Pope Saint Gregory the Great
Aigulf of LÚrins, OSB Abbot M (RM)
(also known as Aigulphus, Ayou, Ayoul)
Born at Blois, France, c. 630; died 676. Saint Aigulf became a Benedictine monk at Fleury when he was about 20. He recovered the relics of Saint Benedict from Montecassino. About 670, Aigulf took the Benedictine Rule to LÚrins when he was chosen as its abbot. Some who disapproved of his rule, apparently laymen, took him and four of his monks to an island near Corsica and killed them (Benedictines).
Ambrose of Sens B (AC)
Died c. 355. All that is known is that Ambrose was bishop of Sens (Benedictines).
Blessed Andrew Dotti, OSM (AC)
Born at Borgo San Sepolcro, Italy, 1256; died at Monte Vecchio, Italy, August 31, 1315; cultus confirmed in 1806. Andrew was raised to be a soldier, but instead followed Saint Philip Benizi into the Servite Order and accompanied him on preaching missions. He later became a hermit in the solitude of Monte Vecchio (Benedictines).
Blessed Antony Ixida and Companions MM (AC)
Born in Japan, 1569; died September 3, 1632; beatified in 1867 among the Martyrs of Japan. Six Christians were imprisoned at Nagasaki and scalded for 33 days with boiling water to force them to apostatize, and when they persisted in their faith they were burned to death. The martyrs are:
Antony Ixida joined the Jesuits, was ordained, and became famed for this learning and eloquent preaching. He was successful in evangelizing in Arima Province until he was captured while on a sick call in Nagasaki and imprisoned for two years at Omura. He was then returned to Nagasaki with the others.
Bartholomew Gutierrez, OSA, was born in Mexico in 1530. He joined the Augustinian friars in 1596, was ordained at Puebla, and ten years later was sent to Manila. In 1612, Bartholomew went to Japan as prior of Ukusi. He worked zealously for many years, though his life was in continual danger. Finally, in 1629, he was betrayed and imprisoned for three years at Omura with Blessed Antony.
Francis Ortego (of Jesus), OSA, was born in Villamediana, Spain. He joined the Augustinian hermits at Valladolid in 1614. Eight years later he was sent to Mexico, and from there to Manila with Blessed Vincent Carvalho. They went to Japan in 1623.
Gabriel Fonseca (of Saint Magdalen), OFM, a Franciscan lay brother, was born in Fonseca, New Castile. He was sent to Manila in 1612 to study medicine. Ten years later Gabriel risked his own life to minister to the sick during the persecutions in Japan until his own arrest.
(Jean) Jerome J˘ (of the Cross de Torres), OFM, a Japanese secular priest, was educated at the seminary of Arima and ordained in Manila, the Philippines. In 1628, he returned to Japan and ministered for several years before his arrest in 1631.
Vincent Carvalho, OSA, was born at Alfama (near Lisbon), Portugal. He joined the Augustinians at Santa Maria de la Gracia in Lisbon. In 1621, he went to Mexico and two years later continued on to Japan (Benedictines, Delaney).
Aristaeus and Antoninus MM (RM)
Date unknown. Aristaeus may have been a bishop of Capua, Italy, but it is more likely that he is the Egyptian martyr Aristaeus, who is honored by the Greeks today. Antoninus is a child martyr, perhaps identical to Saint Antoninus of Apamea. The fact that there is no record of either saint in Capua supports the conclusion that these are duplicates (Benedictines). In art, these two are depicted as a child, pursued by murderers, running to an old man. He is venerated in Capua (Roeder).
Auxanus (Ansano) of Milan B (RM)
Died 568. Anxanus was bishop of Milan, where he was always highly venerated (Benedictines).
