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Title: The Lives of the Saints, Volume III (of 16): March

Author: Sabine Baring-Gould

Release Date: March 1, 2015 [EBook #48395]

Language: English

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Lives of the Saints




After Francia, in the Church of S. John Lateran, Rome.


Lives of the Saints


New Edition in 16 Volumes

Revised with Introduction and Additional Lives of
English Martyrs, Cornish and Welsh Saints,
and a full Index to the Entire Work





Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.

At the Ballantyne Press

[Pg v]

Virgin and Child surrounded by a host of worshippers


SS. Abraham and Mary275
S. Adrian, B. of S. Andrews59
"  Adrian, M. at Wintershoven333
" Agricola285
"  Alberta212
"  Albinus16
"  Alexander of Apamea203
"  Alexander of Jerusalem312
"  Alfwold460
"  Alkmund334
"  Amantius333
"  Ambrose of Sienna369
"  Angus of Keld217
"  Aninas274
Annunciation: B. V. Mary450
S. Ansewin252
"  Antonina8
"  Aphrodisius of Beziers407
"  Aphrodisius of Carthage256
"  Apollonius156
"  Aristobulus266
SS. Armogastes and comp.496
S. Asterius42
"  Augusta483
S. Balbina513
SS. Balther and Bilfred94
S. Barachisius491
"  Basil of Ancyra407
SS. Basiliscus and comp.44
S. Basinus59vi
SS. Bathus, Verca, and children468
S. Benedict388
"  Benjamin515
"  Bilfred94
"  Boniface Quiritine279
"  Bosa175
"  Braulio468
SS. Caius and Alexander203
"  Caius the Palatine and comp.57
S. Camin of Iniskeltra458
"  Casimir, Prince60
"  Castulus467
"  Catherine of Bologna182
"  Chad23
B. Charles the Good38
S. Chelidonius44
"  Chrodegang96
"  Cleonicus44
SS. Codratus and comp.203
S. Colette97
"  Columba274
"  Constantine214
Crucifixion, Memorial of254
S. Cuthbert337
"  Cyril, Patr. of Jerusalem314
"  Cyril of Heliopolis492
SS. Cyril and Methodius176
S. Daniel517
"  David10
"  Deogratias411
"  Dionysius of Cĉsarea444
"  Dionysius of Corinth203
"  Domangart445
"  Domnina9
"  Dorotheus222
"  Drausinus74
"  Droctoveus209
"  Dula457
"  Duthac164
S. Edward324
B. Eelko Liaukaman413
SS. Emetherius and Chelidonius44
S. Enda376
"  Ethelwold441
"  Eubulus114
"  Eudocia2
"  Eulogius218
"  Euphrasia241
"  Eusebia279
"  Eustace498
"  Euthymius216
"  Eutropius44
S. Felicitas102
"  Felix163
"  Fina239
SS. Fingar and Piala437
S. Finnian321
SS. Forty Martyrs of Sebaste204
S. Frances of Rome185
"  Fridolin91
"  Frigidian321
S. Gabriel, Archangel312
"  Gerasimus63
"  Gertrude306
"  Gorgo212
"  Gorgonius222
"  Gregory the Great226
"  Gregory of Nyssa172vii
S. Heribert281
"  Hesychius1
SS. Hilary and comp.271
S. Hildelitha446
B. Hugo502
S. Humbert458
"  Hymelin210
S. Irenĉus457
S. Joachim336
"  Joavan22
"  John of Civita-di-Penne329
"  John Climacus506
"  John of Egypt484
"  John of God165
"  John-Joseph87
SS. Jonas and Barachisius491
S. Joseph, husband of B. V. Mary327
"  Joseph of Arimathea283
"  Julian of Anazarbus273
S. Katharine of Sweden421
"  Kennocha255
"  Kessog208
"  Kieran66
"  Kunegund52
SS. Kyneburga and comp.93
S. Kyneswitha93
S. Lactean331
"  Landoald333
"  Leo, Archb. Rouen19
"  Longinus266
"  Lubin257
"  Lucius55
"  Ludger469
"  Lupicinus371
"  Lydia482
S. Macarius208
"  Mark of Arethusa492
SS. Marinus and Asterius42
"  Martyrs under Alexander21
"  Martyrs under the Lombards23
"  Martyrs under Nero256
"  Martyrs of Sebaste256
"  Martyrs in the Serapion284
S. Mathilda260
"  Matrona268
"  Matthew of Beauvais488
"  Maxima of Nicomedia222
"  Maxima of Sermium467
Memorial of the Crucifixion454
S. Methodius176
"  Mochoemog245
"  Monan18
SS. Montanus and Maxima467
S. Muran238
S. Narcissus313
"  Nicander267
"  Nicephorus249
B. Nicholas von der Flue421
S. Owen57viii
S. Pacian172
"  Pancharius328
"  Papas273
"  Patrick285
"  Paul of Cyprus311
"  Paul of Leon223
"  Paul of Narbonne406
"  Paul the Simple114
Penitent Thief, the456
SS. Perpetua and comp.102
"  Peter and comp. of Carthage256
"  Peter and comp. of Nicomedia222
B. Peter of Castelnau74
S. Peter the Spaniard221
SS. Philemon and Apollonius156
"  Philetus and comp.482
S. Phocas63
"  Piala437
"  Piran or Kieran66
"  Proculus435
S. Quirinus of Rome456
"  Quirinus the Tribune504
S. Regulus504
"  Renovatus515
SS. Ruderick and Salomon254
S. Rudesind19
S. Salomon254
"  Secundus503
"  Senan of Iniscatthy159
"  Serapion371
"  Sezin90
"  Simon of Trent447
"  Simplicius22
"  Sixtus489
"  Sophronius215
"  Spes489
"  Swibert the elder16
S. Tatian271
"  Tetricus322
"  Thomas Aquinas116
B. Thomas of Lancaster414
S. Tibba93
SS. Timolaus and comp.444
"  Twenty Monks at S. Sabas365
S. Verca and children468
"  Victorian439
"  Vincent213
"  Vindician215
"  Virgilius72
S. William of Norwich461
"  Winwaloe49
"  Withburga309
"  Wulfram361
S. Xystus, Pope489
S. Zacharias268
"  Zosimus of Syracuse508



The AnnunciationFrontispiece
After Francia, in the Church of S. John Lateran, Rome.
S. Davidto face p. 10
S. Rudesind"     18
After Cahier.
Lichfield Cathedral (see p. 23)on p. 20
S. Chadto face p. 24
S. Kunegund, Empress of Germany"     52
Forms of Mitreon p. 54
S. Casimir, Prince of Polandto face p. 60
After Cahier.
Group of Angelson p. 62
Marriage of the Virgin"     89
After a Bas-Relief by Orcagna.
S. Thomas Aquinasto face p. 128
After Cahier.
S. John of God"     168
After Cahier.x
Jesus Christ, in the Character of a Pilgrim, accepting the Hospitality of two Dominicanson p. 171
From a Fresco by Fra Angelico at Florence.
S. Gregory of Nyssato face p. 172
After a Picture by Dominichino at Rome.
S. Gregory of Nyssa (with square Nimbus)"     174
After Cahier.
Cathedral—Modena"     182
From Stoughton's "Italian Reformers."
Hatred and Maliceon p. 202
Symbolic Carving at the Abbey of S. Denis.
Deceitfulness and Vanity"     211
Symbolic Carving at the Abbey of S. Denis.
S. Gregory the Greatto face p. 226
After Cahier.
Mass of S. Gregory"     238
Pusillanimityon p. 240
Symbolic Carving at the Abbey of S. Denis.
Slothfulness and Gluttony"     265
Symbolic Carving at the Abbey of S. Denis.
SS. Joseph and Nicodemus anointing the Body of Christto face p. 282
From an old Painting.
S. Patrick"     288
After Cahier.
S. Gertrude of Nivelles"     306
After Cahier.xi
Portion of a Monstranceon p. 311
Murder of S. Edwardto face p. 324
S. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary"     326
From the Vienna Missal.
Death of S. Joseph"     328
S. Cuthbert reasoning with the Monks"     342
Death of S. Cuthbert"     342
S. Cuthbert in his Hermit's Cell"     344
S. Benedict"     388
After Cahier.
S. Benedict exorcising an Evil Spirit which had interrupted the Workmen employed in building a Chapel"     392
From a Fresco, by Spinelli d'Arezzo, in the Church of San Miniato, near Florence.
S. Benedict reproving Totila, and predicting his Death"     400
From a Fresco, painted by Spinelli d'Arezzo, in the Church of San Miniato, near Florence.
The Two Thieves (see p. 456): S. Dimas Penitent, with Angel bearing his happy Soul to Paradise; the Impenitent, with Demon dragging forth his unwilling Soulon p. 443
The Heavenly Messengerto face p. 450
"The Angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary."xii
The Annunciationto face p. 452
After Israel van Mecken, in the Museum at Munich.
The Annunciation"     454
After a Picture in the Museum at Madrid(?)
Memorial of the Crucifixion"     456
After a Picture by Roger van der Weyden, in the Museum at Madrid.
"Fortitude"on p. 481
"Hope""     490
S. Amadeus of Savoyto face p. 512
After Cahier.
Small image of Saint


Lives of the Saints

March 1.

S. Hesychius, B.M. at Carteja, in Spain, 1st cent.
S. Eudocia, M. at Heliopolis, in Phœnicia, 2nd cent.
S. Antonina, M. at Nicĉa, 4th cent.
S. Domnina, V.H. in Syria, circ. A.D. 460.
S. Simplicius, Abp. of Bourges, circ. A.D. 480.
S. David, Abp. of Menevia, in Wales, A.D. 544.
S. Herculanius, B.M. at Perugia, A.D. 547.
S. Albinus, B. of Angers, circ. A.D. 549.
S. Marnon, B. in Scotland.
S. Siward, Ab. of S. Calais, in France, A.D. 687.
S. Swibert, B. Ap. of the Frisians, A.D. 713.
S. Monan, Archd. of S. Andrews, in Scotland, circ. A.D. 874.
S. Leo, M. Abp. of Rouen and Ap. of Bayonne, circ. A.D. 900.
S. Leo Luke, Ab. of Muletta, in Calabria, circ. A.D. 900.
S. Rudesind, B. of Dumium, in Portugal, A.D. 977.
B. Roger, Abp. of Bourges, A.D. 1368.
B. Bonavita, C. Blacksmith of Lugo, in Italy, A.D. 1375.



[Spanish Martyrologies. Not in the Roman.]

Hesychius is traditionally said to have been one of seven apostles sent by S. Peter into Spain. He is supposed to have preached in the neighbourhood of Gibraltar, and to have made Carteja, or Carcesia, the modern Algeziras, his head-quarters. Nothing authentic is known of this mission, or of his labours and martyrdom.



(2ND1 CENT.)

[Greek Menĉa, and Roman Martyrology. This saint does not occur in any of the ancient Latin Martyrologies. Her name was inserted in the Roman Martyrology by Baronius. She is called Eudoxia or Eudocia. Authority:—An ancient Greek Life which, however, from its using the word homo-ousios, and calling the Prĉtor, Count, proves to be later than the times of Constantine. The story has a foundation of fact, no doubt; but a large amount of addition to it has been made of fabulous matter, to convert it into a religious romance.]

There was a Samaritan woman named Eudocia, of great beauty, who lived as a harlot, in the city of Heliopolis, in Phœnicia. She had amassed much wealth by her shameful mode of life, and she thought only of how she might gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. But the word of God is like a hammer that breaketh the rocks in pieces.

There was a monk, named Germanus, passing through the city, and he lodged with an acquaintance next door to the house of Eudocia. And in the middle of the night he arose, as was his wont, and sang his Psalms, and, opening a book began, by the light of his lamp, to read a spiritual lecture with a loud voice. And this happened to be its subject,—the coming of Jesus Christ on the clouds of heaven to judge all men according to their works, when they that have done well shall enter into life, and they that have done evil shall be cast into eternal fire. Now, it fell out that there was only a lath and plaster wall between the room where the monk was and that in which Eudocia lay. And when he began to sing she awoke, wondering, and listened, annoyed at first at the disturbance, but afterwards interested and alarmed. Then, when she heard him read3 the sentence of God on sinners, she was filled with remorse for the past, present shame, and fear for the future. And when morning dawned, she sent for the monk, and she asked him if that was true which he had read during the night. He answered that it was so. Then looking round, and wondering at the costly furniture and luxuries that abounded, he said simply, "What a rich man thy husband must be!" Then she reddened with shame, and said, in a low voice, "I have many lovers, but no husband." "Oh, my daughter," cried Germanus, "Would'st thou rather be poor now, and live in joy and glory hereafter, or be wealthy now and perish miserably in everlasting death?" Then Eudocia said, "How hard thy God must be to hate riches." "God forbid," exclaimed the monk, "it is not riches that He abhors, but goods unjustly gotten." Then he declared to her in order what she must do and believe to be saved. "And first, send for a priest of the city who may give thee proper instruction, that thou mayest be baptized, for baptism is the beginning and the foundation of the whole Christian life. And now, prepare thyself with fasting and prayer."

So Eudocia bade her servants close the house, as though she had gone into her country villa, and should any one come to the door, refuse him admission. And she sent for a priest, and when he came she said, "Oh, sir! I am a grievous sinner, a sea of guilt." "Be of good cheer, my daughter," was his salutation. "The sea of guilt may be changed into a port of salvation, and the waves tossing with passion sink into an ineffable calm." Then he instructed her on the nature of repentance, and bade her wear a mean dress, putting away her trinkets and silk gown, and fast for seven days; and he diligently taught her what she must believe and do. And before he went on his way, Germanus visited her once again, to confirm the good work that was begun in her. Then she asked him why he lived4 in the desert, and in the practice of severe mortification. "Oh, my daughter," he said; "We monks labour incessantly to cleanse from every spot of sin the garments of our souls." And she said, "I have now fasted and eaten nothing for seven days. And I will declare to thee what befel me last night. In my exhaustion I sank into a trance, and saw, and lo! an angel took me by the hand, and led me into Heaven, where was unspeakable light, and there I saw the blessed ones in white, with shining faces, and all their countenances lit up as I approached, and they came running towards me, and greeted me, even me, as a sister. Then there came up a shadow, horrible and black, and it shrieked, saying, 'This woman is mine. I have used her to destroy many, she has worked for me as a bond slave, and shall she be saved? I, for one little disobedience, was cast out of heaven, and here is this beast, steeped from head to foot in pollution, admitted to the company of the elect! Have done with this; take them all, scrape all the rascals and harlots on earth together, and admit them into your society. I will off into my Hell, and grovel there in fire for ever.' And then I heard a voice from the ineffable light answer and say, 'God willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live.' And after that the angel took me by the hand and led me home again, and saying to me, 'There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,' signed me thrice with the cross, and vanished."

Then Germanus rejoiced, and bade Eudocia be of good courage, and continue in the good path she had elected to walk in.

Now, when the time of her preparation was over, Eudocia was baptized by the bishop, Theodotus, and when the sacrament of illumination had been administered, she went home and made an inventory of all that she had, and5 sent it to the bishop. And when Theodotus had looked at it he went to her house, and said, "What is this little book that thou hast sent me?" And she answered, "This is the list of all my precious things, which I pray thy holiness to order the steward of the Church to receive of me, and distribute, as seemeth fitting, to those that have need." Then the bishop did as he was desired, and the Church treasurer came, and collected, and disposed of all her costly things. It may interest some to know what these were. Besides money, and jewels, and pearls, of which there was great store, he carried off two hundred and seventy-five boxes of silk dresses, and four hundred and ten chests of linen, one hundred and sixty boxes of gowns embroidered with gold, one hundred and fifty cases of dresses with jewelled work, one hundred and twenty-three large chests of various garments, twelve boxes of musk, thirty-three of Indian storax, a large number of silver vessels, several silk curtains ornamented with gold bullion, satin curtains, and many other things too numerous to mention.2

Now, as soon as all her valuables had been distributed to the most needy, Eudocia, still in her white baptismal robe, departed into the desert to a convent of thirty nuns directed by Germanus, the monk, who had been the means of converting her. And never did she change the colour or character of her garment till her dying day; only in winter she put over it a sackcloth gown to her ankles, and a hooded cloak of the same material.

Thirteen months after her admission, the superior of the convent died, and Germanus appointed the penitent Eudocia to be superior in her room.

There was a young man, who had been a lover of Eudocia,6 who was greatly vexed at her conversion, and resolved, partly out of passion, and partly out of love of adventure, to seek her out in her seclusion, and entice her back into the world of pleasure. To accomplish his object he assumed a monastic habit, and went to the convent, and tapped at the door. The portress partly opened the window, and, peeping through it, asked who was there. Then the man answered, after the manner of monks, "I am a sinner, and seek to communicate in your prayers and benedictions." Then the sister answered, "Thou art mistaken in coming here. No men are admitted into the house. But go on thy way, and thou wilt find a monastery governed by the blessed Germanus; he will take thee in." Then she shut the window in his face.

The young man, whose name was Philostratus, made his way to the monastery of Germanus, and he found the old man sitting in the porch, reading. He fell at his feet, and declared himself a sinner, who desired to amend his life. Germanus looked hard at him, and a certain wantonness of the eye made him hesitate about receiving him. "We are all old men here," said he; "and are not the proper advisers and guides of a hot-headed, fire-blooded youth. Go elsewhere my son, and get a director who is nearer thine age." "My father!" exclaimed the dissembler, "How cans't thou reject me, after that thou hast received Eudocia. She has passed through the fires of temptation such as assail youth, and could well advise me. Let her give me some counsel, and I will go my way strengthened thereby."

Germanus had acted somewhat injudiciously in appointing a reclaimed harlot to be superior of a sisterhood after only thirteen months' probation; he now committed another indiscretion in allowing the strange monk ingress into the convent. But he was guileless himself, and thought no evil of another, so he listened to the petition of Philostratus,7 and calling to him the monk who offered the incense in the convent, and was, therefore, allowed to enter it, bade him take with him the stranger, and give him audience of the superior. So Philostratus was led back to the convent, and the door was opened, and he was admitted into the room of Eudocia, some of the sisters standing afar off, according to the rule of the house, to witness the meeting, though out of hearing of the conversation. Then Philostratus looked at the sordid room, and the horsehair cover thrown over the pallet bed, and the haggard cheeks and sunken eyes of his former mistress, and he burst forth into entreaties that she would leave this wretched life of constant self-watching and self-denial, and return to the gaiety of city life, smart gowns, and pearl necklaces, costly feasts, and obsequious admirers. "All Heliopolis awaits thee," he urged, "ready once more to lavish on thee its gold and its adulation; return once more to the raptures and liberty of a life of pleasure."

But she had chosen that better part which was not to be taken away from her, and she resisted all his persuasion, and dismissed him, startled, humbled, and resolved to lead a better life.

So far the story of Eudocia is natural and devoid of improbabilities. But the Greek writer was not content to leave it thus deficient in marvels, and he has added several chapters of fanciful adventures, as insipid as they are untrue; and the contrast they make with the earlier portion of the history, and of the final chapter, points them out as an interpolation. In this interpolation Eudocia converts "King" Aurelian at Heliopolis, and appears before the governor, Diogenes, armed only with a particle of the Holy Eucharist, which she bears in her bosom. The king orders her to be stripped, and when she has been divested of her clothes, till the Host is exposed, then the B. Sacrament is8 suddenly transmuted into a blazing fire, which consumes the governor and all the bystanders, and an angel veils modestly the naked shoulders and bosom of Eudocia.

The sudden extinction of a governor could hardly have been passed over by profane history had it really occurred, and, therefore, the falsifier of the Acts found it advisable to revive him. Accordingly, Eudocia is represented as taking the charred corpses by the hand and restoring them instantly to perfect soundness.

But putting aside this absurd story, which is to be found repeated ad nauseam in almost all the forged and falsified Greek Acts of martyrdoms, with slight variations, we pass to the last chapter of the Life, which simply narrates the execution, by the sword, of Eudocia in her convent, by order of Valerius, the governor, without any sermons, inflated declamations, and theological disquisitions, such as usually accompany corrupted, interpolated acts, and are an invariable feature in forgeries.



[Greek Menĉa, and Menologium of the Emperor Basil. Inserted in the Roman Martyrology by Baronius. Authority:—The account in the Menologium.]

Antonina is said to have lived in the city of Nicĉa, in the reign of Maxentius. On account of her refusal to offer incense to the gods she was stripped of her clothes, hung up, and her sides torn with rakes. Then she was thrust into a sack, or earthen vessel (it is uncertain which), and was drowned in a lake near the city. A head and body are shown at Bologna as those of S. Antonina, "but whether of this one or of another we are not able to divine," say the9 Bollandists. A curious instance of the facility with which some forgeries may be detected is connected with S. Antonina. Canisius published an edition of the Greek Menologium in the 16th century; in it occurred a mistake. S. Antonina was stated to have suffered at Cĉa, a misprint for Nicĉa. Shortly after, the Jesuit, Hieronymus Romanus de Higuera, forged a chronicle of Flavius Dexter, Bishop of Barcelona, in the 4th century. He had seen the Menologium of Canisius, and, as there was a Ceija in Spain, he inserted S. Antonina in his Spanish Chronicle as having suffered there, and this blunder was partly the means of the detection of the forgery.


(ABOUT A.D. 460.)

[Greek Menologium. Authority:—Theodoret.]

Theodoret, after relating the virtues of S. Maro the hermit, (Feb. 14th) goes on to tell of a holy virgin, named Domnina, who lived in a small shed, and attended prayers in the Church at cock-crow. She was emaciated with continuous fasting; she neither looked at any one, nor suffered her own face to be seen. Whenever she took the hand of Theodoret, the bishop, to kiss it, he drew it away moistened with her tears. She spent her time, when not engaged in prayer, in ministering to the necessities of travellers.



(A.D. 544.)

[Roman, Irish, Scotch, and ancient Anglican Martyrologies. His festival was celebrated in England with rulers of the choir, and nine lessons. Pope Callixtus II. ordered him to be venerated throughout the Christian world. There are no very ancient accounts of S. David, The oldest is a life existing in MS. at Utrecht, which was not known to Usher or Colgan. Usher cites Ricimer, Giraldus, and John of Tynemouth, a Durham priest, who collected the Acts of the English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish Saints, and who lived in 1360. Ricimer was Bishop of S. David's about 1085, and died about 1096. His life of S. David seems to have been the foundation of all subsequent biographies of that saint. Several MSS. of this life are extant; and a portion of it containing matter not found in the life of the same saint by Giraldus Cambrensis, was printed by Wharton in the Anglia Sacra. Giraldus Cambrensis wrote his life of S. David about 1177. S. Kentigern (d. 590) mentions S. David, and there are numerous allusions to him in the lives of contemporary Welsh and Irish saints.]

S. David, or Dewi, as the Welsh call him, was born about 446, at Mynyw, which was named S. David's after him. His father was Sandde, son of Ceredig, who was the son of Cunedda, the great conqueror of N. Wales. His mother's name was Nôn; she was the daughter of Gynyr of Caergawch. Giraldus says he was baptized at Porth Clais by Alveas, Bishop of Munster, "who by divine providence had arrived at that time from Ireland." The same author says he was brought up at "Henmenen," which is probably the Roman station Menapia.

S. David was educated under Iltyt at Caerworgon. He was afterward ordained priest, and studied the Scriptures for ten years with Paulinus at Ty-gwyn-ar Dâf, or Whitland, in Caermarthenshire. He then retired for prayer and study to the Vale of Ewias, where he raised a chapel, and a cell on the site now occupied by Llanthony Abbey. The river Honddu furnished him with drink, the mountain pastures with meadow-leek for food. His legendary history states11 that he was advised by an angel to move from under the shadow of the Black Mountains to the vale of Rhos, and to found a monastery at Mynyw, his birth place.


March 1.

He built a monastery on the boggy land which forms nearly the lowest point of that basin-shaped glen: on, or near its site stands the present Cathedral of S. David. He practised the same rigorous austerities as before. Water was his only drink, and he rigorously abstained from animal food. He devoted himself wholly to prayer, study, and to the training of his disciples. He, like many other abbots at that time, was promoted to the episcopate. A wild legend makes him to have started on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and to have received consecration at the hands of the patriarch John III. This tale was invented by some British monk to show that the Welsh bishops traced their succession to the oldest, if not the most powerful, of the patriarchates. Except when compelled by unavoidable necessity he kept aloof from all temporal concerns. He was reluctant even to attend the Synod of Brefi. This was convened by Dubricius about 519 at Llandewi Brefi, in Cardiganshire, to suppress the Pelagian heresy, which was once more raising its head. The synod was composed of bishops, abbots, and religious of different orders, together with princes and laymen. Giraldus says, "When many discourses had been delivered in public, and were ineffectual to reclaim the Pelagians from their error, at length Paulinus, a bishop with whom David had studied in his youth, very earnestly entreated that the holy, discreet, and eloquent man might be sent for. Messengers were therefore despatched to desire his attendance: but their importunity was unavailing with the holy man, he being so fully and intently given up to contemplation, that urgent necessity alone could induce him to pay any regard to temporal or secular concerns. At last two holy men,12 Daniel and Dubricius, persuaded him to come. After his arrival, such was the grace and eloquence with which he spoke, that he silenced the opponents, and they were utterly vanquished. But Father David, by common consent of all, whether clergy or laity, (Dubricius having resigned in his favour), was elected primate of the Cambrian Church." Dubricius retired to the Isle of Bardsey.

A beautiful yet wild legend tells us:—"While S. David's speech continued, a snow white dove descending from heaven sat upon his shoulders; and moreover the earth on which he stood raised itself under him till it became a hill, from whence his voice was heard like a trumpet, and was understood by all, both near and far off: on the top of which hill a church was afterwards built, and remains to this day."

S. David at first strenuously declined the primacy; at last he accepted it on the condition that he was to be allowed to transfer the archiepiscopal chair from the busy city of Caerleon upon the Usk—the former capital of Britannia Secunda—to the quiet retreat of Mynyw. Arthur, the famous king, and Pendragon, who is said to have been a nephew of our saint, assented to this. Doubtless the advances westward which the heathen English were making, filled S. David with dread lest the seat of the primacy should one day fall into their hands. So he thought it prudent to remove it to the iron-bound shores of Pembroke, where the English could not so easily land.

After his elevation, S. David, in spite of his retiring disposition, proved a vigorous and hard-working prelate. He occasionally resided at Caerleon, and in 529 he convened a synod, which exterminated the Pelagian heresy, and was in consequence named "The Synod of Victory." It ratified the canons and decrees of Brefi, as well as a code of rules which he had drawn up for the regulation of13 the British Church, a copy of which remained in the Cathedral of S. David's until it was lost in an incursion of pirates. Giraldus says, "In his times, in Cambria, the Church of God flourished exceedingly, and ripened with much fruit every day. Monasteries were built everywhere; many congregations of the faithful of various orders were collected to celebrate with fervent devotion the Sacrifice of Christ. But to all of them Father David, as if placed on a lofty eminence, was a mirror and pattern of life. He informed them by words, and he instructed them by example; as a preacher he was most powerful through his eloquence, but more so in his works. He was a doctrine to his hearers, a guide to the religious, a light to the poor, a support to the orphans, a protection to widows, a father to the fatherless, a rule to monks, and a path to seculars, being made all things to all men that he might bring all to God."

He founded several churches and monasteries. It is also generally agreed that Wales was first divided into dioceses in his time.

Geoffrey of Monmouth states that he died in his monastery at Mynyw i.e., S. David's, where he was honourably buried by order of Maelgwn Gwynedd. This event is recorded by him as if it happened soon after the death of Arthur, who died 542. According to the computations of Archbishop Usher, S. David died 544, aged 82. The Bollandists agree with Usher on the date of his death, but they put his birth back as far as 446, so that according to their calculation he lived to the age of 98.

Numerous legends have gathered round the history of S. David. Thus an angel is said to have foretold his birth thirty years before to his father in a dream. "On the morrow, said the angelic voice, thou wilt slay a stag by a river side, and wild find three gifts there, to wit, the stag, a14 fish, and a honeycomb. Thou shalt give part of these to the son who shall be born thirty years hence. The honeycomb proclaims his honied wisdom, the fish, his life on bread and water, the stag his dominion over the old serpent." The mention of the stag doubtless arose from the old fancy that that animal kills serpents by trampling on them: thus did David trample the Pelagian heresy under foot. When S. Patrick settled in the vale of Rhos, a voice bade him depart, for it was reserved for the abode of a child who should be born thirty years after.

At his baptism, S. David splashed some water on to the blind eyes of the bishop who was baptizing him, and restored their power of sight. His schoolfellows at "Henmenen" saw a dove teaching him, and singing hymns with him. After studying with Paulinus, he journeyed to Glastonbury. He was intending to dedicate afresh the church which had been re-built, when the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and told him that He had already dedicated it: as a sign that He had spoken unto him He pierced the saint's hand with His fingers. So our saint contented himself with building a Lady Chapel at the east end. He is said to have founded twelve monasteries on this journey. He returned to Wales, and then established a monastery at Mynyw, which was soon filled with monks and disciples. They worked hard with their own hands in the fields; they harnessed themselves to the plough instead of using oxen for that purpose; they tended bees that they might have some honey to give to the sick and the poor. The bees became so attached to one monk, Modemnoc, that they followed him on board ship when he was about to set sail for Ireland. He returned to the monastery and made several attempts to embark unobserved by his winged friends; but all his efforts failed. So at last he asked S. David's leave to take them with him; the saint blessed15 the bees, and bade them depart in peace, and be fruitful and multiply in their new home. Thus Ireland, where bees had been hitherto unable to live, was enriched by their honey.

He opened many fountains in dry places, healed many brackish streams, raised many dead to life, and had many visions of God and of Angels. In one of these visions he was warned that he should depart, March 1st. Thenceforth he was more zealous in the discharge of his duty: on the Sunday before his death he preached a sermon to the assembled people, and after consecrating and receiving the Lord's Body, he was seized with a sudden pain: then turning to the people he said, "Brethren, persevere in the things which ye have heard of me: on the third day hence I go the way of my fathers." On that day, while the clergy were singing the Matin Office, he had a vision of his Lord; then, exulting in spirit, he exclaimed, "Raise me after Thee." With these words he breathed his last.

He was canonized by Pope Callixtus II., A.D. 1120; who is also said to have granted an indulgence to all those who made a pilgrimage to his shrine. Three kings of England—William the Conqueror, Henry II., and Edward I.—are said to have undertaken the journey, which when twice repeated was deemed equal to one pilgrimage to Rome; whence arose this saying:—

"Roma semel quantum, dat bis Menevia tantum."

A noble English matron, Elswida, in the reign of Edgar, transferred his relics, probably in 964, from S. David's to Glastonbury.

S. David's plain but empty shrine stands now in the choir of S. David's Cathedral to the north of Edward Tudor's altar tomb.



(ABOUT A.D. 549.)

[S. Albinus seems to have enjoyed an amount of popularity as a saint which it is difficult to account for. Besides receiving great veneration at Angers, where his feast is a double, and in Brittany, where it is a semi-double, in Gnesen, in Poland, it was observed as a double. His name appears in most Martyrologies, as those of Usuardus, Hrabanus, Wandelbert, &c. Authority:—His life written by Fortunatus, a priest, his contemporary.]

S. Albinus, or S. Aubin, as he is called in France, belonged to an ancient family at Vannes, in Brittany. He embraced the religious life in the abbey of Cincillac, called afterwards Tintillant, near Angers. At the age of thirty-five, in the year 504, he was chosen abbot, and twenty-five years afterwards, bishop of Angers. In the 3rd Council of Orleans, in 538, he caused the thirtieth canon of the Epaone to be revived, which declared excommunication to those who contracted marriage within the first or second degree of consanguinity. His life is singularly devoid of incident which could mark it off from that of many another abbot and bishop, and it is therefore difficult to account for his undoubted popularity in France in ancient times.


(A.D. 713.)

[Ado, Usuardus, Molanus, Belgian, and Cologne Martyrologies, Gallican and Roman Martyrologies. Authorities:—Bede, lib. V. C. 12; and the life of S. Willibrod. There exists a forged life of S. Swibert, under the name of Marcellinus, which was composed in the 15th century, and which is undeserving of attention. S. Swibert is called the Elder to17 distinguish him from S. Swibert, B. of Verden, in Westphalia, in 807. (April 30); there was also another Swibert about 750, abbot in Cumberland, mentioned by Bede. Many writers have confounded together S. Swibert the Elder, and S. Swibert the Younger.]

S. Swibert was a Northumbrian monk who had been trained under S. Egbert, whom he accompanied to Ireland. Egbert desired greatly the conversion of Friesland, but was unable himself to attempt it, and his zeal communicated itself to his disciple Swibert, and when S. Willibrord sailed in 690 for that country, Swibert, at Egbert's desire, accompanied him. They landed at the mouth of the Rhine, at Katwyck, and Willibrord established his head quarters at Utrecht. Two years before, Pepin l'Herstall had conquered Radbod, king of Frisia, and had obliged him to ask peace, and abandon to the mayor of the palace his most important possessions, amongst others the whole basin between the Meuse and the Rhine, where stand now the town of Leyden, Delft, Gouda, Brill, and Dortrecht, as well as the city of Utrecht.

Finding it difficult to make headway against the superstitions of paganism, Willibrord appealed to the authority of Pepin, who sent Willibrord to Rome to receive mission and benediction for his work from the Holy See. On his return, success declared for the apostles, and four years after, Pepin sent Willibrord again to Rome with letters praying the pope to ordain him bishop to the nation he had converted. Pope Sergius consecrated him in 696, and Willibrord fixed his see at Utrecht, of which he was the first bishop. In the meantime, Swibert had been labouring in Hither Friesland, or the southern part of Holland, the northern part of Brabant, and the counties of Guelders and Cleves, with great success. In 697, Swibert was in England, probably in quest of fellow-helpers for the harvest, for the fields were white thereto, and he received episcopal18 consecration from the hands of S. Wilfred of York, then in banishment from his see. Swibert, invested with this sacred character, returned to his flock, and committing them to the care of S. Willibrord, penetrated further up the Rhine, and preached to the Boructarii, a people living below Cologne, with success. But the Saxons invading the country, swept away his work, and he retired into the islet of Kaiserwerth in the Rhine, which Pepin had given him, where he founded a monastery, which flourished for many ages, till it was converted into a collegiate church of secular canons.

His relics were found in 1626, at Kaiserwerth, in a silver shrine, and there are preserved and venerated.


(A.D. 874.)

[Aberdeen Breviary.]

S. Adrian, bishop of S. Andrews, trained the holy man from his childhood, and appointed him to be his archdeacon. He afterwards sent him to preach the Gospel in the island of May, at the mouth of the Frith of Forth; he then went into Fife. The Church suffered severely from the incursions of the Northmen who ravaged the coasts, burning churches and monasteries, robbing them of their sacred vessels, and carrying off the unfortunate people captive. S. Monan is said by Butler to have been martyred by these invaders, but this is inaccurate. There is no evidence that he died any other than a peaceful death. He was buried at Inverny.

S. RUDESIND. After Cahier.

March 1.



(ABOUT A.D. 900.)

[Gallican Martyrology; on this day at Bayonne. By Saussaye and Ferrarius on March 3rd. Authority:—Two lives of no great antiquity, one written shortly after 1293.]

Leo, Gervase, and Philip, were the three sons of pious parents in the North of France; Leo was elected to be archbishop of Rouen, but resigned his government of the diocese into the hands of vicars, and betook himself with his two brothers to Bayonne, where Christianity had made but small progress, much heathen superstition remained, and a colony of Moors had settled there. He was well received, and succeeded in making many converts, but was killed by some pirates who had lived in the town, but had been ejected by the citizens on account of their nefarious deeds. According to the legend, a spring of water bubbled up where S. Leo fell, and he arose and carried his head to the place where he had last been preaching.

He is represented in Art, at Bayonne, where he is greatly venerated, as a bishop, holding his head in his hands.


(A.D. 977.)

[Spanish and Benedictine Martyrologies. Office with twelve lections in the Coimbra Breviary. His translation is observed on Sept. 1st. Authority:—A life by Brother Stephen of Cella-nuova, about 1180.]

The Blessed Rudesind was the son of a Count Gutierre da Mendenez, in Gallicia. His mother is said to have had a foretoken of the sanctity of the child that was about to be given her, whilst praying in the Church of S. Salvador on Mount Corduba. When the child was born, she desired20 to have him baptised in the church, but as there was no font there, one had to be brought up the hill in a cart. The cart broke down, says the popular legend, however, the font continued its journey without it. The child grew up to be a good man, and he was appointed to the bishopric of Dumium, a see which has ceased to exist. His kinsman, Sisnand, bishop of Compostella, was a scandal to the Church, "spending all his time in sports, excesses, and vanities, and paying no attention to his duties." Wherefore, at the request of the king, Sancho, and the nobles and people, Rudesind undertook the government of it, and Sancho put Sisnand in prison. During the absence of the king against the Moors, the Normans invaded Gallicia, whereupon the bishop called together an army, marched against them, and drove them back to their ships, and then turned his arms against the Moors, and routed them. On the death of Sancho, Sisnand escaped from prison, attacked Rudesind on Christmas night, whilst engaged with the canons in the sacred offices, and threatened him, sword in hand, unless he resigned the see. Rudesind at once laid aside his office, and retired into a monastery, where he assumed the habit, and after some years was chosen abbot.

Lichfield Cathedral. See page 23.


March 2.

SS. Martyrs, under the Emperor Alexander at Rome, circ. A.D. 219.
SS. Jovinus and Basileus, MM. at Rome, circ. A.D. 258.
SS. Ducius, B.M., Absalom, Largius, Herolus, Primitius, and Januarius, MM. at Cĉsarea in Cappadocia.
SS. Paul, Heraclius, Secundola, Januaria, and Luciosa, MM. in the Port of Rome.
S. Simplicius, Pope of Rome, A.D. 483.
S. Joavan, P. at S. Paul de Leon, 6th. cent.
SS. Martyrs, under the Lombards, in Italy, circ. A.D. 579.
S. Ceadda, or Chad, B. of Lichfield, A.D. 672.
S. Willeich, P. at Keiser-werdt, on the Rhine, circ. A.D. 726.
B. Charles the Good, M., Count of Flanders, A.D. 1127.


(CIRC. A.D. 219.)

Nearly all the Latin Martyrologies commemorate these martyrs, without giving their names. Baronius added to the Roman Martyrology, that they suffered under Ulpian the prĉfect; this was a conjecture of his, for Ulpian was bitterly hostile to the Christians, and it was under him that S. Martina (Jan. 1st) suffered. Alexander himself, only seventeen when he came to the throne, was of mild disposition, and the reins of government were in the hands of his mother Mamĉa, who, with the approbation of the senate, chose sixteen of the wisest and most virtuous senators as a council of state, and at the head of this placed the learned Ulpian, a prudent governor, and severe disciplinarian, who could not brook that certain citizens should worship God in any way than that of the established religion, and looked on Christianity as a dangerous political element in the state, which demanded extirpation.



(A.D. 483.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities:—Evagrius, Hist. Eccl., and his own letters.]

S. Simplicius was born at Tivoli, and succeeded S. Hilary in the papal throne, in 468. He strongly resisted the Emperor Leo, who desired to elevate the patriarch of Constantinople to the second rank in the Church, above the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria. He was also engaged in controversy with Acacius of Constantinople concerning the appointment of Peter Mongus to the see of Alexandria. After having governed the Church in most difficult and stormy times, Simplicius died on March 2nd, in the year 483; and was buried in S. Peter's.



[Venerated in Brittany. Authorities:—A Life by Albert Le Grand, and the lections of the Church of S. Paul de Léon. Albert Le Grand wrote his life in 1623, from old MSS. histories and legends preserved at Léon in his time.]

This saint was an Irishman by birth, and nephew of S. Paul de Léon. He studied with his uncle in Britain, and then returned to Ireland, but hearing that S. Paul had gone into Brittany, he departed for that country, and after having passed his noviciate in the monastery of Llanaterenecan, under S. Judulus, he departed to Léon, and received priest's orders from his uncle, who appointed him to the isle of Baz. He is patron of two parishes in the diocese of S. Paul de Léon.



(CIRC. A.D. 579.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—The Dialogues of S. Gregory the Great, lib. iii.]

The Lombards in their ravages of the North of Italy put to death forty husbandmen, who refused to eat meats they had offered to their idols, and about four hundred who refused to pay reverence to the head of a goat, which they regarded with a peculiar veneration.


(A.D. 672.)

[Roman, Anglican, Scottish, and Irish Martyrologies. Authorities:—A life is given by Bede, lib. 3, cap. 23, 24, 28; Lib. 4, cap. 2, 3, also in a MS. printed in the Monasticon, and a Metrical Life attributed to Robert of Gloucester.]

S. Chad or Ceadda was, perhaps, the youngest of the four brothers, Cedd, Cynebil, and Celin, all of whom were eminent priests. Our saint has sometimes been confounded with his brother Cedd, bishop among the East Saxons, whose life was related on January 7th. We know neither the date nor the place of his birth. It is certain he was an Angle, and a native of Northumbria, and that he flourished in the 7th century, though Dempster wishes to claim him as a Scottish, and Colgan as an Irish, saint. The date 620 A.D. has been suggested as the probable time of Chad's birth.

Bede tells us that S. Chad was a pupil of Aidan. That bishop required the young men who studied with him to spend much time in reading Holy Writ, and to learn by heart large portions of the Psalter, which they would require in their devotions.


At the death of Aidan, in 651, he went to Ireland, which was then full of men of learning and piety. The ravages of the Teutonic hordes on the continent had driven thither many illustrious foreigners. Then Ireland was fulfilling the mission ascribed to the Celtic race, that of supplying the link between Latin and Teutonic civilization. S. Chad, while in Ireland, made the acquaintance of Egbert, who was afterwards abbot of Iona.

Cedd had, at the request of Ethelwald, King of Deira, established a monastery at Lastingham, in Yorkshire. It stood just on the edge of that wide expanse of moorland which extends thirty miles inland from the coast.

Bishop Cedd returned thither from his diocese of London many years after, at a time when a plague was raging. He caught it, and whilst lying on his death-bed, bequeathed the care of the monastery to his brother, Chad, who was still in Ireland.

S. Chad, on his return, ruled the monastery with great care and prudence, and received all who sought his hospitality with kindness and humility. One day a stranger arrived at the gate, praying to be received into the brotherhood. This was Owini, lately steward of Queen Ethelreda. Tradition relates that as he pursued his toilsome journey from the fens which surrounded the abbey of Ethelreda into Yorkshire, the pilgrim erected crosses by the roadside to guide any burdened souls who might hereafter seek the same haven of rest. While quietly keeping the strict rule of S. Columba at Lastingham, our saint was summoned to the episcopate by King Oswy, of Northumbria.

But we must go back a little in our history. When the decision of the council or parliament, held at Whitby, in 664, was adverse to the Keltic rite, Cedd renounced the customs of Lindisfarne, but Colman, bishop of Lindisfarne, obstinately holding to them, withdrew from Northumbria25 into Scotland with all those who were willing to follow him. Tuda succeeded him in the pontificate of Northumbria, but died soon after.


March 2.

"In the meanwhile," says Bede, "King Alchfrid (of Deira) sent Wilfrid the priest to the king of the Gauls, to have him consecrated bishop for himself and his subjects. Now he sent him to be ordained to Agilbert, of whom we said above that he left Britain, and was made bishop of the city of Paris. Wilfrid was consecrated, A.D. 665, by him with great pomp; many bishops coming together for that purpose in a village belonging to the king (Clothair III. of Neustria) called Compiegne. While he was still making some stay abroad, after his ordination, king Oswy, following the example of his son, sent to Kent a holy man of modest character, sufficiently well read in the Scriptures, and diligently carrying out into practice what he had learnt from the Scriptures, to be ordained bishop of the Church at York. Now this was a priest named Ceadda (Chad), brother of the most reverend prelate Cedd, of whom we have made frequent mention, and abbot of the monastery called Lastingham. The king also sent with him his own priest, Eadhed by name, who was afterwards, in the reign of Egfrid, made bishop of the Church of Ripon. But when they arrived in Kent, they found that Archbishop Deusdedit had departed this life, and that no other prelate was as yet appointed in his place. Whereupon they turned aside to the province of the West Saxons, where Wini was bishop, and by him the above-mentioned person was consecrated bishop; two bishops of the British nation, who kept Easter Sunday according to canonical custom from the 14th to the 20th day of the moon, being associated with him; for at that time there was no other bishop in all Britain canonically ordained, except Wini.

"Chad then, being consecrated a bishop, began at once26 to devote himself to ecclesiastical truth and to chastity; to apply himself to the practice of humility, continence, and study; to travel about, not on horseback, but after the manner of the apostles, on foot, to preach the gospel in the towns, the open country, cottages, villages, and castles; for he was one of the disciples of Aidan, and endeavoured to instruct his hearers by the same actions and behaviour, according to his master's example and that of his own brother Cedd. Wilfrid also, who had already been made a bishop, coming into Britain, A.D. 666, in like manner by his doctrine brought into the English Church many rules of Catholic observance. Whence it came to pass that the Catholic institutions daily gained strength, and all the Scots that dwelt in England either conformed to these or returned into their own country."

This is Bede's account of the consecration of Wilfrid and Chad. At that time the diocese of York comprised the whole of Northumbria, including the south of Scotland. Under Oswald the see of Lindisfarne—the Iona of the Anglo-Saxons—was founded, containing within its jurisdiction the kingdom of Bernicia, until the establishment by Theodore of another see at Hexham. The writer of Wilfrid's life tells us that he objected to being consecrated by the English bishops, inasmuch as they were converts to the Scottish calculation regarding the celebration of Easter, or had received consecration from those who were of that opinion. Though Wini, who had been consecrated in Gaul, cannot be placed in either of these classes, yet Wilfrid knew he would summon to assist him two bishops who belonged to one of them; hence his preference for Gaul. Wilfrid's delay in Gaul, perhaps, excited the King's suspicions that he, like his friend Agilbert, was seeking a mitre there; or it may be that the king, influenced by the Scottish party (who could not forgive Wilfrid for the victory he27 gained over them at Whitby), consented to the election of Chad to the see.

Chad has been severely censured for accepting the bishopric under these circumstances. It may be, however, that he, stirred by sorrow at seeing the diocese left without a head, and doubting too, perhaps, whether Wilfrid would return, adopted this course, which may be condemned as uncanonical.

S. Chad is commemorated in some Breviaries as an archbishop. But he was only a bishop, for that dignity had fallen into abeyance from the time that Paulinus fled into Kent. But though no suffragans acknowledged Chad as their superior, he had ample scope for the most abundant energy. We have given above Bede's account of his untiring labours; let us now hear that of the metrical Life attributed to Robert of Gloucester.

He endeavoured earnestly, night and day, when he had thither come,
To guard well holy Church, and to uphold Christendom.
He went into all his bishopric, and preacht full fast,
Much of that folk, through his word, to God their hearts cast,
All afoot he travelled about, nor kept he any state,
Rich man though he was made he reckoned there of little great.
The Archbishop of York had not him used to go
To preach about on his feet, nor another none the mo,
They ride upon their palfreys, lest they should spurn their toe,
But riches and worldly state doth to holy Church woe.

Theodore, the new archbishop of Canterbury, arrived in England in A.D. 669. "Soon after," says Bede, "he visited the whole island, wherever the tribes of the Angles dwelt, for he was willingly entertained and heard by all persons; and everywhere he taught the right rule of life, and the canonical custom of celebrating Easter. He was the first archbishop whom all the English Church obeyed."

Visiting Northumbria, he charged Chad with not being duly consecrated. The saint replied with great humility,28 "If thou knowest that I have not duly received the episcopate, I willingly resign the office, for I never thought myself worthy of it; but, though unworthy, I consented to undertake it for obedience sake." Theodore hearing his humble answer, said that he should not resign the episcopate, but he himself completed his ordination again after the Roman manner. He probably advised Chad to resign his see to Wilfrid, for we next hear of our saint in retirement at Lastingham.

In 669, Jaruman, bishop of the Mercians, died. King Wulfhere asked Theodore to send them a bishop. The archbishop did not wish to consecrate a fresh one, so he begged King Oswy to let Chad, who was then at Lastingham, be their bishop. Theodore knowing that it was Chad's custom to go about the work of the gospel on foot, rather than on horseback, bade our saint ride whenever he had a long journey to perform, but, finding Chad unwilling to comply, the archbishop with his own hands lifted him on horseback, for he thought him a holy man, and obliged him to ride wherever he had need to go.

Though Chad was bishop of Lindisfarne for so short a time, he left his mark on the affections of the people, for we find that at least one chantry was dedicated in his name at York Minster. Soon after his election to the bishopric of the Mercians, he set out for Repton in Derbyshire, where Diuma, the first bishop of the Mercians, had established his see.

Whether our saint desired a more central position for the episcopal see, or was influenced by the wish to do honour to a spot enriched with the blood of martyrs, Bede does not tell us, but Chad established the Mercian see at Lichfield, then called Licetfield, or the Field of the Dead, where one thousand British Christians are said to have been put to death.


His new diocese was not much less in extent than that of Northumbria. It comprised seventeen counties, and stretched from the banks of the Severn to the shores of the German Ocean. Theodore, years afterwards, detached from it the sees of Worcester, Leicester, Lindesey (in Lincolnshire), and Hereford. Though it was far beyond the power of one man to administer it effectually, yet Bede witnesses that "Chad took care to administer the same with great rectitude of life, according to the example of the ancients. King Wulfhere also gave him land of fifty families to build a monastery at the place called Ad Barve, i.e., 'At the wood,' in the province of Lindesey, wherein monks of the regular life instituted by him continue to this day." "Ad Barve" is conjectured by Smith, of Durham, to be Barton-on-Humber, where there is still standing a very ancient church, admitted by Rickman to be partly Saxon, dedicated to S. Peter.

After fixing his see at Lichfield, Bede tells us "he built himself a habitation not far from the Church, wherein he was wont to pray and read with seven or eight of the brethren, as often as he had any spare time from the labour and ministry of the Word. When he had most gloriously governed the Church in that province two years and a half, in the dispensation of the Most High Judge, there came round the time of which Ecclesiastes speaks. "There is a time to cast stones, and a time to gather them together," for a deadly sickness sent from heaven came upon that place, to transfer, by the death of the flesh, the living stones of the Church from their earthly abodes to the heavenly building. And after many of the Church of that most reverend prelate had been taken out of the flesh, his hour also drew near wherein he was to pass out of this world to our Lord. It happened that one day, Owini, a monk of great merit, the same that left his worldly30 mistress to become a subject of the heavenly king, at Lastingham, was busy labouring alone near the oratory, where the bishop was praying, the other monks having gone to the Church, this monk, I say, heard the voice of persons singing most sweetly, and rejoicing, and appearing to descend from heaven. He heard the voice approaching from the south-east, till it came to the roof of the oratory, where the bishop was, and entering therein, filled the same and all about it. After a time he perceived the same song of joy ascend from the oratory, and return heavenwards the same way it came, with inexpressible sweetness. Presently the bishop opened the window of the oratory, and, making a noise with his hand, ordered him to ask the seven brethren who were in the church, to come to him at once. When they were come, he first admonished them to preserve the virtue of peace among themselves, and towards all the faithful, also to practise indefatigably the rules of regular discipline, which they had either been taught by him or seen him observe, or had noticed in the words or actions of the former fathers. Then he added that the day of his death was at hand: 'For,' said he, 'that amiable guest who was wont to visit our brethren, has vouchsafed to come to me also to-day, and to call me out of this world. Return, therefore, to the church, and speak to the brethren, that they in their prayers recommend my passage to the Lord, and that they be careful to provide for their own, the hour whereof is uncertain, by watching, prayer, and good works.' When they, receiving his blessing, had gone away in sorrow, Owini returned alone, and casting himself on the ground prayed the bishop to tell him what that song of joy was which he heard coming to the oratory. The bishop, bidding him conceal what he had heard till after his death, said, 'They were angelic spirits, who came to call me to my heavenly reward, which I have always longed after, and31 they promised they would return seven days' hence, and take me away with them.' His languishing sickness increasing daily, on the seventh day, when he had prepared for death by receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord, his soul being delivered from the prison of the body, the angels, as may justly be believed, attending him, he departed to the joys of heaven.

"It is no wonder that he joyfully beheld the day of his death, or rather the day of our Lord, which he had always anxiously looked for till it came; for notwithstanding his many merits of continence, humility, teaching, prayer, voluntary poverty, and other virtues, he was so full of the fear of God, so mindful of his last end in all his actions, that, as I was informed by one of the brothers, who instructed me in divinity, and who had been bred in his monastery, whose name was Trumhere, if it happened that there blew a strong gust of wind, when he was reading or doing anything else, he at once called upon God for mercy, and begged it might be extended to all mankind. If it blew stronger, he, prostrating himself, prayed more earnestly. But if it proved a violent storm of wind or rain, or of thunder and lightning, he would pray and repeat Psalms in the church till the weather became calm. Being asked by his followers why he did so, he answered, 'Have ye not read,—'The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave forth His voice; yea, He sent out his arrows and scattered them, and he shot out lightnings and discomfited them.' For the Lord moves the air, raises the winds, darts lightning, and thunders from heaven to excite the inhabitants of the earth to fear Him; to put them in mind of the future judgment; to dispel their pride and vanquish their boldness, by bringing into their thoughts that dreadful time when, the heavens and the earth being in a flame, He will come in the clouds with great power and majesty, to32 judge the quick and the dead. Wherefore it behoves us to answer His heavenly admonition with due fear and love.'

"Chad died on the second of March, and was first buried by S. Mary's Church, but afterwards, when the Church of the most Holy Prince of the Apostles, Peter, was built, his bones were translated into it. In both which places as a testimony of his virtue, frequent miraculous cures are wont to be wrought. The place of the sepulchre is a wooden monument, made like a little house covered, having a hole in the wall, through which those that go thither for devotion usually put in their hand and take out some of the dust, which they put into water and give to sick cattle or men to drink, upon which they are presently eased of their infirmity and restored to health."

We have told the life of S. Chad in the reverent language of Bede, who, as he says, had some of the details direct from those who had studied under the saint. Though his episcopate was short, it was abundantly esteemed by the warm-hearted Mercians, for thirty-one churches are dedicated in his honour, all in the midland counties, and either in or near the ancient diocese of Lichfield. The first church ever built in Shrewsbury was named after him, and when the old building fell, in the year 1788, an ancient wooden figure of the patron escaped destruction, which is still preserved in the new church. The carver has represented him in his pontifical robes and a mitre, with a book in his right hand, and a pastoral staff in his left.

His well is shown at Lichfield. There was one in London called Chad's Well, the water of which was sold to valetudinarians at sixpence a glass. Doubtless, from the miracles alleged to have been wrought by mixing a little dust from his shrine with water, he got the character of patron saint of medicinal springs. At Chadshunt there was an oratory and well bearing his name. The priest received as much33 as £16 a-year from the offerings of pilgrims. Chadwell—one source of the New River—is, perhaps, a corruption for S. Chad's Well.

No writings of our saint have survived, but in Lichfield Cathedral library there is a MS. of the 7th century in Anglo-Saxon character, containing the Gospels of S. Matthew, S. Mark, and part of S. Luke, which is known by the name of Chad's Gospel.

Among the Bodleian MSS. there is an Anglo-Saxon homily for S. Chad's day, written in the Middle Anglian dialect, which stretched from Lichfield to Peterborough.

His relics were translated from the wooden shrine to the cathedral, when it was rebuilt by Bishop Roger, in honour of SS. Mary and Chad. In 1296, Walter Langton was raised to the see of Lichfield. He built the Lady Chapel, and there erected a beautiful shrine, at the enormous cost of £2,000, to receive the relics of S. Chad. This was spared by Henry VIII.

His emblem in the Clog Almanacks is a branch. Perhaps this was suggested by the Gospel, viz., S. John v., formerly read on the Feast of his Translation, which speaks of the fruitful branches of the vine. This translation was formerly celebrated with great pomp at Lichfield, on August 2nd.

As long as the virtues of chastity, humility, and a forsaking all for Christ's sake are esteemed among men, the name of the apostle of the Mercians ought not to be forgotten.

A beautiful legend formerly inscribed beneath the cloister windows of Peterborough, recorded the conversion of King Wulfhere's sons, Wulfade and Rufine, by S. Chad, and their murder by their father, for he had turned heathen again in spite of the entreaties of Queen Ermenild:—


By Queen Ermenild had King Wulfere
These twey sons that ye see here.
Wulfade rideth as he was wont,
Into the forest the hart to hunt;
Fore all his men Wulfade is gone,
And sought, himself, the hart alone.
The hart brought Wulfade to a well,
That was beside Seynt Chaddy's cell.
Wulfade asked of Seynt Chad,
Where is the hart that me hath led?
The hart that hither thee hath brought,
Is sent by Christ, that thee hath bought.
Wulfade prayed Chad, that ghostly Leech,
The faith of Christ him for to teach.
Seynt Chad teacheth Wulfade the feyth,
And words of baptism over him seyth.
Seynt Chad devoutly to mass him dight,
And hoseled Wulfade Christy's knight.
Wulfade wished Seynt Chad that day,
For his brother Rufine to pray.

The legend goes on to say that Rufine was baptized also by the saint. The king's steward, Werbode (who had been rebuked by the two princes for seeking the hand of their sister, Werburga), told Wulfere of their becoming Christians, and that they were then praying in S. Chad's oratory. The king took horse thither at once, and slew them both with his own hand. Stung with remorse, he fell ill, and was counselled by his queen to ask Chad to shrive him. As a penance the saint told him to build several abbeys, and amongst the number he completed Peterborough Minster, which his father had begun. This legend is told with very full and touching details in a Latin version printed in the Monasticon.3

The Latin version is this. King Wulfere, son of Penda the Strenuous, had been baptized many years before by B. Finan, and promised at the font, and again when he wedded35 Ermenilda, of the royal house of Kent, to destroy all the idols in his realm. He neglected to do so, and let his three sons, Wulfade, Rufine, and Kenred remain unbaptized. His beauteous daughter, Werburga, had been dedicated to Christ as a virgin by the Queen; yet, when Werbode, his chief councillor, and the chief supporter of idolatry in the realm, sought her hand in marriage, the king consented. The queen, Ermenilda, however, sharply rebuked him for his presumption. The brothers threatened him with their sore vengeance if he again preferred his low-born suit to their sister. Their disdainful words cost them dear.

While Chad was praying by a fountain near his cell, a hart, with quivering limbs and panting breath, leaped into the cooling stream. Pitying its distress, the saint covered him with boughs, then placing a rope round its neck, he let it graze in the forest. Wulfade came up, heated in the chase, and asked where the beast had gone. The saint replied, "Am I keeper of the hart? Yet, through the ministry of the hart I have become the guide of thy salvation. The hart bathing in the fountain foreshoweth to thee the laver of baptism, as the text says: As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God."

Many other things did the saint set forth about the ministry of dumb animals to the faithful. The dove from the ark told that the waters were dried up.

The young prince replied, "The things you tell me would be more likely to work faith in me if the hart you have taught to wander in the forest with the rope round its neck were to appear in answer to your prayers." The saint prostrated himself in prayer, and lo! the hart burst from the thicket. The saint exclaimed, "All things are possible to him that believeth. Hear then, and believe the faith of Christ." The saint instructed him, and baptized him. The36 next day he received the Eucharist, and went home, and told his brother Rufine that he had become a Christian. The other said, "I have long wished for baptism; I will seek holy Chad." The brothers set out together. Rufine espying the hart with the cord round its neck, gave hot chase; the animal made for the saint's cell, and leaped into the fountain as before. Rufine saw a venerable man praying near. He said, "Art thou, my lord, father Chad, guide of my brother Wulfade to salvation?" He answered, "I am." The prince earnestly desiring baptism, Chad baptized him, Wulfade holding him at the font, after the manner taught by holy Church.

Then they departed, but returned daily to him. Werbode stealthily spied their ways and doings, and told their father that they had become Christians, and were then worshipping in Chad's oratory, adding that their conversion would alienate his subjects. The king set out in anger for the cell, the queen sending Werbode before to tell the princes of his approach, that they might hide. But Werbode only looked in at the window of the oratory, and saw them praying earnestly. He returned to the king, and told him that his sons were obstinate in their purpose of worshipping Christ. The king, pale with anger, rushed towards the oratory. He threatened them with his vengeance for breaking the laws of the land by becoming Christians, and bade them renounce Christ. Wulfade replied, "They did not want to break the laws, and that the king himself once professed the faith which now he renounced. They wished to retain his fatherly affection, but no tortures could turn them from Christ." The king rushed furiously upon him, and cut off his head. His brother, Rufine, fled, but his father pursued him, and gave him a mortal wound. Thus these two departed to celestial glory. Werbode was smitten with madness when they returned to the castle and told the37 murder in the ears of all. The queen buried her sons honourably in one stone tomb, and withdrew with her daughter, Werburga, to the monastery at Sheppey, and then to that of Ely.

The king, overcome with remorse, fell dangerously ill. The queen counselled him to seek out Chad, and confess to him. Wulfere took her advice, and starting one morning with his thanes, as if to follow the chase, his attendants got scattered from him, and he was left alone. Soon he espied the meek hart with the rope round its neck; he followed its track gladly, till he came to Chad's cell. The king, approaching the oratory, espied the saint saying mass; he dared not enter till he had been shriven. When the canon began, so great a light shone through the apertures in the wall, that priest and sacrifice were covered with such splendour that the king was nearly blinded by it, for it was brighter than that of the natural sun.

The saint knew what the king wanted, so when the office was ended he hastily put off his vestments, and, thinking to lay them upon the appointed place, unwittingly hung them upon a sunbeam, for the natural sun was now streaming through the window. He found the king prostrate before the door; raising him up he heard the penitent's confession, and enjoined him as a penance, to root out idolatry, and to found monasteries.4 He then motioned to the king that he should enter the oratory and pray. Wulfere, chancing to lift up his eyes, with wonder saw the vestments hanging on the sunbeam. He rose from his knees, and, drawing near, placed his own gloves and baldric upon the beam, but they immediately fell to the ground. The king understood by this that Chad was beloved by the Sun of Righteousness, since the natural sun paid him such homage.



(A.D. 1127.)

[Hermann Greven and Molanus in their additions to Usuardus, Galesinius, Canisius, Saussaye, and the Belgian Martyrologies. Authorities:—A life by a contemporary, Walter, archdeacon of Thèrouanne, another life by Gualbert of Bruges, written about two years after the death of the count, and another by Suger, abbot of S. Denys, d. 1151.]

Charles the Good, Count of Flanders, the son of S. Canute, King of Denmark, and Adelheid,5 daughter of Robert the Frisian, was taken to Bruges after the martyrdom of his father, (see Jan. 19th), and received a careful education from Robert II., Count of Flanders, his uncle on his mother's side, who trained him to be a good knight, 'without fear and without reproach,' and at the same time to be a good Christian. Charles distinguished himself by his bravery in the Holy Land, and in the war carried on by his uncle against the English, and after the death of Baldwin VII., who succeeded his father, Robert II., in 1111, and died without issue, he was declared his successor by acclamation of the nobility and people, in accordance with the dying wish of his uncle. His elevation was not, however, acceptable to every party in the state, and his government, which began in the midst of plots, was brought to a close by one.

He was married to Margaret de Clermont, sister of the Bishop of Tournai, and of the royal blood of France.

On the sea-banks, in the midst of the sand-hills, living by piracy, and by fishing, were colonies of Flemings. Furnes is the centre of this district. It was held by Clémence of Burgundy, the widow of Count Robert II., as her dowry. She had married one of her nieces to39 King Louis VI., another to William de Loo, Viscount of Ypres, son of Philip, her brother-in-law. Consequently there were several ambitious and powerful parties ready to lay claim to the County of Flanders, and wrest it from the hands of Charles.

The Flemings of the sea-coast rose, at the instigation of Clémence, and were secretly favoured by the King of France; whilst, at the same time, William de Loo asserted his claim.

The feudal nobles desired to profit by these circumstances, to increase their own power. One of them, Godfrey of Louvain, married the dowager countess, Clémence. The Counts of Hainault, Boulogne, S. Pol, and Hesdin, took arms. Clémence took Audenarde, the Count of S. Pol invaded West Flanders, but Charles fell suddenly on them with an army, subjugated De Loo, deprived S. Pol of his castle, and the countess of her dowry, dispersed the armed men of Hainault, Boulogne, and Coucy, and as Walter of Thérouanne says, "The land held its tongue before him." The king of France was the first to strike an alliance with him.

These successes excited the mistrust of the king of England and the emperor Henry V. The latter, under pretext of a war against the duke of Saxony, assembled an army in August 1124, crossed the Rhine, and marched towards Metz, threatening to destroy Rheims, where pope Callixtus II. had lately excommunicated him. In this imminent peril, all the vassals of the king rallied around Louis VI. "The noble Count of Flanders," says the abbot Suger, "brought with him ten thousand brave soldiers, and if there had been time, he would have brought thrice as many." In face of these preparations to resist his invasion the emperor withdrew to Utrecht. On his death, all eyes turned to Charles, and the imperial crown was offered him.40 He refused it, as he did also the crown of Jerusalem, offered him by the Christians in the Holy Land. He now devoted himself to the administration of his country with great zeal. He enacted wise laws, and laboured to make justice prevail in all the courts of judicature. Nevertheless a vague uneasiness prevailed amongst his subjects. The sea had overleaped the sand-hills, fires had broken out and consumed certain monasteries, and an eclipse of the sun gave prognostication of further evils. The winter of 1125 was of unparalleled severity; ice and snow prevailed till the end of March, and no sooner had the fields and woods begun to resume their verdant tints, than furious gales and a deluge of rain dissipated the hopes of the farmers. A dreadful famine ensued. "Some," says Gualbert, "perished before they could reach the towns and castles, where food was obtainable; others died in extending their hands for alms. In all our land the natural colour of the face had become exchanged for the pallor of death. Despair was general, for those who were not themselves in want sickened with grief at the sight of such miseries."

In these calamities the Count of Flanders exhibited more greatness than if he had reigned at Aachen, or at Jerusalem. He exempted the farmers from their taxes and rents, and required them to house and feed so many poor. At Ypres he distributed 1800 loaves in one day. He forbade the consumption of barley for the manufacture of beer, that it might be used for bread, and he ordered the immediate sowing of such vegetables as are of rapid growth. The ensuing winter was also severe, but with the spring the distress gave signs of alleviation, for the crops were abundant, and in the autumn plenty reigned once more. During the stress of famine, Charles learnt that Lambert, brother of Bertulf, dean of S. Donatus, at Bruges, had bought up all the grain of the monasteries of S. Winoc,41 S. Bertin, S. Peter, and S. Bavo, together with all the foreign corn that had been brought into the ports from the Baltic, and was keeping it back so as to sell it at an enormous profit. Charles sent for Lambert and the dean, and bitterly reproached them. The Count sent one of his councillors, Tankmar van Straten, to examine the granaries of these two men, and they were found to be filled to overflowing with stored-up grain. Tankmar offered a reasonable price for the store, but it was indignantly refused by the avaricious men. He, therefore, by the Count's orders, insisted on their receiving it, and opening the granaries, distributed the corn to the starving poor. This aroused the wrath of the brothers, who had powerful friends among the people of Furnes, and to avenge themselves, a project was formed to assassinate the prince. One day, as he was hearing mass in a chapel of the Cathedral of S. Donatus, at Bruges, one of the conspirators cut off his arm with a hatchet, and another clave his skull. His body was buried in the Church of S. Christopher, but was afterwards translated to the Cathedral of S. Donatus, where they remained till the period of the French Revolution, when the cathedral was levelled with the ground. The relics of the holy martyr were, however, preserved with respect, and on March 2nd, 1827, seven hundred years after the death of Charles, were solemnly replaced above an altar in the Church of S. Sauveur, now used as the cathedral. The day of his festival attracts a great concourse of the faithful; those afflicted with fever especially come from all quarters to cure themselves by drinking out of the skull of the Blessed Charles the Good.

Decorative motif, snowdrops


March 3.

SS. Marinus, M., and Asterius, C. at Cĉsarea, circ. A.D. 260.
SS. Felix, Castus, Luciolus, Florian, Justus, and Others, MM.
in Africa
SS. Emetherius and Chelidonius, MM. at Calahorra, in Spain.
SS. Basiliscus, Eutropius, and Cleonicus, MM. at Amasea and
Comana, in Pontus, circ.
A.D. 308.
S. Camilla, V. R. at Ecoulives, near Auxerre, A.D. 437.
S. Nôn, W. in Wales, the Mother of S. David, circ. A.D. 460.
S. Winwaloe, Ab. of Landevenec, in Brittany, 6th cent.
S. Titian, B. of Brescia, circ. A.D. 526.
S. Calupanus, H. at Clermont, A.D. 576.
S. Kunegund, Empss. V., Wife and Wid., at Bamberg, circ. A.D. 1040.


(ABOUT A.D 260.)

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, Bede, Wandelbert, and Roman Martyrologies. Authority:—Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. lib. vii. c. 15, 16.]

Peace being restored to the Church," writes Eusebius, "Marinus of Cĉsarea, in Palestine, who was one of the army, distinguished for his military honours, and illustrious for his family and wealth, was beheaded for his confession of Christ, on the following occasion. There is a certain honour among the Romans, called the vine, which they who obtain are said to be centurions. A place becoming vacant, Marinus, by order of succession, was called to be promoted, but another, advancing to the tribunal, objected, saying that he was a Christian, and refused to sacrifice to the emperor, and therefore legally could not share in Roman honours; but that the office devolved on himself, the objector, who was second on the list. The judge, whose name was Achĉus, roused at this, began first to question Marinus on his opinions; and when he saw that he was constant in affirming that he was a Christian, granted him three hours43 for reflection. But as soon as he came out of the judgment hall, Theotecnus, bishop of that place, coming to him, took him by the hand, and drawing him to the Church, placed him before the altar, raised his cloak a little, and pointing to the sword at his side, at the same time that he presented before him the book of the Holy Gospels, told him to choose which of the two he would retain. Without hesitation, Marinus extended his hand and took the book. 'Hold fast, then, hold fast to God,' said Theotecnus, 'and strengthened by him, mayest thou obtain what thou choosest. Go in peace.' Immediately on his return thence, a crier proclaimed before the prĉtorium that the appointed time had elapsed. Marinus then was arraigned, and after exhibiting a still greater fervour for the faith, was led away and made perfect by martyrdom."

"Mention is also made of the confidence of Asterius, a man of senatorial rank, in great favour with the emperors, and well known for his nobility and wealth. As he was present at the death of the above-mentioned martyr, taking up the corpse, he bore it on his shoulder in a splendid and costly dress, and covering it in a magnificent manner, gave it a decent burial."

Asterius is venerated by the Greeks on August 7th as a martyr, who suffered decollation, and Marinus is not mentioned by them. Eusebius says nothing of the martyrdom of Asterius, as he certainly would have done, had he died for Christ, for he says, "Many other facts are stated of this man by his friends, who are alive at present," and then he relates his counteracting by his prayers the drowning of a victim annually offered to the river Jordan. The Roman Martyrology, however, accepts the Greek tradition. "Asterius received the honour he rendered to the martyr, becoming himself a martyr;" but perhaps the word martyr is here to be taken in the sense frequently given to it44 anciently, of a confessor, or witness to Christ, not necessarily by losing his life for his testimony, but only by imperilling it.



[Commemorated in the Mozarabic Missal and Breviary; the Evora and Toledo Breviaries, and as a double at Burgos and Leon; Martyrology of S. Jerome, those of Usuardus, Ado, Notker, and the Roman Martyrology. Authority:—A hymn of Prudentius, and Acts of no great antiquity, printed by Tamayus Salazar, and an Elogium by Gregory of Tours.]

These martyrs were put to death with the sword at Calahorra, in Navarre, on the Ebro. According to the hymn of Prudentius, and the story of Gregory of Tours, on their execution, the ring of one martyr, and the stole (orarium) of the other, were caught up in a cloud, and ascended into Heaven. Probably this legend contains a reminiscence of an incident such as the wind wafting away some of the martyrs' garments during the execution.

Relics at Calahorra.


(ABOUT A.D. 308.)

[By the Greeks on this day, but S. Basiliscus alone on May 22nd. Menologium of the Emperor Basil, Modern Roman Martyrology. Tamayus Salazar, trusting to the forged Flavius Dexter, claims them to be Spanish martyrs. This is a common trick of some Spanish hagiologists, who have appropriated all martyrs that are not, in Martyrologies, given a place of martyrdom, and the pseudo-Dexter simply mentioned these saints without saying that they were of Amasea and Comana; therefore Salazar audaciously says, "In Caspetana (Sierra di Guadalupe) in Spain, SS. Felix, Luciolus,45 ... Cleontius, Eutropius, Basiliscus, who, in the persecution of Maximian, under Asclepiades, the Governor, endured torments, and the cross itself, and as martyrs ascended to Heaven." The forger of Flavius Dexter took the names from the modern Roman Martyrology, where the name of the place of martyrdom is not mentioned, and set them down as martyrs in some unknown city of Spain; Salazar improved on the Pseudo-Dexter by planting them in the Sierra di Guadalupe. The life of S. Basiliscus, if genuine, is by Eusignius, who knew the martyr, and was himself, probably, a martyr in the persecution afterwards, and is commemorated on August 5th. In the life are many passages which show that Eusignius was well acquainted with the facts he describes, such as "Christ accompanied His martyr, as Basiliscus afterwards told me, Eusignius." He was eye-witness of the events; he says, "As we approached the city, we heard, &c., ... we tasted ... and when we went in, we heard, ... we, to whom it was granted to see this terrible mystery ... we asked the speculator, and gave him thirty gold pieces, and he gave us the body, and we buried it, and we sowed vegetables ... and we went to rest." The Acts, if they are genuine, and not an impudent forgery, have undergone much interpolation. Some of these additions are apparent from a change of the "we" to "they" in the account of the journey to Comana.]

In the reign of Maximian and Maximin, Agrippa was sent into Pontus, to be governor in the room of Asclepiades, with orders to constrain all Christians to sacrifice. Basiliscus, Eutropius, and Cleonicus, three Christians of Amasea, were seized and thrown into prison. And when Eutropius and Cleonicus had suffered, the blessed Basiliscus with many tears prayed, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, remember me, even unto the end, and make my calling manifest unto all, that I may not be separated from these holy men who have been taken with me, and who have suffered before me, and are crowned!" Then the Lord appeared to him and said, "I will not forget thee. Thy name is written with those who have been with thee. But be not downcast because thou art last; for thou shalt precede many. But go, bid farewell to thy mother and thy brethren, and when thou returnest, thou shalt receive thy crown. Fear not the torments prepared for thee, for I shall be at thy side."


Then Basiliscus asked, and prevailed on, the jailor to let him go to the village of Cumiala, near Amasea, where his mother lived, that he might say farewell to her. Now it fell out that early in the morning Agrippa unexpectedly sent for Basiliscus, and when he heard of the indulgence that had been granted him—though soldiers had been sent as guards with the prisoner—he was filled with rage, and threatened the jailor with capital punishment. Then he called to him a city officer named Magistrianus, a brutal fellow, implacable in his detestation of Christianity, and commissioned him to take a band of soldiers and convey Basiliscus to Comana, whither he himself was starting. Magistrianus mounted his ass, and ambled to Cumiala, and surrounded the doors of the house, as Basiliscus was parting with his mother and three brothers, before returning. Magistrianus ordered a pair of boots to be put on Basiliscus, with the nails in them protruding, and then bade him limp along among the guards back to Amasea. The nails made his feet bleed, and as he walked through the street of Amasea a crowd gathered, murmuring against the tyranny of the governor and his satellites. Magistrianus, in a rage, leaped off his ass, and cudgelled the mob with the stick he had used to make the ass go, and the soldiers assisted him to disperse the crowd. Basiliscus was then led along the road to Comana, singing, "Though an host of men be set against me, yet shall not my heart be afraid; for thou, O Christ, art with me!"

At mid-day the party, which consisted of fifteen, came to a little village, and a lady's villa. The lady very courteously invited the officer and his men into the house to refresh themselves, and they tied Basiliscus with his hands behind his back to a plane tree in the court yard. A number of the villagers came up to stare at the martyr, who stood under the dry tree, suffering intensely from the heat, and47 with blood dribbling from his wounded feet, "whilst Magistrianus and his folk were feasting in Trojana's house, on all kinds of delicacies, meats, and costly wines, served up in the cool summer dining hall," says Eusignius, bitterly.

But God did not forget the poor martyr under the blazing mid-day sun, for the plane tree put forth leaves, and overshadowed him, and a fountain bubbled at his feet, and cooled and laved his festering wounds.

On the party reaching Comana, Magistrianus led Basiliscus direct to the temple of Apollo, where was the governor at the moment.

The governor at once ordered him to be brought in. Basiliscus smilingly entered. "Why wilt thou not sacrifice, fellow?" asked the governor. "Who told thee that I will not sacrifice?" answered Basiliscus. "Ah! the gods be praised! thou wilt sacrifice then."

"I will offer to God the sacrifice of praise." "Offer to whom you please," said the governor, sharply, "only sacrifice and have done with this folly."

"Who is that?" asked Basiliscus, pointing to the image of Apollo. "That is the god Apollo," answered Agrippa. "The name is appropriate enough," said Basiliscus, "for he brings to destruction all who trust in him."6 Then he cried aloud to all in the temple, "Hearken, all men, to my prayer, to the Lord of Heaven and earth." And he prayed, "God, who art alone and true, with thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit; who art invisible, incomprehensible, whom none can describe and include, who art good and merciful, and acceptest not the person of man, who createst the things that are out of that which is not, and enlightenest us who sat in darkness, and gavest us the bright knowledge of Thy deity: Thou art the helper of all them that trust in Thee. God, who art alone holy, and48 dwellest in Thy saints, in me, thy humble servant, exhibit Thy mercy, and confirm my prayer, for I pray to Thee of Thy great goodness, Thou who spreadest out the heavens as a curtain, and by Thy command makest them fast, and adornest them with the bright shining stars, and with the glory of the sun, and the moon walking in brightness, and givest us the hours of day; Thou didst make Thy sun a chamber, and gavest him everlasting limits, and didst set the moon to rule the course of time, and didst divide the hours and days and months; Thou didst found the earth by Thy command, that it should be an habitation for man, and didst give to it an everlasting bound, and didst clothe it with trees and flowers; Thou didst lay the sea and bound it by Thy precept, and madest a way over it; and didst fashion man with Thine own holy hands after Thine image, and didst give him wisdom and reason, and didst breathe into his face the breath of life. Lord, who didst create the whole world, who from Adam till this present, and hereafter till endless ages, keepest those that love Thee, and glorifiest those that fear Thee! Lord Jesus Christ! hear the prayer of Thy servant, and be present with me at this hour, and destroy this deaf, and dumb, and blind, and senseless idol; break and dissolve this god made with hands, and shew to these heathen the madness of their worship, and Whom we worship and adore as God. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing against Thy saints? Look, O Lord, and keep not still silence, for thus behoves all honour and glory and magnificence to Thee, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, through ages of ages. Amen."

And when he had said Amen, there was an earthquake, and a thunder underground, and the temple shook to its foundations, and the image of Apollo fell and was broken. Then all who were in the temple fled, leaving Basiliscus49 alone with the broken idol at his feet. And when the earthquake was past, the governor sent, and brought Basiliscus forth, and his head was struck off with the sword. The governor ordered the body to be thrown into the river, but Eusignius bribed the soldier who was carrying it away to let him have it, and he buried it in a field, and sowed herbs over it. S. Basiliscus died on July 21st. He appeared in vision to S. Chrysostom the night before that aged saint died; (see Jan 27th, p. 412.)



[Anglican Martyrologies; Saussaye, in his Gallican Martyrology, the Belgian Martyrologies. His translation from the old wooden church at Landevenec, to a stone one, is commemorated on April 28th, and to Montreuil-sur-Mer, on August 1st. Authorities:—Three Lives; the first by an anonymous writer, given by the Bollandists, is full of fable, and by no means early. The second is still less trustworthy, and is given by Surius. The third is by Gurdestin, Monk of Landevenec. The life by Albert le Grand is deserving of notice, but the historical particulars are not accurate. There is great difficulty about this saint. It is probable that there were two of his name, and only by this means can the very different accounts of his life be reconciled. One Winwaloe is a native of Brittany, and a disciple of S. Corentine, and was translated to Montreuil. Another Winwaloe is a native of Britain, a disciple of S. Sampson, of Dol, and afterwards of S. Similian, abbot of Tauriac; and his body lies at Ghent. M. Ch. Barthelemy, in his "Annales Hagiologiques de la France," 5th cent., claims for the first anonymous life to have been written by a disciple of Winwaloe. But this is more than improbable. It has none of the elements of a contemporary account. The writer says that the name of the mother of the saint was not known; and he does not name his master in the religious life, S. Corentine or S. Budock, but calls him "a holy man," or "that man of God"; and the life, like all late compilations, gives scanty details of persons and places, but abounds in fables.7]

Winwaloe was born about the year 455; his father was Fragan, related to Conan Meriadec. Fragan was governor50 of Léon (Lyoness) and Cornonaille, under King Grallo, or Gradillon. Fragan married a noble and wealthy lady named Gwen, of the Three Breasts, and resided with her at Lesgwen, in the parish of Plonkin. By her he had a son, whom he called Gwenaloe,8 or "He that is white," on account of his beauty. When Winwaloe was about fifteen years old he was given to a holy man, S. Corentine, or S. Budock, it is uncertain which, together with his brothers, Gwethenoc and Jacut, and they lived together, serving God in the islet of Isle-vert.

One day that Winwaloe was with his father, a fleet of pirates appeared off the coast, and hovered about the harbour of Guic Sezne, near Lauvengat. S. Winwaloe is said in the popular tradition to have exclaimed on the occasion, Me a vel mil Guern, "I see a thousand sails;" and a cross which commemorates the spot is called therefrom to this day, Croas al mil Guern, "the cross of the thousand sails." The pirates landed, but Fragan, having gathered his retainers, fell upon them and utterly defeated them. Many were cut to pieces, and a few escaped in their vessels. During the combat, Winwaloe, like a second Moses, prayed with fervour; and after the victory he exhorted his father to employ the spoil they had taken in building a monastery on the spot where the battle took place, in Isel-Vez, in the parish of Plou-Nevez. He did so, and the monastery was called Loc-Christ.

After some years, Winwaloe left his master, and settled51 in the island of Sein, off the Point du Raz; but, finding it exposed to the full swell of the Atlantic, and to every gale, he was obliged to desert it, and found a more suitable place of settlement at Llandevenec, on the opposite side of the harbour of Brest, where he established a monastery, into which he gathered many disciples, and there, after many years, he died, standing at the altar, after having bestowed the kiss of peace on the brethren, on Saturday, the 3rd of March, in the first week in Lent; a date which may be either 507, 518, or 529.

Another version of the history of S. Winwaloe makes him to have been born in Wales, and to have had S. Budock for his preceptor.

The body of S. Winwaloe is preserved at Montreuil-sur-Mer, whither it was translated through fear of the invasion of the Normans, after having first just found shelter at Ghent. The chasuble, alb and bell of S. Winwaloe, are preserved in the Jesuit Church of S. Charles, at Antwerp.

At the same time, the body of a S. Winwaloe is also at Blandinberg, near Ghent; and the story told of this saint is in many particulars like that of the S. Winwaloe at Montreuil, but it differs in others.

S. Winwaloe is represented in art vested as an abbot, with staff in one hand and bell in the other, standing by the sea, with the fish rising out of the water as if obeying the summons of his bell.

Decorative motif



(ABOUT A.D. 1040.)

[German, Cologne, Basle, and Roman Martyrologies; also in the Benedictine Martyrology of Wyon. Proper offices in the Brussels, Passau Ratisbon, Salzburg, Frisingen, Bamberg, Eichstadt, Vienna, and other Breviaries. Her translation is celebrated on September 9th; and her canonization on March 29th. At Bamberg she is again commemorated on August 1st. Her life was written after 1190. This life forms the Breviary lessons at Bamberg on March 3rd and August 1st. Other authorities are the historians of the time.]

S. Kunegund, or Cunegundes, was the daughter of Sigfried, count of Luxemburg, and Hedewig, his pious wife. She was married to S. Henry, duke of Bavaria. Her sister was married to Gerard, Count of Alsace. Her brothers were Henry, created, in 103, duke of Bavaria, when S. Henry was emperor; Frederick, count of Luxemburg on the death of his father; Dietrich, bishop of Metz; and others.

On the death of the emperor Otho III., S. Henry was elected king of the Romans, and was crowned at Mentz on June 6th, 1002. Kunegund was crowned empress at Paderborn, on August 10th, in the same year. Immediately on his coronation his cousin, the Margrave, Henry of Schwein-furt, demanded the dukedom of Bavaria, and his own brother, Bruno, made a similar claim. But the emperor refused to give it to either, and bestowed it on Henry, Count of Luxemburg, his wife's brother. The two disappointed competitors then conspired against him with Boleslas II., of Bohemia, but they were defeated by the emperor near Creusen, in 1003, and were pardoned. Adalbert, another brother of Kunegund, then expelled Megingod, archbishop of Treves, and seized on the diocese for himself, but the emperor deposed him, and restored the rightful archbishop.

S. KUNEGUND, Empress of Germany.

March 3.

In 1013, Henry and Kunegund received the imperial crown at Rome, from the pope. It was on this occasion that the pope bestowed on the emperor the golden ball, the emblem of the globe over which he was destined to rule. The imperial pair, it is said, had taken the vow of chastity, but of this there is no evidence. Kunegund's virtue, however, did not escape slander, and she voluntarily underwent the ordeal by fire, and walked unharmed over glowing ploughshares to testify her innocence.

S. Henry founded the bishopric of Bamberg, partly at the instigation of S. Kunegund, who obtained for the city such privileges, that it became a popular saying there, that Kunegund's silk threads defended Bamberg better than walls and towers. Pope Benedict VIII. visited Bamberg in 1020, for the purpose of consecrating the new establishment. Kunegund also built and endowed a Benedictine abbey for nuns, at Kaufungen, near Cassel. Before it was finished, in 1024, S. Henry died. On the anniversary of his death, in 1025, she assembled a great number of prelates to the dedication of her church at Kaufungen; and after the singing of the gospel, she offered on the altar a piece of the true cross, and then put off her imperial robes, and clothed herself with a poor habit; her hair was cut off, and the bishop put on her a veil, and a ring as a pledge of her fidelity to her heavenly Spouse. After she was consecrated to God in religion, she seemed entirely to forget that she had been empress, and behaved as the last in the house, being persuaded that she was so before God. She feared nothing more than whatever could bring to her mind the remembrance of her former dignity. She prayed and read much, worked with her hands, and took a singular pleasure in visiting and comforting the sick. Thus she passed the fifteen last years of her life, never suffering the least preference to be given her above any one in the community. Her mortifications at length reduced her to a very weak[Pg 53]
[Pg 54]
condition, and brought on her last sickness. Her monastery and the whole city of Cassel were grievously afflicted at the thought of their approaching loss; she alone appeared without concern, lying on a coarse hair-cloth, ready to give up the ghost, whilst the prayers of the dying were read by her side. Perceiving they were preparing a cloth fringed with gold to cover her corpse after her death, she ordered it to be taken away; nor could she be at rest till it was promised that she should be buried as a religious in her habit. She died on the 3rd of March, 1040. Her body was carried to Bamberg, and buried near that of her husband. The greatest part of her relics still remains in the same church. She was solemnly canonized by Innocent III. in 1200.

She is represented in art with the ploughshares at her feet

Forms of Mitre.


March 4.

S. Lucius, Pope, M. at Rome, A.D. 253.
SS. Nine Hundred Martyrs on the Appian Way, at Rome, circ. A.D. 260.
S. Caius the Palatine, and xxvii. Companions, MM. at Rome.
S. Owen, Mk. at Lastingham, end of 7th cent.
S. Basinus, B. of Treves, circ. A.D. 672.
SS. Adrian, B. of S. Andrews, and Comp., MM. in the Isle of
May, circ.
A.D. 870.
S. Casimir, Prince of Poland, A.D. 1484.


(A.D. 253.)

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, Wandelbert, and Roman Martyrologies. Authorities:—Eusebius, the letters of S. Cyprian, Anastasius Bibliothecarius, and a Life by Guaiserius, a monk, (11th cent.)]

Saint Lucius was a Roman by birth, and one of the clergy of that church under SS. Fabian and Cornelius. This latter having been crowned with martyrdom, in 252, S. Lucius succeeded him in the pontificate. The emperor Gallus having renewed the persecution of his predecessor Decius, at least in Rome, this holy pope was no sooner placed in the chair of S. Peter, than he was banished, though to what place is uncertain. "Thus," says S. Dionysius of Alexandria, "did Gallus deprive himself of the succour of heaven, by expelling those who every day prayed to God for his peace and prosperity." S. Cyprian wrote to S. Lucius to congratulate him both on his promotion, and on having had grace to suffer banishment for Christ. Our saint had been but a short time in exile when he was recalled, to the great joy of his people, who went out of Rome in crowds to meet him. S. Cyprian wrote to him a second letter of congratu56lation on this occasion. He says, "He had not lost the dignity of martyrdom because he had the will, as the three children in the furnace, though preserved by God from death; this glory added a new dignity to his priesthood; so that he, a bishop, assisted at God's altar, who could exhort his flock to martyrdom by his own example as well as by his words. By giving such graces to his pastors, God showed where his true Church was: for he denied the like glory of suffering to the Novatian heretics. The enemy of Christ only attacks the soldiers of Christ: heretics he knows to be already his own, and passes them by. We supplicate God the Father and His Son, our Lord, giving thanks and praying together, that He who perfects all may bring you to the glorious crown of your confession, who, perhaps, has only recalled you that your glory might not be hidden; for the victim who owes his brethren an example of virtue and faith, ought to be sacrificed before their eyes."

Eusebius says that Lucius did not occupy the pontifical throne for above eight months. He seems to have died on March 4th, under Gallus, but how we know not. His body was found in the Catacombs, and was laid in the church of S. Cecilia at Rome, where it is now exposed to the veneration of the faithful. Considerable portions of the body of S. Lucius, M., are preserved at Bologna, and a head, purporting to be that of S. Lucius, was anciently one of the great relics of Roeskilde Cathedral. But these must be the remains of other saints of the same name, and it was an error of the clergy of Bologna and of Roeskilde to assert that these relics belonged to the martyred pope. That such a mistake may easily have been made is seen from the fact that two martyrs of the name of Lucius are commemorated on this day, the second being a companion of Caius the Palatine; and six in January, and as many in February, not to mention those in the other months. In the Schleswig Breviary,57 published in 1512, the feast of S. Lucius, Pope, M., was observed on account of the presence of the head of a S. Lucius, M., at Roeskilde, with nine lessons at matins, of which the six first were taken from the account of the Life and Translation of S. Lucius the pope, made by pope Paschal in 812.



[Bede, Usuardus, Ado, Notker, Roman Martyrology. The names of the companions of S. Caius vary in the Martyrologies.]

