Portal:Catholicism/Patron Archive/February

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February 1[edit]

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Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (Brigit, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd or Bride) (Irish: Naomh Bhríde) (c. 451525) was an Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several convents who is venerated as a saint.

Brigid was born at Faughart near Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. According to her biographers her parents were Dubhthach, a pagan chieftain of Leinster, and Brocca, a Christian Pictish slave who had been baptized by Saint Patrick. She was inspired by the preaching of Saint Patrick from an early age. Despite her father's opposition she was determined to enter religious life.

Brigid received the veil from Saint Mel and professed vows dedicating her life to Christ. She is believed to have founded a convent in Clara, County Offaly - her first: other foundations followed. Around 470 she founded Kildare Abbey, a double monastery, for nuns and monks, on the plains of Cill-Dara, "the church of the oak", her cell being made under a large oak tree. As Abbess of this foundation she wielded considerable power. Legends surround her, even her blessing as Abbess by Saint Mel has a story attached to it. According to the legend, the elderly bishop, as he was blessing her during the ceremony, inadvertently read the rite of consecration of a bishop and that this could not be rescinded, under any circumstances. Brigid and her successor Abbesses at Kildare had an administrative authority equal to that of a Bishop until the Synod of Kells in 1152.

She died at Kildare around 525 and was buried in a tomb before the high altar of her abbey church. After some time her remains were exhumed and translated to Downpatrick to rest with the two other patron saints of Ireland, Patrick and Columba (Columcille).
Attributes: an abbess with a shepherd's staff and flames over her head, with a lamp or candle, sometimes with a cow, ducks or gooses
Patronage: babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; Leinster, Ireland; mariners; midwives; milk maids; newborn babies; nuns; poets; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers; watermen
Prayer: Christus in nostra insula Que vocatur Hivernia Ostensus est hominibus Maximis mirabilibus Que perfecit per felicem Celestis vite virginem Precellentem pro merito Magno in numdi circulo.


February 2[edit]

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Cornelius (in Greek, Κορνήλιος) was a Roman Centurion who is considered by Christians to be the first Gentile to convert to the faith, as related in Acts of the Apostles.

Stationed in Caesarea, Cornelius is depicted in the New Testament as a man full of good works and deeds of alms. Cornelius receives a vision in which an angel of God tells him that his prayers have been heard. The angel then instructs Cornelius to send the men of his household to Joppa, where they will find Simon Peter, who is residing with a tanner by the name of Simon.

The conversion of Cornelius only comes after yet another vision given to Simon Peter (acts 10:10-16) himself; in Simon Peter's vision, he sees all manner of four-footed beasts and birds of the air being lowed from Heaven in a sheet. A voice commands Simon Peter to eat. When he objects to eating those animals that are unclean to Mosaic Law, the voice tells him not to call unclean that which God has cleansed.

When Cornelius' men arrive, Simon Peter understands that the vision permits the conversion of the Gentiles. When Cornelius himself meets Simon Peter, Cornelius falls at his feet in adoration. Picking Cornelius up, Simon Peter welcomes him. After the two men share their visions, and Simon Peter tells of Jesus' ministry and the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit falls on everyone at the gathering. The Jews among the group are amazed that Cornelius and other uncircumcised should begin speaking in tongues, praising God. Thereupon Simon Peter orders that Cornelius and his followers be baptized.

The Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes the importance of Cornelius' baptism as follows:

Attributes:
Patronage:
Prayer:


February 3[edit]

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Saint Blaise (or Blasius Βλάσιος, Armenian: Սուրբ Բարսեղ) was a physician and bishop of Sebaste (modern Sivas), capital of the Roman province of Armenia. According to his Acta he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron carding combs, and beheaded.

In iconography, Blaise is often shown with the instruments of his martyrdom, iron combs. The similarity of these instruments of torture to wool combs led to his adoption as patron of wool combers in particular, and the wool trade in general. He may also be depicted with crossed candles. Such crossed candles (left unlighted for safety reasons) are used for the blessing of throats on the feast day of St. Blaise, which falls on February 3, the day after Candlemas on the General Roman Calendar, Blaise is traditionally believed to intercede in cases of throat illnesses, especially for fish-bones stuck in the throat. This comes from a legend, which tells us, that Blaise healed a young boy, who would have died because of a fish-bone stuck in his throat.

Indeed, the first reference we have to him is in manuscripts of the medical writings of Aëtius Amidenus, the court physician of Justinian I, where his aid is invoked in treating objects stuck in the throat. He cured animals and lived in a cave, protected and fed by wild animals. Before being killed, he spoke to a wolf and told it to release a pig it was harming. The wolf did so. Saint Blaise was going to be starved but the owner of the pig secretly gave him food in order to survive. After a while, he was tortured because of what he believed in but did not give up faith, he then died in the year 316.
Attributes: Wool comb, candles, tending a choking boy or animals
Patronage: Animals, builders, choking, veterinarians, throats, Sicily, Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, Rubiera, stonecutters, carvers, wool workers.
Prayer: O God, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blase, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


February 4[edit]

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Saint Andrew (Andrea) Corsini (1302—January 6, 1373) was an Italian Carmelite and bishop of Fiesole.

He was born in Florence, in 1302, as member of the illustrious Corsini family. Wild and dissolute in youth, he was startled by the words of his mother about what had happened to her before his birth, and, becoming a Carmelite monk in his native city, began a life of great mortification. He studied at Paris and Avignon.

On his return, Andrew became the "Apostle of Florence". He was regarded as a prophet and a thaumaturgus. After being called to the post of bishop of Fiesole, which he did not want, he fled. He was discovered by a child at the charterhouse at Enna, and was subsequently compelled to accept the honour.

He redoubled his austerities as a bishop, was lavish in his care of the poor, and was sought for everywhere as a peacemaker, notably at Bologna, whither he was sent as papal legate to heal the breach between the nobility and the people.

After twelve years in the episcopacy, he died in 1373 at the age of seventy-one.

In 1373, while he had been celebrating the midnight Mass of Christmas, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he would leave this world on the feast of the Epiphany, to meet God. It came to pass, and he died on that day[1].

Miracles were so multiplied at his death that Pope Eugene IV permitted a public cult immediately; but it was only in 1629 that Pope Urban VIII canonized him. His feast is kept on February 4.

In the early eighteenth century, Pope Clement XII, born Lorenzo Corsini, erected in the Roman Basilica of St. John Lateran a magnificent chapel dedicated to his 14th century kinsman.
Attributes: holding a cross, with a wolf and lamb at his feet, and floating above a battlefield on a cloud or a white palfrey, Bishop's cope
Patronage: Invoked against riots and civil disorder
Prayer: God our Father, you reveal that those who work for peace will be called your children. Through the prayers of St Andrew Corsini, who excelled as a peacemaker help us to work without ceasing for that justice which brings truth and lasting peace. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


February 5[edit]

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Saint Agatha of Sicily or Saint Agatha (d. 251) is a Christian saint. Her memorial day is on February 5 according to the Gregorian calendar and February 18 on the Julian calendar (still used by some Eastern Orthodox churches). Agatha was born at Catania and she was martyred in approximately AD 250. She is the patron saint of Catania. She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

According to variations of her legend, having rejected the amorous advances of a Roman prefect, she was persecuted by him for her Christian faith. Among the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts. She is therefore often depicted iconographically carrying her excised breasts on a platter.

