St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Saint Maria Goretti VM
(Optional Memorial)
July 6



Dominica of Campania VM (RM)
Date unknown. Saint Dominica is said to have been a virgin martyred in Campania under Diocletian. She may possibly be identical to Saint Kyriake (Cyriaca; Dominica is the Latin equivalent) venerated today in the East as a martyr of Nicomedia (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Goar of Aquitaine, Priest (RM)
Born in Aquitaine; died c. 575. Saint Goar was educated in Aquitaine and became a priest there. In 519, desiring to serve God anonymously, he migrated to the area around Trier, Germany, and led the life of a hermit in a cell at Oberwesel on the Rhein. His untrustworthy vita reports that he became renowned for his sanctity and gifts of prophecy and working miracles. When offered the archbishopric of Trèves, he resolutely refused it. Blessed Charlemagne built a stately church over his hermitage, around which the town of Saint Guvet grew on the left bank of the Rhine between Wesel and Boppard (Benedictines, Husenbeth). In art, Saint Goar is a hermit with three hinds near him or giving him milk. He might also be shown (1) holding a pitcher, (2) with the devil on his shoulder or under his feet, (3) holding the church of Saint Goar am Rhein, or (4) hanging his hat on a sunbeam (Roeder). Goar is venerated in Oberwesel, the Rhineland, and in Aquitaine. He is the patron of innkeepers, potters, and vine-growers (Roeder).


Godeleva of Ghistelles M (AC)
(also known as Godeliva, Godelive, Godeleine, Godelva)

Born near Boulogne, c. 1045; died at Ghistelles, July 6, 1070. Godeleva provides an example of an innocent sufferer being popularly venerated as a martyr. When she was no more than 18, Godeleva married a Flemish nobleman named Bertulf of Ghistelles. Bertulf's mother was enraged by this, and she persuaded Bertulf to leave his poor wife even before the wedding feast was over.

There was little reason to persecute the poor girl, since she was given to good works, prayer, and kindliness. But her mother-in-law confined her to a tiny room and fed her on scraps until she escaped and found her way home. The bishop of Tournai-Noyon and the Bertulf's father, the count of Flanders, both insisted that Bertulf take her back and treat her gently and lovingly.

At first Bertulf pretended to love Godeleva. Soon, however, he became violent to her. On July 6, 1070, he went away to Bruges and that night two of his hired hands lured Godeleva through the back door of the castle, tied a rope round her neck, drowned her in a pond, and then tried to make it look like a natural death. Although it was obvious that she had been killed on his orders, no one was able to prove Bertulf guilty.

What seems to have persuaded many in Flanders that she was a saint were the many miracles that soon began to be performed at the site of Godeleva's murder. These events are known from an account written by a contemporary, Drogo of Bergues (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley).

In art, Saint Godeleva is depicted as a young woman with a rope. At times the image may include a rope around her neck and four crowns, or she may be shown strangled with a handkerchief. Godeleva is venerated in Ghistelles, Belgium (Roeder).


Isaias (Isaiah), Prophet (RM)
Died c. 681 BC. Isaiah is the great poet and believer of the Old Testament, and one of the four major prophets of the Old Testament. He lived at a time when the people of Israel had settled in Canaan; David and Solomon had formed the Hebrew religion, the temple had been built and Josiah had just ended a long and useful reign.

In 740 BC, the year of Josiah's death, Isaiah had a vision of the Lord sitting on a throne surrounded by seraphim. Each had six wings: "And one cried to another, and said, 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory"--words which today form part of the Mass. The God of Isaiah was a God of Holiness, and the beginnings of his vocation were marked by majesty, piety, and grandeur.

Tradition tells us that Isaiah was sawn in two by order of King Manassas of Judah, and buried under an oak tree. His tomb was still venerated in the 5th century AD (Benedictines).


Maria Goretti, VM (AC)
Born at Corinaldo, near Ancona, Italy, October 16, 1890; died near Nettuno, Italy, July 6, 1902; beatified 1947 by Pope Pius XII; canonized in 1950; feast day formerly July 5.

Maria was the daughter of a farm laborer, Luigi Goretti, and his wife, Assunta Carlini. She showed marked signs of youthful holiness. There were five other children. The family moved in 1896 to Ferriere di Conca, near Nettuno and Anzio in the Roman Campagna. Soon after, Luigi died of malaria. His wife struggled to support the family, receiving much help and encouragement from Maria. She was well known to her neighbors for her cheerful unselfishness and religious disposition.

In 1902, as Maria sat on the front step mending a shirt, an 18-year-old neighbor, Alexander Serenelli, the son of her father's partner, who lived in the same house with the Gorettis, beckoned Maria into a bedroom, but she refused to go. He grabbed her and pulled her in. She struggled and tried to scream, but he choked her. She cried that she would rather be killed than submit. Alexander began to pull her clothes off and struck her with a dagger. She cried out that she was being killed, and he repeatedly stabbed her in the back and ran away.

She was taken to the hospital, but it was clear she would not live. In her last hours she forgave her murderer, whom it was revealed she had feared for a long time but did not want to cause trouble by naming. She died within a day of the attack.

(Another version of the story says that Alexander attacked her when they were working together in the fields.)