Balin (Ballon, Balanus) of Techsaxon (AC)
7th century. Handsome, well-loved Saint Balin was the brother of Saint Gerald, one of four sons of an Anglo-Saxon king. The four accompanied Saint Colman of Lindisfarne to Iona, then retired to Connaught, where they settled at Tecsaxono (the house of Saxons) in the diocese of Tuam (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Basilissa of Nicomedia VM (RM)
Died c. 303. The Roman Martyrology entry reads: "At Nicomedia, the passion of Saint Basilissa, virgin and martyr; though she was only nine years of age, yet by the power of God, she overcame scourges, fire and the beasts under the governor Alexander, in the persecution of the emperor Diocletian; by this she converted the governor to the faith of Christ, and at length she gave up her spirit to God, while she was at prayer outside the city" (Benedictines).
Cuthburga of Wimborne, Widow OSB Abbess (AC)
Died c. 725; feast day was August 31. Saint Cuthburga, sister to Saint Quenburga and King Ina of Wessex, married the learned and pious King Aldfrid of Northumbria in 688. After bearing him two sons, Aldfrid gave Cuthburga permission to enter religious life. She became a nun at Barking monastery under the direction of Saint Hildelith, and then in 705 with her sister Saint Quenburga, she founded the double monastery at Wimborne in Dorset and governed it as abbess. The convent was strictly cloistered. Saint Lioba, who was formed by Cuthburga, reports that even prelates were forbidden to enter the nuns quarters; Cuthburga would communicate with them through a little hatch. Hagiographers describe Cuthburga as austere with herself, kind to others, and steadfast in prayer and fasting. This convent produced the band of missionary nuns who helped evangelize Germany (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Frugentius of Fleury, OSB M (AC)
Died 676. Frugentius, a Benedictine of Fleury, was one of the monks killed with Saint Aigulf, abbot of LÚrins (Benedictines).
Gregory the Great, Pope Doctor (RM)
Born in Rome, Italy, c. 540; died there March 12, 604; feast day was formerly March 12--his dies natalis, but is now the day he was consecrated pope.
"The Holy Bible is like a mirror before our mind's eye. In it we see our inner face. From the Scriptures we can learn our spiritual deformities and beauties. And there too we discover the progress we are making and how far we are from perfection."
Where does one begin to recite the glories of a man who excelled at many things in so many ways? His greatness is emphasized by contrast with the time in which he lived, when everything was in decline. He was prefect of Rome when he wrote: "Everything is at the mercy of the barbarians, the cities are undermined, the citadels are destroyed, the provinces are depopulated, there are no more farmers in the country. And every day the idolaters exert their power and gratify their rage by assassinating the faithful. We see what has become of her who once appeared as mistress of the world. She is broken by all she has suffered from immense and manifold misfortunes. . . . We, the few who are left, are menaced every day by the sword and innumerable trials. . . ."
Saint Bede described Gregory as the man England "may and ought to call our Apostle, because he made our nation, till then given up to idols, the Church of Christ," and Gregory's tomb in Rome bears the inscription: "He taught the Christian truth to English Saxons."
He was a distinguished Roman, born of a senatorial Christian family, and owed much to his mother, Saint Sylvia and two of her sisters who are regarded as saints. His father, Gordianus, who was descended from an earlier pope, was a lay administrator of one of the seven archdeaconries of Rome. Trained in Rome as a lawyer, by 571 (age 30) he had become its prefect. He seems to have acquitted himself well in that post, despite his tendency toward austerity. Historians refer to the splendor of his robes in contrast with the habit he wore in later years.
On the death of his father, he gave most of his inheritance to the poor and the Church, which included the founding of six monasteries in Sicily. About 574, he converted his family mansion on the Caelian Hill into the monastery of Saint Andrew, placed it under the direction of Valentius, and resigned his office to become a Benedictine monk. Gregory ameliorated the characteristic Eastern ascetic excesses, which made the rule more acceptable to Western conditions. He set about purifying the morals of the monks.
At this time, there was an impermeable boundary between monks and priests; a priest who became a monk was expected to cease his priestly ministry because priests were viewed as worldly; monks, other-worldly. Gregory's later determination (as pope) to free monks from episcopal control was definitely contrary to tradition. The Council of Chalcedon (451) had ordered monks to remain under obedience to their bishops. Gregory, however, in the Lateran Council of 601, cause a decree to be issued to all bishops exempting monks from their authority. Part of the reason for this was to keep monks in their monasteries and prevent them from wandering from place to place. This was the beginning of later monastic exemptions that eventually brought religious order directly under papal control.
