Saturday, July 30, 2011

Abdon and Sennen of Rome, Martyrs; Robert Barnes, Confessor, Martyr

Today we commemorate Abdon, Sennen, and Robert Barnes. Very little is known about Abdon and Sennen. They were Persians who were martyred under Decius. around the year 250.

Robert Barnes was an English Reformer and martyr. Most of what follows is from Wikipedia. Barnes was educated at Cambridge and a member of the Austin Friars. He received his Doctor of Divinity in 1523, and was made Prior of the Cambridge convent. He was among those who gathered at the White Horse Tavern for theological discussion in the early 1530s. At the Chrsimstas Midnight Mass at St. Edward's Church in 1525, Edwards gave the first sermon of the English Reformation in which he proclaimed the Gospel and accused the church of heresies. In 1526 he was condemned as a heretic for preaching this sermon and was told to either go into exile or be burnt. Barnes decided to go into exile. Barnes chose exileand was committed to the Fleet prison and afterwards to the Austin Friars in London. Barnes escaped to Antwerp in 1528, and also visited Wittenberg, where he made Martin Luther's acquaintance. He also came across Stephen Vaughan, an agent of Thomas Cromwell and an advanced reformer, who recommended him to Cromwell: "Look well," he wrote, "upon Dr Barnes' book. It is such a piece of work as I have not yet seen any like it. I think he shall seal it with his blood" (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII). In 1531 Barnes returned to England, and became one of the chief intermediaries between the English government and Lutheran Germany. In 1535 he was sent to Germany, in the hope of inducing Lutheran divines to approve of Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and four years later he was employed in negotiations connected with Anne of Cleves's marriage. The policy was Cromwell's, but Henry VIII had already in 1538 refused to adopt Lutheran theology, and the statute of Six Articles (1539), followed by the king's disgust with Anne of Cleves (1540), brought the agents of that policy to ruin. An attack upon Bishop Gardiner by Barnes in a sermon at St Paul's Cross was the signal for a bitter struggle between the Protestant and reactionary parties in Henry's council, which raged during the spring of 1540. Barnes was forced to apologise and recant; and Gardiner delivered a series of sermons at St Paul's Cross to counteract Barnes' invective. But a month or so later Cromwell was made earl of Essex, Gardiner's friend, Bishop Sampson, was sent to the Tower, and Barnes reverted to Lutheranism. It was a delusive victory. In July, Cromwell was attainted, Anne of Cleves was divorced and Barnes was burnt (30 July 1540). Barnes was one of six executed on the same day: two, William Jerome and Thomas Gerrard, were, like himself, burnt for heresy under the Six Articles; three, Thomas Abel, Richard Fetherstone and Edward Powell, were hanged for treason in denying the royal supremacy. Both Lutherans and Catholics on the continent were shocked. Luther published Barnes' confession with a preface of his own as Bekenntnis des Glaubens (1540). Some historians have concluded that Barnes was crucial in having the English Protestants and Catholics alike understand the Reformation around them.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany, Saints

Today we commemorate Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. According to the LCMS website:

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany were disciples with whom Jesus had a special bond of love and friendship. John's Gospel records that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:15). On one occasion Martha welcomed Jesus into their home for a meal. While she did all the work, Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to his Word and was commended by Jesus for choosing the “good portion which will not be taken away from her” (Lk 10:38–42). When their brother Lazarus died, Jesus spoke to Martha this beautiful Gospel promise: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he life? (John 11:25–27). Ironically, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the death, the Jews became more determined than ever to kill Jesus (John 11:39–54). made Jesus' enemies more determined than ever to kill him (John 11:39–54). Six days before Jesus was crucified, Mary anointed his feet with a very expensive fragrant oil and wiped them with her hair, not knowing at the time that she was doing it in preparation for Jesus' burial (John 12:1–8; Mt 26:6-13).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pantaleon, Physician, Martyr; Johann Sebastian Bach, Kantor

