St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Saint John Gualbert
Saints Nabor and Felix
(Regional Memorials)
July 12



Blessed Andrew of Rinn M (AC)
Born in 1459; died 1462. Andrew is one of many young boys whose death was blamed on the Jews. The local people of Rinn, near Innsbruck, Austria, believed that Andrew was killed out of hatred for Christ. Although Pope Benedict XIV allowed the continuation of the local cultus, he refused to proceed with the canonization because the facts were doubtful (Benedictines).


Ansbald of Prüm, OSB Abbot (AC)
Born in Luxembourg; died 886. Born into the counts of Querry, Ansbald became a monk of Prüm and later abbot of Saint-Hubert in the Ardennes. In 860 he became abbot of Prüm, which was burned to the ground in 882 by the Normans. With the help of Charles the Fat he succeeded in restoring it (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Blessed Benno of Osnabrück, OSB B (AC)
Born in Swabia, Germany; died 1088. Saint Benno was educated and professed a Benedictine at Reichenau, where he was taught by Blessed Herman the Cripple. In turn, Benno became an educator, too. He was headmaster at Gozlar (Hanover) and later at the cathedral school of Hildesheim. But that was not the limitation of Benno's talents: He was also the official architect to Henry III. In 1067, Benno was consecrated archbishop of Osnabrück, in which position he always upheld the pope's cause. He founded and retired to Iburg Abbey, where he died (Benedictines).


Blessed David Gonson M (AC)
(also known as David Gunston)

Died 1541; beatified in 1929. David, son of vice-admiral Gonson, was a knight of Saint John. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered for the faith at Southwark (Benedictines).


Epiphana M (RM)
Date unknown. Nothing is known about Saint Epiphana, although she is mentioned in the apocryphal Acts of Saint Alphius (Benedictines).


Hermagoras and Fortunatus MM (RM)
Died c. 66. According to tradition, Hermagoras was chosen by Saint Mark to tend his converts in Aquileia, Italy, of which he was consecrated first bishop by Saint Peter. With his deacon Fortunatus, Hermagorus preached in the area until arrested by Sebastius, a representative of Emperor Nero, and then was tortured and beheaded with Fortunatus. Fortunatus's connection with Hermagorus, despite the tradition, has never been proven, but he did suffer martyrdom in Aquileia (Benedictines, Delaney).


Jason M (RM)
1st century. Jason was a friend and host of Saint Paul (Acts 17:5) in Salonka, Thessalonica, during his second missionary journey. Jason was a prominent convert to Christianity and is probably the same Jason with Sosipater mentioned by Saint Paul in the Epistle to the Romans (16:21). In the Greek legend Jason is described as the bishop of Tarsus, Cilicia, who, with Sosipater, evangelized Corfu, where Jason died. Syrian legend says he evangelized the area around Apamea and was martyred there by being thrown to wild beasts. The Roman Martyrology wrongly identifies him with the Mnason mentioned in Acts 21:16, "a Cyprian, an old disciple," with whom Saint Paul was staying in Jerusalem and whom tradition makes bishop of Tamasus in Cyprus (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).


John Gualbert (Gualberto), OSB Vall. Abbot (RM)
Born in Florence, Tuscany, Italy, c. 993; died at Passignano (near Florence) in 1073; canonized in 1193. Because of his birth into the noble Visdomini family, John Gualbert had no more thought of following a life of austerity and humility than did his noble Florentine friends and companions. Bred to be a soldier, he spent his time in worldly amusements. Indeed, so far from intending to follow the precepts of Our Lord, his one over-riding ambition was to avenge the murder of his elder brother, Hugh. To him this was a matter of justice and, more importantly, a matter of honor.

It happened that one Good Friday as he was riding through a narrow pass on his way to Florence, Gualbert came face to face with the man he had been seeking. The man was alone and there was no means of escape. Gualbert drew his sword and moved forward, but at his approach the murderer, in a gesture not so much of supplication as of despair, fell to his knees, threw out his arms and commended his soul to God.

