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Saint David (c. 500–589) (known in Welsh as Dewi Sant) was a church official, later regarded as a saint and as the patron saint of Wales. David contrasts with the other national patron saints of the British Isles, Saints George and Andrew and in that a relatively large amount of information is known about his life. However, his birth date is still uncertain, with suggestions ranging from 462 to 512.
David was the son of sanctus rex ceredigionis, where Sanctus has been interpreted as a proper name and its owner honoured by Welsh Christians as Sandde, King of Ceredigion. According to Rhygyfarch, Sandde was his brother, so probably only a king of part of Ceredigion. They were sons of King Ceredig, founder of Ceredigion. The saint was conceived through violence and his poor mother, Non (possibly just 'a nun'), the daughter of Lord Cynyr of Caer Goch (in Pembrokeshire), gave birth to him on a cliff top during a violent storm. David was educated at what is usually taken to be Whitland in Carmarthenshire under Saint Paulinus of Wales.
He became renowned as a teacher and preacher, founding monastic settlements and churches in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany in a period when neighbouring tribal regions (that were to be united as England three hundred years later) were still mostly pagan. He rose to a bishopric, and presided over two synods, as well as going on pilgrimages to Jerusalem (where he was anointed as a bishop by the Patriarch) and Rome. St David's Cathedral now stands on the site of the monastery he founded in the remote and inhospitable valley of 'Glyn Rhosyn' in Pembrokeshire.
The Monastic Rule of David prescribed that monks had to pull the plough themselves without draught animals; to drink only water; to eat only bread with salt and herbs; and to spend the evenings in prayer, reading and writing. No personal possessions were allowed: to say "my book" was an offence. He lived a simple life and practiced asceticism, teaching his followers to refrain from eating meat or drinking beer. His symbol, also the symbol of Wales, is the leek.
It is claimed that David lived for over 100 years, and he died on a Tuesday 1 March (now St David's Day). It is generally accepted that this was around 590, making the actual year 589.
Attributes: bishop with a dove, usually on his shoulder, sometimes standing on a raised hillock
Patronage: Wales; Pembrokeshire; vegetarians; poets
Saint Agnes of Bohemia (Czech: Svatá Anežka Česká), or Agnes of Prague (1211-March 6, 1282), was a medieval Bohemian princess who opted for a life of charity and piety over a life of luxury and comfort. Although she was venerated soon after her death, Agnes was not beatified and canonized until relatively recently.
Agnes was the youngest daughter of Bohemian king Premysl Otakar I, making her a descendant of Saint Ludmila, another Bohemian patron saint. Agnes's mother was Constance of Hungary, who was the sister of King Andrew II of Hungary, so Agnes was an elder cousin of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. When she was three years old, Agnes was entrusted to the Cistercian order at Trzebnica to be educated. The monastery had been founded by Hedwig, the wife of Duke Henry I the Bearded of Silesia. Agnes was engaged to Hedwig and Heinrich's son Boleslav. After Boleslav died, Agnes returned to Prague at the age of six.
At the age of eight, she was engaged to Henry, son of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. Henry was ten years old and had just been crowned Henry VII of Germany, King of the Romans. According to custom, Agnes should have spent her childhood at her future husband's court. It was decided to send Agnes to the court of Leopold VI of Babenberg. But Leopold wanted Henry to marry his own daughter Margaret. The wedding of Agnes and Henry was cancelled after six years of engagement. In 1226 her father Otakar went to war against the Babenbergs as a result of the broken engagement. Otakar then planned for her to marry Henry III of England, but this was vetoed by the Emperor, who himself was interested in marrying Agnes.
Agnes refused to play any more part in a politically arranged marriage. She decided to devote her life to religious works, with the help of Pope Gregory IX. She became a member of the Franciscan Poor Clares, a religious order founded by Clare of Assisi (with whom she corresponded for over two decades but never met in person). On land donated by her brother, Wenceslaus I, she founded the Hospital of St. Francis (ca. 1232-33) and two convents where the Franciscan friars and Clare nuns working at the hospital resided. This religious complex was one of the first Gothic buildings in Prague. Taking the vow of poverty, she cooked for and took care of the lepers and paupers personally even after becoming the Mother Superior of the Prague Clares in 1234.
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.
St. Casimir (Lithuanian: Kazimieras, Polish: Kazimierz, Belarusian: Kazimir) was the grandson of Władysław II Jagiełło and was the second son of Grand Duke of Lithuania and later king of Poland Casimir IV and queen Elizabeth of Austria. His grandfather was Albert II Habsburg, king of Bohemia, king of Hungary, and "King of the Romans" in the Holy Roman Empire.
