Abercius of Hierapolis BM (RM)
Died c. 167; feast day formerly December 18. St. Abericius seems to have succeeded the famous Paias as bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia. Imprisoned for his zeal against paganism, he was set free and died in peace in his see. His epitaph, composed by himself and discovered in 1822, is now in the Lateran Museum. It sheds vivid light on several points of Christian doctrine, e.g., baptism, the Eucharist, and the Roman primacy. Its authenticity is beyond doubt (Benedictines). St. Abericius is depicted as destroying a statue of Apollo; sometimes his crozier is brought to him by angels (Roeder).
Alexander, Heraclius, & Companions MM (RM)
Dates unknown. Bishop Alexander so enthralled the masses by his preaching that many Jews and pagans became Christians. He also attracted the attention of the authorities who arrested and tortured him. Such was Alexander's constancy that Heraclius, one of the soldiers of the guard, was at once converted. Others followed his example. All were put to death together with Alexander at an unremembered time and place (Benedictines).
Alodia and Nunilo VV MM (RM)
Died 851. The sisters Alodia and Nunilo were born at Adahuesca, Huesca, Spain, and they are still greatly venerated in Aragon. After their father died, their Christian mother re-married a Moor, who persecuted them and had them imprisoned at Alquézar, near Barastoro. Their stepfather finally had them beheaded at Huesca during the persecution of Abderrahman II (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Benedict of Macerac, Abbot (AC)
Died 845. The Greek abbot Benedict fled from Petras and settled at Macerac, in the diocese of Nantes. His relics were later transferred to the abbey of Redon (Benedictines).
Bertharius of Monte Cassino OSB, Abbot M (AC)
Died c. 884. A scion of the royal house of France, Bertharius was professed at Monte Cassino. In 856, he was chosen as its abbot. While kneeling in prayer he was martyred, with several of his monks, by a band of invading Saracens. He is the author of homilies and poems. One of the altars of Monte Cassino is consecrated to his name (Benedictines).
Cordula VM (RM)
Died c. 453. Cordula is portrayed as a maiden holding a ship. She is reputed to be a companion of Saint Ursula (Roeder, Benedictines).
Donatus (Donagh) of Fiesole B (RM)
Born in Ireland; died 874-876. Legend has it that Donatus was an Irishman who decided to go on a pilgrimage to Rome with his friend Andrew. On his return home about 829, he went to Florence, Italy, and visited nearby Fiesole. Donatus, who was small and unaggressive by nature, slipped into the cathedral just when the people had come together to pray for enlightenment before electing a new bishop.
The moment Donatus entered the cathedral of Fiesole, the bells began ringing. All the cathedral lamps and candles lit of their own accord, without any human help. The Christians present could only conclude that this was a divine sign, indicating that the stranger who had just come in was destined to be their next bishop. Unanimously the puzzled Irishman was elected, and Andrew became his deacon.
Fortunately, Donatus was a man of exemplary piety and cultivation. In addition to many other works, Donatus authored two separate lives of Saint Brigid of Kildare, one in prose and the other in verse. He also wrote his own epitaph, which still survives and describes him as a splendid teacher, specializing in grammar and fine writing. The epitaph adds that the bishop loyally advised and served the Frankish King Lothaire and the Emperor Louis. Almost certainly he taught them and members of their household for he was ever willing to instruct the young.
For 47 years Donatus shepherded the church of Fiesole. At times he served as a military leader, raising armies and conducting expeditions against the Saracens. Before he died he obtained from the king a charter of independence for the bishops of Fiesole with the power to impose taxes and administer their own laws.
He was also a generous supporter of monastic foundations. In 852, he founded a church and a hospice of his beloved patron, Saint Brigid at Piacenza and placed it under the protection of Saint Columban's monastery at Bobbio. This church was declared a national monument in 1911.
Long after his death, a legend developed that Donatus had an Irish travelling companion who became his archdeacon, St. Andrew of Fiesole, but there is no satisfactory evidence for Andrew's existence (Attwater, Bentley, Delaney, Montague).
In art he is a bishop with an Irish wolfhound at his feet. Sometimes he is shown pointing out a church to his deacon, St. Andrew of Ireland (August 22) (Roeder).
Mallonius (Mellonius, Mellon) of Rouen B (RM)
Died 314. Mallonius, a missionary from England or Britain (near Cardiff), presumably from the district called St. Mellon's, reputedly became the first bishop of Rouen (Benedictines).
Mark of Jerusalem BM (RM)
Died c. 156. Mark was the first bishop of Jerusalem who was not of Jewish extraction. He is said to have ruled that see for 20 years and to have died a martyr: both statements are mere conjecture (Benedictines).
Maroveus of Precipiano OSB, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 650. Maroveus was a monk of Bobbio, before becoming the abbot-founder of Precipiano Monastery near Tortona (Benedictines).
Mary Salome (RM)
1st century. Like the Jewish greeting "Shalom" and the Arab "Salaam," Salome is based on an Aramaic word meaning health and peace. It would be hard to think of a more fitting name for a mother.
