Saint Albert the Great
Abibus of Edessa M (RM)
Died 322. Deacon Saint Abibus of Edessa, Syria, was martyred by burning under Emperor Licinius, and buried with his friends Saints Gurias and Samonas (Benedictines).
Albert the Great, OP B Dr. (RM)
(also known as Albertus Magnus)
Born in Lauingen, Swabia, Germany, c. 1207; died in Cologne, 1280; beatified in 1622; canonized and named a doctor of the Church in 1931 by Pope Pius XI.
Among Christians there often arises a dispute regarding the relative merits of science and theology, of intellectual versus spiritual understanding. Some say that the two are irreconcilable, forgetting that, according to the technical definition, myths (such as the Creation Story) offer more than simply a surface explanation of the mechanics of science. Studying the life of Saint Albert the Great should put aside these disputes.
Today in Cologne, the spires of a building began seven centuries earlier still point to heaven. It is only a legend that credits the design of the cathedral to Saint Albert the Great. But it is so typical of his own life, pointing all beauty to heaven, that it is a legend that is very easy to believe. Albert, who even secular history calls "the Great," spent his life in teaching that science and faith have no quarrel, and that all earthly loveliness and order can be traced directly to God.
Albert was born in a castle in the diocese of Bavaria, the eldest son of the count of Bollstaedt. Albert was of small stature, but strongly built, having gigantic shoulders and a mole on one eyelid.
Albert's keen observation, which was later to show itself in his scientific works, had its initial training in the woods near his father's castle, where he and his brother Henry--who also became a Dominican--hunted with hawks and hounds, and became experts in falconry. Their first education was at home under private tutors.
That both his brother Henry and his sister also became Dominicans attests to the piety of his family.
In 1222, at the age of 16, he was sent to study law at the famous university of Padua (some say Bologna) under the supervision of his uncle who was a canon there. He proved to be an outstanding student, and a brilliant future lay before him in a well-paid career. But God had other plans for Saint Albert.
Here in Italy Albert met Jordan of Saxony, a fellow-countryman and the second master-general of the Dominican Order following the death of Saint Dominic on August 4, 1221. Jordan's enormous charisma earned him the nickname 'Siren of the Schools' as he travelled from place to place seeking recruits for the young order. Albert was greatly affected by what he heard, and vowed to become a Dominican.
He wavered, though, both because he doubted whether he could persevere and because his uncle opposed him. On the false pretext that travel helps form the character of a youth, his uncle took him on a trip to Venice, and at the same time obtained from the pope an annulment of the vow that he thought so rash. But what can a man, even a priest, do against the will of God?
On their return Albert went to the University of Padua, where he encountered the crisis of his life when he heard another sermon by Blessed Jordan. The preacher spoke of those young men who wavered between certainty and doubt, who hesitated because they feared they might not persevere, when in reality they ought to offer themselves entirely to God and trust in him.
Albert was astonished at what he heard. Going after Blessed Jordan he said, "Master, who has laid bear my heart to you?" Blessed Jordan comforted him, explaining that he had not been addressing any particular individual, but all alike who might be so affected, yet no doubt this was a message of God to him personally; transfixed by these words, he immediately offered himself. He was received into the Order, probably in 1223, and completed his theological studies.
A legend is told of this period which serves to bring out both the greatness of Albert's science and his love for Our Lady. Albert, it is related, had not worn the white habit for long when it became plain to him that he was no match for the mental wizards with whom he was studying. Anything concrete, which he could take apart and study, he could understand, but the abstract sciences were too much for him.
He decided to run away from it all; planning a quiet departure, he carefully laid a ladder against the wall and waited for his opportunity. As he was kneeling for one last Hail Mary before he should go over the wall, Our Lady appeared to him. She reproached him gently for his forgetfulness of her--why had he not remembered to ask her for what he wanted? Then she gave him the gift of science he so much desired, and disappeared. Whatever the truth behind the legend--and it has survived, almost unchanged, through the many years--it is equally certain that Albert was a devout client of Our Lady and a master scientist.
Albert was ordained a priest in 1228. He was then sent to teach in Cologne, where his critical lectures on the Sentences of Peter Lombard made his name; he afterward came to be known as the greatest German scholar of the Middle Ages. Later he taught in Hildesheim, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Regensburg (Ratisbon) for two years, Strasbourg and again in Cologne. He traveled from one place to another on foot, preaching, praying, and observing. His mind was receptive, daring, modern, and picked up an extraordinary amount of information. From the first his great erudition had been recognized, to say nothing of his deep piety and humility.