From the age of nine, St. Casimir received his education from Fr. Jan Długosz and Filippo Buonaccorsi (also known as Callimachus). When Casimir was thirteen he was offered the throne of Hungary by factions discontented with king Mattias Corvinus. Casimir, who was eager to defend the Cross against the Turks, accepted the call and went to Hungary to receive the crown. His uncle Władysław III, king of Poland and Hungary, had earlier been killed in battle at Varna in 1444. Casimir was unsuccessful in his undertaking and returned as a fugitive. He again became the pupil of Fr. Długosz in 1475. His father, King Casimir IV, had initiated him well into public affairs and when his brother Władysław, ascended to the Bohemian throne, Casimir became heir-apparent to the throne of Poland. In 1479, the king went to Lithuania for five years, and Casimir was left in charge of Poland. From 1481-1483 he administered the state with great prudence and justice. His father tried to arrange a marriage with a daughter of Emperor Frederick III, but Casimir preferred to remain single. Due to his devout faith and weakened by excessive fasting, he developed severe lung problems, possibly tuberculosis, which he proved unable to fight off. On a journey to Lithuania in 1484, he died at Hrodna, Belarus. His remains were interred in Vilnius, Lithuania. There is a Chapel of Saint Casimir in Vilnius Cathedral where his remains rest.
Attributes: Confessor, Prince
Patronage: patron saint of Poland and Lithuania
He is the patron saint of tin-miners, and is also generally regarded as the patron saint of Cornwall, although Saint Michael and Saint Petroc also have some claim to this title. Saint Piran's Flag is a white cross on a black background. Saint Piran's Day is 5 March.
Piran is the most famous of all the saints said to have come to Cornwall from Ireland. By at least the 13th century, he had become identified with the Irish Saint Ciarán of Saighir who founded the monastery at Seirkieran (Saighir) in County Offaly. This was due to the widely recognised ability of the P-Celtic or Brythonic letter 'P' to transform into the Q-Celtic or Gaelic letter 'C'. The 14th century 'Life of Saint Piran', probably written at Exeter Cathedral, is a complete copy of an earlier Irish life of Saint Ciarán of Saighir, with different parentage and a different ending that takes into account Piran's works in Cornwall, and especially details of his death and the movements of his Cornish shrine; thus "excising the passages which speak of his burial at Saighir" (Doble).
However, there is no shrine to him in Ireland. 5 March is the traditional feast day of both Saint Ciarán of Saighir and Saint Piran, but the Calendar of Launceston Church records an alternative date of 18 November for the latter. Charles Plummer suggested that Piran might, instead, be identified with Saint Ciarán of Clonmacnoise, who founded the monastery of Clonmacnoise also in County Offaly but this is doubtful since this saint is believed to have died of yellow fever at the age of thirty-two and was traditionally buried at Clonmacnoise. His father is, however, sometimes said to have been a Cornishman. J. Loth, moreover, has argued, on detailed philological grounds, that the two names could not possibly be identical. G. H. Doble thought that Piran was a Welshman from Glamorgan, citing the lost chapel once dedicated to him in Cardiff.
It is said that at his death the remains of the Blessed Martin the Abbot which he had brought from Ireland were buried with him at Perranzabuloe. His own remains were subsequently exhumed and redistributed to be venerated in various reliquaries. Exeter Cathedral was reputed to be the possessor of one of his arms, while according to an inventory, St Piran's Old Church, Perranzabuloe, had a reliquary containing his head and also a hearse in which his body was placed for processionals.
Patronage: tin-miners and Cornwall
Saint Fridolin, otherwise Fridolin of Säckingen, traditionally believed to have been born in Ireland, was a missionary, and the founder of Säckingen Abbey, Baden, in the 6th or 7th century. He is honoured as the apostle of the Alamanns.
There is very little definite information on Fridolin. He is traditionally venerated as an Irish missionary and the first to work among the Alamanns on the Upper Rhine, in the time of the Merovingians. The only portion of the late "Life" that can be regarded as historically sound is that he founded a monastery on the island of Säckingen in the Rhine.
According to his biography, he belonged to a noble family in Ireland, and at first was a missionary there. Afterwards crossing to France, he came to Poitiers, where in answer to a vision, he sought out the relics of Saint Hilarius, and built a church for them. Saint Hilarius subsequently appeared to him in a dream, and commanded him to proceed to an island in the Rhine, in the territories of the Alamanns. In obedience to this summons, Fridolin approached the "Emperor" Clovis, who granted him possession of the still unknown island, and thence proceeded through "Helion" , Strasbourg and Coire, founding churches in every district in honour of Saint Hilarius.
