Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 8 October – St Pelagia the Penitent (Fourth or Fifth Century)

Saint of the Day – 8 October – St Pelagia the Penitent (Fourth or Fifth Century) Hermit – also known as Pelagia of Antioch, The Beardless Hermit, Marina (the Latin equivalent of “Pelagia”), Margarita. Patronage – actresses.

Like St Mary Magdalen and St Mary of Egypt, St Pelagia inspired Christians of the Middle Ages as an enchanting icon of repentance. Storytellers probably spun her winsome tale from an anonymous factual illustration embedded in one of St John Chrysostom’s homilies on St Matthew’s Gospel. He told of a nameless actress of Antioch, famous for her glamour and notorious for her wickedness, who suddenly repented, was baptised and afterwards embraced the austere life of a hermit.

Pelagia among her courtesans, as Saint Nonnus prays for her

Later a gifted writer who pretended to be St James, a Deacon working for St Nonnus of Edessa, named the actress Pelagia and created the story that still speaks to our spirit.

As he told it:
“One day Pelagia, dressed provocatively and surrounded by an entourage of her fans, passed by a group of Bishops sitting at St Julian’s tomb near Antioch. All but one Bishop was scandalised by her evil charms. But Pelagia’s carefully appointed beauty touched St Nonnus and led him to a spiritually disturbing conclusion. He said to the other Bishops:

. . .we have vast promises in the supernatural heights stored up with our hidden Lord who cannot be seen. It is He we should please but we fail to do so; it is for Him that we should adorn our bodies and souls but we totally fail to do so. We should take pains over ourselves in order to scrub away the dirt of sins, to become clean from evil stains but we have paid no attention to our souls, in the attempt to adorn them with good habits so that Christ may desire to dwell in us. What a reproach to us, seeing that we have not taken pains to make ourselves pleasing to God nearly as much as this prostitute . . . has taken pains to please men—in order to captivate them, leading them into perdition by her wanton beauty. . . . Maybe we should even go and become the pupils of this lascivious woman.”

The next day, the story continues, Pelagia made a rare appearance in Church where she heard Nonnus preach on judgement and salvation. His words stabbed her heart. On the spot Pelagia repented and was converted to Christ.

Then she demanded that Nonnus baptise her, a request he happily obliged. A Deaconess named Romana took Pelagia under her wing, until one day, after giving away all her possessions, Pelagia slipped away. She hid herself in Jerusalem, where disguised as a man, she became a Hermit on the Mount of Olives. Word about the holiness of the monk “Pelagios” spread throughout the Holy Land. And when it was discovered upon her death that the Hermit was the repentant prostitute Pelagia, she was honoured and loved even more.

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 8 October

St Amor of Aquitaine
St Artemon of Laodicia
St Badilo
St Benedicta of Laon
St Benedicta of Origny-sur-Oise
St Evodius of Rouen
St Felix of Como
St Gratus of Chalons
St Hugh Canefro (1148-1233)
St Hugh’s Life:
Bl John Adams
Bl John Lowe
St Keyna
St Laurentia
St Nestor of Thessalonica
St Palatias
St Pelagia the Penitent (Fourth or Fifth Century) Hermit
St Peter of Seville
Bl Ragenfreda
St Reparata (3rd century Caesarea, Palestine – beheaded in the 3rd century)
Biography here:

Bl Robert Bickerdike
Bl Robert Dibdale
St Simeon – The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke
Holy Simeon:

St Thaïs the Penitent
St Triduna

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed José María Ruano López- Marist Martyrs of Barcelona – 46 beati:
• Blessed Ángel Roba Osorno• Blessed Anicet Falgueras Casellas• Blessed Antoni Badía Andale• Blessed Antoni Roig Alembau• Blessed Carles Brengaret Pujol• Blessed Casimir Riba Pi• Blessed Feliciano Ayúcar Eraso
• Blessed Felipe Ruiz Peña• Blessed Félix Ayúcar Eraso• Blessed Fermín Latienda Azpilicueta• Blessed Ferran Suñer Estrach• Blessed Florentino Redondo Insausti• Blessed Fortunato Ruiz Peña• Blessed Gregorio Faci Molins• Blessed Isidro Serrano Fabón• Blessed Jaume Morella Bruguera
• Blessed Jeroni Messegué Ribera• Blessed Jesús Menchón Franco• Blessed Joan Pelfort Planell• Blessed Joan Tubau Perelló• Blessed José María Ruano López• Blessed José Miguel Elola Arruti• Blessed Josep Ambrós Dejuán
• Blessed Josep Blanch Roca• Blessed Josep Cesari Mercadal• Blessed Josep Mir Pons• Blessed Juan Núñez Casado• Blessed Julio García Galarza• Blessed Leocadio Rodríguez Nieto• Blessed Leoncio Pérez Gómez• Blessed Lucio Izquierdo López• Blessed Lucio Zudaire Armendía• Blessed Mariano Alonso Fuente• Blessed Néstor Vivar Valdivieso• Blessed Nicolás Pereda Revuelta• Blessed Nicolás Ran Goñi• Blessed Pedro Ciordia Hernández
• Blessed Pere Sitges Puig• Blessed Ramon Mill Arán• Blessed Santiago Saiz Martínez• Blessed Santos Escudero Miguel• Blessed Segismundo Hidalgo Martínez• Blessed Serafín Zugaldía Lacruz• Blessed Trifón Lacunza Unzu
• Blessed Victor Gutiérrez Gómez• Blessed Victoriano Gómez Gutiérrez
• Blessed Victoriano Martínez Martín