St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Saint Hilarion, Abbot
(Regional Memorial)
October 21

Agatho of Egypt, Abbot Hermit (AC)
4th century. Agatho, a hermit and abbot in Egypt, is often quoted in the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert (Benedictines). He is portrayed as a hermit with a pitcher near him (Roeder).


Asterius of Ostia M (RM)
Died c. 223. Asterius secretly buried the body of Pope Saint Callistus, under whom he served as a Roman priest. For this act of Christian charity, Asterius was himself cast into the Tiber River at Ostia by order of Emperor Alexander. Christians recovered and buried his body at Ostia, where it is now enshrined in the cathedral (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Berthold of Parma OSB, Confessor (AC)
(also known as Bertoldo)

Born in Parma, Italy; died 1111. Although Berthold's parents were Anglo-Saxon, they fled from England at the Norman Conquest and Berthold was born at Parma. He spent his whole life as a lay- brother in the service of the nuns of Saint Alexander in that city (Benedictines).


Cilinia of Laon, Matron (RM)
(also known as Celina)

Died at Laon, Picardy, after 458. Cilinia was the mother of two holy sons: Bishop Saint Remigius of Rheims and Bishop Saint Principius of Soissons (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Condedus, OSB, Hermit (AC)
(also known as Condé, Condède)

Born in England; died c. 690. While a hermit at Fountaine-de- Saint-Valéry on the Somme, France, Condedus heard of the abbey of Fontenelle and asked to be received into the community around 673. After some years as a monk he obtained permission to preach, while residing as a recluse on an island in the Seine, near Caudebec. He founded two chapels, one dedicated to Our Lady, the other to Saints Peter and Paul (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Dasius, Zoticus, Caius, & Comp. MM (RM)
Died c. 303. A group of 15 soldiers who suffered martyrdom at Nicomedia under Diocletian (Benedictines).


Finton of Taghmon, Abbot (RM)
(also known as Finton Munnu, Mundus, Finian, Fintan)

Died October 31, c. 635. Saint Finton, born into the noble Ui Niell clan, forsook the world as a youth to become a monk first under Saint Comgall, then under Saint Sinell at Cluain Inis, Ireland. After 18 years of monastic life, he left to become a monk for a time on Iona. On his arrival in 597, he found that Saint Columba had died (though one tradition has him living at Iona or a daughter abbey at Kilmore until Columba died). He was told by the new abbot, Baithene, that Columba had left instructions that Finton not be admitted because his destiny was to found another abbey.

Whether he returned to Ireland because his desired master had died, or whether Columba actually left instructions, Finton returned to Ireland. There he founded and became abbot of a monastery at Taghmon (Tech Munnu) in County Wexford, which he developed into an outstanding monastery. He was a firm supporter of the Celtic liturgical practices at the synod of Magh Lene in 630 in opposition to Saint Laserian and others.

Reputedly, Finton contracted leprosy in the later years of his life in response to his prayers to add to his spiritual merit through added penance. Finton Munnu was mentioned in the vitae of Saint Canice, Mochua, and Molua. Several churches in Scotland are dedicated to Finton, which may be due to the work of his disciples rather than his own evangelistic efforts (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth, Montague).


Gebizo of Monte Cassino OSB, Monk (AC)
Born in Cologne, Germany; died c. 1087. Gebizo became a monk of Monte Cassino under Abbot Saint Desiderius (Pope Victor III) in 1076. He was sent to Croatia by Pope Saint Gregory VII, to crown King Zwoinimir (Benedictines).


Blessed Gundisalvus of Lagos OSA, Confessor (AC)
Born in Lagos, Portugal; died 1422; cultus approved in 1778. Gundisalvus was an Augustinian, who excelled as a preacher (Benedictines).


Hilarion of Gaza, Abbot (RM)
Born in Tabatha (south of Gaza), c. 291; died 371. Saint Hilarion, whose life is written by Saint Jerome, was born to pagan parents. At the age of 15, while studying at Alexandria, the great center of culture and learning, he was converted to Christianity and baptized.

Shortly afterwards he travelled to the Thebaid to see Saint Antony of the Desert and after staying with him for two months returned to Gaza, where he found that his parents had died during his absence. He divided his inheritance among his brothers and the poor; then, free of all worldly ties, he returned to the desert where with the grace of God to help him, he struggled against the devil and the temptations of his body.

For the next few years he lived a life of prayer, asceticism and solitude. His place of retreat was on a low-lying and marshy island near the sea, about 6 or 7 miles from Majuma (Maiuma). His only shelter was a hut of woven reeds and rushes. Later, when he built a cell, it was barely large enough to house him. He cut his hair only once a year, at Easter, and lived off a few figs and vegetables that he grew in a small garden.

