Blessed Calimerius of Montechiaro, OP (PC)
Died 1521. The Dominican Calimerius spent his life preaching throughout Italy. At 90 and unable to climb into the pulpit, he persuaded others to lift him into it in order that he might preach. Talk about perseverance! (Benedictines).
Catherine Labouré V (RM)
Born at Fain-les-Moûtiers (near Dijon), Côte d'Or, France, May 2, 1806; died in Paris, December 31, 1876; beatified in 1933; canonized 1947; feast day formerly December 31.
Though Saint Catherine was called a "silly old thing" by the Republic, and as "matter of fact, unexcitable, insignificant, cold, and apathetic" by her superiors, you should know her story if you are one of the millions of Catholics now wearing a Miraculous Medal.
She was baptized Zoë Labouré, daughter of a yeoman farmer in the Côte d'Or. Without complaint she took over the running of the household at age 8, after the death of her mother and the departure of her elder sister, Louisa, to join the Sisters of Charity. After a few years, she worked as a waitress in her uncle's café in Paris. For this reason she was the only one in the family who never learned to read or write.
From the age of 14, she felt called to the religious life, to follow her elder sister. Overcoming opposition from her father, she was finally allowed to join the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul at Châtillon-sur-Seine in 1830 (age 24), taking the name of Catherine. She was a model sister, practical, and unemotional by temperament.
After her postulancy, she went to a convent in the rue du Bac, Paris. She arrived several days before the translation of relics of Saint Vincent from Notre Dame to the Lazarist Church in rue de Sèvres.
Almost immediately she began experiencing the series of her famous visions of the Blessed Mother. In one of them the Blessed Virgin told Catherine that within her lifetime the archbishop of Paris would be brutally put to death. (This indeed happened in 1871 with the death of Msgr. Darboy.)
The first of three major visions took place three months later. She was awakened about 11:30 p.m. on July 18 by a "shining child," who led her to the chapel. Our Lady appeared and talked with her for hours, telling her that she would have to undertake a difficult task.
On November 27, Mary appeared in the same chapel in the form of a picture, standing on a globe, with shafts of light streaming from her hands, surrounded by the words "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!" The picture turned around, and on the reverse side appeared a capital M with a cross above it and two hearts, one thorn-crowned and one pierced with a sword, beneath. Catherine heard a voice asking her to have a medal struck, promising that all who wore the medal would receive great graces. This or similar visions were repeated several times up to September 1831. From that time until her death, Catherine led a life that was outwardly uneventful tending the sick.
Catherine confided in her confessor, Father Aladel, and he, convinced of her sincerity, persuaded Archbishop de Quélen of Paris to give permission for a medal to be struck. In June 1832, the first 1,500 of the millions of medals to be made--now known to Catholics as the 'Miraculous Medal'--were struck.
The popularity of the medal grew, especially after the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne in 1842. Alphonse was an Alsatian Jew who, having been persuaded to wear the medal received a vision of Our Lady in the church of Sant'Andrea delle Frate at Rome, became a priest, and founded the religious congregation known as the Fathers and Sisters of Zion.
In 1836, the archbishop initiated a canonical inquiry into the alleged visions. Catherine refused to appear, wishing her identity to be kept a secret. Fr. Aladel pleaded to be allowed to keep her name anonymous. The tribunal, basing its opinion on the stability of her confessor and Catherine's character, decided to favor the authenticity of the visions.
After her year of extraordinary grace, Catherine was sent to the convent Enghien-Reuilly on the outskirts of Paris. There Catherine served as portress until her death, engaging in menial tasks such as looking after the poultry and overseeing the aged living in the Hospice d'Enghien. Not until a few months before her death did she speak to anyone about the visions except her confessor; she confided in her superior, Sister Dufé.
Saint Catherine Labouré was not canonized because of the favor God showed her through this apparition. Her sanctity was revealed through her self-effacement and humility, through her seeking holiness in the little things of everyday life. Her incorrupt body remains in the convent chapel at the rue du Bac, where miracles were reported at her tomb (Attwater, Attwater 2, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson, Delaney, Engelbert, Farmer, Walsh, White, Yves).
Fionnchu of Bangor, Abbot (AC)
6th century. Saint Fionnchu succeeded Saint Comgall as abbot of Bangor in Ireland (Benedictines).