Pope Gregory wrote to Bishop Castorius of Ariminum:
"On the death also of an abbot, let not the bishop on any pretext intermeddle in the scheduling or taking charge of the property of the monastery, acquired, or given, or to be acquired. We also entirely forbid public Masses to be celebrated by him in a convent, lest in the retreats of the servants of God and their places of refuge any opportunity for a popular concourse of women should ensue, which would be by no means of advantage to their souls. Nor let him dare to place his episcopal chair there, or have any power whatever of command, or of holding any ordination, even the most ordinary, unless he should be requested to do so by the abbot of the place."
Gregory remained in his monastery about three years and then was ordained by Pope Pelagius II as one of the seven deacons of Rome in 578. He was too active by temperament for a contemplative life and, five years after retiring from public affairs, he was appointed papal legate (579-585) to Constantinople, a post for which he was well-equipped and which he filled with great distinction; but he still maintained the simple habits of a monk and he turned part of his embassy into a monastery. This was a time when the Roman Empire had been reconstituted with its headquarters in Constantinople. The pope had sent him to enlist the aid of the emperor against the Lombards; in this he was unsuccessful.
In 586, Gregory was recalled to Rome and became abbot of his monastery, while acting as papal secretary. There is a story that Gregory entertained the idea of himself preaching the Gospel in England, and even set out for that country, but was recalled to Rome by the pope at the insistence of the people when plague struck Rome in 589-590.
Pope Pelagius contracted the disease and died. Gregory was consecrated pope on September 3, 590--the first monk to hold that office. It is said that Gregory tried every means possible to avoid taking the papal office, including writing to Emperor Maurice in Constantinople to ask that he not be given imperial confirmation. The letter was intercepted by the prefect of Rome and another substituted from the Senate, clergy, and people that asked for Gregory's appointment. At the arrival of the emperor's response, the saint fled Rome. When he found that he could not refuse the office in good conscience, he accepted it and proceeded speedily with clerical and ecclesiastical reform.
It was a time of famine, flood, and plague, and Gregory called for litanies, processions, and unceasing prayer for God's help. These expressions of faith were rewarded by the rapid diminution of the infestation. During one procession, Gregory saw an angel above Hadrian's Arch sheathing his sword--an incident from which the Castel Sant'Angelo derives its name.
As pope, he became the strongest figure in Italy, the exarch of Ravenna dimmed in comparison to Gregory. Beside him the emperor was but a pale and feeble shadow, and soon the power of his strong personality and benevolent influence was felt throughout Europe. The attacks of the barbarians had further increased the importance of the Church because they had destroyed many of the pagan temples and driven the patrician families, who preserved the old state religion, out of Rome.
As a preacher he had great ability. In the field of liturgy he introduced the Gregorian chant (in response to the congregational and antiphonal singing that Saint Ambrose introduced and which he viewed as flippant and irreverent), and established a choir school in conjunction with an orphanage. He also excelled as a statesman. Indeed, in every branch and aspect of Church life he showed both genius and authority, and more than any other he gave shape and direction to the Medieval Church. In his days, we are told, the see of St. Peter stood out in Western Europe like a lighthouse in a storm.
Gregory was instrumental in settling difficulties with the Lombards who besieged Rome several times during his pontificate, and with whom he personally negotiated treaties. They continued to be troublesome. In 593, he persuaded the invading Lombards under Agilulf to spare Rome, and he negotiated a peace with the Lombard king--an unprecedented move that effectively set aside the authority of the Byzantine emperor's representative, the exarch of Ravenna. Gregory was responsible for all the relief work in the distressed areas, including redeeming captives who had been enslaved. For this purpose, Gregory urged bishop to go so far as to sell their sacred vessels. He did conclude a temporary truce with the Lombards in 603.
Gregory resisted the arrogance, treachery, and incompetence of Byzantine authorities. He appointed governors of the Italian cities, provided them with war materials, and denounced the heavy taxes levied on Italians by Byzantine officials. This was the beginning of the papal exercise of temporal authority.