The shape of her amputated breasts, especially as depicted in artistic renderings, gave rise to her attribution as the patron saint of bell-founders and as the patron saint of bakers. More recently, she is venerated as patron saint of breast cancer patients.

Her scorned admirer eventually sentenced her to death by being burnt at the stake. However, she was saved from this fate by a mysterious earthquake. She later died in prison. She is considered as patron saint of Malta since her intercession is reported to have saved Malta from Turkish invasion in 1551.

The memory of Agatha is upheld in particular by the San Marinese Order of the Saint Agatha.
Attributes: shears, tongs, breasts on a plate
Patronage: Ali, Sicily; bellfounders; breast cancer; bakers; Catania, Sicily; against fire; earthquakes; eruptions of Mount Etna; fire; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; Palermo, Sicily; rape victims; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; wetnurses; Zamarramala, Spain
Prayer. Dear Virgin and Martyr, whom the Church recalls in her liturgy, you heroically resisted the temptations of a degenerate ruler. Subjected to long and horrible tortures, you remained faithful to your heavenly Spouse. Saint Peter, we are told, gave you some solace and so you are invoked by nurses. Encourage them to see Christ in the sick and to render true service to them. Amen.


February 6[edit]

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Saint Amand or Amandus (Amantius) (c. 584675), was a French Roman Catholic saint, one of the great Christian apostles of Flanders.

Apparently of noble birth, Amand was born in Lower Poitou. He became a monk at the Island of Yeu (Île d'Yeu), near Tours, at about the age twenty, against the wishes and efforts of his family. From there he went to Bourges, where under the direction of the bishop, Saint Austregisilus, he lived in solitude on bread and water in a cell for fifteen years.

After a pilgrimage to Rome, he was consecrated in France as a missionary bishop in 628. He began first to evangelize the pagans of Ghent, later extending his field of operations across Flanders. Initially he had little success, until the miracle of bringing back to life a hanged criminal changed the feelings of the people, after which he had many converts.

Under his supervision monasteries were established. Returning to France, in 630, he angered Dagobert I by his efforts to turn the king from his sinful life. His next apostolate was among the Slavs of the Danube (the modern Slovakia), but it was unsuccessful, and he is next found in Rome, reporting the results to the Papal office. While returning to France he is said to have calmed a storm at sea.

In about 649 Amand served briefly as Bishop of Maastricht, Tongeren or Liège, the disordered conditions in which were such that he had to appeal to the Pope, Martin I, for instructions. The pope's reply set out a plan of action with regard to disobedient clerics, and also contained information about the Monothelite heresy, then extremely prevalent in the East. Amand was also commissioned to call councils in Neustria and Austrasia in order to pass on to the bishops of Gaul decrees enacted at Rome; the bishops in turn required Amand to pass back to Rome the acts of the councils. He took the opportunity to relinquish his bishopric, and to resume his work as a missionary.

Thirty years before he had gone into the Basque country to preach, with little success; the inhabitants now asked him to return, and although he was by this time seventy years old, he undertook the work of evangelizing them, in which he seems to have been successful.

He died in his monastery of Elnon (later Saint-Amand, near Tournai) at the age of ninety.
Attributes: chair, church, flag
Patronage: Wine makers, Beer brewers, merchants, innkeepers, bartenders, Boy Scouts
Prayer:


February 7[edit]

The Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan (日本二十六聖人, Nihon Nijūroku Seijin) refers to a group of Christians who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597 at Nagasaki.

On August 15, 1549, St. Francis Xavier (later canonized by Gregory XV in 1622), Fr. Cosme de Torres, S.J. (a Jesuit priest), and Fr. John Fernandez arrived in Kagoshima, Japan, from Spain with hopes of bringing Catholicism to Japan. On September 29, St. Francis Xavier visited Shimazu Takahisa, the daimyo of Kagoshima, asking for permission to build the first Catholic mission in Japan. The daimyo agreed in hopes of creating a trade relationship with Europe.

A promising beginning to those missions—perhaps as many as 300,000 Christians by the end of the sixteenth century—met complications from competition between the missionary groups, political difficulty between Spain and Portugal, and factions within the government of Japan. Christianity was suppressed. By 1630, Christianity was driven underground.

The first Martyrs of Japan are commemorated on February 5 when, on that date in 1597, twenty-six missionaries and converts were killed by crucifixion. Two hundred and fifty years later, when Christian missionaries returned to Japan, they found a community of Japanese Christians that had survived underground.

The shogunate and imperial government at first supported the Catholic mission and the missionaries, thinking that they would reduce the power of the Buddhist monks, and help trade with Spain and Portugal; however, the shogunate was also wary of colonialism, seeing that in the Philippines the Spanish had taken power after converting the population (and other colonial powers had done the same elsewhere). The government increasingly saw Roman Catholicism as a threat, and started persecuting Christians; eventually, the Roman Catholic religion was banned and those who refused to abandon their faith were killed.

On February 5, 1597, twenty-six Christians – six European Franciscan missionaries, three Japanese Jesuits and seventeen Japanese laymen including three young boys – were executed by crucifixion in Nagasaki. These individuals were raised on crosses and then pierced through with spears. While there were many more martyrs, the first martyrs came to be especially revered, the most celebrated of which was Paul Miki.
Attributes: Martyrs
Patronage:
Prayer:


February 8[edit]

Gerolamo Emiliani (also Jerome Emiliani, Jerome Aemilian, Hiëronymus Emiliani) (1486 – February 8, 1537), was an Italian humanitarian and saint. He is the patron saint of orphans and founder of the Somaschi Fathers in 1767.

Emiliani was born at Venice, as son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and of Eleonore Mauroceni, joined the army, and in 1508 defended Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray. Taken prisoner and miraculously liberated, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow. He was then appointed podestà (Venetian magistrate) of Castelnuovo, but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity.

After his ordination to the priesthood in 1518, the hospitals and the hovels of the poor were his favourite resorts. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere, and showed his zeal especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their wants. To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; at Brescia he erected an orphanage, at Bergamo one for boys and another for girls. Here also he founded the first home for fallen women who wished to do penance.

Two priests, Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso, now joined him in his labours of charity, and in 1532 Jerome founded a religious society, placing the motherhouse at Somasca, a secluded North Italian hamlet in the Commune of Vercurago between Milan and Bergamo, after which the members are known as Somaschi. In the rule, Jerome puts down as the principal work of the community the care of orphans, poor and sick, and demands that dwellings, food and clothing shall bear the mark of religious poverty.

Jerome fell a martyr to his zeal; contracting a disease at Bergamo, he died at Somasca in 1537.
Attributes:
Patronage: orphans
Prayer: Saint Jerome Emiliani, watch over all children who are abandoned or unloved. Give us the courage to show them God's love through our care. Help us to lose the chains that keep us from living the life God intended for us. Amen


February 9[edit]

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Saint Apollonia was one of a group of virgin martyrs who suffered in Alexandria during a local uprising against the Christians prior to the persecution of Decius. According to legend, her torture included having all of her teeth violently pulled out or shattered. For this reason, she is popularly regarded as the patroness of dentistry and those suffering from toothache or other dental problems.

