Saint of the Day – 8 January – Saint Severinus of Noricum (c 410-482) Abbot, Hermit, Missionary, established Monasteries and refuge centres for those stricken by war. Severinus was graced with the gifts of prophecy. and miracles. He is known as “The Apostle to Noricum” – Noricum is the Latin name for the Celtic kingdom or federation of tribes that included most of modern Austria and part of Slovenia. Born in c 410 and died on 8 January 482 at Favianae, Noricum of natural causes. Patronages – against famine, of linen weavers, prisoners, vineyards/vintners/wine farms, Austria, Bavaria, Germany, the Diocese of Linz, Austria. Also known as – Severrin, Severino.
The Roman Martyrology reads today: “This same day, among the inhabitants of Noricum (now Austria), the Abbot, St Severin, who preached the Gospel in that country and is called it’s apostle. By Divine Power, his body was carried to Lucullanum, near Naples and thence transferred to the Monastery of St Severin.”
Little is known of his origins. The source for information about him is the Commemoratorium Vitae St Severini (511) by Eugippius (c 460-c 535), who was a disciple of Severinus. In 511 Eugippius wrote to Paschasius and asked his venerated and dear friend, who had great literary skill, to write a biography of St Severinus from the accounts of the Saint which he (Eugippius) had put together in crude and unartistic form. Paschasius, however, replied that the acts and miracles of the Saint could not be described better than had done by Eugippius. This Vita is available online at: https://www.tertullian.org/fathers/severinus_02_text.htm
Severinus was a high-born Roman living as an Hermit in the East. He was an ascetic in practice. He is first recorded as travelling along the Danube in Noricum and Bavaria, preaching Christianity, procuring supplies for the starving, redeeming captives and establishing Monasteries at Passau and Favianae,
While the Western Empire was falling apart, Severinus, thanks to his virtues and organisational skills, committed himself to the religious and material care of the frontier peoples, also taking care of their military defence. He organised refugee camps, migrations to safer areas and food distribution.
Serverinus offered practical leadership, as well as spiritual leadership. He was a tireless preacher and a marvellous Miracle-worker – he miraculously multiplied food reserves, cured the sick, cast out devils, commanded the elements of nature and once even resurrected the dead.
The main theme of his teaching was the value of penance. It was a propitious choice. The sufferings of his people under the Germanic invasions were acute and, uniting them with Christ’s sufferings for the reparation of sin and the conversion of sinners, enabled them to find meaning and strength amid calamity. He also practiced what he preached. In his constant barefoot journeying throughout Austria and Bavaria, he ate only one meal a day and slept on a sack which he carried around with him, wherever he happened to find himself at bedtime.
His efforts seem to have won him wide respect, including that of the Germanic chieftain Odoacer. Eugippius credits him with the prediction that Odoacer would become king of Rome. However, Severinus warned that Odoacer would rule not more than fourteen years.
Severinus also prophesied the destruction of Asturis in Austria, by the Huns. When the people would not heed his warning, he took refuge in Comagena. There he established refugee centres for people displaced by the invasion and founded Monasteries to re-establish spirituality and preserve learning in the stricken region.
He died in his monastic cell at Favianae while singing Psalm 150. Six years after his death, his Monks were driven from their Abbey and his body was taken to Italy, where it was at first kept in the Castel dell’Ovo, Naples, then eventually interred at the Benedictine Monastery rededicated to him, the Abbey of San Severino in the City of Naples.
Saint of the Day – 25 August – St Louis IX (1214-1270) King of France Confessor, King, Reformer, Apostle of Charity.
This remarkable man was born on 25 April 1214, near Paris, France. When his grandfather, King Philip II of France, passed away, his son, Prince Louis the Lion, became King Louis VIII. His wife became Queen Blanche. Their son, now Prince Louis, was only nine-years-old.
Three years later Louis’ father died and the boy was crowned King Louis IX. Because of his young age the Queen Mother, Blanche, took over the reins of government. A great woman in her own right, she made sure her son would be prepared for his life as King. Queen Blanche, also known as Blanche of Castille, took her Catholic faith very seriously. She was rigid and determined in teaching her son the faith and managed to instill genuine piety and a deep sense of devotion in him. She was quoted as having told her son, “I love you, my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child but I would rather see you dead at my feet, than that you should commit a mortal sin.”
At the age of 21, Louis took charge of the government. His mother’s influence in his life was apparent because there was a force within Louis that made him strive to rule justly and to attain sanctity. King Louis had a pronounced affinity for the sick and poor of his kingdom. He treated the downtrodden with compassion, understanding and with a humility that was unheard of in a king.
Everyday King Louis IX would have three special guests called in from among the poor to have dinner with him…Since there were always crowds of poor and hungry outside the palace, he would try to have as many of them fed as was possible. During Lent and Advent anyone who presented themselves before him was given a meal and often, the King served them himself. He even had lists compiled of needy people in every Province under his rule.
Louis married his true love, Margaret of Provence on 27 May 1234. Queen Margaret was filled with religious fervour as was her husband and they truly made a beautiful couple while setting a fine example for all married couples. They both enjoyed each other’s company and liked riding together, listening to music and reading. King Louis and Queen Margaret had eleven children.
Louis was a strong-willed and strong-minded man with a powerful faith. His word was trusted throughout the Kingdom, and his courage, in taking action against wrongs was remarkable. Amazingly, this King had true respect for anyone with whom he had dealing, especially the poor and downtrodden. King Louis built Churches, libraries, hospitals and orphanages. He treated both Princes and commoners equally.
King Louis had taken his army on the 7th Crusade in 1248. This proved to be a disaster and the king was captured by the Muslims. After an absence of six years, he was successfully ransomed and returned home. In 1270 he sought redemption for his first failure and embarked on another crusade. It was summer in northern Africa and dysentery and typhoid swept through the dirty camps. King Louis IX, died while lying on a bed of ashes saying the name of the City he had not relieved; “Jerusalem, Jerusalem.”
