Achillas of Alexandria B (RM)
Died 313. Saint Achillas, successor to Bishop Saint Peter of Alexandria, Egypt, ordained to the priesthood the man who afterwards became world famous as the heresiarch Arius. Saint Athanasius praised Achillas for the purity of his doctrine when he maligned by the party of Meletius (Benedictines).
Patron of Saint-Amandin (Cantal) and of a church in Clermont- Ferrand, but for reasons that have been lost (Encyclopedia).
Amarand of Albi, OSB B (AC)
Died after 700. Saint Amarand, abbot of Moissac, was raised to the see of of Albi, France, sometime between 689 and 722 (Benedictines).
Amaranthus of Albi M (RM)
3rd century. Saint Gregory of Tours attests to the martyrdom of Saint Amaranthus, who is venerated at Albi in southern France. Nothing further is known about him (Benedictines).
Blessed Antony Baldinucci, SJ (AC)
Born in Florence, Italy, 1665; died 1717; beatified in 1893. After becoming a Jesuit in 1681, Antony evangelized the area of Colli Albani near Rome. He used very unconventional methods of preaching and calling people to penance (Benedictines).
Auctus, Taurion & Thessalonica MM (RM)
Dates unknown. All that is known is that this trio was martyred at Amphipolis in Macedonia (Benedictines).
Blinlivet of Quimperlé B (AC)
(also known as Blevileguetus)
9th century. Before the death of Blinlivet, 25th bishop of Vannes, Brittany, he resigned and became a monk at Quimperlé (Benedictines).
Congar, Monk (AC)
(also known as Cumgar, Cyngar, Docuinus, Doguinus)
Born in Wales or Devon, England (?); 6th or 8th century (?). Saint Congar is another of those difficult saints to identify. Farmer identifies two others by the same name. The one he lists for November 27 appears to be identical to the Congar described by others for today, so this entry may be very confused--corrections are welcome. He founded monasteries at Budgworth, Congresbury (Somerset), and at Llangonys (Glamorgan)--or was this Farmer's Congar of November 27? The name Congar seems to have been later corrupted into Oue and Kew. Cumgar was buried at Congresbury, to which town he has given his name (though this may be the Congar with the feast on November 27). His feast was kept at Llangefni (Anglesey) and Hope, formerly known as Llangyngar, of which he is patron. Near Criccieth (Gwynedd) there is an Ynys Gyngar (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer).
Engelbert of Cologne BM (RM)
Born at Berg, Germany, c. 1187; died near Schwelm, 1225. Engelbert was the son of the count of Berg. While still a boy studying at the Cathedral school at Cologne, he received several ecclesiastic benefices through family influence.
The future saint was excommunicated either for threatening Emperor Otto IV with armed violence or for taking unlawful possession of benefices. After he joined the crusade against the Albigensians, the excommunication was lifted. Shortly thereafter he was appointed archbishop of Cologne in 1217 (about age 30).
Engelbert's life was chiefly taken up with secular affairs of state, and he would hardly have received a saint's cultus had it not been for the circumstances of his death. He did, however, rule his see well, restored clerical discipline, brought Franciscans and Dominicans into the diocese, held regular synods, encouraged monastic life, and was generous to the poor.
As previously stated, he was also deeply involved in politics. He supported Emperor Frederick II (who appointed him regent during the minority of Henry's son in 1220 when the Emperor went to Sicily), tutored the crown prince, was chief minister of the empire, and crowned Henry King of the Romans in 1222.
Engelbert's crusade against the Albigensians did redeem him in the eyes of the church. Probably only a fighting bishop could have looked after the diocese of Cologne in those turbulent times. Although Engelbert did insist on discipline for the clergy and religious in his diocese, both groups knew they could always rely on his protection.
This led to the saint's murder. His cousin, Count Frederick of Isenberg, was in theory administrator and protector of the nuns of Essen. In practice he stole their lands and goods, and oppressed the vassals of the nuns. The archbishop vigorously protested against the abuse and deprived his cousin of the office. The count and 50 retainers waylaid the archbishop at Gevelsberg, Germany, on November 7, 1225, and left him dead with 47 wounds in his corpse. The young King Henry had the culprits brought to justice (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).