Albert rejected nothing of value that his age could offer him, doing so not out of a superficial syncretism, which would try to please everybody, but out of his concern not to lose anything that might be an element of the truth.
From 1240 to 1248 Albert was at the monastery of Saint-Jacques in Paris; Place Maubert and Rue Maitre-Albert in the Latin Quarter evoke his memory, while the Rue du Fouarre recalls the crowd of students who gathered round his pulpit, seated on their small bundles of straw.
It was in Paris that he had the happiness of seeing a quiet student from the Kingdom of Sicily rise like a brilliant star that would outshine all the others. What must it have been like to watch the mind of Saint Thonas Aquinas develop and unfold to the wisdom of time and eternity, and to help him open the doors to profound truth?
Albert was one of the first to recognize, cultivate, and proclaim the brilliance of his good friend and student Saint Thomas Aquinas. It takes a man of great humility and great sanctity to see and cultivate the potential for it in others, and these Albert had.
Albert took Thomas under his wing, assigned him a room adjoining his own, and for nearly five years was his inseparable companion. They studied together in both Paris, where Albert taught and earned his doctorate in theology in 1244-45, and in Cologne. He helped adapt the Scholastic method, which applied Aristotelian methods to revealed doctrine, an approach that was further developed by Saint Thomas.
In 1248 Albert again moved to University of Cologne, where he served as regent of the new studia generalia until 1254, when he was elected provincial of the Teutonia, a vast Dominican province including Alsace, Belgium, and Germany as far as the frontiers of Poland and Hungary. He personally visited all the monasteries in his province, convened chapters, imposed penances, ensured that observances were respected, and, above all, preached by his own example.
In 1256 Albert went to Rome, where he defended the mendicant orders against William of Saint Armour (who was condemned later in the year by Pope Alexander IV). Then he served for a time as the personal theologian to the pope and professor of Holy Scripture. By 1257, when a general chapter was held in Florence, Albert had completed his mandate and gladly resigned his provincialatae to return to his studies and his pulpit in Cologne. But, unfortunately for him and for his pupils, not for very long.
During his short return to study, together with Thomas Aquinas and Peter of Tarentais, Albert drew up a new curriculum of study for the Dominicans (1259).
The time for study was interrupted too soon, when on January 5, 1260, Pope Alexander IV appointed Albert bishop of Regensburg (Ratisbon) against his wishes and, though the master general tried the stop the appointment, very reluctantly Albert was obliged to accept. Vigorous reforms were needed in Regensburg and Albert was the man for the job.
The new bishop used his authority with severity against those who were injuring the Church in her temporal possessions. He cleaned up the administration, ordered economies, put the debts in order, solicited generous gifts, and restored deteriorating buildings. By his own example he showed his priests a life of purity, strict poverty, harsh penance, and piety; he helped greatly to restore to fervor a diocese in disorder. He dealt severely with his clergy, condemning their concubinage, idleness and simony.
As for his episcopal robes, he just settled for a pair of stout shoes, which he needed for his long journeys on foot. The people were astonished and called him "the bishop in clogs," or simply, "Clodhopper." Saint Clodhopper for God, forever in the march along the paths of the Gospel!
The clergy resented his simplicity and rejected his reforms, and the avaricious nobles refused to return the Church's property. Once the worst problems were corrected, Albert clearly recognized that he could serve God better from a pulpit. Albert felt called back to his life's work of teaching and the restoration of theology.
After two years as bishop, he journeyed to Rome and asked to be relieved of the office. The petition was granted, but he was appointed to preach the crusade in the German-speaking countries, a work he continued for several years with a companion preacher, the Franciscan Berthold of Ratisbon, going as far as Lithuania. These labors ended with the death of Pope Urban IV. And Albert returned to Wurzburg (where he lived for three years), Strasbourg, and once more to Cologne in 1270 to teach again under the obedience of the Dominican Order.
For the last dozen years of his life he taught theology in Cologne, with a break in 1274 to take an active part in the general council of Lyons, working for the reunion of the Greek and Roman Churches. Albert's sadness at the failure of the council was surpassed by the death of Thomas Aquinas, age 49, on the road from Rome to the council in the little monastery of Hautecombe. He died calmly while making a commentary on the Song of Songs. Thomas's last wish, as he told the monks attending him, was to eat a good French herring. Such is the simplicity of saints.