S. Caius, and twenty-seven fellow soldiers, suffered for the faith at Rome. Caius was an officer of the palace, but under what emperor is not known. He was drowned in the sea.



[Anglican and Benedictine Martyrologies. Authority:—Bede, Hist. Eccl., lib. iv. c. 3.]

The venerable Bede says, "Owen was a monk of great merit, having forsaken the world with the pure intention of obtaining the heavenly reward; worthy in all respects to have the secrets of our Lord revealed to him, and worthy to have credit given by his hearers to what he said; for he came with Queen Etheldreda from the province of the East Angles, and was her prime minister, and governor of her household. As the fervour of his faith increased, resolving to renounce the world, he did not go about it slothfully, but quitting all he had, clad in a plain garment, and carrying an axe and hatchet in his hand, came to the monastery of58 S. Chad, at Lastingham: denoting that he did not go to the monastery to live idly, as some do, but to labour, and this he confirmed by his practice; for as he was less capable of meditating on the Holy Scriptures, he the more earnestly applied himself to the labour of his hands. In short, he was received by the bishop into the house aforesaid, and there entertained with the brethren, and whilst they were engaged within in reading, he was without doing such things as were necessary.

"One day, when he was thus employed abroad, and his companions were gone to the church, the bishop was alone, reading or praying in the oratory of that place, when, on a sudden, as he afterwards said, he heard voices singing most sweetly, and rejoicing, and appearing to descend from heaven. And this sound seemed to come from the south-east, and it afterwards drew nigh him to the oratory, where the bishop then was, and entering therein, filled the same and all around. He listened attentively to what he heard, and after about half an hour noticed the same strain of joy ascend from the roof of the oratory, and return to heaven the same way it came, with inexpressible sweetness. When he had stood some time wondering, the bishop opened the window of the oratory, and, making a noise with his hand, ordered him to come in to him.

"Then the holy Chad told him that the day of his death was at hand, and that the angelic spirits had told him that in seven days they would return and take him with them. And so it was: seven days after, S. Chad entered into his rest." Nothing more is known of Owen. A stone cross put up by Owen remains at Ely, and is preserved in that cathedral.



(ABOUT A.D. 672.)

[Treves and Cologne Martyrologies; Molanus and Greven. Authority:—His Life by Nizo, Abbot of Metloch (Mediolanum) on the Saar, 11th cent., which is very untrustworthy.]

Basinus, of the illustrious family of the Dukes of Austrasia, was received as monk into the monastery of S. Maximin, at Treves. He was afterwards made abbot, and later, when S. Numerian, bishop of Treves, was dead, he was constrained to assume the mitre in his room. He held the see in the reign of Childebert II., king of Austrasia. He was a friend of S. Willibrord. After his death, his body was laid in the basilica of S. Maximin, under the high altar. It was taken up in 1621, and placed in a more conspicuous position.

He was succeeded by his nephew, S. Lutwin.


(ABOUT A.D. 870.)

[Aberdeen Breviary. Authority:—The Lections from the same.]

S. Adrian, bishop of S. Andrews, in Scotland, was a native of Pannonia. He laboured to spread the faith among the Picts, together with his companions, Clodian, Caius, Monan, and Stobrand. As they were in the island of May, the Danish pirates landed in it, and put Adrian and Clodian to death.



(A.D. 1484.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities:—Zacharias Ferrier, Papal Legate in Poland, A.D. 1525.]

S. Casimir was the second son of Casimir III., king of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter to the emperor Albert II., a most virtuous woman, who died in 1505. He was born in 1458, on the 5th of October. From his childhood he was remarkably pious and devout. His preceptor was John Dugloss, called Longinus, canon of Cracow, a man of extraordinary learning and piety, who constantly refused all bishoprics, and other dignities of the Church and state which were pressed upon him. Vladislas, the eldest son, was elected king of Bohemia in 1471, and became king of Hungary in 1490. Casimir was the second son; John Albert, the third son, succeeded his father in the kingdom of Poland in 1492; and Alexander, the fourth son, was called to the same in 1501. Casimir and the other princes were warmly attached to the holy man who was their preceptor; but Casimir profited most by his pious maxims and example. He consecrated the flower of his age to the exercises of devotion and penance; his clothes were plain, and under them he wore a hair shirt. He often slept upon the ground, and spent a considerable part of the night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion of our Saviour. He was wont at times to go out in the night to pray before the church-doors, and in the morning waited before them till they were opened for matins. He was especially devout to the passion of our blessed Saviour, the very thought of which excited him to tears. He was no less piously affected towards the Sacrifice of the altar, at61 which he always assisted with such reverence and attention that he seemed in raptures. And as a mark of his singular devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he composed, or, at least, frequently recited, the long hymn that bears his name, a copy of which was, by his desire, buried with him. His love for Jesus Christ showed itself in his regard for the poor, who are His members, to whose relief he applied whatever he had, and employed his credit with his father, and his brother, Vladislas, king of Bohemia, to procure them succour.


March 4.

The nobles of Hungary, dissatisfied with Matthias Corvinus, their king, son of the great Huniades, begged the king of Poland to allow them to place his son Casimir on the throne. The saint, then not quite fifteen years of age, was very unwilling to consent; but in compliance with his father's will, he went at the head of an army of twenty thousand men to the frontiers in 1471. There hearing that Matthias had formed an army of sixteen thousand men to oppose him, and that pope Sixtus IV. had sent an embassy to divert his father from the expedition, and finding that his soldiers were deserting him in great numbers, he joyfully returned. However, his conduct gave such offence to his father, whose ambition had been roused, that he was forbidden by him to enter Cracow, and ordered to take up his residence in the castle of Dobzki. After this, nothing would again induce him to resume the attempt, though again pressed by the Hungarians, and urged by his father. As the old Russian churches were falling out of repair, Casimir, with more zeal than discretion, persuaded his father to pass an edict forbidding the restoration and reconstruction of churches which did not belong to the Latin rite.

Falling into a decline, the physicians recommended that he should relax his rigid chastity, but the young prince in62dignantly refused to defile his virgin body on the chance of thus prolonging his life a few months; and he died at the age of twenty-three, on March 4th, 1484, and was buried at Wilna, where his body is still preserved.

Angels praying


March 5.

S. Theophilus, B. of Cĉsarea, in Palestine, circ. A.D. 200.
S. Adrian, M. at Cĉsarea, in Palestine, A.D. 308 (see S. Eubulus,
March 7th
S. Phocas, M. at Antioch, in Syria, circ. A.D. 320.
S. Gerasimus, Ab. in Palestine, A.D. 475.
S. Kieran or Piran, of Saigir, B. of Ossory, circ. A.D. 552.
S. Virgilius, Abp. of Arles, 7th cent.
S Drausinus, B. of Soissons, after A.D. 675.
S. Peter de Castelnau, Mk. M. at S. Gilles, in the Narbonnaise,
A.D. 1209.
S. John-Joseph of the Cross, C. at Naples, A.D. 1734.


(ABOUT A.D. 320.)

[All the Latin Martyrologies, from the mention in which all that is known of him is derived.]

At Antioch, after many sufferings endured for the name of Christ, Phocas triumphed over the Old Serpent, a victory which is testified, to this day, by a miracle. For whoever is bitten by a serpent, having touched, full of faith, the door of the basilica of the martyr, is immediately cured, the poison at once losing its power; so says the Roman Martyrology.


(A.D. 475.)

[Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on March 4th and 20th. Authorities:—Mention in the lives of S. Euthymius and S. Quiriacus, by Cyril the Monk, fl. 548]

S. Gerasimus embraced the monastic life in Lycia; he afterwards passed into Palestine, at a time when Eutychian64ism prevailed, and he had the misfortune to embrace the errors of that heresy; but S. Euthymius (Jan. 20th) visited him, and restored him to the unity of the faith. He expiated his error by the most rigorous fasting. He became very intimate with S. Euthymius, S. John the Silentiary, S. Sabas, and S. Theoctistus.

A great number of disciples placed themselves under his conduct, and he built a laura near Jordan, consisting of seventy cells, amidst which was a monastery for the lodging of those who were to live in community, and disciplined those who afterwards occupied the hermitages of the laura. The anchorites assembled in the church on the Sabbath and the Sunday to participate in the sacred mysteries, and on these two days they ate common food that had been cooked, and drank a little wine; on other days they ate only bread and dates, and drank water. Fires were never lighted in the cells, and the hermits slept on rush mats.

S. Gerasimus carried his abstinence further than his brethren. Throughout Lent he took no other nourishment than the Divine Eucharist.

One day as the old abbot was walking on the banks of the Jordan, he saw a lion limping, and roaring with pain. The lion, instead of attempting to escape, held up its paw, which was much swollen, and Gerasimus taking it on his lap, examined it, and saw that a sharp splinter had entered the flesh. He withdrew the piece of reed, and bathed the paw. The lion afterwards gratefully followed him to his cell, and never after left him, but was fed by the abbot. There was an ass belonging to the monastery which brought water from the Jordan, for the necessities of the brethren; and Gerasimus sent the ass out to pasture under the guardianship of the lion. One day the lion had gone away from his charge, and an Arabian camel driver passing by, stole the ass. In the evening the lion returned depressed65 in spirits to the monastery, without the ass. Gerasimus naturally concluded that the lion had eaten the animal, and he cried out, "Sirrah, where is the ass?" The lion stood still, and looked back over his shoulder. "You have eaten him!" said the abbot; "Let us praise God. Well, what the ass did, you shall do now." And thenceforth the lion carried the water for the brethren.

Now one day a certain soldier came to the monastery, and seeing the lion toiling under the water bottles, he pitied the lordly beast, and gave some money to the abbot to buy an ass on the next opportunity, and release the lion from its office of water-carrier. Some days after this, as the lion was near Jordan, there came by the driver who had stolen the ass, with three camels, and the stolen beast itself. The lion set up its mane and roared, and made towards the man, whereupon the driver took to his heels. Then the lion caught the end of the ass's halter, and drew it along with the camels to the door of the monastery. And thus the abbot learned that he was wrong in accusing his dumb friend of having devoured his charge.

For five years the lion was the constant companion of the old abbot, going in and out among the monks; and at the expiration of that time Gerasimus died. Now the lion was out when he departed to his rest; but when the lion returned home, he went about searching for the old man. Then the abbot Sabbatius, a disciple of the dead saint, seeing the uneasiness of the lion, said to him "Jordan, (for by that name the lion was called), our old friend has gone away and left us orphans, and has migrated to the Lord; but here is food, take and eat." But the lion would not and paced to and fro seeking the dead man, and every now and then throwing up his head, and roaring. Then Sabbatius and some of the other brethren came and rubbed his neck, and said, "The old man is departed to the Lord,66 and has left us." But this did not appease the lion; and the more they caressed him, and spake to him, the more agitated he became, and the louder he roared, "showing with mouth and eyes how great was his distress, because he saw not the old man."

Then the abbot Sabbatius said to him, "Come along with me, as you will not believe me, and I will show you where our old friend is laid." And he led the lion to the place where Gerasimus was buried; and the abbot Sabbatius, standing at the tomb, said, "See here is where he is buried." And then he knelt and wept upon the grave. So when the lion saw this, he went, and stretched himself on the grave, with his head on the sand, and moaned, and remained there, and would not leave the place, but was found there dead, a few days after.

It is almost needless to say that this beautiful incident has given to the abbot Gerasimus his symbol of a lion, in art.


(ABOUT A.D. 552.)

[Irish Hagiologies, and an addition of Usuardus published in 1490. A saint of this name was venerated on this day in the Dumblane Breviary, but it is uncertain if it was the same. The Life of S. Kieran, published by Colgan, and that given by the Bollandists, are of later date, and like so many of the Acts of Celtic Saints, abound in fables.]

According to the Irish legendary lives, Kieran of Saigir was bishop in Ireland before the arrival of S. Patrick. After honouring him with the title of the "first-born of the saints of Ireland," these lives proceed to inform us that his father was Lugneus, a noble of Ossory, and his mother Liadain, of Corcalaighde, (Carberry), in South Munster. S. Kieran was born in Cape Clear Island. Having spent67 thirty years in Ireland still unbaptized, he heard of the Christian religion as flourishing at Rome, and went thither for the purpose of being instructed. There he was baptized, and remained twenty years, studying the Scriptures and canons, after which he was ordained bishop, and sent to preach in his own country. On his way to Ireland he met S. Patrick in Italy, who was not as yet a bishop, and who told Kieran that he would follow him to Ireland in thirty years from the date of their meeting. This must have happened in 402, and accordingly Kieran, being then fifty years old, was born in 352. When arrived in Ireland he was miraculously directed, as S. Patrick had told him he would, to the place since called Saigir, (Seir-Kieran, in King's County), where he erected a monastery. Having ordained an innumerable multitude of bishops and priests, he died at the age of 300!

Other accounts state that Kieran's meeting with S. Patrick somewhere out of Ireland occurred several years after the latter had commenced his apostolical labours in this country. Jocelin places it at a time when S. Patrick was returning from Britain, whither he had gone to obtain a supply of additional helpers for his mission, and tells us that Kieran was then one of the six Irish priests who were proceeding to foreign countries for religious improvement, and all of whom afterwards became bishops in their own country. In the Tripartite history of S. Patrick the precise place of meeting is not given; but, what is more to the purpose, it is represented as having occurred at least twelve years after S. Patrick had begun his mission in Ireland, and Kieran is stated to have then received directions from the saint concerning the district in which he should erect his monastery.

It appears, however, that he was no disciple of S. Patrick at all, and did not live in his times. His name does not68 occur in Tirechan's list, nor in any of the Lives of S. Patrick, except in those two just quoted, and his appearance in them is evidently due to the legends in circulation concerning the meeting. Had S. Kieran been a disciple of the apostle, how could he have become a scholar of S. Finnian of Clonard, in the 6th century? For such he is stated to have been, not only in the Life of S. Finnian, and in that of his illustrious namesake of Clonmacnois, but also in the tract which is called his first life, and which enters into more particulars than the other. S. Finnian's school could not have become celebrated before 534. In both Kieran's lives his namesake of Clonmacnois, who died in 549, and the two Brendans, one of whom died in 577, and the other a few years earlier, are spoken of as having had transactions with him.

We may then safely conclude that he belonged to the sixth century, became distinguished towards the middle of it, and died during its latter half. As this was known to be the case, his blundering biographers strove to reconcile their nonsense concerning the antiquity and privileges of Saigir, with the true date of his death, by making him die at the age of about 300 years, although, had they calculated better, about 220 years might have sufficed.

Kieran, we may safely conclude, was made a bishop about the year 538. Having retired to a lonesome spot, since called Saigir, he led at first the life of a hermit, and after some time erected a monastery, around which a city gradually grew up. Next he established a nunnery in the neighbourhood for his mother Liadania, and some pious virgins, her companions, whence the church Killiadhuin got its name. Besides the care of his monastery, Kieran was assiduously employed in preaching the Gospel in Ossory, and he converted a great number of heathen. He is usually considered to have been the first bishop of69 Ossory, and founder of that see. It is singular that, notwithstanding all that is said in the lives, in praise of Kieran, he is not much spoken of in the accounts of contemporary saints, and that none of the Irish annals or hagiologies give the date of his death. Hence Colgan was inclined to think that he died in Cornwall, and is to be identified with S. Piran, of Peranzabulo. But the first life hints that he died at Saigir. Although the year of his death is unknown, there can be little doubt of his having been alive after the year 550.

If S. Piran of Peranzabulo be the same as S. Kieran of Saigir, his bones have been discovered of late years, when the ancient oratory of Peranzabulo, near Padstowe, in Cornwall, was dug out of the sand. In favour of this identification, Colgan points out that S. Piran was commemorated at Padstow on the 5th March, the same day as S. Kieran in Ireland; and John of Tynemouth asserts that S. Kieran did retire from Ireland into Cornwall where he spent the latter part of his life, and died. The Cornish, moreover, change the K. of Irish names into P.

Some of the legends related of S. Kieran deserve to be recorded. He is said when a little boy to have been bitterly distressed at seeing a hawk carry off a little bird in its talons. Then he cried to God, and the hawk dropped its prey.

One day a king or chief in the neighbourhood carried off one of the nuns of the convent governed by his mother. Kieran pursued him full of wrath, and coming to the castle, bade the chief restore the poor maiden to her cell. "Not unless the cuckoo should rouse me to-morrow morning," answered the chief. Now it was mid-winter. But that night no snow fell round the house where lodged the abbot, and at early dawn a bird perched on the roof under the window of the chief, and began to call "Cuckoo, cuckoo,70 cuckoo!" Then the ravisher, in alarm, started from his bed, and restored the nun to her convent.

On an autumn day, Kieran noticed a magnificent bank of blackberries, so large and ripe, that he thought it a sad pity the winter should come and destroy them. Therefore he cast a cloak over the bramble. Now it fell out that the next ensuing April, Ethnea Vacha the wife of king Ĉngus was ill, and felt a craving for blackberries. She was then, with her husband, the guest of Concraidh, king of Ossory. Concraidh told S. Kieran of the strange wish of the lady, and instantly the saint remembered the hedge of blackberries covered by his cloak, and he went and plucked as many as he could carry, and brought them to the sick queen, and she ate them and revived.

One day S. Kieran of Clonmacnois and the two Brendans visited the monastery. The steward came to the abbot in dismay, and said, "There is nothing to offer these distinguished guests except some scraps of bacon, and water."

"Then serve up the bacon and the water," said the saint. And when they were brought on the table, the bacon tasted to every man better than anything he had ever tasted before, and as for the water, the benediction of the man of God had converted it into wine. But there was at the table a lay-brother, and when he had some bacon put before him, he thrust his platter away angrily, for he was tired of bacon, and had expected something better, when distinguished visitors were present. "Hah!" said the abbot,—'not by way of condemnation, but of prophecy,'—"The time will come when you, son of Comgall, shall eat ass's flesh in Lent, and soon after you will lose your head."

It is also related that there was a boy came to Saigir called Crichidh of Clonmacnois, and remained for a while under the abbot Kieran. Now it was the custom and71 rule of S. Kieran, that the blessed Paschal fire should burn all the year. But out of mischief, as we moderns should say, "instigante diabolo," as the mediĉval chronicler expresses it, the boy put the fire out. Then S. Kieran said to the brethren, "Look! our fire is extinguished by that confounded boy (a maledicto puero), Crichidh, purposely, for he is always up to mischief (sicut solet semper nocere). And now we shall be without fire till next Easter, unless the Lord sends us some. As for that boy, he will come to a bad end shortly." And so it was, for on the morrow a wolf killed the boy.

Now S. Kieran of Clonmacnois, to whom the boy belonged, hearing of this, came to Saigir, and was courteously received by S. Kieran the Elder. But there was no fire, and the snow fell in large flakes; and it was bitterly cold, so that S. Kieran of Clonmacnois and his companions sat blue with frost, and their teeth chattering. Then S. Kieran of Saigir raised his hands to heaven, and prayed, and there fell a globe of fire into his hands, and he spread the lap of his chasuble (casula), and went with the fireball in it before his guests, and they warmed themselves thereat. And after that, dinner was served. Then said S. Kieran of Clonmacnois, "I will not eat till my boy is restored to me." "Brother," answered S. Kieran of Saigir, "I knew wherefore thou didst come; the boy is now on his way hither." And presently the door opened, and the boy that the wolf had eaten, walked in alive and well.

King Ĉngus of Munster had seven bards "who were wont to sing before him, harping, the deeds of heroes," but these seven men were murdered and drowned in a bog, and their harps were hung upon a tree by the side of the morass. S. Kieran, at the king's request, restored the seven harpers to life, after their having been steeped in bog-water for a whole month.


Now when he was dying, Kieran besought the Lord to bless all such as should keep his festival. "And," says his historian, "on March 5th, God introduced him into the lot of his inheritance in the vineyard, and planted him in the mountain of his possession, even in the celestial Jerusalem, which is the mother of us all. Wherefore, then, my brothers, let us hold a most solemn feast to the most holy Kieran, and let the voice of praise resound in the tabernacles of the righteous; for the right hand of the Lord made virtue to spring up in this man, which may Jesus Christ for the merits of his servant Kieran cause to grow in us present likewise, that we may be meet, He being our leader, to enter into the courts of our eternal inheritance. Amen."


(ABOUT A.D. 618.)

[Benedictine and Galican Martyrologies; but at Arles on October 10th, and Greven in his additions to Usuardus. Authority:—A life by an anonymous writer, long posterior, and very credulous. It contains much idle fable.]

S. Virgilius, a native of Aquitania, retired in childhood to the monastery of Lerins, where he distinguished himself by his virtues, and was in time elected abbot. One night, says the historian of his life, who deals somewhat largely in popular legend, as he was walking round the island, as a good pastor keeping guard over his sheep-fold, he saw a strange ship drawn up against the shore, and by the star light he saw the sailors moving on the deck. Then two descended from the vessel, and coming towards him, said, "Reverend father, we know who thou art, and greatly esteem thy incomparable virtue, the fame of which is spread abroad through the round world, and many there are of the73 faithful in far-off lands who desire to see thy sanctity, and hear the words of wisdom that distil from thy lips. And now we are bound for Jerusalem, come therefore with us and make this journey to the holy sites, and thy name will be praised by all men." But Virgilius mistrusted this address, and he answered, "Ye cannot thus deceive an old soldier of Christ!" and he made the sign of the cross. Then the ship and the crew vanished, and he saw only the stars winking in the waves.

From Lerins he was called, in 588, to take charge of the diocese of Aries, by the unanimous voice of the people.

He is said to have been the consecrator of S. Augustine of Canterbury to his mission in England, by order of S. Gregory the Great, from whom he received the pall. He built several churches in Aries; amongst others, the cathedral, which he dedicated to S. Stephen, and the church of the Saviour and S. Honoratus. Whilst erecting this latter church, the legend says that the people toiled ineffectually to move the pillars to their destined place. At last they sent word to S. Virgil that the truck was fast, and the pillars could neither be taken on nor carried back. Then Virgil hurried to the spot, and saw a little devil, like a negro boy, sitting under the truck, arresting the progress of the wheels. Virgil drove him away, and then the columns were easily moved. By his prayers he is also reported to have killed a monstrous serpent which infested the neighbourhood. He was buried in the church of SS. Saviour and Honoratus, which he had built.



(A.D. 675.)

[Venerated at Soissons. Mentioned in some of the additions to Usuardus, and later Martyrologies. Authority:—A Life by a native of Soissons shortly after his translation, four years after the death of the saint.]

Drausinus or Drausius was a native of Soissons, and was the son of pious parents of noble rank. He was educated by S. Anseric, bishop of Soissons, on whose death he was called to fill his place. His virtues and charity caused him to be venerated as a saint immediately after his death. S. Thomas-à-Becket had recourse to his intercession when he was in France, before returning to England.

His relics were dispersed at the French Revolution, but his tomb, a very interesting specimen of Gallo-Roman art, is preserved in the Louvre. The Society of Antiquaries at Soissons has made many attempts to recover it for the cathedral at Soissons, but hitherto in vain.


(A.D. 1209.)

[Benedictine Martyrology, and Saussaye in his Gallican Martyrology. Authorities:—William of Puis-Laurent, and other contemporary historians of the Albigensian war, and the letters of Innocent III.]

The name of the Albigenses probably arose from the condemnation of these heretics at the council of Albi, under the presidence of Gerard, bishop of that diocese, in the year 1176.

Under the name was included that vast body of heretics which agreed on certain fundamental dogmas, but differed on minor particulars, as they borrowed more or less from Christianity. They inhabited the Duchy of Narbonne, the75 Marquisate of Toulouse, and the southern portion of the Duchy of Aquitaine, mixed with Catholics in some parts, in other parts comprising the entire population.

Before their condemnation by the Council, they had been known as Cathari, Patareni or Populicians, a corruption of Paulicians; and were a branch of that great Manichĉan inroad which entered Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Bohemia, where the name Cathari was corrupted into Ketzer, and which spread from Northern Italy into the southern provinces of France, where Manichĉism completely displaced Christianity over a wide area, and gained a head and strength it was unable to acquire elsewhere.

The fundamental principle of the new Manichĉans, from which, as from a centre, the different sects radiated, was a Dualism of Good and Evil Principles equally matched, the Evil Principle, the origin of the visible creation; the Good Principle, the author of that which is invisible. This opposition of matter and spirit constituted the basis of their moral systems. These systems were diverse; some, regarding everything natural and carnal as pertaining to the Evil Principle, abstained from meat, cheese, and eggs, from marriage, and from whatever employment attached them to the earth; whilst others, regarding the soul as so distinct from the body as to be incapable of being soiled or affected by the actions of the fleshy envelope, gave themselves up to the grossest licentiousness. Into the theology of these new Manichĉans, contact with Christianity had introduced the person of Christ, but in their scheme He occupied no necessary place. He was held to be subject to God, and to have had but a phantom body; He neither suffered, died, nor rose again, except in appearance. But in opposition to this Docetism, John de Lugio taught that Christ had a real body; and some of the Cathari—the late Albigenses—held that the true body was born of Mary and Joseph,76 and proceeded from the Evil Principle, and that this body died on the Cross, but that the spiritual and good Christ was by no means to be confused with the historical Christ of the Gospels.9

With the doctrines specially professed by the Albigenses it is possible for any one, who chooses, to become thoroughly acquainted, as there is abundant material from which the requisite information can be drawn. Such are the decrees of councils condemning categorically their errors; the bulls of popes and imperial ordinances denouncing them; the letters of Innocent III.; the statutes of Raymond, Count of Toulouse; the controversial treatises written against the heretics, taking each of their doctrines in order, to refute them; and lastly, the valuable transactions of the Inquisition at Toulouse, published by Limborch, containing a great number of cases, the interrogations, and confessions, and sentences; the archives of the Inquisition at Carcassonne, portions of which are published in Vaissette, and the Inquisitorial formulary of questions put to Albigenses as to their faith, in Ricchinus.

The doctrines peculiar to the Albigenses were these:—There were two Creators, the good God, who was the author of the New Testament, and who made the world of good spirits; and the bad God, who was the author of the Old Testament, and Creator of the visible world, and of the evil spirits.10 This latter God they called a liar, because he told the first man: "The day thou eatest of the tree thou shalt77 surely die," and man did not die the same day that he broke the commandment; they also called him a murderer because he slew Pharaoh and his host, and the inhabitants of the Plain. This bad God was either a fallen angel,11 or the Son of the chief God and Creator, who had two sons, Christ and Satan.12 Others held that the good God had two wives, Colla and Coliba, by whom he begat many sons and daughters.13 Others, that the men made by the good God were good, but that through union with women, whom they derived from the Evil Principle, they fell.14 The creation of men was veiled in the following myth by some of the Albigenses. The devil made men out of clay, and bade God send into them souls. God answered, that men thus constructed would be too strong, "They would dethrone me." Whereupon Satan made man of the foam of the sea; and God said, "That is good, he is a mixture of strength and fragility." And he sent a soul into the man thus made.15 Generally the Albigenses held that there were two Christs; one bad, who was born in Bethlehem of Mary, and who was crucified; and another good, who had a phantom body and was purely spiritual, and who appeared on earth in the body of the Apostle Paul. The good Christ neither ate nor drank, but the bad Christ, the Son of Mary, lived as do other men, and had for concubine, Mary Magdalene.16


The Trinity was naturally rejected by the Albigenses, as incompatible with their Dualism. They also rejected the Old Testament as the work of the Evil Principle; and regarded Moses, the Prophet, and even John the Baptist, as possessed with evil demons.17

With regard to the future, some of the Albigenses taught that the souls of men were the fallen angels condemned to spend seven lives in human bodies. Others denied the existence of the soul altogether.18 With such disbelief in the immortality of the soul, or such notion of its being an angel in a state of purgation, the resurrection of the body, Purgatory and Hell were rejected; and with them, prayer for the dead and invocation of saints—for how pray for a soul which is annihilated, or how invoke an apostate angel?19

The idea of a visible Church, and the necessity of sacraments, could not be entertained with such a creed; and the Albigenses repudiated baptism, communion, and other rites. Marriage they denounced as fornication, and they condemned intercourse between man and woman as sin in the higher ranks of the elect.20 Others, however, said that fornication was no sin.21 But this refers to the lower order of the faithful.

The faithful were divided into two orders: the higher, or "perfect," who wore a black dress, abstained from marriage,79 the eating of flesh, eggs, and cheese; and the "believers," who gave free scope to their lusts, and whose salvation was due to a certain ceremony being performed over them by one of the "perfect," which was called the "consolation." If one of the perfect ate the least morsel of meat or cheese or egg, he sinned mortally, and all who had been consoled by him fell at the same time out of a state of grace, and it was necessary for them to be re-consoled; and even those who were saved fell out of heaven for the sins of him who had consoled them. The sacrament of consolation was performed by one of the "perfect" laying his hands upon one of the "believers," who repeated a Pater Noster; and such act placed the "believer" in a state of grace from which he could only fall by the fall of his consoler. This ceremony was performed at the point of death.

The ceremony of reception is thus described by Peter of Vaux-Cernaix:—

"When any one went over to the heretics, he who received him said, 'Friend, if you wish to be one of us, it behoves you to renounce the whole faith that is held by the Roman Church.' He must answer, 'I renounce.' 'Then receive the Holy Spirit from the good men,' and then he breathes seven times in his face. Also he says to him, 'You must renounce that cross which the priest made on you in baptism, on your breast, and on your shoulders, and on your head, with oil and chrism.' He must answer, 'I renounce it.' 'Do you believe that water can work your salvation?' He answers, 'I do not believe it.' 'You must renounce that veil which the priest placed on your head when you were baptized.' He must answer, 'I renounce it.' Thus he receives the baptism of the heretics, and denies the baptism of the Church. Then they all place their hands upon him, and kiss him, and clothe him with a black garment, and from that hour he is as one of themselves."


The ceremony of consolation, or heretication, was only performed at the point of death; but if the sick person should show signs of recovery, he or she was required to abstain from food, or to open a vein, so as to prevent convalescence and precipitate death. I may as well give a few instances which came under the notice of the inquisitors of Toulouse, from Limborch:—

"This admission was believed to save the soul of the person admitted, and was called spiritual baptism, the consolation, the reception, and the good end; and it was believed that those sanctified by it were bound from that moment to abstain from touching a person of another sex, and from food, or the soul fell from its state of purification. Thus we read of the trial of a woman whose father had been received amongst the Albigenses, 'that she was forbidden by her father to touch him, because after his reception no woman ought to touch him, and from that time she never did touch him.' (Fol. 49.) And in another woman's trial, 'that it was unlawful for her to touch Peter Sancii, and that she heard that it was reported amongst them that they neither touch a woman, nor suffer themselves to be touched by one.' (Fol. 68.) But inasmuch as it was possible that the person received might return to his former pollutions (says Limborch in his introduction to the Acts of the Inquisition), his reception was delayed to his last sickness, when there was no more hopes of recovery, that so he might not lose the good he had received; for which reason some were not admitted, though one of the Albigenses was present, because it was not believed they would immediately die. Thus it is reported of Peter Sancii (fol. 68) that having called 'to hereticate a certain sick woman, she was not then hereticated, because he did not think it proper, upon account of her not being weak enough.' And afterwards, though the distemper grew more violent, Peter Sancii did81 not hereticate her, because she recovered. As for those who were received during their illness, they were commanded to make use of the Endura, that is, fasting, and to hasten death by opening a vein and bathing. Thus it is related of a certain woman, that 'she persevered in the abstinence which they call the Endura many days, and hastened her bodily death by losing her blood, frequent bathing, and greedily taking a poisonous draught of the juice of wild cucumbers, mixing it with broken glass, that, by tearing her bowels, she might sooner die.' (Fol. 14-b.) Of another, it is said, 'that she was forbidden by her mother-in-law to give her little daughter, who had been hereticated by Peter Sancii, any milk to drink, by which the child died.' (Fol. 46.) Another confesses, 'that she had not seen her father since his heretication eating or drinking anything but cold water.' (Fol. 49.) But one Hugo, who continued several days in the Endura, did afterwards, by his mother's persuasion, eat and recover. (Fol. 63.) The same year, Peter Sancii invited him 'to enter into the Endura, and so to make a good end; but he would not agree to it till he came to die.' The same Hugo saw 'that Sancii procured and hastened his own death by bleeding, bathing, and cold.' Peter Auterii is said to have received another woman, 'and after her reception to have forbidden any meat being given to the said hereticated sick woman; and that there were two women who attended her, and watched that there should be neither meat nor drink given her the whole night, nor the following day, lest she should lose the good she had received, and contradict the order of Peter Auterii; although the said sick woman begged them to give her some food. But the third day after she did eat and grew well.' (Fol. 65-b.) In the sentence of Peter Raymund and of the Hugos, we read these things concerning the Endura: 'You voluntarily shorten your own corporal life, and inflict death82 upon yourself; because you put yourself in that abstinence, which the heretics call Endura, in which Endura you have now remained six days without meat or drink, and would not eat, nor will, though often invited to do so.' (Fol. 82-b.) However, all would not subject themselves to so severe a law. For we read of a certain woman 'that she suffered not her sick daughter, though near death, to be received; because then her said daughter must be put in the Endura.' (Fol. 71.) There is also an instance of a woman, who, for fear she should be taken up by the Inquisitors, put herself in the Endura; and sending for a surgeon, ordered him to open one of her veins in a bath, and after the surgeon was gone, she unbound her arm in the bath, that so the blood running out more freely, she might sooner die. After this she bought poison in order to destroy herself. Afterwards she produced a cobbler's awl, which in that barbarous age they called alzena, intending to run it into her side; but the women disputing among themselves, whether the heart was on the right side or the left, she at last drank up the poison, and died the day after. (Fol. 30-b)."22

Now a great deal of abuse has been poured on the Inquisition, and its crimes have been vastly exaggerated. Gieseler speaks of the bloodthirsty Inquisition as a "monster raging with most frightful fury in Southern France,"—strong language for so calm an historian. But we ask, was it not necessary that such a system, destructive of life, should be put down? That the fautors of this atrocious self-murdering should be summarily dealt with, when they persuaded mothers to let their children perish on their sick-beds, men to pine themselves to death, and women to swallow broken glass, to tear their bowels, when their health began to amend? We have got the Acts of the Inquisition at Toulouse during sixteen years that it "raged with frightful83 fury," i.e., between 1307 and 1323. The whole number of cases reported is 932; but it is obvious that the same individual might, and in fact did, often reappear before the Inquisition more than once in the course of sixteen years. Having confessed some connection with heresy, he was sentenced to wear a little cross, or tongue of red cloth, let into the garments, or simply to wear a cross round the neck, or to make a pilgrimage to a certain church, or to use certain prayers; of such sentences 174 are recorded. If the person condemned to do this disobeyed, he was put in prison for a while; there were 218 such cases. If he escaped from prison, or ran away from the country, he was condemned as a fugitive; there were 38 of these. Some of the leaders of the heresy who had caused the death of many persons, and incorrigible heretics who had broken out of prison, were condemned to death; there were 40 fautors of heresy sentenced—twenty-nine Albigenses, seven Waldenses, and four Beghards; thirty-two of these were men, and eight were women. Among the sentences recorded are 113 remissions of penances, 139 discharges from prison, and 90 sentences of heresy pronounced against persons deceased.23

Now when we consider what these Albigensian "perfect" men were, and how dangerous they were to the well-being of society, by their influence over superstitious and ignorant peasants, urging them to self-murder, and thus causing the death of very many persons, we do not think that the Inquisition at Toulouse deserves all the odium that has been cast upon it. Many of those whom it condemned to death would probably have received a sentence of transportation for life in England at the present day; and though the execution of from two to three persons a year is certainly to be84 deplored, it is not just to denounce the Inquisition as bloodthirsty, when it sentenced to death those who had caused many innocent and ignorant persons to immolate themselves. We do not for a moment pretend to justify the Albigensian war; but we can understand the alarm caused to the Pope and to Christian France by the heathen reaction in Provence, Narbonne, and Toulouse. Nor were the Albigenses free from blame in other particulars. They exhibited their contempt for Christian churches and sacraments in a peculiarly offensive manner, likely to exasperate Catholics to the uttermost. One instance shall suffice, and that is so gross that it must be given in Latin:—

"Erat quidam pessimus hĉreticus apud Tolosam, Hugo Faber nomine, qui quondam lapsus est in dementiam, quod juxta altare cujusdam ecclesiĉ purgavit ventrem, et in contemptum Dei, cum palla altaris tersit posteriora sua ... quĉ omnia cum vir venerabilis abbas Cistercii.... Comiti retulisset, et eum moneret ut puniret qui tantum faciens perpetrarat, respondit comes quod nullo modo propter hoc puniret in aliquo cives suos."

Peter of Castelnau, of whom we have now to speak, sprang from an illustrious family in the diocese of Montpellier, and was archdeacon of Maguelonne, when he was appointed by the Pope to be one of his legates in the southern provinces infected with heresy. But the desire of a higher perfection led Peter to renounce the honours of the world, and in 1200, to receive the Cistercian habit in the abbey of Fontfroide.

In 1203, he was again obliged to resume his labours as legate, together with Brother Raoul, his colleague, a Cistercian monk like himself. He visited Toulouse, where his efforts to repress heresy met with indifferent success. In 1204, he met the leaders of the Albigenses in conference at Carcassonne.


Hopeless of effecting any good result, Peter of Castelnau implored the Holy Father to relieve him of the burden laid on him, which, he said, was more than he could bear. But the Pope refused to permit him to resign his office, and Peter was obliged to revisit Toulouse in 1205, and exact of the Count of Toulouse an oath that he would suppress by fire and sword the heresy that pervaded his domains. He was ordered on pain of excommunication to become the inquisitor and executioner of his own subjects.

At the same time Peter deposed Raymond, bishop of Toulouse, and thus prepared the way for the election of his friend Foulques, a fierce and bloodthirsty, if zealous soul.24 Then the legate turned to the Rhone, and traversed the provinces of Arles and Vienne. In 1206, he was at Montpellier, deploring with his colleague, Raoul, the sterility of their united efforts. At this time of disappointment, God, who, to use the words of William de Puylaurens, "knows always how to hold in reserve His arrows in the quiver of His Providence," sent them out of Spain two holy and valiant athletes. In July, 1206, the venerable Diego di Azebes, bishop of Osma, accompanied by the sub-prior of his church, tapped at their door with his pilgrim's staff. They opened, and admitted with the bishop that sub-prior, who was S. Dominic.

The legates opened their hearts to the bishop, and told him of their despair. The bishop gently reproved them, and bade them have a good courage, and preach the Word in season and out of season, and be careful to set a holy example. Let them go forth with neither scrip nor purse, like the apostles; and the success which had not attended two legates ambling over the country on their mules, would86 attend two apostles going barefoot. The advice of the bishop was approved; the legates only asked of him to accompany them with his sub-prior. The bishop consented, and the four set forth one morning out of Montpellier, without shoes on their feet, and no money in their pouch. At once the difficulties melted away, and numerous conversions were made. At Beziers and Carcassonne, they met with great success. The whole town of Caraman, on the Lauraguais, abjured heresy. But their success was not lasting: Peter saw that the only way in which he could hope to extinguish heresy was by a more persuasive weapon than the tongue.

However, he returned into the heat of the battle shortly after, to attend the conference with the heretics, held at Montreal. After this the four apostles separated to preach in different parts. Peter, finding that Raymond, Count of Toulouse, hung back from using the sword to constrain his people to abjure their heresy, excommunicated him, and the Count at once swore, as he had done before, that he would put down the errors of Albigensianism. Peter of Castelnau felt that, to use his own words, "The cause of Jesus Christ will not succeed in these lands, till one of us who preach in His name shall die in defence of the faith; may it please God that I shall be the first to feel the sword of the persecutor."

The Count met the legate at S. Gilles, on the banks of the Rhone, for conference, which led to nothing. On January 15th, 1209, Peter had said Mass, and was preparing to cross the river, when two men ran up, and one of them pierced him through the sides with a lance. Peter fell down, exclaiming, "Lord, pardon him, as I forgive him!" then he said a few words to his fellows, and died, praying fervently. The Count seems to have been guiltless of ordering or approving the murder.



(A.D. 1734.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—His Life by the P. Diodati, published at Naples, in 1794. He was inscribed by Pius VI. among the number of the Beatified on May 15th, 1789; and he was canonized by Gregory XVI. on May 26th, 1839.]

S. John-Joseph of the Cross, who must not be confounded with S. John of the Cross (Nov. 16th), was born in the island of Ischia, on the Feast of the Assumption, in the year 1654, of respectable parents, Joseph Calosirto and Laura Garguito, and was baptized under the name of Charles Cajetan, The family must have been one of singular piety, for five of his brothers entered religion. The subject of our memoir, as a child, exhibited a precocious piety. He chose as his room a small chamber in the most retired portion of the house, where he erected a little altar to Our Lady, on whose great festival he had been born, and towards whom, through life, he manifested a filial devotion. From the earliest age also he manifested a great repugnance from sin. His pure childish soul shivered and shrank from the breath of evil, as a young spring flower from a frozen blast.

The knowledge of evil without bringing guilt to the soul, unless voluntarily received and harboured with delight, leaves on it a mark, so that the soul knowing evil cannot have the freshness of a guiltless and ignorant soul. The little saintly boy, taught of God, seems unconsciously to have felt this, and he manifested none of that curiosity after evil which is one of the tokens of our fallen nature, and which leads the young mind first88 to the knowledge of evil, and then, it may be, to the perpetration of it.

Feeling a great desire for the religious life, he entered the order of S. Francis, as reformed by S. Peter of Alcantara, in Naples, and assumed the habit at the age of sixteen, taking at the same time the name of John-Joseph of the Cross. This was in 1671. His noviciate lasted three years; and at the age of nineteen, his superior found him sufficiently perfect to be entrusted with the direction of the building of a convent at Piedimonte di Agila, and the organizing of discipline therein.

On arriving at the proper age, he was ordained priest, and soon after retired into a forest, where he built himself a cell, and resided as a hermit. Soon five little hermitages clustered around his cell, and a church was built for the accommodation of the anchorites. But his superiors recalled him to the monastery to undertake the charge of the novices, and somewhat later he was appointed superior of the house at Piedimonte di Agila, which had risen under his care. He suffered about this time from extreme dryness. It was to him as though the face of God were turned away from him, and he felt agonies of fear, thinking that through want of judgment or unbecoming example, he might have retarded the advance, and perhaps lost some, of the souls of the novices who had been entrusted to his care. But one of the brethren who had lately died appeared to him in a vision, and comforted him, assuring him that his novices were all leading an edifying life.

He was afterwards appointed Superior of the convent, an office in which he displayed great judgment, but which withdrew him too much from spiritual meditation and reading to be congenial with his tastes.


At his request he was relieved of the office of Superior, and was again made director of the novices, and fulfilled the duties of this office for four years.

He died on March 5th, 1734, in the convent of S. Lucia, at Naples.

After a bas-relief by Orcagna


March 6.

S. Marcian, B.M. at Tortona, circ. A.D. 120.
SS. Victor, Victorinus, Claudian and Bassa, MM. at Nicemedia and Apamea, 3rd cent.
S. Quiriacus, P.C. at Treves, 4th cent.
S. Evagrius, Patr. of Constantinople, end of 4th cent.
S. Sezin, Ab. in Brittany, 6th cent.
S. Fridolin, Ab. of Sickingen, end of 7th cent.
SS. Kyneburga, Kyneswitha and Tibba, VV. at Peterborough, end of 7th cent.
SS. Balther and Bilfred, HH. at Lindisfarne, circ. A.D. 756.
S. Chrodegang, B. of Metz, A.D. 766.
SS. Forty-two Martyrs, under the Saracens, in Syria, circ. A.D. 841
S. Cadroe, Ab. at Metz, A.D. 988.
B. Oldegar, B. of Barcelona, and Archb. of Tarragona, A.D. 1137.
S. Colette, V. at Ghent, A.D. 1447.


(6th cent.)

[Venerated in Brittany, patron of the parish of Guic-Sezni, in the diocese of S. Pol-de-Léon.]

Of this abbot nothing certain is known. Colgan attempted to identify him with S. Isserninus, the companion of S. Patrick. According to Albert le Grand, S. Sezin was born in Ulster, in 402, studied at Rome, became a bishop in Ireland, and passed into Brittany in 477, where he died as late as 529, having lived 127 years. But the lections in the Breviary of S. Pol de Léon, from which Albert le Grand made up this history, are for the most part taken word for word from the Life of S. Kieran. We may allow that the saint was an Irishman, and that he died at Guic-Sezni, in the beginning of the 6th century, but that is all we can say of him.




[Molanus and Greven in their additions to Usuardus. Canisius in his German Martyrology. Anglican and later Irish and Scottish Martyrologies. The Acts of Fridolin were preserved in a monastery on the Moselle, where they were found, and recast in a more ornate style, by a monk, Balther, in the beginning of the 12th cent. The story of this is rather curious. In the monastery of Sickingen there was no copy of the life of S. Fridolin, on account of the monastery having been destroyed by the Huns about 938. But Balther, a monk of Sickingen, happening to visit a monastery on the Moselle, which had been founded by S. Fridolin, found the life there. He asked for it, but the prior refused to give it him, so he learned it by heart, as well as he could, "partly carrying it away word for word, and partly gathering the subject-matter," after which he set to work and re-wrote it, incorporating the portions he knew by heart with that portion which he wrote in his own words. He says that he was puzzled to find that in the MS. the saint was called Fridhold, whereas at Sickingen they were wont to call him Fridolin. Fridhold was undoubtedly the ancient and most correct form of the name, and Fridolin is a diminutive.]

Fridolin the Traveller was a native of Ireland, what his name there was is not known, as we only hear of him by his Teutonic appellation, signifying "Gentle Peace." His birth was illustrious, and he is usually said to have been the son of a king, but Balther merely says he was a person of distinguished piety. Having embraced the ecclesiastical state, he was raised to the priesthood, and preached with great zeal for some time in various parts of Ireland. Wishing to visit foreign countries, he passed over to France, and after preaching there, became a member of S. Hilary's monastery at Poitiers, where he remained for a considerable time, and was so much esteemed by the community, and the bishop and clergy, that he was elected abbot. He then completed an object which he had greatly at heart, the rebuilding of S. Hilary's Church, in which he was assisted by king Clovis, and by the bishop and the inhabitants; and he92 placed in it the remains of the saint, reserving a few portions of the relics for himself. During this time he was visited by two priests, relatives of his, who had been labouring as missionaries in Northumberland. Leaving them at Poitiers, and taking with him some of the relics of S. Hilary, Fridolin went to the east of France, and erected a monastery on the banks of the Moselle, which he dedicated to S. Hilary, and which was called Helera. Having remained there only as long as was necessary to complete that foundation, he built a church amidst the Vosges, likewise in honour of S. Hilary, perhaps that which was named Hilariacum, the modern S. Avold, in the Department of Moselle. Thence he proceeded to Strassburg, where also he erected a church under the same invocation. Next we find him at Coire, in the Grisons, and there likewise founding a Church of S. Hilary. While there, he inquired of the inhabitants if there were any island in the Rhine as yet uninhabited, and was informed there was one, of which, however, they could not give him a precise account. He went in search of it, and at length found the island of Sickingen, a few miles above Basle. When examining it for the purpose of discovering whether it were fit for the erection of a church, he was beaten and ill-treated by the inhabitants of the neighbouring district. But having obtained a grant of the island from the king, he founded a church, and a religious house for women, towards the endowment of which he got some lands from Urso, a nobleman of Glarus. Thenceforth he spent the remainder of his life at Sickingen, together with some disciples of his, of whom he formed a community, prior, it is said, to his having established the nunnery. He died there on the 6th of March, but in what year is not known. There are great doubts even as to the century in which he flourished; but it is most probable that he belonged to the latter part of the93 7th century. Some writings have been attributed to the saint, but upon no sufficient authority. Many writers suppose that he arrived in France in the reign of Clovis I., but it is more probable that it was in the reign of Clovis III. According to Balther, Christianity seems to have been completely established in Ireland at the time of Fridolin's departure for France, and this representation does not suit the religious state of Ireland at the period when Clovis I. reigned. The holy expeditions of missionaries from Ireland to the continent, had not begun as early as the 6th century. Next comes the very remarkable circumstance of the priests, the nephews of Fridolin, coming from Northumberland. There were no Irish priests in Northumberland until the year 635.25

S. Fridolin is regarded as the tutelar patron of the Canton of Glarus, which bears on its coat of arms a figure of the saint.



[Anglican Martyrologies. Authorities:—Bede, lib. iii. c. 21, Ingulf, and William of Malmesbury.]

An obstinate tradition found in the ancient English Chronicles asserts that two daughters of the savage old heathen Penda, king of Mercia, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, both gave up the thought of marriage to consecrate themselves to God. The eldest, who was married to Alcfrid, the eldest son of king Oswy of Northumbria, is said to have left him with his consent, after having lived with him some years in virginal continence, to end her life in94 the cloister. The youngest, sought in marriage by Offa, king of the East Saxons, used her connection with him only to persuade the young prince to embrace the monastic life as she herself desired to do. But it has been proved that the two daughters of the bloody Penda contributed with their brothers to the establishment of the great abbey of Medehampstede, or Peterborough, that their names appear in the list of the national assembly which sanctioned this foundation, and that it was not till after, that they retired to lead a religious life at Dermundcaster, now Caister, near Peterborough, on the confines of Huntingdon and Northampton. There Kyneburga became the abbess of a community of nuns, when she was shortly joined by her sister Kyneswitha, and a kinswoman Tibba.

After their death, they were buried at Peterborough. When the Danes wasted England, their bodies were carried to Thorney, but were brought back again in the days of king Henry I.

Camden, in his account of Rutland, informs us that S. Tibba was held in particular veneration at Ryall on the Wash.


(ABOUT A.D. 756.)

[Anglican and Scottish Martyrologies. Authorities:—Aberdeen Breviary, Hector Boece, Hist. Scot. lib. ix. Matthew of Westminster under date 941; Turgot of Durham, &c.]

S. Balther is supposed to be identical with S. Baldred, commemorated the same day in the Scottish Martyrologies.

S. Baldred is said to have lived a solitary life on the Bass-rock. At the entrance of the Firth of Forth was a dangerous rock just above the level of low tide which proved a cause of continual shipwreck. Baldred, says the95 lection in the Aberdeen Breviary, compassionating the sailors, went to the rock, and standing on it, it swam away under him "like a boat," and he conducted it to a place where it could do no mischief, and there he rooted it again.

He died at Aldham (Alderstone), and his body was claimed by the neighbouring parishes of Tyningham and Preston. A contest arose between the three parishes, and the story is told, which occurs also in that of S. Tyllo, that in the morning there were three precisely similar bodies, so that each parish was able to possess S. Baldred.

In 951, Anlaf the Dane burnt the church and monastery of Tyningham, and immediately after was struck with sudden sickness, and died. The body of S. Balther was rediscovered by revelation, by a priest, Elfrid, two centuries later, whose mission seems to have been the recovery of lost relics, for he found also those of SS. Bilfred, Acca, Alkmund the bishop, king Oswin, and the abbesses Ebba and Ethelgitha, being directed to them all by visions. The bones of S. Balther and S. Bilfred were put together with the body of S. Cuthbert in his shrine at Durham. But they were removed from the shrine again in 1104, the head of S. Oswald being alone left with S. Cuthbert, and were put in the shrine of the Venerable Bede.

S. Bilfred was a goldsmith, who is said to have chased a book of the Gospels with gems in gold, which was long preserved at Durham, and is now in the Cottonian library in the British Museum. On the cover is "✠ Eadfrid, Oetilwald, Billfrith, Aldred hoc Evangelium Deo et Cuthberto uonstruxerunt et ornaverunt;" above this in Saxon characters, and in a Northumbrian dialect, "And Billfrith, the anchorite, he fabricated the curious works that are on the outside, and it adorned with gold and with gems, also with silver overgilded, a priceless treasure." Billfrith is supposed to be a local form of Bilfred.



(A.D. 766.)

[Metz Martyrology, Molanus and Herimann Greven in their additions to Usuardus. Belgian Martyrologies, and Saussaye in his Gallia Christiana. Authority:—His life by Paulus Diaconus ([fl]. 790), and a larger one by John, abbot of Gorze, (d. 793), published in Pertz, Mon. Sacr. T. x. p. 552-572.]

This saint was a native of Hasbain, that portion of Brabant which surrounds Louvain, and was educated in the abbey of S. Tron. On account of his learning and general talents he was made chancellor of France by Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, in 737. Soon after the death of Charles, he was elected bishop of Metz, in 742. In 754 he was sent on an embassy by king Pepin to Astulph, king of the Lombards, who had overrun the North of Italy, praying him not to commit degradations in Rome, nor to force the Romans to desert their faith. But the embassy proved fruitless. In 755 the saint organised a regular community to serve as chapter to his cathedral, requiring them to live together in one house, and observe certain rules, which he drew up in thirty-four articles. Amongst other rules, he required his canons to confess at least twice in the year to the bishop, before the beginning of Advent and Lent. He built and endowed the monasteries of S. Peter, of Gorze, and of Lorsch; and died on March 6th, 766. He was buried at Gorze. His relics disappeared at the Revolution.



(A.D. 1447.)

[Roman Martyrology. Her festival was celebrated with proper office at her convent in Ghent, by permission of Clement VIII.; and Paul V. extended this privilege to all other convents of her order. She was canonized by Pius VII., in 1807. Her life was written by Peter à Vallisus, [or] de Rheims, for many years her confessor, in French, and it was translated by Etienne Julliac, a contemporary, into Latin; and an epitome of her life was written by Jodocus Clichthrove.]

Colette Boillet, a carpenter's daughter, was born at Corbie, in Picardy, on Jan. 13th, 1380. Her parents gave her at the font the name of Nicoletta, and this has been contracted into Colette, the name by which she is now usually known. From her earliest infancy she seems to have been singled out for a special work, and her young soul, from the first, opened to divine grace, as a spring flower to the sun. At the age of seven, she yearned for a retired life, and she fashioned for herself a little oratory in the back premises of the carpenter's wood-yard, into which she retreated for prayer, and there spent many hours in communion with God. When her childish companions sought her that they might draw her into their sports and pastimes, she hid under her bed; but when anything was really wanted of her, or any of her companions were in trouble, she was at once at hand to assist and console. If a poor person came to the door whilst the family was at meals, she would rise and give him her share.

In 1402, at the age of twenty-two, Colette bade farewell to nature, to her friends, to all of life that was most lovely, and enclosed herself in an anchorite's cell, built against the walls of the church of Corbie. These voluntary recluses were common in the Middle Ages. Those who desired to live this life of seclusion, entered living into these tombs, which were built up, leaving only a window open, through98 which they were fed and communicated. Throughout all Picardy the fame of the austerities of Colette spread, and many sought her counsel and prayers. Fearing that her humility would suffer, for three years she maintained a complete silence, only opening her window to receive the Holy Sacrament. At length the call came, which it was impossible for her to resist. Henry de la Balm, her confessor, saw in a dream a vine full of leaves, but fruitless; then came Colette and pruned the vine, and it began to yield abundantly. Shortly after this Colette saw, in vision, a great tree growing in her cell, laden with golden fruit, and numerous saplings springing up about its roots. Fearing a deception of Satan, she tore up the young plants, but there appeared more in their place. Then she thought God summoned her to reform the Order of the Poor Clares. But she still hesitated; whereupon she was struck blind for three days, and after that for three days dumb. She hesitated no longer, but came forth ready, in God's name, to undertake her mission. She left her cell with regret; turning at the door, and kissing the threshold, she sobbed forth, "Oh, dear little home, farewell! farewell my joy and repose! Oh, if men knew how much happiness I have enjoyed in thee, they would desert palaces to inhabit thy narrow walls."

It was the close of autumn in 1406. The vines were heavy with grapes, the trees had put on their many-coloured autumnal tints, and the last shocks of yellow harvest were being gathered in. For four years, in her seclusion, she had seen nothing of all this, only the golden light playing on the wall of her chamber, sometimes pale, and sometimes burning as flame, and the blue sky and the drifting clouds, now dark grey with winter rains, and then white and fleecy in summer light.

Colette had written all that she had deemed expedient99 for the reformation of the Franciscan Order; she placed her writings in a pouch attached to her girdle, and on foot she started for Nice, where Benedict XIII. resided, on account of the schism. The pope received Colette with honour; she made profession of the rule of S. Clare at his feet, and he appointed her superior-general of the whole order; naming Henry de la Balm, her confessor, as assistant for the reformation of the Friars of S. Francis.

This young and feeble woman now set her hand with incredible energy to the accomplishment of her task. She traversed France, Savoy, Germany, and Flanders, meeting in some places with violent opposition as a crazy fanatic, but in other succeeding in establishing a reform. The provinces of France were ravaged by war, and all the evil passions of wicked men were let loose; but Colette walked through all dangers, relying on Divine protection, and never relying in vain. She was accused of heresy, and even of unchastity, but she was not crushed by slander, despising reproach as she had defied danger.

In 1410, she founded a convent at Besançon; in 1415, she introduced a reform into the convent of the Cordeliers, at Dole, and in succession into nearly all the convents in Lorraine, Champagne, and Picardy. In 1416, she founded a house of her order at Poligny, at the foot of the Jura, and another at Auxonne. "I am dying of curiosity to see this wonderful Colette, who resuscitates the dead," wrote the Duchess of Bourbon, about this time. For the fame of the miracles and labours of the carpenter's daughter was in every mouth.

In 1422, Colette started for Moulins to meet the duchess, and to found there a religious house. The Duchess of Nevers summoned her into her duchy, and she obeyed the summons. It was on her way to Moulins that she met another maiden, also acting under a special call, though one100 of a very different nature. One maiden was called to wear cord and veil, the other to gird the sword and wear the casque. It was Joan of Arc, then on her way with Dunois at the head of an army to besiege Charité-sur-Loire. In Auvergne, Colette converted Isabeau de Bourbon, and at the age of nineteen the young princess exchanged her diamonds for the knotted cord of S. Clare.

After having founded the convent of Le Puy, at the request of Amadeus VII., Colette carried her reformation into Savoy. On the north shore of the Lake of Geneva, she found a still sweet spot, itself silent and secluded as a monastery, its white walls reflected in the deep blue of the lake, and looking out on a range of snowy mountains. At Vevey she rested to look around her, relax her weary soul, and breathe in the soft air, sweet from the fields of narcissus. But God had not yet called her to rest. From all sides devotees came to her,—the Duchess of Valentinois, the unfortunate Jacques de Bourbon, in turn jailor and prisoner of his wife, Jeanne of Sicily, with his children, who, having tasted the life of the cloister, found it was so sweet, that they abandoned for it the pleasures and ambitions of the world.26

After having spent two years at Vevey, Colette went to Nozeroy, to the princess of Orange, and remained with her till 1430. Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, recalled Colette to Flanders, where she founded several houses, and glorified God by many miracles. In the memoirs of Oliver de la Marche, a Burgundian gentleman of this time, occurs the following notice of S. Colette; "En celui temps, régnoit une moult sainte et dévote femme, religieuse de Sainte-Claire, au pays de Bourgoigne, nommée soeur Colette. Cette femme allait par toute la chrétienté, menant101 moult sainte vie, et édifiant maisons et églises de la religion de Saint François et de Sainte Claire. Et ai été acertené, que, par son pourchas et par sa peine, elle avait édifié de son temps trois cent quatre-vingts églises."

It would seem almost as if Colette had a natural love for mountains, so generally do we find her returning to them, and laying at their feet the foundations of her dearest homes. Perhaps the mystery of their blue-veined valleys, and the wondrous changes wrought by the sun and clouds on their sides, filled her with a sense of love and awe. But it was not from among the mountains that she was summoned away. The call to the everlasting hills came to her on the flats of Flanders, in the city of Ghent. There she died on March 6th, 1447, laying herself down to repose as gladly as the weary labourer in harvest time, who returns to his home and to sleep after a day of incessant toil.

When the Emperor Joseph II. suppressed many religious houses in his dominions, in 1785, the Poor Clares of Ghent took up the body of S. Colette, and traversing France, laid it beneath the mountain shadows at Poligny. The holy relics were secreted at the time of the French Revolution, and on the return of tranquillity, they were placed in the parish church; but the Poor Clares having re-established themselves at Poligny, the bones of the saint have been restored to them.

Decorative motif


March 7.

SS. Perpetua, Felicitas, Saturus, and Companions, MM. in Africa, A.D. 203.
S. Eubulus, M. at Cĉsarea in Palestine, A.D. 308.
S. Paul the Simple, H. in the Thebaid, 4th cent.
S. Gaudiosus, B. of Brescia, circ. A.D. 445.
S. Easterwin, Ab. of Wearmouth, A.D. 785. (See S. Benedict Biscop, Jan. 12th; p. 172.)
S. Thomas Aquinas, Doct., O.P., at Fossa Nuova, A.D. 1274.


(A.D. 203.)

[Roman and all Western Martyrologies on this day, but by the Greeks on March 1st. Authorities:—The genuine Acts of these martyrs, and a sermon by S. Augustine of Hippo on them. The names of Perpetua and Felicitas occur in the Canon of the Mass. The first part of the Acts was written by S. Perpetua herself, and reaches to the eve of her martyrdom. S. Saturus then took the pen, and added the account of his vision; and when he had gained his crown, an eye-witness of their passion closed the account. Tertullian quotes these Acts in his Book De Anima, c. 55; and S. Augustine in his Sermons, 280, 283, and 294. They were anciently read publicly in the churches of Africa.]

A violent persecution broke out under the Emperor Severus, in 202. It reached Africa the following year; when, by order of Minutius Timinianus, or Firminianus, five catechumens were apprehended at Carthage for the faith; namely, Revocatus, and his fellow-slave Felicitas, Saturninus, and Secundulus, and Vivia Perpetua. Felicitas was expecting her confinement; and Perpetua had an infant at her breast, was of a good family, twenty-two years of age, and married to a person of quality in the city. She had a father, a mother, and two brothers; the third, Dinocrates, died about seven years old. These five martyrs were joined by Saturus, probably brother to Saturninus, and who seems to have been103 their instructor: he underwent a voluntary imprisonment, because he would not abandon them. The father of S. Perpetua, who was a Pagan, and advanced in years, loved her more than all his other children. Her mother was probably a Christian, as was one of her brothers, the other a catechumen. The martyrs, for some days before they were committed to prison, were kept under a strong guard in a private house: and the account Perpetua gives of their sufferings to the eve of their death, is as follows: "We were in the hands of our persecutors, when my father, out of the affection he bore me, made new efforts to shake my resolution. I said to him, 'Can that vessel, which you see, change its name?' He said, 'No.' I replied, 'Nor can I call myself any other than I am, a Christian.' At that word my father in a rage fell upon me, as if he would have pulled out my eyes, and beat me; but went away in confusion, seeing me invincible. After this we enjoyed a little repose, and in that interval received baptism. The Holy Ghost, on our coming out of the water, inspired me to pray for nothing but patience under bodily sufferings. A few days after this we were put into prison; I was shocked at the horror and darkness of the place; for till then I knew not what such sort of places were. We suffered much that day, chiefly on account of the great heat caused by the crowd, and the ill-treatment we met with from the soldiers. I was, moreover, tortured with concern, because I had not my baby with me. But the deacons, Tertius and Pomponius, who assisted us, obtained, by money, that we might pass some hours in a more commodious part of the prison, to refresh ourselves. My infant was then brought to me almost famished, and I gave it the breast. I recommended him afterward carefully to my mother, and encouraged my brother; but was much afflicted to see their concern for me. After a few days my sorrow was changed into comfort,104 and my prison itself seemed agreeable. One day my brother said to me, 'Sister, I am persuaded that you are a special favourite of heaven; pray to God to reveal to you whether this imprisonment will end in martyrdom, or not.' I, knowing God gave me daily tokens of His goodness, answered, full of confidence, that I would inform him on the morrow. I therefore asked that favour of God, and had this vision. I saw a golden ladder, which reached from earth to heaven; but so narrow that only one could mount it at a time. To the two sides were fastened all sorts of iron instruments, swords, lances, hooks, and knives; so that if any one went up carelessly, he was in great danger of having his flesh torn. At the foot of the ladder lay a dragon of enormous size, who kept guard to turn back and terrify those that endeavoured to mount it. The first that went up was Saturus, who was not apprehended with us, but voluntarily surrendered himself afterward on our account: when he had reached the top of the ladder, he turned towards me, and said, 'Perpetua, I wait for you; but take care lest the dragon bite you.' I answered, 'In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, he shall not hurt me.' Then the dragon, as if afraid of me, gently lifted his head from under the ladder, and I, having got upon the first step, set my foot upon his head. Thus I mounted to the top, and there I saw an extensive garden, and in the middle of it a tall man sitting down dressed like a shepherd, having white hair. He was milking his sheep, surrounded with many thousands of persons clad in white. He called me by my name, bid me welcome, and gave me some curds made of the milk which he had drawn: I put my hands together, and took and ate them; and all that were present said aloud, Amen. The noise awakened me, chewing something very sweet. As soon as I had related this vision to my brother, we both concluded that we should suffer death.


"After some days, a rumour having got about that we were to be examined, my father came from the city to the prison, overwhelmed with grief. 'Daughter,' said he, 'have pity on my grey hairs, if I yet deserve to be called your father; if I have brought you up. I pray you consider that my love of you made me always prefer you to your brothers, and make me not now a reproach to mankind. Have respect for your mother and your aunt; have compassion on your child that cannot survive you; lay aside this obstinacy, lest you ruin us all; for not one of us will dare open his lips any more if misfortune befall you.' He took me by the hands at the same time, and kissed them; he threw himself at my feet in tears. I confess, I was pierced with sorrow when I considered that my father was the only person of our family that would not rejoice at my martyrdom. I endeavoured to comfort him, saying, 'Father, grieve not; nothing will happen but what pleases God; for we are not at our own disposal.' He then departed, much concerned. Next day, whilst we were at dinner, a person came in suddenly to summon us to examination. The report of this soon brought a vast crowd of people into the audience chamber. We were placed on a sort of scaffold before the judge, Hilarian, procurator of the province, the proconsul having lately died. All who were questioned before me boldly confessed Jesus Christ. When it came to my turn, my father stood forward, holding up my infant. He drew me a little aside, conjuring me in the most tender manner not to be insensible to the misery I should bring on that innocent creature, to which I had given life. The president Hilarian joined with my father, and said, 'What! will neither the gray hairs of a father, nor the tender innocence of a child, move you? Sacrifice for the prosperity of the emperors.' I replied, 'I will not do it.' 'Are you then a Christian,' said Hilarian.106 I answered, 'Yes, I am.' As my father attempted to draw me from the scaffold, Hilarian commanded him to be beaten off, and he had a blow given him with a stick, which I felt as much as if I had been struck myself, so much was I grieved to see my father thus treated in his old age. Then the judge pronounced our sentence, by which we were all condemned to be exposed to wild beasts. We then joyfully returned to our prison; and as my infant was not yet weaned, I immediately sent Pomponius the deacon, to demand him of my father, but he refused to send him. And God so ordered it, that the child no longer required to suck, nor did my milk incommode me." Secundulus, being no more mentioned, seems to have died in prison before this interrogatory. Before Hilarian pronounced sentence, he had caused Saturus, Saturninus, and Revocatus to be scourged; and Perpetua and Felicitas to be beaten on the face. They were reserved for the shows which were to be exhibited for the soldiers in the camp, on the festival of Geta, who had been made Cĉsar four years before, by his father Severus, when his brother Caracalla was created Augustus.

S. Perpetua relates another vision with which she was favoured, as follows: "A few days after receiving sentence, when we were all together in prayer, I happened to name Dinocrates, at which I was astonished, because I had not before had him in my thoughts; and I that moment knew that I ought to pray for him. This I began to do with great fervour before God; and the same night I had the following vision: I saw Dinocrates coming out of a dark place, where there were many others, exceedingly hot and thirsty; his face was dirty, his complexion pale, with the ulcer in his face of which he had died at seven years of age, and it was for him that I had prayed. There seemed a great distance between him and me, so that it was im107possible for us to come to each other. Near him stood a vessel full of water: he attempted to drink, but could not reach it. This mightily grieved me, and I awoke. By this I knew my brother was in pain, but I trusted I could relieve him by prayer: so I began to pray for him, beseeching God with tears, day and night, that he would grant me my request; and I continued doing this till we were removed to the camp prison: being destined for a public show on the festival of the Cĉsar Geta. The day we were in the stocks27 I had this vision; I saw the place, which I had beheld dark before, now luminous; and Dinocrates, with his body very clean and well clad, refreshing himself; and in the place of his wound was a scar only. I awoke, and knew he was relieved from his pain.28

"Some days after, Pudens, the officer who commanded the guards of the prison, seeing that God favoured us with many gifts, had a great esteem of us, and admitted many people to visit us, for our mutual comfort. On the day of the public shows, my father came overwhelmed with sorrow. He tore his beard, threw himself on the ground, cursed his years, and said enough to move any creature; and I was ready to die with sorrow to see my father in so deplorable a condition. On the eve of the shows I was favoured with the following vision. The deacon Pomponius, methought, knocked very hard at the prison door, which I opened to him. He was clothed with a white robe, embroidered with innumerable pomegranates of gold. He said to me,108 'Perpetua, we wait for thee, come along.' He then took me by the hand and led me through very rough places into the middle of the amphitheatre, and said, 'Fear not.' And, leaving me, said again, 'I will be with thee in a moment, and bear a part with thee in thy pains.' I was wondering the beasts were not let out against us, when there appeared a very ill-favoured negro, who came to encounter me with others. But another beautiful troop of young men declared for me, and anointed me with oil for the combat. Then appeared a man of a great stature, in rich apparel, like the master of the gladiators, having a wand in one hand, and in the other a green bough on which hung golden apples. Having ordered silence, he said that the bough should be my prize, if I vanquished the negro: but that if he conquered me, he would kill me with a sword. After a long and obstinate engagement, I threw the negro on his face, and trod upon his head. The people applauded my victory loudly. I then approached the master of the amphitheatre, who gave me the bough with a kiss, and said, 'Peace be with thee, my daughter.' After this I awoke, and found that I was not to combat with wild beasts so much as with devils." Here ends the relation of S. Perpetua.

S. Saturus had also a vision, which he wrote down himself. He and his companions were conducted by a bright angel into a most delightful garden, in which they met some holy martyrs lately dead, namely Jocundus, Saturninus, and Artaxius, who had been burned alive for the faith, and Quintus, who had died in prison. They inquired after other martyrs of their acquaintance, and were conducted into a most stately palace, shining like the sun; and in it saw the king of this most glorious place surrounded by his happy subjects, and heard the voice of a great multitude crying, "Holy, holy, holy." Saturus, turning to Perpetua, said,109 "Thou hast here what thou didst desire." She replied, "God be praised, I have more joy here than ever I had in the flesh." He adds, that on going out of the garden they found before the gate, on the right hand, the bishop of Carthage, Optatus, and on the left, Aspasius, priest of the same church, both of them alone and sorrowful. They fell at the martyrs' feet, and begged that they would reconcile them together, for a dissension had happened between them. The martyrs embraced them, saying, "Art not thou our bishop, and thou a priest of our Lord? It is our duty to prostrate ourselves before you." Perpetua was discoursing with them; but certain angels came and drove away Optatus and Aspasius; and bade them not to disturb the martyrs, but be reconciled to each other. The bishop, Optatus, was also charged to heal the divisions that reigned in his church. The angels after these reprimands seemed ready to shut the gates of the garden. "Here," says he, "we saw many of our brethren and martyrs likewise. We were fed with an ineffable odour, which delighted and satisfied us." Such was the vision of Saturus. The rest of the Acts were added by an eye-witness. God had called to himself Secundulus in prison. Felicitas was eight months gone with child, and as the day of the shows approached, she was inconsolable lest she should not be confined before then; fearing that her martyrdom would be deferred on that account, because women with child were not allowed to be executed, before they were delivered: the rest also were sensibly afflicted on their part to leave her behind. Therefore they unanimously joined in prayer to obtain of God that she might be delivered before the day of the shows. Scarce had they finished their prayer, when Felicitas found herself in labour. She cried out under the violence of her pain; then one of the guards asked her, if she could not bear the throes of childbirth without crying out, what she110 would do when exposed to the wild beasts. She answered, "It is I myself that am enduring these pangs now; but then there will be another with me who will suffer for me, because I shall suffer for Him." She was then delivered of a daughter, which a certain Christian woman took care of, and brought up as her own child. Pudens, the keeper of the prison, having been already converted, secretly did them all the good offices in his power. The day before they suffered they were given, according to custom, their last meal, which was called a free supper, and they ate in public. Their chamber was full of people, with whom they talked, threatening them with the judgments of God, and extolling the happiness of their own sufferings. Saturus, smiling at the curiosity of those that came to see them, said to them, "Will not to-morrow suffice to satisfy your inhuman curiosity? However you may seem now to pity us, to-morrow you will clap your hands at our death, and applaud our murderers. But observe well our faces, that you may know them again at that terrible day when all men shall be judged." They spoke with such courage and intrepidity that they astonished the infidels, and occasioned the conversion of several among them. The day of their triumph having come, they went out of the prison to the amphitheatre full of joy. Perpetua walked with a composed countenance and easy pace, with her eyes modestly cast down; Felicitas went with her, following the men, not able to contain her joy. When they came to the gate of the amphitheatre, the guards would have given them, according to custom, the superstitious habits with which they adorned such as appeared at these sights. For the men, a red mantle, which was the habit of the priests of Saturn; for the women, a little fillet round the head, by which the priestesses of Ceres were known. The martyrs rejected those idolatrous vestments; and, by the mouth of Perpetua,111 said they came thither of their own accord, on the promise made them that they should not be forced to anything contrary to their religion. The tribune then consented that they should appear in the amphitheatre habited as they were. Perpetua sang, as being already victorious; Revocatus, Saturninus, and Saturus threatened the people that beheld them with the judgments of God: and as they passed before the balcony of Hilarian, they said to him, "Thou judgest us in this world, but God will judge thee in the next." The people, enraged at their boldness, begged that they might be scourged, and this was granted. They accordingly passed before the Venatores,29 or hunters, each of whom gave them a lash. They rejoiced exceedingly in being thought worthy to resemble our Saviour in his sufferings. God granted to each of them the death they desired; for when they had discoursed together about what kind of martyrdom would be agreeable to each, Saturninus declared that he should prefer to be exposed to beasts of several sorts, in order that his sufferings might be aggravated. Accordingly, he and Revocatus, after having been attacked by a leopard, were also assaulted by a bear. Saturus dreaded nothing so much as a bear, and therefore hoped a leopard would despatch him at once with his teeth. He was then exposed to a wild boar, but the beast turned upon his keeper, who received such a wound from him, that he died in a few days after, and Saturus was only dragged along by him. Then they tied the martyr near a bear, but that beast came not out of his lodge, so that Saturus, being sound and not hurt, was called upon for a second encounter. This gave him an opportunity of speaking to Pudens, the gaoler that had been converted. The martyr encouraged him to constancy in112 the faith, and said to him, "Thou seest I have not yet been hurt by any beast, as I desired and foretold: believe then stedfastly in Christ; I am going where thou wilt see a leopard with one bite take away my life." It happened so, for a leopard being let out upon him, sprang upon him, and in a moment he was deluged with blood, whereupon the people jeering, cried out, "He is well baptized." The martyr said to Pudens, "Go, remember my faith, and let our sufferings rather strengthen than trouble thee. Give me the ring thou hast on thy finger." Saturus, having dipped it in his wound gave it him back to keep as a pledge to animate him to steadfastness in his faith, and soon after, fell down dead. Thus he went first to glory, to wait for Perpetua, according to her vision.

In the mean time, Perpetua and Felicitas had been exposed to a wild cow; Perpetua and Felicitas were the first attacked, and the cow having tossed the former, she fell on her back. Then putting herself in a sitting posture, and perceiving her clothes were torn, she gathered them about her in the best manner she could, to cover herself, thinking more of decency than her sufferings.30 Getting up, not to seem disconsolate, she tied up her hair, which was fallen loose, and perceiving Felicitas on the ground much hurt by a toss of the cow, she helped her to rise. They stood together, expecting another assault from the beasts, but the people crying out that it was enough, they were led to the gate Sanevivaria, where those that were not killed by the beasts were despatched at the end of the shows by the confectores. Perpetua was here received by Rusticus, a catechumen. She seemed as if just returning out of a long ecstasy, and asked when she was to fight the wild cow. When told what had passed, she could not believe it till113 she saw on her body and clothes the marks of what she had suffered. She called for her brother, and said to him and Rusticus, "Continue firm in the faith, love one another, and be not distressed at our sufferings." All the martyrs were now brought to the place of their butchery. But the people, not yet satisfied with beholding blood, cried out to have them led into the middle of the amphitheatre, that they might have the pleasure of seeing them receive the last blow. Upon this, some of the martyrs rose up, and having given one another the kiss of peace, went of their own accord into the arena; others were despatched without speaking, or stirring out of the places they were in. S. Perpetua fell into the hands of a very timorous and unskilful apprentice of the gladiators, who, with a trembling hand, gave her many slight wounds, which made her languish a long time. Thus, says S. Augustine, did two women, amidst fierce beasts and the swords of gladiators, vanquish the devil and all his fury. The day of their martyrdom was the 7th of March, as it is marked in the most ancient martyrologies, and in a Roman Martyrology as old as the year 554. S. Prosper says they suffered at Carthage, which agrees with all the circumstances. Their bodies were preserved in the great church of Carthage, in the 5th century, as Victor of Utica relates. The body of S. Perpetua is said to be preserved at Bologna, in the Church of the Franciscans, but it is very questionable whether it is that of the S. Perpetua of Carthage, whose passion has just been narrated.



(A.D. 308.)

[By the Greeks on Feb. 3rd, in conjunction with S. Adrian; but by the Roman Martyrology on this day, and S. Adrian on March 5th. Authority:—Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. lib. viii., c. 11.]

In the persecution in Palestine, carried out under the ferocious governor Firmilian, Adrian and Eubulus, natives of Manganĉa, suffered. They came to Cĉsarea, and were asked the cause of their coming, as they entered the gates of the city. They confessed that they had come to see and minister to the martyrs of Jesus Christ. They were at once apprehended and brought before Firmilian. He ordered them to be scourged and torn with hooks, and then to be devoured by the beasts. After the lapse of two days, on the third of the nones of March, Adrian was cast before a lion, and afterwards slain with the sword. Eubulus was also reserved to the nones of March, and was then cast to the beasts. He was the last to suffer for the faith at Cĉsarea in that persecution.



[Greek Menĉa and Roman Martyrology on the same day. But some Latin Martyrologies on Dec. 18th, others on Jan. 11th. Authorities:—Palladius, in his Hist. Lausiaca; Ruffinus, in his Lives of the Fathers of the Desert; and Sozomen, Hist. Eccles., lib. i., c. 13.]

Paul the Simple was one of the first disciples of S. Antony. He did not embrace the religious life till he was sixty, and then it was in consequence of the bad conduct of his wife. He had been a labourer in a village of the Thebaid, and was very ignorant. He came to S. Antony, but the patriarch of hermits refused to admit him, thinking115 him too old to adopt the monastic life. Paul, however, remained three days and nights outside the cell of Antony, and would not leave. Antony then came forth, and found that the man had no food; he, therefore, received him for a while, hoping to disgust him with the life of a hermit by the severity of his discipline. He set Paul to pray outside his door, and told him not to desist till he was released. The simple old labourer obeyed, and Antony observed him, unseen, praying with the blazing sun shining down on his head at noon-day, and the moon looking on him at night, as rigid and immoveable as one of the date palms of the desert. He then brought him into his cave, and gave him some platting to do. When it was accomplished he rebuked Paul for his having doing it badly, and bade him undo his work again. The postulant did as ordered without a murmur. Then Antony brought bread, and set the table in order for supper, and called the hungry Paul to it; then he said, "Before we eat, let us recite twelve psalms and twelve prayers," and he did so; and when the psalms and prayers were done, Antony said, "We have looked on the bread, that will suffice for supper; now let us retire to rest." Yet Paul murmured not; so Antony saw that he was qualified to be a monk.

Once, as Antony and some of his guests were discoursing on spiritual matters, Paul asked very simply, "Were the prophets before Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ before the prophets?" Then Antony reddened, and bade him keep in the background, and hold his tongue. Now Paul at once obeyed, and remained for some time silent, and out of sight, and they told Antony of it. Then he said, "Oh, my brethren! learn from this man what our obedience towards God ought to be. If I say anything, he does it instantly and cheerfully, and we—do we thus behave towards our God?"



(A.D. 1274.)

[The oldest notices of S. Thomas are found in Gerard de Fracheto; in Thos. Cantipratensis; Stephen de Salanacho; Tocco, a Dominican, who had seen S. Thomas, and heard him preach, left an account of his life and miracles, this work formed the basis of the labours of the Inquisition into our saint's miracles, held in 1319. This, and the bull of his canonization, issued by John XXII., in 1323, is the foundation of the first part of Guido's life and acts of S. Thomas; the latter part contains the miracles substantiated at the second Inquisition, or those told on trustworthy authority. There are many other lives, as also histories of the translations of his body. John XXII. ordered his festival to be kept as that of a confessor, on March 7th; Pius V., in 1567, ordered it to be honoured in the same manner as were the feasts of the Four Doctors of the Church.]

"The age of S. Thomas Aquinas," says Bareille, "was that of Innocent III., and of S. Louis, of Albert the Great, and of Roger Bacon, of Giotto, and of Dante. That age witnessed the birth of the cathedral of Cologne, and the Summa Theologiĉ, of the Divine Comedy, and La Sainte Chapelle, of the Imitation of Jesus Christ, and the cathedral of Amiens. It was so fruitful in great men and great monuments, that it would need an entire volume to give a complete list of both. When we wander amidst the marvels of the thirteenth century, we are astonished at the injustice done to it through the ignorance of mankind.

"This astonishment is increased when we consider more attentively the vast movement which was then going on in the bosom of mankind. This was the age in which the Universities of Oxford and Paris were founded, in which S. Louis established his kingdom on a legitimate basis; in which the barons wrung the Magna Charta from king John; in which the great religious orders of S. Dominic and S. Francis sprung up; in which gunpowder was invented, the telescope discovered, the laws of gravitation recognized; in which the principles of political representation and of par117liamentary debate sprang into fresh life; in which, lastly, the great nationalities of modern times were settling themselves decisively into their places. In the middle of this century S. Thomas appeared. This man sums up in his own person all that was purest and strongest in his age; he is a personification of that power which subjugates all other powers to its sway—the power of great ideas.

"Hitherto men have seen in S. Thomas nothing but the pious cenobite, or, at best, the saintly and profound theologian, who theorises in his cloister, scarce deigning to bestow a glance on the age in which he lives. But if we study the real facts of his history, if we put his works in connection with his actions, we see in him one of those active and impressionable minds which keep an anxious watch over the ideas of their time, either to array against them all the fulness of their power, as a dam against their disorderly movements, or to dash into their midst and to master them by guiding them. His was, indeed, an extraordinary genius, whose power contemporary minds were forced to recognize, whether they came to bruise themselves against his logic, or whether they came to submit themselves to his direction. He reigned in both ways, but more by seconding, than by checking, the movements of his age."

S. Thomas, "the most saintly of the learned, and the most learned of the saints," sprang from a noble race. His mother, Theodora, was descended from the Caraccioli, a Norman family, and was countess of Hano in her own right. Her ancestors had left Normandy 200 years before, and having driven the Saracens and Greeks out of the plains of Southern Italy, had established themselves at Naples and Messina, and having made prisoner the Roman pontiff, had received the crown from his trembling hands.

Landulf, Theodora's husband, of the house of Sommacoli, otherwise called Counts of Loreto, Ditcerra, and Bel118castro, belonged to one of the most remarkable families of middle Italy. His father, Thomas, achieved so high a military reputation, that the emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, nominated him Lieutenant-General of the Holy Roman empire, and gave him his sister, Frances of Suabia, to wife. His ancestors had been Dukes of Capua, but when their inheritance was wrested from them, they assumed the title of Aquino, and settled themselves between the Volturno and the Garigliano. In the reign of Otto III., one of these rough warriors took Rocca Sicca from the abbot of Monte Cassino, and levelled it with the ground (996). Thus S. Thomas was nephew of Frederick the First and Henry the Fourth, and cousin of Frederick the Second, and could claim connection with the royal houses of Arragon, Sicily, and France. Yet, noble and illustrious as he was by birth, he was to be made nobler and more illustrious still by the brightness of his virtues and by the splendour of his intellect.

The saint's father seems to have combined a martial spirit with a firm devotion to the faith. Theodora, a woman of immense energy of character, kept herself in control by severe fasts and frequent vigils. The little town of Aquino occupies the centre of a vast and fertile plain, commonly called Campagna Felice. One of the rugged mountains which hem it in on all sides pushes forward a spur, called Rocca Sicca; on the summit of this crag still stand the ruins of the castle of the Aquinos. It was in a chamber of this castle that a Dominican friar appeared to Theodora, and exclaimed, "Rejoice, O lady, for thou art with child, and thou shalt bring forth a son, whom thou shalt call Thomas; both thou and thy husband will think to make him a monk in the monastery of Monte Cassino, where the body of blessed Benedict rests, hoping to obtain possession of the great income of that monastery by his elevation, but119 God has ordained otherwise concerning him, for he will become a brother of the Order of Preachers, and famous for his knowledge and the sanctity of his life."31 She replied, "I am not worthy to bear such a son; but may the will of God be done!" In due course Theodora gave birth to him, who was afterwards called the Angelic Doctor, in the same year that S. Louis became king, and S. Francis of Assisi died. The date, however, is contested. Most trustworthy authorities put it at the year 1227. Some say it took place at Rocca Sicca, some at Aquino, others at Belcastro. Theodora had two other boys, both of whom adopted a military life; and three daughters: the eldest became a nun, and died an abbess; the second married Count San Severino; the youngest, when an infant, was sleeping with Thomas and his nurse, when a fork of lightning shot through the castle window, burnt the little girl to death, but left S. Thomas uninjured in his nurse's arms.

At the age of five, S. Thomas was sent to Monte Cassino, his parents hoping, in spite of the prophecy, if the prophecy had ever been really uttered, that he would eventually join the order, and become master of those vast possessions which were under the dominion of its abbots. The monastery in the early days of S. Thomas was the most distinguished school of letters in the land. The little child was doubtless dedicated to God, as others were; he was brought into the sanctuary in the arms of his parents, he spoke by their mouth, as at the font, he put out his tiny hand for the sacred corporal to be wrapped round it, and thus vowed himself to God. The education of the child was committed to a large-hearted and God-fearing man, whose chief object was to fill his soul with God. As a result of this training it came to pass that S. Thomas's constant question to his120 teachers was, "What is God?" Doubtless, they answered him in the apostle's words, "God is love." The personal appearance of the young S. Thomas indicated the presence of a governing spirit; not the command of brute force, but the command of intellect. He possessed that rare class of spiritual beauty which tells of gentleness, purity, and power. His massive head betokened strength; his broad tranquil brow, his meditative eyes, produced the impression, not so much of quickness and vivacity, as of breadth and command. He seemed to live in a sort of spiritual light,—as the sunbeam striking upon a landscape naturally beautiful invests it with a kind of transfiguration. Though he seldom spoke, when he did speak, he set hearts beating faster; and often, whilst thus conversing with his companions, the monks would approach the little gathering by stealth, to listen to the precocious wisdom of this extraordinary child.

After seven years quiet study, S. Thomas was forced to take refuge with his family from the violence of the imperial soldiers, who had sacked the abbey, and made a prey of all its wealth in plate and gems, the legacies of emperors, kings, and knights. The change to the feudal castle of Loreto must have been a violent one for the young saint. The tramp of armed men, the free carousing, the shouts and songs of mirth, must have been sources of temptation to a boy of twelve, whose life had hitherto been passed in the silence of the cloister, or amid the sacred songs of the monks, but the holy impressions already made on his soul shielded it from corruption.

An anecdote is related of him at this period which shows how full his young heart was of charity. During his sojourn at Loreto, a terrible famine ravaged Southern Italy. The Aquinos were extremely charitable to the poor, and Thomas acted as his father's almoner. But not satisfied with this, he sometimes stole secretly into the kitchen, filled his cloak121 with whatever came to hand, and hurried to the castle gate to divide his spoils amongst the famishing people. Having been reprimanded for doing so, he still persisted; but one day, as he was carrying his cloak full of provisions, he met his father unexpectedly, and was commanded to show what he was hiding with so much care. The child let fall his burden, but in the place of bread, a shower of flowers hid the feet of the boy, and the old man, Landulf, burst into tears, and, embracing his son, bade him follow at liberty the inspirations of his charity.

His parents determined to send S. Thomas to the University of Naples, which was then at the height of its prosperity. Tasti states that he commenced the study of theology under the profound Erasmus, the Benedictine professor of that science in the University. Tocco states, however, that the abbot of Monte Cassino advised his removal from Monte Cassino, and his being placed at the University of Naples, where he studied grammar and logic under Martin, and natural science under Peter de Hibernia.

It was the custom for the students, after the professor had delivered his lecture, to present themselves at a stated time, and deliver what they had heard before their companions in the schools. When it came to S. Thomas's turn, he repeated the lectures with greater depth of thought, and greater lucidity of method, than the learned professor himself was able to command.

A youth, who was a more brilliant expositor of truth than its professors, would surely, during his stay in the gay centre of Southern Italy, have observed with interest the various phases of the period in which he lived; he must have felt, too, that an organized power alone could meet the world. He saw what an immense power monasticism had been in the age which was passing away. But he also perceived that the world had changed. The efforts of the solitaries122 and contemplatives had not been able to direct its course. Citeaux and Clairvaux had done a work indeed, but it was not the work of directing the stream of human thought. They had not perceptibly affected the world. The old methods seemed to have dropped out of use. Discovery, and travel, and enterprise excited the imagination of the men of that age; they loved activity better than meditation. They congregated in towns, and the teaching of the monastery gave way to the excitement and uproar of university life.

What then? Thomas would ask himself, is the instrument, or the organization adapted to oppose the powers of the world?

The Order of S. Francis, and that of S. Dominic, were created by the Church for resisting the mighty pressure. The former, in its characteristics of poverty and love, the latter, in its specialities of eloquence and learning, were designed to manifest the perfection of Christianity in a world full of the pomp of riches and the maddening influences of pantheistic mysticism. These two Orders had chairs at Naples. Probably young Aquino was struck by the devotedness and ability of the Dominican professors. The special scope of the Order, its love for learning, its active ministrations to humanity, while still retaining the self-restraint of solitaries, and the humility of monks, must have struck a new chord, or an old chord in a new fashion, in the heart of the saint. Anyhow, he soon became intimate with the Fathers of the Order, and especially with his dear friend, John à Sancto Facundo.

In the end, S. Thomas, who was then either sixteen or seventeen years old, petitioned for the habit of S. Dominic. The fathers determined to put his perseverance to the proof. They required him to make the demand in public. On the day appointed, from a very early hour, the church was123 flooded by a great crowd, amongst which might be observed persons of the highest distinction in the city. The religious of the house ranged themselves in the choir. Thomas advanced into the midst of these two clouds of witnesses, and received from the Superior, Fra Tomaso d'Agni di Lentino, the badges of penance and subjection. When S. Thomas entered the order, John of Germany was general (1239-1254), and a constellation of famous men shone with a steady light from the Corona Fratrum. In Germany there was Albertus Magnus. Hugh of S. Caro edified all France by his sanctity; and Peter of Verona, and John of Vicenza, were its ornaments in Italy.

