Wed 1 Nov 2017 - 20:22.MichaelManaloLazo.

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Re: Wed 1 Nov 2017 - 20:22.MichaelManaloLazo.

Post  Michael_Manalo_Lazo on Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:58 pm

SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
On the cover
Saint George. Engraving
by Master IAM of Zwolle
(b. ca. 1440). Netherlandish,
second half XV century. Harris
Brisbane Dick Fund, 1933
The exhibition "Saints and Their Legends" opened March 1,1974 in the Medieval Tapestry Hall.
SAINTS
AND THEIR
LEGENDS
A Selection of Saints
from Michael the Archangel
to the Fifteenth Century
DEPARTMENT OF
MEDIEVAL ART
THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
Introduction
The present booklet is a compilation of stories of saints starting with
Michael the Archangel, who cannot be dated as he is as old as the
world and belongs as much to the Old Testament as to the New. John
the Baptist follows, as the forerunner, the last of the prophets of the
Old Testament and first of the New. The others come grouped loosely
by affinites rather than chronologically. The most represented and best
known saints have been reduced to a minimum or do not appear at all
- only three apostles are included, no Mary Magdalen, or Joseph -
and the selection stops at the fifteenth century, before the Reformation.
Particular emphasis has been given to the early Christian martyrs,
even if a number of them have been "de-accessioned" by the Vatican
in recent years. This fact does not concern us because this compilation
responds to works of art that are in the collection of The Metropolitan
Museum of Art, and the purpose of this booklet is to present to the
public those works of art as living witnesses of the history of the
Christian faith. The stories, or legends, have been taken from various
sources attempting to cover whatever the works of art represent.
If the legends or the historical facts reach only the fifteenth century,
the works of art cover a much wider scope and almost every possible
medium within our reach. If the selection of the objects, the organization
of the exhibition and the writing of the stories for this booklet
was done entirely by the Department of Medieval Art, other departments
contributed with objects in their collections. They are: Drawings,
European Paintings, Prints and Photographs, and Western European
Arts. To these were added objects from the collections of the late
Robert Lehman and Judge Irwin Untermyer and The Pierpont Morgan
Library. A group of friends of the Medieval Department, who have
always been generous with their own treasures, have helped us once
again: Mrs. Leopold Blumka, Professor Harry Bober, Mrs. Ernest Brummer,
Mr. Paul Doll, Dr. Lillian Malcove and Dr. and Mrs. Kurt Winter.
Other objects were already on loan from Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Manning
and Miss Cynthia Moore (granddaughter of Alastair B. Martin).
Our gratitude goes to them all.
Carmen Gomez-Moreno
Curator-in-Charge
Department of Medieval Art
March, 1974
1 MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
f. d. September 29 (West), November 8 (East)
Michael the Archangel is the great heavenly warrior who struck down
Satan and his armies, and cast them forever into the depths of hell
(Rev. XII: 7-9). He is thought to have been the angel who expelled
Adam and Eve from Paradise, and thereafter to have championed the
faithful among their descendants, first in the Jewish nation, then in the
Christian world. He assisted emperors in their conquests - Constantine
and Justinian built churches in his honor in Constantinopleand
simple folk in their everyday strifes. His appearances on earth
were always dramatic, as befits the triumphant general. When a fierce
plague ravaged the city of Rome, Pope Gregory I conducted a solemn
procession through the streets. On approaching the mausoleum of
Hadrian near the Vatican, he saw in a blaze of glory the Archangel
standing on the dome, sheathing a bloodied sword. Michael had slain
the demon plague in answer to the people's prayers. His statue still
stands atop the mausoleum, which was renamed the Castel Sant'Angelo.
Michael had a preference for high places, and many of his sanctuaries
are in caves near mountaintops. In the fifth or sixth century the
sanctuary at Monte Sant'Angelo was founded miraculously, on Monte
Gargano, the spur of the "boot" of Italy. Legend records that Gargano,
a citizen of Siponto, sent out his herd to graze on the mountain slopes.
When the cattle returned, a bull was missing. After a long search it
was sighted at the mouth of a cave high up on the mountainside.
Gargano's companions shot at it, but their arrows deflected off the
bull's forehead and struck them in the eyes. The people of Siponto
applied to their bishop, Laurentius, for an explanation. After three days
of prayer, Michael appeared in a dream, telling Laurentius that the
cave was sacred to him. Michael appeared a second time, somewhat
later, to aid the Sipontans in their battle with the "pagan" Neopolitans,
and a third time to Laurentius on the eve of the dedication of the
church which was built above the grotto on Monte Gargano, to say
that he himself had dedicated it. Monte Sant'Angelo was a very important
pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages, and visitors are still awed
ABBREVIATIONS: b. - born c. -circa (about) cd. -canonized d. -died f. d. - feast day
by the immense grotto reached by steps cut into the mountain, and
by the bronze doors, made in Constantinople, which guard the entrance.
Other hilltop sanctuaries of the Archangel are found throughout
Western Europe, the most famous today being Mont-Saint-Michel in
Normandy. In the East, where Michael's cult originated, many churches,
oratories and healing springs commemorated his appearances and
miracles. Such a miracle at Chonae in Turkey, where Michael diverted
two rivers from obliterating his spring and oratory, was often portrayed
in Byzantine art.
Michael is the weigher of souls at the Last Judgment. In many representations
he stands below Christ separating the blessed from the
damned, directing the former towards the heavenly hosts and the latter
into the jaws of hell. He is usually portrayed resplendent in armor or
dressed as a prince of the heavenly court carrying a spear, sword and
standard, or the scales, and often trampling or spearing a dragon -
Satan - under his feet.
2 JOHN THE BAPTIST
d. c. 29; f. d. of his birth, June 24; f. d. of his decollation, August 29
The son of Elizabeth (cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ) and
Zacharias, John the Baptist is considered the last of the Old Testament
prophets and the first of the New Testament saints. He is the precursor,
the one to prepare the way for the Redeemer. The main source of his
life comes from the Gospels, but his birth is recorded only in Luke's
Gospel (I: 5-25,39-44,57-80). The Archangel Gabriel announced to
Zacharias that his wife, believed to be barren, would conceive and
bear a son. During her pregnancy Elizabeth was visited by her cousin
Mary, also pregnant, and her infant "leaped in her womb. " At John's
birth Zacharias, who had become temporarily mute, wrote on a tablet,
following the mother's wishes: "John is his name. " From his young
years John lived an austere and solitary life in the desert of Judea, and
about 27 A. D. all that were around heard the voice of the prophet:
"Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. " His way of life and
preaching led many to become his disciples, and he baptized those
who confessed their sins in the waters of the river Jordan. His was "the
voice of one crying in the wilderness" (Matt. III: 3), speaking of Jesus:
"He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not
worthy to bear.... " (Matt. III: 2). Jesus spoke about John as a prophet
and was baptized by him in the river Jordan, and called him the Lamb
of God.
Soon afterwards, John was thrown into prison because of his constant
rebuking of Herod Antipas for his incestuous marriage to Herodias, his
half-brother's wife. On the occasion of Herod's birthday there was a
banquet, and Herodias planned her revenge against John - and also
against Herod himself, whom she considered weak for not stopping
the voice of the prophet. Her daughter Salome, a young maiden of
great beauty, was asked to dance by her stepfather and performed so
provocatively that Herod's sensuality was aroused and he promised to
give her anything she wished. Herodias advised her to ask for John the
Baptist's head. Herod was aware that John was more than just a man,
and was terrified of the consequences, but he had to keep his promise,
and the order to behead the Baptist was given. Soon afterwards Salome
entered the banquet room with the bloody head on a platter, and
presented it to Herod and Herodias. In some versions of the story
Herod was so horrified and full of remorse that he had Salome stabbed
right on the spot.
John the Baptist is represented as a child, alone or playing with his
cousin Jesus, and always accompanied by a lamb; or as an ascetic
wearing a camel's-hair tunic or mantle, holding a cross-ended staff
with a small banner, with the index finger of his right hand pointing
upward, or in the act of baptizing Christ. He is the patron saint of
Bruges, Florence and other Italian cities, and of furriers and tailors.
Apostles
3 PETER
A. D. 64(? ); f. d. June 29 (Peter and Paul), February 22 (Peter's Chair at Antioch),
January 18 (Peter's Chair at Rome), August 1 (Peter's Chains)
Simon Peter was by trade a fisherman. He was brought to Jesus by his
brother Andrew to be a "fisher of men, " and his name, which means
"rock, " was given him by Christ. Peter holds a preeminent place both
in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Gospels. It was to Peter that
Christ instructed that His Church be built, giving to him the keys to
Heaven. The accounts of Peter's vow of loyalty, followed closely by his
denial of Christ and then deep repentance, demonstrate his unique
position among the apostles. After the Ascension, Peter carried the
word of Christ throughout Asia Minor. He performed miracles in
Christ's name; his very shadow was health-giving. He was imprisoned
by Herod Agrippa and escaped through divine intervention. He was
the first bishop of Antioch. Subsequently he went to Rome, where he
formed the first Christian community. He was martyred under Nero,
the first emperor to make Christianity a crime; according to tradition,
he was crucified head downward at his own request. Although his
burial place, where the altar of the Vatican basilica stands, has been
questioned, the results of recent excavation are of great interest in attempting
to confirm this point.
St. Peter is depicted holding the keys to Heaven. Sometimes he
holds a fish or is shown near a cock, a reference to his denial. His
cathedra, or throne, represents his papal authority and the first seat
of the Roman Catholic Church.
4 PAUL
c. 67; f. d. June 29
Paul the apostle, although not one of the original twelve, is the most
widely known of the first-century followers of Christ. He was born in
Tarsus to parents who were Roman Jews, and was named Saul. While
completing his studies in Jerusalem, he officially witnessed the stoning
of St. Stephen, the protomartyr. Saul's conversion took place on the
way to Damascus, where he was going with a commission to persecute
a small Christian community that had begun. He was blinded by a
great light, and falling from his horse, heard a voice saying: "Saul,
Saul, why have you persecuted me? " He said: "Who are you, Lord? "
The voice answered: "I am Jesus whom you have been persecuting. "
After his miraculous conversion Paul became a teacher and preacher.
His missionary journeys led him to Cyprus, Asia Minor, Macedonia,
Greece and even Spain, where his preaching heaped transform what
had been little more than a Jewish sect into the nucleus of a world
religion. He was arrested and imprisoned, both in Jerusalem and in
Rome, for his preaching. Tradition tells that St. Paul was imprisoned
under Nero, and was beheaded. He is best known for his Pauline Doctrines,
which resulted in a completely new interpretation of the Old
Testament.
