Saint of the Day – 25 October – St Gaudentius of Brescia (Died 410) Bishop , renowned Preacher, Diplomatic Mediator, Born in Brescia, Italy and died there in 410 of natural causes.
The Roman Martyrology states today: “In Brescia, Saint Gaudentius, Bishop, who, Ordained by Saint Ambrose, shone among the prelates of his time for doctrine and virtue, instructed his people with words and writings and founded a Basilica which he called the ‘Council of Saints.‘”
Gaudentius was the eighth Bishop of Brescia, the City where he was born. We know something about his life from his ten Sermons, sent to a worthy fellow citizen, a Brescian nobleman named Benivolus, who, because he was ill, could not attend Mass to listen to him. Gaudemnzio, for his humility, thought he carried out his ministry solely through preaching. His homilies were copied and disseminated because they were requested by the faithful. When he was elected Bishop, by popular acclaim and with the approval of St Ambrose, he was on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Brescians then sent a delegation to Palestine to get him back as soon as possible.
He enjoyed a reputation of great holiness and for this reason ,he had the esteem of the great religious and civil personalities of his time.
Born at Brescia, Italy, about the middle of the 4th century, Gaudentius was educated under St Philastrius, Bishop of Brescia, whom he termed his “father.” After earning a reputation for sanctity, he travelled to the East where he gained even more fame. In his absence, he was elected Bishop by the people on the death of St Philastrius, although he felt unworthy to receive such an honour, he was influenced to accept it by the Eastern Bishops and in 387 he was consecrated by St Ambrose.
Gaudentius was a powerful preacher and ten of his Sermons have survived, offering ample testimony to this fact, as well as twenty-one tractates and several pastoral and private letters survive. He governed his See with prudence and humility, inspiring his flock to imitate the Divine Master .
In 405, the Saint was sent with two others by Pope Innocent I to the East to defend St. John Chrysostom before Arcadius. However, the party was prevented from reaching Arcadius and never formally interceded for John – the three men were shipped back home on a vessel so unseaworthy that it almost sank and had to be left at Lampsacus. Subsequently, St. John wrote a letter of thanks to St Gaudentius for his efforts, even though they had not borne fruit. This saintly man died in 410 and was called by Rufinus: “the glory of the Doctors of the age in which he lived.”