St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day

October 12

Amicus and Amelius MM (AC)
Died 773. As French knights, Saints Amicus and Amelius participated in Blessed Charlemagne's campaign against the Lombards in northern Italy. Because the fell in battle against heretics, they have been venerated as martyrs in Mortara, Lombardy, Italy (Benedictines).

Blessed Camillus Costanzi, SJ (AC)
Born in Italy, 1572; died at Firando, Japan, September 15, 1622; beatified in 1867. Blessed Camillus was a Jesuit missionary who was banished from Japan because he was a Christian. He returned secretly, was discovered, and roasted to death over a slow fire (Benedictines).

Domnina of Anazarbus M (RM)
Died 303. Saint Domnina died in prison at Anazarbus, Cilicia, from wounds received during her torture under the prefect Lysias (Benedictines).

Edistius of Ravenna M (RM)
Died c. 303. Saint Edistius was martyred under Diocletian at Ravenna (Benedictines).

Edwin, King M (AC)
Born c. 585; died October 12, 633. Son of King Aella of Deira (southern Northumbria, Yorkshire area), Saint Edwin was only three when his father died. The saint was deprived of the throne by King Ethelfrith of Bernicia (North Northumbria), who seized Aella's kingdom. Edwin spent the next 30 years in Wales and East Anglia. As a young man he married Cwenburg of Mercia by whom he had two sons.

Finally in 616, with the help of King Baedwald (Redwald) of East Anglia who had hosted him during his exile, Edwin was restored to the throne by defeating and killing Ethelfrith at the Battle of Idle River.

Edwin ruled ably and, in 625, after the death of his first wife, married Ethelburga, sister of King Eadbald of Kent, and a Christian. At first his embassy seeking her hand was rebuffed because he was not a Christian. But eventually a contract was reached wherein Ethelburga would be permitted the freedom to practice her religion and Edwin would seriously consider joining her in faith. With the agreement made, Ethelburga brought with her to Northumbria her confessor, Saint Paulinus, a Roman monk who had been sent by Pope Saint Gregory the Great to help Saint Augustine in the conversion of England and who had just been consecrated bishop of York. The bishop also saw this as an opportunity to spread the faith in the northern parts of the island.

The thoughtful and melancholy king was not naturally inclined to impetuous acts and, thus, it took some time before his conversion. The examples of Christian virtue displayed by his wife and her chaplain played an important role in his decision, but three specific events were determinative. First, an unsuccessful assassination attempt by the West Saxons. Second, the abandonment of paganism by Coifi the high priest. And, finally, a reminder by Paulinus of a mysterious experience Edwin had undergone while in exile some years earlier.

Following these incidents, Edwin was converted to Christianity in 627, and baptized by Paulinus at Easter (attested by Bede) after the birth of a daughter. Many in Edwin's court and subjects in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire also came to faith. Thus, began Christianity in Northumbria. The idols and false gods had already been destroyed by the high priest himself.

King Edwin established law and order in the kingdom and soon became the most powerful king in England. He expanded his territory north into the land of the Picts, west into that of the Cumbrians and Welsh, and into Elmet near Leeds. The Venerable Bede relates that during the last year's of King Edwin's reign there was such peace and order in his dominions that a proverb said 'a woman could carry her newborn baby across the island from sea to sea and suffer no harm.'

His intention to build a stone church at York (an unprecedented event in those days) never materialized when his kingdom was invaded by pagan King Penda of Mercia and Cadwallon of North Wales. Edwin was defeated and killed at the Battle of Hatfield Chase in 633. This church was constructed, enshrined his head, and became the center of his cultus.

After his death, Northumbria reverted to paganism and Paulinus had to conduct Ethelburga and her children by sea to safety in Kent, where for the last 10 years of his life, he embellished his diocese of Rochester. The massacres and chaos that followed Edwin's death ended with the accession of Saint Oswald in 634.

Saint Edwin is view as a tribal hero, model Christian king, and martyr. Although his feast was not included in any of the surviving liturgical books of Northumbria, there was at least one ancient church dedication in his honor. Pope Gregory XIII implicitly approved his cultus by including Edwin among the English martyrs in the murals of the English College at Rome.