St. Paul is identified by the sword with which he was beheaded, and
the book or scroll of his Epistles, which were written while he was in
prison. From early Christian times Peter and Paul were both portrayed
with distinguishing features by which they could be easily identified:
Peter had short curly hair and a beard; Paul was partially bald and
wore a pointed beard. Paul is the patron of missionaries and ropemakers.
5 BARTHOLOMEW
ist century; f. d. August 24 (West), June 11 (East)
Although he was one of Christ's disciples, the New Testament affords
little information about Bartholomew; his calling is only mentioned by
Mark, Luke and Matthew. John, however, speaks of Nathaniel (I: 45-51)
as a disciple, and since Bartholomew is a surname meaning "son of
Tolmai, " Nathaniel may have been his given name. Bartholomew was
the apostle of the East, traveling, it is believed, in Armenia, Persia and
India. The Golden Legend provides a colorful account of his adventures
in India, although other sources assign them to Armenia. Traveling
in the East, the apostle entered a temple of the god Astaroth, whose
idol was efficacious in curing the sick; or, rather, the idol, inhabited
by a demon, simply ceased tormenting the ill without actually curing
them. Bartholomew's presence deprived the idol's demon of its power
so that when a possessed man cried out in anguish in the temple, it
was Bartholomew who freed him from the evil spirit. Polemius, the
king of the region, hearing of Bartholomew's power, summoned him
to exorcise a demon from his daughter. Having performed this task,
Bartholomew also compelled the devil that inhabited the idol of
Polemius' god to destroy all the idols in his temple, in order to convince
the king to accept the true faith. Polemius, his wife and children
were then baptized, but Polemius' brother King Astrages, angered at
their conversion, called Bartholomew and challenged him to prove
the power of his God. The idol of Astrages' god was miraculously destroyed,
and Astrages ordered Bartholomew to be beaten with clubs
and flayed alive. The apostle's followers gathered his remains and
buried them. According to an Eastern legend, Bartholomew was crucified,
not flayed; Western accounts vary between his being flayed, as in
The Golden Legend, or beheaded or both.
St. Bartholomew is commonly portrayed holding the knife with
which he was flayed and, in Michelangelo's Last Judgment, holding
his skin. He is the patron of butchers, and of the cheese and wine
merchants of Florence.
Early Christian Martyrs, dated
6 STEPHEN
d. c. 35; f. d. December 26
Stephen is known as the protomartyr because he is recorded in the
Acts of the Apostles (chapters VI and VII) as the first martyr for Christ.
He was probably a Greek Jew and was the first of seven deacons
chosen by the apostles to take care of the Greek-speaking widows of
Jerusalem. He was a great and convincing speaker, but his words were
considered blasphemous and he was asked to explain the history of
Israel to the council of the Jews. When he accused them of having
killed "the Holy One, " they chased him out of the city and stoned him
to death by order of the Sanhedrin. One of those present at Stephen's
martyrdom was the young Saul of Tarsus, who later was converted and
became Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles. St. Stephen's relics were
taken to Rome four centuries after his death and buried in the same
sepulchre that contained the remains of St. Lawrence.
St. Stephen is usually represented dressed as a deacon and holding
some stones, often with a stone on top of his head to indicate the
mortal blow. Sometimes the scene of the stoning is presented, with
Stephen kneeling on the ground, his arms stretched in the shape of
the cross, in the attitude of praying for those who are about to kill him.
7 LAWRENCE (LAURENCE)
d. in Rome, 258; f. d. August 10
Born in Huesca in Spain, Lawrence went to Rome when very young
and became one of the seven deacons under Pope Sixtus II. When the
Pope himself was apprehended for being a Christian, Lawrence went
to prison with him, died four days after his master, and was buried in
a cemetery on the Via Triburtina, where the Roman church of St. -
Lawrence-Outside-the-Walls was built afterwards. According to early
tradition, Lawrence was put to death by being roasted on a huge
gridiron; however, more conventional sources think that he was probably
beheaded, as Pope Sixtus was. Lawrence was one of the most
popular and venerated of the early Christian martyrs since the fourth
century; men of the stature of St. Ambrose and the poet Prudentius
wrote about him. During his life his main virtue was charity, shown in
his concern for those who suffered or were poor ("the treasures of
Christ's Church"), and in fact to them he distributed those treasures
to keep them from falling into the hands of the persecutors of the
Christians.
St. Lawrence is usually represented as a deacon holding a gridiron,
or in the scene of his martyrdom, often watched by the emperor or
other dignitaries.
8 MAMAS (MAMMES)
d. c. 275; f. d. August 17
The sources for the life of this saint are somewhat inconsistent. According
to some, he was of noble birth, but both St. Basil and St. Gregory
Nazianzen believe him to be of humble origin, perhaps a shepherd,
who suffered martyrdom at Caesarea in Cappadocia under Aurelian.
He was first thrown to the lions, but the wild beasts would not hurt
him; he was finally diemboweled by order of the emperor. There is the
possibility that the confusion arises from the existence of two different
saints with similar names, as some stories tell that Mamas was stoned
to death. That he was especially venerated as the martyr of Caesarea is
without question, however, and he is represented as a young man in
simple clothing with a lion at his feet, sometimes holding his own
bowels with both hands. He is little known outside the area of Langres
in Burgundy, of which he was the patron saint.
9 ADRIAN
d. at Nicomedia, c. 304; f. d. September 8 (West); August 26 (East)
There was more than one Adrian martyred during the third and fourth
centuries, but the better known seems to be this Adrian, a Roman of
noble birth who served as an officer of the imperial army at Nicomedia
under the emperor Maximian. When supervising the martyrdom of
Christian confessors, he was so impressed by their faith and endurance
under torture that he became a Christian himself. When it was known
that he refused to perform pagan sacrifices, he was arrested. His wife
Natalia, also a Christian, went to stay with him, dressed as a man, and
encouraged and comforted him during the terrible tortures he had to
suffer. His bones were crushed on an anvil and his limbs hacked off;
afterwards his body was burned with those of other martyrs. When
rain put out the fire, his wife and other Christians gathered the remains
and buried them at Argyropolis on the Bosphorus.
St. Adrian is usually represented as a knight in armor holding an
anvil, sometimes with a lion at his feet to symbolize his strength. He
was a very popular saint during the Middle Ages, especially in Northern
Europe, and was held as a patron of soldiers and butchers and as a
protector against the plague.
10 FLORIAN
d. 304; f. d. May 4
Florian was an officer in the Roman army in Noricum Ripense (Austria)
during the reign of Diocletian. When the persecutions of the Christians
began, forty persons who refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods were
arrested in Lorch. Wishing to share their agony, Florian went to that
town and gave himself up to the prefect Aquilinus. He was imprisoned,
scourged - The Golden Legend adds that he was partially flayed
alive - and thrown into the River Enns with a millstone around his
neck. His dead body was washed up on the shore, recovered by a
pious woman and laid to rest near the confluence of the Enns and the
Danube, where later an Augustinian abbey was founded in his honor.
Because of the amazing recovery of his body from the river, Florian's
aid is invoked against floods. Curiously, however, it was not until the
late fifteenth century that he became widely recognized in Austria and
Bavaria as a guardian against fire. Perhaps due to the association of his
cult with that of St. Lawrence, he was thought to have extinguished a
fire in a private house with a single bucket of water, in answer to the
prayers of the owners. Thereafter, he was often portrayed in his customary
military array pouring a bucket of water on a burning house.
In 1183, Pope Lucius III sent some of Florian's relics to King Casimir
of Poland, and a church was built in Cracow to house them. St. Florian
enjoys his greatest popularity in Austria, in Poland and generally in
Eastern Europe as a protector against floods and fire and as the patron
of fountains and chimney sweeps.
11 AGATHA
d. c. 251; U. February 5
Although there is no documentary evidence, tradition holds that a
Christian virgin by the name of Agatha lived and died in Catania, Sicily,
and was much venerated from early times. She was of noble birth, and
a man of consular rank named Quintianus pursued her with passionate
love. When she refused his advances, Quintianus, enraged, tried to
have her corrupted by a prostitute; failing, he denounced her as a
Christian. Agatha was imprisoned and submitted to cruel tortures, the
worst being the tearing off of her breasts with pincers. It is said that
St. Peter visited her in prison and healed her wounds, making her
whole again. Afterwards she was thrown into a fire but saved by an
earthquake; then she was taken back to the dungeon, where she finally
died of her sufferings after much praying.
St. Agatha is often represented holding her cut-off breasts on a
platter or in the midst of flames. The similarity of the shape of breasts
and bells accounts for her adoption as the patroness of bell-makers;
and their roundness, like loaves, is the basis for the custom of blessing
bread on her feast day in some churches. Agatha is also the patroness
of jewelers and wet nurses, and a protectress against fire and volcanic
eruptions in the region of Mount Etna, where several miracles have
been authenticated and Catania preserved from successive eruptions.
Some hagiographic studies relate part of the veneration of St. Agatha
to the "good Mother Kybele" of classic mythology.
12 LUCY
d. c. 304; f. d. December 13
That Lucy was martyred in Syracuse, probably during Diocletian's
persecution of the Christians, seems to be a historical fact. She was
venerated from very early times, and her name included in the canon
of the Mass. Her legend, however, is complicated and unlikely. The
English saint Aldhelm wrote in the seventh century that this virgin had
dedicated her life to God, and that an enraged rejected suitor had her
exposed in a brothel but she suffered no harm. The suitor also denounced
her as a Christian and she was condemned to death by fire,
but the flames did not touch her. It seems that the most likely cause
of her death was a sword thrust through her neck. The name Lucy
means "light, " and light was associated with sight, hence with eyes
and with other aspects of Lucy's legend. One of them is that to discourage
her suitor, she plucked her eyes out with her own hands and
sent them to him. Terrified, the young man decided to become a
Christian (the reason is hard to understand), and Lucy's sight was
miraculously restored.
St. Lucy is represented carrying a plate or a book with her eyes on
it; in a painting by Francesco del Cossa, she holds her eyes as if they
are two leaves at the end of a small branch. She is also depicted with
a sword, often piercing her throat, or a lamp to symbolize her name.
St. Lucy is invoked against eye disease and blindness.
13 SEBASTIAN
d. 4th century(? ); f. d. January 20
Although Sebastian was one of the most famous of all the early Christian
martyrs, very little is known of his life or death, except that he was
a martyr and was buried on the Via Appia in Rome. According to St.
Ambrose, he was born in Milan - less reliable sources say that he
came from Gaul, probably Narbonne - and was already venerated in
the late fourth century. This date allows for the possibility that he was
in fact an officer of the imperial guard under Diocletian - as the
legend goes. That he was actually a protege of the emperor, who reluctantly
ordered him to be shot with arrows when he was found to
be a Christian, is harder to prove. Some stories say that the executioners
had orders to aim their arrows at non-vital parts of his body
to prolong the torture, and that they finally left him for dead. A pious
woman by the name of Irene, the widow of the martyr Castulus, went
to bury him, and finding him alive, tended his wounds until he recovered.
