St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day

October 20

Today's saints include a heretic (Artemius), a princess (Adelina), two deacons (Aderald and Maximus), and a peasant (Boscardin) among its numbers.

Acca of Hexham, OSB B (AC)
Born in Northumbria, England, c. 660; died 742; feast day formerly October 19; feast of translation is February 19.

From his youth Acca had been close to other saints of the time. He was raised in the household of Saint Bosa of York and became a disciple and constant companion of Saint Wilfrid, whom he accompanied for 13 years to England, Frisia, and Rome (and in the last, says Bede, 'learning many valuable things about the organization of the church which he could not have found out in his own country'). When Wilfrid was ill at Meaux in 705, he told Acca the story of his vision. Later, on his deathbed, Wilfrid named Acca abbot of Saint Andrew's in Hexham.

Acca was also a friend of the Venerable Bede, who described him as "great in the sight of God and man" and who dedicated several works in his honor. For his part, Acca urged Bede to write a simple commentary on Luke because that completed by Saint Ambrose was too long and diffuse. He also supplied material to Bede for the Ecclesiastical history and to Eddius for his life of Saint Wilfrid.

Saint Wilfrid was the first English prelate to appeal to Rome in a dispute. Acca, who succeeded Wilfrid in the see of Hexham in 709, also believed that the English Church needed to be brought into line with Roman customs--liturgically rather than legally. Bede writes, "He invited a famous singer named Maban, who had been trained by the followers of Pope Gregory's disciples in Kent, to come and teach him and his clergy." Maban, a monk of Canterbury, taught church music for 12 years--reviving old forgotten chants as well as bringing new ones. Acca also sang beautifully, according to Bede, and encouraged this revival by his own example.

Acca loved the Scriptures and studied them diligently. He refurbished the churches with sacred vessels and lights. Above all he enlarged and beautified the cathedral of Saint Andrew in Hexham, and adorned it with altars, relics, and sacred vessels. He also finished three of Wilfrid's smaller churches. He also established a fine library to which scholars and students were drawn, all of whom received the patronage of Bishop Acca, one of the most learned Anglo-Saxon prelates of his day. Bede considered this library one of the finest collections available.

For some reason Acca was forced out of his diocese in 732. He was exiled to Withern (Whithorn), Galloway (and may have been its bishop); but he returned before his death and was buried at Hexham. Two stone crosses decorated with grape vines adorned his tomb in the cathedral's east wall. The relics were translated in the late 11th century, at which time a portable altar inscribed "Almae Trinitati, agiae Sophiae, sanctae Mariae" was found in his coffin. They were again translated in 1154 and 1240 (Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Farmer).

He is generally depicted in art as an abbot or bishop in a library with monks, sometimes with the Venerable Bede (Roeder).

Adelina of Moriton, OSB V (AC)
Died 1125. The Benedictines state "granddaughter of William the Conqueror and sister of Saint Vitalis of Savigny." However, in cross-checking, it appears that Vitalis is a beatus and was chaplain to the William's half-brother. I have no other information available to verify Adelina's pedigree. She became abbess of La Blanche at Moriton (les Dames Blanches de Mortain) in Normandy, which was founded by her brother (Benedictines).

Aderald of Troyes, Confessor (AC)
Died 1004. Archdeacon Aderald led a pilgrimage to Palestine. Upon his return he built the Benedictine abbey of Saint Sepulchre at Samblières in order to house his "booty in the shape of holy relics" (Benedictines).

Aidan of Mayo B (AC)
Died 768. Aidan was an Irish bishop in Mayo of whom nothing more is known (Benedictines, Husenbeth).

Andrew of Crete M (RM)
(also known as Andrew the Calybite)

Born in Crete; died in Constantinople, 766. There are two saints named Andrew of Crete. One was the bishop of Crete, who is also known as Andrew of Jerusalem. Making it more complicated, both lived during the same period. Andrew the Calybite was a monk of Crete. He travelled to Constantinople in order to openly denounce Emperor Constantine Copronymus's heretical edict against the veneration of images. The emperor ordered the brave monk to be tortured. Finally Andrew was abandoned to the mob, who led him through the streets in derision and stabbed him to death (Attwater, Benedictines).