He also spent considerable time in the territory that is now Switzerland, where he converted the landowner Urso. On his death Urso left his enormous lands, now the Canton of Glarus, to Fridolin, who founded numerous churches. Urso's brother Landolf refused to accept the legitimacy of the gift and brought Fridolin before a court at Rankweil to prove his title. Fridolin did so by summoning Urso from the dead to confirm the gift in person, so terrifying Landolf that he gave his lands to Fridolin as well. Fridolin is thus often represented with a decomposing corpse, in reference to this story.
At last reaching the island of Säckingen in the Rhine, Fridolin recognized in it the island indicated in the dream, and prepared to build a church there. The inhabitants of the banks of the Rhine, however, who used the island as pasture for their cattle, mistook Fridolin for a cattle-robber and expelled him. On his production of Clovis's deed of gift, he was allowed to return, and to found a church and monastery on the island.
He then resumed his missionary labours. He founded the "Scottish monastery" ("Schottenstift") in Konstanz, and extended his mission to Augsburg. He died on 6 March, and was buried at Säckingen.
Attributes: with a decomposing corpse
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.
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.
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
When she was eleven years old, St. Frances decided to be a nun, but within two years her parents married her off to Lorenzo Ponziano (or de Ponziani), commander of the papal troops of Rome. Although the marriage had been arranged, it was a happy one, lasting for forty years, partly because Lorenzo admired his wife and her sister, Vannozza, and partly because he was frequently away at war. The women prayed, visited the poor, and took care of the sick, inspiring other wealthy women to do the same. Francesca became widely known among the poor by the nickname "la Ceccolella".
Francesca and Lorenzo lost two of their three children to the plague. In their case, it sensitized them to the needs of the poor. During the wars between the legitimate pope and various antipopes, Lorenzo served the former. However, in his absence, much of his own property and possessions were destroyed. Eventually he would return, wounded, to Francesca's care, dying in 1436.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "With her husband's consent St. Frances practiced continency, and advanced in a life of contemplation. Her visions often assumed the form of drama enacted for her by heavenly personages. She had the gift of miracles and ecstasy, (as) well as the bodily vision of her guardian angel, had revelations concerning purgatory and hell, and foretold the ending of the Western Schism. She could read the secrets of consciences and detect plots of diabolical origin. She was remarkable for her humility and detachment, her obedience and patience[.]"
St. Francesca had turned part of the family's country estate into a hospital. On the feast of the Assumption, August 15, , she founded the Oblates of Mary, a lay congregation of pious women, attached to the church of S. Maria Nova in Rome, but neither cloistered nor bound by formal vows, which on July 4, 1433 received the approval of Pope Eugene IV. The group became the Oblates of the Benedictine Congregation of Monte Oliveto, headquartered in the nearby Tor di Specchi. She died in 1440 and was buried in that church.
Patronage: Benedictine oblates; automobile drivers
Ogilvie, the son of a wealthy Lalaird, was born into a respected Calvinist family near Keith in Banffshire, Scotland and was educated in mainland Europe where he attended a number of Catholic educational establishments, under the Benedictines at Regensburg in Germany and with the Jesuits at Olomouc and Brno in the present day Czech Republic. In the midst of the religious controversies and turmoil that engulfed the Europe of that era he decided to become a Catholic. In 1596, aged seventeen, he was received into the church at Louvain, Belgium. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1608 and was ordained a priest in Paris in 1610. After ordination he made repeated entreaties to be sent back to Scotland to minister to the few remaining Catholics in the Glasgow area (after the Scottish Reformation in 1560 it had become illegal to preach, proselytise for or otherwise endorse Catholicism). He returned to Scotland in November 1613 disguised as a soldier, and began to preach in secret, celebrating mass clandestinely in private homes. However, his ministry was to last less than a year. In 1614, he was betrayed and arrested in Glasgow and taken to jail in Paisley. He suffered terrible tortures, including being kept awake for eight days and nine nights, in an attempt to make him divulge the identities of other Catholics. Nonetheless, Ogilvie did not relent. Consequently, after a biased trial, he was convicted of high treason for refusing to accept the King's spiritual jurisdiction. On 10th March 1615, aged 36 years, John Ogilvie was paraded through the streets of Glasgow and hanged at Glasgow Cross.
His last words were "If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me but the prayers of heretics I will not have". After he was pushed from the ladder, he threw his concealed rosary beads out into the crowd. The tale is told that one of his enemies caught them and subsequently became a lifelong devout Catholic. After his execution Ogilvie's followers were rounded up and put in jail. They suffered heavy fines, but none was to receive the death penalty.