It may be imagined that Theodora was not pleased when she heard of the ceremony from the lamentations of some of her vassals, who had seen the young count dressed up as a Dominican friar. She forthwith hastened to Naples with a large retinue. No sooner did the Dominicans learn that she was on her way, than they hurried the boy off,—some say at his own request—with several companions, to Rome, by a different route from that usually followed by travellers.

Theodora speedily followed him to Rome. In vain she tried to obtain a sight of him by entreaties the most imploring, and by threats the most indignant. She then bewailed her hard lot amongst the Roman nobility, and denounced to the pope the rapacity of the friars, who had robbed her of her boy.

The Dominicans, dreading her influence in the city, sent S. Thomas to Paris. Theodora, hearing of his departure, sent off a courier to his two brothers, who were ravaging Lombardy with a band of Frederick's soldiers, beseeching them to secure the fugitive. They set guards to watch the passes through which the Dominicans could escape. As the friars lay resting under a tree, near Acquapendente, they were surrounded by armed men, and Thomas found124 himself a prisoner in the hands of his brothers. The two young soldiers behaved with great brutality to the saint, and forcing him on horseback, they carried him to San Giovanni.

His mother made use of every argument she could invent to turn him from his purpose; she brought into play all the passions of her nature, her tears, her entreaties, her threats, her love; but without effect. Perceiving that he remained unmoveable, she threw him into prison, and set guards to watch outside. His sisters seconded their mother; they alone were allowed to wait on him, and they practised all their arts to turn him from his vocation. But in the end, his calm deportment, his resignation and tenderness, won them over. They put him in a position to communicate with the brethren. The saint procured a Bible, the Book of the "Sentences," and some of the works of Aristotle, and learned them by heart. Thus it was that he prepared himself for his mighty labours in the future.

His brothers persevered in their attempts to force him from religion. They were furious when they found that, far from being changed himself, Thomas had converted both his sisters. They forbade the girls to approach him; and bursting in upon him, insulted him with brutal jests, and ended by tearing his habit, piece by piece, from off his back. Then Brother John of S. Giuliano brought another habit for him from Naples, which he had concealed beneath his own. This made his brothers more enraged than before. They formed the infamous expedient of hiring a prostitute, and shutting her up in the cell with Thomas. While waiting the issue, a fearful shriek proceeding from the prison, summoned the two brothers; they arrived in time to see the girl rushing away in an agony of terror, and the young man chasing her with a blazing brand, which he had plucked out of the fire. Even the brutality of the125 young soldiers was overcome by this; and from that day forth, they ceased their persecutions.

Before his death, the saint told his familiar friend, Rainald, that no sooner had the girl been driven out, than he made a cross with the charred brand upon the wall, and casting himself upon his knees before it, made a vow of chastity for life. Whilst thus praying, he fell into a calm sleep, and was vouchsafed a vision. He saw angels descending from the clouds, who bound his loins with the girdle of continence, and armed him for life as the warrior of Heaven. This girdle is said to have been given after his death to the Dominicans of Vercelli, who refused to part with it at the command of a pope.

Still his relations kept him in confinement, some say for two years, and would have detained him longer, had it not been for the influence of the Dominicans with the pope. The holy father was roused. He not only brought the case before the emperor, but he ordered him to set the prisoner free, and threatened to visit the perpetrators of the outrage with condign punishment. Frederick, having latterly been humiliated by the Viterbesi, and having, in consequence, been abandoned by some of his supporters, was not sorry for an opportunity of gratifying the pontiff. Orders were at once sent to Landolf and Rainald to set the captive free. Still these stubborn soldiers with their haughty mother would take no active steps to give Thomas his liberty. However, his sisters informed John of S. Giuliano of the position of affairs, and he at once hurried to the castle accompanied by one or two companions. And finally, the girls let their brother down, through the window, like another S. Paul, into the hands of his delighted brethren below, who at once hurried him off to Naples.

Tocco says that John of S. Giuliano, others that Tomaso d'Agni di Lentino, was Superior of the Convent, and received126 our saint's profession. Theodora, repenting that she had let him escape, applied to the pope to annul his vows. The holy father sent for S. Thomas, and questioned him in the presence of the court. He, with his natural modesty, and yet with gentle firmness, told the pope how unmistakeable was the voice which had called him to religion, and implored the holy father to protect him. Innocent, and the prelates about him, could not suppress their emotion. The pope acted with great benevolence. Knowing Theodora's weakness, he proposed to make Thomas abbot of Monte Cassino, whilst still allowing him to wear the habit of S. Dominic, and to partake of the privileges of the friars. His mother and his brothers implored Thomas to accept the tempting offering. But he was inexorable. He besought the pope to leave him to abide in his vocation. Thenceforward his mother no longer worried him, and his brothers left him alone to pursue his own course.

From the first, the Dominicans seem to have had a kind of fore-knowledge of the great combat that would have to be waged in the arena of human reason. From the first, with prudence, forethought, and wise economy, they prepared a system for turning the abilities of their members to the fullest account. With them no intellect was lost. Power was recognised, trained, and put in motion. Those who were less gifted, were set to less intellectual employments: those who had great powers were fitted to become lights of the world and ornaments of the Order. With such an intellectual capital as our saint possessed, he might fairly have been set to work in the active ministrations of his Order. But, fortunately, his superiors were men who looked into the future, and knew how a present sacrifice would be repaid. Thus, instead of looking on S. Thomas's education as finished, they considered it as only just begun. Who was to be his master to ripen his active mind?


This question John of Germany, 4th General of the Dominicans, must have asked himself. At last he set out with S. Thomas on foot, from Rome to Paris, and from Paris to Cologne, where Albertus Magnus then was. It is related that as they descried the beauty of Paris in the distance, the general turned to Thomas and said, "What would you give to be king of that city?" "I would rather have S. Chrysostom's treatise on S. Matthew," replied the young man, "than be king of the whole of France."

S. Thomas met his match in Albertus Magnus. Nothing is a greater blessing for a master-mind than to come in contact with another master-mind, more highly educated, and with a more matured experience than itself. Albert was born of noble family at Lavingen, in Suabia, (1193 A.D.) Some say that, like S. Isidore, he was dull as a boy. At Padua, where he was studying medicine and mathematics, he was drawn by Brother Jordan's eloquence to join the Dominicans. He was sent to Bologna, then the second centre of the intellectual world. Next he began to teach. As a lecturer he was unrivalled: all classes thronged into the hall of this extraordinary man. The logic, ethics, and physics of Aristotle, and portions of Holy Writ, were the subject matter of his lectures. After settling at Cologne, he was summoned to Paris in 1228, to put the studies on a footing to meet the requirements of the age. Then he returned to Cologne. It was at this period that he first met S. Thomas, who became his favourite disciple, and to whom, in private, he opened the stores of his capacious mind.

The companions of S. Thomas in Albert's school, were men filled with the impression that to exert the reasoning faculties in debating scholastic questions, was one of the principal ends of all philosophy. It is not extraordinary that such men as these, when they saw young Aquino so silent, should imagine that nothing occupied his thoughts;128 especially when they perceived that he was equally reserved in school. They soon came to the conclusion that he was a naturally obtuse lad. What is more strange is this,—that Albert at first held him to be deficient. He was called by master and pupils, "the great dumb Sicilian ox." Once, when studying in his cell, he heard a voice crying to him, "Brother Thomas, here! quick, look at this flying ox!" When S. Thomas went to the window, he was received with shouts of derision. In explanation he said incisively: "I did not believe an ox could fly, nor did I, till now, believe that a religious could tell a lie."

A companion one day offered to assist him in his lesson. S. Thomas assented; presently his friend came to a hard passage, which was beyond his depth, the saint took the book from him, and explained the passage with great clearness. Albert had selected a difficult question from the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite; this the scholars passed to S. Thomas; he took it to his cell; and first stating all the objections that could be made against it, he then answered them. A brother picked up this paper, and carried it to Albert. His master ordered him to defend a thesis the next day before the whole school. Thomas spoke with such clearness, established his thesis with such dialectical skill, saw so far into the difficulties of the case, and handled the whole subject in so masterly a manner, that Albert exclaimed, "Thou seemest to me not to be defending the case, but to be deciding it." "Master," he replied, "I know not how to treat the question otherwise." Albert, to test him further, started objections, but Thomas solved every difficulty so successfully, that Albert cried out, "We call this youth 'Dumb Ox,' but the day will come when the whole world will resound with his bellowing."

S. THOMAS AQUINAS. After Cahier.

March 7.

In 1245, it was determined by the Dominican Chapter129 that Albert should leave Cologne for Paris, and that Thomas should finish his three years under him there.

The one absorbing science of the middle ages was theology. Learning, in all its branches, pointed to the study of religion as the great terminus of the human mind, and the one right road from heaven to earth. The liberal arts were but a careful and laborious preparation for philosophy or logic; logic, in turn, was only valuable inasmuch as it was an instrument for the ordering, defending, and proving the great truths of revelation. The great object of life was to know God. Jacques de Vitry beautifully says, "All science ought to be referred to the knowledge of Christ." It may be laid down roughly that the Scriptures, Peter Lombard's Book of Sentences, and Aristotle, were the three great bases on which the active intellect of the 13th century rested in its development and analysis of truth.

The students of the Paris University may be divided into three classes: those who lived in seminaries, those who lived in monasteries, and those who lived as best they could. Some were destitute, living on charity, or in hospitia; others were rich and lordly, great spendthrifts and swaggerers, studying out of mere curiosity, or pure conceit.

John of S. Alban had founded a hospitium for pilgrims, with a chapel dedicated to S. James; this he handed over to the Dominicans, which gift the University confirmed on condition that mass was said for its living and dead members twice a year. Thus the Dominicans came in contact with the University. From the first they attended the theological schools of the Church of Paris. S. Louis built them a convent, and at his death left them a part of the library he had collected at the Sainte Chapelle. Novices were taught Latin and logic; and disputations echoed in the cloister. Meditation was made to counterbalance the excitement of study.


The lectures were given in large halls. In the middle stood the chair of the master, with another seat below, and in front of him a stool for the bachelor who was going through his training. If there was not room on the benches, the students sat on the straw which covered the floor. The teaching was principally done by question and answer, by exposition, repetition, and disputation. No book was used, the teacher might have the text before him, and sometimes the students took notes in shorthand, which they wrote out at their leisure.

Nothing has been handed down, of any moment, regarding the studies of S. Thomas at Paris during this period. Albert was at the height of his reputation. His lecture-hall was so crowded, that he was forced to lecture in a square, near Notre Dame, known as the Place Maubert.

The same year in which S. Thomas finished his studies (1248), a general chapter of Dominicans was held at Paris. Here it was ruled that four new schools should be started on the model of that at Paris. Bologna for Lombardy; Montpellier for Provence; Oxford for England; Cologne for Germany. Albert was to take the chair at Cologne, re-arrange the studies, and be regent; whilst Thomas, who was not twenty-three, was to be second professor, and "Magister Studentium." Albert's old reputation attracted crowds. Thomas was not long before he also acquired a brilliant reputation.

His distinctions, even compared with those of Albert, were so new, his arguments so ingenious, that all were dazzled at his great ability. It was at Cologne that he first gave evidence as a teacher, of that depth, balance, and expansion, which, in after life, made him the weightiest of authorities on the most momentous of religious questions. In his treatment of the Scripture and of the Sentences, he had ample opportunity for displaying his many-sided gifts.


Nor did he confine himself to teaching in the schools. He preached and wrote. His first pieces were "De Ente et Essentia," and "De Principiis Naturĉ." These two works contain the germ of a future system, and were remarkable productions for a youth of twenty-two.

The saint's practice in teaching, and the accuracy he acquired by writing, from an early age, were of great assistance to him in developing his powers. He possessed, moreover, a gift—most valuable at all times—calmness and self-possession, which was the result, partly of education, greatly of character; partly of breadth of mind, and chiefly of grace. Under the most trying provocation he was never known to lose his self-control.

His humility and sweetness came out strikingly when arguing in the schools. Though his opponent, in the heat of disputation, might forget himself, Thomas never did.

Once, when a young student arrogantly defended a thesis of which he knew the saint did not approve, he was suffered to proceed in silence. But the next day, when he continued his argument with still greater arrogance, the saint with infinite sweetness, but crushing power, put a few questions, made a few distinctions, and upset the student with such ease, first on one point, then on another, that the whole school was in an uproar of admiration. Both the youth and his fellows were taught a lesson which they did not easily forget. Again, while he was preaching at S. James's, an official of the University walked up the church, and beckoned the saint to stop, and then read out an offensive document, drawn up by the secular party, in opposition to the Friars' Preachers. When the congregation had somewhat recovered from their surprise, S. Thomas proceeded with his sermon with undisturbed composure.

Conrad De Guessia, his intimate friend, declared him to be: "A man of holy life and honest conversation, peaceful,132 sober, humble, quiet, devout, contemplative, and chaste; so mortified that he cared not what he ate or what he put on. Every day he celebrated with great devotion, or heard, one or two masses; and except in times proper for repose, he was occupied in reading, writing, praying or preaching."

"His science, says Rainald, was not acquired by natural talent, but by the revelation and the infusion of the Holy Ghost, for he never set himself to write without having first prayed and wept. When he was in doubt, he had recourse to prayer, and with tears he returned, instructed and enlightened in his uncertainty."

It was about this time that S. Thomas was ordained priest. It is mortifying that no certain information can be procured regarding the time at which it took place. All his biographers lay stress on his great devotion while celebrating. He was frequently rapt in spirit whilst at mass, when the tears would spring to his eyes, and flow copiously. After mass, he prepared his lectures, and then went to the schools. Next, he wrote or dictated to several scribes; then he dined, returned to his cell, and occupied himself with Divine things till time for rest; after which he wrote again, and thus ordered his life in the service of his Master.

The duty of preaching also fell upon him. A man so filled with the Spirit of God would, almost of necessity, manifest the passion which ruled supreme. His reputation even at this period was great enough to draw a large congregation into the Dominican Church.

The language in which at this period sermons were preached was the vernacular. Even when written in Latin, and this was generally the case, they were delivered to the people in the vernacular.

The biographers of S. Thomas speak of the simplicity of his sermons. Once, in a discourse on the Passion, during Lent, he so vividly brought home to the congregation the133 sufferings of the cross, and drew so touching a picture of the compassion, mercy, and love of Christ, that his words were interrupted by the passionate crying of the people. On Easter Day, his sermon on the Resurrection filled the congregation with such jubilant triumph that they could scarcely be restrained from giving public expression to their feelings.

In manner he was gentle, calm, self-possessed. Tocco says that preaching at Naples on the text, "Hail, Mary!" he was seen to keep his eyes closed in the pulpit, and his head in a position as if he were looking into heaven: he tells us also that the people reverenced his word as if it came from the mouth of God.

In the two hundred and twenty-five skeleton sermons which he has left, he divides his subject into three or four grand divisions, which are again sub-divided into three or four sections.

After four years at Cologne our saint received orders to take his degree at Paris, (1248.) The Dominicans wished to place their most promising subjects there, that the Order might maintain its credit. Albert and Cardinal Hugh of S. Charo were instrumental in his removal: the former saw that the saint possessed all the needed qualifications for a professorship; a work requiring something more than learning—tact and temper.

Thomas, when he heard of it, was much concerned. His distaste for honour and position made him wish to be left alone. Nevertheless, in obedience to authority, he set out to beg his way to Paris. He passed through Brabant and Flanders, and preached before the Duchess Margaret. The learned men of Paris had heard of his successes at Cologne, and he was received by them with marks of unusual distinction.

The Dominican professors of theology at this time were Hugh of Metz and Elias Brunetus. It was as teacher in134 the school of Elias that the saint began to expound Holy Writ, and the writings of Peter Lombard. His influence over young men far surpassed that of any other master. They were conscious that his teaching had something about it of another world; and the feeling crept over all, and finally mastered them, that he spoke as one "having authority." The opinions he then formed, he committed to writing, and held them and defended them with little change in his maturer years. From his youth he had dedicated himself to Wisdom as his spouse. Only one thing he asked for—that was wisdom. Rainald said, "One thing I know of him, that it was not human talent, but prayer, which was the secret of his great success. This was his daily prayer: 'Grant me, I beseech Thee, O merciful God, prudently to study, rightly to understand, and perfectly to fulfil that which is pleasing to Thee, to the praise and glory of Thy Name.'" When a child, if conversation did not turn on God, or on matters which tended to edification, the Angelical Doctor would go away; he used to wonder how men, especially religious men, could talk of anything but God or holy things. He wept for the sins of others, as if they had been his own.

Though ever dwelling in the unseen kingdom, he was keenly alive to the tendency of the intellectual world around him. His saintliness, and his great ability, seem to have pointed him out as destined to sway the philosophical and theological tendencies of an age in which the human mind was in a condition of flux. The corroding rationalism of the school of Abelard, and the dissolving mysticism of the East, had to be faced, and to be withstood. Thomas fixed himself, therefore, on the immoveable basis of authority, and grounded his teaching on the monastic methods of the "Sentences." Doubtless the surprise caused by his distinctions, and the admiration created by his novelty in135 argument, proceeded in great measure from his vivid apprehension of the work he had to do, of the enemy he was contending with, and of the powers by which alone that enemy could be overthrown. He followed Albert, but his teaching was more incisive, more definite, more strictly to the point.

Many of his disciples became distinguished men. S. Thomas assisted others beside his own pupils. Sovereigns, cardinals, bishops, superiors of orders, and professors, wrote to him for advice, and for solutions of their difficulties. The Opusculum on the difference between the Divine and human word; and the somewhat larger treatise, on the nature of the intellectual word, are full of close reasoning; and state principles which are fundamental regarding the method of human knowledge.

One of the most important of his treatises is that addressed "ad Fratrem Rainaldum," on the nature of the Angels. It was begun during his bachelorship, but he never got beyond the 30th chapter. It shows his grasp of some of the cardinal questions of the day, and how masterfully he dealt with errors of the most promising minds in the Paris schools.

But whilst thus engaged upon the Scriptures and the Lombard, S. Thomas was frequently in the pulpit, and he regularly delivered lectures to crowded halls. His versatility, his power of abstraction, his astonishing memory, his zealous husbanding of time, carried him with ease through works which would have broken the spirit of any ordinary man. He possessed that marvellous gift which Origen and Cĉsar are said to have had, of being able to dictate to three or even four scribes on different and difficult subjects at the same time, and that, too, without losing the thread of each argument.

Frigerius says that, as Professor, he elucidated the Sen136tences with such sublimity of thought that he seemed rather the author of the work than its expositor. Tocco, "that he surpassed all the masters of the University, and by the lucidity of his expositions drew, beyond all others, the intelligences of his disciples towards a love of science." Students from every part of Europe flocked around his chair.

In touching on S. Thomas's commentary on the "Sentences," the influence of Alexander Hales must not be forgotten, but he far eclipsed the Minorite in his proofs of the non-eternity of the world—a question of momentous importance in the Middle Ages, as well as in his discussion of the possibility and fitness of the Incarnation. Thomas carried his teaching on Grace to such perfection that in the Middle Ages it was always received as a standard authority.

If judged by its bulk, this "Commentary" would seem sufficient to have occupied a life. It fills over 1250 pages of the large quarto Parma edition, printed in double columns. It is a monument of ceaseless labour, great skill, and patient thought.

The work of the Lombard is a confusion compared with the lucid style and admirable arrangement of the saint. In place of the crabbed inverted language of Peter, we have the simple, logical, direct use of words, which go straight to the point, and express the complete idea. He has these weighty words on the subject of theology, "Since the end of all philosophy is contained within the end of theology, and is subservient to it, theology ought to command all other sciences, and turn to its use those things which they treat of." He adds, "The more sublime knowledge is, so much greater is its unity, and so much wider the circle of its expansion, whence the Divine intellect, which is the most sublime of all, by the light, which is God Himself, possesses a distinct knowledge of all things." He also137 shows how the intellect becomes illuminated when led by faith, illustrating the motto of the monastic school, "Nisi credideritis, non intelligetis." And he shows that theology is deduction, and philosophy induction; and that the basis of theology must be authority, i.e., a Revelation.

During the Lent of 1250 or 1253, the city patrol came in collision with a party of students, killed one of them, wounded three others, and carried them off to prison. The secular professors of the University refused to lecture, until the beadles were punished, but the Dominican and Franciscan teachers went on with their lectures. When redress had been granted to the University for the outrage, that body drew up an oath to observe all the laws of the University, which it was intended should be taken by all persons before taking the degree as master. The regulars refused to take it; then the University issued a decree, declaring the friars excluded from its body, and deprived of their chairs. The latter appealed to Rome. The pope commissioned the bishop of Evreux, and Luke, canon of Paris, to re-establish the friars in their chairs, which was done. This pope dying, his successor issued a bull, binding all to stop teaching in case of insult, but re-establishing the friars. The king, returning home, stopped the execution of the papal briefs. The pope issued another bull more stringent than the first. Since 1256, S. Thomas had been lecturing as licentiate. At the same time he was enjoying the friendship of S. Bonaventura, who was lecturing under the Franciscan professor. Both men exhibited, in a striking manner, the fundamental quality of the order to which they respectively belonged. Bonaventura loved to look into the placid, earnest soul of Thomas, as into a deep sea, with its marvellous transparency, and awful stillness; whilst Thomas was roused and brightened by the ardent gushing nature of his friend. S. Thomas was angelical; S. Bonaventura was138 seraphic—the one, the deep thinker; the other, the tender poet. Thomas was famous in the schools for the keenness of his thought, and for his depth and clearness; Bonaventura for his eloquence and vivacity in exposition; the former was a child of contemplation, the latter of activity. Once S. Thomas asked S. Bonaventura to show him the books out of which he got his sublime thoughts. "There is the book," replied S. Bonaventura, pointing to the crucifix. During this time S. Thomas wrote his "Exposition on the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Angelic Salutation, the Ten Commandments, and the Law of Love." Another work on the "Articles of the Faith and the Sacraments" falls within this period, as well as a commentary on Isaiah.

Meanwhile, William of S. Amour, the celebrated philosopher and doctor of the University, was endeavouring to turn the mendicant Orders out of Paris by getting people to withhold their alms, and by forbidding the members of these Orders to attend the secular lectures.

He also endeavoured to fix the authorship of an heretical work, called "The Everlasting Gospel," on the Franciscans and Dominicans.

But he himself had written a book, called "Perils of the last times." This the king sent by two doctors of theology for the pope's examination. The University sent a deputation to make the Holy Father acquainted with "The Everlasting Gospel." William was leader of this deputation. S. Thomas was sent to defend his order; S. Bonaventura that of S. Francis. S. Thomas, after examining the "Perils," reported to the Dominican chapter that "God had given him grace to discover whatever is false, captious, erroneous, impious in it, and that after the holy See had pronounced judgment on it, the faithful would only notice it to condemn it." In a few days the saint prepared his defence of the order, and his answer to the "Perils." He139 pleaded before the pope and sacred college with such success as to gain their applause.

When he had done, the four cardinals gave in their report on the "Perils," which stated that it was full of false doctrine, injurious to the authority of the pope and the bishops, and to the honour of several religious orders approved by the holy See. After examining the report, the pope condemned the "Perils" by a bull, dated October 5th, 1256, and ordered the book to be burnt. The deputation from the University arrived after the work of their leader had been burnt. They endeavoured to obtain a revocation of the condemnation, but, instead, they were compelled to take pen and themselves subscribe it. They swore, moreover, to receive into the body of the University the Dominicans and Franciscans, especially SS. Thomas and Bonaventura. William of S. Amour refused to comply, and being forbidden to enter France, retired to his estate in Burgundy. A few years later he was allowed to return to Paris. He died in 1270. It was partly in reply to William's attack on the religious orders, that S. Thomas wrote his Opusculum, "Against those who attack religion and the worship of God," and that "Against those who hinder men from entering religion," which are the best defence and exaltation of monastic principles ever penned.32

S. Thomas having been recalled by his superiors before the winter of the same year (1256), embarked on board a ship bound for France. The vessel was overtaken by a furious storm; the pilot and sailors tried every artifice to escape the shoals, on which they were being driven by wind and wave. Thomas, like a second S. Paul, preserved his confidence, and prayed God to give him all the souls that140 were with him. His prayer was heard: the aspect of nature changed, and the ship pursued her course in safety.

Several bulls followed the deputies to Paris. The prudence and kindness of S. Louis helped greatly to restore peace between the University and the friars. The University seal was set to the summons addressed to SS. Thomas and Bonaventura to take their doctor's degrees, which had been delayed two years by the troubles. S. Thomas thought many other Dominicans more deserving of the honour than himself. Whilst sadly meditating on this, he thought an old man appeared to him, asking the cause of his sadness. He replied, "It is not right that they should force me to take rank among the doctors, a thing of which I am not capable." The old man said, "The order thou hast received is assurance enough; it destroys thy own will, and points to God's will in that of thy superiors. Take as the text of thy thesis: 'He watereth the hills from above: the earth is filled with the fruit of Thy works. Ps. ciii. 13.'" On the morrow, after a struggle between S. Bonaventura and himself for the last place, Thomas, as being the younger, gained it. He preached from the text given him, and it has been regarded as a prophecy of the influence which the new doctor was to exercise over Christendom. The day on which he took his degree was the 23rd October, 1257.

The epoch on which we have now entered is the most glorious period of our saint's life. The star of his genius mounted, without a cloud to obscure it, in the firmament of the Church. In spite of all the eulogies of his contemporaries, it is difficult for us to comprehend now-a-days the extent of the power which Aquinas exercised over the men and the ideas of his time.

S. Thomas now drew up his famous "Summa contra Gentiles." He begins this treatise by stating that he will discuss all questions on the ground of human reason,141 seeking therein a common ground on which to combat his adversaries, or rather seeking in their natural intelligence a point on which to rest that bridge which might lead them from human reason to the truth of God; then he establishes the necessity of faith; he shows next that reason affords ground for expecting a supernatural revelation; lastly, he cements together reason and faith. Then he makes his general division: he considers God in Himself, in relation to men, and men in relation to God. To these three parts he joins a fourth, viz., revelation properly so-called; therein he expounds the Trinity, the Incarnation, with all the dogmas which attach themselves to it, the whole destiny of man in the plan of Christianity. This we may call the theological evolution of his great work. In that which may be called its philosophical introduction he resolves all such difficult questions; as the falsehood of pantheism, evil and its origin, its nature, and its effects, which he turns into a proof of God's existence in opposition to those unquiet spirits, who saw in it a reason for doubting His existence.

This work was followed immediately by one upon all the Epistles of S. Paul.

The question of the Eucharistic accidents was then much mooted in the schools, especially in those of Paris. The question was, whether those accidents had anything real, or were only an appearance, in other words, whether the form under which Jesus hides Himself in the Eucharist exists in the Sacrament itself, or in a false relation of the senses? Wearied with a struggle to which they could foresee no end, all the doctors determined to refer the question to the decision of S. Thomas, and to accept that decision as conformable to the light of reason and faith. The saint braced himself to the contemplation of this subject, and having prayed, he wrote as the Spirit inspired him. He was loth to take into the presence of the doctors and of the142 schools, the fruit of his science and his prayer, before he had consulted Him of Whom he was speaking, Whose aid he had implored.

He came to the altar, and placing before the tabernacle as before the Master of masters, that which he had written on the subject of the controversy, he raised his hands towards the image of Jesus crucified, and prayed in this fashion: "O Lord Jesu, Who dost verily dwell in this wonderful Sacrament, Whose works are incomprehensible marvels, I humbly beseech Thee, if what I have written about Thee is agreeable to the truth, grant that I may teach it, and persuade my brethren of it on Thy behalf; but if, on the contrary, there be anything in this writing which errs from the Catholic faith, make it impossible for me to bring it before their eyes."

Now the doctor had been followed by his habitual companion and by several other religious of our order, and they saw Jesus Christ standing on the leaves which had been written by the hand of Thomas, and saying to him, "Thou hast written worthily, my son, of the Sacrament of My Body." And the doctor's prayer still continuing, he was seen to raise himself nearly to the height of a cubit in the air.

The author who gives this account says he received it from a religious who was at S. James's with S. Thomas. The members of the University submitted to the decision, though given by a young man of only thirty-two years of age.

Louis IX. had forced our saint to enter his council chamber. Whenever an important affair was coming on for deliberation in the royal council, the king caused brother Thomas to be instructed about it over night, that he might reflect thereon in solitude, and might remember it at the Sacrifice. He was consulted by the king not so much as the man of genius, but as the man of God.

The saint, in spite of his earnest entreaties to be excused,143 was sometimes compelled, both by loyalty and courtesy, to appear at the royal table. For a while he would join in the general conversation, soon to be withdrawn by his inward thoughts. Once, at dinner, after a long silence, he smote the table smartly, exclaiming, "That is an overwhelming argument against the Manichĉans." His superior bade him remember that he was in the king's presence. Thomas apologised for his absence of mind. But the king, smiling, requested him to dictate to one of his secretaries the argument which had engrossed his attention, that it might lose none of the force which marks the thoughts of genius at their first conception.

The Dominican Chapter, held at Valenciennes, in 1259, appointed Thomas, Albertus Magnus, and Pierre de Tarentaise as a commission to establish order and uniformity in all schools of the Dominicans.

Alexander IV. died at Viterbo, on May 25th, 1261. Jacques Pantalèon, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, who was at Viterbo imploring protection for the Christians of the East, was, to his surprise, raised to the pontifical throne, under the title of Urban IV. Wishing to unite into one the divided portions of east and west Christianity, he summoned S. Thomas to Rome to help him in realising his project. It was in the same year that S. Thomas came to Rome in answer to this appeal. His general gave him at once a chair of theology in the Dominican college at Rome, where he obtained the like success that had gained at Cologne and Paris. Here he wrote his literal commentary on Job, and the Catena Aurea. The chain of comments from the fathers is so perfect, the links of gold in it are so well rivetted to one another, that a biographer says that, "He speaks with all, and all speak and explain themselves by him." It was dedicated to the Pope, at whose solicitation it had been undertaken.


In the midst of the toil these works must have cost him, he did not forget the purpose for which he was summoned. All the time he was thinking out and penning his treatise, "Contra errores Grĉcorum." In his hands, and by the force of his irresistible logic, he showed that the ancient Greek fathers unanimously agreed with those of the Latin Church.33

This work was sent by the pope at once to Michael, emperor of Constantinople, as a message of peace. He had just returned to his capital, which Latin princes had held for more than half a century. The object of all his efforts was to reconstitute the power of the empire. To this task he brought an energy, a perseverance, and talents hitherto unknown among the sovereigns of that nation. He turned his eyes for help towards the pope; but it was the politician, rather than the Christian, that solicited the re-establishment of Catholic unity.

S. Thomas, at the request of an Eastern prince, wrote a treatise in refutation of the errors that were rife in that part of the world. Nothing could be more modest than the way in which he stated his purpose, nothing more grand than the way in which he worked it out.

Urban wished to reward his distinguished services. The great wealth he offered, the saint directed should be given to the poor. He declined the offer of the patriarchate of Jerusalem, and, shortly after, the honour of a cardinal's hat, for Thomas had thoroughly realized both the mysterious treasures of voluntary poverty and the hidden force of evangelical humility.

The pope, finding he could not attach our saint to his145 court by the ties of honours or riches, bade him lecture at the various places where he took up his abode, Viterbo, Orvieto, Perugia, Fondi. Everywhere a prodigious number of pupils pressed around his chair. The churches were too small to receive the numbers who flocked to hear him. Historians only record one course of Lent sermons preached by him in Rome.

One Christmas-eve he held a disputation with two Jewish Rabbis at the villa of a cardinal. After asking them to return in the morning, he passed the whole night in meditation and prayer. The Rabbis returned in the morning, but it was to ask for baptism.

In 1263, Thomas was sent to the Dominican general chapter, held in London, as "definitor," in the name of the Roman province.

Soon after his return to Italy, S. Thomas proposed to Urban the institution of a special festival throughout the Catholic Church in honour of the Holy Sacrament. When Urban was archdeacon of Liége, in the convent of Mont Cornillon, near one of the gates of the city, a poor religious named Juliana (April 3rd), as she prayed had a vision of the moon shining in all its splendour, but disfigured by one little breach. She desired to know its meaning, and an inner voice told her it was the Church, and that the breach represented the defect of a festival in honour of the Blessed Sacrament. After a time, an office in honour of the Blessed Sacrament was drawn up by a young religious. Robert de Torote, bishop of Liége, in 1246, appointed Thursday, in the octave of Trinity, for this feast.

Henry of Gueldres succeeded him as bishop, and treated the revelations of Juliana as folly. She died on 5th April, 1258, and left as a legacy to her friend Eve the duty of reviving this festival. Eve was a recluse built up in a niche of a wall near the church of S. Martin, at Liége,146 and through the hole by which she received light, air, and alms, besought the canons as they passed to seek out the bishop and entreat him to write to the pope on the subject of the proposed festival. The bishop did not disdain this humble prayer, but transmitted her message to the pope, who received at the same time the petition of the first doctor in the Church to the same effect. He wrote a letter to the poor recluse of S. Martin, in 1264, telling her of the issuing of a bull in answer to her prayer, and transmitting a copy of the office which the Angelical doctor had drawn up.

Clement IV. succeeded Urban on the 22nd of February, 1265. Shortly after his elevation he issued a bull appointing S. Thomas archbishop of Naples, and conferring on him the revenues of the convent of S. Peter ad Aram. But the pope was induced to recall it by the prayers and tears of our saint.

In this year we must place the first commencement of the "Summa Theologiĉ." This was the greatest monument produced by that age.

Disgusted, as S. Thomas says in his preface, at the exuberance, the disorder, the obscurity of the scholastic treatises then extant, he had conceived the plan of a methodical and luminous summary, which should contain the whole of Christianity from the existence of God to the least precept of morality, all the speculative and practical points of revealed truth following in natural and logical order.

The saying current at the time, that "some proposition was true according to the master, Aristotle, but false according to the Gospel," clearly shows the antagonistic attitude occupied by the two powers in the opinion of the schools.

The "Summa Theologiĉ" is divided into three great but unequal parts; for the second, much larger than the other two, is divided into two distinct sections.

The first part is a complete treatise on all existences, and147 especially on all intellectual existences, from that intelligence which is infinite in its nature as in its operations, to the intelligence which is bounded and severed by matter. It treats of God, of the Holy Angels, their qualities, and their abode, and of the Creation.

The first section of the second part contains a theory of man. It treats of happiness, as man's final object, of the passions, and of human acts, of the virtues in general, of sins, in their origin, nature, and effects.

The second section is closely allied to the first. It treats of the conditions of happiness and the moral laws, the three great virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity. The impulse given to the soul by these three theological virtues communicates itself to the moral virtues as well; in treating of them afresh S. Thomas forms a universal theory of human duty.

The third part expounds the whole plan of Redemption. After having studied the work of Redemption in itself, S. Thomas studies it in its application to each individual. Thus he arrives at the theory of the Sacraments. But death did not give him time to finish this part of the work. It is interrupted where he treats on the fourth Sacrament, that of penance. An attempt has been made to complete it by various extracts from his other works, but one misses in this compilation the living hand of genius.

Before quitting this great subject, one word must be added on S. Thomas's method. It may be defined as geometry applied to theology. S. Thomas states, first of all, the theorem he is about to develop, or the problem which he proposes to solve. Then he considers the difficulties and solves them. He follows this up with a train of sustentations drawn from holy writ, tradition, and theological reason, and he ends by a categorical answer to all the objections which were made at the beginning. This order is invariably observed in every part of the work.


At the Council of Trent, on a table set in the midst of the council chamber, was placed the "Summa," alongside of the Holy Scriptures and the decrees of the popes. Well might Dante declare that the doctor inhabits a sphere above the reach of praise, or, with Lacordaire, exclaim, that "God alone can praise this great man in the eternal council of the Saints."

The "Summa Theologiĉ" occupied the last nine years of our saint's life. The world was ignorant of the monument which was being raised in silence. Thomas preached, lectured, wrote as before.

About this time William of S. Amour republished his attack upon the religious orders, under the fresh title of "Collectiones S. Scripturĉ;" our saint replied to it by issuing a fresh edition of his defence of the religious orders, and this silenced his foe.

During these nine years, Thomas visited several towns and convents of Italy. At Milan he wrote an epitaph on S. Peter Martyr. At Bologna he lectured with his usual success on theology.

In 1267, he published at Bologna a work on the duties of kings, but his task was interrupted in the same year by the death of his royal pupil, Hugo II., king of Cyprus.

Jean de Verceil had just sent to Thomas a famous tract in which the efficaciousness of the sacrament of penance was denied. He refuted it in a treatise called "De forma Absolutionis," with so much force and clearness that the Council of Trent adopted his very words in framing their canon.

About this time he was one day walking in the cloister of the convent at Bologna, plunged in deep meditation, when a lay brother, who did not know him, came up to him and said that he was obliged to go out on some matters of business, and that the superior had given him leave to take149 with him the first religious he met. S. Thomas, without excusing himself on the score of lameness from which he was then suffering, or of more serious engagements, went cheerfully with the lay brother; but the latter walked so fast, that Thomas was often left behind. But he was soon recognised, and the escort of citizens who respectfully followed the saint, opened the eyes of the lay brother. When they returned to the convent, the lay brother threw himself at the feet of Thomas and begged his pardon. Thomas raised him from the ground, saying, "It is not your duty, but mine to make an apology; for I ought to have remembered that my sore leg would not let me walk as fast as you wanted."

In 1269, Thomas was summoned to Paris, as "definitor" of the Roman province, to attend the general chapter of his order. S. Thomas prolonged his last sojourn in Paris for a year after the departure of S. Louis on his ill-fated crusade, in 1270, and during the whole time he continued to lecture, and to write his Summa.

S. Thomas was recalled to Bologna by his superiors early in 1271. Shortly after his return thither, he brought the second part of his Summa to a conclusion.

At the beginning of the year 1272, the chapter general of the order received requests from nearly all the universities of Europe that S. Thomas might lecture in them. The decision was in favour of Naples, for which he started at once. He visited Rome on his way, and there he began the last part of the Summa, and wrote his commentaries on several books of Boetius. Whilst he was explaining that book which treats of the Trinity, the candle which he held to light him, burnt down between his fingers, and scorched them severely, before his attention was aroused from his work.

After leaving Rome, Thomas and his inseparable friend Rainald were entertained at the villa of Cardinal Richard,150 where the two Rabbis were converted. Here Thomas fell ill, but the attack was slight, and quickly passed away.

In spite of all the precautions of Christian humility, his entry into Naples was a triumph. All classes, the lettered and the unlettered, the great and the small, hurried to welcome him. An excited yet respectful crowd accompanied him as far as the gates of that Dominican convent, where he had embraced religion. What would Theodora have said if she had seen her son entering in triumph that same house which she had regarded as the tomb of his glory?

The king, Charles I., assigned him a monthly pension, rather as a token of his royal favour, than as a reward for his services. The pilgrim who visits the Dominican convent at Naples, sees at the entrance of the great hall a representation of S. Thomas, and beneath it an inscription, "Before thou enterest, venerate this image and this chair, from which Thomas Aquinas uttered his oracles to a large number of disciples for the glory and felicity of his age."

The cardinal-legate of the holy see, wished to have an interview with our saint, and invited the archbishop of Capua, an old pupil of S. Thomas, to accompany him. The saint on being told of their arrival, went down into the cloister, but happening to be absorbed in thought, he forgot the object for which he had been summoned, and gravely continued his walk without taking any notice of them. The cardinal was offended, but the archbishop explained the cause of the saint's apparent rudeness. When Thomas woke from his reverie, he apologised, laying the blame on his feebleness of mind, which had not allowed him to find the solution of a theological difficulty without trouble and delay. The cardinal-legate withdrew, not knowing which to admire most, the learning, or the humility, of the doctor.

During the short space of a year and a half S. Thomas composed the 549 articles, which are all that we have of151 the last part of his Summa. Some commentaries on divers passages of Holy Writ came from his pen at the same time. The fleeting elements of this world faded gradually from his thoughts; his eye was fixed on other horizons.

The transports which he had always experienced in prayer, became daily more frequent.

Yielding to the entreaties of his friends, to the vow of obedience which he had taken, contrary to the inclination to which his natural humility led him, he revealed some of the supernatural favours which Heaven had vouchsafed to him.

Whilst praying in the church at Naples one day, we are told that Romanus, whom he had left in Paris as master of theology, stood before him. S. Thomas approached his friend and said, "Welcome here, when didst thou come?" "I have passed from this life," replied the figure, "and am permitted to appear on thine account." The Angelical exclaimed, "I adjure thee then to answer me these questions. How do I stand? Are my works pleasing to God?" "Thou art in a good state, and thy works do please God," was the reply. "Then what about thyself?" enquired the Angelical. "I am now in Eternal Bliss, but I have been in Purgatory." "Tell me," continued Thomas, "whether the habits which are acquired in this life remain to us in heaven?" "Brother Thomas," was the reply, "I see God, and do not ask for more." "How dost thou see God," rejoined the saint, "dost thou see Him immediately, or by means of some similitude?" The other answered, "Like as we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of Hosts," Ps. xlvii. 9, (xlviii. 8,) and then instantly vanished.

While Thomas was writing his articles on the fourth Sacrament, he was praying one day in a chapel dedicated to S. Nicolas, when, as the story goes, the figure on the crucifix turned towards him and said, "Thomas, Thou hast written152 well of Me; what reward desirest thou?" "Nought, save Thyself, Lord," was the saint's spontaneous reply.

At length he became so absorbed in Divine things, that even the "Summa" itself failed to interest him. He ceased to write, after a marvellous rapture which seized him whilst celebrating mass in the chapel of S. Nicolas. After this mass, he did not sit down to his desk, nor would he consent to dictate anything. When Rainald urged him to finish the "Summa," he replied, "I cannot, for everything that I have written appears to me worthless compared with what I have seen, and what has been revealed to me."

Gregory X. wishing to carry out the union of the Greek and Latin churches, summoned S. Thomas, by special bull, to the Second Council of Lyons, and requested him to bring his famous treatise with him.

Our saint set out with Rainald for Lyons, towards the end of January, 1274. His health was feeble, and his mind was still fixed on the visions of another world. They travelled by way of the Campagna, and called at the castle of Maienza, in the diocese of Terracina, where Frances, wife of Hannibal Ceccano, niece of the Angelic Doctor, resided. Here the saint became much weaker, and did not rally. He wholly lost his appetite. After a while he felt himself a little stronger. The rumour of his proximity reached the Benedictine Abbey of Fossa Nuova, six miles from the castle. The monks came to invite him thither, and he gladly accepted the invitation, saying, "If the Lord means to take me away, it were better that I should die in a religious house, than in the midst of seculars."

He rode in their midst to the abbey; the monks helped him to dismount, and sustained him to the Church, where he knelt in silent adoration. Then rising, the abbot conducted him through the church into the cloister. Then the whole past seemed to break in upon him like a burst of153 overpowering sunlight; the calm abbey, the meditative corridor, the gentle Benedictine monks, recalled to him Monte Cassino, as in his boyish days. Completely overcome by the memories of the past, he turned to the monks accompanying him, and exclaimed, "This is the place where I shall find repose;" and to Rainald he said, "This shall be my rest for ever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have a delight therein." (Ps. cxxxi. 14, A.V., cxxxii. 15.)

His fever increasing, he was conducted to the abbot's cell, which out of respect had been prepared for him. Here, during the whole of his illness, which lasted about a month, the community watched over him with the tenderness and reverence of sons towards a father. They excluded all servants from waiting on him; even the wood to make his fire was cut down in the forest by the hands of the brethren, and borne on their willing shoulders to his hearth. They were overjoyed to receive him into their home, and to minister to him of their choicest and best. He, patient as a child, knew that he was amongst his own, and yearned continually for his release, repeating continually the words of S. Augustine: "So long as in me there is ought which is not wholly Thine, O God, suffering and sorrow will be my lot. But when I shall be Thine alone, then shall I be filled with Thee, and wholly set at liberty."

Knowing how illumined this man of God was, concerning the union of the soul with its Beloved, the monks, notwithstanding his feeble condition, could not refrain from asking him to expound to them the Canticle of canticles. Ever since his great vision, the saint had put aside his pen. Still the monks implored him, reminding how blessed Bernard had done the like. The Angelical Doctor looked at them with unutterable gentleness, and said, "Get me Bernard's spirit, and I will do your bidding." Finally he yielded to154 them, and surrounding the bed on which he lay, they heard from the lips of the dying theologian, his last lecture and sermon.

Growing still weaker, S. Thomas foresaw that his hour was drawing nigh. He sent for Rainald, and with deep contrition and many sighs made a general confession. Having done this, he begged the brethren to bring him the Body of our Lord—that Lord, who from his infancy, had been the mainstay of his life, and the one desire of his heart. The abbot, accompanied by his community, came solemnly bearing the Blessed Sacrament. Immediately the great Angelical perceived his Master's presence, with the help of the brethren, he rose from the pallet, and kneeling upon the floor, adored his King and Saviour; and amidst the sobs of the monks, he made his act of faith in the Real Presence of his Lord. When he had made an end, and the abbot was on the point of administering the Saving Host to him, he exclaimed, in the hearing of all the monks: "I receive Thee, the price of my soul's redemption, for love of Whom I have studied, watched, and laboured. Thee have I preached, Thee have I taught, against Thee never have I breathed a word, neither am I wedded to my own opinion. If I have held ought which is untrue regarding this blessed Sacrament, I subject it to the judgment of the Holy Roman Church, in whose obedience I now pass out of life." Then, as the abbot lifted up the spotless Host to administer to him, with a torrent of tears he uttered his favourite ejaculation: "Thou, O Christ, art the King of Glory: Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father!" and received upon his tongue the Bread of Heaven. As the end was approaching, the abbot with the brethren watched about his bed; and those senses, which had served their Master with such generous loyalty, were one by one anointed with sacred unction by loving Benedictine hands155 at his request, whilst he, quite conscious of what was going on, answered "Amen" to the prayers of the minister of God.

The brethren, with untold tenderness and reverence, followed his countenance with their eyes, and watched life gradually ebbing away.

He was taken from exile in the early morning of the 7th of March, 1274, in the prime of manhood, being scarcely forty-eight years of age.

The religious of Fossa Nuova committed all that was mortal of S. Thomas to its resting place with the honour due to the remains of such a saint, and such a genius. The whole country side followed him mourning. The superior of the convent, a blind old man, was led to the side of the corpse to pay it a last tribute of respect. Seized with a sudden impulse of faith, he placed his sightless eyes to those of our saint, and the blind eyes of the dead restored the vision of the living monk. Rainald with tears, and choked with emotion, pronounced a funeral elegy over his master and friend, before he was laid at rest in the convent church. Many other miracles were wrought by his body.

On Sunday, Jan. 28th, 1369, his relics were deposited with great pomp at Toulouse, where they still repose in the Church of S. Sernan. The king, Charles V., wished his arm to be brought to Paris, and he received it on his knees in the chapel royal, which he had built for it at S. James's convent. This relic was at the French Revolution taken to Italy.

Decorative motif


March 8.

S. Pontius, D. at Carthage, circ. A.D. 262.
SS. Philemon and Apollonius, MM. at Antinoe, in Egypt, A.D. 305.
SS. Cyril, B.M., Rogatus, Felix, and Others, MM. in Africa.
S. Quintillus, B.M. at Nicomedia.
S. Senan, of Iniscatthy, B. Ab. in Ireland, circ. A.D. 546.
S. Felix, B. among the East Saxons, A.D. 654.
S. Julian, B. of Toledo, A.D. 690.
S. Theophylact, B.C. at Nicomedia, A.D. 845.
S. Humphrey, B. of Therouane, A.D. 871.
S. Duthac, B. of Ross, A.D. 1250.
S. John of God, C. at Granada, A.D. 1550.


(A.D. 305.)

[By the Greeks on December 14th. By the Latins on March 8th. Arian and Theotychus, who are included in the Roman Martyrology, are not mentioned in any ancient Martyrologies except that of Usuardus. Authority:—The Acts, which as they now exist, are very corrupt. The original Acts have apparently been made a foundation to which a later Greek writer has added a superstructure of fable. The conversion and the martyrdom of the governor Arian has all the appearance of being an addition by a later hand, to complete the story, for the fabulous Greek Acts generally wind up with the conversion or destruction of the judge. This seems to have been regarded as the proper conclusion of every martyrdom.]

Arianus the judge, who had condemned S. Asclas (Jan. 23rd) to a cruel death, at Antinoë in Upper Egypt, did not leave the place till many other Christians had suffered by his orders. Now there was at Antinoë a deacon named Apollonius, who feared torture, being by nature of a highly sensitive and timorous constitution, and when the governor had given orders that every inhabitant should appear before him and sacrifice, he went to Philemon, a stage piper and dancer, and offered him money if he would go and sacrifice in his157 name, and bring him a ticket to the effect that Apollonius had sacrificed. Christians who thus acted were called libellatics; and on the return of tranquillity were put to penance, but were not regarded in the same light as apostates. Philemon asked Apollonius for one of his hooded cloaks, which would conceal his face, and then went before the judge.

Then Arian said, "Well, fellow, what art thou? A Christian perhaps, muffled thus, as if thou fearedst to be seen."

Philemon, filled with the grace of God, answered gravely, "Yes, my lord, I am a Christian."

"Thou knowest the choice that is set before thee, torture or sacrifice," said the magistrate.

"I will not sacrifice," answered the piper, "I saw how, by the power of God, Asclas held thee stationary in the midst of the river."

Then Arian, leaning back in his seat, said to his officers, "Send for Philemon the piper; perchance his sweet melodies will drive away the fancies of this fool, and allure him to the worship of our gods." But Philemon was not to be found; then his brother Theonas was brought in, and Arian asked him where was the piper Philemon. Theonas, looking intently at the prisoner, said, "That is he." Then the hood was plucked off the face of Philemon, and the cloak drawn from his shoulders, and it was the merry piper shod with his gay buskins, and with the tuneful reeds in his hands. Arian laughed heartily, and exclaimed that this was a rare joke. "We make no account of all this, man!" said he, "for to this thou wast born, and to this bred, that thou shouldst shake our sides with laughter. Now sacrifice, and end the farce."

But Philemon steadfastly refused, and Arian saw that no jest was meant, but that this was sober earnest. So putting on an angry look, he said, "It is foolery for thee to pass thyself off as a Christian, piper! for thou art not baptized."158 Then the poor man was filled with tribulation, and in his doubt and grief he cried to the Lord Jesus Christ to accept and baptize him. And as he prayed, there came down a soft sparkling spring shower, and the piper, stretching his hands to heaven, cried joyously, "He has heard me, and has baptized me in the cloud!"34 And he took his pipes and broke them up, and cast them away. Now the officer had taken the deacon Apollonius, and they brought him before Arian, who reproached him for his cowardice; the deacon in shame admitted that he had done wrong. "But now," said he, in a firm voice, "know that I will not sacrifice." Then the judge ordered him and Philemon to be executed with the sword.

So far the Acts seem to be trustworthy, but what follows is fabulous; some of these incidents shall however be given. Philemon before his execution, bade the officers bring a brass pot, and put a baby in it, cover it, and take aim at it with their arrows. The pot was soon transfixed; but when it was opened, the child within was found unhurt. Then Philemon said, "Like that vessel is a Christian's body, riddled with wounds, but the soul within, like that infant, is unharmed." And when the governor ordered a flight of arrows to be discharged at him, he raised his hand, and the arrows remained stationary in the air, but one returning put out the eye of Arian. Then Philemon said, "When I am dead, go to my grave, and make clay of the dust there, and anoint thine eye, and it will be restored whole."

This Arian does and is healed, and in consequence converted. Then Dioclesian, hearing of his conversion, sends four officers to judge him, and these in turn are159 converted, and finally Arian and the four officers are sewn up in sacks and flung into the sea. All this may safely be rejected as fabulous.


(ABOUT A.D. 546.)

[Irish Martyrologies. He died on March 1st, but was buried on the 8th, on which day his festival is kept. His name occurs in the Festology of S. Ĉngus. Authorities:—A life written by S. Colman, versified by a later hand, and full of fables, also an Irish life written in the 12th cent.]

Senan was a native of Corco-baskin, a district in the western part of Thomond.35 His parents were Christians and noble. Ercan, his father, is said to have been of the royal blood of Conary I., king of Ireland. Coemgalla, his mother, was likewise of an illustrious Munster family. An odd legend of his childhood is told. His parents were moving house, and Senan remained immersed in prayer, lending no hand to the work. Then his mother, provoked, threw some water over him to wake him up, and scolded him soundly. Senan resumed his devotions, and instantly the pots and pans of the domestic establishment came flying through the air from the kitchen of the old house into the kitchen of the new one.

When arrived at a certain age, he was forced by the prince of Corco-baskin to join in an expedition undertaken against the territory of Corcomroe, for the purpose of carrying off plunder. This did not suit the disposition of young Senan, and accordingly he contrived to avoid taking any share in the devastation of the country. He was rewarded for this, for, when the party to which he belonged was routed with great loss, and he had fallen into the hands160 of their opponents, he was allowed to depart without injury, and go whithersoever he pleased. He therefore placed himself under the abbot Cassidan, and having received from him the monastic habit, became a proficient in piety and learning. Next he repaired to the monastery of S. Natalis, or Naal, with whom he spent some years. Several legends are connected with this period. He had to keep cows, and one day seeing the calves sucking them, and dreading lest there should be a deficiency of milk for the brethren, he put his stick between them, and neither could approach the other. Another story is to the effect that he read at night using the fingers of his left hand as candles,—a story told also of S. Columba, S. Kentigern, and other Irish and Scottish saints. A monk observed him; then Senan said, "For peeping and prying, a stork shall peck out your eye." And as the monk left the place, a stork rushed at him, and had one of his eye balls out in a trice. But when S. Natalis heard of this, he ordered Senan to replace the eye, and cure it instantly, and this he did. After Senan had left the monastery of S. Naal, he is said to have gone into foreign parts, to have visited Rome and Tours, and on his return to have tarried with S. David of Menevia, with whom he continued very intimate until his death. Senan's first establishment was at Inis-Carra, near the river Lee, about five miles from Cork, in the barony of Barrets. While he was in that place, a vessel arrived in Cork harbour, bringing fifty religious persons, passengers from the continent, who came to Ireland for the purpose of improving themselves in monastic studies. Senan retained ten of them with himself, the others were distributed in various establishments. He was not long at Inis-Carra, before Lugadh, prince of that country, insisted on his submitting to certain exactions, which Senan refused to comply with. The dispute was soon settled through the interference of two young noblemen, who were then at the court of161 Lugadh. Not long after, Senan, having left eight of his disciples at Inis-Carra, went to Inis-luinge, an island in the Shannon, where, having erected a church, he gave the veil to the daughter of Brendan, the prince of that country. Thence, setting out by water to Inis-mor, he was driven by adverse winds to an island called Inis-tuaiscert. Thinking that it was a special providence which had brought him there, he erected a church, and left it to the care of some of his disciples. He then made his way to Inis-mor,36 and there founded a monastery, which he governed for some time. We afterwards find him settled in the island of Inis-cathaig, now Iniscatthy, at the mouth of the Shannon, where he erected a monastery in spite of the opposition of Mactael, the prince of the country. One of his rules was that no females should be admitted into the island. This regulation was observed even with regard to the most saintly virgins. S. Kannera, a nun of Bantry, wished to receive the Holy Viaticum from the hands of Senan, and to be buried at Iniscatthy. Accordingly she set out for the island, but, just as she drew near, Senan met her,37 and obstinately refused to allow her to land, and requested her to go to the house of his mother, who lived not far distant, and was related to Kannera. The conversation given in the metrical life between the abbot and the dying nun, is very quaint. The abbot said, "What have monks in common with women? We will not let you step on to our island." She said, "But if Christ will receive my spirit, why should you reject my body?" "That," answered the venerable Senan, "is true; but for all that I will not suffer you to come here, go back, and do not be a plague to us. You may be pure162 enough in soul, but you are a woman, nevertheless." "I will die, before I go back!" said S. Kannera. Like many another woman, she gained her point, and, dying on the shore, was there buried.

Senan was a bishop when he founded his monastery of Iniscatthy, but when, or by whom he was consecrated, we are not informed. It is related that, perceiving the time of his departure draw nigh, he determined to go to the monastery of S. Cassidus, and to the nunnery of S. Scotia, his paternal aunt, that he might apply himself more fervently to prayer in these retreats, and prepare himself for his wished-for departure. On his way thither he turned off a little towards the church of Kill-eochaille, for the purpose of visiting certain holy virgins, the daughters of one Naereus, who had received the veil from him. Having performed his devotions in the church of S. Cassidus, he was returning to Iniscatthy, when, in a field near the church of Kill-eochaille, he heard a voice announcing to him that he was to be removed to heaven without delay. Accordingly, he died on that very day, and his body remained at Kill-eochaille until the next, when several of the principal members of his monastery arrived, and had it brought to Iniscatthy. Notice of his death was then sent to the prelates, clergy, and principal persons of the neighbouring churches, and his obsequies were celebrated on the octave. A foolish story, incorporated in some of the martyrologies, relates that on the day of his burial, as he was being carried to the grave, he sat up and informed the assistants that his anniversary was to be celebrated on the 8th March, instead of the 1st. The year of his death is unknown; but there can be no doubt that it was later than 544, the date assigned to it by some writers. The reputation of S. Senan has not been confined to Ireland, and his Acts have been published among those of the saints of Brittany, by Albert le Grand, as one of the chief patrons163 of the diocese of S. Pol de Léon; but the S. Sané there venerated seems not to be the same, but some local saint of whom nothing is known.


(A.D. 654.)

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Salisbury Breviary, and more modern Anglican Martyrologies. Also Molanus and Greven, in their addition to Usuardus. Authorities:—Bede and Malmesbury.]

S. Felix was a native of Burgundy, where he made the acquaintance of Sigebert, prince of the East Angles, who had been banished by Redwald. This prince was instructed in the Christian faith, and was baptized by Felix, at that time a priest. Some time after this, upon the death of his half-brother, king Espenwald, the son of Redwald, who had been killed at the instigation of the cruel Penda, king of Mercia, Sigebert was called to England to succeed to the kingdom, and he made it his care to introduce Christianity among the East Angles, who occupied Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire. For this purpose he invited S. Felix to his court, and he, without demur, quitted country, friends, and home, to preach the faith to an uncivilized pagan people. But first he visited Honorius, archbishop of Canterbury, and from him he received his mission to the East Angles, and, as some say, his episcopal consecration. King Sigebert appointed Dunwich, on the Suffolk coast, as the head-quarters of his mission. Felix went about, preaching, founding churches and schools, and, through his exertions, the Christian faith took deep root in the land. Some attribute to him the foundation of the first school at Cambridge.

S. Felix lived till after the year 650, and having discharged the duty of a most zealous pastor of souls for the space of164 seventeen years, he departed to the Lord, and was buried in his church of Dunwich, from which place his body was afterwards translated to Soham, near Ely, and thence to the abbey of Ramsey.


(ABOUT A.D. 1250.)

[Aberdeen Breviary. Authorities:—Leslie, Dempster, and the lections in the Aberdeen Breviary.]

S. Duthac was a member of an illustrious Scottish family. Several legends are told of his life in the Aberdeen Breviary, and little else is known of his acts. For instance, when a child, he was sent by his mother to bring fire from a forge, as all the fires in the house were extinguished. The blacksmith, in brutal jest, put some red-hot charcoal in the lap of the child, and Duthac brought the glowing embers thus to his mother. He was afterwards in Ireland, where he studied, and on his return was appointed to the bishopric of Ross. One day he was dining with a noble, and a guest becoming very drunk, gave his gold ring and a slice of meat to one of Duthac's disciples, ordering him to take them to his home. The disciple was on his way, when passing through a churchyard, he laid down the meat and the ring, whilst he said a prayer for the repose of the souls of those who lay there. At that moment a kite swooped down and carried off ring and meat. The young man ran to S. Duthac in dismay, and the bishop summoned the kite, which obeyed, and bringing the meat and the ring, deposited them at his feet. Duthac took the ring and gave it to the young man, but allowed the kite to consume the meat. On the feast of S. Finbar, a canon at Dornock slew a fat ox, roasted it, and distributed slices amongst the poor. "Surely some one will take Duthac his share of the beef,"165 said the canon. Then a man offered himself, and lo! as he travelled by night with the meat for the bishop, a light like that of a lamp shone on his way, guiding him; and thus the bishop received his share before it had lost its freshness.


(A.D. 1550.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—His Life, written twenty-five years after his death.]

S. John, surnamed of God, was born in Portugal, in 1495. His parents were of the lowest rank, but good and pious people. John spent a considerable part of his youth in service, under the chief shepherd of the count of Oropeusa, in Castile, and in great innocence and virtue. In 1522, he enlisted himself in a company of foot soldiers, raised by the count, and served in the wars between the French and Spaniards; and afterwards in Hungary, against the Turks, whilst the emperor Charles V. was king of Spain. By the licentiousness of his companions, he by degrees lost his fear of offending God, grew careless, and fell into many grievous sins. The troop to which he belonged having been disbanded, he went into Andalusia in 1536, where he entered the service of a rich lady near Seville, as a shepherd. He was now about forty years of age, and being stung with remorse for his past misconduct, he resolved to amend his life and do penance for his sins. He accordingly employed the greatest part of his time, both by day and night, in the exercises of prayer and mortification; bewailing his ingratitude towards God, and deliberating how he could best dedicate himself to His service. His compassion for the distressed moved him to pass into Africa, that he might there comfort and succour the slaves, not without hopes of166 meeting with the crown of martyrdom. At Gibraltar he met a Portuguese gentleman condemned to banishment, whose estate had been confiscated by king John III. He was then in the hands of the king's officers, together with his wife and children, and was on his way to Ceuta in Barbary, the place of his exile. John, out of compassion, served him without wages. At Ceuta the gentleman fell sick, and was reduced to dispose of the small remains of his shattered fortune for the support of his wife and children, who were with him in exile. John, not content to sell what little stock he had to relieve them, hired himself as a day labourer at the public works to earn all he could for their subsistence. The apostasy of one of his companions alarmed him, and his confessor telling him that his going in quest of martyrdom was an illusion, he determined to return to Spain. Coming back to Gibraltar, his piety suggested to him to turn pedler, and sell little sacred pictures and books of devotion, which might furnish him with opportunities of exhorting his customers to virtue. His stock increasing considerably, he settled in Granada, where he opened a shop in 1538, being then forty-three years of age.

The great preacher and servant of God, John D'Avila, surnamed the Apostle of Andalusia, preached that year at Granada, on S. Sebastian's day, which is there kept as a great festival. John having heard his sermon, was so affected with it, that, melting into tears, he filled the whole church with his cries, beating his breast, and calling aloud for mercy. Then, frenzied with compunction, he ran about the streets, tearing his hair, and behaving in such a manner that he was followed by the rabble with sticks and stones, and came home besmeared with dirt and blood. He then gave away all that he had in the world, and having thus reduced himself to absolute poverty, continued his frantic racing about the streets as before, till some had the charity167 to take him to the venerable John D'Avila, covered with dirt and blood. The holy man spoke to him in private, heard his general confession, gave him proper advice, and promised his assistance. John returned soon after to his extravagances. He was, thereupon, taken up and put into a madhouse, on supposition of his being disordered in his senses, where, according to the barbarous practice of the time, the severest methods were employed to bring him to himself. He underwent all the pains inflicted on him as an atonement for the sins of his past life. D'Avila being informed of his conduct, came to visit him, and found him reduced almost to the grave by weakness; and his body covered with wounds and sores; but his soul was still vigorous, and thirsting after new sufferings and humiliations. D'Avila, however, told him that being sufficiently exercised in so singular a method of penance and humiliation, he had better employ himself for the time to come in something more conducive to his own and the public good. His exhortation had its desired effect; and John became at once calm, to the great astonishment of his keepers. He continued, however, some time longer in the hospital serving the sick, but left it entirely on S. Ursula's day, in 1539. He then thought of executing his design of doing something for the relief of the poor; and, after a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe, to recommend himself and his undertaking to her intercession, he began to sell wood in the market-place, and expend the proceeds in feeding the poor. Soon after he hired a house in which to shelter poor sick persons, whom he served and provided for with such ardour, prudence, and economy, that it surprised the whole city. This was the foundation of the Order of Charity, in 1540, which, by the benediction of heaven, has since been spread all over Christendom. John was occupied all day in serving his patients; in the night he went out to find new objects of168 charity, rather than to seek provisions for them; for people of their own accord brought him in all necessaries for his little hospital. The archbishop of Granada, highly pleased with the discipline and order maintained in the establishment, gave largely towards its support, and his example was followed by others. Indeed, the charity, patience, and modesty of S. John, and his wonderful care and foresight, made every one admire and favour the institution. The bishop of Tuy, president of the royal court of judicature in Granada, having invited the holy man to dinner, put several questions to him, to all of which he answered in such a manner, as gave the bishop the highest opinion of his prudence and good sense. It was this prelate who gave him the name of John of God, and prescribed him a kind of habit, though S. John never thought of founding a religious order; for the rules which bear his name were drawn up only in 1556, six years after his death; and religious vows were not introduced among his brethren before the year 1570.

S. JOHN OF GOD. After Cahier.

March 8.

To make trial of the saint's disinterestedness, the marquis of Tarifa came to him in disguise to beg an alms, on pretence of a necessary law-suit, and received from his hands twenty-five ducats, which was all he had. The marquis was so much edified by his charity, that, besides returning the sum, he bestowed on him one hundred and fifty crowns of gold, and sent to his hospital every day, during his stay at Granada, one hundred and fifty loaves, four sheep, and six pullets. But the holy man gave a still more illustrious proof of his charity when the hospital was on fire; for he carried out most of the sick on his own back; and though he passed and repassed through the flames, and staid in the midst of them a considerable time, he received no hurt. But his charity was not confined to his own hospital; he looked upon it as his own misfortune if the necessities of any distressed person in the country remained unrelieved. He,169 therefore, made strict inquiry into the wants of the poor over the whole province, relieved many in their own houses, found employment for those that were able to work, and with wonderful sagacity laid himself out in every way to comfort and assist the afflicted members of Christ. He was particularly active and vigilant in providing for young maidens in distress, to prevent the dangers to which they are often exposed. He also reclaimed many who were already leading a course of sin, seeking them out, crucifix in hand, and with many tears exhorting them to repentance. Though his life seemed to be taken up in continual action, he accompanied it with perpetual prayer and incredible corporal austerities. And his tears of devotion, his frequent raptures, and his eminent spirit of contemplation, gave a lustre to his other virtues. But his sincere humility appeared most admirable in all his actions, even amidst the honours which he received at the court of Valladolid, whither business called him. The king and princes seemed to vie with each other who should show him the greatest courtesy, or put the largest alms in his hands. Only the most tried virtue could stand the test of honours, but John remained the same retiring, modest man he was before, preferring humiliation to honour. One day, when a woman called him a hypocrite, and loaded him with invectives, he gave her a piece of money, and desired her to repeat all she had said in the market-place.

Worn out at last by ten years' hard service in his hospital, he fell sick. The immediate occasion was excess of fatigue in saving wood and other such things for the poor, in a great flood. He at first concealed his sickness, that he might not be obliged to diminish his labours, but in the meantime he carefully went over the inventories of all things belonging to his hospital, and inspected all the accounts. He also revised the rules he had made for its170 administration, the distribution of time, and the exercises of piety to be observed in it. Upon a complaint that he harboured idle strollers and bad women, the archbishop sent for him. The man of God threw himself at his feet, and said, "The Son of God came for sinners, and we are obliged to seek their conversion. I am unfaithful to my vocation because I neglect this; and I confess that I know no other bad person in my hospital but myself." This he spoke with go much humility that all present were moved, and the archbishop dismissed him with respect, leaving all things to his discretion. His illness increasing, the news of it spread. The lady Anne Ossorio was no sooner informed of his condition, than she came in her carriage to the hospital to see him. The servant of God lay in his habit in his little cell, covered with a piece of an old coat instead of a blanket, and having under his head the basket in which he was wont to collect alms for his hospital. The poor and sick stood weeping round him. The lady, moved with compassion, despatched secretly a message to the archbishop, who sent immediately an order to S. John to obey her as he would himself, during his illness. By virtue of this authority she obliged him to leave his hospital. In going out, he visited the Blessed Sacrament, and poured forth his heart before It with fervour; remaining there absorbed in his devotions so long, that the lady Anne Ossorio caused him to be taken up and carried into her carriage, in which she conveyed him to her own house. She herself prepared, with the help of her maids, and gave him with her own hands, broth and medicine, and often read to him the history of the passion of our Divine Redeemer. The whole city was in tears; all the nobility visited him; and the magistrates came to beg he would give his benediction to the city. He answered, that his sins rendered him the scandal and reproach of their country, but recommended to them his brethren the poor, and his171 religious that served them. At last, by order of the archbishop, he gave the city his dying blessing. The archbishop said Mass in his chamber, heard his confession, gave him the viaticum and extreme unction, and promised to pay all his debts and to provide for all his poor.

The saint expired on his knees, before the altar, on the 8th of March, in 1550, at the age of fifty-five. He was buried by the archbishop, and all the clergy, both secular and regular, accompanied by the court, the nobles, and the whole city, with the utmost pomp. He was honoured by many miracles, beatified by Urban VIII., in 1630, and canonized by Alexander VIII., in 1690. His relics were translated into the church of his brethren in 1664. His Order of Charity to serve the sick was approved of by pope Pius V.

Jesus Christ in the Character of a Pilgrim accepting the Hospitality of two Dominicans.
From a Fresco by Fra Angelico at Florence.


March 9.

S. Pacian, B. of Barcelona, in Spain, before A.D. 390.
S. Gregory Nyssen, B.C. in Cappadocia, circ.A.D. 390.
S. Bosa, B. in Northumbria, A.D. 705.
SS. Cyril and Methodius, App. of the Sclaves, 9th cent.
S. Vitalis of Sicily, Ab., A.D. 994.
S. Catharine of Bologna, V. in Italy, A.D. 1463.
S. Frances of Rome, W., A.D. 1440.


(BEFORE A.D. 390.)

[Roman Martyrology, and those of Ado, Notker, &c. Authority:—Mention by S. Jerome in his Ecclesiastical Writers, c. 106, 107, 132.]

Very little is known of this Spanish bishop, except that he was the author of some short works, of which one, named Cerbus, is lost. His "Epistles against the Novatians," his "Call to Penitence," and "Book on Baptism," addressed to catechumens, are extant. His son, Flavius Dexter, probably born before Pacian received episcopal orders, was an intimate friend of S. Jerome. Pacian died at an advanced old age in the reign of Theodosius.


(ABOUT A.D. 390.)

[Roman Martyrology. Greek Menĉa on Jan. 10th; the Coptic Church on Oct. 14th and Nov. 22nd. Authorities:—His own works; S. Gregory Nazianzen, in his letters; Socrates and Theodoret, in their Ecclesiastical Histories.]

S. GREGORY OF NYSSA. After Dominichino.

March 9.

S. Gregory was a younger brother of the great S. Basil, (June 14th,) and S. Macrina, (July 19th), and son of the173 holy Eusebius and Emmelia, who are commemorated on May 30th. Having lost his parents, he grew to reverence his brother Basil as a father, and his sister was to him as a mother, the instructress of his youth. He was educated in every accomplishment of the age, and became a rhetorician. He was married to a virtuous wife, named Theosebia, who is highly praised by S. Gregory Nazianzen in his ninety-fifth epistle, in after years, as "an honour to the church, an ornament of Christ, the utility of our age, the confidence of women, the fairest and most illustrious amidst the beauty of the brethren, truly holy wife of a priest, his peer in honour and worthy of the great mysteries." These expressions, though somewhat exaggerated, at least point Theosebia out as having been held in high honour by the great saint of Nazianzus. Gregory took the order of Reader, but instead of pressing forward to the diaconate and priesthood, showed an inclination to pursue a wholly secular avocation as a rhetorician, and this drew down on him a sharp reprimand from Gregory Nazianzen. Moved by this admonition, Gregory now resolved to turn his back upon worldly ambition, and devote himself wholly to the service of God. He was ordained bishop by his brother, S. Basil, in 371, when he was aged about thirty-two; and it is supposed by Baronius that Gregory lived with his wife in continence after his ordination, and that she was a deaconess. Nazianzen calls her his "holy and blessed sister," but this is slender ground for the conjecture. It must be remembered that the celibacy of the clergy, which is now required by the Western Church, with such advantage, was not a matter of rule for some centuries, and never prevailed in the Oriental Church. There cannot be much doubt as to the great benefit to the Church of a celibate priesthood, but it is a mistake to endeavour to force the facts of history to demonstrate that celibacy was of primitive obligation. It174 was always felt to be most seemly, and when Western Christendom became sufficiently organized to admit of the rule being made, the popes and councils did what was evidently for the good of the Kingdom of Christ in requiring the clergy to lead celibate lives.

The see of Gregory was Nyssa, a city of Cappadocia, of no great importance, but the brilliant qualities of the bishop, and his orthodoxy, made him soon conspicuous as a leader of the Catholics, and an object of great dread to the Arians, who prevailed on Demosthesus, the deputy-governor of the province, under the Arian Emperor Valens, to banish him. He spent eight years in exile, wandering from place to place, suffering everywhere persecution from the Arians. Shortly after the accession of Gratian, Gregory was restored to his see, and assisted at the Synod of Antioch, in 379, where he received the charge of visiting the scattered churches in Arabia. To enable him to execute this arduous work, the emperor Theodosius accorded to him the use of the government post-horses and chariots.

He assisted at the council of Constantinople, in 381, when he was chosen to make the funeral oration upon S. Meletius, patriarch of Antioch, and was delegated to be one of the bishops to visit Pontus. In 385, he preached at Constantinople the funeral oration of the empress Flacilla, and he was present at the dedication of the church of the Ruffini, in Constantinople, in 394. The exact date of his death is not known, but it is certain that he died at an advanced age.

It is unnecessary here to give a list of the writings of this eloquent doctor, a large number of which have been preserved.

S. GREGORY OF NYSSA (with square nimbus). After Cahier.

March 9.


S. BOSA, B. C.

(A.D. 705.)

[Wilson, in his Anglican Martyrology. Authority:—Bede.]

The monastery of Streaneshalch, now Whitby, was founded and governed by S. Hilda, towards the middle of the seventh century. It was a double community, under the rule of S. Columba, which S. Aidan had introduced among the Northumbrians. S. Hilda governed a congregation of men, as well as one of women, who lived in separate dwellings; and such was her care that no less than five bishops issued from this monastery, all of them men of singular merit and sanctity.

The first of these saint-like prelates named by Bede, was Bosa, who, upon the removal of S. Wilfrid, was taken from the solitude of the cloister, and ordained bishop of York by S. Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, in the year 678. He most worthily administered the see till 700, when S. Wilfrid being recalled, he humbly resigned his charge, and returned to his monastery.

But S. Wilfrid being again expelled, S. Bosa was once more called forth to the pastoral administration of the see of York, and this he discharged till his death, which took place in the year 705. He was a man of great sanctity and humility, says Bede. He had for his successor S. John of Beverley, from the same monastery.




[Roman Martyrology. S. Cyril by the Greeks on Feb. 14th, and S. Methodius on May 11th. Authorities:—The Life of S. Clement, a pupil of Methodius, pub. by Pampereus, Vienna, 1802; the Pannonian Life of Methodius; notices in the Life of S. Ludmilla; the Chronicle of Nestor; Cosmas of Prague, &c. The chronology in this article is from the treatise on Cyril and Methodius by Philaret, B. of Rigá, Milan, 1847.]

Cyril and Methodius, the apostles of the Sclaves, were brothers, the sons of a man of rank in Thessalonica. Constantine, who afterwards in religion assumed the name of Cyril, the younger, was educated at the court of Constantinople, along with the youthful emperor Michael, from the year 842, by the illustrious Photius, who instructed him in logic, philosophy, mathematics, and languages. His talents and accomplishments afforded him every prospect of a brilliant career in the world, but he chose to lay them at the foot of the cross, and, receiving sacred orders, was appointed librarian to the palace. Soon after, he retired to a little monastery, but was drawn from it again to give lectures on philosophy.

Methodius, his elder brother, as soon as his education was accomplished, entered the army, and was appointed to the government of the Grĉco-Sclavonic province, which, according to the Pannonian legend, he held for ten years.

In the year 851, Cyril retired to Mount Olympus, along with his brother, who had also resolved to desert the world, and lived in seclusion and the practice of self-discipline. In 858, some dignitaries of the Chazars, a Hunnish race, besought the emperor to send them a learned man to instruct them in the true faith, and Cyril and Methodius were chosen for this purpose.

How long they spent on this mission is not known exactly.177 They tarried till they could organise the church among the Chazars, and then retired to the Crimea where they worked together at making a Sclavonic translation of the Holy Gospels. It was whilst there that they discovered what they believed to be the relics of S. Clement of Rome, lying together with the anchor, which had been attached to his neck, where the faithful had reverently laid him. They raised the holy remains, and translated them to Constantinople.

In 862, the Sclavonic princes of Pannonia, Rostislaw, Swaetopolk, and Kotel requested the emperor Michael and the patriarch Photius, to send them teachers, "because they were without true instructors for the people," and they desired to have instruction and divine worship in their own language. It appears that missionaries of the Latin Church had already penetrated amongst them, but probably had been unable to master the Sclavonic tongue; at any rate, the Pannonians refused to accept them, and turned instead to the East.

None were better calculated to execute this mission than the brothers Methodius and Cyril, the former of whom had for some years governed a Sclavonic province, and both had been born at Thessalonica, on the confines of Sclavonic peoples, and where the language was familiar to the natives. The emperor and the patriarch felt this, and sent for them, and laid before them the desire of these heathen princes for the Gospel. The brothers at once undertook the mission, and set forth. On their way, Methodius was the means of converting the king of the Bulgarians. Boris had a sister, who was a Christian, having been brought up at Constantinople, whither she had been carried captive. The prince, who was passionately fond of hunting, desired the emperor to procure him a picture, which should illustrate his favourite pursuit, and adorn the hall of a new palace he had erected. Methodius was commissioned by the emperor to execute178 this task, and he appeared before king Boris, not as a missionary, but as a painter. "Let it be a good picture," said the prince, "large and terrible." "So shall it be," answered Methodius, "but one thing I demand,—that I may be left undisturbed here to complete my picture, that no one may see it till it is finished." The king reluctantly gave his consent, and day after day passed, and the painter was not seen. He remained closely shut up within the palace. Weeks rolled by, and Boris chafed with impatience and curiosity. At length the doors were thrown open, and the king entered. Methodius had painted the Last Judgment on the wall of the new hall. Above sat Christ on the great white throne, and below were men receiving sentence, and the angels dividing them. An awe and wonder fell on the king's heart as he contemplated the picture. "What meaneth this?" he asked. And Methodius seized the opportunity of preaching to him righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. He explained to the king the whole doctrine of the final judgment of men, their fate depending on their works in this world, and the king trembled. He went on to speak of the glories prepared for the baptized who keep the faith. Great and purifying thoughts swelled the bosom of the prince, and going up to the painter, he said, with his head bowed, "Take me, and teach me, that I too may pass to the beautiful side of the picture."

And when Cyril and Methodius had preached the Word of God among the Bulgarians, they journeyed on, bearing the bones of S. Clement, and their Sclavonic translation of the Holy Gospels, into Moravia, where they laboured about four and a half years with great success. The bishops of the neighbouring German provinces, however, viewed the mission of these Easterns with jealousy, and complained to pope Nicolas I. of their performing the liturgy in the Scla179vonic language. The unsuccessful war waged by Rostislaw with the Germans, and the deposition of Photius at Constantinople, who had commissioned the two apostles, gave Nicolas the opportunity of summoning the two Greek missionaries to Rome. On their journey (in 868) they were subjected to vexatious treatment at Venice, on account of their cause, but pope Adrian II., who had succeeded Nicolas, dreading to lose Moravia and Pannonia, received them with great cordiality, permitted them to celebrate the divine mysteries in Sclavonic at the grave of the Apostles, ordained their disciples, Formosus and Gonderik,38 bishops, three others priests, and two lectors. He also sanctioned the use of the Sclavonic liturgy. The following account from the Lections of the Olmutz Breviary will not prove uninteresting. "The blessed Cyril, by the grace of God, after he had converted the Moravians, invented new alphabetical letters, and translated the Old and New Testaments, and many other things from Greek or Latin, into the Sclavonic tongue; and he appointed to be sung Mass, and the other canonical hours in the church. And to this day they are thus sung in Sclavonic parts, especially in Bulgaria, and thereby many souls are drawn to Christ the Lord. And when after some time the said Cyril went to Rome out of devotion, he was rebuked by the sovereign pontiff and the other rulers of the church, because, contrary to the canons, he had appointed the holy Mass to be sung in the Sclavonic tongue. But he, humbly endeavouring to satisfy them, but not able to convince them wholly, snatched up the Psalter, and read the words of the Psalmist, 'Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.' Omnis spiritus laudet Dominum. And he said, 'If every one that hath breath is to praise the Lord, why, my fathers, do ye forbid me to perform the Mass in the Sclavonic tongue, or to translate other things from Latin and Greek into the vernacular? Finding the people simple and ignorant of the ways of the Lord, I, by the inspiration of God, found this means of drawing many to God. Therefore, pardon me, my fathers, and, following the example of S. Paul, the doctor of the Gentiles,—Forbid not to speak with tongues. (I Cor. xiv. 39.)' And they, hearing him, and wondering at his sanctity and faith, gave him authority in those parts to say Mass, and sing the Canonical Hours, in the aforesaid tongue."


Cyril died in Rome shortly after, Feb. 14th, 869, in a monastery into which he had retired; but Methodius, according to the entreaty of his dying brother, returned to Moravia, to find that the hostility of the German prelates and clergy was not allayed. Political disturbances, fomented by the Germans, broke out between 869 and 901, and Rostislaw was reduced to ruin. Methodius held himself aloof from these contests, and in 870 went with his disciples into Pannonia, where the court received him and gave up to him the castle of Salava in Mosburg, as a residence. Kotel now besought the pope to consecrate Methodius archbishop of Pannonia, and his request was complied with. But the German clergy, especially the archbishops of Salzburg and Mainz, who unfortunately were ambitious rather of extending their authority than of preaching the Gospel to the people, were exasperated by this to the highest pitch, and they stirred up against him the German emperor and the Moravian prince Swaetopolk, and brought matters so far that he was driven into banishment for a year and a half or two years. Pope John VIII. restored to him his see in 874. At last the Moravian Sclaves saw through the ambition of the bishops his opponents, and expelled them the country, at the same time writing to the pope to request him to appoint Methodius archbishop of Moravia. This181 John VIII. consented to, and "from this time," says the contemporary writer of the Pannonian history of S. Methodius, "the divine doctrine began to grow and spread rapidly, and heathenism and superstition to disappear." But the archbishops of Salzburg and Mainz, who claimed jurisdiction over the Sclavonic races, though not converted by them, could not forgive Methodius the loss of their power and position in the country. They hastened to Rome, and complained that Methodius was heretical on the subject of the Double Procession, that he taught the independence of the Moravian Church, and that he celebrated the Liturgy in the vulgar tongue. Pope John thereupon, in 878, forbade the performance of the Liturgy in Sclavonic, and in the following year summoned Methodius to appear before him in Rome. The German-Latin prelates triumphed; they appeared in Moravia, and declared that Methodius was deposed, and that his authority had been transferred to them. But pope John, on the appearance of the apostle before him, was satisfied of his orthodoxy, and confirmed him in his position and authority over the Moravian Church. Disappointed in their hope of ruining Methodius at Rome, the German prelates now spread the report that the archbishop had incurred the displeasure of the emperor by his submission to the pope. Methodius was therefore obliged to make a journey to Constantinople, where he was cordially received by the emperor Basil, and then dismissed with many presents. As soon as it was proved that the report of the anger of the imperial court was false, the enemies of Methodius endeavoured to dispose Swaetopolk, the prince, against him; and this they were the more able to effect, because the prince was a man of immoral life, and had incurred the reprimand of the archbishop on more than one occasion. Gradually, influenced by these treacherous apostles of Mammon, rather than of182 Jesus Christ, Swaetopolk became alienated from Methodius; but in spite of all their efforts, and the coldness of the prince, all the Sclavonic races, from Croatia and Dalmatia to the confines of Poland, heard in their own tongue the celebration of the Divine mysteries, and looked to Methodius as their archbishop. Moreover he effected the conversion of the Bohemian Duke Borivoi, and introduced Christianity into his lands. He founded at Prague the church of Our Lady, and another dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul; and died on April 6th, 885.

Relics of S. Cyril at Rome in S. Clemente, and at Brunn, in Moravia. In Art S. Cyril is represented in a philosopher's long habit, and bearded. S. Methodius as an archbishop with the pallium, holding in one hand a picture of the Last Judgment.


(A.D. 1463.)

[Roman Martyrology. Her name was inserted by Clement VIII., in 1592; and she was canonized by Benedict XIII., in 1724. Authority:—Her life written by F. Paleotti, about fifty years after her death.]

CATHEDRAL MODENA. From Stoughton's "Italian Reformers."

March 9.

Catharine was the daughter of noble parents. Her father, John Vigri, was high in favour with Nicholas d'Este, prince of Ferrara. She was born on the Nativity of the B. Virgin, 1412, at Bologna, where she spent her childhood; but growing up to girlhood she removed with her parents to Ferrara, and became the associate of Margaret, daughter of the prince. At the age of eleven she joined the order of the Poor Clares, and entered the convent of that society in Bologna, with the consent of her parents. "Thus withdrawn from all terrestral occupations," says her biographer, "she began to serve God with such fervour of soul, that all183 began to marvel at her. So great was her gentleness, so great her reverence and obedience towards others, as long as she lived, that she soon became beloved and pleasant to all, and almost venerable in her early girlhood. Wherever she was, and with whomsoever she conversed, she spoke either of God or with God, so that, though her body was on earth, her soul was ever in heaven. And although she was tormented with grievous temptations which tried her almost out of measure, yet was she always of a glad countenance." She grew daily more devoted to prayer; and her greatest delight was to spend many hours in close communing with God. One Christmas Eve she obtained permission to spend the night in the church, having resolved to recite a thousand times the Angelic Salutation in honour of her who that night bore the Saviour of the world. The hours glided away in the church in all stillness, save for the click of the beads in Catharine's fingers, and in all darkness, save for the glimmer of the red lamp before the Blessed Sacrament. Suddenly, a glory filled the church, and she saw before her the holy Mother bearing her infant Son in her bosom, and smiling on the young religious, S. Mary laid the child Jesus in her arms. It was a moment of supreme felicity, and one painters have loved to recall, as she held to her heart her Redeemer and God, and looked down on His radiant face. Then, trembling between love and fear, she bent her lips to his mouth, and instantly all was dark; the vision had fled. When she returned to her cell she wrote down what she had seen on the margin of her breviary, where it was found after her death.

Margaret d'Este, her little friend in childhood, had grown up, and was married to a good man, Robert Malatesta,39 who, however, died and left her a disconsolate widow. The prince of Ferrara was desirous of marrying his daughter184 again, but Margaret clung to the memory of her first husband, and besought her friend Catharine to assist her with her prayers. And it fell out that on the very day of the second marriage the bridegroom died. Next night Margaret saw Robert come to her, and extending to her the wedding ring, say, "Margaret, I marry thee again, thou must be mine alone!" and she spent the rest of her days in a holy widowhood. A convent of Poor Clares having been founded in Bologna, S. Catharine was appointed to be the first prioress, in spite of her tears and entreaties to be left to the calm seclusion of her cell, and the subordinate duties of a sister. She dreaded lest the cares and business which fall to a superior should leave her less time for contemplation and prayer.

On her way from Ferrara to her new home she sickened, but persevered in her journey, though carried on a litter to the boat, and when placed in it, was given a blessed candle to hold, as is usual with dying persons, in case she should die on the journey. She however recovered, sufficiently to set the new house in order, and to complete the construction of some of the buildings; and then after the flame of life had again sunk, and once more flickered up, calmly entered into the joy of her Lord on March 9th, 1463, at the age of fifty-one.

Her body, incorrupt, is shown in the church of her convent, through glass, sitting, richly habited, but with face, hands, and feet bare.



(A.D. 1440.)

[Roman Martyrology. Canonized by Paul V., in 1608. Authorities:—Her life by her confessor, John Mattiotti, and another by Maria Magdalena d'Aguillar. The following life is condensed from that by Lady Georgiana Fullerton.]

Frances of Rome was born in stormy days. War was raging all over Europe. Italy was torn by inward dissentions, and the Church was afflicted, not only by the outward persecutions which strengthens her vitality, though for a while they appear to cripple her action, but by trials of a far deeper and more painful nature. Heresy had torn from her arms a great number of her children, and repeated schisms were dividing those who, in appearance, and even in intention, remained faithful to the Holy See. The successors of S. Peter had removed the seat of their residence to Avignon, and the eternal city presented the aspect of one vast battle-field, on which daily and hourly conflicts were occurring. In the capital of Western Christendom ruins of recent date lay side by side with the relics of past ages; the churches were sacked, burned, and destroyed, and the eyes of the people of Rome were turned beseechingly to Heaven to restore to them that tranquillity to which they had almost become strange.

It was at that time, during the pontificate of Urban VI., in the year 1384, that Francesca was born at Rome; that "she rose as a star in a dark night," according to the expression of the most ancient of her biographers. Her father's name was Paul Russa; her mother's Jacobella de' Roffredeschi; they were both of noble descent. On the day of her birth she was carried to the Church of S. Agnes, and there baptized.

Little could the worshippers who may have been praying186 there that day for a blessing on their bereaved and distracted city, have guessed in what form that blessing was bestowed, and that that little babe, a few hours old, was to prove a most powerful instrument in the hands of God for the extinction of schism, the revival of piety, and the return of peace.

From her infancy, Francesca was not like other children. At two or three years old she manifested a precocious intelligence and piety. Instead of playing, she loved to retire into a silent corner of her father's palace, and kneeling down join her little hands in prayer.

From the time that Francesca had understood the meaning of the words, her greatest desire had been to enter a convent; it was therefore with profound grief that she received, at the age of twelve, the announcement from her father that he had promised her hand to Lorenzo Ponziano, a young nobleman of illustrious birth, and not less eminent for his virtues and talents than from his fortune and position. She flew to her director and besought his advice. "If your parents persist in their resolution," said he, "take it, my child, as a sign that God expects of you this sacrifice. Offer up to him in that case your earnest desire for the religious life. He will accept the will for the deed; and you will attain at once the reward of that wish, and the peculiar graces attached to the sacrament of marriage." Francesca submitted, and was married to Lorenzo Ponziano, and took up her abode in his palace in the heart of the Trastevere. It is a well-known spot; and on the 9th of March, the people of Rome flock to it in crowds. The modern building erected on the foundations of the old palace is the Casa dei Esercizii Pii. On the day of her festival its rooms are thrown open, every memorial of the gentle saint is exhibited, lights burn on numerous altars, flowers deck the passages, leaves are strewn in the chapel,187 on the stairs, in the entrance court; figured tapestry and crimson silks hang over the door, and crowds of people go in and out, and kneel before the relics and pictures of the dear saint of Rome, and gaze on each altar, and linger in these chambers, like kinsfolk met on a birthday to rejoice together.