Sebastian went back to confront the emperor who, enraged,
gave orders to put him to death by battering him with cudgels. His
dead body was thrown in the Cloaca Maxima and then rescued and
buried in the Catacombs.
St. Sebastian was represented many times during the Middle Ages
(often fully clothed and holding an arrow) and above all during the
Renaissance. His great popularity during the Renaissance might perhaps
be explained by the fact that he was seen as a hero and that his naked
body, tied to a tree or a column, was ideal against a landscape or a
classical architectonic composition. His symbol, the arrow, was also
the symbol of the plague, and St. Sebastian became a patron against
plague and pestilence.
14 CYPRIAN AND JUSTINA
d. c. 300; W. September 26
The dating of these two saints is approximate, but they seem to have
existed, and what are believed to be their relics are buried in the
Baptistery of St. John Lateran in Rome. According to their legend,
Cyprian was an astrologer and necromancer by profession, and lived
in Antioch; Justina was a beautiful young woman, very virtuous, who
had become a Christian. Cyprian tried to conquer her, but her influence
was stronger; he abandoned his magic trade and converted to
Christianity. They were both apprehended under Diocletian's persecution
and were beheaded in the city of Nicomedia, where the emperor
lived, after several attempts had been made to put them to death by
various means, including boiling in a cauldron of pitch. There are
some extremely inventive episodes in their legend, but nothing can be
proven. Cyprian is sometimes referred to as a bishop, but this also seems
to be totally apocryphal.
15 ERASMUS (ELMO)
d. c. 303(? ); f. d. June 2
The veneration of St. Erasmus can be traced to Formiae in Compania
in the sixth century. According to his legend, Erasmus was a bishop of
a town in Syria who decided to resign and live as a solitary. He went
to Antioch during Diocletian's persecution of the Christians and was
put in prison, but an angel liberated him (like St. Peter). Later Erasmus
was martyred by order of Maximian and died of his sufferings in
Formiae. The type of torture used on him is particularly gruesome: His
intestines were drawn out of his body by means of a windlass. His
relics remained in Formiae until 842, when they were transferred to
Gaeta.
The similarity of the windlass to a capstan accounts for Erasmus becoming
the patron saint of sailors, and the term "St. Elmo's fire, " given
to electrical discharges seen sometimes at the masts of ships, refers to
him (Elmo being a derivation of Erasmus). Sometimes Erasmus is represented
during his martyrdom, but more often he appears as a bishop
holding his staff and a windlass, or part of one. In the Middle Ages,
Erasmus was the object of great popular devotion and was invoked
not only by sailors but also by people suffering from seasickness or intestinal
troubles. He is commemorated in the Liturgy.
16 DOROTHY
d. c. 303(? ); f. d. February 6
The story of Dorothy is totally apocryphal. Legend says that the governor
of Caesarea ordered her to be tortured to death because she
refused to marry or to worship idols. As she was being led to her
execution, a young lawyer named Theophilus jeered at her and requested
that she send him fruits from the heavenly garden where she
was going. Before her death, an angel in the shape of a small boy,
holding a basket containing three apples and three roses, appeared to
her, and Dorothy sent him to Theophilus. Upon receiving the basket,
Theophilus realized that it was a miracle. He decided to become a
Christian, and gave his life as a martyr.
St. Dorothy is represented as a young beautiful woman holding a
basket of apples and roses, or a single flower or bunch of flowers,
sometimes wearing a crown of roses and sometimes accompanied by
a little boy. She is the patroness of brewers, brides, florists, gardeners,
midwives and newly wedded couples.
Early Christian Martyrs, not dated
17 EUSTACE (EUSTACHIUS)
f. d. September 20
The cults of St. Eustace and his family - his wife Theopista and sons
Agapius and Theopistus - was as strong in the Eastern Church as in
the Western, but their legend lacks the support of historical facts. They
were supposed to be a noble Roman family; Eustace, whose Roman
name was Placidus, was an officer in the army, perhaps even a general.
One day he was hunting, and a big stag appeared in front of him with
the figure of Christ on the Cross between its antlers. (The same miracle
is found in the legend of St. Hubert, from whom Eustace is difficult to
differentiate. ) The apparition of Christ called Placidus by name and
asked that he follow Him. Placidus was converted and baptized together
with his family. After a great victory for the imperial army at a
critical moment, Eustace was asked to sacrifice to the gods; he refused,
and he and his family were put inside a brazen bull and roasted to
death.

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Re: Wed 1 Nov 2017 - 20:22.MichaelManaloLazo.

Post  Michael_Manalo_Lazo on Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:59 pm

St. Eustace is usually represented in a landscape, either kneeling on
the ground or on horseback, with the gigantic stag appearing in front
of him. Sometimes hounds accompany him. Other representations
show the brazen bull. St. Eustace is the patron saint of huntsmen.
18 CHRISTOPHER
f. d. July 25
The name Christopher derives from the Greek word meaning "Christbearer.
" A man of great stature and strength, Christopher came into the
service of the most powerful sovereign. One day a minstrel sang of
Satan, causing the king to cross himself in fear. Although obedient to
the king, Christopher realized that the devil was even more powerful;
he therefore set out to find Satan, and came upon him in the desert.
Traveling together, Christopher and Satan reached a crossroads where
a cross stood. Satan fled, and Christopher again realized that he was
not serving the most powerful monarch, and set out in search of
Christ. He encountered a hermit who instructed him in Christianity,
then sent him to a river to help travelers by carrying them across. One
night a small child called to him and asked to be carried across the
river. Christopher took the child upon his shoulders and, taking up his
staff, set out. As he crossed the river, the child seemed to become
heavier and heavier. Only with the greatest effort did Christopher
reach the far bank. Setting the child down, he asked: "Who art thou,
child, that has placed me in such extreme peril? Had I borne the whole
world upon my shoulders, the burden had not been heavier! " The
child replied: "Christopher, do not be surprised, for thou has not only
horse all the world upon thee, but thou hast borne Him that created
the world. I am Jesus Christ, the King. " Christ told Christopher to plant
his staff into the earth, and it took root and flowered with fruits. The
miracle converted Christopher to Christianity. He went to Samos in
Lycia, where he was imprisoned for converting soldiers. The king sent
two women to tempt him and they too were converted, whereupon
they and Christopher were beheaded.
Although the story of St. Christopher has delighted many generations,
the only known fact is that a church was built in St. Christopher's
honor at Chalcedon as early as 450. It was common medieval belief
that he who looked upon an image of St. Christopher would suffer
no harm that day. St. Christopher is patron saint of travelers, and now
motorists.
19 BARBARA
f. d. December 4
Like the legends of Catherine of Alexandria and Margaret of Antioch,
with whom she is often represented, Barbara's legend lacks documentary
evidence. Her life is taken mostly from Voragine's Golden
Legend at its most imaginative. According to The Golden Legend,
Barbara was a beautiful maiden born either in Heliopolis in Egypt, or
Nicomedia in Asia Minor. She had a very jealous father, named Dioscurus,
who shut her up in a tower to stop any suitor from taking her
away. In her long enforced seclusion, Barbara took to reading and
became acquainted with the works of the Christian philosopher Origen,
with whom she corresponded and who converted her to Christianity.
When Dioscurus, who was a heathen, heard of this, he rushed
to the tower to kill her, but angels took her away to a hiding place.
Eventually Dioscurus found her, and cut her head off with his own
sword. At that instant he was struck by lightning and reduced to ashes.
Because of her father's fate, Barbara was invoked, since the ninth century,
against danger from lightning, and by extension became the
patroness of anything or anyone connected with explosives - firearms,
miners, artillery - and against thunderstorms. All these powers, together
with the strength provided by her tower, made Barbara a sort
of Athena of the Christian world. She is usually represented holding
the tower (which has three windows symbolizing the Holy Trinity, also
part of her legend) with one hand and the book of her knowledge in
the other, but sometimes the tower is in the background or big enough
for her to lean on. Less frequently she is represented with a chalice
and wafer because it was believed that she would bring the sacraments
to those who invoked her against sudden death. Another attribute, a
peacock feather, refers to Heliopolis, which was said to be the place
where the phoenix was reborn. Since the phoenix was unknown in the
West, a peacock was used as a substitute in some representations.
20 CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA
3rd century; f. d. November 25
Veneration for St. Catherine had been marked in the East since the
tenth century, but it was not until the Crusades that her cult became
popular in the West. She soon became one of the best known of all
saints. Adam of St. Victor wrote a poem in her honor; hers was one of
the heavenly voices said to have been heard by St. Joan of Arc; and to
her Bossuet devoted one of his most celebrated panegyrics. But not a
single fact about the life or death of Catherine of Alexandria has been
established.
According to tradition, she was born in Alexandria of a noble and
illustrious family, and was converted to the Christian faith after having
a vision of Mary and the Christ Child. From then on she considered
herself spiritually married to Christ. This leads to the many representations
of the Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine, in which she receives a
ring from the Child Jesus. More interesting, however, is the part of her
legend where she rebuked the emperor Maxentius when he began the
persecution of the Christians. He could not answer her arguments
against the gods, and thus summoned fifty philosophers to contradict
her. They failed, and were executed. Maxentius attempted next to
seduce Catherine by offering her the consort's crown; her indignant
refusal led to imprisonment and torture. While in prison she converted
two hundred soldiers to Christianity; all of them were executed.
Catherine was sentenced to death by being bound to a spiked wheel,
but the wheel broke miraculously and its fragments killed Catherine's
executioners while she escaped unharmed. Finally she was beheaded
by sword, and milk flowed from her veins instead of blood. According
to the legend, her body was taken to the monastery on Mount Sinai
which was renamed after her.
St. Catherine is represented holding her wheel and a sword or a
book, and usually stepping on a male figure wearing a turban or a
crown; he represents the vanquished emperor and, at the same time,
paganism. St. Catherine is the patroness of philosophers, spinsters and
woman students, preachers, apologists, wheelwrights and millers.
21 NAZARIUS AND CELSUS
f. d. July 28
Nothing is known to prove any legends of the lives of these saints, but
according to tradition, Nazarius was the son of a Christian Roman
matron named Perpetua, and a pagan father. Perpetua (also a saint)
had been baptized by St. Peter and brought up her son in her faith.
Apparently Nazarius left Rome and went to Milan and became a victim,
with a young man called Celsus, of the persecution by the emperor
Nero. If these legendary facts are taken as historical, the date of their
deaths should be around 60 A. D. St. Ambrose, a serious and reliable
scholar, supposedly discovered their bodies, buried separately, in 395,
and a vial of fresh blood was found in Nazarius' tomb.
