Saint Martin de Porres
Acepsimas of Cyrrhus, Hermit (AC)
5th century. A hermit who lived for 60 years in a cave near Cyrrhus, Syria, in the time of Theodosius I. He died shortly after his ordination to the priesthood (Benedictines).
Acheric and William, OSB (PC)
Died after 860. Saint Acheric and William were hermits, who later became monks in a monastery founded by Bidulph, archdeacon of Metz, in the Vosges mountains in the diocese of Strasbourg (Benedictines).
Blessed Alpais of Cudot V (AC)
Born in Cudot (diocese of Sens), France; died 1211; cultus confirmed by Pius IX in 1874. Alpais was born into a peasant family, she helped her parents in the fields until, still very young she became bedridden with leprosy. For a long time her only food was the Eucharist. Her patience and gentleness made a great impression on her contemporaries (Benedictines).
Amicus of Monte Cassino, OSB, Monk (AC)
Born near Camerino, Italy; died c. 1045; feast day formerly on November 2. Saint Amicus was a secular priest, then a hermit and finally a monk at Saint Peter's at Fonteavellana, founded by Saint Dominic of Sora in 1025 (not the one governed by Saint Peter Damian). Saint Peter's was a daughter-house of Monte Cassino; for this reason Saint Amicus is often called a monk of Monte Cassino, and was held in special veneration in that abbey (Benedictines).
Blessed Berthold of Engelberg, OSB Abbot (PC)
Died 1197. A monk of Engelberg, Switzerland, Berthold excelled as a transcriber of books. He became the third abbot of the monastery (1178). His memory is liturgically celebrated at Einsiedeln and Engelberg (Benedictines).
Cristiolus of Wales (AC)
7th century. Brother of Saint Sulian and founder of churches in Pembrokeshire and Anglesey (Benedictines).
Domnus of Vienne B (RM)
Died 527. Domnus succeeded Saint Desiderius the martyr in the bishopric of Vienne. He was most zealous in ransoming the captives taken in the incessant wars of that period (Benedictines).
Elerius of Wales (AC)
6th century. A Welsh saint, mentioned in the legends concerning Saint Winefred. He is supposed to have presided over a monastery in northern Wales (Benedictines).
Englatius of Scotland B (AC)
(also known as Englat, Tanglen)
Died 966. The Scottish Saint Englatius, said by some to have been a bishop, lived at Tarves in Aberdeenshire (Benedictines).
Florus of Lodève B (AC)
(also known as Flour)
Died 389. Saint Florus, first bishop of Lodève in Languedoc, France, has given his name to the town where his relics are enshrined. Saint Odilo an abbey on the site of his tomb, which later became the cathedral (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Gaudiosus of Tarazona B (AC)
Died c. 585. A monk of Asan in the Aragonese Pyrenees, near Benasque, under Saint Victorian. About the year 565 he was made bishop of Tarazona (not Tarragona) in the province of Saragossa (Benedictines).
Germanus, Theophilus, Caesareus, & Vitalis MM
Died 250. Martyrs of Caesarea in Cappadocia under Decius (Benedictines).
Guenhael of Landevenec, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 550. Guenhael, meaning "white angel," was born in Brittany and educated at Landevenec under Saint Winwaloë (Guenole). In due course he became abbot there (Benedictines).
Hermengaudius of Urgell B (RM)
(also known as Armengol)
Died 1035. Bishop of Urgell, in the Spanish Pyrenees, from 1010 until 1035. He built the cathedral and gave its canons a rule of life based on that of Saint Augustine (Benedictines).
Hubert of Liège B (RM)
Died at Tervueren (near Brussels), Belgium, May 30, 727. Nothing reliable is known about Saint Hubert before he became a cleric under Saint Lambert, whom he succeeded as bishop of Tongres-Maestricht.
In medieval times many saints derived both the pleasure of sport and some of their food from hunting. According to legend both Saint Eustace and Saint Hubert came upon a stag with a crucifix between its antlers. The stag's warning to Hubert was sterner than that to Saint Eustace, since Hubert had been hunting on Good Friday. Stopped in his tracks by the sight of the stag and crucifix, Hubert heard a voice warning him that unless he turned to Christ he was destined for hell.
This was in the forest of Ardenne. Hubert had been a courtier whose wife died giving birth to their son in the year 685. He retired from the service of Pepin of Heristal and became a priestly servant of Bishop Lambert. For 10 years Saint Lambert taught the future Saint Hubert self-discipline by making him live alone as a hermit in the forest.
Around 705 Lambert publicly criticized King Pepin for his adultery with the sister of his wife. The woman called on her brother and some other men to murder Lambert in the tiny village of Liège. Hubert was elected Lambert's successor.
Hubert courageously cherished the memory of Saint Lambert. Since the saint had been murdered at Liège, Hubert decided that his bones should not lie in the cathedral at Maestricht. He transferred them to Liège and also made that village the seat of his diocese. In consequence Liège grew to be a great city. There today Saint Lambert is regarded as patron of the diocese and Saint Hubert as patron and founder of the city.
In the 8th century, the forest of Ardenne was filled with men and women to whom the Gospel had never been preached. They worshipped idols. The saint assiduously worked to convert these people and destroy their pagan gods. He loved to go in procession through the fields, chanting Christian prayers and blessing the crops.
In 726, while fishing from a boat in the Meuse, he met with an accident that caused him much suffering, and he died fifteen months later, murmuring the Lord's Prayer on May 30, 727, while on a trip to consecrate a new church. His son succeeded him as bishop of Liège (Attwater, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia).