Albert wept bitterly that the 'glory and ornament of the world' had gone. He outlived his beloved pupil by several years, and, in extreme old age, he walked halfway across Europe to defend a thesis of Thomas's that was challenged. He fiercely and brilliantly defended Saint Thomas and his position against Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris and a group of theologians at the university there in 1277.
On his return to the monastery at Cologne, Albert ceased teaching forever and retired permanently to his cell. He had kept the innocence and freshness of his faith, and prayed like a child. He love the Virgin Mary with tenderly, and wrote one of his most beautiful theological treatises in her praise. For the last two years of his life, Albert suffered from increasing memory loss and ill health, which led to his death in Cologne on November 15, 1280. Saint Albert is enshrined in the church of Saint Andreas in Cologne.
Albert had an enquiring mind, ranking beside Roger Bacon as one of the first and greatest natural scientists. He was an experimenter and a classifier at a time when all experimental knowledge was under suspicion. There was not a field in which he did not at least try his hand, and his keenness of mind and precision of detail make his remarks valuable, even though, because he lacked facts which we now have, his conclusions were incomplete.
It is difficult to estimate his vast erudition, the acuteness of mind and keenness of intellect of this learned and saintly man. In philosophy his work exhibited the highest achievement of human reason when thrown on its own resources.
The whole realm of nature and grace are covered by his encyclopedic knowledge; he wrote even more than Saint Thomas Aquinas himself. Some of his works still remain in manuscript unpublished and as many as seventy others have been lost. His printed works fill 38 quarto volumes and deal with all branches of learning. Among his works are Summa theologie, De unitate intellectus contra Averren, De vegetabilibus, and Summa de creaturis.
He stands out in particular for his recognition of the autonomy of human reason in its own sphere, of the validity of knowledge gained from sensory experience, and of the value of Aristotle's philosophy in systematizing theology. Aquinas perfected the synthesis now known as the Scholastic method.
At the time of his scientific investigations, the field was almost exclusively in the hands of the Arabian philosophers--inheritors of the work of Avicenna and Averroes--who had drawn a great part of their errors from faulty interpretation of Aristotle. Since Aristotle, who must be regarded as the greatest comprehensive genius of any age, no other had written on the subject (as far as known), until Albert the Great.
During the intervening millennia between Aristotle and Albert, there had been a void; after his time three hundred years passed before botany was taken seriously. Albert commenced by making a catalogue of all the trees, plants, and herbs known in his own time. His minute observations on their forms and variations show an exquisite sense of their floral beauty, which he attributed to God. He was acquainted with the sleep of plants, with the periodic opening and closing of flowers, with the diminution of sap during evaporation from the cuticle of the leaf, and with the influence of the distribution of bundles of vessels on the foliar indentations. And this is only the beginning of his observations.
In addition to botany, he wrote in similar detail on astronomy, chemistry, physics, biology, metaphysics, ethics, scripture, geography, geology (one of his treatises proved the earth to be spherical), logic, mathematics, theology, and meteorology; he made maps and charts and experimented with plants; he studied chemical reactions; designed instruments to help with navigation; and he made detailed studies of birds and animals. His brilliance and erudition caused him to be called the "Universal Doctor" by his contemporaries.
Albert's admiration for Arabic learning and culture caused suspicion in some quarters. His and Thomas Aquinas's adaptation of Aristotelian principles to systematic theology and their attempts to reconcile Aristotelianism to Christianity caused bitter opposition among many of their fellow theologians. Conservatives condemned these dangerous innovations as being tainted with heresy since they came from pagan Greek, Islamic, and Jewish thinkers.
Saint Albert knew that studying the minute beauty and perfection of creation gives us reason to glorify God. The universe is full of mystery; the intellect of man has only touched its outer fringe. Had the students of natural science proceeded along the lines Albert had laid down, the wrong road taken for three centuries might have been avoided.
In the modern mechanistic view, God is excluded, but Albert saw the whole universe as the work of God's hand. I've stressed Albert's erudition, but his whole life was absorbed in God; the Master of the Universe developed in him a greatest also of soul. He found God everywhere and in all things and always saw some good in others and in their books. His work was to sift out the good and to reserve it for Christ.
True greatness of soul is not content with merely observing the good, but passes on its revelation to others, thus revealing the noble disposition towards magnanimity. His task was to demonstrate the harmony between natural truth and divine revelation and to give this abundantly to others.