Christian historians have claimed that in the last years of Emperor Philip the Arab (reigned 244249), during otherwise undocumented festivities to commemorate the millennium of the founding of Rome (traditionally in 753 BC, putting the date about AD 248), the fury of the Alexandrian mob rose to a great height, and when one of their poets prophesied a calamity, they committed bloody outrages on the Christians, whom the authorities made no effort to protect.

Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria (247265), relates the sufferings of his people in a letter. After describing how a Christian man and woman, Metras and Quinta, were seized and killed by the mob, and how the houses of several other Christians were pillaged, Dionysius continues:

"At that time Apollonia, parthénos presbytis was held in high esteem. These men seized her also and by repeated blows broke all her teeth. They then erected outside the city gates a pile of fagots and threatened to burn her alive if she refused to repeat after them impious words (either a blasphemy against Christ, or an invocation of the heathen gods). Given, at her own request, a little freedom, she sprang quickly into the fire and was burned to death."

This brief tale was extended and moralized in Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend (c. 1260).

Apollonia and a whole group of early martyrs did not await the death they were threatened with, but either to preserve their chastity or because they were confronted with the alternative of renouncing their faith or suffering death, voluntarily embraced the death prepared for them, an action that runs perilously close to suicide, some thought.
Attributes: tongs (sometimes with a tooth)
Patronage: dentists, tooth problems
Prayer:


February 10[edit]

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Saint Scholastica (c. 480 - 543) is a Catholic saint. Born in Italy, she was the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia.

St. Gregory the Great, in his Dialogues, tells us that she was a nun and leader of a community for women at Plombariola about five miles from St Benedict's abbey at Monte Cassino. We do not know what rule this community followed, although it seems most likely it was the Rule of St. Benedict.

Scholastica was dedicated to God from a young age (some tellings of her story indicate that she preceded Benedict in godliness, and he came to holiness after she did, and in her wake). The most commonly told story about her is that she would, once a year, go and visit her brother at his abbey, and they would spend the day worshiping together and discussing sacred texts and issues.

(There is a grammatical error here that places Benedict at his sister's monastery, and at a specific point in time. Sourcing here would be appreciated.)

At the end of the day, they had supper and continued their conversation. When Benedict indicated it was time for him to leave, she protested, and begged him to stay with her for the evening so they could continue their discussions. He refused, insisting that he needed to return to his cell. At that point, Scholastica closed her hands in prayer, and after a moment, a wild storm started outside of the guest house in which they were housed. Benedict asked, "What have you done?", to which she replied, "I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery."

Benedict was unable to return to his monastery, and they spent the night in discussion. According to St. Gregory's Dialogues, three days later, from his cell, he saw his sister's soul leaving the earth and ascending to heaven in the form of a shining white dove.
Attributes:
Patronage: convulsive children; nuns; invoked against storms and rain; Le Mans
Prayer: O God, to show us where innocence leads, you made the soul of your virgin Saint Scholastica soar to heaven like a dove in flight. Grant through her merits and her prayers that we may so live in innocence as to attain to joys everlasting. This we ask through our Lord.


February 11[edit]

Benedict of Aniane (also called Witiza; the Second Benedict) (c. 747 – 11 February 821) was a saint born in France.

The son of the Goth, Aigulf, Count of Maguelone in Languedoc, France, Witiza was educated at the Frankish court of Pippin the Younger, and entered the royal service. He served at the court of Charlemagne, and took part in the Italian campaign of Charlemagne in 773 where he almost drowned in the Tesin near Pavia while trying to save his brother. He later left the court to become a monk. He was received into the monastery of St. Sequanus (Saint-Seine).

Around 780, he founded a monastic community based on Eastern asceticism at Aniane in Languedoc. This community did not develop as he had intended. In 799, he founded another monastery based on Benedictine Rule, at the same location. His success there gave him considerable influence, which he used to found and reform a number of other monasteries, and eventually becoming the effective abbot of all the monasteries of Charlemagne's empire.[1]

He was the head of a council of abbots which in 817 at Aachen created a code of regulations, or "Codex regularum", which would be binding on all their houses. Shortly thereafter, he compiled a "Concordia regularum". Although these new codes fell into disuse shortly after the deaths of Benedict and his patron, Emperor Louis the Pious, they did have lasting effects on Western monasticism.

Louis built the abbey of Maurmunster as a model abbey for Benedict in Alsace. Benedict died at Kornelimünster Abbey, a monastery Louis had built for him to serve as the base for Benedict's supervisory work.

For Benedict's writings, see Codex regularum monasticarum et canonicarum in P.L., CIII, 393-702; Concordia regularum, loc. cit; Letters, loc. cit., 703-1380. Other treatises (loc. cit., 1381 sqq.) ascribed to him are probably not authentic. ARDO SMARAGDUS, Life, op. cit., CIII, 353 sqq.; Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script., XV, I, 200-220; Acta SS., Feb., II, 606 sqq.; NICOLAI, Der hl. Benedict, Gründer von Aniane und Cornelimünster (Cologne, 1865); PAULINIER, S. Benoit d'Aniane et la fondation du monastere de ce nom (Montpellier, 1871); FOSS, Benedikt von Aniane (Berlin, 1884); PUCKERT, Aniane und Gellone (Leipzig, 1899); HAUCK, Kirchengesch. Deutschlands (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1900), II, 575 sqq.; BUTLER, Lives of the Saints, 12 Feb.
Attributes: a Benedictine abbot, with fire
Patronage:
Prayer:


February 12[edit]

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Saint Eulàlia (Aulaire, Aulazia, Ollala, Eulària) (ca. 290-12 February 303), co-patron saint of Barcelona, was a thirteen-year-old Roman Christian virgin who suffered martyrdom in Barcelona during the persecution of Christians in the reign of emperor Diocletian. There is some dispute as to whether she is the same person as Saint Eulalia of Mérida, whose story is similar.

All knowledge about this saint comes from a Latin hymn of the middle of the seventh century.

For refusing to recant her Christianity, the Romans subjected her to thirteen tortures; including:

  • Putting her into a barrel with knives (or glass) stuck into it and rolling it down a street (according to tradition, the one now called Baixada de Santa Eulalia "Saint Eulalia's descent").
  • Cutting off her breasts
  • Crucifixion on an X-shaped cross. She is depicted with this cross, the instrument of her martyrdom.
  • Finally, decapitation.

A dove flew from her neck after decapitation. This is one point of similarity with the story of Eulalia of Mérida, in which a dove flew from the girl's mouth at the moment of her death. In addition, Eulalia of Mérida's tortures are sometimes enumerated among the Barcelona martyr's, and the two were similar in age and year of death.