Edwin's cultus had another locus at Whitby, which had a shrine of his body, supposedly discovered by revelation and brought there from Hatfield Chase. Whitby Abbey was governed in turn by Edwin's daughter, Saint Enfleda, and his granddaughter, Saint Elfleda. It became the burial site for the royal members of the house of Deira and the home of Saint Gregory I's first biographer (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).

Ethelburga (Æthelburh) of Barking V (AC)
Born at Stallington, Lindsey, England; died at Barking, England, 678; feast day formerly October 11; feasts of her translations on March 7, May 4, and September 23 at Barking. The histories of the various saints named Ethelburga are confused almost beyond my ability to sort them one from another. Two, including today's saint, are said to have been the daughters of King Anna of the East Angles and died within 20 years of one another.

Not enough is known about Saint Ethelburga's life to make it remarkable to commemorate it more than a thousand years after her death except that she hailed from one of those incredibly holy families. Her eldest sister Saint Sexburga, married King Erconbert of Kent and greatly influenced her husband to order the complete abandonment and destruction of idols throughout his kingdom. He issued an order that everyone should observe the Lenten fasts.

Her sister Queen Saint Etheldreda was abbess of Ely. Her youngest sister, Saint Withburga, took the veil after Anna died in battle and live mostly in the convent she founded at Dereham. Her brother Erconwald, who later became bishop of London, founded monasteries at Chertsey, which he governed, and at Barking, over which he placed his sister Ethelburga. A late tradition notes that Erconwald invited Saint Hildelith to leave Chelles in France and serve as prioress at Barking in Essex. She was placed in the difficult position of teaching Saint Ethelburga the observance of monastic traditions while remaining in a subordinate role. Eventually Ethelburga learned and governed alone as a great abbess.

The Venerable Bede wrote that "she showed herself in every way worthy of her brother, in holiness of life and constant solicitude for those under her care, attested by miracles from above." He then relates several unusual events that occurred shortly before the death of Ethelburga, including the death of a three-year-old boy after calling out the name Edith three times, and the cure of Saint Tortgith of paralysis after a vision of Ethelburga (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Farmer).

In art, Saint Ethelburga is depicted as an abbess holding Barking Abbey. Sometimes she is shown with Saint Erconwald, her brother, or with Saint Hildelith, who trained her (Roeder).

Eustace (RM)
Date unknown. Either a priest and confessor in Syria, according to the Roman Martyrology, or a martyr in Egypt, according to the Bollandists (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Evagrius, Priscian and Companions MM (RM)
Date unknown. Saint Evagrius and his companions were martyred either in Rome or, more likely, in Syria. Nothing is known with certainty (Benedictines).

Felix, Cyprian BB and Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 484. Felix and Cyprian were African bishops and leaders of a multitude of Catholics (generally numbered at 4,966) who were driven into the Saharan Desert by King Hunneric to starve to death for opposing the Arian heresy. The contemporary account of their sufferings was recorded by Victor of Utica (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Fiace (Fiacc, Fiach, Fiech) B (AC)
5th century. The story is told that one day Saint Patrick was passing through Leinster and stopped at Donaghmore to visit his disciple at Tara, Dubthach, the royal bard (possibly Bishop Saint Dubtach of Armagh; f.d. October 7?). Patrick asked for the bard's recommendation of a man who fit Saint Paul's description of a man worthy to be ordained bishop: of good morals and the husband of only on wife.

Dubthach suggested the young poet Fiace, a distinguished man of letters. Fiace acquiesced at once and so Patrick gave him a catechism and liturgical books. "And Patrick conferred the degree of bishop upon Fiace; and he gave to Fiace a cumdach [box] containing a bell, and a minister [relics] and a crozier, and a poolire [leather satchel]." In addition, Saint Patrick left with the new bishop seven religious to form the nucleus of a community.

During his long episcopacy, Fiace wrote a still existent hymn, Genair Patraicc, in honor of Saint Patrick, his friend and patron. (His authorship has been disputed, but it is not beyond the realm of feasibility.) The saint left behind many churches, where he had taught the faith. Both he and his son, Saint Fiacre were buried at Sletty in Leix (Benedictines, Concannon, D'Arcy, Healy, Ryan)

Herlindis and Relindis, OSB Abbbesses (AC)
Died c. 745 and 750; Relindis has her own feast day on February 6. Count Adelard built a convent at Maaseyk on the Meuse for his daughters, Saints Herlindis and Relindis, who had been educated in the monastery at Valenciennes. Because they were friends of Saints Willibrord and Boniface, the latter appointed Relindis to follow her sister as abbess (Benedictines).

