St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Theresa of the Child Jesus (Memorial)
October 1

Aizan and Sazan MM (AC)
Died c. 400. Saint Aizan and his brother Sazan were petty chieftains in Abyssinia, who were zealous to spread the Good News in their homeland. Their enthusiasm attracted the friendship of Saint Athanasius (Benedictines).


Albaud (Aladius) of Toul B (AC)
Died c. 520. Bishop Albaud of Toul built the church of St. Aper (Epvre) in honor of his predecessor in the see. Later this became the church of the Benedictine Saint-Aper Abbey (Benedictines).


Aretas and Companions MM (RM)
Date unknown. Though mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on October 1, it is possible that this group of martyrs is identical to those honored on October 24 and known as the Martyrs of Nagran. The martyrology, however, states that Aretas suffered at Rome with 504 others (as first noted by Usuardus) (Benedictines).


Bavo of Ghent, OSB Hermit (RM)
(also known as Allowin, Bavon)

Born in Brabant near Liege, c. 589; died near Ghent in 654 (according to the majority; dates range from 624 to 654).

The young Bavo, christened Allowin, led a wild life as a wealthy landowner. He married and fathered a daughter; otherwise, his life was totally disordered. His sole object was to satisfy his every desire without regard to justice or truth. When he needed more money, he would sell his servants as serfs to neighboring landowners. Then his beloved wife died. Only thereafter did he realize how selfish his life had been.

Upon hearing a sermon of Saint Amandus, his heart convicted of his sin. Bavo began his conversion to Christ by giving away all his property, including his estate at Ghent which he offered to Saint Amandus, who built a monastery there. Bavo begged to enter it, and began a course of canonical penance. So great was his self-mortification that after his death the name of the abbey was changed from St. Peter's to St. Bavo's.

By great good fortune Bavo came across one man he had sold as a serf many years before. Bavo begged the man to lead him by a chain in humiliation as far as the city jail. Similar humility marked everything he now did. Saint Amandus allowed him to become his companion on missionary expeditions throughout France and Flanders, during which Bavo's personal mortifications were the wonder of all who saw them.

The austerities even of monastic life soon were not enough to satisfy Saint Bavo's desire to discipline the body that he had once over-indulged. He begged Amandus to give him permission to live as a hermit. When permission was given, at first Bavo made his dwelling in a hollow tree. Later he built a tiny cell, near Ghent in the forest of Malmédun. He lived on vegetables and water, seeing only Amandus and another friend, the saintly Abbot Floribert, until his death. He was buried at Floribert's monastery nearby, which was later renamed after him--Saint-Bavon.

So great was the impression left by Saint Bavo that 900 years later when the diocese of Ghent was created, he was made its patron (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia).

In art, Bavo is sometimes represented as a hermit, but generally shown before his conversion: as a duke out hunting with a falcon or hawk on his wrist. He may also be shown: (1) with a purse or giving alms; (2) as a prince giving out alms in front of his palace; (3) with a sword and scepter; (4) as an old king in armor, with a book and broken tree trunk, a ship, and St. Bavo's monastery nearby; (5) with a hollow tree near him; (6) with staff and a glove; (7) near a wagon; (8) with a huge stone; or (9) with an angel holding a palm above him (Bentley, Roeder).

Saint Bavo is still venerated at Ghent and Liege, where his feast is celebrated (Roeder).


Blessed Christopher Buxton, Robert Wilcox, Robert Widmerpool, Edward James, Ralph Crockett, and John Robinson MM (AC)
Died 1588; beatified in 1929. These Reformation martyrs were all hanged, drawn and quartered in England. Christopher Buxton was born in Tideswell, Derbyshire. Following his education in Rheims and Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1586 and served two years until his death at Canterbury.

Edward James was another Derbyshire native, born in Breaston. After completing his undergraduate studies at St. John's College in Oxford and converting to Catholicism, he studied for the priesthood at Rheims and Rome. He ministered to his flock for five years prior to his execution at Chichester.

John Robinson, born in Ferrensby, Yorkshire, was a widower when he entered the seminary in Rheims. He was ordained there in 1585. Three years later he was executed for his priesthood at Ipswich.

Ralph Crockett, like Edward James, was martyred at Chichester. He was born in Barton-on-the-Hill, Cheshire. Crockett was a schoolmaster in Norfolk and Suffolk after finishing his studies at Christ's College (Cambridge) and Gloucester Hall (Oxford). Later he prepared to serve God's people in the priesthood at Rheims. He, too, was ordained in 1586 and was martyred two years later.

