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The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints - January, February, March
by Alban Butler
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Many sinners are moved by alarming sensible dangers or calamities to enter into themselves, on whom the terrors of the divine judgment make very little impression. The reason can only be a supine neglect of serious reflection, and a habit of considering them only transiently, and as at a distance; for it is impossible for any one who believes these great truths, if he takes a serious review of them, and has them present to his mind, to remain insensible: transient glances effect not a change of heart. Among the pretended conversions which sickness daily produces, very few bear the characters of sincerity, as appears by those who, after their recovery, live on in their former lukewarmness and disorders.[1] St. Austin, in a sermon which he made upon the news that Rome had been sacked by the barbarians, relates,[2] that not long before, at Constantinople, upon the appearance of an unusual meteor, and a rumor of a pretended prediction that the city would be destroyed by fire from heaven, the inhabitants were seized with a panic fear, all began to do penance like Ninive, and fled, with the emperor at their head, to a great distance from the city. After the term appointed for its pretended destruction was elapsed, they sent scouts to the city, which they had left quite empty, and, hearing that it was still standing, returned to it, and with their fears forgot their repentance and all their good resolutions. To prevent the danger of penitents imposing upon themselves by superficial conversions, St. Barbatus took all necessary precautions to improve their {433} first dispositions to a sincere and perfect change of heart, and to cut off and remove all dangerous occasions of temptations.

Footnotes: 1. The devil was sick, the devil a monk would be; The devil was well, the devil no monk was he. 2. S. Aug. Serm. de Excidio Urbis, c. 6, t. 6, p. 627, ed. Ben.

FEBRUARY XX.

SS. TYRANNIO, BISHOP OF TYRE,

ZENOBIUS, AND OTHERS, MARTYRS IN PHOENICIA, ETC.

From Eusebius, Hist l. 8, c.7, 13, 25. St. Jerom in Chron. Euseb.

A.D. 304, 310.

EUSEBIUS, the parent of church history, and an eye-witness of what he relates concerning these martyrs, gives the following account of them. "Several Christians of Egypt, whereof some had settled in Palestine, others at Tyre, gave astonishing proofs of their patience and constancy in the faith. After innumerable stripes and blows, which they cheerfully underwent, they were exposed to wild beasts, such as leopards, wild bears, boars, and bulls. I myself was present when these savage creatures, accustomed to human blood, being let out upon them, instead of devouring them, or tearing them to pieces, as it was natural to expect, stood off, refusing even to touch or approach them, at the same time that they fell foul on their keepers, and others that came in their way.[1] The soldiers of Christ were the only persons they refused, though these martyrs, pursuant to the order given them, tossed about their arms, which was thought a ready way to provoke the beasts, and stir them up against them. Sometimes, indeed, they were perceived to rush towards them with their usual impetuosity, but, withheld by a divine power, they suddenly withdrew; and this many times, to the great admiration of all present. The first having done no execution, others were a second and a third time let out upon them, but in vain; the martyrs standing all the while unshaken, though many of them very young. Among them was a youth of not yet twenty, who had his eyes lifted up to heaven, and his arms extended in the form of a cross, not in the least daunted, nor trembling, nor shifting his place, while the bears and leopards, with their jaws wide open, threatening immediate death, seemed just ready, to tear him to pieces; but, by a miracle, not being suffered to touch him, they speedily withdrew. Others were exposed to a furious bull, which had already gored and tossed into the air several infidels who had ventured too near, and left them half dead: only the martyrs he could not approach; he stopped, and stood scraping the dust with his feet, and though he seemed to endeavor it with his utmost might, butting with his horns on every side, and pawing the ground with his feet, being also urged on by red-hot iron goads, it was all to no purpose. After repeated trials of this kind with other wild beasts, with as little success as the former, the saints were slain by the sword, and their bodies cast into the sea. Others who refused to sacrifice were beaten {434} to death, or burned, or executed divers other ways." This happened in the year 304, under Veturius, a Roman general, in the reign of Dioclesian.

The church on this day commemorates the other holy martyrs, whose crown was deferred till 310. The principal of these was St. Tyrannio, bishop of Tyre, who had been present at the glorious triumph of the former, and encouraged them in their conflict. He had not the comfort to follow them till six years after; when, being conducted from Tyre to Antioch, with St. Zenobius, a holy priest and physician of Sidon, after many torments he was thrown into the sea, or rather into the river Orontes, upon which Antioch stands, at twelve miles distance front the sea. Zenobius expired on the rack, while his sides and body were furrowed and laid open with iron hooks and nails. St. Sylvanus, bishop of Emisa, in Phoenicia, was, some time after, under Maximinus, devoured by wild beasts in the midst of his own city, with two companions, after having governed that church forty years. Peleus and Nilus, two other Egyptian priests, in Palestine, were consumed by fire with some others. St. Sylvanus, bishop of Gaza, was condemned to the copper mines of Phoenon, near Petra, in Arabia, and afterwards beheaded there with thirty-nine others.

