Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 1 May – St Sigismund of Burgundy (Died 524) King and Martyr.

Saint of the Day – 1 May – St Sigismund of Burgundy (Died 524) King and Martyr. King of the Burgundians from 516 until his death, Reforemer, Penitent, apostle of the needy and the poor. Patronages – Czech Republic, Monarchs, Germanic peoples, bibliophiles, Monasteries.

The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “At Siom, i Switzerland, Saint Sigismund, Kig of the Burgundians, who was drowned in a well and afterwards became renowned for miracles.”

Sigismund succeeded his father Gundobad asKking of the Burgundians in 516. At the time, Burgundy was perhaps the most powerful of all the kingdoms of Gaul – not least because of its strong links with the Byzantine court – and both the Franks and the Ostrogoths were keen to limit Burgundian power.

Sigismund soon established his reputation as a statesman and lawmaker by issuing (in 517) a legal compendium, the Lex Gundobada (more properly known as the Liber Constitutionum). He was equally enthusiastic about reforming the Church and, in the same year, he convened a Council of Burgundiam Bishops with a view to establishing ecclesiastical discipline and dismantling the infrastructure of the Arian Church in Burgundy.

Gundobad had been an Arian, though he seems to have contemplated conversion to Catholicism,and Sigismund converted by 515 – thanks in large part to his association with the Catholic Bishop of Vienne, St Avitus (a poet and man of letters who remained a beacon of classical civilisation in a barbarian world), with whom he maintained a correspondence.

Shortly after his conversion, Sigismund founded the Monastery of St Maurice at Agaune, where he instituted the practice of the laus perennis, according to which (as happened in other royal monasteries in the Germanic world) groups of Monks would chant the psalms in relays in an unceasing round of praise (the sixth century equivalent of perpetual adoration).

In spite of such positive beginnings, Sigismund’s relationship with his Bishops deteriorated. Much more seriously, in 522 his second wife persuaded him that Sigistrix, his son by his deceased first wife, was plotting against him with the intention of killing him and taking control not only of Burgundy but also of Italy.

In a fit of uncontrolled rage, Sigismund had Sigistrix strangled. Once his anger had subsided, he was appalled at the enormity of his crime and retired to St Maurice to do penance, devoting himself to the poor in whose service he distributed part of his wealth.

Whatever he undertook by way of reparation, however, seemed wholly inadequate in view of the horrific nature of the murder of his own son and Sigismund came to believe, that only by suffering some equivalent calamity, could he atone for his sin.

Such a calamity duly occurred when Burgundy was attacked by Chlodomer, the King of Orleans, together with his brothers Childebert and Chlothar (the three brothers were the sons of the Frankish King Clovis whose father had been murdered by Sigismund’s father Gundobad). Sigismund escaped, disguising himself as a monk and hiding in a cell at Agaune, but was captured and taken to Orleans as a prisoner where he was executed (524), by being thrown down a well.

His bones having been recovered, a shrine developed at Agaune and he was soon recognised as a Martyr, though strictly speaking he did not die for his faith, as the motives for his assassination had to do with politics and blood-feuds, rather than with Arian persecution of Catholics.

St Sigismund: Fresco by Piero della Francesca

In fact, he is best remembered not primarily as a Martyr (for all that he endured death in a spirit of faith and courage) but as one of the great penitents – as a man whose profound repentance, culiminating in a death, which at some level he seems to have sought (at least in prayer) by way of atonement for his gravest of crimes, was rightly perceived not only by his contemporaries but also by subsequent generations as a paradigm of a particular kind of Christian sanctity.

A bust of St Sigismund n Plock

His body was kept honourably at Agaune, until it was removed to the Cathedral of Prague by the Emperor Charles IV. His tomb has been venerated for centuries and has been famous for many miracles. He became a Patron of the Czech Republic, see his Statue on Charles Bridge in Prague, below.

St Sigismund on the right

Madonna of Giubino, Sicily (1655) and Memorials of the Saints – 1 May

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter +2021

Maria Santissima di Giubino, Siciliy / Madonna of Giubino, Sicily (1655) – 1 May:

The Church of the Madonna of Giubino was built in 1721 to house a miraculous marble-relief icon of the Madonna. (A copy of the relief is housed in the Church of St Joseph in Brooklyn, New York, giving testimony to the large emigrant community of Calatafimesi who lived in Brooklyn in the early 20th century).
The Church of Maria Santissima di Giubino is dedicated to the Patroness of the Town. It has a single nave, with an elegant barrel vault decorated with frescoes and ornamental motifs. Inside there are some important works – the painting with the Assumption, Our Lady with Angels and Saints dated 1617, the Altarpiece of All Saints, an 18th-century wooden organ and a 15th-century marble alto-rilievo representing Madonna of Giubino with the Infant Jesus.
In 1655 an invasion of grasshoppers was destroying all the crops in the countryside of Calatafimi. The people, assembled in a Church, decided that, after putting all the names of the Saints who had an aAtar in Town inside a ballot box, they would choose as a Patron that one whose name had been drawn. After they invoked the Holy Ghost, it was chosen the name of Maria Santissima di Giubino by lots.
The central part of the triptych with the image of the Virgin was soon taken out from the wall in the country Church of Giubino and taken in procession: with prayer and Holy Mass and thereafter, Calatafimi was free from grasshoppers.

Maria Santissima di Giubino was elected Patroness of the Town (25 April 1655) and the bas-relief of the Virgin of Giubino was then placed on the high Altar of the new Church, designed by Giovanni Biagio Amico (the same planner of the Church of Santissimo Crocifisso) in 1721.
In 1931 the triptych was recomposed in the Town Sanctuary and restored.

St Joseph the Worker (Optional Memorial)
About this Memorial, which was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955:

AND here:

St Aceolus of Amiens
St Acius of Amiens
St Aldebrandus of Fossombrone
St Amator of Auxerre
St Ambrose of Ferentino
St Andeolus of Smyrna
Bl Arigius of Gap
St Arnold of Hiltensweiler
St Asaph of Llanelwy
St Augustine Schöffler
St Benedict of Szkalka OSB (Died 1012) Monk and Hermit
St Bertha of Avenay
St Bertha of Kent
St Brieuc of Brittany
St Ceallach of Killala
St Cominus of Catania
Evermarus of Rousson
Bl Felim O’Hara
St Grata of Bergamo
St Isidora of Egypt
St Jeremiah the Prophet
St John-Louis Bonnard
Bl Klymentii Sheptytskyi
St Marculf
St Orentius of Auch
St Orentius of Loret
St Patientia of Loret

St Peregrine Laziosi OSM (1260-1345) The “Angel of Good Counsel,” Priest of the Servite Order (The Order of Servants of Mary )
Beautiful St Peregrine:

Bl Petronilla of Moncel

St Richard Pampuri OH (1897-1930) aged 33 – Religious of the Hospitallers of St John of God, Medical Doctor, Founder of the Band of Pius X (a Youth movement)

St Romanus of Baghdad
St Sigismund of Burgundy (Died 524) King and Martyr
St Theodard of Narbonne
St Thorette
St Torquatus of Guadix
Blessed Vivald of Gimignano

Martyrs of Amiens:

Martyrs of Loret:

Martyrs of Vietnam:
Augustine Schöffler
John-Louis Bonnard