Eulalia is commemorated with statues and street names throughout Barcelona. Her body was originally interred in the church of Santa Maria de les Arenes (St. Mary of the Sands; now Santa Maria del Mar, St. Mary of the Sea). It was hidden in 713 during the Moorish invasion, and only recovered in 878. In 1339, it was relocated to an alabaster sarcophagus in the crypt of the newly-built Cathedral of Santa Eulalia.

Legend says, that Waningus (c. 683), governor of the area of Normandy called Pays de Caux, was converted to a religious life after a vision of St Eulalia of Barcelona telling him 'it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved'


Attributes:' X-shaped cross, stake, and dove
Patronage: Barcelona, Spain; sailors; against drought
Prayer:


February 13[edit]

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St. Catherine de' Ricci, O.P. (April 23, 1522 - February 1, 1590) was an Italian Catholic saint.

Born in Florence, she was born Alessandra Lucrezia Romola de' Ricci to a family of bankers. At age 6, her father put her in the Monticelli convent near their home where she received an education. After a short time outside the convent, at 14, she went to the Dominican convent of San Vincenzo (St. Vincent) in Prato, Tuscany. By age 25, she had risen to the post of perpetual prioress. She lived at San Vincenzo until her death in 1590 after a prolonged illness.

Because the community did not understand some of her abilities, during her novitiate and the first years after profession in 1536, she was subjected to humiliating trials.

As the perpetual prioress of San Vincenzo, she developed into an effective and greatly admired administrator. She was an advisor on various topics to princes, bishops and cardinals. She corresponded with three men who were destined to become popes Pope Marcellus II, Pope Clement VIII, and Pope Leo XI. An expert on religion, management and administration, her advice was eagerly sought. She gave counsel both in person and through writing letters. It is reported that she was extremely effective and efficient in her work, managing her priorities very well.

It is claimed that her meditation on the passion of Christ was so deep that she spontaneously bled as though scourged, and that a coral ring appeared at times of deep prayer on her finger (representing her marriage to Christ under the covenant of being a nun.) She was a very prayerful person from a very young age.

For several years, from Thursday at noon till 4 p.m. on Friday, she was in a state of ecstasy, in which she went through all the stages of Christ's Passion.

It is reported that she wore a "sharp iron chain" about her neck, engaged in extreme fasting and other forms of self punishment. Whether her stigmata were miraculously created, or were the result of self injury while in a state of religious ecstasy is a matter of faith.

One of the miracles that was documented for her canonization was her appearance many hundreds of miles away from where she was physically located.
Attributes: crown of thorns and the image of the suffering Christ
Patronage:
Prayer:


February 14[edit]

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Saint Valentine (in Latin, Valentinus) is the name of several martyred saints of ancient Rome. Of the Saint Valentine whose feast is on February 14, nothing is known except his name and that he was buried at the Via Flaminia north of Rome on February 14. It is even uncertain whether the feast of that day celebrates only one saint or two or more saints of the same name. For this reason this liturgical commemoration was not kept in the General Roman Calendar in its 1969 revision,[2] but the feast day of the saint remains, and is recognized in the Roman Martyrology.

The name "Valentine" does not occur in the earliest list of Roman martyrs, which was compiled by the Chronographer of 354. The feast of Saint Valentine was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among those "... whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." As Gelasius implied, nothing was known, even then, about the lives of any of these martyrs. The Saint Valentine that appears in various martyrologies in connection with 14 February is described either as:

The name "Valentine", derived from valens (worthy), was popular in late antiquity.

Various dates are given for the martyrdom or martyrdoms: 269, 270, or 273.

The official Roman Martyrology for February 14 mentions only one Saint Valentine.

English 18th-century antiquarian Alban Butler and Francis Douce, noting the obscurity of Saint Valentine's identity, suggested Valentine's Day was created as an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia. This idea has lately been contested by Professor Jack Oruch of the University of Kansas. Many of the current legends that characterise Saint Valentine were invented in the 14th century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle, when the feast day of February 14 first became associated with romantic love.

Hagiographical sources speak of a Roman priest and a bishop of Terni each buried along the Via Flaminia outside Rome, at different distances from the city, with each venerated on February 14. In the Middle Ages, two Roman churches were dedicated to Saint Valentine. One was the tenth-century church Sancti Valentini de Balneo Miccine or de Piscina, which was rededicated by Pope Urban III in 1186. The other, on the Via Flaminia, was the ancient basilica S. Valentini extra Portam founded by Pope Julius I (337‑352), though not under this dedication.
Attributes: birds; roses; bishop with a crippled or epileptic child at his feet; bishop with a rooster nearby; bishop refusing to adore an idol; bishop being beheaded; priest bearing a sword; priest holding a sun; priest giving sight to a blind girl[3]
Patronage: affianced couples, against fainting, bee keepers, greeting card manufacturers, happy marriages, love, plague, travellers, young people
Prayer:


February 15[edit]

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Saint Claude de la Colombière (Grenoble, 2 February 1641–Paray-le-Monial, 15 February 1682) was the confessor of saint Margaret-Marie Alacoque. His feast day is the day of his death, 15 February. He was a missionary and ascetical writer, born of noble parentage at Saint-Symphorien-d'Ozon (Grenoble), between Lyon and Vienne, in 1641.

He entered the Society of Jesus in 1659. After fifteen years of religious life in the Jesuits, he made a vow, as a means of attaining the utmost possible perfection, to observe faithfully the Rule and Constitutions of his order under penalty of sin. Those who lived with him attested that this vow was kept with great exactitude.

In 1674 Claude was made superior at the Jesuit house at Paray-le-Monial, where he became the spiritual director of Blessed Margaret Mary and was thereafter a zealous apostle of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1676 he was sent to England as preacher to the Mary of Modena, Duchess of York, afterwards Queen of Great Britain. He lived the life of a Religious even in the Court of St. James and was as active a missionary in England as he had been in France. Although encountering many difficulties, he was able to guide Blessed Margaret Mary by letter.

His zeal soon weakened his vitality and a throat and lung trouble seemed to threaten his work as a preacher. While awaiting his recall to France he was suddenly arrested and thrown into prison, denounced as a conspirator. Thanks to his title of preacher to the Duchess of York and to the protection of Louis XIV, whose subject he was, he escaped death but was condemned to exile in 1679. The last two years of his life were spent at Lyon where he was spiritual director to the young Jesuits, and at Paray-le-Monial, where he repaired for his health. His principal works, including "Pious Reflections", "Meditations on the Passion", "Retreat and Spiritual Letters", were published under the title, "Oeuvres du R. P. Claude de la Colombière" (Avignon, 1832; Paris, 1864).

He was beatified by Pope Pius XI on June 16, 1929, and canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 31, 1992.

His relics are preserved in the monastery of the Visitation nuns at Paray-le-Monial.
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February 16[edit]

JulianaofNicomedia.jpg

Saint Juliana of Nicomedia is said to have suffered Christian martyrdom during the Diocletian persecution in 304. She was popular in the Middle Ages, especially in the Netherlands, as the patron saint of childbirth and sickness.

Both the Latin and Greek Churches mention a holy martyr Juliana in their lists of saints. The oldest historical notice of her is found in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum for 16 February, her place of birth being given as Cumae in Campania ("In Campania Cumbas, natale Julianae").

