Saint of the Day – 7January – St Valentine of Passau (Died 475) Bishop

Saint of the Day – 7January – St Valentine of Passau (Died 475) Bishop in Passau in the Rhaetia region, Switzerland, an area in the border region of modern Italy, Austria and Switzerland, Monk, Abbot, Missionary, Hermit, Miracle-worker. Died on 7 January 475 at Mais, Tyrol, Austria of natural causes. Patronages – against convulsions, against cramps/stomach pain, against epilepsy, against gout, against plague/epidemics, against demonic possession, of cattle diseases, of pilgrims, poor people, City and Diocese of Passau. Also known as • Valentine of Mais • Valentine of Raetia • Valentine of Ratien • Valentine of Retie • Valentine of Rezia • Valentine of Rhaetia • Valentine of Rhétie • Valentin, Valentinus. Additional Memorial – 4 August (translation of relics), 29 October a combined Feast with the other Patrons of Passau, St Stephen, the Protomartyr and St Maximillian Martyr Bishop of Passau for 20 years, who died in c 284 (Feast day 12 October)..

The 3 Patrons of Passau, St Valentine left, st Stephen centre and St Maximillian right

According to tradition, Valentine came to Passau around 430; there the construction of the first Church on the site of today’s Cathedral is attributed to him.

Valentine had been sent by the Pope to preach the Gospel in the Passau. He found that his work was without fruit and returned to Rome to implore the Holy Father to send him elsewhere. But the Pope Consecrated him Bishop and sent him back to Passau, to preach in season and out of season, whether it produced fruit or not.

The Bishop renewed his efforts but the pagans and Arians combined to drive him out of the City. Thereupon, he went into the Rhætian Alps and his teaching produced abundant fruit in the region. His Vita states, St Valentine was “teaching the word of God and doing great good, such that he was able to expel demons from the obsessed and cure those who were sick of all sorts of diseases.” 

At length he resolved to serve God and purify his own soul, in a life of retirement. He, therefore, built a little Chapel and Monastery at Mais, in Tyrol and there he died. His Relics are enshrined at Passau.

A Monk who died in 482 wrote a Vita of the Bishop of Raetia. St Venantius Fortunatus knew of a Church dedicated to Saint Valentine in the Upper Inn Valley and another, probably on the Brenner Pass in the Alps.

otive image, 1843 from the Mariahill pilgrimage Church in Passau. Next to Bishop Valentin appears the Mother of God with the Jesus Child in her arms in a wreath of clouds.
The text asks for a devotional Lord’s Prayer to Maria for the sinful person.

Around 1200, on the occasion of the discovery of his grave in the forecourt of Passau Cathedral, a life story was written by an Cathedral Chaplain – who said that Valentin worked in the area around Passau but was unsuccessful because of the wildness of the residents and finally retreated to the Alps after abuse and expulsion.

Below is a Painting by Franz de Neve “The Cures Wrought by Saint Valentine and the Beheading of St Maximilian” (after 1689) which resides in the Cathedral of St Stephen, Passau.
In the foreground, St Valentine cures the sick. The beheading of St Maximilian is barely visible in the left edge of the background.


Saint of the Day – 18 October – St Amabilis of Auvergne (c 397- c 475)

Saint of the Day – 18 October – St Amabilis of Auvergne (c 397- c 475) Priest, Confessor, Miracle-worker. Tradition tells that snakes and demons fled from his voice, often the images and medals depicting him bear the words “The demons flee as well as snakes and fire.” Born probably in Rimo, France in c 397 and died in Auvergne in c 475 of natural causes. Patronages – against demonic possession, against fire, against mental illness, against poison, against snake bite, against wild beasts, of Auvergne, France, of Riom, France. Also known as – Amabilis of Riom, Amabilis the Cantor. Additional Memorial – 1 November.

In the sixth century, St Gregory of Tours in his ‘De gloria confessorum,’ described the popular belief in this Saint’s power over demons and serpents as well as the veneration at his tomb. Gregory reports that he, himself witnessed two miracles there.

Notice the snake at his feet

Amabilis served as a Cantor in the Church of Saint Mary at Clermont and then as the Precentor at Clermont Cathedral . Later as Parish Priest at Riom, where, in 1120, a Church was dedicated to him. He acquired a reputation for holiness in his lifetime.