Francesca was received into her new home tenderly and joyfully by her father-in-law Andrew, his wife Cecilia, and Vannozza, the wife of her husband's brother, a holy and loving woman, in whom Francesca found a kindred spirit. The manner of Francesca was so gentle and kind, that it inspired affection in all who approached her; but there was also a profound and awful purity in her aspect and in her demeanour, which effectually checked the utterance of a free or licentious word in her presence. Faithful to her early habits of piety, she continued every Wednesday to visit the church of S. Maria Nuova; and after confessing to her director, Antonio Savelli, she communicated. Rising betimes in the morning, Francesca devoutly said her prayers, made her meditations, and read attentively out of a spiritual book. In the course of the day, whenever she had a moment's leisure, she withdrew into a church, or into her own room, and gave herself up to prayer. At the same time, so devout a life in a young person of twelve years old could not fail to attract the attention and draw down the censures of the worldly. Many such began to laugh at Francesca, and to turn her piety into ridicule. But her husband was to her a shield, as far as in him lay, against spiteful tongues. His young wife was much too precious to him, much too perfect in his sight, her whole life bore too visibly the stamp of God's dealings with her, for him to dream of interfering with the course she had taken. On the contrary, he looked upon her with that affectionate veneration which the presence of true sanctity always awakens in a noble and religious mind.


There was not a single member, friend, or servant, of that noble family into which she had been received, that did not love her. Paluzzo, Lorenzo's brother, delighted in encouraging the intimacy that had arisen between his young sister-in-law and his own wife Vannozza. Day by day her influence—her tender, noiseless, gentle influence—was felt subduing, winning, drawing them all to God.

The happiness which the family of Ponziano had enjoyed since Lorenzo's marriage was interrupted by the sudden and dangerous illness of his wife, which baffled all medical skill, and soon brought her to the verge of the grave. She endured excruciating pain, and was unable to take nourishment. She declined rapidly, and all hope of her recovery was abandoned, when, one night, as she was lying motionless on her couch of suffering, listening to the breathing of her nurses who had fallen asleep, a sudden light filled the room, and she saw standing before her in pilgrim's robe, S. Alexis, the noble Roman penitent, who had passed many years as a despised beggar at the door of his father's palace. Drawing near to Francesca's bed, he said "I am Alexis, and am sent from God to enquire of thee if thou choosest to be healed?" "I have no choice but the good pleasure of God," she answered. "Then live," said he, "for He choosest that thou shouldest remain in the world to glorify His name." Then he drew his mantle over Francesca and vanished, leaving her perfectly recovered.

Confounded at this extraordinary favour, she rose in haste, and slipping out of the room without awaking her nurses, she hurried to the bedside of her sister-in-law. "My dear Vannozza, my own Vannozza!" she exclaimed, putting her arm round her neck, and her cheek next hers. Vannozza suddenly awoke, and distrusting the evidence of her senses, said, "Who are you? Am I dreaming? It sounds like the voice of my little Frances?" "Yes, it is189 your little sister who is speaking to you." "What! I left you only an hour ago at the point of death!" "It is I, nevertheless, come to thank you, dear companion, for having nursed me so tenderly, and now help me to thank God for his wonderful mercy towards me." Then sitting on her bed, with the hands of her sister clasped in her own, she related to her the vision, and the instantaneous recovery that had followed; and then, as the light began to break into the chamber, she added with eagerness, "Now let us hasten to S. Maria Nuova, and then to the church of S. Alexis, that I may return him my thanks, before others learn what God has done for me."

The year 1400 opened under melancholy auspices. The wars for the succession of the kingdom of Naples between Louis of Anjou and Ladislas were agitating the whole of Italy; and Rome was exposed to all the fury of the contending parties. Lorenzo Ponziano, from his rank and fidelity to the sovereign pontiff, was especially marked out as an enemy by the adverse faction. But while on every side the storm was brewing, and the aspect of public affairs each day became more gloomy, a blessing was granted him, which for the last five years he had ardently desired. Francesca became the mother of a little son, who received at the font the name of John Baptist, or, in Italian, Giovanni Baptista. It was not at that time the custom for ladies of rank to nurse their children; but Francesca set aside all such considerations, and never consented to forego a mother's sacred privilege.

In obedience to her director, and guided by her own sense of duty, she modified, for the time being her usual mode of life, and occupied herself with the care of her child in preference to all other observances of charity or of devotion.

About a year after, Lorenzo's mother died, and Francesca190 was called to take her place as head of the household, and to superintend all the domestic affairs. Distressed at the proposal, she pleaded her youth and inexperience, and urged that Vannozza, as the wife of the eldest brother, was, as a matter of course, entitled to that position. Vannozza, however, steadily refused it, and at length, overcome by the general importunity, Francesca found herself obliged to comply. Now it was that her merit shone conspicuously. Placed at the head of the most opulent house in Rome, no symptom of pride revealed itself in her looks or in her actions. She was never heard to speak a harsh or impatient word. Firm in requiring every person in her house to fulfil their duties, she did it in the gentlest manner. Always courteous to her servants, she watched over their souls as precious treasures entrusted to her custody by God.

Francesca had just attained the age of twenty when her second son was born. He was baptized on the day of his birth, and received the name of John Evangelist. He might well have been termed his mother's own child; for in his veriest infancy, he showed that he had inherited her sweetness and spirit of devotion. He was to her as one of God's own angels, and tears of joy filled her eyes as she mused on the extraordinary signs of grace which he daily evinced. Evangelista was not quite three years old when his little sister Agnes was born, who in beauty, heavenly sweetness of temper, and precocious piety, proved the counterpart of her brother.

In the year 1409, when she was about twenty-seven years old, Francesca's temporal calamities began. After Ladislas of Naples, befriended by the enemies of the pope, had in 1498 gained possession of Rome, he left behind him as governor of the city the count of Troja, a rough and brutal soldier. In an engagement with the count's soldiers Lorenzo Ponziano was stabbed, and taken up and carried191 home as if dead. Francesca however found that he still breathed, and by her unremitting attention, he was restored to health.

Meanwhile the count of Troja, pressed on every side, began to foresee the necessity of leaving Rome; but, in his exasperation, resolved previously to wreak his vengeance on the families most devoted to the pope, and especially on that of the Ponziani. He accordingly arrested Paluzzo, Vannozza's husband, and understanding that Lorenzo had a son of eight or nine years old, he commanded that he should be given up into his hands as a hostage.

This was to Francesca a trial almost beyond endurance, as she trembled for the soul of her little one about to be committed to unprincipled soldiers. The report of the order had spread through Rome, and as she passed through the streets clasping the hand of her dear child whom she was about to surrender, crowds of commiserating women pressed round her. She mounted the Capitol, walked straight to where the tyrant was standing, and gave up her son to him, and then, without once looking back, she hastened to the church of Ara Cœli, and falling prostrate before the feet of the Mother of Mercy, poured out her soul in tears and supplication. In the mean time the count of Troja had ordered one of his officers to take little Baptista on his horse, and carry him away to a place he appointed; but from the instant the child was placed on the saddle, no efforts could induce the animal to stir. Four of the knights of Naples renewed the attempt with other horses, and the same result. There is a strength greater than man's will; there is a power that defeats human malice. Struck with a secret terror by this evident prodigy, the count of Troja gave up the unequal contest, and ordered the child to be restored to his mother. Before the altar of Ara Cœli, where in her anguish she had fallen, Francesca received back into192 her arms the son of her love, and blessed the God who had given her strength to go through this the severest of her trials.

The States of the Church and Rome were again overrun by the troops of Ladislas, in 1410. The horrors of this invasion, and of the sack that followed it, surpassed in atrocity almost all those that had previously afflicted the capital of Western Christendom. Lorenzo, scarcely recovered from his long illness, fled into a distant province. It had been impossible to remove his wife and children; and Francesca remained exposed to a succession of the most trying disasters. The wealth of the family chiefly consisted in their country possessions; and day after day intelligence was brought to her that one farmhouse or another was burnt or pillaged, the cattle dispersed or destroyed, and the peasants murdered by a ruthless soldiery. One fatal morning a troop of savage ruffians, drunk with rage, broke into the palace, and after pillaging, and all but destroying the time-honoured residence of the Ponziani, carried off her son Baptista. In the space of a few hours that gorgeous abode was turned into a heap of ruins. Bereft of her husband, of her son, and of all the conveniences of life, Francesca, with her two younger children, remained alone, and unprotected, for her brother-in-law, Paluzzo, was still a prisoner in the tyrant's hands. How Baptista escaped is not recorded, but by some means or other he was enabled to get away from Rome and rejoin his father.

Francesca took shelter in a corner of her ruined habitation; and there, with Evangelista and Agnese, she managed to live in the most complete seclusion. These two children were now their mother's only comfort, as their education was her principal occupation. Evangelista, as he advanced in age, in no way belied the promise of his in193fancy. He lived in spirit with the angels and saints, and seemed more fitted for their society than for any earthly companionship. "To be with God," was his only dream of bliss. The hour for another sacrifice was at hand. The second invasion of Rome was succeeded by a dreadful famine, which was followed in its turn by a severe pestilence. Evangelista sickened and died of it. Francesca wept over the loss of her dearly-beloved child, but did not grieve for him. It was not a time for indulgence of sorrow. Want and sickness were turning Rome into a charnel house. Wild voices were screaming for bread on every side. The streets were encumbered by the victims of the plague. The ruin of private property, the general penury occasioned by the extortion of Ladislas, and the sacking of Rome by his soldiers, had cut off almost all the resources of private charity. Francesca, bereaved of everything but her one little girl, and lodged with Vannozza in a corner of their dismantled house, had no longer at her command the resources she had formerly possessed for the relief of the poor. A little food from their ruined estates was now and then supplied to these lonely women; and they stinted themselves, that they might bestow the greatest part on the sick and poor. There was a large hall in the lower part of the palace; the sisters converted it into a temporary hospital; out of the shattered furniture that lay scattered about the house, they contrived to make up beds and covering, and to prepare some clothing for the wretched creatures they were about to receive. When all was ready they brought in sufferers, carrying the weakest in their arms. They washed and dressed their wounds and sores, prepared both medicine and food, watched the sick by day and by night; laboured incessantly for their bodies, and still more for their souls. The example which the ruined and bereaved wives of the Ponziani had given194 kindled a similar spirit among the hitherto apathetic inhabitants of Rome, and in several places hospitals were opened to the perishing multitudes. Often Francesca and Vannozza were without a morsel of food for themselves and their poor, then they went forth to beg, and gratefully accepted the broken bits that fell from the table of the wealthy. Each remnant of food, each rag of clothing, they brought home with joy; and the best was invariably bestowed on their guests.

Evangelista had been dead about a year, when one morning as Francesca was praying in her oratory, she became conscious that the little room was suddenly and supernaturally illumined. She raised her eyes, and Evangelista stood before her; his familiar aspect unchanged, but his features transfigured and beaming with ineffable splendour. By his side stood an angel of exquisite beauty. Evangelista smiling on his mother, told her of his present happiness, and then bade her prepare to surrender her little Agnese, for God called the child. But a consolation was promised her. Thenceforth the angel who stood beside Evangelista was to be ever with her, as a visible companion. Having said this, Evangelista disappeared, but the angel remained, and to the day of her death was ever present to her sight.

The following is the description of the angel as given by Francesca to her confessor, and written down by her, at his order:—

"His stature is that of a child, of about nine years; his countenance full of sweetness and majesty; his eyes generally turned towards heaven. Words cannot describe the divine purity of that gaze. His brow is always serene; his glances kindle in the soul the flame of ardent devotion. When I look upon him, I understand the glory of the angelic nature, and the degraded condition of our own. He wears a long, shining robe, and over it a tunic, either as195 white as the lilies of the field, or of the colour of a red rose, or of the hue of the sky, when it is most deeply blue. When he walks at my side his feet are never soiled by the mud of the streets, or the dust of the roads."

The presence of her heavenly guide was to her as a mirror, in which she could see reflected every imperfection of her character. Much as she had discerned, even from her earliest childhood, of the corruption of her heart, yet she often told her director that it was only since she had been continually in the presence of an angelic companion that she had realised its amount. So that this divine favour, far from exalting her in her own eyes, served to maintain her in the deepest humility. When she committed any fault, the angel faded away, and it was only when she had felt compunction and confessed her fault, that he shone out upon her once more in all his brilliancy.

And now her little Agnes was taken from her, and was laid beside her brother Evangelista.

Four long years had elapsed, during which Rome had been given up to war, famine, and pestilence. The exertions of Francesca told at last on her enfeebled frame, and she fell dangerously ill. Vannozza never left her bedside, and nursed her with such love and care that she restored her to health. It was during this illness that Francesca had a vision of Hell. And now, in 1414, Ladislas died, and peace was restored to the States of the Church. The Ponziani were recalled from banishment, and their property was restored. Lorenzo and his son Baptista returned to their home, and to the wife and mother they had so longed to behold again. But the cup of joy was mixed with sorrow. Lorenzo, who a few years back was strong and active, was now broken by long sufferings, aged more through exile and grief than through years. We are told that when he entered his palace and looked upon his wife, deep sobs shook his196 breast, and he burst into tears. The two beautiful children whom he had left by her side were gone, and Francesca herself, pale with recent sickness, spent with ceaseless labour, was changed in form, and bloom, and brightness, by what she also had endured.

The household life was now to some extent restored. Francesca devoted all her leisure moments to prayer, but never allowed her spiritual exercises to interfere with her duty as a wife and mistress of a household. Her attention to Lorenzo's slightest wants and wishes was unceasing. She never complained of any amount of interruption or of trouble which his claims, or those of the house, or of her position in society, occasioned. One day that she was reciting in her room the office of the Blessed Virgin, her husband sent for her. Instantly rising from her knees, she obeyed his summons. When she had performed the trifling service he required, she returned to her prayers. Four successive times, for the most insignificant of purposes, was she sent for; each time with unwearied good humour she complied, and resumed her devotions without a shadow of discontent or annoyance. On resuming her book the last time that this occurred, great was her astonishment in finding the antiphon which she had begun four times, and had four times left unfinished, written in letters of gold. Vannozza, who was present, witnessed the miracle, and the gilded letters remained in the book to the day of her death.

Her son, Baptista, had now arrived at the age of eighteen, and at his father's advice he married a maiden, named Mobilia, of noble birth and singular beauty. Immediately upon her marriage, the bride came to reside under the same roof as her father and mother-in-law. She was received as a beloved daughter by Francesca and Vannozza, but she neither returned their affection nor appeared sensible to their kindness. Her head was completely turned at finding197 herself her own mistress, adored by her husband, and furnished with the most ample means of gratifying all her fancies. She gave no thought to anything but her beauty, her dress, and all the amusements within her reach. Wholly inexperienced, she declined to ask or to receive advice, and chose in every respect to be guided by her inclinations alone. Imperious with her equals, haughty with her superiors, she treated her mother-in-law with the most supreme contempt. In the gay societies which she frequented, it was her favourite amusement to turn Francesca into ridicule, and mimic her manners and style of conversation. "How can one feel respect," said she, "for an old woman who thinks of nothing but the poor, dresses plainly, and goes about the streets carrying bread and old clothes?"

It was in vain that Baptista, seriously annoyed at the insults offered to his dearly-loved mother, remonstrated with his wife. Mobilia persisted for long, till struck with sudden illness in the midst of a sharp and bitter speech addressed to her mother-in-law, she became alarmed lest God should punish her with greater severity, and she resolved to behave towards her with respect and love. And this grew till the young wife became passionately fond of Francesca, and venerated her for her virtues, which she strove hard to imitate. Francesca, with the most watchful love, nursed Mobilia in her confinements, and bestowed on her grandchildren the same cares that she had lavished on her own children. It was a great relief to her that Mobilia was able to assume the management of the house, and thus enable her to devote herself more unreservedly to the service of the poor and of the hospitals. A new epoch was now at hand in her career. God had placed in her heart many years ago a hope, which she had nursed in secret, and watered with tears, and fostered by prayer. Never impatient, never beforehand with God's providence, she waited.198 Lorenzo's admiration and affection for his wife had gone on increasing with advancing years; the perfection of her life, and the miracles he had so often seen her perform, inspired him with unbounded reverence. Taking her aside one day, he offered to release her from all the obligations imposed by the state of marriage, to allow her the fullest liberty of action, and the most absolute control over her person, her time, and her conduct, on one condition, that she would promise never to cease to inhabit his house. She accepted his proposal joyfully and gratefully, but she continued to devote herself to her excellent husband, and with the most attentive solicitude to render him every service in her power. He was now in very declining health, and she rendered him by day and by night all the cares of the tenderest nurse.

Seeing the necessity of a religious society for women living in the world, Francesca now formed a congregation of pious women, which was affiliated to the Olivetian monastery of S. Maria Nuova, and which comprised about ten noble Roman ladies, devoted like herself and Vannozza, to the service of God and the poor. She now lost her beloved sister Vannozza, and her director, Antonio Savelli, who had instructed her childhood, and guided her ever since with wisdom and faithfulness. She chose as her director and that of her congregation, Giovanni Mattiotti, curate of S. Maria in Trastevere, to whom she had already sometimes been to confession. He was a man of distinguished piety, but of an irresolute and vacillating disposition, easily disheartened. Her society, which was called the Congregation of Oblates of Mary, had lasted seven years, when Francesca decided that it would be advisable that it should have a convent in which to dwell. She took a house adapted to the requirements of a religious community, on the spot where an old tower, named "Tor di Specchi," used to199 stand. Various obstacles arose to the purchase of this house, which disheartened Mattiotti; but they were finally overcome, and the acquisition was completed towards the end of the year 1432. This house, which was at first considered only as a temporary residence, was subsequently added to, and has remained to this day the central house of the order. It was, doubtless, a trial to Francesca that whilst she was providing a home for her disciples, she was unable to avail herself of it, but she never hesitated as to her line of duty. Lorenzo had released her from all obligations but one, that of residing in his house, and watching over his old age. His infirmities were increasing, and her attentions were indispensable to his comfort. The rule adopted by the Oblates of Tor di Specchi remains the same to this day. They are not, strictly speaking, nuns: they take no vows, and are bound by no obligations under pain of sin; they are not cloistered, and their dress is that which was worn at the period of their establishment by the widows of the Roman nobles.

It was on the Feast of the Annunciation, 1433, that the Oblates, ten in number, met in the church of S. Maria in Trastevere, heard Mass, and communicated, then went in procession to the house they were thenceforth to inhabit. That house, which now-a-days is thrown open during the Octave of the Feast of S. Frances, is no gloomy abode. The beautiful chapel; the garden, with its magnificent orange trees; the open galleries, with their little oratories, where a holy picture or figure takes you by surprise, and meets you at every turn; the light, airy rooms, where religious prints and ornaments, with flowers, birds, and ingenious toys, testify that innocent enjoyments are encouraged among the children educated therein by the Oblates of S. Mary.

But on the day when Francesca's companions first entered these walls, there was nothing very fair or beautiful to greet200 them, though they carried thither, in their hearts, from the altar they had just left, the source of all light and love. With delight they exchanged their ordinary dress for that which the rule prescribed. Francesca alone stood among them no nun in her outward garb, but the truest nun of all, through the inward consecration of her whole being to God.

Francesca had been forty years married to Lorenzo Ponziano, and blessed had that union been by the tender affection which had reigned between the husband and the wife, and sanctified by the exercise of no common virtues, by the pursuit of no transitory object. Francesca had led the way, in meekness, in humility, in subjection, but with a single aim and an unwavering purpose. Lorenzo's health had been breaking up for some years past, and now it utterly failed, and his disease assumed an alarming character. Few men would have shown themselves as worthy as he did of such a wife as Francesca. From the moment of his marriage he had appreciated her virtues, rejoiced in her piety, encouraged her good works, and to a great extent shared in them. He had his reward. Francesca tended him to the last with indefatigable love. He had been a just man, and his death was the death of the righteous. Francesca was now free to follow the bent of her desire. She took leave of Mobilia and her son, and went straight to Tor di Specchi. It was on the 21st of March, the feast of S. Benedict, that she entered its walls, not as the foundress, but as a humble suppliant for admission. At the foot of the stairs, having taken off her black gown, her veil, and her shoes, she knelt down, and made her general confession in the presence of the community, and then asked permission to dwell amongst the Oblates. The spiritual daughters of S. Frances hastened to raise and to embrace her, and clothing her with their habit, they led the way to the chapel, where they all returned thanks to God.


At the same moment, her angel guardian was changed; another, brighter and more beautiful, stood beside her, weaving a golden woof out of threads, which he drew from a palm branch. And this angel, ever busy on this mystic work, remained beside her till her death, in place of the other.

Agnes de Lellis, the superior, then resigned her office, and the sisters with one accord insisted on Francesca assuming the direction of the house. She positively refused to do so, but her objections were overruled by the director, and unable to resist his orders, she assumed the office on March 25th.

We have not space to give an account of the life of the blessed Francesca as a superior, or to detail the miracles she was enabled to work; for these we refer the English reader to the life of this saint by Lady Georgiana Fullerton. On March 3rd, 1440, when Francesca was fifty-six years old, she was sent for to see her son Baptista, who was laid up with a sharp attack of fever. She instantly obeyed the summons, and spent the day at the Ponziano palace; but towards evening she grew so ill that she could scarcely stand. However, she persisted in returning to her convent. On her way she stopped at the church of S. Maria in Trastevere, and found there her confessor, Giovanni Mattiotti, who, noticing her altered looks, ordered her at once to return to her son's house. The order was a trial to her, for she felt that she would never again enter the hallowed walls of Tor di Specchi; but, faithful to the spirit of perfect obedience, she went back to the palace. In the course of the night a virulent fever came on, and she became so seriously ill that all hopes of her recovery were abandoned. And now the angel had nearly done his mystic task, the golden web was complete, and he folded up the glistening tissue about the palm. The day of March 9th202 was far advanced. "What are you saying?" asked her confessor, seeing her lips move. "The vespers of the Blessed Virgin," she answered, in a scarcely audible voice. As an infant she had begun the practice; and on the eve of her death she had not omitted it.

S. Francesca was canonized May 29th, 1608.

Relics in S. Maria Nuova, at Rome.

In art she appears with an angel by her side, sometimes contemplating Hell open.

Symbolic carving at the Abbey of S. Denis


March 10.

SS. Caius and Alexander, MM. at Apamea, in Phrygia, after A.D. 171.
SS. Codratus, Dionysius, Cyprian, Anectus, and Others, MM. at Corinth, circ. A.D. 258.
SS. Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, circ. A.D. 320.
S. Macarius, B. of Jerusalem, circ. A.D. 335.
S. Kessog, B. in Scotland, 6th cent.
S. Anastasius the Patrician, C. in Egypt, A.D. 567.
S. Droctoveus, Ab. at S. Germain, in Paris, circ. A.D. 576.
S. Attalus, Ab. of Bobbio, in Italy, A.D. 626.
S. Hymelin, P. at Visenaeken, in Belgium, 8th cent.
B. John Sarcander, P.M. at Holleschan, in Upper Silesia, A.D. 1620.40


(AFTER A.D. 171.)

[Roman Martyrology, and those of Ado, Notker, &c. Authority:—Eusebius, lib. v. c. 16.]

Nothing more of these martyrs is known than the brief mention in Eusebius, quoting from Apollinaris of Hierapolis, that they were natives of Eumenia, and that they suffered at Apamea.


(ABOUT A.D. 258.)

[Inserted in the Menologium of the Emperor Basil Porphyrogeneta, also in the Roman Martyrology. Authority:—A Greek life published by Bollandus, of uncertain date, and very questionable authority.]

In the persecution of Decius many Christians fled to the mountains and deserts until the tyranny was overpast.204 Amongst these was a woman who was expecting her confinement; she hid in a wild place amongst the rocks, and there brought forth a child whom she named Codratus. He was brought up in the desert during his infancy, and growing to maturity, was joined by other young men desirous of a retired life. They were taken before the governor Jason, at Corinth, and were executed.


(ABOUT A.D. 320.)

[Roman Martyrology. Amongst the Greeks on March 9th; the ancient Martyrology attributed to S. Jerome on March 9th, as also that of Bede, and most ancient Martyrologies. In the Roman, it has been transferred to the 10th, because the feast of S. Frances is a double. Authorities:—The Ancient Latin and Greek Acts, the former a recension of more ancient Acts, made in 900; the latter of less antiquity, also the Armenian Acts. These saints are spoken of by S. Ephraem Syrus, (d. 378), and by S. Gregory Nyssen, (d. 396), and S. Basil has a sermon on them. There is also a homily upon them extant by S. Gaudentius, B. of Brescia, (375.) The invention of their relics is mentioned by Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. lib. ix. c. 2.]

When the Emperor Licinius had broken with his brother-in-law Constantine, he threw off the mask of toleration he had worn, and openly persecuted the Christians. When in Cappadocia, he published an edict commanding every Christian, on pain of death, to abandon his religion. Agricola, governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia, resided at Sebaste, where S. Blaise, bishop of that city, was one of the first victims. In the army which was quartered there was the Thundering Legion. Its commanding officer was Lysias. Forty soldiers of that legion, natives of different countries, but all young, brave, and distinguished for their services, refused to sacrifice to the idols. When Agricola announced the imperial order to the army, these forty brave men advanced to his tribunal, and announced205 themselves to be Christians. They were at once cast into prison, where they raised the 90th (91st) psalm, in solemn chant, as the darkness closed upon them; "Whoso dwelleth under the defence of the Most High; shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Our blessed Lord appeared to them, and bade them play the man, and win the crown of victory. Then Cyrio, one of the confessors, said to his brethren, "It has pleased God to unite us forty brethren in one communion of faith and warfare, let us not part in life or in death. Let us ask of God to send us forty to our crown together."

Six or seven days after they were brought again before the governor, and were sentenced to be exposed naked through the bitter winter night on the ice of a pond; but he ordered that a fire and warm bath should be prepared in a small building opening on the pond, and that any of the confessors who should take advantage of this should be regarded as having apostatized.

Night closed in over the city. The shops were shut; the streets were still. Men went not willingly forth into the bitter cold. No friendly cloud hung in the sky—it was a clear, starry night;—the constellations glowed in the intense frost. The citizens heaped up their fires, and gathered closer around them. The soldiers canvassed the constancy of the sufferers. There, on the frozen pool, stood the martyrs of Jesus Christ. From the open door of the hut, a bright cheerful gleam of fire-light shone; reflecting itself on the clear dark ice. Some presently fell, and slept that sleep which ends only in death; some walked hurriedly up and down, as if to keep in the heat of life; some stood with their arms folded, almost lost in prayer; some consoled themselves and their brethren in the conflict. They prayed earnestly that He, who had in a special manner consecrated the number forty to Himself; who had206 bade Moses tarry in the mount forty days, who had fed Elijah with that food, in the strength whereof he went forty days and forty nights; who had given Nineveh forty days for repentance; they called on Him who had Himself fasted forty days, and had lain forty hours in death, not to fail them then. "Forty wrestlers," they said, "O Lord, we have entered the arena; let forty victors receive the prize!"

One of the soldiers guarding the pond was waiting by the fire, and slept. And in his sleep he beheld this vision. He stood by the side of the pool, and saw the martyrs in their conflict. As he gazed on them, an angel came down from the sky with a golden crown in his hands. Its brightness was not of this world; it was most bright, most beautiful. He brought another, and another, and another, till the dreamer perceived that he was charged with the everlasting diadems of the victorious martyrs. Nine-and-thirty crowns he brought, but he came not with the fortieth.

"What may this mean?" he asked, as he awoke. As he was wondering, there was a stir without, and the soldiers brought in one of the confessors. He could endure it no more, he had come to the fire and the warm bath. He who had dreamed went forth. Still the cloudless night; still the intense piercing blast from the range of the Caucasus. Most of the sufferers, on the frozen pool, had fallen where they stood. To them the bitterness of death was past; for they were in the last fatal sleep; and their diadem, though not yet attained, were certain. Others were praying, "Forty wrestlers we have entered the arena; let forty victors receive the prize."

O wonderful power of prayer in all! but most wonderful virtue of intercession in Christ's martyrs! At that moment a thought rushed into the mind of the soldier; a thought so sweet, so cheering, that the bitter Armenian night seemed207 to him as pleasant as the breath of a May morning. "One has fallen from his crown; I may attain to it."

In half-an-hour he had roused the governor from his sleep, and had professed himself a Christian. In half-an-hour more he stood himself on the frozen pool, a confessor among the other confessors. And there was yet life in some of the sufferers to hail this new brother in arms in the spiritual warfare. He, too, contending to the end, received the prize; the virtue of Baptism, as the Church has ever taught, being supplied to him in this case by the grace of that martyrdom whereof he was accounted worthy.

Morning broke at last, and a few still lived, amongst others Melithon, the youngest of the soldiers. Agricola ordered the legs and arms of those who survived to be broken, and as the order was carried into execution, they sang faintly with their frozen lips, "Our soul hath escaped out of the snare of the fowler; the snare is broken, and we are delivered." The mother of Melithon was present. She raised him in her arms, and laid him with the other bodies in the wagon which was to convey them to a fire in which they were all to be consumed. Melithon still lived, and smiled faintly upon her. "Oh, son of my bosom, how glad am I to see thee offer to Christ the last remains of thy life. Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps that thou hast sucked!" And she followed the tumbril to the fire into which her yet breathing son was cast, together with the frozen bodies of his comrades.

A few fragments still remain of the church, which in after years was raised on the scene of the martyrdom. The names of these martyrs were Quirio or Cyrio, Candidus, Domnus, Melitho, Domitian, Eunoicus, Sisinius, Heraclius, Alexander, John, Claudius, Athanasius, Valens, Helianus, Ecditius, Acacius, Vivianus, Helias, Theodulus, Cyrillus, Flavius, Severian, Valerius, Chudio, Sacerdo Priscus,208 Eutychius, Smaragdus, Philoctimo, Aetius, Nicolas, Lysimachus, Theophilus, Xantheas, Augias, Leontius, Hesychius, Caius and Gorgo.


(ABOUT A.D. 335.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities:—Eusebius, Theodoret Socrates.]

S. Macarius was created bishop of Jerusalem in the year 314. He was present at the great council of Nicĉa, against Arius, whom he always opposed from the beginning of his heretical teaching. The historian Socrates has preserved for us a letter written to him by the Emperor Constantine. There was another Macarius, bishop of the same see, in the reign of the Emperor Justinian, who was driven from his see for defending the heresy of the Origenists; but having recanted, was restored.



[Aberdeen Breviary. Authority:—David Camerarius, Thomas Dempster, and the Lections in the Breviary.]

Kessog or Makkessog, as he is otherwise called, an Irish prince by birth, and an itinerary bishop in the province of Boyne, laboured for the spread of the Gospel in Scotland. He is said to have settled in Lennox; and Thomas Dempster says he was represented in art dressed as a soldier with a bow in his hand and a quiver at his back.



(ABOUT A.D. 576.)

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Usuardus, and Maurolycus. Authority:—An ancient life written after the destruction of the original life by the Danes when they burnt the monastery of S. Germain.]

S. Droctoveus, vulgarly called in France S. Drotté, was born in the diocese of Autun, in Burgundy. In his youth he was placed with S. Germain, in the abbey of S. Symphorian, at Autun, of which he was abbot. He was formed there upon the most perfect model of virtue. S. Germain having been elevated to the bishopric of Paris, wished to continue to live as a monk. Wherefore he withdrew his disciple Droctoveus from the abbey of S. Symphorian, and brought him to Paris. King Childebert having built a church in which to place the stole of S. Vincent, which he had carried back with him from Saragossa in the year 542, on his return from his Spanish expedition, and chosen this church as his place of sepulture, he was buried there in 558, and S. Germain dedicated the church on the same day as his burial, under the title SS. Cross and Vincent. He established a monastery adjoining it, over which he set S. Droctoveus, with whose virtues he was well acquainted. Droctoveus governed the monastery for twenty years, and established its fame. The monks afterwards embraced the rule of S. Benedict, and the house and church took the name of S. Germain after the body of that prelate had been transferred to it.




[Belgian Martyrology of Molanus, Aberdeen Breviary, and Anglican Martyrology. Authority:—A life founded on notices in the Martyrologies and popular tradition, by John Gilleman, about 1480.]

The Blessed Hymelin, priest and confessor, was a near relative of S. Rumbold, and an Irishman. Of his early life nothing is known. He undertook a pilgrimage to Rome, and on his return was attacked by a virulent fever at Vissenaeken, near Tirlemont, in Brabant. He sank exhausted on a bank, and a girl noticed his haggard looks and evident sickness as she was returning from the well with her pitcher. Hymelin extended his hands to her, and implored her to give him a draught of water, but she had received strict orders from her master, the curate of the place, not to let any one touch the pitcher, as the plague was then raging, and he feared infection. She therefore reluctantly refused the draught.

"I am very sick, and perhaps dying," said the Irish pilgrim; "I pray you deny me not this little gift."

"My good friend," answered the maid, "I would gladly refresh you, were it not that I am under orders. But come home to my master, and he will give you food and drink of the very best." "I cannot stir from this place, I am far too ill," said Hymelin; "I pray you let me taste the cool water. I am consumed with thirst." She looked at the man's ghastly countenance with fiery spots on the cheek, and was unable to refuse any longer, so she held her pitcher to his lips; he drank, thanked her, and she went to her master with the vessel. The curate took the pitcher, set it to his lips, and drawing it suddenly away, exclaimed, "Thou hast brought me wine, not water!" And it was so.211 The water had been converted into wine. Then she told him all that she had done; and he ran and brought the wayfarer to his house, and laid him on his bed, and nursed him till he died. And as the soul of Hymelin fled, the chimes of the church began to play sweetly in the air, though no man touched the bells. Hymelin was buried in the parish church of Vissenaeken, where his body still remains, and every year, on March 10th, attracts a large concourse of pilgrims.

Symbolic carving at the Abbey of S. Denis


March 11.

S. Gorgo, M. at Tours.
S. Alberta, V.M. at Agen, A.D. 286.
SS. Trophimus and Thalus, MM. at Laodicea, circ. A.D. 300.
S. Vincent, Ab., M. at Leon, in Spain, circ. A.D. 555.
S. Constantine, K., Monk and M., in Scotland, circ. A.D. 576.
S. Sophronius, Patr. of Jerusalem, A.D. 638.
S. Vigilius, B.M. of Auxerre, A.D. 689.
S. Vindician, B. of Cambrai and Arras, circ. A.D. 712.
S. Euthymius, B.M. at Sardis, circ. A.D. 827.
S. Angus of Keld, B. and Ab. in Ireland, circ. A.D. 824.
S. Eulogius, P.M. at Cordova, A.D. 859.
S. Peter the Spaniard, H. at Babuco, in the Campagna of Rome.
S. Auria, V. in Spain, circ. A.D. 1100.



[Gallican Martyrology. Authority:—An account of the Translation of his relics by an eye-witness in 847, published by Bollandus.]

At Tours, on this day is celebrated the festival of S. Gorgo the martyr, whose body, found at Rome, on the Appian way, near that of S. Cecilia, was transported to the great monastery of Tours in 847, and on the way worked many miracles of healing. The Roman Martyrology names on the same day another Gorgo, martyr at Antioch, of whom nothing further is known.


(A.D. 286.)

[Venerated at Agen. Authority:—The Agen Breviary.]

Alberta, the sister of S. Faith in blood and religion, and one of the first martyrs of the Agenois, earned the double213 crown of virginity and martyrdom. Her relics, long preserved at Périgueux with those of S. Phebadas, were translated to the church of Benerque, on the Ariége, where they are preserved to this day.


(ABOUT A.D. 555.)

[Benedictine Martyrology, and that of Leon, and other Spanish churches. Tamayus Salazar complains, "The Acts of S. Vincent are shut up in the Spanish Benedictine Libraries, and are never shown by the most reverend fathers, possibly lest they should become too common, content rather that they should lie in bags and boxes, buried in dust and cobwebs, rather than exposed for the public benefit." We have, accordingly, in Bollandus, only a compendium of the Acts by the historian, Antonio Yepes, gathered from MSS., at Leon, and the lections of the monastic breviary of Coimbra.]

When the Vandals overran Spain, in company with the Suevi and the Alani, the Suevi settled down in Gallicia and part of Portugal, whilst the Vandals crossed into North Africa. They were Arians, and their king, Hermanrik, and his son, Richild, harassed the Catholics in every way possible, destroying or seizing on their churches. The Arians drew Vincent, abbot of S. Claudius, before the prince, charging him with contempt of the laws made against the Catholics. He boldly proclaimed the divinity of Jesus Christ before the king, and was ordered to be beaten and thrown into prison. Next day he was again brought before the king, and was condemned to death. The executioner struck at him with his sword, and clave his skull. His martyrdom was followed by that of the prior, Ramirus, and twelve of the monks of his house.

Relics: the body of S. Vincent in the cathedral of Oviedo. The body of S. Ramirus was translated, April, 26th, 1596, to the monastery of S. Claudius, at Leon.



(ABOUT A.D. 576.)

[Aberdeen Breviary, Cologne and German Martyrologies. Not to be confused with Constantine, the successor of king Arthur, nor with Constantine, the Scottish king, who resigned his throne to live as a monk at S. Andrews, in 943. Authority:—The Aberdeen Breviary, John Fordun, John of Tynemouth, and mention in the Life of S. David.]

Constantine, son of Padarn, king of Cornwall, was married to the daughter of the king of Brittany, but had the misfortune to lose his wife by death shortly after. He was so deeply attached to her, that he could find no rest in his loneliness. Therefore, resigning his crown, and bidding farewell to his subjects, he crossed over into Ireland, and entered a monastery, without declaring who he was, and whence he came. He was ordered to grind the corn for the brothers; and for seven years he filled this situation. But one day as he sat in the granary, working the rude stone quern with his hands, and thinking himself alone, he laughed, and said, "Is this then, king Constantine of Cornwall, who wore helm and bore shield, who drudges thus at a hand-mill? It is the same, and it is not the same."

Now it happened that one of the brethren was in the granary and heard this, therefore he stole off unperceived to the abbot, and told him who his miller was. Then the abbot called the others, and all the brethren hasted to the mill, and drew Constantine therefrom, and made him one of themselves, instructed him in letters; and finally, by the grace of God, he was ordained priest. And after that, he bade them all farewell, and crossed over into Scotland, and was with S. Columba and S. Kentigern, who sent him to preach the Word in Galloway. And afterwards he was made abbot, but of what monastery is not specified, though there can be little doubt it was Glasgow. Now, when he215 was very old, he went a mission into Kintyre, where he was assailed by the heathen, who knocked him down and cut off his right arm. Having called his brethren about him, and blessed them, he gently bled to death. He is regarded as the first martyr of Scotland.


(A.D. 638.)

[Greek Menologium and Menĉa on this day, also the Roman Martyrology. Authorities:—His Life collected from various sources, by Bollandus, and an epitome of his life in the Greek Menĉa.]

Sophronius, surnamed the Sophist, was the son of pious parents at Damascus. His learning and virtue caused his election to the patriarchal throne of Jerusalem. On the invasion and capture of Jerusalem, by Chosroes, king of Persia, Sophronius fled to his friend, S. John the Almsgiver, (Jan. 23rd,) patriarch of Alexandria, who supported him till he was able to return to his see. He held a synod at Jerusalem, against the Monothelites, and drew up a synodal letter on that occasion, which was sent to pope John IV.


(ABOUT A.D. 712.)

[Arras Martyrology. Authority:—A Life by Balderic, bishop of Noyon.]

This saint was a disciple of S. Eligius. He was born at Bulcourt, in Bapaume, about the year 620. He spent many years in seclusion on Mont S. Eloi, where S. Eligius lived with ten others, in the practice of great austerities. He was nominated by S. Aubert, bishop of Arras, his vicar216general. In 675, on the death of S. Aubert, he was elected bishop of Cambrai and Arras. He completed, in 691, the abbey of S. Waast, begun by his predecessor, dedicated the church of the monastery of Elnone, and that of the abbey of Hasnon. S. Leger, bishop of Autun, having been killed by Ebroin, mayor of the palace, and as the king, Thierry III., was suspected of having connived at the deed, several bishops deemed it expedient to remonstrate with the king, through some one of authority and renown for his sanctity. Vindician was chosen for this dangerous task, and he executed the commission with such prudence and firmness, that he attracted the admiration of the court, and succeeded in bringing the king to repentance. On his return to his diocese, he built the monastery of Honcourt; and at last, wearied with the cares of his diocese, he laid them aside, and retired, to be alone with God, and prepare for his passage, into a hermitage on Mont S. Eloi, and died at the age of ninety-two. His relics are preserved in the cathedral of Arras.


(ABOUT A.D. 827.)

[Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on Dec. 11th. Authorities:—The Greek Menĉa, and the Acts of the second council of Nicĉa, also the Chronography of Leo the Grammarian, Cedrenus, Zonaras, &c.]

S. Euthymius, bishop of Sardis, was one of the most zealous defenders of images against the Iconoclastic emperors. He flourished under the empress Irene, and her son, Constantine VI., as abbot, but was then created bishop, and took a prominent part in the second council of Nicĉa. Under the emperor Nicephorus he was sent into exile, together with other bishops, to Patalarea, for having admitted a virgin to the religious life. For the next nine-and-twenty217 years he did not see his diocese. When Leo the Armenian assumed the purple, he recalled Euthymius, but before restoring him to his see, he demanded of him whether he venerated images. The saint boldly replied, "O emperor, it belongs not to thee to meddle with the affairs of the Church. To thee is given the care of the State and the government of the army. Attend to them, and suffer the Church to remain faithful." This answer so angered Leo, that he ordered him to be banished to Assos. On the death of Leo by assassination, his successor, Michael the Stammerer, recalled Euthymius, and again demanded whether he reverenced sacred images. And when Euthymius protested that he reverenced whatever represented or recalled Christ, the tyrant banished him to Acrita, where he was cast into a noisome dungeon, and afterwards, by the emperor's orders, was brought out and stretched on the ground, with his hands and feet attached to posts, at the utmost distention possible, and then was cut and lashed with cow-hide scourges, till he died.


(ABOUT A.D. 824.)

[Irish Martyrology. Authority:—Colgan.]

Angus, surnamed Kel-Dhu, a man of great love and fervour in the service of God, was born in Ireland in the eighth century, of the race of the Dalrhidians, kings of Ulster. In his youth, renouncing the pomp and vanities of the world and all earthly pretensions, he chose Christ for his inheritance, and entered religion in the famous monastery of Cluain-Edneach, in East Meath, under the holy abbot Malathgen. There he became such a proficient in virtue and learning that he was thought to218 excel all others in Ireland. He is said to have sung a hundred and fifty psalms every day, fifty of which he recited standing up to his neck in water, in winter and summer; and three hundred times a day he adored God on his bended knees. Finding that his sanctity attracted attention, he privately withdrew from his monastery, and disguising himself, took refuge in that of Tamlacht, three miles from Dublin, where he was received as an outside novice by the abbot Moelruan, and for seven years was given the meanest drudgery of the monastery. At length his great merit was discovered, and his name having been found out, the abbot apologised to him for having set him such degrading tasks, and brought him into the brotherhood. S. Angus became afterwards abbot of Desert-Aenguis and Cluain-Edneach, where he was raised to the office of bishop, the abbots in the ancient Irish Church being very generally bishops as well, but without territorial jurisdiction.

S. Angus is regarded as one of the most famous writers of Ireland. He composed a metrical martyrology, and five books of lives of the saints of Ireland, together with other treatises.


(A.D. 859.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—An account of his life and martyrdom by his friend Alvar.]

Eulogius belonged to one of the principal families of Cordova, then in the hands of the Moors, who had constituted it their capital. These Mohammedans, who had ruined the Gothic kingdom in Spain, had not succeeded in trampling out Christianity. They did, indeed, suffer Christians to exercise their religion, and for this indulgence they obliged them to pay a heavy tax, but Christians were strictly219 forbidden, on pain of death, to make converts. Eulogius had a fellow scholar at Chute-Clar, a monastery on the north-west of Cordova, named Alvar, to whom he was warmly attached, and who became afterwards his biographer. On reaching his maturity, Eulogius taught letters in Cordova, and was ordained priest. In the year 850, the Moors began to persecute the Christians, and the metropolitan bishop of Andalusia, Reccafred, instead of defending his flock against the wolves, basely taking the part of the king, Abderahman, arrested all the clergy of Cordova, together with their bishop, and threw them into prison. S. Eulogius, from his dungeon, wrote an exhortation to two virgins, named Flora and Mary, exhorting them to stand fast in the faith. "They threaten to sell you as slaves, and dishonour you, my daughters, but know that whatever infamy they may heap upon you, they cannot defile the virginal purity of your souls." But these holy maidens were spared this terrible humiliation, being executed with the sword.41 S. Eulogius and the other prisoners heard with joy of their triumph, and celebrated a mass of thanksgiving to God in their dungeon.

Six days after, S. Eulogius and the other priests were released; and he at once composed a metrical account of the passion of the virgins Flora and Mary.

Under Mohammed, the successor of Abderahman, the persecution became still more cruel, and S. Eulogius was constantly employed in encouraging timorous Christians, who, to escape death, or the irksome disabilities and petty tyranny to which they were subjected, were prepared to desert Christ.

The number of martyrs at this time was very great, and220 Eulogius collected all the acts of their passion into a history, in three books, entitled "The Memorial," which still exists. He then composed an "Apology" against those who disputed their title, as martyrs, because, firstly, they wrought no miracles like the ancient martyrs; secondly, they had offered themselves to death; thirdly, they had died by a stroke of the sword instead of through lingering torture; fourthly, they had not been killed by idolators, but by Mohammedans, who worshipped the One true God.

After the death of the archbishop of Toledo, the clergy and people of that city cast their eyes on Eulogius, as his successor. But God was about to crown him with martyrdom. There was in Cordova a girl named Leocritia, who had been converted from Mohammedanism to Christianity. For a Moslem to profess the religion of Christ was death. To save her, Eulogius hid her in the house of his sister, Annulona, and when the officers of justice were in pursuit of her, he conveyed her from one Christian house to another. But this could not last long. The place of her concealment was discovered, and Leocritia was taken, and Eulogius, for having secreted her, was also confined. He was ordered to execution, and was decapitated on Saturday, March 11th, 859, and Leocritia suffered the following Wednesday, and was buried in the church of S. Genes, at Cordova. Because March 11th usually falls in Lent, the Church of Cordova transfers the feast of S. Eulogius to June 1st, the day of the first translation of his body, and observes it with an Octave. The body was afterwards carried to Oviedo, together with that of S. Leocritia, on Jan. 19th, 883, and a third translation took place to Camarasanta, in 1300. For Flora and Mary, see November 24.




[Roman Martyrology. Authorities:—A Life from MS. of Babuco, published by Bollandus.]

S. Peter was the son of noble parents in Spain, and was brought up in the profession of arms. In the army he distinguished himself as much by his zeal for souls and purity of life, as by his courage. His parents having insisted on his marriage, he yielded with great repugnance, for his heart was drawn elsewhere, and he desired to live a virgin life to his dear master Jesus. The marriage ceremony took place, and when the banquet was over, he retired to the bridal chamber, where he saw the fair young girl who had given him her hand lying asleep on the bed. She looked so pure and innocent in her slumber, that he gazed on her with reverence, and kneeling at her feet, prayed long and earnestly; and then stealing away, left the house, and fled the country. Taking his passage on a boat for Italy, he reached the eternal city, and going forth into the Campagna, found a place suitable for a cell, and there buried himself from the world.

Holy Spirit


March 12.

SS. Peter, Gorgonius, Dorotheus, Maxima, and Others, MM. at Nicomedia, A.D. 302. S. Paul of Leon, B.C. in Brittany, A.D. 573. S. Gregory the Great, Pope, D., A.D. 604. S. Peter, Deacon of S. Gregory, at Rome, A.D. 605. S. Muran, Ab. of Fathinis, in Ireland, circ. A.D. 650. S. Theophanes, Ab. C., at Constantinople, A.D. 820. S. Alphege the Bald, B. of Winchester, A.D. 951. See September 1. S. Bernard, B.C. at Capua, A.D. 1109. S. Fina, V. in Tuscany, A.D. 1253.


(A.D. 302.)

[Usuardus, those of SS. Jerome, Bede, &c., the Irish Martyrology of Tamlach, and the Roman Martyrology. Authorities:—Eusebius, lib. viii. c. 6, and the notices in the Martyrologies.]

The Emperor Diocletian having discovered that Peter, one of his officers of the bed-chamber, was a Christian, ordered him to be tortured. Then Gorgonius and Dorotheus, two other officers, filled with indignation, exclaimed, "Why, Sire, dost thou thus torment Peter for what we all profess in our hearts?" The emperor at once ordered them to execution, together with Migdo, a priest, and many other Christians of Nicomedia. Eusebius says that Peter was scourged till his bones were laid bare, and that then vinegar and salt was poured over the wounds; and as he bore this without showing anguish, Diocletian ordered him to be broiled on a gridiron slowly, and his flesh, as it roasted, to be taken off slowly, so as to protract his torments. Gorgonius and Dorotheus, after having been tortured, were hung.



(A.D. 573.)

[Venerated in Brittany, in the Churches of Léon, Nantes, &c., and introduced into later Martyrologies. Authority:—A life written by Worwonock, monk of Landevenec, in the 9th cent., but rewritten, or added to, in the following century by an anonymous monk of the abbey of Feury.]

Paul, son of a Welsh prince, was a disciple of S. Iltut, along with S. Samson and Gildas. At the age of sixteen he left his master, and retired across the sea into a solitary place among his Brittany moors, where he erected an oratory and a cell. In course of time, other young men, seeking like himself a better country than earth, congregated about him, and he became their superior. He received priest's orders along with twelve of his companions. Near his congregation lived a prince named Mark, who invited him to come into his territory, and instruct his people in the Word of God. He accordingly went with his twelve priests to Vannes, and was well received by the king. After he had spent some time in that country, he felt a desire to go into solitude once more. Therefore he went before the king and asked him to let him depart, and to give him a bell; "For at that time," says the chronicler, "it was customary for kings to have seven bells rung before they sat down to meat." Mark, however, refused to give him the bell, being vexed that Paul should leave him. So the holy man went his way without it. And before he took boat to depart, he visited his sister, who lived in solitude with some other holy women on a little island in the Morbihan. And when all was ready for his departure, and the boat was on the shore, he said, "Sister, I must depart." Then she wept, and entreated him to tarry four days. And as he saw her tears, he consented to remain three days. Then, when he was about to depart,224 she said, "I know, my brother, that thou art powerful with God. Therefore I pray thee grant me my request." And he said, "Say on." Then she said, "This island is small and incommodious for landing, being violently beaten by the angry surge. Pray to the Lord that he extend it a little, with a gentle shore, into the sea."

"Ah, my sister!" exclaimed the holy man, "thou hast asked what is beyond my strength. But let us together beseech the Lord to be gracious, and grant thee thy desire." So they both kneeled down and prayed. Then the sea began to retreat, and leave smooth yellow sands, where all had been blue water before. So the nuns hasted and ran and told the brother and sister, and they rose, and went down to the sea, and stepped on the newly recovered land. And now follows a part of the legend which has evidently sprung up among the peasants of the Morbihan to explain the existence of the Druidical circles and avenues in the islet. The story goes on to tell that the sister gathered pebbles and laid them round the land laid bare, and strewed them down the road she and her brother had taken. And lo! these pebbles grew into tall pillars of rude rock, and the avenue is to this day called the road of S. Paul.

Then Paul stepped into his boat, followed by his disciples, and they rowed to the island of Ouessant, and the port where they disembarked was called Portus-boum, and at the present day is Paimbœuf. Then Paul tarried there many years till God called him to work again. And he took boat and went ashore and travelled through Brittany, till he came to Count Withur, a good man and lord of the country under king Childebert. And Paul settled in the island of Batz, which was off the coast, near the small town encompassed with mud walls, which has since gone by his name. And there he found wild bees in a hollow tree, and they were swarming, so he gathered the swarm225 and set them in a hive, and taught the people how to get honey. He also found a wild sow with its litter, and patted her gently, and she became tame. Her descendants remained at Léon for many generations, and were regarded as royal beasts. Probably this legend points to S. Paul having taught the people to keep pigs.

One day Paul was with the count Withur, when a fisherman brought the count a bell he had picked up on the shore; Withur gave it to S. Paul, who smiled and said that though king Mark had refused him a bell, yet now God had sent him one, after many years of waiting and wishing for it.

"That bell," says the historian, "has received from the people a special name, on account of its colour and shape, for it is green and oblong." S. Paul erected a church at Léon, and was appointed its first bishop. Withur could only obtain his consecration by having recourse to an artifice, for he knew that Paul could not be persuaded to accept the dignity. He gave him a letter to king Childebert, and entreated him to take it in person to the king, as it contained matter of urgent importance. Paul, full of simplicity, and eager to oblige his friend, hasted to court. And when the king broke the seal and opened the letter, he read that Withur had sent Paul to be ordained bishop, and invested with the see of Léon. Then Childebert caught a staff from a prelate who stood by him, and said, "Receive the pastoral dignity, to discharge thy office for the good of many souls," and he called three bishops to him to ordain Paul. Then the holy man wept, and implored the king to desist, but Childebert turned a deaf ear to his entreaties, and had him consecrated, and then sent him back to Léon, where he was received with the liveliest demonstrations of joy. He built a monastery on the isle of Batz, and filled it with monks, and thither he retired whenever he could escape from the business of his see. He lived to a very226 advanced age, and laying aside his episcopal government, ordained three of his disciples in succession to it, and survived two of them. His body reposed in his cathedral church, but his relics were dispersed by the Huguenots in the religious wars of the 16th century.

In art he is represented either (1) with a bell, or (2) with a cruse of water and a loaf of bread, as he lived on nothing else, or (3) driving a dragon into the sea, to signify that he expelled the Druidical superstition out of Brittany.


(A.D. 604.)

[Roman and all other Western Martyrologies; by the Greeks on March 11th. Authorities:—A life by Paulus Diaconus, another by Joannes Diaconus, 9th cent., the writings of S. Gregory, &c. The following is in part condensed from the elegant life of S. Gregory by the Count de Montalembert, in his Monks of the West.]

S. Gregory the Great will be an everlasting honour to the Benedictine Order and to the Papacy. By his genius, but especially by the charm and ascendancy of his virtue, he was destined to organise the temporal power of the popes, to develop and regulate their spiritual sovereignty, to found their paternal supremacy over the new-born crowns and races which were to become the great nations of the future, and to be called France, Spain, and England. It was he indeed, who inaugurated the middle ages, modern society, and Christian civilisation.


March 12.

Issued from one of the most illustrious races of ancient Rome, the son of a rich senator, and descendant of Pope Felix III., of the Anician family, Gregory was early called to fill a dignified place, which, in the midst of the Rome of that day, the vassal of Byzantium, and subject to the ceaseless in227sults of the Barbarians, retained some shadow of ancient Roman grandeur. He was prĉtor of Rome during the first invasion of the Lombards. In the exercise of this office he gained the hearts of the Romans, while habituating himself to the management of public business, and while acquiring a taste for luxury and display of earthly grandeur, in which he still believed he might serve God without reproach. But God required him elsewhere. Gregory hesitated long, inspired by the divine breath to seek religion, but was retained, led back and fascinated to the world, by the attractions and habits of secular life. At last he yielded to the influence of his intimate and close relations with the disciples of S. Benedict in Monte Cassino, and obeying the grace that enlightened him, he abruptly broke every tie, devoted his wealth to the endowment of six new monasteries in Sicily, and established in his own palace in Rome, upon the Cœlian hill, a seventh, dedicated to S. Andrew, into which he introduced the Benedictine rule, and where he himself became a monk. He sold all that remained of his patrimony, to distribute it to the poor; and Rome, which had seen the young and wealthy patrician traverse its streets in robes of silk covered with jewels, saw him now, in 575, with admiration, clothed like a beggar, serving, in his own person the beggars lodged in the hospital which he had built at the gate of his paternal house, now changed into a monastery.

Once a monk, he would be nothing less than a model of monks, and practised with the utmost rigour all the austerities sanctioned by the rule, applying himself specially at the same time to the study of the Holy Scriptures. He ate only pulse, which his mother, who had become a nun since her widowhood, sent him, already soaked, in a silver porringer. This porringer was the only remnant of his ancient splendour, and did not long remain in his hands,228 for one day a shipwrecked sailor came several times to beg from him while he was writing in his cell, and finding no money in his purse, the Saint gave him that relic of his former wealth.

Continually engaged in prayer, reading, writing, or dictation, he persisted in pushing the severity of his fasts to such an extent, that his health succumbed. He fell so often into fainting fits, that more than once he would have sunk under them had not his brethren supported him with more substantial food. In consequence of having attempted to do more than others, he was soon obliged to relinquish the most ordinary fasts, which everybody observed. He was in despair at not being able to fast even on Easter eve, a day on which even the little children abstain, says his biographer. He remained weak and sickly all his life, and when he left his monastery, it was with health irreparably ruined.

Pope Benedict I. drew him first from the cloister in 577, to raise him to the dignity of one of the seven cardinal deacons, who presided over the seven principal divisions of Rome. Pelagius II., successor to Benedict I., chose S. Gregory to head an embassy to Constantinople to congratulate the Emperor Tiberius on his accession in A.D. 578. During his stay at the imperial court, S. Gregory refused to have any intercourse with the patriarch Eutychius, who had published an heretical treatise on the nature of the resurrection body. On his death-bed, however, Eutychius acknowledged his former errors. After six years of this honourable and laborious exile, he returned to Rome, and regained the shelter of his monastery of S. Andrea, the monks of which elected him abbot soon after his return. He enjoyed there for some time longer the delights of the life he had chosen. Tenderly cherished by his brethren, he took a paternal share in their trials and spiritual crosses, provided for their temporary and spiritual necessities, and229 specially rejoiced in the holy deaths of several among them. He has related the details of these in his "Dialogues," and seems to breathe in them the perfume of heaven.

The tender solicitude he bore to souls was on the point of separating him from his dear monastery and from Rome. Seeing one day exhibited in the market some poor pagan children, of extraordinary beauty and fairness, who were said to be of the country of the Angles, "Not Angles," said he, "but Angels." Then hastening to the pope, he begged him to send missionaries into that great island of Britain, where the pagans sold such slaves; failing others, he offered himself for this work, surprised the pontiff into consent, and prepared instantly for his departure. But when the Romans understood his intention, the love with which they had formerly regarded him was re-awakened. They surrounded the pope as he went to S. Peter's, and intreated him to recall Gregory. The astonished pope yielded to the popular voice. He sent messengers after Gregory, who overtook him at three days' journey from Rome; and led him back forcibly to his monastery. It was not as a missionary, but as a pope, that he was to win England to the Church.

In 590, Pelagius II. died of the plague, which then depopulated Rome. Gregory was immediately elected pope by the unanimous voice of the senate, the people, and the clergy. It was in vain that he refused, and appealed to the emperor Maurice not to confirm his election. The Romans intercepted his letter; the imperial confirmation arrived. Then he disguised himself, and fleeing from Rome to seek some unknown retreat, wandered three days in the woods. He was followed, discovered, and a second time led back to Rome, but this time to reign there. He bowed his head, weeping, under the yoke imposed upon him by the Divine will and the unanimity of his fellow-citizens.


It was during the interval between his election and the imperial confirmation that, filled with a paternal anxiety for the safety of the people, he organized a great procession, with solemn litanies, to seek to avert the wrath of Almighty God. It proceeded from seven stations in the city, in as many divisions, to the Church of S. Maria-Maggiore. The first company consisted of the secular clergy, the second of the abbots and their monks, the third of the abbesses and their nuns, the fourth of children, the fifth of laymen, the sixth of widows, and the seventh of matrons: each band was led by the priests of the quarter of the city from which it came. While the procession lasted, eighty persons in it died of the plague; yet S. Gregory persevered, and the prayers of the city were heard. This was the origin of the "Greater Litanies," which were afterwards held on S. Mark's Day, and which acquired the popular name of "The Black Crosses," from the penitential hue of the vestments and banners used therein. While the procession defiled before Gregory, he saw an angel appear upon the summit of the Mole of Hadrian, putting back his sword into its sheath, the image of which, standing upon the colossal mausoleum, has given its name to the castle of S. Angelo, and perpetuated to our day the recollection of S. Gregory's vision.

The supreme pontificate, perhaps, never fell upon a soul more disturbed and afflicted than that of this monk, who saw himself thus condemned to exchange the peace of the cloister for the cares of the government of the Church, and the special defence of the interests of Italy. Not only then, but during all his life, he did not cease to lament his fate. "I have lost," he wrote to the sister of the emperor, "the profound joys of repose. I seem to have been elevated in external things, but in spiritual I have fallen." To the patrician Narses: "I am so overcome with melancholy,231 that I can scarcely speak. I cannot cease considering the height of tranquillity from which I have fallen, and the height of embarrassment I have ascended." To his friend Leander: "I am so beaten by the waves of this world, that I despair of being able to guide to port this rotten old vessel with which God has charged me. I weep when I recall the peaceful shore which I have left, and sigh in perceiving afar what I now cannot attain."

The poor monk who showed so much despair when he was thrown into the political whirlpool by the unanimous voice of the Romans, could yet perceive with a bold and clear glance the dangers of the situation, and adopt a line of conduct most suitable to the emergency of the times. First of all he concerned himself with the Lombards. After nine years' exertion, in overcoming Byzantine repugnance to acknowledge any right whatever on the side of the Lombards, he concluded a peace between the two powers, which made Italy, exhausted by thirty years of war and brigandage, thrill with joy. It was of short duration; but when hostilities recommenced, he entered into direct negociations with king Agilulf, and obtained from that prince a special truce for Rome and its surrounding territory. He had besides found a powerful advocate with the Lombard king in the person of the illustrious queen Theodelinda. This princess, a Bavarian and Catholic by birth, had gained the hearts of the Lombards. The queen was always the faithful friend of the pope; she served as a medium of communication between him and her husband. Gregory, from the very beginning of his pontificate, had exhorted the Italian bishops to make special exertions for the conversion of these formidable heretics.

His constancy and courage were called forth in contest with the Greeks, with that Eastern Empire which was represented by functionaries whose odious exactions had232 quite as great a share in the despair of the people as the ravages of the Barbarians, and whose malice was more dreadful than the swords of the Lombards. His entire life was a struggle with the patriarch of Constantinople, who aimed at supplanting the Roman pontiff, as well as with the emperor, who would have dominated Italy without defending her, and ruled the Church as if she were a department of the State. Among so many conflicts, we shall dwell only on that one which arose between him and John the Faster, patriarch of Constantinople. Relying on the support of most of the Eastern bishops, this patriarch took to himself the title of Universal Bishop. Gregory stood up with vigour against this pretension. He did not draw back before the emperor, who openly sided with the patriarch of his capital, nor before the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria, who sided with the Byzantine patriarch. "What!" wrote Gregory to the emperor, "S. Peter, who received the keys of heaven and earth, the power of binding and loosing, the charge and primacy of the whole Church, was never called the Universal Apostle; and yet my pious brother John would name himself Universal Bishop!" For himself he says, "I desire to increase in virtue and not in words. I do not consider myself honoured in that which dishonours my brethren. It is the honour of the universal Church that is my honour. Away with these words which inflate vanity and wound charity. The holy council of Chalcedon and other fathers have offered this title to my predecessors, but none of them have ever used it, that they might guard their own honour in the sight of God, by seeking here below the honour of all the priesthood." This weighty difference, the prohibition addressed by the emperor to soldiers against their becoming monks, and the contest which arose between the pope and the emperor touching the irregular election to the metropolitan see of Salona, contributed to233 render almost permanent the misunderstanding between them. These perpetual contests with the Byzantine court may explain, without excusing, the conduct of Gregory at the death of the Emperor Maurice. This prince, infected, like all his predecessors, with a mania for interfering in ecclesiastical affairs, was very superior to most of them. Gregory himself has more than once done justice to his faith and piety, to his zeal for the Church, and respect for her canons. After twenty years of an undistinguished reign, a military revolt broke out, which placed Phocas upon the throne. This wretch not only murdered the emperor Maurice, gouty, and incapable of defending himself, but also his six sons, whom he caused to be put to death under the eyes of their father, without even sparing the youngest, who was still at the breast, and whom his nurse would have saved by putting her own child in his place; but Maurice, who was too noble to allow of such a sacrifice, disclosed the pious deception to the murderers. He died like a Christian hero, repeating the words of the psalm, "Thou, O Lord, art just, and all Thy judgments are right." This massacre did not satisfy Phocas, who sacrificed the empress and her three daughters, the brother of Maurice, and a multitude of others in his train. The monster then sent his own image and that of his wife to Rome, where the senate and people received them with rejoicings. Gregory unfortunately joined in these mean acclamations. He carried these images of his new masters, bathed in innocent blood, into the oratory of the Lateran palace. Afterwards, he addressed extraordinary congratulations to Phocas, not in the surprise of the first moment, but seven months after the crime. This is the only stain upon the life of Gregory. We do not attempt either to conceal or to excuse it. It can scarcely be explained by recalling all the vexations he had suffered from Maurice, annoyances of which he always com234plained energetically, though he did not fail to do justice to the undeniable piety of the old emperor. Perhaps Gregory adopted this means to secure the help of Phocas against the new incursions of the Lombards, or to mollify beforehand the already threatening intentions of the tyrant. It must also be remembered that these flatteries were in some sort the official language of these times; they resulted from the general debasement of public manners, and from the tone of the language invariably used then at each change of reign. His motives were undoubtedly pure. Notwithstanding, a stain remains upon his memory, and a shadow upon the history of the Church, which is so consoling and full of light in this age of storm and darkness. But among the greatest and holiest of mortals, virtue, like human wisdom, always falls short in some respect.

Long crushed between the Lombards and Byzantines, between the unsoftened ferocity of the barbarians and the vexatious decrepitude of despotism, Gregory, with that instinctive perception of future events which God sometimes grants to pure souls, sought elsewhere a support for the Roman Church. His eyes were directed to the new races, who were scarcely less ferocious than the Lombards, but who did not, like them, weigh upon Italy and Rome, and who already exhibited elements of strength and continuance. It is impossible to do more here than touch on these noble enterprises. He entered into correspondence with Childebert, the Gallo-Frank king, and with the French bishops, to obtain the rectification of abuses and the purification of the Gallican church from simony, and the nomination of laymen to the episcopal office, two vices which consumed the vitals of Christianity in France. Spain had become Arian under the Visigoths, but the Catholic faith had triumphed with the accession of Recared, in 587. S. Leander, bishop of Seville, was the principal author of the conversion of the235 Visigoths. Gregory wrote to him and to other bishops of Spain. They consulted him, and he gave them his advice. He wrote, and gave councils full of wisdom to the king Recared, himself. He brought back to the unity of the Church the schismatical bishops of Istria, and wholly suppressed the Donatist schism in Africa. But one of the most striking points in the life of S. Gregory is his zeal for the conversion of England.

Amid the labours of his exalted position, S. Gregory never remitted his anxiety for the evangelization of that distant isle. In July, A.D. 596, he dispatched S. Augustine (May 26th), with forty companions, on that mission to which we owe so much, that, with every feeling of love and veneration for the remnant of Celtic Christianity which had then escaped the sword of Pagan Saxondom, we may yet say, with the Venerable Bede, "If Gregory be not to others an apostle, he is one to us, for the seal of his apostleship are we in the Lord."

The services which he rendered to the Liturgy are well known. Completing and putting in order the work of his predecessors, he gave its definite form to the holy sacrifice of the Mass, in that celebrated Sacramentary which remains the most august monument of Liturgical science. It may be said also that he created, and, by anticipation, saved, Christian art, by fixing, long before the persecution of the Iconoclasts, the true doctrine respecting the veneration of images, in that fine letter to the bishop of Marseilles, in which he reproves him for having, in the excess of his zeal against idolatry, broken the statues of the saints, and reminds him that through all antiquity the history of the saints has been pictorically represented, and that painting is to the ignorant what letters are to those who can read.

But his name is specially associated, in the history of Catholic worship, with that branch of religious art which is236 identified with worship itself, and which is of the utmost moment to the piety as to the innocent joy of the Christian people. The name of Gregorian Chant reminds us of his solicitude for collecting the ancient melodies of the Church, in order to subject them to rules of harmony, and to arrange them according to the requirements of divine worship. He had the glory of giving to Ecclesiastical music that sweet and solemn character which has descended through ages, and to which we must always return after the most prolonged aberrations of frivolity and innovation. He made out himself, in his Antiphonary, the collection of ancient and new chants; he composed the text and melodies of several hymns, which are still used in the Church; he established at Rome the celebrated school of sacred music, to which Gaul, Germany, and England came in turns, trying with more or less success to assimilate their voices to the purity of Italian modulations. And when Gregory was too ill to leave his little chamber and his couch, he gathered about him the boys of the choir, and continued their instructions.

The gout made the last years of his life a kind of martyrdom. The cry of pain rings in many of his letters. "For nearly two years," he wrote to the patriarch of Alexandria, "I have been imprisoned to my bed by such pangs of gout, that I can scarcely rise for two or three hours on great holidays to celebrate solemn mass. And the intensity of the pain compels me immediately to lie down again, that I may be able to endure my torture, by giving free course to my groans. My illness will neither leave me nor kill me. I entreat your holiness to pray for me, that I may be soon delivered, and receive that freedom which you know, and which is the glory of the children of God."

Up to his last moments he continued with unwearied activity to dictate his correspondence, and to concern himself with the interests of the Church. He died on the 12th237 March, 604, aged nearly fifty-five, in the thirteenth year of his pontificate. He was buried in S. Peter's; and in the epitaph engraved on his tomb, it is said that, "after having conformed all his actions to his doctrine, the consul of God went to enjoy eternal triumph."

S. Hildefonsus, Archbishop of Toledo, in the seventh century, writes thus of him—"He surpassed Antony in holiness, Cyprian in eloquence, and Augustine in wisdom." Yet so great was his humility, that he subscribed himself, "Servant of the servants of God"—a style which his successors in the chair of S. Peter have retained till this day. He was buried in the basilica of S. Peter. His pallium, reliquary, and girdle were preserved as precious memorials.

He had, like so many other great hearts, to struggle with ingratitude, not only during his life, but after his death. Rome was afflicted with a great famine under his successor, Sabinian, who put an end to the charities which Gregory had granted to the poor, on the plea that there was nothing remaining in the treasury of the Church. The enemies of the deceased pope then excited the people against him, calling him prodigal and a waster of the Roman patrimony; and that ungrateful people, whom he had loved and helped so much, began to burn his writings, as if to annihilate or dishonour his memory. But one of the monks, who had followed him from the monastery to the palace, his friend the deacon Peter, interposed. He represented to the incendiaries that these writings were already spread through the entire world, and that it was, besides, sacrilege to burn the work of a holy doctor, upon whom he swore he had himself seen the heavenly dove fluttering. And as if to confirm his oath, after having ended his address, he breathed forth his last sigh, a valiant witness of truth and friendship, and is commemorated by the Church on the same day with S. Gregory.


In the year 826, the body of this holy pontiff was brought into France, and placed in the celebrated monastery of S. Medard, in Soissons. The head was given to archbishop Agesil, and deposited in the abbey of S. Pierre-le-Vif, at Sens, and a bone was given to Rome at the request of pope Urban VIII., in 1628.

In art, S. Gregory is represented as a pope, with a dove hovering over him, or at his ear, and with music in his hand: a frequent subject with Mediĉval sculptors and painters was his Mass. According to the legend, as he was about to communicate a woman, and said, "The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy body and soul unto Eternal Life," he saw her smile, wherefore he refused to give her the host, and questioning her, found that she doubted how what her senses told her was bread could be the flesh of Christ. Then S. Gregory prayed that her eyes might be opened, and instantly the Host was visibly changed into Christ enduring His passion.

MASS OF S. Gregory.

March 12.



[Irish Martyrologies. Authority:—Colgan.]

S. Muran was the son of Feradach, of the noble race of the O'Neills, and was abbot of Fathinis, in the peninsula of Inis-coguin, five miles from Derry, in the north of Ulster. He was famous for his sanctity; and was greatly honoured of old in that part of Ireland, where the church of Fathinis was dedicated in his name; but the particulars of his life have not been handed down.



(A.D. 1253.)

[Venerated in Tuscany, especially at S. Geminiani. Authority:—A Life written by the famous preacher, John de S. Geminiani (1310).]

S. Fina was the daughter of very poor parents at S. Geminiani, in Tuscany. Her name was probably Seraphina, but it is only known by its diminutive of endearment, Fina. The young girl was singularly beautiful, and at the same time exceedingly bashful, ever walking abroad with her soft dark eyes modestly lowered. Whilst yet young she was suddenly paralysed through her whole body, with the exception of her head. For six years she lay on one side upon a hard board, and would not suffer her mother or the neighbours to make her a soft bed, desiring rather to be like our Blessed Lord, stretched on His Cross. The father seems to have been dead, and the poor mother begged for subsistence for herself and daughter. The girl's skin broke, and formed terrible sores, but she bore all her sufferings with sweetness. When left alone, the mice and rats, which infested the miserable hut, would often come and attack her, and horribly mangle her sores, and the poor child being paralysed in all her members was unable to protect herself from them. Yet not a murmur escaped her lips, nor did a cloud darken the serenity of her temper. She was always gentle, loving, and considerate of others.

A new misfortune now befel her. Her mother died suddenly whilst crossing the threshold, on her return from begging, and Fina was left wholly unprovided for. She was thus left perfectly helpless, to the mercy of poor neighbours. But their desultory attention was not like that of a mother, and it soon became evident that she would die through partial neglect. In the midst of her sufferings she had been comforted by being told of S. Gregory the Great and his cruel pains, and240 the young girl had formed a strong attachment and devotion to him. One night, as she lay alone, uncared for in her hut, the great pontiff and doctor of the Church shone out of the darkness by the side of the pauper cripple, and bade her be of good cheer. "Dear child, on my festival Christ will give thee rest." And it was so. On the feast of S. Gregory she died. When the neighbours lifted the poor little body from the board on which it had lain, lo! that board was covered with white violets exhaling a delicious perfume, and to this day, at S. Geminiani, the peasants call these flowers which bloom about the day of her death, S. Fina's flowers.

Symbolic carving at the Abbey of S. Denis.


March 13.

S. Euphrasia, V. in Egypt, after A.D. 410.
S. Mochoemog, Ab. of Liathmor, in Ireland, middle of 7th cent.
S. Gerald, Ab. and B. of Mayo, in Ireland, circ. A.D. 700.
S. Nicephorus, Patr. of Constantinople, A.D. 828.
S. Ansewin, B. of Camerino, in Italy, circ. A.D. 840.
SS. Ruderick, P.M., and Salomon, M. at Cordova, A.D. 857.
S. Eldrad, Ab. of Novalese, in Italy, A.D. 875.
S. Kennocha, V. in Scotland, circ. A.D. 1007.
B. Eric or Henrick, C. at Perugia, A.D. 1415.


(AFTER A.D. 410.)

[Roman Martyrology, on the authority of Usuardus. By the Greeks on July 25th. Authority:—An ancient Greek life, published by Bollandus, quoted by S. John Damascene (730). There are other, more modern, versions of the ancient life.]

In the reign of Theodosius the First, Antigonus, governor of Lycia, and his wife, Euphrasia, were blessed by God with a little daughter, who was named after her mother. Antigonus and his wife feared God, and served Him with all their hearts, and with one consent resolved to bring up their little child as a bride of Christ. Shortly after Antigonus had formed this resolution he was called out of the world. When the child was five years old, the emperor, who had taken the little girl under his protection, proposed to the mother that she should be given in marriage to the son of a wealthy senator, in accordance with the custom of the times, to betroth maidens of high rank from infancy. The mother consented, and received the betrothal presents from the parents of the boy, and the marriage was arranged to take place as soon as the maiden was of a sufficient age. But in the meantime, some242 changes in the imperial household having thrown Euphrasia, the mother, out of favour, she retired into Egypt with her daughter, under pretext of visiting her relatives, and whilst there she travelled into Upper Egypt, and saw with admiration and respect the holy lives of the solitaries who inhabited the deserts of the Thebaid.

In the Thebaid was a convent of a hundred holy women, and the widow found great delight and exceeding profit in visiting it frequently,42 taking with her each time her little child, who was then aged seven. The mother superior was warmly attached to the beautiful girl, and one day drawing the child towards her, before her mother, asked Euphrasia if she loved her. "That do I," answered the child, looking up into her face. "Well, will you come and live with us, then?" enquired the superior, playfully. "I would," replied Euphrasia, "if I did not think it would trouble my mother." "And now, my pet," said the superior, "which do you love best, your little husband or us sisters." "I have never seen my little husband, nor has my little husband ever seen me, so we cannot love each other much," answered the child; "but I do love you sisters very much, because I know you. Which do you love best, my little husband or me?" "Oh," said the nun, "I love you much the best; but I love Jesus Christ above all." "So do I," said the child, "I love you very much, but I love Jesus Christ best."

The mother, Euphrasia, looked on smiling, and with tears in her eyes, as this simple conversation, which has been blown down to us through more than fifteen centuries, passed between the old nun and the child. Then she took her child's hand to lead her away. But the young Euphrasia implored her mother to let her remain, and she, supposing243 this was a mere infantine caprice, consented, thinking that she would soon weary of the cloister life. But it was not so. The child clung to the sisters, in spite of every hardship and trial inflicted on her to persuade her to go. She was told she must fast, and learn the Psalter by heart, if she remained, and sleep on the hard ground. She was ready for all, rather than depart. Then the superior said to the mother, "Leave the little girl with us, for the grace of God is working in her heart. Your piety and that of Antigonus have opened to her the most perfect way." Then Euphrasia, the mother, took her child in her arms, and going before an image of our Blessed Lord, she held up the little girl, and said, weeping, "My Lord Jesus Christ, receive this child into Thy protection, since she desires Thee only, and devotes herself to Thy service alone." And she blessed her daughter, saying, "May the Lord, who made the mountains so strong that they cannot be moved, confirm thee in His holy fear." But when the parting came, she burst into a flood of tears, and the whole community wept with her. A few days after, the superior brought the young Euphrasia into the chapel, and vested her in the religious habit, and kneeling down by the tiny novice, she prayed, "O King of ages, finish in this child the work of sanctification that Thou hast begun. Give her grace to follow in all things Thy holy will, and to place in Thee her hope and confidence."

When her mother saw her in her austere habit, she asked her if she were content. "Oh, mother!" cried the child, "It is my marriage garment, given me on my espousals to Jesus." "May He, sweet child, make thee worthy of His love," said the mother.

Years passed away, and the little flower grew up and bloomed in the cool shade of the cloister, and her mother had rejoined Antigonus in bliss, when the emperor wrote to Euphrasia to order her instantly to return to Constantinople244 and marry the young man to whom he had betrothed her. She was of imperial blood, and Theodosius considered that, on the death of her mother, the charge of Euphrasia, who was now an heiress and very wealthy, devolved on him. She replied, imploring him to allow her to follow her vocation, and requested him to dispose of all her property for the benefit of the poor. Euphrasia was then aged twelve. Theodosius, satisfied that she was in earnest, obeyed her request, and troubled her no more about the marriage. But now arrived a critical time of life, when youthful spirits and passions were in effervesence, and she was cruelly tormented with vain imaginations and temptations to go forth into that wondrous world of which she knew so little, but which, clothed in the rainbow tints of infantine remembrance, allured her fancy. To divert her attention, and at the same time to prove her obedience, the superior one day pointed to a great heap of stones, and bade her carry them to the top of a little sand hill, some distance off. Euphrasia obeyed cheerfully, toiling at removing the stones under the hot sun, one by one, to the place indicated. Then she came joyously to the superior, and signified to her that the task was accomplished. "Bring them all back again," said the mother superior. And the young nun hasted to obey. Next day she presented herself before the superior once more. "I have changed my mind," said the mother; "take the stones back again to the top of the mound." And thirty times did she make Euphrasia carry them back; and each time was she obeyed with cheerfulness.

She was then sent into the kitchen, and made to chop up the wood for the fire, bake the bread, and cook the food. The sister who undertook this arduous task was usually exempt from attending the midnight offices, but Euphrasia never missed being present in choir with the others, and when she was twenty, she was taller and plumper than any245 of the other sisters, her face had lost none of its beauty and freshness, but beamed with amiability. She had her trials, being for some time vexed with the contradiction of one of the sisters, who took a spite against her, being filled with jealousy of her virtues, and she once seriously injured her foot with the axe when chopping up wood. But God favoured her, and gave her the power of working miracles, and she cast evil spirits out of many that were possessed, and healed many that were sick. And when she was about to die, Julia, a favourite sister, who inhabited the same cell, implored Euphrasia to obtain for her the grace to be her companion in heaven, as she had been her associate on earth. Then, when Euphrasia was dead, sister Julia cast herself on her tomb, and wept and prayed, and the third day she was called away to be with her friend in the heavenly kingdom. Now, when the aged superior saw this, she longed greatly to enter also into her rest; it was she who had admitted Euphrasia, and it grieved her sore to be left in the desert when her spiritual daughter had entered the Promised Land. So she prayed also, and when the nuns looked into her cell in the morning, she had joined Euphrasia and Julia.



[Irish Martyrologies, also the German Martyrology of Canisius. Authority:—A life purporting to be written by a disciple, but this is certainly false. It can not have been written before the 12th century. I give the story, and the reader may believe as much as he likes of the wonderful details.]

The abbot Mochoemog was born in Connaught. His father, on account of a feud, came into Munster and settled on the lands of O'Connell-Ghabhra. The father, Beoan by name, loved a certain beautiful damsel, called Nessa, of the246 race of the Nan-desi,43 the sister of S. Ytha, and having wedded her, he went with his wife to S. Ytha, and built her a beautiful convent, for Beoan was a skilful architect. Then S. Ytha said to him, "What recompense shall I give thee?" Then he said, "Thou knowest that I have no heir; beseech the Lord that He may grant me one." And Ytha answered, "A son shalt thou have, elect before God and men."

Now there was a certain king, named Crunmhoel, who made war on the O'Connells, and a great battle was fought, and Beoan was in the battle, and he fell. Then his wife went over the field seeking him, and she found his head, and knew it again, and she took it and carried it to S. Ytha, and said, "Where is thy promise, sister, that he should have an heir?" Then the holy abbess said, "Weep not, my sister, but put his head on to his body again." "How can I know his body in the midst of so many headless corpses?" asked Nessa. "Be not discouraged," answered the holy abbess, "Go into the field, and call Beoan thrice in the name of the Holy Trinity, and he will come after his head, then put it on again." So Nessa did so. And when she had called the third time, a dead man got up out of his place, and he had lost his head, but he seemed to be looking about for it with his stump. So he came to Nessa, and she put his head on, and then he opened his mouth, and said, "Oh, woman! why didst thou call me?" And he was sound again. Therefore he and his wife came to S. Ytha, who asked him, "Friend, desirest thou to tarry longer here below, or to go direct to heaven?" Beoan answered, "I esteem this world as nothing compared to eternal glory." "That is well," answered Ytha; "However, my promise must be kept. Thou must go home with thy wife." Then she washed his head and neck, and not even a scar remained. And after that Nessa became pregnant. Now247 there was in the east of Ireland, at Momyfechta, a blind abbot, named Fechean,44 and he prayed that he might recover his sight. Then an angel appeared to him, and bade him go and wash his eyes in the milk from the breast of the wife of Beoan. But S. Fechean knew not where Beoan lived, and had never heard his name before. Then he went to S. Ytha, to ask her to direct him, and she told him whither he was to go. And Fechean hasted, guided by his disciples, and they came to a mill, and there he found Beoan and his wife. Then Fechean related in order his vision, and the journey he had undertaken, and when he had made his petition, Nessa gave him some of her milk, and therewith he washed his eyes, and straightway he saw plain, and returned with great joy to his monastery.

Now when Nessa was near the term of her pregnancy, she went in a chariot to her sister. And Ytha heard the driving of the car, and she sent one of her maidens forth, saying, "I hear a chariot sounding as though a king rode therein. Who cometh to me?" Then the maiden answered, "It is thy sister Nessa." "It is well," said Ytha; "She bears in her womb a child who will sit enthroned in heaven, therefore did the chariot sound royally."

Now as soon as Nessa bore a son, it was told to Ytha, and she gave him a name, Mochoemog (Mo-choem-og), meaning "My-gentle-youth," and in Latin he is called Pulcherius. Then his parents gave him to S. Ytha, that she might rear him in the service of God, and he grew up in her house till he was twenty years old. And after that he went into Ulster, to S. Comgall, and was ordained priest by him, and he resided many years in Banchor under his guidance. But at length S. Comgall bade him depart and found a new monastery, and become father of a new generation of monks. So he went into Leinster, to Enacht, in248 Mount Blaine, and there he built a cell. But being driven forth, he went into Ossory, and the chief of that part offered him his castle, but Mochoemog would not accept it, but went into a desert place seeking a home; and the chief said to him, "I have a great and dense forest near the bog Lurgan which I will give thee." Then Mochoemog was pleased, and he went into the forest, and he carried in his hand a bell. Now Ytha had given him this bell when he was a child, and it sounded not. "But," said she, "when thou comest to the place of thy resurrection, then the bell will tinkle." So Mochoemog walked on till he reached a wide spreading oak, under which lay an old gray boar; and instantly the bell began to sound. So Mochoemog knew that he had reached the place of his resurrection, and he settled there, and because of the great grey boar, he called the place Liathmor (Liath, grey; mor, great.)45

Here he dwelt for many years, training saints. He was greatly troubled by princes, for on the death of his protector, the chief who had given him Liathmor, his son endeavoured to drive the aged abbot and his community away, but was miraculously prevented from doing so. Once the horses of the king of Munster were driven to pasture on the lands of the abbey, because the grass there was very rich. Mochoemog drove them all off, and hearing that the king was exceedingly incensed against him, and had ordered that he and his monks should be forcibly ejected from the country, the old man hasted to Cashel, where was the king. The prince seeing him, exclaimed, "What! little old bald head, thou here! I shall have thee driven from the place." "I may be bald," answered the abbot, "but thou shalt be blind of an eye." Then suddenly there came an inflammation in the eye of the king, and he lost the sight of it. The king, humbled, implored relief from the pain. "He shall be249 freed from his pain," answered Mochoemog, "but he shall remain blind of an eye." Then he blessed a vessel of water, and therewith the king's eye was washed, and the inflammation ceased.

The wonders wrought by Mochoemog are too many to be further related here. We have given a few specimens, and must refer the reader to the original life for the rest.

Mochoemog died at Liathmor, and was there buried.


(A.D. 828.)

[This is the festival of the Translation of S. Nicephorus in the Roman Martyrology and Greek Menĉa. June 2nd is the day of his death also observed in his honour by the Greeks. Authorities:—His life by Ignatius deacon of Constantinople, and afterwards bishop of Nicĉa, a contemporary, and an account of his banishment by Theophanes, a fellow sufferer in the persecution.]

The father of this saint, named Theodore, was secretary to the emperor Constantine Copronymus, but when that tyrant declared himself a persecutor of the Catholic church, the faithful minister preferring to serve God rather than man, maintained the honour due to holy images with so much zeal, that he was stripped of his honours, scourged, tortured, and banished. The young Nicephorus grew up with his father's example before his eyes to stimulate him to confession of the truth at any sacrifice; his education was not neglected, and he made rapid progress in all the accomplishments of the age. When Constantine and Irene were placed on the imperial throne, and restored the use of sacred pictures and images in churches, Nicephorus was introduced to their notice, and by his sterling merit obtained their favour. He was by them advanced to his father's250 dignity, and, by the lustre of his sanctity, he became at once the ornament of the court, and the support of the state. He distinguished himself greatly by his zeal against the Iconoclasts, and acted as secretary to the second council of Nicĉa. After the death of S. Tarasius, (Feb. 25th), patriarch of Constantinople, in 806, no one was found more worthy to succeed him than Nicephorus. To give an authentic testimony of his faith, during the time of his consecration he held in his hand a treatise he had written in defence of holy images, and after the ceremony was concluded, he laid it up behind the altar, as a pledge that he would always maintain the tradition of the Church. As soon as he was seated in the patriarchal chair, he set about endeavouring to effect a reformation of manners of the clergy and people, and his precepts from the pulpit received double force from his example. He applied himself with unwearied diligence to all the duties of the ministry; and, by his zeal and invincible meekness and patience, was able to effect much which a less earnest or harsher character would have found it impossible to achieve.

Constantine was blinded, Irene banished, Nicephorus I., her successor, had fallen before the Bulgarians. Michael I. was driven from the throne, and Leo the Armenian became emperor in 813. He was an Iconoclast, and endeavoured both by artifices and open violence to establish that heresy. His first endeavour, however, was, by crafty suggestions, to gain over the holy patriarch to favour his design of destroying the sacred pictures and images which had resumed their places in the churches and streets, after the second council of Nicĉa had sanctioned their use. But S. Nicephorus answered him, "We cannot change the ancient traditions: we respect holy images as we do the cross and the book of the gospels." For it must be ob251served that the ancient Iconoclasts venerated the book of the gospels, and the figure of the cross, though with singular inconsistency, they forbade the rendering of the like honour to holy images. The saint showed, that far from derogating from the supreme honour of God, we honour Him when we for His sake respect His angels, saints, prophets, and ministers; and also when we show reverence towards all such things as belong to His service, like sacred vessels, churches, and images. But the tyrant persisted in his error, and the first steps he took against images were marked by caution. He privately encouraged some soldiers to maltreat an image of Christ on a great cross at the brazen gate of the city; and then he ordered the image to be taken off the cross, pretending he did it to prevent a second profanation. S. Nicephorus saw the storm gathering, and spent most of his time in prayer, in company with several holy bishops and abbots. Shortly after, the emperor, having assembled certain Iconoclastic bishops in his palace, sent for the patriarch and his fellow-bishops.46 They obeyed the summons, but entreated the emperor to leave the government of the Church to her pastors. Ĉmilian, bishop of Cyzicus, one of their body, said, "If this is an ecclesiastical affair, let it be discussed in the Church, according to custom, not in the palace." Euthymius, bishop of Sardis, said, "For these eight hundred years past, since the coming of Christ, there have been pictures of Him, and He has been honoured in them. Who shall now have the boldness to abolish so ancient a tradition?" S. Theodore of the Studium spoke after the bishops, and addressed the emperor, "My lord, do not disturb the order of the Church. God hath placed in it apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers.47 You he hath entrusted with the252 care of the State; the Church hath he entrusted to the care of her Bishops." The emperor, in a rage, drove them from his presence. Some time after, the Iconoclast bishops held an assembly in the imperial palace, and cited the patriarch to appear before them. To their summons he returned this answer, "Who gave you this authority? If it was he who pilots the vessel of old Rome, I am ready. If it was the Alexandrine successor of the Evangelist Mark, I am ready. If it was the patriarch of Antioch, or he of Jerusalem, I make no opposition. But who are ye? In my diocese you have no jurisdiction." He then read the canon which declares those excommunicate who presume to exercise any act of jurisdiction in the diocese of another bishop. They, however, proceeded to pronounce against him a sentence of deposition; and the holy pastor, after several attempts had been made secretly to take away his life, was sent by the emperor into banishment. Michael the Stammerer, who succeeded Leo the Armenian, in 120, also favoured the Iconoclastic faction, and continued to harass S. Nicephorus, who died in exile, on June 2nd, 828, in the monastery of S. Theodore, which he had erected, at the age of seventy. By order of the empress Theodora, his body was brought to Constantinople with great pomp, in 846, on the 13th of March.