St. Tyrannio is commemorated on the 20th of February, in the Roman Martyrology, with those who suffered under Veturius, at Tyre, in 304. St. Zenobius, the priest and physician of Sidon, who suffered with him at Antioch, on the 29th of October: St. Sylvanus of Emisa, to whom the Menology gives many companions, on the 6th of February: St. Sylvanus of Gaza, on the 29th of May.

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The love of Christ triumphed in the hearts of so many glorious martyrs, upon racks, in the midst of boiling furnaces, or flames, and in the claws or teeth of furious wild beasts. How many inflamed with his love have forsaken all things to follow him, despising honors, riches, pleasures, and the endearments of worldly friends, to take up their crosses, and walk with constancy in the narrow paths of a most austere penitential life! We also pretend to love him: but what effect has this love upon us? what fruit does it produce in our lives? If we examine our own hearts, we shall be obliged to confess that we have great reason to fear that we deceive ourselves. What pains do we take to rescue our souls from the slavery of the world, and the tyranny of self-love, to purge our affections of vice, or to undertake any thing for the divine honor, and the sanctification of our souls? Let us earnestly entreat our most merciful Redeemer, by the power of this his holy love, to triumph over all his enemies, which are our unruly passions, in our souls, and perfectly to subdue our stubborn hearts to its empire. Let it be our resolution, from this moment, to renounce the love of the world, and all self-love, to seek and obey him alone.

Footnotes: 1. Rufinus adds, that these beasts killed several of the keepers and spectators. It is in this sense that some have translated this passage with Nicephorus. See Vales. In Annot. p. 165. But it seems improbable that the spectators, who were separated from the arena by iron rails, and seated on stone benches gradually ascending ten or twenty men deep all round, should be killed or injured by the beasts, unless some were so rash as to venture within the rails with the keepers; which we see several do in the combats of wild beasts. This, therefore, we are to restrain to the keepers and those who kept them company.

S. SADOTH, BISHOP OF SELEUCIA AND CTESIPHON,

WITH 128 COMPANIONS, MARTYRS.

From his genuine acts in Metaphrastes, Bollandus, and Ruinart; but more correctly in the original Chaldaic given us by Assemani, t. 1, p. 83. Orsi, Hist. t. 5, l. 13. See Le Quien, Oriens Christ. t. 2, p. 1108.

A.D. 342.

SADOTH, as he is called by the Greeks and Latins, is named in the original Persian language, Schiadustes, which signifies "friend of the king," from schiah, king, and dust, friend. His unspotted purity of heart, his ardent zeal, and the practice of all Christian virtues, prepared him, from his {435} youth, for the episcopal dignity, and the crown of martyrdom. St. Simeon, bishop of Selec, or Seleucia, and Ctesiphon, then the two capital cities of Persia, situate on the river Tigris, being translated to glory by martyrdom, in the beginning of the persecution raised by Sapor II., in 341, St. Sadoth was chosen three months after to fill his see, the most important in that empire, but the most exposed to the storm. This grew more violent on the publication of a new edict against the Christians, which made it capital to confess Christ. To wait with patience the manifestation of the divine will, St. Sadoth, with part of his clergy, lay hid for some time; which did not however hinder him from affording his distressed flock all proper assistance and encouragement, but rather enabled him to do it with the greater fruit. During this retreat he had a vision which seemed to indicate that the time was come for the holy bishop to seal his faith with his blood. This he related to his priests and deacons, whom he assembled for that purpose. "I saw," said he, "in my sleep, a ladder environed with light and reaching from earth to the heavens. St. Simeon was at the top of it, and in great glory. He beheld me at the bottom, and said to me, with a smiling countenance: 'Mount up, Sadoth, fear not. I mounted yesterday, and it is your turn to-day:' which means, that as he was slain last year, so I am to follow him this." He was not wanting on this occasion to exhort his clergy, with great zeal and fervor, to make a provision of good works, and employ well their time, till they should be called on in like manner, that they might be in readiness to take possession of their inheritance. "A man that is guided by the Spirit," says St. Maruthas, author of these acts, "fears not death; he loves God, and goes to him with an incredible ardor; but he who lives according to the desires of the flesh, trembles, and is in despair at its approach: he loves the world, and it is with grief that he leaves it."