As a martyr of the Counter-Reformation he was beatified in 1929 and canonised in 1976. He is the only post-Reformation saint from Scotland.
Prayer: "If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me but the prayers of heretics I will not have".
Traditionally, his birthplace is given as Bullecourt, near Bapaume. This is the birthplace indicated in the documents dating much later than the saint's death, but which claim to reproduce an ancient local tradition. Nothing is known of his early years.
On the death of St. Aubert, Bishop of Cambrai-Arras (about 668), Vindicianus was elected his successor. In any case he was bishop of this see in the reign of Thierry III of Neustria (about 673). The author of the Gesta episcoporum Cameracensium (written 1024/1025, but generally trustfull) declares that he didn't know the duration of the episcopate of Vindicianus.
In 673 Vindicianus supervised the translation of the body of St. Maxellende to Caudri. In the same year he consecrated the monastery of Honnecourt sur l'Escaut, which was given in 685 to St. Bertin. In 675 he signed a charter of donation in favour of the abbey at Maroilles, rendered illustrious by St. Humbert (Emebertus). In the same year he consecrated the church at Hasnon. He was probably in relation with St. Arnaud of Tongeren, since we find his signature to the latter's testament in 679. In 681 he claimed for his diocese the honour of possessing the body of St. Léger, the unfortunate victim of the political strife which was then filling Neustria with blood, but he did not succeed, the remains of St. Léger being confided to Ansoald, Bishop of Poitiers. His predecessor, St. Aubert, had founded the Monastery of St. Vaast, the building of which he had been unable to complete; Vindicianus finished it, apparently in 682, and placed it temporalities under the protection of Thierry III, who conferred numerous gifts on the monastery.
In 685 a certain Hatta was placed at its head by Vindicianus. In the following year the latter dedicated the church at Hamaye, and acted at the exhumation of the bodies of Sts. Eusebia and Gertrude, who had been abbesses of the monastery of that name.
She was born in San Gimignano as the child of parents, who had fallen in poverty. As far as possible she lived the life of a recluse at home, sewing indeed and spinning during the day and praying during the night.
She became ill with an incurable disease at the age of ten. Experiencing five years of enormous suffering, she nevertheless worked at making garments for the poor until paralysis forced her to stop. She then used a wooden board as her bed and increased her mortification of the flesh in order to be nearer to Christ. Her sufferings increased when rats attacked her as she lay alone on her board. She was unable to drive them off. Because of this, the rat has become one of her emblems.
The house said to be where she lived and died still stands in the town.
One day, Saint Gregory appeared to Fina and revealed to her that she would receive eternal rest on the day of his feast day, which fell on March 12 because he had died on that date in 604. Saint Fina thus died on March 12, 1253 and March 12 became her feast day as well.
She is said to have restored a choirboy's sight. After her death, her hand, a relic, also is said to have cured her nurse of a serious disease.
Attributes: Violets, rats, depicted with Saint Gregory the Great, or lying on her wooden board
Patronage: Handicapped people
He was born in Constantinople as the son of Theodore and Eudokia, of a strictly orthodox family, which had suffered from the earlier Iconoclasm. His father Theodore, one of the secretaries of Emperor Constantine V Kopronymos, had been scourged and banished to Nicaea for his zealous support of Iconodules, and the son inherited the religious convictions of the father. Nevertheless he entered the service of the Empire, became cabinet secretary, and under Irene took part in the synod of 787 as imperial commissioner. He then withdrew to one of the cloisters that he had founded on the Propontis, until he was appointed director of the largest home for the destitute in Constantinople in c. 802.
After the death of the Patriarch Tarasios, although still a layman, he was chosen patriarch by the wish of the emperor (Easter, April 12, 806). The uncanonical choice met with opposition from the strictly clerical party of the Stoudites, and this opposition intensified into an open break when Nikephoros, in other respects a very rigid moralist, showed himself compliant to the will of the emperor by reinstating the excommunicated priest Joseph.
After vain theological disputes, in December 814, there followed personal insults. Nikephoros at first replied to his removal from his office by excommunication, but was at last obliged to yield to force, and was taken to one of the cloisters he had founded, Tou Agathou, and later to that called Tou Hagiou Theodorou. From there he carried on a literary polemic for the cause of the iconodules against the synod of 815; on the occasion of the change of emperors, in 820, he was put forward as a candidate for the patriarchate and at least obtained the promise of toleration.
