Memorial of the Guardian Angels
Beregisus of Saint-Hubert (AC)
Died after 725. Father Beregisus served as confessor to Pepin of Heristal, who helped him to found the monastery of Saint-Hubert in the Ardennes. It is uncertain whether he was actually a monk or just the founder, though some sources call him abbot (Benedictines).
Eleutherius and Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 303. The Roman Martyrology tells us that St. Eleutherius was a soldier-martyr in Nicomedia under Diocletian. The balance of the entry is very dubious (Benedictines).
Gerinus (Garinus, Guerin, Werinus) of Arras M (RM)
Died 676. Brother of Saint Leodegarius, Gerinus was stoned to death near Arras at the order of Ebroin, mayor of the palace, for reputedly killing King Childeric II (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
What wonderful care God gives each of us! So special does He believe you and I are that He has provided us with our own special messenger, our own guardian angel. God loves each of us personally, and desires for each of us to return to Him. So He's given each of us a "personal spiritual assistant" to help us find the way. Today we celebrate that glorious gift and thank God for our angel. We also thank Pope Clement X for instituting this feast in honor of our personal angels in 1670.
The Baltimore Catechism tells that the good angels help us by praying for us, by acting as messengers from God to us, and by serving as our guardian angels, i.e., those angels charged by God with a special care over human beings. Our guardian angels help us by praying for us, by protecting us from harm, and by inspiring us to do good.
The belief in guardian angels is ancient. In Psalm 91, we sing:
"No evil shall befall you,
No affliction come near your tent.
For God commands the angels
to guard you in all your ways.
With their hands they shall support you,
lest you strike your foot against a stone" (vv. 11- 12).
There are many Scriptural references to angels. The prophet Isaiah (Is. 6:1-4) had a vision of the heavenly hosts worshipping God and doing His bidding, and in the Book of Revelation (cf. 1:1) it is an angel that brings God's message to the visionary named John. The ancient Jews believed that these angels served both individuals and nations.
Jesus saw no reason to reject this idea. For Him angels were spiritual beings. He said they would support him at His Second Coming (Matt. 25:31; Mark 8:38). Once He took a little child aside and spoke to His followers about becoming like children and caring for them. Jesus said, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father" (Matt. 18:10).
The notion of guardian angels is implicit in our Lord's own teaching. During His earthly life, they minister and serve Him: announcing His birth, succoring Him in the desert, comforting Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, and announcing His Resurrection.
Our salvation doesn't rest on our belief in angels generally, nor our guardian angel specifically. Yet, our guardian angels are tasked with keeping us on the right path and communicating God's love to us. God's incorporeal creatures also help us with their prayers. For this reason we pray in the Confiteor:
I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault: in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do. And I ask Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the Lord, Our God.
The Holy Scriptures and the Catholic Church tell us that our angels protect and guides us (Ps. 91), guard our lips (Ps. 141) to prevent us from giving offense to God, and intercede for us before God's throne (cf. Tobit 12:12,15; Job 33:23-24; Matt. 18:10). (See also the letters of Blessed Peter Fabre and Saint Aloysius Gonzaga on devotion to the guardian angels of individuals and communities; Saint Basil in Adversus Eunomium, III, 1; The Catechism of the Council of Trent, "First Commandment"; and Saint Ambrose's text in the Roman Breviary for the Feast of the Guardian Angels.)
Saint Frances of Rome, one of my very favorites, saw her guardian angel continually. Your guardian angel is just another of the heavenly company that surrounds you because of God's generous love for you.
There is a Guardian Angels for Life Cohort comprised of angels sent each day at the prayerful request of their human charges to serve in two basic areas of assigned duty: (1) to be at the side of the dying during their final day on earth to help strengthen, encourage, support, enlighten, and protect these souls at their hour of death, and (2) to be present to every expectant mother and father as well as their unborn child to offer the same services to parents to avoid the temptation to abort their children.
My dear Guardian Angel,
with God's grace and blessings
go forth this day to be at the side of all those who will die today,
to inspire and encourage each one to accept
the graces offered to them for their salvation,
and to provide hope, support and protection in their final hours.
Go also to attend every unborn child,
it's mother and it's father.
Protect these little, innocent, defenseless ones,
and inspire in the hearts of their parents
loving tenderness and a profound awareness
of the sacredness of all life,
and most especially, remind them in Whose Image
their child is so wondrously made.