Today we commemorate Pantaleon and Bach. Pantaleon was the son of a wealthy pagan. His Christian mother instructed him in Christianity but after her death he fell away from the faith and studied medicine. He became physician to the emperor. Pantaleon was won back to Christianity after Saint Hermolaus convinced him that Christ was the better physician. While discussing medicine Hermolaus said, "But, my friend, of what use are all thy acquirements in this art, since thou art ignorant of the science of salvation?" Pantaleon healed a blind man by invoking the name of Jesus over him and converted his pagan father. When Pantaleon's father died he inherited much wealth but gave it to the poor and freed his father's slaves. Envious colleagues Pantaleon to the emperor during the Diocletian persecution. The emperor wanted to save Pantaleon tried to convince him to abandon the Christian faith. But Pantaleon openly confessed his faith and healed a paralytic to prove that Christ is the true God. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to death by the emperor. Pantaleon's flesh was first burned with torches. Christ appeared in the form of Hermolaus to strengthen and heal Pantaleon. The torches were extinguished. Then a bath of molten lead was prepared; when the apparition of Christ stepped into the cauldron with him, the fire went out and the lead became cold. Pantaleon was then thrown into the sea, loaded with a great stone, which floated. He was thrown to wild beasts, but these fawned upon him and would not be forced away until he had blessed them. He was bound on the wheel, but the ropes snapped, and the wheel broke. An attempt was made to behead him, but the sword bent, and the executioners were converted to Christianity. Pantaleon implored heaven to forgive them, for which reason he also received the name of Panteleimon ("mercy for everyone" or "all-compassionate"). It was not until he himself desired it that it was possible to behead him, upon which there issued forth blood and a white liquid like milk.

Aardvark Alley has a nice article about Johann Sebastian Bach.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Seven Sleepers, Martyrs; Martha, Sister of Lazarus, Saint

Today we commemorate the Seven Sleepers and Martha. The Seven Sleepers were a group of Christian youths who hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 AD, to escape a persecution of Christians during the reign of the Roman emperor Decius. They fell asleep and awoke 150-200 years later during the reign of Theodosius II, following which they were reportedly seen by the people of the now-Christian city before dying.

Martha was the sister of Lazarus. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha. Martha works while Mary sits and receives the teaching of Jesus. When Martha beomes angry with Mary, Jesus tells Martha that Mary had chosen the better part. In John 11, Martha confesses her belief in the resurrection. Jesus replies that He is the resurrection.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today we commemorate Anne. Anne was the wife of Joachim, and was chosen by God to be the mother of Mary, the mother of God. Anne and Joachim both descended from the house of David and their lives were known for their constant prayer and good works but they were childless until God gave them Mary in their old age. Anne had vowed to dedicate Mary to God and brought Mary to live in the temple when she was three years old.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Christina, Virgin, Martyr

Today we commemorate Christina. Most of the following is taken from Butler. Christina was the daughter of a rich and powerful heathen magistrate who owned a large collection of idols. Christina destroyed the idols and gave the pieces to the poor.He father had her whipped with rods and then thrown into a dungeon. Christina remained steadfast in the faith. Her father then had her body torn by iron hooks, and fastened her to a rack beneath which a fire was kindled. But God watched over her and turned the flames upon the lookers-on. Christina was next seized, a heavy stone tied about her neck, and she was thrown into the lake of Bolsena, but she was saved by an angel, and outlived her father, who died of spite. Later she suffered the most inhuman torments under the judge who succeeded her father, and finally was thrown into a burning furnace, where she remained, unhurt, for five days. By the power of Christ she overcame the serpents among which she was thrown; then her tongue was cut out, and afterwards, being pierced with arrows, she gained the martyr's crown at Tyro, a city which formerly stood on an island in the lake of Bolsena in Italy, but was long since swallowed up by the waters. Her relics are now at Palermo in Sicily.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Apollinaris of Ravenna, Bishop, Martyr

Today we commemorate Apollinaris. Apollinaris was the first bishop of Ravenna. He was faithful shepherd and faced nearly constant persecution. He and his flock were exiled from Ravenna during the persecutions of Emperor Vespasian. On his way out of the city he was identified, arrested as being the leader, tortured and martyred by being run through with a sword.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Praxedis, Virgin; Ezekiel, Prophet

Today we commemorate Praxedis and Ezekiel. Praxedis was known for her virtuous life. She used all her great riches to relieve the poor and for the support of the churche. her great riches she employed in relieving the poor and the necessities of the church. She lived a life of constant prayer and fasting.

