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Well, I did it. I created a new Community, called Early Feast Days and Saints and posted the first entry and comment just so I could have a link to post here. :)

I like this idea better - other folks can post what interests them, or their research, and I think that will be more gratifying.
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From my research, a quote by Chris Laning (some Scadians might recognise that name), Sep 1, 2004, on the Medieval Religion List:

"St. Fiacre is often mentioned as the patron of gardeners, and of knitters.

The knitting connection seems to stem from Savary des Bruslons' Dictionnaire Universel de Commerce, published in 1723, which mentions a cap-knitters' Guild of St. Fiacra in Paris founded in 1527. (There are actually citations of him as the patron of the cotton-cap-knitters' guild in Paris in 1387.) Bruslons, apparently guessing wildly, says that St. Fiacra was chosen as patron because he was the son of a Scottish king (which he wasn't) and it was believed that knitting first came to France from Scotland (which it didn't). However his speculations still turn up in discussions of knitting lore.

Richard Rutt's _A History of Hand Knitting_ goes on to say:
"Patron saints for craftsmen were chosen for accidental reasons, such as the name of the guild church or altar, or a saint's day that provided a [suitable] holiday. The latter reason may explain why in Barcelona the silk knitters chose St. Lucy and St. Ursula, while the wool-stocking knitters chose St. Sebastian - though St. Sebastian's arrows may have suggested knitting needles. There was another Parisian guild of _bonnetiers_, established at the church of St. Martin in the Faubourg Saint Marcel. St. Michael the Archangel, their patron, was certainly not chosen because he had any close connection with either caps or knitting."
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John of Egypt (d. 394) John was from Lycopolis in Lower Egypt. When he was 25 he became a hermit. He became a model of obedience, tested by his mentor with such tasks as watering a dry stick every day for a year, and when he was 40 had himself walled up into a small cell, from the window of which he taught on Saturdays and Sundays. He attracted huge crowds, not only for his wisdom but also for his reported miracles and prophecies and won the nickname "prophet of the Thebaid" and Jerome and Augustine both venerated and consulted him. He was also credited with the ability to read minds. He spent forty years in his cell, which was discovered in 1925.

According to the sources (principally, Palladius' Lausiac History and the Historia Monachorum in Aegypto), John's importance was more than merely local, and his reputation as a prophet rested on his predictions concerning the military victories and death of the emperor Theodosius I. It is possible, indeed, that he was actually consulted by Theodosius (via an imperial embassy) about the outcome of the rebellions of Maximus (d. 388) and Eugenius (d. 394).

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Matthew of Beauvais (end of 11th cent.) Having been made prisoner by the Saracens, he was offered his life if he would renounce the cross of Christ. He asked to be allowed to delay his reply till the following Friday. On that day he was again urged to adopt their religion. He replied, "I asked you to grant me this delay, not because I had any doubt as to what my decision would be, but that I might have the honour and felicity of shedding my blood on the same day as my Saviour Jesus Christ bled for me. Come then, strike me! I give my life to Him who laid down His for mankind." So saying he knelt and stretched forth his neck for the blow, and with one stroke was decapitated.

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Augusta (5th cent.) Legend says that Augusta was a daughter of a German duke of Friuli (Italy) named Matrucus; he wasn't a Christian and one day he was told that she was in the church praying - he rushed in upon her, dragged her forth, and locked her up in a chamber of the castle. In ungovernable fury he afterwards beat out her teeth, and executed her with his sword by cutting off her head. Augusta's cult at Serravalle near Treviso is ancient. Her cult is attested since 1234 at Serravalle, one of the municipalities in the Trevisan Alps On this day in 1450 her relics were discovered during the rebuilding of Serravalle's little church dedicated to her.

Our sole detailed source for Augusta's life and passion is her early modern Acta penned by Minuccio Minucci (1551-1604), a native of Serravalle who became secretary to Clement VIII and finally archbishop of Zadar.
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Basil the Younger (d. 952) Basil was a hermit who moved near Constantinople after being arrested and tortured as a suspected spy by the Moslems (he was miraculously vindicated). He was tossed into the sea but was returned to shore by dolphins. After his release, he became famous for his miracles and upright life. He made a specialty of denouncing aristocrats for their wicked ways, and suffered persecution. He lived to be 100. There is an extant biography by one of his disciples that tells especially of Basil's prophetic gifts.

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Peter Marginet (blessed) (d. 1435) The subject of an unconfirmed cult, Peter Marginet has an interesting story. He was a monk at the Cistercian house of Poblet near Tarragona (Spain), moving up to the office of cellarer. But he seems to have gotten tired of it, jumped the cloister wall, and became the head of a gang of bandits for a few years. But he then repented, returned to the monastery, and spent the rest of his life doing penance.

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Bathus (priest), Verca, and their children, martyrs (about A.D. 370) Bathus, a Gothic priest, his wife Verca, their two sons and two daughters, and some others were burned in the church by the Gothic Jungeric. Gaatha, a Gothic queen, collected their relics, and conveyed them into Roumania; but on her return she was stoned to death.

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Castulus (d. 3d cent?) Castulus is a martyr of the Via Labicana, entered for this date in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology. According to the legendary Acta of St. Sebastian, he was a high official in the imperial palace who looked after the welfare of Christians and who converted many to the faith. The legend goes on to say that he sheltered Christians, arranged for secret Christian services at the palace, was denounced, tortured, and then placed in a pit and suffocated by having "sand” poured over him (probably pozzolana, the compacted volcanic ash quarried locally for use in cement). This also tells us that it was Castulus’ widow, Irene, who found St Sebastian still alive after Diocletian's archers had left him for dead and who nursed him back to health, thereby permitting S. to later confront D. with his divinely ordained recovery.

