St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day

Feast of the
Presentation of Mary
November 21

Albert of Louvain BM (RM)
(also known as Albert of Brabant)

Born at Mont César, Louvain, in 1166; died November 24, 1192; cultus confirmed 1613. Albert, son of Duke Godfrey III of Brabant and his wife Margaret of Limburg, was raised for a life in the Church in a castle on what is now called Mont-César. At age 12 he was made a canon of Liège, but renounced his benefice when he came of age.

At age 21, Albert attached himself as a knight to the entourage of his enemy Count Baldwin V of Brabant. When the papal legate preached the crusade in Liège a few months later, Albert took up the cross, and at the same time took up his canonry again. He never participated in the crusade, instead the subdeacon was quickly promoted to archdeacon, then provost.

In 1191 (age 25), Albert was overwhelmingly chosen bishop of Liège by the chapter over another archdeacon, Albert of Rethel, who was cousin to Baldwin and the uncle of Empress Constance. His election was opposed by Emperor Henry VI who favored his wife's uncle. When the cause was heard at Worms, the emperor gave the see to Lothaire, provost of Bonn, whom he had just made imperial chancellor in return for 3,000 marks.

In order to appeal to Rome, Saint Albert had to travel circuitously and covertly under the guise of a servant so as to avoid interception by the emperor's men. Following Pope Celestine III's confirmation of the election, Albert returned to Liège, but found Lothaire already intruded in the see and that Archbishop Bruno of Cologne was unwilling to incur the wrath of the emperor by consecrating Albert. Meanwhile the pope had made arrangements for Archbishop William of Rheims to ordain and consecrate Albert. This was accomplished at Rheims on September 29, 1192.

When war appeared immanent between the emperor and Albert's uncle over his consecration, the saint opted to remain in exile rather than precipitate a war. Still the emperor was not satisfied. He forced the submission of Albert's clerical supporters before leaving Liège for Maestricht to hatch another plot against the lawful bishop. Just 10 weeks after his consecration, Saint Albert was murdered by three German knights as he was making a visit to the abbey of Saint-Remi outside the walls of Rheims. He was buried with honor in the cathedral (Benedictines, Walsh).

In art Saint Albert is depicted as a bishop with a knife in his head or with three swords on the ground before him. (He is easily confused with Thomas a Becket (of Canterbury), whose martyrdom was similar.) Sometimes he is shown as an enthroned cardinal holding a palm, three swords before him, or as a cardinal protecting the Archduke Albert (Roeder).

Amelberga of Susteren, OSB Abbess (AC)
Died after 900. Abbess Saint Amelberga educated two of the daughters of the king of Lorraine in her convent (Benedictines).

Celsus and Clement MM (RM)
Dates unknown. Roman martyrs of whom the names only have come down to us (Benedictines).

Columbanus Junior M (AC)
Died after 616. Saint Columbanus Junior, a disciple of the founder of Luxeuil, Saint Columbanus, where he was a monk. He is listed as a martyr, but with no further details (Benedictines).

Demetrius and Honorius MM (RM)
Dates unknown. Old Roman manuscripts describe these saints as martyrs who suffered at Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber River (Benedictines).

Digain of Cornwall (AC)
5th century. The memory of Saint Digain, a son of King (or chieftain) Constantine of Cornwall, is perpetuated in Llangernw in Denbigshire (Benedictines).

Gelasius I, Pope (RM)
Born in Rome; died there on November 21, 496. Born in Rome the son of an African named Valerius, Pope Gelasius I, ruled the papal see from 492 to 496. Prior to his elevation on March 1, 492, he had been secretary to the two previous popes (Saint Felix II and Saint Simplicius), and as a pope he still liked to dash off letters in his own hand--many of which still exist.

Although he governed the Church for only four years, eight months, and 18 days, he showed himself a vigorous, active, and capable pontiff--in fact, one of the greatest in a century of great popes-- and a great Christian. According to Dionysius Exiguus, Gelasius was known for his holiness, justice, charity to the poor, and learning. Facundus of Hermione wrote a few years after the pope's death, "He was famous over the whole world for his learning, and the sanctity of his life."