The second year of the persecution, king Sapor coming to Seleucia, Sadoth was apprehended, with several of his clergy, some ecclesiastics of the neighborhood, end certain monks and nuns belonging to his church, to the amount of one hundred and twenty-eight persons. They were thrown into dungeons, where, during five months' confinement, they suffered incredible misery and torments. They were thrice called out, and put to the rack or question; their legs were straight bound with cords, which were drawn with so much violence, that their bones breaking, were heard to crack like sticks in a fagot. Amidst these tortures the officers cried out to them: "Adore the sun, and obey the king, if you would save your lives." Sadoth answered in the name of all, that the sun was but a creature, the work of God, made for the use of mankind; that they would pay supreme adoration to none but the Creator of heaven and earth, and never be unfaithful to him; that it was indeed in their power to take away their lives, but that this would be the greatest favor they could do them; wherefore he conjured them not to spare them, or delay their execution. The officers said: "Obey! or know that your death is certain, and immediate." The martyrs all cried out with one voice: "We shall not die, but live and reign eternally with God and his Son Jesus Christ. Wherefore inflict death as soon as you please; for we repeat it to you that we will not adore the sun, nor obey the unjust edicts." Then sentence of death was pronounced upon them all by the king; for which they thanked God, and mutually encouraged each other. They were chained two and two together, and led out of the city to execution, singing psalms and canticles of joy as they went. Being arrived at the place of their martyrdom, they raised their voices still higher, blessing and thanking God for his mercy in bringing them thither, and begging the grace of perseverance, and that by this baptism of their blood they might enter into his glory. These prayers and praises of God did not cease but with {436} the life of the last of this blessed company. St. Sadoth, by the king's orders, was separated from them, and sent into the province of the Huzites, where he was beheaded. He thus rejoined his happy flock in the kingdom of glory. Ancient Chaldaic writers quoted by Assemani say, St. Schiadustes, or Sadoth, was nephew to Simeon Barsaboe, being son to his sister. He governed his church only eight months, and finished his martyrdom after five months imprisonment, in the year 342, and of king Sapor II. the thirty-third. These martyrs are honored in the Roman Martyrology on this day.

ST. ELEUTHERIUS, MARTYR,

BISHOP OF TOURNAY.

A.D. 532.

HE was born at Tournay, of Christian parents, whose family had been converted to Christ by St. Piat, one hundred and fifty years before. The faith had declined at Tournay ever since St. Piat's martyrdom, by reason of its commerce with the heathen islands of Taxandria, now Zealand, and by means of the heathen French kings, who resided some time at Tournay. Eleutherius was chosen bishop of that city in 486; ten years after which king Clovis was baptized at Rheims. Eleutherius converted the greatest part of the Franks in that country to the faith, and opposed most zealously certain heretics who denied the mystery of the Incarnation, by whom he was wounded on the head with a sword, and died of the wound five weeks after, on the first of July, in 532. The most ancient monuments, relating to this saint, seem to have perished in a great fire which consumed his church, and many other buildings at Tournay, in 1092, with his relics. See Miraeus, and his life written in the ninth century, extant in Bollandus, p. 187.[1] Of the sermons ascribed to St. Eleutherius, in the Library of the Fathers t. 8, none seem sufficiently warranted genuine, except three on the Incarnation and Birth of Christ, and the Annunciation. See Dom. Rivet, Hist. Litter., t. 3, p. 154, and t. 5, pp. 40, 41. Gallia Christ. Nova, t. 3, p. 571, and Henschenius, p 180.

Footnotes: 1. This author wrote before the invasion of the Normans, and the translation of the saint's relics; but long after the saint's death, and by making him born in the reign of Dioclesian, yet contemporary with St. Medard, destroys his own credit. Some years after, another author much enlarged this life, and inserted a history of the translation of the relics of this saint, made in 897. A third writer added a relation of later miracles, and of the translation of these relics into the city of Tourney, in 1164. All these authors deserve little notice, except in relating facts of their own time.

ST. MILDRED, V. ABBESS.