By the year 809 relics believed to be those of Castulus had reached the monastery at Moosburg in southern Bavaria (today's Moosburg an der Isar). Moosburg's present collegiate church of St. Castulus / Kastulus (begun 1171) was the monastery's church until the latter's closing in the early seventeenth century.
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Humbert of Marolles (d. c. 680) Humbert was born at Maizières, on the river Oise. Humbert was a disciple of St. Amand and co-founder and first abbot of Marolles in Flanders. He seldom left his monastery, except to meet S. Aldegunda, abbess of Maubeuge, with whom he had contracted an intimate union of charity and prayers. In art he is sometimes shown with a bear carrying his baggage.
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Margaret Clitherow, martyr (1586) Margaret was a native of York, the daughter of a prosperous candlemaker, who married the butcher John Clitherow in 1571. A few years after the marriage, Margaret converted to Catholicism. She was notorious. Her husband was repeatedly fined because Margaret wouldn't attend the services of the Church of England; she was even imprisoned for two years, and on her release set up a Catholic school. She even sent her oldest son to Douai to study, for which she was put under house arrest for over a year. M was also a prominent hider of fugitive priests. In 1586 her house was searched, and a missal and mass vessels were discovered. So she was arrested and put on trial, but she refused to plead to protect those she had helped. She refused to enter a plea, so was pressed (laid on the ground with a door over her and then weights added to the door until she should finally answer the courts with a plea) and died, refusing to speak.

Not only that, no plea meant no trial at all. She was also saving her children, her stepchildren and her neighbor’s children from being haled into the witness box and being bullied into giving the evidence to condemn her. (There was no minimum age for giving evidence and no protection for minors.) Also this evidence would have fingered other Catholics in York. By keeping silent she sabotaged the entire anti-Catholic clampdown and gained the moral high ground in popular opinion - even among the extreme Protestants in the neighborhood. This was of course not only at the price of her own life but the life of her unborn - and unbaptised - child. Has she pleaded (guilty or not guilty would have made no odds) and been found guilty then her execution would have been deferred until after the child's birth. It was an even harder choice that it looked at first.

Visitors to York can see the house in the Little Shambles where she lived for some time, and the dormer window at the Black Swan, which she hired as a mass-house. You can also see her hand at the Bar Convent Museum in York - it's in a cabinet, so you have to ask for someone to show you.

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The Annunciation. Already in the 2nd century, Tertullian referred to the belief that the crucifixion took place on this day, and apparently it was a traditional belief in Africa that Jesus was conceived and crucified on the same day. Also known as Lady Day, the first known commemoration of this feast is to be found in the statutes of Sonnatius, bishop of Reims (c. 625).

In years when the Annunciation falls on Good Friday a jubilee is declared at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Le Puy, when a plenary indulgence can be gained. The oldest attested jubilee at Le Puy was in 1407 when seven deaths were reported in the crush of the crowds (inflated to 200 in some accounts).
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Aldemar (d. c. 1080) Alemar was a native of Capua who became a monk at Monte Cassino. He was appointed director of the nobly founded the monastery of San Lorenzo at Capua, and while there performed miracles and got the soubriquet "the Wise." He also served as chaplain to a nunnery at Capua but worked so many miracles that it was embarrassing, so he was recalled to the monastery. He escaped a feud over him between Monte Cassino and princess Aloara of Capua, and fled to Bocchignano in Abruzzo, where he founded a monastery; while there, bees made a hive in his cupboard, and he would not allow them to be disturbed. He founded several other communities also.

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Timolaus, Dionysius, Paesis, Romulus, Alexander, another Alexander, Agapius, and another Dionysius (d. 305). We know about this group of martyrs of Caesarea in Palestine from Eusebius. The first six were young men from various places: Timolaus from Pontus, Dionysius from Tripoli in Phoenicia, Romulus from Diospolis where he was subdeacon, Paesis & the first Alexander from Egypt, and the second Alexander from Gaza.

These bound their hands as though they were prisoners and, at the outset of a games in which recently condemned criminals were to be exposed to beasts, ran towards the provincial governor shouting that they were Christians and were not afraid of what the animals might do to them. Declining to let these six influence the course of his spectacle, the governor simply jailed them and a few days later (March 24 presumably) after they were given the formality of a trial, had them executed by decapitation along with Agapius, who had already suffered many horrific tortures, and with the other Dionysius, who had been aiding the others while they were imprisoned.

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Katherine of Sweden (Katarina av Vadstena, Katerina Ulfsdotter) (A.D. 1381) Katharine was the fourth child of Ulph Gudmarsson, prince of Nierck, in Sweden, and St. Bridget (Birgitta Birgersdotter of Finsta). At the age of thirteen she was married to a young nobleman, Eggard Lydersson; their union was never consummated (later it was said that both had taken a vow of chastity).