It is true that the reference is contained only in the single chief manuscript of the above-named martyrology (the Codex Epternacensis). It is nevertheless clear that the notice is certainly authentic, from a letter of Saint Gregory the Great, which testifies to the special veneration of Saint Juliana in the neighbourhood of Naples. A pious matron named Januaria built a church on one of her estates, for the consecration of which she desired relics (sanctuaria, that is to say, objects which had been brought into contact with the graves) of Saints Severinus[disambiguation needed] and Juliana. Gregory wrote to Fortunatus, Bishop of Naples, telling him to accede to the wishes of Januaria ("Gregorii Magni epist.", lib. IX, ep. xxxv", in J. P. Migne's Patrologia Latina, LXXXVII, 1015).

The Acts of Saint Juliana used by Bede in his "Martyrologium" are purely legendary. According to this account, Saint Juliana lived in Nicomedia and was betrothed to the Senator Eleusius. Her father Africanus was a pagan and hostile to the Christians. In the persecution of Maximian, Juliana was beheaded after suffering frightful tortures. Another Christian named Barbara suffered the death of a martyr along with Juliana and was likewise sainted.

Soon after a noble lady, named Sephonia, came through Nicomedia and took the saint's body with her to Italy, and had it buried in Campania. Evidently it was this alleged translation that caused the martyred Juliana, honoured in Nicomedia, to be identified with the Saint Juliana of Cumae evidenced above, although they are quite distinct persons.

The veneration of Saint Juliana of Nicomedia became very widespread, especially in the Netherlands. She became known as the patron saint of childbirth and of sickness.
Attributes: Represented in pictures with a winged devil whom she leads by a chain. She is also shown enduring various tortures or fighting a dragon.
Patronage: childbirth and sickness
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February 17[edit]

Saint Alexis Falconieri (Florence, 1200Mount Senario, 17 February 1310) is one of the seven founders of the Order of the Servites and, as such, commemorated on their common feast day, 17 February — the day of Alexis' death.

Alexis was the son of Bernard Falconieri, a merchant prince of Florence, and one of the leaders of the Republic. His family belonged to the Guelph party, and opposed the Imperialists whenever they could consistently with their political principles.

Alexis grew up in the practice of the most profound humility. He joined the Laudesi, a pious confraternity of the Blessed Virgin, and there met the six future companions of his life of sanctity. The other six companions were Buonfiglio dei Monaldi (Bonfilius), Giovanni di Buonagiunta (Bonajuncta), Bartolomeo degli Amidei (Amideus), Ricovero dei Lippi-Ugguccioni (Hugh), Benedetto dell' Antella (Manettus) and Gherardino di Sostegno (Sosteneus). Like Alexis, they belonged to six patrician families of that city. In difference to Alexis, the others all were ordinated priests.

He was favoured with an apparition of the Mother of God, 15 August 1233, as were these companions. The seven soon afterwards founded the Order of the Servites. Alexis at once abandoned all, and retired to La Camarzia, a house on the outskirts of the town, and the following year to Mt. Senario.

With humility, he traversed, as a mendicant, in quest of alms for his brethren, the streets of the city through which he had lately moved as a prominent citizen. So deep and sincere was his humility that, though he lived to the great age of hundred and ten years, he always refused to enter the priesthood, of which he deemed himself unworthy.

His duties were confined principally to the material needs of the various communities in which he lived. In 1252 the new church at Cafaggio, on the outskirts of Florence, was completed under his care, with the financial assistance of Chiarissimo Falconieri. Saint Juliana Falconieri, his niece, was trained in sanctity under his personal direction.

The influence exerted on his countrymen by Alexis and his companions may be gathered from the fact that in a few years ten thousand persons had enrolled themselves under the banner of the Blessed Virgin in the Servite Order.

His body rests near the church of the Annunciation, in Florence.
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February 18[edit]

Saint Simeon of Jerusalem, son of Cleophas, was a Jewish Christian leader, and according to most Christian traditions the second Bishop of Jerusalem.

Eusebius of Caesarea gives the list of the bishops of Jerusalem. According to a universal tradition the first was Saint James the Just, the "brother of the Lord", who according to Eusebius says he was appointed bishop by the Apostles Peter, St. James (whom Eusebius identifies with James, son of Zebedee), and John.

According to Eusebius, when James was killed at the instigation of High Priest Ananus about the year 63.

Eusebius relates that Simeon was elected by the community at Jerusalem chose to succeed James:

After the martyrdom of James and the conquest of Jerusalem which immediately followed, it is said that those of the apostles and disciples of the Lord that were still living came together from all directions with those that were related to the Lord according to the flesh (for the majority of them also were still alive) to take counsel as to who was worthy to succeed James. They all with one consent pronounced Symeon, the son of Clopas, of whom the Gospel also makes mention; to be worthy of the episcopal throne of that parish. He was a cousin, as they say, of the Saviour. For Hegesippus records that Clopas was a brother of Joseph.

According to Hegesippus. Simeon prevailed against Thebutis, whom the church fathers deemed a judaizing heresiarch, and led most of the Christians to Pella before the outbreak of the Jewish War in 66 and the destruction of Herod's Temple in 70.

About the year 106 or 107 he was tortured and crucified under Trajan by the proconcul Atticus in Jerusalem or the vicinity.

Simeon is sometimes identified with Simon, the "brother of the Lord", who is mentioned in passing in the Bible (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3), considering the "brothers" as "cousins" and pointing to Hegesippus referring to him as the "second cousin" as bishop of Jerusalem. Other exegetes consider the brothers to be actual brothers and Hegesippus' wording as subsuming both James and Simeon under a more general term.

He has also been identified with the Apostle Simon the Zealot.
Attributes: Bishop, Martyr
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February 19[edit]

Saint Barbatus of Benevento (Italian: San Barbato; c. 610 — February 29, 682), also known as Barbas, was a bishop of Benevento from 663 to 682. He assisted in a church council called by Pope Agatho in Rome in 680 and in 681 attended the Third Council of Constantinople against the Monothelites.

He was born in the village of Vandano, near Cerreto Sannita, then part of the Duchy of Benevento, toward the end of the pontificate of Gregory the Great. At that time, Benevento had recently (in 590) been captured by Germanic Arian Lombards from the Trinitarian Romans.

He received a Christian education, and spent a good deal of time studying the Christian scriptures. He took holy orders as soon as allowed to do so, and was immediately employed by the local bishop as a preacher, a task for which he had considerable talent. Shortly thereafter, he was made the curate of St. Basil's Church in nearby Morcone. The parishioners there objected to Barbatus' remarking upon their falling short of the Christian ideal, and persecuted him to quiet him. He continued in the same vein, causing these same people to slander his character. He was eventually obliged to cease his charitable works because of these slanders. He later returned to Benevento. At the time, the people of Benevento indulged in many idolatrous behaviors, including veneration of a golden viper and a local tree, and also held games to which Barbatus strongly objected. Barbatus regularly preached against them only to be ignored.