EORMENBURGA,[1] pronounced Ermenburga, otherwise called Domneva, was married to Merwald, a son of king Penda, and had by him three daughters and a son, who all consecrated their whole estates to pious uses, and were all honored by our ancestors among the saints. Their names were Milburg, Mildred, Mildgithe, and Mervin. King Egbert caused his two nephews, Ethelred and Ethelbright, to be secretly murdered in the isle of Thanet. Count Thunor, whom he had charged with that execrable commission, buried the bodies of the two princes under the king's throne, in the {437} royal palace at Estrage, now called Estria. The king is said to have been miraculously terrified by seeing a ray of bright light dart from the heavens upon their grave, and, in sentiments of compunction, he sent for their sister Eormenburga, out of Mercia, to pay her the weregeld, which was the mulct for a murder, ordained by the laws to be paid to the relations of the persons deceased. In satisfaction for the murder, he settled on her forty-eight ploughs of land, which she employed in founding a monastery, in which prayers might be continually put up to God for the repose of the souls of the two princes. This pious establishment was much promoted by the king, and thus the monastery was founded about the year 670; not 596, as Leland[2] and Speed mistake. The monastery was called Menstrey, or rather Minstre, in the isle of Thanet. Domneva sent her daughter Mildred to the abbey of Chelles, in France, where she took the religious veil, and was thoroughly instructed in all the duties of that state, the perfect spirit of which she had imbibed from her tender years. Upon her return to England she was consecrated first abbess of Minstre, in Thanet, by St. Theodorus, archbishop of Canterbury, and at the same time received to the habit seventy chosen virgins. She behaved herself by humility as the servant of her sisters, and conducted them to virtue by the authority of her example, for all were ashamed not to imitate her watching, mortification, and prayer, and not to walk according to her spirit. Her aunt, Ermengitha, served God in the same house with such fervor, that after her death she was ranked among the saints, and her tomb, situated a mile from the monastery, was famous for the resort of devout pilgrims. St. Mildred died of a lingering, painful illness, towards the close of the seventh century. This great monastery was often plundered by the Danes, and the nuns and clerks murdered, chiefly in the years 980 and 1011. After the last of these burnings, here were no more nuns, but only a few secular priests. In 1033, the remains of St. Mildred were translated to the monastery of St. Austin's at Canterbury, and venerated above all the relics of that holy place, says Malmesbury,[3] who testifies frequent miracles to have been wrought by them: Thorn and others confirm the same. Two churches in London bear her name. See Thorn's Chronicle, inter Decem Scriptores, coll. 1770, 1783, 1906. Harpsfield: an old Saxon book, entitled, Narratio de Sanctis qui in Anglia quiescunt published by Hickes, Thesaur., t. 1, in Dissert. Epistolari, p. 116. Monast. Anglic. t. 1, p. 84. Stevens Supplem. vol. 1, p. 518. Reyneri Apostolat. Bened. t. 1, p. 61, and Lewis's History of the isle of Thanet, (printed at London in 1723, in 4to.,) pp. 51, 62, and in Append. n. 23.

Footnotes: 1. Eadbald, king of Kent, had by his queen Emma, daughter to a king of the French, St. Eanswithe, (whose relics were venerated at Folkstone, till the change of religion,) and two sons, Eorcombert (afterwards king) and Eormenred, surnamed Clito. This last left four children by his wife Oslave, namely, Eurmenburga and St. Eormengitha, with two sons, St. Ethelred and St. Ethelbright. King Eorcombert had, by his queen Sexburga, Egbert and Lothaire, successively kings, and St. Eormenilda and St. Ercongota. Eormenburga was surnamed Moldeva, as we are assured by the ancient English Saxon account of these saints, published by Hickes: though Capgrave frequently speaks of them as different women. 2. Leland, Collect. t. 1, p. 97. 3. L. 2, de Reg. Angl. c. 13.

ST. EUCHERIUS, BISHOP OF ORLEANS, C.

OUR saint's mother, who was a lady of eminent virtue, and of the first quality at Orleans, while she was with child of him, made a daily offering of him to God, and begged nothing for him but divine grace. When he was born, his parents dedicated him to God, and set him to study when he was but seven years old, resolving to omit nothing that could be done towards cultivating his mind, or forming his heart. His improvement in virtue kept pace with his progress in learning: he meditated assiduously on the sacred writings, especially on St. Paul's manner of speaking on the world, and its enjoyments, as mere empty shadows, that deceive us and vanish away;[1] and took particular notice that the apostle says, the wisdom of those who love the pleasures and riches of this life is no better than folly before God. {438} These reflections at length sunk so deep into his mind, that he resolved to quit the world. To put this design in execution, about the year 714, he retired to the abbey of Jumiege, on the banks of the Seine, in the diocese of Rouen. When he had spent six or seven years here, in the practice of penitential austerities and obedience, Suavaric, his uncle, bishop of Orleans, died: the senate and people, with the clergy of that city, deputed persons to Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, to beg his permission to elect Eucherius to the vacant see. That prince granted their request, and sent with them one of his principal officers of state to conduct him from his monastery to Orleans. The saint's affliction at their arrival was inexpressible, and he entreated the monks to screen him from the dangers that threatened him. But they preferred the public good to their private inclinations, and resigned him up for that important charge. He was received at Orleans, and consecrated with universal applause, in 721. Though he received the episcopal character with grievous apprehensions of its obligations and dangers, he was not discouraged, but had recourse to the supreme pastor for assistance in the discharge of his duties, and devoted himself entirely to the care of his church. He was indefatigable in instructing and reforming his flock, and his zeal and even reproofs were attended with so much sweetness and charity, that it was impossible not to love and obey him. Charles Martel, to defray the expenses of his wars and other undertakings, and to recompense those that served him, often stripped the churches of their revenues, and encouraged others to do the same. St. Eucherius reproved these encroachments with so much zeal, that flatterers represented it to the prince as an insult offered to his person; therefore, in the year 737, Charles, in his return to Paris, after having defeated the Saracens in Aquitaine, took Orleans in his way, ordered Eucherius to follow him to Verneuil upon the Oise, in the diocese of Beauvais, where he then kept his court, and banished him to Cologne. The extraordinary esteem which his virtue procured him in that city, moved Charles to order him to be conveyed thence to a strong place in Hasbain, now called Haspengaw, in the territory of Liege, under the guard of Robert, governor of that country. The governor was so charmed with his virtue, that he made him the distributer of his large alms, and allowed him to retire to the monastery of Sarchinium, or St. Tron's. Here prayer and contemplation were his whole employment, till the year 743, in which he died on the 20th of February. He is named in the Roman, and other martyrologies. See his original life by one of the same age, with the preliminary dissertation of Henschenius, and the remarks of Mabillon, saec. 3, Ben. The pretended vision of the damnation of Charles Martel, is an evident interpolation, found only in later copies and in Surius.

