Saint John of Capistrano
Allucio of Pescia (AC)
Died 1134; cultus confirmed by Pius IX. Born in the diocese of Pescia in Tuscany, Italy, Allucio began life as a herdsman. Eventually his fellow citizens entrusted him with the direction of an almshouse at Val di Nievole and he became, in fact, the second founder of that charity, as well as a hospice at Campugliano. He had some followers who were named the Brethren of St. Allucio. (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Amo (Amon) of Toul B (AC)
4th century. Amo, the second known bishop of Toul, succeeded Saint Mansuetus (Benedictines).
Blessed Bartholomew of Breganza, OP B (AC)
Born at Vicenza, Italy, c. 1200; died 1271; cultus approved in 1793. Bartholomew was born into the family of the counts of Breganza, Lombardy, Italy. While still very young, he entered the University of Padua and gained a reputation for scholarship and sanctity. There he met Saint Dominic and received the Dominican habit from the founder's hands. Bartholomew completed his novitiate, his studies at Vicenza and Padua, and was ordained.
Shortly thereafter Bartholomew was sent to preach against heresy in cities throughout Lombardy, and to make peace among the warring factions that were destroying the country. In 1233 he founded a sort of military order--the Fratres Gaudentes--for the preservation of public order. He preached so successfully in this difficult mission that he was summoned to Rome, where the holy father appointed him master of the sacred palace. He was one of the first after Saint Dominic himself to hold this traditionally Dominican office of the pope's theologian.
In 1252 he was sent to Cyprus as bishop of Nimesia. He journeyed there in company with Saint Louis, king of France, who was on a crusade to the Holy Land. Bartholomew had just begun his shepherding of Nimesia when he was called to Palestine by the king. He was of such service to the king that Louis promised him several valuable relics upon the king's return to France.
After administering the diocese on Cyprus, he was translated to Vicenza in 1256. Here his first care was to suitably enshrine the relics donated by Louis. He directed the building of the magnificent Church of the Crown to house these precious relics, which reputedly included a portion of the true Cross and a thorn from our Lord's crown. He restored other churches and rebuilt the city that had been destroyed by civil wars.
But civil war was not the only evil visited upon Vicenza. Heresy did even greater damage. Bartholomew used his powers as a preacher to bring many heretics back into the fold. He was a peacemaker and a builder. So beloved was he that he had to firmly resist the coercion of the grateful people to take over the temporal rule of the city as well as the spiritual. Blessed Bartholomew was also given the honor of preaching on the occasion of the second translation of Saint Dominic's relics (Benedictines, Dorcy).
Benedict of Sebaste B (RM)
Died c. 654. An alleged bishop of Sebaste in Samaria, Benedict had to escape to Gaul during the persecution of Julian the Apostate. He built a hermitage near Poitiers that later became the abbey of St. Benedict of Quincay. Not all the above details, however, are above suspicion (Benedictines).
Bertrand of Grandselve, OSB Cist. Abbot (AC)
Died July 11, 1149. Cistercian abbot of Grandselve for 20 years. He was often favored with heavenly visions (Benedictines).
Clether of Wales (AC)
(also known as Cleer, Clydog, Scledog, Clitanus, Cleodius)
Died in Herefordshire, England, c. 520. One of the saints descended from King Brychan of Brecknock, or at least of his clan. Several dedications of churches--for instance, St. Cleer, near Liskeard--perpetuate his memory. Another Clether, or Cledog, is commemorated on August 19. He is alleged to have died a martyr (Benedictines).
Domitius of Amiens (RM)
8th century. This is another story of a friendship leading to perfect love of God. Not far from Amiens, in northern France, there is a small river called the Noye which, after flowing through some low-lying and marshy ground, joins another small river called the Avre. Together they then join the River Somme and flow down to the sea. They have been there since the beginning of time, and they will probably be there at the end of time.
In the 8th century there lived on the banks of the Noye a young girl named Ulphia who was filled with longing to lead a life of perfection. At the same time there lived on the banks of the Avre a deacon of the church of Amiens named Domitius, who was no less eager for the same perfection. Their hermitages were barely a mile apart, and Ulphia often sought the counsel of Domitius, who instructed her in the great prayer of the Church and led her to God. Their 'mystic life in common' lasted for 30 years, from about 730 to 760.
The legend speaks of 'a good and ancient man who beard and hair were as white as snow,' and who walked with a staff to support 'his great age and infirmity.' The friendship that bound him to the holy girl who was less than half his age must have seemed strange to the people who lived nearby. It is said that Domitius once silenced all the frogs in a pond, but perhaps the frogs were human- -men and women, whose tongues were set wagging by the story of the two hermits. And if Domitius succeeded in silencing them, then it was a far greater miracle than silencing a few small creatures.
