Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
Adam of Caithness, OSB Cist. B (PC)
Died 1222. Saint Adam entered the Cistercians as a young man. Later he was abbot of Melrose until King William of Scotland appointed him bishop in a remote area over which he wanted to gain more power. As bishop, Adam tried to enforce canon and civil law, including the payment of tithes, which he increased gradually doubled. Of course, this led to a revolt. A mob forced its way into the bishop's house at Halkirke and burnt him and his followers to death. His body, although "roasted with fire and livid with bruises, was found entire under a heap of stones and buried honorably in the church." Thereafter, an unofficial cultus developed (Farmer).
Aichardus of Jumièges, OSB Abbot (RM)
(also known as Archard, Aicard, Achart)
Born at Poitiers; died c. 687. As the son of one of Clotaire II's officers, Auschaire, and his wife Ermina, Saint Aichardus was born into a pre-eminent family of Poitou. His mother was particularly devout and diligently trained her son in the ways of Christian perfection. She sent him to Saint Hilary's monastery at Poitiers for his education. Early in his life he was professed as a monk of Ansion in Poitou, where he spent 39 years. Thereafter, he was abbot of Saint Benedict's at Quinçay and, finally, abbot of Jumièges, where he succeeded Saint Philibert as the spiritual leader of about 1,000 monks (Benedictines).
Blessed Aichardus of Clairvaux, OSB Cist. (PC)
Died c. 1170. Aichardus received the Cistercian habit from the hands of Saint Bernard at Clairvaux. The founder sent Aichardus to several different foundations. When he returned to Clairvaux, Saint Bernard appointed him novice-master (Benedictines).
Albinus (Aubin, Alpin) of Lyons B (RM)
Died c. 390. Saint Albinus succeeded Saint Justus in 381 as bishop of Lyons. He is said to have built the church of Saint Stephen and to have chosen it as his cathedral (Benedictines).
Aprus of Toul B (RM)
(also known as Aper, Apre, Epvre, Eyre, Evre)
Born near Trèves (Trier), Germany; died 507. Saint Aprus was a very successful lawyer, who gave up his profession in order to receive presbyterial ordination. Eventually he was selected as bishop of Toul, which he pastored for seven years (Benedictines).
Catherine (Caterinetta) of Genoa, Widow (RM)
Born in Genoa, Italy, 1447; died there, September 14, 1510; beatified in 1737 and equipollently canonized by Pope Benedict XIV a few years later (others say she was canonized in 1737); feast day formerly on March 22.
"He who purifies himself from his faults in the present life, satisfies with a penny a debt of a thousand ducats; and he who waits until the other life to discharge his debts, consents to pay a thousand ducats for that which he might before have paid with a penny."
--Saint Catherine, Treatise on purgatory.
The biography of Saint Catherine of Genoa, who combined mysticism with practicality, was written by Baron Friedrich von Hügel. She was the fifth and youngest child of James Fieschi and his wife Francesca di Negro, members of the noble Guelph family of Fieschi, which had produced two popes (Innocent IV and Adrian V). After her birth, her father later became viceroy of Naples for King René of Anjou.
From the age of 13 Catherine sought to became a cloistered religious. Her sister was already a canoness regular and her confessor was the chaplain of that convent. When she asked to be received, they decided that she was too young. Then her father died and, for dynastic reasons, her widowed mother insisted that the 16-year-old marry the Genoese Ghibelline patrician, Guiliano Adorno. Her husband was unfaithful, violent, and a spendthrift. The first five years of their marriage, Catherine suffered in silence. In some ways it seems odd that he did not find her attractive, because Catherine was a beautiful woman of great intelligence, and deeply religious. But they were of completely different temperaments: she was intense and humorless; he had a zest for life.
Then she determined to win her husband's affection by adopting worldly airs. As it turns out, this only made her unhappy because she lost the only consolation that had previously sustained her-- her religious life. Ten years into her marriage, Catherine was a very unhappy woman; her husband had reduced them to poverty by his extravagance. On the eve of his feast in 1473, Catherine prayed, "Saint Benedict, pray to God that He make me stay three months sick in bed." Two days later she was kneeling for a blessing before the chaplain at her sister's convent. She had visited her sister and revealed the secrets of her heart. Her sister advised her to go to confession.
In following her sister's advice, Catherine experienced a sort of ecstasy. She was overwhelmed by her sins and, at the very same time, by the infinite love of God for her. This experience was the foundation for an enduring awareness of the presence of God and a fixed attitude of soul. She was drawn back to the path of devotion of her childhood. Within a few days she had a vision of our Lord carrying His cross, which caused her to cry out, "O Love, if it be necessary I am ready to confess my sins in public!" On the Solemnity of the Annunciation she received the Eucharist, the first time with fervor for ten years.