Footnotes: 1. 1. Cor. vii {}, m. 19.

ST. ULRICK, A RECLUSE.

HE was born near Bristol, and being promoted to the priesthood, took great pleasure in hunting, till being touched by divine grace, he retired near Hoselborough in Dorsetshire, where he led a most austere and holy life. He died on the 20th of February, in 1154. See Matthew Paris, Ford Henry of Huntingdon, and Harpsfield, saec. 12, c. 29

{439}

FEBRUARY XXI.

ST. SEVERIANUS, MARTYR.

BISHOP OF SCYTHOPHOLIS.

From the life of St. Euthymius, written by Cyril the monk; a letter of the emperor Marcia{}agrius, l. 2, c. 5. Nicephorus Calixt. l. 15, c. 9, collected by Bollandus, p. 246.

A.D. 452, or 453.

IN the reign of Marcian and St. Pulcheria, the council of Chalcedon which condemned the Eutychian heresy, was received by St. Euthymius, and by a great part of the monks of Palestine. But Theodosius, an ignorant Eutychian monk, and a man of a most tyrannical temper, under the protection of the empress Eudoxia, widow of Theodosius the Younger, who lived at Jerusalem, perverted many among the monks themselves, and having obliged Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem, to withdraw, unjustly possessed himself of that important see, and in a cruel persecution which he raised, filled Jerusalem with blood, as the emperor Marcian assures us: then, at the head of a band of soldiers, he carried desolation over the country. Many, however, had the courage to stand their ground. No one resisted him with greater zeal and resolution than Severianus, bishop of Scythopolis, and his recompense was the crown of martyrdom; for the furious soldiers seized his person, dragged him out of the city, and massacred him in the latter part of the year 452, or in the beginning of the year 453. His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology, on the 21st of February.

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Palestine, the country which for above one thousand four hundred years had been God's chosen inheritance under the Old Law, when other nations were covered with the abominations of idolatry, had been sanctified by the presence, labors, and sufferings of our divine Redeemer, and had given birth to his church, and to so many saints, became often the theatre of enormous scandals, and has now, for many ages, been enslaved to the most impious and gross superstitions. So many flourishing churches in the East which were planted by the labors of the chiefest among the apostles, watered with the blood of innumerable glorious martyrs, illustrated with the bright light of the Ignatiuses, the Polycarps, the Basils, the Ephrems, and the Chrysostoms, blessed by the example and supported by the prayers of legions of eminent saints, are fallen a prey to almost universal vice and infidelity. With what floods of tears can we sufficiently bewail so grievous a misfortune, and implore the divine mercy in behalf of so many souls! How ought we to be alarmed at the consideration of so many dreadful examples of God's inscrutable judgments, and tremble for ourselves! Let him who stands beware lest he fall. Hold fast what thou hast, says the oracle of the Holy Ghost to every one of us, lest another bear away thy crown.

{440}

SS. GERMAN, ABBOT OF GRANFEL,

AND RANDAUT, OR RANDOALD, MARTYRS.

From their acts, written by the priest Babolen in the same age, in Bollandus, Le Cointe, ad an. 662. Bulteau, Hist. Mon. d'Occid. l. 3, c. 44, p. 661.

ABOUT THE YEAR 666.

