Saints of the Day – Blessed Humbert of Romans

Blessed Humbert of RomansArticle

Born at Romans, Dauphiné, France, in 1193; died there in 1277. The contribution of Humbert of the Romans to Dominican life can never be overestimated. While he has never been formally beatified, he has been given the popular title of “blessed” since his death. His name is associated with the foundation of the order and the clarification of its rule and constitutions, which reveals the sure touch of his saintly and logical mind.

Humbert came from a large family, several of whom became religious; one of them was a Carthusian. He met the Dominicans at the University of Paris, where he was teaching on the faculty of arts and studying theology in 1224.

There is a charming story concerning his choice of a vocation to the Dominicans. He was kneeling one day in the cathedral of Notre Dame during the Office of the Dead being chanted by the canons. His mind kept wandering to the choice of a vocation, for his family had been friendly with the Carthusians for many years, and his brother had already joined them.

As he debated with himself, an old priest wandered down from the choir and engaged him in quiet conversation. He asked Humbert where he came from, and Humbert replied that he was a parishioner. The old priest regarded him shrewdly and said, “Do you remember what you promised at your baptism – to renounce the devil and all his pomps? Why don’t you become a Friar Preacher?”

Humbert could hardly keep his mind off the priest’s words, and at the responsory for the lesson, “Where shall I fly if not to You?,” he decided once and for all that he would become a friar. He went to consult with his professor of theology, Hugh of Saint Cher, who was planning to become a Dominican himself as soon as he could arrange his affairs. On the feast of Saint Andrew, Humbert knelt at the feet of Blessed Jordan of Saxony and asked for the habit of the Dominicans.

The first task of the new brother was teaching at Lyons. His profound knowledge of Scripture recommended him for the highest teaching posts in the order. In 1240, when he was elected provincial of Lombardy, he began his administrative career.

From that time until his death, there was scarcely an event of any importance to the order in which he did not play a part. As provincial of France, from 1244 to 1254, he worked steadily to stabilize relations of the order and the university, perhaps foreseeing that there would one day be a showdown between the two great forces there. He was offered the patriarchate of Jerusalem, which he refused, and at the election of Gregory IX he received nearly enough votes to be elected pope.

Humbert was a careful canonist, and he carried around a master copy of the Dominican Constitutions in order that a copy could be made in the various houses. In his time the order had begun to feel the need for uniformity more than ever before, for its members were spreading to the far parts of the earth, and local regulations differed.

This was nowhere more clearly seen than in the liturgy, which differed not only with each diocese but with each basilica. When the brethren of various provinces got together for a general chapter, it was harrowing to try to chant the office. Humbert, along with several others, was appointed to begin work on a unification of the liturgy, even before he became master general in 1254. After his election as the fifth master general of the order, he intensified his efforts in this behalf.

Most of the regulations of the Dominican liturgy that have come down to us are in the words of Humbert. His principal contribution appears to be the unification of the liturgy. He set up a norm and insisted that all the varying elements conform to it, apologizing to the brethren meekly for the fact that some of them would be disappointed in the forms chosen (“since one cannot please everyone”).

Many distinguishing features of the Dominican Mass can trace their definite form to this talented and sincere man who devoted his energies to the quiet task of building a structure that would wear through the centuries.

The dignity and clarity of the Dominican Constitutions likewise owe a debt to this man who wrote so clearly and unequivocally of the spirit that Dominic had left to his children, and which was in Humbert’s day just being recorded for posterity. Humbert was also successful in the development of the foreign missions, and in the definitive planning of the studies of the Dominicans (Benedictines, Dorcy).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 July 2020. <>

Saints of the Day – Camillus de Lellis, Priest

Saint Camillus de Lellis holy card, date and artist unknownArticle

Born at Bucchianico, Abruzzi, Italy, 1550; died 1614; canonized in 1746; feast day formerly July 18. To Saint Camillus de Lellis the only people that mattered were the sick, for in serving them he was serving God. With other people he was hard, brusque and obstinate, but with the sick he was gentle and loving. In his eyes charity was the only thing that made life worth living, the surest way of bringing man closer to God, the only true life-blood of the Church; charity that Saint Paul had said was greater even than faith and hope. What makes the life of Saint Camillus all the more amazing is that he himself suffered from a disease of the feet and legs that forced him to leave the Capuchins.