Robert Widmerpool, educated at Oxford, was a Nottingham gentleman schoolmaster. He was martyred at Canterbury with Fr. Wilcox.

Robert Wilcox was born at Chester and educated at Rheims, where he was ordained in 1585. He died for his priesthood at Canterbury (Benedictines).


Dodo of Wallers, OSB Abbot (AC)
Born near Laon, France; died c. 750. As a child St. Dodo was placed under the care of Saint Ursmar. Dodo later became a monk at Lobbes and, eventually, abbot of Wallers-en-Faigne (Benedictines).


Fidharleus of Rathin, Abbot (AC)
Died 762. The Irish St. Fidharleus restored Rathin Abbey (Benedictines).


Blessed John of Dukla, OFM (AC)
Born in Dukla, Galicia, Poland; died 1484; cultus approved in 1739. John became a Franciscan Conventual at Lemberg. Saint John of Capistrano convinced him to become an Observant Franciscan. Thereafter, John of Dukla evangelized among the Ruthenian schismatics (Benedictines).


Melorus Melar of Cornwall M (AC)
(also known as Melorius, Mylor)

Died c. 540. Melorus, a child martyr, was the son of an Armorican king in Cornwall. At one time he was venerated at Amesbury in Wiltshire. He cultus still survives at Quimper in Brittany (Benedictines).


Blessed Nicholas of Forca-Palena (AC)
Born in Palena (near Sulmona), Italy, in 1349; died 1449; cultus approved in 1771. Nicholas founded the Hermits of St. Jerome (Romitani di San Girolamo), which was later merged into the Hieronymites founded by Blessed Peter of Pisa. Nicholas established houses at Naples, Rome, and Florence (Benedictines).


Piaton (Piat, Piato) of Tournai M (RM)
Born in Benevento, Italy; died in Belgium in 286. St. Piat was sent by the pope to evangelize Chartres and the Tournai district of Belgium, where he is thought to have been martyred under Maximian (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Priscus, Crescens and Evagrius MM (RM)
Date uncertain. Martyrs at Tomi on the Black Sea (Benedictines).


Remigius (Rémy, Remi) of Reims B (RM) +
Born at Cerny near Laon, France, c. 437; died at Rheims on January 13, 530. The name St. Rémy is intimately connected with that of King Clovis of the Franks, the bloodthirsty general and collector of vases. Rémy was the son of Count Emilius of Laon and Saint Celina, daughter of Principius, bishop of Soissons. Even as a child Rémy was devoted to books and God. These two loves developed the future saint into a famous preacher. Saint Sidonius Apollinaris, who knew him, testified to his virtue and eloquence as a preacher.

So great was his renown that, in 459, when he was only 22 and still a layman, he was elected bishop of Rheims. Hincmar, testifying that Rémy "was forced into being bishop rather than elected," adds to our impression of a virtuous man the added quality of modesty. Other sources note that the saint was refined, tall (over seven feet(!) in height), with an austere forehead, an aquiline nose, fair hair, a solemn walk, and stately bearing.

After his ordination and consecration, he reigned for 74 years--all the time devoting himself to the evangelization of the Franks. It was said that "by his signs and miracles, Rémy brought low the heathen altars everywhere." Foregoing the alternative episcopal path, Rémy chose the way of self-sacrifice. He became a model for his clergy and was indefatigable in his good works.

At some point between 481 and 486, Rémy wrote to the pagan King Clovis: "May the voice of justice be heard from your mouth. . . . Respect your bishops and seek their advice. . . . Be the protector of your subjects, the support of the afflicted, the comfort of widows, the father of orphans and the master of all, that they might learn to love you and fear you. . . . Let your court fe open to all and let no one leave with the grief of not being heard. . . . Divert yourself with young people, but if you wish truly to reign transact important matters with those who are older. . . ."

Clovis must have respected Rémy's advice even if he did not follow it: During his march on Chalons and Troyes, Clovis bypassed Rheims, Rémy's see. It is possible, though, that only his wife's civilizing influence prevented him from burning Rheims.

Clovis married the radiant and beautiful Christian, Saint Clotildis, by proxy at Chalons-sur- Saone, while she was still living in Lyons under the tutelage of Saint Blandine. It was not a peaceful union. Clovis, an ambitious autocrat, allowed his rage to lead to ill-planned actions. The young, pious Clotildis showed him how much wiser it was to struggle with this wild beast than to give way to his emotions. At first Clovis resisted being tamed by his wife.