He had many troubles with which he had to deal, and he had few qualms about using secular force to win adherents to the Church. The Donatist controversy re-emerged in Africa and Gregory appealed to the emperor to enforce the pre-existing law against their worship. He encouraged the Frankish kings to coerce their subjects into the true faith, and on his own possessions in Italy, he ordered the Manichaeans to be compelled to accept Catholicism. On the other hand, he was especially tolerant to the Jews and urged that they should not be harshly treated. He went so far as to say that, in the case of the Jews, conversions wrought by force are never sincere.
One of the great successes of the period was the conversion of the Arian king of Spain, Reccared, who renounced his heresy and converted to Catholicism under the influence of Gregory's greatest friend, Saint Leandro. Gregory responded to Leandro's letter by sending him part of his commentary on the Book of Job, which the two had begun together when they were stationed at Constantinople.
The holy father was outraged when John, the patriarch of Constantinople, began using the title "Universal Bishop." Was it not enough that the patriarch had presumed precedence over the ancient patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem? Gregory hotly contested the use of the title and it was never officially bestowed upon the prelate of Constantinople.
Some modern Catholics are calling for the election of bishops as done in the past without considering history. As we have seen in Africa (see Augustine), it can be the opportunity for the development of schism. Even when bishops were elected, they were subject to the confirmation of the pope and/or a local secular authority. Gregory would appoint someone to preside over an election and see that everything was done properly. Even if an election were legitimate, Gregory did not regard himself as bound to confirm the candidate; there are several instances when he did not.
Gregory used the granting of the pallium as a means of extending his authority. Originally, this was a scarf given by emperors to their friends and officers that they especially wanted to honor. It came to be used by the popes as a means of signifying a metropolitan (i.e., archbishop or patriarch), although in some instances it was conferred on a diocesan bishop where there was no metropolitan.
Although Gregory took away the authority of the bishops over monks, he protected and augmented their rights in other areas. He separated the clergy from secular courts and forbade them to appeal to lay tribunals. He also attempted to end the vice of simony by, among other things, refusing the annual presents that suffragan bishops traditionally brought to Rome or any fee for the granting of the pallium, and abolishing clerical fees for burials and ordinations. He restored ecclesiastical discipline, removed unworthy clerics from office, and was prodigious in his charity.
But most conspicuous and far-reaching was his missionary vision. He had a lifelong interest in the conversion of England, where the Roman rule had come to an end under the battering of the barbarians, and the Romano-British Church had been driven into the provinces of Cornwall, Wales, and Cumbria, while the new Saxon and heathen kingdoms rose and rivalled one another until King Saint Ethelbert of Kent managed to exercise authority over much of the country.
Even before Gregory was pope, when walking in the market-place of Rome, he had noticed the fair-haired Saxon boys offered for sale as slaves and had made his famous pun: "Not Angles, but angels!" adding, still humorously, that "Alleluia shall be sung in Aella's land." Until he was able to carry out his plan for evangelization, he would buy young English boys in the slave market and give them a good education with the view of sending them home as missionaries.
A better opportunity arose when King Ethelbert of Kent married the Catholic princess, Bertha of Gaul. She had been allowed to bring her chaplain with her to England and to have Mass said in her own chapel. Gregory recognized the opportunity this presented. Thus, he decided to dispatch Saint Augustine and a small band of monks to bring the Gospel to those shores. Several times the daunted monks wanted to give up the project, but Gregory continually encouraged them to press on. The missionaries finally landed on the Isle of Thanet in May 597. Ethelbert received them courteously and eventually was baptized. The mission was so prosperous that Augustine went to Gaul to be consecrated bishop at the hands of the bishop of Arles.