In art Hubert is represented as a huntsman adoring a stag with a crucifix in its horns. Variously, he may be shown (1) as a knight with a banner showing the stag's head and crucifix; (2) as a young courtier with two hounds; (3) kneeling in prayer, a hound before him; (4) kneeling before a stag as an angel brings him his stole; (5) as a bishop holding a stag with the crucifix on his book; (6) as a bishop with a hound, hunting horn, and stag with a crucifix (not to be confused with Germanus of Auxerre); (7) celebrating Mass as an angel brings him a scroll (very similar to the Mass of Saint Giles) (Roeder).
Hubert is the patron of hunters and trappers, metal-workers, and mathematicians (Roeder). It is believed that the 15th century legend of his conversion developed because he was regarded as a patron of hunters in Ardenne (Attwater).
Blessed Ida of Toggenburg, OSB (AC)
Born in 1156; died 1226. Ida married a Count Henry of Toggenburg, to whom she bore no children, and from whom she suffered much persecution. She escaped, and at last succeeded in obtaining her husband's consent to her becoming a nun in the Benedictine convent of Fieshingen (Benedictines). In art, Blessed Ida is portrayed as a nun reading by the lights which spring from antlers of a stag. She is sometimes shown (1) with the stag's horns aflame; (2) with a raven with a ring in its beak; (3) with a dove over her head; or (4) filling a tomb with food for the poor. She is venerated at Fieshingen and Toggenburg (Roeder).
Innumerable Martyrs of Saragossa (RM)
Died c. 304. An exceedingly large number of martyrs (the Roman Martyrology uses the phrase innumerabilis multitudo) put to death at Saragossa under Diocletian by the savage prefect Dacian, who had been sent to Spain to enforce the decrees and whose residence was at Saragossa. He published an edict banishing all Christians from the city, and while they were leaving he ordered the soldiers to fall upon and massacre them. There is still great popular devotion to these martyrs at Saragossa (Benedictines).
Malachy O'More B (RM)
(also known as Maolmhaodhog ua Morgair)
Born in Armagh, County, Down, Ireland, in 1094; died Clairvaux in 1148; canonized in 1190 by Pope Clement IV--the first papal canonization of an Irish saint; feast day in Ireland is November 4.
God, in His great goodness and mercy, has given us the Sacraments to strengthen us all our days--from our birth and rebirth in Baptism, to restoration in Reconciliation, to sustenance in the Eucharist, and ultimately fortification for the final journey through the Anointing of the Sick.
Our dear Lord has cared for us more tenderly than an earthly mother does her child--for His love is constant. But God uses the instruments of His holy priests to bring His Presence into the world in these life-giving Sacraments. Saint Malachy was known for his devotion to the Sacraments.
Saint Bernard honored Malachy and regarded him as a special friend. Saint Charles held him up before the eyes of his priests as a model in administering the Sacraments to the dying, for like that zealous pastor of souls, he sought out the needy in the remotest villages and cottages of his diocese, giving the holy sacraments to all alike and renewing the fervor of the people in receiving them.
Malachy was born Mael Maedoc Ua Morgair. His father's name was O'Morgair (Irish: Maol-Maodhog). He was a teacher in the schools of his native city. His father died in Limerick in 1102, when Malachy was seven. His mother, who brought up her son in the love and fear of God, was a most pious woman. Saint Bernard tells us:
"His parents, however, were great both by descent and in power, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth (2 Samuel 7:9). Moreover, his mother, more noble in mind than in blood, took pains at the very beginning of his way to show her child the ways of life: esteeming this knowledge of more value to him than the empty knowledge of the learning of this world. For both, however, he had aptitude in proportion to his age."
He first studied at the schools where his father had taught, making great progress in virtue and learning. After the death of his parents, wishing more perfectly to learn the art of dying to himself and living wholly for God, he put himself under the discipline of Eimar (Imar O'Hagan), a holy recluse in a cell near the cathedral.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux says of him: "He submitted himself to the rule of man, condemning himself while alive to the grave, that he might attain the true love of God. Not being like those who undertake to teach others what they have never learned themselves, seeking to gather and multiply scholars, without ever having been at school, becoming blind guides of the blind. His obedience as a disciple, his love of silence, his fervor in mortification and prayer, were the means and marks of his spiritual progress."
When he had learned himself, he persuaded his master to accept others to the same discipline, so that a large community grew up around the church at Armagh. The archbishop, Ceolloch, judged him worthy to receive Holy Orders and ordained him a priest at age 25, though the canonical age at that time was 30.
Before fulfilling his preaching mission, he was instructed by the 74-year-old Saint Malchus, the bishop of Waterford and Lismore. Malachy acted as a minister in his church at the same time.
Malachy's sister had become wayward after the death of their mother and he had sworn never to visit her while she lived in sin. At this time she died and, according to Saint Bernard, Malachy began seeing her spirit. He offered up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on hearing of her death. Some thirty days after having ceased to offer up the Mass for her:
"He heard in a dream by night the voice of one saying to him that his sister was standing outside in the courtyard, having tasted nothing for forty days. On awakening he soon realized the kind of food for want of which she was pining away."
So, his prayers and Masses for her soul continued. Soon he saw her at the threshold of the church; but clad in black. Later on he saw her clad in grey; within the church, but not allowed to the altar. At last she was seen a third time, with the throng of the white- robed and in apparel that shone (McNabb).
Ireland had been converted from paganism to Christianity in the 5th century. In the three succeeding centuries the land became the principal seat of learning in the whole of Europe. The great change was brought about during the period when the Roman Empire was breaking up, when invasions of pagan nations seized upon the greater part of Europe.
Ireland was remote and guarded by the seas: she was the only country not overrun. For at least 300 years students flocked from the continent to seek instruction in the science of the saints, as well as in secular learning, so that she became known as the "Island of Saints and Scholars." In the 9th century, however, the country was also invaded in turn by the Danes, who burned and sacked the monasteries doing irreparable damage.
