Wednesday, November 8, 2017

SAINT EUCHERIUS OF ORLEANS



St. Eucherius, Bishop of Orleans, Confessor

Feast day: February 20
Birth: 687
Death: 743

Benedictine bishop of Orleans, France, exiled for opposing Charles Martel, the famous and powerful Mayor of the Palace. Born in Orleans, Eucherius became a Benedictine at Jumieges about 714 and bishop in 721. He immediately set about protesting Charles Martel's seizure of Church properties. Charles exiled Eucherius to Cologne, Germany, where he became very popular as a result. Eucherius was then held captive in Liege, France, but was allowed to retire to Saint Trond Abbey near Maastricht, Netherlands, where he died in the monastery.



St. Eucherius, mother who was a lady of eminent virtue, and of the first quality at Orleans, while she was with child of him made a daily offering of him to God, and begged nothing for him but divine grace. When he was born, his parents dedicated him to God, and set him to study when he was but seven years old, resolving to omit nothing that could be done towards cultivating his mind, or forming his heart. His improvement in virtue kept pace with his progress in learning; he meditated assiduously on the sacred writings, especially on St. Paul’s manner of speaking on the world, and its enjoyments, as mere empty shadows, that deceive us and vanish away; and took particular notice that that apostle says, the wisdom of those who love the pleasures and riches of this life is no better than folly before God. 1 These reflections, at length, sunk so deeply into his mind, that he resolved to quit the world. To put this design in execution, about the year 714, he retired to the abbey of Jumiege, on the banks of the Seine, in the diocess of Rouen. When he had spent six or seven years there in the practice of penitential austerities and obedience, Suavaric, his uncle, bishop of Orleans, died: the senate and people, with the clergy of that city, deputed persons to Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, to beg his permission to elect Eucherius to the vacant see. That prince granted their request, and sent with them one of his principal officers of state to conduct him from his monastery to Orleans. The saint’s affliction at their arrival was inexpressible, and he entreated the monks to screen him from the dangers that threatened him. But they preferred the public good to their private inclinations, and resigned him up for that important charge. He was received at Orleans, and consecrated with universal applause, in 721. Though he received the episcopal character with grievous apprehensions of its obligations and dangers, he was not discouraged, but had recourse to the supreme pastor for assistance in the discharge of his duties, and devoted himself entirely to the care of his church. He was indefatigable in instructing and reforming his flock, and his zeal and even reproofs were attended with so much sweetness and charity, that it was impossible not to love and obey him.
  Charles Martel, to defray the expenses of his wars and other undertakings, and to recompense those that served him, often stripped the churches of their revenues, and encouraged others to do the same. St. Eucherius reproved these encroachments with so much zeal, that flatterers represented it to the prince, as an insult offered to his person; therefore, in the year 737, Charles in his return to Paris, after having defeated the Saracens in Aquitain, took Orleans in his way, ordered Eucherius to follow him to Verneuil upon the Oise, in the diocess of Beauvais, where he then kept his court, and banished him to Cologn. The extraordinary esteem which his virtue procured him in that city, moved Charles to order him to be conveyed thence to a strong place in Hasbain, now called Haspengaw, in the territory of Liege, under the guard of Robert, governor of that country. The governor was so charmed with his virtue, that he made him the distributer of his large alms, and allowed him to retire to the monastery of Sarchinium, or St. Tron’s. Here prayer and contemplation were his whole employment, till the year 743, in which he died on the 20th of February. He is named in the Roman, and other martyrologies. See his original life by one of the same age, with the preliminary dissertation of Henschenius, and the remarks of Mabillon, sæc. 3. Ben. The pretended vision of the damnation of Charles Martel, is an evident interpolation, found only in later copies, and in Surius.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

SAINT ELEUTHERIUS OF TOURNAI

St. Eleutherius of Tournai

Feast day: February 20
Death: 532

Bishop of Tournai, Belgium, martyred by Arian heretics. Born in Tournai, France or Belgium, he became the bishop in 486. A group of Arians enraged by his preaching beat him severely He died some weeks later.