When questions arose in England, Augustine would write to Gregory. One letter concerned the division of offerings because Augustine was a monk living in community and shared all things in common. The normal custom was to divide any offering equally between the bishop, the clergy, the poor, and the parish for maintenance. Then there was a question of liturgical custom: should they follow that of Rome or of Gaul? The answer was that Augustine should adapt to what is practical for the particular time and circumstances. There were other questions about marriages, ordinations, and the position of bishops. In all matters, Gregory shows himself to be a practical man tempering law with charity. For example, when Augustine asked about episcopal ordinations, which require at least three consecrating bishops, Gregory responded that since Augustine was the only bishop in England he must consecrate alone, unless he could get bishops to come from Gaul.
Gregory had conceived England as it was under Roman rule. He had planned to have a metropolitan established at York and another at London, and each should have 12 suffragans. York was to be dependent on London only during Augustine's lifetime and upon Augustine's death was to be independent. Gregory does not seem to have realized the pre-existing bishops had little interest in converting their Anglo-Saxon conquerors.
Gregory also wrote to Saint Mellitus to remind Augustine not to destroy the pagan temples, but rather to appropriate and consecrate them for Christian usage. Similarly, the old feast days should be retained and given a Christian character.
Gregory relates his view of the English mission in his letter to Bishop Eulogius of Alexandria:
"While the nation of the Angli, placed in a corner of the world, remained up to this time misbelieving in the worship of stocks and stones, I determined, through the aid of your prayers for me, to send it, God granting, a monk of my monastery for the purpose of preaching. And he, having with my leave been made bishop by the bishops of Germany, proceeded, with their aid also, to the end of the world to the aforesaid nation; and already letters have reached us telling us of his safety and his work; to the effect that he and those that have been sent with him are resplendent with such great miracles in the said nation that they seem to imitate the powers of the apostles in the signs which they display. Moreover, at the solemnity of the Lord's Nativity which occurred in the first indication, more than 10,000 Angli are reported to have been baptized by the same our brother and fellow- bishop."
During all his activities, Gregory never stopped writing--his homilies, his celebrated Dialogues, and many other writings, including over 800 letters and epistles that have survived. The Dialogues, full of marvelous tales about the visions, prophecies, miracles and lives of monks and saints of Italy, provided his age with its romantic reading and impressed upon it the underlying, essential truths of religion.
Gregory wrote Pastoral Care (Liber regulae pastoralis) in order to explain his position. It is an exposition of episcopal duties. (The fact that it was one of the first books to be translated into English attests to its importance.) In Gaul (France), it was handed to all bishops at their consecration. Emperor Maurice had it translated into Greek so that it could be used in the East as well. Most of the book deals with how a preacher should adapt his teaching to each of several classes of people.
Gregory was not a great or creative thinker, but was more like the practical Romans of his time. In fact, his greatest drawback as a teacher was his credulity; he was ready to believe almost any fantastic story about relics. He did expound on the uncharted territory of the afterlife, especially on purgatory. The custom of saying 30 successive Masses for those who have died is named after Saint Gregory. It derives from his Dialogues (Book 4, c. 40) which relates that a monk named Justus had received three pieces of gold which he kept for himself--an offense against poverty. The gold was discovered and Justus excommunicated. Soon after he died and was buried in unconsecrated ground with the three gold pieces. Time repaired the scandal and the abbot, moved by compassion for the soul of Justus, arranged for the Sacrifice of the Mass each morning for 30 days. As Mass ended on the 30th day, Justus appeared to a brother named Copiosus, saying, "Bless God, my dear brother, today I am delivered and admitted into the society of saints."
This pope is also considered the originator of the Mass of the Presanctified, which would now be called a communion service in the Latin Rite. He himself tells us that he changed the place of the Lord's Prayer and added it to the Prayer of Consecration. He also added some petitions to the prayer Hanc igitur, thus giving its final touch to the canon.
His labors were immense. No task was too great, no service too humble, for this gifted and versatile follower of Christ, who delighted to call himself "the servant of the servants of God." One of many stories told of him is that a beggar presented himself repeatedly at the monastery gate asking for alms, and each time Gregory gave to him, until, one day, having no money left to give, he gave him his silver porringer, a gift from his mother.