In 496, Clovis, supposedly in response to a suggestion from his wife, invoked the Christian God when the invading Alemanni were on the verge of defeating his forces, whereupon the tide of battle turned and Clovis was victorious at Tolbiac. St. Rémy, aided by Saint Vedast, instructed him and his chieftains in Christianity. At the Easter Vigil (or Christmas Day) in 496, Rémy baptized Clovis, his two sisters, and 3,000 of his subjects. (Most seem to agree on the year, but not the day or place.)

Though he never took part in any of the councils held during his life, Rémy was a zealous proponent of orthodoxy, opposed Arianism, and converted an Arian bishop at a synod of Arian bishops in 517. He was censured by a group of bishops for ordaining one Claudius, whom they felt was unworthy of the priesthood, but St. Rémy was generally held in great veneration for his holiness, learning, and miracles. He is said to have healed a blind man. Another time, like Jesus, he was confronted with a host who ran out of wine at a dinner party. Rémy went down to the cellar, prayed, and at once wine began to spread over the floor!

Rémy's last act was to draw up a will in which he distributed all his lands and wealth and ordered that "generous alms be given the poor, that liberty be given to the serfs on his domain," and concluded by asking God to bless the family of the first Christian king.

Because he was the most influential prelate of Gaul and is considered the apostle of the Franks, Rémy has been the subject of many tales. Rémy's notoriety sometimes difficult to distinguish the reliable from the untrustworthy in his biographies (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

In art, St. Remigius is generally portrayed as a bishop carrying holy oils, though he may have other representations. At times he may be shown (1) as a dove brings him the chrism to anoint Clovis; (2) with Clovis kneeling before him; (3) preaching before Clovis and his queen; (4) welcoming another saint led by an angel from prison; (5) exorcising; or (6) contemplating the veil of Saint Veronica (Roeder).


Romanus the Melodist (AC)
Born in Homs, Syria; died c. 540. St. Romanus, one of the greatest and most original of the Byzantine hymn-writers, was a Jewish convert to Christianity. He served as a deacon in Beirut (Berytos) and then became a priest in Constantinople. Nothing else is known of his history. He is credited with the composition of about 1,000 hymns, of which some 80 have been handed down to us. They are vivid, inspired, dramatic liturgical poetry, but are apt to be too long and overly elaborate for modern tastes. Romanus gave the classical form to the type of hymn known as the kontakion, of which his first was traditionally held to be the one for Christmas: "On this day the Maiden gave birth to the Transcendent One. . . ." Subjects for Romanus's poetry includes motifs from the Old and New Testaments, as well as Church festivals (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Teresa of the Child (Infant) Jesus V (RM) +
(also known as Thérèse of Lisieux, Marie Francoise Martin)

Born in Alençon, France, January 2, 1873; died in Lisieux, Normandy, France, on September 30, 1897; canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, who in 1927 declared patron of foreign missions (together with Saint Francis Xavier); in 1997, she was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II.

"I had offered myself . . . to the Child Jesus as His little plaything. I told Him not to use me as a valuable toy . . . but like a little ball of no value. . . . He let His little ball fall to the ground and He went to sleep. What did He do during His gentle sleep and what became of the abandoned ball? Jesus dreamed He was still playing with His toy, leaving it and taking it up in turns, and then, having seen it roll quite far, He pressed it to His heart, no longer allowing it to ever go far from His little hand."

--St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Thérèse was the ninth child of Louis Martin, a watchmaker, and Azélie-Marie Geurin, a maker of point d'Alençon lace. She was baptized Marie-Fran‡oise- Thérèse. Her mother died in 1877 when Thérèse was five, and the father moved the family to Lisieux, where the children could be overseen by their aunt.

Thérèse's two older sisters became Carmelite nuns at Lisieux. When she was 15, Thérèse told her father that she was so much devoted to Jesus that she wished to do the same but the Carmelites and her bishop thought that she was too young. A few months later during a pilgrimage to Rome for the jubilee of Pope Leo XIII, she met the pope. As she knelt before him, she broke the rule of silence and asked him, "In honor of your jubilee, allow me to enter Carmel at fifteen. . . ." The pope was impressed by her fervor, but upheld the decision to make her wait.

At the end of the year, she was received in the Carmel and took the name Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Her father suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized for three years. Despite her fragile health, she lived the austere life faithfully. At 22, she was appointed assistant novice mistress, although in fact she fulfilled the duties of the novice mistress. After her father died in 1894, the fourth sister joined the convent.