Thus began her mystical ascent under very severe mortifications that included fasting throughout Lent and Advent almost exclusively on the Eucharist. She became a stigmatic. A group of religious people gathered around Catherine, who guided them to a spirit- filled life.
Eventually her husband was converted, became a Franciscan tertiary, and they agreed to live together in continence. Catherine and Giuliano devoted themselves to the care of the sick in the municipal hospital of Genoa, Pammatone, where they were joined by Catherine's cousin Tommasina Fieschi. In 1473, they moved from their palazzo to a small house in a poorer neighborhood than was necessary. In 1479, they went to live in the hospital and Catherine became its director in 1490. The heroism of Catherine's charity revealed itself in a special way during the plagues of 1493 and 1501. The first one killed nearly 75 percent of the inhabitants. Catherine herself contracted the disease. Although she recovered, she was forced to resign due to ill health three years later.
After Giuliano's death the following year (1497), Catherine's spiritual life became even more intense. In 1499, Catherine met don Cattaneo Marabotto, who became her spiritual director. Her religious practices were idiosyncratic; for instance, she went to communion daily when it was unusual to do so. For years she made extraordinarily long fasts without abating her charitable activities. Catherine is an outstanding example of the religious contemplative who combines the spiritual life with competence in practical affairs. Yet she was always fearful of "the contagion of the world's slow stain" that had separated her from God in the early years of her marriage.
Her last three years of life were a combination of numerous mystical experiences and ill health that remained undiagnosed by even John-Baptist Boerio, the principal doctor to King Henry VII. In addition to her body remaining undecomposed and one of her arms elongating in a peculiar manner shortly before her death, the blood from her stigmata gave off exceptional heat.
A contemporary painting of Catherine, now at the Pammatone Hospital in Genoa, possibly painted by the female artist Tomasina Fieschi, shows Catherine in middle age. It reveals a slight woman with a long, patrician nose; pronounced, cleft chin; easy smile of broad but thin lips (and, surprisingly, deep laugh lines); high cheekbones; and large dark eyes punctuated by thin, graceful eyebrows.
Dialogue between the soul and the body and Treatise on purgatory are outstanding works in the field of mysticism, which were inspired by her and contain the essence of her, but were actually composed by others under her name. She is the patron of Genoa and of Italian hospitals (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Harrison, Schamoni, Schouppe, Walsh).
Of interest may be The Life and Doctrine of Saint Catherine of Genoa.
Emilas (Emile) and Jeremias (Jeremy) MM (RM)
Died 852. Emile, a deacon, and his friend Jeremy were students at Cordova, Spain. They provoked the Moorish inhabitants and were beheaded under caliph Abderrahman (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Eutropia of Auvergne, Widow (RM)
5th century. The sanctity of the widow Saint Eutropia was first lauded by Saint Sidonius Apollinaris (Benedictines).
Hernan of Brittany (AC)
Born in Britain; died 6th century. During the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain, Saint Hernan sought refuge in Brittany. There he lived in solitude at a place now named for him, Loc-Harn. He is the patron of that village (Benedictines).
Joseph Abibos, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 590. Saint Joseph, abbot of Alaverdi, Georgia, Iberia, was on of the 13 Syriac followers of Saint John Zedazneli, who evangelized the area and introduced monasticism there (Benedictines).
Mamilian of Palermo B (AC)
Died 460. Bishop Mamilian of Palermo, Sicily, was exiled to Tuscany by the Arian king Genseric. His relics were returned to Palermo, where they are venerated (Benedictines).
Maximus, Theodore, and Scelpiodotus MM (RM)
Died c. 310. These three martyrs were born in Marcianopolis (now in Bulgaria) and suffered at Adrianopolis (Benedictines).
Melitina of Marcianopolis M (RM)
Died mid-2nd century. Let me, you have probably never heard of Marcianopolis (Bulgaria) before today. Yet Saint Melitina, like Saints Maximus, Theodore, and Scelpiodotus was martyred in that ancient town under Antoninus Pius. Her relics were moved to the island of Lemnos (Benedictines). In art, Saint Melitina is depicted as a maiden with a sword; the idol she overthrew lays near her. She is venerated on Lemnos (Roeder).