22 MARGARET OF ANTIOCH
f. d. July 20
One of the most popular saints in the West, Margaret was also venerated
in the East under the name of Marina. Her story is an accumulation
of fantastic occurrences which have never been proved, and most
probably she never existed. According to legend, she was the daughter
of a pagan priest from Antioch and lived during the reign of Diocletian.
She was instructed in the Christian religion by a nurse. Some sources
say that her own father denounced her, others that it was a rejected
suitor with political influence. Among the many torments she suffered,
the most extraordinary is that the devil appeared before her in the
form of a dragon, and seeing her holding a cross, swallowed her. The
cross, however, made him very uncomfortable, and finally Margaret
was able to burst out of his belly. Other demons tempted and attacked
her, but she always triumphed over them. After several attempts were
made to slay her by water and by fire, and after many onlookers were
converted to Christianity by her example, she was beheaded. Her executioner
fell dead at the same time but was saved by Margaret joining
her in heaven.
St. Margaret is sometimes represented coming out of the body of
the dragon or trampling him under her feet, and holding the cross by
which she was protected from the devil. Her extraordinary rebirth from
the body of the dragon accounts for her being the patron saint of
women in childbirth.
23 URSULA AND HER COMPANION MAIDENS
H. October 21
A fifth-century inscription in the Church of St. Ursula at Cologne states
that Clematius, a man of consular rank, had a ruined basilica rebuilt on
the site where a number of maidens suffered martyrdorp. No names or
any other details are given. This inscription is all we have for a fact of
what became the legend of St. Ursula and the eleven thousand virgins
- the latter number probably the result of some old misreading. What
imagination and tradition built up is this: Ursula was born in Britain,
the daughter of a Christian king named Deonotus. Her great beauty
and spiritual devotion brought her many suitors; the ambassadors of a
powerful pagan king came to ask her hand in marriage for his only
son, Conon. Ursula would consent only if three conditions were met:
that before she married she would be allowed three years to visit the
shrines of Christian saints, that she have ten noble virgins (afterwards
increased to one thousand attendants per virgin) to accompany her,
and that Prince Conon would become a Christian. These conditions
were agreed upon, and Ursula and her retinue sailed from Britain on
a voyage to Cologne, Basel and Rome. On their way back they stopped
again at Cologne; the city was under siege by the Huns, who massacred
all of Ursula's companions on account of their being Christians.
Ursula's beauty overcame the king of the Huns, however, and he offered
to spare her if she would become his bride. When she refused,
he shot three arrows through her body.
The massacre of the "eleven thousand virgins" has often been represented
as occurring before the maidens even left their sailing boats.
In the most complete representation, Carpaccio's Life of St. Ursula in
Venice, the whole cycle is depicted. In one unusual instance, a thirteenth-
century enameled chässe represents the scenes of the voyage
and the slaughter surrounding the standing figures of Ursula and her
bridegroom being baptized, a scene that probably comes from a different
source than the usual legend.
St. Ursula's symbol is an arrow, and she is sometimes represented
standing and protecting her kneeling companions under her mantle,
like the Madonna of Mercy. She is invoked as a patron saint of chastity
and holy wedlock and also against the plague, the latter because, as
with St. Sebastian, the arrow was a symbol of that fatal illness.
24 COSMAS AND DAMIAN
H. September 27 (West), October 17 (East)
Cosmas and Damian were twins born in Arabia, raised by their
widowed mother in the Christian faith. Wishing to study medicine,
they moved to Aegaeae in Cilicia, where they later set up their practice.
Endowed with many Christian virtues, they became famous not
only for the excellence of their medical skill but for the charity of
their hearts. They came to be known as the anargyroi ("the moneyless"),
as they would accept no fees from patients. During the persecution
of Christians under Diocletian, Cosmas and Damian suffered
martyrdom at Cyrrhus in Syria. Since so few facts were known of them,
legends grew up elaborating the circumstances of their deaths. The
Golden Legend records the tortures they endured after their arrest'by
Lisia, the governor of Cilicia: attempted drowning, incineration, stoning
and crucifixion - all foiled by divine intervention - and finally,
by decree of the exasperated judge, beheading. They were buried at
Cyrrhus, where a basilica was built in their honor. The emperor Justinian,
attributing his recovery from illness to their intercession, built two
churches for them in Constantinople, and Pope Felix IV founded the
church with the famous mosaic of the two saints being presented to
Christ by Peter and Paul in the forum in Rome.
As patrons of doctors, Cosmas and Damian are portrayed together,
holding the instruments of their profession: a medicine or ointment
box and a surgical knife.
25 CRISPIN AND CRISPINIAN
f. d. October 25
C6spin and Crispinian were famous throughout Northern Europe in
the Middle Ages. Their renown was firmly established in Shakespeare's
play King Henry the Fifth, with the king's great speech on the eve of
Agincourt:
This day is call'd the Feast of Crispian,
He that outlives this day and comes safe home,
Will stand a-tiptoe when this day is nam'd
And rouse him at the name of Crispian....
(IV, iii, 40-67)
Although a rich embellishment, this late account says that they came
from Rome to preach in Gaul. Settling in Soisson, they converted many
to Christianity. Complaints against them led to torture and death; after
unsuccessful attempts to drown and boil them, they were eventually
beheaded. Crispin and Crispinian may have been Roman martyrs
whose relics were brought to Soisson, starting a local cult there. They
are the traditional patrons of shoemakers, cobblers, and other leatherworkers
because, according to their legend, they were shoemakers
themselves.
Warrior Saints
26 GEORGE
f. d. April 23
George was a soldier in the Roman army in Asia Minor, probably
around the turn of the third century. Accounts of his life are so full
of apocryphal tales that it is difficult to sift fact from fiction. It seems,
however, that when he was at Lydda in Palestine during the persecution
of the Christians by Diocletian in 303, he was commanded to sacrifice
to the pagan gods. He refused, declaring himself a Christian, and
was thrown into prison, tortured and finally decapitated.
If the details of his life remain obscured by history and fable, his
early popularity cannot be denied. His tomb at Lydda became an important
pilgrimage site, and by the sixth century a church and monastery
were dedicated to him in Jerusalem. One of the stations in
Rome, San Giorgio in Velabro, bore his name as early as the fifth
century. In Western Europe his greatest popularity began with the
return of the knights from the First Crusade. George was a soldier who,
like them, was willing to die for his faith, and, like them, had also to
be chivalrous; hence the legend of his slaying the dragon. According
to the legend, a fearful monster lived in a lake near a city in Asia
Minor. To appease his wrath, the beast was fed each day two sheep;
then as the supply of sheep diminished, a sheep and a young person.
Finally, when no youths remained in the town, the daughter of the
king was to die. George came upon the young damsel bewailing her
fate. Promising to rescue her, he armed himself with the sign of the
cross and killed the dragon with his sword.
St. George is frequently portrayed standing or on horseback, trampling
and spearing the dragon, just as St. Michael spears Satan in the
form of a serpent, or the Roman emperor, in ancient art his enemy.
Many churches throughout Christendom are dedicated to St. George.
He is the patron saint of England as well as the protector of soldiers
and boy scouts.
27 DEMETRIUS
f. d. October 8 (West), October 26 (East)
According to legend, Demetrius was a Christian soldier who died for
his faith in Thessalonika in northern Greece in 306. He met his death
at the order of the emperor Maximianus, who had him imprisoned
beneath the stadium and the baths in Thessalonika, and killed by
multiple lance wounds. The earliest sources, however, do not call him
a soldier but rather a man, perhaps a deacon, who like the apostles
spread the gospel in outlying Roman provinces. These sources indicate
that Demetrius was martyred at Sirmium in modern Yugoslavia, where
he was buried and venerated until Attila the Hun destroyed the city in
441. Some of his relics were then taken to Thessaloniki by Leontius,
prefect of the province of Illyrica, and a large church was built to house
them. It was soon believed, however, that his body was enshrined in
the church, and pilgrims from all over the Christian world, especially
the East, came to worship at his tomb, which was magnificently
adorned with a gold effigy. The pilgrims often carried back with them
vials of oil from the lamps or water from the miraculous spring in the
shrine.
We do not know how Demetrius came to be considered a soldier,
but it is as a member of the military that he is most frequently portrayed
in medieval art, either as a standing figure resplendent in armor,
or mounted on horseback, sometimes spearing a dragon (the devil).
Both are common representations for such military saints as Theodore,
Menas or George. Unlike George, however, Demetrius was never as
popular in Western Europe as in the Byzantine Empire. He remains
today a favorite knight of Greek and Russian Christians.
28 MENAS
d. early 4th century; U. November 11
The cult of Menas, one of the most famous saints of Egypt, was centered
at Karm abu Mina, southwest of Alexandria on the shores of
Lake Mareotis, where a large basilica was built in his honor in the
fourth century. Many pilgrims came to visit his tomb and returned home
with clay jars or ampoulae (often inscribed "souvenir of St. Menas")
filled with holy water from the well near his church. Menas was a very
popular saint, but we have no factual accounts of his life. Although he
was probably martyred in Egypt at Karm abu Mina, legend records his
death in Asia Minor. Menas was supposedly a soldier in the Roman
army, sent with his troop to Cotyaeum in Phrygia. Fearing persecution
as a Christian under Diocletian, he retired to the desert but returned
one feast day, entered the theatre and publicly proclaimed his faith in
Christ. He was promptly arrested, imprisoned, tortured and beheaded.
His body, according to one account, was placed in a sarcophagus on
the back of a camel, which alone carried it back to Egypt. A yet more
imaginative version tells of his relics being brought back to Egypt with
the army by sea. During the voyage, terrible beasts with long necks and
camels' heads rose from the deep to attack the ship but were repulsed
by flames bursting forth from Menas' sarcophagus.
Portrayals of St. Menas often show him standing between two
camels crouched at his feet, perhaps either the camel which brought
him home from Asia Minor, or the sea monsters. They may also refer
to his trade as a camel-driver, which scholars believe may have been
Menas' true occupation. His legendary fame as a soldier is celebrated
in portrayals of him in armor, occasionally mounted on horseback and
spearing a serpent (like Sts. Demetrius and George). Not surprisingly,
Menas is the patron saint of caravans.
29 GENGULF (GANGOLF in German, GENGOUL in French)
d. 760; U. May 11
A Burgundian warrior, Gengulf was the beloved companion of Pepin
the Short. It is said that he married a woman of rank who eventually
proved to be scandalously unfaithful to him. Finding his appeals to her
useless, Gengulf quietly withdrew to his castle at Avallon and, after
making suitable provisions for her maintenance (he probably invented
alimony, for better or worse), spent his time in penitential exercise and
giving alms. He died from wounds inflicted by his wife's lover, who,
at her instigation, attempted to murder him. Although he was actually
the victim of a murder of revenge, he is included among the martyrs.