Pope Boniface VIII, proclaimed Louis a Saint in 1297. He is the only King of France named a Saint by the Church. This man was a true gentleman as he tried to treat everyone with courtesy, love and respect, whilst remaining strong and just at the same time. He is most beloved both in France and across the Catholic world.
Saint of the Day – 15 January – Saint Romedius of Nonsberg/theologians Hermit, Penitent., Pilgrim. Born in Thaur, Tyrol, Austria and died in the 4th Century in Salzburg, Austria of natural causes. Also known as – Romedio of Hohenwart, Romedio of Salzburg, Romedio of Sanzeno, Romedio of Thaur. Romedio. Additional Memorial – 1st Sunday in October (translation of relics). Patronages – against accidents, against bone diseases, against danger at sea, against fever, against fire, against floods, against hail, against headaches, against toothaches, of prisoners, theology students/theologians, travellers/pilgrims. Canonised on 24 July 1907 by Pope Pius X (cultus confirmation).
The Roman Martyrology states: “In the Val di Non in Trentino, St Romedius, an anchorite, who, having given his possessions to the Church, led a life of penance in the hermitage that still bears his name today.”
Romedius was the son and heir of the wealthy Count of Thaur, the lord of a castle near Innsbruck and owner of salt pans in the valley of the River Inn. After a pilgrimage to Rome, Romedius gave all his possessions to the Church, withdrawing into a hermitage in grottoes in the Val di Non. he was accompanied by two companions, Abraham and David.
A later date emerges from the history of his works and extensive research. It is most likely that Romedius came from the family of the Counts of Andechs , lived in the 11th century, gave up his fortune in Thaur and joined the then spreading mendicant movement. After a visit to the Bishop of Trento , he visited the Martyrs’ graves of Alexander , Martyrius and Sisinniusin Sanzeno. It is believed that he died at the age of 74.
Romedius is often depicted alongside or astride a bear. According to his hagiography he wanted to visit the friend of his youth, St Vigilius, Bishop of Trento (who died in 405) but his horse was torn to pieces by a wild bear. Romedius, however, had the bear bridled by his disciple David. The bear became docile and carried Romedius on its back to Trento.
Upon Romedius’ death, his body was laid to rest in a small tomb above his cave in the mountains, a site that was soon visited by pilgrims. The Sanctuary of San Romedio grew from the little Church that was built to venerate him, to a popular pilgrimage site. The Santuario di San Romedio is across the lake from Cles at the head of the Val di Non, above the village of Sanzeno. The Sanctuary where Romedius lived with his bear companion, is now a complex of several Churches, from the Romanesque period to the 20th century beyond a gateway on the forested slopes. Votive offerings of crutches line the walls of the narrow stone stairwell up to the highest chapel, said to mark the site of the Saint’s retreat.
His local cult, which consolidated itself in the course of the 11th century, was officially recognised in the twelfth by the Bishop of Trento. In 1795, permission was given for special offices in his name in the Diocese of Brixen, which at that time, included the Northern Tyrol. His cult remains popular in Trentino, Bavaria, and the Tyrol.
Romedius’ Bear In remembrance of this legend, in 1958 Italian Senator G. G. Gallarati Scotti, honorary member of the committee for the foundation of the World Wildlife Fund in Italy, purchased Charlie, a bear intended to be killed and donated it to the Sanctuary of San Romedius, in the Valle di Non.
Today, the Province of Trentino protects the last brown bears of the Alps in the Adamello-Brenta National Park and, near the Sanctuary, takes care of young bears born in captivity in Trentino.
In the work known as Illustrissimi, a collection of letters written by Pope John Paul I when he was Patriarch of Venice, Romedius’ bear is one of the “recipients” of the letters.
Saint of the Day – 25 March – Saint Dismas “The Good Thief” the first Saint – crucified alongside Jesus Christ in 33. Patronages – condemned prisoners, all prisoners, dying people, funeral directors, penitents, penitent criminals, prison chaplains, prisoners, prisons, reformed thieves, undertakers, Przemysl, Poland, Archdiocese of, Merizo, Guam. Also known as The Penitent Thief, The Good Thief on the Cross, Demas, Desmas, Dimas, Dysmas, Rach, Titus, Zoatham.
The Roman Martyrology, on the 25th of March, makes mention of the Good Thief, who, according to tradition, is called Dismas, in the following words:
“At Jerusalem, on this day, is the Feast of the Good Thief, who acknowledged Christ on the Cross and from Him, deserved to hear the words: ‘This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.“
The sudden change and conversion, for Dismas from a sinner, became a penitent and Saint, has been rightly attributed to the prayers of our Blessed Lady. Mary, say the holy Fathers, who had obtained the soul of the malefactor, as a recompense of her sorrows and the price of her compassion.
Saint Peter Damien assures us, that Mary prayed for the thief who was on the right side of the Cross, on which side she also stood and exhorted him, to hope in Jesus and to do penance.
Saint Anselm, in a treatise on the youth of Jesus, relates the following incident about the early years of Saint Dismas, which he says is a pious legend:
“Dismas was living in a forest on the confines of Egypt, when Mary went thither with the Child Jesus, to escape the rage of Herod. He was a highwayman and the son of the chief of a band of robbers. One day, as he lay in ambush, he saw a man, a young woman and a little Child approaching, from whom he rightly expected no opposition. Therefore, he went towards them, with his comrades, with the intention to ill-treat them. But he was at once so charmed with the supernatural beauty and grace which shone on the countenance of Jesus, that instead of doing them harm, he gave them hospitality in the cave which he inhabited and made ready for them, everything of which they stood in need. Mary was grateful for the tenderness and care, which the robber bestowed on her Beloved Son and warmly thanking him, she assured him that he would be rewarded before his death. This promise was fulfilled later, when Dismas was crucified with the Saviour of the World and obtained the grace of repentance in his last hour, openly confessing Jesus Christ’s Divinity. When the Apostles had fled, he had the happiness of receiving the first fruits of the Redeemer’s Sacrifice and soon after, entered the Heavenly Kingdom with his Saviour.”