(CIRC. A.D. 840.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—A life written by Eginus the monk, about the year 960, not, apparently entire, and the Lections of the Breviary of Camerino.]

S. Ansewin, or Hanse-win, was a native of Camerino, in Tuscany. He retired in early life into the solitude of Castel-Raymond, near Torcello, after his ordination as priest. He was appointed chaplain and confessor to the emperor253 Louis, and in 822, he was nominated to the bishopric of his native city. A strange legend of his expedition to Rome to receive consecration has been recorded by his biographer. On arriving at Narni, with a cavalcade of nobles and friends who accompanied him from Camerino, they put up at a tavern for refreshment, and asked for wine. The publican, an ill-conditioned fellow, served them with what they desired, but Ansewin, looking at it, detected that it was watered, and sharply rebuked the taverner. The man surlily replied that they must drink what was set before them, and that it was no odds to him whether they liked his wine or not.

"Now, friend," said the bishop-elect, "we have no drinking vessels with us, so bring us forth horns or goblets."

"Not I," answered the publican, "I provide wine, but customers usually bring their own cups."

"But, friend, we have none with us." "That is your affair, not mine," answered the fellow rudely. "Then we must do what we can," said Ansewin, drawing off his cape, and holding out the hood. "Come, host! pour the wine in here." The man stared, and then burst into a roar of laughter. But Ansewin persisted. "Then, fool, I will do so, and waste the liquor, but mind, you pay for it," said he. "Pour boldly," said the bishop-elect, holding the hood distended; and the inn-keeper obeyed. Then two marvels occurred, the hood retained the liquor, and served as a drinking horn to all the company, and the water which had diluted the wine separated from it, and flowed away over the edge.

He ruled his diocese with great prudence, and in time of famine, by his wise regulations and abundant alms, greatly relieved the sufferings of the poor. He was absent from his dear city where he had been born, and which he had ministered to with so much love, when he was stricken with254 mortal sickness. He was greatly distressed at the prospect of dying out of his diocese, and ordered a horse to be brought that he might ride home. His companions, seeing death in his face, remonstrated; but he persisted in his command, and when his horse was brought to the door, he descended, supported by his friends to it. Then the horse knelt down, and suffered the dying man to mount him without effort. As soon as he was in Camerino, he ordered all his flock to assemble to receive his final blessing, and then gently expired.

Relics at Camerino, in the cathedral, and a portion of the shoulder in the Vatican.

In art he is represented with his hood full of wine.


(A.D. 857.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—S. Eulogius, (March 11th), himself a martyr in the same persecution, 859, wrote the Acts of all those who suffered at that time, either from his own knowledge, or from the testimony of eye witnesses.]

During the persecution of the Christians under the Moorish occupation of Spain, there was a priest in the village of Cabra, about five-and-twenty miles from Cordova, named Ruderick, who had two brothers, whereof one had renounced Christianity and become a Moslem. One night this apostate brother and the other were quarrelling, and came to blows, when Ruderick rushed between them to separate them, but was so mauled by both, that he fell senseless on the ground. The Mussulman brother then placed him on a litter, and had him carried about the country, walking by his side, and showing him off as a renegade priest. Ruderick was too much bruised and255 strained to resist for a while, but he bore this with greater anguish than his bodily injuries, and as soon as ever he was sufficiently recovered, he effected his escape. The renegade meeting him some time after in the streets of Cordova, dragged him before the cadi, and denounced him as having professed the Mussulman religion, and then returned to Christianity. Ruderick indignantly denied that he had ever apostatized, but the cadi, believing the accusation, ordered him to be cast into the foulest den of the city prison, reserved for parricides. There he found a Christian, named Salomon, awaiting sentence on a similar charge of having conformed to the established religion for a while, and then returned to the worship of Christ. They were retained in prison for some time, the cadi hoping thus to weary them into apostasy. But the two confessors encouraged each other to stand fast. Being made acquainted with this, the cadi ordered them to be separated, but when this also failed, he sentenced them both to decapitation.


(ABOUT A.D. 1007.)

[Aberdeen Breviary. Authority:—The same.]

On March 13th, the Ancient Scottish Church commemorated S. Kennocha, a virgin, who, desirous of consecrating herself wholly to Jesus Christ, met with long and vehement opposition from her parents and friends, and underwent from them great hardships and persecution, without shaking her constancy. She led a life as a solitary of great severity, and attained a good old age. She was buried in the church of Kyle.


March 14.

SS. Forty-seven Martyrs, under Nero, in Rome, A.D. 67.
SS. Peter, Aphrodisius, and Others, MM. at Carthage.
SS. Two Monks and a Deacon, MM. in the Abruzzi, 6th cent.
S. Lubin, B. of Chartres, circ. A.D. 557.
S. Eutychius, or Eustasius, and Companions, MM. at Charrĉ, in Mesopotamia, A.D. 741.
S. Mathilda, Emp. of Germany, A.D. 968.


(A.D. 67.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—The ancient Acts of SS. Processus and Martinian.]

These forty-seven martyrs are believed to have been converted by S. Peter, at the time when he was confined along with S. Paul, in the Mamertine prison, in which they spent nine months. According to tradition S. Peter brought water out of the rock wherewith to baptize them. They suffered execution by the sword.



[Roman Martyrology.]

The greatest confusion and uncertainty exists relative to these martyrs. In the Roman Martyrology they are said to have suffered in the Vandal persecution, in Africa. But there is some mistake, as the Bollandist fathers have pointed out. Aphrodisius there can be no doubt is wrong,257 and should be Euphrosius, who in ancient Martyrologies is mentioned with SS. Donatus, Frumentius, and others, but not with Peter; and that the martyrdom took place in the Vandal persecution is an error of Baronius, trusting to Galesinius, with whom it was pure conjecture. There is also no evidence that Peter ought to be coupled with Euphrosius and Donatus; but on the authority of ancient Martyrologies, with Alexander, Mamerius, Nabor, and others, of equally unknown date.


(A.D. 557.)

[Gallican Martyrology. His translation is commemorated in the Roman, on September 15th. Authority:—An ancient life of uncertain date and unknown authorship.]

S. Lubin, (Leobinus), was the son of poor parents near Poitiers, and was born in the reign of Clovis I. (the latter half of the 5th cent.) His boyhood was spent in ploughing the fields and feeding cattle. But he had a great desire to learn to read, and having made the acquaintance of a good monk, he persuaded him to ink the letters of the alphabet on his leather girdle, so that he might carry them about with him when he went after the cattle, and learn them by heart. His intelligence opening, he was sent to a monastery of that country, but whether it was Ligugé or Nouaille is not certain, and was made cellarer, and required to ring the hours. These duties gave him little leisure for pursuing his studies; he therefore curtailed his hours of sleep, and as his lamp troubled the sleep of the brethren, he hung a curtain over his window to screen the light from them. After having spent eight years in this monastery, the desire came upon him to visit S. Avitus, who lived as a hermit in258 Perche, (July 17th.) Having gone into this country, he met first with S. Calais, who had not then left S. Avitus, to settle in Maine, (July 1st); this great master of the spiritual life advised Lubin not to attach himself to the service of any church or chapel, as it would be the means of drawing him into the world, and interfere with the exercise of his religious rule, and not to seek a small monastery, for in such every one wants to be master. S. Avitus counselled Lubin to spend some time longer in a monastery before he retired into the desert. He therefore took the road to Lerins, but a monk of that abbey whom he met assuring him that it was unhealthy, he turned aside with the monk, and went to Javoux, where S. Hilary, the bishop of that place,48 received them into his community. But he did not long remain there, thanks to his new acquaintance from Lerins, who seems to have been nowhere content, and they went together to Ile-Barbe, near Lyons. After a while the vagabond monk wanted to make another change, and draw Lubin away with him, but Lubin shook himself free of this restless spirit, and remained five years in Ile-Barbe.

During a war which broke out between the Franks and Burgundians, ending in the defeat of the latter by the sons of Clovis, in 525, the abbey of Ile-Barbe was invaded by the soldiers greedy of plunder. They found it deserted by all the monks, who had escaped, save S. Lubin and an old man. The old man, on being asked where the treasures of the church were concealed, meanly said that S. Lubin knew better than he; and the soldiers cruelly tormented the saint by winding whipcord tightly round his head, and then running a stick under it behind the head, and turning the stick so as to tighten the cord till it sank into the temples. This was a favourite torture with the barbarians, when they wanted to extract the secret of hidden treasures from259 prisoners. They also tied his feet, and let him, head down into the river, but were unable to extract from him the information they desired, and of which he may have been ignorant. Thinking him dead, the soldiers threw him on the bank and left him. He recovered, and made his way into Perche to S. Avitus, and served as cellarer in his monastery. On the death of S. Avitus, 430, he and two others retired into the wilderness of Charbonnièrs, on the extremities of the forest of Montmirail, which separates Beauce from Maine. There they built three little cells, and spent five years in solitude. But miracles proclaimed the sanctity of S. Lubin; by his intercession a fire which had broken out in the forest, and threatened to consume it, was arrested. Hearing this, Ĉtherius, bishop of Chartres, ordained him deacon, and made him abbot of the monastery of Brou, in Perche; he afterwards ordained him priest to give him more authority over his monks.

S. Aubin, bishop of Angers, being on his way to visit S. Cĉsarius of Arles, persuaded S. Lubin to accompany him (536). When they came into Provence, Lubin yearned to retire into the peaceful retreat of Lerins, and escape the burden of the charge of his monastery, but S. Aubin sharply rebuked him, and made him see that he had no right to resign without sufficient cause a burden laid on him by God. In 544, Ĉtherius died, and Lubin was elected to the see of Chartres by the almost unanimous voice of the clergy and laity. The saint on his ordination introduced various reforms into the see. S. Lubin assisted in the fifth council of Orleans, in 549, and in the second of Paris, 551. He died in 587, and was buried in the church of S. Martin-du-Val, where his body was religiously preserved till the Calvinists sacked the church in the 16th century, when they burnt his bones, and cast the ashes to the winds. His skull was, however, preserved, but it also was lost at the Revolution.



(A.D. 968.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—The Life drawn up by order of the emperor Henry, her grandson.]

The father of the empress Mathilda was Dietrich, count of Ringelheim, a descendant of the famous Witikind, prince of the Saxons, who had maintained so long and stubborn a resistance against Charlemagne. Her mother, Reinhild, was of royal Danish and Frisian blood. In her childhood Mathilda was entrusted to the tender care of her grandmother Hedwig, who had quitted the world, and had become abbess of Erfurt.

Henry the Fowler, son of duke Otho of Saxony, fell in love with Mathilda, and married her. The "Life of S. Mathilda," written by order of Henry the Pious, her grandson, says that Otho, hearing of the virtues of Mathilda, entered into negotiations with the count of Ringelheim to have her married to his son Henry. This is, no doubt, true, but it is only half the truth. The other part was suppressed by the pious historian. In fact, Henry was already married to Hathburg, daughter of Erwin of Altstadt, whom he had taken from the cloister, where she was being educated, and by whom he became father of Thankmar, who afterwards waged war with Otho the Great, son of Henry and Mathilda, claiming the duchy of Saxony as his own by right of seniority of birth. Henry saw and fell in love with Mathilda, and the young simple girl was probably hardly consulted in the matter, when Henry divorced his wife Hathburg, sent her back to her convent, and demanded the hand of Mathilda of her parents. The wrong done to Hathburg was bitterly atoned for in after years, for Mathilda was sorely tried by the ingratitude of her own sons, and261 saw Otho engaged in a bloody war with Thankmar, whom he had supplanted.

Henry was one to captivate hearts. He is described as lofty and majestic in stature, although slight and youthful in form, powerful and active in person, with a commanding and penetrating glance, his very appearance attracting popular favour, and securing the heart of his wife. "He excelled in prudence and wisdom, and his stature became his kingly dignity. Too much addicted to hunting, he was joyous in festivities, but without diminishing his regal dignity. In war he was alike loved and feared."49

Henry had been elected emperor of Germany. In his new position, his life was one of warfare. He subjugated the Hevelli50 and the Bohemians, and in 933, routed the Hungarians. The ambassadors of the Hungarians demanded of him the payment of an ancient tribute. According to the legendary account, Henry caused a mangy dog to be thrown before them, and declared a deadly war with their nation. The Hungarians instantly crossed the frontier in two enormous hordes, the lesser of which was routed by the arrière-ban of Saxony and Thuringia, near Sondershausen. The other body advanced along the Saal, in the vicinity of Merseburg, against the emperor. Henry entrenched himself on a mountain, since known as the Keuschberg, or Mountain of Chastity, owing to the circumstance of no woman being permitted to enter the camp of the Christians, who strengthened themselves for the coming conflict by devotional exercises. The news of the defeat of their countrymen at Sondershausen soon reached the Hungarians, who instantly kindled enormous fires along the banks of the river as signals of recall to all those of their number who were engaged in plundering the country, and the battle commenced with the coming morn. Henry addressed his troops.262 The picture of S. Michael was borne in the van, as the banner of the empire. A murderous struggle commenced, the Hungarians shouting, "Hui! hui!" and the Germans, "Kyrie-eleison!" Victory long wavered, but was at length decided by the discipline and enthusiastic valour of the Germans. An immense number of Christian slaves were restored to liberty. After the victory, Henry knelt, at the head of his troops, and returned thanks to Heaven. The terror of the Hungarians now equalled that with which they had formerly inspired the Germans. In the belief that the archangel Michael, whose gigantic picture they ever beheld borne in the van of the German army, was the god of victory, they made golden wings, similar to those with which he was represented, for their own idols. The hand of the emperor, and, underneath, a horse shoe, are still to be seen cut in the rock at Keuschberg, as a token of the victory. Germany remained undisturbed in this quarter during the rest of the reign of Henry the Fowler. Henry afterwards planned a visit to Rome, but died without accomplishing that project, in 936, when at the height of his splendour and renown. He was buried at Quedlinburg, his favourite residence.

The union of Mathilda with her husband had been a very happy one. Both endeavoured to advance the kingdom of God by every means in their power, and together they concerted laws full of justice, to increase the prosperity of their dominions. Henry left behind him three sons by Mathilda, Otho, who was elected to the imperial throne on the decease of his father, Henry the Quarrelsome, duke of Bavaria, and Bruno, archbishop of Cologne. Mathilda spent her time in devotion, and gave abundant alms to the needy. She was very sober in her repasts, gentle in conversation, and ready to do with promptitude and cheerfulness whatever she deemed consistent with her position.


Otho had been unanimously elected emperor, and was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle with more than ordinary solemnity. He was invested with the gigantic crown of Charlemagne, the sceptre, the sword, the cross, the sacred lance of Longinus, and the golden mantle. And he looked an emperor. Witikind says of him in later years, "His demeanour was replete with majesty. His white hair waved over his shoulders. His eyes were bright and sparkling; his beard of an extraordinary length; his breast like that of a lion, and covered with hair."

Proud of his position and power, the young emperor was impatient of his mother's advice and authority. Listening to those who viewed her virtues with impatience, as a restraint on the licence of a court, they persuaded Otho that she had lavished the money of the empire in charities. He at once ordered his mother to retire from court to Engern, in Ravensberg. It was grief to Mathilda to be thus treated by her eldest son, but it was greater grief to her to find that her favourite son, Henry of Bavaria, had been the prime instigator of her banishment.

But it was not long before Henry fell dangerously ill, and Edith, the wife of Otho, deeming this a punishment for the wrong done to the saintly dowager empress, and dreading the same for her husband, persuaded Otho to recall his mother. He wrote to her, asking her pardon, and expressing his deep contrition for his past ingratitude. Mathilda was not one to bear resentment, and she returned to court. Mathilda now reaped with sorrow the harvest of her early involuntary fault in marrying a divorced man. Thankmar was in rebellion, for Otho had not been content with depriving him of the imperial throne, but had also seized his large maternal inheritance in Saxony, and had bestowed it on an adherent and friend. Thankmar took arms, and was upheld by the Saxons. The emperor marched against his half264-brother, besieged him in Everburg, and Thankmar was slain at the foot of the altar, whither he had fled for safety. Thankmar had been joined by Eberhardt, duke of Franconia, who, now that all was lost, fell at the feet of Henry of Bavaria, and besought him to intercede in his behalf with the emperor. To his surprise, Henry replied, that he was willing to join with him in his designs against Otho, in order to deprive him of the crown, which he coveted for himself. For the present the two confederates dissembled their projects, and Eberhardt made his submission to Otho with expressions of the deepest contrition for his guilt. Henry gained confederates to his conspiracy, and suddenly attacked Otho as he was crossing the Rhine at Zante, but was defeated with great slaughter. Otho pardoned his brother, who remained afterwards true to his allegiance, finding that it was his best interest to cling to his powerful brother. He was a man of treacherous and cruel heart, and when his Bavarian subjects rose against him, and called the Hungarians to their assistance, having defeated them with the aid of Otho (955), he buried alive, or burnt in beds of quicklime, the leaders of the adverse party, put out the eyes of the bishop of Salzburg, and the patriarch Lupus of Aquileia met with a still more wretched fate at his hands.

In the midst of all these civil wars the dowager empress laboured to relieve the sorrows of the peasants upon whom the state of hostilities weighed most heavily. Her time was devoted to nursing the sick, releasing debtors from prison, and feeding the starving.

But at length, saddened beyond endurance by the conduct of her sons, and despairing of the world, she retired into the monastery of Nordhausen, which she had built, and gathering about her three thousand sisters, spent the rest of her days in tears and prayer. She lived to receive her grand-daughter, Mathilda, the child of the emperor265 Otho, into her house, and to commit into her hands the government of the community.

She died on March 14th, 968, and was buried in the church of S. Servetus, at Quedlinburg, by the side of her husband, Henry.

Symbolic carving at the Abbey of S. Denis.


March 15.

S. Aristobulus, M., 1st cent. S. Longinus, M., 1st cent. S. Nicander, M. in Egypt, circ. A.D. 302. S. Matrona, M. at Thessalonica. S. Matrona, V. in Portugal. S. Matrona, V.M. at Barcelona, in Spain. S. Magorian, C. at Trent, 5th cent. S. Tranquillius, Ab. at Dijon, 6th cent. S. Zacharias, Pope of Rome, A.D. 752. S. Leocritia, V.M. at Cordova. (See p. 220.)



[Roman Martyrology, Greek Menologium and Menĉa, on March 16th. in the Anglican Martyrology he is entitled bishop and martyr. Authority:—Notice in the Martyrologies and Menĉa.]

Nothing is known for certain of S. Aristobulus, who was one of the seventy disciples of our Lord. He is said by the Greeks to have preached in Britain. He may be the Arystly who, according to the Welsh Triads, was one of the founders of Christianity in Britain. The Spaniards claim him as one of their apostles. The Greeks say that he was the brother of S. Barnabas, that he was ordained bishop, and died a martyr.



[Modern Roman Martyrology. The name of Longinus was not known to the Greeks previous to the patriarch Germanus, in 715. It was introduced amongst the Westerns from the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. There is no reliable authority for the Acts and martyrdom of this saint.]

The name Longinus, given in the gospel of Nicodemus to the soldier who pierced the side of Christ, is probably due267 to a mistake. The name is probably Latinized from Longche, a spear. Some think that the soldier who pierced the side, and the centurion who exclaimed at the earthquake, confessing the Sonship of Christ, are the same, but there is the greatest uncertainty on every point connected with Longinus. The Greeks commemorate Longinus the Centurion on October 16th. The Latin Acts of S. Longinus confuse the centurion and the soldier together. The Greek Acts pretend to be by S. Hesychius (March 28th), but are an impudent forgery of late date. It is pretended that the body of S. Longinus was found at Mantua in 1304, together with the sponge stained with Christ's blood, wherewith he had assisted in cleansing our Lord's body when it was taken down from the cross. These relics have been distributed in various places. Part are in Prague, others in Carlstein, the body in the Vatican at Rome. But the Sardinians assert that they possess the body of S. Longinus, which was found in their island, where he had suffered under Nero. And the Greeks say he suffered in Gabala, in Cappadocia. The head is, however, also said to have been found in Jerusalem, and carried into Cappadocia.


(ABOUT A.D. 302.)

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menĉa.]

S. Nicander flourished in the reign of Diocletian, in Egypt. He visited the Christian confessors in their dungeons, and ministered to their necessities; and when they suffered, he gathered their ashes and bones, and reverently buried them. This devotion could not long remain unobserved by the heathen, and he was denounced to the governor, who sentenced him to death.




[Three saints of this name are commemorated on this day. At Barcelona one called Virgin and Martyr, another of Thessalonica, in the Roman Martyrology, called Martyr, but it is not said that she was a Virgin; another at Capua, in Campania, where she is said to be a Virgin and a native of Portugal. They were three distinct persons living at different dates, as their histories testify, but on account of the names of the Barcelonese and Capuan Saints being identical with that of S. Matrona in the Roman Martyrology, their festivals are kept on the same day. Matrona of Thessalonica is commemorated by the Greeks on March 27th.]

S. Matrona of Barcelona was early left an orphan and was adopted by her aunt, who went with her to Italy, and settled in the Campagna. The girl was given a crucifix, which she ever carried about with her. Having been denounced as a Christian, she was thrown into prison and starved to death.

S. Matrona of Thessalonica was the slave of a Jewess, who having discovered that her servant was a Christian, beat her to death with a stick.


(A.D. 752.)

[Roman Martyrology, and those of Ado, Maurolycus, and Notker, on March 14th, so also Molanus in his additions to Usuardus. Authority:—His life by Anastasius the Librarian.]

Zacharias, a Greek by birth, the son of Polychronius, was educated with care in every science. He went to Rome, where he was ordained priest, at a time when the eternal city was subject to constant alarms from the Lombards. Luitprand, king of the Lombards, ill satisfied because Gregory III. extended his favour to Thrasymund,269 duke of Spoleto, laid siege to Rome, and did not retire till his troops had pillaged the church of S. Peter, which the Goths had hitherto respected. At this moment, just as Gregory had asked help of Charles Martel against Luitprand, the see became vacant through his death.

Zacharias was elected to the throne of S. Peter. The innocence of his life, and the vigour of his understanding, were accompanied by a natural kindliness which fascinated all with whom he was brought in contact. He was consecrated on November 19th, 741, nine days after the death of his predecessor, and nine days before his interment. Resolved to expose himself to everything for the sake of his people, Zacharias sent a nuncio to king Luitprand with a letter overflowing with expressions of courtesy and respect, which so touched the barbarian, that he gave token of being disposed to negotiate with the new pontiff. Zacharias knew how to profit by the opportunity; he went, accompanied by many of his clergy, to Terni, in Umbria, and met king Luitprand, who received him with the utmost courtesy. He concluded a treaty with him, released his prisoners, recovered to the Holy See the towns that had been taken, and on the morrow assisted at the ordination of a bishop for Terni, which took place in the Church of S. Valentine. The ceremony produced a lively effect upon the Lombards, many of whom wept. After the ordination, the pope invited the barbarian prince to dinner, and gave him his blessing; Luitprand is reported to have observed that he had never enjoyed a dinner so much.

Zacharias was afterwards the means of procuring peace for many of the distressed states and cities of Northern Italy. Luitprand was succeeded by Hildebrand, who only reigned seven months; and the Lombard throne was then filled by Rachis, duke of Forli, who concluded a peace of twenty years with all Italy.


Zacharias now turned his attention to the discipline of the Church, which had become much relaxed by the troubles that had fallen on the land. He encouraged S. Boniface in his mission to Germany. In the East he laboured to soften the violence of the emperor Constantine Copronymus, who opposed sacred images and pictures in churches.

Pepin, mayor of the palace, who was master of France, under the shadow and name of Childeric III., sent Burchard, bishop of Wurtzburg, and Fulrad, abbot of S. Denys, to Zacharias to consult him on the accomplishment of his ambition, the assumption for himself of the crown of France from the heads of the "Faineant" race. Zacharias, who desired help and protection against the Lombards, not content with approving his design, wrote secretly to Pepin urging him not to refuse the crown which Providence extended to him; at the same time his more cautiously worded epistle to the Frank nobles on the subject did not a little serve towards determining them to place the sovereignty in the bold, firm hand of the mayor. For, without recommending the deposition of Childeric, or the election of Pepin, Zacharias urged that "he who had the power in fact ought to be the king." This was enough for Pepin. Every one considered this expression to be an approval of the design; the election of Pepin was regarded as approved by heaven; and he was crowned at Soissons the year following, by Boniface, archbishop of Mentz. This coronation took place on May 1st; Zacharias did not live to see it, for he died on the preceding March 3rd. The day of his burial in the Church of S. Peter, March 15th, is that on which the Church honours his memory.


March 16.

SS. Hilary, B.M., Tatian, D.M., Felix, Largus and Dionysius, MM. at Aquileja, A.D. 285.
S. Julian of Anazarbus, M. in Cilicia.
S. Papas, M. in Lycaonia, circ. A.D. 300.
S. Agapitus, B. of Ravenna, circ. A.D. 340.
S. Columba, V.M. in England.
S. Aninas, H. on the banks of the Euphrates.
S. Hesychius, B. of Vienne, in France, 5th cent.
SS. Abraham, H., and Mary, P., his niece, in Syria, 6th cent.
S. Finan the Leper, Ab. of Inisfathlen, in Ireland, circ. A.D. 610.
S. Boniface Quiritine, B. of Ross, in Scotland, 7th cent.
S. Eusebia, Abss. of Hamage, circ. A.D. 680.
S. Gregory the Armenian, B.H. at Pluviers, in France, 11th cent.
S. Heribert, Archb. of Cologne, A.D. 1021.


(A.D. 285.)

[Roman Martyrology and that of Usuardus. Notker mentions Hilary alone. Hilary and Tatian in that of Bede, and some copies of that of S. Jerome. Authority:—the Acts which are genuine.]

Saint Hilary, bishop of Aquileja, in Northern Italy, had a deacon named Tatian, whom he appointed to be his archdeacon. In the reign of Numerian, during which they flourished, there was at Aquileja a heathen priest, named Monofantus, who went before the governor Beronius, and obtained from him authority to hale the bishop before his tribunal. Then Monofantus went to the house of Hilary, and found him engaged in reading, together with his deacon Tatian. He said, "The Governor wants you." Hilary said, "What is that you say, friend?" "I have already said once, the governor wants you." S. Hilary answered, "We will go in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." And when they had272 come to the place of judgment, and the governor saw Hilary enter with a smiling countenance, he asked, "What is thy name?" The bishop answered, "My name is Hilary, and I am bishop of the Christians here." "Well," said the governor, "the command has gone forth that all are to sacrifice to the immortal gods. Therefore be speedy, obey, and go thy way." S. Hilary replied, "From my childhood I have learnt to sacrifice to the living God, and to worship Jesus Christ with pure heart; I cannot worship demons." The governor said, "Christ, whom thou sayest that thou worshippest, was crucified by the Jews." Hilary replied, "If thou knewest the virtue of His cross, thou wouldest leave the error of idols, and adore Him who would heal the wounds of thy soul." "Come," exclaimed the governor, "do as I bid, or I will have thy tongue cut out." "Sir," answered the bishop, "do so, instead of threatening me." Then Beronius had him drawn into the temple of Hercules, and beaten with rods. And as Hilary constantly refused to adore the idols, the governor ordered his back to be burnt with red hot coals, then the raws to be rubbed with coarse hair-cloth, and vinegar and salt to be poured into the wounds. After which he was taken and cast into prison. Tatian, the deacon, was next brought up to be tried, he was sentenced to be beaten, and thrown into prison with his bishop. And during the night they prayed, and sang praises to God, the Lord of heaven and earth; and as they prayed there was an earthquake, and the temple of Hercules was shaken down.

Then, on the morrow, Hilary the bishop, and Tatian the deacon, and Felix, Largus and Dionysius, three Christians then in the prison, were slain by order of Beronius, some of them by having their heads smitten off, and some by having swords thrust through their breasts.




[Roman Martyrology. Greek Menology of Basil Porphyrogenitus, same day. Authority:—A sermon by S. John Chrysostom, Hom. xlvii., and the notices in the Menologium and Menĉa.]

This saint was a native of Cilicia, the same province which had the honour of producing S. Paul. In one of the persecutions of the Church he was sentenced to be tied up in a sack with vipers and scorpions, and thrown into the sea.


(ABOUT A.D. 300.)

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menĉa. Authority:—The hymn in the Menĉa.]

S. Papas suffered in Lycaonia during the persecution of Maximian. He was first beaten, and his cheeks bruised, and then the inhuman persecutors, to make sport, nailed horse-shoes to his feet, and made him run before chariots through the streets of Laranda, the drivers, armed with whips, lashing him till he sank, bleeding and exhausted, on the pavement. A compassionate woman, like another Veronica, hastened up to wipe away the blood and sweat, and he died in her arms.




[Anglican Martyrology. There are two other saints of this name, virgins and martyrs, one at Sens, the other at Cordova. The Columba of Sens is commemorated on Dec. 31st, and is very famous; she suffered under Aurelian. The Cordovan saint gained the palm in the Moorish persecution in 891, and is commemorated on Sept. 17th.]

The great glory of the virgin martyr, Columba of Sens, has eclipsed the fame of the other two saintly virgin martyrs of this name. Of the S. Columba venerated in Cornwall on this day, nothing is known, but she is believed to have formed one of the company of S. Ursula.



[Greek Menĉa. This saint is commemorated by the Greeks on different days.]

This hermit, called variously Aninas and Ananias, lived in the flat deserts of the Euphrates, in a cave, with two lions, out of the foot of one of which he had drawn a thorn which hurt it. The lions followed him whenever he went to the Euphrates, distant four or five miles, to draw water. This he was obliged to do daily, and the bishop of Cĉsarea, hearing of this, sent him the present of an ass to carry the water jars for him; but Aninas would not keep the ass, but gave it to some poor folk who were destitute.

Now there was a hermit who lived on a pillar in the same country, and Aninas heard that he was sore troubled in mind; then, the story goes, he wrote a letter comforting him, and sent it to him by one of his lions. Aninas died on March 16th, at the age of one hundred and ten.




[Roman Martyrology, inserted by Baronius, after Molanus; but the Greeks venerate these saints on October 29th. Authority:—The Life of SS. Abraham and Mary, by Ephraem, the companion of Abraham, but not, as has been commonly stated, S. Ephraem Syrus.]

Abraham was the son of very wealthy parents at Chidama, in Mesopotamia, near the city of Edessa. His father sought a young and beautiful girl in marriage for his son, and Abraham was married to her with all the pomp befitting the splendour of the rank and wealth and the family. The young man had now tasted all that the world could give, riches, honour, and love, and his heart was still void and craving for something more. Then he felt, with a conviction it was impossible to resist, that God alone could fill that void, and that satisfaction could alone be found in serving Him most perfectly. So, secretly in the night, seven days after his marriage, he escaped, and hid himself in the desert.

His parents, who had refused him nothing for which he had expressed a wish, his wife, who had given him no occasion of offence, were in amazement. They searched for him everywhere, and at the end of seventeen days discovered him in the desert, resolved to live alone. It was in vain that parents and bride urged him to return; he was inexorable, and they were obliged to leave him in his solitude. He had found a small hut, and now he walled up the door, leaving only a window, through which bread and water could be passed in to him by a friend. He had spent ten or twelve years in this retreat when his parents died, and left their immense property to him. He entrusted it to the care of his most intimate friends, to be used for relieving the necessities of the poor.


Now there was, not far off, a village of idolaters, who had stubbornly resisted every missionary effort made to convert them. The bishop of Edessa bethought him of Abraham the hermit, visited him in person, and insisted on his coming forth and preaching to these heathen. In vain did the hermit implore to be permitted to remain in his dear solitude: the bishop put the matter on his obedience, brought him forth, ordained him priest, and sent him amongst the pagans. Abraham then built a church in their midst, and finding that they were deaf to his exhortations, he spent his nights and days in tearful intercession for them, and then, armed with zeal, he rushed upon their idols and overthrew them. A mob at once assembled, and he was beaten till he could not move; and whenever he appeared in the streets, he was assailed with sticks and stones. Undeterred by this opposition, Abraham continued instant in prayer; and, after three years, saw the tide of popular opinion turn, and the villagers who had treated him so ill, now venerated him as an apostle of the truth. Abraham tarried with them another year, to confirm them in the faith, then commended them to the supervision of the bishop, and returned to his cell. Now it happened that a little girl, named Mary, the niece of Abraham, had been left an orphan, and she was brought to the hermit, as her sole relative, to educate. She was aged seven. Abraham bade a cell be built for her near his own, and there the child grew up under his supervision till she was twenty, when a young man, having conceived a violent passion for her, led her away, and then abandoning her, the unfortunate girl fell deeper into degradation, and became a common harlot in the city of Assos, in the Troad. Her the uncle had bewailed her fall with the deepest grief, and had instituted inquiries as to her whereabouts. Hearing that she was at Assos, Abraham broke down the wall which closed his door, and came forth, cast277 off his habit and sackcloth, and disguising himself as a soldier, went to Assos. And when he came there, he hired a lodging next door to the house of ill-fame where dwelt his niece, and he sought opportunity to meet and speak with her, but could not. Then he went to the house, and ordered supper, and bade that Mary should eat with him. So she, knowing him not, lost to shame, came, tricked out with necklaces and rings, in gaudy wanton dress. Then Abraham reddened with grief, and could ill restrain his tears. But making an effort, he controlled his emotion. So they sat down, and ate, and drank, and she laughed noisily, and talked in a light and wanton way; and as she spake the shadow on Abraham's brow deepened, the corners of his mouth quivered with pain, and a film formed on his eyes. Then the girl kissed him, and looked at him, and suddenly saw in the grave, suffering face before her, something that recalled past days, and she moaned. The man of the house hearing this, said, "Mary, what is the matter with thee? These two years that thou hast been with me thou hast been ever gay." But she looked up again, and met the tearful eyes of Abraham; then she cried out, "Oh, God! would that I had died three years ago. This man recalls to me my dear old uncle in the desert, and days of innocence and pure joy." Then Abraham put the man forth, and locked the door, and turning, threw back his hood, and caught Mary by both hands, and looked at her and said, "Mary, my child!" Then she knew him, and became cold and motionless as a stone. And he said, "My dearest child, what has befallen thee? How hast thou sunk from heaven in the abyss! O why didst thou not disclose to me thy first temptation, and I and Ephraem would have besieged heaven with tears and prayers to save thee? Why didst thou desert me like this, and bring this intolerable anguish of soul upon me?" But she, frightened and trembling, answered not a word. And278 he, holding her hands fast in his own, said again, "My own Mary, wilt thou not speak to me?" Then his tears burst forth, and the whole man was shaken with sobs. "Upon me be thy sin, my child," he said; "I will answer for it at the Judgment day to God. I will do penance and suffer in expiation of thy crime; only return, my child!" Then she burst forth with, "I cannot look thee in the face, uncle, and how can I call on God, whom I have so outraged?" "I will bear the burden of the sin, let it weigh on me, Mary," said the hermit vehemently; "only return to the old place, and dear Ephraem and I will pray instantly to God for thee. Come child, follow me." Then she fell down, and laid her brow on his feet, and sobbed, and held them, and kissed them, and stammered, "I will follow thee, uncle. What reward shall I give unto the Lord for all the benefits He has done unto me?" But he caught her up, and would not suffer her thus to lie. And she fell again and kissed the ground he had trodden, bringing her hopes of pardon and salvation. And he urged her to fly at once. Then she said, "Uncle, I have here some valuable trinkets, and some dresses. What shall I do with them? Shall I not pack them up and carry them with me?" But he cried out, "Leave them, leave them, they scent of evil." And he took her on his back, as a shepherd carrying his strayed sheep, and unlocked the door, and ran out. And when he came to his hut, he set Mary in the inner cell, and went into the outer room himself. And she, bitterly repenting the past, served God instantly, night and day, with tears. Abraham lived ten years longer, and rejoiced to behold the sincerity of his niece's contrition, and died at the age of seventy, in the fiftieth year of his solitary life; and Mary lived five years after her uncle's death. God wrought miracles of healing by her hands, to comfort the penitent soul, and assure her that her tears had blotted out her transgression.




[Aberdeen Breviary. Authorities:—David Camerarius and Hector Boece, and the lections in the Aberdeen Breviary.]

Alban Quiritine, or Kiritine, surnamed Boniface, is fabulously said to have been of Israelite race, and a descendant of Radia, sister of the apostles Peter and Andrew. All that is known of him is that he was bishop of Ross, in Scotland, and that he laboured to suppress the Keltic ritual and to establish Roman uniformity, doing in Scotland the work accomplished by S. Wilfrid in Northumbria. He preached to and converted large numbers of Picts and Scots, during sixty years of evangelical labours. It is said that as many as thirty-six thousand received the faith through him, and that he built a hundred and fifty churches, amongst others, that of S. Peter, at Rosmarkyn, in which he was buried before the altar.


(ABOUT A.D. 680.)

[Molanus, Wyon, Menardus, Mirĉus in his 'Belgian Saints,' and Saussaye in his Gallican Martyrology. Authority:—A life, probably by Hucbald of Elnone (907), derived from various earlier accounts and traditions.]

S. Eusebia was the eldest daughter of S. Adalbald, of Douai (Feb. 2nd) and S. Richtrudis. Probably on the occasion of the assassination of her father, she was sent to the convent of Hamage, which was governed by her grandmother, S. Gertrude. On the death of S. Gertrude, Eusebia, at the age of twelve, was elected abbess of Hamage, according to a custom of the time, which required abbesses, if possible,280 to be of noble birth, so as to secure for the convent protection from powerful families in times of difficulty or war. But S. Richtrudis, who had become abbess of Marchiennes, thinking that the girl was far too young to manage the community, and that under her light hand grave disorders might prevail, peremptorily ordered Eusebia to come with all her nuns to Marchiennes. Eusebia hesitated, but when the orders were repeated, she reluctantly obeyed, and with all the community, bearing the body of S. Gertrude, she came to Marchiennes, where they were received by a procession with lights and incense. Eusebia was not happy in her new home, and sighed for Hamage. During the night, when every one slept, she was wont to steal out, barefooted, and run to the deserted convent, to watch and pray over the home of her infancy, fragrant with memories of a beloved guide and spiritual mother. Richtrudis, hearing of these nocturnal excursions, and not approving of them, ordered the child-abbess a sound flogging, and asked her brother Maurontius to administer it. Eusebia writhed and danced about under the correction, to elude the blows, and in so doing ran against the point of the sword of Maurontius, which slightly wounded her side. According to a popular legend, which the historian records merely as such, one of the twigs of the birch with which Eusebia was corrected, rooted itself on the spot where it had fallen, and grew up into a stately tree.

Richtrudis, seeing that her child continued bent on returning to Hamage, consulted the bishop, who advised her to yield. Accordingly Eusebia and her community went back to the deserted convent, and she governed it with prudence, living in piety, till the day of her death. She was buried in the church of the Apostles, at Hamage; but the body was afterwards translated to Marchiennes.

In Belgium she is called S. Isoie, or Eusoye.



(A.D. 1021.)

[German Martyrologies. At Cologne the festival of his translation is observed on August 30th. Authority:—A Life, by Lambert of Deutz, written twenty years after the death of Heribert.]

Heribert was born at Worms. His father was a gentleman of rank. His mother had been carried off into captivity by the Huns, and had been sold to an honest and good man, who restored her to her parents. She was grand-daughter of Reginbald, count of Swabia. Heribert was educated in the abbey of Gorze, in Lorraine, in the diocese of Metz. His father having recalled him to Worms, the archbishop Hildebald was so pleased with the young man, that he made him dean of his cathedral, and destined him to become his successor, but his death before Heribert had sufficiently established his reputation prevented the fulfilment of this design. Some years after, Otho III., who had not as yet received the imperial crown, having been informed of the merit of Heribert, made him his chancellor, and perceiving his great virtue, obtained his ordination. Shortly after, the archdiocese of Cologne became vacant, and this gave rise to party contests, productive of schism in that Church. The contest was brought to a conclusion by an almost unanimous election of the chancellor Heribert. He received notice of his having been chosen, with great regret, and on his induction, on Christmas-eve, walked barefoot to the cathedral. His reign was a true blessing to the diocese, through his wise regulations for the maintenance of discipline among the clergy, and for the systematic relief of the necessitious. He built and endowed the abbey of Deutz, on the opposite bank of the Rhine to Cologne; he rebuilt the church of the Apostles, at Cologne, and the chapel of S. Stephen. In a time of great drought, when the country282 was suffering great distress, and the cattle of the poor were perishing, he went in procession to the church of S. Severinus, and kneeling before the altar, bowed his head on his hands, and weeping for the misfortunes of his people, did not raise his head till a thunderstorm broke over the church.

Two pictures of Saints(?) preaching to monks below images
of day and night sky
From a Painting.

March 17.


March 17.

S. Joseph of Arimathĉa, 1st cent.
SS. Alexander, B.M., and Companions, MM. at Rome.
SS. Martyrs in the temple of Serapis at Alexandria, A.D. 390.
S. Agricola, B. at Chalons-sur-Saone, A.D. 580.
S. Patrick, B. Apostle of Ireland, A.D. 465.
S. Gertrude, V. Abss. of Nivelles, in Brabant, A.D. 664.
S. Withburga, V. at Dereham and Ely, A.D. 743.
S. Paul, M. in Cyprus, circ. A.D. 700.



[Roman Martyrology, inserted by Baronius, because observed as a double by the Canons of the Vatican, who possess an arm of the saint. In Liege, where other relics are preserved, on Feb. 22nd; by the Greeks on July 31st.]

When Christ came into the world, one Joseph took Him into his arms and cherished Him in His infancy; another Joseph received Him when He was dead, and ministered to His inanimate body. Joseph, a native of Arimathĉa, said by S. Matthew to have been rich, and called by S. Mark a counsellor, appears to have lived in Jerusalem, where he possessed a garden. According to S. John, he was a disciple in secret of the Son of God; that he was a just man, we are told by S. Luke. After the Crucifixion he cast aside the fears which had restrained him from professing openly his conviction, and going boldly to Pilate, he craved of him the body of Jesus. He then bought the winding sheet, and going to Calvary, detached from the Cross the dead body of Christ, assisted by S. John the Evangelist, S. Mary Magdalene, and Mary the wife of Cleopas. Joseph and Nicodemus anointed the body with myrrh and aloes, and laid it in the sepulchre of Joseph.


Many strange traditions have attached themselves to Joseph of Arimathĉa, as that he came to Britain, and planted his staff at Glastonbury; but as these legends are wholly worthless, they must be here passed over.

His body is said to have been buried by Fortunatus, patriarch of Grado, in the abbey of Moyen-Moutier; but no relics of it now remain there, though some are shown elsewhere.


(A.D. 390.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities:—Socrates, Hist. Eccl. lib. v. c. 16; Sozomen, lib. vii. c. 15.]

The temple of Bacchus at Alexandria having been given to the Christians to be converted into a church, the patriarch ordered its thorough purification. Whilst this was being performed, many abominations and much evidence of trickery were brought to light. This so exasperated the pagans that a sedition broke out, and rushing down from the Serapion, a magnificent temple situated on a hill and fortified, they carried off a number of Christians, and bringing them into the temple, endeavoured to force them to sacrifice to Serapis. As they refused, the pagans crucified some, broke the bones of others, and put others to death in various ways. When the emperor Theodosius heard of the tumult, he ordered those who had fallen victims to be enrolled in the number of the blessed, but forbade any reprisals upon their executioners, hoping that this exhibition of mercy would be efficacious in attracting them to the true faith. He, however, ordered the Serapion to be levelled with the dust.



(A.D. 580.)

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Authority:—His contemporary, Gregory of Tours.]

S. Agricola was born of a senatorial family. In stature he was diminutive, but the greatness of his soul redeemed him from that disrespect which his short stature might have brought upon him. He was eloquent, of refined manners, prudent in judgment. In his youth he formed a warm attachment for S. Venantius Fortunatus, the Christian poet, and author of the magnificent hymn, Vexilla regis, "The royal banners forward go." In 532, he was appointed bishop of Châlons-sur-Saône. He died at the age of eighty-three, in the year 580, and was buried in the Church of S. Marcellus, near Châlons, where his relics are preserved over the high altar.


(ABOUT A.D. 465.)

[Roman, and almost all Western Martyrologies, Bede, Usuardus, Ado, &c. Authorities:—The most authentic are S. Patrick's Confession, and his letter against Coroticus, Fiech's hymn, or metrical sketch of the life of the saint, and the life by Probus. The hymn is attributed to Fiech, bishop of Sletty, who lived in the 5th cent. The Bollandists and other critics doubt his having been the author of it; but at any rate it is very ancient, and not later than the 7th, or perhaps the 6th cent. Probus is supposed to have been teacher of a school at Slane, who was burnt in a tower fired by the Danes, in 950. There is also a hymn attributed to Secundinus, one of S. Patrick's first companions, in which the saint is spoken of as still living. A very interesting document, of the early part of the 7th cent., is a litany in Anglo-Saxon characters, published by Mabillon, in which S. Patrick is invoked. The Antiphonarium Benchorense, apparently of the 8th cent., contains a hymn in honour of S. Patrick. There exist some notes or scholia on Fiech's metrical life, which are usually quoted under the title of286 Fiech's Scholiast. They were written partly in Irish, and partly in Latin. These notes are of various dates, and by different hands, and consequently of very different values. Colgan gives some lives, which he calls the second, third, and fourth, but these are full of fables, and seem to have been copied either from each other, or from some common original. Here and there they contain facts, but these are smothered in fable. Colgan is utterly wrong in assigning to them a high antiquity. The Tripartite Life, so called because it is divided into three parts, is published by Colgan, and attributed by him wrongly to S. Evin, who lived in the 6th cent. This work, though founded on older lives, was really put together in the 10th century, as certain persons are named in it who lived about that period. With the exception of certain fables it contains, it is a very useful work, and contains a much greater variety of details concerning the proceedings of S. Patrick during his mission in Ireland than any other of his lives. It is not to be confounded with a Latin work quoted by Usher under the same title, and which belongs to a later period. Of all the lives of S. Patrick this is the worst, though it has been published oftener than the others. "So wretched a composition is scarcely worth attending to," says Dr. Lanigan. Another authority is Jocelin of Furness, who flourished about 1185, and compiled S. Patrick's life at the request of Thomas, archbishop of Armagh, Malachias (another Irish prelate) and John de Courcy, the conqueror of Ulster. It is of little historical value compared with the earlier and more authentic sources of information, which it not unfrequently contradicts on the authority of some idle legend.]

The precise time at which Christianity was originally introduced into Ireland cannot be ascertained. Nor is it to be wondered at, that, while the first establishment of Christian Churches in Britain, Gaul, and Spain, is enveloped in obscurity, a similar difficulty should meet those seeking the origin of the Irish Church. Palladius, according to Prosper, was the first bishop sent from Rome to Ireland. He was a deacon of the Roman Church, who had already distinguished himself by his exertions in delivering Britain from the Pelagian heresy. From this and other circumstances, it seems probable that he was a native of that country. He was consecrated bishop and sent into Ireland, accompanied by some missionaries, four of whom, Sylvester, Solonius, Augustine, and Benedict, are mentioned by name in some of the lives of S. Patrick. It seems that his arrival287 was early in the year 431. The most authentic accounts of his mission agree in stating that, besides having baptized some persons, he erected three churches; and the news of his success, perhaps magnified in its transit, excited such a confident assurance in Rome of his complete conquest of the island to the Cross, that Prosper did not hesitate to say that, through the exertion of pope Celestine, Ireland was become a Christian country. This book "Against Cassian," was written not long after the mission of Palladius, and before he had heard of the reverses which that pioneer of the Gospel had met with. The success Palladius had met with alarmed the heathen, and he was denounced to the king of that part of Ireland in which he then was, as a dangerous person, and he was ordered to quit the country. He sailed from Ireland towards the latter end of the same year, 431, in which he had landed, and arriving in Britain, died, not long after, as is commonly reported, at Fordun, in the district of Mearns, in Scotland.

The great work of the general conversion of the people of Ireland was reserved for the ministry of S. Patrick, according to the Irish adage that, "Not to Palladius, but to Patrick, did God grant the conversion of Ireland."

The variety of opinions, and the many questions that have been agitated, concerning the country and time of the birth of S. Patrick, render it necessary to clear up these disputed points before proceeding with the main story of his life. It would be a waste of time to examine all the various opinions, that have been started on this subject, such as his having been born in Cornwall, in Pembrokeshire,51 or, what is strangest of all, in Ireland itself. The prevalent opinion since Usher's time has been that he was born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton. Usher was led astray by the scholiast on288 Fiech's hymn. Fiech says that S. Patrick was born at Nemthur (the holy tower) in Britain, and the scholiast identified this place with Alcwith, now Dumbarton. The scholiast guessed this, not knowing that the term Britain also applied to the whole of the North of Gaul, inhabited by the Armorican Gauls.52 Indeed Probus calls S. Patrick's country, and the town where his family lived, Arimuric, or Armorica. In the life of S. Fursey, we are told that this saint crossed the sea into the province of Britain, and proceeded through Ponthieu. Now Ponthieu is a maritime tract in Picardy, near Boulogne; and it is also to be observed that this district is said in the life of S. Fursey "to be called by the moderns Normandy." But S. Patrick in his confession says, "My father was Calpurnius, a deacon, son of Potitus, a priest, of the town of Bonavem Taberniĉ. He had near the town a small villa Enon, where I became a captive." Bonavem (Ben-avon, British, the headland above the river) is the modern Boulogne-sur-mer, and the district of Taberniĉ is Terouanne, in which it is situated. Boulogne was the Bonona53 of the Romans, and its Gallic name Ben-avon, exactly describes its situation on the summit of a hill. On the very edge of the cliff, a little east of the port, are the remains of the tower built by Caligula (A.D. 40), when he marched to the shore of the channel with an army of 100,000 men, boasting that he intended to invade the opposite coast of Britain, but contenting himself with gathering a few shells, which he called the spoils of the ocean. The tower is supposed to have been intended for a lighthouse, and its modern name La Tour d'Orde, a corruption289 of Turris Ardens, points it out as having been used for this purpose. A very good case is, however, made out for a site on the Roman Wall, in which case Patrick would be the son of one of the Roman colonists or defenders of the wall, and a native of Cumberland. In his epistle against Coroticus, S. Patrick tells us he was of an honourable family according to the flesh, his father having held the office of decurion, which conferred a certain amount of nobility. Clerks were not then forbidden to hold such offices. He calls the Romans his fellow citizens, and this circumstance, coupled with the fact, that the names of S. Patrick, of his father, and of his grandfather, are purely Latin, points to the conclusion that the family was of Roman extraction; but his mother, whose name was Conchessa, was the daughter of Erkbalius, or Ocbasius, (Erkbald?) a Frank.

S. PATRICK. After Cahier.

March 17.

His birth took place about the year 387, for at his consecration to the episcopate, a person divulged a fault he had committed thirty years before, when a boy of fifteen; and he was consecrated at the end of 431, or the beginning of 432; when the news of the death of Palladius reached him.

When S. Patrick was sixteen years old, Nial Navigiallach, or Nial of the Nine Hostages, an Irish king, in ravaging the coasts of Great Britain and Gaul, entered the port of Bonona, in 403, and carried off S. Patrick and many other youths captive. On being brought to Ireland, S. Patrick became the servant or slave of a man named Miliac, or Milcho, who lived in Dalrhidia, which is now comprised within the county of Antrim. Some say that he was a prince; others that he was a magus, that is, invested with a religious function; and others represent him only as a rich man. S. Patrick calls his master merely "a man,"290 without adding anything concerning his situation in life. With that profound humility, which every line written by this truly great saint breathes, he tells us that he had been very careless about religion when a boy; but that, when he found himself in the misery of slavery, God opened his eyes to behold the wondrous things of His law. His occupation was to tend sheep on the wild brown bogs; and amidst snow, frost, or rain, he rose before daylight, that he might "prevent the day-break" with his prayers.54

One night, after he had been in service for six years, as he slept, he heard a voice cry to him, "Thou fastest well, and soon shalt return to thy country." Presently once more the voice said, "Behold, a ship is ready for thee." He tells this story himself. Moreover he heard that the ship was far off on the coast, a great many miles from where he then lived. So he betook himself to flight. "And by God's power," he adds, "I came to a good end;55 and I was under no apprehension until I reached the ship. She was then clearing out and I asked for a passage. The master of the vessel angrily bade me not think of going with him. On hearing this I retired to the hut where I had been received and lodged, and on my way prayed. But, before I had finished my prayer, I heard one of the men shouting after me, 'Come along! they are asking for thee.' So I returned immediately. And they said, 'Come, we will take thee on trust, (i.e., on the chance of getting paid the291 fare on reaching Bononia); we are about to sail, and hope to reach land in three days.'"

They at once set sail, and reached the coast of Gaul in three days, at Treguier, in Brittany. They travelled for twenty-eight days through a country rendered desolate by the ravages of the Franks. Whilst on their way, he and his fellow travellers were near perishing for want of food; and then the master of the ship or merchant, who had received Patrick and given him a passage, and who was now travelling along the same road with his wares, exclaimed, "Christian! thy God is powerful. Pray for us, for we are starving." The saint desired them to turn with faith to the Lord, and he prayed, and suddenly a drove of swine appeared crashing through the bushes, and they chased and killed many of them, and halted two days to recover and refresh themselves. The merchants gave thanks to the God of Patrick, and shortly after, finding some wild honey, they gave him a part, saying, "This is an offering. God be thanked."

A very curious story of this journey is told by the saint in his Confession. Having feasted on the pork, after long hunger, the natural result was an attack of night-mare, that same night, which he says seemed to him in his dream like Satan rolling a great rock upon his chest. In an ecstasy of fear he screamed out "Elias, Elias!" and thereupon he says, "Lo! the splendour of the sun shone on me, and dispelled all the burden on me." Dr. Lanigan says this is evidence of his invoking a saint. There can be little doubt that every well-instructed Christian of the time would have invoked a saint, but it seems probable here that this was not an invocation of the prophet Elias, but an invocation common perhaps among the heathen and half-converted Roman settlers, of "Helios!" the sun, which had passed into an exclamation; and this will explain the passage which immediately292 follows about the sun at once shining upon him. Patrick at this time was not well instructed in Christianity, and he had been stolen as a thoughtless boy from his home, before his education was complete, or his mind had turned to the truths of Christianity. In his old age he related this anecdote of himself, but it is impossible to conclude from the context what he meant by the exclamation.

S. Patrick reached home about the year 409, and remained there for a while. He was then aged twenty-two. Perhaps it was soon after this that he went to Tours and studied for four years. He then returned home to Bonona, and was again made captive, probably by a roving band of Frank marauders; but his captivity was of short duration, lasting only sixty days. His friends entreated him not to leave them, after all he had endured, but he relates that he saw in a vision of the night a man named Victoricius56 bringing him a letter, at the head of which were the words, "The voice of the Irish." And then he thought he heard the cry of many persons from one of the Irish forests, where they strayed in darkness and error, "We entreat thee, O holy boy, come and walk still in the midst of us!" And greatly affected, Patrick awoke.

About the year 418, he placed himself under the direction of S. Germain of Auxerre. After this period it is difficult, if not impossible, to arrange correctly the succeeding transactions of his life, until near the time of his mission. Nine years he spent in retirement in an island which has been conjectured to be Lerins. It was during the same interval, that S. Patrick accompanied S. Germain and S. Lupus of Troyes in their spiritual expedition to Great Britain, in the year 429, for the purpose of extirpating the Pelagian heresy, which had taken root in that island. This is stated293 in some accounts of S. Patrick's proceedings; and the lives, though they are silent about it, give nothing which might tend to invalidate it SS. Germain and Lupus returned to Gaul at Easter, in 430. It is very probable that the information which they might have obtained, during their residence in Great Britain, concerning the wants of the Irish Christians, was communicated to pope Celestine, who either had already determined on sending a bishop to Ireland, or was advised to do so by these prelates. And who was better calculated to take part in this mission than Patrick, who had lived six years in Ireland, and had acquired a sufficient knowledge of the language of that country? In 431, he was sent to Rome by S. Germain, recommended by him to the pope as a person fit to be employed in the work, of which Palladius was appointed the chief. Whether he arrived in Rome before Palladius set out, or not long after, cannot be ascertained. From the pope he received a benediction for the great mission which he was about to undertake; but he does not appear to have received episcopal ordination at Rome, for Palladius was already consecrated, and the news of his banishment had not as yet arrived. It appears, also, from the "Confession" of S. Patrick that he was consecrated not far from his own country. The account of S. Patrick's consecration by Celestine is not to be met with in any of the lives except those two compilations of legendary matter, Jocelin's and the Tripartite; whence it made its way into certain Breviaries. S. Patrick left Rome either late in 431, or early in 432. He was perhaps accompanied by Auxilius and Serenus or Iserninus. These were certainly afterwards in Ireland with S. Patrick, but whether they accompanied him from Rome, or were selected by him from among his acquaintance in Gaul, cannot be ascertained; and it is not certain that they came to Ireland till some years later.


We next hear of Patrick at Eboria (Eborica), Evreux, where he heard the news of the failure of the mission of Palladius. On receiving this information, it became necessary for him to be consecrated, and for this purpose he applied to a bishop resident in the neighbourhood, and from him received episcopal orders. His relations and friends hurried to Evreux to prevent his ordination; he was insensible to their entreaties, and then, hoping to raise a prejudice against him, a friend divulged a fault Patrick had committed when a boy. But all their efforts were in vain, for God was with him, and had marked him out for his great work.

Everything being arranged, S. Patrick embarked, probably at the mouth of the Seine, and had a prosperous voyage to Great Britain. According to Probus and some of the lives he crossed that country without stopping on the way.

He landed in Wicklow some time after April in 432. Pope Celestine was dead, and Sixtus III. sat in the Chair of S. Peter. Having landed, Patrick went to a place in the neighbourhood which cannot now be identified, and being repulsed by the natives, was obliged again to go on board his ship. He landed again at Lecale in the county of Down. A herdsman, thinking it was a party of marauders, ran to the lord of the district, named Dichu, and informed him of the arrival of a party of strangers. Dichu armed his retainers and hasted to the shore, but the peaceable appearance of the missioners disarmed him, and he brought them to his house, which was at the place now called Saul, and hospitably entertained them. There the saint had an opportunity of announcing to him the Christian faith, and Dichu was the first-fruits of his mission. All his family followed his example, and likewise became Christians; and S. Patrick celebrated divine worship in the barn of Dichu, which in after times became known as Sabhall Padruic, or295 the Barn of Patrick; and in after years it was converted into a church, and a monastery was attached to it.

S. Patrick did not remain many days at the house of Dichu, and left his ship or boat in the care of this new convert, until he should return. He then set out by land for the place where his old master, Milcho, lived. He was an obstinate unbeliever, and on hearing of S. Patrick's approach, was determined not to see and receive him.57

S. Patrick, finding his efforts for the conversion of Milcho unavailing, returned to the district in which Dichu resided, and remained there for several days, preaching the Gospel with great success. One of his principal converts on this occasion was Ross, son of Trichem, who lived near the present town of Downpatrick. In this neighbourhood he met a youth, called Mochoe, whom, after instruction, he baptized and tonsured, thus dedicating him to the ecclesiastical state. He also gave him the book of the Gospels and some sacred vessels. This must not, however, be understood as having all taken place during the present stay of S. Patrick at Lecale.

S. Patrick resolved on celebrating the Easter of 433 near Tarah, where the princes and nobles of the whole kingdom were to be assembled about that time. He, therefore, left his friend and convert, Dichu, and sailing southwards, arrived at Colp, in the mouth of the Boyne, and leaving his boat there, set out with his companions on foot for the plain of Bry, in which the city of Tarah was situated. On their way they passed the night in the house of a man of substance, named Seschuen, who became obedient to the faith,296 and was baptized, with all his house, by S. Patrick. A son of his, whom at his baptism our saint, considering his sweet disposition, called Benignus, became so attached to him that he insisted on accompanying S. Patrick, and he became one of the saint's most favourite disciples, and was afterwards consecrated archbishop of Armagh. It is not, however, to be supposed that the baptism of Seschuen and his family was accomplished on that occasion, but probably took place after the Paschal solemnity, which was near at hand.

On Easter-eve, S. Patrick arrived at Slane. He pitched his tent, and made preparations for celebrating the festival of Easter, and accordingly lighted the Paschal fire about night-fall. It happened that at this very time the king Leogaire (Lear) and the assembled princes were celebrating a religious festival in honour of the return of the sun to power and heat. Part of the ritual of this festival consisted in every fire being extinguished for some days previous, that all might be relighted from the sacred fire in the palace or temple of Temora, on Tarah hill, which was kindled on a certain day, now near at hand. Twilight had settled over the great plain, and all men waited for the red flame to shoot up on Tarah hill, a signal that the festival was begun, and that all might rekindle their hearth fires from the consecrated blaze. But a spark shone out far away on the plain, from the tent of Patrick, and consternation at this sacrilege and infringement of precedent became general. The king at once galloped to Slane, followed by a crowd, and accompanied by two priests, who assured him that unless this fire were extinguished, it would overpower their fires, and bring the kingdom to its downfall. On arriving within a short distance of the tent and fire, the king dismounted, seated himself, ordered his followers to seat themselves, and not to rise or show any respect to the violator of their laws, and297 then ordered Patrick to be brought before him. On his presenting himself, one alone rose and saluted him, breaking the king's command; this was the little lad Herc, son of Drogo, and the saint thereupon blessed him. He was afterwards bishop of Slane, and celebrated for his sanctity. He was ordered to declare his object in coming to Ireland, and contend with the wise men, or priests, next day. On Easter-day, therefore, he preached before the king and his nobles, and strove with the captious objections of the Wise-men. It was then, probably, when explaining the mystery of the Trinity, and when questioned as to the triple Personality of the One God, that he stooped and plucked a shamrock, and exhibited it as a symbol of the Catholic doctrine of the Triune God.58

Passing over certain contests between S. Patrick and the Wise-men, which are absurd parodies of those between Moses and the Egyptian enchanters, we find Dubtach, an eminent bard, boldly submitting to the faith, and dedicating his poetic talents to Christ. Some of his works are still extant. The king was not converted, but he permitted Patrick to preach freely the Word of God. From Tarah the saint proceeded to Tailten, where public games were celebrated; and it seems that the chiefs lately assembled for the religious solemnity at Tarah had adjourned thither. The apostle preached to Carlre, a brother of Leogaire, but was badly received by him. The conduct of Conall, another brother,298 was different; he listened to S. Patrick with delight, believed, and was baptized. To this memorable Easter week, which was the first that occurred since the saint's arrival on his mission, must be referred the origin of the festival of "S. Patrick's Baptism," anciently held in Ireland on April 5th.

Henceforth it becomes extremely difficult and next to impossible to arrange, with chronological accuracy, the subsequent transactions of S. Patrick's mission. After having celebrated Easter week, he set out on the following Monday for other places in Meath, in which he seems to have passed a considerable time. He tells us in his Confession, that to gain the goodwill of the chieftains, he used to make presents to them, and take some of their sons with him to educate them. When on the point of quitting for some time these parts of Ireland, after having established many flourishing colonies of Christians, and ordained priests to minister to them, he turned a little northward for the purpose of destroying the Crom-cruach (crooked-heap), a monument dedicated to the sun; probably a great Druidical pile of stones, superposed on uprights, standing in a plain near Feanagh, in the county of Leitrim. After this, probably in 435, he set out for Connaught, and crossing the Shannon, arrived at Dumha-graidh, where a remarkable incident occurred.

As he was advancing into the plain of Connaught, he stopped with his companions at a fountain near the royal residence Cruachan (now Croghan, near Elphin), and at break of day began to chant the praises of the Lord.

Ethnea the fair, and Fethlima the ruddy, daughters of king Leogaire, were there, and had come very early to the fountain for the purpose of washing themselves, when, looking up, they saw men clothed in white garments, holding books in their hands, advance, chanting. The damsels, full of wonder, asked them what manner of men they were,299 and Patrick seized the opportunity of announcing to them the true God. They asked him many strange questions, as to where God dwelt, whether he was rich, and young or old, and how he was to be revered; and Patrick explained to them the principal truths of the Christian religion in answer to their questions. Delighted with his discourse, they declared themselves ready to adopt this new and wondrous creed, so beautiful and awful, and besought the stranger to instruct them further. He did so, and on their having professed their belief in the doctrines he had propounded, he baptized them. Then they told him that they desired to see, face to face, that dear Lord who had come on earth for them on Mary's knee, and had died on Calvary top so cruel a death; so Patrick explained to them that great answer of the heart of Jesus to the heart of man, crying to see Him—the Eucharistic Presence.

"Give us the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ," they asked, "that we may be freed from the corruption of the flesh, and see our Spouse who is in heaven."

Then S. Patrick celebrated Mass, and communicated them. He proceeded west to Sligo and Roscommon, making many converts, and building several churches, to which he attached priests. In Lent, he ascended Croagh Aigle, now Croagh Padrig, in Mayo, for meditation and prayer. He preached at Firawley to an assembly of seven princes, and baptized them and 1,200 of their subjects. Passing through North Connaught, he continued his course through West Cashel, to Ulster. Thus ended his mission in Connaught, which lasted seven years. In 443, he entrusted bishop Secundinus, who, with Iserninus and Auxilius, had received consecration in Great Britain or Gaul, with the oversight of his converts in Meath and North Ireland, while he went on a mission through East Leinster and Munster.

In Leinster he baptized two princes. In Wicklow he was300 ill-received by prince Deichin, but was hospitably entertained by Killan, a poor man, who slew his only cow to feed Patrick and his followers. Dubtach having recommended Fiech, his pupil in bardic lore, as a fit person for ordination, Fiech received the tonsure and books for study from S. Patrick, and afterwards became chief bishop of the district, and fixed his seat at Sletty.

Entering Munster, in 445, S. Patrick went straight to Cashel; and the king came forth to meet him. His son Ĉngus was converted, and afterwards baptized, when he came to the throne on the death of his father. During the performance of the Sacrament, as the bishop raised his hands above the head of the king, he allowed his pastoral staff to fall unintentionally on the foot of Ĉngus, and the sharp point wounded him. The king made no remark, but bore the pain without flinching, supposing this act formed a portion of the ceremony.59

S. Patrick here made many converts. He spent seven years in Munster, and set out, in 432, to return to Leinster. He was followed by many chieftains, and by much people, desiring his parting blessing, and to take a last look of the dear face of him who had brought them out of darkness into the clear light of the glorious Gospel of Christ. Moved by their love, Patrick ascended a hill, and spreading forth his arms, gave his apostolic benediction to the whole of Munster. Thus was he parted from their sight in the act of blessing, like to his Divine Master, who ascended out of His disciples' sight, with his hands extended in benediction.

During his stay in Munster, Secundinus had died, the first bishop who had expired in Ireland. An alphabetical hymn, in honour of S. Patrick is, with good reason, attributed to him.


About the same time also, Cerotian, or Caradoc, a Welsh prince, made a descent on the coast, and carried off captives. This called forth from S. Patrick a letter, which is still extant. The particulars of this inroad have been elsewhere related (March 23rd, S. Fingar), and need not be repeated here.

Neither need we repeat here the escape of S. Patrick from a chieftain in Leinster who sought his death, through the generous self-sacrifice of his charioteer, Odran (Feb. 19th).

When S. Patrick reached Sabhall, his favourite retreat in Ulster, he would not take that rest he so much needed, but spent his time in completing the conversion of the natives, and building churches. But the time had come for fixing on a spot for a metropolitan see. He, therefore, went through the land, and coming into the district where is the present Armagh, a man, named Macka, offered him a site on an eminence. There he built a church and a monastery. A legend in the Book of Armagh is too good not to be true; it could hardly have been invented. According to this book, the owner of the hill was one Daeri, and Patrick having set his heart on the site, asked for it; but it was refused, and a portion of the valley offered him instead. One day the noble brought to S. Patrick a large cauldron of foreign manufacture, and presented it to him, saying, "There! this cauldron is thine." "Gratias agam (I thank thee)," answered the saint in Latin. Daeri went home muttering, "What a fool that fellow is to say only 'Gratzacham,' for a wonderful cauldron containing three firkins. Ho! slaves, go and fetch it back to me again." So the thralls went and brought back the vessel. "Well, what said he to you, churls?" "He said 'Gratzacham' again," they replied, "Gratzacham when I give, and Gratzacham when I take away! The saying is so good, that for these Gratzachams302 he shall have his cauldron back again. Ho! slaves, take the vessel back to Patrick." Daeri accompanied the cauldron, and praised the saint for his imperturbable self-possession; and then, in a fit of good-nature, gave him the hill which he had at first refused him. Patrick went forth to view the site, and found a roe with her fawn lying on the place where the altar of the Northern Church now is. His companions would have killed it, but the saint raised the fawn and laid it on his shoulders, and the roe trotted after him, till he laid the fawn down in another place.

He held two Synods at Armagh, at which canons for the whole of Ireland were drawn up.

S. Patrick having thus established the see of Armagh, spent the remainder of his life between it and his favourite retreat of Sabhul or Saul. He may have made excursions to some of the districts adjacent to both places; but we do not find any account that can be depended upon, of his having thenceforth visited again the other provinces of Ireland, much less of having undertaken any long journey. For we are not to listen to Jocelin, who says that he then set out for Rome with the intention of getting the privileges of the new metropolis confirmed by the Holy See; and that when he arrived there, the pope decorated him with the pallium, and appointed him his legate in Ireland. This pretended tour to Rome, and the concomitant circumstances are all set aside by the testimony of S. Patrick himself, who gives us to understand that from the commencement of his mission he constantly remained in Ireland, until he published his Confession, which was not written till after the foundation of Armagh; and that he did not leave it afterwards is equally plain, from his telling us that he was afraid to be out of Ireland even for as much time as would serve for paying a visit to his relations, because in that case he would be disobeying the orders of Christ, who had com303manded him to stay among the Irish for the remainder of his life.

A singular fact is related as having occurred about the time of the building of Armagh, which shows how strictly the fasting rules were observed by the ancient Irish. One of the disciples of S. Patrick, named Colman, having been one day greatly fatigued by getting in the harvest, became exceedingly thirsty, but from fear of breaking the rule of fasting till vesper-time, would not taste a drop of water. The consequence was that he died of exhaustion. Had the saint been apprized of the danger in which Colman was, he would certainly have dispensed with his observance of the rule on this occasion.

At length we come to the last days of S. Patrick. In his extreme old age he wrote his Confession, and he seems to have felt that his dissolution was close at hand, for he concludes with these words: "And this is my confession before I die"; and provides how the work is to be carried on after his death. He had been through every province of Ireland, and he speaks of the bulk of the nation as then Christian, and of his having ordained clergy everywhere. His object in writing it was to return thanks to the Almighty for his singular mercies to himself and to the Irish people, and to confirm them in their faith, by proving that God had assisted him in a most remarkable way. He also wished that all the world, and particularly his relatives on the continent, who had so urgently opposed his going to Ireland, should know how that the Almighty had prospered his handiwork. For this reason he composed his book in Latin, apologizing, however, for the rudeness of the style; for his long sojourn in Ireland, and constant use of the Erse language, had blunted his ease in expressing himself in his native tongue.

He was at Saul when attacked with his last illness. Perceiving that his departure was at hand, he desired to go to304 Armagh, there to breathe his last and lay his bones. But he is said to have been arrested on his way thither by an angel, who ordered him to return to Saul. Be this as it may, to that place he went back, and there he died seven days after, on the 17th March, A.D. 465.60 In Fiech's hymn we read that his soul joined that of another Patrick, and that they proceeded together to heaven. In this singular passage the author alludes to a second Patrick, who, as he supposed, died just about the same time. Who this Patrick was we do not know.

It is curious to notice a mistake which has crept into some martyrologies, where we find a Patrick, bishop of Avernia, or Auvergne, mentioned on March 16th. But no such a Patrick is known in Auvergne; and this Patrick is simply due to a mistake of some copyist, who wrote Avernia for Hivernia or Hibernia, and so got his name into the martyrologies as a separate saint, and, to avoid confusion, this Patrick of Auvergne was placed on a different day.

There was also, or was supposed to be, a Patrick Senior, who is commemorated on August 4th. This Patrick, according to Ranulph of Chester (Polychronicron, lib. v. c. 4) was an Irish abbot, who in 850 retired to Glastonbury, and there died on the 25th of August. But that being S. Bartholomew's day there, his festival was put back to the day before. A great confusion arose, partly from this and partly from S. Patrick being spoken of in the Annals as Sen Patrick, or Senex Patrick, the old man Patrick, dying in 458.61 Now, some of the writers of the Lives were determined to give to S. Patrick a long life, equal to that of Moses, just as they made the contest of Moses and the magicians a model for a contest of Patrick and the Wise-men; so they made this


Sen Patrick into a Patrick the elder, distinct from the great apostle. And this mistake has found its way into the catalogues of the archbishops of Armagh, which has, besides S. Patrick, a namesake of his surnamed Senior. But this subject has been further obscured by the fables concerning Glastonbury, as the monks there, having a body of a Patrick of Ireland, supposed or pretended that it was the body of the great S. Patrick, and they asserted that he had come over to Glastonbury, and had died and been buried there. The Irish writers finding themselves puzzled by these Glastonbury stories, and unwilling to allow the Glastonians the honour of having among them the remains of S. Patrick, endeavoured to compromise the matter by giving them, instead of the apostle, Sen-Patrick, or Patrick Senior. This, however, was not what those monks wished for. They insisted on having the right S. Patrick, and him alone they understood by the name of Patrick Senior.

As soon as the news of the saint's death had spread throughout Ireland, the clergy flocked from all quarters to celebrate his funeral. This they did with extraordinary pomp and great profession of lights, insomuch that for a considerable time, during which the obsequies were continued, both day and night, we are told, darkness was dispelled, and the whole time seemed one continuous day. This expression of the ancient hymn of Fiech has given source to a legend that on this eventful occasion the sun went not down, but real daylight lasted for the whole function. It is said that a furious contest was very near breaking out concerning the place in which S. Patrick's remains should be deposited. To prevent bloodshed, matters were providentially so managed that his body was interred at Down. It is said to have been discovered and translated in 1185.

In art, S. Patrick is usually represented expelling serpents and other reptiles from the island with his pastoral staff, or306 holding a shamrock leaf. He is said to have had the golden rod of Jesus, given him by a hermit in Gaul, wherewith he smote and slew the Peishta-More, or Monster of the Lakes, and this is also frequently represented in art.


(A.D. 664.)

[Roman Martyrology, and those of Bede, Usuardus, and Ado. German, Gallican, and Belgian Martyrologies commemorate the elevation of her relics on Feb. 10th; and the translation on May 30th and April 10th. Authorities:—A Life, by an eye-witness of her acts, apparently a canon or chaplain of the monastery. He says, "I have endeavoured in writing to narrate what I have seen myself or heard from trustworthy witnesses." Another Life, written in polished style from the testimony of Rinchin, an acquaintance of S. Gertrude.]

S. Gertrude was the daughter of the B. Pepin of Landen (Feb. 21st) and S. Itta or Iduberga (May 8th). Her brother, Grimoald, succeeded her father. Her sister, S. Begga (Dec. 17th), who married duke Ansigis, and became the mother of Pepin, the father of Charles Martel. S. Aldegund (Jan. 30th), and S. Waltrudis (April 9th), the wife of S. Vincent (July 14th), were also relatives of hers.


March 17.

Dagobert, king of the Franks, who had made Pepin of Landen mayor of the palace, asked him to allow him to give Gertrude in marriage to a young Frank nobleman. The father hesitated, knowing that his daughter desired to lead the religious life, and the king seeing his reluctance to force his daughter to a match for which she was not inclined, sent for Gertrude herself, then aged about ten, and endeavoured to persuade her to accept the hand offered her. But Gertrude resolutely refused, declaring that she would have no other bridegroom but Jesus Christ. The king dismissed the child, and she returned to her mother, who307 educated her in the love and fear of God. On the death of Pepin, in 646, Iduberga, following the advice of S. Amandus, bishop of Maestricht, built the celebrated convent of Nivelles, and retired into it with her daughter, then aged fourteen. They were soon followed by a numerous company of maidens, and a community was formed, to which the blessed Iduberga gave rules. The sisters were called canonesses, and Iduberga appointed her daughter abbess. Thus the mother obeyed the child. The holy woman spent twelve years in this peaceful retreat, and died in the odour of sanctity. After her mother's death, Gertrude made some alterations in the community. She instituted canons, who should attend to the temporal affairs of the house, whilst she devoted herself to the internal government of the sisterhood, and their spiritual training. For this latter purpose Gertrude devoted herself especially to the study of Holy Scripture, and nearly learnt the whole by heart. She also built hospitals for the reception of pilgrims, widows, and orphans, and entrusted the discipline of them to the canons and canonesses of her community.

After having spent many years in the practice of every virtue, feeling a great langour come over her, so that she was unable to discharge her duties with that activity which had been so conspicuous in her government of the house, she resigned the office of superior, and created her niece, S. Wilfetrudis, abbess in her place. Wilfetrudis was aged twenty; she had been brought up by S. Gertrude, who had made of her a mirror of perfection. Gertrude now redoubled her austerities, wore a rough horsehair shirt, and adopted an old veil which a nun who had lodged in the convent, on her way elsewhere, had left behind her, deeming it too poor to be worth preserving. Gertrude cast it over her, and bade the sisters bury her in it when she was dead. When she felt that her hour was approaching, she sent one308 of her canons to the monastery of Fosse, in the diocese of Liége, to ask S. Ultan, brother of SS. Fursey and Forillan, when she must die. The saint replied to the messenger, "To-morrow, during the celebration of the holy Mass, Gertrude, the spouse of Jesus Christ, will depart this life, to enjoy that which is eternal. Tell her not to fear, for S. Patrick, accompanied by blessed angels, will receive her soul into glory." And it was so, that after she had received extreme unction, and the priest was reciting the prayers before the preface in the holy Sacrifice, on the morrow, the second Sunday in Lent, she breathed forth her pure soul.

Her relics are preserved to this day at Nivelles, together with a goblet (Patera Nivigellensis), in which the custom to drink to the honour of S. Gertrude (Sinte Geerts-Minne). From the saint having established large hospices for the reception of pilgrims and travellers, whom she entertained with great liberality, arose the custom of travellers drinking a stirrup cup to her honour before starting on their journey. She became the patroness of travellers. Then, by a curious popular superstition, she was supposed to harbour souls on their way to paradise. It was said that this was a three days' journey. The first night they lodged with S. Gertrude, the second with S. Gabriel, and the third was in Paradise. She, therefore, became the patroness and protector of departed souls. Next, because popular Teutonic superstition regarded mice and rats as symbols of souls, the rat and mouse became characteristics of S. Gertrude, and she is represented in art accompanied by one of these animals. Then, by a strange transition, when the significance of the symbol was lost, she was supposed to be a protectress against rats and mice, and the water of her well in the crypt at Nivelles was distributed for the purpose of driving away these vermin. In the chapel of S. Gertrude, which anciently309 stood in the enclosure of the castle of Moha, near Huy, little cakes were distributed, which were supposed to banish mice. For long the right to distribute these cakes belonged to the Jesuits; after the suppression of that order, the Augustinians of Huy usurped the right, but it was resisted by the curé of Moha, who claimed the privilege as belonging to the parochial clergy. The chapel was destroyed at the French Revolution, and with it the custom disappeared.

In order to explain the significance of the mouse in pictures of S. Gertrude, when both of these meanings were abandoned, it was related that she was wont to become so absorbed in prayer that a mouse would play about her, and run up her pastoral staff, without attracting her attention.


(A.D. 743.)

[Some ancient martyrologies, others on July 8th. Authority:—The Ely Chronicle, and a Life supposed to be by Goscelin, the historian of S. Werburga.]

The royal race of the Uffings of East Anglia was remarkable for the crowd of saints which it produced. King Anna, who married the sister of Hilda, the celebrated abbess of Whitby, became father of three daughters and a son. The son became in his turn the father of three daughters, two of whom were in succession abbesses of Hackness in Northumbria, founded by their grand-aunt S. Hilda, and the last, Eadburga, became abbess of Repton.

The three daughters of Anna,—Etheldreda, Sexburga, and Withburga—are all counted among the saints. Withburga was sent into the country to be nursed, and remained there till she heard, while still quite young, of her father's death on the battle-field. She resolved immediately to seek310 a refuge for the rest of her life in claustral virginity. She chose as her asylum a modest remnant of her father's lands at East Dereham, in Norfolk, and there built a little monastery. But she was so poor that she, her companions, and the masons who built her future dwelling, had to live on dry bread alone. One day, after she had prayed long to the blessed Virgin, she saw two does come out of the neighbouring forest to drink at a stream whose pure current watered the secluded spot. Their udders were heavy with milk, and they permitted themselves to be milked by the virginal hands of Withburga's companions, returning every day to the same place, and thus furnishing a sufficient supply for the nourishment of the little community and its workmen. This lasted till the ranger of the royal domains, a savage and wicked man, who regarded with an evil eye the rising house of God, undertook to hunt down the two helpful animals. He pursued them with his dogs across the country, but, in attempting to leap a high hedge, his horse was impaled on a post, and the hunter broke his neck.

Withburga ended her life in this poor and humble solitude; but the fragrance of her gentle virtues spread far and wide. The fame of her holiness went through all the surrounding country. The veneration given to her by the people of Norfolk was maintained with the pertinacity common to the Anglo-Saxon race, and went so far that, two centuries after her death, they armed themselves to defend her relics from the monks of Ely, who came, by the king's command, to unite them to those of her sisters at Ely.

There still exists at East Dereham a well bearing the name of S. Withburga. It is fed by a spring rising in the very place where the saint's body was laid before its translation to Ely.



(ABOUT A.D. 760.)

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menology. Authority:—The Acts of S. Stephen the junior (Nov. 28th).]

In the furious persecution waged by Constantine Copronymus against images and those who reverenced them, Paul, a Cypriot, was brought before the governor of that island, Theophanes Lardotyrus, and was ordered to choose whether he would stamp on a crucifix laid before him, or suffer torture on the rack. In answer, he stooped and kissed the image of his Master, saying, "Far be it from me, Lord Jesus Christ, only begotten Son of God, to trample on Thy sacred representation." He was at once stripped, pressed between two boards, his body torn with iron combs, and then hung head downwards over a fire, which was heaped about him, till he was consumed.

Portion of a Monstrance.


March 18.

S. Gabriel the Archangel.
S. Alexander, M.B. of Jerusalem, A.D. 250.
SS. Ten Thousand Martyrs, at Nicomedia, 4th cent.
SS. Trophimus and Eucarpus, MM. at Nicomedia, circ. A.D. 300.
SS. Narcissus, B.M., and Felix, D.M. at Gerona, beginning of 4th cent.
S. Cyril, Patr. of Jerusalem, A.D. 389.
S. Frigidian or Finnian, B. of Lucca, A.D. 589.
S. Tetricus, B. of Langres, A.D. 572.
S. Edward, K.M. in England, A.D. 978.
S. Anselm, B. of Lucca, A.D. 1086.


On this day is commemorated Gabriel the Archangel, who was sent to announce to the Blessed Mary that she was to become the Mother of God. He is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology, and in those of the Camaldoli, the Trinitarians, the Franciscans, the Carmelites, the Augustinians, the Discalceate Carmelites, and the Servites.


(A.D. 250.)

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, some editions of the Martyrology of Bede; Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on December 12th. In the Breviary of the Knights of S. John of Jerusalem, this festival is observed with nine lections. His life is gathered from the ecclesiastical Hist. of Eusebius.]

Alexander, a Cappadocian bishop, having come to Jerusalem to venerate the holy places, was elected by revelation of God to take the see of Jerusalem in place of Narcissus, who, on account of his extreme old age, was313 unable to execute the functions of his office. In the persecution of Decius, when Alexander was advanced in years, with white hair, he was conducted to Cĉsarea, where he was imprisoned, and died in his dungeon.



[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—The "Conversio" of S. Afra, which existed in the ninth century, but of no historical value.]

Narcissus, bishop of Gerona, being driven from his see in the persecution of Diocletian, wandered homeless as far as Augsburg, where finding that the Christians were mightily oppressed, and well nigh exterminated, he and his deacon Felix, not knowing whither to take refuge, received the hospitality offered them by a courtesan named Afra.62 And they not knowing who and what manner of woman she was that invited them into her house, went in nothing doubting. Then Afra marvelled what manner of men these were, who ate little, and spent their time in prayer. And before they departed, she believed and was baptized, with all her house. Now when nine months had elapsed, Narcissus and his deacon, finding the violence of persecution had abated, returned into Spain, and recommenced their work of converting the heathen. The success of Narcissus so exasperated them that they waylaid him and assassinated him. When king Philip of France took Gerona, his soldiers pillaged the shrine of S. Narcissus, whereupon a swarm of hornets issued from it and stung them. Consequently in art he is represented with hornets issuing from his tomb. Relics at Gerona.



(A.D. 389.)

[Roman, Greek, and Syriac Kalendars. Authorities:—Sozomen, Theodoret, and his own writings.]

Cyril succeeded Maximus in the patriarchal see of Jerusalem, about the year 350. The story that Maximus was deposed, and Cyril substituted by Acacius, Bishop of Cĉsarea, is inconsistent with probabilities, and with the testimony borne by the second general Council to the canonical regularity of his consecration. The other tale, which Jerome credited, that Cyril obtained the see from Acacius on condition of disclaiming the ordination which Maximus had bestowed, is utterly incredible, and probably sprang from the prejudices of a rigid party which mistrusted Cyril.

The paschal season of 351 was marked at Jerusalem by the luminous appearance of a cross, which appeared in the sky over the city. It produced a great impression, and S. Cyril sent an account of it to Constantius.63

Cyril, a man of gentle spirit, eminently a peace-maker, was cast in times of great difficulty. The Arian party was in power, through the favour of the emperor; and a large number of prelates were semi-Arians; not disbelieving in the divine nature of Christ as consubstantial with the Father, but doubting the expedience of stating the doctrine in plain words which could not be misunderstood. All who were timorous, not thoroughly illumined with the Holy Spirit, and wanting in that keenness of theological discrimination which makes doctors of the Church, hesitated and temporised. It315 was inexpedient to take too harsh an attitude towards these weak brethren, and drive them into the arms of the Arians, and this Cyril felt. Firm in his own faith, deprecating the injudicious fire of some Catholics who were resolved at all costs to produce a rupture between those who walked in the clear light of Catholic certainty, and those who fluttered in the twilight, he laboured with words of conciliation to avert such a catastrophe.

At the end of 357, or the beginning of 358, an important change took place at Jerusalem. For two years Cyril had been forced into opposition to the demands of Acacius. He maintained for Jerusalem, as the mother Church, possessing an "Apostolic throne," and marked out for honour in the Nicene Council,64 an independence of Cĉsarea which Acacius would not grant; and he was also obnoxious to Acacius on theological grounds, as holding the orthodox doctrine.

Acacius now summoned a small council of bishops of his own party, which Cyril declined to attend. This was regarded as contumacy; and he was gravely accused of having committed an offence in selling some of the church ornaments to provide food for the famine-stricken poor. Sozomen says that he sold Church treasures and sacred veils. Theodoret mentions a vestment of cloth of gold presented by Constantine to be worn by the bishop when baptizing. Such an accusation does Cyril honour, and ranks him with other illustrious prelates, Ambrose, Augustine, Exuperius, Gregory the Great, Ethelwold of Winchester, who all in like manner sanctioned the principle that the law of love is the highest law of all. It is worth remark that in this case, as in that of S. John Chrysostom, the316 alliance of a narrow formalism was found, not with orthodoxy, but with heresy.

By the synod convened by Acacius, Cyril was condemned and expelled from Jerusalem. He appealed, with more formality, as it appears, than had been usual in such cases, to "a higher court;" proceeded to Antioch, where he found that the patriarch Leontius was dead, and that no one had been appointed his successor; and ultimately found a welcome at Tarsus, where Silvanus, the bishop, one of the best of the semi-Arians, received him, in disregard of the remonstrances from Acacius. This circumstance brought Cyril, for the next few years, into connection with the semi-Arian party; and he illustrates the fact that it contained men of whom Athanasius could say, in his noble readiness to discern substantial unity under verbal difference, "We do not treat as enemies those who accept everything else that was defined at Nicĉa, and scruple only about the word consubstantial; for we do not attack them as raging Arians, nor as men who fight against the fathers, but we discuss the matter with them as brothers with brothers, who mean what we mean, and differ only about the word."

Considerable excitement had been caused in Antioch in 350 by the ordination of Aetius as deacon, by the patriarch Leontius. This man, the most odious of the extreme Arians, had gone through many changes of life, as a vinedresser's slave, a goldsmith, a medical man, a guest and pupil of Arian bishops, and a professor of that disputatious logic in which the heresy was at first embodied. He was the first to affirm openly that the Son was essentially unlike the Father. Leontius intended his diaconate to be a means of propagating Arianism. But Flavian and Diodorus, the pillars of Catholicism in Antioch, had threatened formally to renounce his communion; and he thought it best to depose Aetius. Now Leontius was dead,317 and his throne was filled by Eudoxius, the intriguing and thoroughly irreligious bishop of Germanicia. He gained his promotion by fraud, and the aid of court eunuchs; and he openly patronized Aetius, whose views he had imbibed. The state of confusion and discord had become intolerable, and a General Council was resolved upon. Consultations were held as to the best place; and Constantius the emperor lent his ear to the mischievous counsel of Acacius and his party, which recommended the breaking the single council into two, in the hopes of being able thereby to "divide and govern." Constantius agreed, and Ancyra and Ariminum were named as the two places. But Ancyra was afterwards thought unsuitable, and it was decided that one portion of the council should meet at Seleucia instead of Ancyra.

The ultra-Arian Valens was governing in the West. Both councils met in 359. Four hundred bishops of the West, including some from Britain, assembled at Ariminum. About eighty were Arians, for the most part of the advanced school.

The Easterns met at Seleucia, and numbered one hundred and sixty; of these the great majority, one hundred and five, were semi-Arians, and of the rest a party were shifty followers of Acacius. Only one small party of Egyptians were loyal to the faith of Nicĉa; nevertheless the council of Seleucia restored S. Cyril to his see, annulled his deposition decreed by Acacius, and deposed Acacius himself, and Eudoxius of Antioch.

