Saint of the Day – 10 May – Saint Catald of Taranto (Died c 685) Bishop, Monk, miracle-worker. Born in the 7th century Munster, Ireland and died in c. 85 in Taranto, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Catald of Tarentum, Catald of Rachau, Cataldus, Cathal, Cattaldo, Cathaluds, Cathaldus, Cataldo. Patronages – against blindness, against drought, against epilepsy, against hernias, against paralysis, against plague, against storms, blind people, drought relief, epileptics, paralyzed people, Massa Lubrense, Italy, Taranto, Italy.
Born in Munster, Ireland, Catald was a pupil, then the headmaster of the monastic school of Lismore in Waterford, after the death of its founder, St Carthage.
Upon his return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he was shipwrecked at Taranto in southern Italy and ,chosen by the people as their Bishop and then Archbishop of the Diocese.
Some of the miracles claimed in Catald’s name include protecting the City against the plague and floods that, apparently, had occurred in neighbouring areas.
He is the titular of Taranto’s Cathedral and the principal Patron of the Diocese. This epitaph is given under an image of Saint Catald in Rome:
Me tulit Hiberne, Solyme traxere,
Tarentum Nunc tenet: huic ritus,
dogmata, jura dedi.
This has been loosely translated as:
Hibernia gave me birth,
thence wafted over,
I sought the sacred Solymean shore.
To thee Tarentum, holy rites I gave, Precepts divine
and thou to me a grave. (Hibernia is the classical Latin name for Ireland).
It is odd that an Irishman, should be so honoured throughout Italy, Malta,and France but have almost no recognition in his homeland. His Irish origins were discovered only two or three centuries after his death, when his relics were recovered during the renovation of the Cathedral of Taranto. When his coffin was open at that time, a pastoral staff of Irish workmanship was found with the inscription Cathaldus Rachau. Further investigations identified him with Cathal, the teacher of Lismore.
Veneration to Catald spread, especially in southern Italy, after the 10 May 1017, translation of his relics when the Cathedral was being rebuilt, following its destruction at the hands of Saracens in 927. Four remarkable cures occurred as the relics were moved to the new Cathedral. There is a Town of San Cataldo in Sicily and another on the southeast coast of Italy .
Saint Catald is depicted in art as an early Christian Bishop with a mitre and pallium in a 12th century mosaic at Palermo (Roeder). He is the subject of a painting on the 8th pillar of the nave ,on the left in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem There are also 12th-century mosaics in Palermo and Monreale depicting the Saint.