Dismas is considered the Patron of penitents and is especially invoked for the conversion of hardened and obstinate criminals and sinners.
The Church has indeed sanctioned the veneration given to this Saint, with a most beautiful Office, in his honour.
Saint of the Day – 11 August – St Géry of Cambrai (c 550 – 626) Bishop of Cambrai, Founder of Monateries, Churches and of St Géry Island off Belgium, Géry devoted himself to the fight against paganism, Miracle-worker – born at Trier, Germany and died in 626 of natural cause in Cambrai, Belgium. Also known as Gaugericus, Gaugerico, Gorik, Djèri, Gau. Additional Memorials – 18 November for the exhumation of his relics and 24 September for the translation of his relics. Patronages – prisoners, the healing of lepers and skin diseases, against diseases of cattle, consumption and deformities of the legs, Cambrai and the Archdiocese – in France, Brussels, Braine-le-Comte – in Belgium. From his gift of delivering captives, there is attached, his power to deliver the victims of the demon and the influences of ill-intentioned people. He is also the Patron Saint of many Churches in the regions of Cambrai, Bierne, Valenciennes and Arras, as well as in Belgium.
Géry was born to Roman parents, Gaudentius and Austadiola, at Eposium (present Carignan).
Tradition states that Bishop Magnerich, successor of Saint Nicetas as Bishop of Trie, was so impressed with the piety of the young man that he Ordained him as a Deacon but not before Géry had memorised the entire psalter. Magnerich entrusted Géry with the pastoral care of the city of Cambrai. Géry founded Churches and Abbeys, including a Monastery dedicated to St Medard, to host relics, which contributed powerfully to giving Cambrai both the appearance and functions of a city.
Around the year 580, Géry built a Chapel on the largest island in the Senne near Brussels. Saint-Géry Island is named after him.
When the see of Cambrai-Arras fell vacant around 585, Géry was elected Bishop with the consent of Childebert II. He was consecrated by Egidius, Bishop of Reims. Bishop Géry devoted himself to fighting paganism, ransoming captives and visiting rural districts and villages. He paid his respects to King Chlothar II, the new lord of Cambrai after the death of Childebert. Bishop Géry made a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Martin in Tours and assisted at the Council of Paris in 614.
Géry also built a Church dedicated to Saint Martin, where he had relics of this Saint deposited. The steeple of this church was to become, much later, the belfry of the city. Having obtained pieces of the Holy Cross, Géry had a Church built to house them. Finally, he had an Episcopal palace built near his Cathedral. He transferred, between 584 and 590, the Episcopal see from Arras to Cambrai. Géry erected a Chapel (in Saint Michel , later Saints-Michel-et-Gudule Cathedral), which soon became a Church and gave birth to the city of Brussels.
After serving as Bishop for thirty-nine years, he died on 11 August 626 and was buried in the Church of Saint Médard, which he had founded at Cambrai. Veneration commenced immediately after his death. His reliquary is still on display in the south transept of the Saint Géry church in Cambrai.
St Géry is credited with many miracles, the healing of a leper, of a blind man and, during his travels through his Diocese, he freed many prisoners, criminals, children taken into slavery. It is said that he delivered his Diocese from a dragon.
When the Church of Saint Medard was demolished by the Emperor Charles V for the building of the citadel, the canons were removed and took with them, the relics of the Saint, to the old church of Saint Vedast, which from that time, has borne the name of Saint Gery. The Church of Saint Géry is one of the oldest in Cambrai and a listed historical monument since 1919.
His feast day is mentioned in the Martyrology of Blessed Rabanus Maurus for today, 11 August.
Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343) Bishop
The absence of the “hard facts” of history is not necessarily an obstacle to the popularity of saints, as the devotion to Saint Nicholas shows. Both the Eastern and Western Churches honour him and it is claimed that after the Blessed Virgin, he is the saint most pictured by Christian artists. And yet historically, we can pinpoint only the fact that Nicholas was the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a city in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor.
As with many of the saints, however, we are able to capture the relationship which Nicholas had with God through the admiration which Christians have had for him—an admiration expressed in the colourful stories which have been told and retold through the centuries.
Perhaps the best-known story about Nicholas concerns his charity toward a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters of marriageable age. Rather than see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly tossed a bag of gold through the poor man’s window on three separate occasions, thus enabling the daughters to be married. Over the centuries, this particular legend evolved into the custom of gift-giving on the saint’s feast.
In the English-speaking countries, Saint Nicholas became, by a twist of the tongue, Santa Claus—further expanding the example of generosity portrayed by this holy bishop.
Saint of the Day – 11 August – St Philomena (c 291 – 304) “The Wonder Worker” Virgin, Martyr. Patronages – against barrenness, infertility, sterility, against bodily ills, against mental illness, against sickness, sick people, babies, infants, newborns, toddlers , children, young people, youth, Children of Mary, desperate, forgotten, lost or impossible causes, Living Rosary, orphans, poor people, Priests, prisoners, students, test takers.
The tomb of this virgin and martyr, unknown until the first years of the 19th century, was providentially discovered in 1802 in the catacombs of Priscilla on the Via Salaria, Rome, Italy. It was covered by stones, the symbols on which indicated that the body was a martyr named Saint Philomena. The bones were exhumed, catalogued and effectively forgotten since there was so little known about the person.