They used to go together on foot to recite the Office in what was then the cathedral of Amiens. It was a mutual exchange of services: Ulphia tended Domitius, and Domitius rewarded his devout daughter by teaching and explaining to her the Holy Scriptures. "They were," says the legend, "of a like will and spirit, chaste and devout."
Their lives were like the two rivers on whose banks they lived, two rivers which flowed through marshes and swamps and then joined together and flowed to the sea. Ulphia passed through the marshes of this world and entrusted herself to Domitius. Their course together was one of prayer, penitence, solitude, and self- forgetfulness that, after 30 years, eventually brought them to their triumphal entry into paradise. As the two rivers flowed together, so did their lives, and as the waters of the rivers were finally united with the sea, so were they finally united with God. "He who drinks of the water I shall give him," says Our Lord, "will not thirst" (Encyclopedia).
Elfreda (Elfleda) of Glastonbury, OSB V (AC)
Died c. 936. Elfreda, who was held in high esteem by Saint Dunstan was an Anglo-Saxon princess who lived as a recluse at Glastonbury under the obedience of the abbey (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Henry of Cologne, OP (PC)
Died in Cologne, Germany, 1224 or 1225. One of the first Dominicans recruited from among the students of the university of Paris, Henry became the first prior of the friary at Cologne. He was the closest friend of Blessed Jordan of Saxony, who knew, understood, and promoted friendships as important to the spiritual life.
Henry met Jordan when the latter was a professor at the University of Paris. Henry must have been a very personal young man of fine character, for Jordan named him the very flower of the Dominicans. He was "handsome, reverent and virtuous, of a mind to grasp everything and with a rare faculty for expressing himself."
When Reginald of Saint-Gilles died, Jordan had a vision in which he saw in the cloister of Saint- Jacques a clear and limpid fountain that ran dry. In its place a fountain sprang up, having two heads, surging up like a great river to water the whole earth. It was revealed to him that Henry was one of the fountainheads, and the brethren easily understood that Jordan himself was the other.
By this time Jordan had decided to abandon his academic career and join the Dominicans. But he could not bring himself to leave behind his dearest friend. Often he would later say in sermons, "You do not go to a banquet alone, but with your dear friends; you should not go alone to heaven either!" Jordan's success in recruiting young men for the order is probably due to this attitude. He could not imagine anyone going into the joy of religious life without bringing his friends along with him. So Jordan delayed entering the order until Henry was ready to do so, too.
After Henry completed his studies in the arts and theology in Paris, Jordan began recruiting him. When Jordan returned from confession to Reginald, shaken and exalted by the ideals that Reginald had envisioned for him, he looked for and found a Scripture text to confirm his resolution. Then the book fell open to the text he wanted for Henry, "Let us stay together, let us never separate." He urged this on Henry, but the young man, who was chaste and obedient, found it difficult to accept poverty.
Henry argued with himself, prayed and meditated, but still was unable to accept the precept of abandoning all things for the uncertainties of a mendicant life. One night, after he had prayed for a long time, he saw himself at judgement, and a thunderous voice demanded of him, "And you--what have you given up for God?" Henry was shaken by this thought, went to see Master Reginald, and resolved to enter the order as soon as possible. On Ash Wednesday, 1220, the two friends went together to be received.
Jordan, a magnetic preacher, thought that Henry was the model of preachers. Our image of Henry is highly idealized because the only records remaining are those written by Jordan. In 1221, when the priory of Cologne was established, Henry was sent there as prior, and Jordan went to Lombardy. It was a sorrow to see the friends separated, but they wrote frequently. Theirs was a friendship based on the love of God and directed to the furthering of His kingdom.
At about the age of 35, Henry died suddenly in the arms of Jordan, who was visiting Cologne. It was a terrible grief to Jordan, and his letter concerning the death of Henry is one of the saddest and most beautiful of all his eloquent writings. He writes to Blessed Diana in the rawness of his sorrow, "Do not grieve too much about the death of your sister Otta . . . it is good for us to be saddened now at the same time, to go sowing our seed in tears; at the harvest we shall come carrying our sheaves in joy." Jordan confesses that he wept copiously for his friend and, after giving a beautiful account of the last moments of Henry, he adds, "There is still a long way to go. If you are tired, your Jesus was also . . . in all humility, in all patience, He knew how to wait" (Benedictines, Dorcy).