Her prioress Mother Agnes (her blood-sister Pauline) requested the she write her autobiography, L'histoire d'une âme (The story of a soul). She began in 1894 to write the story of her childhood, and in 1897, after finishing it the previous year, she was ordered by the new prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague, to tell of her life in the convent. Both were combined in the final book, which was revised and circulated to all the Carmelite houses.

Thérèse of Lisieux's autobiography was three sections written specifically to her sister Pauline, her sister Marie, and her prioress. It was edited by Pauline (Sister Agnes) and made to appear as though written to her prioress. Highly edited book sold without notation until 1956. In 1952 the unedited manuscripts were published in their original form. The first English version, translated by Ronald Knox, appeared in 1958 under the title Autobiography of a saint. Thérèse was childlike, not polished, and she was sentimental. Surprisingly, Thérèse found it hard to say the rosary, which should be a comfort to those saints-in-the-making who find it difficult, too.

The appeal of the book was immediate and astonishing: It had an instant appeal in every language into which it was translated. Her "little way" of searching for simplicity and perfection in everyday tasks became a model for ordinary people. The saint's nine years in the convent were uneventful and 'ordinary,' such as could be paralleled in the lives of numberless other young nuns: the daily life of prayer and work, faults of pride and obstinacy to be overcome, a certain moodiness to be fought, inward and outward trials to be faced. Sister Thérèse stuck bravely to her 'little way' of simple trust in and love for God.

Afflicted with tuberculosis, Thérèse hemorrhaged but endured her illness with patience and fortitude. She wished to join the Carmelites at Hanoi in Indochina at their invitation, but her illness became worse. She moved into the infirmary in 1897 and died at the age of 24. Her last words were, "I love him. My God I love you." Since her death she has worked innumerable miracles, and her cultus has spread throughout the world. She had become the most popular saint of modern times: Thérèse had shown innumerable people that sainthood is attainable by anybody, however, obscure, lowly, untalented, by doing the small things and discharging daily duties in a perfected spirit of love for God. Her popularity was so great that a large church was built in Lisieux to accommodate the crowds of pilgrims to her shrine.

In contemplating her death, Thérèse said, "I will let fall a shower of roses," meaning favors through her intercession. From this we get the novena of St. Thérèse which requires the praying of 24 Our Fathers each day for nine days in honor of the 24 years of life that God granted the saint. It is said that when the prayer has been heard and answered, the petitioner will receive a rose from the heavenly garden as a sign. For this reason, she is called "the Little Flower of Jesus."

Thérèse's attraction is her utter simplicity. She was no scholar; no great student of the Bible or the Fathers. She simply longed to be a saint, as she believed her person could. "In my little way," she wrote, "are only very ordinary things. Little souls can do everything that I do."

She was full of fun. She drew a coat of arms for herself and Jesus, surmounted with her initials M.F.T., and the divine ones I.H.S. She made superbly innocent and happy jokes. She recorded that she would pretend she was at Nazareth in the Holy Family's home. "If I am offered salad, cold fish, wine or anything with a strong flavor, I give that to good Saint Joseph. I give the warm dishes and the ripest fruits to the Holy Virgin. I give the infant Jesus soup, rice, and jam. But if I am offered a bad meal, I say gaily to myself, 'My little girl, today it is all yours'."

Thérèse was a happy saint. Even as she suffered pain--physical and emotional (being scolded for pulling up flowers rather than weeds in the garden)--she always thanked God for everything (Attwater, von Balthasar, Benedictines, Bentley, Day, Delaney, Gorres, Robo, Sackville-West, Sheppard, White).

In art, St. Thérèse is a Discalced Carmelite holding a bouquet of roses or with roses at her feet. She is the patron saint of foreign missions (due to her prayers for and correspondence with missions), all works for Russia, France, florists and flower growers (White); aviators, and, in 1944, was named copatroness of France with Saint Joan of Arc (Delaney).


Verissimus, Maxima, and Julia MM (RM)
Died at Lisbon, Portugal, c. 302. These martyrs under Diocletian are remembered with a full office in the Mozarabic breviary (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Virila of Leyre, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died in Navarre, c. 1000. The history of St. Virila is shrouded in the layers of the legends that developed around his name. Not much verifiable evidence endures except that he was a Benedictine monk of the Navarrese abbey of Saint Savior, Leyre (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).



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.