Wednesday, December 25, 2013


St. Martin de Aguirre

Feast day: February 6

Martin Loynaz (de Aguirre)
 Martin Loynaz of the Ascension, OFM, a native of Vergara near Pamplona, Spain. He studied in Alcala and became a Franciscan in 1586. He first worked as a missionary in Mexico, then Manila in the Philippines, and finally in Japan.

Missionary and martyr, one of the Martyrs of Japan. He was born in Vergara, Spain, a community near modern Pamplona. In 1586 hejoined the Franciscan Order and was ordained. Martin volunteered for the missions and was sent to Mexico and then to Manila in the Philippines. From Manila, Martin went to Japan, where the Church was converting hundreds in all regions. Christianity was tolerated in Japan at the time, and Martin was able to preach and instruct his Japanese parishioners. Within the Japanese government, however, many counseled opposition to the Christian faith, which they believed was but a prelude to a European invasion. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, at that time the power in Japan, was finally convinced that Christianity was a threat to Japanese peace and independence, and decided to rid his country of all foreign influence. He instituted a persecution that involved thousands, including the European missionaries. Martin was arrested with twentyfive of his converts. They were crucified on February 25, 1597, near Nagasaki. All of the Martyrs of Japan were canonized in 1862.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


St. Relindis of Maaseik

Relindis of Eyck, OSB, Abbess

 (also known as Renildis, Renula, Renule)

Feastday: February 6
Died: 750

 Relindis was educated with her sister Herlindis in the Benedictine monastery of Valenciennes. She became an expert in embroidery and painting. Saint Boniface appointed her abbess of the convent of Eyck (Maaseyk) on the Meuse, which had been founded by her parents

Benedictine abbess, also called Renule. She was educated with her sister Herlindis in the Benedictine house of Valenciennes, France, and after his death of Herlindis, she was named by St. Boniface to succeed her as abbess of Maaseyk, Belgium.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


St. James Kisai

Diego (James) Kisai (Kizayemon)

Feast day: February 6
Died: 1597

Jesuit martyr in Japan. A native of Japan, he entered the Society of Jesus and worked as a catechist until his execution by crucifixion at the age of sixty four.

A Japanese layman who was the temporal coadjutor of the Jesuits and a catechist in Osaka. Like John 


 Saints Saturninus, Theophilus & Revocata
Feast day: February 6
 Date unknown. A group of martyrs concerning whom neither place nor date of martyrdom is known

Friday, December 20, 2013


St. Thomas Danki

Feast day: February 6
Died: 1597

Japanese martyr. A native layman, he entered the Franciscans as a tertiary and served as an interpreter for the Franciscan missionaries in Japan until arrested by authorities and crucified at Nagasaki with twenty-five other companions. He was canonized in 1886 and is counted as one of the companions of St. Paul Miki.


St. Tanco

Feast day: February 6
Died: 808

Irish Benedictine abbot and bishop, also called Tancho and Tatta. Tanco became a monk and served as abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Amalbarich, Saxony, Germany. Successful as a missionary in Cleves and Flanders, Belgium, he was named bishop of Werden, Germany. He was stabbed to death by a mob of pagans for destroying their pagan statues, and is venerated as a martyr.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


St. Anthony Dainan

Feast day: February 6
Died: 1597

One of the Japanese Martyrs, an altar boy, aged thirteen. Anthony was a Japanese from Nagasaki and a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. Arrested by the Japanese authorities, he was crucified. He was beatified in 1627 and canonized in 1862.


St. Paul Miki

Feast day: February 6

Paul was the son of a Japanese military leader. He was born at Tounucumada, Japan, was educated at the Jesuit college of Anziquiama, joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent preaching. He was crucified on Februay 5 with twenty-five other Catholics during the persecution of Christians under the Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan in the name of the emperor. Among the Japanese layment who suffered the same fate were: Francis, a carpenter who was arrested while watching the executions and then crucified; Gabriel, the nineteen year old son of the Franciscan's porter; Leo Kinuya, a twenty-eight year old carpenter from Miyako; Diego Kisai (or Kizayemon), temporal coadjutor of the Jesuits; Joachim Sakakibara, cook for the Franciscans at Osaka; Peter Sukejiro, sent by a Jesuit priest to help the prisoners, who was then arrested; Cosmas Takeya from Owari, who had preached in Osaka; and Ventura from Miyako, who had been baptized by the Jesuits, gave up his Catholicism on the death of his father, became a bonze, and was brought back to the Church by the Franciscans. They were all canonized as the Martyrs of Japan in 1862. Their feast day is February 6th.

Paul Miki, SJ (born 1562, died at age 33), son of a Japanese military leader, was born at Tounucumada, Japan, was educated at the Jesuit college at Anziquiama, joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent preaching. His last sermon was delivered from the cross on which he was martyred.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


St. Francis Nagasaki

Feast day: February 6

Francis is Japanese from Miako. He became a physician and later was converted to Catholicism by the Franciscan missionaries in Japan. He became a Franciscan tertiary, served as a catechist, and was one of the twenty-six Catholics crucified for their Faith near Nagasaki on February 5 during the persecution of Christians by the Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. They were all canonized as the martyrs of Japan in 1862. He is also known as Francis of Miako. 


St. Amand

Amand of Maastricht, Abbot
 also known as Amandus
 Born at Nantes, Lower Poitou, France, c. 584; died at Elnon in Belgium, c. 679; feast day formerly February 1.

Feastday: February 6
584 - 675


This great missionary was born in lower Poitou about the year 584. At the age of twenty, he retired to a small monastery in the island of Yeu, near that of Re. He had not been there more than a year when his father discovered him and tried to persuade him to return home. When he threatened to disinherit him, the saint cheerfully replied, "Christ is my only inheritance." Amand afterward went to Tours, where he was ordained, and then to Bourges, where he lived fifteen years under the direction of St. Austregisilus, the bishop, in a cell near the cathedral. After a pilgrimage to Rome, he returned to France and was consecrated bishop in 629 without any fixed See, receiving a general commission to teach the Faith to the heathens. He preached the gospel in Flanders and northern France, with a brief excursion to the Slavs in Carinthia and perhaps, to Gascony. He reproved King Dagobert I for his crimes and accordingly, was banished. But Dagobert soon recalled him, and asked him to baptize his newborn son Sigebert, afterwards to become a king and a saint. The people about Ghent were so ferociously hostile that no preacher dared venture among them. This moved Amand to attempt that mission, in the course of which he was sometimes beaten and thrown into the river. He persevered, however, and in the end people came in crowds droves to be baptized.

As well as being a great missionary, St. Amand was a father of monasticism in ancient Belgium, and a score of monasteries claimed him as founder. He found houses at Elnone (Saint-Amand-les-Eaux), near Tournai, which became his headquarters, St. Peters on Mont-Blendin at Ghent, but probably not St. Bavo's there as well; Nivells, for nuns, with Blessed Ida and St. Gertrude, Barisis-au-Bois, and probably three more. It is said, though possibly apocryphal, that in 646 he was chosen bishop of Maestricht, but that three years later, he resigned that See to St. Remaclus and returned to the missions which he had always had most at heart. He continued his labors among the heathens until a great age, when, broken with infirmities, he retired to Elnone. There he governed as Abbot for four years, spending his time in preparing for the death which came to him at last soon after 676. That St. Amand was one of the most imposing figures of the Merovingian epoch, is disputed by no serious historian; he was not unknown in England, and the pre-Reformation chapel of the Eyston family at east Hendred in Birkshire is dedicated in his honor.

 Amand's pious parents are said to have been lords of the region where he was born. By vocation, Amand became a monk about 604 at a monastery on the island of Yeu (Oye). He had been there less than one year, when his father found him out, and desperately tried to persuade him to quit that state of life. To his threats of disinheritance, the saint cheerfully answered: "Christ is my only inheritance." Amand moved to Tours where he was ordained, and then was a hermit near the cathedral at Bourges, France, for 15 years under the direction of Bishop Saint Austregisilius before setting out to convert unbelievers. At Bourges he lived an austere life. His clothing was a single sackcloth, and his sustenance barley-bread and water.