Hippolytus of Saint-Claude, OSB B (AC)
Died c. 775. Abbot-bishop of Saint-Claude in France.
James of the March, OFM (RM)
(also known as Giacomo della Marca or Jacopo Gangala)
Born in Montebrandone, March of Ancona, September 1, 1394; died in Naples 1475; canonized 1726.
You may have seen his portrait by Carlo Crivelli in the Louvre: an emaciated monk with a long, pointed nose reminiscent of Pinocchio. But long before his portrait was painted by Crivelli, it had been painted by God. For in his Book of Life God makes a picture of everything that He creates, and the true saints are those men and women who in their lives come closest to resembling God's picture of them.
And so on September 1, 1394, God made the portrait of an Italian Franciscan whose zeal and enterprise would make him a good instrument to carry out God's eternal purpose--the glorification of His name and the coming of His Kingdom.
At first this future Franciscan was just an ordinary little boy. He was born into a poor family living in Montebrandrone, a village in the Marches (the ancient Picenum) overlooking the Adriatic. He was baptized with the name of Dominic, and we can easily imagine him one day asking the priest the meaning of his name. When he heard the Dominic came from Dominus and meant "he who belongs to the Lord," he must have thought that his name was a call, and that the call should be answered.
After studying law he answered it when, at age 22, he took the Franciscan habit in 1416. As he was to recall much later, his first habit was tailored for him by Father Bernardino of Siena. Dominic took a new name as well as a new habit. Perhaps he regretted losing his lordly name, but a new vocation demands a new name, and besides the name Dominic, being reminiscent of the Dominicans, might have given offense to some of his Franciscan brothers.
And so, emerging from the waters of his second baptism, Dominic became James. In accordance with Franciscan custom, he also took the name of the province from which he came; thus, he is called James della Marca (of the Marches). This fine-sounding name, half apostle and half traveller, was well-suited to a man for the next 50 years was to travel all over Europe spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.
Before beginning his wandering ministry, however, James studied for the priesthood under Saint Bernardino of Siena at Fiesole (outside Florence, Italy) and was ordained at age 29 (1423). He became a zealous and well-attended preacher and is said to have brought both Blessed Bernardino of Feltre and Blessed Bernardino of Fosso into the Franciscan Order.
Saint James preached every day for 40 years. It was his vocation to march, or rather to run, along the roads of Christendom, trying to be everywhere at once for he was needed everywhere at once. One day while at supper he was lifting his glass to take a drink when he was brought a message from Eugene IV sending him to Hungary. He put down his glass and left immediately.
It would take the patience of a Benedictine to reconstruct all his missionary journeys, including those undertaken with Saint John Capistrano throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Poland, and Hungary. In 1426, with Saint John, he was named inquisitor against the Fraticelli by Pope Saint Martin V. Their approach was harsh--some of the Fraticelli were burned at the stake--and they destroyed 36 Fraticelli houses, provoking opposition.
The most we can do to tract the progress of this energetic Franciscan is just to mention a few of the places where he turned up. In 1432, he was in Bosnia, where King Tuertko received him with open arms and the queen tried to murder him. There he preached against the heresy of the Bogomils.
In 1436, James della Marca was in Bohemia, Hungary, and Austria, founding on an average one monastery a month. In 1437, he was the chief almoner for the crusade that emperor Sigismond was leading against the Turks. In 1438 he returned to Italy, made a brief appearance in Bologna, attended a council in Ferrara, and then went back to Hungary.
In 1440 he fell ill in Cyprus. In 1444--a rare event--he spent three days resting in a little monastery on the shores of Lake Trasimene, where he was joined by John of Capistrano and Bernardine of Siena, who died a month later.
Succeeding Saint John Capistrano as papal legate in 1456, he went to Austria and Hungary to combat the Hussites. He was thereafter offered the bishopric of Milan, but turned it down because he preferred to continue preaching.
In 1462, as a result of a sermon he preached in Brescia in which he gave a theological opinion on the precious Blood of Christ, he himself became the subject of a local inquisition. The case was controversial and James refused to appear before the Inquisition and appealed to Rome. A silence was imposed upon both the Dominican inquisitors and the Franciscans, and no decision was ever reached.