In 1805 Canon Francis de Lucia of Mugnano, Italy was in the Treasury of the Rare Collection of Christian Antiquity (Treasury of Relics) in the Vatican. When he reached the relics of Saint Philomena he was suddenly struck with a spiritual joy and requested that he be allowed to enshrine them in a chapel in Mugnano. After some disagreements, settled by the cure of Canon Francis following prayers to Philomena, he was allowed to translate the relics to Mugnano. Miracles began to be reported at the shrine including cures of cancer, healing of wounds and the Miracle of Mugnano in which Venerable Pauline Jaricot was cured a severe heart ailment overnight. Philomena became the only person recognised as a Saint solely on the basis of miraculous intercession as nothing historical was known of her except her name and the evidence of her martyrdom.
God, by many miracles, made the discovery of Saint Philomena’s body famous and the cult of the young Saint spread everywhere with an extraordinary rapidity. She received such exceptional homage, that she deserves to be placed in the first ranks of the virgin martyrs, whom the Church venerates. The Holy Curé of Ars called her his dear little Saint and performed wonders himself by his prayers to her.
Certain revelations having the character of authenticity say that Saint Philomena was the daughter of a Greek prince, who accompanied her parents to Rome on a journey and that her glorious martyrdom occurred there under Diocletian in the third century. The two arrows engraved on her tombstone in opposite directions referred to the efforts of the persecutor to slay her with a volley of arrows, after Angels preserved her from death by drowning; the arrows turned against the archers. Finally she was beheaded, like so many other miraculously protected heroes and heroines of Christ. This opinion, which certain circumstances attending the translation of her relics in 1805 to the city of Mugnano appeared to verify, has prevailed. In that city, devotion to her has been extraordinary and remains so to this day, miracles have multiplied both there and elsewhere for those who invoke her.
Other very serious studies, maintain that she was a child of the Roman people, immolated in the first century for Jesus Christ, at the age of twelve or thirteen years. An examination of her bones permitted her age to be estimated and the vial of dried blood in her tomb clearly indicated her martyrdom. The instruments of torture painted on the terra cotta plaque which enclosed her tomb — an arrow, an anchor, a torch — show us what sort of tortures she bore, all of which are known to us through other martyrdoms of the same early centuries. The inscription: Peace be with you, Philomena, reveals her name.
What is beyond doubt is that this Saint responds unfailingly to the faith of those who invoke her. Invoked everywhere with wonderful success, she was entitled the wonder-worker of the 19th century. She has shown herself to be the protectress, in particular, of small children. A mother whose young son died despite her prayers, placed a picture of the Saint on his corpse, begging that he be returned to her. And the child rose as though from sleep, stood up beside his bed and had no more symptoms of any sickness whatsoever. A little girl who had put out her eye playing with a pair of scissors, which injury was declared irreparable by physicians, had her eye restored when she washed her face in oil taken from the Saint’s lamp and this eye seemed to everyone more vivid and bright than the other.
Many doubts remain about this little Saint, however, although she is no longer anywhere on the Church’s calendar, devotion to her has never floundered or diminished. Personal devotion to any saint and we know ourselves, that there are many unknown saints around us and when they leave this earth, we ask them for their prayers of intercession and therefore, the faithful continue without doubt to venerate St Philomena.
Popes loved her and they were joined in fervour by some of the era’s greatest saints . John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, called Philomena the True Light of the Church Militant. He built a basilica in her honour, where he installed the relic he had been given by the Venerable Pauline Jaricot, foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. (Innumerable “pagan babies” were given the name Philomena in honour of the foundress’s favourite saint, as I recall.) Father Damien dedicated the first leper chapel on Molokai in her honour. The American missionary saints John Neumann and Frances Cabrini spread devotion to Philomena throughout the Catholic United States. St Peter Julian Eymard was a great devotee as was St Anthony Mary Claret. Padre Pio, himself no mean wonder-worker, once silenced critics of her cult by snarling, “For the love of God! It might well be that her name is not Philomena but this Saint has performed many miracles and it is not the name that did them.”
Saint of the Day – 17 March – St Gertrude of Nivelles O.S.B. (626-659) was a 7th-century Religious Abbess who, with her mother Itta, founded the Abbey of Nivelles located in present-day Belgium. She was born in 626 at Landen, Belgium and died on 17 March 659 at Nivelles, Belgium of natural causes. Patronages – against fear of mice and rates, against suriphobia, fever, mental disorders, insanity, of cats, of gardeners, innkeepers, hospitals, the mentally ill, pilgrims, travellers, suriphobics, sick, poor, prisoners, Landen, Belgium, Nivelles, Belgium, Wattenscheid, Germany. Attributes – a nun with a crosier, with cats, with mice, a woman spinning.
Our Saint was born at Landen, Belgium in 626 and died at Nivelles, 659; she was just thirty-three, the same age as Our Lord. Both her parents, Pepin of Landen and Itta were held to be holy by those who knew them; her sister Begga is numbered among the Saints. On her husband’s death in 640, Itta founded a Benedictine monastery at Nivelles, which is near Brussels and appointed Gertrude its abbess when she reached twenty, tending to her responsibilities well, with her mother’s assistance and following her in giving encouragement and help to monks, particularly Irish ones, to do missionary work in the locale.
Saint Gertrude’s piety was evident even when she was as young as ten, when she turned down the offer of a noble marriage, declaring that she would not marry him or any other suitor: Christ alone would be her bridegroom.
She was known for her hospitality to pilgrims and her aid to missionary monks. She gave land to one monk so that he could build a monastery at Fosse. By her early thirties Gertrude had become so weakened by the austerity of abstaining from food and sleep that she had to resign her office and spent the rest of her days studying Scripture and doing penance. It is said that on the day before her death she sent a messenger to Fosse, asking the superior if he knew when she would die.
