St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

December 18



Blessed Augustine Moi and Companions MM
Died 1838; beatified in 1900. Augustine Moi, Peter Duong, Peter Truat, and Paul Mi, catechists in Tonkin (Vietnam), proved that they were body and soul for Jesus Christ. Augustine was a poor day-laborer and a Dominican tertiary. Duong and Truat worked in Tonkin but were martyred in Annam. Paul Mi was attached to the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris. All were strangled for refusing to commit the sacrilege of trampling upon the crucifix (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Auxentius of Mopsuetia B (RM)
Died after 321. Auxentius was probably a high-ranking officer in the personal guard of the Emperor Augustus Licinus, who co-signed the Edict of Milan in 313, which provided religious tolerance for Christians. Auxentius was dismissed from service for refusing to participate in idolatrous practices. He became a priest and soon found himself bishop of Mopsuetia in Cilicia. It is possible that this dismissal is the reason he did not sign the canons of the Council of Arles (314) which declared: "It is permissible for a Christian to be an imperial official . . . Christian soldiers who dodge their military obligations are to be excommunicated." Auxentius was one of the bishops who were 'defenders of the city' instituted by the Church itself against 'the insolence' of imperial officials. When someone was exiled by Emperor Constantine for political reasons, Auxentius gladly gave him refuge. The letter to Constantine, written at that time by Hosius, bishop of Cordova, Spain, could have been signed by Auxentius, "You do not have the right to interfere in religious affairs. God has given you authority over the Empire, but he has given us authority over the Church!" (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

St. Auxentius is represented in art as a Roman soldier refusing to sacrifice to Bacchus (Roeder).


Bodagisil, Abbot (AC)
Died 588. Initially, Bodagisil was a Frankish courtier. Later his life was converted to Christ and he became the founder and first abbot of an abbey on the banks of the Meuse. Saints Venantius Fortunatus and Gregory of Tours highly praise his virtues (Benedictines).


Desideratus of Fontenelle, OSB (AC)
Died c. 700. His father Saint Waningus, who founded Fécamp Abbey and became a monk, entrusted Desideratus to Saint Wandrille who molded him into a monk in Fontenelle. His relics were enshrined at Ghent, Belgium (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Flannan of Killaloe B (AC)
7th century. Legend says that Flannan was the disciple and successor to Saint Molua, founder of Killaloe monastery. Like so many Irish monks before him, Flannan was a missionary who roved the countryside preaching the Good News. His legend attributes to him churches at Lough Corrib and at Inishbofin, and an incident on the Isle of Man. Pope John IV consecrated the Flannan as the first bishop of Killaloe.

Flannan labored in the Hebrides and gave his name to the Flannan Isles, west of Lewis and Harris in Scotland, where the ruins of Flannan chapel may be found. In spite of all his toil, he managed to recite the entire Psalter daily. He is the patron of Killaloe diocese where his relics formerly rested in the cathedral next to his stone oratory, but he also has a cultus in Scotland on the same day (Benedictines, Farmer, Montague).


Gatian of Tours B (RM)
Died c. 337. Gatian is venerated as one of the disciples of Saint Dionysius of Paris. He was the founder and first bishop of the diocese of Tours, France (Benedictines). In art St. Gatian is a bishop scattering seed. Sometimes he is shown in a cave with his people or with St. Dionysius of Paris (Roeder).


Mawnan (Maunanus) of Cornwall (AC)
Date unknown; another feast is shown on December 26 in Ireland. There is a town in Cornwall named Mawnan. One source also identifies him with Magnenn of Kilmainham, an Irish roving bishop who had a pet ram, was given to cursing his enemies, and favored bizarre austerities. Mawnan once asked counsel from Saint Maelruain, who roundly refused to administer absolution to a man who did not work for his daily bread, but instead lived on alms.

A prophecy is attributed to Mawnan: "A time shall come when girls shall be pert and tart of tongue; when there will be grumbling and discontent among the lower classes and lack of reverence to elders; when churches will be slackly attended and women shall exercise wiles." The exact identity of Mawnan is uncertain; he may be this saint or simply a local founder of whom nothing is known (Farmer).


Moses (Moysetes) of Africa M (RM)
Died c. 250. Moses probably suffered martyrdom in Africa under Decius (Benedictines).


