St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

December 20



Ammon, Zeno, Ptolemy, Ingen, and Theophilus MM (RM)
Died 249. During the trial of a group of Egyptian Christians at Alexandria during Decius' persecution, four of the soldiers guarding the prisoners, Ammon, Zeno, Ptolemy, and Ingen, and a bystander named Theophilus exhorted a Christian wavering under torture to stand fast in the faith in defiance of the ridicule heaped upon him by the judge and spectators. Perhaps they first tried gestures but eventually they gave up their anonymity and went up to the accused. When the judge saw what they were doing, he had them added to the prisoners and then had them all beheaded (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).


Dominic of Brescia B (RM)
Died c. 612. St. Dominic succeeded Saint Anastasius in the see of Brescia. Saint Charles Borromeo translated and enshrined his relics (Benedictines).


Dominic (Domingo) of Silos, OSB, Abbot (RM)
Born in Cañas, Navarre (now Rioja), Spain, c. 1000; died 1073. The child of Spanish peasants, Dominic was destined to become one of the most famous monks of his century. He began life working on the family farm. Then the monastery of his choice accepted him, and he became a Benedictine of San Millán de Cogolla. He was a model pupil and a devoted member of the community. After Dominic was ordained a priest, he served as novice master and eventually his fellow monks elected him as their prior.

At this point in his placid and yet busy life the greed of King García III of Navarre interrupted Dominic's career. García claimed that some of the monastic estates really belonged to him. So savagely did the king persecute Dominic for strenuously defending the monastery's rights that eventually the prior and two other monks fled for protection to King Ferdinand I of Old Castile. Fortunately, Ferdinand recognized the saint's worth.

King Ferdinand had suzerainty over the monastery of San Sebastian (now Santo Domingo), Silos, in the diocese of Burgos--a house that had been for some time in spiritual torpor. He asked Dominic to take over as abbot. When the saint arrived at Silos he found that the monastery's finances were totally awry, the buildings dilapidated, and the ranks of monks decimated to six. Inspired by the ideals of the famous Abbey of Cluny, he and his two companions from San Millán de Cogolla accepted the challenge.

The decayed buildings of San Sebastian's monastery were restored. The cloisters of the abbey--a gem of Romanesque architecture--stand to this day as the best monument to his enterprise.

The former shepherd boy loved the great illuminated manuscripts of the Church--books of liturgy, the Psalms, the Scriptures, and books of prayer. He set up a scriptorium at Silos that was soon producing some of the finest Christian books that Spain has ever seen, including the magnificent Apocalypse now housed in the British Library.

The fame of Dominic's holiness and learning spread, and attracted so many monks that the whole monastery soon had to be enlarged. He was renowned for rescuing Christian slaves from the Moors. Numerous miracles were attributed to him, including healings of all kinds. Rich men and women began to endow the monastery. And by the time Dominic died in 1073 the monastery of San Sebastian, Silos, was one of the greatest in the land. At his death, the monastery had 40 monks and many other resources including a flourishing gold and silver workshop that made possible extensive charity to the local poor.

Not only was the monastery a great one, Dominic became one of the most beloved of the Spanish saints. Three years after his death, on January 5, Dominic's body was translated into the church, which was the equivalent of local canonization. Churches and monasteries were dedicated to him from 1085.

More miracles were attributed to his prayers after his death, especially with regard to pregnancy. Dominic's abbatial staff was used to bless Spanish queens and it remained by their bedside until they had a safe delivery. At his shrine Blessed Joan de Aza de Guzmán prayed to conceive the child whom she called Dominic, after the abbot of Silos. Today's saint's namesake became the famous founder of the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans (Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Farmer).

St. Dominic is represented as an abbot surrounded by Seven Virtues. Sometimes he is a mitered abbot enthroned with a book, a veil tied to his crozier. Venerated in Spain. Patron of shepherds and captives. Invoked against insects and mad dogs (Roeder).


Eugene and Macarius MM (RM)
Died 362. Eugene and Macarius were priests who were scourged, before being banished into the Arabian desert. On their return, they were put to the sword under Julian the Apostate (Benedictines).


Blessed Gundisalvus (Gonzalo) of Silos, OSB (AC)
Died c. 1073. Gundisalvus was one of Saint Dominic's monks at the Benedictine abbey of Silos, Spain (Benedictines).


Julius of Gelduba M (RM)
Date unknown. All that is known is that Julius was martyred at Gelduba (Gildoba) in Thrace (Benedictines).


Liberatus and Bajulus MM (RM)
Date unknown. Martyrs venerated in Rome (Benedictines).


Malou (Madeloup) (AC)
Priest who feted Hautvillers, Marne (Encyclopedia).


Blessed Peter de la Cadireta, OP M (PC)
Born in Moya, Catalonia, Spain; died 1277. Among the martyrs contributed by the Dominican province of Spain was Peter de la Cadireta. He had been a companion of Saint Raymond of Peñafort in Barcelona. Raymond had been especially interested in the conversion of the Moors and other infidels, and to this end founded a school of Eastern languages to train future evangelists in Hebrew, Arabic, and others. It could not have made Raymond happy to know one of his most promising students was almost guaranteed an early martyrdom: in 1258, Peter was appointed to the office of inquisitor in his homeland of Spain. His two predecessors, Pons de Planedis and Bernard de Traversa, were both martyred.

Peter enjoyed the longest career of the three; he worked for 20 years before his was captured and stoned to death at Urgell in 1277. Thereafter, he was laid to rest next to the other two in the cathedral, although by this time there was a Dominican convent in Urgell, of which he had been the prior. It appears that his relics are now venerated at the church of Saint Dominic in Urgell (Benedictines, Dorcy).


Blessed Peter Massalenus, OSB Cam. (AC)
Born in Othoca, Sardinia, 1375; died Venice, 1453. Peter made repeated pilgrimages to the Holy Land and finally settled at San Michele di Murano, Venice, in 1410, where he became a Camaldolese Benedictine. He was famed for his gift of mystical contemplation (Benedictines).


Blessed Peter Thi M (AC)
Born in Tonkin (Vietnam) in 1763; died in Hanoi, December 21, 1839; beatified in 1900. Peter Thi and Blessed Andrew Dung Lac were native priests from Annam (Vietnam) who helped each other and encouraged each other to martyrdom. Peter was beheaded at the age of 60 (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Philogonius of Antioch B (RM)
Died 324. Not all lawyers are bad. A perfect example is Philogonius, who was a confessor of the faith under Licinius. After the death of his wife, he became patriarch of Antioch and was one of the first to decry Arianism. Saint John Chrysostom preached a beautiful eulogy on Philogonius that is still preserved (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Ursicinus of Cahors, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 535. This Ursicinus was bishop of Cahors. He was often mentioned by the historian Saint Gregory of Tours (Benedictines).


Ursicinus of St-Ursanne, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 625. Friend of Saint Columbanus, the Irish Ursicinus followed the footsteps of his friend and entered the missionary fields of Switzerland. Ursicinus planted his staff at St. Ursanne in the Swiss Juras, where he built his monastery. He could not bear wine nor those who gave it to him to drink (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

St. Ursicinus is rendered in art as an abbot with three lilies in his hand or holding a book and fleur-de-lys, surrounded by fleur- de-lys. Venerated at Basel, Besancon, and Mainz. Invoked against stiff neck (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.