When after a few years her father died, and with her husband’s permission, Katharine undertook a pilgrimage with her mother Bridget to various holy places, spending 25 years at her mother’s side and finally came to Rome, where St. Bridget died in 1373. Katharine returned to Sweden with her mother’s remains and became abbess of Vatzen, in the diocese of Lincopen, on March 24th, 1381. She spent the remainder of her life there and at Rome, working for her mother's canonization and directing the nascent Order of the Most Holy Savior (the Bridgettines). Her own cult was confirmed in 1484 with a feast day of March 22. The Bridgettines, however, celebrate her today.
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Otto, venerated at Ariano Irpino (d. ca. 1127, supposedly). Otto was a soldier of Roman origin who, taken prisoner and put in chains, was released through the intercession of St. Leonard (of Noblac) and became a hermit at what's now Ariano Irpino in Campania, dying on this day. His dates and his frequent ascription to the Roman family of Frangipane are guesswork. In 1452, when king Alfonso I requested their return, his relics were at Benevento, whither they were said to have been removed for safekeeping during a period of Saracen raids (so probably late ninth century, well before the time that Otto is now thought to have existed). Later in that century Ariano's cathedral of the BVM was rebuilt and Otto's relics were placed in a chapel at the end of the right aisle. That is where they are today.

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Pietro Ghisengi da Gubbio (c. 1250?) - when the *Te Deum* was heard coming from his tomb, it was opened, and there was found Pietro's corpse in a kneeling position, with open mouth and joined hands.

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Victorianus, Frumentius, and companions (d. ca. 484) We have Florus of Lyon to thank for this grouping, which consists of five martyrs put to death for the most part separately during king Huneric's persecution of Catholics in Vandal Africa. Victorianus was a prominent and extremely wealthy citizen of Hadrumetum (now Sousse) and at the time of his martyrdom, proconsul of Carthage. Huneric, who trusted Victorianus and respected his abilities, promised to place him above all others (in government service, presumably) if only he would convert to the Arian persuasion. He refused and Florus’ account claims that his torture was so long and so varied that it was beyond human capacity to relate.

Frumentius is presumably the first of a pair of merchants of this name, both of the same town. Florus tells us that their martyrdom was glorious. The companions are the other Frumentius and two unnamed brothers from Aqua Regia, whose martyrdom by various means in the city of Tambeae Victor describes in order to highlight the miracle that their corpses showed no signs of abuse. Florus placed the commemoration of these martyrs on 26. July; Ado moved them to today.
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Aphrodisius, bishop of Beziers (3rd or 4th century) This bishop, an Egyptian by birth, accompanied S. Paul of Narbonne, in his mission into Gaul. A foolish legend is to the effect that he was governor of Egypt at the time when S. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin went down thither with the Holy Child Jesus, to escape the persecution of Herod who sought the young child's life. On the arrival of the child Jesus in Egypt all the idols fell, and Aphrodisius, recognising in Him his God, bowed before him in adoration.

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Callinicus and Basilissa (d. 250 or 251) We know about them from Byzantine synaxary accounts, including one in the so-called Menologium of Basil II. In these Callinicus sometimes appears erroneously under the feminine name form Callinica; the latter was used in these saints' entry in the RM until the latter's revision of 2001, when its commemoration of them was also moved from March 24 to today's date. Basilissa is said to have been a wealthy woman who through donations distributed by Callinicus subvened Christians imprisoned during the Decian persecution; Callinicus' arrest and confession led to their joint martyrdom (in Galatia, according to the tradition followed by the RM; at Rome, according to a tradition followed by many Orthodox churches).

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Isnard of Chiampo (Blessed; d. 1244) was Italian. He studied under St. Dominic at Bologna. A spirited and pleasing preacher, he was sent first to Milan, where he led many to enlist in in the new Order of Friars Preacher. In 1230 he moved on to Pavia, where bishop Reginald II encouraged him to establish a Dominican convent. He did so and for the remainder of his life he was this house's prior. He preached widely in northern Italy and was credited with the return of many heretics to the fold.

He lived a thoroughly ascetic life, despite which he was extremely fat - people would make fun of him on the subject when he was preaching. Once during a sermon of his, a bystander called out, 'I could no more believe in the holiness of an old porpoise like Brother Isnardo than I could believe that that barrel there would jump up of itself and break my leg', which the barrel promptly did. Originally laid to rest in Pavia's Dominican church, he now reposes in that city's Chiesa di Santi Gervasio e Protasio.
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Benedict of Nursia (d. c. 547) "The father of western monasticism," Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica were born in Nursia in c. 480 to a prosperous family. He studied in Rome, but soon left the city and joined a community of hermits in the Sabine hills. Then he lived for three years in a cave near Subiaco. A nearby community of hermits made him their leader, but then refused his efforts to reform the community and tried to poison him - Benedict went back to Subiaco. There he developed his own monastic community, moving in ca. 529 to Monte Cassino. His Rule for Monks (The Benedictine Rule) of course eventually swept Europe, thanks especially to the support given it by the Carolingians.

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Enda (d. c542) Enda (in Latin, Endeus, gaillic Einne) is considered the founder of the first true monastery in Ireland. According to his largely legendary Vita, he was a hereditary chieftain who was converted to religion by his sister, the abbess St. Fanchea (she who crossed the Irish Sea with three of her nuns by foot on her shawl) and spent time at St. Ninian’s monastery Candida Casa in Scotland. After a pilgrimage to Rome, where he is said to have been ordained priest and to have become head of a major monastery, Enda returned to Ireland, received from king Aengus of Munster the island of Aran (Árainn; also Inis Mór), the largest of the Aran Islands. There he founded ten monasteries, operated miracles, and had as a disciple St. Ciarán [of Clonmacnoise]. Enda's rule for monks was very strict and even included manual labor (unusual for Irish monks); according to later tradition, he insisted on weeding with his own hands and digging ditches without tools, and forced his monks to do the same.