Mirin of Benchor (Bangor) B (AC)
(also known as Merinus, Merryn, Meadhran)
Died c. 620. Saint Mirin, a contemporary of Saint Columba, was a disciple of Saint Comgall at Bangor (County Down). He had a powerful influence in the area of Strathclyde, south of Glasgow, Scotland. There he founded and was abbot of Paisley abbey, where he died and was buried. His shrine became a pilgrimage center. Mirin is venerated by both Protestants and Catholics in both Ireland and Scotland, where there is a chapel dedicated to him among the ruins of Inch Murryn, the largest island in Loch Lomond. He is also patron of the British football club called Saint Mirren's of Paisley (Benedictines, Farmer, Montague).
Nicetas the Goth (the Great) M (RM)
Died c. 378. Saint Sabas and Nicetas are the two most renowned martyrs among the Goths. It is interesting to note that Nicetas, an Ostrogoth born along the Danube, should rightly be considered a heretic, yet he is listed in the Roman Martyrology. Through no fault of his own, he and many of his kinsmen and neighbors were converted to Christianity by the Arian Ulphilas. In good faith, he was also ordained as an Arian priest. But doctrinal differences are often forgotten in the name of Jesus. Nicetas was martyred by King Athanaric, in his attempt to eradicate the name of Christ from his territory bordering on the Roman Empire. About 370, Athanaric began a systematic persecution. He caused an idol to be carried in a chariot through all the towns and villages he suspected were sheltering Christians. Those who refused to adore were put to death, usually by burning the Christians with their children in the houses or those assembled together in churches. At other times they were stabbed at the foot of the altar. Nicetas was burnt to death. His body was taken to Mopsuestia in Cilicia, which is why his name is especially remember in the East (Attwater, Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Nicomedes of Rome M (RM)
Died c. 90. The Emperor Constantine Copronymus thought that the relics of the saints and martyrs were worthless objects, and that anyone who collected the bones of the holy ones was a fool. He therefore set about finding as many of these sacred remains as he could and throwing them into the sea.
Pope Saint Paschal I, who was elected in 817, 32 years after the emperor's death, disagreed. Whereas Constantine Copronymus had got rid of saintly bones, Paschal I conceived it as his duty to find as many replacements as possible. The church of Santa Prassede in Rome is filled with all that he collected, their names inscribed on marble tablets close by the sanctuary.
Among them are the earthly remains of Saint Nicomedes, brought in 817 from their catacomb on the Via Nomentina. Nicomedes had been a priest, at a time when Christians had to keep their faith secret or risk death. His own beliefs came to light when he bravely obtained the bones of another martyr, Saint Felicula, to give them Christian burial.
Nicomedes was given the chance of apostatizing by offering sacrifice to heathen gods. "I sacrifice only to the almighty God who rules over us all from heaven," was Nicomedes' response. Nicomedes had signed his own death warrant. He was beaten with whips that had been made crueller by means of lead lining and, under this torture, died.
The saint's body was thrown into the Tiber, so that the Christians could not burial it. But another Christian named Justus boldly rescued it and placed the corpse in a tomb on the Via Nomentina, just outside the Porta Pia. And there it remained until 817 (Bentley).
In art, Saint Nicomedes is depicted as an early Christian priest with a club set with spikes (Roeder).
Porphyrius the Actor M (RM)
Died 362. The story of Saint Porphyrius is similar to that of several other saints. He was a horse trader and an actor, who was converted to the faith while burlesquing the Sacrament of Baptism on stage. He suddenly declared himself a Christian in front of the audience, which included Julian the Apostate, and was immediately slain (Benedictines). In art, Saint Porphyrius is portrayed as he declares himself a Christian on stage with Julian the Apostate in the audience (Roeder).
Ribert of Saint-Valèry, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died 7th century. Saint Ribert was a monk, then abbot, of Saint- Valèry-sur-Somme. There is some indication that he may also have been regionary bishop of Normandy and Picardy. He is the titular patron of many parishes in the diocese of Rouen (Benedictines).
Ritbert of Varennes, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died c. 690. Saint Ritbert, a disciple of Saint Ouen, became abbot of a small monastery and the pastor of the church of Varenne (Rouen). He preached missions in the countryside (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Roland de'Medici, Hermit (AC)
Born in Florence, Italy; died at Borgone, 1386; cultus confirmed in 1852. Scion of the famous Medici family of Florence, Italy, Roland renounced all its power, influence, and wealth to become a hermit for 26 years in the forests of Parma (Benedictines).
Valerian of Lyons M (RM)
Died 178. Saint Valerian was a companion of the ancient Bishop Saint Pothinus of Lyons. Valerian succeeded in escaping from prison, but was captured at Tournus near Autun while preaching to the people. He was beheaded (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.