The Normans followed these hordes of barbarians, ravaging on their way the maritime districts of England and Scotland. Nothing seemed to escape their depredations. The monks were put to the sword, the churches demolished, the precious libraries committed to the flames.
The result of this long oppression showed itself in later years by a great relaxation of piety and morals. Ignorance and vice succeeded the Christian virtues and knowledge. At the beginning of the 11th century the country had in some places, especially in the north and east, sunk back to its former paganism and ignorance, through the accumulation of so many evils.
The same thing happened in other parts of Europe, where the relics of paganism lingered, in remote places, even into modern times. The great abbey of Bangor, County Down, founded by Saint Comgall in 550, lay in a desolate condition. In the days of its glory as many as 3,000 monks were assembled at its schools. It was there that Saint Columban had studied; from there many others like him had gone forth to France and Italy, to set up religious houses and propagate the faith.
The archbishop appointed Malachy his vicar, sending him to preach the word of God to the people, to overcome superstition, to correct the many abuses that had grown up over the years. Like a flame amid the forest, he swept forward to burn out once more the noxious weeds, to plant in their place the belief and practice of the faith. He made regulations in ecclesiastical discipline and restored the recitation of the canonical hours, which had been omitted since the Danish invasions.
More than all else, he gave back the Sacraments to the common people, sending good priests among them to instruct the ignorant. He visited Lismore, where the bishop had a great reputation for sanctity and learning. Having learned all he needed and completed his plans, he returned to Armagh in 1123.
His uncle, a lay-abbot of the Abbey of Bangor, County Down, resigned the abbey to Malachy in the hopes that he might return it to regular observance. Malachy, however, in a spirit of humility that cause great objection, turned its lands and most of its revenues over to someone else.
With ten members of Eimar's community of hermits, he rebuilt the house and ruled it for a year, during which time miracles were attributed to him. At Bangor he established a seminary for priests, though the abbey never regained its former size or importance.
In all the monastic observances he was very zealous and a model to his priests. Soon after this great work, at age 30, Malachy was chosen to be bishop of the diocese of Down and Connor (Antrim). Malachy set about to lead the see's nominal Christians to a genuine devotion, searching them out on foot in their homes and fields to bring them to church.
He was now able to fill the diocese with well-instructed priests, who revived the fervor of the people; in fact, he renewed all things in Christ. In all his actions he breathed a spirit of patience and meekness; both priests and people followed his lead as with Saint Charles in later centuries.
When the Church was gaining ground again, establishing once more her rightful position, the secular princes made trouble in Ulster. The city of Connor was sacked; Malachy was obliged to flee with his community of monks first to Lismore and then to the Iveragh in Kerry. They made a settlement in the vicinity of Cork, which explains how Malachy came to be venerated there, too.
On April 1, 1129, Saint Ceolloch, age 50, died at Ardpatrick, Limerick. In a vision Saint Malachy saw a woman of great stature and reverend mien, who on being asked, said she was the Bride of Ceolloch. Then she gave to Malachy a bishop's staff and disappeared. A few days later Saint Malachy received from the dying Ceolloch a letter naming him archbishop of Armagh and sending him the bishop's staff, which Saint Malachy recognized as the staff given to him in the vision.
As in England then the secular arm had great power, often forcing unworthy men into positions of the Church to hold the revenues, causing many evils, more especially the neglect of the common people. Ceolloch's see had become hereditary over the years, and he wished to break that tradition by leaving it to Malachy. Saint Ceolloch's relatives, however, installed his cousin Murtagh. Malachy refused to make efforts to occupy the see.
Still delaying after three years, declining the promotion because he feared further bloodshed on the part of Ceolloch's kin, Malachy was threatened with excommunication if he refused the appointment. The Papal Legate Gillebert (Gilbert), who was also bishop of Limerick, and Malebus (Saint Malchus), bishop of Lismore, assembled a synod.
When told he must obey, Malachy submitted saying, "You drag me to death. I obey in the hopes of martyrdom, but on this condition: that if the business succeeds and God frees His heritage from those who are destroying it--all being then completed, and the Church at peace, I may be allowed to go back to my former bride and friend, poverty, and to put another in my place!"
In this way Malachy declared that he would stay only long enough to restore order, and he refused to enter the city or the cathedral, ruling from outside, because he did not wish to incite trouble by his presence. This condition was agree to and Malachy set north again for Ulster.
In 1134, Murtagh died, naming a layman Nigellus (Niall), Ceolloch's brother, as successor. The secular authorities refused to recognize the authority of the new archbishop. Both sides were supported by troops, and armed conflict broke out between the followers of the two, but Malachy finally obtained possession of his cathedral.
To give weight to his own authority Nigellus seized two precious relics from the cathedral, the Crozier of Saint Patrick, called the "staff of Jesus," made of gold studded with precious stones, and the Book of the Gospels, which had been handed down from the time of Ireland's patron saint. These men persecuted Saint Malachy, putting obstacles in his way at every turn.
Twelve of Nigellus's supporters were killed by lightning when they tried to surprise their adversaries during a thunderstorm. Two years after Malachy returned to Armagh his opponents invited him to a conference, and though the saint was warned of their evil designs, he went with a few companions to meet his rivals.
His mildness and courage disarmed his enemies; they who intended to threaten now rose up to do him honor. Peace was concluded between them; Nigellus was deposed, the relics restored, and the saint took possession of the see and its benefices. They happy event occurred in 1133, when Malachy was 38--five years after the death of the former incumbent.
Having rescued Armagh from oppression, restored discipline, and peace, Malachy insisted on resigning according to the covenant made, appointing a worthy prelate in his place. Though Down and Connor had been united in one diocese, they were again divided in 1137, the saint taking possession of his original see (in 1441 the two diocese were reunited).