This Saint Andrew's story is pictorially displayed as a man who is seized while painting pious pictures and stabbed to death by a mob. He is venerated in Crete (Roeder).

Artemius M (RM)
Died 363. Artemius is one of those very interesting entries in the Roman Martyrology: A heretic and yet a saint! Artemius was a high-ranking officer under Constantine the Great and a professed Arian. Constantius, believing it imprudent to appoint a senator as proconsul of Egypt, which supplied grain to Rome, named Artemius as its prefect. In that position, Artemius persecuted Saint Athanasius and harassed the Catholics. There is no record of his having renounced Arianism. Theodoret in the Paschal chronicle records that Artemius was accused of demolishing temples and destroying idols. For this reason he was brought before Julian the Apostate at Antioch, condemned, and beheaded as a Christian; therefore, Artemius is counted among the saints in light. The Greeks call him the Megalo- martyr (Benedictines, Husenbeth).

Barsabas and Companions MM (AC)
Died c. 342. Barsabas was a Persian abbot, who was martyred together with 11 of his monks near the ruins of Persepolis under King Shapur (Sapor) II. According to the Roman Martyrology there is another Persian monk of the same name martyred under similar circumstances, who is honored on December 11. Historians, however, believe the story to be an unfounded, pious fiction, which adds that passing Mazdean, impressed by their fortitude and constancy under torture, joined them and was executed with them (Benedictines, Delaney).

Bernard of Bagnorea B (AC)
(also known as Bernard of Castro)

Born at Bagnorea, Italy; died after 800. Bernard was chosen to be bishop of Vulcia in Tuscany. Thereafter he transferred to the see of Ischia di Castro (Benedictines).

Bradan and Orora (Crora) (AC)
Dates unknown. Bradan and Orora are venerated in the Isle of Man, but their story has been lost. Bishop Mark of Sodor held a synod in the church of Saint Bradan (Kirk-Braddan), near Douglas, in 1291. A 16th-century map references the churches of SS Patrick and Crora (Benedictines).

Caprasius M (RM)
Born in Agen, France; died 303. During the fearful persecution of southern France by Diocletian, Caprisius concealed himself. Ashamed of his cowardice upon hearing of the courage of Saint Faith at the stake, he came forth, boldly confessed his religion, and was immediately beheaded. Another unreliable version conjectures that, perhaps, Caprisius was one of the spectators who objected to the torture of Faith and Saint Alberta under Dacian (Benedictines, Delaney).

Blessed Francis Serrano & Francis Diaz OP MM (AC)
Born in Spain; died 1748; beatified by Leo XIII in 1893. These Spanish born, Dominican missionaries were sent to Fo-Kien, China. After 20 years of work in China (now Vietnam), Serrano had been arrested with Blessed Bishop Peter Sanz in 1646. While in prison he was elected titular bishop of Tipasa after the beheading of Sanz on May 25, 1747. Serrano was a resourceful, careful person, which one would have to be to survive in such harsh conditions. He became adept at scaling walls and hiding in unlikely places.

Father Diaz was born in Ecija in 1713. He always claimed that he owed his vocation to having skipped school one day. A white-robed religious appeared to him--a Dominican. The curious boy continued to ask questions about the order, until he convinced himself that he must join. Even though his father tried to persuade his to accept a family benefice instead of entering the austere life of the Order of Preachers, he persisted. He was determined to serve God as a Dominican and to die in China. He preached the Gospel in Tonkin for eight years before his death.

Fathers Alcober, Serrano, and Diaz were captured and tortured to reveal the whereabouts of Bishop Sanz. Despite horrendous punishment, they refused to say anything. Father Joachim Royo and Bishop Sanz, wishing to spare his brothers further suffering, surrendered themselves to the authorities.