Aardvark Alley has a nice little article on Ezekiel.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Macrina, Virgin

Today we commemorate Macrina. Macrina was the first of ten children born to St. Basil the elder, and St. Emmelia. After the death of her father, she vowed to remain a virgin and assisted her mother in the education of her brothers and sisters. St. Basil the Great, St. Peter of Sebaste, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and the rest, learned godliness and the Word of God from Macrina. She convinced her mother to find two monastaries and Macrina drew up the rules for one of them. Macrina developed a very painful form of cancer. According to tradition at Macrina's request her mother made the sign of the cross over Macrina's sore. She was healed and only a black spot remained where the sore had been. After the death of St. Emmelia, Macrina sold all that was left of their estate to support the poor, and lived herself, like the rest of the nuns, on what she earned by the labour of her hands. Her brother Basil died in the beginning of the year 379, and she herself fell ill eleven months after. St. Gregory of Nyssa making her a visit, after eight years’ absence, found her sick of a raging fever, lying on two boards, one of which served for her bed, and the other for her pillow. He was exceedingly comforted by her pious discourses, and animated by the fervour and ardent sighs of divine love and penance, by which she prepared herself for her last hour. She calmly expired, after having armed herself with the sign of the cross. Such was the poverty of the house that nothing was found to cover her corpse when it was carried to the grave, but her old hood and coarse veil; but St. Gregory threw over it his episcopal cloak. She had worn about her neck a fillet, on which hung an iron cross and a ring. St. Gregory gave the cross to a nun named Vestiana, but kept himself the ring, in which the metal was hollow, and contained in it a particle of the true cross. Araxus, bishop of the place, and St. Gregory led up the funeral procession, which consisted of the clergy, the monks, and nuns, in two separate choirs. The whole company walked singing psalms, with torches in their hands. The holy remains were conveyed to the church of the Forty Martyrs, a mile distant from the monastery, and were deposited in the same vault with the saint’s mother.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Today we commemorate Radegundis. She was teh daughter of a pagan king. Her father was murdered by his brother, Hermenefrid, who in 531 was defeated by king Theodoric of Austrasia and king Clotaire I of Neustria, and Clotaire took twelve year old Radegundis captive. Six years later he married her. She devoted herself to the poor, the sick, and captives, founded a leper hospital, and bore the cruelties of her husband uncomplainingly until he murdered her brother, Unstrut. She then left the court, received the deaconess habit from Bishop Medard at Noyon, and became a nun at Saix. About 557, she built the double monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers, to which she retired and which she developed into a great center of learning. She was active in peacemaking roles, lived in great austerity, and secured a relic of the True Cross for the Church of her monastery. She lived the last years of her life in seclusion and died at the monastery on August 13.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Marcellina, Virgin

Today we commemorate Marcellina. She was eldest sister and educator of her brothers Ambrose and Satyrus. She was known for her godliness throughout her life. She inspired them, by words and example.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ruth, Saint

Today we commemorate Ruth. Ruth was a Gentile but is found in the linage of Jesus. Elimelech is a type of Christ in the Book of Ruth. He agreed to be Ruth's "redeemer" (3:7-13; 4:9-12). He took her as his wife, and Ruth gave birth to Obed, the grandfather of David (4:13-17), preserving the Messianic seed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stilla of Abenberg, Virgin; the Division of the Holy Apostles; Gumbert of Ansbach,Abbot

Today we commemorate Stilla, the division of the Holy Apostles, and Gumbert. Stilla was born at Abenberg in Bavaria. She built the church of St Peter near her home and then took a vow of virginity in the prescence of Otto, Bishop of Bamberg, living a life of prayer and meditation in her father’s home. When Stilla died, her brothers wanted to bury her at Heilsbronn, but the two horses drawing her funeral cortege refused to pull in that direction, turning always towards the church of St Peter, where they finally allowed her to be buried.

The Division of the Holy Apostles ocurred when the Apostles before leaving Jerusalem to bring the Gospel to all nations determined by lot the portions of the world that each would evangelize.