Since the tenth century there was a widespread cult of St. Gengulf in
France, Germany and the Netherlands, and his life and miracles were
recorded in elegiac verse in the tenth century by the nun Hroswitha
of Gandersheim.
St. Gengulf is represented in armor, holding a lance and a shield. He
is sometimes invoked by husbands unhappily married.
Doctors of the Church

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30 AMBROSE
c. 339-397; W. December 7
At the time of his birth at Trier, Ambrose's father was the prefect of
Gaul and a member of the senatorial aristocracy. Ambrose was educated
in Rome, and by 371 was made governor of the provinces of
Aemilia and Liguria, with his residence in Milan. His ability to pacify
party strife about the election of a new bishop of Milan led the assembly
to declare: "Let Ambrose be bishop! " Although his family was
Christian, he had not been baptized, but was christened on November
24, ordained priest, and consecrated bishop on December 1,374. For
most of Ambrose's episcopate, Milan was the capital of the Western
Empire, and Ambrose was the friend and counselor of three emperors:
Gratian, Valentian and Theodosius. His contributions were more pastoral
than literary. He introduced the Eastern custom of singing hymns into
the Western Church, and he originated the Ambrosian chant, a mode
of intoning the Liturgy.
St. Ambrose is sometimes shown with a beehive, a reference to the
legend that when he was an infant, a swarm of bees alighted on his
mouth, thus foretelling his future religious and poetic eloquence. St.
Ambrose is the patron of beekeepers and domestic animals.
31 AUGUSTINE
b. November 13,354; d. August 28,430; f. d. August 28
As a great thinker and theologian St. Augustine dominates the Christian
tradition of the West. Born to a Christian mother (St. Monica) and a
pagan father, he was educated in Carthage. His mother encouraged
him to follow the doctrine of the Church, but his Manichean education
led him in another direction: According to his Confessions, he took a
concubine and had a son by her. Although his writings give the impression
that he pursued a life of debauchery and anarchy, he was in
fact a serious student, enthralled by ideals of wisdom and intellectual
pursuits. He left Carthage in 383 and went to Rome to teach rhetoric,
then became a professor in Milan, where there occurred three events
that led to his conversion: his meeting with Bishop Ambrose of Milan,
his introduction to Neoplatonism, and his reading of St. Paul. These
encounters had a decisive effect on the essential structure of Augustine's
thought. Especially significant, on a theological level, was his
discovery of divine transcendence and trinity in Neoplatonism.
Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose at Easter in 387 and returned
to Africa, where he became a priest and, later, bishop of Hippo. He
spent the rest of his life there, producing his best known works, the
Confessions and the City of God, and a vast series of theological writings.
His works embrace an enormous spectrum of topics: man between
the world and God, understanding and mysticism, authority and
reason, God and the Trinity, humility, scriptural thought, the Church
and the sacraments, grace, morality and charity. His legacy of thought
has been recognized by most as the richest left by any Christian teacher
after St. Paul. Of his surviving works there are still 113 books and
treatises, over 200 letters, and more than 500 sermons.
St. Augustine died in 430, as the invading Vandals reached the gates
of Hippo. He was the founder of what became the Augustinian rule,
and for this reason is sometimes shown wearing a black habit and
almuce. St. Augustine is most commonly portrayed as a bishop and
doctor of the Church, with a flame or broken heart.
32 JEROME (EUSELIUS HIERONYMUS)
c. 342-420; f. d. September 30
St. Jerome is one of the great Latin fathers of the Church and one of
the most renowned of biblical scholars. Born at Strido near Aquileia
in Dalmatia, Jerome journeyed to Rome at an early age to study religion,
letters, Latin and Greek. After eight years of study he traveled to
Gaul, stopping in Trier and eventually going to Syria about 374, to live
among the hermits in the desert east of Antioch. Returning to Rome
in 382, he was ordained a priest and became secretary to Pope
Damasus I. At the Pope's request, Jerome began revising the existing
versions of the Gospels and the Psalms. He entered the ascetical life
of the city, serving as a spiritual pedagogue to a group of noble
women. His strictures on the laxity of the Roman clergy, and their
accusations about his harsh ascetical advice, caused him to return to
the East, settling in Bethlehem, where he remained the rest of his life.
He was followed there by St. Paula, St. Eustochium and others of his
Roman disciples. They established a hospice for travelers and a free
school for children. During these years Jerome completed his Latin
version of the Scriptures called the Vulgate, which was adopted as the
official text of the Catholic Church.
St. Jerome is almost always accompanied by a lion from whose paw
he was said to have pulled a thorn. In gratitude the lion became his
constant companion. But the tender story does not end here: The
other members of the community demanded that the lion should, like
everyone else, earn his daily food. St. Jerome agreed, ordering the lion
to act as a guard for the ass on its trips to fetch wood for the community.
One day the lion wandered off into the desert, leaving the ass
unguarded. The ass was seized by robbers and sold to a caravan of
merchants. When the lion returned and found the ass missing, he went
to St. Jerome in great distress. Seeing the lion's apparently guilty look,
everyone thought that he had eaten the ass. As punishment he was
ordered to do the ass's work. The lion performed his task in perfect
humility; then one day he spotted the caravan, and triumphantly
brought them all, including the ass, to St. Jerome to prove his innocence.
St. Jerome is often depicted as a cardinal with a red-and-crimson
robe. Although he never was a cardinal, the priests of Rome in the
early Church assumed that function. The cardinal's hat appears often
as an attribute even when the saint is represented as a hermit. St.
Jerome is also frequently shown as a hermit in the desert, beating his
heart with a stone in an act of supine penance and praying to a crucifix.
33 GREGORY THE GREAT
b. c. 540; d. 604; f. d. March 12
Gregory lived in Rome during a time of turmoil and war between the
Ostrogoths and the emperor Justinian. Little is known of his early life,
but he did inherit from his father, a patrician and senator, vast estates
which enabled him to found seven monasteries by 578. He was ordained
seventh deacon of the Roman Church, and sent as a papal
ambassador to the Byzantine court at Constantinople. During this time
he compiled his sermons on the Book of job, now known as the
Morals. Gregory returned to a Rome decimated by the plague, and
upon the death of Pope Pelagius in 590 was elected to succeed him.
As Pope-elect he organized pilgrimages to the churches of Rome.
During this time a vision of St. Michael brandishing his sword appeared
above the site where the Castel Sant'Angelo stands today. The
plague abated, and the people hailed Gregory as a worker of miracles.
The decaying civil state of Rome, weakened by invasions of the Lombard
armies, and then the siege of the city in 593, forced Gregory to
become the negotiator for peace. He effected a temporary stability;
meanwhile, he reorganized the church, instituting liturgical reforms
and writing four books of the Dialogues, a collection of miracles attributed
to Italian saints.
St. Gregory is represented wearing the papal tiara and often at a
writing desk, with a dove of the Holy Spirit dictating the words upon
which Gregory's writings were based. St. Gregory is the patron of
musicians, scholars and singers, and is invoked against gout, the plague
or sterility.
34 ALBERT THE GREAT (ALBERTUS MAGNUS)
b. 1206; d. 1280; cd. 1931; f. d. November 15
Albert was born in Swabia and educated at the University of Padua,
where he joined the newly founded order of the Dominicans. His
immense knowledge of science, philosophy and theology made him
one of the most important scholars in Europe. He is best known as the
teacher of Thomas Aquinas and as a proponent of Aristotelianism at
the University of Paris. In 1248 he was sent to Cologne to preside over
the first general study program in Germany, and became the provincial
of his order. In 1260 he was elected bishop of Regensburg but resigned
shortly afterwards to devote his life to his studies. He was a strong supporter
of the writings of Thomas Aquinas and defended them against
attacks. Albert was already called "the Great" and "the Universal
Doctor" during his lifetime, and his enormous work - thirty-eight
volumes - includes studies on logic, metaphysics, ethics, mathematics,
physical science and theology, and sermons. His main contribution is
the application of Aristotelian principles to theology. Albert died at
Cologne. He was beatified in 1622, and recognized as a doctor of
the church and a saint in 1931. In 1941 he was decreed the patron of
scientists and philosophers.
35 THOMAS AQUINAS
b. c. 1225; d: at Fossanuova, 1274; cd. 1323; f. d. March 7
One of many children of a nobleman of Aquino in Naples, Thomas
was educated by the Benedictines of Monte Casino and the University
of Naples. In spite of his high birth, he decided to become a Dominican
monk in 1244. He studied in Paris with the theologian Albert the
Great (who also became a saint). A scholar by nature, Thomas quickly
realized the importance of Aristotle's philosophy, made available at the
time through new translations. As a departure from the Platonist tradition
in theology, many of his contemporaries regarded his Aristotelian
views as conflicting with the Christian faith. His devotion to truth and
reason, however, led Thomas to compile his systematic treatise of
theology, the Summa Theologica, which earned him the title of "Universal
Teacher" and which, together with his Summa contra Gentiles,
was regarded as among the most influential books in the nineteenth
century, when Thomistic studies were revived. In spite of the controversial
reaction to his points of view, Thomas became one of the
leading scholars of Europe, teaching at Paris, Cologne and throughout
Italy. He was greatly esteemed by the saint-king Louis IX, who consulted
him on state matters.
Thomas Aquinas was canonized less than fifty years after his death,
and his remains were transferred to St. Sernin at Toulouse. In 1567 he
was declared a doctor of the Church. Referred to sometimes as
"Doctor Angelicus, " Thomas is occasionally represented with wings,
but more often he appears in his Dominican garb, holding a book,
sometimes open, and with a star on his breast. He is the patron saint
of booksellers, universities, pencil-makers, scholars and students.
Bishops
36 NICHOLAS
b. c. 270; d. c. 345-352; f. d. December 6
Nicholas was the only son of rich parents in Patara, Lycia, a province
of Asia Minor. He early demonstrated his goodness and piety by acts
of generosity to his fellow townsmen. A man bereft of his tortune
despaired of marrying his three daughters, and considered turning
them to prostitution. Hearing of his plight, Nicholas, under cover of
night, threw into his house three bags of gold, one by one, for the
dowry of each daughter.