Bishop of Tournai at the beginning of the sixth century. Historically there is very little known about St. Eleutherius, but he was without doubt the first Bishop of Tournai. Theodore, whom some give as his immediate predecessor, was either a bishop of Tours, whose name was placed by mistake on the episcopal list of Tournai, or simply a missionary who ministered to the Christians scattered throughout the small Frankish Kingdom of Tournai. Before he became bishop, Eleutherius lived at court with his friend Medardus, who predicted that he would attain the dignity of a count and also be elevated to the episcopate. After Clovis, King of the Franks, had been converted to Christianity, in 496, with more than 3000 of his subjects, bishops took part in the royal councils. St. Remigius, Bishop of Reims, organized the Catholic hierarchy in Northern Gaul, and it is more than likely that St. Eleutherius was named Bishop of Tournai at this time.

The Reliquary Shrine of Saint Eleutherius in the Cathedral of Tournai
The saint's biography in its present form was really an invention of Henri of Tournai in the twelfth century. According to this, Eleutherius was born at Tournai towards the end of the reign of Childeric, the father of Clovis, of a Christian family descended from Irenaeus, who had been baptized by St. Piatus. His father's name was Terenus, and his mother's Blanda. Persecution by the tribune of the Scheldt obliged the Christians to flee from Tournai and take refuge in the village of Blandinium. The conversion of Clovis, however, enabled the small community to reassemble and build at Blandinium a church, which was dedicated to St. Peter. Theodore was made bishop of Tournai, and Eleutherius succeeded him. Consulted by Pope Hormisdas as to the best means of eradicating the heresy which threatened nascent Christianity, Eleutherius convened a synod and publicly confounded the heretics. They vowed vengeance, and as he was on his way to the church, one day, they fell on him and, after beating him unmercifully, left him for dead. He recovered, however, but his days were numbered. On his death-bed (529) he confided his flock to his lifelong friend, St. Medardus.

The motive underlying this biography invented by Canon Henri (1141), was to prove the antiquity of the Church of Tournai, which from the end of the eleventh century had been trying to free itself from the jurisdiction of the bishops of Noyon. The sermons on the Trinity, Nativity, and the feast of the Annunciation (Bibliotheca Patrum, vol. XV), sometimes attributed to St. Eleutherius, are also of a more than doubtful authenticity. His cult, however, is well established; there is record of a recovery of his relics during the episcopate of Hedilo in 897 or 898, and a translation of them by Bishop Baudoin in 1064 or 1065, and another in 1247. Relics of this saint were also preserved in the monastery of St. Martin at Tournai, and in the cathedral at Bruges. His feast is given in martyrologies on 20 or 21 July, but is usually celebrated on the former date. The translation of his relics is commemorated 25 August.

SAINT COLGAN


St. Colgan


Feastday: February 20
Death: 796

Abbot of Clanmacroise, in Offaly, Ireland. A friend of Blessed Alcuin, Colgan was called (The Wise)& The Chief Scribe of the Scots.

SAINT BOLCAN


St. Bolcan, Abbot in Ireland


Feast day: February 20 /JULY 4
Death: 840

HE was a disciple of St. Patrick in Ireland. His relics remain at Kilmore,

  Bishop and disciple of St. Patrick, also called Olcan of Kilmayle. Baptized by St. Patrick, Bolcan was sent to France for priestly studies and ordained. St. Patrick then named him the bishop of Derban in northern Ireland. He built a fine school there.

SAINT AMATA OF ASSISI


Saint Amata of Assisi
Born Assisi, Italy
Died 1250

Feast day: February 20


Poor Clare and niece of St. Clare of Assisi. Amata was miraculously cured of an illness by St. Clare. She entered a Poor Clare monastery as a result.

SAINT ZAMBDAS

St. Zambdas


Feast day: February 19
Death: 283 /304

Bishop of Jerusalem. He was martyred during the persecutions under Emperor Diocletian.


   Zamudas (Zambdas, Zabdas, Bazas) of Jerusalem was the thirty-seventh patriarch of Jerusalem. His patriarchate lasted from 276 to 283.Zambdas is also listed as Bazas Or Zabdas, and he is associated in tradition with the Theban Legion.