 On his return from a pilgrimage to Rome at about age 45, he was consecrated a missionary bishop in 629, with no see. Amand was a tireless preacher, a wandering saint who worked as far afield as Flanders, among the Slavs of Carinthia along the River Danube, among the Basques in Navarre, and possibly in Gascony. Although the saint was exiled for censuring King Dagobert I, Amand continued his work elsewhere. He was soon recalled by Dagobert, who threw himself at Amand's feet to beg his pardon and had him baptize his new-born son, Saint Sigebert III, afterwards king.

 Despite initial difficulties, Amand was highly successful in evangelizing the area around Ghent. The idolatrous people about Ghent were so savage, that no preacher wanted to venture among them. This moved the saint to choose that mission. While he had the support of the Frankish kings, he often met with so much opposition from the peoples he tried to convert that Dagobert strongly suggested that Amand use force. During the course of his evangelizing Amand was often beaten, and sometimes thrown into the river. Undaunted, he continued preaching, though for a long time he saw no fruit, and supported himself by his labor. The miracle of his raising a dead man to life, at last opened the eyes of the barbarians, and the country came in crowds to receive baptism, destroying the temples of their idols with their own hands.

 He founded numerous monasteries in Belgium, including Mont-Blandin (and perhaps Mount Bavon) at Ghent and the Abbey of Elnon (later called Saint-Amand), as well as a convent at Nivelles. Some incorrectly say that he was chosen bishop of Maastricht, and that after three years he resigned to return to missionary work, although Pope Saint Martin had encouraged him to persevere. He spent the last four years of his life as abbot of Elnon Monastery near Tournai and died there, aged almost 90, after dictating his testament which has survived. His relics are kept at the monastery where he died.

 Amand's cultus was widespread in Flanders and Picardy, and reached England through visits of churchmen such as Saint Dunstan to his monasteries in Ghent or Elnon. His name occurs in several medieval English calendars, and a chapel is dedicated to him at East Hendred. The Sarum Breviary honored Saint Amandus and Saint Vedast with an office of nine lessons

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Mel (Melchno) of Ardagh and Melchu
Feast Day: February 6

 Died . 488-490. According to untrustworthy legend, Mel and his brother Melchu (plus Munis and Rioch) were sons among the 17 sons and two daughters of Saint Patrick's sister, Darerca and her husband Conis. While all of the children are reputed to have entered religious life, Mel and Melchu, together with their brothers Muinis and Rioch, accompanied Patrick to Ireland and joined him in his missionary work.

 Patrick ordained Mel and Melchu bishops. Patrick is reputed to have appointed Mel bishop of Ardagh, and Melchu to the see of Armagh (or vice versa). There is some evidence that Melchu may have been a bishop with no fixed see, who may hae succeeded his brother. Some scandal was circulated about Mel, who lived with his Aunt Lipait but both cleared themselves by miraculous means to Patrick, who ordered them to live apart.

 According to an ancient tradition, Mel professed Saint Brigid as a nun. During the rite, he inadvertently read over her the episcopal consecration, and that Saint Macaille protested. The ever serene Mel, however, was convinced that it happened according to the will of God and insisted that the consecration should stand.

 Nothing is definitely known about these saints; however, Mel has a strong cultus at Longford, where he was the first abbot-bishop of a richly endowed monastery that flourished for centuries. The cathedral of Longford is dedicated to Mel, as is a college. The crozier believed to have belonged to Saint Mel is now kept at Saint Mel's College in a darkened bronze reliquary that was once decorated with gilt and colored stones. It was found in the 19th century at Ardagh near the old cathedral of Saint Mel.  The various sources are rather confusing. It is possible that Mel was bishop of Armagh and/or that Melchu and Mel are the same person

St. Mel

He is said to have been the son of Conis and Darerca, the sister of St. Patrick, whom he accompanied to Ireland and helped to evangelize in that country. According to the Life of St. Brigid, he is said to have had no fixed See, which might fit in his being a missionary. St. Patrick himself built the church at Ardagh and to this he appointed his nephew, Mel. Acting upon the apostolic precept, he supported himself by working with his hands, and what he gained beyond bare necessities, he gave to the poor. For sometime, he lived with his aunt Lupait, but slanderous tongues spread serious accusations against them, and St. Patrick himself came to investigate their conduct. Mel was plowing when he arrived, but he cleared himself of the charge by miraculously picking up a live fish from the ground as if from a net. Lupait established her innocence by carrying glowing coals without burning herself or her clothing. St. Patrick was satisfied, but he told his nephew in future, to do his fishing in the water and his plowing on the land, and he moreover, enjoined them to avoid scandal by separating, living and praying far apart. St. Mel's feast day is February 6.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Modestus of Salzburg
Feast Day: February 5
 Died . 722.
Modestus had Saint Virgilius, abbot-founder of Salzburg, as his superior. Modestus was appointed regionary bishop of Carinthia and was primarily responsible for the evangelization of that country 


Blessed John Morosini,
Feast Day: February 5
 Born in Venice, Italy; died 1012.
John became a Benedictine at Cuxa in the Catalonian Pyrenees. In 982, he returned to Venice, where he founded and ruled the abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore. Most writers call him beatus, though there is no evidence of a cultus 


Indractus and Dominica of Glastonbury
Feast Day: February 5
 Died  708-710.
An old legend makes Indract an Irish chieftain, who became the 21st abbot of Iona. About 854, Indractus and his sister Dominica (Drusa) set out from Cornwall or Somerset on a pilgrimage to Rome. On their return from Rome, they were killed by heathen Saxons together with nine of their Irish comrades near Glastonbury. A strong cultus arose immediately. Their relics were enshrined at Glastonbury Abbey, which legend connects to Saints Patrick, Brigid, and Benignus because it was first dedicated to Blessed Mary and Saint Patrick and was served by Irish monks as late as the 10th century. A still later legend has made Indractus and Dominica contemporaries of Saint Patrick


Genuinus of Brixen
Feast Day: February 5
 (also known as Ingenuinus)
 7th century. Genuinus was the bishop of a small town called Sabion (Seben; which has since disappeared) near Brixen in the Tyrol. He transferred the see to Brixen, and appears to have died in exile. With him is commemorated on the same day Saint Albinus bishop of Brixen in the 11th century


Fingen of Metz,
 Died. 1005.

Feast Day: February 5
Saint Fingen, a celebrated Irish abbot, migrated to the kingdom of Lothaire, where he acquired a reputation for restoring old abbeys. One of them, Saint Symphorien's, was given over to him about 991 by Bishop Saint Adalbero and an Irish community. At the insistence of the dowager Empress Saint Adelaide, Pope John XVII issued a charter that declared that only Irish monks would administer the abbey as long as they could be found. She obtained a similar charter from Otto III in 992. Fingen's final job, with the help of seven of his Irish monks, was the restoration of Saint-Vannes in Verdun. By 1001, Saint-Vannes was attracting distinguished applicants, such as Blessed Frederick of Arras, count of Verdun, and his friend Blessed Richard, dean of the diocese of Rheims, who later became abbot of Saint- Vannes. Fingen's relics can be found in Saint-Clement's Church in Metz, where the necrology highly praises him 


 5th century.
Feast Day: February 5
In Catalonia (Spain)


Buo of Ireland
Feast Day: February 5

 Died 900
. In the 7th and 8th century, Irish missionaries were working in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, before the discovery of the islands by the Norwegians in 860. When they arrived they found Irish bells, books, and staffs. The Irish geographer Dicuil in De mensura orbis terrae notes that "certain clerics remained on the Iceland Island from February 1 until August 1." Saint Buo was one of the distinguished missionaries who evangelized the province around Esinberg, while he was still a very young man


Feast Day: February 5
 (also known as Bertulf, Bertulph)
 Born in Pannonia (Hungary) or Germany; died in Artois 705. Saint Bertoul migrated from Germany to Flanders, where converted to Christianity. For years he was steward to Count Wambert, whom he served so faithfully that the count entrusted the administration of his entire estate to Bertoul and gave him the land of Renty, where Bertoul built an abbey. Upon his benefactor's death, Bertoul became a priest and retired there as abbot. He died a monk in Artois . In art, Saint Bertoul is sheltered from the rain by an eagle. He may also be portrayed
(1) with a ship in his hand,
 (2) changing water into wine (Roeder). He is venerated in Germany and the Netherlands and invoked against storm


Albinus of Brixen
Feast Day: February 5
 11th century.
Saint Albinus, bishop of Brixen in the Tyrol is commemorated today together with Saint Genuinus (below) who was the bishop of a small town near Brixen in the 7th century 


Agricola of Tongres

Feast Day: February 5
 Died 420. Agricola is listed as the 11th bishop of Tongres


Agatha Hildegard of Carinthia

Feast Day: February 5
 Died 1024.
 Saint Agatha is highly venerated in Carinthia. She was the wife of Paul, the local count, and a model of devotion to her domestic duties and of patience under the brutal ill-treatment of her jealous husband, whom she converted before his death

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Bl. Elizabeth Canori Mora
Feast Day: February 5
1774 - 1825
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II

Elisabetta was born of noble and well-off family In the historical center of Rome, in via Tor dei Conti, not far from the Coliseum, on November 21, 1774. She was the daughter of Tommaso and Teresa Primoli. Her family was well off, of deep Christian convictions and diligent in the education of their children. At 21 years of age, on January 10 1796, Elisabetta married Cristoforo Mora, a young lawyer and son of Francesco Mora, a renowned doctor of the town.