In the mean time trickery and violence had been at work at Ariminum. A creed approved by the Arian emperor was sent to the bishops, and they were most falsely assured on imperial authority, that the council of Seleucia had accepted it. The bishops' patience began to give way. They shrank from a winter on the shore of the318 Adriatic; they were utterly weary of so long a sojourn at Ariminum, and their weariness disposed them to concession. Bishop after bishop signed the imperial creed; but about twenty held out, headed by two Gallicans, Phœbadius and Servatius. Taurus, the emperor's officer, appointed to keep order and enforce his object, tried both menaces and tears. At last, by a miserable sophistry, Valens carried his point, and won for Arianism a scandalous victory, whilst it exposed the untruthfulness which characterized the Arian policy.

Acacius had returned to Constantinople with wrath in his heart, resolved to ruin the semi-Arians and Cyril. He persuaded Constantius to allow a council to be summoned to meet at Constantinople next year, January, 360. About fifty bishops were present. Acacius ruled the assembly; Aetius was made a scape-goat by the Acacians for having too boldly given expression to the error which they sought to propagate insidiously. The council then deposed the leading semi-Arians, but not on doctrinal grounds. Cyril of Jerusalem, and Silvanus of Tarsus were deposed, and with the emperor's power to back their decisions, they were driven into banishment. At the same time the unreality of their censure of Aetius was shown by the enthronement of Eudoxius, who was his chief supporter, at Constantinople, on Jan. 27th. On Feb. 15th he dedicated the restored church of the Eternal Wisdom, for the service of which Constantius offered splendid vessels, curtains, altar-cloths, blazing with gold and jewels. In the midst of the ceremonial, Eudoxius began his sermon with these words, "The Father is irreligious, the Son is religious." A commotion followed; the bishop bade the people calm themselves. "Surely the Father worships none, and the Son worships the Father!" A burst of laughter followed this speech, which became a good jest in the society of the319 capital. This was the man Acacius and his packed council had set up, when they cast down Cyril. Eudoxius was well fitted to hand on the old traditions of Arian profanity.

The emperor Constantius died, Nov. 3rd, 361, and Julian having recalled the exiled bishops, S. Cyril returned to his see.

The unhappy man who was now lord of the empire had been for some ten years a hypocrite in his Christian profession. No sooner was he proclaimed emperor, than he openly professed himself a restorer of the old religion. Then it was that he "washed off the laver" of baptism by a hideous self-immersion in bull's blood,65 and sought to cleanse his hands from the touch of the bloodless Sacrifice by holding in them the entrails of victims. He set up an image of Fortune in the great church, and while he was sacrificing there, Maris, bishop of Chalcedon, now a blind old man, was led up to him at his own request, and rebuked his impiety. "Will thy Galilĉan God cure thy blindness?" asked Julian. "I thank my God," said Maris, "for the blindness which saves me from seeing the face of an apostate."

The last of Julian's attacks upon Christianity was his attempt to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. He did indeed wish to aid the Jews in their desire of renewing the Levitical sacrifices, and to secure their attachment to his government in spite of its paganism; but his main object was to confound the Gospel by raising up the fabric which it had expressly doomed, and thus reviving the system of which that fabric had been the symbol and centre.

The rapturous hopes of the Jews were expressed in the scene which followed the imperial mandate, when silver spades and mattocks were employed, and earth was carried away from the excavations in the rich dresses of delicate320 women. The faith of the Christians was expressed by Cyril's denunciations of the predestined failure. Full of confidence he proclaimed that the enterprise, so far from succeeding, would prove to all men the impossibility of resisting the decree of God. Great must have been his faith, for every appearance was against him. The heathen historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, tells us what ensued. After all possible assistance had been given by the authorities, "fearful balls of fire breaking out near the foundations with repeated attacks, scorched the workmen several times, and rendered the place inaccessible; and in this way, after obstinate repulses by the fiery element, the undertaking was brought to a stand." Various details are added by Christian writers, as of an earthquake, a whirlwind, fire from heaven, a luminous cross in the air, and marks of crosses on the garments of the Jews. It is possible that in these particulars there is an element of exaggeration, and that in the fiery eruption itself, natural agencies were employed. But that those agencies should manifest themselves at that particular crisis will appear accidental, as men speak, to those only who do not estimate the exceeding awfulness of the occasion,—the unparalleled historical position of Julian, the mystery of iniquity in his general policy, and the specially anti-Christian malignity of this attempt at a confutation of Christ's words.

"His shafts, not at the Church, but at her Lord addrest," might well be cast back upon himself by a manifestation of "the finger of God," as real and awe-inspiring as any of those natural phenomena, the presence of which under particular circumstances made them a sign of judgment against Pharaoh.

Julian promised, in his vexation, says Orosius, to revenge his failure on S. Cyril on his return from the Persian war. But this return never took place. Cyril was again exiled321 by the Arian emperor Valens, in 367. He returned in 378, when the emperor Gratian ordered the restoration of the Catholics. He found his diocese rent by schism, corrupted by heresy. Adultery, robbery, and poisoning were general. The council of Antioch in 379, informed of the deplorable condition of the diocese, sent Gregory of Nyssa, already charged with reforming the churches of Arabia, to assist him in pacifying spirits, and repressing immorality; but his labours were without result. In 381, S. Cyril was present at the General Council of Constantinople, and subscribed the condemnation of the semi-Arians and Macedonians. He died in 386, at the age of seventy.


(A.D. 589.)

[Roman and Irish Martyrologies. At Lucca the feast of his translation is observed on Nov. 19th. Authorities:—Mention in life of S. Enda, March 21st.]

S. Finnian of Moville is mentioned in the life of S. Enda as one of his disciples in Aran, the Isle of Saints. This remarkable man was the son of Ultach, an Irish king, and was baptized without his father's consent. He was first placed under the care of S. Colman of Dromore, who flourished about the year 510. It is expressly mentioned in the life just referred to, that it was from Aran he set out on his pilgrimage to Rome. This was probably his first visit to the apostolic See. Being of an active temperament, he there devoted himself with great ardour for several years to the study of the ecclesiastical and apostolic traditions. He then returned to Ireland, carrying with him a rich store of relics of the saints given him by the pope, and the penitential canons, which in his biographer's time, were still called322 "The Canons of S. Finnian." He also brought to Ireland the earliest copy of S. Jerome's translations of the Gospels; a treatise of such value in the estimation of his ecclesiastical contemporaries, that the records of this period very frequently refer to them as S. Finnian's Gospels.

In 540, he founded the great monastery of Moville, where S. Columba spent a portion of his youth. After labouring with energy in Ireland, S. Finnian returned to Italy, where, according to the best authorities, he was made bishop of Lucca, in Tuscany, in which Church he is venerated under the name of Frigidian, or Fridian. During the twenty-eight years that he governed the see of Lucca, he built twenty-eight churches; the chief of these he dedicated to the three holy Levites, but it has since borne his name. He is said to have carried a huge stone towards the erection of the church, which none else could lift. It is still preserved in the church as a monument of his strength and zeal. S. Gregory the Great relates a story of his miraculous power. One day the river Arno had overflowed the country, devastating the fields. The saint ran a plough down to the flood, and it recoiled before the share.

The Italian annals give 588 as the year of his death; the annals of Ulster and Tigernach 589.


(A.D. 572.)

[Gallican Martyrology. Authority:—S. Gregory of Tours (542) his kinsman.]

S. Tetricus was the son of S. Gregory of Langres, whose life has been given on Jan. 4th. His mother's name was Armentaria. By her S. Gregory had two sons, Tetricus, who succeeded him in the see of Langres, and Gregory, the323 father of Armentaria, mother of S. Gregory of Tours, the historian, who has recorded all that we know of the life of his great-uncle. This is not much. The choice of the clergy and people fell on Tetricus as a successor to his father, almost unanimously moved thereto by the hopes that he would inherit the virtues of S. Gregory. Nor were these hopes frustrated. Tetricus ruled with prudence, and was a burning and a shining light in his diocese. One Sunday at Dijon, as the prelate was ministering in the Church of S. John, Chramn, the rebel son of king Clothaire, entered it, and besought that he might be allowed to consult the divine Oracles on the future. Three books were accordingly placed on the altar, the Prophets, the Gospel, and the Epistles; and the clergy prayed along with Chramn that the future might be unfolded to him. Then he opened the book of the Prophets, and lighted on the words of Isaiah, v. 4, 5. "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now, go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up: and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down." Then the book of Epistles was opened at the place, "When they say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape," 1 Thess. v. 3; and the book of the Gospels when interrogated gave the following answer, Matt. vii. 26, 27, "A foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Chramn went away much dispirited. Shortly after, hearing that his father was marching upon Dijon, he retired into Aquitaine, but being pursued by Clothaire, he fled into324 Brittany to Count Conovre. Shortly after Clothaire attacked them and defeated them in a battle in which the count fell. He then took his son and shut him up in a cottage with his wife and children, set fire to the place, and burnt them all.


(A.D. 978.)

[Anglican Martyrologies, also modern Anglican Kalendar. Roman Martyrology. The elevation of his body, June 20th; his translation, Feb. 18th. Authorities:—The Chronicle of John of Brompton, Osbern of Canterbury, William of Malmesbury.]

In the year 975, King Edgar died, and was buried at Glastonbury. He had been twice married. His first wife was the beautiful Ethelfleda, who died shortly after the birth of her son Edward. After her death Edgar married, in 964, Elfrida, daughter of Ordgar, earl of Devonshire, and she became the mother of two sons by him, Edmund, who died young, and Ethelred. As soon as king Edgar was dead, Edward, who was thirteen years old, a good youth, upright in all his dealings, and fearing God, was elected to the crown, much to the discontent of Elfrida, who desired to see her son Ethelred on the throne.


March 18.

In the year 979, when Edward was aged seventeen, he was murdered. Now, certainly he was not a martyr for the Christian faith, nor for right and truth in any shape; but he was a good youth, and was unjustly and cruelly killed, so people looked on him as a saint, and called him Edward the Martyr. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle greatly laments his death, and says that a worse deed had never been done since the English came into Britain. It does not, however, say who killed him, but only that he was killed at eventide, at Corfe Castle. Henry of Huntingdon says that king325 Edward was killed by his own people; Florence of Worcester, that he was killed by his own people by order of his step-mother, Elfrida. William of Malmesbury, in one part of his book, says he was killed by earl Elfhere, but this is improbable, as no reason for such an act appears. But in recording his death, Malmesbury attributes the crime to Elfrida, and tells the story thus:—

When Edward was elected, Elfrida hated him, because she wished her own son, Ethelred, to be king, and she ever sought how she might slay Edward. Now, one day the young king was hunting in Dorsetshire, hard by the castle of Corfe, where Elfrida and Ethelred her son dwelt. And the king was weary and thirsty, so he turned away alone from his hunting, and said, "Now will I go to rest myself at Corfe, with my step-mother Elfrida, and my brother Ethelred." So king Edward rode to the gate of the house, and Elfrida came out to meet him, and kissed him. And he said, "Give me to drink, for I am thirsty." And Elfrida commanded, and they brought him a cup, and he drank eagerly. But while he drank, Elfrida made a sign to her servant, and he stabbed the king with a dagger; and when the king felt the wound, he set spurs to his horse, and tried to join his comrades, who were hunting. But he slipped from his horse, and his leg caught in the stirrup, so he was dragged along till he died, and the track of his blood showed whither he had gone. And Elfrida bade that he should be buried in Wareham, but not in holy ground, nor with any royal pomp. But a light from heaven shone over his grave, and wonders were wrought there. But when the child Ethelred heard of his brother's murder, he began to cry and bewail him, for Edward had always been very kind to the little boy. His mother, stung by her conscience, and angry with him for his lamentations, rushed on the child to beat him, and having no stick at hand, she pulled a wax candle326 out of its socket, and thrashed him with it. But afterwards, when she heard of the mighty works which were done at the grave of king Edward, how the sick were healed, and the lame walked, she resolved to go and see the miracles with her own eyes. But when she mounted her horse to ride, the horse would not stir. So Elfrida's hard heart was shaken, and she became alarmed about her sin that she had committed, and she retired into the convent of Wherwell, that she might repent in ashes the wickedness she had done. The body was afterwards translated to the minster at Shaftesbury (June 20th).

S. Edward is usually drawn with a youthful countenance, having the insignia of royalty, with a cup in one hand and a dagger in the other. Sometimes he has a sceptre instead of the cup; and at other times a falcon, in allusion to his last hunt.

Image of Saint (or Christ) with scroll reading BEATI PAUPERES SPIRITU


March 19.


March 19.

S. Joseph, Husband of the B. Virgin Mary, before A.D. 30. SS. Quintus, Quintillius, and Comp., MM. at Sorrento. S. Pancharius, M. at Nicomedia, 3rd cent. S. John, Ab. at Civita-di-Penne, near Spoleto, 4th cent. S. Leontius, B. of Saintes in France, 6th cent. S. Lactean, Ab. in Ireland, A.D. 622. SS. Landoald, P.C., Amantius, D., and Adrian, M. at Wintershoven, in Belgium, 8th cent. S. Alemund, M. at Derby, A.D. 800.


(BEFORE A.D. 30.)

[Roman Martyrology. His festival was ordered by pope Sixtus IV. to be observed as a double; Gregory XV. recommended its general observance by the faithful, and this recommendation was confirmed by Urban XIII., by bull in 1642.]

All we know for certain concerning S. Joseph, the husband of Mary the mother of God, is derived from the Holy Gospels. To him was confided the most precious treasure ever entrusted to man, the guardianship of Mary and Jesus, of the Mother and the Son of God; whence we may infer the great sanctity and merit of S. Joseph.

He was of the lineage of David, and therefore of royal race, but was poor, and gained his livelihood as a carpenter. According to S. Matthew his father's name was Jacob, according to S. Luke it was Heli, this discrepancy in the accounts is explained by the supposition that one of the genealogies represents the direct line of natural generation, the other the legal descent of royal prerogative. We are expressly told that he was a just man. On perceiving that his virgin wife was with child, he resolved secretly to put328 her away, for having lived with her in the purest relations, he knew that the child could be none of his; and by secretly divorcing her, he would spare her the scandal which would attach itself to her, for the world would regard her offspring as his son, and he alone would know that this was not the case.

But he was warned by God in a dream to believe in the innocence of his wife, and was told that she was to become the mother of the Son of God. Afterwards, when Herod sought the life of the young child, he took Him and His mother by night and fled with them into Egypt, till hearing that Herod was dead, in obedience to an angelic order, he returned to Palestine; but finding that Archelaus the son of Herod was reigning in Judea, he thought it imprudent to enter his dominions, and therefore settled at Nazareth. He and Mary went once every year to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifice in the temple, in obedience to the requirements of the law, and on one of these occasions Jesus accompanied them. The child Jesus grew up under the care of Joseph, assisting him in his shop. It is believed that Joseph died before our Lord began his ministry; for we hear of him no more.

The girdle of S. Joseph is said to be preserved among the sacred treasures of the church of Joinville, in the diocese of Langres.



[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menĉa. Authority:—The account in the Menĉa.]


March 19.

Pancharius, a young Christian, well-favoured, and active, having gained the favour of the emperor Maximian, became his secretary. His mother and sister, hearing this,329 were filled with anxiety lest his soul should be imperilled. They therefore wrote to him a letter urging him not to be ashamed of Christ, and to remember that it profits a man little to gain the whole world if he lose his own soul. On reading this letter, Pancharius was moved, and lifting up his voice he prayed to God, "Have mercy upon me, Almighty God, and bring not thy servant to confusion in the face of men and angels, but according to thy great mercy, spare me." Some one overheard this prayer, and told the emperor that his favourite was a Nazarene. The emperor sent for him and asked him if this were true. Then the young man confessed that he was. The emperor urged him to renounce his religion. But as Pancharius refused, he ordered him to be scourged, and sent to Nicomedia to be tried and sentenced by the governor. At Nicomedia he was subjected to fresh interrogation, but maintaining his constancy, was condemned to execution by the sword.



[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, some copies of Bede's Martyrology, and the Roman Martyrology. Authority:—An ancient life published by the Bollandists, but evidently founded on tradition.]

The life of this saint shall be translated from the original, as it deserves, from its quaint simplicity and freshness.

"It fell out in those days that as the blessed John was going forth from Syria, he prayed, saying, 'Lord God of heaven and earth, God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and of our Fathers, who madest heaven and earth with all their adornments, who by a word didst suspend the sea, who didst close the abyss and sign above it gloriously, whose mighty name all things revere, and before the face of whose330 virtue all things quake; I pray Thee, who art the true light, illumine me hoping in thee, and make my way prosperous before me, in which I go, and let this be to me for a sign that there I should rest, when that person to whom I give my psalter shall not return it to me the self-same day.'

"And it came to pass that he came to Italy, and was near to the metropolitan city (of Spoleto) and had gone about five miles into the Angellan farm, when he met with a certain handmaiden of God, and he gave to her his psalter. And afterwards he asked the handmaid for it again, and she said, 'Servant of God, whither goest thou? Tarry here, and go thy way to-morrow.' And when they had long spoken, she insisted that he should remain there that night; so he remained. And the blessed John remembered his prayer that he had made, and he said in his heart, 'Verily this is what I besought of the Lord; here will I dwell.'

"So when the morning came, having received his psalter again, he went forth no more than four bow-shots. And, behold! an angel of God appeared to him, and went before him, and when they came to the place, the angel said to him, 'Sit down here, servant of the most high God, for the Lord hath commanded thee to dwell here,' and so saying, he led him under a tree and said, 'Here shalt thou have a great congregation, and find rest.' Then S. John, the Confessor of Christ, sat down under the tree.

"Now it was the month of December, and according to the custom of the month, it froze hard, and all the ground was stiff; but the tree under which the blessed John reposed, blossomed as the lily. And at that time hunters went by, and they found him sitting under the tree, and they thought that he was a spy, and they questioned him, saying, 'Whence comest thou?' Then the blessed John told them all, and how he had come to Italy. So they marvelled331 greatly, for they had never seen a habit like his. But he said to them, 'Do not, my sons, do not harm me, for I have come here in the service of Jesus Christ.'

"Then they observing the tree, that it shone as a lily, knew that the Lord was with him, and they told all things to the bishop of Spoleto. And when bishop John heard this, he was filled with great joy, and he hasted, and went to where the blessed John was praying. And when they saw one another, for joy they wept. And all that were present gave glory to God. Now through the mercy of God many people were collected there, and he built a monastery, and he lived therein all the rest of the days of his life. And he was there forty and four years, and he fell asleep in peace, and was buried with hymns and songs, where he reposes to this day, and there the blind receive their sight, devils are expelled, lepers are cleansed, and the divine offices are there performed to the present day, through the assistance of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth, through ages. Amen."


(A.D. 622.)

[Irish Martyrologies. Authority:—A fragmentary life published by the Bollandists, based on tradition.]

The legend of this saint comes under the same category as so many of the other Irish legends. It exists only in fragments, and was written several hundreds of years after the death of S. Lactean, from oral tradition. It shall be given without any attempt at sifting truth from fable, as a specimen of these Irish biographies.

An angel appeared to S. Molua (d. about 608), monk of Banchor, in Ireland, when he was wondering who would become his pupil, and announced to him that after the lapse332 of fifteen years a child would be born, who would become his disciple. And for those fifteen years Molua did not laugh, being instant in expectation. Now there was a man in Munster named Torphur, who had a wife named Senecha, and she was with child. And before the child was born, her breasts filled with milk. An old man, named Mohemath, passed by, and he was blind. Then Senecha struck his eyes with her milk, and his eyes opened, and he saw so plain that the city of Rome, bathed in clear light, was visible instantly to his so long darkened orbs.

Now when Lactean was born, Mohemath was near at hand. And the place was without water. So Mohemath took the finger of the new-born babe, and with it signed a cross on the earth. Then instantly a fountain burst forth, and therein Lactean was baptized. And when Lactean was a month old, he was taken to S. Alpheus, to be rebaptized, but when he saw the child full of the grace of God, he knew that he had already been bathed in the laver of regeneration, and, therefore, he refused to repeat the sacrament. Also there was in that country a grain, which acted on whomsoever ate thereof as an emetic, but the infant Lactean was fed thereon, and was none the worse, for indeed nothing injured him. Now a grievous murrain broke out amongst the cattle of his father, and they died. But there was a white cow with a red face, on whose milk Lactean was nourished, and this cow died. Then the child was carried in his mother's arms to the dead cow, and it recovered, and her milk was distributed amongst the other cows, and they recovered of their disorder.

Now when Lactean was aged fifteen, the angel Muriel, who was commissioned to be his guardian, led him to Banchor, and S. Comgal gave him to be the pupil and companion of S. Molua, who instructed him in letters and the reading of the Divine Scriptures.


Afterwards Lactean went to S. Mochuda, and as he drew nigh, he sent and asked Mochuda for milk. Then Mochuda filled a vessel with pure water, and signed it, and it became milk, but Lactean took it, and signed it again, and it was reconverted into water. Afterwards Lactean founded the abbey of Clonfert, and he died in the odour of sanctity.

It is evident that his name was the occasion of so many milky legends attaching themselves to it.66

Colgan has confounded this S. Lactean with another of the same name, a contemporary of S. Senan of Iniscatthy, from whom the church of Lis-lachtin, in Kerry, took its name, and who died about the year 560. The S. Lactean of Clonfert belonged to the house of Corpre Muse, of Muskerry, Cork, and was a friend of S. Mochoemog (Pulcherius), abbot of Achadur (Aghour), in Kilkenny.



[Belgian Martyrologies. S. Landoald is venerated especially at Ghent. Also Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. The translation of S. Landoald is commemorated on Dec. 1st, and the elevation on June 13th. The original Acts were lost in 954, and by order of Notker, B. of Liege, new ones were compiled in 981, by one Herdger, abbot of Lobie, who died 1007.]

S. Amandus having resigned the see of Maestricht into the hands of S. Remacle, to resume his first vocation of mission work in the Low Countries, went to Rome to obtain the approval of his design by pope Martin. The pope not only approved of it, but gave him Landoald, a priest of the Roman Church, of Lombard family, to accompany and assist him in his work. S. Amandus was also joined by the334 deacon Amantius. They left Rome, and after visiting some of the monasteries of France, arrived in the country between the Meuse and the Scheldt, where S. Remacle met S. Amandus, and persuaded him to allow him to keep Landoald with him to assist him in the work of evangelising his diocese. Landoald had a large field for the exercise of his zeal in the diocese of Maestricht, only partially converted to the faith. A rich man named Aper gave him a piece of land at Wintershoven, on the river Herck, to the west of Maestricht, where he built a church, which he dedicated to S. Peter, in 659. Landoald continued his labours under S. Theodard, the successor of S. Remacle, making Wintershoven his head-quarters, and sending from time to time one of his little community to Maestricht to beg. One of his disciples, Adrian by name, was returning from his quest of alms, when he was waylaid by some robbers, and murdered. S. Landoald did not long survive him, and there is reason to believe that he died before S. Lambert succeeded, in the see of Maestricht, to S. Theodard, who was martyred in 668. He was buried in the church of Wintershoven, but his body was taken up in 735, and transported into Maestricht, but from fear of the Normans it was concealed, and taken up again along with the bodies of S. Amantius and S. Adrian, by Euraculus, bishop of Liége, but they were claimed by the monks of S. Bavo, at Ghent, who were proprietors of Wintershoven, and the bodies were translated to Ghent in 980.


(A.D. 800.)

[Anglican Martyrologies. Authorities:—Florence of Worcester, William of Malmesbury, Simeon of Durham, and Thurgot of Durham.]

A great discrepancy exists in the accounts given of this saint. Malmesbury is certainly not to be trusted in his335 relation, and we must follow the account of Simeon of Durham. Ceolwulf, king of Northumbria, abdicated in 737, and was succeeded by Egbert, who was succeeded in 758 by his brother Osulf, who was killed in 759, leaving a son, named Ethelwald. He was succeeded, not by his son Ethelwald, but by another Ethelwald, surnamed Moll, who was banished in 765, when Alcred, son of Eanwin, a descendant of Ida, came to the throne. He was banished in 774, and the crown rested on the head of Ethelred, son of Ethelwald Moll, who was banished in 779, and succeeded by Ethelwald, son of Osulf. But this Ethelwald was killed in 788, whereupon Osred, son of Alcred, came to the throne. Osred's younger brother was S. Alkmund, the subject of this memoir. But Osred was deposed, in 790, by Ethelred, son of Ethelwald Moll, who had been exiled in 779, and this king put Osred to death in 792; and Alkmund, in 800, was murdered by order of king Eardulf, who came to the throne in 797, after the assassination of Ethelred in 796.

Alkmund had spent some years in banishment among the Picts, and was loved and revered for his spotless innocence and gentleness in a period of crime and violence. Harpsfield, following Radulph Diceto, says Alkmund fell in battle against the West Saxons, which is certainly wrong. He also makes Alkmund the son of Ethelred, which is also a mistake; and Malmesbury calls his father Alfred. The name probably was Alcfred.

S. Alkmund was buried at Lilleshut, in Shropshire, but his body was afterwards translated to Derby, and he is honoured as the patron of that town.


March 20.

S. Joachim, Father of the B. Virgin Mary.
SS. Photina, Joseph, Victor, and Companions, MM., 1st cent.
S. Archippus, Companion of S. Paul, 1st cent.
SS. Paul, Cyril, and Companions, MM. in Syria.
SS. Alexandra, Claudia, and Others, MM. at Amisa, 4th cent.
S. Urbicius, B. of Metz, circ. A.D. 420.
S. Martin, Archb. of Braga, in Portugal, A.D. 580.
S. Cuthbert, B. of Lindisfarne, A.D. 687.
S. Herbert, P.H. in an island of Derwentwater, A.D. 687.
S. Wulfram, B. of Sens, A.D. 741.
SS. John, Sergius, Cosmas, and Companions, Monks MM. in the Laura of S. Sabas, near Jerusalem, A.D. 797.
S. Nicetas, B.M. at Apollonia, 8th cent.
B. Ambrose, O.P. at Sienna, A.D. 1287.
B. Hippolytus Galantini, Founder of the Institute of Christian Brothers, at Florence, A.D. 1619.


[Roman Martyrology; by the Greeks on Sept. 9th. The insertion of this name in the Martyrologies is not earlier than the 16th century. The Roman Breviary of 1522, pub. at Venice, contained it with special office, but this was expunged by pope Pius V., and in the Breviary of 1572, neither name nor office are to be found.]

Nothing whatever is known of S. Joachim, except what is related in the Apocryphal Gospels, whence the name is derived. It is probable, however, that the name was traditionally preserved, and adopted by the author of the Apocryphal Gospels.



(A.D. 687.)

[Martyrologies of Bede, Usuardus, Ado, Rabanus Maurus; the Anglican, Scottish, and Irish Martyrologies; the Benedictine and the Roman as well. Authorities:—Bede's Life of S. Cuthbert, another by a monk of Lindisfarne, written in the reign of Egfrid (d. 705). The following life is extracted from Montalembert's "Monks of the West."]

Of the parentage of Cuthbert, nothing for certain is known. The Kelts have claimed him as belonging to them, at least by birth. They made him out to have been the son of an Irish princess, reduced to slavery, like Bridget, the holy patroness of Ireland, but who fell, more miserably, victim to the lust of her savage master. His Celtic origin would seem to be more conclusively proved by his attitude towards S. Wilfrid, the introducer of Roman uniformity into the north of England, than by the tradition of the Anglo-Saxon monks of Durham. His name is certainly Saxon, and not Keltic. But, to tell the truth, nothing is certainly known either of his place of birth, or the rank of his family.

His first appearance in history is as a shepherd in Lauderdale, a valley watered by a river which flows into the Tweed near Melrose. It was then a district annexed to the kingdom of Northumbria, which had just been delivered by the holy king Oswald from the yoke of the Mercians and Britons. As he is soon afterwards to be seen travelling on horseback, lance in hand, and accompanied by a squire, it is not to be supposed that he was of poor extraction. At the same time, it was not the flocks of his father which he kept, as did David in the plains of Bethlehem; it is expressly noted that the flocks confided to his care belonged to a master, or to several masters. His family must have been in the rank of those vassals to whom the great Saxon338 lords gave the care and superintendence of their flocks upon the vast extent of pastures which, under the name of folcland or common, was left to their use, and where the cowherds and shepherds lived day and night in the open air, as is still done by the shepherds of Hungary.

Popular imagination in the north of England, of which Cuthbert was the hero before, as well as after, the Norman Conquest, had thus full scope in respect to the obscure childhood of its favourite saint, and delighted in weaving stories of his childish sports, representing him as walking on his hands, and turning somersaults with his little companions. A more authentic testimony, that of his contemporary, Bede, informs us that our shepherd boy had not his equal among the children of his age, for activity, dexterity, and boldness in the race and fight. In all sports and athletic exercises he was the first to challenge his companions, with the certainty of being the victor. The description reads like that of a little Anglo-Saxon of our own day—a scholar of Eton or Harrow. At the same time, a precocious piety showed itself in him, even amid the exuberance of youth. One night, as he said his prayers, while keeping the sheep of his master, he saw the sky, which had been very dark, broken by a track of light, upon which a cloud of angels descended from heaven, returning afterwards with a resplendent soul, which they had gone to meet on earth. Next morning he heard that Aidan, the holy bishop of Lindisfarne, the apostle of the district, had died during the night. This vision determined his monastic vocation.

Some time afterwards we find him at the gates of the monastery of Melrose, the great Keltic establishment for novices in Northumbria. He was then only fifteen, yet, nevertheless, he arrived on horseback, lance in hand, attended by a squire, for he had already begun his career in the battle-field, and learned in the face of the enemy the339 first lessons of abstinence, which he now meant to practise in the cloister. He was received by two great doctors of the Keltic Church,—the abbot Eata, one of the twelve Northumbrians first chosen by Aidan, and the prior Boswell, who conceived a special affection for the new-comer, and undertook the charge of his monastic education. Five centuries later, the copy of the Gospels in which the master and pupil had read daily, was still kissed with veneration in the cathedral of Durham.

The robust and energetic youth very soon showed the rarest aptitude for monastic life, not only for cenobitical exercises, but, above all, for the missionary work, which was the principal occupation of monks in that country and period. He was not content merely to surpass all the other monks in his devotion to the four principal occupations of monastic life—study, prayer, vigil, and manual labour—but speedily applied himself to the work of casting out from the hearts of the surrounding population the last vestiges of pagan superstition. Not a village was so distant, not a mountain side so steep, not a village so poor, that it escaped his zeal. He sometimes passed weeks, and even months, out of his monastery, preaching to and confessing the rustic population of the mountains. The roads were very bad, or rather there were no roads; only now and then was it possible to travel on horseback; sometimes, when his course lay along the coast of the district inhabited by the Picts, he would take the help of a boat. But generally it was on foot that he had to penetrate into the glens and distant valleys, crossing the heaths and vast table-lands, uncultivated and uninhabited, where a few shepherd's huts, like that in which he himself had passed his childhood, and which were in winter abandoned even by the rude inhabitants, were thinly scattered. But neither the intemperance of the seasons, nor hunger, nor thirst, arrested the young and valiant mis340sionary in his apostolic travels, to seek the scattered population, half Celts, and half Anglo-Saxons, who, though already Christian in name and by baptism, retained an obstinate attachment to many of their ancient superstitions, and who were quickly led back by any great calamity, such as one of the great pestilences which were then so frequent, to the use of magic, amulets, and other practices of idolatry. The details which have been preserved of the wonders which often accompanied his wanderings, show that his labours extended over all the hilly district between the two seas—from the Solway to the Forth. They explain to us how the monks administered the consolations and the teaching of religion, before the organization of parishes, ordained by archbishop Theodore, had been everywhere introduced or regulated. As soon as the arrival of one of these apostolic missionaries in a somewhat central locality was known, all the population of the neighbourhood hastened to hear him, endeavouring with fervour and simplicity to put in practice the instruction they received from him. Cuthbert, especially, was received among them with affectionate confidence; his eloquence was so persuasive that it brought the most rebellious to his feet, to hear their sins revealed to them, and to accept the penance which he imposed upon them.

Cuthbert prepared himself for preaching and the administration of the Sacraments, by extraordinary penances and austerities. Stone bathing-places, in which he passed the entire night in prayer, lying in the frozen water, according to a custom common among the Keltic saints, are still shown in several different places. When he was near the sea, he went to the shore, unknown to any one, at night, and plunging into the waves up to his neck, sang his vigils there. As soon as he came out of the water he resumed his prayers on the sand of the beach. On one occasion, one of his dis341ciples, who had followed him secretly in order to discover the aim of this nocturnal expedition, saw two otters come up out of the water, which, while the saint prayed on his knees, lick his frozen feet, and wipe them with their hair, until life and warmth returned to the benumbed members. By one of those strange caprices of human frivolity which disconcert the historian, this insignificant incident is the only recollection which now remains in the memory of the people. S. Cuthbert is known to the peasant of Northumberland and of the Scottish borders only by the legend of those compassionate otters.

He had been some years at Melrose, when the abbot Eata took him along with him to join the community of Keltic monks established by king Alchfrid at Ripon. Cuthbert held the office of steward, and in this office showed the same zeal as in his missions. When travellers arrived through the snow, famished and nearly fainting with cold, he himself washed their feet and warmed them against his bosom, then hastened to the oven to order bread to be made ready, if there was not enough.

Cuthbert returned with his countrymen to Melrose, resumed his life of missionary preaching, and again met his friend and master, the prior Boswell, at whose death, in the great pestilence of 664, Cuthbert was elected abbot in his place. He had been himself attacked by the disease; and all the monks prayed earnestly that his life might be preserved to them. When he knew that the community had spent the night in prayer for him, though he felt no better, he cried to himself, with a double impulse of his habitual energy, "What am I doing in bed? It is impossible that God should shut His ears to such men. Give me my staff and my shoes." And getting up, he immediately began to walk, leaning upon his staff. But this sudden cure left him subject to weakness, which shortened his life.


However, he had not long to remain at Melrose. The triumph of Wilfrid and the Roman ritual at the conference of Whitby, brought about a revolution in the monastic metropolis of Northumbria, and in the mother monastery of Melrose, at Lindisfarne. Bishop Colman had returned to Iona, carrying with him the bones of S. Aidan, the first apostle of the country, and followed by all the monks who would not consent to sacrifice their Keltic tradition to Roman unity. It was of importance to preserve the holy island, the special sanctuary of the country, for the religious family of which its foundress had been a member. Abbot Eata of Melrose undertook this difficult mission. He became abbot of Lindisfarne, and was invested with a kind of episcopal supremacy. He took with him the young Cuthbert, who was not yet thirty, but whom, however, he held alone capable of filling the important office of prior in the great insular community.

The struggle into which Eata and Cuthbert, in their own persons, had entered against Wilfrid, on the subject of Roman rites, did not point them out as the best men to introduce the novelties so passionately defended and insisted upon by the new bishop of Northumbria. Notwithstanding, everything goes to prove that the new abbot and prior of Lindisfarne adopted without reserve the decisions of the assembly of Whitby, and took serious pains to introduce them into the great Keltic community. Cuthbert, in whom the physical energy of a robust organization was united to an unconquerable gentleness, employed in this task all the resources of his mind and heart. All the rebels had not left with bishop Colman; some monks still remained, who held obstinately by their ancient customs. Cuthbert reasoned with them daily in the meetings of the chapter; his desire was to overcome their objections by patience and moderation alone; he bore their reproaches as long as that343 was possible, and when his endurance was at an end, raised the sitting without changing countenance or tone, and resumed next morning the course of the debate, without ever permitting himself to be moved to anger, or allowing any thing to disturb the inestimable gift of kindness and light-heartedness which he had received from God.

S. CUTHBERT reasoning with the monks.
DEATH OF S. CUTHBERT.     March 20.

But his great desire was the strict observance of the rule when once established; and his historian boasts, as one of his most remarkable victories, the obligation he imposed for ever upon the monks of Lindisfarne of wearing a simple and uniform dress, in undyed wool, and thus giving up the passionate liking of the Anglo-Saxons for varied and brilliant colours.

During the twelve years which he passed at Lindisfarne, the life of Cuthbert was identical with that which he had led at Melrose. Within doors this life was spent in the severe practice of all the austerities of the cloister, in manual labour, united to the punctual celebration of divine worship, and such fervour in prayer that he often slept only one night in the three or four, passing the others in prayer, and in singing the service alone while walking round the aisle to keep himself awake. Outside, the same zeal for preaching, the same solicitude for the salvation and well-being, temporal as well as spiritual, of the Northumbrian people, was apparent in him. He carried to them the Word of Life; he soothed their sufferings, by curing miraculously a crowd of diseases which were beyond the power of the physicians. But the valiant missionary specially assailed the diseases of the soul, and made use of all the tenderness and all the ardour of his own spirit to reach them. When he celebrated mass before the assembled crowd, his visible emotion, his inspired looks, his trembling voice, all contributed to penetrate and overpower the multitude. The Anglo-Saxon Christians, who came in crowds to open their hearts to him in the confessional, were still more profoundly impressed.344 Though he was a bold and inflexible judge of impenitent vice, he felt and expressed the tenderest compassion for the contrite sinner. He was the first to weep over the sins which he pardoned in the name of God; and he himself fulfilled the penances which he imposed as the conditions of absolution, thus gaining by his humility the hearts which he longed to convert and cure.

But neither the life of a cenobite, nor the labours of a missionary could satisfy the aspirations of his soul after perfection. When he was not quite forty, after holding his priorship at Lindisfarne for twelve years, he resolved to leave monastic life, and to live as a hermit in a sterile and desert island, visible from Lindisfarne, which lay in the centre of the Archipelago, south of the holy isle, and almost opposite the fortified capital of the Northumbrian kings at Bamborough. No one dared to live on this island, which was called Farne, in consequence of its being supposed to be the haunt of demons. Cuthbert took possession of it as a soldier of Christ, victorious over the tyranny of evil, and built there a palace worthy of himself, hollowing out of the living rock a cell from which he could see nothing but the sky, that he might not be disturbed in his contemplations. The hide of an ox suspended before the entrance of his cavern, and which he turned according to the direction of the wind, afforded him a poor defence against the intemperance of that wild climate. His holy historian tells us that he exercised sway over the elements and brute creation as a true monarch of the land which he had conquered for Christ, and with that sovereign empire over nature which sin alone has taken from us. He lived on the produce of a little field of barley sown and cultivated by his own hands, but so small that the inhabitants of the coast reported among themselves that he was fed by angels with bread made in Paradise.

In His Hermit's Cell.

March 20.


The legends of Northumbria linger lovingly upon the solitary sojourn of their great national and popular saint in this basaltic isle. They attribute to him the extraordinary gentleness and familiarity of a particular species of aquatic birds which came when called, allowed themselves to be taken, stroked, caressed, and whose down was of remarkable softness. In ancient times they swarmed about this rock, and they are still to be found there, though much diminished in number since curious visitors have come to steal their nests and shoot the birds. These sea fowl are found nowhere else in the British Isles, and are called the Birds of S. Cuthbert. It was he, according to the narrative of a monk of the thirteenth century, who inspired them with a hereditary trust in man by taking them as companions of his solitude, and guaranteeing to them that they should never be disturbed in their homes.

It is he, too, according to the fishers of the surrounding islands, who makes certain little shells of the genus Entrochus, which are only to be found on this coast, and which have received the name of S. Cuthbert's Beads. They believe that he is still to be seen by night seated on a rock, and using another as an anvil for his work.

The pious anchorite, however, in condemning himself to the trials of solitude, had no intention of withdrawing from the cares of fraternal charity. He continued to receive frequent visits, in the first place from his neighbours and brethren at Lindisfarne, and in addition from all who came to consult him upon the state of their souls, as well as to seek consolation from him in adversity. The number of these pilgrims of sorrow was countless. They came not only from the neighbouring shores, but from the most distant provinces. Throughout all England the rumour spread, that on a desert rock of the Northumbrian coast there lived a solitary who was the friend of God, and skilled346 in the healing of human suffering. In this expectation no one was deceived; no man carried back from the sea-beaten island the same burden of suffering, temptation, or remorse which he had taken there. Cuthbert had consolation for all troubles, light for all the sorrowful mysteries of life, counsel for all its perils, a helping hand to all the hopeless, a heart open to all who suffered. He could draw from all terrestrial anguish a proof of the joys of heaven, deduce the certainty of those joys from the terrible evanescence of both good and evil in this world, and light up again in sick souls the fire of charity—the only defence, he said, against those ambushes of the old enemy which always take our hearts captive when they are emptied of divine and brotherly love.

To make his solitude more accessible to these visitors, and above all to his brethren from Lindisfarne, he had built some distance from the cave which was his dwelling, at a place where boats could land their passengers, a kind of parlour and refectory for the use of his guests. There he himself met, conversed, and ate with them, especially when, as he has himself told, the monks came to celebrate with him such a great feast as Christmas. At such moments he went freely into all their conversations and discussions, interrupting himself from time to time to remind them of the necessity of watchfulness and prayer. The monks answered him, "Nothing is more true; but we have so many days of vigil, of fasts and prayers. Let us at least to-day rejoice in the Lord." The Venerable Bede, who has preserved to us the precious memory of this exchange of brotherly familiarity has not disdained to tell us also of the reproaches addressed by Cuthbert to his brothers for not eating a fat goose which he had hung on the partition-wall of his guest's refectory, in order that they might thoroughly fortify themselves before347 they embarked upon the stormy sea to return to their monastery.

This tender charity and courteous activity were united in him to treasures of humility. He would not allow any one to suspect him of ranking the life of an anchorite above that of a member of a community. "It must not be supposed," he said, "because I prefer to live out of reach of every secular care, that my life is superior to that of others. The life of good cenobites, who obey their abbot in everything, and whose time is divided between prayer, work, and fasting is much to be admired. I know many among them whose souls are more pure, and their graces more exalted than mine; especially, and in the first rank my dear old Boswell, who received and trained me at Melrose in my youth."

Thus passed, in that dear solitude, and among these friendly surroundings, eight pleasant years, the sweetest of his life, and precisely those during which all Northumberland was convulsed by the struggle between Wilfrid and the new king Egfrid.

Then came the day upon which the king of the Northumbrians, accompanied by his principal nobles, and almost all the community of Lindisfarne, landed upon the rock of Fame, to beg, kneeling, and with tears, that Cuthbert would accept the episcopal dignity to which he had just been promoted in the synod of Twyford, presided over by archbishop Theodore. He yielded only after a long resistance, himself weeping when he did so. It was, however, permitted to him to delay his consecration for six months, till Easter, which left him still a winter in his dear solitude, before he went to York, where he was consecrated by the primate Theodore, assisted by six bishops. He would not, however, accept the diocese of Hexham, to which he had been first appointed, but persuaded his friend Eata, the348 bishop and abbot of Lindisfarne, to give up to him the monastic bishopric, where he had already lived so long.

The diocese of Lindisfarne spread far to the west, much beyond Hexham. The Britons of Cumbria who had come to be tributaries of the Northumbrian kings, were thus included in it. King Egfrid's deed of gift, in which he gives the district of Cartmell, with all the Britons who dwell in it, to bishop Cuthbert, still exists. The Roman city of Carlisle, transformed into an Anglo-Saxon fortress, was also under his sway, with all the surrounding monasteries.

His new dignity made no difference in his character, nor even in his mode of life. He retained his old habits as a cenobite, and even as a hermit. In the midst of his episcopal pomp he remained always the monk and missionary of old. His whole episcopate, indeed, seems to bear the character of a mission indefinitely prolonged. He went over his vast diocese, to administer confirmation to converts, traversing a crowd more attentive and respectful than ever, lavishing upon it all kinds of benefits, alms, clothing, sermons, miraculous cures—penetrating as of old into hamlets and distant corners, climbing the hills and downs, sleeping under a tent, and sometimes indeed finding no other shelter than in the huts of branches, brought from the nearest wood to the desert, in which he had made the torrent of his eloquence and charity to gush forth.

Here also we find illustrations, as at all previous periods of his life, of the most delightful feature of his good and holy soul. In the obscure missionary of Melrose, in the already celebrated prior of Lindisfarne, and still more, if that is possible, in the powerful and venerated bishop, the same heart, overflowing with tenderness and compassion is always to be found. The supernatural power given to him to cure the most cruel diseases was wonderful. But in his frequent and friendly intercourse with the great Anglo349-Saxon earls, the ealdormen, as well as with the mixed populations of Britons, Picts, Scots, and English, whom he gathered under his crosier, the principal feature in the numerous and detailed narratives which remain to us, and which gives to them a beauty as of youth, always attractive, is his intense and active sympathy for those human sorrows which in all ages are the same, always so keen, and capable of so little consolation. The more familiar the details of these meetings between the heart of a saint and true priest, and the simple and impetuous hearts of the first English Christians, the more attractive do they become, and we cannot resist the inclination of presenting to our readers some incidents which shew at once the liveliness of domestic affections among those newly-baptized barbarians and their filial and familiar confidence in their master. One of the ealdormen of king Egfrid arrived one day in breathless haste at Lindisfarne, overwhelmed with grief, his wife, a woman as pious and generous as himself, having been seized with a fit of violent madness. But he was ashamed to disclose the nature of the attack, it seemed to him a sort of chastisement from heaven, disgracing a creature hitherto so chaste and honoured; all that he said was that she was approaching death; and he begged that a priest might be given him to carry to her the viaticum, and that when she died he might be permitted to bury her in the holy isle. Cuthbert heard his story, and said to him with much emotion, "This is my business; no one but myself can go with you." As they rode on their way together, the husband wept, and Cuthbert, looking at him and seeing the cheeks of the rough warrior wet with tears, divined the whole; and during all the rest of the journey consoled and encouraged him, explaining to him that madness was not a punishment of crime, but a trial which God inflicted sometimes upon the innocent. "Besides,"350 he added, "when we arrive we shall find her cured; she will come to meet us, and will help me to dismount from my horse, taking, according to her custom, the reins in her hand." And so the event proved; for, says that historian, the demon did not dare to await the coming of the Holy Ghost, of which the man of God was full. The noble lady, delivered from her bondage, rose as if from a profound sleep, and stood on the threshold to greet the holy friend of the house, seizing the reins of his horse, and joyfully announcing her sudden cure.

On another occasion, a certain count Henma, from whom he sought hospitality during one of his pastoral journeys, received him on his knees, thanking him for his visit, but at the same time telling him that his wife was at the point of death, and he himself in despair. "However," said the count, "I firmly believe that were you to give her your blessing, she would be restored to health, or at least delivered by a speedy death from her long and cruel sufferings." The saint immediately sent one of his priests, without entering into the sick room himself, to sprinkle her with water which he had blessed. The patient was at once relieved; and herself came to act as cupbearer to the prelate, offering him, in the name of all her family, that cup of wine which, under the name of the loving cup, has continued since the time of the Anglo-Saxons to form a part of all solemn public banquets.

A contagious disease at another time broke out in one part of his diocese, to which Cuthbert immediately betook himself. After having visited and consoled all the remaining inhabitants of one village, he turned to the priest who accompanied him, and asked, "Is there still any one sick in this poor place, whom I can bless before I depart?" "Then," says the priest, who has preserved this story to us, "I showed him in the distance a poor woman bathed in351 tears, one of whose sons was already dead, and who held the other in her arms, just about to render his last breath. The bishop rushed to her, and taking the dying child from its mother's arms, kissed it first, then blessed it, and restored it to the mother, saying to her, as the Son of God said to the widow of Nain, 'Woman, weep not; have no more fear or sorrow; your son is saved, and no more victims to this pestilence shall perish here.'"

No saint of his time or country had more frequent or affectionate intercourse than Cuthbert with the nuns, whose numbers and influence were daily increasing among the Anglo-Saxons, and especially in Northumberland. The greater part of them lived together in the great monasteries, such as Whitby and Coldingham, but some, especially those who were widows or of advanced age, lived in their own houses or with their relatives. Such was a woman devoted to the service of God, who had watched over Cuthbert's childhood (for he seems to have been early left an orphan), while he kept his sheep on the hills near Melrose, from the eighth year of his age until his entrance into the convent at the age of fifteen. He was tenderly grateful to her for her maternal care, and when he became a missionary, took advantage of every occasion furnished to him by his apostolic journeys to visit her whom he called his mother, in the village where she lived. On one occasion, when he was with her, a fire broke out in the village, and the flames, increased by a violent wind, threatened all the neighbouring roofs. "Fear nothing, dear mother," the young missionary said to her; "this fire will do you no harm;" and he began to pray. Suddenly the wind changed; the village was saved, and with it the thatched roof which sheltered the old age of her who had protected his infancy.

From the cottage of his foster-mother he went to the palaces of queens. The noble queen of Northumberland,352 Etheldreda, the saint and virgin, had a great friendship for Cuthbert. She overwhelmed him and his monastery with gifts from her possessions, and wishing, besides, to offer him a personal token of her close affection, she embroidered for him, with her hands (for she embroidered beautifully), a stole and maniple covered with gold and precious stones. She chose to give him such a present that he might wear this memorial of her only in the presence of God, whom they both served, and accordingly would be obliged to keep her always in mind at the holy sacrifice.

Cuthbert was on still more intimate terms with the holy princesses, who, placed at the head of great communities of nuns, and sometimes even of monks, exercised so powerful an influence upon the Anglo-Saxon race, and particularly on Northumbria. While he was still at Melrose, the increasing fame of his sanctity and eloquence brought him often into the presence of the sister of king Oswy, who then reigned over the two Northumbrian kingdoms. This princess, Ebba, was abbess of the double monastery of Coldingham, the farthest north of all the religious establishments of Northumbria. Cuthbert was the guest for several days of the royal abbess, but he did not intermit on this occasion his pious exercises, nor, above all, his austerities and long prayers by night on the sea-shore.

To the end of his life he maintained a very intimate and constant friendship with another abbess of the blood-royal of Northumbria, Elfleda, niece of S. Oswald, and of king Oswy, who, though still quite young, exercised an influence much greater than that of Ebba upon the men and the events of her time. She had the liveliest affection for the prior of Lindisfarne, and at the same time an absolute confidence in his sanctity. When she was assailed by an alarming illness, which fell into paralysis, and found no remedy from physicians, she cried, "Ah! had I but something353 which belonged to my dear Cuthbert, I am sure I should be cured." A short time after, her friend sent her a linen girdle, which she hastened to put on, and in three days she was healed.

Shortly before his death, and during his last pastoral visitation, Cuthbert went to see Elfleda in the neighbourhood of the great monastery of Whitby, to consecrate a church which she had built there, and to converse with her for the last time. They dined together, and during the meal, seeing his knife drop from his trembling hand in the abstraction of supernatural thoughts, she had a last opportunity of admiring his prophetic intuition, and his constant care for the salvation of souls. The fatigue of the holy bishop, who said, laughingly, "I cannot eat all day long, you must give me a little rest"—the eagerness and pious curiosity of the young abbess, anxious to know and do everything, who rushes up breathless during the ceremony of the dedication to ask from the bishop a memento for a monk whose death she had just heard of—all these details form a picture complete in its simplicity, upon which the charmed mind can repose amid the savage habits and wild vicissitudes of the struggle, then more violent than ever, between the Northumbrians and the Picts, the Saxons and the Kelts.

But the last of all his visits was for another abbess less illustrious and less powerful than the two princesses of the blood, but also of high birth, and not less dear to his heart, if we may judge by the mark of affection which he gave her on his death-bed. This was Verca, abbess of one of that long line of monasteries which traced the shores of the Northern Sea. Her convent was on the mouth of the Tyne, the river which divided the two Northumbrian kingdoms. She gave Cuthbert a magnificent reception; but the bishop was ill, and after the mid-day meal, which was usual in all the Benedictine monasteries, he became thirsty. Wine354 and beer were offered to him, yet he would take nothing but water, but this water, after it had touched his lips, seemed to the monks of Tynemouth, who drank the remainder, the best wine they had ever tasted. Cuthbert, who retained nothing of the robust health of his youth, already suffered from the first attacks of the disease which carried him off. His pious friend was no doubt struck by his feebleness, for she offered him, as the last pledge of spiritual union, a piece of very fine linen to be his shroud. Two short years of the episcopate had sufficed to consume his strength.

After celebrating the feast of Christmas, in 686, with the monks of Lindisfarne, the presentiment of approaching death determined him to abdicate, and to return to his isle of Farne, there to prepare for the last struggle. He lived but two months, in the dear and pleasant solitude which was his supreme joy, tempering its sweetness by redoubled austerities. When his monks came to visit him in his isle, which storms often made inaccessible for weeks together, they found him thin, tremulous, and almost exhausted. One of them, who has given us a narrative of the end of his life, revived him a little by giving him warm wine to drink, then seating himself by the side of the worn-out bishop upon his bed of stone, to sustain him, received from his beloved lips the last confidences and last exhortations of the venerated master. The visits of his monks were very sweet to him, and he lavished upon them to the last moment proofs of his paternal tenderness and of his minute care for their spiritual and temporal well-being. His last illness was long and painful. He fixed beforehand the place of his burial, near the oratory which he had hollowed in the rock, and at the foot of a cross which he had himself planted. "I would fain repose," said he, "in this spot, where I have fought my little battle for the Lord, where I355 desire to finish my course, and from whence I hope that my merciful Judge will call me to the crown of righteousness. You will bury me, wrapped in the linen which I have kept for my shroud, out of love for the abbess Verca, the friend of God, who gave it to me."

He ended his holy life preaching peace, humility, and the love of that unity which he thought he had succeeded in establishing in the great Anglo-Keltic sanctuary, the new abbot of which, Herefrid, begged of him a last message as a legacy to his community. "Be unanimous in your counsels," the dying bishop said to him in his faint voice; "live in good accord with the other servants of Christ; despise none of the faithful who ask your hospitality; treat them with friendly familiarity, not esteeming yourself better than others, who have the same faith, and often the same life. But have no communion with those who withdraw from the unity of Catholic peace, either by the illegal celebration of Easter, or by practical ill-doing. Remember always, if you must make a choice, that I infinitely prefer that you should leave this place, carrying my bones with you, rather than that you should remain here bent under the yoke of wicked heresy. Learn, and observe with diligence, the Catholic decrees of the fathers, and also the rules of monastic life which God has deigned to give you by my hands. I know that many have despised me in my life, but after my death you will see that my doctrine has not been despicable."

This effort was the last. He lost the power of speech, received the last sacraments in silence, and died raising his eyes and arms to heaven, at the hour when it was usual to sing matins, in the night of the 20th of March, 687. One of his attendants immediately mounted to the summit of the rock, where the lighthouse is now placed, and gave to the monks of Lindisfarne, by waving a lighted torch, the signal agreed upon to announce the death of the greatest356 saint who has given glory to that famous isle. He was but fifty, and had worn the monastic habit for thirty-five years.

Among many friends, he had one who was at once his oldest and most beloved, a priest called Herbert, who lived as an anchorite in an island of Lake Derwentwater. Every year Herbert came from his peaceful lake to visit his friend in the other island, beaten and undermined continually by the great waves of the Northern Sea; and upon that wild rock, to the accompaniment of winds and waves, they passed several days together, in a tender solitude and intimacy, talking of the life to come. When Cuthbert, then a bishop, came for the last time to Carlisle, Herbert seized the opportunity, and hastened to refresh himself at that fountain of eternal benefits which flowed for him from the holy and tender heart of his friend. "My brother," the bishop said to him, "thou must ask me now all that thou wantest to know, for we shall never meet again in this world." At these words Herbert fell at his feet in tears. "I conjure thee," he cried, "do not leave me on this earth behind thee; remember my faithful friendship, and pray God that, after having served Him together in this world, we may pass into His glory together." Cuthbert threw himself on his knees at his friend's side, and after praying for some minutes, said to him, "Rise, my brother, and weep no more; God has granted to us that which we have both asked from Him." And, in fact, though they never saw each other again here below, they died on the same day and at the same hour; the one in his isle bathed by the peaceful waters of a solitary lake, the other upon his granite rock, fringed by the ocean foam; and their souls, says Bede, reunited by that blessed death, were carried together by the angels into the eternal kingdom. This coincidence deeply touched the Christians of Northumbria, and was long engraven in their memory. Seven centuries later, in 1374, the bishop of357 Carlisle appointed that a mass should be said on the anniversary of the two saints, in the island where the Cumbrian anchorite died, and granted an indulgence of forty days to all who crossed the water to pray there in honour of the two friends.

After many translations, the body of S. Cuthbert found repose in Durham cathedral, where it rested in a magnificent shrine till the reign of Henry VIII., when the royal commissioners visited the cathedral with the purpose of demolishing all shrines. The following is a condensed account of this horrible profanation, given by a writer of the period, or shortly after67:—

"The sacred shrine of holy S. Cuthbert was defaced at the visitation held at Durham, by Dr. Lee, Dr. Henly, and Mr. Blithman. They found many valuable jewels. After the spoil of his ornaments, they approached near to his body, expecting nothing but dust and ashes; but perceiving the chest he lay in strongly bound with iron, the goldsmith, with a smith's great forge hammer, broke it open, when they found him lying whole, uncorrupt, with his face bare, and his beard as of a fortnight's growth, and all the vestments about him, as he was accustomed to say mass. When the goldsmith perceived he had broken one of his legs in breaking open the chest, he was sore troubled at it, and cried, 'Alas! I have broken one of his legs'; which Dr. Henly hearing, called to him, and bade him cast down his bones. The other answered, he could not get them asunder, for the sinews and skin held them so that they would not separate. Then Dr. Lee stept up to see if it were so, and turning about, spake in Latin to Dr. Henly that he was entire, though Dr. Henly, not believing his words, called again to358 have his bones cast down. Dr. Lee answered, 'If you will not believe me, come up yourself and see him.' Then Dr. Henly stept up to him, and handled him, and found he lay whole; then he commanded them to take him down, and so it happened, that not only his body was whole and uncorrupted, but the vestments wherein his body lay, and wherein he was accustomed to say mass, were fresh, safe, and not consumed. Whereupon the visitors commanded him to be carried into the revestry, till the king's pleasure concerning him was further known; and upon the receipt thereof, the prior and monks buried him in the ground under the place where his shrine was exalted."

Harpsfield, who flourished at the time, and who was a most faithful and zealous Catholic, gives a similar account; he, however, does not say that the leg bone was broken, but that the flesh was wounded; and that the body was entire except that "the prominent part of the nose, I know not why, was wanting." And he adds that, "a grave was made in the ground, in that very spot previously occupied by his precious shrine, and there the body was deposited. And not only his body, but even the vestments in which it was clothed, were perfectly entire, and free from all taint and decay. There was upon his finger a ring of gold, ornamented with a sapphire, which I myself once saw and handled and kissed. There were present, among others, when this sacred body was exposed to daylight, Doctor Whithead, the president of the monastery, Dr. Sparke, Dr. Tod, and William Wilam, the keeper of the sacred shrine. And thus it is abundantly manifest, that the body of S. Cuthbert remained inviolate and uncontaminated eight hundred and forty years."

In May, 1827, the place which these and other authorities had indicated as that where the body of S. Cuthbert was buried, was very carefully examined, and the coffin and359 a body were exhumed. The Anglo-Saxon sculpture, and everything about and within this coffin, left no doubt that what was discovered was the ancient coffin, the vestments, and relics which had accompanied the body of S. Cuthbert. But the body by no means agreed with the minute accounts of S. Cuthbert. There was evidence that it had not been uncorrupt when buried, and there was no trace of any injury done to the leg-bone. Hence it is difficult not to conclude that the garments and shrine were those of Cuthbert, but that the body was not his, but was one which had been substituted for it. And when we remember that the incorrupt body was left in the vestry under the charge of the prior and monks till the king's pleasure could be ascertained as to what was to be done with it, there can be little doubt that they who so highly valued this sacred treasure substituted for it another body, which they laid in the pontifical vestments of Cuthbert, which was buried as his in his coffin. Where the prior and monks concealed the holy relics, if this conjecture prove true, it is impossible to state. That there is ground for this conjecture may be concluded from the existence of a tradition to this effect, and it is said that the true place of the interment of the saint is only known to three members of the Benedictine Order, who, as each one dies, choose a successor. Another line of tradition is said to descend through the Vicars Apostolic, now Roman Catholic bishops of the district. This is the belief to which reference is made in Marmion.

The supposed place of interment indicated by the secular tradition, (under the stairs of the bell-tower), has been carefully examined. No remains were found, and it is evident that the ground had never been disturbed since the construction of the tower.68 There can be no question as to the360 genuineness of all the articles found in the tomb, for they exactly agree with accounts of the things contained in the shrine, described by pre-reformation writers; but the genuineness of the body is more than questionable. Mr. Raine, who was present at the investigation, and has written an account of it, "S. Cuthbert; with an Account of the State in which his Remains were found upon the Opening of his Tomb in Durham Cathedral, in the year 1827," Durham 1828, endeavours to establish their identity by repudiating as absurd the account of the contemporary writers who assert that the body was uncorrupt, and of the breaking of the leg-bone, though he accepts all their other statements.



(A.D. 741.)

[Gallican and Roman Martyrologies. Also those of Usuardus and Wyon. Authority:—A life written by a contemporary, Jonas, a monk of the same abbey of Fontenelle to which S. Wulfram retired, of this there are several editions, some much interpolated. Some of these additions are gross errors. According to the life which Surius publishes, Jonas dedicated it to his abbot Bainus. But Bainus died seven years after Wulfram had undertaken his mission. Possibly Bainus is an error of the copyist for Wando, who translated the body of S. Wulfram in 742. In the prologue, moreover, Owen, or Ovus, the lad whom S. Wulfram had resuscitated after he had been hung, is quoted as the authority for much of what the bishop did in Friesland, Owen being then priest in the abbey of Fontenelle. This indicates the date of the life as being about the time of the translation.]

Wulfram was born at Milly, three leagues from Fontainebleau, of a noble and wealthy family. His father, whose name was Fulbert, was held in great esteem by Dagobert I. and Clovis II. on account of the signal services he had rendered them in their wars. Although brought up, and constantly engaged in the camp, Fulbert took care that his son should receive an excellent education in letters; and as Wulfram exhibited a marked partiality for the clerical over the secular life, he suffered him to take holy orders. Wulfram was not, however, allowed to follow the bent of his wishes in every particular, for notwithstanding his desire to live a quiet secluded life of study, he was called in 670 to serve God in the court of Clothaire III. and Thierry III., kings of the Franks, till the death of his father. About the same time, Lambert, bishop of Sens, having died, Wulfram was unanimously elected to fill his room, by clergy and people, and the royal consent having been obtained, he was consecrated to the see of Sens, in 693. But "the Spirit breatheth where He wills, and thou canst not tell whence He cometh and whither He goeth." Moved by a divine call which could not be gainsaid, after having occupied the362 see for only two years and a half, Wulfram abdicted his charge in 685, probably moved by religious scruples as to the canonicity of his appointment, for S. Amĉus, the rightful bishop of Sens, in the banishment to which he was sent by Thierry III. in 674, had survived the appointment of Lambert. Wulfram, freed from his charge, at once undertook a mission to Friesland. He conferred on his design with S. Ansbert, then archbishop of Rouen, after having been abbot of S. Vandrille.69 By his advice he retired for a while into that abbey of Fontenelle to prepare for his apostolate to the Frisians, in solitude, with prayer. After awhile he came forth refreshed, and having divested himself of his property at Milly, his native place, which he gave to the abbey of S. Vandrille, that he might go unimpeded into the battle; and having obtained from the abbot, Hilbert, some monks to accompany him and assist him in his mission, he embarked at Caudebec, in 700, spread the white sail to the breeze, and flew out into the sea.

"To the ship's bow he ascended,
By his choristers attended,
Round him were the tapers lighted,
And the sacred incense rose.
"On the bow stood bishop Wulfram,
In his robes, as one transfigured,
And the crucifix he planted
High amid the rain and mist.
"Then with holy water sprinkled
All the ship; the mass-bells tinkled;
Loud the monks around him chanted,
Loud he read the Evangelist."70

But as the deacon was wiping the paten, during mass, it slipped from his fingers, and glanced down through a green wave and was lost. Then he uttered a cry of dismay, for they had no other paten with them in the vessel. But363 Wulfram turning himself about from the altar in the ship's-bows, bade him thrust his hand over the side into the water. And he did so, nothing doubting, and brought up the paten, dripping with sea-water. This paten was preserved in the monastery of S. Vandrille till the year 1621, when it was stolen.

Now when they had come into Friesland, Wulfram went before the king, Radbod, and preached boldly to him the Word of God. The king listened, and allowed the missionaries to settle in the land, and to declare the Gospel of the Kingdom to his subjects, but he himself put off giving attention to what they taught till a more convenient season. And as Wulfram dwelt in the land, and saw it wholly given up to the worship of false gods, and to the performance of cruel sacrifices, his spirit was stirred within him, and he denounced the hideous offerings of children made to the false gods. It was then the custom among the Frisians to offer to Wodin their sons, by hanging them on gibbets. This method of sacrifice was common to all the Scandinavian and Teutonic peoples. One horrible instance is related, for instance, in one of the old Norse Sagas, of a mother thus sacrificing her child to Wodin to obtain from him the secret of brewing better ale than the second wife of her husband, in order that she might thus be able to attach him to herself more closely.

Wulfram preached in vain, king Radbod replied to all his remonstrances that it was the custom of the country, and that he could not, or would not alter it. And this was the way in which the victims were chosen. Lots were cast on the children of the nobles, and those who were taken, were hung on a tree or gibbet, to Wodin, or else were fastened to a post between tides, and left to drown with the rising flood, as an offering to Ran, the sea-goddess, to stay her from bringing her waves over the low, flat land, and submerging it.


Hearing that a child was about to be hung, Wulfram hasted to the spot, but was unable to prevent the perpetration of the sacrifice. Then after the boy had been hanging two hours, the rope broke, and the bishop casting himself on the body, cried to the Lord, and He heard his voice, and the child revived, and the bishop restored him to his parents.71 And on another occasion, he was present when two youths, sons of a widow, were being sacrificed to the sea. He saw the poor lads waiting on the wet sand, and shrieking with fear as the waves tumbled at every instant nearer to them, whilst all the people looked on, shouting to drown their cries, upon the dyke. Then Wulfram, unable to endure the spectacle, knelt down, and covered his eyes, and prayed. And when he looked up, he saw the sea was washing around the youths, but had not touched them. So he prayed more fervently, and the people standing on the dyke shouted, to drown the shrieks of the young men; and Wulfram looked, and they were up to their chins in water, battling with the angry waves. Then Radbod called to the bishop and said, "See! there be the youths, go, save them if thou canst." Then Wulfram rose, and made the sign of the cross, and cast his mantle from him, and went boldly down to the sea, and walked thereon without fear, trusting in the Lord, and he took the two children, one by each hand, and he came to the land leading them, with foot unwet.

Then the people were filled with wonder, and a great fear fell upon them, and many renounced their false gods, and came and submitted their necks to the sweet yoke of Christ. King Radbod also, convinced against his will, consented to receive baptism. But as he was stepping down into the water, he suddenly halted, with one foot in365 the stream, and asked, "Where are my ancestors, are they in the heaven thou promisest to me?"

"Be not deceived," answered Wulfram, "God knoweth the number of His elect. Thy ancestors have died without baptism, therefore they have certainly received the sentence of damnation." It was an injudicious answer. It is by no means certain that those who have not had an opportunity of knowing the truth, but have lived up to the light God has given them, are eternally lost. The result of this harsh answer was, that Radbod withdrew his foot from the water, saying, "I will go to hell with my ancestors, rather than be in heaven without them." It is only just to remark that this story is not to be found in the most correct and ancient copies of the life by Jonas of Fontenelle.

After about twenty years of labour in Friesland, his health failed, and he returned in haste to Fontenelle, to die amongst the brethren in the peace of a cloister. He died on March 20th, in the year 720. Nine years after, Wando, abbot of Fontenelle, took the body from its grave, and translated to the church of S. Peter. In 1058, it was taken to Notre Dame at Abbeville, and this church in course of years, assumed the name of S. Wulfram. The sacred relics remain there, enclosed in a rich shrine. An annual procession is made on this day at Abbeville with the shrine.


(A.D. 797.)

[Commemorated by the Greeks. Authority:—The Acts by S. Stephen of S. Sabas, an eye-witness of what he relates. The account in the Greek Menology is full of inaccuracies, which proves that the compiler of it had not seen the Acts, but wrote his account from tradition.]

The laura of S. Sabas between Jerusalem and Bethlehem stood in a situation exposed to hostile attack. In the366 invasion of Palestine by Chosroes, the monastery did not escape, but yielded up sixty martyrs to God. In 797, twenty more perished in an incursion of the Arabs. The account of this latter catastrophe, written by Stephen, a monk of that monastery, at the time, and one of those who escaped, is full of interest. It is far too long to be inserted here. We have only space for a brief outline of the events. The Arabs had been devastating the whole country for some time past, and news of the ruin of the laura of S. Charito had reached the monks of the laura of S. Sabas. A laura is a collection of separate cells, of caves, or huts, the monks assembling only in the church; whereas a monastery consists of one or more large buildings, in which the monks live in community. On hearing of the pillage of the laura of S. Charito, the brethren assembled in the church to pray God to deliver them from a like infliction, or should He deem expedient to send it upon them, to strengthen them to meet it manfully. As they were in prayer, a brother who was on the look-out, came running to tell that he saw a party of some sixty Arabs, armed with lances and bows, galloping over a sand hill in the direction of the laura. It was the 13th of March, and the second hour of the morning. Then there went forth a deputation of the monks to meet the marauders, and to beseech them to spare the defenceless brethren. But they were greeted with shouts of derision, and were driven before the arrows and stones of the robbers back into the church, some of their number mortally wounded, and in all, thirty were wounded. The physician Thomas extracted the arrows and bound up their wounds, as they were brought in. But he had little space for attending to them, before the Arabs came into the laura, and gathering thorns into bundles, piled them about the cells and set fire to them. They were preparing to do the same to the church, when an alarm was given that succour367 to the monks was at hand, and in an instant the Arabs had vanished over the sand hills.

Throughout the following week the monks were kept in incessant alarm and expectation of a renewed attack. Messengers came to them from the old Laura, to warn them that a band of ruffians had attacked it and was on its way to the Laura of S. Sabas. The news reached them on Saturday night late, as they were keeping the vigil of the Lord's day in the Church. Their terror and anxiety was greatly increased somewhat later, when an old white-haired monk arrived from the monastery of S. Euthymius, bearing a letter from the abbot, to tell them that a second party of Arabs was on its way to attack them. A bright full moon was in the sky, shining in at the church windows, and by its light the frightened monks deciphered the epistle. Some fled over the desert, vainly seeking hiding places; some retired to their cells, some remained praying in the Church. Here occurs a great gap in the history, a whole sheet of the MS. is lost, and we next hear of the Arabs driving the flying monks before them with bow, and spear, and club, towards the church, scouring the desert around and catching the runaways, penetrating into the cells, and dragging them forth.

John, the guest-master, was found among some rocks, the barbarians pelted him with stones, then ham-strung him, and dragged him down the rocks by his feet to the church, till, mangled and bleeding, he fainted. Sergius, the sacristan, had concealed the sacred vessels, and had sought refuge in flight, but was caught, and because he refused to surrender the holy vessels, was hacked to pieces by the barbarians. A number of the monks had secreted themselves in a cave. The Arabs ran into it, thrusting their swords and spears into every corner, and one of the monks, a young man, named Patricius, resolved to sacrifice himself368 to save the others. He, therefore, cried out that he would surrender, and, coming forth, delivered himself up. The robbers, supposing he was the only one there concealed, left the others unmolested. He was one of those who were afterwards suffocated.

Now there was a winding cave under the guest-house, which was used for various purposes. Into this a number of monks were driven, and they were threatened with death unless they would ransom their lives by surrendering the Eucharistic vessels and vestments. This they refused to do. Then the Arabs bade them point out which were the heads of the community. They replied, with truth, that the abbot was now absent, he having gone away on some business a few weeks before. Then they insisted on the physician being indicated to them, for they had an idea that he was possessed of money. Again the monks refused to declare which of them was physician. Then the Arabs thrust them all into the cave, and choking up the entrance with thorns and grass, set fire to it. And when there had been a blaze and smoke for some little while, they shouted to the monks within to come forth; so the unfortunate men came through the blaze and over the red coals, and fell panting for breath on the ground. Their hair, beards, eyelashes, and their garments were burnt, and their faces were discoloured with smoke. The Arabs again bade them deliver up their superiors, and as they again refused, they drove them back through the flames into the cave, and heaped on more fuel, and kept up the blaze, till all within had been suffocated. Then they dispersed themselves over the Laura, and entered every cell, and took from them all that they wanted, and laded the camels belonging to the monks with the spoil that they had found, and departed.

And after many hours, the brethren who had escaped came forth from their places of concealment, and sought369 water and food to satisfy their appetites; and they scattered the embers of the great fire, and as the smoke rolled forth from the cavern, and a pure air entered, they lighted tapers and went in, at the setting of the sun, and found all the fathers therein dead, with their faces to the ground, and in various attitudes, some as though creeping into a corner in quest of air. And they made great lamentation over them, and drew them forth and washed them, and buried them with reverence.


(A.D. 1287.)

[At Sienna on the Saturday before Passion Sunday; but by the Dominican Order on March 22nd; the Roman Martyrology on March 20th, the day of his death. He was beatified by Gregory XV. His Acts were written by friars Gisberti, Recuperato di Petromala, Aldobrandini Paparoni, and Olvado, by order of Honorius IV., the then reigning pope, from documents transmitted to them within a month of the decease of S. Ambrose. These originals also exist, and have been printed along with the Acts by the Bollandists.]

S. Ambrose was of the family of the Sansedoni, on his father's side, and of the Stribelini on that of his mother, both illustrious in Sienna. He was deformed at his birth, his legs and feet being twisted, but as his nurse was hearing mass one holy-day, in the church of the Dominicans, and was praying before some holy relics, afterwards exposed to the veneration of the faithful, the child suddenly pronounced the name of Jesus thrice, and lost at the same moment every trace of deformity.

As he grew up, his play was connected with holy things. Till he was seven, he amused himself with carving little crosses, making little oratories, imitating with other children the processions and psalmody of the Church. When he grew older, he obtained his father's consent to his lodging pilgrims. He furnished for the purpose a room in the house, and went to the gate of the city every Saturday to bring370 home with him the first five pilgrims whom he encountered. He then washed their feet, and ministered in every way to their comforts. On the morrow he went with them to mass, and guided them about the town to all the places of devotion. Every Sunday evening after vespers he visited the hospital, and every Friday the prison. He continued these holy exercises till he was seventeen, when he entered the Dominican order. He made his full profession next year, in 1238, and was then sent to Paris and to Cologne to prosecute his studies. At Cologne he became the pupil of Albertus Magnus, along with the great S. Thomas Aquinas. When his education was complete, he taught theology in Paris for two years, and then preached in France, Germany, and Italy. The people of Sienna having taken part with Mansfeld, the bastard of Frederick II., who was in hostility with the pope, were placed under an interdict. Ambrose undertook to reconcile them with the Holy See, and was so successful, that the Siennese have chosen him, on account of this eminent service rendered them, as the patron of their city.

During the forty-nine years of his monastic life, he maintained the utmost self-discipline. He never slept more than four hours every night. After matins he remained for two hours in prayer in the choir, and spent the rest of the night in study till prime. He preached with singular fire and action. In the Lent of 1286, he broke a blood-vessel as he was preaching, and was obliged to leave the pulpit. The hĉmorrhage ceasing next day, he insisted on resuming his sermon, but the vessel burst again, and he lost so much blood that he felt his hour was at hand. He made his general confession, and having received the last sacraments, breathed forth his pure soul in the sixty-sixth year of his age, on March 20th, 1286.


March 21.

SS. Serapion, Monk, and Companions, MM., at Alexandria.
SS. Martyrs of Alexandria, in the reign of Constantine, A.D. 367.
S. Serapion, B. of Thmuis, 4th cent.
S. Lupicinus, Ab. of Condate, circ. A.D. 430.
S. Enda, Ab. in Aran-more, circ. A.D. 540.
S. Benedict, Ab. of Monte Cassino, A.D. 543.
S. Elias, B. of Sion in the Valais.



[Roman Martyrology. In the ancient Latin Martyrologies is found the mention of S. Serapion, Monk and Martyr, and many Companions at Alexandria; but Baronius, instead, inserted in the Modern Roman Martyrology another and wholly different Serapion, bishop of Thmuis and Confessor in one of the Arian persecutions, when S. Athanasius suffered their pursuit. This Serapion is mentioned by S. Athanasius.]

Serapion bishop of Thmuis, in Egypt, a friend of S. Antony the Great, and a champion of S. Athanasius, wrote an epistle to the great defender of orthodoxy, and another on the death of Arius, together with treatises on the titles of the Psalms, and on Manichĉism. He is said by S. Jerome to have suffered for his zeal in the orthodox cause, under Constantius, when the Arians were in power.


(ABOUT A.D. 430.)

[Roman and Benedictine Martyrologies; that of Usuardus, and that attributed to Bede. Authority:—A life by a contemporary, a monk of Condate, "Ego adhuc puerulus," he says. This life is very curious from its barbarous Latin, teeming as it does with words and phrases adopted from the Burgundian language. Also a life of SS. Romanus and Lupicinus by S. Gregory of Tours, written in the 5th cent., see Feb. 28th.]

Lupicinus and his younger brother Romanus, seeking372 solitude, climbed the rocks among the pines of the Jura, and established themselves in the wilderness of Joux, living on wild fruits and plants. They were both young; and they soon found that it was impossible for them to maintain life on the scanty food yielded by the mountains. They therefore descended to the plains, and entered the cottage of a poor woman, and told her how they had tried to serve God in the midst of the rocks, but had found such a life insupportable. The woman sharply rebuked them for having put their hand to the plough, and then turned back, and they filled with shame, turned their faces once more to the mountains, and penetrated its recesses. And then many came to them from all quarters, and the grain and herbs they had sown and planted sprang up, and they cut down trees, and built the monastery of Condate.72 But soon the place was too strait for them, and a colony went forth, and founded Lauconne, also in the Jura, and another was established at Romainmoutier. Lupicinus was abbot, and all obeyed him. He is said by S. Gregory of Tours to have been very austere and stern in the maintenance of discipline, so that from his harshness some brethren fled, but the contemporary writer gives a very different picture of him. A story of his severity, with which the mildness of his brother contrasts pleasingly, has been related in the life of S. Romanus (Feb. 28th).

But if he could be harsh at times, at others he overflowed with gentleness.

He wore a rough garment made of the skins of beasts stitched together, and wooden shoes, or rather sandals.73 When others retired to rest after singing vespers, he retreated to his oratory, however cold the weather, meditating373 and dozing till the midnight office; in the quaint Latin of his biographer it is said that he entered the oratory "mĉditaturus potius quam repausaturus" (to meditate rather than to repose.)

A pretty story is told of the tender care of the abbot Lupicinus for a monk whose exaggerated fasting had brought him to such a pass that it was thought he could not live many days. This man, who was younger than Lupicinus, not content with the strict rule of the house, refused to eat and drink till after vespers, and then he would touch nothing but the crumbs which the brethren had let fall on the floor, which he collected in his palm, and moistened with a little water. The result was that he was struck down as with paralysis, and lay unable to move on his pallet, ghastly, and scarce breathing. This monk was so set on maintaining his self-imposed rule that the abbot doubted for some while how to treat him. At last when all the brethren were at work one bright spring day, he remained behind, and going to the monk's side, said, "Come, my brother, and let me carry you on my back into the little garden; you have long been shut in here in this dull cell, unable to set foot on the ground, and glad your eyes with the fresh green grass." So he set him on his back, and carried him into the garden, and spread some sheepskins on the herb, and lay the emaciated brother on it, and then lay down beside him as though he were also suffering from exhaustion and rheumatism. After a while he began to rub his arms and legs, and say, "Good God! how comforted I am by this.74 Brother, come, let me rub your back and legs and arms also, it makes them feel so much better." And when he had done this for a while, the brother, who lay half torpid, began to stretch himself a bit, and spread out his legs in the sun.


Seeing this, the abbot ran to the kitchen, and got some bits of broken bread, and then went into the cellar and sopped them in the best wine, and after that poured a little oil upon them, and came back into the garden, holding out what he had got, exclaiming, "Look! sweetest brother, away with your self-imposed severity, and doubt not it has been too hard for you, follow my example, and obey my advice," and then he gave him half of what he had prepared, eating the rest himself, to encourage the monk. So having rubbed him a little more, and sung a hymn, and said a prayer, he took him up on his back once more, and carried him back to his cell again. Next day he did precisely the same, and so on till the monk was able to totter into the garden, leaning upon him, and then he amused him and occupied him by making him pick berries. And thus, by degrees, he restored to his vigour a man who was thought to be on the brink of the grave. He lived many years longer.

There were two monks who, tired of the discipline, or offended at being set to work that displeased them, resolved to go away. They met in the oratory at night, going thither under pretence of keeping vigil, and one said to the other, "You take spade and axe, and I will carry off the coverlets, and so we shall do well where we are going." Now in a dark corner was the abbot praying, and he heard them, and he cried out, "How, my children, is this! Will ye, going away, and disturb our peace?" Then the two monks fell down dismayed at his feet, but he extending his hands, put one under each of their chins, and stooping gently, kissed them, said no one word of reproach, but betook himself to the arms of prayer to God. Then the two monks stole back, penitent and humbled, to their beds, and one remained at Condate till he died, twenty years after; but the second after a while ran away, but returned again to375 Lupicinus, sorrowful for what he had done, and resolved to continue with him through the rest of his life.

When Lupicinus was old, he sought king Chilperic who governed Burgundy, and who was then in Geneva.75

He went to him to plead the cause of some poor natives of the Sequanaise, who had been reduced into slavery by a subordinate potentate. This petty tyrant was one of those degenerate Romans, courtiers and oppressors, who, by flattering the new-born authority of the barbarian kings, found means of trampling on and spoiling their inferiors. He was perhaps one of those senators of Gaul whom the Burgundians had admitted in 456 to a share of the conquered soil, and Lupicinus, although of Gallo-Roman origin, seems to have been less favourably disposed towards the Roman government than that of the Barbarians. Gregory of Tours has recorded a tradition which well depicts the impression made on the popular imagination by this apparition of the monks confronted with the triumphant Barbarians. He relates that when Lupicinus crossed the threshold of the palace of Chilperic, the throne upon which the king was seated trembled, as if there had been an earthquake. Reassured at the sight of the old man clothed in skins, the Burgundian prince listened to the curious debate which arose between the oppressor and the advocate of the oppressed. "It is then thou," said the courtier to the abbot, "it is thou, old impostor, who hast already insulted the Roman power for ten years, by announcing that all this region, and its chiefs, were hastening to their ruin."376 "Yes, truly," answered the monk, pointing to the king, who listened, "Yes, perverse traitor, the ruin which I predicted to thee and to thy fellows, there it is. Seest thou not, degenerate man, that thy rights are destroyed by thy sins, and that the prayers of the innocent are granted? Seest thou not that the fasces and the Roman purple are compelled to bow before a foreign judge? Take heed that some unexpected guest does not come before a new tribunal to claim thy lands and thy domains." The king of the Burgundians not only justified the abbot by restoring his clients to liberty, but overwhelmed him with presents, and offered him fields, and vineyards for his abbey. Lupicinus would only accept a portion of the produce of these fields and vineyards, fearing that the sentiment of too vast a property might make his monks proud. Then the king decreed that they should be allowed every year three hundred measures of corn, three hundred measures of wine, and a hundred gold pieces for vestments; and the treasury of the Merovingian kings continued to pay these dues long after the fall of the kingdom of the Burgundians.

The old abbot was true to his profession of self-mortification to the last. As he lay a dying he asked for a drink of water. One of the brethren sweetened it, by pouring in a spoonful of honey. But the dying man, when he tasted the sweetness, turned his head away, and refused to drink.


(ABOUT A.D. 540.)

[Irish Martyrologies. Authority:—A fragment of the Life by Augustine MacCrodin, published by Colgan, written about 1390. The following account of the home of S. Enda, and sketch of his life, is taken from the Bishop of Ardagh's charming "Visit to Aran-more," Brown and Nolan, Dublin, 1870.]

S. Enda, whose name in Irish is written Einne and377 Ende, and in Latin, Endeus and Anna, was born in Louth about the middle of the fifth century, and was the only son of Conall, king of Oriel, whose territories included the modern counties of Louth, Monaghan, Armagh, and Fermanagh. Three of his sisters, Fanchea, Lochinia, and Carecha, were nuns, and Darenia, the fourth sister, was wife of Engus, king of Cashel, whose death is placed by the Four Masters in the year 489. On the death of his father, the youthful Enda was chosen to succeed him as head of the men of Oriel. The warlike spirit of the times took strong hold of the young prince's heart, and we find him at an early period of his life captivated by the love of glory, and eager to show by his military prowess that he was worthy of the royal race from which he had sprung, and of the throne which he filled. His holy sister, Fanchea, was incessant in her exertions to win for God her brother's heart, which, with all its defects, she knew to be chivalrous and pure. For a time her words of warning and entreaty remained without result; but the season of grace came soon. Enda had asked from his sister in marriage one of the royal maidens who were receiving their education in the convent which she ruled. Fanchea communicated his request to the maiden: "Make thou thy choice, whether wilt thou love Him whom I love, or this earthly bridegroom?" "Whom thou lovest," was the girl's sweet reply, "Him also will I love." She died soon after, and gave her soul to God, the Spouse whom she had chosen.

"The holy virgin," says the ancient life, covered the face of the dead girl with a veil, and going again to Enda, said to him: "Young man, come and see the maiden whom thou lovest." Then Enda with the virgin entered the chamber where was the dead girl, and the holy virgin uncovering the face of the lifeless maiden, said to him: "Now look upon the face of her whom thou didst love." And Enda378 cried out: "Alas! she is fair no longer, but ghastly white." "So also shalt thy face be," replied the holy virgin. And then S. Fanchea discoursed to him of the pains of hell, and of the joys of heaven, until the young man's tears began to flow. O! the wondrous mercy of God in the conversion of this man to the true faith! for even as He changed the haughty Saul into the humble Paul, so out of this worldly prince did he make a spiritual and a holy teacher and pastor of His people. For having heard the words of the holy virgin, despising the vanities of the world, he took the monk's habit and tonsure, and what the tonsure signified, he fulfilled by his actions.

After having founded a monastery in his native place, S. Enda is said to have proceeded to Rosnat or Abba, in Britain, where he remained for some time under the spiritual direction of S. Mansenus or Manchan. Thence, according to the above-mentioned life, he went to Rome, where "attentively studying the examples of the saints, and preparing himself in everything for the order of priesthood, having at length been ordained priest, he was pleasing to the most high God." He built a monastery called Lĉtinum or the Place of Joy; and rightly so called, adds the life, "because therein the command of loving God and our neighbour was most faithfully carried out."

Returning to Ireland, he landed at Drogheda, and built several churches on either side of the river Boyne. He then proceeded southwards to visit his brother-in-law, Engus, king of Munster, from whom he asked the island of Aran, that he might dwell thereon. The king was first unwilling to comply with his request; not because he was ungenerous, but because he had learned from S. Patrick "not to offer to the Lord his God any lands save such as were good and fertile, and easy of access." But S. Enda declared that Aran was to be the place of his resurrection; and at length379 the king made an offering of the island "to God and to S. Enda," asking in return the blessing of the saint.

Having thus obtained possession of what he rightly deemed a place of singular retirement, and well suited for the rigours of a penitential life, S. Enda returned to his brethren, and conducted them in safety to the island, which was then inhabited by Pagans from the adjacent coast of Clare. He divided the island into ten parts, and built thereon ten monasteries, each under the rule of its proper superior. He chose a place for his own residence on the eastern coast, and there erected a monastery, the name and site of which is preserved to this day in the little village of Kil-eany (Kill-Enda), about a mile from Kilronan. One half of the island was assigned to this monastery.

Then began the blessed days, when the sweet odour of penance ascended to heaven from the angelic band of monks, who, under the severe rule of S. Enda, made Aran a burning light of sanctity for centuries in Western Europe. "The virginal saint from Aran Island," as Marianus O'Gorman styles S. Enda, was to them a model of all the virtues of the religious life, but, above all, he excelled in the exercise of penitential mortifications. S. Cuimin of Connor tells us that:—

Enda loved glorious mortification
In Aran—triumphant virtue!
A narrow dungeon of flinty stone,
To bring the people to heaven.

"Aran," says Froude,76 "is no better than a wild rock. It is strewed over with the ruins, which may still be seen, of the old hermitages; and at their best they could have been but such places as sheep would huddle under in a storm, and shiver in the cold and wet which would pierce through the chinks of the walls.... Yes; there on that wet380 soil, with that dripping roof above them, was the chosen home of these poor men. Through winter frost, through rain and storm, through summer sunshine, generation after generation of them, there they lived and prayed, and at last lay down and died."

These miracles of penance were the first and immediate results of S. Enda's work in Aran.

It was in his life that these holy men had daily before them the personal realization of all they were striving after; he taught them to cherish the flinty dungeon and the dripping cave for love of the hard manger and the harder cross; he bade them dwell amid the discomforts and dreariness of their island home, because in the tabernacles of sinners the blessed majesty of God was daily outraged by the crimes of men. We cannot, indeed, describe the details of his life, for they have been hidden from human view, as it is becoming that such secrets of the Heavenly King should be hidden. But there yet survives the voice of one of those who lived with him in Aran, and in the ideal of an abbot which S. Carthage sets before us, we undoubtedly find re-produced the traits which distinguished the abbot of Aran-more, from whom S. Carthage first learned to serve God in the religious life. S. Enda was his first model of the "patience, humility, prayer, fast, and cheerful abstinence; of the steadiness, modesty, calmness that are due from a leader of religious men, whose office it is to teach in all truth, unity, forgiveness, purity, rectitude in all that is moral; whose chief works are the constant preaching of the Gospel for the instruction of all persons, and the sacrifice of the Body of the great Lord upon the holy altar."77

The fame of S. Enda's austere holiness, and of the angelical life which so many were leading in Aran under his guidance, soon spread far and wide throughout the land.381 Soon, the Galway fishermen, whom S. Enda had blessed, found day after day their corachs crowded with strangers—religious men, of meek eye and gentle face—seeking to cross over to the island. And thus Aran gradually came to be, as the writer of the life of S. Kieran of Clonmacnoise describes it, the home of a multitude of holy men, and the sanctuary where repose the relics of countless saints, whose names are known only to the Almighty God. "Great indeed is that island," exclaims another ancient writer, "and it is the land of the saints, for no one, save God alone, knows how many holy men lie buried therein."78

But, although it is not possible to learn the names of all the saints who were formed to holiness by S. Enda in Aran, the ancient records have preserved the names of a few at least out of that blessed multitude. The history of these men is the history of S. Enda's work on Aran. First among S. Enda's disciples must be ranked S. Kieran, the founder of Clonmacnoise, who came to Aran in his youth, and for seven years lived faithfully in the service of God, under the direction of S. Enda. "During these seven years," says the ancient life of our saint, "Kieran so diligently discharged the duties of grinding the corn, that grain in quantity sufficient to make a heap never was found in the granary of the island." Upon these humble labours the light of the future greatness of the founder of Clonmacnoise was allowed to shine in visions calling him elsewhere, but he could not bring himself to sever the happy ties that bound him to his abbot. He still longed to be under his guidance, and when recommending himself to the prayers of his brethren, he said to S. Enda, in the presence of all, "O father, take me and my charge under thy protection, that all my disciples may be thine likewise." "Not so,"382 answered Enda, "for it is not the will of God that you should all live under my care in this scanty island." And when they had thus spoken, a cross was set up in the place, in sign of the brotherhood they had contracted between themselves, and those who were to come after them; and they said: "whosoever in after times shall break the loving bond of this our brotherhood, shall not have share in our love on earth, nor in our company in heaven."