His principal monastery came to be named for him: Kill-Enda and gave its name to the island's present village of Killeany. The 8th-century Martyrology of St. Oengus records his feast on this day.

Enda might have been an only son, but were it not for his sister Fainche, he might never have been a saint. He came to her seeking one of her vowed virgins as a bride (much like Béoán did to Íte, but he got his wish and hence his son became a saint, not him), but just after he made his request his chosen virgin went to her true Spouse, dying on the spot. Fainche then preached to her brother about the pains of hell and the joys of heaven until she made him cry. He joined the religious life at once and the rest is history.

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Lupicinus of the Jura (d. c480) We know about the monastic founder Lupicinus chiefly from his early sixth-century Vita by a monk of Condat. By the time of Gregory of Tours' Vita patrum some seventy years later he, like his brother St. Romanus of Condat, was already fading into legend.

Lupicinus was the younger brother; initially he lived in the world but after the death of his wife he joined Romanus at the latter's hermitage at Condat, founded in about 435 and now developing into a community whose life imitated that of Eastern desert fathers. In ca. 445 they founded a second house at a place called Lauconne. The brothers ruled both houses jointly until Romanus’ death in about 465, after which the very austere Lupicinus exercised single rule over both from his residence at Lauconne, living on wild fruits and plants.

As he lay dying he asked for a drink of water. One of the brethren sweetened it, by pouring in a spoonful of honey. But the dying man, when he had tasted the sweetness, turned his head away, and refused to drink.

He was buried at Lauconne, which in time came to be named for him.
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The Martyrs of Mar Saba (d. 797) 20 monks of St. Sabas, killed by Arabic raiders in an attack on their monastery. It was a two-fold raid. First a large number of monks were wounded in an attack that was interrupted in mid-pillage by a rescue party. But then the raiders came back. Some of the monks hid in a cave; the raiders lit a large fire at the entrance and slowly asphyxiated them, offering release in return for the monks revealing where their treasure was hidden. Their account was recorded by a survivor, Stephan the Wonderworker (known as ‘the Poet’).

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Mark of Montegallo (d. 1496) Mark was born at Mons Sanctae Mariae in Gallo, today's Montegallo in the Marche. He studied at Perugia and at Bologna, where he obtained degrees in law and medicine. In about 1448 he began a medical practice at Ascoli Piceno and in 1451 he married. A year later the pair separated, with the wife (whose name is said to have been Chiara) becoming a Poor Clare and Mark becoming an Observant Franciscan. He became a well-known preacher and promoter of Monti di Pietà (low-interest pawn banks designed to help the poor) first at various places in the Marche and later in Vicenza, where he died. A cult sprang up at his gravesite, hymns were composed for his commemoration, and a canonization process was initiated.

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Joseph of Nazareth (1st century) The foster-father of Jesus. Almost everything known about Joseph comes from the gospels of Luke and Matthew. Legend makes Joseph an old man at the time of his marriage to the Virgin Mary, chosen miraculously in a contest for her - his staff burst into flower. His cult is said to have been established in Eastern Christianity in late antiquity. It certainly existed in the West in the 8th century, when it begins to appear in local martyrologies, e.g. that of Tallaght (ca. 790) and he is mentioned in a martyrologium of Reichenau from 850, some churches began to celebrate his feast in the 11th century, but the cult really "took off" only in the late Middle Ages. The first Western record of a church dedicated to Joseph comes from Bologna in 1129. That his sanctity was then not universally recognized is apparent from a capital (1125-1130) in the nave of Basilique Saint-Andoche at Saulieu (Côte d'Or), where he appears without a halo though in the same composition the BVM and the Christ Child have theirs. Joseph has often been depicted as elderly. His first Office comes from Liège in the thirteenth century. His feast on this day was adopted by some orders in the fourteenth century; it entered the Roman Calendar in the later fifteenth century under Sixtus IV.
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Agricola (Aregle) (A.D. 580) S. Agricola was the son of a noble Gallo-Roman family; he became bishop of Chalon-sur-Saone in 532. His friend Gregory of Tours reports that Agricola was deeply spiritual, cared for the spiritual well-being of his flock, and beautified a lot of churches. He also said Agricola never dined, and only broke his fast in the evening, when he ate (while standing) a small amount of food. Agricola died at the age of eighty-three, in the year 580.

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Gertrude of Nivelles (d659) Gertrude was a daughter of the Carolingian Pepin of Landen and St. Ida (Itta). When Pepin died in 639, Itta built the double monastery at Nivelles and entered it with her daughter. Elected at age 20, Gertrude served as abbess from 639 until 656, when she resigned her position to spend the last three years of her life in prayer, being penitential, and having visions. She became known both for her learning and her charity. Gertrude had books brought from Rome and patronized Irish wandering monks to help improve the new foundation. By the time she died, at about the age of 33, she had built Nivelles into a major religious center. Gertrude's cult was popular in the Netherlands.