A few months into the marriage, Cristoforo became jealous of his wife. He became controlling in a troublesome manner and also interfered with the visits of the relatives. Then, little by little, his feelings for Elisabetta began to change into resentment and indifference. In the first five years of the marriage, Elisabetta gave birth to four daughters, of whom two died and two survived, Marianna and Lucina.

During this time, Cristoforo, began an extramarital affair with a woman of modest conditions, to which he gave not only his love but also his time and his money. He deceived his wife, Elisabetta, and deserted his family, reducing it to destitution, and he squandered his family's fortune. His wife and the two daughters fell into extreme poverty.

To the physical and psychological violence of her husband, Elisabetta responded with absolute fidelity. In 1801 a mysterious illness brought her to death's door. She was cured in an inexplicable way and had her first mystical experience.

Elisabetta, to pay creditors and to safeguard the good name of her husband, was compelled to sell her jewelry and, even, her wedding garments. She continued to care for her daughters and the daily chores of the home with utmost care. She also dedicated much time to prayer, to the service of the poor and assisting the sick. She dedicated special care to families in need. She was ridiculed by Cristoforo for her "pious" behavior, but continued to pray for him.

Friends and even her confessor advised Elisabetta to separate, but Elisabetta never lost heart. For the sake of Christ, Elisabetta considered the salvation of her husband and of her daughters and used this misfortune for spiritual profit. Elisabetta was convinced that "nobody can be saved all alone, and the God has entrusted to everyone the responsibility of the salvation of others in order to carry out his project of love". This is the story of a woman betrayed, however, Elisabetta understood what it meant to be a Christian. She knew that God entrusted Cristoforo to her through the Sacrament of Marriage and that she had the responsibility to carry this cross to salvation. She could not leave it, because God had entrusted it.

Set afire from the love of God in the Holy Trinity, and supported by a strong intimate relationship with Jesus, her love for Cristoforo grew with more intensity every day. Elisabetta desired more and more be united to Cristoforo through God to help him reach his eternal destiny and salvation.

Elisabetta came to know and to understand profoundly the spirituality of the Trinitarians and joined the secular Third Order, responding with dedication to the vocation of the family and secular consecration.

The fame of her "holiness", the echo of her mystical experiences and of her "miraculous power" quickly spread throughout Rome and its surrounding neighborhoods. However, none of this changed her poor life style, marked by great humility and a generous spirit of service to the poor and those fallen away form God. She continually offered herself for the Pope, the Church, her city of Rome and the conversion of her husband.

And so, with her life of heroic faithfulness to God and her absolute dedication to the Sacrament of Marriage, Elisabetta died. On February 5 1825, on a cold and rainy night, while being cared for by her two daughters, Lucina and Marianna, she entered the light of the Holy Trinity as if in a sweet slumber. Cristoforo rushed to her death bed to utter these words: "Today we have lost a great bride and mother."

Elisabetta's wish had come true... for the seed of conversion was sprouthing in her husband's soul. In 1834, Cristoforo became a Conventual Franciscan and died as a priest of September 9, 1845 in the Franciscan church at Sezze, Italy.


St. Avitus
Feast Day: February 5
470 - 517

Revocatus with Saturus, Felix, Saturninus, and Gelasius, Fortunatus. Africa martyred


St. Modestus
Modestus of Salzburg,
Feast Day: February 5
 Died  722.
 Modestus had Saint Virgilius, abbot-founder of Salzburg, as his superior. Modestus was appointed regionary bishop of Carinthia and was primarily responsible for the evangelization of that country

Benedictine bishop, trained by St. Virgilius in Salzburg, Austria. He became regionary bishop of Carinthia, modern Austria, and evangelized the region.


St. Leo Karasuma

Feast Day: February 5
Died: 1597

Martyr of Japan and a Korean Franciscan tertiary. He was martyred in Nagasaki, Japan, receiving canonization in 1862.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


St. Avitus of Vienne
470 - 519
Feast Day: February 5

 Born in Auvergne; died 519. Brother of Bishop Saint Apollinaris of Valence, Saint Avitus succeeded his father, Saint Isychius who had been a Roman senator, as bishop of Vienne. As a bishop he commanded the respect of his flock, the pagan Franks, and the Arian Burgundians. It was he who converted the Burgundian King Sigismund. Saint Avitus was also an eloquent writer

Bishop of Vienne. Avitus was the son of Bishop Isychius, a former Roman senator, and succeeded him in the see ofVienne in 490. He ransomed captives, became known for his wisdom and charity, and converted members of the Frankish tribes who dominated the region. He also presided over the Council of Epaon in 517. He was noted for his elegant writings, including an allegory, a poem on chastity, sermons, and letters.

Avitus was probably born at Vienne, for he was baptized by bishop Mamertus. In difficult times for the Catholic faith and Roman culture in southern Gaul, Avitus pursued with earnestness and success the extinction of Arianism among the Burgundians. He won the confidence of King Gundobad, and converted his son, King Sigismund (516-523).

The literary fame of Avitus rests on his many surviving letters (his recent editors make them ninety-six in all) and on a long poem, De spiritualis historiae gestis, in classical hexameters, in five books, dealing with the Biblical themes of Original Sin, Expulsion from Paradise, the Deluge, the Crossing of the Red Sea. The first three books offer a certain dramatic unity; in them are told the preliminaries of the great disaster, the catastrophe itself, and the consequences. The fourth and fifth books deal with the Deluge and the Crossing of the Red Sea as symbols of baptism. Avitus deals freely and familiarly with the Scriptural events, and exhibits well their beauty, sequence, and significance. He is one of the last masters of the art of rhetoric as taught in the schools of Gaul in the 4th and 5th centuries. His poetic diction, though abounding in archaisms and rhythmic redundancy, is pure and select, and the laws of metre are well observed. The author of his article in the Catholic Encyclopedia claims "that Milton made use of his paraphrase of Scripture in writing Paradise Lost." Avitus also wrote a poem for his sister Fuscina, a nun, praising virginity.

The letters of Avitus are of considerable importance for the ecclesiastical and political history of the years between 499 and 518. Like his contemporary, Ennodius of Pavia, he was strenuous in his assertion of the authority of the Apostolic See as the chief bulwark of religious unity and the incipient Christian civilization. "If the pope," he says, "is rejected, it follows that not one bishop, the whole episcopate threatens to fall" (Si papa urbis vocatur in dubium, episcopatus videbitur, non episcopus, vaccilare. — Ep. xxxiv; ed. Peiper). His letters are also among the important primary sources of early Merovingian political, ecclesiastical, and social history. Among them is a famous letter to Clovis on the occasion of his baptism. Avitus addresses Clovis not as if he was a pagan convert, but as if he was a recent Arian sympathiser, possibly even a catechumen. The letters document the close relations between the Catholic Bishop of Vienne and the Arian king of the Burgundians, the great Gundobad, and his son, the Catholic convert Sigismund.

There was once extant a collection of his homilies and sermons, but they have all perished except for two, and some fragments and excerpts from others.

The so-called Dialogues with King Gundobad, written to defend the Catholic faith against the Arians and purports to represent the famous Colloquy of Lyon in 449, was once believed to be his work. Julien Havet demonstrated in 1885, however, that it is a forgery of the Oratorian, Jérome Viguier, who also forged a letter purporting to be from Pope Symmachus to Avitus.