Saint Albert was canonized by being enrolled among the doctors of the Church by Pope Pius XI in 1931. He was also named patron saint of students of the natural sciences, for he had, said the pope, 'that rare and divine gift, scientific instinct, in the highest degree . . .; he is exactly the saint whose example ought to inspire the present age' (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Dorcy, Encyclopedia, Murray, White, Wilms).
Faith and Science
The opposition between science and faith is only apparent. It originates either in the error of scientists who forward unprovable hypotheses as undoubted facts--the theory of evolution, for instance--or in the mistakes of theologians who would give their private, false opinions as gospel truths. If both would remain within the confines of their own science, no opposition would be possible.
Saint Albert insisted that 'purely from reason no one can attain to knowledge of the Trinity, the Incarnation of Jesus and the Resurrection.'
But, in fact reason and faith are helpful to each other. Reason gives faith a solid foundation, so that we are not asked to give blind assent to truths we cannot know. It also furnishes us with strong extrinsic proof of the contents of divine revelation. Faith, on the other hand, "furnishes facts to the other sciences," Cardinal Newman says, "which these sciences, left to themselves, would never reach, and it invalidates apparent facts, which left to themselves, they would imagine."
Science deals only with secondary causes; when it questions why things happen it ceases to be science and becomes philosophy, but religion interests itself with the Primary Cause of all things.
We are surrounded by the mystery of the universe; it is in no way peculiar to religion. Science may make continual progress and tell us of countless new and marvelous things, but the why and the wherefore of them are altogether beyond its scope. There are mysteries in God's world, both of nature and of grace.
The First Vatican Council teaches us, "The Church therefore, far from hindering the pursuit of the arts and sciences, fosters and promotes them in many ways. Nor does she prevent sciences, each in its own sphere, from making use of their own principles and methods. Yet, while acknowledging the freedom due to them, she tries to preserve them from falling into error contrary to divine doctrine, and from overstepping their own boundaries and throwing into confusion matters that belong to the domain of faith" (Decree 16.12.41).
Saint Albert is represented in art as a Dominican with a doctor's cap and a book. Sometimes he is shown (1) lecturing from a pulpit; (2) with Saint Thomas Aquinas; or (3) as a Dominican bishop with pen and book (Roeder).
Patron of all natural sciences, scientists, and students of science (Roeder).
Arnulfus of Toul B (AC)
(also known as Arnulf)
Died 871. As bishop of Toul from 847 to 871, Saint Arnulf was a firm and outspoken opponent of the divorce of King Lothair (Benedictines).
Blessed Caius of Corea (Korea), OP Tert. M (AC)
Died 1624. Caius, a former bonze, fled from Korea to Nagasaki, Japan, where he harbored Dominican Friars (Benedictines).
Ceronne, a saintly girl from Beziers, was calumniated in Bordeaux and buried in the Orne (Encyclopedia).
Desiderius of Cahors, B (AC)
(also known as Didier)
Died c. 655. Saint Didier, a royal official, succeeded his own brother Saint Rusticus as bishop of Cahors. He governed the diocese, which flourished, from 630 to 655 (Benedictines).
Eugene BM (RM)
Date unknown. Saint Eugene, a fellow-laborer of Archbishop Saint Dionysius, was martyred somewhere near Paris. The Roman Martyrology confuses him with the saintly archbishop of Toledo, Spain, to which his relics were translated in 1148 (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Felix of Nola BM (RM)
Died 287. To get really confusing, there are two saints known as Felix of Nola. Today's saint is said to have been the first bishop of Nola, near Naples, and to have been put to death for Christ with 30 companions (Benedictines). The more famous Felix of Nola has his feast day on January 14.
Fintan of Rheinau, OSB Hermit (AC)
(also known as Findan)
Born in Leinster; died 879. Irish calendars commemorate 55 saints named Fintan. While still a youth, this Saint Fintan was carried off from Leinster to the Orkneys as a slave by Norse raiders. Pledging that he would make a pilgrimage to Rome, Fintan managed to escape by jumping into the sea and swimming to Scotland, where he was received by a kindly bishop. Two years later he began his pilgrimage on the continent, travelling first to Rome, then to the Benedictine abbey of Farfa in Sabina.