His reply indicated that death would come the next day during holy Mass-the prophecy was fulfilled. Her feast day is observed by gardeners, who regard fine weather on that day as a sign to begin spring planting.
Devotion to St. Gertrude became widely spread in the Lowlands and neighbouring countries.
Commonly seen running up her pastoral staff or cloak are hopeful-looking mice representing Souls in Purgatory, to which she had an intense devotion, just as with St Gertrude the Great. Even as recently as 1822, offerings of mice made of gold and silver were left at her shrine. Another patronage is to travellers on the high seas. It is held that one sailor, suffering misfortune while under sail, prayed to the Saint and was delivered safely.
Just before her death in 659, Gertrude instructed the nuns at Nivelles to bury her in an old veil left behind by a travelling pilgrimess and Gertrude’s own hair shirt. Gertrude’s choice of burial clothing is a pattern in medieval hagiography as an expression of humility and piety. Her death and the image of her weak and humble figure is in fact a critical point in her biographer’s narrative. Her monastery also benefited from this portrayal because the hair cloth and veil in which Gertrude was interred became relics. At Nivelles, her relics were only publicly displayed for feast days, Easterand other holy days.
Saint of the Day – 20 December – St Dominic de Silos OSB (c1000-1073) – born in the year 1000 in Cañas (modern Rioja), Navarre, Spain – died on 10 December 1073 in Silos, Spain of natural causes. He was a Spanish Monk, to whom the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, where he served as the Abbot, is dedicated. Patronages – of pregnant women, against rabies, against rabid dogs, against insects, captives, prisoners; shepherds. The mother of the better-known Saint Dominic de Guzmán, the Blessed Joan of Aza, is said to have prayed at his shrine before she was able to conceive the son she named for him. That son would grow up to found the Dominican Order. Dominic’s special patronage thus became connected with pregnancy and until the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931, his abbatial crozier was used to bless the queens of Spain and was placed by their beds when they were in labour.
Dominic of Silos was born in Navarre, Spain, on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees and was a shepherd boy, looking after his father’s flocks. He acquired a love of solitude and as a young man became a monk at the monastery of San Millan de la Cogolla. He eventually became prior of the monastery and came into conflict with the king of Navarre over possessions of the monastery claimed by the king. The king drove Dominic out of the monastery and Dominic went with other monks to Castille, where the king of Castille appointed Dominic abbot of the monastery of St Sebastian at Silos.
The monastery was in terrible shape, spiritually and materially and Dominic set about to restore the monastery and to reform the lives of the monks. He preserved the Mozarbic Rite (one of the variants of the Latin Rite) at his monastery and his monastery became one of the centres of the Mozarbic liturgy. His monastery also preserved the Visigothic script of ancient Spain and was a centre of learning and liturgy in that part of Spain.
Dominic of Silos died on 20 December 1073, about a century before the birth of his namesake, St Dominic of Calaruega. Before the Spanish Revolution of 1931, it was customary for the abbot of Silos to bring the staff of Dominic of Silos to the Spanish royal palace whenever the queen was in labour and to leave it at her bedside until the birth of her child had taken place.
In recent times, great interest in Dominic of Silos has arisen since the literary treasures of the library of Silos have become known. The abbey had a profound influence on spirituality and learning in Spain. Today the monastery is an abbey of the Benedictine Congregation of Solesmes housing a library of ancient and rare manuscripts.
The images show the Monastery and Abbey of Solesmes as well as a Religuary Casket of St Dominic and an image of him taken from the altar piece.
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Christ and Pilgrims of Emmaus, detail from pillar in monastery of St Dominic of Silos, Spain.
The doubting of St Thomas, detail from pillar of St Dominic’s monastery, Silos, Spain, 11th-12th century
Doubting of St Thomas, detail from pillar of St Dominic’s monastery, Silos. Spain, 11th-12th century.
Saint of the Day – 16 December – St Adelaide of Italy/Burgundy – Holy Roman Empress, widow, Foundress of monasteries and Apostle of Charity (c 931-999) (c 931 at Burgundy, France – 999 at the monastery of Selta (Seltz), Alsace of natural causes). Patronages – • abuse victims• against in-law problems• brides• empresses• exiles• parenthood• parents of large families• princesses• prisoners• second marriages• step-parents• widows. Attributes – • empress dispensing alms and food to the poor, often beside a ship• escaping from prison in a boat• holding a church• veil. St Adelaide was a Holy Roman Empress by marriage to Holy Roman Emperor Otto the Great; she was crowned as the Holy Roman Empress with him by Pope John XII in Rome on 2 February 962. She was regent of the Holy Roman Empire as the guardian of her grandson in 991-995.
St Adelaide was possibly the most prominent European woman of the tenth century through her second marriage to Otto the Great of Germany, the Holy Roman Emperor, Adelaide was regent for some time and later became the foundress of many monasteries of monks and nuns.
The daughter of Rudulph II of Upper Burgundy, Adelaide was married at the age of sixteen to Lothair, who was then king of Italy. A daughter, Emma, was born of this marriage. Lothair was probably poisoned by his successor to the throne, Berengar. As part of Berengar’s attempt to keep his grip on power, he ordered Adelaide to marry his son; she refused, and he imprisoned her in a castle. But soon after the German king, Otto the Great, defeated Berengar and freed Adelaide and proposed marriage, which she accepted. On Christmas Day 951 she married Otto at Pavia. The marriage consolidated his authority in northern Italy and in 962 they were crowned emperor and empress by Pope John XII in Rome. Otto died in 973 and for twenty years Adelaide’s life was a turmoil of family and political troubles. Her daughter-in-law, the Byzantine princess Theophano turned her son Otto II against her. Adelaide had to leave the court and live for a time with her brother in Burgundy. A reconciliation was effected and in 983 just before he died Otto appointed her his viceroy in Italy.