Later, he told the people of the city the great trials they would soon suffer at the hands of the East Roman Emperor Constans II and his army, who shortly thereafter landed in the area and laid siege to Benevento. The people, in their fear, renounced the practices Barbatus had criticized. He then cut down the tree the locals had worshipped, and melted the viper into a chalice for use in the church. As Barbatus had foretold, the siege ended with the defeat of Constans.

The presiding bishop of Benevento, Ildebrand, died during the siege. After the withdrawal of the invaders, Barbatus was made bishop on March 10, 633. Barbatus took advantage of his new position and quickly destroyed the remaining superstitious artifacts hidden by the prince and the local population. In 680, he assisted in a council held by Pope Agatho, and took part in the Sixth General Council held in Constantinople in 681 regarding the Monothelites. He died shortly after the end of the council, at roughly seventy years of age. Attributes: Crozier Patronage: Benevento Prayer:


February 20[edit]

Saint Eucherius (French: Saint Eucher) (Orléans, 687?–20 February 743), nephew of Savaric, bishop of Auxerre, was bishop of Orléans.

Eucherius was born in Orleans, Gaul, as the son of a rich family. His uncle Suaviac was the bishop of Orleans.

After having completed his education, impressed by a sentence of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, "This world as we see it is passing away" (1 Corinthians 7:31), he decided to live in the Benedictine monastery of Jumièges in the north of Gaul for some time. He soon gained a reputation as a well educated and devoted monk.

After seven years, in 721 his uncle died and Eucherius was chosen to be his successor. Eucherius was 25 years old. Asked by the people, and clergy of Orléans to be the new bishop, he said: "How easy could I, beguiled by the glamour and delight of the world, lose the crown of salvation, I wanted to gain here." Eucherius was horrified at the notion of being bishop and sought the protection of his brother monks, but they preferred the public good and resigned him up for that important charge.

Although he was unwilling to take the office, he proved to be an excellent bishop, loved and venerated by the people of his diocese.

He opposed Charles Martel when the latter confiscated church property to fund his war efforts against the Moorish invasions from Al-Andalus and to reward his loyal vassals. When Charles returned from his victory in Tours, he ordered Eucherius to come to Verneuil upon the Oise, in the diocese of Beauvais, where Charles then kept his court. There he exiled Eucherius and all his relatives to Cologne.

The extraordinary esteem which his virtue procured him caused Charles to send Eucherius to a fortress in the territory of Liege, but the governor of Liege gave him permission to live in the abbey of Sarchinium, of St Trond's, near Bruxelles.

There he died on February 20, 738.

In the ninth century Hincmar of Reims related the story of the vision with which St. Eucher was said to have been favoured and which showed Charles in hell, to which he had been condemned for robbing the Church of its property.
Attributes: as a bishop
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February 21[edit]

S.M. degli angeli, chiostro della sacrestia 17 San Pier Damiani, Pietro Francavilla, angeli.JPG

Saint Peter Damian, O.S.B. (Petrus Damiani, also Pietro Damiani or Pier Damiani -- c. 1007February 21/22, 1072) was one of the most celebrated, universally loved and zealous reforming monks in the circle of Hildebrand of the 11th century, made a cardinal and (in 1823) declared a Doctor of the Church.

He was born at Ravenna, orphaned early, and after a youth spent in hardship and privation, showed such signs of remarkable intellectual gifts that a brother, Damian, who was archpriest at Ravenna, took him away to be educated. Adding his brother's name to his own, he made such rapid progress in his studies of theology and Canon law, that when about twenty-five years old he was already a famous teacher at Parma and Ravenna.

About 1035, however, he deserted his secular calling and entered the isolated hermitage of Fonte Avellana, near Gubbio. Both as novice and as monk, his fervor was remarkable but led him to such extremes of self-mortification in penance that his health was affected. In 1043, he became prior and he remained prior of Fonte Avellana till his death. He introduced a more severe discipline, including the practice of flagellation ("the disciplina"), into the house, which, under his rule, quickly attained celebrity, and became a model for other foundations.

About 1050, Peter published a scathing treatise on the vices of the clergy, Liber Gomorrhianus. In this book he made an attack on homosexual and other sexual practices as subversive disruptions against the moral. Damiani was also a determined foe of simony, but his fiercest wrath was directed against the married clergy.

In 1057, Pope Stephen IX determined to consecrated Damian Cardinal Bishop of Ostia. In addition he was appointed administrator of the Diocese of Gubbio.

In 1059 Peter was sent as legate to Milan by Pope Nicholas II. There benefices were openly bought and sold and the clergy publicly married the women they lived with.

In 1063 the pope held a synod at Rome, at which Damian was appointed legate to settle the dispute between the Abbey of Cluny and the Bishop of Mâcon.

In 1067 he was allowed to resign his bishopric. He died at Faenza, the year before Hildebrand became pope, as Gregory VII.
Attributes: represented as a cardinal bearing a knotted rope in his hand; also as a pilgrim holding a papal Bull; Cardinal's hat, Benedictine monk's habit
Patronage:
Habit:


February 22[edit]

Saint Margaret of Corona.jpg

St. Margaret of Cortona was a penitent of the Third Order of St. Francis, born in Laviano, Tuscany in 1247. She died in Cortona on February 22, 1297. She was canonized in 1728.

At the age of seven, Margaret's mother died and her father remarried. Little love was shared between step-mother and step-daughter. At the age of 17 she met a young man. She ran away with him. For ten years she lived with him in his house near Montepulciano and bore him a son. She wanted to marry him as promised, but he refused.

Her lover was murdered on a journey. The unaccompanied return of his favourite hound alarmed Margaret and the hound led her to his body. This crime shocked Margaret into a life of penance and Margaret returned all the gifts he had given her and left his home. With her child, she returned to her father's house but her step-mother would not have her. Margaret and son then went to the Friars at Cortona where she put herself in their care at the church of San Francesco in the city. She fasted, avoided meat, and subsisted on bread and vegetables.

After three years, Margaret joined the Third Order of St. Francis and chose to live in poverty. Following the example of Francis of Assisi, she begged for sustenance and bread. She became a Franciscan tertiary.

In 1277, while in prayer, she heard the words: "What is thy wish, poverella?" and she replied: "I neither seek nor wish for aught but Thee, my Lord Jesus." She began regular communications with God. She asked the city of Cortona to found a hospital for the sick, homeless and impoverished. To secure nurses for the hospital, she instituted a congregation of Tertiary Sisters, known as le poverelle. She also established a link to Our Lady of Mercy and the members bound themselves to support the hospital and to help the needy.

On several occasions, Margaret participated in public affairs. Twice following Divine command, she challenged Guglielmo Ubertini Pazzi, Bishop of Arezzo, in which diocese Cortona sat, because he lived like a prince. Margaret moved to the ruined church of St. Basil and spent her last years. She is buried there. After her death, the church was rebuilt in her honor. Margaret was canonized on May 16, 1728.
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Patronage: against temptations; falsely accused people; hoboes; homeless people; insanity; loss of parents; mental illness; mentally ill people; midwives; penitent women; people ridiculed for their piety; reformed prostitutes; sexual temptation; single laywomen; third children; tramps
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February 23[edit]

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Saint Polycarp of Smyrna (ca. 69- ca. 155) was a Christian bishop of Smyrna (now İzmir in Turkey) in the second century. He died a martyr when he was stabbed after an attempt to burn him at the stake failed. Polycarp is recognized as a saint in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It is recorded that "He had been a disciple of John." The options for this John are John the son of Zebedee traditionally viewed as the author of the Fourth Gospel, or John the Presbyter (Lake 1912). Traditional advocates follow Eusebius in insisting that the apostolic connection of Papius was with John the Evangelist, and that this John, the author of the Gospel of John, was the same as the Apostle John.