He died at the monastery of Saint Theodore (Hagiou Theodorou), revered as a confessor. His remains were solemnly brought back to Constantinople by the Patriarch Methodios on March 13, 874, and interred in the Church of the Holy Apostles, where they were annually the object of imperial devotion. His feast is celebrated on this day both in the Greek and Roman Churches; the Greeks also observe 2 June as the day of his death.
Compared with Theodore of Stoudios, Nikephoros appears as a friend of conciliation, learned in patristics, more inclined to take the defensive than the offensive, and possessed of a comparatively chaste, simple style. He was mild in his ecclesiastical and monastical rules and non-partisan in his historical treatment of the period from 610 to 769 (Historia syntomos, breviarium).
Mathilda (c. 895 – March 14, 968) was the wife of Henry I, King of the East Franks and the first ruler of the Ottonian or Liudolfing dynasty. Their son, Otto, succeeded his father as King (and later Emperor) Otto I.
Our knowledge of Mathilda's life comes largely from brief mentions in the Res Gestae Saxonicae (Deeds of the Saxons) of the monastic historian Widukind of Corvey, and from two sacred biographies (the vita antiquior and vita posterior) written, respectively, c. 974 and c. 1003.
Mathilda was the daughter of the Westfalian count Dietrich and his wife Reinhild, and her biographers traced her ancestry back to the famed Saxon hero, Widukind (c. 730 - 807). As a young girl, she was sent to the convent of Herford, where her reputation for beauty and virtue is said to have attracted the attention of Duke Otto of Saxony, who betrothed her to his son, Henry. They were married in 909 and had three sons and two daughters:
- Hadwig, wife of the West Frankish duke Hugh the Great
- King (and later Emperor) Otto I
- Gerberga, wife of (1) Duke Giselbert of Lotharingia and (2) King Louis IV of France
- Henry I, Duke of Bavaria
- Archbishop Brun of Cologne
After her husband's death in 936, Mathilda remained at the court of her son Otto, until a cabal of royal advisors is reported to have accused her of weakening the royal treasury in order to pay for her charitable activities. After a brief exile at the Westfalian monastery of Enger, Mathilda was brought back to court at the urging of Otto I's first wife, the Anglo-Saxon princess Edith.
Mathilda was celebrated for her devotion to prayer and almsgiving; her first biographer depicted her (in a passage indebted to the sixth-century vita of the Frankish queen Radegund by Venantius Fortunatus) leaving her husband's side in the middle of the night and sneaking off to church to pray. Mathilda founded many religious institutions, including the canonry of Quedlinburg, a center of Ottonian ecclesiastical and secular life and the burial place of Mathilda and her husband, and the convent of Nordhausen, likely the source of at least one of her vitae. She later was canonized, with her cult largely confined to Saxony and Bavaria.
Clement was born Hansl Dvorák (Hofbauer) in Tasovice (Tasswitz), Moravia. He began to study Latin at the parish rectory until death of the pastor. He was sent to become an apprentice in a bakery in 1767. In 1770 he went to work in the bakery of the Premonstratensian monastery of the White Monks in Bruck abbey.
In 1771, for some months, he was a hermit at the shrine of Our Lady of Quintiliolo. It was at this time that he took on the name of Clement Mary.
He returned to the monastery of the White Monks at Kloster Bruck to bake bread and to begin the study of the Latin language once again. At the age of twenty-nine, Clement entered the University of Vienna. Since the government had closed all seminaries, students for the priesthood had to study at government-controlled universities.
A few months later, he was sent across the Alps to establish the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in northern Europe. The political situation did not allow Clement to remain in his own country. Clement and his companions moved on to Poland, to help restore Catholic Faith in Warsaw. Clement opened the Child Jesus Refuge for his homeless boys. In 1791, four years after their arrival, the Redemptorists enlarged the children's refuge into an academy. A boarding school had been opened for young girls under the direction of some noble Warsaw women.
In September 1808, after being exiled from Poland, Clement reached Vienna. For four years he took care for a little Italian church in the city of Vienna, until he was appointed chaplain to the Ursuline Sisters in July 1813. Attending to the spiritual welfare of the Sisters and the lay people who came to their chapel,Clement gained a reputation as a powerful preacher and gentle confessor.
He became ill in early March 1820, and died on March 15 of that year.
Patronage: Vienna, Austria
Saint Julian of Antioch (sometimes called Julian of Cilicia, Julian of Anazarbus, or Julian of Tarsus) is venerated as a Christian martyr of the fourth century. His date of death is given as 305 AD. He is sometimes confused with another saint of the same name.