Once a cardinal asked to see him while he was busy tending the sick. “His Excellency will have to excuse me,” said Camillus. “For the moment I am with Our Lord. I will see His Excellency when I have finished.” To another cardinal, who was a member of the administrative council for the hospitals in Rome, he said: “Monsignor, if some of my poor people suffer from hunger or die because of this shortage of food, I swear to God that I will accuse you in front of his mighty Judgment Seat.”

Camillus made sweeping reforms in the hospitals that were nothing short of revolutionary. His ideas were few and simple, but they were full of common sense and nobility of heart. At a time when medicine was backward, when attendants and orderlies were recruited from among hardened criminals and chaplains and almoners from among priests who had been suspended from their regular duties.

The filth and squalor that had been a standard feature of hospitals were eliminated, and he himself would often get down on his knees and scrub the floor. New arrivals were washed, their beds were made regularly, the dirty linens were changed, wounds were dressed carefully, and for the first time the patients were separated into different wards according to the nature of their maladies.

From the moment of entry, each patient was given personal attention. Day and night, Camillus would go from bed to bed, listening to complaints, watching over the dying, giving Communion and Extreme Unction, making sure that a person was properly cured before being allowed to leave, and seeing to it that the food served was of good quality and properly cooked.

If the administration was slow in giving him the supplies that he needed, he would go out on foot or with a little donkey and beg from door to door. “I do not think,” he said, “that in the whole world there is a field of flowers whose scent could be sweeter to me than is the small of these hospitals.” “These holy places,” as he once called the hospital, were also the best places to convert souls to God.

But his charity was not confined within the walls of the hospitals. He sought out the destitute who lived on the Quirinal or under the arches of the Coliseum. He visited the sick in their homes and organized a soup kitchen on the Piazza Maddalena.

Nor did he confine himself to Rome, for he and his companions, the Camillans, extended their activities to Milan, Genoa, Florence, Mantua, Messina, Palermo, to the battlefields of Hungary where the Austrian and Italian armies were fighting against the Turks (1595- 1601), travelling on foot in shabby and travel-stained clothes, indifferent to the bitter cold of winter the scorching heat of summer. “The sun is one of God’s creatures,” he said, “and will do me no more harm than God allows him to.”

Like many other saints, this man of genius had a wild and reckless youth before discovering his vocation. His mother was nearly 60 when he was born. His father was a minor nobleman who had been a captain in the army of Charles V. At the age of 17, the 6’6″ youth went with his father to fight in the service of Venice against the Turks, but at the last moment he was prevented from joining his troops by an ulcerous growth in his right leg, a painful, ugly problem that was to remain with him throughout his life.

After another attempt to serve in the Venetian forces, he went in 1571 to the hospital of Saint James (San Giacomo) in Rome for incurables as a patient and servant, but was soon dismissed. “This young man is incorrigible, and completely unsuited to be an infirmarian,” said the report on him; but in fact he returned there several times, for the ulcer in his leg kept opening, and the only way in which he could have it attended to was by working in the hospital.

He entered the service of Spain, but the expedition against Tunis for which he enlisted was called off and the fleet was taken out of commission. Depressed, demoralized, and out of work, Camillus drifted about until he came to Naples where he fell into the habit of compulsive gambling. His few possessions – his sword, his cloak, his shirt – were soon lost, and he was reduced to a state of penury in the fall of 1574.

For a while he lived by begging alms in church doors. Chastened by his penury and remembering a vow he had once made in a fit of remorse to join the Franciscans, Camillus contracted a job as a laborer on some Capuchins buildings in Manfredonia. On Candlemas Day, when he was 25, he entered the novitiate of Capuchins but could not be professed because of his leg. He was also denied by the Franciscan Recollects.

Camillus returned to and was admitted to the hospital of Saint James, where he found his true vocation. Abandoning his attempts to become a Franciscan, at which he had tried and failed four times, he devoted himself to remedying the appalling conditions he found there. Two other members of the staff, Bernardino Norcino, a storeman, and Curtio Lodi, a steward, joined him to form the nucleus of the Camillans. Encouraged by Saint Philip Neri, he resigned from Saint James and in 1584 was ordained a priest by the exiled Thomas Goldwell of Saint Asaph, the last English bishop of the old hierarchy. He was given an annuity by Fermo Calvi, a gentleman of Rome. Camillus decided to leave Saint James, against the advice of his confessor, Philip Neri.

