St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

October 31

Ampliatus, Urban & Narcissus MM (RM)
1st century. Saint Paul mentions these three saints in Romans 16:8ff. Later, chiefly Greek, traditions have made Ampliatus a bishop, and all three disciples of our Lord, and preachers of the Gospel with Saint Andrew in the Balkan countries. The Roman Martyrology adds "they were slain by Jews and Gentiles" (Benedictines).


Antoninus Fontana B (RM)
Died 660. He was archbishop of Milan for one year. In 1581, Saint Charles Borromeo enshrined his relics beneath a magnificent altar in the church of Saint Simplician (Benedictines).


Arnulfus of Novalese, OSB M (AC)
Died after 840. A monk of Novalese, in the Piedmont, Arnulfus was put to death by the Saracens (Benedictines).


Bega V (AC)
(also known as Begh, Begha, Begu, Bee)

Died in Cumberland, 681; see also Bega. This is another of those problematic saints, mixing fact and fiction and, perhaps, the stories of more than one person of the same name. One Bega is Irish; the other Anglo-Saxon. As always, there appears to be some basis for the stories, but it is impossible to sort or determine to whom each element of the story relates. So, I give you what each of the sources has said.

The Irish maiden Saint Bega, in legend a princess, fled on the eve of her marriage to a son of the king of Norway with a miraculous bracelet presented by an angel as a token of her betrothal to Jesus. She was miraculously transported across the Irish Sea to Cumberland, England.

She lived as a hermit for a while but on the advice of King Saint Oswald, she received the veil from Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne. Thereafter she founded a convent on the promontory of Saint Bee's Head (Copeland), in Cumberland, which flourished for 900 years with grants from Kings Saint Oswald, Saint Oswin, and others. As an abbess, she was venerated for her aid to the poor and the oppressed. The abbey still perpetuates her memory, as does also the name of the village, Kilbees, in Scotland.

Two other saints of the same name are mentioned by hagiographers in Yorkshire and an abbess at Kilbees. An Anglo-Saxon nun, called Heiu or Begu, was also professed by Saint Aidan. According to Saint Bede, she abdicated her abbacy of Hartlepool Abbey in favor of the royal princess Saint Hilda. He also notes that while Begu was novice mistress in another convent, she saw a vision of her beloved Hilda, surrounded by heavenly light, ascend to heaven as the bells tolled to call the sisters to prayer. The community was immediately gathered in the chapel to pray for the repose of Hilda's soul. The following morning messengers arrived was the news of the death of the abbess of Whitby.

About 1125, the monks of Whitby sought relics to replace those of Hilda, who had been translated to Glastonbury (they possessed those of Saint Caedmon, but few were interested in him). Through a supposed revelation, a sarcophagus was found at Harkness with the inscription Hoc est sepulchrum Begu and its contents transferred to Whitby, where miracles were reported.

The origin of the name of the village of Kilbees and headland on the coast of Cumberland is a matter of uncertainty. It seems more likely that they are named after the Irish Bega than after either of the two 7th century Northumbrian nuns, Begu and Heiu, mentioned by Bede. There is a medieval legend that oaths sworn on her bracelet were accepted without further question (Attwater, Benedictines, D'Arcy, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Montague, Moran).


Blessed Christopher of Romagnola, OFM (AC)
Born c. 1172; died at Cahors, Gascony, 1272; cultus approved in 1905. Christopher was a parish priest in the diocese of Cesena, who resigned his office, and joined Saint Francis of Assisi. He was sent to establish the order in Gascony, where he died (Benedictines).


Erth of Cornwall (AC)
(also known as Erc, Ercus, Herygh, Urith of Cornwall or Slane)

Died c. 512; feast in Ireland is November 2. Saint Erth, the brother of Saint Uny and Saint Ia (Ives), was the only person to give homage to Saint Patrick during the latter's confrontation with the druids on the Hill of Slane. Patrick later ordained him a priest and bishop. A distich ascribed to Saint Patrick relates:

"Bishop Erc,
Whatever he judged was rightly judged:
Whosoever gives a just judgment
Shall receive the blessing of bishop Erc."

Erth is said to have trained the young Saint Brendan the Navigator at his church in Tralee. Saint Erth is also responsible for establishing the famous school at Slane, where King Dagobert II is said to have received his early education. The 12th-century martyrology of Gorman calls him 'Erc of Slane, bishop of Lilcach and from Ferta Fer Feic beside Sid Truim from the West.' He apparently crossed from Ireland to Cornwall, where a church and the village of Saint Erth are dedicated under his patronage (Benedictines, Farmer, Montague).