For cat fanciers, Gertrude does not take second place to St Patrick... she is known for protection from mice, and by extension has become the patron saint of cats and cat lovers. Gertrude became a saint especially beloved by farmers; according to legend, her prayer ended a plague of rats and mice, thus saving the harvest. (Alternately, because popular Teutonic superstition regarded mice and rats as symbols of souls, the rat and mouse became characteristics of S. Gertrude, and she is represented in art accompanied by one of these animals. In order to explain the significance of the mouse in pictures of S. Gertrude it was related that she was wont to become so absorbed in prayer that a mouse would play about her, and run up her pastoral staff, without attracting her attention.) She is also a patron of travellers, due to her care for pilgrims and to a miraculous rescue at sea of some of her monks, who invoked her name in a moment of great danger. Fine weather on her feast day is supposed to be the sign to start garden work.

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Guðmundr Arason of Iceland (1237), never officially canonized but the one of the three Icelandic holy men to maintain his position in folklore through the nineteenth century. The wells and springs he is supposed to have consecrated were legion. No snakes or druids in Iceland, but he dealt with a number of rather nasty trolls and the like.

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Withburga (d. c. 743) Withburga was an East Anglian princess, a sister of St. Etheldreda. She became a solitary. Her fame seems really to have begun when she was exhumed 50 years after her death, and the body was found to be incorrupt. In 974 the monastery of Ely stole the body under rather exciting circumstances (pursuit by the men of Dereham, escape by boat).

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I'm not going to post about St. Patrick - to tell the truth, he is my least favorite Celtic saint. The crimes he committed against the Irish get my dander up.
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Leocritia of Córdoba (d. 859) The daughter of Muslim parents in Cordoba, Leocritia secretly converted to Christianity with the aid of friends. When her parents began to suspect that her frequent visits elsewhere were not entirely social, she fled their home and sought safety among the Christian community, where she was moved from house to house in order to conceal her whereabouts. Ultimately she was caught along with Eulogius, who had been instructing her in the faith. Condemned to death for her apostasy, she and Eulogius were flogged and then executed by decapitation. Today is her dies natalis. She is sometimes listed as Lucretia.

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Raymund of Fitero (d. 1163) Born in Aragon, Raymond was a canon of Tarazona cathedral before becoming a Cistercian at the monastery of Scala Dei. He was sent as founding abbot to Fitero in Navarre. Raymund's main claim to fame, though, is that in 1158 when the Knights Templar abandoned the town of Calatrava (New Castile), he founded the military order of Calatrava, to defend the town when it was threatened by Muslims. They were successful in their defense.

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El Cid? He knew El Cid? That's so cool...

Sisebutus (d. 1086). The historical Sisebutus is known from early modern annalistic entries based on now lost records of the then Benedictine monastery of St. Peter at Cardeña near Burgos in today's Castilla y León, where he was abbot for about thirty years. In 1081 or 1082, when Sisebutus was already elderly, he either resigned in favor of or appointed as coadjutor the abbot Sebastian II, whose advancement to a bishopric caused Sisebutus to resume direct rule a few years later. He will have been abbot at the dramatic date of his house's mention in the Cantar de mio Cid_, where the Cid (the historically attested Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar) commends his wife and dauhters to an abbot of Cardeña named Sancho. The episode attests to the monastery's stature when the poem was written in the twelfth century. That it contributes to our knowledge of Sisebutus is debatable.

Sisebutus 's cult is first attested from a breviary of his house dated 1327, in which he appeared (or, if the manuscript is still with us, appears) both in the litany of the saints and, on his day of commemoration, in an antiphon to him and in a prayer including him by name. Pius VI (1775-1799) is said to have accorded his cult papal confirmation. When the monastery was suppressed in 1835/36 (it has since been re-opened) Sisebutus 's relics, which had been translated into its church in the fifteenth century, were removed to the cathedral of Burgos.
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Alexander of Pydna (d. early 4th cent) According to Greek synaxary accounts, Alexander was a priest at Pydna who was successful in gaining many converts for Christianity and who in the persecution of Galerius (Diocletian's colleague who ruled from Thessalonica) was severely tortured and finally executed by decapitation. He has a brief, legendary Passio that consists primarily of his response to an interrogation by Galerius and of a scene in which the emperor sees four men wearing white stoles bear Alexander's soul to heaven, after which he accedes to a request that Alexander's body be taken to Thessalonica for Christian burial. The emperor Nicephorus Phocas (963-969) is said to have presented Alexander's skull to the recently founded Great Lavra on Athos.

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Martyrs Under Nero (A.D. 67) These forty-seven martyrs are believed to have been converted by S. Peter, at the time when he was confined along with S. Paul, in the Mamertine prison, in which they spent nine months. According to tradition S. Peter brought water out of the rock wherewith to baptize them. They suffered execution by the sword.

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Matilda of Saxony (d. prob. 968) Born c895 as the offspring of Saxon and of Danish-Frisian nobility, the pious Matilda received at the convent at Herford an upbringing suitable for her class and then was married to Henry, son the Duke of Saxony. In 919 Henry became king of the Germans and Mathilda became queen. Matilda had a reputation for piety, especially after Henry's death in 936, although she did help her younger son Henry rebel against her older son, Otto I. Of her many foundations, the one for which she is best remembered is the convent of St. Servatius and St. Dionysius at Quedlinburg in today's Sachsen-Anhalt. This was founded by the royal pair on the castle hill; its original church was the castle's chapel. A new church was built in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, was rebuilt in the early twelfth century, and was later expanded. Mathilda and Henry repose in its crypt.