With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is one of three chief Apostolic Fathers, early church authors who had reportedly known the apostles personally. His sole surviving work is his Letter to the Philippians.

Polycarp was a companion of Papias (Irenaeus V.xxxii) another "hearer of John" as Irenaeus interprets Papias' testimony, and a correspondent of Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius addressed a letter to him, and mentions him in the letters to the Ephesians and to the Magnesians. Polycarp's famous pupil was Irenaeus, for whom the memory of Polycarp was a link to the apostolic past.

Polycarp was converted to Christianity by apostles, was consecrated a bishop and communicated with many who had seen Jesus. He repeatedly emphasizes the very great age of Polycarp.

He is among the earliest Christians whose writings survive. It is probable that he knew John the Apostle, the disciple of Jesus. He was an elder of an important congregation in an area where the apostles laboured. And he is from an era whose orthodoxy is widely accepted by Orthodox Churches, Oriental Churches, Seventh Day Church of God groups, Protestants and Catholics alike. All of this makes his writings of great interest.

Polycarp was not a philosopher or theologian. He appears, from surviving accounts, to have been a practical leader and gifted teacher. He lived in an age after the deaths of the apostles, when a variety of interpretations of the sayings of Jesus were being preached. His role was to authenticate orthodox teachings through his reputed connection with the apostle John. Surviving accounts of the bravery of this very old man in the face of death by burning at the stake added credence to his words.
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Patronage: against earache, dysentery
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February 24[edit]

In the New Testament Acts of the Apostles, the author of the Gospel of Luke records that Saint Matthias was the Apostle chosen by the remaining eleven apostles to replace Judas Iscariot, following Judas's betrayal of Jesus and his suicide (Acts 1:21-26).

There is no mention of a Matthias among the lists of disciples in the three synoptic gospels. According to Acts 1, in the days following the Ascension of Jesus, Peter proposed to the assembled disciples, who numbered about one hundred and twenty, that they choose one to fill the place of the traitor Judas in the apostolate:

23.So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24.Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25.to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26.Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

Eduard Zeller declared this narrative is inconsistent with the history of the Apostles' movements, in that the Apostles were in Galilee after the Crucifixion. However, the Acts of the Apostles clearly states (i.12) that they returned to Jerusalem.

The Syriac version of Eusebius calls him throughout not Matthias but "Tolmai", i.e. Bartholomew, without confusing him with the Bartholomew who was originally one of the twelve Apostles; Clement of Alexandria says some identified him with Zacchaeus; the Clementine Recognitions identify him with Barnabas; Hilgenfeld thinks he is the same as Nathanael in the Gospel of John.

According to Nicephorus (Historia eccl., 2, 40), Matthias first preached the Gospel in Judea, then in Ethiopia (made out to be a synonym for the geographically quite separate Colchis, now Caucasian Georgia) and was crucified in Colchis. A marker placed in the ruins of the Roman fortress at Gonio (Apsaros) in the modern Georgian region of Adjara claims that Matthias is buried at that site.

Alternately, another tradition maintains that Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded (cf. Tillemont, Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire ecclesiastique des six premiers siècles, I, 406-7).

According to Hippolytus of Rome, Matthias died of old age in Jerusalem.
Attributes:
Patronage: alcoholism; carpenters; Gary, Indiana; Great Falls-Billings, Montana; smallpox; tailors
Prayer:


February 25[edit]

Saint Tarasios or Saint Tarasius (Greek: Ταράσιος), (c. 730–February 25, 806), Patriarch of Constantinople from December 25, 784 until his death in 806.

Tarasios was born and raised in the city of Constantinople. A son of a high-ranking judge, Tarasios was related to important families, including that of the later Patriarch Photios the Great. Originally he embraced Iconoclasm, but later repented, resigned his post, and retired to a monastery, taking the Great Schema (monastic habit).

Since he exhibited both Iconodule sympathies and the willingness to follow imperial commands when they were not contrary to the faith, he was selected as Patriarch of Constantinople by the Empress Irene in 784, even though he was a layman at the time. He reluctantly accepted, on condition that church unity would be restored with Rome and the oriental Patriarchs. To make him eligible for the office of patriarch, Tarasios was duly ordained to the deaconate and then the priesthood, prior to his consecration as bishop.

Before accepting the dignity of Patriarch, Tarasios had demanded and obtained the promise that the veneration of icons would be restored in the church. As a part of his policy of improving relations with the Church of Rome, he persuaded Empress Irene to write to Pope Hadrian I, inviting him to send delegates to Constantinople for a new council, to repudiate heresy. The Pope agreed to send delegates, although he disapproved of the appointment of a layman to the patriarchate. The legates assembled at Nicaea in September, 787. The Patriarch served as acting chairman (Christ was considered the true chairman). The council, known as the Second Council of Nicaea, condemned Iconoclasm and formally approved the veneration of icons.

In January 795 Emperor Constantine VI, divorced his wife, Maria of Amnia and Tarasios reluctantly condoned the divorce. The monks were scandalised by the patriarch's consent. Much of the anger was directed at Tarasios for allowing the subsequent marriage of the emperor to Theodote to take place, although he had refused to officiate.

Tarasios continued to loyally serve the subsequent imperial regimes of Irene and Nikephoros I. The patriarch's reputation suffered from criticism of his alleged tolerance of simony. On the other hand, his pliability proved most welcome to three very different monarchs and accounts for Tarasios' continuation in office until his death.
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February 26[edit]

St. Isabel of France Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois.jpg

Saint Isabel of France (March, 1225 – 23 February 1270) was the daughter of Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile. She was a younger sister of Louis IX of France (Saint Louis) and Alphonse of Toulouse, among others. She was also an older sister of Charles I of Sicily. She founded the Abbey of Longchamp.

When still a child at court, Isabel, was devoted to religion. She not only broke off her engagement with a count, but moreover refused the hand of Conrad IV of Germany, son of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, although pressed to accept him by everyone.

As Isabel wished to found a convent of the Order of Poor Ladies of Saint Clare, Louis IX began in 1255 to acquire the necessary land in the Forest of Rouvray-Catillon, not far from the Seine and in the neighbourhood of Paris. On 10 June 1256, the first stone of the convent church was laid. The building appears to have been completed about the beginning of 1259, because Pope Alexander IV gave his sanction on 2 February 1259, to the new rule which Isabel composed along with a team of at least four leading Franciscans, including Saint Bonaventure. This rule was drawn up solely for this convent, which was named the Monastery of the Humility of the Blessed Virgin (monasterium humilitatis beatae Mariae virginis). The fast was not so strict as in the Rule of Saint Clare; the community was allowed to hold property, and the sisters were subject to the Franciscans. Some of the first sisters came from the female Franciscan convent at Reims.