Quintus, Simplicius & Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 255. Martyrs under Decius and Valerian in Proconsular Africa (Benedictines).


Rufus and Zosimus MM (RM)
Died c. 107. Rufus and Zosimus were citizens of Antioch (or perhaps Philippi) who were brought to Rome with Saint Ignatius of Antioch during the reign of Emperor Trajan. They were condemned to death for their Christianity and thrown to wild beasts in the arena two days before the martyrdom of Ignatius (Benedictines, Delaney).


Samthann of Clonbroney V (AC)
Died 739. The cultus of Samthann, the Irish nun who founded Clonbroney Abbey in County Longford, was introduced to the Continent and promoted by Saint Virgilius of Salzburg. Her name is included in both the litany and the canon of the Stowe missal.

An unreliable vita written later tells us that Samthann was raised by Cridan, king of Cairbre Cabhra. He arranged for her marriage but a miracle prevented it. Thereafter she became a nun under Saint Cognat at Ernaide (Donegal), from where she moved to Clonbroney.

Her vita provides us with some of her wise sayings. When a monk asked in what attitude should prayer be made, she responded in every position: standing, sitting, or lying. Another said he was going to stop studying in order to pray more. She advised that he would never be able to fix his mind and pray if he neglected study. When yet another said he was making a pilgrimage, she remarked that the kingdom of heaven can be reached without crossing the sea and that God is near to all who call upon Him.

Samthann would not accept large estates for her convent. She preferred that her sisters live in poverty as demonstrated by the fact that the community had but six cows for its herd. Montague gives her feast as December 19 (Farmer, Montague).


Theotimus and Basilian MM (RM)
Date unknown. Theotimus and Basilian appear to have been martyrs of Laodicea, Syria (Benedictines).


Victurus and Companions MM (RM)
Dates unknown. This group of 35 saints martyred in northwestern Africa includes Victurus, Victor, Victorinus, Adjutor, and Quartus (Benedictines).


Winebald, OSB Abbot (AC)
(also known as Winnibald, Wunebald, Wynbald)

Born in Wessex, England; died at Heidenheim, Germany, on December 18, 761.

Saint Richard the Saxon, an important landowner in 8th century Britain embarked with his two sons, Willibald and Winebald, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but he died in Lucca, Italy.

From Rome Willibald went on to the Holy Land (the first Englishman in recorded history to go there). Winebald did not have his brother's stamina. He was ill by the time they reached Rome. He decided to stay there as a student for seven years. There he became a Benedictine monk, returning to England, but twice coming back with friends on further pilgrimages to Rome. He was there in 739 when his kinsman, Saint Boniface, arrived.

Boniface's supreme achievement was to bring the Gospel to much of Germany. Although Winebald was still a sick man, Boniface persuaded his fellow-countryman to join his mission to the Germans. It was dangerous work, but Winebald soon arrived in Thuringia and was ordained a priest. In spite of his ill-health, he took over the care of seven churches. The German Saxons continually tried to hamper his work, but he pressed on into Bavaria, working there for several years until the call of the cloister proved too strong for him and he joined his brother Willibald at Eichstätt.

Willibald was by now bishop of Eichstätt, and he longed to found a double monastery in his diocese. Winebald he perceived to be the perfect abbot of the men. The two brothers decided that their sister Walburga, who was still in England, should rule the nuns. So Winebald went to a remote spot near Heidenheim (Würtemburg), and built the Benedictine double monastery, which became an important center for the education of clergy. Walburga came to join him. All this the saint accomplished in spite of continual illness, which prevented him from ending his life at Monte Cassino as he had hoped.

Heidenheim Abbey also became the center for evangelization as well as for prayer and work. Winebald narrowly escaped assassination by pagans in the neighborhood.

His last three years were spent as an invalid in great pain. Sometimes he could not even leave his cell to worship with the other monks. Yet he bore the illness patiently. And when he died, Willibald and Walburga were at his side. His biographer, Hugeburc, also wrote the story of his brother. Miracles were recorded at Winebald's tomb (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Farmer).

In art, Winebald is portrayed as an abbot with a bricklayer's trowel. Sometimes he may be shown with his brother and father (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.