Alexander was sentenced to 30 years of penal servitude and for eight years was unrepentant. One night he had a dream in which Maria gathered flowers and offered them to him, and he experienced a change of heart. He served 27 years, and his first act as a free man was to beg forgiveness from Maria's mother. On Christmas Day 1937, Alexander and Maria's widowed mother received Communion side-by-side. He has been cited as an example by those who advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.

In 1947, Maria was declared blessed by Pope Pius XII, who appeared on the balcony of Saint Peter's with Maria's mother and three of her sisters and brothers. In 1950, she was canonized for her purity in front of the largest crowd ever gathered for a canonization. Alexander was still alive. At the time of her canonization, some 30-40 miracles were recorded as a result of her intercession (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).

Maria Goretti is the patron saint of teenagers, particularly girls, and of the Children of Mary (White).


Blessed Mary Rose, OSB M (AC)
Born at Sérignan (near Orange), in 1741; died 1794; beatified in 1925. Baptized Susanne-Agatha de Loye, she took the name Mary Rose when she entered the Benedictine convent of Caderousse in 1762. At the outbreak of the French Revolution, she was expelled from the convent and, in May 1794, she was arrested and guillotined, the first of a band of 31 martyrs put to death at Orange (Benedictines).


Modwenna of Polesworth V (AC)
(also known as Edana, Medana, Monyna, Merryn, Modivene)

Died c. 900. Modwenna is associated with Saint Edith of Polesworth. She was formerly venerated at Burton-on-Trent. Modwenna is a fairly obscure character who has been confused with the Irish saint Moninne, abbess of Killeavy (Attwater, Benedictines). In art, Modwenna is portrayed as an abbess with a red cow by her side (Roeder).


Moninne V (Darerca) (AC)
Died 518. Irish abbess of Killeavy, who is said to have been veiled by Saint Patrick himself. Another source lists her as an Irish hermit at Sliabh Cuillin, where she died (Attwater, Benedictines).


Noyala of Brittany VM (AC)
Date unknown. The virgin Noyala was martyred in Brittany, where she is greatly venerated. According to her legend, she walked from Beignan, the place of her execution, to Pontivy carrying her head in her hands (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Orange, 32 Blessed Martyrs of (AC)
Died 1794; beatified in 1925. Thirty-two nuns were imprisoned during the French Revolution at Orange for several months before their execution by guillotine. They included one Benedictine, two Cistercians, 13 members of the Institute of Perpetual Adoration, and 16 Ursulines (Benedictines).


Rixius Varus (Rictiovarus) M (RM)
Legendary. The Roman Martyrology states: "On the same day the holy martyr Lucy, a native of Campania, who, being tried and sharply tortured under the vicar Rixius Varus, converted him to Christ. . . . They suffered and were crowned together." The Roman Martyrology contains many references to the prefect Rixius Varus, who is said to have persecuted hundreds of Christians. Modern scholars question his existence and reject the story of his conversion (Benedictines).


Romulus of Fiesole BM and Companions (RM)
Died c. 90. According to tradition, Romulus was a Roman converted by Saint Peter who became the first bishop of Fiesole, Italy, and suffered martyrdom there with Carissimus, Dulcissimus, and Crescentius during the reign of Emperor Domitian.

A worthless 11th-century fiction has him the illegitimate son of Lucerna and her father's slave Cyrus. Romulus was abandoned, suckled by a wolf, and captured by Saint Peter when Emperor Nero was unable to do so. Romulus later performed all kinds of extravagant miracles after being instructed by Peter's companion Justin. After evangelizing much of central Italy, Romulus was put to death by the governor, Repertian (Benedictines, Delaney).

In art, Saint Romulus is portrayed as a bishop with an arrow broken above his breast. He may also be shown at their martyrdom or enthroned among four martyrs (Roeder).


Sexburga of Ely, Widow Abbess (AC)
Died c. 699. Sexburga was the daughter of King Anna of the East Angles; sister of SS. Etheldreda, Ethelburga, Erconwald, and Withburga; and half-sister of Saint Sethrida. Sexburga married King Erconbert of Kent in 640 and bore him two daughters, SS. Ermenilda and Ercongotha. Upon Erconbert's death in 664, Sexburga finished Minster Monastery, which she had founded on Sheppey Island, and joined the nuns there. She appointed her daughter Saint Ermenilda abbess and then went to Ely Abbey, where she succeeded her sister Etheldreda as abbess and where Sexburga died (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney). In art, Saint Sexburga is a crowned abbess with a palm branch (Roeder).


Sisoes of Egypt, Hermit (AC)
Died c. 429; feast day formerly on July 4. Hermit who lived in the Egyptian desert for 62 years. His life and example were similar to that of Saint Antony, especially in the influence he exercised (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Blessed Thomas Alfield M (AC)
Born in Gloucester, England; died at Tyburn in 1585; beatified in 1929. Blessed Thomas was a Protestant, who was educated at Eton and King's College at Cambridge. After his conversion to the Catholic Church, he studied for the priesthood at Douai and Rheims and was ordained in 1581. He returned to the English Mission and was arrested while distributing copies of Dr. Allen's True and Modest Defense. For this he was arrested and hanged at Tyburn (Benedictines).


Tranquillinus of Rome M (RM)
Died 286. The Roman Saint Tranquillinus is connected with the legend of Saint Sebastian (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.