She is a Patron for those with "disappointing children", death of children, second marriages, and a handful of other causes.
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Roderic and Solomon (d. 857) Roderic was an unfortunate victim of the interreligious tensions in Spain in the 850s. He was a priest at Cabra. One fine day, his two brothers (one a Muslim, one a lapsed Christian) beat him unconscious when he tried to get between them in an argument. The Muslim brother then paraded Roderic through the streets proclaiming that he wished to become a Muslim. Roderic escaped, but the same brother then denounced him to the authorities as an apostate from Islam. So he was imprisoned, loudly protesting that he had never given up Christianity. He met another man charged with apostasy, Solomon, in prison. After a long imprisonment, they were both beheaded. Their Muslim guards threw the pebbles stained with their blood into a nearby stream to keep people from taking them as relics.

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Mochoemoc (Pulcherius) (d. c. 656) Mochoemoc was born in c580, and from c597 was a monk at Bangor (Ireland) under Comgall. Later he founded the monastery of Liath-Mochoemoc, serving as abbot until his death. “Mochoemoc” is a name of serpentine nomenclature. "Mo" is an affectionate element, "my" attached to the names of some Irish saints. Thus Mochoemoc may be the same as St. Kennoch, venerated around Glasgow - who, by the way, was given a sex-change operation by a scribal error and is often called Kevoca. Kevoca is an alternative form of Mochoemoc. He founded a large number of monasteries and was a teacher of St Dagan and St Cuanghas.

His existence is miraculous enough, and would never have happened had it not been for his exceptionally holy aunt, Íte, who promised her sister Ness and her brother-in-law Béoán that they would bear a saintly son. Béoán was beheaded in battle before her prophecy was fulfilled, but Íte was never one to let a little thing like death stand in her way. She marched to the battlefield and recovered his body, but couldn't find his head amid all the carnage. So she prayed to God and of a sudden the head came flying through the air and landed solidly back in place, without any trace of his wounds remaining. Then Béoán and Ness celebrated his return to the living in grand fashion, with the result being Mochaomhóg, who became a saint, the founder and abbot of Liath, and one of Íte's most famous foster-children. Her best-known foster-son is Brénainn the Navigator.

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Leander of Seville (d. 600 or 601) An older brother of St. Isidore of Seville, Leander saw to Isidore's education and preceded him as archbishop of Seville in 578. The leading light of his time in the Visigothic church, he was a friend and correspondent of Gregory the Great, whom he had gotten to know c580 when they were both in Constantinople. While there, Leander appears to have collected books and connections that helped jump-start a little "Visigothic renaissance." He was the author of anti-Arian treatises which have not survived and was credited with the conversion to Catholicism both of king Leovigild's son, St. Hermenegild (whose wife and whose mother were both Catholic), and of Leovigild's successor, king Reccared I. His surviving writings are the closing sermon of the third council of Toledo (589) and a treatise, De institutione virginum et de contemptu mundi, dedicated to his sister, St. Florentina. He is honored in Spain as a doctor of the church.
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Peter, Dorotheus, Gorgonius, and Migdon/Maxima (d. 303) The Emperor Diocletian having discovered that Peter, one of his officers of the bedchamber, was a Christian, ordered him to be tortured. Then Gorgonius and Dorotheus, two other officers, filled with indignation, exclaimed, "Why, sire, dost thou thus torment Peter for what we all profess in our hearts?" The emperor at once ordered them to execution, together with Migdo, a priest, and many other Christians. Dorotheus and Gorgonius were tortured and then executed; Peter was saved for last and was killed in a particularly nasty way: bits of his flesh were torn off, salt and vinegar were rubbed into the wounds, and then he was roasted to death over a slow fire.

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Theophanes the Chronicler/the Confessor (d. 817 or 818) Theophanes was born to a very wealthy Greek family and a marriage was arranged for him at a young age, but he and his bride decided to live as siblings together and then separated when the girl's father died. Theo became a monk, then built the monastery of Megas Agros ("Great Acre") on his own estate at Mount Sigriane on the southern side of the Propontis and ruled it as abbot. He was an ascetic and a historian, producing a major chronicle. Emperor Leo the Armenian, though, decided that a monk so well born and highly regarded would make a good defender of iconoclasm. He summoned Theophanes to court; Theo refused to denounce icons, and was flogged and imprisoned for two years. When he was very frail he was exiled to Samothrace, where he died shortly after his arrival. His fellow sufferer St. Theodore the Studite wrote a panegyric on the translation of his relics. Theophanes is also the author of an important chronicle covering the years 285-813, a continuation of that of George the Syncellus. In the 870s this was translated into Latin by Anastasius Bibliothecarius and thus became known in the Latin West.

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Seraphina/Fina (d. 1253) In 1238 Seraphina was born to poor parents in San Geminiano (Tuscany). She contracted a fatal illness around age 10, became paralyzed, and spent the rest of her life desperately repenting her sins (apparently the worst of them was that she had once accepted an orange from a boy) and showing great patience and perseverance in the face of her physical trials. Before her death she was credited with a great many miracles; in a vision, Gregory the Great told her she would die on his feast day... and she did - at the moment of her death all the bells in town started ringing, flowers bloomed on the plank on which she lay, etc. She was 15 when she died, people in this area of Tuscany have named the white violets which bloom at this time after their patron.
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Constantine (c576) He was a king of Cornwall, son of Padarn, not the more famous Emperor Constantine. Today's Constantine, says legend, and was married to a Breton princess. When she died, he abdicated his throne and became a monk at Rahan (Ireland). There he performed menial tasks, was eventually ordained, and went as a missionary to Scotland, where he preached in Galloway and became abbot of a monastery at Govan. When Consantine was an old man, pirates attacked him and cut off his right arm. Having called his brethren about him, and blessed them, he gently bled to death. He is regarded as the first martyr of Scotland.