Gelasius ordered the reception of the Eucharist in both forms, thus opposing the Manichaeans, who preached that wine was impure and sinful. Among many rules which he established for the ministers of the church, Gelasius declares that its revenues are to be exactly divided into four parts: one is for the bishop, another for his clergy, the third for the poor, and the fourth for building. He also attempted to suppress simony

He tried to compile a trustworthy list of saints and martyrs. He drew up a compendium of the important decrees of the synods of the church, not only including western ones but incorporating judgments of eastern synods where he thought them relevant. Gennadius tells us that Gelasius composed many sacred hymns, but these have been lost. The Decretum de libris . . . , listing the canonical books of the Bible, also long attributed to him, is no longer credited to him.

Although he is not the author of the Gelasian Sacramentary, published in Rome in 1680 from a 900-year-old manuscript, it probably contains many of the reforms he researched and instituted. Among other things found in the ancient sacramentary are the solemn veneration of the cross on Good Friday; the reservation of the Eucharist offered on Holy Thursday for communion on Good Friday; the blessing of the holy oils, the anointing, and other ceremonies used at baptism; blessing of holy water; prayers for entering new houses and other blessings; several Masses for the feasts of saints, expressing their invocation, and the veneration of their relics; votive Masses for travelers, for obtaining charity and other virtues, for marriage with the nuptial benediction, for birthdays, for the sick, and for the dead.

Gelasius was convinced that the supreme power of earth was the Church. This he saw summed up in the power of the papacy. Alongside the papacy, the role of the Byzantine emperor was nothing.

Gelasius made little attempt to heal the split between Rome and the East, started when Acacius was Patriarch of Constantinople (471- 489) and ended only in 518. His aim was different: to assert the superiority of the bishop of Rome over the patriarch of Constantinople. In fact, soon after his election, Gelasius ran into difficulties with Euphemius, patriarch of Constantinople, over the matter of the Acacian heresy when Euphemius refused to remove Acacius's name from the diptychs (registers of dead bishops named at the altar) in the churches of his see. (The name of Acacius was erased from the diptychs in 518 by Patriarch John of Constantinople.)

Saint Gelasius also defended the rights of the patriarchates of Alexandria and Antioch against the encroachments of Constantinople and eloquently defended the rights of the Church against Emperor Anastasius in a famous letter to the emperor.

In his day, as the pope realized, Christianity remained only superficial among many converts. For instance, each February Christians still celebrated the feast of Lupercalia in honor of the Roman god Pan. Through it they hoped to influence for good the animal and vegetable world. Gelasius vigorously tried to suppress it, publicly writing a refutation of a senator named Andromachus who supported the rites (Against Andromachus) (Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

Heliodorus and Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 270. Saint Heliodorus ad his companions suffered martyrdom under Aurelian in Pamphylia (Benedictines).

Hilary of Volturno, OSB Abbess (PC)
Born at Matera, Italy; died c. 1045. Saint Hilary became abbot of San Vincenzo at Volturno in 1011. During his long abbacy, which lasted until his death, Hilary revived the ancient glory of his monastery (Benedictines).

Honorius, Eutychius & Stephen MM (RM)
Died c. 300. Spanish martyrs, who suffered at Asta, in Andalusia, under Diocletian (Benedictines).

Maurus of Verona B (RM)
Died c. 600. The relics of Saint Maurus, twelfth bishop of Verona, Italy, rest in his cathedral city. Towards the end of his life he resigned and became a hermit (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Blessed Nicholas Giustiniani, OSB (AC)
Born in Venice, Italy; died after 1180. Son of the noble Venetian family of the Giustiniani, Nicholas donned the Benedictine habit at the monastery of San Niccolo del Lido. After all his brothers had been killed in battle at Constantinople the doge obtained from the pope a dispensation for Nicholas to marry and beget heirs for the family. He accordingly married and had six sons and three daughters. In his old age Nicholas returned to the abbey. He has always been venerated at Venice (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Rufus of Rome B (RM)
Died c. 90. The disciple who Saint Paul greets in Romans 16:13. Some identify him with the son of Simon of Cyrene mentioned in Mark 15:21. A later tradition makes him a bishop in the East (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on 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.