As bishop of Rome, Gregory continued to live the monastic life as far as he was able. He retained the habit and lived with his clergy under a strict rule. After he became pope, it was his custom to entertain every evening at his own table twelve poor men, one for each of our Lord's disciples. One night he counted thirteen present and, calling his steward, enquired the reason. "Holy Father," replied the steward, after counting them over, "you are mistaken; there are but twelve." But Gregory still counted thirteen, and after the meal called to his unbidden guest: "Who are you?" The guest replied, "I am the poor man whom you formerly relieved, and through Me you shall obtain whatever you shall ask of God." Then Gregory knew that he had entertained our Lord.
Gregory continued his apostolic labors for another seven years after sending Augustine to England. His delicacy increased and he had to work in the midst of intense pain from chronic gout. He gradually became weaker. During the latter part of his life, he was in close correspondence with Queen Theodolinda of the Lombards to try to win her and her people into the Catholic fold. Her son had been born and baptized in the Catholic Church, just before Gregory's death. During his last illness, he wrote to congratulate her on the birth of her son (Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia (March), Gill, Schouppe, Wand).
In art, Saint Gregory is often portrayed with the four original Latin Doctors of the Church: Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome. In these he is distinguished as wearing the papal tiara.
As pope, he is generally depicted wearing the papal tiara. The image may show Gregory (1) with a book, a dove at his ear; (2) with a book and ceremonial umbrella or canopy, sometimes held over his head; (3) with the bull of Saint Luke supporting his book; (4) with the soul of a king rising from purgatory at his side; (5) with a soul released from purgatory as he celebrates Mass; (6) celebrating Mass, Christ appears on the altar; (7) appearing in a vision to Saint Fina; or (8) as a monk declining the papal tiara (Roeder).
As Doctor of the Church, Gregory is generally portrayed at his writing desk with the papal insignia near him and a dove at his ear to inspire him as in the image contained in John of Berry's Petit Heures. He may also be shown (1) as a bearded early Christian priest by a writing desk, with the dove at his ear; (2) as the early priest with a pen and book, candle and tiara with a peacock above him; or (3) occasionally with a bull of Saint Luke (Roeder). Two other images available on the Internet include Michael Pacher's The Altar of the Four Latin Fathers with a detail of SS. Augustine and Gregory and Carlo Sarceni's Saint Gregory the Great Writing His Gospel.
Gregory is the patron of fringe makers, masons, musicians, scholars, singers, students, and teachers. He is invoked against gout, plague, and sterility (Roeder).
Blessed Guala of Brescia, OP B (AC)
(also known as Walter or William of Bergamo)
Born in Bergamo, Italy; died in San Sepolcro d'Astino, Italy, in 1244; cultus approved in 1868 by Pope Pius IX. Guala was one of the first disciples of Saint Dominic, attracted by the Dominican ideal in 1219, when he heard the founder preach. He received the habit from Dominic at the time the friary opened in Bergamo. After a short novitiate, he was appointed prior there.
Guala proved to be an able superior and a practical administrator and builder. He was on the committee that planed the convent of Saint Agnes in Bologna. During a delay in the construction of the convent because of the opposition of the family of Blessed Diana d'Andal˛, who was financing the project, Guala was sent to Brescia to assume the position of its first prior.
During this period Guala had the revelation of Saint Dominic's greatness that became the subject of many early legends. Although they were good friends, Guala did not know that Dominic was dying on their return from a chapter. Guala had fallen asleep with his head leaning against the belltower of the conventual church at Brescia when he had a vision of two ladders coming down from heaven. Our Lord was visible at the top of one ladder, and Our Lady at the top of the other. Angels were ascending and descending on them. As Guala watched, a friar, who sat at the foot of one ladder with his face covered was drawn up to heaven and great glory surrounded him. Guala awoke, deeply affected by the vision, and went immediately to Bologna, where he found that Saint Dominic had died at the time of his vision.
In 1226, Guala was named the prior of Bologna's Saint Nicholas abbey, famous for its regularity and fervor. While there, Pope Honorius III appointed him arbiter between Bologna and Modena. Guala worked hard to forge a treaty that lasted 10 years. The following year Pope Gregory IX asked him to negotiate between Emperor Frederick II and the Lombard confederacy--an even more daunting diplomatic task. Guala was also commissioned to convince Frederick to keep his vow to lead a crusade. He was unable to resolve matters between the parties, but at least they maintained the status quo of an uneasy peace.