Although he has never been formally canonized, he is referred to in the R.M. as Saint Engelbert, and is venerated in Cologne (Delaney).
In art, Engelbert is depicted in archiepiscopal vestments with a crozier in one hand and an upraised sword, piercing a crescent moon, in the other (White).
Ernest of Zwiefalten, OSB Abbot (PC)
Died at Mecca in 1148. Saint Ernest, the Benedictine abbot of Zwiefalten, Germany, joined the crusaders and preached in Persia and Arabia, where he was captured and tortured to death for his evangelizing efforts (Benedictines).
Florentius of Strasbourg B (RM)
Born in Ireland; died c. 693. Like the Patriarch Abraham, Saint Florentius left his homeland in response to God's call. He settled in the wilds of Haselac in Alsace, where he built a monastery. About 678, Florentius succeeded Saint Arbogast in the see of Strasbourg, where he founded another monastery--Saint Thomas's--chiefly for his own countrymen (Benedictines, D'Arcy). Florentius is depicted as a bishop with a bear guarding his sheep. Sometimes wild beasts surround him; at other times there is a ray of light upon him. He is invoked against gallstones and rupture (Roeder).
Gertrude of Remiremont, OSB Abbess (AC)
Died c. 690; cultus authorized by Saint Leo IX in 1051. Sister of Saints Adolphus and Botulphus and granddaughter of Saint Romaricus, Gertrude was educated and took the veil at the convent of Saint- Mont, near Remiremont. She became the convent's abbess (c. 654) after her aunt Saint Clare (Benedictines).
Herculanus of Perugia B (RM)
(also known as Ercolano)
Died 549; second feast is celebrated on March 1. Saint Gregory the Great in his Dialogues records that Bishop Herculanus suffered dreadfully when the Ostro-Goths under King Totila captured Perugia in 549. Before the saint was beheaded, the king said that a thin slice of skin would be pulled off every single part of his body. Happily the pagan soldier detailed to perform this execution took pity on Herculanus, and before all his body had been flayed, executed him (Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia). In art he is represented as a martyred bishop buried in a child's grave. Sometimes (1) his bones are shown being translated to Perugia; (2) he is enthroned with the banner of Perugia (a griffin); (3) he is shown interceding for Perugian citizens; (4) he holds a palm and knife; or (5) he is shown murdered in the body of an ox. Obviously, he is the patron of Perugia (Roeder).
Hieron, Nicander, Hesychius & Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 300. A group of 33 Armenian martyrs, who suffered at Mitilene under Diocletian (Benedictines).
Hyacinth Castañeda, Vincent Liem & Comps., OP MM (AC)
Born at Sétavo (near Valencia), Spain; died 1773; beatified in 1906; canonized in 1988 as one of the Martyrs of Vietnam. After his profession as a Dominican, Saint Hyacinth was sent to the missions--first to the Philippines, where he was ordained. An account of Blessed Hyacinth Castañeda's voyage to Asia tells of the letters he wrote to his mother of the serious mouth infection and the seasickness he suffered for 48 days en route across the Atlantic. He recounts his march across Mexico to embark upon another ship and the turmoil of crossing the Pacific. When they landed in Manila, they found the city in the hands of the English. He and the other passengers were abandoned with their luggage by the terrified ship captain and had to wander for months to locate their Dominican brothers. After preaching there will a time, Father Hyacinth took another 66-day sea voyage to reach Fukien, China, where the martyrdom of Blessed Peter Sanz was still fresh in the memories of Christians. Here he again engaged in evangelization until he was deported to Vietnam, where he was imprisoned for three years. Eventually Father Hyacinth was tortured and beheaded.
During his imprisonment, Castañeda was joined by Saint Vincent Liem, the first Indo-Chinese Dominican to be martyred. He had ministered to his countrymen for 14 years prior to his execution. Two criminals were present at his trial; one cursed him and one begged for his prayers. A spectator yelled, "Why doesn't the Lord of Heaven come to deliver them in order that we may believe?" Sounds familiar, doesn't it? (Benedictines, Dorcy, Farmer).