After moving two or three times, he and his companions settled down in an establishment in the street called Botteghe Oscure. The short rules he prescribed for his order required going daily to the hospital of the Holy Ghost to serve.

Gradually the seed that he planted grew into a mighty tree. On March 18, 1586, Pope Sixtus V approved his congregation and in the same year the order received its distinctive habit – a black cloak with a red cross on the right shoulder. Soon afterwards they were given the hospice of the Magdalen near the Pantheon, and on September 21, 1591, Pope Gregory XIV raised them to the rank of an order, that of the “Ministers of the Sick.”

In 1588, he was invited to Naples, and with 12 companions founded a new house. Galleys holding plague victims were forbidden to dock, and Camillus and his members would embark to minister to the sick. Two brothers died, becoming the first martyrs of this order.

Camillus himself was the first Prefect General of the order, which spread so rapidly that by 1607, seven years before his death, it had eight hospitals, 15 houses, and over 300 members; and already over 170 members had already died while carrying out their duties. To the three great vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Camillans added a fourth: “O Lord, I promise to serve the sick, who are Your sons and my brothers, all the days of my life, with all possible charity”

By 1591, Camillus was suffering several other painful diseases in addition to his ulcerous leg, but he refused to be waited upon. He resigned as superior in 1607. He assisted at the general chapter in 1613 and visited the houses with the new superior general. In Genoa, he became very ill, but recovered and continued the visitation. Camillus suffered a relapse and received the last sacraments from Cardinal Ginnasi. He had revolutionized nursing, insisting upon fresh air, suitable diets, isolation of infectious patients, and spiritual assistance to the dying, for which reason the order was also called “the Fathers of a Good Dying” or “Agonizantes” (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, White).

In art, Saint Camillus is a layman tending the sick (Roeder). He was declared the patron of the sick and their nurses by Leo XIII (Benedictines).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 July 2020. <>

Saints of the Day – Veronica

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Veronica; confessional of Saint Aloysius Church, Columbus, Ohio; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

1st century; feast day formerly on February 4. Veronica’s story first appears fairly late in the history of the early Church, though it relates to the very heart of the Gospel – Jesus’ way to Golgotha. Veronica is venerated as the woman who wiped Our Lord’s face when he fell beneath the Cross on the road to Calvary. On the cloth was left an image of His divine face.

Scholars have been quick to point out that Veronica’s name may well derive from the story itself and not be historical. ‘Vera’ means ‘true’ and ‘icon’ means ‘image.’ Thus she obtained the true image, or vernicle, of Jesus. Legend tells us that Veronica later went to Rome and cured the Emperor Tiberius with the relic. When she died, she left the cloth to Pope Saint Clement. A ‘veil of Veronica’ is preserved at Saint Peter’s in Rome, probably from the 8th century.

French folklore holds that Veronica was the wife of Zacchaeus, the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10), and accompanied him to France, where he is known as Amadour. When he became a hermit, Veronica went on to evangelize southern France. Other accounts make her the same person as Martha, the sister of Lazarus, or a princess of Edessa, or the wife of an unnamed Gallo-Roman officer.

If the story of Veronica is a legend, it is a beautiful, simple, and natural one, and one coming down from the first Good Friday itself. Jesus was passing in the street, bent under His Cross, on the way to His death; His head lowered, full of fever from His torments; His step advancing amid mockery, curiosity, groans of those who lined the way. A woman named Veronica or Bernice advanced, wearing the veil common among her people, a piece of white linen like Noah’s cloak.

Perhaps she had seen the Lord before, and maybe even spoken with Him: The Eastern Church, based on the apocryphal Acts of Pilate, identifies Veronica with the woman whom Christ healed of the hemorrhage suffered for 12 years (Matthew 9:20-22). But even if she had not, her story is no more incredible, because she was moved by the simple desire that any human might have had: a wish to soothe this human face where dust and tears and sweat and blood commingled all at once, and which cried out to those who beheld it for relief. Then as the cloth touched Christ’s face, everything became sculptured together until the miracle occurred which was within the Lord’s power to command. Could he who at the moment of strangulation on the Cross cried aloud, not grant to this daughter the beauty of His face at the moment it was scorned by all but a handful of close friends?