Austere though his life was, it soon attracted a large number of disciples who came to live near him, while the miracles that he performed also drew crowds of sick people hoping for cures. Many heathen were converted to Christianity by his exhortations and example, and by the miracles attributed to him: of these, his enabling one Italicus to win a chariot race must have made a special appeal to the backers of Italicus.

Until he was 65 years old, Hilarion continued to live at Majuma, baptizing those who came to him and preaching less by words than by the example of his life. However, the feeling grew on him that his work there had been done and that they could manage without him. "I have returned to the world and am receiving my reward in this life," he said. "If I wish to be found deserving of divine mercy, I must hide myself to pray and suffer."

His disciples and the thousands of people who gathered round him at first refused to let him go. Hilarion refused to eat so long as they held him a virtual prisoner, and after a fast which lasted a week he was allowed to go.

Around 360 he left Majuma for Egypt. Accompanied by forty anchorites he first visited the tomb of Saint Antony in the Thebaid, where once again many miracles were performed.

The remaining years of Saint Hilarion's life were a pathetic--and perhaps somewhat neurotic--quest for solitude. He was harassed in Egypt and, Julian the Apostate having ordered his arrest, he had to flee to the Libyan desert.

Soon he decided to move on, this time with only two companions. Seeking silence and obscurity, he crossed the sea to Sicily, hoping that no one would there recognize him. Here, earning his bread by collecting and selling firewood, the old man was found by one of his early disciples, Hesychius. His fame soon spread and he was sought out by pilgrims and by the sick.

Hilarion soon became restless again, and Hesychius tried to satisfy him by taking him to Epidaurus (Dubrovnik) on the Dalmatian coast, where no one had heard of Hilarion. But the same thing happened again, and so under cover of night he and Hesychius crossed from Dalmatia to Cyprus, where he settled at Paphos. However miracles still followed him. Demoniacs, sick people and crowds of the faithful and the curious came to visit him until, with the help of his disciple Hesychius, he found an inaccessible retreat high on a mountain, where he remained for the rest of his life.

When he felt that he was about to die, Hilarion wrote to Hesychius and made him the heir of his Gospel and his short cloak--the sum total of his possessions. He died in 372, at the age of 80, and was at first buried near Paphos, but Hesychius secretly removed his body and re-buried it at Majuma, the site of his first miracles and of his victory over himself (Attwater, Encyclopedia, Walsh).

In art Hilarion is portrayed as an old hermit mounted on an ass, driving off the devil, dragon, or basilisk with the sign of the Cross. Sometimes Hilarion is shown (1) with a pile of wood near him; (2) clothed in skins; (3) holding an hourglass; or (4) with a book inscribed Quid est o anima mea quid dubitas. He is venerated in Cyprus and Sicily (Roeder).


Hugh of Ambronay OSB, Abbot (AC)
9th or 10th century. Saint Hugh was the third abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Ambronay in the see of Belley (Benedictines).


Blessed Imana of Loss OSB Cist., Abbess (PC)
(also known as Imaina, Himmanna, Imaine)

Died 1270. Blessed Imana was a Cistercian abbess of Salzinnes, near Namur, and afterwards of Flines, in the diocese of Cambrai (Benedictines).


John Thwing of Bridlington OSA (RM)
Born at Thwing, near Bridlington, Yorkshire, England, 1319; died at Bridlington, 1379; canonized 1401 by Pope Boniface IX as John of Bridlington; relics translated March 11, 1404; feast day formerly October 11.

John began studying at Oxford when he was 17. Two years later he joined the Augustinian canons at Bridlington. He filled various offices (presenter, cellarer) in the monastery and ultimately became their prior, a position he held for his last 17 years on earth. His external life seems to have been uneventful; however, he was known for complete fidelity in all things--a relatively rare quality among monastics during that period. He especially recommended the studying of the Gospel of Saint John.

The miracles reported at his shrine, doubtless facilitated his canonization. The English success at the Battle of Agincourt was attributed by Henry V to the intercession of Saints John of Beverly and John of Bridlington. He is the patron of women in difficult labor (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer).

Saint John is always shown with a book, crozier, and fur almuce; sometimes there is a muzzled animal under his feet (Roeder). There is a 15th-century stained-glass window of him in Morley, Derbyshire (Farmer). He is venerated at Warwick, Bridlington (Roeder).


