Saint Evaristus, Pope and Martyr

October 26 Today is the feast day of Saint Evaristus.  Ora pro nobis. Saint Evaristus’s date of birth unknown. The “Liber Pontificalis” says that Evaristus came of a Hellenic family, and was the son of a Bethlehem Jew.  Saint Evaristus is fourth successor of Saint Peter. In papal catalogues of the second century used by … Read more

Saints Crispin and Crispinian, Martyrs

October 25 Today is the feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian.  Orate pro nobis. These two glorious martyrs were brothers. They were born of a distinguished Roman family; they came from Rome to preach the Faith in Gaul toward the middle of the third century, and took up residence in Soissons. In imitation of St. … Read more

Saint Chrysanthus and Saint Daria, Martyrs

October 25 Today is the feast day of Saint Chrysanthus and Saint Daria.  Orate pro nobis. by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876 St. Chrysanthus is one of the many who have experienced how useful and beneficial is the reading of devout books, especially the Gospel. He was born of heathen parents. Polemius his father, stood … Read more

Saint Raphael the Archangel

October 24 Today is the feast day of Saint Raphael the Archangel.  Ora pro nobis. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord. Tobias 12: 15 by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876 This holy Archangel, sent by the Almighty to Tobias, himself explained who he was, in the … Read more

Saint Anthony-Mary Claret, Bishop, Confessor

October 23 Today is the feast day of Saint Antony-Mary Claret.  Ora pro nobis. Saint Anthony was born at Sallent, near Barcelona on 23 Dec 1807.  He was the son of a small woollen manufacturer.  He received an elementary education in his native village.  He later wrote that, already at the age of five, my little heart trembled … Read more

Saint Wendelin of Trier, Abbot

October 22 Today is the feast day of Saint Wendelin (Wendel) of Trier.  Ora pro nobis. Saint Wendelin (Wendel) was born about 554. His father was Forchardo, the King of Scotland, his mother, Irelina, Queen. His earliest biographies, two in Latin and two in German, did not appear until after 1417. Their narrative is the following: … Read more

Saint Mello of Cardiff, Archbishop

October 22 Today is the feast day of Saint Mello of Cardiff.  Ora pro nobis. Saint Mello (Melanius, Mellon) was born at Cardiff in Great Britain, immersed in idolatry, but converted when sent on a diplomatic mission to Rome. He heard a discourse by Pope Saint Steven and immediately afterwards expressed his desire for Baptism. … Read more

Saint Ursula and Her Companions, Virgins, Martyrs

October 21 Today is the feast day of Saint Ursula and her Companions.  Orate pro nobis. Saint Ursula was born in Great Britain of Christian parents; her father, Maurus, was king of Cornubia in Scotland. Ursula was sought in marriage by a young pagan prince, but had already vowed her life and her heart to … Read more

Saint John Cantius, Confessor

October 20

Today is the feast day of Saint John Cantius.  Ora pro nobis.

The Importance of Religious Instruction

“What kind of work can be more noble than to cultivate the minds of young people, guarding it carefully, so that the knowledge and love of God and His holy precepts go hand-in-hand with learning? To form young Christians and citizens, isn’t this the most beautiful and noble minded way to make use of life, of all one’s talents and energy?”–St. John Cantius

Saint John was born at Kenty in Poland in 1403.

St. John Cantius, Confessor
from the Liturgical Year, 1903

 Kenty, the humble village of Silesia which witnessed the birth of St. John, owes its celebrity entirely to him. The canonization of this holy priest, who in the fifteenth century had illustrated the University of Cracow by his virtues and science, was the last hope of expiring Poland. It took place in the year 1767. Two years earlier, it was at the request of this heroic nation that Clement XIII. had issued the first decree sanctioning the celebration of the feast of the Sacred Heart. When enrolling John Cantius among the Saints, the magnanimous Pontiff expressed in moving terms the gratitude of the Church towards that unfortunate people; and rendered to it, before shamefully forgetful Europe, a supreme homage (Bulla canonizationis). Five years later Poland was dismembered.