As bishop of Down he established the community Ibracense, a congregation of Augustinian canons, with whom he lived. This community acted to spread the custom of following a regular way of life.
Now that more peaceful times blessed the country, our saint decided to make a journey to Rome; he wished to receive confirmation of the many works he had commenced, as well as to receive the pallium for the archbishop of Armagh and for another see to be created (Cashel), but had not received confirmation from Rome.
The next year the saint set out for Rome, passing through England visiting York, then a great center of learning, where he met Saint Waltheof of Kirkham, who gave him a horse. Then he crossed to France where he broke his journey at Clairvaux to visit Saint Bernard. The two saints became great friends. (Saint Bernard wrote Malachy's biography.)
Saint Malachy was so taken with all that he saw, with the wonderful spirit of piety and discipline of the monks, their large number, their order and peace, that he wished to remain there for good but the pope would not consent. Pope Innocent II received him with great honor; he confirmed all his work in Ireland, appointed him legate and promised to send the pallium to Armagh if they were applied for with all formality.
On his return journey, Malachy again visited Clairvaux, leaving some of his companions there to learn the way of life and the rule of the Cistercians. He would have them return later to establish the order in their own country. The order was afterward established at Mellifont (Millifont), County Louth, becoming the parent of many other houses.
Malachy took the shortest route to the north by way of Scotland, where he miraculously restored to health Henry, the son of King David (son of Saint Margaret). Malachy told the prince, "Be of good courage; you will not die this time," and sprinkled him with holy water. The following day the dangerously ill boy was well.
Arriving in Ireland again, he was welcomed by the people and priests as their father returned. As the newly-appointed legate, he discharged his office by holding synods and enforcing further regulations for abolishing abuses. Malachy continued to work many miracles on the sick and afflicted.
He added further to the abbey of Bangor, building a stone church similar to what he had seen on the continent. He repaired the cathedral at Down, which was famous for the joint tomb of Saints Patrick, Columkille, and Brigid.
The pope died before the pallia were sent. Two other popes were elected and died that year. Saint Malachy convened the bishops in a synod in 1148 and received from them a commission to make a fresh application to the Apostolic See to obtain pallia for the two metropolitans. Malachy set off to see Pope Eugenius III, who was in France. Slowed by the political strategies of King Stephen in England, by the time he reached France, the pope had returned to Rome.
On his second journey to Rome, he passed through Clairvaux a third time in 1148. As he approached the Alps in October, the weather was hot and sultry; he fell ill with a fever. He was given medical attention by the monks, who with Saint Bernard, loved him as a dear friend. As his fever grew worse, he told them that their pains were in vain because he would not recover. He demanded that he be taken downstairs to the church so that he might receive the last sacraments. He died in Saint Bernard's arms on November 2 at the age of 54.
The body of the saint was buried in the Lady Chapel at Clairvaux. Saint Bernard exchanged Saint Malachy's tunic for one of his own. Thereafter he wore this tunic of his dead friend whenever he chanted Mass on great feasts. At Malachy's Requiem, Saint Bernard used the post-Communion prayer for a Confessor Bishop, rather than for the dead--thus, one saint canonized another.
Many miracles were worked at the tomb in addition to the ones attributed to him as he walked the earth. Saint Bernard records some after saying, "his first and greatest miracle was himself. His inward beauty, strength, and purity are proved by his life; there was nothing in his behavior that could offend anyone."
Nevertheless, many are the recorded miracles wrought by Malachy. In Ivrea in the Piedmont, Italy, Malachy cured his host's child on his return from Rome. He exorcised two women in Coleraine, and another at Lismore. In Ulster a sick man was immediately cured by lying on the saint's bed. A sick baby was healed instantly in Leinster. In Saul, County Down, a woman whose madness was so great that she was tearing her limbs with her teeth was cured when he laid hands on her. At Antrim a dying man recovered the use of his tongue and his speech on receiving the holy Viaticum. A paralyzed boy was cured in Cashel and another near Munster. At Cork he raised from a sick bed one whom he named bishop of the city; in another unnamed place a notorious scold was cured when she made her first confession to Malachy. On an island where the fishermen had suffered for a lack of fish, he knelt by the shore and prayed--the fish returned.
He succeeded in replacing the Celtic liturgy with the Roman and is famous as a pioneer of Gregorian reform. His was the first papal canonization of an Irish saint.
When the first Cistercian pope, Blessed Eugenius III, asked his old abbot Saint Bernard for guidance as the pontiff, the holy doctor answered that he should study the life and follow the example of Saint Malachy:
"From the first day of his conversion to the last of his life he lived without personal possessions.
"He had neither manservants nor maidservants; nor villages nor hamlets; nor, in fact, any revenues, ecclesiastical or secular, even when he was bishop.
"There was nothing whatever assigned for his episcopal upkeep for he had not a house of his own. But he was always going about all the parishes, preaching the Gospel and living by the Gospel. . . . When
he went out to preach he was accompanied by others on foot; bishop and legate that he was he too went on foot. That is the apostolic rule; and it is the more to be admired in Malachy because it is too rare in others. . . .
"They lord it over the clergy--he made himself the servant of all.
"They either do not preach the Gospel and yet eat; or preach the Gospel in order to eat--Malachy imitating Paul, eats that he may preach the Gospel.
"They suppose that arrogance and gain are godliness--Malachy claims for himself by right only toil and a burden.
"They count themselves happy if they enlarge their borders--Malachy glories in enlarging charity.
"They gather into barns and fill the wine-jars that they may load their tables--Malachy foregathers men into deserts and solitudes that he may fill heaven.
