Archive for March, 2012

Feastday: March 31

Died: 424

Saint Benjamin was a deacon martyred in 424 in Persia. St. Benjamin was executed during a period of persecution of Christians that lasted forty years and through the reign of two Persian kings: Isdegerd I, who died in 421, and his son and successor, Varanes V. King Varanes carried on the persecution with such great fury, that Christians were submitted to the most cruel tortures.

The Christians in Persia had enjoyed twelve years of peace during the reign of Isdegerd, son of Sapor III, when in 420 it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of Abdas, a Christian Bishop who burned the Temple of Fire, the great sanctuary of the Persians. King Isdegerd threatened to destroy all the churches of the Christians unless the Bishop would rebuild it.

As Abdas refused to comply, the threat was executed; the churches were demolished, Abdas himself was put to death, and a general persecution began which lasted forty years.

Benjamin was imprisoned a year for his Christian Faith and later released with the condition that he abandon preaching or speaking of his religion. His release was obtained by the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II through an ambassador.

St. Benjamin, however, declared it was his duty to preach Christ and that he could not be silent. Although he had been liberated on the agreement made with the ambassador and the Persian authorities, he would not acquiesce in it, and neglected no opportunity of preaching. He was again apprehended and brought before the king. The tyrant ordered that reeds should be thrust in between his nails and his flesh and into all the tenderest parts of his body and then withdrawn. After this torture had been repeated several times, a knotted stake was inserted into his bowels to rend and tear him. The martyr expired in the most terrible agony about the year 424.

Saint Benjamin’s feast day is celebrated on October 13 in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Churches. Saint Benjamin’s feast day is celebrated on March 31 by the Roman Catholic Church. He is mentioned also in the Roman Martyrology, but has not been included in the General Roman Calendar.


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Feastday: March 25

Saint Dismas (the Penitent thief ), also known as the Thief on the Cross or the Good Thief, is one of the two thieves crucified with Christ on Calvary. The other thief is known as Gestas. He asked Jesus to remember him in his kingdom

A completely unsubstantiated myth from the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy that enjoyed great popularity in the West during the Middle Ages had two thieves who held up the Holy Family on the way to Egypt. Dismas bought off Gestas with forty drachmas to leave them unmolested, whereupon the Infant predicted that they would be crucified with Him in Jerusalem, and that Dismas would accompany Him to Paradise.

He was never formally canonized by the Catholic Church though he is regarded as a saint by virtue of Jesus saying he would be in Paradise, and by local church traditions as Saint Dismas (sometimes spelled “Dysmas” or in Spanish “Dimas”). The name Dismas for this thief may date back to the 4th century.

He is also regarded as the patron Saint of thieves. The feast of St. Dismas is on the 25th of March.

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Feastday: March 24

Died: 1080

St. Aldemar born in Capua, Italy, an Abbot and miracle worker, called “the Wise”. He became a monk in Monte Cassino and was called to the attention of a Princess Aloara of the region. He became the Spiritual director of a convent at Capua, a house founded by princess Aloara. Known as a miracle worker, he performed many miracles in this capacity.

A dispute developed between the princess and Aldemar’s abbot. She wanted him to stay, the abbot wanted him back at Monte Cassino Aldemar was reassigned by his abbot to Monte Cassino, a move that angered the princess. To escape the dispute, Aldemar moved to Boiana, Italy, where a companion involved in the dispute tried to kill him. Aldemar fled into the region of Bocchignano, Abruzzi, where he founded a monastery. Abruzzi then became the motherhouse for several more religious houses and monasteries.

St Aldemar died in 1080 of natural causes. His feastday is March 24.

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Feastday: March 18

Patron of Mantua

1036 – 1086

St. Anselm, born in Milan, a native of Mantua, Italy, was such a firm opponent of the corrupt practice of lay investiture that for several years he refused to accept appointment to the episcopacy of Lucca, because it would have required him to receive his investiture from the emperor Henry IV. But after being consecrated bishop of Lucca by Pope Saint Gregory VII, Anselm served in his diocese with great zeal while observing monastic piety in his spiritual life.