The love which S. Enda bore towards his holy pupil, for his many and wonderful virtues, made their parting singularly painful to them both. For a time the holy abbot felt as if the angels of God were leaving Aran with Kieran, and he could find no relief for his anguish but in prayer. The sternness of religious discipline had not crushed but chastened the tenderness of an affectionate disposition in S. Enda. The entire community of the island shared the sorrow that had come on their venerable abbot. When the moment of departure was at hand, and the boat that was to bear him from Aran was spreading its sails to the breeze, Kieran came slowly down to the shore, walking between S. Enda and S. Finnian, and followed by the entire brotherhood. His tears flowed fast as he moved along, and those who accompanied him mingled their tears with his. Peter de Blois, when leaving the abbey of Croyland to return to his own country, stayed his steps seven times to look back and contemplate once again the place where he had been so happy; so, too, did Kieran's gaze linger with tenderness upon the dark hills of Aran and on the oratories where he had learned to love God, and to feel how good and joyous a thing it is to dwell with brethren whose hearts are at one with each other in God. And when the shore was reached, again he knelt to ask his father's blessing, and, entering the boat, was carried away from the Aran that he was never to see again.383 The monastic group stayed for a while on the rocks to follow with longing eyes the bark that was bearing from them him they loved; and when at length, bending their steps homewards, they had gone some distance from the shore, S. Enda's tears once more began to flow. "O my brethren," cried he, "good reason have I to weep, for this day has our island lost the flower and strength of religious observance." What was loss to Aran, however, was gain to Clonmacnoise, and through Clonmacnoise to the entire Irish Church.

Next among the saints of Aran comes S. Brendan. S. Finnian of Moville (March 18th) is also mentioned in the ancient life of our saint as one of S. Enda's disciples at Aran. The Irish life of S. Columbkille makes mention of the sojourn of that great saint on Aran. The deep love of S. Columba for Aran, the sorrow with which he quitted its shores for Iona, are expressed in a poem, written by him on his departure.

Aran, the Rome of the pilgrims.
Aran thou sun—O! Aran thou sun!
My affection lies with thee westward;
Alike to be under her pure earth interred,
As under the earth of Peter and Paul.

The ancient life of S. Enda also reckons among the inhabitants of Aran S. Finnian the elder, the founder of the great school of Clonard; S. Jarlath, the founder of the see of Tuam; S. Mac Creiche, of the race of the men of Corcomroe, who were in possession of Aran when S. Enda first went thither. The Martyrology of Donegal makes mention of S. Guigneus; the Martyrology of Ĉngus adds S. Papeus, S. Kevin of Glendaloch, S. Carthage of Lismore, S. Lonan Kerr, S. Nechanus, and S. Libeus, brother of S. Enda. In the midst of this holy brotherhood S. Enda died in 540 or 542.


The sight of Aran peopled by this host of saints forcibly recalls to mind that other island, where, in an age of wild and fierce passions, the arts of peace, religious learning, and the highest Christian virtues, found a sanctuary. At the beginning of the sixth century, Aran may, with truth, be styled the Lerins of the Northern seas. True, its bare flags and cold grey landscape contrast sadly with "the gushing streams, the green meadows, the luxuriant wealth of vines, the fair valleys, and the fragrant scents which," according to S. Eucherius, "made Lerins the paradise of those who dwelt thereon."79 However, its very wildness did but make it richer in those attractions so well described by S. Ambrose, which made the outlying islands so dear to the religious men of that time.80 They loved those islands, "which, as a necklace of perils, God has set upon the bosom of the sea, and in which those who would fly from the irregular pleasures of the world, may find a refuge wherein to practise austerity and save themselves from the snares of this life. In it these faithful and pious men find incentives to devotion. The mysterious sound of the billows calls for the answering sound of sacred psalmody; and the peaceful voices of holy men, mingled with the gentle murmur of the waves breaking softly on the shore rise in unison to the heavens."

On a summer's day in the year 1870, says the Bishop of Ardagh, we set sail to visit the remote Aran, which the virtues of S. Enda had changed from a Pagan isle into Aran of the Saints. And as the faint breeze bore us slowly over the waters that lay almost motionless in the summer calm, we gazed with admiration upon a scene which was but little changed since S. Enda and his pilgrim band had first looked upon it. Before us there lay stretched out the same expanse of sea, fringed on one side by385 the dark plains of Iar-Connaught, along which the eye travelled from the white cliffs of Barna to where the Connemara mountains, in soft blue masses, stood out in fantastic clusters against the sky. On the other side ran the Clare coastline, now retreating before the deep sea-inlets, and now breasting the Atlantic with bold promontories like that of gloomy Black-Head, or with gigantic cliffs like those of Mohir. And as the day closed, and we watched the evening breeze steal out from land, crisping the water into wavelets that rippled against the vessel's side; and as we saw the golden glory of the sunset flush with indescribable loveliness, earth, and sea, and sky, we thought how often in bygone days, the view of Aran rising, as we then saw it, out of the sunlit waves, had brought joy to the pilgrim who was journeying to find rest upon its rocky shore.

The Aran isles are three in number, named respectively, Inishmore (the large island), Inishmain (the middle island), and Inisheen (the eastern island). The eastern island is the smallest of the three, and is about two-and-a-half miles long; the middle island is three miles long; the largest is about nine miles in length, and twenty-four in circumference.

Our chief interest was naturally centred in the group of buildings which exist at Killeany, and consist of the church of S. Benignus, the church of S. Enda, the round tower of S. Enda, and the stone houses in its immediate vicinity. Our readers will have remarked that the first six churches named in Dr. Keely's list, all stood near each other, and to the north of the present village of Killeany. Out of six churches which existed here as late as 1645, four have almost entirely disappeared. They were demolished by unholy hands for the sake of materials to build the castle of Arkin.

The church known as Teglach Enda, wherein S. Enda386 was laid, still exists on the shore; it is in good preservation, and is a fine specimen of the single church without chancel. It is twenty-four feet in length and fourteen in breadth. All the walls now standing are by no means of an equal antiquity. The eastern gable and part of the northern side wall are the only parts belonging to S. Enda's time, the remainder of the building being the work of a later period. Around the church spreads the cemetery, now almost completely covered up by the sands, in which the body of S. Enda, and those of one hundred and fifty other saints, are interred.

On the hill side, are S. Enda's well, and altar; the latter surmounted by a rude cross. S. Enda's well, and indeed all the other wells we saw in the island, are carefully protected by the Araners; the scarcity of water rendering the possession of a well almost as precious to them as it was to the Eastern shepherds in the days of Rebecca. At a short distance to the left of the well, stands the remnant of the round tower of S. Enda. Once its height was worthy of the cluster of sacred temples which stood within the circle traversed by the shadow it projected in the changing hours; but now it is little more than thirteen feet high. An aged man who joined our group, told us that in S. Enda's time the mass was not commenced in any of the churches of the island, until the bell from S. Enda's tower announced that S. Enda himself had taken his place at the altar in his own church.

With the permission of the excellent priest who has charge of the island, we resolved, on the last morning of our stay on Aran, to celebrate mass in the ruined church of Teglach-Enda, where in the year 540 or 542, S. Enda was interred. The morning was bright and clear, and the rigid outlines of the rocks were softened by the touch of the early sunshine. The inhabitants of Killeany, exulting in the387 tidings that the Holy Sacrifice was once again to be offered to God near the shrine of their sainted patron, accompanied or followed us to the venerable ruins. The men, young and old, were clothed in decent black, or in white garments of home-made stuff, with sandals of undressed leather, like those of the peasants of the Abruzzi, laced round their feet; the women were attired in gay scarlet gowns and blue bodices, and all wore a look of remarkable neatness and comfort. The small roofless church was soon filled to overflowing with a decorous and devout congregation.

We can never forget the scene of that morning: the pure bright sand, covering the graves of unknown and unnumbered saints as with a robe of silver tissue; the delicate green foliage of the wild plants; on one side, the swelling hill crowned with the church of S. Benignus, and on the other the blue sea, that almost bathed the foundations of the venerable sanctuary itself; the soft balmy air that hardly stirred the ferns on the old walls; and the fresh, happy, solemn calm that reigned over all.

The temporary altar was set up under the east window, on the site where of old the altar stood; and there, in the midst of the loving and simple faithful, within the walls which had been consecrated some twelve hundred years before, over the very spot of earth where so many of the saints of Ireland lay awaiting their resurrection to glory, the solemn rite of the Christian Sacrifice was performed, and once more, as in the days of which S. Columba wrote, the angels of God came down to worship the Divine Victim in the Churches of Aran.



(A.D. 543.)

[Roman Martyrology, Benedictine, that of Bede. Greek Menologium on March 14th. Authorities:—Life written by S. Gregory the Great, in the second book of his dialogues; S. Gregory received his information from the lips of four disciples of the holy patriarch, Constantine, Honoratus, Valentinian, and Simplicius, the two first of whom had succeeded him as abbots respectively of Monte Cassino and Subiaco. Also the Chronicon Casinense, the first three books containing the life of S. Benedict by Leo Marsicanus, B. of Ostia, a monk of Monte Casino; the fourth book was added by Paulus Diacomus. The following life has been condensed from that by M. de Montalembert in his "Monks of the West."]

S. Benedict was born in the year of our Lord 480. Europe has, perhaps, never known a more calamitous or apparently desperate period than that which reached its climax at this date. Confusion, corruption, despair, and death were everywhere; social dismemberment seemed complete. Authority, morals, laws, sciences, arts, religion herself, might have been supposed condemned to irremediable ruin. The germs of a splendid and approaching revival were still hidden from all eyes under the ruins of a crumbling world. The Church was more than ever infected by heresy, schisms, and divisions, which the obscure successors of S. Leo the Great in the Holy See endeavoured in vain to repress. In all the ancient Roman world there did not exist a prince who was not either a pagan, an Arian, or an Eutychian. The monastic institution, after having given so many doctors and saints to the Church in the East, was drifting toward that descent which it never was doomed to reascend; and even in the West, some symptoms of premature decay had already appeared.

S. BENEDICT. After Cahier.

March 21.

Germany was still entirely pagan, as was also Great Britain, where the new-born faith had been stifled by the Angles and Saxons. Gaul was invaded on the north by the pagan389 Franks, and on the south by the Arian Burgundians. Spain was overrun and ravaged by the Visigoths, the Sueves, the Alans, and the Vandals, all Arians. The same Vandals, under the successor of Genseric, made Christian Africa desolate, by a persecution more unpitying and refined in cruelty than those of the Roman emperors. In a word, all those countries into which the first disciples of Jesus Christ carried the faith, had fallen a prey to barbarianism. The world had to be re-conquered.

Amidst this universal darkness and desolation, history directs our gaze towards those heights in the centre of Italy, and at the gates of Rome, which detach themselves from the chain of the Apennines, and extend from the ancient country of the Sabines to that of the Samnites. A single solitary was about to form there a centre of spiritual virtue, and to light it up with a splendour destined to shine over regenerated Europe for ten centuries to come.

Fifty miles to the west of Rome, among that group of hills where the Anio hollows a deep gorge, the traveller, ascending by the course of the river, reaches a basin, which opens out between two immense walls of rock, and from which a limpid stream pours from fall to fall, to a place called Subiaco. This grand and picturesque site had attracted the attention of Nero. He confined the waters of the Anio by dams, and constructed artificial lakes below, before a delicious villa, which, from its position, assumed the name of Sublaqueum, and of which some shapeless ruins remain. Four centuries after Nero, when solitude and silence had long replaced the imperial orgies, a young patrician flying from the delights and dangers of Rome, sought there a refuge with God. He had been baptized under the name of Benedictus, or the Blessed. He belonged to the illustrious Anician family; by his mother's side he was the last scion of the lords of Nursia, where he was390 born, as has been said, in 480. He was scarce fourteen when he resolved to renounce fortune, his family, and the happiness of this world. Leaving his old nurse, who had been the first to love him, and who alone followed him still, he plunged, in 494, into these wild gorges, and ascended those savage hills. On the way he met a monk, named Romanus, who gave him a hair shirt and a monastic habit made of skin.81 Proceeding on his ascent, and reaching the middle of the abrupt rock, which faces the south, and which overhangs the Anio, he discovered a dark cave, a sort of den, unillumined by the sun. He there took up his abode, and remained unknown to all, except the monk Romanus, who fed him with the remainder of his own scanty fare, but who, not being able to reach his cell, transmitted to him every day, at the end of a cord, a loaf and a little bell, the sound of which warned him of this sustenance which charity had provided for him.

He lived three entire years in this tomb. The shepherds who discovered him there at first took him for a wild beast, but by his discourses, and the efforts he made to instil grace and piety into their rustic souls, they recognised in him a servant of God. Temptations were not wanting to him. The allurements of voluptuousness acted so strongly on his excited senses, that he was on the point of leaving his retreat to seek after a woman whose beauty had formerly impressed him, and whose memory haunted him incessantly. But there was near his grotto a clump of thorns and briers: he took off the vestments of skins, which was his only dress, and rolled himself among them naked till his body was all one wound, but also till he had extinguished for ever the infernal fire which inflamed him even in the desert.

Seven centuries later, another saint, father of the most numerous monastic family which the church has produced391 after that of S. Benedict, S. Francis of Assisi, came to visit that wild site, which was worthy to rival the bare Tuscan rock, where the stigmata of the passion were imprinted on himself. He prostrated himself before the thicket of thorns which had been a triumphal bed to the masculine virtue of the patriarch of the monks, and after having bathed with his tears the soil of that glorious battle-field, he planted there two rose trees. The roses of S. Francis grew, and have survived the Benedictine briers. This garden, twice sanctified, still occupies a sort of triangular plateau, which projects upon the side of the rock, a little before and beneath the grotto which sheltered S. Benedict. The eye, confined on all sides by rocks, can survey freely only the azure of heaven. It is the last of those sacred places visited and venerated in the celebrated and unique monastery of the Iagro Speco, which forms a series of sanctuaries, built one over the other, backed by the mountain which Benedict has immortalized. Such was the hard and savage cradle of the monastic order in the West. It was from this tomb, where the delicate son of the last patricians of Rome buried himself alive, that the definite form of monastic life—that is to say, the perfection of Christian life—was born.

The solitude of the young anchorite was not long respected. The faithful in the neighbourhood, who brought him food for the body, asked the bread of life in return. The monks of a neighbouring monastery, situated near Vico Varo, obtained, by dint of importunity, his consent to become their ruler, but, soon disgusted by his austerity, they endeavoured to poison him. He made the sign of the cross over the vessel which contained the poison, and it broke as if it had been struck with a stone. He left these unworthy monks, to re-enter joyfully his beloved cavern, and to live by himself alone. But it was in vain: he soon found himself surrounded by such a multitude of disciples,392 that, to give them a shelter, he was compelled to found in the neighbourhood of his retreat twelve monasteries, each inhabited by twelve monks. He kept some with him, in order to direct them himself, and was thus finally raised to be the superior of a numerous community of cenobites.

Clergy and laymen, Romans and barbarians, victors and vanquished, alike flocked to him, attracted by the fame of his virtue and miracles. While the celebrated Theodoric, at the head of his Goths, up to that time invincible, destroyed the ephemeral kingdom of the Hercules, seized Rome, and overspread Italy, other Goths came to seek faith, penitence, and monastic discipline under the laws of Benedict. At his command they armed themselves with axes and hatchets, and employed their robust strength in rooting out the brushwood and clearing the soil, which, since the time of Nero, had again become a wilderness. The Italian painters of the great ages of art have left us many representations of the legend told by S. Gregory, in which S. Benedict restores to a Goth who had become a convert at Subiaco, the tool which that zealous but unskilled workman had dropped to the bottom of the lake, and which the abbot miraculously brought forth. "Take thy tool," said Benedict to the barbarian woodcutter,—"take it, work, and be comforted." Symbolical words, in which we find an abridgment of the precepts and examples lavished by the monastic order on so many generations of conquering races: Ecce labora.


From a Fresco, by Spinelli d'Arezzo, in the Church of San Miniato, near Florence.

March 21.

Beside these barbarians already occupied in restoring the cultivation of that Italian soil which their brethren in arms still wasted, were many children of the Roman nobility, whom their fathers had confided to Benedict to be trained to the service of God. Among these young patricians are two whose names are celebrated in Benedictine annals: Maur, whom the abbot Benedict made his own coadjutor;393 and Placidus, whose father was lord of the manor of Subiaco, which did not prevent his son from rendering menial services to the community, such as drawing water from the lake of Nero. The weight of his pitcher one day overbalanced him, and he fell into the lake. We shall leave Bossuet to tell the rest, in his panegyric, delivered twelve centuries afterwards before the sons of the founder of Subiaco:—

"S. Benedict ordered S. Maur, his faithful disciple, to run quickly and draw the child out. At the word of his master, Maur went away without hesitation, ... and full of confidence in the order he had received, walked upon the water with as much security as upon the earth, and drew Placidus from the whirlpool, which would have swallowed him up. To what shall I attribute so great a miracle, whether to the virtue of the obedience or to that of the commandment? A doubtful question, says S. Gregory, between S. Benedict and S. Maur. But let us say, to decide it, that the obedience had grace to accomplish the command, and that the command had grace to give efficacy to the obedience. Walk, my fathers, upon the waves with the help of obedience; you shall find solid support amid the inconstancy of human things. The waves shall have no power to overthrow you, nor the depths to swallow you up; you shall remain immovable, as if all was firm under your feet, and issue forth victorious."

However, Benedict had the ordinary fate of great men and saints. The great number of conversions worked by the example and fame of his austerity, awakened a homicidal envy against him. A wicked priest of the neighbourhood attempted first to decry and then poison him. Being unsuccessful in both, he endeavoured at least to injure him in the object of his most tender solicitude—in the souls of his young disciples. For that purpose he394 sent, even into the garden of the monastery, where Benedict dwelt, and where the monks laboured, seven wretched women, whose gestures, sports, and shameful nudity, were designed to tempt the young monks to certain fall. When Benedict, from the threshold of his cell, perceived these shameless creatures, he despaired of his work; he acknowledged that the interest of his beloved children constrained him to disarm so cruel an enmity by retreat. He appointed superiors to the twelve monasteries which he had founded, and, taking with him a small number of disciples, he left for ever the wild gorges of Subiaco, where he had lived for thirty-five years.

Without withdrawing from the mountainous region which extends along the western side of the Apennines, Benedict directed his steps toward the south, along the Abruzzi, and penetrated into that land of labour, the name of which seems naturally suited to a soil destined to be the cradle of the most laborious men whom the world has known. He ended his journey in a scene very different from that of Subiaco, but of incomparable grandeur and majesty. There upon the boundaries of Sammim and Campania, in the centre of a large basin, half-surrounded by abrupt and picturesque heights, rises a scarped and isolated hill, the vast and rounded summit of which overlooks the course of the Liris near its fountain head, and the undulating plain which extends south towards the shores of the Mediterranean, and the narrow valleys which, towards the north, the east, and the west, lost themselves in the lines of the mountainous horizon. This is Monte Cassino.

It was here, amidst this solemn nature, and upon that predestinated height, that the patriarch of the monks of the west founded the capital of the monastic order. He found paganism still surviving there. Two hundred years after Constantine, in the heart of Christendom, and so near395 Rome, there still existed a very ancient temple of Apollo, and a sacred wood, where a multitude of peasants sacrificed to the gods and demons. Benedict preached the faith of Christ to these forgotten people; he persuaded them to cut down the wood, to overthrow the temple and the idol.

Upon these remains Benedict built two oratories, one dedicated to S. John the Baptist, the first solitary of the new faith; the other to S. Martin, the great monk-bishop, whose ascetic and priestly life had edified Gaul, and reached as far as Italy.

Round these chapels rose the monastery which was to become the most powerful and celebrated in the Catholic universe; celebrated especially because there Benedict wrote his rule, and at the same time formed the type which was to serve as a model to innumerable communities submitted to that sovereign code. It is for this reason that emulous pontiffs, princes, and nations have praised, endowed, and visited the sanctuary where monastic religion, according to the expression of Pope Urban II., "flowed from the heart of Benedict as from a fountain-head of Paradise."

Benedict ended his life at Monte Cassino, where he lived for fourteen years, occupied, in the first place, with extirpating from the surrounding country the remnants of paganism, afterwards in building his monastery by the hands of his disciples, in cultivating the arid sides of his mountain, and the devastated plains around, but above all, in extending to all who approached him the benefits of the law of God, practised with a fervour and charity which none have surpassed. Although he had never been invested with the priestly character, his life at Monte Cassino was rather that of a missionary and apostle than of a solitary. He was, notwithstanding, the vigilant head of a community which flourished and increased more and396 more. Accustomed to subdue himself in everything, and to struggle with the infernal spirits, whose temptations and appearances were not wanting to him more than to the ancient fathers of the desert, he had acquired the gift of reading souls, and discerning their most secret thoughts. He used this faculty not only to direct the young monks, who always gathered in such numbers round him, in their studies and the labours of agriculture and building which he shared with them; but even in the distant journeys on which they were sometimes sent, he followed them by a spiritual observation, discovered their least failings, reprimanded them on their return, and bound them in everything to a strict fulfilment of the rule which they had accepted. He exacted from all, the obedience, sincerity, and austerely regulated life of which he himself gave the first example.

Many young men of rich and noble families came here, as at Subiaco, to put themselves under his direction, or were confided to him by their parents. They laboured with the other brethren in the cultivation of the soil and the building of the monastery, and were bound to all the services imposed by the rule. Some of the young nobles rebelled in secret against that equality. Among these, according to the narrative of S. Gregory, was the son of a defender—that is to say, of the first magistrate of a town or province. One evening, it being his turn to light the Abbot Benedict at supper, while he held the candlestick before the abbotial table, his pride rose within him, and he said to himself, "What is this man that I should thus stand before him while he eats, with a candle in my hand like a slave? Am I then made to be his slave?" Immediately Benedict, as if he had heard him, reproved him sharply for that movement of pride, gave the candle to another, and sent him back to his cell, dismayed to find himself at once discovered and restrained in his most secret thoughts. It397 was then that the great legislator inaugurated in his new-formed cloister that alliance of aristocratic races with the Benedictine Order which we shall shall have many generous and fruitful examples to quote.

He bound all—nobles and plebians, young and old, rich and poor—under the same discipline. But he would have excess or violence in nothing, and when he was told of a solitary in the neighbouring mountain, who, not content with shutting himself up in a narrow cave, had attached to his foot a chain, the other end of which was fixed in a rock, so that he could not move beyond the length of this chain, Benedict sent to tell him to break it, in these words, "If thou art truly a servant of God, confine thyself not with a chain of iron, but with the chain of Christ."

And extending his solicitude and authority over the surrounding populations, he did not content himself with preaching eloquently to them the true faith, but also healed the sick, the lepers and the possessed, provided for all the necessities of the soul and body, paid the debts of honest men oppressed by their creditors, and distributed in incessant alms the provisions of corn, wine, and linen which were sent to him by the rich Christians of the neighbourhood.

A great famine having afflicted Campania in 539, he distributed to the poor all the provisions of the monastery, so that one day there remained only five loaves to feed all the community. The monks were dismayed and melancholy: Benedict reproached them with their cowardice. "You have not enough to-day," he said to them, "but you shall have too much to-morrow." And accordingly they found next morning at the gates of the monastery two hundred bushels of flour, bestowed by some unknown hand. Thus were established the foundations of that traditional and unbounded munificence to which his spiritual descendants have remained unalterably faithful, and which was the law and glory of his existence.


So much sympathy for the poor naturally inspired them with a blind confidence in him. One day, when he had gone out with the brethren to labour in the fields, a peasant, distracted with grief, and bearing in his arms the body of his dead son, came to the monastery and demanded to see Father Benedict. When he was told that Benedict was in the fields with the brethren, he threw down his son's body before the door, and, in the transport of his grief, ran at full speed to seek the saint. He met him returning from his work, and from the moment he perceived him, began to cry, "Restore me my son!" Benedict stopped and asked "Have I carried him away?" The peasant answered "He is dead; come and raise him up." Benedict was grieved by these words, and said, "Go home my friend this is not a work for us; this belongs to the holy apostles. Why do you come to impose upon us so tremendous a burden?" But the father persisted, and swore in his passionate distress that he would not go till the saint had raised up his son. The abbot asked him where his son was. "His body" said he "is at the door of the monastery." Benedict, when he arrived there, fell on his knees, and then laid himself down, as Elijah did in the house of the widow of Sarepta, upon the body of the child, and rising up, extended his hands to heaven, praying thus; "Lord look not upon my sins but on the faith of this man, and restore to the body the soul Thou hast taken away from it." Scarcely was his prayer ended, when all present perceived that the whole body of the child trembled. Benedict took him by the hand, and restored him to his father full of life and health.

His virtue, his fame, the supernatural power which was more and more visible in his whole life, made him the natural protector of the poor husbandmen against the violence and rapine of the new masters of Italy. The great Theodoric had organized an energetic and protective govern399ment, but he dishonoured the end of his reign by persecution and cruelty; and since his death barbarism had regained all its ancient ascendancy among the Goths. The rural population groaned under the yoke of these rude oppressors, doubly exasperated, as Barbarians and as Arians against the Italian Catholics. To Benedict, the Roman patrician, who had become a serf of God, belonged the noble office of drawing towards each other the Italians and Barbarians, two races cruelly divided by religion, fortune, language, and manners, whose mutual hatred was embittered by so many catastrophes inflicted by the one, and suffered by the other, since the time of Alaric. The founder of Monte Cassino stood between the victors and the vanquished like an all-powerful moderator and inflexible judge. The facts which we are about to relate, according to the narrative of S. Gregory, could be told throughout all Italy, and, spreading from cottage to cottage, would bring unthought of hope and consolation into the hearts of the oppressed, and establish the popularity of Benedict and his order on an immortal foundation in the memory of the people.

It has been seen that there were already Goths among the monks at Subiaco, and how they were employed in reclaiming the soil which their fathers had laid waste. But there were others who, inflamed by heresy, professed a hatred of all that was orthodox and belonged to monastic life. One especially, named Galla, traversed the country panting with rage and cupidity, and made a sport of slaying the priests and monks who fell under his power, and spoiling and torturing the people to extort from them the little that they had remaining. An unfortunate peasant, exhausted by the torments inflicted upon him by the pitiless Goth, conceived the idea of bringing them to an end by declaring that he had confided all that he had to the keeping of400 Benedict, a servant of God; upon which Galla stopped the torture of the peasant, but, binding his arms with ropes, and thrusting him in front of his own horse, ordered him to go before and show the way to the house of this Benedict who had defrauded him of his expected prey. Both pursued thus the way to Monte Cassino; the peasant on foot, with his hands tied behind his back, urged on by the blows and taunts of the Goth, who followed on horseback, an image only too faithful of the two races which unhappy Italy enclosed within her distracted bosom, and which were to be judged and reconciled by the unarmed majesty of monastic goodness. When they had reached the summit of the mountain they perceived the abbot seated alone, reading at the door of his monastery. "Behold," said the prisoner turning to his tyrant, "there is the Father Benedict of whom I told thee." The Goth, believing that here, or elsewhere, he should be able to make his way by terror, immediately called out with a furious tone to the monk. "Rise up, rise up, and restore quickly what thou hast received from this peasant." At these words the man of God raised his eyes from his book, and, without speaking, slowly turned his gaze first upon the Barbarian on horseback, and then upon the husbandman bound, and bowed down by his cords. Under the light of that powerful gaze the cords which tied his poor arms loosed of themselves, and the innocent victim stood erect and free, while the ferocious Galla, falling on the ground, trembling, and beside himself, remained at the feet of Benedict, begging the saint to pray for him. Without interrupting his reading, Benedict called his brethren, and directed them to carry the fainting Barbarian into the monastery, and give him some blessed bread, and, when he had come to himself, the abbot represented to him the extravagance, injustice, and cruelty of his conduct, and exhorted him to change it for the future. The Goth was401 completely subdued, and no longer dared to ask anything of the labourer whom the mere glance of the monk had delivered from his bonds.

From a Fresco, painted by Spinelli d'Arezzo, in the Church of San Miniato, near Florence.

March 21.

But this mysterious attraction, which drew the Goths under the influence of Benedict's looks and words, produced another celebrated and significant scene. The two principal elements of reviving society in their most striking impersonation—the victorious Barbarians and the invincible monks—were here confronted. Totila, the greatest of the successors of Theodoric, ascended the throne in 542, and immediately undertook the restoration of the monarchy of the Ostrogoths, which the victories of Belisarius had half overthrown. Having defeated at Faenza, with only five thousand men, the numerous Byzantine army, led by the incapable commanders whom the jealousy of Justinian had substituted for Belisarius, the victorious king made a triumphal progress through Central Italy, and was on his way to Naples when he was seized with a desire to see this Benedict, whose fame was already as great among the Romans as among the Barbarians, and who was everywhere called a prophet. He directed his steps towards Monte Cassino, and caused his visit to be announced. Benedict answered that he would receive him. But Totila desirous of proving the prophetic spirit which was attributed to the saint, dressed the captain of his guard in the royal robes and purple boots, which were the distinctive marks of royalty, gave him a numerous escort, commanded by the three counts who usually guarded his own person, and charged him, thus clothed and accompanied, to present himself to the abbot as the king. The moment that Benedict perceived him, "My son," he cried, "put off the dress you wear; it is not yours." The officer immediately threw himself upon the ground, appalled at the idea of having attempted to deceive such a man. Neither he nor any of the retinue ventured402 so much as to approach the abbot, but returned at full speed to the king, to tell him how promptly they had been discovered. Then Totila himself ascended the monastic mountain, but when he had reached the height, and saw from a distance the abbot seated, waiting for him, the victor of the Romans, and the master of Italy was afraid. He dared not advance, but threw himself on his face before the servant of Christ. Benedict said to him three times, "Rise." But as he persisted in his prostration, the monk rose from his seat and raised him up. During the course of their interview, Benedict reproved him for all that was blamable in his life, and predicted what should happen to him in the future. "You have done much evil; you do it still every day; it is time that your iniquities should cease. You shall enter Rome; you shall cross the sea; you shall reign nine years, and the tenth you shall die." The king, deeply moved, commended himself to his prayers, and withdrew. But he carried away in his heart this salutary and retributive incident, and from that time his barbarian nature was transformed.

Totila was as victorious as Benedict had predicted that he should be. He possessed himself first of Benevento and Naples, then of Rome, then of Sicily, which he invaded with a fleet of five hundred ships, and ended by conquering Corsica and Sardinia. But he exhibited everywhere a clemency and gentleness which, to the historian of the Goths, seem out of character at once with his origin and his position as a foreign conqueror. He treated the Neapolitans as his children, and the captive soldiers as his own troops, gaining himself immortal honour by the contrast between his conduct and the horrible massacre of the whole population, which the Greeks had perpetrated ten years before, when that town was taken by Belisarius. He punished with death one of his bravest officers, who had insulted the403 daughter of an obscure Italian, and gave all his goods to the woman whom he had injured, and that despite the representations of the principal nobles of his own nation, whom he convinced of the necessity of so severe a measure, that they might merit the protection of God upon their arms. When Rome surrendered, after a prolonged siege, Totila forbade the Goths to shed the blood of any Roman, and protected the women from insult. At length, after a ten years' reign, he fell, according to the prediction of Benedict, in a great battle which he fought with the Greco-Roman army, commanded by the eunuch Narses.

Placed as if midway between the two invasions of the Goths and Lombards, the dear and holy foundation of Benedict, respected by the one, was to yield for a time to the rage of the other. The holy patriarch had a presentment that his successors would not meet a second Totila to listen to them and spare them. A noble whom he had converted, and who lived on familiar terms with him, found him one day weeping bitterly. He watched Benedict for a long time, and then, perceiving that his tears were not stayed, and that they proceeded not from the ordinary fervour of his prayers, but from profound melancholy, he asked the cause. The saint answered, "This monastery which I have built, and all that I have prepared for my brethren, has been delivered up to the pagans by a sentence of Almighty God. Scarcely have I been able to obtain mercy for their lives." Less than forty years after, this prediction was accomplished by the destruction of Monte Cassino by the Lombards.

Benedict, however, was near the end of his career. His interview with Totila took place in 542, in the year which preceded his death, and from his earliest days of the following year, God prepared him for his last struggle, by requiring from him the sacrifice of the most tender affection404 he had retained on earth. The beautiful and touching incident of the last meeting of Benedict with his twin sister, Scholastica, has been already recorded (Feb. 10th). At the window of his cell, three days after, Benedict had a vision of his dear sister's soul entering heaven in the form of a snowy dove. He immediately sent for the body, and placed it in the sepulchre which he had already prepared for himself, that death might not separate those whose souls had always been united in God.

The death of his sister was the signal of departure for himself. He survived her only forty days. He announced his death to several of his monks, then far from Monte Cassino. A violent fever having seized him, he caused himself on the sixth day of his sickness to be carried to the chapel of S. John the Baptist; he had before ordered the tomb in which his sister already slept to be opened. There, supported in the arms of his disciples, he received the holy Viaticum, then placing himself at the side of the open grave, but at the foot of the altar, and with his arms extended towards heaven, he died, standing, muttering a last prayer. Died standing!—such a victorious death became well that great soldier of God. He was buried by the side of Scholastica, in a sepulchre made on the spot where stood the altar of Apollo, which he had thrown down.

The body of S. Benedict was carried by S. Aigulf, monk of the abbey of Fleury, from Monte Cassino, which had been ruined by the Lombards, into France, to his own monastery. This translation took place on July 11th, and is commemorated in all the monasteries of France on that day. Another solemnity, called the Illation, has been instituted in honour of the transfer of the same relics from Orleans, whither they had been conveyed, from fear of the Normans, back again to Fleury-sur-Loire. In 1838, the bishop of Orleans resolved on sending the relics to the405 Benedictine abbey of Solesmes, in the diocese of Le Mans, but the project met with so great opposition that he contented himself with sending only the skull to Solesmes.

The reliquary which was opened in 1805, by Mgr. Bernier, bishop of Orleans, was found to contain, together with the bones, several papal bulls authenticating the relics. It is, however, necessary to add that the abbey of Monte Cassino claims to possess the body of S. Benedict, and adduces a bull of pope Urban II., declaring anathema against all who deny the authenticity of that body. It is possible that if the relics in both places were examined carefully, it would be found that the portions missing in one place would be found in the other. It is certain that S. Odilo of Cluny sent one of the bones of S. Benedict to Monte Cassino out of France, in the 11th cent., and that it was received there with great joy, so that the monks there cannot have possessed the body at that date.

In Art, S. Benedict is represented with his finger on his lip, as enjoining silence, and with his rule in his hand, or with the first words of that rule, "Ausculta, O fili!" issuing from his lips, and with a discipline, i.e. a scourge, or a rose bush at his side, or holding a broken goblet in his hand.

Saint giving benediction


March 22.

S. Paul, B. of Narbonne, 3rd or 4th cent.
S. Aphrodisius, B. of Beziers, 3rd or 4th cent.
SS. Callinica and Basilissa, MM. in Galatia, circ. A.D. 252.
SS. Saturninus and IX. Companions, MM. in Africa.
S. Basil, P.M. at Ancyra, A.D. 363.
S. Lea, W. at Rome, circ. A.D. 383.
S. Deogratias, B. of Carthage, circ. A.D. 456.
SS. Herlinda and Reinilda, V.V. Abss. at Maeseyck, in Belgium, 8th cent.
S. Benvenutus, B. of Osimo, in the Marches of Ancona, A.D. 1276.
S. Eelko Liaukman, Ab. of Lidlom, in Holland, A.D.. 1332.
B. Thomas of Lancaster, M. at Pontefract, A.D. 1321.
S. Katharine of Sweden, V. daughter of S. Bridget, A.D. 1381.
B. Nicolas von der Flue, H. at Sachseln, in Switzerland, A.D. 1487.



[Ancient Martyrology of S. Jerome; Gallican & Roman Martyrologies.]

Saint Paul, mentioned by the early martyrologies as bishop of Narbonne, and confessor, has been conjectured to be Sergius Paulus, the proconsul, converted in the island of Cyprus by the apostle Paul, when Elymas, the sorcerer, withstood S. Paul. There is no evidence substantiating this, nor does it appear to rest on any very ancient tradition.

The most ancient martyrologies do not assert it, though some of them say that he was a convert of the Apostle of the Gentiles. The Roman Martyrology mentions the report, but does not authorise it. The Acts of his life are not deserving of credence. S. Paul certainly lived much later than he is represented to have done.

Some relics are preserved in the Church of S. Paul at Narbonne.




[Roman Martyrology, the Evora Breviary, and others.]

This bishop, an Egyptian by birth, accompanied S. Paul of Narbonne, in his mission into Gaul. A foolish legend82 (fabulosa narratio it is called by Henschenius) is to the effect that he was governor of Egypt at the time when S. Joseph and the B. Virgin went down thither with the Holy Child Jesus, to escape the persecution of Herod who sought the young child's life. On the arrival of the child Jesus in Egypt all the idols fell, and Aphrodisius, recognising in Him his God, bowed before Him in adoration, and defended the Holy Family from the rage of the idolatrous priests. After the Ascension he laid down his prefectship and went to Antioch where he was baptized by S. Peter, and afterwards sent with S. Sergius Paulus into Gaul. S. Aphrodisius, however, certainly lived much later than he is represented to have done.


(A.D. 363.)

[Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on the same day. In the Syriac Church, a S. Basil and his Companions are commemorated on March 1st, and another S. Basil and his Companions on March 8th, and S. Basil, P. M., on March 28th in the Coptic Kalendar. The Greek Acts are genuine, and were written by a contemporary. Other versions of the Acts exist, but they are corrupted by the intermixture of the Acts of another S. Basil, a frequent mistake, when there are several saints of the same name.]

S. Basil was a priest of Ancyra, very fervent in spirit, zealous in upholding the Catholic faith, and combating the Arian heresy foot to foot. An Arian synod of bishops ordered his degradation from his office, in 360, and ap408pointed Eudoxius, a bishop, and an Arian, in his place. But Basil encouraged by the Catholic bishops refused to budge, but maintained his ground, and was indefatigable in stimulating the courage of the faithful, and encouraging the half-hearted. He was the means of restoring large numbers of those who had been taught by the Arians to disbelieve in the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father to full Catholic faith, thereby exasperating the heretics against him. He was one of those fiery enthusiasts of resistless energy, uncompromising with himself and others, a type as needful as the soft and gentle saint, winning through love. The burning faith of Basil carried him dauntless into danger, and made him regardless of opposition, and those spirits which looked to a strong nature for support found a rock in Basil.

As soon as Julian assumed the purple, paganism was revived; and if the Christians were not openly persecuted, every means which craft could devise of breaking their resolution were resorted to, and with such success that the mild measures of Julian proved more dangerous to the Church than the fiery persecution of Decius. But the patience of Julian gave way towards the end of his career, and it is certain that in some cases he encouraged, and in others connived at the resort to violence to punish the most zealous upholders of Christianity. The charges against those most obnoxious were not always their religion, but contempt of the edicts or seditious conduct. Basil worked so effectually in Ancyra to counteract the imperial policy that the pagan priests and governor were resolved to destroy him, hoping that, if the prop of the Ancyran Christians were removed, their faith would yield with a crash. Macarius, one of the priests of the idols, laid hold of Basil as he was publicly denouncing heathen worship, and drew him before the magistrate, Saturninus, on the charge of stirring up the people against the established religion. "What409 meanest thou," cried Macarius, "going to and fro in the city, agitating the people against the religion established by the emperor?" "God break thy jaws, thou bondslave of Satan!" answered Basil. "It is not I who ruin thy religion, but He who is in Heaven who confounds thy counsel and dissipates thy lies."

Then Macarius cried out to the proconsul, "I charge this fellow with making sedition in the city, stirring up the people to overthrow our altars and defy the emperor." "Who art thou," asked Saturninus, "who art so audacious as to do these things?" Basil replied, "I am the best of everything,—a Christian."

"Then why, if thou art a Christian, dost not thou behave as a Christian?" "I do," answered Basil; "it behoves every Christian to make bare all acts."

"Why dost thou make revolt in the city, transgressing good laws, and blaspheming the emperor?"

"I do not blaspheme the emperor or his religion. God is my emperor, and He will bring your petty established religion to naught in no time."

"So the religion of the emperor is not true!"

"How can I regard that religion as true, and that worship as true which consists in men running howling about the streets like rabid dogs with raw flesh in their mouths."83

"Hang him up and scrape him," said the proconsul. So Basil was suspended by his wrists and ankles, and his flesh was torn with rakes. And as he suffered he cried, "Lord God of ages, I thank thee that I am deemed worthy to enter into the way of life through these torments, walking through which I may behold the heirs of thy promises!" Then he was taken down and cast into prison. And after that the proconsul sent to the emperor Julian, to announce what410 had taken place, and to ask further orders. Then the emperor sent three renegade Christians, and advised the proconsul to endeavour by all means to persuade and flatter Basil into apostasy. But though all efforts were used to shake his resolution they failed, and Basil remained in chains till Julian himself passed through Ancyra on his way east to the Persian war. Then Basil was summoned before the emperor, and Julian endeavoured to persuade him to conform to his religion, but the holy martyr blazed forth in righteous zeal against the apostate. "Thou renegade hast abdicated the throne prepared for thee in heaven," he said; "And verily I believe that Christ whom thou hast abjured will take thee and pluck thee out of thy dwelling, that thou mayest know how great is that God whom thou hast offended. Thou hast not thought of His judgments, nor venerated His altar where thou wast given salvation; thou hast not kept His law which often thou didst declare with thy lips; wherefore the great emperor Christ will not remember thee, but will take from thee speedily thy earthly empire, and thy body shall be deprived of a sepulchre, and thou shalt breathe forth thy soul in greatest anguish."

Then Julian ordered him to be taken away, and seven thongs to be cut daily from his skin. This command was given to Frumentinus, Count of the Squires (Comes Scutariorum.) And when this had been done, the martyr gathered up one of the strips of skin cut off him, in his hand, and besought that he might be conducted before the emperor. And as Frumentinus believed that he was about to make adjuration of his religion, he brought him into the council hall before Julian. Then he cried, "Dumb and deaf and blind are thy idols, Apostate! To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. He is my helper in whom I trust, and for whom I suffer. Here is meat for thee, Julian!" and he flung the strip of skin in his face.


Then the count, alarmed at having occasioned this scene, by suffering Basil to return into the emperor's presence, hurried him out and cast him into prison. On the morrow Julian departed for Antioch, without having seen the count, who feared that he had fallen into disgrace, and therefore vented his spleen on the martyr. He had iron spikes heated red-hot, and Basil thrown upon them, so that they burnt into his bowels. But Basil prayed, "Christ is my light, and Jesus is my hope, a calm port in tempest. I give Thee thanks, Lord God of my fathers, because thou hast saved my soul from the abyss; keep Thy Name inviolate in me, and make me an heir of eternal quiet, for the promise made unto my fathers by the great High Priest, Jesus Christ, our Lord; through whom I pray Thee receive my spirit into peace, persevering in my confession; for Thou art merciful and long-suffering and full of compassion; who livest and abidest through ages of ages. Amen." And when he had ended his prayer, as one overcome with slumber, he ceased and gave up his spirit.


(ABOUT A.D. 456.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—Victor of Utica. Hist. Persec. Vandalorum, lib. i.]

Carthage was taken by Genseric king of the Vandals in October, 439, and then began that fearful Arian persecution of the Catholics which almost surpassed those of the heathen emperors in horror. Bishop Quodvultdeus had been sent adrift along with his clergy in a broken vessel, and had been carried by the wind in safety to Naples. The church of Carthage was without a chief pastor for about fourteen years, till in 454, Deogratias was created bishop.


In 455, Genseric entered Rome, which he found undefended. Pope S. Leo met him at the gates and obtained from him that the city should not be burnt, nor should the inhabitants be massacred, but that the Vandal conquerors were to content themselves with the pillage. Rome was therefore pillaged deliberately during a fortnight, and then the Vandals retired carrying with them an immense treasure, amongst other things of value, the sacred vessels which Titus had taken from the temple of Jerusalem. They returned to Africa also encumbered with crowds of captives whom they sold to the Moors and amongst themselves. Wives were separated from their husbands, and children from their parents. The holy bishop, stirred to the depths of his soul by the misery that he saw, sold all the gold and silver vessels of the churches of Carthage, and spent the proceeds in redeeming those slaves whose cases were most urgent and distressing. And, because there was not found any other place sufficiently capacious to receive the ransomed multitude, he devoted to their accommodation the church of S. Fausta, and the new church, which he filled with straw and with beds. As there were many sick amongst this crowd, some who had suffered from sea-sickness, and others from the disorders consequent on being crowded together in small vessels, the holy prelate visited them at all hours, with medicines, and proper food, and ministered to their necessities with his own hands. He did not even rest at night, but walked up and down the churches visiting the beds, and seeing that order and comfort prevailed. The emergency gave the aged and decrepid man new strength. The Arians envious of his virtue, made several attempts on his life, but they failed. The labour and exhaustion consequent on this tax on his energies overcame him, and he died peaceably after having held the see only three years. He was secretly buried,413 whilst the Catholics were engaged in their churches at prayer, for fear lest the people, who loved him as a father, should carry off his revered body. After his death Genseric forbade the ordination of bishops in the whole proconsular province and in Zeugitania, where there were as many as sixty-four. Thus, by deaths and imprisonment, the number of Catholic bishops in thirty years was reduced to three.


(A.D. 1332.)

[Norbertine Martyrology. Venerated anciently at Lidlom, in Holland. Authority:—Life by Sibrand Leonius, Norbertine Canon, 1580.]

The blessed Eelko Liaukaman was abbot of the wealthy Norbertine house of Lidlom, in Friesland, at a time when the wealth of the abbey had tended greatly to the relaxation of discipline. The possessions of the abbey were far apart, and the lay-brothers were sent about to the different farms and cells to attend to the secular interests of the society. The abbot soon ascertained that these men took advantage of their being away from supervision to lead disorderly lives, drinking and not unfrequently falling into worse offences. He at once undertook to correct this scandalous conduct as far as possible, and visited the farms and places whither the lay-brothers had been sent at unexpected times; the consequence of which was that he sometimes caught them tripping, and as a necessary corollary, incurred their deadly enmity. The chief malefactors determined on his destruction, and planned to murder him when he was at his castle of Ter-poort. He had retired for the night, shut his door, "put on his night-shirt, drawers, belt and cap, gone to bed, poured forth his prayers, and composed himself to sleep,"84414 when the conspirators burst in through the window. Hearing the noise, the abbot rose up in his bed, and asked gently what was the matter. Then the disorderly lay-brothers began to shower abuse on him, and call him a hypocrite, a glutton, and a drunkard. "My sons, when saw ye me drunk?" "Oh, you put your tipple away up your sleeves, so as to drink on the sly," they said. "Go," said he, "shake my sleeves and see for yourselves." They did so, and a shower of red roses fell on the floor. Then rushing on him with sticks they beat his brains out, and drawing his body through the window flung it into the moat. Next morning a woman who was passing saw a portion of his white night gear above the water and gave the alarm. The body was raised from the moat. The murderers were afterwards caught and executed.

Before the so-called Reformation the B. Eelko was venerated as a saint, and represented in art shaking roses out of his habit.


(A.D. 1321.)

[Inscribed in his additions to Usuardus by Herman Greven, in the German Martyrology of Canisius, and by Ferrarius in his General Catalogue of the Saints. Not mentioned in the Anglican or Roman Martyrologies, but it is certain that Thomas of Lancaster received veneration shortly after his execution, and that miraculous cures were attributed to his relics.]

There have been, as there probably ever will be, great differences of opinion as to the justice of beheading Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, cousin-german to king Edward II.

Edward of Carnarvon had received his father's final instructions before Edward I. died. Of these the principal were; that he should devote a certain sum to the succour of the Holy Land; that he should persist in the conquest415 of Scotland; and that he should not recall his favourite, Piers de Gaveston (a young Gascon, whom the king had lately banished), without the consent of parliament.

Every one of these commands were directly violated by the young king. His first act was to send for Gaveston; and to confer on him the royal earldom of Cornwall. The old ministers and judges were nearly all dismissed. Langton, bishop of Coventry, the treasurer of the late king, who had formerly reproved the extravagance of the prince and his favourite, was thrown into prison. Gaveston received the money left for the crusade, was made lord chamberlain; betrothed to Margaret de Clare, niece of the king; and presently, when Edward went to marry Isabel of France at Boulogne, left regent of England.

The jealousy of the great nobles was already excited; but when they beheld the king, on his return, rush into the arms of his favourite without regarding them; and when they saw Gaveston take precedence of them all at the coronation of Edward, their anger burst forth. Three days after the ceremony they called upon the king to dismiss his minion. Edward deferred the matter until parliament should meet, hoping by that time to soothe their resentment. All his efforts, however, was rendered nugatory by the pride and insolence of Gaveston, and the nobles insisted on his expulsion. Edward was obliged to give way, and Gaveston to swear that he would never return. The king, however, escorted him to Bristol with every mark of honour, and mortified his enemies still more by appointing the exile his lieutenant in Ireland.

From the day of Gaveston's departure the king laboured to effect his recall. He solicited the intervention of the pope; and having obtained a conditional abrogation of the oath taken by Gaveston, ordered him to return. Receiving him in person at Chester, he brought him to meet parlia416ment. Here he induced the bishops and peers to consent that his favourite should remain in England; but they added,—as long as he conducted himself well.

In a very short time, however, the absolute ascendancy of Gaveston over the king, his ostentation and presumption, had revived the animosity of the barons. Lancaster and his friends refused to attend the next parliament. Edward, who wanted money, found it necessary to yield. He prologued the parliament to London, and leaving Gaveston in retirement, repaired to the capital. The great barons attended with such a military force, that Edward was obliged to grant all their demands. A committee of seven prelates, eight earls, and six barons, under the name of ordainers, was appointed, with full powers to redress the grievances of the nation. Gaveston was again banished and as speedily was recalled by the king in defiance of his parliament. The barons then took up arms, and captured Gaveston at Scarborough (May 19th, 1312), and executed him by order of Lancaster and the other insurgent nobles at Blacklow, near Coventry.

The news of this audacious deed affected the king with the most passionate grief, to which was quickly added a fierce desire for revenge. His anger was not diminished when the barons followed up the blow by a peremptory demand that the ordinances for the better government of England and the rectification of flagrant abuses should be carried into effect. A superficial reconciliation was however effected. The parliament assembled at Westminster hall, and Edward having taken his seat on the throne, the earl of Lancaster and his associates knelt before him, and solicited a pardon for the acts which had offended him. Taking each petitioner by the hand, the king bestowed upon him the kiss of peace, promised, and the next day published, a general amnesty.


Some time after the death of Gaveston, the ordainers had imposed upon the king, as chamberlain, a young man named Hugh le Despenser, son of one of the great barons. From an object of dislike, he soon became the favourite of Edward. With his father, he had ably supported the king in his resistance to the earl of Lancaster, and he had become especially odious to the earl's party. But, however loyal, the chamberlain was undoubtedly rapacious; and a harsh attempt to enforce the feudal law to his own advantage, excited the lords Marchers of Wales to arm against him. The earl of Lancaster soon joined them; and the united barons, marching upon London, decreed that the Despensers (who were both absent), should be banished. The bishops protested; but the king and his friends were forced to assent to this lawless proceeding. Two months after the king recalled the Despensers, and took the field against the barons. The earl assaulted the royal castle of Tichhill; but failing in his attempts, he hurried southwards to stop the advance of Edward at Burton-on-Trent. The king, however, forced the passage of the river, and the barons retreated hastily to Pontefract. There a stormy council was held. Lancaster was for making a stand at that point; but over-borne by his associate, he resumed the retreat. At Boroughbridge, however, he found the way barred by a strong force under Sir Andrew Harkeley, governor of Carlisle, and Sir Simon Ward, sheriff of Yorkshire. After a vain endeavour to gain the adhesion of Harkeley, who had formerly received knighthood at his hands, Lancaster resolved to force the passage of the bridge; but the earl of Hereford having been slain in the attempt, and an attack by a ford having been repulsed, earl Thomas took refuge in a chapel, saying, as he looked upon the crucifix; "Lord, I render myself to Thee and Thy mercy." He was, nevertheless, dragged out by the royal418ists, who, despoiling him of his rich surcoat, clothed him in a common livery, and conveyed him down the river to York, where he was received with every kind of insult. Thence he was taken to Pontefract Castle, which he at that time possessed in the right of his wife, the heiress of the De Lacys, and presented to the king.

The death of Gaveston was now to be avenged. The earl of Lancaster was brought a prisoner into his own hall; and there the king, with the earls of Kent, Richmond, Pembroke, the elder Spenser, and other of his party, condemned him to be drawn, hanged, and beheaded. Edward, however, remitted the more degrading parts of the sentence. The earl was at once delivered into the hands of a band of Gascons, who put an old cap on his head, set him on a lean white pony, and led him out to immediate execution. The presence of his confessor, a Dominican monk, who walked by his side, did not save the earl from the insults of the royalist rabble. They threw pellets of dirt at him, and derisively saluted him as "king Arthur." In this manner he was conducted to the summit of a hill without the town, where he was ordered to kneel, with his face to the north, and then his head was stricken off by "a villain of London."

A martyr to religion Thomas of Lancaster was not, but he was a martyr for the rights and liberties of English people.

He both furthered the cause of public liberty, and perished in its defence. Witness the part he took in framing the ordinances "for the common benefit of the kingdom, and the peace and prosperity of all the people generally." All his transactions show that the earl was a man of noble purposes, naturally averse to arbitrary power, and a lover of liberty in the true and rational sense of its value. The sentence pronounced against him was formally419 revoked by act of parliament; and the priory church at Pontefract, which claimed to have his body buried on the right hand of the high altar, became the scene of a series of miracles. There is a record in the Corpus Christi College at Cambridge "of the miracles God wroughte for Seint Thomas of Lancaster: wherefore the king lete close the church doors of Pountfret of the Prioree, for no man shall come therein to the body for to offeren." The veneration extended to London and became so prominent that a royal proclamation was issued denouncing and threatening the worshippers of the effigy: "Inimici et rebelli nostri fotue accedentes eam absque auctoritate Ecclesiĉ Romanĉ tanquam rem sanctificatam colunt et adsunt, asserentes ibi fieri miracula, opprobrium totius Ecclesiĉ, nostri et vestri dedecus, et animarum populi predicti periculum manifestum, ac pernisiosum exemplum aliorum." This reverence therefore, however produced, was of a national and unauthorized character; but within five weeks after the accession of Edward III. a special mission was sent to the pope from the king, imploring the appointment of a commission to institute the usual canonical investigation preparatory to the canonisation of a Christian hero. In June of the same year a king's-letter was given to Robert de Weryngton, authorising him and his agents to collect alms throughout the kingdom for the erection of a chapel on the hill where the earl was beheaded. Three years later (that is in 1330) the embassy was repeated, urging the attention of the court of Rome to a subject that so much interested the Church and people of England; and in the April of the following year three still more important envoys were sent with letters to the pope, to nine cardinals, to the refendary of the papal court, and to the three nephews of his holiness, intreating them not to give ear to the invectives of malignant men who had asserted that the earl of Lancaster connived at some injury420 offered to certain cardinals at Durham in the late king's reign. It is affirmed that, on the contrary, the earl defended those high personages at his own great peril; and the reiterated demand for his sanctification appeals to the words of Scripture, "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

Of this strange story no continuation appears till fifty-nine years later, when Walshingham, the Benedictine monk of St. Alban's, chronicling the events of 1390 (the thirteenth year of Richard II.), writes, "hoc quoque anno sanctus Thomas de Lancastria canonizatus est." The same event is recorded by John Capgrave with the discrepancy of one year. Writing of 1389, he narrates: "And this same year was Thomas of Lancaster canonised, for it was seid commounly that he should nevir be canonised onto the time that all the juges that set upon him were ded, & all her issew."

Notwithstanding the distinct assertions of these two ecclesiastical historians, the festival of Thomas of Lancaster is not set down in any of the Salisbury Service books either printed or in manuscript. Nor does his feast come among those which Lyndwode speaks of as introduced in later years. Butler makes no mention of him in his Lives of the Saints, nor do the Bollandists give to him more than half-a-dozen lines, mentioning him amongst those whom they do not propose to notice.

A stone coffin found in a field not far from S. Thomas's Hill, near Pontefract, in the year 1828, which in local histories has been supposed to contain the bones of the earl, is still to be seen in the grounds of Lord Houghton, at Fryston Hall.85 The heavy lid was removed in the presence of Mr. T. Wright, Rev. C. Hartshorne, and other members421 of the Archĉological Association, and the bones taken out and examined. The head was found between the leg bones. All were of unusually large proportions. They were afterwards restored, with the exception of the skull, to their ancient resting-place. The skull is preserved in Fryston Hall.


(A.D. 1381.)

[Roman Martyrology. Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish Kalendar. Her office was sanctioned by Innocent VIII. Authority:—Her life by Ulph, a Brigittine friar, written thirty years after her death.]

S. Katharine of Sweden was the daughter of Ulph, prince of Nierck, in Sweden, and S. Bridget. At the age of seven she was placed in the nunnery of Risborg. Being very beautiful, her father contracted her in marriage to Egard, a young nobleman of great virtue; but she persuaded her husband to live with her a life of perpetual chastity. After the death of her father, S. Katharine out of devotion undertook a pilgrimage with her mother to various holy places, and came to Rome, where S. Bridget died in 1373. Katharine returned to Sweden and died abbess of Vatzen, in the diocese of Lincopen, on March 24th, 1381.


(A.D. 1487.)

[Venerated in Unterwalden, in Switzerland, whence his cultus has spread into France and the Netherlands. His life was written the year after his death by Heinrich von Gundelfingen, canon of Bern. See also Albrecht v. Bonstetten, Leben d. Selig. Nicolaus von der Flue, vom j. 1487 aus einer Nürnberger Handschrift herausgegeben v. C. Morel, Einsiedeln, 1862. The following account is condensed from Catholic Legends, Burns, London.]

Nicolas von der Flue was born in Unterwalden in the year 1417, near the village of Sachseln. He was descended422 from a race of good and pious shepherds, in whom were transmitted from father to son the ancient virtues of the Swiss, and who enjoyed during successive centuries the esteem of their fellow-countrymen. His parents had an honest competence; and, after the example of their fathers, they adhered stedfastly to the true and ancient faith, respected the laws of their country, and brought up their children in piety and virtue. They tended their flocks with unwearied care; and, after a life of tranquility, fell asleep in God, full of confidence; for they had walked before Him, like the patriarchs, to the borders of Jordan. The young Nicolas grew up beneath their salutary tutelage, and manifested always an obedient spirit and a love of virtue; gentle and pious even from the days of his childhood. It was often remarked by those around him, that after the hard labour of a whole day in the fields, when he returned home in the evening, he would disappear by stealth to pray in some secret place. His spirit began thus early to mortify the body, in order to give itself without distraction to elevated contemplation. When some one, out of kindness, warned him not to ruin his health in his youth by such severe fasts as he was accustomed to observe, he replied, with sweetness, that such was the will of God concerning him. Notwithstanding his fervent and austere devotion, his demeanour was cheerful and affable; and he discharged with fidelity all the duties which his condition of life imposed upon him. He entered upon manhood endowed with a noble firmness of soul, a penetrating intelligence, and great purity of heart. In his twenty-third year he took arms, at the call of the magistrates, in the campaign against Zurich; and again, fourteen years later, at the time of the occupation of Thurgau, when he commanded, as captain, a company of 100 men, and manifested such bravery, that his country decreed him a gold medal as a423 recompense. A yet more honourable circumstance in the same expedition was the saving of the monastery of the valley of S. Katharine, near Diessenhofen, which to this day reveres him as its deliverer. It was owing to his exhortations that the Swiss relinquished their design of setting fire to the abbey, in order to expel the enemy, who abandoned it soon after of their own accord. In battle he carried his sword in one hand, his chaplet in the other: he showed himself at once a fearless soldier and a merciful Christian, protecting the widow and the orphan, and not permitting the conquerors to perpetrate acts of violence against the vanquished.

Arrived at manhood, Nicolas married a virtuous young girl, named Dorothea Wysyling. They had ten children, five sons and five daughters.

Nicolas was himself unanimously elected governor and judge of Obwalden. The high dignity of Landaman was decreed him by the general assembly several times; but he feared the great responsibility; and, without doubt, he felt also that God had reserved him for some other and greater thing.

Nicolas had thus lived fifty years for the good of his country and family, and esteemed by all, when, in the year 1467, he felt himself drawn to a closer walk with God, in a life of entire separation from the world. His eldest son, John von der Flue, thus speaks of him: "My father always retired to rest at the same time as his children and servants; but every night I saw him rise again, and heard him praying in his chamber until morning. Many times, also, he would repair in the silence of the night to the old church of S. Nicholas, or to other holy places." These hours of solitude were to him the happiest moments of his life; and the interior impulse became even more powerful to consecrate the remainder of his life to the devout contemplation of424 eternal truths. God also favoured him frequently with miraculous intimations of His divine will. On one occasion, when he went to visit his flock at a place called Bergmatt, according to his wont, he knelt upon the grass, and began to pray, when God vouchsafed him a consoling vision. He beheld a fragrant lily, white as snow, come out of his mouth, and rise towards heaven. Whilst he regaled himself with the perfume and beauty of the flower, his flock came gambolling towards him, and amongst them a noble horse. As he turned to look, the lily inclined itself towards the horse, which advanced and drew it from his mouth; by which Nicolas was made to understand that the treasure to which he should aspire was in heaven: and if his heart was not wholly detached from the things of earth, he would forfeit the possession of the celestial joys reserved for him.

Another time, while engaged in the ordinary business of his house, he saw three men approach him, of venerable aspect, one of whom addressed him thus:—

"Tell us, Nicolas, wilt thou put body and soul into our power?"

"I give myself to none," replied he, "but the Almighty God, whom I have long desired to serve with my soul and body."

At these words the strangers turned with a smile one towards the other, and the first answered: "Because thou hast given thyself wholly to God, and art bound to Him for ever, I promise that in the 70th year of thine age thou shalt be delivered from all the troubles of this world. Remain constant in thy resolution. Thou shalt bear in heaven a glorious banner amidst the armies of God, if thou hast borne with patience the cross that we lay upon thee."

Upon this the three men disappeared. These visions confirmed him in his resolution of separating from the425 world. He disclosed to his wife the desire of his soul, and entreated her, for the love of God, to give him permission to fulfil this vocation. She consented with calm resignation, and Nicolas began at once to arrange the affairs of his house, assigning to each of his children his part of the inheritance. He then assembled all his household,—his old father, 70 years of age, his wife, his children, and his friends; he appeared before them barefoot and bareheaded, clothed in the long robe of a pilgrim, with a staff and chaplet in his hand; he thanked them for all the kindness they had shown him, exhorted them for the last time to fear God before all things; then he gave them his blessing, and departed. That this separation was a trial to him, was evidenced by his frequent expressions of thankfulness to God that He had strengthened him to overcome for His service the love he bore to his wife and children.

Nicolas set out with a tranquil heart for the place which God had chosen for him. Crossing valleys and mountains, he arrived at the limits of the Confederation. When not far from Aarau, at a spot whence he could see beyond the frontiers the little town of Liechstall, he had a remarkable vision. The town, with its houses and towers, appeared to him enveloped in flames. Terrified with this spectacle, he entered into conversation with a peasant whom he found in a neighbouring farmhouse, and made known to him his purpose, begging him to point out a solitary spot where he might be able to carry it into effect. This man counselled him to remain in his own country; because, as the Confederates were not always well received in other parts, he might be unfavourably regarded, and his retreat be disturbed. Brother Nicolas thanked his host for this good counsel, and turned his face again towards home. He rested not till he reached Melchthal, his native place; where he repaired to one of his pastures called the Kluster. There he made a426 little hut of branches and leaves under a larch tree, in the midst of thorny bushes, and remained without discovery till the eighth day, neither eating nor drinking, but absorbed in prayer. Some hunters in pursuit of game first became aware of his retreat, and spoke of him to his brother, Peter von der Flue, who visited him, and besought him not to suffer himself to die of hunger in so wild a solitude. Brother Nicolas assured him that he need be without uneasiness on his account, as he had experienced no evil result up to that time. Nevertheless, that he might not seem to tempt God, he sent secretly for the curé of Kerns, named Oswald Isner, and acquainted him with the whole case. This good man gave the following testimony after the hermit's death, as may be read in the parish record of the year 1488:—

"When Bro. Nicolas had passed eleven days without food, he sent for me, and asked me whether he should take some nourishment or continue his trial, as he had always desired to be able to live without eating, in order that he might be more effectually separated from created things. When I saw that this could come only from the source of divine love, I counselled Bro. Nicolas to persevere as long as he was able; and from this time to the day of his death, a period of more than twenty years, he continued to dispense with bodily food. As the pious brother was more familiar with me than with any other person, I sought earnestly to learn from him how his strength was sustained; and one day he told me, in great secrecy, that when he assisted at Mass, and the priest communicated, he received a strength which enabled him to refrain from all other nourishment."

When the fame of this miraculous life spread abroad, people flocked from all parts to see a man whom God had so distinguished, and to convince themselves of its reality by personal observation. His quiet life was, in conse427quence, so much disturbed, that he determined to seek a more isolated spot. After traversing several of the wildest valleys with this intention, he beheld above a gloomy gorge, down which the Melch precipitates itself with deafening roar, a brilliant light descending from heaven. Obedient to this indication of the will of God, he built there a little hut. But the same year, his neighbours, the inhabitants of Obwalden, edified by his holy life, built him a chapel with a small cell attached, and presented it to him as a mark of their affection. Brother Nicolas entered this new dwelling, and continued there to serve God in the same supernatural life. Meanwhile, the renown of his extraordinary mode of existence extended far and wide: many were unwilling to believe that a man could thus live miraculously by the sole grace of the Almighty, whilst others glorified God on his behalf.

The magistrates of the canton, desiring to verify the fact of the monastic life of Blessed Nicolas, sent officers, who, for the space of a month, occupied day and night all the avenues of his retreat, in order that no person might bring provisions. Thomas, suffragan bishop of Constance, subjected the brother to a similar test when he consecrated the chapel; and after him bishop Otho visited the hermit. The archduke Sigismund of Austria sent, for the same purpose, his physician, the learned and skilful Binhard de Horneck, in order that he might attentively observe Nicolas during several days and nights. Frederick III., the emperor, also appointed delegates to examine him; but all these expedients served only to confirm the truth. Those who visited him were so struck with the piety and humility of the servant of God, that all their doubts vanished, and they left him penetrated with the most profound respect. When asked how he could exist without food, his simple reply was, "God knows."


It was only on Sundays and festival days that he left his cell, and assisted with the rest of his parishioners at divine service in the church of Sachseln. Once a year he repaired to Lucerne for the great procession, and to visit the celebrated places of pilgrimage. When the journey became too fatiguing on account of his advanced age, and the gifts of pious persons enabled him to procure the services of a priest, he heard Mass daily in his own chapel, and confessed and received the Holy Communion frequently. He consecrated to the service of God all the hours from midnight to midday, at which time he prayed and meditated, especially on the passion of Jesus Christ our Saviour, who, as he said, communicated to him in the exercise a miraculous strength, a supernatural food.

During the remainder of the day, from midday to the evening, he received those who visited him; or, when the weather was fine, he would traverse the mountains praying, or visit his friend, Brother Ulrich, and converse with him on divine things. Ulrich was a German gentleman, originally from Bavaria, who, after many remarkable adventures, had quitted the world to establish himself near Nicolas, in this solitude. Lodged in the hollow of a rock, he led a life similar to his, save only that he could not dispense with food, which the pious country-people provided for him. In the evening Brother Nicolas resumed his prayers; then he went to take a short repose upon his couch, which consisted only of two planks, with a piece of wood or a stone for a pillow.

At this period the cities and states of the Swiss Confederation were at the height of their prosperity; the fruit of three memorable victories over the forces of the Duke of Burgundy.

Six years had not elapsed since the first of these—that of Granson. In this famous engagement, the Confederates429 had humbled the haughty arrogance of Charles the Bold: his fine army, three times stronger than their own, had been cut in pieces; and this hitherto unconquered hero, the master of the richest provinces on this side the Alps—the two Burgundies, Gueldres, and almost all Belgium,—this warrior, before whom France trembled, and whom Lorraine had been unable to resist, fled from the field of battle with only six companions. Four hundred pieces of artillery, six hundred banners, his ducal hat, his sword of state, the three large diamonds, celebrated throughout Europe, which were destined at a subsequent period to adorn the crowns of mighty potentates;—in a word, a camp which was unequalled in richness and magnificence throughout Christendom, and could only be compared to the camps of the Turks, fell into the hands of poor mountaineers, who, with the help of God, had defended their liberty against the cupidity and pride of a foreign foe.

The second battle took place on the plains of Morat. Charles of Burgundy was again routed with enormous loss, and obliged to fly a second time, having with him only thirty men. The Confederates, after the battle, fell on their knees in thanksgiving for the success of their arms; the trumpets poured forth a joyous blast; messengers, decorated with green branches, ran in all haste through the towns and villages, and the bells rang out exulting peals.

The third of these great battles was fought by the Swiss near Nancy. The Burgundian, in his despair, had collected all that remained of his forces, and having on this occasion to contend with troops superior to his own, he displayed a valour worthy of his name and ancestors. But all his efforts were in vain; and Charles, the last of his house on the throne of Burgundy, was once more totally defeated.

The reputation of the Swiss became so great in consequence of these successes, that the most powerful princes430 of Europe sent ambassadors to their assemblies, and sought their alliance. At the negotiations held at Zurich, in 1478, for concluding peace with Burgundy, were to be seen envoys from the emperor of Germany, the king of France, the Archduke of Austria, and counts and lords from far and near. The Swiss had no longer a single enemy to fear.

The immense booty taken from the Burgundians, and the payments made on various accounts by France, had occasioned large sums of money to circulate among the people; and the Swiss had lost something of their pure and disinterested love for their country.

At the close of the year, 1481, on S. Thomas's Eve, the deputies of the Cantons met at Stanz, in Unterwalden, for deliberation on matters of the highest importance connected with the welfare of the Confederacy. The minds of the delegates had been already so warped by jealousy and selfishness, that the members of the assembly of Stanz could come to no mutual understanding, and were unceasingly embittered against each other. There were two parties in the assembly at variance with each other; that of the towns, and that of the country. The peasants of Uri, of Schwytz, and Unterwalden desired peace, and distrusted the ambition of the citizens, who would draw them needlessly into war. They sought to maintain the Swiss Confederation within its ancient limits, and were not disposed to strengthen the opposite party by the admission of new towns. On the contrary, the towns of Lucerne, of Berne, and of Zurich exerted themselves to obtain admittance into the Confederation for Soleure and Friebourg; because they themselves lay exposed to the attacks of the enemy, Switzerland not having as yet any natural frontier; and these towns had fought faithfully for Switzerland in the wars against Charles, and the Confederates in the hour of danger had promised to admit them into the league.


To this source of discord was added the envy excited by the division of the Burgundian booty. It was in vain that the cantons of Glarus and Zug sought to interpose their mediation, and that meetings were held in various places to reconcile differences. And now the Confederates were assembled for consultation for the last time at Stanz. The animosity of party, however, was so great, that after three sessions of angry debates, the members rose with agitated countenances, and separated without taking leave of one another, to meet again, perhaps, only in the conflict of civil war. That which neither the power of Austria, nor the fury of Charles of Burgundy had ever been able to accomplish, the Swiss were themselves in danger of bringing about by their own internal dissensions; and the liberty and happiness of their country stood in jeopardy.

These considerations filled all good citizens with sorrow and alarm, and, amongst others, a curé of Stanz, named Henry Im Grand, a man full of zeal for the good of his country. As he reflected on the danger which threatened her, his thoughts turned to Brother Nicolas. "This man," said he to himself, "is, perhaps, the only one whose voice will command attention now," and, taking his staff, he went in quest of him. Brother Nicolas replied to his entreaty to come to Stanz with his usual gravity: "Return," said he, "tell the envoys of the Confederation that Brother Klaus has something to propose to them."

The priest, full of hope, resumed his journey with all possible speed; he hastened to the inns where the deputies were preparing for departure, and conjured them to be again reconciled, and to listen for the last time to the counsels and proposition of the pious hermit. They consented; and some hours after, the brother appeared in the midst of the assembly.

Notwithstanding his great age, Nicolas had performed432 this long and difficult journey without resting; his fine majestic figure—which time had scarcely bent, was seen advancing across the market-place of Stanz to the town-hall. He wore, according to custom, his simple, dark-coloured dress, which descended to his feet; he carried his chaplet in one hand, and grasped his staff with the other; he was, as usual, barefoot and bareheaded; and his long hair, a little touched by the snows of age, fell upon his shoulders. When the holy man entered the hall before all the Confederates, they rose with one accord to greet him. After a few moments, silence was broken by the sonorous voice of the hermit, who addressed them with earnest words, and God gave such grace to his words that in one hour all difficulties were smoothed away, and base passions were silent through shame before the severe counsel of a man who appeared before this assembly with hands raised towards heaven, as a prophet sent from God.

The Confederates, in accordance with Nicolas's advice, received into their league the towns of Freibourg and Soleure; the ancient treaties of alliance were confirmed, and further consolidated by being established on the basis of new laws unanimously enacted. The pacification of all the Swiss cantons, the maintenance of public order, and of the authority of the magistrates against disturbers of the peace, the division of booty according to the rule given by Nicolas,—such were the points upon which the Confederates, who had so long contended with so much animosity, came this same day to an entire agreement.

The brother returned the same evening to his peaceful hermitage. At Stanz the bells were rung, and sounds of rejoicing floated across the lakes and through the valleys to all the villages and towns of Switzerland, from the snowy heights of S. Gothard to the smiling plains of Thurgau. There was as much joy and gladness everywhere as after433 the victories of Granson and Morat, and with as just cause; for there the Confederates had delivered their country from foreign enemies; here they saved it from their own passions. Their true deliverer, who had obtained from them this victory over themselves, was the poor Brother Nicolas, and as such he was everywhere recognised and extolled.

The towns and countries of the Confederation, and above all, Soleure and Freibourg, satisfied with the happy termination of their dissensions, testified their gratitude to the brother by sending him letters of thanks and precious gifts. He accepted the latter only when they were destined to adorn his chapel. Berne sent a courier with a letter of thanksgiving and a handsome present. The answer which the brother returned, through the medium of his son John, exists to this day in the archives of Soleure, to which city it was presented by Berne. From this time the general veneration for Brother Klaus increased continually.

Nicolas lived six years longer in his peaceful retreat, rich in benedictions. At length the time arrived when God would call His faithful servant from the miseries of the world to eternal joy.

Before his death, God sent him a sharp sickness, in which he suffered indescribable pain. In this condition of suffering he turned from side to side, writhing upon his couch like a worm trodden under foot. These frightful pains lasted eight days. He bore them with perfect resignation, and continued to exhort those who surrounded his bed of death so to conduct themselves in this life as to leave it with a peaceful conscience. "Death," said he, "is terrible; but it is still more terrible to fall into the hands of the living God." When his pains were a little relieved, and the moment of death drew near, Nicolas desired with all the ardour of devotion to receive the sacred Body of the Saviour, and to be434 strengthened by the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. Near the dying man stood his faithful companion, Brother Ulrich, his old friend Henry Im Grand, and the pious anchorite, Cecil, who after his death led for seventy years the same solitary life in a neighbouring cell; his faithful wife and children also gathered round him. In their presence he received the holy Sacraments with tokens of deep humility; then he thanked God anew for all the benefits He had dispensed to him, prostrated himself, and died the death of the just.

This event took place on the first day of the spring of the year 1487, the feast of S. Benedict, the same on which seventy years previous he was born.

The lily had been the favourite symbol of this pure calm soul; the lily in flower, resplendent with a divine glory, was Brother Klaus himself, the humble servant of God, whose name, it is said, even S. Charles Borromeo never pronounced but with uncovered head.

The skeleton of Brother Klaus reposes in a shrine above the high altar of the Church at Sachseln, where also are preserved the habit, staff, and rosary of the saint. A contemporary portrait exists in the town-hall of Sarnen. He is represented as deadly pale, with deep sunk eyes, which are red with constant weeping. His chapel and hermitage are still shown in Melchthal.

Decorative motif


March 23.

S. Proculus, B. of Verona, 4th cent.
SS. Fingar, Piala, V., and Companions, MM. in Cornwall, circ. A.D. 450.
S. Victorian, Proconsul of Carthage, and Companions, MM., circ. A.D. 484.
SS. Liberatus, Physician, and Companions, MM. in Africa, circ.A.D. 484.
S. Benedict, Monk in Campania, 6th cent.
S. Ethelwold, P.H. in the Isle of Farne, circ. A.D. 723.
S. Alphonso Toribio, B. of Lima, in Peru, A.D. 1606.
B. Joseph Oriol, P. at Barcelona, A.D. 1702.



[Modern Roman Martyrology. Maurolycus, Greven and Canisius give Dec. 9th; Galesinus gives both days. The Roman Martyrology says that S. Proculus confessed Christ in the persecution of Dioclesian; all the other Martyrologies, that of Verona included, and all the versions of the Acts extant make a mistake, and say he confessed under Maximin, the emperor, when he was at Milan, before Anulinus the consul. But Maximin never was at Milan; and Annius Cornelius Anulinus was consul in the year 295, when Dioclesian and Maximian were emperors; and Maximian was at Milan more than once. Anulinus was proconsul of Africa in 303, and we meet with him in the Acts of some of the African martyrs. The Acts of SS. Firmus and Rusticus are not precisely in their original form, or this error would not have crept in, of making Maximian into Maximin; otherwise they seem to be trustworthy.]

Saint Proculus was the fourth bishop of Verona. During the persecution waged by Dioclesian and Maximian against the Church, Anulinus the consul came to Milan breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the faithful. And when he had laid his hands on SS. Firmus and Rusticus, the holy bishop Proculus went to them into their prison to encourage them to strive manfully for436 Christ. And he kissed them and said, "Be strong in the Lord Jesus, and receive me, my brethren, as your fellow in death; for I desire greatly to be your companion, that we may have but one will and one struggle for the Lord, so that we may merit to enter into His glory and sing His praises eternally?" And they answered, "So be it." Now Anulinus had sent to have the martyrs brought before him; and the officers came to the door, and saw the old man sitting with Firmus and Rusticus, and they laughed, and said, "What does that old man want with these condemned criminals?" Then the blessed Proculus answered, "They are not condemned criminals, but crowned victors of the Lord; and would that I might share their glory!" So saying he held out his hands to the officers that they might be bound; so they bound him.

Anulinus sat on his judgment seat, and they brought before him Firmus and Rusticus, and after them the venerable Proculus. "Who is this old man?" asked the magistrate; and when they told him, Anulinus said, "He drivels, send him off." So they unbound him and beat him about the face, and drove him out of the city.

So far from the Acts of SS. Firmus and Rusticus, other accounts of S. Proculus are less authentic. According to these latter, he went to Jerusalem together with some companions, when the persecution was at an end, and was taken captive and sold as a slave; but was released, on account of his advanced age. On his way home he passed through Pannonia, and an odd story is related of the journey. The old man felt the want of a razor, and was ill-content at remaining unshaven so long. At length, passing through a country where there was no water, and unable to endure the growth on his chin and place of tonsure any longer, he summoned water out of the rock, and giving an old blunt knife to his attendant bade him shave boldly.437 Then wondrous to relate the bristles on the old man came off lightly, as though mown by the keenest razor.

The relics of the saint were discovered on the rebuilding of the confession or church of S. Proculus, in 1492.


(ABOUT A.D. 450.)

[Anglican Martyrology of J. Wilson. In Brittany at Lok-Eguignar, where the church is dedicated to him; the saint is commemorated on December 14th. Colgan by mistake, February 23rd. The Life and Martyrdom of S. Fingar, written by one Anselm, but not S. Anselm of Canterbury, is fabulous.]

There was a prince named Corotic86 of Cornwall or South Wales, who was a pirate and a persecutor at once. In, or about, A.D. 450, but certainly just before S. Patrick left Munster, in 452, Corotic landed with a party of his armed followers, many of whom were Christians, at a season of solemn baptism, and set about plundering a district in which S. Patrick had just baptized and confirmed a great many converts, and on the very day after the holy chrism was seen shining on the brows of the white-robed neophytes. Having murdered several persons, these marauders carried off a considerable number of people, whom they sold as slaves to the Scots and Picts. S. Patrick wrote a letter, now extant, which he sent to these pirates, requesting them to restore the baptized captives, and some part of the booty. The letter was received with scorn, and S. Patrick was under the necessity of issuing a circular epistle against them and their chief Corotic, in which he proclaimed that he excommunicated and cut off from Christ those same robbers and murderers, and forbade Christian people receiving them and giving them meat or drink. He re438quested the faithful to read the epistle everywhere, and before Corotic himself, and to communicate it to his soldiers, in the hope that they and their master might return to God.

It is probable that S. Fingar was one of the sufferers in this expedition. He and his sister Piala were probably carried to Cornwall, and there put to death. But all this is very uncertain. The life by Anselm tells the story thus: Fingar or Guigner, the son of the Irish king Clito, and a convert to Christianity through the preaching of S. Patrick, fled his country to avoid the consequences of his father's wrath, together with several young nobles to Brittany, where he was kindly received by the chief of the province, and having got ample possessions from him, erected an oratory. Afterwards he returned to Ireland, and there collected nearly eight hundred faithful, among whom were seven bishops and his sister Piala. Leaving Ireland they arrived at the port of Hayle, in Cornwall, anciently called Pen-dinas, but now called Hayle, after S. Hija, an Irish virgin, who had set out after them, on a leaf of a tree which had been blown into the sea, and on which she was wafted to the Cornish coast. S. Hija received them hospitably, and forwarded them on their way. At night they reached the hut of a pious woman who invited them all in, and as there were not beds enough for the whole company, pulled the thatch off her roof, and strewed it on the floor. Then she killed her only cow, and served its meat to the holy comrades, who satisfied themselves thereon, and then S. Fingar took the skin, put the bones inside it, and having prayed, the cow rose up whole, and began to low. Theodoric—this is Anselm's version of the name Corotic—the earl of Cornwall, hearing of the passage through his lands of this large party of saints, waylaid and massacred them. S. Fingar planted his staff at his side, and stretched forth his neck, and his439 head was smitten off at one blow. Then a spring bubbled up from the ground moistened by his blood, and his staff grew and put forth leaves beside the holy well.

It is almost needless to point out the utter worthlessness of this fable. That there was a S. Fingar, and that he suffered under Corotic is likely enough. The violence and murders committed by this piratical prince are established historical facts. But if S. Fingar had been a king's son, he would certainly have been mentioned in some of the lives of S. Patrick, which he is not. Anselm says that his father, Clito, was the most noble and powerful of the seven Irish kings who received S. Patrick. Now there is nothing better authenticated than that the head king at that time was Leogaire. The chief difficulty according to Colgan, consists in the name Theodoric; but the name was not unknown among the Britons. A Teudric, or Theodoric, was king of Glamorgan, about the latter end of the sixth century, (Usher, p. 562.) But Albertus Magnus maintains (De Sanctis Britan. Armor), that the Cornubia spoken of in Fingar's Acts was Cornouaille, in Brittany, and informs us that Fingar's festival is celebrated at Vannes, on December 13th. Lobineau, in his History of Brittany, mentions a Theodoric son of Budic, and count of Cornouaille, but he lived late in the sixth century. But probably Theodoric is a mistake for Corotic, made by some copyist.


(ABOUT A.D. 484.)

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, ancient and modern Roman Martyrologies. Authority:—Victor of Utica's History of the Vandal Persecution.]

Victorian, proconsul of Carthage, a native of Adrumetum, was one of the wealthiest men in North Africa, and440 had discharged several important offices under Hunneric, the Vandal king, son of Genseric. But Hunneric being resolved to trample out the faith in the Godhead of Christ, and establish the Arian heresy throughout his dominions, offered Victorian the highest honours, and his own special favour, if he would regard Christ as a creature. Victorian replied, "Nothing can separate me from the faith and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the confidence that I have in so mighty a master, I am ready to suffer all kinds of torments rather than to consent to Arian impiety. You may burn me or expose me to wild beasts, or kill me by other tortures; but never will you prevail on me to desert the Catholic Church in which I was baptized." This reply so exasperated the tyrant that he made the saint undergo the worst and most protracted torments his ingenuity could devise. Victorian endured them all with a good courage, and gained the martyr's crown.

In the city of Tambala also many suffered for the right faith, and in that of Aquĉ regiĉ two brothers exhibited great constancy. They were hung up by their wrists, with heavy weights attached to their feet. After having thus hung all day, the endurance of one brother gave way, and he cried out to be released. Then the other exclaimed, "Do not so, brother! or I will accuse thee at the judgment seat of Christ; for have we not sworn over His Body and Blood to suffer together for Him?" Then the weaker brother was strengthened to endure, and the Vandals incensed at their obstinacy, applied red-hot plates of iron to their flesh, and tore them with iron rakes, and so, they entered into the joy of their Lord.

Two merchants of Carthage, both named Frumentius, also sold all that they had, even to their lives, to gain the most precious pearl of eternal life.

The Church honours also on the same day S. Liberatus,441 his wife, and sons, who suffered in the same persecution. Liberatus, a physician of Carthage, was exiled, along with his wife, on account of his faith. He felt keenly the being separated from his children, but his wife consoled him, saying, "Think no more of thy children, Jesus Christ will be their guardian." The husband and wife were incarcerated in separate prisons, so as not to see one another. "Thy husband has submitted to the orders of the king," said the Arians to the wife: "therefore do thou yield also." But she answered, "Let me see him and speak with him." Then she was conducted to where he was, and she reproached him for his apostasy. But he exclaimed, "They have deceived thee, O my wife, never have I renounced my faith." Then she gave praise to God. It is not known how these saints suffered, but they are honoured by the Church as martyrs.


(ABOUT A.D. 723.)

[Menardus on Jan. 6th. Edward Mayhew in his Trophĉa Cong. Anglic. O.S.B. on March 23rd. So Heronymus Porter in his Flores Vitarum Sanct. Angliĉ, Scotiĉ, and Hiberniĉ. The revised Anglican Martyrology of 1640, on same day. Authority:—Bede in his life of S. Cuthbert.]

S. Ethetwold, or Ethelwold, was for some time a monk at Ripon, "where having received the priestly office," says Bede, "he sanctified it by a life worthy of that degree. After the death of that man of God, Cuthbert, this venerable priest succeeded him in the exercise of a solitary life, in the cell which the saint had inhabited in the islet of Farne, before he was made bishop." He found the oratory of Cuthbert so rudely put together, that the sea-wind shrieked in through the joints of the planks, and though patched up with clay and stubble, the chapel was so full of draughts442 that Ethelwold asked for and obtained a calf's skin, and this he nailed against the wall where he was wont to pray, to keep the wind from blowing into his ear. Bede says, "I will relate one miracle of Ethelwold, which was told me by one of the brothers who was concerned, and for whose sake it was wrought, Guthfried, the venerable servant and priest of Christ, who afterwards presided in quality of abbot over the church of Lindisfarne, in which he was educated. I came, said he, to the islet of Farne, with two other brothers, desiring to speak with the most reverent father Ethelwold; and when we had been comforted by his discourses, and having asked his blessing, were returning home, when on a sudden, as we were in the sea, the fair weather that was wafting us over changed, and so great and furious a storm fell on us, that neither sail nor oars availed, and we despaired of life.

"Having a good while struggled in vain with the wind and waves, we looked back at last to see if by any means we might return to the island, but found that we were equally beset with the tempest on all sides; but we could perceive Ethelwold at the mouth of his cavern, contemplating our danger. For, hearing the howl of the wind, and the roar of the sea, he came forth to see how we fared. And when he saw our desperate condition, he bent his knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to pray for our life and safety. As he finished his prayer, the swelling sea immediately abated its violence, and the rage of the winds ceased, and a fair gale springing up bore us over the smooth waters to the shore. But no sooner had we arrived, and drawn our boat out of the water, than the same storm began to rage again, and ceased not all that day; to the end that it might plainly appear, that this small intermission had been granted from heaven at the prayer of the man of God, that we might escape."


S. Ethelwold spent twelve years at Farne, and died there; but he was buried in Lindisfarne, in the Church of S. Peter, near the bodies of SS. Cuthbert and Eadbert. His bones were afterwards taken up in the time of the Danish ravages, 875, and were translated to Durham in 995, and more honourably enshrined in 1160.

THE TWO THIEVES. see p. 456.
S. Dimas, Penitent.The Impenitent.
With Angel bearing his happy Soul to Paradise.With Dĉmon dragging forth his unwilling Soul


March 24.

S. Latinus, B. of Brescia, 2nd cent.
SS. Mark and Timothy, MM. at Rome, 2nd cent.
SS. Timolaus, Dionysius, and Others, MM. at Cĉsarea, A.D. 303.
S. Pigmenius, P.M. at Rome, A.D. 373.
S. Domangart, of Slieve Donarth, B. in Ireland.
S. Hildelitha, V. Abss. of Barking, in Essex, circ. A.D. 720.
S. Bernulf, B.M. of Aste, 9th cent.
S. Simon, Child M. at Trent, A.D. 1475.


(A.D. 303.)

[Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on March 15th. Authority:—Eusebius on the Martyrs of Palestine.]

Eusebius writes of the persecution under Dioclesian, at Cĉsarea,—"Who could fail to be struck with admiration at the sight or recital of the things that then took place? For, as the heathen in every place were on the point of celebrating their accustomed games and festivals, it was much noised abroad that besides the other exhibitions, those who had been condemned to wild beasts were to be made to fight. This report having gained ground, there were six young men, who, first binding their hands, hastened to Urbanus (the governor of the province), to prove their readiness to endure martyrdom, as he was on his way to the amphitheatre. Their names were Timolaus, a native of Pontus, Dionysius of Tripolis in Phœnice, Romulus, a subdeacon of the church at Diospolis Paesis, and Alexander, both Egyptians; and another Alexander from Gaza. They were immediately committed to prison. Not many days after, two others were added to the number, of whom one had445 already witnessed a good confession several times, under various dreadful tortures. His name was Agapius, but the other, who supplied them with the necessaries of life, was named Dionysius. All these, being eight in number, were beheaded in one day at Cĉsarea, on the twenty-third day of the month Dystrus, that is, the ninth of the Kalends of April."