ST. GERMAN, or GERMANUS, was son of a rich senator of Triers, and brought up from the cradle under the care of Modoald, bishop of Triers. At seventeen years of age, he gave all he could dispose of to the poor, and with Modoald's consent applied himself to St. Arnoul, who having resigned his dignities of bishop of Metz, and minister of state under Dagobert, then led an eremitical life in a desert in Lorrain, near Romberg, or Remiremont. That great saint, charmed with the innocence and fervor of the tender young nobleman, received him in the most affectionate manner, and gave him the monastic tonsure. Under such a master the holy youth made great progress in a spiritual life, and after some time, having engaged a younger brother, called Numerian, to forsake the world, he went with him to Romberg, or the monastery of St. Romaric, a prince of royal blood, who, resigning the first dignity and rank which he enjoyed in the court of king Theodebert, had founded in his own castle, in concert with his friend St. Arnoul, a double house, one larger for nuns, the other less for monks; both known since under the name of Remiremont, situated on a part of Mount Vosge. St. Romaric died in 653, and is named in the Roman Martyrology on the 8th of December, on which his festival is kept at Remiremont, and that of the Blessed Virgin deferred to the day following. He settled here the rule of Luxeu, or of St. Columban.[1] St. German made the practices of all manner of humiliations, penance, and religion, the object of his earnest ambition, and out of a desire of greater spiritual advancement, after some time passed with his brother to the monastery of Luxeu, then governed by the holy abbot, St. Walbert. Duke Gondo, one of the principal lords of Alsace, having founded a monastery in the diocese of Basil, called the Great Valley, in German, Granfel, and now more commonly Munster-thal, or the Monastery of the valley, St. Walbert appointed St. German abbot of the colony which he settled there. Afterwards the two monasteries of Ursiein, commonly called St. Ursitz, and of St. Paul Zu-Werd, or of the island, were also put under his direction, though he usually resided at Granfel. Catihe, called also Boniface, who succeeded Gondo in the duchy, inherited no share of his charity and religion, and oppressed both the monks and poor inhabitants with daily acts of violence and arbitrary tyranny. The holy abbot bore all private injuries in silence, but often pleaded the cause of the poor. The duke had thrown the magistrates of several villages into prison, and many ways distressed the other inhabitants, laying waste their lands at pleasure, and destroying all the fruits of their toil, and all the means of their poor subsistence. As he was one day ravaging their lands and plundering their houses at the head of a troop of soldiers, St. German went out to meet him, to entreat him to spare a distressed and innocent people. The duke listened to his remonstrances and promised to desist; but while the saint stayed to offer up his prayers in the church of St. Maurice, the {441} soldiers fell again to killing, burning, and plundering: and while St. German was on his road to return to Granfel, with his companion Randoald, commonly called Randaut, they first stripped them, and then, while they were at their prayers, pierced them both with lances, about the year 666. Their relics were deposited at Granfel, and were exposed in a rich shrine till the change of religion, since which time the canonries, into which this monastery was converted, are removed to Telsberg, or Delmont.

Footnotes: 1. Remiremont was destroyed in the tenth century by the Hungarians or New Huns, but rebuilt in the reign of Louis III., in the plain beyond the Moselle, at the bottom of the mountain, where a town is formed. It has been, if not from its restoration, at least for several centuries, a noble collegiate church for canonesses, who make proof of nobility for two hundred years, but can marry if they resign their p{}ends; except the abbess, who makes solemn religious vows.

SS. DANIEL, PRIEST, AND VERDA, VIRGIN,

MARTYRS.

From their authentic acts, written by St. Maruthas, in Syriac, and published by Stephen Assemani among the Oriental Martyrs, t. 1, p. 103.

A.D. 344.

Two years after the martyrdom of St. Milles, Daniel, a priest, and a virgin consecrated to God, named Verda, which in Chaldaic signifies a rose, were apprehended in the province of the Razicheans, in Persia, by an order of the governor, and put to all manner of torments for three months, almost without intermission. Among other tortures, their feet being bored through, were put into frozen water for five days together. The governor, seeing it impossible to overcome their constancy, condemned them to lose their heads. They were crowned on the 25th of the moon of February, which was that year the 21st of that month, in the year of Christ 344, and of king Sapor II., the thirty-fifth. Their names were not known either to the Greek or Latin martyrologists: and their illustrious triumph is recorded in few words by St. Maruthas: but was most glorious in the sight of heaven.

B. PEPIN OF LANDEN, MAYOR OF THE PALACE

TO THE KINGS CLOTAIRE II., DAGOBERT, AND SIGEBERT.

HE was son of Carloman, the most powerful nobleman of Austrasia, who had been mayor to Clotaire I., son of Clovis I. He was grandfather to Pepin of Herstal, the most powerful mayor, whose son was Charles Martel, and grandson Pepin the Short, king of France, in whom began the Carlovingian race. Pepin of Landen, upon the river Geete, in Brabant, was a lover of peace, the constant defender of truth and justice, a true friend to all servants of God, the terror of the wicked, the support of the weak, the father of his country, the zealous and humble defender of religion. He was lord of great part of Brabant, and governor of Austrasia, when Theodebert II., king of that country, was defeated by Theodoric II., king of Burgundy, and soon after assassinated in 612: and Theodoric dying the year following, Clotaire II., king of Soissons, reunited Burgundy, Neustria, and Austrasia to his former dominions, and became sole monarch of France. For the pacific possession of Austrasia he was much indebted to Pepin, whom he appointed mayor of the palace to his son Dagobert I., when, in 622, he declared him king of Austrasia and Neustria. The death of Clotaire II., in 628, put him in possession of all France, except a small part of Aquitaine, with Thoulouse, which was settled upon his younger brother, Charibert. When king Dagobert, forgetful of the maxims instilled into him in his youth, had given himself up to a shameful lust, this faithful minister {442} boldly reproached him with his ingratitude to God, and ceased not till he saw him a sincere and perfect penitent. This great king died in 638, and was buried at St. Denys's. He had appointed Pepin tutor to his son Sigebert from his cradle, and mayor of his palace when he declared him king of Austrasia, in 633. After the death of Dagobert, Clovis II. reigning in Burgundy and Neustria, (by whom Erchinoald was made mayor for the latter, and Flaochat for the former,) Pepin quitted the administration of those dominions, and resided at Metz, with Sigebert, who always considered him as his father, and under his discipline became himself a saint, and one of the most happy among all the French kings. Pepin was married to the blessed Itta, of one of the first families in Aquitaine, by whom he had a son called Grimoald, and two daughters, St. Gertrude, and St. Begga. The latter, who was the elder, was married to Ansigisus, son of St. Arnoul, to whom she bore Pepin of Herstal. B. Pepin, of Landen, died on the 21st of February, in 640, and was buried at Landen; but his body was afterwards removed to Nivelle, where it is now enshrined, as are those of the B. Itta, and St. Gertrude in the same place. His name stands in the Belgi martyrologies, though no other act of public veneration has been paid to his memory, than the enshrining of his relics, which are carried in processions. His name is found in a litany published by the authority of the archbishop of Mechlin. See Bollandus, t. 3, Fehr. p. 250, and Dom Bouquet, Recueil des Hist. de France, t. 2, p. 603.