Gualbert hesitated, and as he looked down on his victim he was suddenly reminded of the image of Christ suffering on the Cross and of the forgiveness which Our Lord had asked for those who murdered him. Sheathing his sword, he embraced and forgave the man. Having pardoned his brother's murderer, he saw the image of the crucifix miraculously bow its head in acknowledgement of Gualbert's good action and they separated in peace.

Continuing his journey, Gualbert went to the monastery of San Miniato del Monte in Florence where, as he prayed before the crucifix, he was filled with divine grace. He asked the abbot for permission to be admitted. But the abbot delayed, fearing the anger and resentment of Gualbert's parents. To demonstrate the seriousness of his call, Gualbert shaved his head himself and put on a habit that he had borrowed.

For the next few years he remained at San Miniato, leading the life of a penitent and hoping to end his days there; but when the abbot died and the new one bribed his way to office, he left in disgust. (Other sources say that he left with a companion to find solitude when it looked likely that he would be appointed abbot.) He wanted to find a life untouched by the current abuses in the Church: clerical concubinage, nepotism, and simony. For a while he stayed with the Camaldolesi at Saint Romuald's abbey, but then decided to make an entirely new foundation.

The abbess of Sant'Ellero gave him some land in the Vallis Umbrosa (Vallombrosa), about 20 miles east of Florence near Fiesole; and there, with the help of a few companions, he built a small and unpretentious monastery of timber. The monks followed the austere rule of Saint Benedict to the letter, except for a special provision admitting conversi, or lay- brothers who could take on the manual labor and free the choir monks for contemplation and more prayer.

He was dedicated to poverty and humility. He never became a priest, in fact, he declined even to receive minor orders. Vallombrosa inspired other communities with its hospices for the poor and sick. These became part of his new order under John's rule, in spite of rival claims to jurisdiction. In this and other ways John became involved in the reform movement in the Church, for which he was commended by popes.

Other monasteries were established, but in all cases Gualbert insisted that the buildings should be constructed as modestly and cheaply as possible and that the money saved should be given to the poor. Indeed, his zeal for charity was such that he often gave away all the monastery's supplies to the poor who came to its gates. The area in which the first monastery was located was wild and barren, but the monks planted fir and pine trees and transformed it into a parkland.

Gualbert was known for his wisdom, miracles, and prophecies. Pope Saint Leo IX, travelled specially to Passignano to speak with him, as did Stephen X. Pope Alexander II attributed the eradication of simony in his country to him. Though respected and visited by popes, Gualbert retained his humility. He died aged about 80. The congregation of Vallombrosan Benedictines that he founded spread chiefly throughout Tuscany and Lombardy, but it still exists today and includes more than six monasteries (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, White).

In art, Saint John Gualbert is an elderly Vallombrosan abbot with a tau-staff, book and heretic under foot. At times, he may be shown (1) with the devil under foot; (2) enthroned among Vallombrosan monks, tau staff and book of rule in hands; (3) kneeling before a crucifix, which bows towards him; (4) present at an ordeal by fire of Saint Peter Igneus; (5) watching a luxurious monastery carried away by a flood; or as a young man forgiving the murderer of his relative (Roeder). A fine altarpiece in Santa Croce, Florence, depicts four scenes from Saint John's life (Farmer).

John Gualbert is the patron on foresters and park keepers (White).


John Jones, OFM Priest M (AC)
Born at Clynog Fawr, Carnarvonshire, Wales; died July 12, 1598; beatified in 1929; canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Born of a Catholic family, John Jones was ordained at Rheims and in 1587 was working among the Catholic prisoners in Marshalsea Prison in London. He was discovered, imprisoned at Wisbech Castle, but managed to escape to the Continent.

He joined the Franciscans of the Observants, probably at Pontoise, France, and was professed at Ara Coeli Convent in Rome. He received permission to return to England in 1592, using the alias John Buckley, worked in London and other parts of England, and was arrested again in 1596.