Fintan spent his last 27 years with some Irish hermits in the Black Forest on the island of Rheinau, near Schaffhausen on the Rhein. Fintan drew up a rule whereby the hermits lived as did the religious of their homeland. The last 22 of the 27 years were spent in almost total solitude, during which he was subject to many mystical experiences. The words he heard spoken in his native tongue by demons and angels were recorded by a 10th-century biographer and represent some of the earliest specimens of Gaelic that have survived.
The hermit's sacramentary (Kantonsbibl. 30) of the "Gelasian" type, which originated at Nivelles and contains a calendar with numerous devotions to Irish saints, is preserved in the University Library at Zurich. His Missal can be seen at the Saint Gall Library. In 1446, Saint Fintan was enshrined at Rheinau, where his feast is still celebrated (Attwater, Benedictines, D'Arcy, Daniel- Rops, Farmer, Gougaud, Kenney, Montague, Tommasini).
Gurias the Ascetic and Samonas the Faithful MM (RM)
Died 305. Martyrs beheaded at Edessa in Syria under Diocletian (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Hugh Faringdon,
John Eynon, & John Rugg, OSB MM (AC)
Died 1539; beatified in 1895. Hugh Faringdon (vere Cook) became abbot of Reading in 1520. He was an intimate friend of Henry VIII, but at the dissolution he refused to surrender his abbey. He was martyred at Reading with two prebendaries of the abbey (doubtless monks), Fr. John Eynon and John Rugg. Blessed John Eynon was the priest in charge of Saint Giles in Reading, and John Rugg was a prebendary of Chichester living at Reading Abbey. They are generally considered to have been monks of the abbey (Benedictines).
Leopold of Austria (RM)
(also known as Leopold the Good)
Born at Melk (Gars), Lower Austria, 1073; died in Vienna in 1136; canonized 1486; named patron of Austria in 1663.
Margrave Leopold Babenberger, the grandson of Emperor Henry III, was educated by Bishop Altmann of Passau and succeeded his father as fourth margrave of Austria when he was 23 (1095). He married Agnes, the widowed daughter of Emperor Henry IV, by whom he had 18 children. He initially supported the Concordat of Worms (1122) in the investiture controversy, but after his marriage he took the side of his father-in-law.
He was a capable and beloved ruler and a munificent benefactor of the Church. In 1106 he founded the monasteries of Heiligenkreuz (Holy Cross) in the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods) (Cistercian); Klosterneuburg (Augustinian) near Vienna; and Mariazell (Benedictine) in Styria. Additionally, he reformed the monastery of Melk.
His piety and charity earned him the popular appellation of "the Good." He was notably free from ambition, for in 1125, he refused the imperial crown when his brother-in-law Henry V died. He actively helped the first crusade. Leopold died at Klosterneuburg after reigning as margrave for 40 years. His chronicler Otto of Freising was one of his 18 children. Historians are not without criticism of Saint Leopold; he did lay the foundation for Austria's greatness, but also that for its ecclesiastical provincialism (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).
In art Saint Leopold is an armed count with a cross upon his coronet, a banner with three eagles, and a model of the church of Heiligenkreuz (Holy Cross) in his hand. In some pictures he is shown (1) hunting with his courtiers, when he finds his wife's veil near the monastery of Klosterneuburg; (2) with the Virgin appearing to him while hunting and the veil nearby; (3) with his countess building Klosterneuburg; (4) before the Virgin and Saint Anne; or (5) with Saint Jerome as patron of Klosterneuburg (Roeder). Leopold is the patron saint of Austria (Encyclopedia); his feast is a national holiday (Farmer).
Blessed Lucy Brocolelli of Narni, OP V (AC)
Born in 1476; died 1544; beatified 1720.
Very early, it became evident to her pious Italian family that this child was set for something unusual in life, for some of her heavenly favors were visible. When Lucy was five years old, she had a vision of Our Lady; two years later, Our Lady came with Saint Dominic, who gave her the scapular. At age 12, she made private vows and, even at this early age, had determined to become a Dominican. However, family affairs were to make this difficult. Lucy's father died, leaving her in the care of an uncle. He felt that the best way to dispose of a pretty niece was to marry her off as soon as possible.
The efforts of her uncle to get Lucy successfully married form a colorful chapter in the life of the Blessed Lucy. At one time, he arranged a big family party, and his choice of Lucy's husband was there. He thought it better not to tell Lucy what he had in mind, because she had such queer ideas, so he presented the young man to her in front of the entire assembly. The young man made a valiant attempt to place a ring on Lucy's finger, and he was thoroughly slapped for his pains.