"They though they receive tithes and first-fruits and oblations besides customs and tribute by the gift of Caesar and countless other revenues, nevertheless take counsel as to what they may eat and drink--Malachy having nothing enriches many out of the store- houses of faith.
"Of their desire and anxiety there is no end--Malachy, desiring nothing, knows not how to be solicitous for tomorrow.
"They exact from the poor that they may give to the rich--Malachy implores the rich to provide for the poor.
"They empty the purses of their subjects--he for their sins loads altars with vows and peace offerings.
"They build lofty palaces, raise towers and ramparts to the skies-- Malachy, not having whereon to lay his head, does the work of an evangelist.
"They ride on horses with a throng of men who eat bread for nought, and that is not theirs--Malachy girt around by a throng of holy brethren goes on foot bearing the bread of angels.
"They do not even know their congregation--he instructs them.
"They honor powerful men and tyrants--he punishes them.
"O apostolic man! whom so many and such striking signs of apostleship adorn. What wonder that he has wrought such wonder, being so great a wonder himself." --Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
What is known as the "Prophecy of Saint Malachy" consists of enigmatical oracles, taken from Scriptures, each of which is supposed to contain some reference to the pope from Celestine to the end of the world. The prophecy's symbolic terms are very accurate until 1590, but extremely vague thereafter, leading to the conclusion that it is a 16th forgery (Attwater, Delaney, Lawlor, Murray, White).
He is portrayed in art presenting an apple to a king, thus restoring his sight; or instructing a king in a cell (White).
Martin de Porres, OP (AC)
Born at Lima, Peru, on November 9, 1579; died November 3, 1639; beatified in 1837; canonized on May 5, 1962, by Pope John XXIII; feast day formerly November 5.
Martin was the illegitimate child of Juan de Porres, a Spanish knight (hidalgo) from Alcantara, and Anna Velasquez, a free Panamanian mullato. Martin inherited his mother's features and dark skin, which upset his father, but John acknowledged his paternity of Martin and his sister while neglecting them. He was left to the care of his mother, and at 12 he was apprenticed to a barber-surgeon, who taught him the healing arts.
Martin's prayer life was rich even in his youth. He had a deep devotion to the Passion of Our Lord, and continually prayed to know what he could do in gratitude for the immense blessings of redemption.
Deciding upon the religious life, at the age of 15, Martin received the habit of the Third Order of Saint Dominic and was admitted to the Dominican Rosary Convent at Lima as a servant. He gave himself the lowliest duties of the house. Finally, his superiors commanded him to accept the habit of a lay brother-- something Martin felt was too great an honor for him--and he was professed.
He served in several offices in the convent--barber, infirmarian, wardrobe keeper--as well as in the garden and as a counsellor. Soon Martin's reputation as a healer spread abroad. He nursed the sick of the city, including plague victims, regardless of race, and helped to found an orphanage and foundling hospital with other charities attached to them. He distributed the convent's alms of food (which he is said sometimes to have increased miraculously) to the poor. Martin especially ministered to the slaves that had been brought from Africa.
He cured as much through prayer as through his knowledge of the medical arts. Among the countless many whose cures were attributed to Martin were a priest dying from a badly infected leg and a young student whose fingers were so damaged in an accident that his hopes for ordination to the priesthood were nearly quenched.
Martin spent his nights in prayer and penance, and he experienced visions and ecstasies. In addition to these gifts, he was endowed with the gift of bilocation; he was seen in Mexico, Central America, and even Japan, by people who knew him well, whereas he had never physically been outside of Lima after entering the order. One time Martin was on a picnic with the novices and they lost track of time. Suddenly realizing that they would be late for their prayers, Martin had them join hands. Before they knew what happened, they found themselves standing in the monastery yard, unable to explain how they travelled several miles in a few seconds.
He passed through locked doors by some means known only to himself and God. In this way he appeared at the bedside of the sick without being asked and always soothed the sick even when he did not completely heal them.
Even sick animals came to Martin for healing. He demonstrated a great control of and care for animals--a care that apparently was inexplicable to the Spaniards--extending his love even to rats and mice, whose scavenging he excused on the grounds that they were hungry. He kept cats and dogs at his sister's house.
Great as his healing faculty was, Martin is probably best remembered for the legend of the rats. It is said that the prior, a reasonable man, objected to the rodents. He ordered Martin to set out poison for them. Martin obeyed, but was very sorry for the rats. He went out into the garden and called softly--and out came the rats. He reprimanded them for their bad habits, telling them about the poison. He further assured them that he would feed them every day in the garden, if they would refrain from annoying the prior. This they agreed upon. He dismissed the rodents and forever after, they never troubled the monastery.
His protege, Juan Vasquez Parra, reveals him to have been a practical and capable man, attending to details ranging from raising his sister's dowry in three days, to teaching Juan how to sow chamomile in the manured hoofprints of cattle. He was eminently practical in his charities, using carefully and methodically the money and goods he collected. He was consulted on delicate matters by persons of consequence in Lima.
Martin's close friends included Saint Rose of Lima and Blessed John Massias, who was a lay-brother at the Dominican priory of Saint Mary Magdalene in Lima. Although he referred to himself as a "mulatto dog," his community called him the "father of charity." They came to respect him so much that they accepted his spiritual direction, even though he was but a lay brother.
He died of quatrain fever at Rosary Convent on November 3. The Spanish viceroy, the count of Chinchón, came to kneel at his deathbed and ask his blessing. Martin was carried to his grave by prelates and noblemen.
The startling miracles, which caused Martin to be called a saint in his own lifetime, continue today at his intercession. He lived a life of almost constant prayer, and practiced remarkable austerities. He worked at hard and menial tasks without ever losing a moment of union with God. His charity, humility, and obedience were extraordinary--even for a saint. Such was the veneration for Martin that the canonical inquiry into his cause was begun in 1660 (Attwater, Cavallini, Delaney, Dorcy, Farmer, Walsh, White).