The five Dominican, as well as a native catechist named Ambrose Kou, were dragged before the emperor in chains. Again they were tortured, then sentenced to death in December 1746. After the bishop's death, the other four priests were branded on their faces with the words ta dao ("false religion") and left for six months to languish in prison.

Serrano, Diaz, and the two other Dominican priests were strangled at night in prison at Futsheu in order to end their evangelizing of the guards and soldiers. When the executioners returned the following morning to dispose of the bodies, they were terrified to see the beatific faces that shone with an unearthly radiance-- especially miraculous considering that they died of strangulation. The relics were preserved and treasured by the Christians (Benedictines, Dorcy).

Irene VM (RM)
Born in Tomar, Estremadura, Portugal; died at Scalabris (Santarem), Portugal, c. 653.

This may be just a pious tale, but I thought it was a good story. Irene, a beautiful and chaste Portuguese girl, was murdered before she reached the age of 20. Her noble, pious parents, wishing to protect and prepare her to take her rightful position in society, sent her to a convent school and then arranged for a monk to tutor her privately at home.

"An assiduous pupil and a devout believer, the only times she ever left her house was to attend mass or to pray in the sanctuary dedicated to Saint Peter on his feast-day. A young nobleman named Britald happened to see her on one of these rare outings and fell desperately in love with her. Every time that she went out he waited to catch a glimpse of her, followed her to church, and eventually made his suit known to her; however, Irene gave him to understand that she would never marry him.

"Thus rejected, Britald fell into a deep depression and became so ill that the doctors who were called in to tend him gave him up for lost. Hearing of this, Irene visited him and told him that she had refused him because she was no longer free, having already taken a vow of virginity.

"Britald at once accepted her decision and gradually recovered his health. Before Irene left him he had sworn that he would respect, and make others respect, her vocation as a holy virgin, and the two had parted like brother and sister, promising each other that they would meet again in Paradise.

"Irene returned home and resumed the life of seclusion and study, intending to make her entrance into a convent before long. But the monk who was giving her private lessons proved to be a lecherous scoundrel, and behaved towards he in a manner as dishonorable as Britald's was honorable.

"Irene repulsed him and had him dismissed at once; but his lust turning to a desire for revenge, the monk then began to spread slanderous rumors about her. To those who asked him why he was no longer giving the girl her private lessons, he replied that he had left on learning that she was about to become a mother.

"This rumor quickly circulated throughout the town and at length reached Britald who, being frank and trusting and unused to lies, believed what he was told. In a passion of rage and jealousy, he hired a mercenary soldier to kill her. Soon afterwards, as she was returning home from visiting an old man who was crippled, the assassin approached him from behind and killed her with a single stroke of his sword.

"Her body, which was thrown into the river, was later retrieved by some Benedictines on the banks of the Tagus, near the town of Scalabris. They gave her a proper burial, made known her story, and not long afterwards, so great was the veneration in which she was held, the name of the town of Scalabis was changed to Santarem (Saint Irene)" (verbatim from Encyclopedia).

The Benedictines say that the legend as handed down is full of fiction, but the essential facts are certain: She was a Portuguese nun who died c. 653 in defense of her chastity in the ancient town of Scalabris.

Maria Bertilla (Ann Francis Boscardin) V (RM)
Born at Brendola near Vicenza; Italy, in 1888; died at Treviso, October 20, 1922; beatified in 1952; canonized in 1961.

Anna Francesca Boscardin was a dull peasant girl, who was raised in a very dysfunctional family. She went primary school only intermittently because her father, Angelo Boscardin, was jealous, violent, and often drunk (according to his own testimony in the beatification process). While attending classes, she also worked as a domestic servant in a nearby home.

Although a local clergyman, the archpriest Gresele, called her a "goose" because of her slowness and she was turned down by one convent, in 1904, Annetta was accepted as a sister in the congregation at Vicenza known as the Teachers of Saint Dorothy, Daughters of the Sacred Heart. The new Bertilla (her name in religion) told her novice-mistress, "I can't do anything. I'm a poor thing, a goose. Teach me. I want to become a saint."