Ignatius of Constantinople B (RM)
Born in Constantinople, c. 799; died 877. St. Ignatius finds a place on both the Eastern and Western calendars. He was the son of the Byzantine Emperor Michael I. His maternal grandfather was Emperor Nicephorus I. Originally he was named Nicetas. He and his brother were mutilated and exiled to a monastery when their father was deposed by Leo the Armenian in 813.
Ignatius later became a monk, was ordained, and elected abbot of his monastery. He was name patriarch of Constantinople in 846 and vigorously assailed evil in high places. He was an upholder of the rigorist party in the Byzantine church, opposing the influence of the imperial court and its clergy in ecclesiastical affairs. In 857 he refused communion to Michael III's uncle, Bardas, who was accused of living in incest; this action helped to provide Ignatius's opponents with a pretext for getting rid of him.
He was deposed and exiled to the island of Terebinthos. Bardas secured the election of his secretary Photius, a layman, as patriarch. A long factional struggle ensured, and in 867 Michael was murdered and his successor, Basil the Macedonian, deposed Photius and recalled Ignatius, as much to secure the support of Ignatius's followers as to secure justice.
Ignatius then asked Pope Adrian II to convoke a council, and at the 8th general council, 869-70, Photius and his supporters were condemned, and Photius was excommunicated.
Ignatius later came into conflict with Rome when he claimed jurisdiction over the Bulgars and convinced their prince to expel Latin priests and replace them with the Greek priests he sent. Pope John VIII's legates, threatening Ignatius with excommunication, arrived in Constantinople to find he had died on October 23. Though he is recognized as personally holy, he was evidently deeply engaged in the politics of his times (Attwater, Delaney).
Blessed John Buoni, OSA Hermit (AC)
Born in Mantua, Italy; died 1249; cultus approved in 1483. In his early life John was a licentious jester at various Italian courts. In 1208, after a severe illness, he changed his life completely and retired to do penance as a hermit near Cesena, whither a number of disciples followed him. They were given the Augustinian rule (Boniti) by Innocent IV, and soon they coalesced with similar hermits to form the order of Augustinian hermit friars (Benedictines).
John of Capistrano, OFM (RM)
Born at Capistrano, Abruzzi, Italy, in 1386; died at Villach, Austria, October 23, 1456, canonized in 1724; feast day formerly March 28.
Saint John of Capistrano had spent his early life vigorously engaged in secular affairs. His considerable talents drew attention to him early in life. He read law at the University of Perugia and, in 1412, was appointed governor of that city. At age 30, he married. During the war between Perugia and the supporters of Malatesta, he was captured and flung into a foul dungeon--the best thing that ever happened to him. There John experienced a conversion which made him repent of his past sins and seek the life of a friar. He was dispensed of his marriage vows, publicly repented of his sins, and submitted himself to the hard discipline of the Franciscans.
In 1416, he joined the Friars Minor, studied under Saint Bernardino of Siena, whom he greatly revered, and was ordained in 1420. For thirty years John used his chief skills--once used as a legal orator--as a preacher. Hundreds and thousands came to hear him preach as he travelled throughout Italy, where he worked in close association with Saint James of the Marches of Ancona, another missioner. The Holy Spirit used John's sermons to draw thousands back to God. Soon he was asked to preach abroad in Bavaria, Saxony, and Poland, where his sermons stimulated a great revival of faith. He worked in Italy
Working also with his friend St. Bernardino, John played an influential part in the efforts to heal the divisions in the Franciscan order. He drew up the plans approved by the general chapter of the Franciscans held at Assisi in 1430 for a short-lived reunion of the various groups of the order. The following year he was active at the Observant chapter at Bologna, and according to Gonzaga was appointed commissary general. In 1430, John helped elect Bernardino vicar general of the Observants and soon after met Saint Colette in France and joined her efforts to reform the Poor Clares.
He was inquisitor in the proceedings against the Fraticelli and the charges made against the Gesuats. His secular experience made John an excellent choice as a papal emissary; therefore, he was frequently entrusted with missions abroad on behalf of the popes. In 1439, he was legate to Milan and Burgundy to oppose the claims of antipope Felix V. In 1446, he was sent on a mission to the king of France.
When in 1451 Emperor Frederick III begged Pope Nicholas V to send someone to try to counteract the activities of the Hussites, John was chosen as papal inquisitor and sent with twelve Franciscans to combat their influence in the Austrian domain. John regarded these men and women with implacable hostility, as heretics and his methods with the obstinate were such as to incur the reprobation of later times. (So great was the reaction of later Protestants to John's vehemence towards the Hussites that in 1526, the Calvinists threw his relics down a well.)
