around Egmont, of which Benedictine abbey he is the patron (Benedictines). Adalbert is venerated in Friesland. Depicted as a deacon with a crown and scepter at his feet; sometimes in dalmatic, crowned, and holding the scepter (Roeder).


Blessed Burchard of Mallersdorf, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died 1122. Burchard was a monk of the Benedictine abbey of Saint Michael at Bamberg, Germany, and the first abbot of Mallersdorf in Bavaria (Benedictines).


Blessed Dominic Henares, OP, and Francis Chien MM (AC)
Died in Tonkin (Vietnam) in 1838; beatified in 1900 by Pope Leo XIII; they may be included in the list of those canonized as Martyrs of Vietnam. Nearly 100 years after the death of Blessed Peter Sanz, two more Dominicans died for the faith, one of whom is celebrated today. Bishop Dominic Henares and the tertiary catechist Francis Chien died together with many others during the Annamite persecution.

Bishop Henares was born in Spain in 1765. He became bishop- coadjutor to Blessed Ignatius Delgado in 1803. In 1838, Bishop Henares, Bishop Ignatius Delgado, the apostolic-vicar of Tonkin, and Francis Chien were captured during a persecution stirred up by the mandarin. The prelates and a young priest had been hidden in the village of Kien-lao, and were accidentally betrayed by a little child who was cleverly questioned by a pagan teacher searching for the foreigners.

Alarmed at the sudden activities, the captors of Bishop Delgado put him into a small cage which was locked around him, and then put into jail with criminals. Delgado was tortured but refused to hint at the location of the others and was eventually killed. The young priest escaped.

Bishop Henares was captured at the same time. He had hidden himself in a boat, and the nervousness of the boatmen gave him away. Five hundred soldiers were detached to bring in the two dangerous criminals--the bishop and his catechist. They, too, were questioned endlessly. Two weeks after the death of Bishop Delgado, Henares was led out and beheaded in company with Chien.

The relics of all three martyrs were recovered in part, and were honorably buried by the next Dominicans to come on the scene-- Bishop Hermosilla and his companions, who would, as they knew, also be the next to die. Many of the records of these brave men were lost or deliberately destroyed, and many of them--we hope--may still be found in various neglected spots which war and trouble have caused to be overlooked (Benedictines, Dorcy).


Eurosia (Orosia) of Jaca VM (AC)
Born in Bayonne; died 714; cultus confirmed by Leo XIII in 1902. According to the legend, Eurosia was martyred by the Saracens at Jaca in the Aragonese Pyrenees, close to the French border. Even today she is venerated at the patron saint of the diocese of Jaca, and her cultus has spread throughout southern France and northern Italy. Her existence, however, is doubtful. Some versions of the story make her a native of Bohemia (Benedictines).


Febronia of Nisibis VM (RM)
Died 304. Saint Febronia is the heroine of a ghastly tale that relates that she was a nun of extraordinary beauty at Nisibis in Mesopotamia (not at Sybapolis in Syria). During Diocletian's persecution the prefect Selenus offered her freedom if she would renounce her religion and marry his nephew Lysimachus, a young man suspected of inclining towards Christianity. When Febronia refused she was tortured, mutilated, and battered to death; whereupon Selenus went mad and killed himself. Lysimachus and many of the spectators were converted and baptized. This story, which gained immense popularity, is not heard of before the 7th century and there is nothing to suggest that Febronia was more than a fictional character (Attwater, Benedictines). In art, Saint Febronia holds the palm and shears with which her breasts were cut off. At times there may be a crown and sword (Roeder).


Gallicanus of Embrun B (AC)
Died after 541. The fifth bishop of Embrun in France (Benedictines).


Gallicanus of Ostia (RM)
Died c. 362. Gallicanus is described as a high officer in the army of Constantine and consul at Rome. In 330, he retired to Ostia, where he founded a hospital and ministered to the sick. The Roman Martyrology makes him a martyr at Alexandria under Julian the Apostate; but both his banishment to Alexandria and his martyrdom are questioned by historians (Benedictines). Saint Gallicanus is depicted in art as a Roman patrician washing the feet of the poor. He is venerated at Longchamps near Paris (Roeder).


Gohard(us) of Nantes B and Companions MM (AC)
Died 843. When Northmen raided the coasts of Anglo-Saxon England and France, they attacked religious foundations, motivated by distaste for Christianity and greed for the treasure held by the foundations. Massacres of the inhabitants were common.

In 843, a Norman named Lambert, who had wished for the countship of Nantes but had been driven out by the citizens, returned to Nantes on a ship. The monks of a local monastery carried their ecclesiastical treasure to the church of SS. Peter and Paul, where Bishop Gohard was celebrating a feast of Saint John the Baptist.

The church was filled with people who had gathered there in fear of the Normans. The Normans broke down the doors and windows and murdered Gohard and the priests and monks who were present. They burned the church, sacked the city, and kidnapped leading citizens, placing a ransom on their heads.