Monday, November 6, 2017

SAINT WULFRIC

St. Wulfric


Birth: 1080 Compton Martin, near Bath, England
Died 20 February 1154 Haselbury Plucknett, Somerset, England


Feast day: February 20

Wulfric hermit and miracle worker. Born at Compton Martin, near Bristol, England, he became a priest and was excessively materialistic and worldly. After meeting with a beggar, he underwent a personal conversion and became a hermit at Haselbury; Somerset, England. For his remaining years, he devoted himself to rigorous austerities and was known for his miracles and prophecies. While he was never formally canonized, Wulfric was a very popular saint during the Middle Ages, and his tomb was visited by many pilgrims.

  Saint Wulfric, otherwise Wulfric of Haselbury  was an anchorite and miracle worker in Wiltshire and Somerset, England, frequently visited by King Stephen.

Wulfric was born at Compton Martin, ten miles south of Bristol. After becoming a priest, he at first exercised his ministry at Deverill, near Warminster. At this stage, apparently, he was much addicted to hunting, with both hawks and hounds. A chance conversation with a beggar, however, converted him to more godly pursuits, and he moved back to Compton Martin as parish priest.

In the year 1125 Wulfric came to St. Michael and All Angels Church in Haselbury Plucknett, Somerset. He wished to spend the rest of his life as an anchorite, withdrawn from the world, living in a cell adjacent to the church. This cell stood on the cold northern side of the chancel where the vestry is now. Although he apparently failed to obtain episcopal permission for this move, he was supported by the Cluniac monks at Montacute. Sir William FitzWalter had a great respect for his saintly neighbour; he sent provisions to him and visited him from time to time. Wulfric numbered among his intimate friends Osbern, the village priest; William, a lay brother of Forde Abbey; and Brichtric, who seems to have joined him as a disciple or attendant.

Soon people came to him for guidance and blessing. During the reigns of kings Henry I and Stephen, Wulfric exercised a powerful influence, not only in his own neighbourhood, but also at court. Henry I was informed, correctly, that he would shortly die, while King Stephen was chastised for the evils of his government.Wulfric is said to have received the gifts of prophecy and healing and was involved in many miraculous happenings. He became known as a healer of body, mind and spirit for all those who sought him out.

According to Abbot John of Forde Abbey, Wulfric lived alone in these simple quarters for 29 years, devoting much of his time to reading the Bible and praying. In keeping with the ideals of medieval spirituality, he adopted stern ascetic practices: he deprived himself of sleep, ate a frugal meatless diet, spent hours reciting the psalms sitting in a bath of cold water, and wore a hair shirt and heavy chain-mail tunic.

One of the most influential anchorite priests of medieval England, he died in his cell on 20 February 1154. At his death, a scuffle occurred in and around St. Michael's between black-robed Norman Cluniac monks from Montacute and common folk from Haselbury and Crewkerne who had been summoned by Osbern, the priest of Haselbury. The monks maintained that providing food for the anchorite, which they had done for many years, gave them a claim to the holy man's mortal remains. But the locals forced them to withdraw and Wulfric was buried in his cell by the bishop of Bath who had visited him at his death-bed. For security reasons, Osbern moved Wulfric's remains twice, until they came to rest somewhere near the west end of the church.

SAINT VALERIUS

St. Valerius


Feast day: February 19
Death: 450

Bishop of Antibes, France. He worked throughout southern France to evangelize the region and to increase the monastic presence.

SAINT ODRAN

St. Odran


Feastday: February 19
Death: 452

Martyr and friend of St. Patrick. According to tradition, he drove Patrick's chariot. Odran died when he changed places with Patrick in the vehicle just before an ambush by pagans was sprung.



Saint Odran, the charioteer of Saint Patrick, ranks as the first Christian martyr in Irish history. He lived about 430.

There are two different versions given about Odran’s martyrdom. The first, in the Vita tripartita Sancti Patricii, states that on the borders of the future counties of Kildare and Offaly, the chieftain of that district, Failge Berraide, worshipped the pagan god Crom Cruach and vowed to avenge the god’s destruction at Magh Slécht by killing Patrick. Odran overheard the plot, and as he and Patrick set out in the chariot to continue their journey, requested that he be allowed to hold the place of honour instead of Patrick, who granted his wish; scarcely had they set out when a lance pierced the heart of the devoted follower, who by changing places thus saved Patrick's life.