Malchus of Chalcis, Hermit (RM)
Died c. 390. According to the story he told Saint Jerome, who recorded his l ife, Malchus was born in Nisibia, fled to avoid the marriage his parents had planned for him, and became a monk with a group of recluses at Khalkis near Antioch for about 20 years.

When his father died, he set out for home, despite the refusal of his abbot to grant him permission to do so. The caravan he was with was attacked by marauding Bedouins, and he and a young woman were carried off as slaves.

When his master decided he should marry the girl, they lived as brother and sister after Malchus had told her he would rather die than marry. After seven years of bondage, they decided to flee. He to return to the monastery and she to her husband. Their master and an aide pursued them. Malchus and the girl hid near a cave, and the master, thinking they had taken refuge in the cave, went into it with his aide, and both were killed by a lioness.

Malchus returned to Khalkis, and when she was unable to find her husband, she joined him as a hermitess. She died there and Malchus ended up in Maronia, where Jerome found him: old and venerated for his holiness (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

Saint Malchus is depicted as a hermit with a staff, sheep, swine, and a dog; sometimes with vegetables near him. He's also known as the Hermit of the Thebaid (Roeder).


Maurontus of Marseilles OSB B (AC)
Died c. 804. Maurontus was abbot of Saint Victor at Marseilles, before he was promoted to the bishopric there in 767 (Benedictines).


Blessed Peter Capucci, OP, Confessor (AC)
(also known as Peter of Tiferno)

Born at Città di Castello (the ancient Tifernum), in 1390; died 1445; cultus confirmed by Pius VII in 1816.

After an uneventful childhood, Peter Capucci applied for admission to the Dominicans. He and the frail, youthful Saint Antoninus were both received into the order on the Vigil of the Feast of the Assumption 1405. Their novice master was Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta. Peter counted the artist-brothers Fra Angelico and Fra Benedetto as his friends. Peter spent his novitiate at Cortona, remained there when some of his community moved to Fiesole, was ordained, and began his apostolate all in Cortona.

Not much about Peter is truly remarkable when he is viewed in the light of his neighboring luminaries, but he glittered enough to have gained the attention of the Church. He was noted for regularity, patience, and humility--virtues not terribly common in any age. He took upon himself the job of begging for alms as a means of atoning for his noble birth. Of course, just as we might treat the homeless, some treated Peter rudely but that did not disturb him. He quietly persisted in his humble work to ensure that his brothers had food and that there were alms for the poor. We are told that one rich wine merchant refused Peter saying that the barrels in the cellar were all empty. A little later he found to his horror that they were indeed all empty. He immediately sent for the friar, apologized, and begged him to bless the barrels and restore the wine--which Peter did without hesitation.

Other miracles were attributed to Peter, too. A woman's withered hand was restored. Two unjustly condemned men were miraculously preserved from execution. Once, walking through the cloister, Peter came upon a disreputable man. Peter prophesied that the man would day within a day. The man laughed, but died in the middle of the night after having sent for Peter to give him the sacraments. Peter Capucci became known as "the preacher of death," because he used to preach with a skull in his hands. He apparently had the ability to read hearts and could expertly point out uncomfortable truths to unwilling listeners.

When Peter died, he was buried in a humble grave. Miracles began to occur there; thus, his fame grew. A prominent man who had been paralyzed for three years, received the use of his limbs at the grave, after he had promised to pay the expenses for an annual celebration in Peter's honor. In 1597, Peter's relics were moved to a more suitable place (Benedictines, Dorcy).


Tuda of Lindisfarne B (PC)
Died at Durham, 664. Although the Irish monk Tuda was a staunch adherent of the Roman practices, including the computation of the date for Easter, he succeeded Saint Colman as abbot-bishop of Lindisfarne, where the contrary view was held. In this position he governed the entirety of Northumbria. Most of the Celtic usage monks departed with Colman in 664, leaving Tuda to heal the wounds of discord. Tuda signed the deed of dedication of the new Saint Peter's Monastery in Mercia of which the Celtic-born Jaruman was bishop. Even though Tuda, who died of the plague within the first year of his appointment, does not seem to have enjoyed a public cultus, he is listed in some martyrologies. It should be noted that Bede records his memory and that many of the records of Lindisfarne were destroyed during the Viking invasions. Tuda was buried in a church at Durham (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Farmer, Montalembert).


Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins of Cologne (RM)
A group of virgins who were martyred at Cologne, Germany, perhaps under Diocletian in the 4th c. Their number probably 11 rather than 11,000, an exaggeration due to a misreading of Roman numerals and letters (Encyclopedia), or because of later events. During the 12th century a pious romance was preposterously elaborated through the mistakes of imaginative visionaries; a public burial ground uncovered at Cologne was taken to be the grave of the martyrs, false relics came into circulation, and forged epitaphs of non- existent persons were produced (Attwater).