Foillan of Fosses, OSB Abbot (RM)
(also known as Faillan)

Born in Ireland; died in Belgium, c. 655. Among the brothers of Saint Fursey were Foillan and Saint Ultan, who went to England with Fursey about 630. There they built a monastery at Burgh Castle in Suffolk near Yarmouth, and were missionary monks under him among the East Angles. When Fursey departed for Gaul, Foillan succeeded him as abbot, but the destruction of their monastery and the depredations of the Mercians under Penda, drove Foillan and Ultan to follow their brother across the sea.

They were welcomed to Neustria by King Clovis II. Abbess Blessed Ida of Nivelles gave Foillan land at Fosses, Belgium, where he set up a monastery and did missionary work among the Brabanters of the surrounding country, on whom he made a lasting impression.

He kept up close relations with Saint Gertrude's establishment at Nivelles, and this was the occasion of his untimely end: It was when returning from saying Mass at Nivelles that he was set upon by robbers in the forest of Seneffe and murdered with three companions. Their bodies were not found until nearly three months later.

Ultan succeeded Foillan as abbot of Fosses, and he too was revered as a saint.

In September every seventh year at Fosses, there is a spectacular procession, called the March of Foillan, to honor the saint. Foillan's relics are honored by an official mounted guard and salutes are fired seven times along the route of the procession. (Attwater, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Montague).

Foillan is depicted as a bishop with two armed men under his feet. Sometimes he is shown (1) refusing the cup at the table of Pepin; (2) carrying hot coals in his vestment for incense; (3) praying before the church while the city burns; (4) kneeling, pierced by a spear; (5) beaten with a club; or (6) with sword and palm (Roeder).

Foillan is the patron of children's nurses, dentists, surgeons, and truss-makers (Roeder). He is widely honored in both Ireland and northern France (Montague).


Notburga of Cologne, OSB V (AC)
(also known as Noitburgis)

Died c. 714. Notburga, the daughter of Dagobert I, became a Benedictine nun in the convent of Saint Mary in Cologne (Benedictines). In art she is depicted as a princess with one arm missing and a snake in her right hand. Venerated at Hochausen (Baden, Germany) (Roeder). (This may be a different Notburga.)


Quentin of Amiens M (RM)
(also known as Quintinus)

Died 287. When we read the lives of the martyrs who offered their lives as a testimony to a grateful heart--a heart that humbly acknowledges the sacrifice of our Lord for a sinner--we are forced to question our own lives. Are we witnesses to God's infinite love at least by lives of self-denial, humility, and self-giving? We may never be called to shed our blood, but what about our time, talent, and treasure?

According to legend Quentin was a Roman, the son of Zeno of senatorial rank. It is said that filled with apostolic zeal, Quentin travelled to Gaul as a missionary with Saint Lucian of Beauvais. Quentin settled at Amiens in Picardy, while Lucian continued to Beauvais, where he won the martyr's crown.

By his multitudinous prayers and continuous hounding of heaven, Quentin wrought many miracles that confirmed the truth of the Gospel he preached among the heathen. He was so successful in preaching that he was imprisoned by Prefect Rictovarus (Rictius Varus), who had travelled there from Trier. Quentin was manacled, tortured repeatedly, and thrown into a dungeon. When Rictovarus left Amiens, he commanded Quentin to be brought to Augusta Veromanduorum (later Somme, now St-Quentin), through which Rictovarus would pass upon his return to Trier. Here Quentin was again tortured, beheaded, and thrown into (or drowned in) the River Somme.

The body was recovered by Christians several days later and buried on a mountainside. One-half century later, it was discovered by a devout woman named Eusebia. A blind women recovered her sight by the sacred relics. During the reign of Julian the Apostate, the place of his burial was again lost to memory, though a chapel which was built near it remained. When Saint Eligius found the relics in 641 after a concerted effort, he distributed the nails with which Quentin's body had been pierced, as well as the saint's teeth and hair. The remainder Eligius placed in a rich shrine made by his own hands. This was placed behind the high altar at Noyon. The relics have been translated several times since then and are now kept in Laon.