Isabel never entered the cloister, but from 1260 (or 1263) she followed the rules in her own home nearby. Isabel was not altogether satisfied with the first rule drawn up, and therefore submitted a revised rule to Pope Urban IV. Urban approved this new constitution on 27 July 1263. The difference between the two rules consisted for the most part in outward observances and minor alterations. In the new rule Urban IV gives the nuns of Longchamp the official title of sorores minores inclusae, which was doubtlessly intended to emphasize closer union with the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans).

Isabella died in her house at Longchamp on 23 February 1270, and was buried in the convent church. After nine days her body was exhumed, when it showed no signs of decay, and many miracles were said to have been wrought at her grave.
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February 27[edit]

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Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, a Passionist clerical student known for his devotion to the Virgin Mary, born Francesco Possenti at Assisi, Italy on March 1, 1838, died Gran Sasso, Italy February 27, 1862.

Francis Possenti was born on March 1 1838, the eleventh of thirteen children born to his mother Agnes and his father Sante. The family were then resident in the town of Assisi. As a child and young man Possenti was well liked by his peers and had a reputation for great charity and piety. In 1851 Francis became desperately ill and promised to enter religious life if he recovered. Once he had recovered his promise was soon forgotten. In 1853, Francis again fell ill, this time afflicted with a throat abscess. He attributed his healing to the recently beatified Andrew Bobola, SJ. Once more he had promised to enter religious life upon his recovery and this time actually set the process in motion.

Accompanied by his brother Aloysius, a Dominican friar, Francis set out for the novitiate of the Passionists at Morrovalle. He arrived at the novitiate on September 9 1856. On September 21 that same year he received the habit of the Passionists and the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. The following year Gabriel pronounced his vows. In June 1858 Gabriel and the other students moved to Pietvetorina to continue their studies. Local disturbances meant they would stay only a year and in July 1859 the group moved to the monastery of Isola Gran Sasso. Gabriel proved an excellent student and his excellence in academic life was only outdone by the great progress he was making in his spiritual life. At the same time Gabriel began to display the first symptoms of tuberculosis. The news did not worry Gabriel who was in fact joyful; he had prayed for a slow death so as to be able to prepare himself spiritually. Throughout his illness he remained cheerful and kept up all his usual practises. He was a source of great edification and inspiration to his fellow students, who competed to spend time with him at his deathbed. Before he could be ordained a priest, Gabriel died in the at Gran Sasso in the early hours of February 27th 1862 in the presence of the community, holding close an image of Our Lady of Sorrows and smiling peacefully. Those who were with Gabriel when he died reported that at the moment of death he sat up in bed and his face became radiant as he reached out to an otherwise unseen figure that was entering the room. It was the opinion of Father Norbert that Saint Gabriel had seen the Virgin Mary at the very moment of his death.
Attributes: Passionist Habit and Sign
Patronage: Students, Youth, Clerics, Seminarians, Abruzzi
Prayer:


February 28[edit]

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Pope Saint Hilarius (also Hilarus, Hilary) was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 461 to February 28, 468). He was canonized as a saint after his death.

The Sardinian archdeacon of Rome, Hilarius was elected bishop of Rome probably November 17, 461, and was consecrated November 19, 461 and died on February 28 (?), 468.

As archdeacon under Pope Leo I he fought vigorously for the rights of the Roman See and vigorously opposed the condemnation of Flavian of Constantinople at the Second Council of Ephesus in 449 to settle the question of Eutyches.

As Pope, he continued the policy of his predecessor Leo, who in his contest with Hilary, bishop of Arles for supremacy in Gaul, had obtained from Valentinian III a famous rescript (445) confirming the supremacy of the bishop of Rome. Hilarius continued to strengthen papal control over episcopal discipline. At Narbonne, Hermes, a former archdeacon, had been nominated by his predecessor and installed as bishop without the express sanction of Pope Leo. Hilarius convoked a synod in 462, which confirmed Hermes as titular bishop, withholding his faculties as metropolitan (Wace). Other decisions expressed in an encyclical were in the interests of increased discipline: A synod was to be convened yearly by the Bishop of Arles, but all important matters were to be submitted to the Apostolic See. No bishop could leave his diocese without a written permission from his metropolitan, with a right of appeal to the Bishop of Arles. Respecting the parishes (paroeciae) claimed by Leontius, bishop of Arles as belonging to his jurisdiction, the Gallican bishops could decide, after an investigation. Church property could not be alienated until a synod had examined into the cause of sale.

He gave decisions to the churches of Hispania, which tended to operate outside the papal orbit in the 5th century.

In Rome Hilarus worked zealously to counter the new emperor's edict of toleration for schismatic sects (467), inspired, according to a letter of Pope Gelasius I by a favourite of Emperor Anthemius named Philotheus, who espoused the Macedonian heresy. On one of the emperor's visits to St Peter's, the pope openly called him to account for his favourite's conduct, exhorting him by the grave of St Peter to promise that he would allow no schismatical assemblies in Rome.

Hilarus erected several churches and other buildings in Rome, for which Liber Pontificalis the main source for information about Hilarius praises him.

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February 29[edit]

Saint Oswald of Worcester (died February 29, 992) was Archbishop of York from 972 to his death in 992.

Of Danish parentage, Oswald was brought up by his uncle Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, and was also related to Oskytel who was archbishop of York before him. For some time he was dean of the house of the secular canons at Winchester, but led by the desire of a stricter life he was sent by his uncle to France and entered the Monastery of Fleury about 950.

Oswald returned to England in 958 and turned to Oskytel who had become Archbishop of York shortly before. Oswald took an active part in ecclesiastical affairs at York until St. Dunstan procured his appointment to the See of Worcester. He was consecrated as Bishop of Worcester in 961. Soon after his consecration, he persuaded Germanus to come back to England and gave him a small religious community to run near Westbury-on-Trym. He was offered the site of Ramsey in Huntingdonshire by Aethelwine, son of Æthelstan Half-King, and Oswald established a monastery there about 971 that attracted most of the members of the community at Westbury. This foundation at Ramsey went on to become Ramsey Abbey.

Oswald was an ardent supporter of Dunstan and Æthelwold, Bishop of Winchester, in their efforts to purify the Church from secularism. Aided by King Edgar, he took a prominent part in the revival of monastic discipline along the precepts of Benedictine Rule. It was Oswald who changed the cathedral chapter of Worcester from priests to monks. Oswald also founded Winchcombe Abbey, and other monasteries founded under his control included Westbury Abbey, Pershore Abbey, and Evesham Abbey.

In 972 Oswald was made Archbishop of York. He continued to hold the see of Worcester in addition to York.

Oswald died on February 29, 992 in the act of washing the feet of the poor at Worcester, as was his daily custom during Lent, and was buried in the Church of Saint Mary at Worcester.
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  1. ^ Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-140-51312-4.
  2. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vatican, 1969), p. 117
  3. ^ Jones, Terry. "Valentine of Rome". Patron Saints Index. Retrieved 2007-02-14.