There are two forms of the legend: one in Cologne and another Gallic. The legend says that Ursula was the daughter of a Christian king of Britain, who was granted a three-year postponement of a marriage she did not wish to a pagan prince, set sail with 10 companions in 11 ships. Each of her companions travelled with 1,000 maid-servants. They sailed to Cologne and then along the Rhein to Basel. At Basel they moored their ships and crossed the Alps in order to visit Rome. Ursula decided to lead her companions back to Cologne. There the leader of the Huns fell in love with her, was spurned, and massacred both the British princess and her 11,000 companions.

According to another legend, Amorica was settled by British colonizers and soldiers after Emperor Magnus Clemens Maximu conquered Britain and Gaul in 383. The ruler of the settlers, Cynan Meiriadog, called on King Dionotus of Cornwall for wives for the settlers, whereupon Dionotus sent his daughter Ursula, who was to marry Cynan, with 11,000 noble maidens and 60,000 common women. Their fleet was shipwrecked and all the women were enslaved or murdered (Delaney).

The story is difficult to believe as it stands. The earliest reference to the legend of her speaks only of 10 companions. The present story began to be told only in the 8th or 9th century. Yet some truth attaches itself to the tale, as is generally the case. An ancient stone let into the wall of Saint Ursula's Church in Cologne records that a certain senator Clematius rebuilt a memorial church in the 4th century over on the site of the martyrdom of a number of maidens. Nothing more is said about them for another 400 years, when in the ninth century the ramifying legend appears as taking shape (Attwater).

Baring-Gould suggests that Saint Ursula with her bow and arrow, her ship and company of maidens, sails up the Rhine as Urschel, the Teutonic moon goddess, sailed before her, with all the graceful attributes of Isis and Diana. She is likely to be one of the saints who has become confused with the old gods, that is, a real martyr's story has been embellished with that particulars of an old myth (Roeder).

Saint Ursula is represented as a princess holding an arrow. Sometimes (1) with maidens under her mantle; (2) an angel comes to her as she sleeps (Vittore Carpaccio's The Dream of St. Ursula); (3) she takes leave of her royal parents; (4) in a boat surrounded by maidens and ecclesiastics, as she sails down the Rhein; or (5) she and her companions massacred by bowmen (Roeder).

Other images include:

Giovanni Bellini's Virgin with Saints Mary Magdalene and Ursula

Vittore Carpaccio's The Apotheosis of St. Ursula, 1491, Venice.

Claude Lorrain's The Embarkation of St. Ursula.

Saint Ursula is venerated at Cologne. She is considered the patroness of maidens, drapers, and teachers; invoked for chastity and holy wedlock, and against the plague (Roeder).


Viator of Lyons, Hermit (RM)
Died c. 390. The hermit Viator accompanied his bishop, Saint Justus of Lyons, in his life of solitude. (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Wendelin of Tholey, Confessor (AC)
(also known as Wendolinus, Wendel)

Died c. 607. Saint Wendelin's identity was nearly lost, although there were 17 towns in the U.S. in 1957 named after him. He was an Irish shepherd who became famous for his sanctity, when settled along the Rhein following a pilgrimage to Rome and began to evangelize the region. A later legend makes him an Irish hermit, whose cell became the Benedictine abbey of Tholey in the diocese of Trèves (Trier), Germany. Or, is it a legend? The Diocese of Trier records that he was an Irish saint.

It is said that so many miracles occurred at his death that a church was built on the spot along the Nahe River to house his relics. In 1320, Archbishop Baldwin of Trier credited Wendelin's intercession with halting a plague. He rebuilt the saint's chapel. A little later the town of Saint Wendel, where he is still venerated, was established there by a 14th-century holy Roman emperor. Now a thriving Society of the Divine Word Mission House of Saint Wendell trains missionaries for work throughout the world.

The church still survives. The 1370 stone sarcophagus, which was first used as a table to hold the wooden shrine, and a representation of the saint from c. 1300 remain, as well as the second oldest stone pulpit in Germany (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Fitzpatrick, Kenney, Montague).

In art, his emblem is sheep, a dog, and a club. Sometimes there is a staff, pouch, cup, and dog at his feet, at other times a long staff and a calf at his feet. He is the patron of shepherds and peasants. He is invoked on behalf of sick cattle (Roeder). The 14th-century image of Wendelin depicts him as an Irish monk with a staff and Gospel, rather than as a shepherd (D'Arcy).



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.