Otto II died the same year and the new emperor, her grandson Otto III, still a minor, was entrusted to the joint regency of his mother and grandmother. Theophano was able once again to oust Adelaide from power and the court. When Theophano died in 991 the regency reverted to Adelaide alone. The bishop of Mainz, St. Willigis, came to her aid.
After Otto came of age in 995, Adelaide was able to devote herself to works of generosity to the poor, to help in evangelising the Slavs and in founding and restoring monasteries and convents. She was especially friendly with the monastery of Cluny, then the centre of a movement for reform and with its abbots St Majolus and St Odilo. The latter wrote a memoir of her, calling her ‘a marvel of beauty and goodness’. When Otto III was old enough, Adelaide retired to the convent of Seltz near Cologne, a house she had built. She never became a nun but she spent the rest of her days there in prayer. Her feast is kept especially in many German dioceses.
Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343) Confessor, Bishop, Miracle-Worker, Apostle of Charity. Also known as – • Nicholas of Bari• Nicholas of Lpnenskij • Nicholas of Lipno • Nicholas of Sarajskij • Nicholas the Miracle Worker • Klaus, Mikulas, Nikolai, Nicolaas, Nicolas, Niklaas, Niklas. Nikolaus, Santa Claus.
Patronages -• against fire • against imprisonment • against robberies • against robbers • against storms at sea • against sterility • against thefts • altar servers • archers • boys • brides • captives • children • choir boys • happy marriages • lawsuits lost unjustly • lovers • maidens • penitent murderers • newlyweds • paupers • pilgrims • poor people • prisoners • scholars • schoolchildren, students • penitent thieves • travellers • unmarried girls • apothecaries • bakers • bankers • barrel makers • boatmen • boot blacks • brewers • butchers • button makers • candle makers • chair makers • cloth shearers • coopers • dock workers • educators • farm workers, farmers • firefighters • fish mongers • fishermen • grain merchants • grocers • grooms • hoteliers • innkeepers • judges • lace merchants • lawyers • linen merchants • longshoremen • mariners • merchants • millers • notaries • parish clerks • pawnbrokers • perfumeries • perfumers • poets • ribbon weavers • sailors • ship owners • shoe shiners • soldiers • spice merchants • spinners • stone masons • tape weavers • toy makers • vintners • watermen • weavers • Greek Catholic Church in America • Greek Catholic Union • Varangian Guard • Germany • Greece • Russia • 3 Diocese • 78 Cities.
Attributes – • anchor • bishop calming a storm • bishop holding three bags of gold • bishop holding three balls • bishop with three children • bishop with three children in a tub at his feet • purse • ship • three bags of gold • three balls • three golden balls on a book • boy in a boat. Saint Nicholas’ reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas. St Nicholas was generous to the poor and special protector of the innocent and wronged. Many stories grew up around him prior to his becoming associated with Santa Claus.
Some examples of the Miracles of St Nicholas and the reasons for various Patronages:
• Upon hearing that a local man had fallen on such hard times that he was planning to sell his daughters into prostitution, Nicholas went by night to the house and threw three bags of gold in through the window, saving the girls from an evil life. These three bags, gold generously given in time of trouble, became the three golden balls that indicate a pawn broker’s shop.
• He raised to life three young boys who had been murdered and pickled in a barrel of brine to hide the crime. These stories led to his patronage of children in general and of barrel-makers besides.
• Induced some thieves to return their plunder. This explains his protection against theft and robbery and his patronage of them – he’s not helping them steal but to repent and change. In the past, thieves have been known as Saint Nicholas’ clerks or Knights of Saint Nicholas.
• During a voyage to the Holy Lands, a fierce storm blew up, threatening the ship. He prayed about it and the storm calmed – hence the patronage of sailors and those like dockworkers who work on the sea.
St Nicholas died in 346 at Myra, Lycia (in modern Turkey) of natural causes and his relics are believed to be at Bari, Italy.
Here is the story of St Nicholas by Prosper Dom Gueranger:
Nicholas was born in the celebrated city of Patara, in the province of Lycia. His birth was the fruit of his parents’ prayers. Evidences of his great future holiness were given from his very cradle. For when he was an infant, he would only take his food once on Wednesdays and Fridays and then not till evening but on all other days he frequently took the breast: he kept up this custom of fasting during the rest of his life.
Having lost his parents when he was a boy, he gave all his goods to the poor. Of his Christian kindheartedness there is the following noble example. One of his fellow-citizens had three daughters but being too poor to obtain them an honourable marriage, he was minded to abandon them to a life of prostitution. Nicholas having learned of the case, went to the house during the night and threw in by the window a sum of money sufficient for the dower of one of the daughters; he did the same a second and a third time and thus the three were married to respectable men.
Having given himself wholly to the service of God, he set out for Palestine, that he might visit and venerate the holy places. During this pilgrimage, which he made by sea, he foretold to the mariners, on embarking, though the heavens were then serene and the sea tranquil, that they would be overtaken by a frightful storm. In a very short time, the storm arose. All were in the most imminent danger, when he quelled it by his prayers.
His pilgrimage ended, he returned home, giving to all men example of the greatest sanctity. He went, by an inspiration from God, to Myra, the Metropolis of Lycia,which had just lost its Bishop by death and the Bishops of the province had come together for the purpose of electing a successor. Whilst they were holding council for the election, they were told by a revelation from heaven, that they should choose him who, on the morrow, should be the first to enter the church, his name being Nicholas. Accordingly, the requisite observations were made, when they found Nicholas to be waiting at the church door: they took him and, to the incredible delight of all, made him the Bishop of Myra.