St. Abraham
Abraham of Arbela

Feast Day: February 5

 Died  345. Bishop of Arbela, Assyria (now Iraq). He was put to death in the village of Telman under Shapur II of Persia (Benedictines). Saint Abraham is always pictured as a bishop with a sword

A bishop of Arbela in Assyria who suffered martyrdom during the persecutions conducted by King Shapur II of Persia. He is recorded as being executed at a site called Telman.


St. Gonsalo Garcia

Born 1557
Bassein (Baçaim), Maharashtra

Died 5 February 1597 Nagasaki, Japan

Beatified 14 September 1627 by Pope Urban VIII
Canonized 8 June 1862 by Pope Pius IX

Feast Day: February 5

1556 - 1597

 Saint Gonsalo Garcia (1556–1597) is a Roman Catholic saint from India. Born in the western coastal town of Vasai, an exurb of the city of Bombay, he preached from the Bassein fort during the time the town was under Portuguese colonial rule. The feast of St. Garcia has traditionally been held on the first Sunday nearest to the neap tide following Christmas in Vasai.

 Gonsalo Garcia was born Gundi Slavus Garcia— to a Portuguese father and a Canarese (resident of the Konkan coast) mother in Bassein, on February 5, 1557. He was the right hand of father St. Peter Baptist Superior of Franciscan mission in Japan. He was tutored by Fr. Sebastian Gonçalves, a Jesuit priest working in Vasai, in the college near Bassein fort. Garcia studied under the tutelage of the Jesuits for eight years from 1564 to 1572. Then, at the age of fifteen, Fr. Sebastian took Garcia to Japan. He soon managed to learn the language and since was seen as an affable person; he soon became popular in the local community as a catechist. He resigned and left to Alcao to set up trade. His business prospered and branches were opened in different locales in Southeast Asia.

 Gonsalo's long cherished dream to be a Jesuit did not materialise and moved on to Manila in the Philippines as a lay missionary. In the Philippines, he was influenced by a Franciscan priest, Fr. Peter Baptista and soon joined the Seraphic Order as a lay brother. After working with the leprosy patients there he was formally ordained as a Franciscan as the Friars Minor at Manila.

 On May 26, 1592, the Spanish governor in the Philippines sent Gonsalo on a diplomatic mission back to Japan along with Baptista. After working for four years, the Japanese shogun suspected the missionaries of sedition and were placed under house arrest in their monastery in Miaco (Kyoto) on 8 December 1596. A few days afterwards, when they were singing vespers, they were arrested, manacled and immured.

 On January 3, 1597, the left ears of twenty-six confessors among them Garcia, were exscinded; but were then collected in reverence by the local Christians. On February 5, Garcia was crucified on Nagasaki Hills with twenty six of his companions. St. Garcia was the first to be extended on, and nailed to, the cross, which was then erected in the middle of those of his companions. Fr. Gonsalo, the first to arrive, went straight to one of the crosses and asked "Is this mine?". The reply was "It is not". Then he was taken to another cross, where he knelt down and embraced it. The others, one after another, started doing the same. "That was quite a sight, the way Br. Philip was embracing his cross. . . " comments one of the witnesses. Two lances impaled his body through his heart. While being nailed, Garcia sang praises of God, earning him the martyr's title.

 In 1627, Garcia and his fellow martyrs were declared as Venerable by Pope Urban VIII. The martyr's feast day occurs on Feb 5th and in 1629, their veneration was permitted throughout the Catholic Church. On June 8, 1862 Garcia was declared a saint by Pope Pius IX. The Gonsalo Garcia Church in Vasai was built in 1942 and renovated in 1957. A weeklong feast is celebrated there in February in his honour. The church is tallest church in Vasai. It was built by Msgr. Louise Caitan D'souza a Goan priest.

St. Gonsalo Garcia was born as Gonçalo Garcia in 1557. Documents in the Lisbon Archives (ANTT) describe Gonsalo Garcia as a ‘natural de Agaçaim ’ or ‘resident of agashi’ village in Bassein. His father was a Portuguese soldier (although his surname, Garcia, is Castillian) and his mother a Canarim (pl. canarins), that was how the Portuguese called the inhabitants of the Konkan. This term extended often to all the indigenous people from what was Portuguese India at the time. Modern scholars such as Gense and Conti accept the fact that Gonsalo’s mother was from Bassein.

According to Garcia's companion, Marcelo de Ribandeneira, who became a historian and considered as the most authentic source on the life of St. Gonsalo Garcia, the saint once told him that his mother was from Bassein and his father a Portuguese soldier. Hence the Papal Bull declaring Gonsalo Garcia as a saint mentions that he was Basseinite (A native of Bassein). As the child of a European father and an Indian mother he was a Mestiço in the Portuguese sense of term.

Gonsalo Garcia spent eight years (1564-1572) in the Bassein Fort. The fort was reserved for the European people and their servants. According to the policy adopted by the Portuguese government, any Portuguese who got married with a local woman was given certain privileges. So Gonsalo’s father was permitted to quit the job and stayed in the fort as an ordinary layman, and because of that his family came to reside inside the fort. He studied at the Jesuit school of Bassein Fort and helped in their "Igreja do Santo Nome de Jesus", in English ‘Church of the Holy Name (now known as St. Gonsalo Garcia Church)’. Here St. Gonsalo Garcia came into contact with Fr. Sebastião Gonsalves who became a friend and guide throughout his life. During his stay with the Jesuits, he learned Grammar, Philosophy and Roman History.

Gonsalo Garcia was willing to accompany to Japan Jesuit missionaries who, from Bassein were sent there. In 1569 he told Fr. Sebastian Gonsalves about his desire to go East, but his request was turned down as he was quite young. But in 1572 Fr. Sebastian permitted him when he was fifteen. He surprised young Gonsalo by disclosing that he also has decided to leave for Japan. The two missionaries left together Bassein in the first week of March 1572 and reached Japan in July. During the course of his voyage Gonsalo Garcia learned Japanese language with the help of a Japanese who accompanied him in the same ship.
Gonsalo Garcia was selected as a catechist by the Jesuit missionaries. As a predicant missionary, he went about in public places drawing children to himself by his amiable disposition, by his fluency in the language of the country and by his kindness. Gonsalo Garcia reached one and all and soon became a favorite with the Japanese. He served them faithfully as a catechist for eight years. Meantime, he had expressed the desire to join the Jesuit Order. Though promises of admission were held out to him, Gonsalo’s Indian origin was a bar to his entry in the Society of Jesus. Finally Gonsalo Garcia lost hope and bid adieu to the Fathers, much to their regret.
On leaving the Jesuits Gonsalo Garcia went to another city named Alacao. There he established himself as a merchant. He did not, however, lose his spirit of piety and Christian zeal because of his new career. Gradually, his business transactions expanded and he was able to found new establishments. His commercial relations brought him into contact with all the ranks of Japanese society. His business flourished very well. Wealth and abundance were at his feet. Still, at heart, he remained a religious man in word and deed. Later, he resolved to become a Franciscan Friar. His petition to the superior of the Franciscans at Manila (Philippines) was accepted. In this way, as a Franciscan, Gonsalo Garcia began the second phase of his missionary activities.
Gonsalo Garcia was very much delighted when he was accepted into the Franciscan order. In Manila, he came into the Franciscan missionary, Fr. Peter Baptista who remained as a companion until the very martyrdom. Gonsalo Garcia started his career as ‘dojuku’ or catechist in Manila. The main advantage for him was his ability to speak the Japanese language. From the different parts of Japan, the people began to send him invitations. It was at this time that the Spanish King wanted to send a delegation to Japan from Manila. The Spanish governor of Manila selected Fr. Peter Baptista as the leader of the delegation and since he did not know the Japanese language, Gonsalo Garcia was selected as his translator as well as his companion. Gonsalo was very happy with this offer that he immediately accepted the responsibility. The missionaries left Manila on 21st May 1593 and reached Hirado, a harbor in Japan, on 8th July 1593.

In Japan, Gonsalo Garcia became the center of attraction as he knew Japanese language well. He was the official member of Spanish translator of Fr. Peter Baptista. After facing some initial difficulties the Franciscan settled in Japan and began their missionary work in Kyoto, Osaka, etc. The Japanese shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was very friendly with these Franciscans. It was a time when Jesuits were facing lot of opposition in Japan. The people of Japan appreciated the simple way of living adopted by these Franciscan missionaries. It helped them to accelerate their conversion program. Many Japanese, including their landlords accepted the Christian religion. Slowly Japan became the great center of evangelization for the Franciscan missionaries.