His campaign against the Hussites finally ended when John turned his attention to the Turks, who in 1453 had captured Constantinople. John of Capistrano, deeply anxious about the possibility that the Turks might overrun western Christendom the way they had conquered the east, preached a crusade against the invading armies, but he was unsuccessful in rallying the princes of Bavaria and Austria.
By 1456, the Turks were threatening Belgrade. John sought an audience with the Hungarian general Janos Hunyadi. Hunyadi, inspired by the saint, rallied the Hungarians to resist the invading Turks and personally led the left wing of the Christian army at the Battle of Belgrade in 1456. The failure of the Turks to capture the city in the ensuing siege saved Europe from being overrun by the Turks.
Within a few months both he and Hunyadi were dead of plague. John of Capistrano combined compassion for the poor and oppressed with excessive severity towards those whom he regarded as being culpably in error (Attwater, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Hofer).
In art, St. John is a Franciscan pointing to a crucifix which he holds. At times, he may be shown (1) with a crucifix and lance, treading a turban underfoot; (2) preaching, angels with rosaries and IHS above him (he holds a crucifix; symbols for the four evangelists, among whom St. John is not an eagle, but a Franciscan holding a crucifix--this refers to one of his sermons); or (3) banner of cross and cross on his breast (Roeder).
John of Syracuse OSB B (AC)
Died c. 609. John was bishop of Syracuse from 595 until c. 609 (Benedictines).
Leothadius of Moissac OSB, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Lťothade)
Died 718. Of noble Frankish family, Lťothade became a monk and shortly thereafter abbot of Moissac in southern France. Later he was raised to the see of Auch (Benedictines).
Oda of Amay, Widow (AC)
Died 723. Oda, a French princess, was married to the duke of Aquitaine. When he died, Oda devoted her life to the care of the sick and the poor. In art she is shown as a duchess giving alms. Her shrine is at Amay, near Liťge (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Roeder).
Romanus (Romain) of Rouen B (RM)
Died 639. A courtier of Clothaire II who became bishop of Rouen c. 629. He devoted himself to the care of prisoners, particularly those condemned to death (Benedictines). The archbishop of Rouen is portrayed with a dragon at his feet, standing by water. Sometimes his stole is around a dragon or gargoyle; at other times he plants his cross on a dragon. He is the patron of merchants and is invoked against drowning, madness, poison, and possession (Roeder).
Servandus and Germanus MM (RM)
Died c. 305. Said to have been sons of Saint Marcellus of Leůn. They were put to death at Cadiz while on their way under arrest to Tangiers. They are held in great veneration throughout southern Spain (Benedictines).
Severinus (Severin) of Cologne BM (RM)
Died 403. Said to have been born at Bordeaux, he was bishop of Cologne and a prominent opponent of Arianism. Paintings of Severin show him coming from the cathedral to bless the poor. He is venerated at Cologne. Invoked against bad luck and drought. There appears to be some confusion between the various lesser-known saints of this name: bishops in the March of Ancona, of Cologne, at Bordeaux (the actual Seurin), and Severinus of Noricum (Attwater, Benedictines, Roeder).
Severinus BoŽthius M (RM)
Born at Rome c. 480; died at Pavia, 524; canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1883.
"In other living creatures the ignorance of themselves is nature, but in men it is vice."
Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus BoŽthius was the scion of an illustrious and Christian Roman family. His father Flavius Manlius BoŽthius, who was consul in 487, died and left BoŽthius young orphan. He became the ward and then friend of the noble Aurelius Symmachus, whose daughter Rusticiana he eventually married.
By the age of 30, the man who is best known as BoŽthius was renowned for his learning, and he is recognized as one of the makers of the Christian West. This is partly through his translation from the Greek of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras 'the musician,' Euclid, Ptolemy the astronomer, but also his own contributions to theology, logic, music, mathematics, and even applied scientific engineering as in his designs for improved timepieces.
Under the Ostrogoth Emperor Theodoric in the West, Severinus BoŽthius became a consul, and in due course his two sons were elevated into the consulship. But so high and influential a position in public and political life was not to be maintained. Suspicion, whether rightly or wrongly, that some of the Roman senators were conspiring with Justin, the Eastern emperor at Constantinople, the aged Theodoric charged an ex-consul named Albinus. BoŽthius publicly defended him in court, and for this quite proper proceeding in Roman law, he was thrown into prison at Ticinum (Pavia). (Delaney says that BoŽthius himself was charged with treason and sacrilege for allegedly using astronomy for impious purposes. Bentley states that he was accused of being a magician and of writing letters subversive of good order.)
During his 9-month imprisonment, he wrote his most famous work, The Consolation of Philosophy. Only his father-in-law Symmachus was brave enough to speak for him and, after torture, he was brutally beheaded.