During his episcopate, he never flagged in the virtues looked for in a bishop; chastity, which indeed he had always preserved, gravity, assiduity in prayer, watchings, abstinence, generosity and hospitality, meekness in exhortation, severity in reproving. He befriended widows and orphans by money, by advice and by every service in his power. So zealous a defender was he of all who suffered oppression, that, on one occasion, three Tribunes having been condemned by the Emperor Constantine, who had been deceived by calumny and having heard of the miracles wrought by Nicholas, they recommended themselves to his prayers, though he was living at a very great distance from that place: the saint appeared to Constantine and angrily looking upon him, obtained from the terrified Emperor their deliverance.
Having, contrary to the edict of Dioclesian and Maximian, preached in Myra the truth of the Christian faith, he was taken up by the servants of the two Emperors. He was taken off to a great distance and thrown into prison, where he remained until Constantine, having become Emperor, ordered his rescue and the Saint returned to Myra. Shortly afterwards, he repaired to the Council which was being held at Nicaea: there he took part with the three hundred and eighteen Fathers in condemning the Arian heresy (Tradition has it that he became so angry with the heretic Arius during the Council that he struck him in the face).
Scarcely had he returned to his See than he was taken with the sickness of which he soon died. Looking up to heaven and seeing Angels coming to meet him, he began the Psalm, In thee, O Lord, have I hoped and having come to those words, Into your hands I commend my spirit, his soul took its flight to the heavenly country. His body, having been translated to Bari in Apulia, is the object of universal veneration.
For St Nicholas traditional biscuits see here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/st-nicholas-6-december/
Saint of the Day – 27 September – St Vincent de Paul CM (1581-1660) Confessor, known as the “Great Apostle of Trumpets” – Priest, Founder, Apostle of Charity, Doctor of Canon Law, Reformer of Society and Priests, founder of Hospital and Orphanages. Born on 24 April 1581 near Ranquine, Gascony near Dax, southwest France – the Town is now known as Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Landes, France and died on 27 September 1660 at Paris, France of natural causes. His body was found incorrupt when exhumed in 1712 and the incorrupt heart is displayed in a reliquary in the Chapel of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity in Paris. St Vincent was Beatified on 13 August 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII and Canonised on 16 June 1737 by Pope Clement XII. Patronages – lepers; against leprosy, all charitable societies (given on 12 May 1885 by Pope Leo XIII), charitable workers; volunteers, horses, hospital workers, hospitals, lost articles, prisoners, for spiritual help, Madagascar, Brothers of Charity, Richmond, Virginia, diocese of, Saint Vincent de Paul Societies, Sisters of Charity, Vincentian Service Corps. Attributes – 16th century cleric performing some act of charity, cleric carrying an infant, priest surrounded by the Sisters of Charity, cannon ball and sword (referring to prisoners of war he ransomed).
St Vincent was born of poor parents in the village of Pouy in Gascony, France, about 1580. He enjoyed his first schooling under the Franciscan Fathers at Acqs. Such had been his progress in four years that a gentleman chose him as subpreceptor to his children and he was thus enabled to continue his studies without being a burden to his parents.
In 1596, he went to the University of Toulouse for theological studies, and there he was ordained priest in 1600.
In 1605, on a voyage by sea from Marseilles to Narbonne, he fell into the hands of African pirates and was carried as a slave to Tunis. His captivity lasted about two years, until Divine Providence enabled him to effect his escape.
After a brief visit to Rome he returned to France, where he became preceptor in the family of Emmanuel de Gondy, Count of Goigny, and General of the galleys of France. In 1617, he began to preach missions, and in 1625, he lay the foundations of a congregation which afterward became the Congregation of the Mission or Lazarists, so named on account of the Priory of St. Lazarus, which the Fathers began to occupy in 1633.
The deathbed confession of a dying servant opened Vincent de Paul’s eyes to the crying spiritual needs of the peasantry of France. This seems to have been a crucial moment in the life of the man from a small farm in Gascony, France, who had become a priest with little more ambition than to have a comfortable life.
The Countess de Gondi–whose servant he had helped–persuaded her husband to endow and support a group of able and zealous missionaries who would work among poor tenant farmers and country people in general. Vincent was too humble to accept leadership at first but after working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley slaves, he returned to be the leader of what is now known as the Congregation of the Mission, or the Vincentians. These priests, with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability, were to devote themselves entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages.
It would be impossible to enumerate all the works of this servant of God. Charity was his predominant virtue. It extended to all classes of persons, from forsaken childhood to old age. The Sisters of Charity also owe the foundation of their congregation to St. Vincent. In the midst of the most distracting occupations his soul was always intimately united with God. Though honoured by the great ones of the world, he remained deeply rooted in humility. The Apostle of Charity, the immortal Vincent de Paul, breathed his last in Paris at the age of eighty in 1660.
St Vincent De Paul is among the Incorruptibles. The Incorruptibles are Catholic Saints who’s bodies show no decay after their death. The Incorruptibles are a consoling sign of Christ’s victory over death, a confirmation of the dogma of the Resurrection of the Body, a sign that the Saints are still with us in the Mystical Body of Christ, as well as a proof of the truth of the Catholic Faith – for only in the Catholic Church do we find this phenomenon.
Saint of the Day – 25 August – St Louis IX, King of France (1214-1270) Confessor, King, Reformer, Apostle of Charity, a Third Order Franciscan. Born on 25 April 1214 at Poissy, France and died on 25 August 1270 at Tunis (in modern Tunisia) of natural causes). His relics in the Basilica of Saint Denis, Paris, France but they were destroyed in 1793 during the French Revolution. He was Canonised in 1297 by Pope Boniface VIII. Attributes: crown, crown of thorns, king holding a cross, king holding a crown of thorns, nails, cross and Crucifix. Patronages – against the death of children, barbers, bridegrooms, builders, button makers, construction workers, Crusaders, difficult marriages, distillers, embroiderers, French monarchs, grooms, haberdashers, hairdressers, hair stylists, kings, masons, needle workers, parenthood, parents of large families, passementiers, prisoners, sculptors, sick people, soldiers, stone masons, stonecutters, trimming makers, Québec, Québec, archdiocese of, Saint Louis, Missouri, Archdiocese of, Versailles, France, Diocese of, many cities in France and other parts of the world, Franciscan Tertiaries and the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Louis.