Some reject the legend because there are so many false reproductions of the veil; because of the many legends and traditions woven into the story of Veronica throughout Christendom; because of the far-fetched claims made by preachers and writers in the course of time. None of these criticisms have touched the real point of the story of Veronica: whether there could have been a woman different from the other “daughters of Jerusalem” whom Jesus warned to weep for themselves and their children, and whether it was our Lord’s wish to grant this woman the imprint of his face for her good work (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).

Saint Veronica is depicted in art holding a cloth with Christ’s face imprinted on it. She might also be shown wiping the sweat from His face as He carries the Cross or writing at the dictation of an angel, the sudarium near her (Roeder). She is the patron of linen-drapers and washerwomen (Roeder).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 July 2020. <>

Saints of the Day – John the Iberian, Abbot


(also known as John the Georgian or the Hagiorite)

Born in Georgia; died on Mount Athos, c.1002. Of a noble Iberian family, John was an outstanding military commander until middle age, when he resigned his position and with his wife’s permission left her and their family to become a monk on Mount Olympus in Bithynia, Asia Minor. He went to Constantinople for his son Saint Euthymius, who with other young Iberian men was being held hostage by the emperor, and brought him back to Olympus with him.

Their reputation for holiness attracted so many disciples that they retired to Saint Athanasius laura on Mount Athos in Macedonia in quest of more solitude. With John’s brother-in-law, retired General John Thornikios, who had amassed a fortune before becoming a monk, the father and son, about 980, founded a monastery for Iberians on Mount Athos, the beginning of the famous Iviron (Iweron – the Iberian) Monastery, with John as the abbot.

On he death of Thornikios, who had handled all the details of running the monastery, John and several of his disciples set out for Spain but were intercepted and brought to Constantinople, where Emperor Constantine VIII persuaded him to return to Athos. He was confined to bed the last years of his life and died at Iviron, “a man dear to God and deserving of all reverence.”

John designated Euthymius to succeed him as the new abbot of Iviron. The monastery still exists but is populated with Greeks (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 July 2020. <>

Saints of the Day – John Jones, Priest

Blessed John Jones and Blessed John WallArticle

Born at Clynog Fawr, Carnarvonshire, Wales; died July 12, 1598; beatified in 1929; canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Born of a Catholic family, John Jones was ordained at Rheims and in 1587 was working among the Catholic prisoners in Marshalsea Prison in London. He was discovered, imprisoned at Wisbech Castle, but managed to escape to the Continent.

He joined the Franciscans of the Observants, probably at Pontoise, France, and was professed at Ara Coeli Convent in Rome. He received permission to return to England in 1592, using the alias John Buckley, worked in London and other parts of England, and was arrested again in 1596.

He was imprisoned for two years (he brought Blessed John Rigby back to the faith while in prison), and when convicted of being a Catholic priest guilty of treason for having been ordained abroad and returned to England, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Southwark in London (Benedictines, Delaney).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 July 2020. <>

Saints of the Day – John Gualbert (Gualberto), Abbot

detail from the painting 'San Giovanni Gualberto and Saints'; date unknown, artist unknown; Santa Trinita, Florence, Italy; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Born in Florence, Tuscany, Italy, c.993; died at Passignano (near Florence) in 1073; canonized in 1193. Because of his birth into the noble Visdomini family, John Gualbert had no more thought of following a life of austerity and humility than did his noble Florentine friends and companions. Bred to be a soldier, he spent his time in worldly amusements. Indeed, so far from intending to follow the precepts of Our Lord, his one over-riding ambition was to avenge the murder of his elder brother, Hugh. To him this was a matter of justice and, more importantly, a matter of honor.

It happened that one Good Friday as he was riding through a narrow pass on his way to Florence, Gualbert came face to face with the man he had been seeking. The man was alone and there was no means of escape. Gualbert drew his sword and moved forward, but at his approach the murderer, in a gesture not so much of supplication as of despair, fell to his knees, threw out his arms and commended his soul to God.