And so on, always hurrying from place to place, always preaching and always fighting the good fight, until November 28, 1476, the date of his last journey, when he set out from Naples and arrived in heaven, where we have good reason to believe he still is.
Not surprisingly in view of the life he led, James della Marca did not put on much weight. Moreover he imposed on himself severe penances. He allowed himself only three hours of sleep nightly and wore a threadbare habit. He fasted every day and had, according to his biographer "a poor stomach and severe inflammation of the liver." Towards the end of his life the pope forbade him to fast, for his health was "in the public interest." It should be noted that Saint James was also a very strong supporter for the establishment of charitable pawnshops (montes pietatis).
The common sense of the good pope--Sixtus IV--is to be commended, ordering a saint to take care of his health, but even more admirable is the monk who set out every morning with his satchel containing a piece of bread, some beans, salt, garlic, and a few onions. He knew only too well that to be a witness of God among men it is far better to be full of the Holy Spirit than full of food.
And it was the Holy Spirit that inspired him to speak with such power and fire and amazing success. At Camerino he inflamed the townsfolk to such a point that they nearly burned his adversary alive. At Aquila 40,000 people waited for him to come down from the pulpit so that they could get what was then the equivalent of his autograph--a piece of parchment with the name of Jesus written on it. To meet the demand, the friars in the monastery had to mass-produce them and then give them to James to touch before distributing them among his admirers.
More enduring than these bonfires that are so easy to light under the hot Italian sun was his work as a peace-maker, for which he had a special gift. During the turbulent 15th century peace had disappeared nearly everywhere. James reconciled the conventuals and the observants, the two opposed branches of the Franciscans who were at loggerheads about their interpretations of the true spirit of their founder. He reconciled Catholics and heretics of every kind. For example, he moderated his opposition to the Hussites of Hungary by offering at the Council of Basle (part of the Council of Ferrara-Florence) the practice of Communion under both species (1431). At the Council of Florence (1438), he participated in the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches. He reconciled Guelphs and Ghibellines who quarreled out of habit. Above all he reconciled men with God, which is surely the best way of reconciling men with each other.
In 1473, James was moved to Naples, where he died and was buried in the church of Santa Maria Nuova.
While nearly every day brought a different landscape before the eyes of Saint James della Marca, he gaze remained fixed unceasingly on the Eternal and Unchangeable. Popes, kings, and crowds called him, but in their call he always heard the same unique voice of God. Every evening he was breathless, yet each morning he preached because he had spent half the night breathing the Holy Spirit (Attwater, Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopedia, Farmer, White).
Saint James' emblem is a chalice and a serpent. He is generally depicted as a Franciscan holding a chalice and a veil; sometimes the image includes a staff and lily; or staff, castanets at his girdle, pointing to IHS (not to be confused with Saint Bernardino, whose face, old and toothless, is invariable). Venerated at Ancona (Roeder, White).
Blessed James Thompson M (AC)
(also known as James Hudson)
Born at York, England; died there in 1582; beatified in 1895. Blessed James was educated for and ordained to the priesthood at Rheims. After his ordination in 1581, he returned to York under the name of Hudson to convert the Protestants and was hanged the following year (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Joseph Pignatelli, SJ (RM)
Born in Saragossa, Spain, 1737; died October 1811; canonized 1954 by Pope Pius XII; feast day formerly on November 11.
Born of a Spanish mother and a princely Italian father, Saint Joseph, a Spanish grandee, was educated in Saragossa. He joined the Jesuits at Tarragona when he was 16, made his vows in 1755, was ordained in 1763, and was assigned to Saragossa. In addition to teaching young boys, Father Joseph had a special ministry to those condemned to execution. After his profession, he taught at Manresa, Bilboa, and Saragossa.
When Charles III banished the Jesuits from Spain in 1767, Father Pignatelli and his fellow Jesuits went to Corsica, where they were forced to leave when the French, who had also banished the Jesuits, occupied the island.
They then settled in Ferrara, Italy, where Joseph was placed in charge of young recruits. When Pope Clement XIV, under pressure from the Bourbons, suppressed the Jesuits in 1773 as an administrative measure without condemning any of the Society's actions. Joseph and the 23,000 members of the Society of Jesus were secularized.
