Saint of the Day – 2 September – Saint Nonnosus (c 500-c 575) Monk, Abbot and Deacon. Also known as Nonnosus of Monte Soratte, Nonnoso, Nonosius, Nonoso. Born in c 500 and died in c 575 of natural causes. Additional Memorials – 12 May (discovery of his relics), 19 August (enshrining of relics in Freising, Bamberg, Germany). Patronages – Freising (co-patron), Castel Sant’Elia, Diocese of Sutri and Nepi both in Italy, invoked in Germany against diseases of the kidneys, against physical defects, back pains, Castel Saint’Elia, Italy, Freising, Germany.
He by the best information known, was a Monk at the Abbey in Suppentonia, Italy. He was said to have the ability to perform many miracles and in fact, so many, that they caught the attention of Pope St Gregory I – the Great, who wrote the stories of Nonossus’s life and many miracles he performed. These records from Pope St Gregory, are the only records known to exist of this saint’s life, outside of legend.
St Nonossus was born in 500, in what is believed to be, Mount Soracte, near Rome. He lived a life of prayer as a Monk. He was a Prior at the San Silvestre Monastery on Monte Soratte, north of Rome. He later was a Monk at Suppenntonia, near Civitah, Italy. He was a contemporary of St Benedictine of Nursia.
The sole source of Nonnosus’ life is Pope Gregory the Great, who wrote about St Nonossus after being asked by some friends to create a compendium of miracle stories associated with Italian Saints. Maximian, the Bishop of Syracuse, provided Pope Gregory with some information about Nonnosus. Another source that Pope Gregory drew from was Laurio, an old Monk of the Monastery Suppentonia. Laurio had been a great friend of Nonossus, while the two lived the monastic life there, under the Abbot St Anastasius. According to Gregory, Nonossus was a particularly good-natured man, kind and devout.
Miracles told of Nonossus, as recorded by St Gregory, state that Nonossus removed an enormous rock that had occupied land on which he wanted to grow cabbage. Fifty pairs of oxen had not been able to move it, after many attempts. He miraculously restored a glass lamp that had been shattered against the floor. He also completely filled many receptacles with olive oil, after a particularly bad harvest for the olive crop, so the people would not go without. He had the ability to calm his Abbot, who was sometimes easily upset and frustrated.
Nonnosus was buried at Monte Soratte . A tablet at his burial site reads “Here rests the servant of Christ, Nonossus, Deacon.” The oil from the eternally burning grave lamp is reported to have healing powers.
Nonnosus is mentioned in a 12th-century collection of legends from Carinthia, Austria. His cult spread to Bavaria, where relics are kept in the crypt of Freising Cathedral. Veneration of Nonnosus was also established at Monte Soratte in the 1650s, due to the efforts of Andrea di San Bonaventura, a Cistercian Monk and in 1661 some of his relics returned to Monte Soratte and Nonnosus’ cult spread across central Italy.
St Nonossus’s life teaches us that many before us were willing to serve the Church with all they had, so as to preserve the faith for us. The question that comes to mind, what are we willing to do to learn, live and pass the faith on in our generation, for the generations to come?