The next time, the uncle approached the matter with more tact, arranging a marriage with Count Pietro of Milan, who was not a stranger to the family. Lucy was, in fact, very fond of him, but she had resolved to live as a religious. The strain of the situation made her seriously ill. During her illness, Our Lady appeared to her again, accompanied by Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine, and told her to go ahead with the marriage as a legal contract, but to explain to Pietro that she was bound to her vow of virginity and must keep it. When Lucy recovered, the matter was explained to Pietro, and the marriage was solemnized.
Lucy's life now became that of the mistress of a large and busy household. She took great care to instruct the servants in their religion and soon became known for her benefactions to the poor.
Pietro, to do him justice, never seems to have objected when his young wife gave away clothes and food, nor when she performed great penances. He knew that she wore a hair-shirt under her rich clothing, and that she spent most of the night in prayer and working for the poor. He even made allowances for the legend told him by the servants, that SS Catherine, Agnes, and Agnes of Montepulciano came to help her make bread for the poor. However, when a talkative servant one day informed him that Lucy was entertaining a handsome young man, who seemed to be an old friend, Pietro took his sword and went to see. He was embarrassed to find Lucy contemplating a large and beautiful crucifix, and he was further confused when the servant told him that was the young man.
When Lucy departed for the desert to become an anchorite, and returned the next day, saying that Saint Dominic had brought her home, Pietro's patience finally gave out. He had his young wife locked up. Here she remained for the season of Lent; sympathetic servants brought her food until Easter. Perhaps they had both decided that Lucy could not live the life God had planned for her in Pietro's house. She returned to her mother's house and put on the habit of a Dominican tertiary.
Shortly after this, Lucy went to Viterbo and joined a group of Third Order sisters. She tried very hard to hide her spiritual favors, because they complicated her life wherever she went. She had the stigmata visibly, and she was usually in ecstasy, which meant a steady stream of curious people who wanted to question her, investigate her, or just stare at her. Even the sisters were nervous about her methods of prayer. Once they called in the bishop, and he watched with them for 12 hours, while Lucy went through the drama of the Passion.
The bishop hesitated to pass judgment and called in the inquisition. From here, she was referred directly to the pope. After talking to her, the pope pronounced in her favor and told her to go home and pray for him. Here the hard-pressed Pietro had his final appearance in Lucy's life. He made a last effort to persuade Lucy to change her plans and come back to him. Finally he decided to become a Franciscan, and, in later years, he was a famous preacher.
When Lucy returned to Viterbo, she may have thought her troubles were over, but they were just beginning. The duke of Ferrara, in the manner of other wealthy nobles with a guilty conscience, decided to build a monastery and, hearing of the fame of the mystic of Viterbo, demanded that she come there and be prioress. Lucy had been praying for some time that a means would be found to build a new convent of strict observance, and she agreed to go to the new convent at Narni.
This touched off a two-year battle between the towns. Viterbo had the mystic and did not want to lose her; the duke of Ferrara sent his troops to take her by force, and much blood was shed before she was finally brought to Narni. The shock and grief of this violence was a new trial for Lucy. The duke sent his daughter-in-law, Lucrezia Borgia, to find postulants for the new convent. The records say, sedately: "Many of these did not persevere."
The duke of Ferrara liked to show off the convent he had founded. He brought all his guests to see it. One time, he arrived with a troop of dancing girls, who had been entertaining at a banquet, and demanded that Lucy show them her stigmata and, if possible, go into ecstasy. It is not surprising that such events would upset religious life, and that sooner or later something would have to be done about it. Some of the sisters, naturally, thought it was Lucy's fault.
The petitioned the bishop, and he sent six nuns from the Second Order to reform the community. Lucy's foundation was of the Third Order; exactly what the difference was we do not know. The Second Order nuns, according to the chronicle, "brought in the very folds of their veils the seed of war"; nuns of the Second Order wore black veils, a privilege not allowed to tertiaries.
The uneasy episode ended when one of the visitors was made prioress. Lucy was placed on penance. The nature of her fault is not mentioned, nor is there any explanation of the fact that, until her death, 39 years later, she was never allowed to speak to anyone but her confessor, who was chosen by the prioress.
The Dominican provincial, probably nervous for the prestige of the order, would not let any member of the order go to see her. Her stigmata disappeared, too late to do her any good, and vindictive companions said: "See, she was a fraud all the time." When she died in 1544, people thought she had been dead for many years.