Gumbert was a wealthy lord who renounced the world and gave all his wealth the church.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bonaventure, Bishop, Confessor

Today we commemorate Bonaventure. According to Butler:

SANCTITY and learning raised Bonaventure to the Church's highest honors, and from a child he was the companion of Saints. Yet at heart he was ever the poor Franciscan friar, and practised and taught humility and mortification. St. Francis gave him his name; for, having miraculously cured him of a mortal sickness, he prophetically exclaimed of the child, "O bona ventura!"—good luck. He is known also as the "Seraphic Doctor," from the fervor of divine love which breathes in his writings. He was the friend of St. Thomas Aquinas, who asked him one day whence he drew his great learning. He replied by pointing to his crucifix. At another time St. Thomas found him in ecstasy while writing the life of St. Francis, and exclaimed, "Let us leave a Saint to write of a Saint." They received the Doctor's cap together. He was the guest and adviser of St. Louis, and the director of St. Isabella, the king's sister. At the age of thirty-five he was made general of his Order; and only escaped another dignity, the Archbishopric of York, by dint of tears and entreaties. Gregory X. appointed him Cardinal Bishop of Albano. When the Saint heard of the Pope's resolve to create him a Cardinal, he quietly made his escape from Italy. But Gregory sent him a summons to return to Rome. On his way, he stopped to rest himself at a convent of his Order near Florence; and there two Papal messengers, sent to meet him with the Cardinal's hat, found him washing the dishes. The Saint desired them to hang the hat on a bush that was near, and take a walk in the garden until he had finished what he was about. Then taking up the hat with unfeigned sorrow, he joined the messengers, and paid them the respect due to their character. He sat at the Pontiff's right hand, and spoke first at the Council of Lyons. His piety and eloquence won over the Greeks to Catholic union, and then his strength failed. He died while the Council was sitting, and was buried by the assembled bishops, A. D. 1274.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Silas, Fellow Worker of St. Paul; Margaret of Antioch, Virgin, Martyr

Today we commemorate Silas and Margaret. Silas accompanied Paul as an evangelist to Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia.

Margaret was born in Antioch and was a daughter of a pagan priest. She was scorned by her father for her Christian faith and lived in Turkey with her foster-mother keeping sheep. The governor of the Roman Diocese of the East offered her marriage if she would renounce Christianity. When she refused, she was cruelly tortured, during which various miraculous incidents occurred. She was put to death in A.D. 304.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Henry II, Emperor, Confessor

Today we commemorate Henry II (972-1024). He went from being Duke of Bavaria to King of Germany to Emperor of the Romans. He was a servant of the Eternal King. He encouraged godliness and restored the Churches which had been ruined by the unbelievers.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pius of Rome, Bishop, Martyr

Today we commemorate Pius of Rome. He became bishop of Rome in 142 and defended Christian orthodoxy against Valentinus and Marcion.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Seven Sons of St. Felicitas, Martyrs

Today we commemorate the Seven Sons of St. Felicitas. Portions of the following are taken from Butler. St. Felicitas was a widow living in Rome who was well-known for her constant prayers, fasting, and charity. Many pagans were converted to Christ after witnessing the godly life of Felicitas and her family. This made the pagan priests angry. They told the emperor that this lady and here children must be sacrificed to appease the gods. Publius, the prefect of Rome, caused the mother and her sons to be apprehended and brought before him, and, addressing her, said, "Take pity on your children, Felicitas; they are in the bloom of youth, and may aspire to the greatest honors and preferments." The holy mother answered, "Your pity is really impiety, and the compassion to which you exhort me would make me the most cruel of mothers." Then turning herself towards her children, she said to them, "My sons, look up to heaven, where Jesus Christ with His Saints expects you. Be faithful in His love, and fight courageously for your souls." Publius, being exasperated at this behavior, commanded her to be cruelly buffeted; he then called the children to him one after another, and used many artful speeches, mingling promises with threats to induce them to adore the gods. His arguments and threats were equally in vain, and the brothers were condemned to be scourged. After being whipped, they were remanded to prison, and the prefect, despairing to overcome their resolution, laid the whole process before the emperor. Antoninus gave an order that they should be sent to different judges, and be condemned to different deaths. Januarius was scourged to death with whips loaded with plummets of lead. The two next, Felix and Philip, were beaten with clubs till they expired. Sylvanus, the fourth, was thrown headlong down a steep precipice. The three youngest, Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis, were beheaded, and the same sentence was executed upon the mother four months after.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ephrem the Syrian, Deacon, Confessor

Today we commemorate Ephrem. He is known as "the light and glory of the Syriac Church." In his writings he defended the Christian faith against heresies. His preaching and hymns won the hearts of the people. He trembled and made his hearers tremble at God's judgments; but found peace in Christ. Speaking of his own death he said, "I am setting out on a journey hard and dangerous. Thee, O Son of God, I have taken for my Viaticum. When I am hungry, I will feed on Thee. The infernal fire will not venture near me, for it cannot bear the fragrance of Thy Body and Thy Blood."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Aquila and Priscilla, Saints; Killian of Würzburg

Today we commemorate Aquila, Priscilla, and Killian. Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers who accompanied the Apostle Paul and instructed Apollos.