Blessed John Baptist Cou M (AC)
Died 1840; beatified in 1900. This Tonkinese married layman was beheaded for the faith (Benedictines).
Blessed Lucy of Settefonti, OSB Cam. V (AC)
Born in Bologna, Italy, 12th century. Lucy took the Camaldolese habit in the convent of Saint Christina, at Settefonti (Seven Fountains) in Bologna. The Camaldolese venerate her as the foundress of their sisterhoods (Benedictines).
Melasippus, Antony (Antoninus) & Carina MM (RM)
Died 360. Antony was the child of Melasippus and Carina. All three were martyred at Ancyra (Ankara, Turkey), under Julian the Apostate. The parents died under torture, and their child was beheaded (Benedictines).
Patrick Fleming, OFM M (PC)
(also known as Christopher Fleming)
Born 1599; died at Benesabe, Bohemia, November 7, 1631; cause for canonization opened in 1903.
Christopher Fleming has always been regarded as a martyr for the faith in Ireland, and venerated within the Franciscan Order. He is also remembered as one who preserved the record of the Irish missionary influence on the Continent.
Openly practicing Catholicism in Ireland or England was dangerous during this period. So the Franciscans, Jesuits, and Dominicans opened more than 20 colleges on the Continent for their education. At the age of 14, Patrick joined his uncle Christopher Cusack (Cusach), founder and rector of Saint Patrick's College, in Douai, France. On March 17, 1617, he joined the Franciscans in Louvain and took the name Patrick. He studied for the priesthood for six more years at Saint Anthony's at Louvain.
Then he was transferred to Rome, where he spent several years under the strict rule of Father Luke Wadding, founder of Saint Isadore's Irish Franciscan College. The rule there was so strict that the brethren of the college gained the reputation for impeccability--it is said that the devil could never find idle hands to tempt there. Here Patrick was ordained to the priesthood and met the laybrother Michael O'Clery and his three collaborators who were gathering material for a massive history of Ireland. (During a time of comparative peace (1632-1636), the four worked near the ruins of the Franciscan monastery at Donegal. They published their research in the Annals of the Four Masters.)
Following his ordination, Father Fleming taught theology and philosophy at the college in Louvain. While there he was enlisted by Brother O'Clery to find material in various parts of Europe, including the great monasteries of Bobbio, Saint Gall, and Regensburg. This was immensely important work because the history of Ireland was being eradicated. Use of the Gaelic language was forbidden. The death penalty was imposed for those who possessed, and would not surrender, Irish manuscripts. Among other documents he located were the life of Saint Columbanus written by Jonas. Flemings' findings were published after his death as Collectanea Sacra.
In 1630, Father Fleming was appointed head of a new Franciscan seminary in Prague, donated by Ferdinand of Austria, intended to relieve the pressure of Irish Franciscan vocations at Louvain and Rome. The school was opened in July 1631. Unfortunately, the Saxon Protestant troops overran the city, and all Catholics were placed in danger. Patrick Fleming, aged 32, and his young deacon Matthew Hoare were butchered by armed Lutheran peasants as they were taking a walk (D'Arcy, McCarthy, Montague, O'Kelly, Tommasini).
Prosdocimus of Padua B (RM)
(also known as Prosdecimus)
Born in Greece; died November 7, c. 100. Because Saint Prosdocimus was the first bishop of Padua, he is greatly venerated in northeastern Italy. He planted the faith throughout that region. The church of Saint Justina, which has a sumptuous chapel dedicated to him, was built over his tomb outside the walls of Padua. The church also had the relics of Prosdocimus's deacon, Saint Daniel, until they were rediscovered and translated to the cathedral of Saint Sophia in 1064. That Prosdocimus was sent from Antioch by Saint Peter is now generally denied by historians (Benedictines, Husenbeth). Saint Prosdocimus is always portrayed as a bishop holding a jar. Sometimes he is shown with Saint Justina to whom he was a spiritual father according to a medieval forgery. He may be depicted wearing a Benedictine habit (Roeder).