Gualbert hesitated, and as he looked down on his victim he was suddenly reminded of the image of Christ suffering on the Cross and of the forgiveness which Our Lord had asked for those who murdered him. Sheathing his sword, he embraced and forgave the man. Having pardoned his brother’s murderer, he saw the image of the crucifix miraculously bow its head in acknowledgement of Gualbert’s good action and they separated in peace.

Continuing his journey, Gualbert went to the monastery of San Miniato del Monte in Florence where, as he prayed before the crucifix, he was filled with divine grace. He asked the abbot for permission to be admitted. But the abbot delayed, fearing the anger and resentment of Gualbert’s parents. To demonstrate the seriousness of his call, Gualbert shaved his head himself and put on a habit that he had borrowed.

For the next few years he remained at San Miniato, leading the life of a penitent and hoping to end his days there; but when the abbot died and the new one bribed his way to office, he left in disgust. (Other sources say that he left with a companion to find solitude when it looked likely that he would be appointed abbot.) He wanted to find a life untouched by the current abuses in the Church: clerical concubinage, nepotism, and simony. For a while he stayed with the Camaldolesi at Saint Romuald’s abbey, but then decided to make an entirely new foundation.

The abbess of Sant’Ellero gave him some land in the Vallis Umbrosa (Vallombrosa), about 20 miles east of Florence near Fiesole; and there, with the help of a few companions, he built a small and unpretentious monastery of timber. The monks followed the austere rule of Saint Benedict to the letter, except for a special provision admitting conversi, or lay- brothers who could take on the manual labor and free the choir monks for contemplation and more prayer.

He was dedicated to poverty and humility. He never became a priest, in fact, he declined even to receive minor orders. Vallombrosa inspired other communities with its hospices for the poor and sick. These became part of his new order under John’s rule, in spite of rival claims to jurisdiction. In this and other ways John became involved in the reform movement in the Church, for which he was commended by popes.

Other monasteries were established, but in all cases Gualbert insisted that the buildings should be constructed as modestly and cheaply as possible and that the money saved should be given to the poor. Indeed, his zeal for charity was such that he often gave away all the monastery’s supplies to the poor who came to its gates. The area in which the first monastery was located was wild and barren, but the monks planted fir and pine trees and transformed it into a parkland.

Gualbert was known for his wisdom, miracles, and prophecies. Pope Saint Leo IX, travelled specially to Passignano to speak with him, as did Stephen X. Pope Alexander II attributed the eradication of simony in his country to him. Though respected and visited by popes, Gualbert retained his humility. He died aged about 80. The congregation of Vallombrosan Benedictines that he founded spread chiefly throughout Tuscany and Lombardy, but it still exists today and includes more than six monasteries (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, White).

In art, Saint John Gualbert is an elderly Vallombrosan abbot with a tau-staff, book and heretic under foot. At times, he may be shown (1) with the devil under foot; (2) enthroned among Vallombrosan monks, tau staff and book of rule in hands; (3) kneeling before a crucifix, which bows towards him; (4) present at an ordeal by fire of Saint Peter Igneus; (5) watching a luxurious monastery carried away by a flood; or as a young man forgiving the murderer of his relative (Roeder). A fine altarpiece in Santa Croce, Florence, depicts four scenes from Saint John’s life (Farmer).

John Gualbert is the patron on foresters and park keepers (White).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 July 2020. <>

Saints of the Day – Benedict of Nursia

detail of a painting of Saint Benedict of Nursia writing the Benedictine rule, Herman Nieg, 1926, church of Heiligenkreuz Abbey near Baden bei Wien, Lower Austria; swiped off wikimedia CommonsArticle

Born in Nursia, Italy, c.490; died at Monte Cassino, 543; feast day formerly March 21.

“If you are really a servant of Jesus Christ, let the chain of love hold you firm in your resolve, not a chain of iron.”

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul.”

“The first degree of humility is obedience without delay.”