She worked for three years as a kitchen maid and laundress. After the first year she was sent to Treviso to learn nursing at the municipal hospital under the charge of the order, but the local superioress again put her to work in the kitchen. In 1907, Bertilla was promoted to help in the children's diphtheria ward at Treviso.

During the air-raid after the disaster of Caporetto in 1917, Sister Bertilla was imperturbably careful of her patients, especially those who were too ill to be moved to safety. She attracted the admiring notice of the authorities of a military hospital, especially the chaplain Peter Savoldelli and the officer Mario Lameri, at Viggiú near Como when the sisters were evacuated to that site to tend to the wounded soldiers. But the local superioress, who did not appreciate her work, assigned her to the laundry, from where she was rescued four months later by a more perceptive mother-general, Azelia Farinea.

In 1919, she was put in charge of the children's isolation ward at Treviso. In 1922, her health, which had been frail for 12 years from a painful internal malady, failed entirely, necessitating a serious operation that she did not survive.

Saint Bertilla's life was a simple record of devoted hard work. Her industry and loving care had made a deep impression. A memorial plaque described the saint as "a chosen soul of heroic goodness . . . an angelic alleviator of human suffering in this place."

Crowds flocked to her first grave at Treviso. After her tomb at Vincenza became the site of pilgrimage and miracles of healing were attributed to her intercession. This led to her canonization in 1961 in the presence of crowds that included members of her family and patients whom she had nursed (Attwater, Benedictines, Farmer, Walsh).

Martha, Saula, and Companions VV MM (RM)
Dates unknown. The entry in the Roman Martyrology (RM) reads: "At Cologne the passion of the holy virgins Martha and Saula with many others." Scholars now assign them to the mythical cycle of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgins. It is now believed that these martyrs formed the first nucleus of the Ursuline legend. Indeed, it seems that the name Ursula derives from Sa-ula (Benedictines).

Blessed Mary-Teresa de Soubiran (AC)
Born in Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, France, in 1834; died in 1889; beatified in 1946. Though she was born into nobility, Mary-Teresa wished to become a Carmelite. Her uncle, who was a priest, convinced her to found a béguinage instead in 1855. At that time she took the name Mary-Teresa. In order to attain her apostolic ends more fully, she transformed the béguinage into the Institute of Mary Auxiliatrix with the approval of her bishop. The jealousy of a manipulative sister led to Mary-Teresa being driven from her congregation and deprived of her property. Instead of giving up, in 1868, Mary-Teresa sought refuge in the Institute of Our Lady of Charity in which she was permitted to take vows and in which she persisted until her death. Only then was the truth of her situation revealed. Mary-Teresa also enjoyed mystical gifts of a high order (Benedictines).

Maximus of Aquila M (RM)
Born in Aquila, Italy; died c. 250. Deacon Maximus was conspicuous for his zeal. Martyred by being thrown over a cliff near his native city during the persecutions of Decius, Maximus is now venerated as its patron saint (Benedictines).

Sindulphus of Rheims, Hermit (RM)
(also known as Sendou)

Born in Gascony; died 660. Sindulphus was a priest who lived as a hermit at Aussonce near Rheims, France. There he joined assiduous prayer with great austerities. Sindulphus was renowned for his knowledge of Sacred Scripture and the wise counsel his provider those who sought it. He was buried at Aussone, but his relics were translated in the 9th century to Hautevilliers Abbey (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

Vitalis of Salzburg OSB B (AC)
Died 745. Vitalis succeeded Saint Rupert as abbot of Saint Peter's and as archbishop of Salzburg, Austria, from 717-745 (Benedictines). He is represented by a lily springing from his breast and the words Presul Vitalis cubat hic egrisque medetur. Often he holds a model of Saint Peter's Church. Vitalis, perhaps because of his name alone, is invoked in childbirth (Roeder).

Blessed William of Savigny, OSB Monk (AC)
Died c. 1122. William was a novice at Savigny under Blessed Vitalis (Benedictines).

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.