Nicholas was elected bishop at Myra, on the southern coast of
modern Turkey. His reputation grew as he tended to the needs of his
people with courage and understanding throughout the persecutions
of the early fourth century. When he died, his body was buried in an
oratory outside the walls of the city, as was the custom, and nearby
a church was built in his memory. His saintly life fostered the devotion
of many who made pilgrimages to his tomb. He was invoked by sailors
caught in storms at sea; this was so even during his lifetime, when he
miraculously intervened to calm the waters. In 1087 some seamen
from Bari in Italy, with the aid of two priests, stole his body from
Myra. The citizens of Bari were overjoyed at acquiring Nicholas' body,
not only on account of his saintliness but also for the revenue that
pilgrims would undoubtedly bring to the city, and built him a splendid
church near the harbor. From Bari his cult spread throughout Western
Europe, and tales of his miracles abounded. He was believed, probably
through a misunderstanding of an earlier miracle, to have restored to
life three youths who had been killed and pickled in brine by a
butcher in need of meat. Nicholas is often portrayed with the three
youths peering out of their bucket of brine. In another legend he
saved a young boy who was stolen from his farm to become cupbearer
to a king. Carrying him by the hair, Nicholas restored the boy, still
holding the king's chalice, to his parents.
St. Nicholas, as Santa Claus, is the patron saint of children. He is also
the patron of unmarried women and sailors, and the patron of Russia.
37 MARTIN OF TOURS
c. 315-397; f. d. November 11
The many miracles ascribed to Martin are recounted by his friend and
biographer Sulpicius Severus. Martin was born to pagan parents in
what is now Hungary. He was conscripted into the army and as an
officer went to Amiens, where he was said to have shared his military
cloak with a beggar. The following night he had a vision of the Lord
wearing half of the cloak. This led to his baptism, and also to a discharge
from the army for refusing to fight. In one incident, Martin
was mocked and beaten as he was riding on his ass. The horses of his
aggressors miraculously stuck fast to the ground; subsequently his attackers
begged his forgiveness. After living as a recluse for some time,
Martin founded a semi-eremitical religious community at Liguge, the
first monastery in Gaul. In 370 he was made bishop of Tours and continued
his active missionary work, establishing several monastic communities.
Martin was one of the first holy men to be publicly venerated
as a saint, although he was not martyred. His influence was felt from
Ireland to Africa. In England many churches are dedicated to him, the
best known being St. -Martin-in-the-Fields in London. St. Martin is the
patron of armorers, beggars, cavalrymen, millers, tailors and woolweavers.
He is invoked against drunkenness, storms and ulcers.
0
38 REMIGIUS (REMI in French)
b. near Laon, c. 438; d. at Rheims, January 13, c. 533; f. d. October 1
The son of a count of Gaulish ancestry, Remigius became the bishop
of Rheims at the early age of twenty-two. He was an accomplished
scholar and eloquent preacher whose sermons were praised by
Sidonius Apollinaris, the great statesman and bishop of Clermont.
The most important accomplishment of his apostolate was his baptism
of King Clovis I of the Franks. Clovis had resisted his wife Clotilda's
attempts to convert him to Christianity; while in battle with the Allemani,
however, and fearing defeat, he called upon the Christian God,
pledging to be baptized if he was victorious. When the Franks triumphed,
Clotilda sent Remigius to her husband and his troops, to
make sure that he kept his promise.
Remigius sought incessantly to convert the Franks, and there are
several legends around his proselytism. Once, during his travels, he
stayed in the house of a good woman and miraculously replenished
her supply of wine when it was low (an obvious borrowing from
Christ's miracle at the Marriage at Cana). He also had wheat stored
up in the village of Sault when warned in a dream of impending
famine. Some of the inhabitants, however, got drunk and burnt the
grain. Remigius in his anger decreed that their descendants should
suffer from goiter and hernia, a curse which to their sorrow was
honored by God. Apart from this distressing incident, Remigius is
revered in France as the great apostle to the Franks.

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39 ELIGIUS
b. c. 588; d. 660; f. d. December 1
Eligius was born near Limoges to Roman Gaulish parents. His father,
Eucherius, was an artisan who early recognized the talents of his son
and apprenticed him to the goldsmith Abbo, master of the mint at
Limoges. Having finished his training, Eligius went to Paris, where his
skills brought him to the attention of King Clotaire II. The king commissioned
Eligius to make a throne, and provided him with the necessary
gold and precious gems. Eligius made not one but two thrones
from the materials. His unusual honesty so impressed Clotaire that he
appointed him treasurer. Under Clotaire's successors, Dagobert I and
Clovis II, Eligius was made master of the mints at Paris, some coins
from which still bear Eligius' name. He continued to practice his craft,
executing many important royal commissions, including reliquaries for
St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, Sts. Crispin and Crispinian and St.
Genevieve.
Eligius was renowned not only for the beauty of his goldsmith's
work but also for his charity to the poor and his foundation of monasteries
(Solignac) and nunneries (Paris) on his properties. In 641 he
was appointed bishop of Noyon and Tournai, from which see he
spread the gospel in northern France and Flanders. He died at Noyon,
and is buried in the cathedral there. A close friend, St. Audoenus
(Ouen), wrote an account of his life, of which a somewhat later
adaptation survives. St. Eligius is the patron of metalworkers and of
saddlers and horses, the latter due to a miracle he supposedly performed
while shoeing a recalcitrant horse.
40 UBALDO OF GUBBIO
b. at Gubbio, c. 1100; d. at Gubbio, 1160; cd. 1192; f. d. May 16
Ubaldo Baldassini became the dean of the cathedral of Gubbio and
persuaded the canons of the chapter to live in community under the
same rule established by Peter degli Onesti in Ravenna. Although he
wanted to live in solitude himself, Ubaldo was made bishop of Gubbio
in 1128. He was noted for his lovable patience, but once he defied
Frederick Barbarossa in defense of his town, showing great courage
and goodness. His shrine in his native town is still a place of pilgrimage,
and his memory is highly venerated.
Founders
41 DOMINIC
b. c. 1170; d. 1221; cd. 1234; f. d. August 4
Dominic, a member of the Gusman family, was born at La Calahorra
in Spain. While he was still in the womb, his mother dreamed that she
carried a dog with a flaming torch in its mouth, prefiguring Dominic's
setting the world afire with his work. Omens persisted after his birth;
at his baptism, a star appeared on his forehead. Dominic was sent to
Palencia to pursue his studies and early felt a call to religious life.
When famine ravaged Palencia, he sold his books to give to the poor,
and earned himself a reputation for generosity and kindness. He was
ordained a cleric at the cathedral of Burgo de Osma, where he kept
a rigid discipline of abstinence, prayer and nightly self-scourging.
In 1204 Dominic accompanied the bishop of Burgo de Osma on a
trip to Denmark to negotiate the marriage of the son of Alfonso IX, the
king of Castile. On the way, they stopped in Languedoc, which was
torn apart spiritually by the Albigensian heresy. When their mission
was completed, the Pope asked them to return to Languedoc to convert
the heretics, and it was then that Dominic found his true vocation.
He believed that preaching, education and good example, rather than
violent retribution, would return the Albigensians to orthodoxy. For
about ten years he put his beliefs into practice with considerable success.
He traveled throughout the country teaching the true word of
God, and took steps to secure the converts he made. He set up at
Prouille a convent with nine reformed nuns, for the education of girls
who wished to follow orthodox training, and he organized his followers
into small bands of preachers to continue his work over a wider region.
So sincerely did Dominic believe that his preachers were necessary
to the preservation of the Christian faith, that he went to Rome to ask
Pope Innocent III for permission to form a religious order. Receiving
preliminary sanction, he returned to Prouille in 1216 to gather his
preachers together and decide on the monastic rule, that of St. Augustine,
which would govern them. Then he went once more to Rome, and
Pope E-ionorius III confirmed the Dominican order. At this time,
Dominic was encouraged in his mission by several visions. In one, the
Virgin interceded with Christ, who was angered at the sinful state of
His church, to give humanity yet one more chance. She pointed out
two men who would lead a reformation of the faith; one was Dominic,
the second was a stranger. The next day, however, when Dominic was
praying in church, a beggar entered; he was the man in the vision.
Upon approaching and embracing him, Dominic learned he was St.
Francis of Assisi.
Realizing that he must expand the scope of his work, Dominic returned
to Prouille and organized small groups of his brothers to go
into other countries to preach. Dominican friaries were established in
Spain, France and Italy, and their preachers roamed far and wide in
Northern and Eastern Europe. In 1219, Dominic moved to Bologna;
when traveling to review the work of his friars, he always came back
to that city. He died there two years later, on the evening of August
4,1221.
Dominic performed many miracles during his lifetime, including the
resuscitation of Napoleon, a nephew of Cardinal Stefano di Fassa
Nova, who had been killed by a fall from his horse. Dominic's presence
was felt after his death in the countries where the Dominicans
continued his work. In Hungary, a woman wishing to attend a mass in
his honor could not find a priest in her church. She carefully wrapped
in a towel the three candles she had brought, and put them in a basket
while she went to find a priest. When she returned, she found them
lighted, and watched amazed while they continued to burn without
igniting the towel. Another tale concerns a profligate scholar in Bologna.
In a vision he saw himself seeking refuge from a raging storm.
Upon approaching, one after another, the houses of Justice, Truth
and Peace, he was turned away, since he practiced none of these
virtues. Finally he came to the house of the lady Mercy and she
directed him to the Dominican preachers for the salvation of his soul.
Upon waking, the scholar presented himself at the friary and entered
the order.
St. Dominic is frequently represented in medieval art in the cycles
of his life and miracles. When shown singly, he is dressed in his whiteand-
black habit, holding a lily, and sometimes accompanied by the
dog with the torch in his jaws, the "Dominicane. "
42 FRANCIS OF ASSISI
b. 1181-1182; d. 1226; cd. July 16,1228; f. d. October4
St. Francis was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. His given name
was John, but because of his father's frequent journeys to France, he
learned French as a youth and was called Francesco ("the Frenchman")
by his friends. Cheerful and fun-loving, he was always charitable to the
poor. After some education, he entered his father's business until he
was about twenty, then became a soldier, fulfilling a lifelong dream. In
one of the invasions in which he fought, he met a poor soldier to
whom he gave his rich clothing out of pity. That night he had a vision
in which Christ appeared to him and pointed to a beautiful building
filled with arms and banners; He declared that these were to belong to
Francis and his soldiers. At first Francis understood that he should
continue his life as a soldier, but when he went into the neglected
church of San Damiano in Assisi to pray, a voice from the Crucifix
demanded that he repair the building. He stole some silks from his
father's warehouse to raise money for the project, whereupon his
father brought him to court for disobedience. At the trial, Francis
stripped off his garments and renounced his life of wealth. From this
time on, he lived in poverty, devoting himself totally to peace, charity
and penance. He was followed by several pious men from Assisi, for
whom he wrote a rule. The order grew until by 1221 over five
thousand monks and nuns, divided into three orders, were following
Francis. The Franciscans inspired religious fervor in the people by their
humility.