FEBRUARY XXII.

THE CHAIR OF ST. PETER AT ANTIOCH.

Baronius, Annot. In Martyrol. ad 18 Januarii, the Bollandists, ib. t. 2 p. 182, sect. 5 and 6, and especially Jos. Bianchini, Dissecr. De Romana Cathedra in notis in Anastatium Biblioth. t. 4, p. 150.

THAT Saint Peter, before he went to Rome, founded the see of Antioch, is attested by Eusebius,[1] Origen,[2] St. Jerom,[3] St. Innocent,[4] Pope Gelasius, in his Roman Council,[5] Saint Chrysostom, and others. It was just that the prince of the apostles should take this city under his particular care and inspection, which was then the capital of the East, and in which the faith took so early and so deep root as to give birth in it to the name of Christians. St. Chrysostom says, that St. Peter made there a long stay: St. Gregory the Great,[6] that he was seven years bishop of Antioch; not that he resided there all that time, but only that he had a particular care over that church. If he sat twenty-five years at Rome, the date of his establishing his church at Antioch must be within three years after our Saviour's ascension; for in that supposition he must have gone to Rome in the second year of Claudius.

The festival of St. Peter's chair in general, Natale Petri de Cathedra, is marked on this day in the most ancient calendar extant, made in the time of pope Liberius, about the year 354.[7] It also occurs in Gregory's sacramentary, {443} and in all the martyrologies. It was kept in France in the sixth century, as appears from the council of Tours,[8] and from Le Cointo.[9]

* * * * *

In the first ages it was customary, especially in the East, for every Christian to keep the anniversary of his baptism, on which he renewed his baptismal vows, and gave thanks to God for his heavenly adoption: this they called their spiritual birthday. The bishops in like manner kept the anniversary of their own consecration, as appears from four sermons of St. Leo, on the anniversary of his accession or assumption to the pontifical dignity, and this was frequently continued by the people after their decease, out of respect to their memory. St. Leo says, we ought to celebrate the chair of St. Peter with no less joy than the day of his martyrdom; for as in this he was exalted to a throne of glory in heaven, so by the former he was installed head of the church on earth.[10]

On this festival we are especially bound to adore and thank the divine goodness for the establishment and propagation of his church, and earnestly to pray that in his mercy he preserve the same, and dilate its pale, that his name may be glorified by all nations, and by all hearts, to the boundaries of the earth, for his divine honor and the salvation of souls, framed to his divine image, and the price of his adorable blood. The church of Christ is his spiritual kingdom: he is not only the architect and founder, but continues to govern it, and by his spirit to animate its members to the end of the world as its invisible head: though he has left in St. Peter and his successors a vicar, or lieutenant, as a visible head, with an established hierarchy for its exterior government. If we love him and desire his honor, if we love men on so many titles linked with us, can we cease weeping and praying, that by his sweet omnipotent grace he subdue all the enemies of his church, converting to it all infidels and apostates? In its very bosom sinners fight against him. Though these continue his members by faith, they are dead members, because he lives not in them by his grace and charity, reigns not in their hearts, animates them not with his spirit. He will indeed always live by grace and sanctity in many members of his mystical body. Let us pray that by the destruction of the tyranny of sin all souls may subject themselves to the reign of his holy love. Good Jesus! for your mercy's sake, hear me in this above all other petitions: never suffer me to be separated from you by forfeiting your holy love: may I remain always rooted and grounded in your charity, as is the will of your Father. Eph. iii.