– Saint Benedict

Nearly everything we know about Saint Benedict comes from the Dialogues of Pope Saint Gregory the Great and from what we can deduce from his Rule. In the days when monasticism was regarded as the most religious way of life, though it led to many abuses and encouraged the view that the Christian could best serve God by withdrawing from the world, it was Saint Benedict who brought to it a new sense of order and significance. He was born in central Italy of good family, was educated at Rome, at 14 years of age joined a Christian group outside the city, and afterwards lived as a hermit in a mountain cave. During this period he made a close study of the Scriptures, and for the rest of his life, in complete self-dedication, gave all that God asked. “The finger of God had only to point, and he followed whatever the cost.” The cave was a hidden retreat upon a barren mountainside, its whereabouts known only to a single friend who brought him food in secret, lowering it by rope over the mountain edge. After three years he was chosen by the monks of a neighboring monastery to be their abbot, but so strict was his discipline and so stern his rebukes of their laxity that they sought to remove him, even attempting to poison him, and he was glad to escape to his mountain refuge.

But now he could not be alone, for disciples flocked to him. They came from every rank of life, and his cave was no longer convenient in view of the demands made upon him. He was subjected also to the jealous persecution of a local priest. In 527, therefore, he travelled to Monte Cassino, 85 miles southeast of Rome, on the summit of which stood an altar to Apollo; there he tore down the pagan shrine and established the greatest and most famous of all monasteries, which became the home of the Benedictine Order. The place itself was symbolic, for as on the massive rock he built a temple to God, so also upon enduring foundatiuons he built a temple of the Spirit. When he died there were 14 Benedictine communities, and by the 14th century there were over 30,000.

At Monte Cassino he established his famous Rule which changed and renewed the monastic life of Europe. He provided against vagabondage, immorality, and other evils then prevalent in religious houses. A monk was to be a soldier of God, “a member of a spiritual garrison holding duty for Christ in a hostile world”; and to be always on duty. It was a great and happy brotherhood with a strong family unity, so that wherever its members went they felt a common bond, and drew their strength from their home at Cassino, built upon the rock.

He believed in the moral value of work; for idleness, he said, is hostile to the soul, and manual labor is part of the true pattern and glory of life. Thus work and study were joyfully intermingled, and each of his monasteries became a colony of God, a mission station with a civilizing influence in the dark night of Northern Europe. In lands conquered by invaders with the sword, he and his followers conquered by the Cross, and brought to men the arts and virtues of peace. “The chaos of the empire was the opportunity of the Church.” The ruins of Fountains, Rievaulx, Tintern, and other abbeys indicate the size of these Christian settlements, and Canterbury itself, like many of our cathedrals, was a Benedictine foundation (Gill).

In the Dialogues the story is ended: “I had told you that Benedict wanted something and could not attain it. If we consider the matter there is no doubt that he wanted the sky to remain as clear as it had been when he arrive; but his will was opposed by a miracle which the heart of a woman obtained from Almighty God. And it is not astonishing that he should be overcome by this woman who desired to be with her brother for a longer time, for it is writtenin Saint John: ‘God is love.’ And it was by the just decree of God that she, who loved more, ws the more powerful.”

From the Rule of Saint Benedict:

“Help those who are in trouble.

“Console the afflicted.

“Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

“Speak the truth from your heart as from your mouth.

“Attribute the good that you find in yourself to God, and not to yourself.

“Desire eternal life with all the ardor of your soul.

“Listen willingly to the Holy Scriptures.

“Daily confess your past faults to God in your prayers with tears and groans, and in the future corect them.

“In all things obey the instructions of the Abbot even if, God forbid, he should go astray in his works, remembering this precept of the Lord: Do what they say, but not what they do.

“Do not try to pass yourself off as a saint before being one, but become one first, so that it may be said more truly of you that you are a Saint.

“Honor those who are old.

“Love those who are younger.

“Pray for your enemies in the love of Christ.

“Make peace, before the setting of the sun, with those from whom you have been separated by discord.

“And never despair of the mercy of God.”


MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 July 2020. <>

Saints of the Day – Rufina and Secunda

detail of a painting of Saint Rufina and Saint Secunda, date and artist unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiArticle

Died 257. Asterius, a Roman senator, had two daughters, Rufina and Secunda. He found for them fiances, Armentarius and Verinus, and since all four betrothed were Christians, the matches seemed perfect.

