St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Saint Raymond Nonnatus
(Regional Memorial)
August 31

Aidan (Aedan) of Lindisfarne B (RM)
Born in Ireland; died 651. Saint Aidan is said to have been a disciple of Saint Senan on Scattery Island, but nothing else is known with certainty of his early life before he became a monk of Iona. He was well received by King Oswald, who had lived in exile among the Irish monks of Iona and had requested monks to evangelize his kingdom. The first missioner, Corman, was unsuccessful because of the roughness of his methods, so Aidan was sent to replace him. Oswald bestowed the isle of Lindisfarne (Holy Island) on Aidan for his episcopal seat and his diocese reached from the Forth to the Humber. By his actions he showed that he neither sought nor loved the things of this world; the presents which were given to him by the king or other rich men he distributed among the poor. He rarely attended the king at table, and never without taking with him one or two of his clergy, and always afterwards made haste to get away and back to his work.

The center of his activity was Lindisfarne, off the coast of Northumberland, between Berwick and Bamburgh. Here established a monastery under the Rule of Saint Columcille; it was not improperly been called the English Iona, for from it the paganism of Northumbria was gradually dispelled and barbarian customs undermined. The community was not allowed to accumulate wealth; surpluses were applied to the needs of the poor and the manumission of slaves.

From Lindisfarne Aidan made journeys on foot throughout the diocese, visiting his flock and establishing missionary centers. Aidan's apostolate was advanced by numerous miracles according to Saint Bede, who wrote his biography. It was also aided by the fact that Aidan preached in Irish and the king provided the translation. Saint Aidan took to this monastery 12 English boys to be raised there, and he was indefatigable in tending to the welfare of children and slaves, for the manumission of many of whom he paid from alms bestowed on him.

The great king Saint Oswald assisted his bishop in every possible way until his death in battle against the pagan King Penda in 642. Oswald's successor, Saint Oswin, also supported Aidan's apostolate and when in 651, Oswin was murdered in Gilling, Aidan survived him only 11 days. He died at the royal castle of Bamburgh, which he used as a missionary center, leaning against a wall of the church where a tent had been erected to shelter him. He was first buried in the cemetery of Lindisfarne, but when the new church of Saint Peter was finished, his body was translated into the sanctuary.

Saint Bede highly praises the Irish Aidan who did so much to bring the Gospel to his Anglo-Saxon brothers. He wrote that Saint Aidan "was a man of remarkable gentleness, goodness, and moderation, zealous for God; but not fully according to knowledge. . . . " By which Bede means that he followed and taught the liturgical and disciplinary customs of the Celtic Christians, which differed from those of Continental Christianity. Montague notes that one effort of Anglo-Saxon education being conducted by Irish monks was that English writing was distinguished by its Irish orthography. Aidan brought to Ireland the Roman custom of Wednesday and Friday fasts (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Montague, Walsh).

In art, Saint Aidan is portrayed as a bishop with the monastery of Lindisfarne in his hand and a stag at his feet (because of the legend that his prayer rendered invisible a deer pursued by hunters). He might also be portrayed (1) holding a light torch; (2) giving a horse to a poor man; (3) calming a storm; or (4) extinguishing a fire by his prayers (Roeder), He is especially venerated at Glastonbury, Lindisfarne, and Whitby (Roeder).


Albertinus of Fonteavellana, OSB (AC)
Died 1294; cultus confirmed by Pius VI. Saint Albertinus, monk of Santa Croce monastery in Fonteavellena and prior general of a Benedictine congregation that united with the Camaldolese in 1570, made peace between the bishop and people of Gubbio (Benedictines).


Amatus of Nusco, OSB B (RM)
Born at Nusco, Italy; died 1093 or 1193. There are conflicting clues regarding the date of Saint Amatus's death. It appears certain that he was a priest and a Benedictine monk at Fontigliano or Montevergine, and then bishop of Nusco. He is reputed to have lived to the age of 90 (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Aristides the Athenian (RM)
Born in Athens; died c. 133. Saint Aristides was a Greek philosopher who addressed an apologia for Christianity to Emperor Hadrian. The long lost text has been found in Syriac, Armenian, and Greek (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Babolenus of Bobbio, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died c. 640. As the fourth abbot of Bobbio in northern Italy, Saint Babolenus replaced the Rule of Saint Columbanus with that of Saint Benedict (Benedictines).


Caesidius and Companions MM (RM)
3rd century. Saint Caesidius, son of a Bishop Saint Rufinus who was martyred, was ordained to the priesthood and martyred with a group of Christians on the shores of Lake Fucino, 60 miles east of Rome (Benedictines).


Cyriaca (Dominica) of Rome, Widow (RM)
Died 249; feast day was August 21. Saint Cyriaca was a wealthy Roman widow who sheltered persecuted Christians in her home, which was also used as a headquarters for Saint Lawrence and others for their charitable work. She was scourged to death for her faith. The Church of Saint Mary in Dominica perpetuates her name (Benedictines, Delaney).


Dominic (Dominguito) del Val M (AC)
Died 1250. The feast of Little Dominic is celebrated throughout Aragon, Spain. He was a seven-year-old altar boy at the Saragossa cathedral who was reputedly kidnapped by Jewish and nailed against a wall (Benedictines).


Optatus of Auxerre B (RM)
Died c. 530. Bishop Saint Optatus of Auxerre died in the second year of his episcopacy (Benedictines).


Paulinus of Trier B (RM)
Born in Gascony, France; died 358. Bishop Paulinus of Trier (Trèves), Germany, was a disciple of Saint Maximinus accompanied him to his see, and succeeded him as bishop in 349. He participated in the Council of Arles in 353. Two years later the Arian Emperor Constantius exiled Paulinus to Phrygia in Asia Minor for his staunch support of Saint Athanasius and opposition to Arianism. He died in exile but his relics were returned to Trier (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Raymond Nonnatus, O.Merc. Cardinal (RM)
Born at Portella, Catalonia, Spain, in 1204; died at Cardona, near Barcelona, Spain, in 1240; canonized in 1657.