John was born at Kenty, a town in the diocese of Cracow; and hence his surname Cantius. His parents were pious and honourable persons, by name Stanislaus and Anna. From his very infancy, his sweetness of disposition, innocence, and gravity, gave promise of very great virtue. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Cracow, and taking all his degrees proceeded professor and doctor. He taught sacred science for many years, enlightening the minds of his pupils and enkindling in them the flame of piety, no less by his deeds than by his words. When he was ordained priest, he relaxed nothing of his zeal for study, but increased his ardor for Christian perfection. Grieving exceedingly over the offences everywhere committed against God, he strove to make satisfaction on his own behalf and that of the people, by daily offering the unbloody Sacrifice with many tears. For several years he had charge of the parish of Ukusi, which he administered in an exemplary manner; but, fearing the responsibility of the cure of souls, he resigned his post; and, at the request of the University, resumed the professor’s chair.

Whatever time remained over from his studies, he devoted partly to the good of his neighbour, especially by holy preaching; partly to prayer, in which he is said to have been sometimes favoured with heavenly visions and communications. He was so affected by the Passion of Christ, that he would spend whole nights without sleep, in the contemplation of it; and in order the better to cultivate this devotion, he undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. While there, in his eagerness for martyrdom he boldly preached Christ crucified even to the Turks. Four times he went to Rome on foot, and carrying his own baggage, to visit the threshold of the Apostles; in order to honor the Apostolic See to which he was earnestly devoted, and also (as he used to say), to save himself from Purgatory by means of the indulgences there daily to be gained. On one of these journeys he was robbed by brigands. When asked by them whether he had anything more, he replied in the negative; but afterwards remembering that he had some gold pieces sowed in his cloak, he called back the robbers, who had taken to flight, and offered them the money. Astonished at the holy man’s sincerity and generosity, they restored all they had taken from him.

After St. Augustine’s example, he had verses inscribed on the walls in his house, warning others, as well as himself, to respect the reputation of their neighbors. He fed the hungry from his own table; and clothed the naked not only with garments bought for the purpose, but even with his own clothes and shoes; on these occasions he would lower his cloak to the ground, so as not to be seen walking home barefoot. He took very little sleep, and that on the ground. His clothing was only sufficient to cover him, and his food to keep him alive. He preserved his virginal purity, like a lily among thorns, by using a rough hair-shirt, disciplines, and fasting; and for about thirty-five years before his death, he abstained entirely from flesh-meat. At length, full of days and of merits, he prepared himself long and diligently for death, which he felt drawing near; and that nothing might be a hindrance to him, he distributed all that remained in his house to the poor. Then, strengthened with the Sacraments of the Church, and desiring to be dissolved and to be with Christ, he passed to heaven on Christmas Eve. He worked many miracles both in life and after death. His body was carried to St. Anne’s, the church of the University, and there honorably interred. The people’s veneration for the saint, and the crowds visiting his tomb, increased daily; and he is honored as one of the chief patrons of Poland and Lithuania. As new miracles continued to be wrought, Pope Clement XIII. solemnly enrolled him among the Saints, on the seventeenth of the Kalends of August, in the year 1767. (1)

Before his death, he gave absolutely everything he still had to the poor. He died in 1473, at the age of seventy-six years. The purple robe which he had worn as a Doctor was religiously conserved and always given to the venerable Head of the School of Philosophy on the day of his reception; and a promise was required of the teachers there, to imitate the virtues of this beloved Saint. He is a patron of both Poland and Lithuania; Clement XIII canonized him in 1767.

Image: Kraków St Anna Church, photo by Ludwig Schneider. (4)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20John%20Cantius.html
  2. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_john_cantius.html
  3. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/10-20.html
  4. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Krak%C3%B3w_Ko%C5%9Bci%C3%B3%C5%82_%C5%9Awi%C4%99tej_Anny_011.jpg

Saint Frideswide, Virgin

October 19

Today is the feast day of Saint Frideswide.  Ora pro nobis.