Louis IX was a reformer and developed French royal justice, in which the king is the supreme judge to whom anyone is able to appeal to seek the amendment of a judgment. He banned trials by ordeal, tried to prevent the private wars that were plaguing the country and introduced the presumption of innocence in criminal procedure. To enforce the correct application of this new legal system, Louis IX created provosts and bailiffs.
According to his vow made after a serious illness, and confirmed after a miraculous cure, Louis IX took an active part in the Seventh and Eighth Crusade in which he died from dysentery. He was succeeded by his son Philip III.
Louis’s actions were inspired by Christian values and Catholic devotion. He decided to punish blasphemy, gambling, interest-bearing loans and prostitution and bought presumed relics of Christ for which he built the Sainte-Chapelle. He also expanded the scope of the Inquisition and ordered the burning of Talmuds. He is the only canonised king of France and there are consequently many places named after him.
Louis was born on 25 April 1214 at Poissy, near Paris, the son of Prince Louis the Lion and Princess Blanche, and baptised in La Collégiale Notre-Dame church. His grandfather on his father’s side was Philip II, king of France; while his grandfather on his mother’s side was Alfonso VIII, king of Castile. Tutors of Blanche’s choosing taught him most of what a king must know—Latin, public speaking, writing, military arts and government. He was 9 years old when his grandfather Philip II died and his father ascended as Louis VIII. A member of the House of Capet, Louis was twelve years old when his father died on 8 November 1226. He was crowned king within the month at Reims cathedral. Because of Louis’s youth, his mother ruled France as regent during his minority. The night before he was crowned, he fasted and prayed. He asked God to make him a good servant, to make him a good and holy king for his people.
Louis’ mother trained him to be a great leader and a good Christian. She used to say:
I love you, my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should ever commit a mortal sin.
No date is given for the beginning of Louis’s personal rule. His contemporaries viewed his reign as co-rule between the king and his mother, though historians generally view the year 1234 as the year in which Louis began ruling personally, with his mother assuming a more advisory role. She continued to have a strong influence on the king until her death in 1252. On 27 May 1234, Louis married Margaret of Provence (1221 – 21 December 1295), whose sister Eleanor later became the wife of Henry III of England. The new queen’s religious devotion made her a well suited partner for the king. He enjoyed her company and was pleased to show her the many public works he was making in Paris, both for its defense and for its health. They enjoyed riding together, reading, and listening to music. This attention raised a certain amount of jealousy in his mother, who tried to keep them apart as much as she could.
After the morning Mass, King Louis IX would ride his horse out into the country to see how he could work to make life better for his people. He would often stop in villages to listen to what the people had to say. He checked that wealthy, powerful nobles were not abusing people. When he heard that the nobles unjustly took from people who had less, he forced the nobles to give back what they had taken. He listened to people’s ideas for how to improve their country and he passed laws to protect those who were vulnerable. Louis was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and like his patron Saint Francis, caring even for people with leprosy. He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order. Louis united France—lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights—by the force of his personality and holiness. For many years the nation was at peace. Every day, Louis had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion.
The king ordered churches and hospitals built throughout France. In his travels, the king himself would often visit and care for those who were sick. He listened to the needs of others. As a man given the power to guide his country, he could do great good for his people. He worked for peace in the world and when he did fight, he was merciful to those he captured.
In 1244, King Louis led a Crusade into the Holy Land. As king, Louis could have taken special privileges and comforts. Instead, he chose to share the hardships of his soldiers. Once, the king was captured. While in prison, he prayed the Liturgy of the Hours every day. Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41. His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother’s sake. The army was decimated by disease within a month and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44. He was canonised 27 years later.
Louis’ patronage of the arts drove much innovation in Gothic art and architecture and the style of his court radiated throughout Europe by both the purchase of art objects from Parisian masters for export and by the marriage of the king’s daughters and female relatives to foreign husbands and their subsequent introduction of Parisian models elsewhere. Louis’ personal chapel, the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, was copied more than once by his descendants elsewhere. Louis ordered the production of the Morgan Bible, a masterpiece of medieval painting. In his private chapel, Saint Louis would genuflect during the Nicene Creed to show reverence to the incarnation of Christ at the words, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary; and was made man. During the crusades, the king’s practice became widespread and eventually was established as part of the rubrics of Holy Mass. The painting of St Louis and St John the Baptist below, is from the Flemish school and was a detail for an altar of the Parliament of Paris. In the background is the Louvre palace from the 13th century.
During the so-called “golden century of Saint Louis”, the kingdom of France was at its height in Europe, both politically and economically. Saint Louis was regarded as “primus inter pares”, first among equals, among the kings and rulers of the continent. He commanded the largest army and ruled the largest and wealthiest kingdom, the European centre of arts and intellectual thought at the time. The foundations for the famous college of theology later known as the Sorbonne were laid in Paris about the year 1257. The prestige and respect felt in Europe for King Louis IX were due more to the attraction that his benevolent personality created rather than to military domination. For his contemporaries, he was the quintessential example of the Christian prince and embodied the whole of Christendom in his person. His reputation for saintliness and fairness was already well established while he was alive and on many occasions he was chosen as an arbiter in quarrels among the rulers of Europe.
When Louis was dying, he prayed “Lord, I will enter into your house. I will worship in your holy temple and will give glory to your name.” Through his prayer, his support of the Church and his Christlike service to all, Louis made his whole life an act of worship.
You must be logged in to post a comment.