The Franciscan were very successful in their conversion policy. Naturally, the Buddhist religious lenders became their arch enemies. They tried to influence the king to take action against Franciscans and to expel them, but the king refused to budge. But the situation worsened with the arrival of ill-fated Spanish ship ‘San Felipe’(St.Philip). It was bound from Manila to Acapulco in Spain but due to terrible tempest, it was driven to the coast of Japan. It was laden with Gold and Silver when it was anchored at Urado. The captain of the ship, Francisco de Olandia, whole conversing with the Japanese custom officials spoke boastingly of ‘La Espanha de los Conquistadores’ and unnecessary boasted that the Spanish king had captured many countries in the world. He wrongly told that the king of Spain sent the missionaries first to instigate the people against their ruler. When the matter was reported to Toyotomi, he was wild with anger. The situation was exploited by Siyakuin Hoin, the shogun’s physician. The shogun issued the order to arrest and execute all missionaries in Japan. There were three Jesuits also. The Franciscan including Fr. Peter Baptista, Gonsalo Garcia and others were arrested on 8th December 1596 and were sentenced to death.
On 4th January the persons sentenced to death began their journey from Kyoto. They traveled six hundred miles from Kyoto to Nagasaki through Sakai (Sakai, Osaka), Okayama, Hiroshima, Shimonoseki, and Karatsu (Karatsu, Saga). They reached Nagasaki on 4th February 1597. The next morning they were taken to a hill known as Nishigaoka where Terazawa Hazaburo, the brother of the governor of Nagasaki, had planned for the crucifixion to take place. As Gonsalo was prominent among the missionaries, he was given the middle place. There Gonsalo Garcia met one of his friend from Bassein fort, Francis Rodrigues Pinto, to whom he said: ”My good friend, God be with you. I am going to heaven. A hearty hug to Fr. Sabastian Gonsalves on my behalf”. The execution started at 10 o'clock in the morning. The culprits were so tired that they could not endure it for long and by 10.30am everything was over. The two soldiers who worked as executioners completed their task by stabbing their spears into the missionaries' chests. The Portuguese and Japanese Christians attending the execution broke past the guards and started soaking pieces of cloth in the blood of the executed, gathering lumps of the blood-soaked dirt, and tearing up their habits and kimonos for holy relics. The guards beat the relic-hunters away and order was reestablished. Terazawa positioned guards all around the hill, with strict orders not to allow anyone near the crosses. After completing the task Terazawa withdrew from the hill.
After the sensational drama, the corpses of the victims were neglected by the local authorities thinking that they would be eaten by the vultures. But nearly for forty days they remained intact. Afterwards it was reported in The Examiner (March 12, 1904) that the Portuguese brought the head of Gonsalo Garcia to India, which was kept in Bassein fort. They carried it to Goa when they left Bassein in 1739 (page 82). Since the author of the article does not mention the source of the information, it cannot be taken to be a historical fact. Then followed a series of miracles on the concerned hill in Nagasaki. So in 1627, thirty-five years after the crucifixion of the martyrs, Pope Urban VIII declared St. Gonsalo Garcia and his co-martyrs as ‘Blessed Ones’ and permitted the Jesuits and the Franciscans to venerate them. This permission was extended to other religions later on, but in 1629 the same Pope completed the beatification of these martyrs. The matter was neglected for more than two centuries. It was once again taken up in 1862 and on 8 June 1862 Pope Pius IX did the canonization of Gonsalo Garcia and his co-martyrs. Brother Gonsalo Garcia became St. Gonsalo Garcia. The first catholic Saint of India and the Indian Sub-Continent, and 8 June 2012 marked the 150th anniversary of his canonization.


St. Philip of Jesus
Born 1572
Mexico City
Died February 5, 1597
Honored in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified September 14, 1627 by Pope Urban VIII
Canonized June 8, 1862 by Pope Pius IX

Feast Day: February 5

A statue of St. Philip of Jesus at the Museo de Virreinato, Tepotzotlan

Patron of Mexico City
1572 - 1597

Franciscan martyr in Japan. A Spaniard born in Mexico City, he entered the Franciscans at Puebla but then departed the order in 1589 to journey to the Philippines as a trader. In 1590, he repented and returned to the Franciscan fold. His superiors commanded him to sail back to Mexico to be ordained a priest and, while on the way, his ship was caught in a storm and driven into the waters of Japan. Landing in 1596, he was soon arrested and, with St. Peter Baptist, was put to death by crucifixion at Nagasaki. He was canonized in 1862.

Saint Philip of Jesus (Spanish: San Felipe de Jesús) was a Mexican Catholic missionary who became one of the Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan, the first Mexican saint and patron saint of Mexico City.

Philip was born in Mexico City in 1572. Though unusually frivolous as a boy, he joined the Reformed Franciscans of the Province of St. Didacus, founded in Mexico by St. Peter Baptista, with whom he suffered martyrdom later. After some months in the Order, Philip grew tired of religious life, left the Franciscans in 1589, took up a mercantile career, and went to the Philippines, another Spanish colony, where he led a life of pleasure. Later he desired to re-enter the Franciscans and was again admitted at Manila in 1590.

After some years it was determined that he was ready for ordination and sent to Mexico for this, since the episcopal see of Manila was vacant at that time, and thus no bishop was available locally to ordain him. He sailed on 12 July 1596, but a storm drove the vessel upon the coast of Japan. The governor of the province confiscated the ship and imprisoned its crew and passengers, among whom were another Franciscan friar, Juan de Zamorra, as well as three other friars, two Augustinians and a Dominican. The discovery of soldiers, cannon and ammunition on the ship led to the suspicion that it was intended for the conquest of Japan, and that the missionaries were merely to prepare the way for the soldiers. This was also said, falsely and unwarrantable, by one of the crew and enraged the Japanese Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, generally called Taicosama by Europeans. In consequence, he commanded on December 8 1596, the arrest of the Franciscans in the friary at Miako, now Kyoto, whither St. Philip had gone.

The friars were all kept prisoners in the friary until December 30, when they were transferred to the city prison. There were six Franciscan friars, seventeen Japanese Franciscan tertiaries and the Japanese Jesuit Paul Miki, with his two native servants. The ears of the prisoners were cropped on January 3 1597, and they were paraded through the streets of Kyoto; on January 21 they were taken to Osaka, and thence to Nagasaki, which they reached on February 5 1597. They were taken to a mountain near Nagasaki city, "Mount of the Martyrs", bound upon crosses, after which they were pierced with spears.


St. Louis Ibachi

Feastday: February 5
Died: 1597

Martyr of Japan. A twelve year-old who served the Franciscan mission, Louis was crucified at Nagasaki, Japan, with twenty-five companions. He was canonized in 1867.


St. Vodoaldus
Vodalus, Hermit
Feast Day: February 5
Died: 725
(also known as Vodoaldus, Voel)

Hermit, sometimes called Voel and Vodalus. A native of Ireland or Scotland, he journeyed to France and worked for a time as a missionary. He later lived as a hermit beside St. Mary's Convent at Soissons. Vodoaldus was a great miracle worker.

 Vodalus was an Irish or Scottish monk who crossed over to Gaul and settled near Saint Mary's convent, which was governed by Saint Adalgard. Following a misunderstanding, Vodalus returned home, but was later divinely guided back to serve as a missionary. He died a recluse near Soissons

Monday, September 9, 2013


St. Adelaide of Bellich

Feast Day: February 5
 (also known as Alice)
 Died . 1015. Adelaide, daughter of Megengose, Count of Guelder, was abbess of Villich (Bellich, Willich) on the Rhein near Bonn, Germany, and later of Our Lady of the Capitol at Cologne, both of which her parents had founded for her. She is still venerated with an octave at Bellich, where the convent she constituted under the Benedictine rule converted into a church of canonesses. Adelaide insisted that her nuns know Latin so that they might follow the offices properly. She showed prudence in other matters as well, especially in the way in which she provided for the poor during a severe famine. Saint Heribert of Cologne held Adelaide in the highest respect and consulted her in all his difficulties

Abbess and miracle worker, the daughter of Megingoz, the count of Guelders, also called Alice. Adelaide entered the Ursuline Convent in Cologne. Her parents then founded the Convent of Villich near Bonan, and she became abbess there, introducing the Rule of St. Benedict to the community. Her holiness and the miracles attributed to her prompted St. Herbert, the archbishop of Cologne, to appoint Adelaide the abbess of St. Mary's Convent in his city. She succeeded her sister, Bertha, in that office. Adelaide at first refused this honor but was commanded by Emperor Otto II to become the abbess, and agreed. She did not give up her office in Villich, and continued to govern both religious communities. She died on February 5, 1015, in Cologne, but was buried in Villich.