Raverranus of Séez, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Raverianus)
Died 682. Bishop Raverranus of Séez resigned his see and became a Benedictine monk at Fontenelle (Benedictines). He may have been the pupil of Saint Wandrille (Encyclopedia), if this is the same saint celebrated on November 17.
Rufus of Metz B (RM)
Died c. 400. An early bishop of Metz, Rufus presided over his see for about 29 years and is perhaps identical with the Rufus of Metz mentioned c. 386 in connection with the Priscillianist controversy (Benedictines).
Tremorus of Brittany M (AC)
(also known as Tremeur)
6th century. Tremorus, the infant son of Saint Triphina, was murdered at Carhaix by his stepfather, Count Conmore. He is patron saint of Carhaix, Brittany (Benedictines). In art Saint Tremorus is a child with a palm, carrying his head (Roeder).
Willibrord of Echternach, OSB B (RM)
Born in Northumbria, Britain, 658; died in Echternach, Luxembourg, 739. His name indicates that he is of Saxon lineage ('Willi' is a great god of Norse mythology; 'brord' indicates 'under the protection of').
Although their family name was clearly pagan, his parents were Christians. Willibrord's father was such a devout Christian that, at his own expense, he founded a little monastery near the sea and went to live there.
Like many children of the period, seven-year-old Willibrord was sent to another monastery at Ripon to be educated under Saint Wilfrid. (The Rule of Saint Benedict speaks of oblates offered to the monastery by their parents. Willibrord's mother probably either died or took the veil.)
At that time monks liberally interpreted their vow of attaching themselves to a single community, and many of them went to complete their education in Ireland, which was famous for its scholarship. For 12 years Willibrord studied at Rathmelsigi under Saints Egbert and Wigbert, and was ordained a priest there in 688.
At Rathmelsigi Willibrord's real story begins for Egbert had a pet scheme that he shared with many of his monks. He planned to send missionaries to the continent, and especially to the pagan Germans of Frisia. It was an excellent opportunity to win a whole people for God, and also to win the crown of martyrdom. Willibrord, age 32, was chosen by Egbert to lead 11 other English monks across the North Sea to Frisia.
Willibrord is described as shorter than average and cheerful. He possessed a quick tongue, a good education, an appetite for adventure, and a sense of humor--not to forget: faith, hope, and charity.
In the autumn of 690, the 12 arrived at Katwijk-aan-Zee, at one of the mouths of the Rhein. From there they followed the river to Wij-bij Duurstede (Holland) and sought out Pepin II of Herstal, mayor of the palace of Clovis II, king of the Franks.
690 landed with other 11 English monks in Friesland, under protection of Pepin of Herstal, who had just wrested Lower Friesland from the pagan leader Duke Radbod, considered a savage bear who ruled as a tyrant over acres of sandy mud and who poisoned his enemies.
As soon as he had seen Pepin and received his support for the conversion of the Frisians, he went to Rome to seek advice from Pope Saint Sergius I and receive his orders for the mission. This proves that the pope was seen as the Christian leader and that Willibrord wanted to be dependent upon him and only him. Willibrord's determination to place himself under the orders of Rome was reinforced by the earlier failure of Suidbert, who had wangled a consecration on the sly in York. Not even the help and generosity of Pepin and other could make Willibrord think that he should rely on them for all his apostolic work. Before his departure he was consecrated for the job by the pope.
On his second Roman visit in 695, Willibrord convinced Pope Sergius II that the young mission needed a prelate who was independent both of York and of Pepin II; and Sergius, for his part, realized that the only person capable of filling this office, which needed tact as well as energy, was Willibrord.
And so he was consecrated as archbishop November 22--Saint Cecelia's feast in Saint Cecelia's Church. Perhaps because his Sicilian tongue couldn't pronounce 'Willibrord,' Sergius insisted on changing the saint's name to 'Clement,' a choice that may have been influenced by the Englishman's phlegmatic mildness. Sergius then sent him back to his flock with some relics and the title archbishop of the Frisians.