Leodegarius (Leger), OSB BM (RM)
Born c. 616; died near Arras in 678. Leodegarius was raised at the court of King Clotaire II and educated by his uncle, Bishop Didon of Poitiers. He was made archdeacon by Didon, was ordained, and about 651-653 became abbot of Maxentius (Maixent) Abbey, where he introduced the Rule of St. Benedict. During this time it appears that Saint Leodegarius acquired a humble spirit and became a true priest.
It is unknown whether Leodegarius was summoned or went to the court of his own accord. Nevertheless, he counselled Queen Saint Bathildis during the minority of her son Clotaire III after the death of her husband, Clovis II, in 656. Leodegarius was appointed bishop of Autun in 663, though he continued to advise the queen.
Autun was in a state of complete disorder. There had been no bishop for two years and before that there were two claimants for the episcopal throne. One of them had been murdered and the other exiled because of his abuses of power. Leodegarius began by physically restoring the town: its walls and the cathedral.
It is said, "Those who were not led to peace and concord by preaching, were forced there by justice and terror." Although Leodegarius had a reputation as a very strict bishop, he managed to reconcile the factions that had torn apart the see, introduced reforms, imposed the Benedictine Rule in all monasteries, and was known for his concern for the poor.
After Bathildis had retired and on the death of Clotaire III, he supported young Childeric II for king against his brother Thierry, who had been backed by Ebroin, mayor of the palace. Ebroin was exiled to Luxeuil, where he became a tonsured monk and a bitter enemy of Leodegarius, who became Childeric's adviser. Leodegarius's exalted position didn't last for long for he alienated many with his severity. When Leodegarius denounced the marriage of Childeric to his uncle's daughter, he also incurred the enmity of Childeric.
One Easter Childeric refused Leodegarius's invitation to attend the Easter Mass at the cathedral of Saint-Nazaire in Autun. Later Childeric interrupted the Mass. He was drunk and shouted insults, but as he was king, no one said anything. Because no one said anything, the king believed that there was nobody there, and left. But the next day his fury against Leodegarius had not abated. The saint decided to flee, but he was soon caught, returned to court, judged and banished to Luxeuil in 675. There he met and was reconciled to his enemy Ebroin. In Luxeuil they prayed side-by- side and pledged eternal friendship.
When Childeric was murdered in 675, his successor, Theodoric III, restored Leodegarius to his see. Ebroin was also restored as mayor of the palace after he had the incumbent Leudesius murdered and persuaded the duke of Champagne and the bishops of Chalons and Valence to attack Autun. To save the town, Leodegarius surrendered himself.
Ebroin had him blinded, his lips cut off, and his tongue pulled out. Leodegarius accepted his fate. His death did not come at once, and he suffered in silence and prayer. Ebroin sent him to a forest and ordered that the blind man should be left there to die of hunger. But Leodegarius's guard took pity on him and after a few days went to find him. He took him into his home and cared for him.
Not satisfied, several years later, Ebroin convinced the king that Childeric had been murdered by Leodegarius and his brother Saint Gerinus. Gerinus was stoned to death, and Leodegarius was tortured and imprisoned at Fécamp monastery in Normandy, a cripple. A letter written by Leodegarius to his mother about the death of his brother still exists.
Two years later Leodegarius was summoned to a court at Marly by Ebroin. A court of bishops declared him deposed from his see. Finally, his enemies executed him at Sarcing, Artois, protesting his innocence to the end. Though the Roman Martyrology calls him blessed and a martyr, and he is popularly regarded as Saint Leger, there is doubt among many scholars that he is entitled to those honors. It is primarily his political supporters who advanced his veneration. Only God knows if Leodegarius was one of his own (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
In art, St. Leodegarius is depicted as his eyes are bored out with a gimlet. His executioner stands behind him with a sword. At times, Leodegarius may be shown enthroned and holding the gimlet or holding a hook with two prongs (Roeder).
His feast is kept in Lucern, Switzerland. Leodegarius is the patron of millers and is invoked against blindness (Roeder).
Leudomer (Lomer) of Chartres B (AC)
Died c. 585. Bishop of Chartres, France (Benedictines).
Primus, Cyril and Secundarius MM (RM)
Date unknown. These three were martyred in Antioch, Syria, in one of the early persecutions (Benedictines).
Theophilus of Bulgaria, OSB (RM)
Born in Bulgaria; died c. 750. Theophilus was a Benedictine monk in Asia Minor, who was beaten, imprisoned, and exiled by Emperor Leo the Isaurian for his opposition to the iconoclasts (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Ursicinus II of Chur, OSB B (AC)
Died 760. Reluctantly in 754, Abbot Ursicinus of Disentis became bishop of Chur, Switzerland. In 758, he resigned and became a hermit (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.