Agatha Hildegard of Carinthia,
St. Agatha

Feast Day: February 5

 Died 1024. Saint Agatha is highly venerated in Carinthia. She was the wife of Paul, the local

count, and a model of devotion to her domestic duties and of patience under the brutal ill-

treatment of her jealous husband, whom she converted before his death

Although we have evidence that Agatha was venerated at least as far back as the sixth century, the only facts we have about her are that she was born in Sicily and died there a martyr.

In the legend of her life, we are told that she belonged to a rich, important family. When she was young, she dedicated her life to God and resisted any men who wanted to marry her or have sex with her. One of these men, Quintian, was of a high enough rank that he felt he could force her to acquiesce. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had her arrested and brought before the judge - - himself. He expected her to give in to when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying: "Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil."

Legend tells us that Quintian imprisoned her in a brothel in order to get her to change her mind. Quintian brought her back before him after she had suffered a month of assault and humiliation in the brothel, but Agatha had never wavered, proclaiming that her freedom came from Jesus. Quintian sent her to prison, instead of back to the brothel -- a move intended to make her more afraid, but which probably was a great relief to her. When she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, Quintian had her tortured. He refused her any medical care but God gave her all the care she needed in the form of a vision of St. Peter. When she was tortured again, she died after saying a final prayer: "Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul."

Because one of the tortures she supposedly suffered was to have her breasts cut off, she was often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate. It is thought that blessing of the bread that takes place on her feast may have come from the mistaken notion that she was carrying loaves of bread.

Because she was asked for help during the eruption of Mount Etna she is considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. She is also considered the patroness of bellmakers for an unknown reason -- though some speculate it may have something to do with the fact that bells were used as fire alarms.

Saint Agatha, you suffered sexual assault and indignity because of your faith. Help heal all those who are survivors of sexual assault and protect those women who are in danger.

Saint Agatha of Sicily (died 251) is a Christian saint. Her memorial is on 5 February. Agath was born at Catania, Sicily, and she was martyred in approximately 251. She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass
She is the patron saint of Catania, Molise, Malta, San Marino and Zamarramala, a municipality of the Province of Segovia in Spain. She is also the patron saint of breast cancer patients, martyrs, wet nurses, fire, earthquakes, and eruptions of Mount Etna.

Agatha is buried at the Badia di Sant'Agata, Catania. She is listed in the late 6th-century Martyrologium Hieronymianum associated with Jerome,  and the Synaxarion, the calendar of the church of Carthage, ca. 530. Agatha also appears in one of the carmina of Venantius Fortunatus. Two early churches were dedicated to her in Rome, notably the Church of Sant'Agata dei Goti in via Mazzarino, a titular church with apse mosaics of ca. 460 and traces of a fresco cycle, overpainted by Gismondo Cerrini in 1630. In the 6th century the church was adapted to Arian Christianity, hence its name "Saint Agatha of Goths", and later reconsecrated by Gregory the Great, who confirmed her traditional sainthood. Agatha is also depicted in the mosaics of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, where she appears, richly dressed, in the procession of female martyrs along the north wall. Her image forms an initial I in the Sacramentary of Gellone, from the end of the 8th century.

One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, Agatha was put to death during the persecution of Decius (250-253) in Catania, Sicily, for her steadfast profession of faith

Her written legend comprises "straightforward accounts of interrogation, torture, resistance, and triumph which constitute some of the earliest hagiographic literature", and are reflected in later recensions, the earliest surviving one being an illustrated late 10th-century passio bound into a composite volumein the Bibliothèque National, originating probably in Autun, Burgundy; in its margin illustrations Magdalena Carrasco detected Carolingian or Late Antique iconographic traditions.

Although the martyrdom of St. Agatha is authenticated, and her veneration as a saint had even in antiquity spread beyond her native place, there is no reliable information concerning the details of her death.

According to Jacobus de Voragine, Legenda Aurea of ca. 1288, having dedicated her virginity to God, Fifteen year old Agatha, from a rich and noble family, rejected the amorous advances of the low-born Roman prefect Quintianus, who then persecuted her for her Christian faith. He sent Agatha to Aphrodisia, the keeper of a brothel.

The madam finding her intractable, Quinitianus sends for her, argues, threatens, and finally has her put in prison. Among the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts. After further dramatic confrontations with Quintianus, represented in a sequence of dialogues in her passio that document her fortitude and steadfast devotion. Saint Agatha was then sentenced to be burned at the stake, but an earthquake saved her from that fate; instead, she was sent to prison where St. Peter the Apostle appeared to her and healed her wounds. Saint Agatha died in prison, according to the Legenda Aurea in "the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-three in the time of Decius, the emperor of Rome."

Osbern Bokenham, A Legend of Holy Women, written in the 1440s, offers some further detail.

According to Maltese tradition, during the persecution of Roman Emperor Decius (AD 249-251), Agatha, together with some of her friends, fled from Sicily, and took refuge in Malta. Some historians believe that her stay on the island was rather short, and she spent her days in a rock hewn crypt at Rabat, praying and teaching the Christian Faith to children. After some time, Agatha returned to Sicily, where she faced martyrdom. Agatha was arrested and brought before Quintanus, praetor of Catania, who condemned her to torture and imprisonment. The crypt of St. Agatha is an underground basilica, which from early ages was venerated by the Maltese. At the time of St. Agatha's stay, the crypt was a small natural cave which later on, during the 4th or 5th century, was enlarged and embellished.

She is the patron saint of Catania, Sorihuela del Guadalimar (Spain), Molise, San Marino and Malta.

Saint Agatha is a patron saint of Malta, where in 1551 her intercession through a reported apparition to a Benedictine nun is said to have saved Malta from Turkish invasion.

Agatha is the patron saint of bell-founders because of the shape of her severed breasts,and also of bakers, whose loaves were blessed at her feast day. More recently, she has been venerated as patron saint of breast cancer patients.

She is claimed as the patroness of Palermo. The year after her death, the stilling of an eruption of Mt. Etna was attributed to her intercession. As a result, apparently, people continued to ask her prayers for protection against fire

Basques have a tradition of gathering on Saint Agatha's eve (Santa Ageda bezpera in Basque) and going round the village. Homeowners can choose to hear a song about her life, accompanied by the beats of their walking sticks on the floor or a prayer for those deceased in the house. After that, the homeowner donates food to the chorus. This song has varying lyrics according to the local tradition and the Basque language. An exceptional case was that of 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, when a version appeared that in the Spanish language praised the Soviet ship Komsomol, which had sunk while carrying Soviet weapons to the Second Spanish Republic.

An annual festival to commemorate the life of Saint Agatha takes place in Catania, Sicily, from February 3 to 5. The festival culminates in a great all-night procession through the city for which hundreds of thousands of the city's residents turn out.

St. Agatha's Tower is a former Knight's stronghold located in the north west of Malta. The seventeenth-century tower served as a military base during both World Wars and was used as a radar station by the Maltese army.


Isidore of Pelusium,
Feast Day: February 4

 Born in Alexandria; died. 450. Isidore  left Alexandria in his youth and became a monk at the monastery of Lychnos near Pelusium. He was ordained and in time became an abbot in Egypt, who was much admired by Saint Cyril of Alexandria. He was revered for his devotion to his religious duties, and was famous for his voluminous correspondence; some two thousand letters of pious exhortation and theological instruction are still extant, though he is reported to have written 10,000 letters in his lifetime (a true act of self-mortification!). He was a vigorous opponent of Nestorianism and Eutychianism and wrote Adversus gentiles and De fato, neither of which has survived
Isidore of Pelusium  was born in Egypt to a prominent Alexandrian family. He became an ascetic, and moved to a mountain near the city of Pelusium, in the tradition of the Desert Fathers.