What we know of Raymond's life comes from late and somewhat deficient sources. His surname is not that of his family but because his mother died giving him birth and he had to be removed from the womb by Caesarian section (nonnatus = "not born"). He was not expected to live, but he did. His father, a wealthy, authoritarian man, was ambitious for his son to play a part in the court of the king of Aragon and ensured he had a good education. Raymond, however, preferred to study religious books rather than secular subjects. Alone in his room, he grew in piety. His father, alarmed at his growing vocation, sent Raymond to one of his farms and appointed him its manager. Soon the young saint settled down where he went off to live with shepherds. He enjoyed the life, ignored its hardships, and lost himself in solitude and prayer. But his lifestyle aroused the envy and suspicion of others, and so, once again, Raymond was forcibly moved.

When he was able, he entered the Order of Our Lady of Mercy or the Mercaderians, which had been founded by Peter Nolasco at Barcelona. The order was dedicated to the ransoming of Christian captives who had been taken by the Islamics and were being held in prison in Algeria. Raymond quickly settled in, followed the exercises of faith that taught him patience, detachment, charity, the poverty of the poor, and the humility of the truly humble. When the founder retired, Raymond took his place as chief almoner and set off for Algiers with the gold that had been contributed by Christians.

This was a labor of love for the saint to deliver so many prisoners from their chains and dungeons and despair, especially when he realized that the faith of the prisoners was in even greater danger than their bodies. When he had spent all the money, he unhesitatingly offered himself in exchange. He was imprisoned, but gave thanks to our Lady for it.

In prison he converted some of his guards to Christianity, which enraged the Moors. He was denounced, beaten in public. The governor would have killed him by impalement had not others realized that a rich ransom would be paid for this particular Christian. Instead his lips were pierced and closed with a chain so that he could no longer comfort his friends or convert his jailers. After eight months of torture, Peter Nolasco arrived and paid his ransom. When he left for Barcelona, he was saddened at having left so many others behind, but Saint Peter forbade him to remain.

When Pope Gregory IX made him a cardinal of Saint Eustacius, Raymond did nothing to change his lifestyle. He wore the same clothes, ate the same food, lived in the same monastery in a cell as before this honor. He received few visitors and ignored the count of Cardona and other important personages who disapproved of his simplicity and tried to persuade him to adopt one more suited to his dignity as a cardinal.

In 1240, Pope Gregory summoned Raymond to Rome, perhaps to see this man whose reputation for holiness was so great. When Raymond left the monastery, people ran to see him and do him honor. But at Cardona, he was struck with fever and died the same day at the age of 36 (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).

In art, Saint Raymond is a Mercedarian (white robe with badge on the breast) with a chain and padlock on his lips in remembrance of his captivity. He may also be shown surrounded by Moors and captives or dressed as a cardinal and presiding at chapter (Roeder). He is highly venerated in Spain as the patron of children, domestic animals, innocent captives, the falsely accused, nurses (Roeder), and midwives (Delaney). He is invoked during childbirth and fever (Roeder).


Blessed Richard Bere M (AC)
Born at Glastonbury; died 1537. Richard received his education at Oxford and the Inns of Court, then entered the Carthusians in the London Charterhouse. He was arrested for opposing the royal "divorce" of Henry VIII, imprisoned, and starved to death at Newgate Prison with others of his community (Benedictines).


Robustian and Mark MM (RM)
Date unknown. Robustian and Mark have been venerated as martyrs at Milan, Italy, from a very early period (Benedictines).


Blessed Servite Martyrs (AC)
Died 1420; cultus confirmed in 1918. This group includes 64 Servite friars who were burnt to death in their church in Prague by the Hussites. Among them were four friars who had been sent from Tuscany to preach against the heresy (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Theodotus, Rufina, and Ammia MM (RM)
Died c. 270. The highly unreliable acta of these martyrs report that they were martyred in Cappadocia under Aurelian. Theodotus and Rufina were said to be the parents of the shepherd boy, Saint Mamas. Ammia is portrayed as his stepmother (Benedictines).


Waldef (Waltheof) of Northampton (AC)
Died at Winchester, England, 1076. Count Waldef of Northampton and Huntingdon was the son of Siward, earl of Northumbria. Although the count had fought against the Normans in 1066 and at the siege of York, William the Conqueror pardoned him. Not only that, he restored his lands to him and gave his niece Judith to him in marriage.

In 1075, Waldef was involved in the unsuccessful rebellion of the earls against the Norman conquerors. After confessing his involvement to Blessed Lanfranc, he travelled to Normandy to beg the king's forgiveness, but William was unwilling to show mercy a second time. Waldef was thrown into prison for a year, then beheaded for treason. Two weeks later his body was buried in the chapterhouse at Croyland in Lincolnshire.

A strong, nationalistic cultus developed with political overtones. Waldef was a traitor in Norman eyes, but a martyr to the Anglo- Saxons. In 1092, Waldef's reputedly incorrupt relics were translated to the church and miraculous cures were claimed. A Norman monk who had derided Waldef was struck dead.

The Croyland tradition did not rely on politics for their promotion of the cultus of one of its benefactors. The monks stressed Waldef's regard for the Church, his repentance in prison, the faithlessness of his wife, the trickery that caused his involvement in the rebellion, and the story that he died reciting the Our Father (his severed head is said to have uttered the last petition on its own). Nevertheless, his was always limited to a local cultus (Farmer).



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.