Celebrating daily Mass with tearful devotion, he spent several hours each day in prayer. In accordance with the ecclesiastical reforms championed by Pope Gregory, Anselm mandated the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline among the canons of his cathedral. But the canons were so attached to their dissolute habits that they rebelled, and expelled the bishop from the city.

Anselm was later appointed papal legate to Lombardy. He was so skilled in scripture studies that for any given biblical text he was able to repeat from memory all the principal explanations of that passage given by the Church Fathers.

Anselm was well versed in Scripture and wrote some important works attacking lay investiture and defending Pope Gregory against Antipope Guibert. He spent his last years assembling a collection of ecclesiastical law canons in 13 books, which formed the earliest of the collections of canons supporting the Gregorian reforms, which afterwards were incorporated into the well-known Decretum of the jurist Gratian.

He died in Mantua on March 18, 1086, and is regarded as the patron saint of that city.

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Feastday: March 17

Patron Against mice, cats, mental illness, travellers

626 – 659

Although the world remembers today as the feast day of St Patrick but the purpose of my blog is to make people aware of the not so famous saints than the obvious ones. So although I love St Patrick a lot, I dedicate today’s post to Saint Gertrude.

Saint Gertrude of Nivelles (626 – March 17, 659) was a Benedictine abbess, the daughter of Blessed Pepin of Landen and Saint Itta, and a younger sister of Saint Begga, Abbess of Andenne, Saint Bavo and Grimoald I.

Her mother Saint Itta founded the double monastary – Nivelles Abbey and installed her daughter Gertrude as abbess in 639. Gertrude was a mystic, gifted with visions. She befriended the Irish saints Foillian and Ultan who were now on their way from Rome to Peronne, where their brother St. Furseus, lay buried.

Gertrude is a patroness of travelers and gardeners and is invoked against fever, rats, and mice, particularly field-mice. There is a legend that one day she sent some of her subjects to a distant country, promising that no misfortune would befall them on the journey. When they were on the ocean, a large sea-monster threatened to capsize their ship, but disappeared upon the invocation of St. Gertrude.

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Feastday: March 11

1042 – 1069

Saint Aurea (1042 – 1069) was a native of Villavelayo, Spain, a region controlled by Moors. As a youth, Aurea studied the Scriptures and the lives of the early martyrs of the Church. Her favorite saints to meditate upon and try to copy were Saint Agatha, Saint Eulalia, and Saint Cecilia.

During the Moorish occupation of Spain, she became a nun at a nearby Benedictine San Millan de la Cogolla abbey and lived a solitary life. Soon after joining the convent, Aurea received a vision of her three favorite saints and was encouraged to follow her chosen lifestyle with more zeal.

Aurea spent only a few years of her life in the monastery. Around the year 1069 she contracted a painful disease and died. At the time of her death, Aurea was twenty-seven years old. She is commemorated on 11 March.

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Feastday: March 10

Saint Anastasia Patricia was the beautiful daughter of an Egyptian nobleman and a lady-in-waiting at the court of Emperor Justinian in Constantinople. To escape the attentions of the Emperor, she left the court and entered a convent in Alexandria. On the death of Justinian’s wife, Theodora, the Emperor again sought her, whereupon she fled to the desert and met Abbot Daniel, who allowed her to dress as a monk and live as a hermit in his community, at a time when this was only permitted of men. She lived a solitary life of constant prayer and austerity until her death twenty-eight years later.

When Anastasia was nearing death, Daniel visited her with his disciple to give her communion and hear her last words. Daniel revealed the full details of her story to his disciple after her death.

Her story comes to us in one recension of the Copto-Arabic Synaxarion and by a tale of Daniel of Scetis. Her feast day is 10 March in the Eastern Orthodox, Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches, and on 26 Tobi in the calendar of the Coptic Church. She has been recognised by the modern-day LGBT community as an example of a transgender saint.

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