The body of Gohard was recovered, and his relics were taken to his native town of Angers. He is portrayed in art being beheaded on an altar (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, White).


Blessed Guy Maramaldi, OP (AC)
Born in Naples, Italy; died 1391; cultus confirmed in 1612. The Dominican Guy Maramaldi taught philosophy and theology, established a friary at Ragusa, and died as inquisitor general for the Kingdom of Naples (Benedictines).


Blessed Henry Zdik, O. Praem. B (PC)
Died 1150. In 1126, Blessed Henry, son of King Wratislas I of Bohemia, was elected bishop of Olmütz. He became a Premonstratensian during a visit to Jerusalem in 1137. When he returned home, he introduced the order in many places and founded an abbey for them at Strahov (Benedictines).


Blessed John the Spaniard, O. Cart. (AC)
Born in Almanza, Spain, in 1123; died 1160; cultus approved in 1864. When John was a boy he studied at Arles, France, then became a Carthusian monk at Montreuil. Later he migrated to the Grand Chartreuse under Saint Anthelmus, who sent him to found the charterhouse of Reposoir near Lake Geneva. He drew up the first constitutions for the Carthusian sisters (Benedictines).


Maximus of Turin B (RM)
Born in Vercelli, Italy; died c. 470. Bishop Saint Maximus of Turin (Italy) was indefatigable in his preaching. Many of his famous homilies about the primary feasts, several saints (Stephen, Agnes, Cyprian, Laurence, and others, especially the martyrs of Turin), and other associated writings are still available for our study. He writes: "All the martyrs are to be honored by us, but especially those whose relics we possess. They assist us by their prayers; they preserve us as to our bodies in this life, and receive us when we depart hence."

In his two homilies on thanksgiving, he earnestly inculcates the duty of praising God daily, especially using the Psalms. He strongly insists that no one ought ever to neglect morning and evening prayer, or his thanksgiving before and after every meal. This saintly bishop exhorts us to make the sign of the cross before every action, saying, "that by the sign of Jesus Christ (devoutly used) a blessing is ensured to us in all things." The saint criticizes the abuses of New Year's Day, especially the then prevalent custom of giving presents to the rich without at the same time giving alms to the poor, and the hypocritical formalities of friendship in which the heart has no share. He also wrote "Against heretics who sell the pardon of sins," whose pretended priests exacted money for absolving penitents instead of bidding them do penance, and weep for their offenses.

Maximus participated in the council of Milan in 451, and at that of Rome under Pope Saint Hilary, in 465, in which latter he subscribed just after the pope. He had to endure much during his episcopacy because of the barbarian incursions into Italy (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth). In art, Saint Maximus is a bishop with a hind near him (Roeder).


Moloc of Mortlach B (AC)
(also known as Lua, Luan, Lugaidh, Moloag, Molluog, Molua, Murlach)

Born in Scotland; died at Rossmarkie, c. 572. Saint Moluag was educated in the monastery school of Bangor in Ireland and then returned to his native land as a missionary. (Some say that he was actually from Ulster and may have been an O'Neill.) Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in his biography of Saint Malachy tells us that the monk Moluag of Bangor was the founder of 100 monasteries in Scotland. In fact, Moluag ranked alongside Saint Columba as a missionary: While Columba was the apostle to the Gaels; Moluag evangelized the Picts. His main work as a bishop was the evangelization of the Hebrides. Inevitably, legends have grown around his name according to which there was a bitter rivalry between Moluag and Columba, but it appears that they worked among to distinct national groups.

Moluag actually arrived about a year before Columba in Scotland. He was accompanied by Saint Comgall, an Irish Pict, who presented him to King Brude to obtain his authority for the mission. Columba, incidentally, had Comgall perform the same service for him. It is possible that King Brude preferred Moluag to Columba, and that is what led Moluag to concentrate more on the Picts. It would be quite natural that the Pictish king might have some reservations about the Ulster prince Columba, who was a natural leader of the Gaelic people in Scotland. Whatever happened, the two missionaries gradually brought an end to the armed conflict between the two nations.

The blackthorn crozier (Bachuill Mor) of Saint Moluag is in the possession of the Campbells, dukes of Argyle, who traditionally carried it with them into battle. His shrine was at Mortlach. On the island of Lewis, the custom persisted, despite the Scottish reformers' attempts to stop it, until the 19th century of conducting a ritual service of intercession to Moluag at his titular church Teampall Mo Luigh. Although the cultus of Moluag decreased together with the power of the Pictish people he evangelized, there are many memorials to Moluag in the form of ancient churches and placenames. Kilmoluag is a common example. The name "Luke," which is very common among men in Scotland, is reliably stated to be derived from Moluag.

Saint Moluag is invoked against insanity and his intercession sought to heal wounds and to send wooden replicas of the cured limbs (Benedictines, Montague)


Molonachus of Lismore B (AC)
7th century. Molonachus, a disciple of Saint Brendan, became bishop of Lismore in Argyle (Benedictines).