Of senatorial rank, he was killed during the persecutions of Diocletian. His legend states that he was subjected to terrible tortures and paraded daily for a whole year through various cities of Cilicia. He was then sewn up in a sack half-filled with scorpions, sand, and vipers, and cast into the sea. The sea carried his body to Alexandria, and he was buried there before being moved to Antioch. Archbishop John Chrysostom preached a homily in Julian's honor at Antioch, whose basilica was said to be the final resting place for Julian's relics.
Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius, Irish: Naomh Pádraig) was a Christian missionary and is the patron saint of Ireland along with Brigid of Kildare and Columba. Patrick was born in Roman Britain. When he was about sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. He entered the church, as his father and grandfather had before him, becoming a deacon and a bishop. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary, working in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he actually worked and no link can be made with Patrick and any church. By the eighth century he had become the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish monastery system evolved after the time of Patrick and the Irish church did not develop the diocesan model that Patrick and the other early missionaries had tried to establish.The available body of evidence does not allow the dates of Patrick's life to be fixed with certainty, but it appears that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century.
Patronage: Ireland, Nigeria, Montserrat, Engineers
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem was a distinguished theologian of the early Church (ca. 313–386). Little is known of his life before he became bishop. Cyril was ordained a deacon by Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem about 335, and priest some eight years later by Bishop Maximus of Jerusalem. About the end of the year 350, he succeeded St. Maximus in the See of Jerusalem.
Cyril took at first a rather moderate position, distinctly averse from Arianism. Though his theology was at first somewhat indefinite in phraseology, he undoubtedly gave a thorough adhesion to the Nicene orthodoxy, but was by no means eager to accept the uncompromising term homooussios. Even if he does avoid the debatable term homooussios, he expresses its sense in many passages, which exclude equally Patripassianism, Sabellianism, and the formula "there was a time when the Son was not" attributed to Arius.
Separating from his metropolitan, Acacius of Caesarea, a partisan of Arius, Cyril took the side of the Eusebians, the "right wing" of the post-Nicene conciliation party, and thus got into difficulties with his superior, which were increased by Acacius's jealousy of the importance assigned to Cyril's See by the Council of Nicaea. A council held under Acacius's influence in 358 deposed Cyril and forced him to retire to Tarsus. The Council of Seleucia in the following year, at which Cyril was present, deposed Acacius. In 360 the process was reversed through the metropolitan's court influence, and Cyril suffered another year's exile from Jerusalem, until Emperor Julian's accession allowed him to return. The Arian Emperor Valens banished him once more in 367. Cyril was able to return, once more, at the accession of Emperor Gratian, after which he remained undisturbed until his death in 386.
Cyril's jurisdiction over Jerusalem was expressly confirmed by the First Council of Constantinople (381), at which he was present. At that council, he voted for acceptance of the term homooussios, having been finally convinced that there was no better alternative.
Saint Joseph "of the House of David" (Hebrew יוֹסֵף, also known as Saint Joseph, Joseph the Betrothed, Joseph of Nazareth, Joseph the Worker and other titles) is known from the New Testament as the husband of Mary and although according to most Christian traditions he was not the biological father of Jesus of Nazareth, he acted as his foster-father and as head of the Holy Family. Joseph is venerated as a saint within the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches.The genealogy in Matthew shows that Joseph's own father was called Jacob; but according to the genealogy in Luke Joseph was a son of Heli. The canonical Gospels do not, however, give the date and place of Joseph's birth, nor of his death. All that is known from them is that Joseph lived at times in Nazareth in Galilee,stayed for a couple of years in Bethlehem in Judea, and for a while was forced into exile in Egypt. While there is no mention of Joseph's age in the canonical Gospels, apocryphal literature, as well as many works of art based thereon, portray Joseph as a widower when he married Mary, with children from an earlier marriage, and Mary herself as a widow during the public ministry and passion of her son.
Attributes: Carpenter's square or tools, the infant Jesus, staff with lily blossoms.
Patronage: The Universal Church, workers, against doubt and hesitation and of a happy death. Many others; see 
St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (c. 634–20 March 687) was an Anglo-Saxon monk and bishop in the Kingdom of Northumbria which at that time included, in modern terms, north east England and south east Scotland as far as the Firth of Forth. Afterwards he became one of the most important medieval saints of England, with widespread recognition in the places he had been in Scotland.Cuthbert is regarded as the patron saint of Northumbria. His feast day is March 20.Cuthbert was of Northumbrian origin, probably from the neighbourhood of Dunbar at the mouth of the Firth of Forth in modern-day Scotland. While still a boy, employed as a shepherd, one night he had a vision of the soul of Aidan being carried to heaven by angels and thereupon went to the monastery of Old Melrose and became a monk (651). Soon afterwards, however, he became a soldier for several years.After his return to the monastery, his fame for piety, diligence, and obedience quickly grew. When Alchfrith, king of Deira, founded a new monastery at Ripon, Cuthbert became its praepositus hospitum or visitors' host.