It is quite probable that Salome was the sister of the Blessed Virgin, and it is certain that she was the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James the Greater and John the Evangelist (Matthew 20:20; 27:56). In the Gospel of St. Matthew (20:20ff) it is written: "Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Him with her sons and did Him homage, wishing to ask Him for something. He said to her, 'What do you wish?' She answered Him, 'Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at Your right and the other at Your left, in Your kingdom.'"
In other words this cautious and anxious mother, as proud as she was worried about the dangerous devotion of her two sons to the person and word of Jesus, was trying to get them places of honor in a kingdom which she, better than most, knew was not of this world. To many people her request will doubtless seem to be presumptuous and impertinent, but St. Ambrose has written: "She may be largely pardoned, because of her maternal love. If there was an error, it was the error of her heart, the heart of a mother who could not wait. Though she had the right to expect support and comfort from her sons, she accepted their leaving her, for she hoped that they would be rewarded. Before judging her, remember that she was a mother."
The Gospel continues: "Jesus said in reply, 'You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?' They said to Him, 'We can.' He replied, 'My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at My right and at My left is not Mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.'"
In other words Jesus is saying: "Don't ask too much from Me. You will take part in My Passion, but don't think about the reward. Serve mankind and suffer for mankind, but do so out of love, not for the sake of gain." Surely in this gentle and noble reply there is not the slightest trace of mockery or severity towards Salome. Only those who create God in their own image could suppose that Jesus would not be understanding to the anxieties of a mother.
Salome was one of the women who followed Jesus and served him (Mark 15:41), witnessed His Crucifixion and death at Calvary (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40), and who brought spices to embalm him on Easter morning (Mark 16:1ff) (Delaney, Encyclopedia).
In art, Mary Salome is shown with her two sainted children (James and John) in her arms. Occasionally Mary Salome is present at the Nativity because there is a legend that the doubting Salome was a midwife, who came, unbelieving, to the stable at Bethlehem and was converted (cf. Jameson, Legends of the Madonna). Sometimes Mary Salome together with Mary Cleophas support the Virgin at the Crucifixion or they are present with Mary Magdalene at the Resurrection (Roeder).
Moderan of Berceto OSB B (AC)
(also known as Moderamnus, Moran)
Born in Rennes; died in Parma, c. 730. Moderan became bishop of Rennes in 703. About the year 720 he made a pilgrimage to Rome, resigned his see, and ended his days as a monk-hermit in the abbey of Berceto, in the diocese of Parma (Benedictines).
Nepotian of Clermont B (AC)
Died c. 388. Bishop of Clermont 386-c. 388 (Benedictines).
Nunctus (Noint) of Merida Abbot M (AC)
Died 668. Abbot Nunctus of a monastery near Merida in western Spain, was killed by robbers and venerated thenceforth as a martyr (Benedictines).
Blessed Paul Doi Buong M (AC)
Born in Cochin-China; died 1833; beatified in 1900. Paul was the captain of the bodyguard of King Minh-Menh. As a Christian he became attached to the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris. He was arrested in 1832, degraded, and beheaded (Benedictines).
Philip of Fermo BM (RM)
Died c. 270. The bishop martyr of Fermo, Italy, whose relics are enshrined in his cathedral (Benedictines).
Philip of Heraclea B and Companions MM (RM)
Died 304. The aged, revered bishop Philip of Heraclea, his deacon Severus, Eusebius (priest), and Hermes (priest) of Constantinople were arrested under Diocletian. First, the authorities closed the church. At which time Philip said to the police, "Do you imagine that God dwells within walls, and not rather in the hearts of men?" He simply summoned the brethren for worship in the open air.
He was ordered by the governor, Bassus, to hand over the church's sacred vessels and books: to the first Philip agreed, but, for the Scriptures, 'It is not fitting,' he said, 'that you should ask for them or that I should give them up.' The bishop and his deacon, Hermes, were then scourged and the wanted goods seized. Afterwards, Philip and Hermes refused in turn to make an act of worship of the emperors or of the goddess Fortune or of Heraclea's name-deity, Hercules.
Later there was a fruitless interrogation by Bassus' successor, Justin, after which Philip was dragged back to jail by his feet. Together with Hermes and a priest called Severus, he was confined rigorously for seven month before all three were taken to Adrianopolis.
Justin interviewed them twice again, and he had Philip unmercifully beaten for his contumacy; they were then sentenced to death by fire at Adrianopolis. St. Philip had been so badly beaten that he had to be carried to the stake. St. Hermes, who was not much better, joked cheerfully and sent a last message to his son: "Tell them to pay back whatever I owe, and to work hard for his living as I have done, and to behave well to everybody." When the fire was lit the martyrs praised and gave thanks to God until the smoke suffocated them. St. Severus followed them the next day (Attwater, Encyclopedia).
The Benedictines say that Severus was the deacon and the other two were 'inferior clergy.' They also report that we have a copy of the legal document processed against them of undeniable authenticity. By mistake recent editions of the R.M. register them as martyrs under Julian the Apostate (Benedictines).
Simplicius of Monte Cassino OSB, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 570. Simplicius was a disciple of Saint Benedict and third abbot of Monte Cassino. His relics were elevated in 1071 (Benedictines).
Verecundus of Verona B (RM)
Died 522. Bishop of Verona (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.