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Peter the Spaniard, hermit (date uncertain) His parents having insisted on his marriage, he yielded with great repugnance. The marriage ceremony took place, and when the banquet was over, he retired to the bridal chamber, where he saw the fair young girl who had given him her hand lying asleep on the bed. She looked so pure and innocent in her slumber that he gazed on her with reverence, and kneeling at her feet, prayed long and earnestly; and then stealing away, left the house, and fled the country.

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Sophronius of Jerusalem (d. 637 or 638) (also S. of Damascus, S. the Sophist) seems to have been of Damascene origin, born probably c560. After a brief time as a teacher of rhetoric he became a monk in Palestine, first at the New Lavra and then at the Theodosius Monastery at Bethlehem. It was as a monk of the latter that he accompanied his friend John Moschus (the author of the Spirtual Meadow) on his travels among the monks of Egypt and later at Rome and at Constantinople. Sophronius, who became patriarch of Jerusalem at age 74 in 634 after the Byzantine reconquest of the city, wrote sermons, hagiographical texts, and religious verse as well as theological attacks on monothelitism. He held a synod at Jerusalem, against the Monothelites, and drew up a synodal letter on that occasion which was sent to pope John IV. Not all of the writings that have come down under his name are genuinely his.

In 637 he led a spirited but hopeless defense of Jerusalem against a major Muslim siege and after several months arranged a surrender that is said to have given some protection to the Christian churches and to have guaranteed the city's Christians (at this point Jews were forbidden to reside in Jerusalem) what seems to have been essentially the same dhimmitude that Muslims were allowing to monotheists elsewhere during this conquest. Opinions vary as to whether Sophronius survived to die a refugee in Alexandria in the following year or instead were martyred in Palestine not long after the surrender.
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Attala(s) of Bobbio (d. 626 or 627) Attala was the son of a Burgundian noble who had him classically educated by the bishop of Gap in the French Alps. Unhappy with his "worldly" studies, Attala stole away from Gap along with two servants and became a monk at Lérins. Finding life there insufficiently strict, he next entered Columban's recently founded monastery of Luxeuil. When Columban ran into difficulty with the Burgundian bishops and the Burgundian monarchy and was forced to leave Luxeuil, Attala joined other members of the community in following him into northern Italy, where in 614 they established their influential monastery at Bobbio in the Appennines southwest of Piacenza. In 615 Attala succeeded Columban as abbot and made himself unpopular with some through his insistence on strict discipline. Under his rule, Bobbio became one of the great monastic centers of Europe. According to Jonas, abbot Atala also raised from the dead a monk killed on the orders of the demonically possessed Lombard king Arioald (an Arian) and followed this up by curing Arioald of his possession. When he died, he was buried in Columbanus' tomb.

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Hymelin, priest (c750) The blessed Hymelin, priest and confessor, was a near relative of S. Rumbold, and an Irishman. Returning home from a pilgrimage to Rome, he became in at Vissenaeken, near Tirlemont in Brabant. As he lay dying, a girl gave him a sip of water from her pitcher. The water in the pitcher was turned to wine. "And as the soul of Hymelin fled, the chimes of the church began to play sweetly in the air, though no man touched the bells."

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Simplicius, pope (d. 483) A native of Tivoli, S. succeeded pope St. Hilar(i)us in 468. Although we know of a couple of actions in which he asserted the authority of Rome in the West, the bulk of his extra-Roman activity concerned Eastern matters. He was a committed defender of Chalcedonian orthodoxy against the monophysites, whom he opposed at every turn. But when it came to the twenty-eighth canon of the Council of Chalcedon, which had elevated the patriarch of Constantinople to a position of primus inter pares in the East, Simplcius' basic position was different. He refused Leo II's request that he confirm this canon and reproved the patriarch Acacius when the latter acted on his own authority to consecrate a patriarch of Antioch to succeed the murdered Stephen II. In Rome, Simplicius erected a church, no longer extant, to St. Bibiana. He also built today's Santo Stefano al (Monte) Celio, a.k.a. Santo Stefano Rotondo. Originally designed in the form of a Greek cross enclosing within its arms three concentric circles, each higher than the next, in its outline and dimensions this church recalls the Rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem.

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Peter de Geremia (blessed) (d. 1452) Peter was a brilliant student at the University of Bologna and all set for a successful career as a lawyer. But then one night he was visited by the spirit of a recently dead relative, a lawyer, who told of how he had been damned for the sin of pride. Peter changed his mind about studying the law and entered the Order of Preachers. He became one of the greatest preachers of Sicily, living in Palermo. Among his many miracles, Peter's prayer is believed to have saved Catania from an eruption of Mt. Etna.
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Drausius of Soissons (d. c. 576/674) Drausius was bishop of Soissons. He strongly encouraged the monastic life in his diocese, even getting the tyrannous Ebroin to build a convent near the city. Ebroin's usual style was pillaging monasteries and killing off bishops who disagreed with him. For this reason Drausius is invoked for help against the plots of enemies. It was believed that those who spent a night praying for intercession at the tomb of Drausius would become invulnerable against all hostile machinations. In 1166, John of Salisbury reported that Robert de Montfort spent the night at the shrine in prayer before his encounter with Henry, Earl of Essex - and Thomas Becket is supposed to have visited his shrine before his final return to England.