Since St. Francis could not always be with his people, it is said that
he sometimes appeared to them in spirit, once with arms outstretched
in the form of a cross, and another time in the form of a dazzling light
suspended over a chariot of fire which passed through a house three
times. St. Francis traveled to Spain, North Africa and Syria, where the
Crusaders were fighting the Saracens. At the sultan's palace he proved
the strength of Christianity against Islam by walking through fire.
Finally, St. Francis undertook forty days of fasting and prayer in his
mountain retreat. During this time a'seraph appeared and filled the sky
with its wings. In this vision was the figure of the crucified Christ, who
reached out and stamped on Francis' skin the stigmata, the five wounds
suffered by Christ on the Cross. These he bore as symbols of his spiritual
identity with God until the end of his life, two years later, when suffering
from many ailments, including blindness, Francis died. It is said
that his soul was seen being borne to Heaven on a cloud. St. Francis
is generally shown in the habit of his order, coarse brown cloth held
together with a knotted cord, bearing the stigmata and holding a crucifix,
a lily or a skull. The latter two refer respectively to Francis' purity
and penance. He is universally known as the most saintly of saints.
Aside from his other charitable qualities, Francis is especially remembered
for his love of animals. One legend tells that a wolf terrorized
the town of Gubbio; Francis made the sign of the Cross, and by talking
to the animal tamed it so that it became as gentle as a lamb. Another
famous episode is his sermon to the birds. When Francis started to
preach, the birds flew down near him and did not move. When the
sermon was over, he made the sign of the Cross, and they flew away
with a great song. They then divided into four groups and flew to the
four points of the compass, a sign that the brethren should preach all
over the world and that they, like the birds, should possess nothing and
trust in God for everything. Very widely read from his time to the
present is Francis' poetic and touching work The Little Flowers.
43 FRANCES OF ROME (FRANCESCA ROMANA)
b. 1384; d. 1440; cd. May 29,1608; f. d. March 9
St. Frances of Rome is the exemplar of wifely virtue. She was born of a
noble family, married at thirteen, and bore six children. It is said that
she had the gift of absorbing prayer but believed that a wife's devotions
should be achieved through household work. She founded an
order of nuns and is said to have been guided for the last twenty-three
years of her life by an archangel visible only to herself. St. Frances also
had revelations of purgatory and hell, and predicted the end of the
Papal Schism. The story is told that once while performing her daily
chores, she was called away four times from reciting part of the Mass,
each time at the same verse. Upon returning the fifth time, she found
that verse written on the page in gold letters by the hand of her
guardian angel.

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Especially known for her patience and detachment from earthly
concerns, she was able to withstand in her lifetime her husband's
banishment, the captivity of her son, the death of her other children
and the loss of all her property. Violets, which signify humility, are her
symbol, and she is usually shown as a nun with her guardian angel at
her side. One painting of scenes from her life shows St. Frances with
her order and also in Heaven paying homage to the Christ Child while
her guardian angel handles a warping-board, a symbol of her domesticity.
In another scene she kneels in Heaven, cradling Christ while the
Virgin Mary, other saints and her guardian angel, who holds a bunch
of violets, watch.
Hermits, Monks and Nuns
44 ANTHONY ABBOT
b. near Memphis, c. 251; d. on Mount Kolzim, 356; f. d. January 17
The eremitic style of life had started in Egypt before Anthony decided
to give away his possessions and retire to live in solitude, when he was
about twenty. He lived in several places in one area of Lower Egypt,
and at thirty-five went into the desert where he spent his time in
prayer and study, doing manual work to earn his living. It is said that
he was often assailed with temptations, spiritual and physical; these
were a source of inspiration for artists who represented them with great
inventiveness and fantasy. His enormous strength enabled Anthony to
overcome these tests. After he had been in the desert for some years,
word of his virtue and wisdom spread, and people started coming to
him, seeking advice, until he was no longer alone but surrounded by
disciples, and had to move to a cave in Mount Kolzim near the Red
Sea, where he remained until he died, at over one hundred years of
age.
While he spent most of his life in solitude, Anthony is considered
the founder of monasticism in the East because he was able to bring
into a loosely-knit communal life a large number of isolated anchorets,
and to exercise over them a certain abbatial authority without infringing
on their right to solitude. This is why, although he did not belong
to a particular order and was not appointed by an ecclesiastical authority,
he is regarded as an abbot. The facts of his life are well known
through his biography written by St. Athanasius, who knew him personally.
Anthony was never a fanatic given to exaggeration, as were
many of the hermits, and his knowledge and simple integrity must
have been an example and a stimulus to those who knew him. He had
been living in solitude and self-denial for many years, when he heard
of a man who had lived that way much longer. Paul, known as "the
Hermit, " inhabited a cave and for ninety years had been fed by a
raven that brought him half a loaf of bread each day. Anthony went
to see him, and during his stay the raven brought a whole loaf for
them to share. When Paul died, Anthony wrapped his body in his
cloak and, legend says, two lions appeared to dig the grave. Another
legend tells that King Jerodasius of Palestine, being ill, was advised
by an angel and a pilgrim to send two camels with food to St.
Anthony in the desert. When Anthony heard the camels, led by the
angel, approaching, he knelt and thanked God.
The most colorful representations of St. Anthony show his temptations,
which take the shape of ugly demons or naked women or fantastic
creatures. Most frequently, Anthony is portrayed as an older
man with a white beard, dressed in dark monastic garb and holding
a bell and a T-shaped staff. A pig appears at his feet. It was said that
the pig was his sole companion in the wilderness, but it probablytogether
with his other attributes - comes from his being the patron
of the Hospitallers, an order founded in the south of France in 1095.
These Antonines devoted their lives to the care of the sick; hence the
T-shaped staff that is really a crutch, and the bell which the lepers had
to carry to announce their presence. The Hospitallers enjoyed the
privilege of being able to keep their pigs without living in the country.
In some countries St. Anthony is the patron of domestic animals,
which are brought to him to be blessed on his feast day. Blessed bread
is also distributed, probably in commemoration of the loaf brought
by the raven.
45 GENEVIEVE
b. at Nanterre, c. 420; d. in Paris, c. 500; H. January 3
At an early age Genevieve was dedicated to God and received the
"virgin's veil" from the bishop of Paris. She soon became a figure of
controversy because of the miracles and predictions attributed to her.
When Paris was blockaded by Childeric, she led a convoy of boats
bringing provisions to the city. She also initiated the building of a
church in honor of St. Denis of Paris, which King Dagobert 1- afterwards
rebuilt with a monastery in 629. On several occasions during
her life, and frequently after her death, Paris was saved through St.
Genevieve's intercession. In 1129 a plague swept through the city, and
abated only when the shrine of St. Genevieve was carried in a solemn
procession to the cathedral. The miracles and beneficent influence that
Genevieve exercised won the veneration of the Parisians; thus she
became the patroness of Paris. One story tells how the devil, when St.
Genevieve went to pray in the church at night, blew out her candle
to frighten her. She is often represented with a burning candle, with
the devil trying to extinguish it while an angel keeps it lit.
46 LEONARD
d. c. 550(? ); f. d. November 6
Very little is known of St. Leonard's life that can be proved with documents.
Stories written long after his death tell us that he was a Frankish
nobleman who was very close to Clovis I, and that like the king he was
converted to Christianity by St. Remigius. Leonard became a hermit
and founded a religious community at Noblac, now called Saint-
Leonard, near Limoges. What made Leonard most popular during the
early Middle Ages-above all in France, England and Germanywere
the miracles he performed to bring back the crusaders and to
liberate prisoners. These miracles took place during his lifetime and
after his death.
St. Leonard is represented in the garb of a monk, or occasionally as
an abbot, holding a chain or fetter and, sometimes, a prisoner in
chains. He is the patron saint of peasants, of the sick and especially of
prisoners.
47 YRIEIX (ADERIUS)
d. 591; f. d. August 25
Born at Limoges of virtuous parents, Yrieix first studied science, then
traveled to the court of King Theodebert at Trier. Although he won the
friendship and respect of the king, he preferred the religious life to
that of a courtier. Encouraged by the bishop of Trier, he became a
cleric. Gregory of Tours, who wrote of Yrieix's life, describes how he
was singled out from the other clerics when God sent a dove from
Heaven into the church during worship. The dove perched on Yrieix's
head, to show that he was filled with the spirit of Holy Ghost. When
Yrieix's father and brother died at Limoges, he returned home to be
with his mother. Among many other good works, he founded and
became abbot of a monastery in a town near Limoges, which now
bears his name. During the rest of his life, his reputation grew in the
region for the number of people he healed with the sign of the Cross.
When he died (of dysentery) in 591, two demonics were cured at his
funeral. In the fifteenth century, a silver head with a wooden core was
made to hold a piece of St. Yrieix's skull. Eventually it left France, and a
copy - with the relic - replaced it in the church.
48 CATHERINE OF SIENA
b. March 23,1347; d. April 29,1380; cd. June 29,1461; f. d. April 29 (Siena) or 30
St. Catherine, the daughter of a wool-dyer, took the vow of chastity at
the age of seven. She refused to marry, and made herself undesirable
to men by cutting off her long hair and wearing a veil over her face.
She always prayed that, like Catherine of Alexandria, she would have
Christ as her Heavenly Bridegroom. Her family was opposed to her devotion
but when her father saw her with a dove above her head, he
allowed her to join a Dominican convent. She remained for three years
in a room in solitude, having visions and conversations with Christ.
It is at this time that her Mystical Marriage to Christ is reputed to have
taken place. She constantly suffered physical pain and hardly ate, but
she prayed and spiritually was very content. During her years as a
recluse, God told her to resume family life, so she started to do chores
and nurse the sick. At this time there was great strife between the
Church and State, and Catherine began to work actively for peace
between Florence and the Papal States. She had great influence with
the Pope, and also worked for the strengthening and purification of
the Papacy.
One legend says that at Pisa one morning, during her prayers,
Catherine was carried away by her love of the Lord, and fainted. When
she came to, she bore the stigmata, the marks of the wounds suffered
on the Cross, imprinted on her hands, feet and side. After many years
of nursing, converting sinners and working for the Church, Catherine
had a stroke and, until she died, lived in an agony, convinced that she
was wrestling with demons.
St. Catherine is depicted in a Dominican habit and with a halo, and
bearing the stigmata. Often she holds a cross surmounted by a lily or
heart, and carries a rosary. In addition to her Mystical Marriage, the
scene from her life sometimes represented is one in which Catherine
gives her cloak to a beggar, whereupon Christ appears in the poor
man's place and gives her His own in exchange for her charity. After
this, according to legend, she was protected forever from the cold. St.
Catherine is the protectress against pestilence and plague.