He is the patron saint of interracial relations (because of his universal charity to all men), social justice, public education, and television in Peru, Spanish trade unionists (due to injustices workers have suffered), Peru's public health service, people of mixed race, and Italian barbers and hairdressers (White).
12th century. Oda was a young girl of a noble family who, indeed, bore about her the "odor of God" (Encyclopedia).
Papulus of Toulouse M (AC)
(also known as Papoul)
Died c. 300. Saint Papulus, a priest who worked as a missionary under Saint Saturninus in southern France, was martyred like him under Diocletian. His shrine is at Toulouse, but a church and abbey were built and enlarged by Blessed Charlemagne, on the site of his martyrdom. The town is now called Saint-Papoul (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Blessed Peter-Francis Néron M (AC)
Born in Bornay, Jura; died 1860; beatified in 1919. Peter-Francis was admitted into the seminary of Foreign Missions of Paris (1846), ordained priest (1848), and sent to Hong Kong. He worked in west Tonkin as director of the central seminary until his martyrdom by beheading (Benedictines).
Pirminius of Reichenau, OSB B (RM)
(also known as Pirmin)
Born in Aragon. Died 753. Pirmin was born in southern Aragon and became a monk at an unnamed monastery. When the Saracens invaded Spain, he fled, and travelled as far as the Rhineland where he established several abbeys--Reichenau, Amorbach, and Murbach--and restored others, notably Dissentis (Switzerland) in 711, introducing into them all the Benedictine Rule. In 724, he founded and began his rule as abbot of Reichenau for which he acquired 50 books. Amorbach and Murbach were founded when he was exiled to Alsace for political reasons. He was ordained by the pope a chorepiscopus, or regionary bishop, but he was never bishop of Meaux. He is one of the great Benedictine apostles in German lands. It is believed that he may have authored the Dicta Pirmini, which enjoyed popularity as a book of theology and ethics against superstition (Benedictines, Farmer). In art, Saint Pirmin is depicted as a monk with three dead snakes before him. Sometimes he is shown walking with Count Sintlatz on the island of Reichenau while the abbey is being built. He is invoked against snakes and vermin (Roeder).
1st century. The disciple of the apostles whom Saint Paul (Rom. 16:23) mentions as "greeting the Christians of Rome." Some traditions describe Quartus as one of the 72 disciples (Luke 10), others add that he was a bishop of Bayreuth (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Raynerius of Arezzo, OFM (AC)
(also known as Rasini or Raniero Mariani)
Born at Arezzo, Italy; died at Borgo Sansepolero, 1304; cultus confirmed in 1802. Blessed Raniero Mariani was a Franciscan lay- brother (Benedictines). He is portrayed as a Franciscan with beads appearing to a sleeping cardinal and pointing to a jar of balm. Venerated at Borgo San Sepolcro (Roeder).
Rumwald of Brackley (AC)
(also known as Rumwold or Rumbald of Buckingham)
Born at Sutton (King's Sutton, Northants); date unknown; feast day at Brackley was August 28 (probably the date of the translation of his relics). Saint Rumwald, whose shrine existed at Buckingham before the Norman Conquest, was said to be the maternal grandson of King Penda of Mercia and the son of a pagan prince of Northumbria. His 11th-century legend relates that, in 650, the 3-day-old prince pronounced the creed aloud immediately after his baptism, preached a sermon on the Holy Trinity and the need for virtuous living, and then died.
The year following his death, his relics were moved by Bishop Widerin (who had baptized him) to Brackley in Northamptonshire. Two years later, his bones were again translated to Buckingham. At one time Rumwald was honored with a cultus, chiefly in Northantshire and Buckingham. He was also revered at monasteries in Mercia, Wessex, and Sweden; however, his name is omitted from monastic calendars after 1100. Churches were dedicated to his memory in Kent, Essex, Northantshire, Lincolnshire, Dorset, and North Yorkshire (where there is also a Romaldkirk). The well of Saint Rumwald survives at Alstrop, Northantshire (Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).
In art he is shown in the midst of this miraculous act (Roeder). A statue of Rumwald at Boxley in Kent was destroyed during the Reformation. He is invoked by the fishermen of Folkestone as their patron (Farmer).
Blessed Simon Ballachi, OP (AC)
Born at Sant'Arcangelo near Rimini, Italy, 1250; died November 3, 1319; declared blessed in 1817 (cultus confirmed in 1821?).
The son of Count Ballachi, nephew of two archbishops of Rimini, and brother of a priest, Simon Ballachi became a Dominican lay-brother at age 27. His family was none too happy about this decision because he was supposed to administer the family property and had been trained as a soldier. They couldn't understand why he would abandon the many opportunities life had provided for him. Not only was he throwing away a prestigious position in society, he was not even becoming a priest, which would provide him with a chance for ecclesiastical preferences.
Oblivious to the criticism of his family, Simon readily undertook the life of a lay brother. His principal work, to his great delight, was tending the garden. Having been preoccupied with military training, Simon may never have seen a garden prior to entering the Dominicans. He probably had to learn all the details of the art by trial and error.
But while he tended the friary garden, he continued to plant prayers for his soul. He was adept at seeing God in everything. It is written that he meditated on every act, "so that, while his hands cultivated the herbs and flowers of the earth, his heart might be a paradise of sweet-smelling flowers in the sight of God." He tried to find in everything he handled in the garden some lesson it could teach him about the spiritual life. When the weather was too bad for him to work outside, he swept and cleaned the monastery. Wherever his work took him, he tried to do it well and to efface himself completely, so that no one would even notice that he was there.