In the seventh century his relics were transferred to Riom from Clermont. Riom grew up around the collegiate Church of Saint Amable, which was the object of pilgrimages. In the eighteenth century a dispute occurred over these relics between neighbouring Clermont and Riom, where Amabilis is Patron.

Chapel of St Amabilis in the Church dedicated to him at Riom
St Amabilis Church

Public processions in his honour have been traditional in Riom for more than 1500 years, where he is invoked against fire and snakes. Father Antoine Déat, a Missionary in Canada , introduced his cult to North America, where he is also still venerated today. A chapel is dedicated to him in the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal.


Saint of the Day – 1 February – Blessed Andrew of Segni OFM (1240-1302)

Saint of the Day – 1 February – Blessed Andrew of Segni OFM (1240-1302) Priest, Friar of the the Order of Friars Minor, Hermit, spiritual teacher, mystic, miracle-worker and exorcist. Andrew is best known for his humble life of solitude in which he was subjected to demonic visions and attacks, though his faith in God saw him emerge time and time again, as the victor. He lived his life in a small grotto in the Apennines. Born as Andrea De Comitibus dei Conti in 1240 in Anagni, Italy and died on 1 February 1302 at his Mount Scalambra Hermitage near Piglio, Italy of natural causes, aged 62. Additional Memorial – 3 February in the Diocese of Anagni and by the Franciscans. Patronage – against demonic possession, Diocese of Anagni.

Andrea De Comitibus of the Counts of Segni, was born in Anagni around 1240. He was a close relative of popes Innocent III, Gregory IX, Alexander IV and Boniface VIII, of the last two he was respectively Nephew and Uncle.

The road to high honour had opened its portals to him too but even as a young man, he recognised the vanity of the world and renounced it entirely. He left his father’s castle, worldly honour and riches and sought another home in the newly founded Franciscan convent of St Lawrence in the Apennines. There, he found a solitary grotto, where, with the permission of the superiors, he made his abode. The cavern was so narrow and low that, because of his tall stature, Andrew was obliged either to kneel or to bend over considerably when he was inside. But here he remained for the rest of his life and he became the perfect model of Franciscan humility and mortification, of modesty and piety. The cave in which he spent most of his day in prayer and in the most severe poverty and penance is still visible today.

In spite of this inconvenience he spent almost his entire life there in the contemplation of heavenly things, practicing great austerities and struggling almost continually against the evil spirits, over which, with the grace of God, he always emerged the victor. He was diligent also in pursuing the study of the sacred sciences and was the author of a treatise on the veneration of the Blessed Virgin, which was treasured by his contemporaries but which has, unfortunately, not survived to our day.

In the year 1295 his uncle, Pope Alexander IV, visited Blessed Andrew Segni with the purpose of presenting him with the Cardinal’s hat. But neither Alexander, nor later Boniface VIII, succeeded in inducing the saint to accept the dignity. This humility made such an impression on Boniface VIII, that he expressed the wish to outlive Andrew so that he might have the privilege of Canonising him. In 1295, his nephew, Pope Boniface VIII wanted again to appoint him Cardinal but he refused this dignity, preferring to serve the Church in his solitude.

In the last years of his life Andrew was favoured with the gift of miracles and of prophecy. On one occasion he was far too ill to eat and so a friend bought him a plate of roasted birds to assuage his illness. Andrew was too distressed to see the slain birds that he made the Sign of the Cross over them and – it has been said – bought them back to life.

On 1 February 1302, the humble servant of God went forth to receive heavenly honours. His body reposes with the Friars Minor Conventual at St Lawrence and he is still signally honoured by the people and invoked by them, as special protector against the attacks of evil spirits. His cult was recognised and approved by Pope Innocent XIII, a scion of the same noble family, on 11 December 1724. During the last World War, his tomb received damage from the allied bombing of 12 May 1944 and to repair it, a survey of the relics was carried out on 8 February 1945.

An ancient image of the Blessed dated to the 14th century can be seen in a fresco by Taddeo Gaddi in the Basilica of St Croce in Florence.

Blessed Andrew’s liturgical celebration is on 1 February in Piglio (Frosinone) and in the Diocese of Anagni, and in Franciscan Churches, on 3 February.