St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day

John of Kanty, Priest
(Optional Memorial)
December 23

Besa, Abbot
Fifth century. Very gentle abbot in Egypt (Encyclopedia).

Dagobert II of Austrasia, King M (PC)
Died 679. King Dagobert, son of Saint Sigebert III, was exiled to a monastery in 656. In 675, he was recalled to Austrasia and murdered by Ebroin, mayor of the palace. His death has traditionally been regarded as a martyrdom (Benedictines). In art King St. Dagobert is dressed in royal regalia with a nail in his hand (Roeder).

Frithbert of Hexham, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Fridebert, Frithubeorht)

Died 766. Frithbert succeeded Saint Acca as bishop of Hexham, which he governed for 34 years, and, in the interim, he also administered Lindisfarne while its bishop, Cynewulf, was in prison. His relics were discovered at Hexham in 1154 (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer).

Blessed Hartmann of Brixen B (AC)
Born in Polling, Austria; died 1164; cultus confirmed in 1784. Hartmann received his education at the hands of the Augustinians of Passau, Austria. In 1122, he became dean of Salzburg cathedral and eventually bishop of Brixen, Austria. Hartmann was highly respected by both the nobility and the poor of his diocese. He did much for the canons regular as well as other religious, especially the Benedictines (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Blessed Hermann of Scheda, O. Praem. Abbot (AC)
Born in Cologne, Germany; died c. 1200. Although Hermann was born into a Jewish family, he became a Christian and joined the Premonstratensians. He was elected the first abbot of Scheda in the archdiocese of Cologne (Benedictines).

Blessed John Cirita, OSB Hermit (PC)
Died c. 1164. Initially John was a hermit in Spanish Galicia and then a monk at Tononca, Portugal. He was instrumental in handing over the abbey to the Cistercians, and is said to have written the rule of the Knights of Avis (Benedictines).

John Cantius (of Kanty, Kanti, Kenty) (RM)
Born June 23, 1390, at Kanti (Kenty near Oswiecim), Silesia, Poland; died December 24, 1473, in Kracow, Poland; declared the patron saint of Poland and Lithuania by Pope Clement XII in 1737; canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1767; feast day formerly October 20.

Even as a rural boy, John showed a tendency to be a bookworm, so his parents sent him to the University of Cracow to study. He graduated, was ordained, and then was appointed lecturer in Sacred Scripture at the university.

He became famed for his teaching but was forced from his position by jealous associates and became a parish priest at Olkusz. John was not happy as a parochial vicar; nor were his parishioners entirely happy with him. He was fearful of the responsibility of the care of souls, and missed his beloved academic life. Nevertheless, his fear led him to work harder than he might have otherwise to compensate for his imagined inadequacies. When he was recalled to the university as a professor eight years later, his parishioners wept to see him go.

With relish he returned to Cracow as professor of Scripture, a position he held until his death. He was noted for his scholarship, learning, and austerities, as well as for instilling in his students the need for moderation and good manners in controversy. So great was his fame that long after his death candidates for higher degree at Cracow University were dressed in his old gown.

What also astonished his contemporaries was his complete devotion to poverty and charity. He led a life so strict and austere that acquaintances warned him to be careful of his health. He shared all his earnings with the poor. He gave away virtually everything he possessed. He needed little. He never ate meat. He used the floor for a bed. He walked everywhere--even as far as Rome for his four pilgrimages to that city--and carried his own luggage.

John lived for God and others. As he lay dying, he comforted the grieving. When he died at age 74, John was already greatly venerated. His cultus is still active in Poland today. He was so respected that his doctoral gown was used for many years to vest each candidate when a degree was conferred. Miracles were attributed to him before and after his death (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).

St. John is pictured in a doctor's gown, his arm around the shoulder of a young student, whose gaze he directs towards heaven (Roeder); or he may be portrayed giving his garments to the poor (White).

Mazota of Abernethy V (AC)
8th century. Mazota was one of a band of 19 maidens who migrated from Ireland to Scotland to found the convent at Abernathy on the Tay. Mazota seems to have been their leader (Benedictines).

Migdonius and Mardonius MM (RM)
Died 303. These two were imperial officials at the court in Rome. When the Diocletian persecutions broke out in 303, they refused to renounce their faith. Migdonius was burnt at the stake and Mardonius was drowned in a well (Benedictines).

Nicholas Factor, OFM (AC)
Born at Valencia, Spain, in 1520; died 1582; beatified in 1786. In 1537, Nicholas became a Franciscan. He spent his life as an itinerant preacher, who pitilessly scourged himself before every sermon. Saints Paschal Baylon and Louis Bertrand served as witnesses in his beatification process (Benedictines).

Servulus of Rome (RM)
Died c. 590. Like Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, the crippled Servulus shared the alms he received at St. Clement's church door in Rome with those less fortunate than himself. Saint Gregory the Great beautifully describes the scene of his death (Benedictines).

Theodulus, Saturninus, & Companions MM (RM)
Died 250. Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zeticus, Cleomenes (Leomenes), Agathopus, Basilides, and Evaristus are also known as the Ten Martyrs of Crete. They suffered under Decius (Benedictines).

Thorlac Thornalli, OSA B (PC)
(also known as Porlakr or Thorlac Thorhallsson)

Born in Iceland, 1133; died at Skalholt on December 23, 1193; canonized in 1198 by the Althing (governing council) by his cultus has never officially been confirmed by the Church. The Icelandic Thorlac like his homeland, steeped in sagas and nourished by the Gospels, was well-qualified to be named bishop of Skalholt, one of Iceland's two dioceses, in 1177.

Born into an aristocratic family, Thorlac was ordained a deacon before the age of 15 and consecrated a priest at 18. He was sent abroad to study in Paris and Lincoln for about 10 years. There he acquired ideas regarding ecclesiastical discipline. Reportedly he visited London before returning home in 1161.

On his return to Iceland, he surprised his friends by refusing (after some hesitation) to marry a rich widow. Instead, Thorlac was given a farm where he founded and was abbot of an Augustinian monastery at Thykkviboer, where he settled down to a life of devotion, study, and pastoral ministry. Unlike many other Icelandic priests, who were married and owned their churches, Thorlac began his days by singing the Our Father, the creed, and a hymn. Then he would recite 50 Psalms.

After his consecration as bishop by Saint Augustine of Nidaros (Trondheim), Thorlac worked vigorously to stamp out simony, lay patronage, and clerical incontinency. His reform efforts, including a code of canon law covering clergy and laity, were not entirely successful; however, he was an influential spiritual guide. He planned to resign as bishop and retire to Thykkviboer, but died before he could do so. A saga of his life was written by a cleric of Skalholt and two books of miracles were recorded (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).

Victoria (and Anatolia) VV MM (RM)
Died 250. Victoria and Anatolia were sisters betrothed, respectively, to Eugenius and Aurelius, who were friends. Victoria gave all her property to Eugenius. Anatolia gave all hers to the poor. Anatolia, however, felt called to a life of celibacy, after a visitation from an angel. Soon Victoria, too, decided not to marry. For this reason, they were martyred at Rome. Unfortunately, this pretty story is a worthless later legend; Anatolia is not even mentioned in the Roman Martyrology (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

Vintila of Orensee, OSB, Hermit (AC)
Died 890. Vintila was a Benedictine monk who died as a recluse at Pugino, near Orense, in Spanish Galicia (Benedictines).

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.