Isidore is known to us for his letters, written to Cyril of Alexandria, Theodosius II, and a host of others. A collection of 2,000 letters was made in antiquity at the "Sleepless" monastery in Constantinople, and this has come down to us through a number of manuscripts, with each letter numbered and in order. The letters are mostly very short extracts, a sentence or two in length. Further unpublished letters exist in Syriac translation.

Some of the letters are of considerable interest for the exegesis of the Greek bible.He is revered as a saint, whose feast day is February 4.Isidore of Pelusium lived during the fourth-fifth centuries. He was a native of Alexandria, and a relative of Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria.

He was the only child of parents, who saw to his education. They taught him the books of the church, and the Greek language in which he excelled and surpassed many. He was also ascetic and humble. When he learned that the people of Alexandria and the bishops wanted to make him the Patriarch of Alexandria, he took flight by night to Pelusium and became a monk in a monastery there. He soon became known for his exactitude in the observance of the rule and for his austerities. A passage in his voluminous correspondence affords reason to believe that he held the office of abbot

Following the example of St John Chrysostom, whom he had managed to see and hear during a trip to Constantinople, St Isidore devoted himself primarily to Christian preaching. Yet he writes in one letter, "It is more important to be proficient in good works than in golden-tongued preaching".

His friendship with St John Chrysostom resulted in his support of St John when he was persecuted by the empress Eudoxia and Archbishop Theophilus

Through the initiative of St Isidore the Third Ecumenical Council was convened at Ephesus (431), at which the false teaching of Nestorius concerning the person of Jesus Christ was condemned

St. Isidore of Pelusium died about the year 450.

The only extant works of St. Isidore are a considerable correspondence, comprising more than 2000 letters. The historian Nicephorus states that St Isidore wrote more than 10,000 letters to various people, in which he reprimanded one, advised another, consoled a third, instructed a fourth.

These letters of St. Isidore may be divided into three classes according to the subjects treated: those dealing with dogma and Scripture, with ecclesiastical and monastic discipline, and with practical morality for the guidance of laymen of all classes and conditions. His letter to Tuba shows that it was considered unbecoming for a soldier to carry a sword in the city in time of peace and to appear in public with arms and military uniform

His advice with regard to those who were embracing the monastic state was that they should not at first be made to feel all the austerities of the rule lest they should be repelled, nor should they be left idle and exempt from ordinary tasks lest they should acquire habits of laziness, but they should led step by step to what is most perfect. Great abstinences serve no purpose unless they are accompanied by the mortification of the senses. A monk's habit should if possible be of skins, and his food consist of herbs, unless bodily weakness require something more.

The letters can be found in volume 78 of the Patrologia Graeca, a collection of the Greek writings of Christian writers and theologians featuring the original Greek text facing and a Latin translation. Pierre Evieux edited the second half of the collection, where the disarrangement was most serious, in 1997 and 2000, in the Sources Chrétiennes series. He also produced a table of cross-reference between the original numbering and that in the Patrologia Graeca. The other letters have never received any critical edition or been translated into any modern language


Phileas , Philoromus & Comps.

Feast Day:  February 4

 Died in Alexandria, Egypt,  304-305. Saint Phileas was a rich, eloquent, learned nobleman of Thmuis in Lower Egypt, who was converted to the faith and became bishop of Thmuis. Soon after his consecration at Alexandria, Diocletian's successors captured and arrested him. While in prison for his faith there, he wrote a moving letter to his flock, which has been preserved in part by Eusebius, describing the sufferings of the Alexandrian Christians.

 He wrote that his fellow-confessors were permitted to be insulted, struck, and beaten with rods, whips, or clubs by any person who so desired. Some of the confessors, with their hands tied behind their backs, were secured to pillars, their bodies stretched out with engines, and their sides, belly, legs, thighs, and cheeks hideously torn with iron hooks. Others were hung by one hand, suffering excessive pain by the stretching of their joints. The governor, Culcian, thought no treatment was too bad for Christians.

 The extant account of his examination in court was most probably written up from the notes of an eye-witness (and are published by Combefis, Henschenius, and Ruinart). This fragmentary, Greek manuscript was written within about 15 years of his death and records the fifth and last interview between the bishop and the prefect Culcian. It reveals genuine, if ironic, interest in Christian doctrines, such as the resurrection of the body and the role of conscience, by the prefect and the cool but inflexible rationality of Bishop Phileas.

 The prefect asked, "Can you now be reasonable?" To which Phileas answered, "I am always reasonable and I exercise myself in good sense." In response to repeated demands to offer sacrifice, Phileas answered that the sacrifices that God asks are "a pure heart, a spotless soul, and spiritual perceptions which lead to deeds of piety and justice."

 "Was Jesus God?" asks Culcian. "Yes . . . He did not say of Himself that He was God because He performed the works of God in power and actuality . . . He cleansed lepers, made the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the dumb speak . . . He drove demons from His creatures, at a command; He cured paralytics, raised the dead to life, and performed many other signs and wonders." Culcian continues: "Was he not a common man? Surely he was not in the class of Plato." Phileas replied: "Indeed He was superior to Plato."

 "If you were one of the uncultured, I should not spare you. But now you possess such abundant resources that you can nourish and sustain not only yourself but a whole city. Therefore, spare yourself and sacrifice." Phileas answered, "I will not. I have reflected many times and this is my decision."

 He was put to death shortly thereafter, together with an official, Saint Philoromus, who had protested to the prefect against the efforts made to make Saint Phileas apostatize. They both rejected the magistrate's appeal that they should save their lives by compliance for the sake of their wives and children who were present for the trial.

 On the way to execution, Phileas's brother told the governor that Phileas desired a pardon. Culcian called him back and asked if it were true. Phileas answered, "God forbid! Do not listen to this unhappy man. Far from desiring the reversion of my sentence, I think myself much obliged to the emperor, to you, and to your court, for by your means I become co-heir with Christ, and shall enter this very day into the possession of his kingdom" Shortly thereafter, Phileas and Philoromus were beheaded During this persecution about 660 were martyred including Faustus (priest), Didius, Ammonius, Hesychius (bishop), Pachomius (bishop), and Theodore (bishop), whose feast is celebrated on November 26 (Attwater, Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).


Blessed Simon of St.-Bertin,

Feast day: February 4
 Died 1148.
 Simon was successively monk of Saint-Bertin, abbot of Auchy, and abbot of Saint-Bertin. His election as abbot of Saint Bertin in 1131 was contested, and he was unable to take his office until 1138.


St. Nithard
Nithard of Corbie, OSB

Feast day: February 4
 Died 845.
Saint Nithard was a monk at Corbie in Saxony and a companion of Saint Ansgar, whom he followed to Sweden as a missionary. He was martyred there by the pagan natives

Benedictine monk and martyr. Originally a monk at Corbie, Saxony, in modem Germany, he became a companion of St. Ansgar and followed in his footsteps, preaching among the pagans of Scandinavia. He was martyred by the Swedes.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


St. Modan

Feast Day: February 4
Died: 6th century

Abbot and son of an Irish chieftain. He labored in Scotland, preaching at Stirling and Falkirk, until elected against his will as abbot of a monastery. Eventually, he resigned and became a hermit, dying near Dumbarton.

 About 522, Modan, son of an Irish chieftain, professed himself at Dryburgh Abbey near Mailros, Scotland. Being persuaded that a Christian grows in holiness only by spending time with God, he gave six or seven hours daily to prayer and meditation and seasoned all his other activities with more prayer. A spirit of prayer is founded in the purity of the affections, the fruit of self-denial, humility, and obedience. Therefore, Modan
practiced austerity to crucify his flesh and senses.

He practiced humility by subjecting his will so swiftly and cheerfully to that of his superiors that they unanimously declared they never saw any one so perfectly divested of all self-will as was Modan.  He became abbot of Dryburgh and proved the maxim that no man can govern others well unless his masters the art of obedience himself. He was inflexible in maintaining discipline, but did so with winning sweetness and charity. His prudence in providing instruction or reproof gave pleasure, gained hearts, inspired love, and communicated the spirit of every duty.

 He also preached the faith at Stirling and other places near Forth, especially, Falkirk, but frequently interrupted his apostolic employments to retire among the craggy mountains of Dumbarton, where he usually spent 30-40 days at once in contemplation. He died at Alcluid (later called Dunbritton, now Dumbarton) where he is venerated.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


St. Nicholas Studites
Feast day: February 4
 Born at Sydonia (Canea), Crete, in 793; died at Studius Monastery, Constantinople, in 863. Saint Nicholas was a disciple of Theodore Studites, educated at Studius Monastery from age 10, and at age 18 became a monk there. During the iconoclastic persecution he followed his abbot into exile, and aided others who had been banished.