Theodoric was an Arian, and this, combined with St. Severinus's stand for justice in public life, led to his acclaim as a martyr. His relics are enshrined in the church of St. Peter in Ciel d'Oro at Pavia. His feast is also kept at the church of Santa Maria in Portico, Rome.
His extant writings include the notable de sancta Trinitate, a treatise attacking the heresies of Eutyches and Nestorius, and three other theological works. He also wrote on arithmetics and music. He translated books by Aristotle and Porphyry, as well as writing commentaries on Aristotle and Cicero.
But his loved and revered Consolation of Philosophy (which has had many translators, including King Alfred the Great, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Queen Elizabeth I), remains his masterpiece. Its five books are filled with snatches of poetry.
He recounts how suffering has brought him to a premature old age. But that he takes comfort that God rules the world. He begins to learn the true nature of himself. Evil, philosophy tells him, can have no real existence, since the all-powerful God does not wish it. Vice never goes ultimately unpunished. Virtue in the end is rewarded. And true happiness can be found only in God Himself.
Fairly recent attempts to show that this could not have been composed by a 'practicing' Christian have proven ephemeral (Attwater, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
Severinus (Seurin) of Bordeaux B (RM)
Died c. 420. Talk about confusing; three Severinus's in one day! Seurin is said to have been an oriental by birth. He was bishop of Bordeaux c. 405-c. 420 (Benedictines).
Syra of Faremoutiers OSB V (AC)
Died c. 660. Nun of Faremoutiers, whence she was summoned by Bishop Ragneboldus to be abbess of a convent at Ch‚lons-sur- Marne (Benedictines).
Theodore (Theodoret) of Antioch M (RM)
Died 362. An apostate named Julian, uncle of Emperor Julian the Apostate, was appointed governor of the province of which Antioch was the capital. He was a greedy man. Upon learning about the gold and silver treasure of the Church, he determined to have it for himself and, therefore, published an edict banishing the Christian clergy of the city.
Theodore, a priest who had zealously destroyed idols during the reign of Constantine and who had built many churches and oratories over the relics of martyrs, was the custodian of the sacred vessels of the Catholics (as opposed to the Arians). He refused to abandon his flock and continued to assemble the faithful for Mass. For this reason, Julian had Theodore apprehended and bound.
Theodore was charged with the destruction of idols and raising of Christian shrines, to which the saint confessed. Then Theodore charged the governor with having abandoned the true God after having known Him. Thereupon Theodore was beaten and tortured as Julian mocked him and Theodore continued to exhort Julian to return to the love of Jesus.
Julian next ordered that Theodore should be racked. When the blood was streaming abundantly from Theodore's wounds, Julian said, "I perceive you do not sufficiently feel your torments." The saint replied, "I do not feel them, because God is with me." When Julian set the saint aflame, Theodore raised his eyes to heaven and prayed that God would glorify His name throughout all ages.
At those words, the executioners fell on their faces to the ground. Julian himself was afraid but he ordered them to bring their torches nearer. They excused themselves saying that they saw four angels clothed in white with Theodore. Julian ordered that they be immediately drowned. Theodore encouraged his former tormentors, then turned to Julian to preach the kerygma, which enraged the governor. He threatened to kill Theodore instantly, to which the saint responded that this was his desire and issued a prophesy against Julian. At that Julian ordered Theodore beheaded.
The governor then seized the treasure of the Church with the approbation of his nephew. He took with him his chief treasurer, Felix, and his private treasurer, Elpidius. They profaned the sacred vessels in an outrageous manner but their impieties did not go unpunished for long.
The next day he presented the emperor with an inventory of the booty and the news of Theodore's death. The emperor was displeased that any Christian should be put to death merely because of his religion and complained that this would give the Galileans reason to write against him and make a martyr of Theodore.
The governor was confounded by such a response and was seized with fear. For forty days the governor Julian languished with a disgusting affliction of his gastrointestinal system that could not be relieved by the best physicians. Finally, he pressed his wife to go and pray for him at the church and to seek the prayers of the Christians. He begged the emperor to restore to the Christians the churches that he had taken from them, but the emperor refused saying that his uncle had betrayed the gods. While the governor suffered indescribable torments, Theodore rested in the hands of God (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Blessed Thomas Thwing (Thweng) M (AC)
Born at Heworth in Yorkshire; died 1680; beatified in 1929. Thomas was educated at Douai and ordained in 1665. Thereafter, he returned to England, where he worked for 15 years on the Yorkshire mission. He was martyred at York for his alleged part in the Oates plot (Benedictines).
Verus of Salerno B (RM)
4th century. Third bishop of Salerno (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.