Soon, however, the Emperor Valerian began to persecute the church and Armentarius and Verinus renounced Christianity. Neither girl would do this. Both decided to escape to Etruria, but on their way they were captured and brought before a prefect named Junius Donatus.

Junius Donatus decided on a cruel torment: he would scourge Rufina while her sister watched. As the scourging began, Secunda shouted, “Why are you honoring my sister in this way and dishonoring me! Please scourge us both at the same time. We both declare that Jesus Christ is God.” Realizing that neither girl would recant, Junius Donatus had them beheaded.

A pagan lady named Plautilla buried their bodies outside Rome on the Via Aurelia in a spot known as the Black Forest. It was later renamed the White Forest because of their sacred bones, and the church of Sante Rufina e Secunda was built in their honor in Rome. While they were indeed two Roman maidens martyred under Valerian and buried at Santa Rufina on the Aurelian Way, the above acta are apocryphal (Bentley, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

In art, Saints Rufina and Secunda are represented as two maidens floating in the Tiber River with weights attached to their necks (Roeder).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 July 2020. <>

Saints of the Day – Antony (of the Caves), Abbot


Born near Chernigov, 983; died at Kiev, 1073.

Antony and his successor, Saint Theodosius, should be credited for the introduction of monasticism into Russia, where it was to play an important role in the religious life of the country until the revolution of 1917. For nearly a thousand years the monastery that they founded in Saint Petersburg (Kiev) was to be the home of monks who lived lives of prayer to God and charity to their fellow men. It was not, to be sure, the first monastery in Russia, but the others, which had been founded by Greek bishops or local princes and were modelled on the Byzantine system, had failed to take root. An indigenous form was needed, and it was this that Saint Antony provided with his community at the Caves of Kiev.

Saint Antony began his religious life as an anchorite, but about 1028 went on a pilgrimage to Mount Athos, where he lived as a hermit attached to the monastery of Esphigmenou. He remained there for several years and was reluctant to leave, but the abbot sent him back to Russia saying: The Lord has given you strength in the way of holiness and you must now lead others.”

On his return Antony lived for a while in a monastery near Saint Petersburg, but finding the life there too slack he retired to a cave in a cliff above the River Dnieper. He lived on bread, water, and a few vegetables that he grew in a small plot, and any gifts that were brought to him he at once passed on to the poor.

His reputation for holiness grew quickly and among the visitors who came to see him there were many who wished to share his life. Antony, who was no respecter of persons, welcomed them all, young and old, rich and poor, noble and serf. Other caves were dug out, a large one was used as a chapel for the growing community, and later, when prince Syaslav gave them land on the hill above their caves, they built a monastery and church – the first purely Russian monastery, of the Caves of Kiev (Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra).

“Many monasteries were built with the wealth of princes and nobles,” says the chronicle, “but this was the first to be built with tears and fasting and prayer.” After a while Antony resigned the direction of the community and retired to Chernigov, where he founded another monastery, but towards the end of his life he returned to Saint Petersburg, where he died at the age of 90.

The work begun by Saint Antony was completed and more firmly established by Saint Theodosius, and from Saint Petersburg its influence was destined to spread throughout the whole of Russia (Attwater, Encyclopedia).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 July 2020. <>

Saints of the Day – Alexander and Companions

Martyrdom of Saint Felicitas of Rome and the Seven Holy Brothers, by Jan Luyken, 17th century; swiped from WikipediaArticle

(also known as Seven Brothers)

Died c.150. Alexander is among the martyrs named in the canon of the Roman Mass, added thereto by Pope Saint Symmachus early in the 6th century, but his history is no longer clear. He was buried in the cemetery of the Jordani on the Salarian Way, one of the seven martyrs. The seven were alleged to have been the sons of Saint Felicitas, who were martyred with her at Rome under Antoninus Pius for refusing to sacrifice to the civic gods. They were then taken before four separate judges and sentenced to die in differing ways. The names of the seven are given as Felix, Philip, Martial, Vitalis, Alexander, Silvanus, and Januarius.

They were authentic martyrs, all on July 10, buried at four different cemeteries in Rome; but there is nothing to connect them with one another or with Saint Felicitas. The story appears to be a fictional adaptation of that of the mother of the Maccabees (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 July 2020. <>