 In 842, on the death of Emperor Theophilus, peace was temporarily restored and he returned to the monastery where he was elected abbot. When Emperor Michael III exiled Saint Ignatius and made Photius patriarch of Constantinople in 858, Nicholas refused to recognize Photius as patriarch, was imprisoned, and then went into voluntary exile; Michael then appointed a new abbot.

 After several years in exile, Nicholas was brought back to his monastery and imprisoned. When Emperor Basil restored Ignatius, the lawful patriarch, Nicholas considered himself too old to resume charge of the monastery, and died as a simple monk .He was brought back to his monastery and imprisoned there just before he died.


St. Rembert
Rembert of Bremen
Feast day: February 4
Died: 888
 Born near Bruges, Flanders; died June 11, 888. Saint Rembert entered religious life as a monk of Turholt. He shared an apostolate to Scandinavia with and succeeded his friend Saint Ansgar as bishop of Hamburg-Bremen in 865. This feast day commemorates his episcopal consecration. He wrote an excellent biography of Saint Ansgar

HE was a native of Flanders, near Bruges, and a monk in the neighbouring monastery of Turholt. St. Anscharius called him to his assistance in his missionary labours, and in his last sickness recommended him for his successor, saying: “Rembert is more worthy to be archbishop, than I to discharge the office of his deacon.” After his death, in 865, St. Rembert was unanimously chosen archbishop of Hanburgh and Bremen, and superintended all the churches of Sweden, Denmark, and the Lower Germany, finishing the work of their conversion. He also began the conversion of the Sclavi and the Vandals, now called Brandenburghers. He sold the sacred vessels to redeem captives from the Normans; and gave the horse on which he was riding for the ransom of a virgin taken by the Sclavi. He was most careful never to lose a moment of time from serious duties and prayer; and never to interrupt the attention of his mind to God in his exterior functions. He died on the 11th of June in 888, but is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on the 4th of February, the day on which he was chosen archbishop. His life of St. Anscharius is admired, both for the author’s accuracy and piety, and for the elegance and correctness of the composition. His letter to Walburge, first abbess of Nienherse, is a pathetic exhortation to humility and virginity.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Blessed Rabanus Maurus,
Feast day: February 4

 Born at Mainz, Germany, 776-784.
 Died at Winkel, Germany, 856.
While Rabanus was probably a German by birth, there is a possibility that he may have been from Ireland or Scotland. He was offered as a child to the abbey of Fulda, was educated and spent most of his life there. After receiving his early education at the abbey school of Fulda under Abbot Bangulf, he completed his studies at Tours under Alcuin, whose favorite he became.

 He returned to Fulda as a monk, became known for his learning and knowledge of the early Church Fathers and the Bible, and in about 799 became headmaster of Fulda's school. He was ordained a deacon in 801 and a priest in 815, and became abbot in 822. As abbot he completed the monastery buildings, and founded several churches and monasteries.

 He resigned his abbacy in 847 to go into retirement, but that same year--at age 71, he was name archbishop of Mainz (Mayence), which he governed with remarkable ability. He imposed strict discipline on his clergy (which led to an abortive conspiracy on his life), held two synods that condemned the heretical teachings of Gottschalk, a monk in his see. He was noted for his charity to the poor, 300 of whom he entertained daily at his house, which helped alleviate a famine.

 Rabanus was the outstanding scholar of his century and one of the most prolific writers of any age. Under Alcuin, who nicknamed him Maurus in memory of Saint Benedict's favorite disciple, he learned Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac. His biblical commentaries and other works are still considered valuable. His martyrology; poetry, including the hymn Veni creator spiritus; and some 64 of homilies are still extant

He was the author of the encyclopaedia De rerum naturis (On the Nature of Things). He also wrote treatises on education and grammar and commentaries on the Bible. He was one of the most prominent teachers and writers of the Carolingian age, and was called "Praeceptor Germaniae," or "the teacher of Germany." On the Roman calendar (Martyrologium Romanum, 2001, pp. 126f.),

Rabanus was born of noble parents in Mainz. The date of his birth is uncertain, but in 801 he received a deacon's order at Fulda in Hesse, where he had been sent to school. In the following year, at the insistence of Ratgar, his abbot, he went together with Haimon (later of Halberstadt) to complete his studies at Tours. He studied there under Alcuin, who in recognition of his diligence and purity gave him the surname of Maurus, after the favourite disciple of Benedict, Saint Maurus. Returning to Fulda two years later, he was entrusted with the principal charge of the school, which under his direction became one of the most preeminent centers of scholarship and book production in Europe, and sent forth such pupils as Walafrid Strabo, Servatus Lupus of Ferrières, and Otfrid of Weissenburg. At this period he probably compiled his excerpt from the grammar of Priscian, a popular text book during the Middle Ages.

In 814 Rabanus was ordained a priest. Shortly afterwards, apparently on account of disagreement with Ratgar, he was compelled to withdraw for a time from Fulda. This banishment has long been understood to have occasioned a pilgrimage to Palestine, based on an allusion in his commentary on Joshua. The passage in question is taken from Origen's Homily xiv In Librum Jesu Nave. It is Origen, not Rabanus, who was in Palestine.He returned to Fulda on the election of a new abbot (Eigil) in 817, upon whose death in 822 he himself became abbot. He was efficient and successful in this role until 842, when, in order to secure greater leisure for literature and for devotion, he resigned and retired to the neighbouring cloister of St Petersberg.

In 847, Rabanus was again constrained to enter public life by his election to succeed Otgar in the archbishopric of Mainz. He died at Winkel on the Rhine in 856.


St.Joseph of Leonissa, OFM Cap.

Feast Day :- February 4
 Born in Leonissa near Otricoli in 1556; died in Italy in February 4, 1612; beatified in 1737 by Clement XII; canonized by Benedict XIV in 1745. At age 18, Eufranius professed himself as a Capuchin and took the name Joseph. He was always mild, humble, chaste, charitable, obedient, patient, and penitential to a heroic degree. With the utmost fervor and on the most perfect motive he endeavored to glorify God in all his actions.
 In the year 1556, at Leonissa in the Abruzzi in the kingdom of Naples, the devout couple John Desiderius and Frances Paulina were blessed with a son, to whom they gave the name Euphranius at baptism. Under their faithful guidance the little boy made such progress in piety that at a very tender age he resolved upon certain feast days, and took the greatest pleasure in practices of piety.

Later on, pursuing his studies at Viterbo, he attracted the attention and admiration of everyone by his industry and virtuous life to such a degree that a nobleman in that city offered him his daughter in marriage together with a large dowry. But the Euphranius has already made a nobler choice. He left school and entered the Franciscan order among the Capuchins at Leonissa, in the year 1573, under the name of Joseph. Here he found happiness and peace in things which an effeminate age abhors most: mortification and penance.

His dwelling was a poor cell, so small and narrow that he could hardly stand, sit, or lie down in it. His bed was the bare earth, a block of wood was his pillow. He ate by preference food which the others could not or would not eat, such as stale beans and mouldy bread. In spite of the great strain associated with a life of preaching, he persevered in doing such penance even after he had been entrusted with the task. With works of penance he strove to win over those souls to God that he could not move with words.

In the year 1587, his zeal for souls urged him to go to Constantinople. He could not long conceal from the fanatical Turks the good that he was doing, especially among the Christian captives on the galleys. They seized him, pierced his right hand and right foot with sharp hooks, and hung him up on a high gibbet, then kindled a weak fire under him in order to roast him alive slowly. and gradually to suffocate him. He suffered untold tortures for three days. On the fourth day he was miraculously freed by an angel and received the command to return to Italy to preach the Gospel to the poor. From now on he traveled untiringly through all the villages and country towns of Umbria. He strongly denounced evils of that day, such as frivolous dances and plays. In his associations with the people, however, he resembled a lamb in his meekness and charity. His very bearing won for him the affection of the people, and effected the most remarkable reconciliations between persons who had been living in enmity for years, and between families and communities that had been at variance with each other.

Saint Joseph is always shown with Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, OFM Cap. Both are old Capuchins who were canonized on the same day. Saint Fidelis tramples on Heresy and an angel carries the palm of martyrdom