St. Frideswide (Fritheswith) was born about 665 near Oxford, the daughter of noble parents, sub-King Didan and Sefrida.  She was born at her father’s palace in Oxford, anmd was brought up by a governess, a holy woman named Elgitha at her father’s estate named after him, at Didcot.  

She founded a convent at the gates of Oxford – where Christ Church now stands. Aelfgar, prince of Mercia, was determined to marry her for her beauty and her inheritance, but she fled to the forests to avoid his attentions. When she returned to Oxford, Aelfgar beseiged the city, but just at the point of victory he was struck blind. For many years afterwards, she presided as Abbess of a double monastery of both monks and nuns. Some say that the origins of the University of Oxford lie in the school she established there. She was well known in her lifetime for effecting miraculous cures, and a well at Binsey – where she latterly retired as a hermitess – became known as a place of healing. She died at Binsey on 19th October 735, and was buried in her monastery, where Christ Church Cathedral now stands.

Legendary Life of St. Frideswide

Seint Fretheswyde, that holy mayde, was of Englonde;
Atte Oxenford heo was ybore, as ich understonde.
Hir fader hete Kyng Dydan, and Sefreth hete the quene –
This were hire eldren, that hure gotten hem bytwene.
Fretheswyd, hure yonge doughter, to lettre hii setten in youthe;
So wel heo spedde in six monnthes that heo hure Sauter couthe.
Swythe wel heo was byloved, of hey and of lowe;
Alle hii hadde joie of hure that couthen hure knowe.
Of the hard here was hure nexte wede.
The meste mete that heo ete was worten and barly brede,
And the cold welle water – that was hure drynke.
Now wold a knyghtes doughter grete hoker of suche sondes thynke!
The maide bysoght hure fadere to make hure nonne
In Seint Marie churche, that he hadde er bygonne.
Hire fadere was the furste man that lete the churche rere
That bereth the nam now of that mayde that lyth yschryned ther.
The king was glad of this chyld, that to clene lyf drowe.
He sende after a byschop anon hasteliche ynowe
Of Lyncolne that was tho – Edgar was his name –
To maken his doughter nonne ne thoght hym no schame.
The byschop for the kynges heste thuder he cam hymsulf
And schar hure in the nonnerie with hire felawes twelve.
A nyght, as this mayde was huresulf alon,
In hire bedes with hire sustren slepen everechon,
The fende hadde envye therof to hire goudhede
And thoght myd som gynne of goud lyf hure lede.
To hire he cam hire to fonde, in one mannes lyche
In goldbeten clothes that semed swythe ryche.
“My derworth mayde,” he sede, “ne thynke thee noght to longe.
Tyme hit is for thy travayle that thou thy mede afonge.
Ich am thulke that thou byst to: take now goud hede.
Honoure me here, and for thy servyse ich croune thee to mede.”
The fende hadde in his heved an croune of rede golde;
Another he that mayde bede, yif heo hym honoury wolde.
“Fare fram me, thou foule fende with thyn byheste!”
Heo made the croys, and he fley awey with noyse and grete cheste.
In the holy nonnerie so longe heo lyved ther
That hure fadere and hure modere both ded were.
Algar hete the king after the king Dydan;
He was king at Oxenford ychose – a wonder luther man.
He ofsende Fretheswyth, to habben hure to wyve.
Heo sede heo was to God ywedded, to hold by hure lyve.
The forward that heo hadde ymade, heo sede heo nolde breke;
If heo dude, wel heo wyste God wold be awreke.
“A foule,” heo sede, “ich were the hey King of Hevene forsake
For gyfte other for anythyng, and thee His hyne take.”
The messageres with grete strengthe wolden hure habbe ynome
And don the maide byfor the king anon to hym come.
Alle that weren ther woxen starc blynde;
Bynome hem was the myght the mayde for to fynde!
The borgeys of Oxenford sore were agaste,
And this holy maide for this men hii beden atte laste,
That heo thorw Godes grace geve hem here syght;
And thennes to the king passe that hii mosten habbe myght.
Anon hii hadden here syght thorw hire bysechyng;