The second version, contained in the Pseudo-Historical Prologue to the Senchas Mar, states that the High-King Loegaire mac Neill died 462 persuaded his nephew to kill Patrick as follows:

    "The cause of the Senchus Mor having been composed was this :- Patrick came to Erin to baptize and to disseminate religion among the Gaedhil, i.e. in the ninth year of Theodosius and in the fourth year of Laeghaire, King of Erin, son of Niall. But the cause of the poem having been composed was as follows -Laeghaire ordered his people to kill a man of Patrick's people; and Laeghaire agreed to give his own award to the person who should kill the man, that he might discover whether he (St. Patrick) would grant forgiveness for it. And Nuada Derg, the son of Niall, the brother of Laeghaire, who was in captivity in the hands of Laeghaire, heard this, and he said that if he were released and got other rewards, he would kill one of Patrick's people. And the command of Laeghaire's cavalry was given him, and he was released from captivity, and he gave guarantee that he would fulfil his promise; and he took his lance and went towards the clerics, and hurled the lance at them and slew Odran, Patrick's charioteer."

St.Patrick then asked the Chief Ollam of Ireland, Dubhthach moccu Lughair to try the case and the murderer was convicted and executed, thus creating the earliest judgement on the conflicting values of Christian and Pagan laws in Ireland.

Saint Odran's feast-day is 19 February.

Due to the similarity of the name some people have identified Odran with Odhran. There is a link in the tradition that both men voluntarily sacrificed themselves in assisting the work of a greater saint.

SAINT LUCY YI ZHENMEI

Saint Lucy Yi Zhenmei

Virgin; Martyr
Born December 9, 1815
Sichuan, China
Died February 19, 1862

Beatified May 2, 1909, Vatican City, Rome by Pope Pius X
Canonized October 1, 2000, Vatican City, Rome by Pope John Paul II



Feastday: February 19
Death: 1862

Martyr of China. She was a Catholic schoolteacher in China, where she was beheaded. Lucy was beatified in 1909.


St. Lucy Yi Zhenmei   was a Chinese Roman Catholic saint from Mianyang in Sichuan, China. She was born on December 9, 1815, and was the youngest member in her family.

Lucy was a very pious child, to the extent that she made a commitment to chastity at 12 years of age.

As she matured she developed a love for reading and study. At age 20, in the midst of her higher education she grew very ill. After her recovery Lucy took her spiritual life still more seriously. She devoted herself to the discipline of prayer with great devotion, assuming a way of life much like that of a religious while continuing to assist in the support her family. Her mother taught her how to spin, which also became part of her daily life.

After her father died, she lived with her brother and mother, using part of her leisure time to teach the faith to children nearby. The parish priest, who asked her to teach at the school in Mianyang, noticed her devotion and reliable knowledge of her faith. After four years, her brother went to Chongqing to practice medicine, and Lucy and her mother moved with him. In Chongqing, the priest also asked her to help teach the women in the parish. When she was offered money for her work, she refused to take it and offered her work to God.

A few years later, her brother moved back to Guiyang, during which time her mother died. Full of enthusiasm for spreading the Gospel, she went on doing missionary work. However, for her own safety she decided to stay at the convent of lay virgins. Shortly after, her failing health forced her to move back home again. In 1861, Bishop Hu asked her to teach once more at the convent. In spite of opposition from relatives, she returned to work there.

In 1862, she went with Fr. Wen Nair to open a mission in Jiashanlong, but just then the administrator of Guizhou Province, Tian Xingshu, began to stir up hatred against Christians, which the local magistrate supported. As a result, Zhang Tianshen, Wu Shuisheng, Chen Xianheng and Father Wen were all imprisoned and sentenced to death without a formal trial. On February 18, the day of their execution, they met Yi Zhenmei on the road. She was also jailed and put on trial that very day and sentenced to death, because she refused to renounce her faith. The following day at noon, February 19, 1862, she was beheaded. Brave believers took the bodies of all five martyrs to the Liuchonnguan seminary grounds for burial.

Pope John Paul II canonized St. Zhenmei Lucy Yi and her companions, the Martyr Saints of China on October 1, 2000. Her feast day is celebrated on 19 February in the Roman Catholic Church.