Maximilian of Lorch BM (AC)
Born at Novicum; died at Cilli, Styria, Austria, 284. Bishop Saint Maximilian had founded the church of Lorch near Passau, Germany, and became its bishop. He was martyred under Numerian in Styria. Saint Rupert built several churches in honor of Saint Maximilian (Benedictines, Encyclopedia). He is portrayed as a bishop holding a sword. Venerated at Lorch and Salzburg, Austria (Roeder).

Mobhi (Berchan) of Glasnevin (of Dublin) (AC)
Died c. 544. It is odd that the source containing the most extensive list of Irish saints omitted Saint Berchan, who is generally affectionately called Mobhi. He is listed as one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, even though his monastery only lasted a few years beyond his death by plague. Perhaps he is revered because he helped to shape the spirits of so many other great men, including Saints Columba, Comgall, Kieran of Clonmacnoise, and Canice. One tradition tells of Saint Columba and his companions swimming across the flooding Tolka River to get to Vespers in the church on the other side. Mobhi himself was formed under the guidance of Saint Finian at Clonard (Bulfin, D'Arcy, Healy, Montague).

Monas of Milan B (RM)
Died 249. Saint Monas governed the see of Milan from his consecration in 193 until his death. He managed to remain alive and active in his apostolate through several persecutions (Benedictines).

Pantalus of Basle BM (AC)
Date unknown; may be fictitious. Saint Pantalus plays a role in the legendary story of Saint Ursula (Benedictines).

Salvinus of Verona B (RM)
Died 562. The relics of Saint Salvinus, bishop of Verona, are enshrined in the church of Saint Stephen in that city (Benedictines).

Seraphinus (Serafino) of Ascoli-Piceno, OFM Cap. (RM)
Born at Montegranaro, Italy, 1540; died 1604; canonized in 1767. At the age of 16, Saint Seraphinus took the Capuchin habit as a lay-brother. He spent the whole of his uneventful life during good works at the Ascoli-Piceno friary, where he became famous for his charity to the poor and his power to heal sickness. He is also said to have been the spiritual advisor to dignitaries of both the church and the state (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Wilfrid (Walfridus, Willferder) of York, OSB B (RM)
Born in Ripon, Northumbria, 634; died at Oundle, in 709. Son of a thane, Saint Wilfrid joined the court of King Oswy of Northumbria when he was 13, and became a favorite of Queen Saint Eanfleda, who sent him to Lindisfarne for his education. There he become a monk during the Celtic régime. He studied in Canterbury under Saint Honorius and became an adherent of Roman liturgical practices.

Then he left England for Rome in 653-654 in the company of Saint Benet Biscop. After a year at Lyons, where he refused an offer to marry Bishop Saint Annemund's niece, he arrived in Rome, where he studied under Boniface, Pope Saint Martin's secretary. Wilfrid's studies here convinced him that his own Christian formation, rich in traditional learning and spirituality, was in some respects bereft of some important religious wealth.

He then spent three years at Lyons, where he received the tonsure, Roman instead of Celtic style, but escaped with his life when Annemund was murdered by Ebroin at Châlon-sur-Saône, because he was a foreigner.

He returned to England in about 660, he was appointed abbot of Ripon monastery where he introduced the Roman observance, and was asked by King Alcfrid of Deira to instruct his people in the Roman rite. When the monks at Ripon decided to return to their native Melrose rather than abandon their Celtic customs, Wilfrid was appointed abbot. He introduced the Roman usage and the rule of Saint Benedict to the monastery, was ordained, and was a leader in replacing Celtic practices with Roman in northern England.

The Synod of Whitby was convened at Saint Hilda's monastery at Saint Streaneschalch (Whitby) to determine the practices of the Church in England. A primary question was the dating of Easter, which had troubled many humble Christians in Britain because the Celtic and Roman churches differed in how the date was determined. King Oswy opened the synod by saying that all who serve the one God ought to observe one rule of life.