There is no doubt that he is a historical person; however, his story has been much embellished (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

He is shown as a young man with two spits (1) as a deacon; (2) with a broken wheel; (3) with a chair to which he is transfixed; (4) with a sword; or (5) beheaded, a dove flying from his severed head. He is venerated at Amiens. Patron of bombardiers, chaplains, locksmiths, porters, tailors, and surgeons. Invoked against coughs, sneezes, and dropsy (Roeder).


Stachys of Byzantius B (RM)
1st century. Stachys was the Christian saluted by Saint Paul (Rom. 16:9) as "my beloved." The tradition is that Saint Andrew consecrated him bishop of Byzantium (Benedictines).


Blessed Thomas Bellaci, OFM
Born in Florence, Italy, in 1370; died in 1447; cultus approved 1771. Thomas joined the Franciscan friary at nearby Fiesole, where, though only a lay-brother, he was made novice master. Later he worked successfully to introduce the Franciscan Observance into Corsica and southern Italy, and combatted the condemned Fraticelli in Tuscany. When over 70, he went to preach in Syria and Abyssinia where, to his sorrow, he narrowly escaped martyrdom by the Islamics (Benedictines).


Wolfgang of Ratisbon, OSB B (RM)
(also known as Wolfgang of Regensburg)

Born in Swabia (Germany) c. 925; died at Puppingen near Linz (Austria) in 994; canonized 1052 by Pope Leo IX.

As a little boy, Wolfgang was taught by a friendly priest. Thereafter, he was sent to the abbey of Reichenau on Lake Constanz to continue his schooling. There he became the best friend of a young nobleman named Henry whose elder brother Poppo was bishop of Würzburg. The bishop set up a great school there, employing a brilliant Italian named Stefano of Novara to teach in it, and Henry persuaded Wolfgang to journey with him to study at the Italian's feet.

Wolfgang was incomparably the better pupil, though both young men were devout. After finishing his formal studies, Wolfgang taught at the school. When, in 956, Henry was made archbishop of Trier (Trèves), he asked Wolfgang to go there with him to teach in the cathedral school. In Trier, Wolfgang met the reforming monk, Saint Rambold, and Wolfgang joined Henry in his efforts to strengthen the faith of the see.

Henry died in the year 964. Wolfgang had stayed by his side faithfully, but now left Trier to become a Benedictine monk at Einsiedeln. The abbot, an English Benedictine named George, soon saw that he had with him a teacher of genius, and he put Wolfgang in charge of the abbey school. It became the best in the land.

In 971, Wolfgang was ordained to the priesthood by Saint Ulric, after which he engaged in a short and discouraging mission in Pannonia (Hungary). But the Emperor Otto II recognized his worth, and, upon the recommendation of Saint Rambold, named Wolfgang to fill the vacant see of Regensburg. Although Wolfgang would have preferred to retire to his monastery, he was taken to the emperor at Frankfurt and invested in the temporalities. On Christmas Day 972 he was consecrated bishop of the city over which he presided until his death.

He at once initiated a reform of the clergy and the monasteries in his diocese, including two disorderly convents. He encouraged the canons to return to a regular life. One of the sources of revenue for the see was the abbey of Saint Emmeram at Regensburg, which the bishops held in commendam, with the usual bad results. Wolfgang restored ts autonomy and made Rambold its abbot.

Saint Wolfgang earned the love of his people. He continued to preach widely and vigorously. Known for his generosity to the poor, he became known as "Eleemosynarius Major" (the "Great Almoner"). He never abandoned his monastic habits. On one occasion he attempted to leave his see in order to seek a life as a hermit but was compelled to return by popular demand. He ceded part of his see in Bohemia to set up a new diocese--Prague.

He also earned the respect of the imperial court. He accompanied the emperor on a trip to France. He was for a time tutor to the future emperor, Saint Henry II of Bavaria.

Wolfgang became ill while travelling down the Danube into Lower Austria and died at a little place called Puppingen, not far from Linz (Attwater, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Walsh, White).

In art Saint Wolfgang is portrayed as a bishop with a hatchet and model cathedral. Sometimes he is shown (1) with the little emperor (Henry II) near him with words 'post sex' over him; (2) with the devil who holds the book while Wolfgang reads the Gospel; (3) building the church of Saint Wolfgang, Regensburg; (4) giving alms; (5) tormented by devils; or (6) striking a fountain from the ground with his crosier (Roeder, White); or (7) praying for a miracle (by Michael Pacher).

Patron of carpenters, shepherds, woodsmen. Invoked against gout, hemorrhage, lameness, stomach troubles, and wolves (Roeder).



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.