Attributes: Bishop holding a second crowned head in his hands; sometimes accompanied by sea-birds and animals
Good Friday, also called Holy Friday or Great Friday, is the Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary.Jesus Christ, having been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane by the Temple Guards through the guidance of Judas Iscariot, is brought to the house of Annas, who is father-in-law of the current high priest, Caiaphas. There he is interrogated with little result, and sent bound to Caiaphas the high priest, where the Sanhedrin had assembled (John 18:1-24).Conflicting testimony against Jesus is brought forth by many witnesses, to which Jesus answers nothing. Finally the high priest adjures Jesus to respond under solemn oath, saying "I adjure you, by the Living God, to tell us, are you the Anointed One, the Son of God?" Jesus testifies in the affirmative, "You have said it, and in time you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty, coming on the clouds of Heaven." The high priest condemns Jesus for blasphemy, and the Sanhedrin concurs with a sentence of death (Matthew 26:57-66).In the morning the whole assembly brings Jesus to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, under charges of subverting the nation, opposing taxes to Caesar, and making himself a king (Luke 23:1-2). Pilate authorizes the Jewish leaders to judge Jesus according to their own Law and execute sentencing, however the Jewish leaders reply that they are not allowed by the Romans to carry out a sentence of death (John 18:31).
Saint Dismas (sometimes spelled Dysmas or only Dimas, or even Dumas), also known as the Good Thief or the Penitent Thief, is the apocryphal name given to one of the two thieves (Matthew 27:38) who was crucified alongside Jesus. Dismas was the thief who repented of his sins and asked Jesus to remember him in his kingdom.Though never canonized by the church, the Good Thief carries the sole distinction of being the only human to be canonized by Jesus himself, if by canonized one means the formal recognition of a person's place in heaven.The two thieves were crucified at the same time as Jesus, one on his right hand, and one on his left (Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27-28, Luke 23:33, John 19:18), which Mark interprets as fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah 53:12. According to the Gospel of Luke 23:39-43:
[O]ne of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, "If thou be Christ, save thyself and us." ♦ But the other answering rebuked him, saying, "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? ♦ And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss." ♦ And he said unto Jesus, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." ♦ And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise." (KJV)
Attributes:Wearing a loincloth and holding his cross; sometimes, standing in Paradise
Patronage:prisoners, especially condemned prisoners; undertakers; repentant thieves; Merizo, Guam
Saint Margaret Clitherow (1556 – 1586) is an English saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church.She was born as Margaret Middleton, the daughter of a wax-chandler, after Henry VIII of England had split the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. She married John Clitherow, a butcher, in 1571 (at the age of 15) and bore him two children. She converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of 18, in 1574. She then became a friend of the persecuted Roman Catholic population in the north of England. Her son, Henry, went to Reims to train as a Catholic priest. She regularly held Masses in her home in the Shambles in York. There was a hole cut between the attics of her house and the house next door, so that a priest could escape if there was a raid. A house in the Shambles once thought to have been her home, now called the Shrine of the Saint Margaret Clitherow, is open to the public (it is served by the nearby Church of St Wilfrid's and is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough); her actual house (10 and 11, the Shambles) is further down the street.In 1586, she was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harbouring Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead to the case so as to prevent a trial that would entail her children being made to testify, and she was executed by being crushed to death – the standard punishment for refusal to plead.
Saint John of Damascus (Arabic: يوحنا الدمشقي Yuḥannā Al Demashqi; Greek: Ιωάννης Δαμασκήνος/Iôannês Damaskênos; Latin: Iohannes Damascenus or Johannes Damascenus also known as John Damascene, Χρυσορρόας/Chrysorrhoas, "streaming with gold"—i.e., "the golden speaker") (c. 676 – December 5, 749) was a Syrian monk and priest. He was born and raised in Damascus, and died (in all probability) at his monastery Mar Saba, southeast of Jerusalem. He was a polymath whose fields of interest and contribution included Law, Theology, Philosophy and Music. He was the Chief Administrator to the ruler of Damascus, wrote works expounding the Christian faith, and composed hymns which are still in everyday use in Eastern Christian monasteries throughout the world.Practically all the information concerning the life of John of Damascus available to us today has come through the records of John, Patriarch of Jerusalem. Though these notes have served as the single source of biographical information, dating back to the 10th century, they have been noted by scholars as lacking detail from a historical point of view as well as a bloated writing style. The hagiographic novel Barlaam and Josaphat was traditionally attributed to John, but is in fact a work of the tenth century.