Bishop Saint Colman of Lindisfarne argued in favor of the Celtic way. He pointed out that they derived their method of calculating the date of Easter from Saint John. Saint Wilfrid countered: "Far be it from me to charge Saint John with foolishness." Then he added that the Roman method derived from Saint Peter.

When he concluded, King Oswy said, "I tell you, Peter is the guardian of the gates of heaven. Our Lord gave him the keys of the kingdom. I shall not contradict him. In everything I shall do my best to obey his commands. Otherwise, when I reach the gates of the kingdom of heaven, he who holds the keys may not agree to open up for me."

When the Roman party triumphed at the council held in 664, largely through his efforts, Alcfrid named him bishop of York, but since Wilfrid regarded the northern bishops who had refused to accept the decrees of Whitby as schismatic, he went to Compiègne, France, to be ordained.

Delayed until 666 in his return, he found that Saint Chad had been appointed bishop of York by King Oswy of Northumbria; rather than contest the election of Chad, Wilfrid returned to Ripon. But in 669 the new archbishop of Canterbury, Saint Theodore, ruled Chad's election irregular, removed him, and restored Wilfrid as bishop of York. He made a visitation of his entire diocese, restored his cathedral, and instituted Roman liturgical chant in all his churches.

Oswy was succeeded by King Egfrid, whom Wilfrid had alienated by encouraging Egfrid's wife, Saint Etheldreda, in refusing the king's marital rights and becoming a nun at Coldingham. At Egfrid's insistence, the metropolitan Theodore in 678 divided the see of York into four dioceses despite the objections of Wilfrid, who was deposed.

Wilfrid went to Rome to appeal the decision in 677--the first known appeal of an English bishop to Rome. He spent the winter in Friesland making converts, and when he arrived in Rome in 679 he was restored to his see by Pope Saint Agatho.

When Wilfrid returned to England in 680, Egfrid refused to accept the pope's order and imprisoned Wilfrid for nine months. When freed he went to Sussex. From Selsey he energetically evangelized the heathen South Saxons, converted practically all the inhabitants, and built a monastery at Selsey on land donated by King Ethelwalh.

On the death of Egfrid in battle in 685, Wilfrid met with Theodore, who asked his forgiveness for his actions in deposing him and ordaining the bishops of the newly formed dioceses in Wilfrid's cathedral at York.

In 686 Egfrid's successor, King Aldfrid, at Theodore's request, recalled Wilfrid and restored him to Ripon, but the peace lasted only five years. Aldfrid quarreled with Wilfrid and exiled him in 691. Wilfrid went to Mercia, where at the request of King Ethelred he administered the vacant see of Litchfield.

In 703 Theodore's successor, Saint Berhtwald, at Aldfrid's instigation, called a synod that ordered Wilfrid to resign his bishopric and retire to Ripon. When he still refused to accept the division of his see, he again went to Rome, where Pope John VI upheld him and ordered Berhtwald to call a synod clearing Wilfrid. Only when Aldfrid died in 705, repenting of his actions against Wilfrid, was a compromise worked out by which Wilfrid was appointed bishop of Hexham while Saint John of Beverly remained as bishop of York.

Wilfrid died at Saint Andrew's Monastery in Oundle, Northamptonshire, while on a visitation of monasteries he had founded in Mercia.

Saint Wilfrid was an outstanding figure of his time, a very able and courageous man, holding tenaciously to his convictions in spite of consequent embroilments with civil and ecclesiastical authorities. He was the first Englishman to carry a lawsuit to the Roman courts and was successful in helping to bring the discipline of the English church more into line with that of Rome and the continent. His vicissitudes and misfortunes have somewhat obscured his abilities as a missionary, not only among the South Saxons but also for a brief period in Friesland in 678-79; his preaching there may be taken as the starting point of the great English mission to the Germanic peoples on the European mainland (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Colgrave, Delaney, Duckett, Encyclopedia, Webb).

In art, Wilfrid is presented as a bishop either (1) baptizing; (2) preaching; (3) landing from a ship and received by the king; or (4) engaged in theological disputation with his crozier near him and a lectern before him. Venerated at Ripon, Sompting (Sussex), and Frisia (Roeder).

About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on 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.