Killian was an Irish monk who preached the Gospel and baptized Germans in Franconia from 686 until he was martyred in 688.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Willibald of Eichstätt, Bishop

Today we commemorate Willibald. Willibald was born in 704.When he was three years old he became very sick. His parents prayed to God and promised that if Willibald recovered they would consecrate him to divine service. Willibald recovered and was sent to a monastary at the age of five where he stayed until the age of 17. He was known for his piety and eventually became a bishop who was known for his compassion towards the suffering.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Haggai, Prophet

Today we commemorate Haggai. Haggai is one of the twelve minor prophets. It was written after Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Judea and begin rebuilding the temple. Haggai rebukes the Jews for their indifference toward the rebuilding of the temple and warns them against an Ex Opere Operato understanding of the sacrifiices and temple worship. Haggai also contains much Messianic prophecy. Haggai said the Messiah would be a descendent of Zerubbabel. One of the antiphones for Advent is from Haggai 2:1-9, 20-23 and says, "O King of the nations, the ruler they long for, the cornerstone uniting all people: Come and save us all, whom You formed out of clay."

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ulrich of Augsburg, Bishop

Today we commemorate Ulrich of Augsburg. According to Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewski:

St. Ulrich was born in 890 in Augsburg, Germany. He was the son of the Renaissance noble Hupald, Count of Dillingen/Count Huebald of Swabia. His parents were German nobility. As a young man Ulrich was sent to the Benedictine monastery of St. Gall from age 7 years. They say that he was an excellent student. Unsure whether he should be a priest or a monk, Ulrich pursued more training from his Uncle Adalbero. In 908/909, he was consecrated, to the priesthood, by his uncle Adalbero, Bishop of Augsburg. Adalbero made Ulrich a Chamberlain, and later on he took the bishophood after his uncle. Ulrich's bishophood was consecrated by Bishop Heringer of Mainz. Ulrich was said to be strict, but gentle, in his role as bishop. Ulrich spent his time trying to improve the moral standards of his clergy. Ulrich wanted religion to be more available to the people, so he built many churches and visited his diocese regularly. He counseled Emperor Otto I regarding a riff between Otto and his son. However, Otto's son escalated their argument into violence. When the Magyars (Hungarians) raided Germany, Ulrich advised his citizens to resist. They built a wall around the city which kept the Magyars at bay until the kings troops were able to drive them away. Ulrich helped to rebuild the city and restore its cathedral. He gave generously to those who had been devastated by the war. In 923, King Henry "the Fowler" made Ulrich the Bishop of Augsburg. Ulrich was showered with gifts by King Henry I. In 953/954 Ulrich supported King Henry at the rebellion of Henry's son Liutolf. King Otto I defeated the Maygars at the Battle of Lechfeld, near Augsburg, on August 10, 955. In 955, Ulrich led the team under the leadership of his own brother, Dietpald, to Lechfeld. Ulrich supported Benediktbeuern monastery and founded the Canonical Convent of St. Stephen in 968. Ulrich became ill in his elder years. He then decided to return to Gall as a monk. In 972, he resigned as bishop. He then died lying on a cross of ashes he had placed on the floor. He died July 4, 973. Ulrich was buried in the Church of Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cornelius, Captain

Today we commemorate Cornelius. Cornelius is spoken of in Acts 10. He was a Gentile who adopted some of the Jewish practices but did not undergo circumcision. He was known for his constant prayer, good works, and alms. Cornelius receives a vision in which an angel of God tells him that his prayers have been heard. The angel then instructs Cornelius to send the men of his household to Joppa, where they will find Simon Peter, who is residing with a tanner by the name of Simon. The conversion of Cornelius comes after another vision given to Simon Peter. In the vision, Simon Peter sees all manner of four-footed beasts and birds of the air being lowered from Heaven in a sheet. A voice commands Simon Peter to eat. When he objects to eating those animals that are unclean to Mosaic Law, the voice tells him not to call unclean that which God has cleansed. When Cornelius meets Simon Peter, he falls at his feet in adoration. Picking Cornelius up, Simon Peter welcomes him. After the two men share their visions, and Simon Peter tells of Jesus' ministry and the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit falls on everyone at the gathering. Those present are amazed that Cornelius and other uncircumcised should begin speaking in tongues, praising God. Simon Peter orders that Cornelius and his followers be baptized.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Otto of Bamberg, Bishop