Saint Giovanni da Capestrano (in English, Saint John Capistrano, June 24, 1386 – October 23, 1456), Italian friar, theologian and inquisitor, was born in the village of Capestrano, in the diocese of Sulmona in the Abruzzi, Kingdom of Naples. His father had come to Italy with the Angevin court of Louis I of Anjou, King of Naples. He lived at first a wholly secular life, studied law at the University of Perugia under the legal scholar Pietro de Ubaldis, married, and became a successful magistrate. In 1412 Ladislas of Naples appointed him governor of Perugia, a tumultuous and resentful papal fief held by Ladislas as the pope's champion, in order to effectively establish public order. When war broke out between Perugia and Sigismondo Malatesta in 1416, John was sent as ambassador to broker a peace, but Malatesta threw him in prison. During the captivity, in despair he put aside his new young wife, never having consummated the marriage, and, studying with St. Bernardine of Siena, together with St. James of the Marches, he entered the Franciscan order at Perugia on October 4, 1416. At once he gave himself up to the most rigorous asceticism, violently defending the ideal of strict observance and orthodoxy, following St. Bernardine as he preached, and from 1420 onwards, preaching himself with great effect in many cities. Unlike most Italian preachers of repentance in the 15th century, Giovanni da Capestrano was effective in the north, in Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary and Poland.
Attributes:Confessor; Friar; Theologian; Inquisitor
Saint Gwynllyw Milwr or Gwynllyw Farfog, pronounced "G-win-th-loo", known in English in a corrupted form as Woolos the Warrior or Woolos the Bearded (Latin: Gundleus, Gundleius or Gwenleue) (c. 450 – c. 500) was a Welsh king and religious figure. He was King of Gwynllwg in South Wales and is the legendary founder and patron saint of the City of Newport living around the 5th century. According to medieval tradition he was a feared warlord and raider who knew King Arthur, but later found religion and became a hermit founding St Woolos Cathedral in Newport. He was the father of one of the most revered Welsh saints, Saint Cadoc the Wise.The medieval lives of Saint Cadoc (c. 1100) by Lifrispreserve legendary details of Gwynllyw, though details frequently differ. He is also noted in Welsh king lists. The saint’s lives note that his deeds were celebrated by Welsh bards, indicating he had a widespread popular following. Although saints' lives frequently exaggerate it does seem likely that a monarch of this name existed and a core element in the lives may contain some true details.Gwynllyw was the son of King Glywys, whose powerful kingdom of Glywysing was centered on Glamorgan, and supposedly extended as far as east as the River Towy. He was a descendent of Macsen Wledig according to some accounts, while his mother Guaul was equally distinguished, being the granddaughter of Cunedda. The kingdom was split on Glywys' death amongst his sons, of whom Gwynllyw was the eldest and most powerful, and he was overlord over the others. The central area of his rule consisted of the cantref Gwynllwg that was named after him and later known in English as Wentloog hundred. One of his Gwynllyw's brothers was Saint Petroc, an important Cornish and Breton saint.
Attributes: crowned warrior, carrying spear sometimes accompanied by an ox
Patronage: Newport; Jurists; pirates; soldiers
John Climacus (Ἰωάννης τῆς Κλίμακος c. 525 – 30 March 606), also known as John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus and John Sinaites, was a 6th century Christian monk at the monastery on Mount Sinai. He is revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox , Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches.He was born in Syria, and came to the monastery and became a novice when he was about 16 years old, taught by monk named Martyrius. After the death of Martyrius, John, wishing to practise greater asceticism, withdrew to a hermitage at the foot of the mountain. In this isolation he lived for some twenty years, constantly studying the lives of the saints and thus becoming one of the most learned doctors of the Church. In 600, when he was about seventy-five years of age, the monks of Sinai persuaded him to put himself at their head. He acquitted himself of his functions as abbot with the greatest wisdom, and his reputation spread so far that pope Gregory the Great wrote to recommend himself to his prayers, and sent him a sum of money for the hospital of Sinai, in which the pilgrims were wont to lodge. Four years later he resigned his charge and returned to his hermitage to prepare for death.
Attributes:Clothed as a monk, sometimes with an abbot's paterissa (crozier), sometimes holding a copy of his Ladder