He lived for the next 20 years at Bologna, Italy, contributing to the temporal support of his less fortunate fellow Jesuit exiles and strengthening their courage with brotherly advice. At the same time he worked hard for the restoration of his beloved institute and studied its history.
Meanwhile, Empress Catherine had refused to allow the bull of suppression to be published in Russia, and the Society of Jesus continued in existence there. In 1792, the duke of Parma invited three Italian Jesuits in Russia to establish themselves in his realm, and after receiving permission from Pope Pius VI, Father Pignatelli made his profession again in 1797 and became superior, thus bringing the Jesuits back to Italy.
He began a quasi-novitiate at Colorno in 1799 and saw Pope Pius VII give formal approval to the Jesuit province in Russia in 1801. Father Pignatelli worked to revive the Jesuits, and in 1804 the Society was re-established in the Kingdom of Naples, with him as provincial--"the link between the old and the new Society." The province was dispersed when the French invaded Naples later that same year, whereupon he went to Rome and was named provincial for Italy. Many Jesuits came back to Rome, where Pius VII offered them their former college and S. Pantaleon's near the Colosseum. Thus, he restored the Society in Sardinia and helped conserve it when the French occupied Rome.
Though the Society of Jesus was not fully restored until 1814, three years after the death of Saint Joseph in Rome on November 11, Pope Pius XII called him the "restorer of the Jesuits" and described him as a priest of "manly and vigorous holiness" when he canonized him (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney, Farmer).
Papinianus & Mansuetus MM (RM)
5th century. African bishops, martyred under the Arian Vandal King Genseric, who had overrun that Roman province (Benedictines).
Quieta and Hilary MM
5th century. Hilary was a senator and Quieta his wife. They were martyred at Dijon (Encyclopedia).
Rufus & Companions MM (RM)
Died 304. Saint Rufus was a Roman citizen who was martyred with his entire household under Diocletian (Benedictines).
Simeon the Logothete (AC)
(also known as Simeon Metaphrastes)
Died c. 1000. Saint Simeon was probably a Logothete (secretary of state) to Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, at whose order he compile a menology of legends and stories of the Byzantine saints under the name Simeon the Logothete. It is the most famous of the Medieval Greek collections, comparable to The Golden Legend of Blessed James Voragine in the west. Because he "retold" the stories, he received the moniker "metaphrastes" (reteller). Simeon also wrote a chronicle, prayers, letters, and collections of maxims of Basil and Macarius of Egypt. Simeon's feast is celebrated in the Orthodox Church on November 28, but has never been formally recognized in Rome (Attwater 2, Coulson, Delaney).
1st century. Saint Sosthenes was the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth (Acts 18:17), who was converted by Paul (1 Corinthians 1:1). Greek tradition makes him the first bishop of Colophon in Asia Minor (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Stephen the Younger M (RM)
(with Basil, Peter, Andrew & Comps.)
Born at Constantinople in 714-715; died there 764-765. When the Iconoclast persecution was renewed by the Byzantine emperor Constantine V (Copronymus), this Stephen was the foremost defender at Constantinople of the veneration of religious images. He was a hermit-monk on Mount Saint Auxentius (near Chalcedon), and in 761 was banished for his activities to the island of Proconnesus in the sea of Marmara.
After three years he was brought before the emperor and questioned. Stephen produced a coin and asked if it were not wrong to treat the imperial effigy on it disrespectfully: "Very well," he continued, "how much more then does he deserve punishment who stamps on an image of Christ or his mother, and burns it" (which was what was being done).
He threw the coin to the floor and trampled on it. Constantine ordered him thrown in jail, where he spent 11 months with over 300 other monks, living a sort of monastic life together. Saint Stephen continued to be resolute in his principles, and was finally battered to death. It is said that the emperor was not willing to order his death but--like Henry II and Thomas a Becket--Stephen provoked it by the intemperance of his language. And so Stephen together with SS Basil, Peter, Andrew, and a band of over 300 monks were put to death for our faith (Attwater, Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson).
Valerian, Urban, & Companions BB (RM)
5th century. Valerian, Urban, Crescens, Eustace, Cresconius, Crescentian, Felix, Hortulanus, and Florentian were all African bishops banished from the country by the Arian king Genseric. They died in exile and were afterwards honored as confessors of the faith (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.