Today we commemorate Otto of Bamberg. According to Butler:

HE was a native of Swabia, in Germany, and being a clergyman eminent for piety and learning, was chosen by the emperor Henry IV. to attend his sister Judith in quality of chaplain when she was married to Boleslas III. duke of Poland, that state remaining deprived of the royal dignity 1 from the year 1079 till it was restored in 1295, in favour of Premislas II. After the death of that princess, Otho returned, and was made by Henry IV. his chancellor. That prince caused the seals and crosses of every deceased bishop and great abbot to be delivered to him, and he sold them to whom he pleased. This notorious simony and oppression of the Church was zealously condemned by the pope, in opposition to whom the emperor set up the antipope Guibert. Otho laboured to bring his prince to sentiments of repentance and submission, and refused to approve his schism or other crimes. Notwithstanding which, so great was the esteem which the emperor had for his virtue, that resolving to make choice at least of one good bishop, he nominated him bishop of Bamberg in 1103. The saint, notwithstanding the schism, went to Rome and received his confirmation together with the pall from Pope Paschal II. He laboured to extinguish the schism, and to obviate the mischiefs which it produced; and for this purpose he displayed his eloquence and abilities in the diet at Ratisbon in 1104. Henry V. succeeding his father in 1106, continued to foment the schism; yet inherited the esteem of his predecessor for our saint, though he always adhered to the holy see, and was in the highest credit with all the popes of his time; so strongly does virtue command respect even in its adversaries, and such is the power of meekness in disarming the fiercest tyrants. St. Otho joined always with the functions of his charge the exercises of an interior life, in which he was an admirable proficient. He made many pious foundations, calling them inns which we erect on our road to eternity. Boleslas IV. duke of Poland, son of that Boleslas who had married the sister of Henry IV. having succeeded his elder brother Ladislas II. and conquered part of Pomerania, entreated St. Otho to undertake a mission among the idolaters of that country. The good bishop having settled his own diocess in good order, and obtained of Pope Honorius II. a commission for that purpose, took with him a considerable number of zealous priests and catechists, and passed through Poland into Prussia, and thence into eastern Pomerania. He was met by Uratislas II. duke of Upper Pomerania, who received the sacrament of baptism with the greater part of his people in 1124. St. Otho returned to Bamberg for Easter the following year, having appointed priests every where to attend the new converts, and finish the work he had so happily begun. The towns of Stetin and Julin having again relapsed into idolatry, St. Otho, with a second blessing of Pope Honorius II. returned into Pomerania in 1128, brought those cities back to the faith, and through innumerable hardships and dangers carried the light of the gospel into Noim, and other remote barbarous provinces. He returned again to the care of his own flock, amidst which he died the death of the saints on the 30th of June, 1139. He was buried on the 2d of July, on which day he is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Theobald of Vicenza, Hermit

Today we commemorate Theobald. He was born at Provins to French nobility. According to Wikipedia:

As a youth, he admired the lives of hermits such as St. John the Baptist, of St. Paul the hermit, St. Anthony the Great, and St. Arsenius and he would also visit a local hermit named Burchard, who lived on an island in the Seine. He refused to get married or begin a career in the army or at court. When war broke out between Theobald’s cousin Odo II, Count of Blois and Conrad the Salic over the Burgundian crown, Theobald refused to lead troops to help his cousin and convinced his father to let him become a hermit. Theobald left home with a friend named Walter to become a hermit at Sussy in the Ardennes. They then traveled to Pettingen, where they worked as day laborers. They became pilgrims on the Way of St. James and afterwards returned to the diocese of Trier. They made a pilgrimage to Rome and planned to go to the Holy Land by way of Venice. However, Walter fell ill near Salanigo near Vicenza. They decided to settle there. After Walter died, Theobald became the leader of a group of hermits who had gathered there.The bishop of Vicenza ordained him as priest. Theobald's background, however, was soon discovered and his parents came to visit him. His mother, Gisela, eventually became a hermitess near this place of retreat. Theobald died from an illness in which his skin of every limb was covered over in blotches and ulcers. Shortly before his death he became a Camaldolese monk.