He was imprisoned for two years (he brought Blessed John Rigby back to the faith while in prison), and when convicted of being a Catholic priest guilty of treason for having been ordained abroad and returned to England, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Southwark in London (Benedictines, Delaney).


John the Iberian, Abbot (AC)
(also known as John the Georgian or the Hagiorite)

Born in Georgia; died on Mount Athos, c. 1002. Of a noble Iberian family, John was an outstanding military commander until middle age, when he resigned his position and with his wife's permission left her and their family to become a monk on Mount Olympus in Bithynia, Asia Minor. He went to Constantinople for his son Saint Euthymius, who with other young Iberian men was being held hostage by the emperor, and brought him back to Olympus with him.

Their reputation for holiness attracted so many disciples that they retired to Saint Athanasius laura on Mount Athos in Macedonia in quest of more solitude. With John's brother-in-law, retired General John Thornikios, who had amassed a fortune before becoming a monk, the father and son, about 980, founded a monastery for Iberians on Mount Athos, the beginning of the famous Iviron (Iweron--the Iberian) Monastery, with John as the abbot.

On he death of Thornikios, who had handled all the details of running the monastery, John and several of his disciples set out for Spain but were intercepted and brought to Constantinople, where Emperor Constantine VIII persuaded him to return to Athos. He was confined to bed the last years of his life and died at Iviron, "a man dear to God and deserving of all reverence."

John designated Euthymius to succeed him as the new abbot of Iviron. The monastery still exists but is populated with Greeks (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).


Blessed Lambert of Morimond, OSB Cist. Abbot (AC)
Died 1163. Although Lambert spent most of his life at Morimond Abbey, where he first entered the Cistercians, he also was abbot of Clairfontaine and Cîteaux. He returned to Morimund in 1161 to die (Benedictines).


Leo I of Cava, OSB Abbot (AC)
Born at Lucca, Tuscany, Italy; died 1079; cultus approved as a saint in 1579 and again in 1893. Although Saint Leo was born in northern Italy, he became a Benedictine monk at La Cava Abbey near Naples under its founder, Saint Alferius. In 1050, Leo succeeded Alferius as abbot, where he gained the patronage of Duke Gisulf II of Salerno (Benedictines).


Marciana of Toledo VM (RM)
Died c. 303. This entry in the Roman Martyrology is almost certainly a duplicate of Saint Marciana of Mauretania, although her martyrdom is assigned to Toledo, Spain (Benedictines). In art, Saint Marciana is a maiden gored by a bull. There may be a leopard and a bull near her (Roeder). She is invoked to heal wounds (Roeder).


Menulphus (Menou) of Quimper B (AC)
Died 7th century. Saint Menulphus is said to have been an Irish pilgrim who was consecrated bishop of Quimper, Brittany. He died near Bourges on his return from Rome (Benedictines).


Nabor and Felix MM (RM)
Died c. 304. Two brothers who were martyred at Milan under Maximian Herculeus during the reign of Diocletian. They owe their celebrity to the solemn translation of their relics by Saint Ambrose, who moved them from their place of interment outside the walls of Milan. Multitudes of pilgrims visited the church, now called Saint Francis, built over their new tomb, as testified by Saint Paulinus of Nola in his vita of Saint Ambrose (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).


Paternian of Bologna B (RM)
Died c. 407. Bishop Paternian of Bologna (c. 450 to 470) is probably identical with Saint Paternian of Fano (Benedictines).


Paulinus of Antioch and Companions MM (RM)
Date unknown. Saint Paulinus is venerated as the first bishop and patron of Lucca, Tuscany, Italy. His legend tells us that he was born in Antioch, but sent to Lucca by Saint Peter. There he was said to have been martyred c. 67, together with a priest, his deacon, and a soldier. This most reliable story should not be given any credence; most likely Bishop Paulinus governed Lucca from about 355 to 365 (Benedictines).