Prosper of Aquitaine (RM)
Born in Aquitaine, France, c. 390; died in Rome, Italy, c. 463. Saint Prosper was probably a layman who may have been married. He left Aquitaine for Provence and settled at Marseilles. Prosper devoted his fine intellect to the study of theological questions. He wrote to Saint Augustine in 428, and in response, Augustine wrote his treatises on perseverance and predestination. Prosper opposed the semi-Pelagianism of Saint John Cassian (which is why he has never been canonized in the West), accompanied his friend Hilary, who had asked him to write to Augustine, on a trip to visit Pope Saint Celestine I in Rome. He is said to have become a secretary to Pope Saint Leo the Great in Rome, where Prosper died. He wrote poetry and treatises, notably his Chronicle, a universal history from creation to the Vandal capture of Rome in 455. Saint Prosper was a prolific writer and a powerful controversialist (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).


Prosper of Reggio B (RM)
Died in Reggio, Emilia, Italy, on June 25, c. 466. Little is known of Saint Prosper, except that he was renown for his charity. Visitors to Reggio Nell'Emilia, Italy, will be surprised to find that the city's patron saint, Bishop Prosper, is commemorated not by the great cathedral but by the little church of San Prospero, which he had built in honor of Saint Apollinaris, tucked away behind the cathedral in the market square. None of this would have troubled the humble Saint Prosper. He cared so little about his own glory that he built and consecrated this church outside the walls of Reggio, and directed that he should be buried there. But, far from forgetting about him, the people of Reggio claimed them for their own.

When a rich young man asked Jesus, "What have I to do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus replied, "Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: then come, follow me."

Tradition holds that Prosper, a true follower of Jesus, took His command seriously. He distributed his goods to the poor and died after ruling as bishop of Reggio, Emilia, Italy, for 22 years. His relics were translated in 703 to a new church built in his honor by Thomas, the bishop of Reggio. This Saint Prosper should not be confused with Prosper of Aquitaine (above), his contemporary (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, White).


Solomon of Brittany M (AC)
Born in Cornwall; died 434. King Solomon of Brittany was the husband of Saint Gwen and father of Saints Cuby and Cadfan. He was murdered by heathen malcontents among his subjects (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Solomon (Selyf) III M (AC)
Died 874. Several centuries after the death of Solomon I of Brittany, this saint was born to be king of Brittany during a brutal time. He was a warrior against the Franks, Norsemen, and his own rebellious subjects, which has made him a hero among the Bretons. During his early years he committed many crimes, but later did penance for them. When he was assassinated, his people immediately acclaimed him a martyr (Benedictines).


Sosipater (Sopater) (RM)
2nd century. Sopater, son of Pyrrhus, kinsman of Saint Paul, and Christian of Beroea, accompanied Saint Paul on his journey from Greece to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). Many scholars believe that he is the Sosipater whom Paul calls a compatriot and includes his greetings to the Romans from Corinth (Romans 16:21). According to tradition, he later went to Corfu (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).


William of Vercelli (Monte Vergine), Abbot (RM)
Born at Vercelli, Italy, 1085; died at Guglietto (near Nusco), Italy, June 25, 1142; feast day formerly celebrated on April 25.

Saint William was born to noble parents. He was orphaned while still an infant and was raised by relatives. When he was 14, William made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, Spain. William was at Melfi in 1106 and then spent two years as a hermit on Monte Solicoli, where he imposed rigorous penances on himself.

Thereafter he decided to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His friend, Saint John of Matera tried to dissuade him but William insisted on going. After abandoning a pilgrimage to Jerusalem when attacked by robbers, he became a hermit on Monte Virgiliano (Vergine) between Nola and Benevento and attracted so many disciples that he organized them into a community that by 1119 became known as the Hermits of Monte Vergine (in honor of the Blessed Virgin), and he built a monastery. Under his Rule, based on that of Saint Benedict, the monks led a life of extreme austerity, with special emphasis on fasting and manual labor.

When objections arose against the strictness of his rule based on that of Saint Benedict, he and his friend Saint John of Matera with five followers founded a community on Monte Laceno in Apulia, one of the most inhospitable places in the region. The soil was so poor that almost nothing could grow in it and in winter the weather was so bitter that the monks, who were living in wooden huts, could barely survive. William was urged to move to a more sheltered location, but refused. When fire destroyed their hermitages, William moved to Monte Cognato in the Basilicata. Again he left and founded monasteries at Conza, Guglietto, and Salerno opposite the palace where he became advisor to King Roger I of Naples. He died at Guglietto, while visiting the nuns of San Salvatore. Though his other foundations have disappeared, his monastery at Monte Vergine still exists (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

Saint William is depicted in art as an abbot near a wolf wearing a saddle. He may also be portrayed as he saddles the wolf that killed his ass, as a pilgrim, or with Christ appearing to him (Roeder). He is venerated at Benevento, Giuleto (near Nusco), Nola, and Vercelli (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.