Thannes hii wende, and al that cas hii toldyn the king.
The king therfor hym made wroth tho he herd this,
And in grete wrath swor his oth that he wold hire seche, ywys;
And that he hure habbe wolde. Faste he gan to yelpe
And swor that hure wocchecrafte scholde hure lyte helpe.
An angel that sulf nyght to that mayde cam
And bad hire oute of the kinges syght wende, that was so grame.
The levedy wende by nyght fram hure sustren tho
With somme that heo with hure toke – tweyne, witthoute mo.
To Temese heo yede and fonde a bote al preste, thorw Godes sonde,
And therin heo fonde an angel that broght hem to the londe.
For dred of the king heo wende, as God hit wolde,
Ne dorste heo come at non toune, to dwelle at non holde.
In a wode that Benesy yclyped ys al day
Thre wynter in an hole woned, that seylde me hure say.
 A mayde that seve yere ne myght nothing yse
Cam to hure in the wode, and felle adoun a kne.
Hure eyghen that holy mayde wysche with water of hure honde,
And as hole as any fysche that maide gan up stonde.
The king hym cam to Oxenford, wroth and eke wode,
And thoght to do the mayde other than goud.
So sone so he to toune cam, he thoghte for to fyght
And habbe this maide Fretheswythe with strengthe agenryght.
He enquered ware heo was. Me told hym sone that cas:
That heo in the wode of Benysye preveliche yhydde was.
The king rod toward the wode with hauke and with racche,
For to enserchy after this mayde yf he myght cache.
Tho this maide this yherd, anon heo bygan to fle
Priveliche toward Oxenford, that non scholde hure se;
So that heo was underyute that heo was fleynde.
After hure me wende faste; the king rod ernyng.
The mayde scaped into the toune, as hit was Godes grace.
The kinges hors spornde witthoute the gate in a wel faire place
And felle and brake the kinges necke; and that he gan awynne.
Nas ther non of his men tho that derst come withinne.
The maide holde hure ther in pes fram alle hure fon.
Glad was that myght with hure speke other to hure gon.
Of hure holy lyf me told fer and eke nere,
Into alle Englonde that me wyste nas yholde hure pere.
A wel swythe wondere cas byfelle oppon a day
Up a fyscher that in a bote with his felawes aslepe lay.
He bygan to ravien as he awoke of slepe.
Up among his felawes, wod he gan to lepe,
So that on that ther was among hem alle he slowe;
And wan he was afalle, with his teth on hym he gnowe.
Alle that myght to hym come on hym setten honde,
And uneth with muche pyne hii teyghede hym and bonde.
Al hii wer busie that foule goste to lede
Toward that holy mayde, that heo for hym bede.
The maide fourmed that croys tofor on his heved;
The bounden body felle adoune, as hit were ded.
The maide hete unbynd hym anon in al wyse,
And suth hym a Godes name hole and sounde to aryse.
Hol and sounde the man aros and hered God almyght
And that mayde that hym delyvered of that foule wyght.
As heo yede a day in the toune, a mysel heo mette.
To hure the mysel felle adoune, and on knes hure grette,
And bysoght that lady that heo hym cusse scholde.
Heo custe hym, and he was hole, ryght as God hit wolde.
Fele miracles by hure lyve of hure weren ycude,
And suth after hure deth; hii neren noght yhud.
Heo wend out of this world a morwe up Lukes day.
Now God ous bringe to the blysse that He broght that may!Amen. (4)

 

 

Image: Saint Frideswide hides from King Algar amongst swines. Part of the St Frideswide window at Christ Church. Artist: Rabanus Flavus, photo by Pruneau. (5)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://liturgialatina.blogspot.com/2011/10/19th-october-st-frideswide-virgin.html
  2. http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/adversaries/bios/fritheswith.html
  3. http://www.berkshirehistory.com/legends/frideswide01.html
  4. http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/reames-middle-english-legends-of-women-saints-shorter-south-english-legendary-life-of-st-frideswide
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frideswide-2.jpg