In 1228, Guala was consecrated bishop of Brescia. As such, he negotiated a number of treaties between warring cities. Frederick broke all the promises he had made and attacked the cities that had remained loyal to the pope. In 1238, Frederick's army besieged Brescia, but the attackers had to withdraw within three months, which is credited to Guala.
Guala's contemporaries described him as "a man of great prudence, well acquainted with the world, and of accomplished manners," and said that "he governed the diocese entrusted to his care with such holiness that, both during his life and after his death, he wrought many wonders through God."
The years of labor and civil strife wore him down. He resigned his see in 1242 in order to enter complete seclusion and pray without interruption in preparation for death. Therefore, he retired to the Vallumbrosan monastery of San Sepolcro d'Astino, where he lived as a hermit until his death. He was buried in the Benedictine church, and after many miracles at his tomb, his cause was promoted (Benedictines, Dorcy, Encyclopedia).
Hereswitha of Chelles, OSB Widow (AC)
Died c. 690. Princess Hereswitha of Northumbria was the sister of Saint Hilda and mother of Saints Sexburga, Ethelburga, and Withburga. She spent her golden years as a nun in Chelles convent in France (Benedictines).
Macanisius (Macnisius, Aengus McNisse) B (AC)
Died 506-514. Saint Macanisius, a disciple of Saint Olean (Bolcan?), was said to have been baptized as an infant by Saint Patrick. After Macanisius made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Rome, Patrick consecrated him the first abbot-bishop of Kells, which became the diocese of Connor, Ireland. His legend is filled with extravagant miracles, such as changing the course of a river for the convenience of his monks and rescuing a child about to be executed for his father's crime by causing him to be carried by the wind from the executioners to his arms. He has a proper Mass among those approved for Ireland by Clement XlI, and printed in Paris in 1734. Various ancient lists record different dates for his death (Benedictines, Delaney, Husenbeth, Montague).
Phoebe of Cenchreae (RM)
1st century. A matron and deaconess of the Church at Cenchreae, near the port city of Corinth, she was highly recommended to the Christians at Rome by Saint Paul, who praised her for her assistance to him and to many others (Romans 16:1-2). She may have brought Paul's epistle to the Romans to Rome with her. Without evidence, some have suggested that she was Saint Paul's wife (Benedictines, Delaney).
Quenburga (Coenburga) of Wimborne (AC)
Died c. 735; feast sometimes celebrated on September 3. Saint Quenburga, Saint Cuthburga, and the future King Ina of Wessex were the children of Cenred, a lord of Wessex. The two sisters founded Wimborne Abbey in Dorset about 705. Although it was a double (and possibly, triple) abbey, it was intended primarily for nuns. Cuthburga was its first abbess. Wimborne was important for having produced Saints Lioba and Thecla, who were among the many religious who assisted Saint Boniface in his efforts to evangelize Germany (Farmer).
Regulus (Reol, Rieul) of Rheims, OSB B (AC)
Died 698. Saint Regulus, a monk of Rebais under Saint Philibert, who succeeded Saint Nivard as archbishop of Rheims. In 680, he founded Orbais Abbey. The Encyclopedia of Catholic Saints has this cryptic remark he "always knew how to keep his church of the side of prevailing opinion" (Benedictines, Encyclopedia). In art, Saint Regulus is a bishop telling the frogs to keep silence while he preaches. He may also be shown with a staff following his funeral or a fountain springing from his tears (Roeder).
Zeno and Chariton MM (RM)
Died c. 303. Zeno and Chariton were martyred under Diocletian (Benedictines). In art, Chariton is shown with his hands manacled and a serpent before him drinking from a cup (Roeder). Image of Saint Chariton the Confessor (perhaps another saint) from the Novgorod Icon Book with Saints Barlaam of Khutynsk and Sergius of Radonezh.
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.