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rather long but a really neat Saint so I just used the cut-option. This guy was edifying - and made me smile. Here's St. Paul the Simple )
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Gerasimus (d. 475) Gerasimus was a merchant of Lycia in Asia Minor. He became a hermit in his native region, but in time moved on to Palestine. He was a Nestorian for a while, but got over it. Gerasimus ended up building a monastery with 70 additional cells for hermits in the Jordanian desert. He seems to be the origin point for the legend that connects St. *Jerome* to a lion. It was Gerasimus, not Jerome who is credited with pulling a thorn out of a lion's paw, the lion afterward becoming his companion. There's a tale that the lion was sent one day to take care of the monastery's donkey. Traders stole the donkey; Gerasimus accused the poor lion of eating it and ordered him to carry the monastic water supply in the donkey's place. But one day the thief came by again, leading the stolen donkey - the lion chased the guy off, and led the donkey home by its bridle. John Moschus tells the tale of how the holy abbot removed a thorn from the paw of a lion, which thereafter never left his side; when Gerasimus died, the lion stretched out on his grave, beat his head upon the ground, and would not leave (it died a few days later). I really like this story.

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Mark the Hermit (d. c. 400) Mark is reputed to have memorized the entire Bible. When he was about 40, he became a hermit in the Egyptian desert. One legend tells that a hyena came to him with her blind offspring, looking for a miracle. Mark prayed the whelp's sight back. The next day, the hyena brought a sheepskin to say thank you, only to be reproached for robbing poor people's flocks. He is said to have given the sheepskin to St. Athanasius.

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Phocas the Gardener (c320) Phocas is a famous early martyr of whom, like so many early martyrs, very little is actually known. Our first account of him tells us that Phocas was born at Sinope in Pontus (in Turkey) and that he lived as a rustic gardener outside a gate of that city, and that, though poor, he was generous in his hospitality. During an unspecified persecution, agents of the Roman state arrived at his house looking for him, whom they intended to slay as he was a known Christian. But they didn't know what he looked like. He offered them hospitality and promised that on the following day he would point out to them the man they sought. The agents accepted this offer and were hosted by the comdemned man, who served them dinner cooked by his own hand. While they slept he dug his grave. On the next day Phocas revealed his identity to his guests and asked them to slay him quickly. Overcoming their initial amazement, the agents rapidly complied by decapitating him. He is a patron of sailors, often seen by them at night when a storm has been expected.
The poor gardener or other small-farmer outside the city is familiar character in Hellenistic literature. And the association with sailors depends on the similarity of Phocas' name with the Greek word for seal (the mammal), 'phokos'.

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Phocas of Antioch (d. c. 320) Phocas of Antioch was a martyr of Antioch. Legend says he was suffocated in a steam-bath, which seems like an awfully odd way to kill off a Christian. According to the Roman Martyrology, anyone bitten by a venomous snake who puts his or her hand on the door of the basilica dedicated to this saint will be cured. This is probably the same man, although the stories of his life from various sources (obviously) differs greatly. But that still doesn't affect the snake-bite cure.
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Appianus of Comacchio (also Apianus; d. 8th century) According to his brief, undated Vita, he was a monk at Pavia's San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, where he was exemplary in his behavior towards monks, clerics, and lay people and where he secretly practiced mortification of the flesh. Made steward, he was an effective and prudent manager of his monastery's goods. His abbot sent him to today's Comacchio to acquire salt for his monastery. There he built himself a cell and spent the remainder of his life as a simple hermit, exercising his many virtues (and, as he seems not to have been replaced, presumably continuing to serve as his monastery's agent for the purchase of salt).

When Appianus died the locals buried him. Miracles occurred at his grave, a cult sprang up, and his remains were translated to a church erected in his honor. Much later, people from Pavia who had come to buy salt attempted to steal his relics but their vessel miraculously halted near a church of St. Maur; since it would go no farther, the relics were removed and interred in that church.

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Casimir of Poland (d. 1484) known as 'The Peace-Maker', the very pious Casimir (Kazimierz) was the third child of King Casimir IV of Poland and of his queen, Elizabeth of Austria. In 1471 at the age of 14 he was sent with an army against his fellow claimant for the throne of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus but the expedition was a fiasco (his own troops deserted because they hadn't been paid), and his father banished him. From that time on, Casimir refused to fight any Christian enemies (preferring to fight Turks), and finally refused to take up arms at all, turning to a predominantly spiritual life while holding high official positions. He is said to have declined marriage in 1481 to a daughter of the emperor Frederick III because he wished to remain celibate. After a stint as regent in Poland proper while his father was in the Lithuanian part of the realm, Casimir served as governor of Vilnius in 1483. He was known for his justice. He was at the Lithuanian court at Grodno in today's Belarus when in 1484 he became gravely ill with tuberculosis; accounts differ as to whether he died there or, very shortly afterward, at Vilnius. After a spate of miracles at his grave King Sigismund petitioned for his canonization, which was granted 1602. In 1636 Urban VIII proclaimed him Lithuania's patron saint. In the 16th and 17th centuries he was noted for his supernatural aid to Lithuania in its wars with Russia.

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Humbert III of Savoy / Umberto III di Savoia (d. 1188) In 1148 Humbert became count of Savoy at the age of 13. He abdicated and went to a Cistercian monastery, but returned to power to get married for reasons of state; after an heir was born he headed back to the cloister (the Cistercians say that he became a monk, but apparently this is debated).
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