[Irish Martyrologies. He is not to be confounded with S. Domangart, the brother of S. Domnoch, or Modomnoc (Feb. 13th.) Giraldus Cambrensis calls him Dominick. Usher, thinking this S. Dominick was the same as Dominick of Ossory mentioned elsewhere by Giraldus, and not acquainted with the history of S. Domangart, fell into the mistake of making the mountain Slieve Slainge, called afterwards Slieve Donart, to be Grenore point, in Wexford. Ware followed Usher. Archdall calls the saint S. Domangard of Ossory, whereas the saint of Ossory was Domnoc, or Modomnoc, and not Domangart at all, and makes the promontory Carnsore.]

S. Domangart is said to have been the son of Euchodius, king of Ulster, in the latter part of the 5th century, and during a part of the 6th. In the Tripartite Life of S. Patrick he is represented as a bigoted heathen and a persecutor. His two daughters having embraced Christianity made a vow of perpetual virginity, and their father, highly incensed, ordered them to be cast into the sea. Therefore S. Patrick cursed him and his seed for ever, excepting, however, his unborn son, at the petition of the queen, who was with child. The son born to him after this was Domangart, and his birth is placed a short time before the foundation of Armagh, and it is added that he afterwards became a disciple of the apostle. But, as Dr. Lanigan has proved in his "Irish Ecclesiastical History," S. Patrick did not survive the foundation of Armagh more than about ten446 years. How then could Domangart have been his disciple? Then we are given to understand, that Domangart was not born till after his father's death, which the Four Masters assign to A.D. 503 (504.) This sets aside the whole story; for S. Patrick was dead many years before this date. Jocelin, who follows the Tripartite as to Euchodius, Domangart, &c., omits what is said of the latter having been a disciple of S. Patrick. There is a fable concerning S. Domangart having been raised from the dead at Rome by S. Patrick, according to which he would have lived in the 5th cent. Such contradictory stories show what little reliance can be placed in the accounts of the saint. All that we can be certain of is that he founded a monastery on the promontory of Slieve Slainge, where in Colgan's time stood two churches dedicated to him.


(ABOUT A.D. 720.)

[Ancient Anglican Martyrologies, and Gallican Martyrology. Authority:—Bede, Ecc. Hist. l. iv. c. 10.]

Hildelitha was one of the first virgins of the English nation who consecrated herself a spouse to Christ, going abroad to a French monastery, there being, at that time, none in England. When S. Erkonwald had founded the monastery of Chertsey for himself, and the convent of Barking, in Essex, for his sister Ethelburga, he sent to France for S. Hildelitha, and committed his sister to her care, to be by her instructed in monastic discipline. Thus S. Ethelburga herself, who was the first abbess of Barking, was a disciple of S. Hildelitha, though she died before her, and was succeeded by her in the government of the community. Bede highly commends the piety of this saint, and that she was highly esteemed by others we may gather447 from S. Aldhelm having addressed to her his poetical treatise on virginity, and from mention of her in one of the epistles of S. Boniface, where he relates what great things he had learned of her.

S. Hildelitha departed to our Lord in a good old age, but the date of her death is undetermined.


(A.D. 1475.)

[Roman Martyrology. Authority:—The Acts of Canonization by Benedict XIV., and the Acts published in the Italian immediately after the event took place.]

Through the Middle Ages, in Europe the Jews were harshly treated, suffering from sudden risings of the people, or from the exactions of princes and nobles. This nourished in them a bitter hatred of Christians and Christianity, and in some instances led to cruel reprisals. Such was, perhaps, the case in Trent, where on Tuesday in Holy Week, 1475, the Jews met to prepare for the approaching Passover, in the house of one of their number named Samuel, and it was agreed between three of them, Samuel, Tobias, and Angelus, that a child should be crucified, as an act of revenge against their tyrants, and of hatred against Christianity. The difficulty, however, was how to get one. Samuel sounded his servant Lazarus, and attempted to bribe him into procuring one, but the suggestion so scared the fellow, that he packed up all his traps and ran away. On the Thursday, Tobias undertook to get the boy, and going out in the evening, whilst the people were in church during the singing of Tenebrĉ, he prowled about till he found a child sitting on the threshold of his father's door in the Fossati Street, aged twenty-nine months, and named Simon. The Jew began to coax the little fellow to follow him, and the boy448 did so, and he conducted him to the house of Samuel, where he was put to bed, and given raisins and apples to amuse him.

In the mean time the parents, Andrew and Mary, missing their child, began to seek him everywhere, but not finding him, and night falling darkly upon them, they returned, troubled and alarmed to their home.

During the night, when all was still, a Jew named Moses took the child from its bed, and carried it into the vestibule of the synagogue, which formed a part of the house of Samuel, and sitting down on a bench began to strip the infant; a handkerchief being twisted round its throat to prevent it from crying. Then stretching out his limbs in the shape of a cross they began the butchery of the child, cutting the body in several places, and gathering his blood in a basin. The child being half dead, they raised him on his feet, and whilst two of them held him by the arms, the rest pierced his body on all sides with their awls.

When the child was dead, they hid the body in a cellar behind the barrels of wine.

All Friday the parents sought their son, but found him not, and the Jews, alarmed at the proceedings of the magistrates, who had taken the matter up, and were making investigations in all quarters, consulted what had better be done. They could not carry the body away, as every gate was watched, and the perplexity was great. At length they determined to dress the body again and throw it into the stream which ran under Samuel's window, but which was there blocked by an iron cage in which the refuse was caught. Tobias was to go to the bishop and chief magistrates and tell them that there was a child's body entangled in the grate, and he hoped that by thus drawing attention to it all suspicion of having been implicated in the murder would be diverted from him and his co-religionists.


This was done, and when John de Salis, the bishop, and James de Sporo, the governor, heard the report of the Jew, they at once went, and the body was removed before their eyes, and conveyed to the cathedral, followed by a crowd. As, according to a popular mediĉval superstition, blood is supposed to flow from the wound when the murderer approaches, the officers of justice examined the body as the crowds passed it; and they noticed that blood exuded as Tobias approached. On the strength of this the house of Samuel and the synagogue were examined, and blood and other traces of the butchery were found in the cellar, and in the place where the deed had been done, and the bowl of blood was discovered in a cupboard. The most eminent physicians were called to investigate the condition of the corpse, and they unanimously decided that the child could not have been drowned, as the body was not swollen, and as there were marks on the throat of strangulation. The wounds they decided were made by sharp instruments like awls and knives, and could not be attributed to the gnawing of water-rats. The popular voice now accusing the Jews, the magistrates seized on the Jews and threw them into prison, and on the accusation of a renegade Jew named John, who had been converted to Christianity seven years before, and who declared that the Jews had often sought to catch and kill a child, and had actually done this elsewhere, more than five of the Jews were sentenced to be broken on the wheel, and then burnt.

The blood found in the basin is preserved in the cathedral of Trent, and the body of the child is also enshrined there in a magnificent mausoleum.


March 25.

The Annunciation of S. Mary.

Memorial of the Crucifixion.
The Penitent Thief, A.D. 33.
S. Quirinus, M. at Rome, A.D. 269.
S. Irenĉus, B.M. at Sirmium, A.D. 304.
S. Pelagius, B. of Laodicĉa, end of 4th cent.
S. Dula, V.M. at Nicomedia.
S. Camin, Ab. of Iniskeltra, in Ireland, circ. A.D. 653.
S. Humbert, P.C. at Marolles, in Hainault, circ. A.D. 680.
SS. Barontus and Desiderius, HH. at Pistoria, circ. A.D. 725.
S. Hermeland, Ab. of Hindre, in France, 8th cent.
S. Alfwolf, B. of Sherborne, A.D. 1075.
S. William, Child M. at Norwich, A.D. 1144.
S. Richard, Child M. at Paris, A.D. 1179.
S. Ida, Abss. of Argensolles, in the diocese of Soissons, circ. A.D. 1250.


In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, "Hail, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among women."87

The angel, to manifest his reverence and love, saluted the holy virgin with an "Ave," or Hail, and he named not her proper name, Mary, but gave her the title "Full of Grace." This he did that we might understand, that as Almighty God gave to the Messiah the names of "Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of451 Peace,"88 so also He gave to the Virgin a new and most glorious name, which, for excellency, is to be attributed to her in the Church; so that as we call Solomon "the Wise," and S. Paul "the Apostle of the Gentiles," so we should call the Blessed Virgin the "Full of Grace," and the "Blessed among women."


"The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary."

March 25.

The festival of the Annunciation is at least as ancient as the Council in Trullo (A.D. 680), and is supposed, on the authority of a sermon attributed to S. Cyril, to have been kept in the 5th century. It has always been very highly observed in England. The Synod of Worcester, A.D. 1240, by one of its canons, forbade all servile work upon it, and this was afterwards confirmed by various provincial and diocesan councils in all respects except agricultural labour.

The tenth council of Toledo, in 656, ordered that this festival should be solemnized on December 18th, eight days before Christmas, because of its proper day arriving in Lent, and sometimes in Holy Week. Nevertheless, it has been observed on its proper day, but is transferred in the Western Church to after Easter, whenever it occurs in Holy Week or on Easter-day.

It is said that in the church of Notre Dame du Puy en Valey has the privilege of making it over-ride Good Friday, when it occurs on that day; and that on that day there are great indulgences as a jubilee in that church. The Council of Constantinople, in "Trullo," already mentioned, ordered that the mass of the pre-sanctified should be said on all days in Lent except the Sabbath, the Lord's day, and the Feast of the Annunciation. Pope Urban II., in a council held at Clermont, in 1095, ordered that every day the church bell should be rung, morning, noon, and evening, and that each time it was rung the faithful should recite the Angelic Salu452tation. This is called the Angelus. The object of the Holy Father was to stir up the faithful to thank God for the benefit of the Incarnation. Popes John XXII., Calixtus III., Paul III., Alexander VII., and Clement X., have recommended this practice and attached indulgences to it. These were confirmed by Benedict XIII.

The Greeks observe the same day as the Latins. In the Menologium of the emperor Basil the younger, it is thus described: "On the 25th day of March, the Annunciation of the most holy Mother of God. Our God, most loving and merciful to human salvation, who ever careth for the sons of men, when He beheld man, the work of His hands, brought under the bondage of Satan, willed to send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, into the world, to pluck man out of the power of the devil. But willing not that Satan, nay, nor the celestial powers should know thereof, he committed this secret to one of the archangels, Gabriel the Glorious. And having made by His providence that a Virgin pure and immaculate should be born meet for so high an honour, to her was Gabriel sent, and he came to the city called Nazareth, and said to her, 'Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee!' But she asked, 'How shall these things be?' To whom he made reply, 'The Holy Ghost shall descend on thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.' And she said, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.' And having thus spoken, she conceived above nature a son, the Word of God; and thereafter were fulfilled all the mysteries of the Word of God incarnate pertaining to our salvation."

In the Greek Menĉa also, it is said, "March 25th, the commemoration of the Annunciation of the most holy Mother of God, our Lady, when the arch-warrior, Gabriel, captain of the celestial armies, being instructed in the secret453 from eternity and unknown to angels, the mystery hidden of the divine incarnation of the Son of God, was sent to the most pure Mary, unstained with any spot of sin, in the city of Nazareth, that he might declare to her the will of God the Father, and the favour and efficacious help of the life-giving Spirit for the salvation of man. And he said to her, 'Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.'"

THE ANNUNCIATION. After Israel Van Mecken, in the Museum at Munich.

March 25.

This is the exordium of a Greek hymn on the Annunciation, by S. Joseph, the hymnographer:—"When Gabriel, the great archangel, saw thee, O pure one! the living book of Christ, sealed with the Holy Ghost, he cried to thee, 'Rejoice, oh house of joy! through whom is abolished the malediction pronounced on our first parents.'"

The ancient Arabian-Egyptian church also observed this festival. In an Arabic martyrology, the entry on March 25th is as follows, "The memorial of the Annunciation of the Mother of God, and the Incarnation of the Son of God, this day the first-fruits of our salvation and the manifestation of a mystery kept hidden from all ages. The Son of God issued forth Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel announced the favour. And now we with him exclaim, 'Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee!'" The same festival is observed by the Copts, and found in the Syriac and Chaldee, and Russian Kalendars.

In the sacramentary of S. Gregory the Great, the proper preface for this day runs thus: "... through Christ our Lord, whom Gabriel, the archangel, announced was to be born for man's salvation, the Virgin Mary, by the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, conceived; that what angelic sublimity announced, virginal purity might believe, and ineffable Deity might perform. And thus we hope, by Thy assistance, to behold His face without confusion, in the solemnity of whose Incarnation we now rejoice."


In the Church of Milan, according to the Ambrosian rite, "throughout the whole of Lent, no festival of any saint is observed, and the office for the Annunciation of S. Mary is celebrated on the last Sunday in Advent."


In the Martyrology attributed to S. Jerome, in those of Ado, Notker, Rabanus Maurus, and many others, on this day is marked, "In Jerusalem, our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified," or words to this effect. This being by many supposed to be the day of the month on which Christ died. In an ancient Roman Martyrology, published by Rosweydus, on March 25th is inserted, "Annuntiatio Dominica et Crucifixio." Some ancient lines on this day, which occur in some Martyrologies, deserve quotation: "In hac die multa, mirabilia facta sunt, quĉ notantur in his versibus":—

"Salve festa dies, quĉ vulnera nostra coerces;
Angelus est missus, est Christus in cruce passus.
Est Adam factus, et eodem tempore lapsus.
Ob meritum decimĉ cadit Abel fratris ab ense,
Offert Melchisedech, Isaac supponitur aris,
Est decollatus Christi Baptista Joannes.
Est Petrus ereptus, Jacobus sub Herode peremptus.
Corpora Sanctorum cum Christe multa resurgunt.
Latro dulce tamen per Christum sucipit. Amen."

Molanus, in his additions to Usuardus, adds to the two mysteries of the Annunciation and the Crucifixion, "On the same day the genesis of the world; also the victory of Michael, the archangel, over the dragon." This victory is commemorated on this day in many old martyrologies. An old Brussels MS. Martyrology adds, "On the same day the formation of Adam and his ejection from Paradise." Many455 insert the death of Abel; in that of Canisius, "Abel the just, the proto-martyr of the Old Testament, at once virgin, priest, and martyr, and the first of mankind to die." Also the sacrifice of Melchisedek, and the sacrifice of Isaac, are inserted on this day in many martyrologies. In some likewise, "On this day Israel crossed the Red Sea"; in some, "S. Veronica, who wiped the face of Christ"; in some also the decollation of S. John the Baptist, the passion of S. James, and the liberation of S. Peter.

After a painting in the Museum at Madrid.

March 25.

But in the Greek Menĉa, March 23rd is marked as that of the "Crucifixion and memorial of the Penitent Thief": on March 22nd is commemorated the Last Supper; on March 24th the Repose in the Tomb; and on March 25th, the Resurrection.


[Modern Roman Martyrology.]

The modern Roman Martyrology has on this day: "In Jerusalem the commemoration of the Blessed Thief, who confessed Christ on the Cross, and merited to hear from him: This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." Baronius, in his notes to the Martyrology, adds that the thief is traditionally called Dimas, under which name chapels have been dedicated to him, but that as this name is derived from apocryphal sources, it is not sanctioned by the Roman Martyrology. Masinus asserts that the body of S. Dimas, the Penitent Thief, is preserved in the church of SS. Vitalis and Agricola at Bologna.



(A.D. 269.)

[Roman Martyrology. Another S. Quirinus on March 30th, and another on June 4th. The Quirinus on this day, March 25th, is mentioned in the Acts of SS. Maris, Martha, Andifax, and Habakkuk (Jan. 19th), which are genuine. All other accounts of Quirinus are fabulous.]

Quirinus is said, but the statement is palpably false, to have been the son of the emperor Philip, and to have been converted by his Christian mother, Severa. Putting this idle fable aside, we know of Quirinus only that he was executed with the sword in prison in 269, and the body was thrown into the Tiber, but was recovered by a priest named Pastor, who buried it in the Pontiani cemetery, whence it was removed in the pontificate of pope S. Zacharias (March 15th), and it found a shrine and resting-place eventually in the monastery of Tengern-see, in Bavaria. A spring of naphtha rising there goes by the name of Quirinus-oil.

The S. Quirinus of Rome commemorated on March 30th, according to the Roman Martyrology, is supposed to have been a military tribune, chiefly from the fact that he has been represented in armour seated on horseback. He is the patron Saint of Cologne, Correggio, and Neuss. This S. Quirinus is often represented with a falcon, which circumstance has been said to indicate his high birth, and has also led to his being reputed to have been of the Imperial family, and so being identified with the S. Quirinus commemorated on March 25th. The real reason for the falcon's presence seems, however, to lie in the story related of his martyrdom (see page 504).

After a Picture by Roger Van der Weyden, in the Museum at Madrid.

March 25.



(A.D. 304.)

[By the Greeks on Aug. 25th; by the Latins on this day, or March 6th or 25th. Authorities:—The authentic Acts of his martyrdom.]

S. Irenĉus, bishop of Sirmich or Mitrovitz on the Save, in Pannonia, the modern Hungary, died on March 25th, in the year 304. He was arrested by order of Probus, the governor of Pannonia, and was led before his tribunal. All his family were present. His mother, wife, and children surrounded him, and some of the younger children clung to his knees and implored him not to leave them. His wife cast her arms round his neck and burst into tears on his breast, and conjured him to submit to the imperial edict so as to preserve himself for her and his innocent children. The governor joined in this attempt to shake his constancy. But S. Irenĉus said, "Our Lord Jesus Christ hath declared that the man who loveth father or mother, wife or children, more than Him, is not worthy of Him, so that I forget I am a father, a husband, and a son."

Irenĉus was then ordered to have his head struck off and his body cast into the river Save.

S. DULA, V. M.


[Roman and most ancient Western Martyrology.]

Nothing is known of this saint, except that she was a servant or slave-girl—as indeed her name implies—to a458 soldier at Nicomedia, and that she steadfastly resisted his importunities, till, exasperated at her opposition to his passion, he killed her, in an explosion of anger. Her real name is unknown; the name Dula is simply the Greek word for servant-maid.


(A.D. 653.)

[Irish Martyrologies. Authority:—Scattered notices in lives of other Irish saints collected by Colgan.]

S. Camin was of the princely house of Hy-kinselogh by his father Dima, a half-brother of Guair, king of Connaught, by his mother Cumania. Little else is recorded of him, until he retired to the island of Iniskeltra, in Lough Derg, where he led a very austere and solitary life, but after some time was obliged to erect a monastery to accommodate the numbers of disciples who resorted to him. Although of a delicate constitution, he closely applied himself to ecclesiastical studies, and wrote a commentary on the Psalms, collated with the Hebrew text.


(ABOUT A.D. 680.)

[Belgian, French, and German Martyrologies. Authority:—A life of S. Humbert by a monk of Marolles, in the 13th cent., based apparently on older documents.]

This saint was born at Maizières, on the river Oise, in the province anciently called Upper Picardy; his parents were noble, and the virtue of his father Everard obtained for him, after his death, the title of Benedictus, or the Blessed. The child from infancy showed the utmost459 delight in the practice of religion, and his parents took him to a monastery in Laon, where he received the clerical tonsure. He was educated and ordained priest in the monastery, and remained in it till the death of his parents, when he was obliged to leave it that he might take possession and dispose of his inheritance, which was considerable. He left the city of Laon with the blessing of the bishop, and the sanction of his superiors, and returned to Maizières, where he lived in great retirement. After a while he received S. Amandus, who had just laid aside his bishopric of Maestricht, and was on his way to Rome with S. Nicasius, monk of Elno. He accompanied them to Italy. One night as they were camping on their journey a bear attacked their sumpter horse, and killed it. When Humbert went in quest of the horse next morning to lay on it the baggage, he found it lying dead on the grass, and the bear mangling it. Humbert at once ordered the wild beast to come to him, and when it obeyed he laid on it the pack-saddle and the baggage, and made the bear carry for them all they needed till they reached the gates of Rome, when he dismissed Bruin, who retired, looking every now and then behind him, as if expecting a recall.

He afterwards made a second pilgrimage to Rome, and on his return from it, he went to visit S. Amandus in his monastery of Elno, on the Scarpe; and after having deliberated with him on a suitable place for a retreat, he retired into the monastery of Marolles, or Maroilles, in Hainault, on the little river Hespres, which flows into the Sambre. This house had been built shortly before by count Rodobert, or Chonebert, in his territory of Famart. Humbert having resolved to spend the rest of his days there, gave to the new monastery all his lands at Maizières, in 671. It was then a poor little cell lost in a forest, but this donation made it very wealthy. A story is told of460 Humbert at Marolles which resembles many recorded in the lives of other saints, and which shows that the old hermits and monks were the protectors of wild animals.

One day as Humbert was busy tearing up the brambles and thistles which covered the land which he was desirous of reclaiming, and had cast off his cloak on account of the heat, the horns of the hunters proclaimed that a large party was engaged in the chase near the monastery, and shortly after he saw a frightened beast which the dogs pursued dart over the open ground and fall panting and wearied out on his cloak. The dogs surrounded the mantle, yelping, but did not venture to fall on the wild creature, and the arrows of the hunters fell short of the mark. Seeing this remarkable interposition in behalf of the poor animal, the sportsmen withdrew, highly extolling the virtue of the holy man who by his mantle could protect a beast from injury.

Humbert seldom left his monastery, except to meet S. Aldegunda, abbess of Maubeuge, with whom he had contracted an intimate union of charity and prayers. He is sometimes called abbot or superior of Marolles; at all events he had disciples, in whose arms he died, about the year 680, on March 25th.

In art he is represented with a bear by his side, and a cross marked on his shaven crown, which, according to the legend, was miraculously impressed.


(A.D. 1075.)

[Mayhew in Trophĉa Cong. Angl. O.S.B.; Gabriel Bucelinus in his Menologium Benedictinum. Hieron. Porter, in his Flores Vitarum Sanct. Angliĉ. Authorities:—William of Malmesbury, and Henry Knyghton.]

In the reign of the Confessor, Alfwold, a monk of Winchester was raised to the bishopric of Sherborne. At that461 time the English people were greatly addicted to the pleasures of the table, and it was expected of the bishops to keep open house and have their tables well provided with abundant and delicate fare. But Alfwold, though ready to show all hospitality, lived plainly himself, drinking water out of a common bowl, and eating out of a wooden platter. He had S. Cuthbert's life and example ever before his eyes, and repeated to himself constantly the antiphon for his festival, "The blessed bishop Cuthbert, a man perfect in all things, in the midst of a crowd remained a monk, and to all was venerable." He visited Durham, and opening the shrine of S. Cuthbert addressed him lovingly as a friend, and deposited by his side a token of his regard.


(A.D. 1144.)

[Anglican Martyrologies. But the day of his invention, April 15th, was observed as his festival at Norwich. Authority:—An account of his martyrdom in Capgrave.]

According to the legend related by Capgrave, there lived in Norwich in the 12th century a couple named Wenstan and Elwina, of the peasant class, who became parents of a boy, named William. One day Wenstan went to a feast and took his little son with him. During the meal a beggar came in with irons on his hands, worn as an act of penance; the child put out his hands to touch the chains and manacles, and instantly they broke and fell at the feet of the mendicant. At the age of seven the boy was so filled with the ardour of self-mortification, that he fasted three days in the week, and was constantly in the church singing psalms and reciting prayers.

On the Passover in 1144, some Jews of Norwich took the child, and having strangled him, crucified him, and then took462 the body in a sack out of the town, to bury it in a wood. But a certain Aelward saw them entering the wood, and followed them. Then, in alarm, the Jews ran away, and considering that their only chance of safety lay in bribing the viscount, who was chief magistrate of the town, they offered him a hundred marks of silver if he would hush the matter up. The viscount took the money, sent for Aelward, and threatened and persuaded him to hold his tongue about what he had seen. Aelward kept the secret for five years, till he was on the point of death, when the martyred boy appeared to him, and bade him disclose what he had witnessed. Now at the same time, early in the morning, a nun was walking in the wood, when she came suddenly on a child's body lying at the foot of an oak tree, with two ravens fluttering over it, and the woman was so frightened that she ran into Norwich and told what she had seen. Then a crowd of people went forth and took up the body, which though it had lain five years unburied in the wood, was incorrupt, and brought it into Norwich; at the same time Aelward made his confession, and thus the whole of the circumstances were made clear; the people readily concluding that this newly found body was the same that had been left by the Jews, according to Aelward's account, unburied in the wood, five years before. The body was buried, and a rose bush was planted at the head, about the festival of S. Michael, (Sept. 29th), and it at once put forth fresh leaves and flowers, and bloomed till the feast of S. Edmund, (Nov. 20th). Many miracles were performed at the grave. It does not appear that this discovery was followed by a massacre of the Jews.

Throughout the Middle Ages three accusations were constantly brought against the Jews by the populace; all three were denounced by the authorities of the time as imaginary. They were accused of killing children. A law463 of the duke of Poland, in 1264, renewed in 1343, rebuked those who made this charge, and required that it should be substantiated by the testimony of three Jews. They were accused of poisoning the wells. Pope Innocent IV. in a bull denounced this charge, and in 1349, the king of the Romans ordered that the Jews in Luxemburg should be protected against the insolence of the people, because, said he, the pope and he regarded them as innocent of the many crimes attributed to them. Lastly, they were accused of sacrilege. The Abbé Fleury, in his Ecclesiastical History gives one instance of the manner in which this charge was made, "In a little town called Pulca, in the diocese of Passau, a layman found a bloody Host before the house of a Jew, lying in the street upon some straw. The people thought that this Host was consecrated, and washed it and took it to the priest, that it might be taken to the church, where a crowd full of devotion assembled, supposing that the blood had flowed miraculously from wounds dealt it by the Jews. On this suspicion, and without any other examination, or any other judicial procedure, the Christians fell on the Jews, and killed several of them; but wiser heads judged that this was rather for the sake of pillaging their goods than avenging the pretended sacrilege. This conjecture was fortified by a similar accident which took place a little while before at Neuburg, in the same diocese of Passau, where a certain clerk placed an unconsecrated Host steeped in blood in the church, but confessed afterwards in the presence of the bishop Bernhard and other persons deserving of credit, that he had dipped these Hosts in blood for the purpose of rousing hostility against the Jews."89

If, however, we consider the intolerable treatment of the Jews throughout the Middle Ages, it makes it by no means464 improbable that their pent-up wrongs should have exasperated them into committing acts of vengeance, when they had the opportunity. Through centuries they were ground under an intolerable yoke. They could call nothing really their own, not even their persons. They were obliged to wear a distinctive mark, like outlaws and harlots; if they emigrated, their feudal lords were under mutual agreement to seize them in foreign lands; their children were stolen from them to be baptized; if their wives wished to abjure, they were divorced; they were taxed on going in and coming out of and sojourning in any city; on the smallest pretext, their debtors refused to pay their debts. At Toulouse on every Good Friday a Jew was brought upon the cathedral stairs to have his ears publicly boxed; their lives were at the mercy of every one. The magistrates burnt them, the people massacred them, the kings hunted them down to despoil them of all, when their exchequer was low. All these insults, outrages and injustices must have created an intense hatred of Christianity, and every thing and person that was Christian, and may well have found vent occasionally in some savage murder in parody of the Crucifixion, or sacrilegious outrage on the Blessed Sacrament, which the Jews knew full well was the great object of Christian love and devotion. They would not have been human had it not been so, and though many of the stories of murders and sacrileges told against them were undoubtedly false, yet some may have been true. But at the same time it is impossible to doubt that most of these charges brought against them were invented by their enemies for the purpose of plundering them; and that others had their origin in the imagination of the people, ready to believe anything against those whose strong-boxes they lusted to break open.

The first mention of the crucifixion of a boy by the Jews465 is in Socrates, (Hist. Eccl. lib. vii. c. 16.) He says that about A.D. 414, at a place called Immestar, between Antioch in Syria and Chalcis, "the Jews, while amusing themselves in their usual way with a variety of sports, impelled by drunkenness, were guilty of many absurdities. At last they began to scoff at Christians, and even at Christ himself; and in derision of the cross and those who put their trust in the Crucified, they seized a Christian boy, and having bound him to a cross, began to laugh and sneer at him. But in a little while they became so transported with fury that they scourged the child until he died under their hands." The emperors being informed of this ordered the delinquents to be punished with the utmost severity.

The Jews in England were accused of having crucified a child in 1160, a boy, Robert, at Bury S. Edmunds, in 1181, at whose tomb miracles were also wrought. Another boy, Hugh, is said to have met with the same fate at Lincoln, in 1255, the place of whose image and shrine is still shown in the cathedral of that city. Matthew Paris, in his English history, under the date 1239, says, "In this year, on the feast of S. Alban, and on the following day, a great massacre and destruction of the Jews took place by order of Geoffry the Templar, a particular councillor of the king, who oppressed, imprisoned, and extorted money from them. At length, after great suffering, these wretched Jews, in order to enjoy life and tranquillity, paid the king a third part of all their money debts, as well as chattels. The original cause of this calamity was the perpetration of a clandestine murder committed by the Jews in the city; and not long after this, owing to a boy having been circumcised by the Jews at Norwich, four of the richest of that community, having been clearly convicted of that offence, were hung."


And again, under 1240, "About this time the Jews circumcised a Christian boy at Norwich; they then kept him to crucify him. The father of the boy, however, from whom the Jews had stolen him, after a diligent search, at length discovered him, and with a loud cry pointed out his son, shut up in a room in one of the Jew's houses. When this came to the knowledge of William de Rele, the bishop, a wise and circumspect prelate (!) and of some other nobles,—that such an insult to Christ might not be passed over unpunished, all the Jews in the city were made prisoners, and when they wished to place themselves under the royal protection, the bishop said, 'These matters belong to the Church, they are not to be decided by the king's court.' Four of the Jews, having been found guilty, were dragged at the tails of horses, and afterwards hung on a gibbet."

Six boys are reported to have been martyred by the Jews at Ratisbon, in 1586; another, named Johannet, at Siegesburg, another at Bacharach, another, S. Richard, at Paris, in 1182, Simon of Trent has already been spoken of (March 24th), and Raderus in his Bavaria Sancta mentions another, George, at Sappendalf, in 1540. There was another S. Richard, child-martyr at Pontoise; and the last we hear of was in 1650, in Bohemia.90

Decorative motif


March 26.

S. Castulus, M. at Rome, circ. A.D. 286.
SS. Montanus and Maxima, MM. at Sirmium.
SS. Bathus, P.M., Verca and Children, MM. among the Goths, circ. A.D. 370.
S. Eutychius, Subd. M. at Alexandria, A.D. 356.
S. Felix, B. of Treves, circ. A.D. 426.
S. Braulio, B. of Saragossa, A.D. 646.
S. Mochelloc, Ab., in Ireland, between A.D. 639-656.
S. Ludger, B. of Munster, Ap. of Westphalia, A.D. 809.
S. Basil the Less, H. at Constantinople, circ. A.D. 952.


(ABOUT A.D. 286.)

[Roman and almost all Latin Martyrologies. In the Archdiocese of Prague the feast of this saint is kept as a double; so also in the dioceses of Ratisbon, Frisingen, and Passau. By the Greeks on Dec. 18th. Authorities:—The Acts, and another account of his passion in the Acts of S. Sebastian.]

Saint Castulus, chamberlain of the palace to Diocletian, was wont to receive Christians into his house, and screen them from the pursuit of the magistrates. He was denounced to Fabian, the prefect of the city, who, after having tortured him in many ways, had him cast into a pit and buried in sand. He was betrayed by a renegade Christian named Torquatus, the same whom Cardinal Wiseman has introduced into his historical sketch of "Fabiola."



[Roman Martyrology, and those of Bede and S. Jerome. Authority:—The notices in the Martyrologies.]

S. Montanus was a priest at Sirmium, in Pannonia, and468 Maxima was his wife. They were drowned for the faith either in a river or in a lake; probably during the persecution of Maximian.


(ABOUT A.D. 370.)

[Greek Menĉa and Menology of the Emp. Basil the Younger.]

Bathus, a Gothic priest, his wife Verca, their two sons and two daughters, and some others were burned in the church by the Gothic Jungeric. Gaatha, a Gothic queen, collected their relics, and conveyed them into Roumania; but on her return she was stoned to death.


(A.D. 646.)

[Roman Martyrology. Saragossa Martyrology on March 18th. Authority:—The letters of his great friend S. Isidore.]

S. Braulio is traditionally said to have been divinely designated for the episcopate, when the clergy and people were assembled to elect to the vacant see of Saragossa, by the appearance of a tongue of flame on his head. He was an intimate friend of S. Isidore, bishop of Hispalis, or Seville, and he has been by some writers erroneously called the brother of Isidore and Leander. S. Braulio sat in the 5th and 6th Councils of Toledo. After having held the bishopric twenty years he died. The day of his death was spent in incessant psalmody. A pleasing modern legend, which the Bollandists have shown to be without ancient authority, tells that he heard angelic voices chant in choir, "Arise, my friend, and come away," to which he replied, "Behold, here am I."



(A.D. 809.)

[Roman Martyrology, Molanus and Greven in their additions to Usuardus. The Treves Martyrology, those of Utrecht and S. Gudule at Brussels, the Benedictine Martyrology, and many others. Authorities:—His life by Altfrid, B. of Münster, his disciple, derived from personal knowledge, or from information furnished by the saint's brother Hildegrim, or by his nephew, Gerfried, or by his sister, Heriburgh. There are other lives of him in prose, and three styled litanies, written in rhyme. One of the former is by an anonymous Frieslander, a contemporary; another by the monks of Werden, composed about 890. Our saint's name appears in three forms: viz., Ludger, Liudger, and Luidger. He is commonly called Ludger, a spelling he himself adopts in his life of Gregory, abbot of Utrecht. He is styled Liudger both in Altfrid's life of him, and in the verses sent to him from York by a disciple of Alcuin.]

The abbey of Utrecht, under the presidency of the devoted Gregory, had sent forth many noble labourers into the mission-field, and many more had come over from England to take their share in the good work, and to spread the knowledge of the truth. One of the most eminent of these was Ludger, the subject of this memoir. His grandfather Wrffing Ado, a noble Frieslander, though not a believer in the Trinity, was yet a help to the poor, a defence to the oppressed, and a just judge, respecting the person of no man. Radbod, king of Friesland, who had cruelly oppressed his people, banished his best nobles, and sold their estates, laid a plot against his life. Wrffing received timely warning of it from one of the king's council, and fled with his wife and son to Grimoald, "Duke of the Franks," who received him well. There he was converted to the Catholic faith; he and all his were baptized. Grimoald was the son-in-law of Radbod, and son of Pepin of Heristal. While the latter was lying on his death-bed, Grimoald went to see him, and was assassinated by a Frieslander, in the church of S. Lambert, in 714. Wrffing470 received the same kindness from his successors. Radbod entreated Wrffing to return; when he refused to do so, Radbod asked him to let his son come back, promising to reinstate him in his inheritance. Accordingly the younger son Thiadgrim was sent to Friesland; the king insisted on his living with him, and restored his father's lands to him.

When Charles Martel added Friesland to his Frankish dominions, "extincto Radbodo," he not only reinstated Wrffing in his former possessions, but also gave him land in the neighbourhood of Utrecht to hold in feoff for S. Willibrord, who was then labouring among the Frisians, and had fixed his see at Utrecht. Willibrord received all support and countenance from Wrffing and his family. Both he and his successor, S. Boniface, were on very friendly terms with them. Perhaps it was at his grandfather's house that S. Ludger first saw S. Boniface.

Thiadgrim, the younger son, married Liafburg, the daughter of Nothrad and Aldeburga. The latter gave her two brothers to S. Willibrord, to educate, and they first of all the Frisians received the clerical tonsure. Willibraht, the elder brother, died a deacon, the younger, before he reached that degree.

Liafburg, S. Ludger's mother, narrowly escaped being murdered at the time of her birth. Her grandmother by the father's side, a fierce old pagan, was enraged because her daughter-in-law had borne no sons but only daughters. She sent officers to snatch the new born babe from its mother, before it had sucked the breast, for it was the custom of these heathen to kill a child before it had tasted earthly food. This statement is corroborated by some old Frisian laws edited by Sibrand Siccaum.

The officers consigned the child to a servant to be drowned. As the man held the infant over a bucket of water, she stretched out her tiny arms and grasped with her471 hands the edge of the bucket, and with all her feeble might resisted his efforts to drown her. A woman, who chanced to be near, touched with pity, snatched the infant from the servant's hands, and ran away with it to her own home; fastening the door behind her, she hastened to a chamber and placed some honey in the child's mouth, which it instantly swallowed. The officers were sent by the heathen beldame to demand the infant: the woman said, "She has eaten honey," and at the same time she held up to them the child, still licking its lips: for this reason it was unlawful to kill the child.

The woman gave Liafburg suck from a horn filled with milk, and receiving all necessaries from the child's mother, she nursed her till the death of her unnatural grandmother, when Liafburg was received into her father's house.

Liafburg many years after, when pregnant with Ludger, heard suddenly of the return of her husband Thiadgrim from a long journey. She ran out to greet him, and her foot slipping, she fell on a stake, which entered her side. She was taken up for dead; but by God's mercy she revived, and in a few days gave birth to Ludger unhurt. This event took place probably about 744. At his baptism, which is erroneously said by one chronicler to have been performed by S. Willibrord, who was then dead, he received the name of Ludger. As soon as he was able to run about, he used to collect the bark of trees, and to sew them into books, while the other children were at play. Then he scribbled on them with reeds dipped in a black liquor and gave them to his nurse to keep as useful books. If asked, "What hast thou done to-day?" he said, "I have made books, or I have written or read all day." If asked again, "Who taught thee?" he replied, "God taught me."

Then, as he grew in grace and years, he earnestly be472sought his parents to entrust him to some man of God to be brought up. They accordingly, probably in 757, gave him to abbot Gregory, a noble Frank, and a disciple of the great S. Boniface, who had a monastery at Utrecht. Either here, or before this, Ludger, as he tells us in his life of S. Gregory, "saw with his own eyes S. Boniface when his head was white with hoar hairs, and his body decrepit with age." Gregory, he adds, was his preceptor, "ab infantia," he brought up his disciples with as much love, zeal, and care, as if he was their father, and they his children; they were joined to him by a tie of strong affection. He proclaimed both in deed and in truth, as well as in word the Apostolic utterance of S. Peter, concerning the calling and election of all nations, "In every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him." Acts x. 35. For his disciples were gathered not from one tribe only, but were the flower of all the neighbouring nations; they were enlightened with wondrous gentleness and spiritual joy, and joined into one body, because they were begotten in charity of one spiritual father, and of the one mother of all. "Some were of noble Frank families; some were English; some of the new planting of God begun amongst the Frisians and Saxons; some of the Baquarii and the Suevi; some of whatever nation God hath sent thither: of all these I, Ludger am the least, yea, the weakest and most insignificant."

"The holy father Gregory bestowed on all these gathered from all parts into one fold the spiritual food of God's doctrine and Word. Inspired by God he burned with love for his disciples and for their instruction, so that scarce a day passed on which he did not sit in the morning to receive his disciples singly, and to hear their questions, and then he gave them to drink of the cup of life, and watered them with God's Word as each had need."


Altfrid tells us that Gregory received Ludger with joy, and found great pleasure in instructing him, as he was an intelligent and sagacious child. Under his loving care Ludger advanced in the fear of the Lord, and laid aside his secular habit in that monastery; perhaps in 760, and devoted himself wholly to the study of the spiritual science. Some of his schoolfellows became bishops or teachers of Churches. Ludger was much loved by them, by reason of his wondrous gentleness and kindness: his face was cheerful, though he was not easily provoked to laughter; he combined prudence with moderation in all his actions, for he constantly meditated on Holy Scripture, and especially upon those portions of it which pertained to the praise of God, and to the Catholic faith, for all which reasons he was loved by his venerable master as an only son.

Alubert came to Utrecht in 766, or 767, being sent by the bishop of York to preach the Gospel in Frisia. Gregory besought him to be made a bishop. He consented after some reluctance, provided Gregory would despatch him to England with some native clergy. Accordingly he received as companions Sigibod and Ludger. Sigibod was ordained priest, Ludger deacon, and Alubert bishop at York, probably by Elbert, who succeeded Egbert in that see on his death in 766. Elbert on his accession had ordained Alcuin, who was his favourite pupil, deacon, and made him master of the cathedral seminary. His fame as a teacher spread far and wide; and students from all parts eagerly sought in York that instruction which no other master could supply. Ludger assiduously drank of the stream of knowledge which flowed from his lips, and it was with reluctance that he accompanied his friends at the end of a year to Utrecht, which they reached in 768.

His first act was to petition Gregory for leave to return to Alcuin, and sate himself "with the honey which he had474 tasted." Gregory gently but firmly refused his request: finding that in spite of all persuasion he cherished the determination of journeying to York, he sent for his father to induce him to desist from his purpose. But the studious Ludger remained firm, and at last vanquished all opposition by entreaty. He was accordingly furnished with all necessaries for his journey.

He stayed three years and a half at York, under Alcuin, where he was beloved by all for his good character and holy studies.

At this time, when the citizens of York were going forth to battle against their enemies, the son of an earl of that province was killed in a quarrel by a Frisian merchant. All Frisians deemed it prudent to quit England for fear of the wrath of his relatives. Alcuin sent his deacon Patal with Ludger, lest his love of learning should induce him to go to some other town of those parts, and he should there fall a victim to the vengeance of the young earl's friends. He returned home, in 774, with a large stock of learning and books, and was received warmly by Gregory.

About or before this time, Liafwin or Lebuin, a learned priest, was sent from England to Utrecht. He desired to preach the gospel to the people who dwelt by the river Yssel. The faithful of those parts first built him a church at Wulfre, on the west side of that river. Afterwards one was erected at Deventer, on the east side. He gained so many converts there that the Saxons made a furious attack on the place, drove out the Christians, and burned the church. When the enemy had retired, he returned, and rebuilt the church, and laboured there peacefully and successfully till his death, when he was buried in the church. Then the Saxons again sacked and burned the church, after making an ineffectual search for his body.

Albric succeeded his uncle Gregory, who had died about475 this time. Ludger gives a touching account of the old man's death. "He had been smitten with paralysis some years before: as he grew weaker, he eagerly looked forward for his nephew's return from Italy. When Albric arrived, he entrusted the monastery to his charge, and prophesied his own immediate decease. He bade them carry him to the oratory of S. Saviour, and set him in front of the tabernacle; there he prayed for a time, and then received the Lord's Body; then, with his eyes fixed on the altar, and his soul fixed on heaven, he departed to the Lord, whom he had served so long in sincerity." His death occurred in 776, according to the Bollandists; in 781 according to the editors of the Benedictine Acta Sanctorum.

Albric besought Ludger to assume Liafwin's charge, and to rebuild the church over his body. Being unable to discover his remains, he laid the foundations of the church within the space in which he thought they lay. Liafwin appeared to him in a vision of the night, telling him that his body was buried deep beneath the south wall of the foundations. The next day it was found in the spot pointed out, and the foundations were transferred so as to include the saint's tomb within the church. Many miracles were afterwards wrought at it. Perhaps the Romanesque crypt of the present vast church of S. Lubien at Deventer marks the site of this tomb.

Afterwards Albric sent Ludger and others to destroy the heathen temples and places of worship throughout Friesland. They found a vast quantity of treasure in them, of which Charlemagne reserved two-thirds, and gave the other to Albric for his own uses.

When Albric, in 778, was consecrated bishop at Cologne, he caused Ludger to be raised to the priesthood at the same time, and then sent him to be teacher of the Church in the canton of Ostracha, where S. Boniface was martyred. It476 seems that Ludger erected a church on the site of his martyrdom, near Dockum, for Alcuin afterwards sent him some Latin heroic verses to be inscribed on it.

These verses will be found in Migne's edition of Alcuin's works. The two first of the fourteen lines run thus:—

"Hic pater egregiis meritis Bonifacius almis,
Cum sociis pariter fundebat sanguinis undam."

He also, in turn with Albric and two others, presided over the monastery at Utrecht for three months in every year. Once, after he had said the night office, and had laid himself down to rest, "in solario ecclesiĉ," S. Salvatoris, which probably corresponded to our parvise, or prophet's chamber, abbot Gregory appeared to him in a vision, and bade him follow him. The old man cast down to him from a higher place, as it were, pieces of garments and parchments, which he bade him distribute well. Ludger gathered them into three heaps. Marchelm, the custodian of the church, in the morning interpreted the dream to mean that Ludger would be spiritual ruler over three peoples. Then Ludger exclaimed, "Would that the Lord would give me, instead, fruit in the place now entrusted to my charge."

Ludger zealously exercised his office among the Frisians, and the seeds of life, sown by him, watered by dew from above, bore abundant fruit in the hearts of many. Thus did he avenge the death of S. Boniface by bringing to the knowledge of the truth those very peoples who had shed his blood. Again was verified the old saying, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church," for that land afterwards brought forth rich crops of the corn of God's elect.

When Ludger had toiled there nearly seven years, that "root of evil," Wittikind, in 784, leader of the Saxons, drove out the servants of God, burned the churches, and made the Frisians, as far as the river Fleo, sacrifice again to the false gods. So Ludger dismissed his disciples, and tak477ing with him his brother, Hildegrim, and another, went to Rome, where pope Adrian received him kindly, in 785. Thence he went on to S. Benedict's monastery at Monte Cassino, "for he was anxious to build a monastery on his own estate, and this was afterwards done at Werden."

Though S. Ludger's name occurs in Benedictine Martyrologies, he seems never to have become formally a monk of that order. Probably he wore their habit at Monte Cassino. The author of the Third Metrical Life says, "though he wore the cowl." "Nec hujus Regulĉ, ullum observantiĉ fecerat promissum." The fact that the monasteries founded by him both at Werden and Munster observed the rule of the Canons Regular, seems to settle the matter. He was called abbot simply because he presided over a Cĉnobium. In 787, he passed through Rome on his way home, where he obtained some relics of our Lord, of the Blessed Virgin, and of some of the saints. The news of Wittikind's conversion, or rather submission, had recalled him to his old field of labour.

Charlemagne had been at war with the Saxons, who then occupied nearly the modern circles of Westphalia and Lower Saxony, with short intervals of peace, for nearly thirty years. In 779, he defeated the Westphalians at Bochold, and received their submission, which entailed that of the Ostphali and the Angrarii. The following year he overran the country as far as the Elbe, where he encamped. Wittikind took refuge at the court of the king of Denmark, his father-in-law. The solemn sacrament of baptism was administered to an immense multitude at Horheim.

Charlemagne determined to secure the people by a systematic occupation of their territory. It was divided into districts, whither bishops, priests, and abbots were sent. The king gave them the lands, but God alone could give them the souls of the people.


The rebellion which burst out in 782, under Wittikind, was punished severely. His accomplices, 4,500 in number, were tried before their own chiefs at Verden, on the Aller; were condemned and put to death. Their relatives and all the tribes took up arms to avenge them: a bloody battle of doubtful issue was fought at Detmold. After Charlemagne had ravaged the country for two years, he offered terms of peace. Wittikind and the Saxon nobles accepted them. He submitted to be baptized at Attigny. His example brought about the submission of Saxony and Friesland. The story is told somewhat in this fashion:—On great festivals Charlemagne was wont to distribute money to all the poor who assembled at his gate. On Easter-day, Wittikind, in the dress of a beggar, penetrated into the king's tent, where Mass was being said. After mass, he came to receive alms with the rest. He was recognised in spite of his rags, arrested, and brought before the king. Then he asked to become a Christian, and ordered the chiefs of his party to lay down their arms. It is hardly necessary to add that marvels accompanied this conversion.

On S. Ludger's return, in 787, to Friesland, Charlemagne sent him to bear the glad tidings of the gospel of peace to the Frisians in the neighbourhood of Gröningen and Norden. Away in the sea to the north was a white island, so he was told, a home of hardy seamen, whither S. Willibroad had been. Ludger resolved to go to this island of Fositesland, or Heligoland, and water the little seed of life that Willibroad had sown there. He embarked in a little vessel, and a pleasant breeze springing up, the boat was wafted towards the distant isle. Ludger stood in the bows, cross in hand, and saw a dark grey fog envelope the island. But presently the veil of mist rose, and disclosed the white chalk-cliffs glittering in sunshine, and the bishop gladly479 took this as an omen of success. He landed, preached the faith, and destroyed the temples, erecting churches in their stead. The people gladly heard the Word, and Ludger baptized them in the waters of the very fountain in which S. Willibroad had baptized three of the islanders on a former occasion. A son, also, of one of the chiefs embraced the faith, and became a teacher of the Frisians and the founder of a monastery.

After the complete subjugation of the Saxons, S. Ludger was directed by the emperor to repair into Westphalia. He erected a monastery where now stands the episcopal city of Münster, and travelled over the district with unflagging energy, wearing no hood, as his biographer says, with which monks usually keep their heads and shoulders warm, instructed the barbarous tribes, and appointed priests to minister the sacraments to them. He was soon after ordained bishop by Hildebold, archbishop of Cologne. His heart now turned to the wild Normans, the scourge of all the maritime peoples of Gaul and on the Baltic.

As bishop, he ministered to his Saxon flock with great judgment and gentleness, and that proud conquered people yielded more to his gentle persuasion than to the harsh commands of Charlemagne. He still ruled Friesland, which he had brought to the faith. Charlemagne also set him over a monastery in Brabant. Thus his dream of the three heaps, signifying his rule over three peoples, was fulfilled.

The chief seat of his diocese was in the canton Sudergau, at a place called Mimigardford (or, more properly, Miningardvard, the fort of Miningard) on the Aa, where he built a monastery by the river for the Regular Canons.

From this establishment the city eventually took its name of Münster, though the bishops continued to style themselves "of Mimigard" to the time of Thierry II.

He built the cathedral of S. Paul at Münster. The five480 Frisian counties contributed largely towards the cost. Their liberality was commemorated in a sculpture representing them offering gifts to S. Paul, which once stood near the N.W. door of the cathedral. It was defaced by the Anabaptists in 1535.

He uprooted idolatry, sowed the Word of God, built churches, and ordained priests to minister in them. He desired to bring many nations to the knowledge of the true God, and volunteered to preach to the heathen Northmen, but Charlemagne refused his consent.

The blameless conduct of Ludger did not save him from detractors, nay, perhaps it rather incited their malice. He was accused (as the anonymous Frieslander who wrote his life tells us) to Charlemagne of penuriousness in decorating the houses of God. The emperor summoned him to court, and on the morning after his arrival the chamberlain was sent to call him before the council. He found Ludger saying the divine office. Our saint promised to come as soon as it was done. A second and a third messenger summoned him, but he did not go to the emperor till the office was over. Charlemagne asked him, "Why didst thou disregard my command to come at once?" The saint said, "God is to be preferred to thee, O king, and to all men." The emperor, pleased at his reply, exclaimed, "I am thankful that I have found thee such as I ever esteemed thee, and I promise never again to give ear to those who calumniate thee." Once Ludger imposed a severe penance on a priest who left off saying the office that he might blow the fire, as they were saying Matins in their travelling tent, because the smoke was driving into the bishop's face; for the saint desired to teach his clergy that they ought to suffer nothing to disturb them when saying the Divine office.

Altfrid adds that S. Ludger "was well read in Holy Writ," as is clearly proved in the book he wrote about the481 life of Gregory and Albric; moreover, he wrote an account of the early events which took place at the coming of S. Boniface and at his ordination. His meaning, probably, is not that separate lives of these holy men were written by Ludger, but that notices of them were inserted in his "Life of Gregory." This is the only genuine work of his that has survived, for the epistle on the canonization of S. Suibert is not from his pen.

When he felt his end approaching, he devoted more time than before to reading Holy Writ, to chanting Psalms, and, though feeble in body, he celebrated Mass every day.

On the day of his death, March 26th, 809, very early, he heard Mass at Coesfeld, and preached; then hastening to Billerbeck, arrived there at nine o'clock the same morning, preached again, and celebrated his last Mass. That evening he gently expired.

Picture of Fortitude bearing shield and club


March 27.

Memorial of the Resurrection.91
SS. Philetus, Lydia, and Companions, MM. in Illyria, 2nd cent.
S. Augusta, V.M. at Serravalle in Venetia.
S. Alexander, M. at Drizipara, in Pannonia.
SS. Zanitas, Lazarus, and Companions, MM. in Persia, A.D. 326.
S. John, H. at Lycopolis, in Egypt, A.D. 393.
S. Rupert, B. of Salzburg, A.D. 718.
S. Matthew of Beauvais, M. in France, 11th cent.
S. William Tempier, B. of Poitiers, A.D. 1197.



[Greek Menĉa and Menologium, and modern Roman Martyrology. The following account from the Greek Menology, it is almost needless to say, is fabulous.]

Saint Philetus, a senator, his wife, Lydia, their sons, Macedo and Theoprepius, also Amphilochius, a general, and Chronides, a registrar, who suffered under Hadrian, are venerated by Greeks and Latins on this day. According to the account in the Menology, Philetus, his wife and sons, and Chronides, were handed over to Amphilochius, the general, to be by him tortured. Amphilochius ordered them to be cast into a vessel of boiling oil, but as the bubbling fluid suddenly became cold, when the martyrs were about to be plunged into it, full of astonishment, he exclaimed, "God of the Christians, help me!" Then there came a voice from heaven, "Thy prayer is heard, come up hither." Now when this was noised in the ears of the emperor, he483 came down, full of wrath, and ordered a cauldron of oil to be boiled for seven days, and all to be cast thereinto. But they were unhurt. Then the emperor left them, and they, praying, and giving thanks to God, gave up the ghost.



[Ferrarius, in his Catalogue of Saints. Not in the Roman Martyrology. Venerated at Serravalle, near Ceneda, on the Piavia. There is at Serravalle a church on a hill-top, containing her relics, and to this pilgrimages are made on August 1st, the day of the translation of her relics, but the anniversary of her martyrdom is March 27th, and that of the invention of her relics in Aug. 22nd. The story of this saint is purely traditional.]

There was once upon a time, when the Roman empire was tottering to its decline, a certain duke of Friuli, named Matrucus, of Gothic race, who built for himself a great castle on the mountain dominating Serravalle, the ruins of which remain to this day. Now the people of that part were Christians, but Matrucus was a heathen. He had a daughter named Augusta, young and fair, and her heart turned from the fierce gods of Germany to the Christ whom the bruised and suffering people of Serravalle adored, and to His spotless Mother, so pure and loving. And she sought means of receiving instruction, and was baptized secretly. Now there were many things in his daughter's conduct which roused suspicion in the mind of Matrucus, and he set spies to watch her. One day, he was told that she was in the church praying, and he rushed in upon her, dragged her forth, and locked her up in a chamber of the castle. In ungovernable fury he afterwards beat out her teeth, and executed her with his sword, reproaching her with having despised the gods of their ancestors and degraded the honour of his house.



(A.D. 393.)

[Almost all Latin Martyrologies, not however that of Bede, nor by the Greeks. Authorities:—Two lives, one by Evagrius, translated into Latin by Ruffinus of Aquileia, the other by Palladius, in his Hist. Lausiaca; both were contemporaries, and had visited and conversed with the saint.]

No solitary after S. Antony acquired such renown as S. John of Egypt. He was not only respected by the people, but by emperors. The most celebrated doctors and ecclesiastical writers, S. Jerome, S. Augustine, S. Prosper, Cassian, Palladius, Ruffinus, S. Eucher, and S. Fulgentius, have extolled him. John was born at Lycopolis in the lower Thebaid, the modern Siout. He exercised the trade of a carpenter till he was twenty-five, and then, the desire of labouring only for his salvation, of coming to a death-grip with flesh and blood, possessed him; and he placed himself under the direction of an aged hermit, whom he served with alacrity and diligence. The old man fearing lest the merit of this service should be injured by any admixture of human affection, affected great capriciousness, and gave his disciple many absurd orders. For instance, he one day commanded him to plant his staff in the sand and water it daily. John obeyed without a murmur, and though he had to go two miles for water, continued his task for a year. On another occasion, he ordered John to throw their dinner out of the window. He was obeyed without a trace of hesitation. On one occasion when some visitors were with the old man, to exhibit the docility of his disciple, he ordered John to run to a rock some distance off, and roll it up to his door. John ran, nothing doubting, and laid his shoulder, and then breast against the huge mass, and toiled ineffectually to move it, dripping with perspiration, till his master recalled him. On the death of the hermit, John spent five years in visiting the different mona485steries of Egypt, and then he chose a cave in the face of a rock, near his native place, and walled up the entrance, leaving only a door and window. In this grotto he spent the remaining thirty-eight or forty years of his life.

However great may have been his desire to live in solitude, his fame brought great numbers to visit him, so that a great house had to be erected at the foot of his rock to receive the pilgrims. His abstinence was great. He ate nothing that had been cooked, not even bread, but took only a little fruit at sun-down. He was given an extraordinary insight into the future, and many of his prophecies have been recorded. The most famous were those made by him to Theodosius the Great, to whom he announced beforehand the irruption of the barbarians into the empire, the revolts that would take place, and the means he must employ against them. This prince specially consulted him concerning two enemies with whom he was called to fight. One was Maximus, who had killed the emperor Gratian in 383, and driven the emperor Valentinian from his possessions in 387. John assured him of victory, and promised that it would be unattended by great effusion of blood. Theodosius defeated Maximus in two encounters in Pannonia, passed the Alps without difficulty, pursued and surprised Maximus at Aquileia, where he cut off his head. Four years after, Eugenius having seized on the empire of the East, through the credit of Arbogastes, who had strangled the younger Valentinian, Theodosius resolved to march against him. Eugenius, who awaited him, prepared for the combat by consulting the augury and the entrails of victims. Theodosius sent the eunuch Eutropius into Egypt to invite the hermit John to come to him and declare to him the will of God. The saint refused to leave his cell, but sent word to the emperor by Eutropius that he would gain a victory, which would however be very bloody,486 and that he would only survive it a short while. Both predictions were accomplished. A battle was fought in the plains of Aquileia, on Sept. 6th, 394, in which Eugenius was defeated; Theodosius lived till January 17th of the following year, and died leaving the empire divided between his two sons Arcadius and Honorius.

Palladius was in the Nitrian desert with his master Evagrius, Albinus, Ammon, and three others; and their conversation turned on the reputation of S. John. Evagrius expressed his desire to know if all that was reported of his great virtue was true, and to have his powers of discernment tested by some one of experience. Palladius at once resolved to go. He was then aged twenty-six. He started without communicating his design to any one, and made his journey partly on foot, and partly in a boat, for it was the period of the overflow of the Nile. This is an unhealthy time, owing to the evaporation of the slime left by the retreating waters; and Palladius fell ill on his way. On his recovery he prosecuted his journey, and reached the vestibule of the hermit's cell, where he learnt that John only gave audiences on the Sabbath (Saturday) and the Sunday, and that he must therefore wait in patience till the Saturday. On that day he found the saint seated at his window, through which he conversed with all who approached. When John saw him, he greeted him through an interpreter, and asked his object in visiting him, saying at the same time that he looked like a disciple of Evagrius. Palladius satisfied his inquiries, and began to converse with him, when Alypius, the governor of the province, arrived, and approaching hastily, John signed to Palladius to withdraw whilst he received the governor. Palladius waited with some impatience, thinking in his heart that John was not free from the common infirmity of respect of persons. But the saint divined his thoughts, and sending his interpreter to him,487 bade him not be impatient, for he would speedily dismiss the governor. When Palladius was recalled, the hermit gently reproved him for his thoughts, saying, "It is not the whole, but those that are sick that need the physician. Thou art constantly engaged in labouring for thy salvation, but that man is immersed in the cares of this world, and can scarcely snatch an hour from business for the cultivation of his soul. Whom should I greet and prefer most readily?" and putting out his hand he gently cuffed Palladius. "And now to proceed with thy affairs," continued John. "I know that the thoughts of thy father have distracted thee of late, and thou hast been thinking of returning from the solitary life to him. But know that both he and thy sister have entered into religion like thyself. Thy father will live seven years longer. Think no more of returning to thy home, for it is broken up. He that putteth his hand to the plough, and looketh back, is not fit for the kingdom of God."

These words consoled and encouraged Palladius; and the saint having asked him with a smile whether he wished to be a bishop, Palladius answered in the same bantering style, that he was one already, as his name implied. "And prithee what is thy diocese?" asked the hermit. "I rule the diocese of the kitchen, and my episcopal jurisdiction is exercised over pots and pans," answered Palladius. "Enough of this joking," said the hermit. "In truth I tell thee thou shalt be a bishop one of these days, and shalt suffer many contradictions. But, if thou wouldest escape them, leave not thy solitude, for so long as thou remainest there, none will ordain thee bishop."

Some years after, this prophecy was verified; for, being threatened with dropsy, Palladius left the desert for Alexandria, and thence afterwards for Bithynia, where he was ordained bishop of Helenopolis. He was speedily enveloped in the persecution against S. Chrysostom, and was488 obliged to remain concealed for eleven months in a dark chamber.

Palladius returned from his visit to the Nitrian desert, and related all he had seen and heard to Evagrius, who was stirred to undertake the journey himself, and his account of this visit is found in the pages of Ruffinus.



[Gallican Martyrology. Authority:—Guibert, Ab. of Nogent-sous-Coussi, l. 1053, d. 1124. Guibert knew S. Matthew personally; they were both natives of the same village, and grew up together from childhood as friends.]

Matthew was a knight of noble birth, of Agnetz, near Clermont, in Beauvais. He was a model of purity, sincerity, and piety, ever calm, and never giving way to petulance, or agitated by passion. He took the cross and went to the East to fight for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, with the bishop of Beauvais. At the court of Alexis, in Constantinople, he was greatly respected. Having been made prisoner by the Saracens, he was offered his life if he would renounce the cross of Christ. He asked to be allowed to delay his reply till the following Friday. On that day he was again urged to adopt their religion. He replied, "I asked you to grant me this delay, not because I had any doubt as to what my decision would be, but that I might have the honour and felicity of shedding my blood on the same day as my Saviour Jesus Christ bled for me. Come then, strike me! I give my life to Him who laid down His for mankind." So saying he knelt and stretched forth his neck for the blow, and with one stroke was decapitated.


March 28.

SS. Priscus, Malchus, and Alexander, MM. at Cĉsarea, circ. A.D. 259.
S. Xystus or Sixtus III., Pope, A.D. 440.
S. Spes, Ab. at Nursia, in Italy, A.D. 513.
S. Guntram, K. of Burgundy, A.D. 593.
S. Conon, Monk at Nesi, in Sicily, A.D. 1236.
Ven. Mary de Mailliac, V.W. at Tours, A.D. 1414.


(A.D. 440.)

Saint Sixtus III. was a native of Rome. He succeeded Celestin I., in 432, on the Papal throne. He laboured zealously to extinguish the Pelagian and Nestorian heresies, and exhibited great joy at the reconciliation between S. Cyril of Alexandria, and John, patriarch of Antioch. Some epistles and some religious poems attributed to him exist. He built and adorned many churches in Rome, and died August 18th, 440; and was succeeded by S. Leo the Great.


(A.D. 513.)

[Roman Martyrology, and the Benedictine Martyrology of Wyon. Authority:—The Dialogues of S. Gregory the Great, lib. iv. c. 10, from one who knew Spes.]

S. Spes was an abbot of a monastery, at a place called Cample, or Campi, near Nursia, who was blind for forty years, and bore his affliction with the greatest sweetness and patience. At the end of that time his sight was restored to him for a brief space, and he occupied this time in490 visiting the monasteries of his order. And on the fifteenth day of his recovery he returned to his own house, and calling the brethren together, and standing in their midst, he received the Body and Blood of Christ, and then lifted up his voice to precent the psalms. And as he and the brethren sang, his spirit fled, and the brethren saw his blessed soul as a white dove soar up to the vault of the church, which parted, and the dove ascended into the brightness above.



March 29.

S. Limineus, M. at Clermont in Auvergne, circ. A.D. 255.
SS. Jonas and Barachisius, Monks MM. in Persia, A.D. 327.
S. Mark, B. of Arethusa, and S. Cyril, D.M. in Syria, A.D. 362.
S. Mark of Athens, H. in Libya, 4th cent.
SS. Armogastes, Archinimus, and Saturus, MM. in Africa, circ. A.D. 463.
S. Gundleus or Gwynllyw Filwr, K.H. in Wales, circ. A.D. 529. (See Jan. 24th, S. Cadoc.)
S. Eustace, Ab. of Luxeuil, A.D. 625.
S. Ludolf, M.B. of Ratzeburg, in Germany, A.D. 1201.
B. Hugo, Mk. of Vaucelles, 13th cent.


(A.D. 327.)

[Greek Menology of the emperor Basil the younger, and Roman Martyrology. Authority:—The Acts written by an eye-witness, Esaias, an Armenian knight in the troops of king Sapor, pub. in Chaldaic by Asseman. The Greek version in Metaphrastes has gone through much amplification.]

King Shapoor, or Sapor, of Persia, raised a savage persecution against the Christians in his realm, believing them to be in league with the Roman emperor. Amongst those who suffered were Jonas and Barachisius, because they refused to adore the sun and fire. Melted lead was poured down the nostrils of Jonas, and red-hot plates were placed under his arms, and he was hung up by one foot in his dungeon till he fainted. His hands and feet were cut off, his tongue torn out, and he was pressed to death in a grape-crusher. Barachisius was treated with equal barbarity. Sharp splinters of reed were thrust into his flesh, all over his body, so that he resembled a porcupine, and he was then rolled on the ground to drive the spikes in.



(A.D. 362.)

[By Greeks and Latins on the same day, but the Greeks commemorate especially S. Mark, and the modern Roman Martyrology only S. Cyril. S. Mark, but not S. Cyril, was in that of Galesinius, prepared for the use of the Roman Church, and approved by Gregory XIII., and Clement VIII., but was cut out by Baronius, and S. Cyril inserted in his place. The reason he gave was "Romana Ecclesia non recipit Marcum illum inter Sanctos, quem constat Arianum fuisse." But the continuators of Bollandus have shown that Baronius was without sufficient grounds for concluding that he was an Arian. Authorities:—Theodoret, lib. iii. c. 7; Socrates, lib. ii. c. 30; Theophanes, and the Oration of S. Gregory Nazianzen against Julian.]

Mark, bishop of Arethusa, on Mount Lebanon, was present at the council of Sirmium (A.D. 351), which met to depose Photinus, the bishop of Sirmium, who, in spite of former censures for heresy, had retained his church. This was at a time when the Arian controversy was being carried on with great vehemence, and the word "consubstantial" was insisted upon by the orthodox, and rejected by the Arian party. A third party of semi-Arians, as they were called, existed, which comprised within its ranks men of two different types. On the one hand were the prelates who desired to keep well with an Arian emperor, but who were not disposed to surrender the Catholic faith to obtain favour, and who were wanting in dogmatic precision. On the other hand, there was a body of very pious and thoroughly orthodox bishops, who hesitated about adopting a new word to define our Lord's nature, deprecated the heat displayed by both parties, and hoped, by avoiding this burning word, to prevent many who were passively or ignorantly heterodox, from being forced by the fierceness, wherewith the controversy was carried on, to side permanently with heresy. We have seen S. Cyril in company with these men. Mark of Arethusa was another. At the council he produced a creed, which is493 given by Socrates, and which it was hoped would be accepted by the semi-Arians and Catholics together. This creed is orthodox92; the only questionable passage in it is in reference to a text in Genesis, and is so involved and obscure that it may be incorrectly given by the historian.93 It is as follows:—"If anyone shall understand the words, (Gen. xix. 24.) 'The Lord rained from the Lord,' not in relation to the Father and the Son, but shall say that God rained from Himself, let Him be anathema: for the Lord the Son rained from the Lord the Father. If anyone, hearing the Lord the Father, and the Lord the Son, shall term both the Father and the Son Lord, and saying the Lord from the Lord, shall assert that there be two Gods, let him be anathema. For we rank not the Son with the Father, but conceive Him to be subordinate to the Father. For He neither came down to Sodom without the Father's will, nor did He rain from Himself, but from the Lord who exercises supreme authority: nor does He sit at the Father's right hand of Himself, but in obedience to the Father."

But this strange passage must not be taken to deny the Lordship of the Son, for the Creed which precedes the anathemas is very explicit on the Eternal Godhead of Christ. "We believe ... in our Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten of His Father before all ages, God of God, Light of Light, by whom all things visible and invisible, which are in the heavens and upon the earth, were made; Who is the Word, the Wisdom, the true Light, and the Life." Again,494 "If anyone says that the Son was not with God, begotten of the Father before all ages, and that all things were not made by Him, let him be anathema."

In the reign of Constantius, Mark had drawn down on himself the hatred of the pagan inhabitants of Arethusa, by causing the destruction of a magnificent temple. According to the law published by Julian the Apostate, on his accession to the throne, he was, under these circumstances, bound to make good the value of the temple in money, or else to cause it to be rebuilt. Being in no condition to do the former, and thinking he could not conscientiously do the latter; fearing, at the same time, for his life amidst a ferocious populace, he betook himself to flight. As others, however, were involved in danger on his account, he turned back, and voluntarily offered himself to his enemies. The fanatical multitude now fell upon him; he was dragged through the streets, stripped, and scourged, then dipped in the town sewer, and given over to the schoolboys returning from their lessons, to mangle him with their iron pens. When the old man had almost done breathing, they besmeared him with honey and other liquids, laid him in a basket, in which he was swung up in the air, and left to be preyed upon by bees and wasps. Mark shamed his cruel enemies by the cool indifference which he exhibited under all his sufferings. The governor, himself a pagan, represented to Julian what scandal it must occasion if they allowed themselves to be outdone by the constancy of a weak old man; and the emperor finally commanded him to be set free, for it was not his wish, he said, to give the Christians any martyrs. After, when Libanius, the heathen rhetorician, desired to restrain a governor from indulging in the cruel persecution of a Christian who had been accused of robbing the temples, he warned him thus: "If he is to die in his chains, then look well before you, and consider495 what will be the result. Take heed lest you bring upon us many more like Mark. This Mark was hung up, scourged, plucked by the beard, and bore all with constancy. He is now honoured as a god, and, wherever he appears, everybody is eager to take him by the hand. As the emperor is aware of this, he has not allowed the man to be executed, much as he is grieved at the destruction of the temple. Let the preservation of Mark be a caution to us."94 Socrates says that the constancy of Mark converted the people of Arethusa, and that they submitted to learn from his lips the doctrines of Christianity.

In the same chapter in which Socrates relates the sufferings of Mark, he tells how other Christians suffered from popular tumults at the revival of paganism under Julian. "At Askelon, and at Gaza, they seized men truly worthy of the priesthood, and women vowed to perpetual virginity, and after having ripped open their stomachs, they threw them to the pigs to be devoured. At Sebaste, a city of the same province, they opened the coffin of John the Baptist, burnt his bones, and flung away his ashes. In Heliopolis, a city near Lebanon, dwelt Cyril, a deacon. Acting on the impulse of ardent zeal, he had there, during the reign of Constantius, destroyed many idols. These impious men not only killed him in revenge for this act, but after having ripped up his stomach, ate his liver. At Dorostolis, a celebrated city of Thrace, Emilius, an undaunted champion of the faith, was thrown into the flames by Capitolinus, governor of the province."



(ABOUT A.D. 463.)

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, and Roman Martyrology. Authority:—Victor of Utica. De Persec. Vand. lib. i. (5th cent.)]

Genseric, the Vandal king in North Africa, had in his early youth renounced the Orthodox communion, and had become an Arian. He was exasperated to find that the Africans, who fled before him in the field, presumed to dispute his authority over their faith, and his ferocious mind was incapable of fear or of compassion. His Catholic subjects were oppressed by intolerant laws, and arbitrary punishments. The language of Genseric was furious and formidable; the knowledge of his intentions might justify the most unfavourable interpretations of his actions; and the Arians were reproached with the frequent executions which stained the palace and dominions of the tyrant.

Genseric had ordered, on the advice of the Arian bishops, that no Catholic should be allowed to hold office in his house. Now there was found one, named Armogastes, in the service of his son Theodoric. He was tortured with cords bound round his forehead and legs, compressing the flesh painfully. But he looked up to heaven, made the sign of the Cross, and the cords broke like a spider's web. Stouter cords of hemp were then used, but they proved equally inefficacious. He was next suspended by one foot, with his head downwards. His master, Theodoric, wished to cut off his head, but his hand was arrested by an Arian priest present, named Jucundus, who said, "If thou strikest off his head, the Romans will honour him as a martyr; therefore make him languish to death in other ways." By Romans, he meant the conquered inhabitants of the province. Theodoric then sent Armogastes into the province of Byzacene, to dig the earth. He afterwards recalled him497 to Carthage, and to disgrace him before all men, made him cow-keeper.

The confessor having had a revelation that his death was at hand, said to a Catholic, named Felix, "I pray thee, bury me under this oak tree, or thou shalt have to give account before God for not doing this." Felix replied, "God forbid that I should do so; I will bury thee, as thou deservest, in some church." Armogastes urged him, and Felix promised to fulfil his wish, so as not to vex him. The saint died a few days after, and Felix began his grave beneath the tree, but the roots incommoded him. He, therefore, got an axe, and cut through them, and found, to his surprise, an ancient marble sarcophagus beneath them; and in this he laid the body of Armogastes.

A certain Archinimus, of the city of Mascula, was also called on to confess Christ about the same time. The king himself endeavoured to persuade him to disbelieve in the eternal Godhead of Christ, and promised him great wealth and favour if he would comply with his wishes. But when he found that the man would not be persuaded, he gave orders that he should be executed, but he sent secret instructions that his life should be spared if he maintained his constancy to the last. The saint showed no disposition to yield, and he was spared.

Satur, procurator of Huneric, often spoke against Arian misbelief. For this he was denounced by an Arian deacon, named Varimad. Huneric threatened, unless he conformed to the established heresy, that he would deprive him of his house, his goods, his slaves, his children, even of his wife, and publicly wed her in his presence to a camel-driver. Satur remained inflexible, and was despoiled of all things. His wife implored delay, and going to her husband, with her garments rent, cast herself at his feet, and implored him not, by his obduracy, to expose her to such a public disgrace,498 and to such a sin as marriage to another whilst her husband lived. He replied, "You speak like one of the foolish women. (Job xi. 10.) If you loved me, you would not urge me to a second death. He that forsaketh not even his wife, the Lord said, when called upon so to do for His sake, cannot be His disciple." Then Satur was robbed of all, and reduced to beggary; he was even forbidden to go forth from his place. Thus was he despoiled of wealth and family, and liberty. "But," says Victor of Utica, "Of his baptismal robe they could not rob him." These three men are honoured, for their sufferings, as martyrs.


(A.D. 625.)

[Roman Martyrology, and that of Ado; not in the genuine one of Bede, nor in that of Usuardus; but in those of Notker and Maurolycus; and in the Gallican and Benedictine Martyrologies; and in the Scottish one of Dempster. His life was written by Jonas, monk of Bobbio, in 664.]

Eustace, born of a noble family in Burgundy, had spent his youth in arms, but he renounced the world and joined S. Columbanus at Luxeuil, and when, through the persecution of that she-wolf, Brunehault, and her grandson, Thierry, king of Burgundy, Columbanus was driven from his monastery, and from the country, Eustace was deemed worthy to succeed him in the government of the abbey. His marvellous sweetness and tender companion to all who suffered, mentally or corporeally, endeared him to his monks; and when they confessed their faults to him, his tears mingled with theirs, and filled their hearts with consolation.

By order of Clothaire II., he travelled into Italy to recall Columbanus, and the two saints had the happiness of once more falling on each other's necks, embracing. Colum499banus having refused to return, Eustace went back to the king and explained to him the reasons of the saint for declining his invitation. Eustace, therefore, remained at the head of the great abbey of Luxeuil, which attracted an increasing number of monks. However, the missionary spirit and desire to preach exercised an overwhelming influence over Eustace, as over all the disciples of the great Irish missionary. The bishops, assembled in the Council of Bonneuil-sur-Marne, by Clothaire II., nominated him to preach the faith to unconverted nations. He began with the Varasques, who inhabited the banks of the Doubs, near Baume, some of whom worshipped the wood-spirit, whilst others had fallen victims to heresy. He afterwards travelled beyond the countries which Columbanus had visited, to the extremity of northern Gaul, among the Boii or Bavarians. His mission was not without success; but Luxeuil, which could not remain thus without a head, soon recalled him.

During the ten years of his rule, a worthy successor of Columbanus, he succeeded in securing the energetic support of the Frank nobility, as well as the favour of Clothaire II. Under his active and intelligent administration, the abbey founded by S. Columbanus attained its highest pitch of splendour, and was recognised as the monastic capital of all the countries under Frank government. The other monasteries, into which laxness had but too frequently found its way, yielded, one after another, to the happy influence of Luxeuil, and gradually reformed themselves by its example. This remarkable prosperity was threatened with a sudden interruption by means of the intrigues of a false brother who had stolen into the monastic family of Columbanus. A man named Agrestin, who had been secretary to king Thierry, the persecutor of S. Columbanus, came one day to give himself and his property to Luxeuil. Being500 admitted among the monks, he soon showed a desire to go, like Eustace, to preach the faith to the pagans. In vain the abbot, who could see no evangelical quality in him, attempted to restrain that false zeal. He was obliged to let him go. Agrestin followed the footsteps of Eustace into Bavaria, but made nothing of it, and passed from thence into Istria and Lombardy, where he embraced the schism of the Three Chapters, and endeavoured to involve therein Attalus, the second abbot of Bobbio. Failing, he returned to Luxeuil, where he tried to corrupt his former brethren. Eustace then remembered what the exiled Columbanus had written to him, in his letter from Nantes, just before his embarkation:—"If there is one among you who holds different sentiments from the others, send him away;" and he commanded Agrestin to leave the community. To avenge himself, the schismatic began to snarl, says the contemporary annalist, hawking here and there injurious imputations against the rule of S. Columbanus. Abellinus, bishop of Geneva, listened to his denunciations, and exerted himself to make the neighbouring prelates share his dislike. King Clothaire, who heard of it, and who was always full of solicitude for Luxeuil, assembled most of the bishops of the kingdom of Burgundy in the council of Macon. To this council Eustace was called, and the accuser invited to state his complaints against the rule. They were directed against certain insignificant peculiarities. "I have discovered," said he, "that Columbanus has established usuages which are not those of the whole Church." And thereupon he accused his former brethren, as with so many heresies, of making the sign of the cross upon their spoons when eating; of asking a blessing in entering or leaving any monastic building; and of multiplying prayers at Mass. He insisted especially against the Irish tonsure, which Columbanus had introduced into France, and which consisted solely in shav501ing the front of the head, from one ear to the other, without touching the hair of the back part, while the Greeks shaved the entire head, and the Romans only the crown.

Eustace had no difficulty in justifying the customs of Luxeuil, and in discomfiting the violence of his accuser. But as Agrestin always returned to the charge, the abbot said to him: "In presence of these bishops, I, the disciple and successor of him whose institute thou condemnest, cite thee to appear with him, within a year, at the tribunal of God, to plead thy cause against him, and to learn to know the justice of Him whose servant thou hast attempted to calumniate." The solemnity of this appeal had an effect even upon the prelates who leant to the side of Agrestin: they urged him to be reconciled to his former abbot, and the latter, who was gentleness himself, consented to give him the kiss of peace. But this goodness did not benefit Agrestin. Hopeless of succeeding at Luxeuil itself, he sowed revolt and calumny in the other monasteries which had proceeded, like Luxeuil, from the colonising genius of Columbanus, at Remiremont and Faremoutier. But shortly before the expiration of the year, he was slain with a blow of an axe by his servant, whose wife, it was reported—whether truly or not Jonas does not commit himself to decide—he had intended to dishonour. At length, in 625, Eustace was called to his rest, and was succeeded in the government of the abbey by S. Wandelbert (May 7th.)

His relics were preserved in the abbey of Vergaville, in the diocese of Metz, but on its destruction in 1792 they were carried away and concealed by the last abbess, Madame de la Marche, in the house of M. Labrosse, curé of Surianville. They were surrendered by him, on the return of security, to Mgr. Ant. Eustache Osmond, bishop of Nancy, and they were placed in two shrines in the Benedictine priory of Flavigny-sur-Moselle, in Meurthe, in 1824.



(A.D. 1236.)

[Gallican Martyrology. Authority:—Thomas Cantipratensis.]

One of the most fervent and exemplary religious of the abbey of Vaucelles in the early part of the 13th century was Hugo de Villa, formerly dean of the church of Cambrai. He was as distinguished for the nobility of his birth, and of his talents, as he was for his virtue. The fear of being called to fill some episcopal throne prompted him to take refuge in the monastery of Vaucelles, where the rule of the first children of S. Bernard was rigorously observed. When the project of the pious dean was known, many persons came to ask him to give them a handsome tame falcon he possessed. Hugo refused, and dissembled his intentions till the moment that he entered religion. He arrived at the gates of the abbey with the bird, and then, cutting the string that held the falcon captive, he gave it liberty, saying, "My dear bird! fly away and enjoy thy liberty in peace, for I am leaving thee for ever."

Thomas de Cantinpré, his biographer, says, "I have often heard from the mouths of eye-witnesses that during his noviciate, birds would come and perch on his hands, and eat crumbs out of them. The master of the novices, to prove his virtue by opposing this innocent pleasure, reproached him. The good religious then drove away the birds that fluttered around him, saying, with that simplicity which marked all his conduct, 'Away, birds! I am not surprised that you are ordered off: my age and condition requires that you should obey me, and not I you.'"


March 30.

S. Secundus, M. at Aste, in Italy, A.D. 119.
S. Quirinus the Tribune, M. at Rome, A.D. 130.
S. Regulus, B. of Arles and Senlis, 4th cent.
SS. Martyrs at Constantinople, slain by Macedonius, the Heresiarch, A.D. 351.
S. John in the Well, H. in Armenia.
S. John Climacus, Ab. of Mount Sinai, about A.D. 606.
S. Zosimus, B. of Syracuse, circ. A.D. 660.
S. Patto, B. of Werden, 9th cent.
S. Vero, C. at Limbecke, in Hainault, 9th cent.
B. Dodo Van Hascha, O.P., C. in Friesland, A.D. 1231.
B. Peter Regulatus, O.M., C. at Aguilar, in Old Castille, A.D. 1456.
B. Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, A.D. 1472.


(A.D. 119.)

[Molanus, in his additions to Usuardus, Maurolycus, and other modern Martyrologies. Not in the Roman Martyrology. The Acts, of which there exist several versions, are not worthy of trust. They may possibly contain the original Acts, but if so, they are so embedded in fable that it is impossible to distinguish what is true from what is false.]

According to the legendary Acts, Secundus of Aste, count of the palace, was instructed in the faith by S. Calocerus, then a prisoner at Aste, and baptized by SS. Faustinus and Jovitta, at Milan. He was afterwards sent to Tortona, to S. Martian, in his dungeon, to bear to him the Blessed Sacrament, and he was present when this saint suffered for Christ. It was told the governor, Sapricius, that Secundus had buried the body of the martyr; and sending for him, he heard him confess that he was a Christian. He was placed on the rack, and then sent to Aste, where he suffered execution with the sword, together with S. Calocerus, on March 30th.

Patron of Aste, where his relics are preserved.



(A.D. 130.)

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, and Roman Martyrology. Authority:—Mention in the Acts of S. Alexander, pope (May 3rd), but these are not altogether trustworthy.]

Quirinus the Tribune was converted and baptized by pope S. Alexander I., and was condemned to have his tongue, hands, and feet cut off. According to the popular legend, which is often represented in art, his tongue was offered to a falcon, but the bird refused to eat it: the Acts say nothing of it. The hands and feet were in like manner cast to dogs, and popular tradition adds that they refused to devour them. Afterwards he was drawn by oxen to the place of final execution, where his head was struck off.

Relics at Neuss, in the archdiocese of Cologne, and anciently in the church of S. Madeleine at Troyes, in France, also in the church of S. Pantaleon, in Cologne, where is a portion of the skull, in that of S. Gereon, and that of the Jesuits in the same city; at Silburg, at Zulpich, at Louvain, Tongres, Florieffe, at Bologna, and in the church of S. Balbina in Rome.



[Gallican and Roman Martyrologies. Authority:—Various editions of the life of S. Regulus, the most ancient probably of the 9th cent. The cathedral of Senlis was burnt in that century, and together with it perished all its archives. Those lives extant were written from tradition after this fire. S. Regulus is called in France S. Rieul.]

S. Regulus was a native of Argos. Hearing of the miracles wrought at Ephesus by the Beloved Disciple, S. John the Divine, he went thither, and was converted by505 him. The Blessed Apostle, admiring his virtue, ordained him, and kept him by him as a dear friend. But persecution soon parted the pupil from his master, for S. John was exiled to Patmos. After a while, Regulus, hearing that S. Dionysius, the Areopagite, was leaving Rome to bear the gospel into lands that knew not Christ, followed him, and S. Denys took with him Rusticus for his deacon, Eleutherius as subdeacon, Regulus, Lucian, Eugenius, and others. Regulus was appointed bishop of Arles, where he found a colony of Christians which had been formed by S. Trophimus. According to the legend, one day, as Regulus was saying Mass, after he had recited in the canon the names of SS. Peter and Paul, he added, without thinking of what he was saying, "also the blessed martyrs, Denys, Rusticus, and Eleutherius," and thereupon saw three doves descend on the altar, with these three names in bloody characters inscribed on their breasts. Knowing that these three blessed apostles must be dead, he went to Paris to gather up their sacred relics, having first confided the care of his church to a bishop named Felicissimus. On arriving, he went to the village of Châton, where he met a lady, named Catulla, who had secretly buried the bodies of the martyrs. Regulus celebrated the holy Sacrifice over their grave, and Catulla built a chapel of wood on the spot. This was the chapel which S. Genoveva afterwards rebuilt in stone (vol. i. p. 50). Regulus then left Paris, and took the road to Senlis. Passing through Louvres, six leagues from Paris, he overthrew an idol of Mercury, which he found there, preached to the people, and built a chapel, which was afterwards dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. Regulus then undertook the conversion of the people of Senlis, which he happily effected. Then he betook himself to Beauvais, and the story goes that as the frogs in the marshes disturbed him whilst preaching he forbade them all croaking with the506 exception of one. He is said to have died in 130, during the reign of Hadrian, after having laboured forty years in different missions. So far the legendary life, which is destitute of respect as history. In all probability two saints have been run into one, a S. Regulus of Arles, the successor of S. Trophimus, and a S. Regulus of Senlis, who lived in the end of the third century, and died in the early part of the fourth, for he is spoken of as a companion of saints who certainly lived at that period.

In art S. Regulus or Rieul is represented with frogs at his side, or releasing captives from their chains.


(A.D. 606.)

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menologium of the emperor Basil, and Menĉa. Authority:—His Life by Daniel, monk of Raithu, near the Red Sea, a contemporary.]

S. John, abbot of Mount Sinai, is commonly called Climacus, from a book written by him, entitled "Climax, or the Ladder of Perfection." As this treatise shows his erudition, he is also sometimes called Scholasticus, and, as abbot of Mount Sinai, he is also designated as John the Sinaite.

The place of his birth is not known, nor is the exact year of that event, but it was probably in 525. At the age of sixteen he ascended Mount Sinai with the purpose of offering himself to God as a living acceptable sacrifice. At the age of thirty-five he became a solitary at Thola, five miles further in the desert, where, in the complete silence of the barren rocks, he could discipline his tongue, which was rather given to loquacity. He passed forty years in the service of God, and in self-mortification. From Thola he507 returned every Sabbath to the monastery church to assist at the divine service, and communicate at the sacred mysteries on that day and the following Sunday. Many resorted to the cell of S. John for advice, but, as it was reported, perhaps not without reason, that he made these visits an opportunity for indulging in his weakness of talking excessively, he condemned himself to rigorous silence for a whole twelvemonth.

At the age of seventy-five, in 600, S. John left his hermitage to fill the office of abbot in the monastery of Mount Sinai, and superior-general of all the monks and hermits of the deserts around.

S. Gregory the Great, who then sat in S. Peter's chair, wrote to the holy abbot, commending himself to his prayers, and sent him beds and money for his hospital, for the use of pilgrims to Mount Sinai.

At the request of John, abbot of Raithu, he drew up his "Climax, or Ladder of Perfection," containing, in thirty chapters, rules for attaining the thirty steps of religious perfection. This book contains many curious and instructive anecdotes, illustrative of the monastic life of the period.

S. John was regarded by his monastic contemporaries as a second Moses on Sinai, "for he ascended into the mountain of contemplation, talked with God face to face, and then descended to his fellows in mind and intelligence, bearing the tables of God's Law, his Ladder of Perfection."

Once, when S. John was entertaining six hundred pilgrims, a stranger, habited in linen, after the ancient Jewish fashion, appeared among the attendants, a man of very ancient and reverend mien, and ministered with his own hands to the guests. The feast being over, the stranger vanished, and S. John concluded it must have been Moses who had re-visited Sinai for a brief moment. This is a curious instance of the very widely diffused belief in the508 Wandering Jew. Hebrew legends are full of similar tales, but the mysterious stranger is with them Elijah; and the Arabs tell of a similar undying man, who appears at intervals, but who is El Khoudir, the friend and instructor of Moses.

When S. John was dying in his hermitage, his spiritual son, George, besought him to suffer him to depart with him. The saint replied, "Thou shalt follow me in a year's time." And so it was, at the end of a twelvemonth the disciple joined his master.


(ABOUT A.D. 660.)

[Commemorated in Greek Menologies on Jan. 21st, save in that of Cardinal Sirlet, which assigns him to this day. Life, in Menologies and in Bollandists, by a contemporary Sicilian who derived his statements from B. Elias or from John the Deacon.]

Our saint's life was calm and almost uneventful; yet it is not without interest or profit to those who love to see the life of Christ reflected in some degree in the unruffled mirror of His saints' lives. His parents owned a farm or small estate near the convent of S. Lucia, in the neighbourhood of Syracuse. Brought up among all the delights of a pastoral life in Sicily, of which Theocritus sings in such inimitable strains, he yet yearned for higher and holier joys. Accordingly, he gladly assented to his parents' wish to dedicate him to S. Lucia; and, about 578, when seven years old, he was offered as a living sacrifice to God in her convent. His chief duty was to watch by the precious shrine of S. Lucia. Some only of her relics could have been preserved there, for after the translation of her body from Syracuse to Rome, it was removed by order of the emperor Otho I. to Metz.509 Her touching history will be told on the 13th December, the day on which she suffered as a martyr for chastity and Christianity. The little Zosimus doubtless often knelt in prayer for his father and mother in the recess beneath the silver shrine where her relics rested. Still such communion with his parents did not satisfy the natural cravings of his heart, for once when he was ordered by the abbot Faustus to do some disagreeable task out of doors, he ran home to his friends. They brought the truant back to the convent, where he was set to watch the tomb again. That night it seemed to him the hinges of the shrine creaked, and the virgin herself stepped forth, and standing over him seemed to threaten him with punishment. Then he saw another lady of gracious aspect by her side, interceding for him and promising in his name that he would never so offend again; a promise which he gladly ratified with his own lips. The virgin returned to her shrine, and he was left alone in the still dark night watching the lamps which shone in front of