It is hard to understand how anyone not a saint could have so long endured such a life. Lucy's only friends during her 39 years of exile were heavenly ones; the Dominican, Catherine of Racconigi, sometimes visited her--evidently by bi-location--and her heavenly friends often came to brighten her lonely cell.
Lucy was buried without honors, but miracles occurring at her tomb soon made it necessary to transfer her relics to a more accessible place. She was reinterred, first in the monastery church, then in the cathedral (Dorcy).
Luperius of Verona B (RM)
Died 6th or 8th century. A bishop of Verona of whom nothing further is known (Benedictines).
Machudd of Lianfechell, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Machell)
Died 7th century. Abbot-founder of Llanfechell (Anglesey) (Benedictines).
Malo B (RM)
(also known as Maclovius, Maclou, Mahou or wrongly Machutus)
Born in England or southwest Wales; died on November 15, 621; feast of his translation is July 11. Saint Malo is said to have been cousin to Saints Samson and Maglorius. While he was still a youth, Malo was sent to Ireland for his education in virtue and the humanities, and may have been a disciple of Saint Brendan. After his priestly ordination, Malo was elected to a bishopric but declined the dignity, retiring to Brittany to become its apostle. The port of Saint-Malo takes its name from this Malo, who ministered and made foundations from the islet in the estuary of the Rance or from the neighboring Aleth (Saint-Servan) in Brittany. About 541, Malo was consecrated bishop of Aleth. He is said to have been driven from his see by his enemies and to have settled at Saintes, but he was later recalled by a deputation of his people. He died at Archingeay near Saintes before he could return to Aleth.
The feast of Saint Malo was celebrated in England, especially in southern monasteries and in the Sarum calendar, as well as in Brittany. Farmer claims that his cultus was encouraged by the bishops of Winchester because the Latin word for Gwent closely resembles that for Wincester. For this reason his relics were claimed by Bath and other churches; however, the majority were translated from Saintes and Aleth to Saint-Malo in Brittany (Attwater, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
A primitive vita, now lost, provided the basis for two less reliable ones in the 9th century. These later biographies depict a rugged man of truth, who sang psalms in a loud voice as he travelled throughout the countryside on horseback. Often he found himself "shaking the dust from his feet" after making enemies, as well as friends, in a district.
The life of Saint Malo, written five centuries after his death by a quiet scholar named Sigebert of Gembloux, includes this story of Saint Malo and the Wren.
"And another miracle he wrought like to this, worthy of record for its compassion alone. He was a follower of Paul the Apostle, whose own hands supplied his wants if aught were lacking; and when he had leisure from his task of preaching the Gospel, he kept himself by the work of his hands. One day he was busy with the brethren in the vineyard, pruning the vines, and for better speed in his work took off his cloak and laid it out of sight. When his work was done and he came to take his cloak, he found that he small bird whom common folk call a wren had laid an egg on it. And knowing that God's care is not far from the birds, since not one of them falls on the ground without the Father, he let his cloak lie there, till the eggs were hatched and the wren brought out her brood. And this was the marvel, that all the time that cloak lay there, there fall no rain upon it. And whoever came to hear of it, they glorified the power of God, and they praised God's own pity in man" (Sigebert).
Paduinus of Le Mans, OSB Abbot (AC)
(also known as Pavin)
Died c. 703. Monk and prior of Saint Vincent's abbey, at Le Mans, and later first abbot of Saint Mary's near the same city (Benedictines).
BB Richard Whiting,
Roger James, & John Thorne, OSB MM (AC)
Died 1539; beatified in 1895. The Somerset-born Richard Whiting became a Benedictine monk at Glastonbury and was sent to Cambridge for his higher education. In 1525, he became abbot of Glastonbury. At the dissolution he refused to surrender his abbey to the Crown and was condemned to death for treason. Roger James was the youngest monk and sacristan of the Glastonbury community at the time of his death. John Thorne, treasurer of Glastonbury at the time of the dissolution, was charged with sacrilege, the sacrilege consisting in his having hidden various treasures of the abbey church to save them from the rapacious hands of King Henry VIII. All three were hanged with the usual brutalities on the summit of Tor Hill overlooking Glastonbury (Benedictines).
Secundus, Fidentian, & Varicus (Valericus) MM (RM)
Date unknown. Martyrs of Proconsular Africa of whom nothing else is known (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.