Under the placid exterior of a gardener, Simon concealed a spiritual life of extraordinary austerity and prayer. He worked hard during the day yet he never excused himself from rising for the night office, nor from severe penance. For 20 years he wore an iron chain around his waist. In Lent, he lived on bread and water. He found extra time for prayer by foregoing sleep. Like Saint Dominic, he scourged himself every night. Of course, all this growth in holiness attracted the devil, who would attempt to distract Simon.
Other visitors came to him in the silence of the night: Saint Catherine of Alexandria, to whom he had a special devotion, Saint Dominic and Saint Peter Martyr, and sometimes the Blessed Virgin herself. His little cell was radiant with heavenly lights, and sometimes angelic voices could be heard within.
Simon was blinded at age 57 and became helpless for the last years of his life, yet he never despaired (Benedictines, Dorcy).
Sylvia of Rome, Widow (RM)
(also known as Silvia)
Died c. 572. Like all expectant mothers heavy with child--Sylvia was expecting the great event, greater than a hurricane or a revolution, the supreme phenomenon, the most extraordinary, historical, magical, wonderful, fundamental event--great by the miracle of man and great by the grace of God.
For what do we know about Saint Sylvia? That she was the mother of Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church.
Aren't we to a great extent what our ancestors have made us, a reincarnation (so to speak) of their flesh, a reflection of their thought? How often have I felt the throb of some distant echo, some call from ancient times, or sensed deep in the marrow of my bones the naked footstep of some Celtic ancestor or the raucous cry of a Mongol horseman, or glimpsed the furtive shadow of some pagan or primatial ancestor, as if my whole life were made up of fragments of lives that were lived thousands of years ago.
A man is what he brings into the world. Racine? The author of Andromaque. Silvia? The mother of Saint Gregory.
What sudden emotion to feel everything germinating, everything connecting with the vast and mysterious workings of the universe! Yesterday still only a girl, but from now on a leading character on the stage of life. Yesterday young and charming love, sweet nothings, carefree days, and then suddenly "crossing the line" and entering another world--something unknown, like a bird from strange islands, like the flutter of a palm tree in the desert, a whole new feeling of life, a mysterious dance, a new wine . . . a quickening in the womb, a son in the flesh.
To bear a child . . . as God bears mankind. In her womb and in her mind, Sylvia feels responsible for her child. Her mission is not just to give birth to the child but to compose the whole life of the man: his body and soul, she will devote herself completely to him--for if the mother gives birth to the body, does she not also wish to influence the soul? She dreams about him while giving him her breast, she shapes him, she gives him form with all the "desires" of her body and all the charms of her soul."
And so for nine months Sylvia waited and planned.
The child was to be a boy, no doubt about that--though she cherished her whole family, it was the son that stood out. She's already seen him: a vision, a positive, creative vision. Will he be a senator, like his father Gordian, a consul, the emperor? Will he be pope? A saint? There is no limit to the imagination of a mother.
Now all this took place in Rome in AD 540. Vigilius was pope and Vetegis was emperor--but who knows anything about them? It was a world still in transition. On one side were the invasions, on the other were the heresies. The child did brilliantly in his studies. He received a fine Latin education that would serve to rule men and defend dogmas. Already she saw him wearing the tri-colored toga of a Roman praetor.
But of what importance is the toga of man when compared with the robe of God? Suddenly Gregory divested himself of all his responsibilities and wealth and became a monk. The six villas that he owned in Sicily he turned into six monasteries. He was 35. And Sylvia felt in her body that the whole delicate structure of history was trembling.
There was a plague and the pope died. Sylvia decided that the next pope was to be Gregory. In vain did he refuse, escape from Rome in a wicker basket, hide in the forests and Pontine marshes. In the end of course he was found--or betrayed--and with great rejoicing brought back to the fold, where on Sept. 3, 590, he was consecrated pope. Gregory was pope, and Sylvia had been his prophet. "I have lost all the pleasures of peace," he murmured.
It was to be an heroic pontificate. The Lombards, who were devastating Italy, had to be checked. The emperor in Constantinople had to be confronted. Gregory wrote several works (particularly the Morals), reformed the Church, brought the Arian Visigoths back to the true faith, and evangelized England.
It was he who invented the phrase: Servant of the servants of God. His most characteristic victory was to stamp out the heresy of Eutyches, the patriarch of Constantinople, who maintained that the resurrection of the body would take place in a subtle form, in an ethereal flesh. Gregory replied that we will be resurrected in flesh and blood, as literally palpable as was the body of Christ to Saint Thomas.
"I shall be clothed again with my flesh," says the Book of Job, and at the Last Supper Jesus said: "This is my Body." One of the most moving aspects of the Catholic faith is the dominion of the body, semi-incorruptible and eternal.
By the time Gregory became pope, Sylvia had already entered a convent and her husband had become a priest--simultaneously, like twins. It was a time when Christianity was flourishing and it was the fashionable thing to do. But Sylvia's role had been consummated. The mother blended, merged, and rejoiced with the son (from the Encyclopedia).
Over her former house on the Coelian Hill in Rome a chapel was built in her honor (Benedictines).
Valentine and Hilary MM (RM)
Died c. 304. Saint Valerian, a priest, and his deacon, Saint Hilary, were beheaded at Viterbo, near Rome, under Diocletian (Benedictines).
Valentinian of Salerno B (AC)
Died c. 500. Bishop of Salerno in southern Italy (Benedictines).