On his return to the northern mists, Clement-Willibrord, who rarely used his Latin name, he created his see at Utrecht. Thus, he inaugurated the English colony in continental Europe that was to be so potent a religious influence for 100 years.
Unlike modern bishoprics full of administrators and equipment, Willibrord's archbishopric was a living heart. He was constantly on the road, like his missionary monks, preaching from village to village. Gradually he established each little hamlet as a parish with its own priest and liturgies illuminated by the Benedictine spirit. Willibrord and Saint Boniface of Crediton together were responsible for instituting chorepiscopi, 'country bishops,' in western Europe to help them in their work.
Willibrord was well-equipped to deal with powerful people who possessed the land, money, and power needed to support his work. He made use of the great, made them servants of the Gospel, but was never subservient or over-ready to give his blessing to their follies. From them he obtained the vast tracks of land that he turned into villages and parishes, like Alphen in north Brabant. With their money he established monasteries that served as centers of intellectual and religious enlightenment.
About 700 he established a second important missionary center at Echternach, on the banks of the Sure in today's junction between Luxembourg and Germany. He continued to evangelize especially in the northern area of the present-day Benelux countries, though it does appear that he explored Denmark and perhaps Thuringia (Upper Friesland), too. Once he barely escaped a mission with his life-- he was attacked by a pagan priest at Walcheren for destroying an idol.
In 714 Willibrord baptized Charles Martel's son Pepin the Short.
During the period 715-19, Willibrord's experienced a set-back during Frisian uprising against Franks. On the death of Pepin II in December 714, Duke Radbod, who had submitted to him but had never converted, invaded the territories he had lost to Pepin of Herstal. He massacred, pillaged, burned, and stole everything that he could find that bore the Christian mark.
But as soon as the quarrel about succession within Merovingian Pepin's family had been settled by the skill of Charles Martel, Radbod and his Neustrian allies were defeated by Martel and his Austrasians in the forest of Compiegne on September 26, 715. There were other uprisings until Radbod's death in 719, but Willibrord and his missionaries were able to repair the damage and renew their work. About 719, Boniface joined them and worked with them in Friesland for three years before proceeding to Germany.
Willibrord's missionary achievement was not spectacular--the rapidity and number of conversions was exaggerated by later writers--but it was a solid laying of foundations; 'his charity was manifest in his daily unremitting labor for Christ's sake' (Alcuin). He is known as the Apostle of the Frisians.
He died while on a retreat at Echternach on November 7, 739. His frail body was placed in a stone sarcophagus, which may still be seen there.
Every year on Whit Tuesday there is an hour's long processional dance of pilgrims through the streets of Echternach and round the saint's tomb in the church, each group accompanied by its own brass band. This has been done since before 1553, an unspoiled survivor of ancient sanctified merrymaking. (And if you've ever been to Echternach, you'd know this is a real feat--it's not much bigger than a hamlet.)
Early in the eighth century a monk of Echternach wrote out a calendar of saints, many of whom were connected with the scenes of Willibrord's life. The Calendar of Saint Willibrord is now in the National Library in Paris (Latin manuscript #10.837), and it is of great interest to students of hagiography; under the date 21 November 728 (Folio 39) are several autobiographical lines written by Willibrord himself giving the dates of going to France and being ordained a bishop (Attwater, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Grieve, Verbist).
In art, Saint Willibrord's emblem is a barrel on which he rests his cross. The Abbey of Echternach is behind him and he is vested in episcopal attire.
At times the following variations are observed: (1) in bishop's vestments, he rests his cross on a well, with a barrel, four flagons, and the abbey behind him; (2) bishop carrying a child, or with a child nearby; (3) bishop with Utrecht Cathedral behind him; (4) as a monk with a ship and a tree; or (5) seated on a horse carrying a church in his outstretched hand.
He is easily confused with Saint Othmar, who is not a bishop but rather an abbot. Willibrord is invoked against convulsions and epilepsy. He is the patron of the Netherlands (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.