Blessed Peter Araki-Cobioje M (AC)
Died at Nagasaki in 1626; beatified in 1867. Peter was a Japanese layman who was burnt alive for sheltering Christians (Benedictines).


Blessed Peter Khanh M (AC)
Born in Tonkin (Vietnam), c. 1780; died at Con-co in west Tonkin, 1842; beatified in 1909. Peter Khanh was a beheaded for his priesthood (Benedictines).


Proclus and Hilarion MM (RM)
Died 115. Martyrs of Ancrya in Galatia (Turkey) during the reign of Trajan (Benedictines).


Proculus of Bologna BM (AC)
Died 542. Proculus served as bishop of Bologna for two years until he was martyred by the Goths (Benedictines)


Veronica (AC)
1st century; feast day formerly on February 4. Veronica's story first appears fairly late in the history of the early Church, though it relates to the very heart of the Gospel--Jesus' way to Golgotha. Veronica is venerated as the woman who wiped Our Lord's face when he fell beneath the Cross on the road to Calvary. On the cloth was left an image of His divine face.

Scholars have been quick to point out that Veronica's name may well derive from the story itself and not be historical. 'Vera' means 'true' and 'icon' means 'image.' Thus she obtained the true image, or vernicle, of Jesus. Legend tells us that Veronica later went to Rome and cured the Emperor Tiberius with the relic. When she died, she left the cloth to Pope Saint Clement. A 'veil of Veronica' is preserved at Saint Peter's in Rome, probably from the 8th century.

French folklore holds that Veronica was the wife of Zacchaeus, the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10), and accompanied him to France, where he is known as Amadour. When he became a hermit, Veronica went on to evangelize southern France. Other accounts make her the same person as Martha, the sister of Lazarus, or a princess of Edessa, or the wife of an unnamed Gallo-Roman officer.

If the story of Veronica is a legend, it is a beautiful, simple, and natural one, and one coming down from the first Good Friday itself. Jesus was passing in the street, bent under His Cross, on the way to His death; His head lowered, full of fever from His torments; His step advancing amid mockery, curiosity, groans of those who lined the way. A woman named Veronica or Bernice advanced, wearing the veil common among her people, a piece of white linen like Noah's cloak.

Perhaps she had seen the Lord before, and maybe even spoken with Him: The Eastern Church, based on the apocryphal Acts of Pilate, identifies Veronica with the woman whom Christ healed of the hemorrhage suffered for 12 years (Matthew 9:20-22). But even if she had not, her story is no more incredible, because she was moved by the simple desire that any human might have had: a wish to soothe this human face where dust and tears and sweat and blood commingled all at once, and which cried out to those who beheld it for relief. Then as the cloth touched Christ's face, everything became sculptured together until the miracle occurred which was within the Lord's power to command. Could he who at the moment of strangulation on the Cross cried aloud, not grant to this daughter the beauty of His face at the moment it was scorned by all but a handful of close friends?

Some reject the legend because there are so many false reproductions of the veil; because of the many legends and traditions woven into the story of Veronica throughout Christendom; because of the far-fetched claims made by preachers and writers in the course of time. None of these criticisms have touched the real point of the story of Veronica: whether there could have been a woman different from the other "daughters of Jerusalem" whom Jesus warned to weep for themselves and their children, and whether it was our Lord's wish to grant this woman the imprint of his face for her good work (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).

Saint Veronica is depicted in art holding a cloth with Christ's face imprinted on it. She might also be shown wiping the sweat from His face as He carries the Cross or writing at the dictation of an angel, the sudarium near her (Roeder). She is the patron of linen-drapers and washerwomen (Roeder).


Viventiolus of Lyons B (RM)
Died 524. Saint Viventiolus, a monk of Saint-Oyend Abbey in Condat, became archbishop of Lyons. He was a close friend of Saint Avitus of Vienne.



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.