Vulganius of Arras, OSB Hermit (AC)
(also known as Wulganus, Vulmar)
Died c. 704. Saint Vulganius was an Irishman, Welshman, or Englishman (according to a manuscript at Lens he was born at Canterbury) who crossed over to France and evangelized the Atrebati. Finally he lived as a hermit at Arras, under the obedience of the abbot of Saint Vedast. Some refer to him as a bishop. A portion of his relics are kept at the abbey of Liesse, others at Lens (near Douai) of which he is patron. A claim was made that his body rested at Christ Church in Canterbury "in a chest on the beam beyond the altar of Saint Stephen." (Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).
Winifred VM (RM)
(also known as Winefride, Wenefrida, Gwenfrewi, Guinevra)
Died c. 680. Winifred is evidently an historical personage, but it is equally true that her true story can no longer be reconstructed because the written information is too late and fanciful to be reliable.
Throughout the time of the persecution of Roman Catholics in England, miracles were wrought for the faithful who held tenaciously to the belief in miracles. Many cures were worked through the prayers of Saint Winefred at her tomb.
Winefred was the daughter of Trevith, one of the chief advisers of the king of North Wales. Through her mother she is related to the Welsh saint Beuno, a holy priest. Her parents put her under instruction with this holy man, from whom she learned the heavenly doctrine with great eagerness.
She grew daily in virtue and desired to shun all earthly things so that she might devote herself entirely to God. With the consent of her parents, she consecrated herself entirely to God by a vow of virginity, choosing Jesus Christ as her Spouse.
Tradition says that a prince of that country named Caradoc (Caradog of Hawarden or Penarlag or Tegeingl in Flintshire) fell violently in love with her. One day finding her alone in the house where she was preparing things for use at the altar, her parents having already gone to Mass, he tried to seduce her. Winefred told him she was already espoused to another, but he would not leave her alone.
Sensing his evil designs she excused herself on the plea that she must first adorn herself more becomingly. When she was free of him she escaped through her own chamber at the rear of the house and fled toward the church with all speed. The prince, tired of waiting and suspecting some kind of deceit, looking out of the house saw a figure hurrying along the valley.
Violently angry at being deceived, he mounted his horse but was not able to overtake Winefred until she reached the door of the church. He was so angry that he raised his sword and struck her before she could enter. Hearing the tumult outside, Saint Beuno and her parents came out immediately, to find their dying child lying slain before them at their feet.
The saint cursed the slayer, some writers saying that the ground opened and swallowed him up. The saint then praying to God, restored Winefred to life again. It was on this spot where her blood had flowed that a fountain gushed forth from the ground. On account of this blood-shedding she was always regarded as a martyr, though she lived for many years thereafter.
The spot became known as Holywell, a place of pilgrimage for many succeeding ages, even to the present. After the death of Saint Beuno, having taken the veil, Saint Winefred went to live at the convent she established at Guthurin (Gwytherin in Denbigshire); there, with other holy virgins, she gave her life to God. (Another version says she succeeded Abbess Tenoi at the convent of a double monastery already on the site.)
She died on June 24. In the 12th century (1138), her relics were taken from Guthurin to Shrewsbury and deposited with great honor in the Benedictine Abbey, founded there some 50 years earlier. Her cultus spread to England as well. Miracles were attested at Guthurin, Shrewsbury, as well as at Holywell (a.k.a. Treffynnon, Welltown).
Her story was recorded by a monk named Elerius as early as 660. It can be safely said, however, from the names of her contemporaries, that she lived and died in the first half of the 7th century, about the same time as Saint Eanswith of Kent (Murray).
At Holywell such vast quantities of water spring without interruption that it is estimated 24 tons are raised every minute, or 240 tons in less than 10 minutes. The water is always clear as crystal.
In 1131 the Cistercians founded a monastery at Basingwerk nearby, which was enriched by Henry II. At that time the monks probably had charge of the well, though the spot was a place of pilgrimage long before that time.
No place was more famous for pilgrimages in the age of faith, where the divine mercy was implored through the intercession of Saint Winefred, who at that spot had glorified God and sanctified her own soul.
Many extraordinary physical cures of leprosy, skin diseases, and other ailments are recorded up to the time of the Reformation. Many authentic records of cures during the 17th century are also extant, so that the people still made pilgrimages there.
Part of the beautiful Gothic building erected by Henry VII and his mother, the Countess of Derby, still remains. The people never forgot this holy place or the saint whom they invoked. During the last century the pilgrimages were revived. There is now a beautiful Catholic church adjoining the well.
In his diary, Wilfrid Blunt (a well-known Catholic from the 1800's) tells us what he witnessed at Holywell. "Three men were being passed through the water, a priest was reciting the 'Hail Marys' and at the end of each, the name of Saint Winefred--this in an unbelieving age--miraculous! There were lighted candles and flowers and the fervor of these naked men (one a mere bag of skin and bone) was tremendous. In the dim light of a foggy day, nothing at all congruous to the 19th century was visible. It was a thing wholly of the Middle Ages--magnificent, touching" (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Metcalf, Murray).
Pilgrimages to Saint Winefred's Well persisted after the Reformation, and they do to this day. Two poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins are devoted to this saint.
There is evidence that the abbot Saint Beuno was a man of importance, but is story, too, as written in 1346, is legendary. His name is particularly associated with Clynnog in Caernarvonshire, where sick people were still brought to his supposed burying-place towards the end of the 18th century. He may well have had a small monastery there (Attwater).
In art Winefred is depicted as a Celtic maiden with a sword, fountain at her feet, and red ring around her neck where her head has been severed and restored. Sometimes she is shown with her head being restored by Saint Beuno, at others as an abbess with a ring around her neck, standing near the fountain (Roeder).
She is venerated at Holywell, Wales. Reputed as abbess of Gwytherin, Denbighshire. Saint Beuno, Abbot, is chiefly venerated at Clynnog, Carnarvonshire (d. 630, AC April 21).
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.