St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

December 30



Anysia of Salonika M (RM)
Born in Thessaloniki, Greece; died 304. Anysia's parents were both rich and pious. She herself led a life of unobtrusive prayer, using the money and estates her parents had left her to relieve the poor.

An ancient legend, dating back to the beginning of the 4th century, tells us that one day a Roman soldier accosted her as she was on her way to a meeting of Christians. When he discovered her faith, he became even more abusive, deciding to make sport with her by dragging her to a temple to make a pagan sacrifice. Anysia resisted. The retiring saint habitually covered her face with a veil, but the soldier ripped it away to peer at her. She struggled all the more and spit in his face. In his rage he drew his sword and thrust it through her, killing the saint immediately.

It is discreetly and silently that Anysia fell one day on the field of honor of our faith. Only her given name has remained, but she lives forever in the eternal name of God himself. The martyrs are the saints of saints. They are at the very top of the supreme hierarchy. There is no more sumptuous brocade than the red robe of martyrs, for the real letters of nobility are written and sealed in blood. It is enough to have truly suffered a single hour in the flesh, to have truly spilled a pint or two of one's blood, to be able to measure the immense compass, the prodigious significance of the Passion and death of Our Lord and the martyrs who followed him.

Death itself is nothing. But each of us has the instinctive desire to hold on to life. To wait for death faithfully, prepare oneself for it serenely, face it with indifference, that is a great deal. But to accept, seek out, gladly demand not only death, but also the hideous test of torture, that is still more. For the theologians of a purely scholastic stoicism are not displeased by the sufferings of the body. "It is not death I fear, but dying," said Montaigne. Scorn for the torment of torn flesh, quivering, this is the great miracle, the unbelievable miracle, of the faith and the will of the martyrs. They do not fear death. They do not fear dying.

Anysia, little martyr of Salonika, replays the eternal drama of innocent weakness overcome by blind brute force. And generally, hardly has the sword been sheathed when remorse, grace, and the frenzy of conversion burn and transport the soul of the powerful. The powerful are overcome by the seemingly weak. "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia).


Anysius of Salonika B (RM)
Died c. 407. Anysius succeeded Saint Ascolus in the see of Salonika. He was a friend of Saint Ambrose and a loyal defender of Saint John Chrysostom (Benedictines).


Egwin of Worcester, OSB B (AC)
(also known as Ecgwine)

Died at Evesham, England, on December 30, 717; feast of the translation of his relics on September 10 and January 11.

The translation of Egwin's relics in 1039 by Ælfward, bishop of London and former abbot of the monastery founded by Egwin, was the impetus for the first vita of Egwin, which bears some resemblance to that of Saint Aldhelm. It claimed to incorporate older elements but may not be entirely reliable.

According to this vita, Egwin was born into the royal house of Ethelred, king of Mercia. He was consecrated to God in his youth. About 692, he became the third bishop of Worcester. Egwin governed the see of Worcester until he incurred the enmity of some of his flock for his severity against vice, and they denounced him to the king and archbishop of Canterbury.

Seeking vindication, Egwin appealed to Rome. Before leaving England on a penitential pilgrimage to answer before the Holy See the complaints lodged against him, he is said to have locked his feet in fetters and to have thrown the key into the Avon River. Miraculously, this key appeared in the belly of a fish he bought at a market in Rome (no one says how he was able to get around the market with his feet shackled). Because of this miracle, the pope vindicated Egwin and he was reinstated in his episcopal chair until 711.

During his episcopacy he founded the abbey of Evesham under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin because of a vision of Mary seen first by the herdsman Eof and the by Egwin in a meadow by the River Avon. Probably about 709, Egwin undertook another pilgrimage to Rome in the company of Kings Cenred of Mercia and Offa of the East Saxons. It is recorded that Egwin received considerable privileges for his foundation from Pope Constantine. Evesham became one of the great Benedictine monasteries of medieval England after its refounding about 975.

Egwin's connection with Malmesbury was further emphasized by his conducting the funeral of Aldhelm in 709. Some connection with Wilfrid is possible, but unsupported by contemporary evidence, but Evesham could have been one of Wilfrid's seven unidentified Mercian foundations.

The monks of Evesham strongly supported the cultus of Egwin. In the late 11th century, when some of the cults of Anglo-Saxon saints were being questioned by Blessed Lanfranc and the Normans, Egwin's sanctity was verified in the minds of many by an ordeal by fire; miracles in Dover, Oxford, and Winchester; and, in 1077, a successful fundraising tour of southern England undertaken by the monks of Evesham, who carried Egwin's relics with them. The money was needed to buy the materials to build a new church for the rapidly expanding community. Two ancient churches are dedicated to Egwin (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Walsh).

Saint Egwin is portrayed as an English bishop with a fish and one key. (Not to be confused with the German Saint Benno) (Roeder).