Secular Saints

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49 BAVO (BAVON)
b. in Brabant; d. c. 653; f. d. October 1
Christened as Allowin, St. Bavo, the patron of the dioceses of Ghent
and Haarlem, is classified as a penitent. He was a rich landowner who
married and had a daughter, but lived an irregular and worldly life.
At the death of his wife he decided to change his ways; he distributed
his possessions among the needy and, instructed by St. Amand, the
bishop of Maestrich, followed St. Amand in his missionary work
through France and the Netherlands. At some point Bavo met a man
he had sold as a slave; in reparation for what he had done, he made
the man lead him by a chain to the town's lock-up. In need of solitary
expiation, Bavo was allowed to become a hermit, and he retired to a
wood near Ghent where he spent the rest of his life, according to a
colorful legend, in a hollow tree. There was a monastery near the
site, which was afterwards named Saint-Bavon.
St. Bavo is little known outside his country of origin, and is usually
represented dressed as a rich man or as a knight with a sword and
sometimes holding a falcon.
50 GODELEVA (GODELIVE in French)
b. c. 1045; d. at Ghistelles, 1070; f. d. July 6
Godeleva was one of three daughters of a rich family in Boulogne.
Dedicated to the care of the unfortunate, she would often take food
from the family larder to distribute to the poor. She even gave away
food which was to be served to the Count of Boulogne on a visit to
the family. Upon being scolded by her father, she knelt in prayer, and
angels miraculously appeared with the necessary provisions. Her
beauty attracted a Flemish nobleman, Bertold of Ghistelles, who married
her and took her to his castle near Bruges. She was received badly
by her mother-in-law, was shunned by her husband and given menial
chores to occupy her time. One day, wishing to attend church but
bound to look after the crows on the estate, she herded the crows into
a shed where they remained quietly until her return. She tried to
escape to her family but was sent back to Bertold. Although he pretended
to be reconciled, he secretly plotted Godeleva's death. Two of
his retainers, catching her alone on the grounds of the castle, strangled
her with a scarf, dunked her head in a well, end placed her in her bed
as though she had died naturally. The people of the area knew that
Bertold was responsible for her murder, but as he had absented himself
from the castle that day, they could not prove his guilt. He later
remarried and finally, perhaps inspired by Godeleva's curing of his
daughter's blindness, ended his life in a monastery.
Godeleva is honored as a saint, although she did not die for her
faith. The well in which her head was dunked healed illnesses, especially
sore throats, and several miracles, such as a marvelous production
of needlework, occurred at the site of her death. Her life's trials
are related by a contemporary, Drogo of Bruges, and her legend is
most completely illustrated in a triptych at The Metropolitan Museum
of Art. Her attribute is the scarf of her strangulation.
51 ELZEAR
b. 1285; d. 1323; f. d. September 27
St. Elzear was born in Provence and educated in the Abbey of St.
Victor in Marseilles, where his uncle was abbot. At the age of sixteen
he married Delphina, the daughter of a nobleman, and they made an
ideal Christian couple. Elzear inherited his father's honors and estates
in Naples, where he went to be Lord of Ariano. He became justiciar
to the court of King Robert and Queen Sanchia of Naples. Sent to Paris
to obtain the hand of Mary of Valois for the king's son, he vowed to
his wife that by the Grace of God he would keep his virtue. Although
he accomplished his mission, he fell ill and died. He was buried in
Apt, where Delphina also was buried when she died in 1360.
St. Elzear is represented as a gentleman with a coronet and rosary,
or holding the staff of his office. He is the patron of Christian gentlemen.
52 ROCH
d. 1337; f. d. August 16
There are almost no authenticated details of St. Roch's life, except that
he was from Montpelier in France and worked with plague victims
in Italy. Supposedly, because he had a cross-shaped birthmark, he
believed that he was destined for a religious life, so he disposed of his
worldly goods and began a pilgrimage to Rome. During his journey,
the plague broke out in several Italian towns, and Roch devoted himself
to caring for the sick. Many recovered, leading him to believe that
tending the sick was his mission. After years of this work, he contracted
the plague himself, in Piacenza. He withdrew to the woods to
die, but his dog refused to abandon him and brought a loaf of bread
each day until he recovered. Another legend associated with his stay
in the Piacenza woods tells that Roch was sitting under a tree, unable
to move, and water miraculously came into his reach. When he returned
to France, no one recognized him because the plague had so
disfigured him. He was arrested as a spy and imprisoned. Five years
later he was found dead in his cell, which was flooded with a heavenly
light. An inscription was beside him: "All those who are stricken by
the plague and pray for help through the intercession of Roch, the
servant of God, shall be healed. "
St. Roch is traditionally shown as a young pilgrim, bearded or beardless,
with his thigh bared to reveal an ulcer from the plague. Generally
his dog accompanies him. Sometimes he is depicted being visited by
an angel as he lies among the victims of the disease. St. Roch is known
as the patron of physicians, and is invoked against cholera and the
plague.
Late Martyrs
53 THOMAS OF CANTERBURY
b. in London, 1118; d. at Canterbury, 1170; cd. 1173; f. d. December 29
Thomas A Becket, as he is better known, was born of a well-to-do
Norman family and received a good education, including sports and
knightly accomplishments. Before entering the service of Archbishop
Theobald of Canterbury in 1142, Thomas had already experience in
business and administration. He traveled with Theobald, studied canon
law and became a deacon and, afterwards, an archdeacon of Canterbury.
However, his inclination at the time, in spite of periods of deep
asceticism, was not towards priesthood. He became very intimate with
King Henry II of England, in spite of Becket's Norman origin and the
difference in their ages (Henry was almost twenty years younger). In
1155 the king made him chancellor of England; this promotion brought
to Becket the enmity of several envious dignitaries, both secular and
ecclesiastical. At the death of Theobald in 1162, Henry decided -
against Becket's better judgment - to appoint him archbishop of
Canterbury, and he had to become a priest in a rush. From then on
their relationship became very tense; Thomas took his position very
seriously, always putting his duties to God and Church above Henry's
capricious wishes. Henry, who did not expect this from his old comrade,
started listening to Becket's enemies, and summoned him to
Northampton to answer false charges of the mishandling of funds
during his chancellorship. Thomas went to France to see Pope Alexander
III, then exiled in Sens, and also visited King Louis VII of France.
Both took Becket's side, but he decided to remain in France, living a
retired and ascetic life for six years. He returned to England in 1170,
and his dissidence with the king started again over Becket's excommunication
of some of the king's advisers and his disciplining of some
bishops for infringing upon the prerogatives of his see. Henry, in a fit
of rage, pronounced some words that turned out to be his old friend's
death sentence; after hearing these words, four knights, under the
leadership of Reginald Fitzurse, went to Canterbury after Thomas. He
expected them, but did nothing to avert his fate. He went to the
cathedral and started Vespers. The four knights went towards the altar
and killed him with swords and axes in the chapel at the left of the
transept. The spot became immediately a place of pilgrimage, and
many representations of the martyr in defense of the church were
made. While several survived in France, Germany and Spain (where
Henry's three daughters went to live when they married), few were
left in England because Henry VIII considered Becket a traitor and
ordered his shrine destroyed.
There are very few representations of Becket during his life. Usually
the artists portrayed the moment of the assassination with Thomas
kneeling in front of the altar and the knights - the number varies, but
in English representations there are usually four-at the moment of
hitting him on the head with their weapons. Sometimes an assistant,
who is also a historical figure, is holding Becket's cross-staff in an
attempt to defend him against his attackers. In recent times Becket's
history has attracted great attention through T. S. Eliot's play Murder in
the Cathedral, and Jean Anouilh's play Becket (made into a film in
1964).
54 PETER MARTYR
b. 1206; d. 1252; cd. 1253; f. d. April 6,26 or 29
St. Peter Martyr is considered the most important saint of the Dominican
Order, after St. Dominic. Born in Verona, he became a Dominican
monk after hearing St. Dominic himself preach, and thereafter strictly
maintained his virtue, abstaining from all excesses and evangelizing
throughout Italy against heresy. His influence was very strong in a
country which at that time was being torn apart by any number of
non-Catholic sects, and Pope Gregory IX eventually appointed him
inquisitor general. Peter attacked heretics with particular violence, but
he is also known to have cured many afflicted people. The Golden
Legend recounts the story that once in Milan, Peter was questioning
a heretical bishop, when, with the crowd of onlookers and the midday
heat, the temperature became unbearable. The heretic challenged
Peter to send a cloud to block the sun, if he was as holy as he claimed.
Unable to convince the bishop to renounce his heresy, Peter decided
that for the sake of the Christians present, God should manifest Himself.
Peter made the sign of the Cross, and a cloud filled the sky and
protected the crowd.
Threatened by Peter's inquisitions, the heretics hired two assassins
to kill him. Waylaid on a journey from Como to Milan, Peter was
struck repeatedly on the head with an axe or a sword by one of the
men; then both men chased the lay brother who was with Peter. When
they returned, St. Peter was on his knees, reciting the Apostles' Creed
or, according to one account, had written "Credo" on the ground
with his blood. The killers then stabbed him until he died.
Supposedly, Peter's martyrdom did more to convert heretics than
anything else, for after his death many, including the murderers, reflected
on the saint's miracles and renounced their sins. St. Peter is the
patron of inquisitors and midwives, and is usually shown in Dominican
robes with a gash or knife in his head or shoulder, and holding the
palm of martyrdom.
55 JOHN NEPOMUCEN (NEPOMUCK)
b. at Nepomuck, Bohemia, c. 1345; d. in Prague, March 20,1393; cd. 1729;
f. d. May 16
John Nepomucen is known as "the Martyr of the Secret of Confession.
" When he was a canon in Prague, he was appointed confessor
of Wenceslaus IV's wife Jane. Wenceslaus was King of Bohemia and
Holy Roman Emperor, but holiness was only in his title as, apparently,
he was a rather unsavory character, unfaithful to his wife and dissolute.
He was also curious, and insisted on knowing what Jane had to confess.
John refused to give this information, as he was bound to do by
his sacred orders, and the emperor had him tortured and put in prison.
John promised Wenceslaus not to reveal his torture, but as he was
severely wounded and in pain that could not be hidden, Wenceslaus
ordered to have John thrown in the Moldau river to drown, to avoid
having him as a continuous reminder of his cruelty. John's body was
washed up ashore the next day, and he was buried in the Cathedral
of St. Vitus in Prague. John Nepomucen was a very humble man who
refused to be made a bishop and helped anybody in distress. It is said
that before his canonization his tomb was opened and they found
that his flesh had become dust, but his tongue was completely preserved.
John Nepomucen is invoked against slander and floods. Seven
stars, which marked the bridge from which he was thrown, are his
symbol.

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