Eugene of Milan B (RM)
Date unknown. No records remain about the life of Eugene, a bishop of Milan (Benedictines).


Blessed John Alcober, OP M (AC)
Born at Gerona, Spain, in 1694; died in Tonkin, 1748; beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1893. John Alcober was a good friend of Bishop Blessed Francis Serrano, who was a brother Dominican of the Granada monastery and a fellow martyr in Tonkin. The two had planned to enter the Chinese missions together, but problems with the ship marooned Father Alcober in Lorca. There he spent his time as a popular preacher. In fact, he was beginning to forget about going to China until the Lord reminded him one day. As he was preaching, he used the words, "How long, you sinners, will you remain hardened?" His crucifix reproached him, "And you, John--how long?"

He sailed to Manila with 43 religious in 1726, and he finally made it to China in 1728, where he labored for 16 years in the province of Fo-kien. Here his life was very difficult; he had to hide in uncomfortable places, and, once, he was smuggled in a coffin to anoint a dying man. Sometimes disguised as a water seller, he moved about the city. Once, he was far from any shelter,and he climbed into a tree to spend the night. Piously intoning the Miserere before going to sleep, he was startled to hear another voice answering his, and, to his joy, realized his old friend Father Serrano was sitting in the same tree.

One of his last acts as a free man was to baptize a sick woman to whom Our Lady of the Rosary had appeared. The new Christian was so beautiful after her death that pagans crowded in to see her. Father Alcober's presence there led to his capture in 1746. Soon he found himself reunited in prison with Father Serrano and another priest, Francis Diaz. They were tortured to disclose the whereabouts of Bishop Peter Sanz, though the revealed nothing. The bishop and Father Joachim Royo, upon hearing of the capture of the other three, surrendered themselves in order to spare their brothers further suffering.

The five were dragged before the emperor in chains, and again subjected to torture. Bishop Sanz was beheaded, but the others languished in prison for another six months. Father Alcober wrote a letter to his brother, a Carmelite, saying that they were all in good spirits, but that they hoped it would end soon because they were eager to shed their blood. Here in prison, Father Serrano was appointed successor to Peter Martyr.

Late in November, these four was strangled in their cell at Futsheu during the night. This was the best way to fend off their apostolic work among the jailers and soldiers. When the executioners returned in the light of day to dispose of the bodies, they were horrified to note that the faces of the martyrs were not only serene, but shone with an unearthly radiance--a phenomenon indeed for someone who had died by strangulation. Afraid of being punished for not carrying out their duty, the executioners covered the faces of their victims, but the Christians followed them nonetheless to try to collect relics. The soldiers already knew there would be problems trying to dispose of the relics: Those of Bishop Sanz had resisted burning and various other kinds of destruction. For this reason, the persecuted Christians were able to retain the relics of the five martyrs (Benedictines, Dorcy).


Liberius of Ravenna B (RM)
Died c. 200. Liberius is venerated as one of the founders of the see of Ravenna and one of its first bishops (Benedictines).


Mansuetus and Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 483. Mansuetus, Severus, Appian, Donatus, Honorius, and five others were martyred at Alexandria in connection with the troubles raised by the Monophysites (Benedictines).


Blessed Margaret Colonna, Poor Clare V (AC)
Died 1284; cultus confirmed in 1847. Margaret was the daughter of Prince Odo Colonna of Palestrina. Inspired, as was her brother James, by the Franciscans, she became a Poor Clare and he was a cardinal. Margaret turned her family castle on the mountainside above Palestrina into a convent, for which her cardinal brother adapted a mitigated Franciscan Rule (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Blessed Matthia dei Nazzarei, Abbess (AC)
Born in Metalica, March of Ancona, Italy; died 1213; cultus confirmed in 1756. Matthia received the Benedictine veil at the convent of Santa Maddalena at Metalica, of which she became abbess- -a position that she held for 40 years. At a later date the convent adopted the rule of the Poor Clares, and for this reason Blessed Matthia is often called a Poor Clare. She was very strong- willed and, by various accounts, is said to continue to manifest herself in her shrines (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Blessed Ralph of Vaucelles, OSB Cist. Abbot (AC)
Born in England; died 1152. Ralph left his homeland to became a disciple of Saint Bernard at Clairvaux. Bernard later sent him to Vaucelles in the diocese of Cambrai to found and govern a new house. He is venerated among the Cistercians (Benedictines).


Raynerius of Aquila B (RM)
Died 1077. Bishop of Aquila (Forconium) in the Abruzzi, Raynerius was complimented by the Holy See for his good administration (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Sabinus and Companions MM (RM)
Died 303. Sabinus, Exuperantius, Marcellus, Venustian and their companions were martyred near Spoleto, Italy. Sabinus is described as a bishop of Assisi, Faenza, Spoleto, and Chiusi--all claim him. Venustian and his family were converts of Sabinus, and the other two are listed as his deacons (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 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.