Footnotes: 1. Chron. and Hist., l. 3, c. 30. 2. Hom. 6, in Luc. 3. In Catal. c. 1. 4. Ep. 18, t. 2, Conc. p. 1269. 5. Conc. t. 4, p. 1262. 6. Ep. 40, l. 7, t. 2, p. 888, Ed. Ben. 7. Some have imagined that the feast of the chair of St. Peter was not known, at least in Africa, because it occurs not in the ancient calendar of Carthage. But how should the eighth day before the calends of March now appear in it, since the part is lost from the fourteenth before the calends of March to the eleventh before the calends of May? Hence St. Pontius, deacon and martyr, on the eighth before the Ides of March; St. Donatus, and some other African martyrs are not there found. At least it is certain that it was kept at Rome long before that time. St. Leo preached a sermon on St. Peter's chair, (Serm. 100, t. 1, p. 285, ad. Rom.) Quesnel denied it to be genuine in his first edition; but in the second at Lyons, to 1700, he corrected this mistake, and proved this sermon to be St. Leo's; which is more fully demonstrated by Cacciari in his late Roman edition of St. Leo's works, t. 1, p. 285. 8. Can. 22. 9. Ad an. 566. 10. St. Leo Serm. 100, in Cathedra S. Petri, t. 1, p. 285, ed. Romanae.

ST. MARGARET OF CORTONA, PENITENT.

From her life written by her confessor, in the Acta Sanctorum; by Bollandus, p. 298. Wadding, Annal. FF. Minorum ad an. 1297; and the Lives of the SS. of Third Ord. by Barb. t. 1, p. 508.

A.D. 1297

MARGARET was a native of Alviano, in Tuscany. The harshness of a stepmother, and her own indulged propension to vice, cast her headlong into the greatest disorders. The sight of the carcass of a man, half putrefied, {444} who had been her gallant, struck her with so great a fear of the divine judgments, and with so deep a sense of the treachery of this world, that she in a moment became a perfect penitent. The first thing she did was to throw herself at her father's feet, bathed in tears, to beg his pardon for her contempt of his authority and fatherly admonitions. She spent the days and nights in tears: and to repair the scandal she had given by her crimes, she went to the parish church of Alviano; with a rope about her neck, and there asked public pardon for them. After this she repaired to Cortona, and made her most penitent confession to a father of the Order of St. Francis, who admired the great sentiments of compunction with which she was filled, and prescribed her austerities and practices suitable to her fervor. Her conversion happened in the year 1274, the twenty-fifth of her age. She was assaulted by violent temptations of various kinds, but courageously overcame them, and after a trial of three years, was admitted to her profession among the penitents of the third Order of St. Francis, in Cortona. The extraordinary austerities with which she punished her criminal flesh soon disfigured her body. To exterior mortification she joined all sorts of humiliations; and the confusion with which she was covered at the sight of her own sins, pushed her on continually to invent many extraordinary means of drawing upon herself all manner of confusion before men. This model of true penitents, after twenty-three years spent in severe penance, and twenty of them in the religious habit, being worn out by austerities, and consumed by the fire of divine love, died on the 22d of February, in 1297. After the proof of many miracles, Leo X. granted an office in her honor to the city of Cortona, which Urban VIII. extended to the whole Franciscan Order, in 1623, and she was canonized by Benedict XIII. in 1728.

SS. THALASSIUS AND LIMNEUS, CC.

THEY were contemporaries with the great Theodoret, bishop of Cyr, and lived in his diocese. The former dwelt in a cavern in a neighboring mountain, and was endowed with extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, but was a treasure unknown to the world. His disciple St. Limneus was famous for miraculous cures of the sick, while he himself bore patiently the sharpest colics and other distempers without any human succor. He opened his enclosure only to Theodoret, his bishop, but spoke to others through a window. See Theodoret, Phil. c. 22.

ST. BARADAT, C.

HE lived in the same diocese, in a solitary hut, made of wood in trellis, like windows, says Theodoret,[1] exposed to all the severities of the weather. He was clothed with the skins of wild beasts, and by conversing continually with God, he attained to an eminent degree of wisdom, and knowledge of heavenly things. He left his wooden prison by the order of the patriarch of Antioch, giving a proof of his humility by his ready obedience. He studied to imitate all the practices of penance, which all the other solitaries of those parts exercised, though of a tender constitution himself. The fervor of his soul, and the fire of divine love, supported him under his incredible labors {445} though his body was weak and infirm. It is sloth that makes us so often allege a pretended weakness of constitution, in the practice of penance and the exercises of devotion, which courage and fervor would not even feel. See Theodoret, Phil. c. 22, t. 3, p. 868, and c. 27.

Footnotes: 1. This passage of Theodoret shows, that the windows of the ancients were made of trellis or wicker before the invention of glass; though not universally; for in the ruins of Herculaneum, near Portichi were found windows of a diaphanous thin slate, such as the rich in Rome sometimes used.

FEBRUARY XXIII.

ST. SERENUS, A GARDENER, MARTYR.

From his genuine acts in Ruinart, p. 546.

A.D. 327.

SERENUS was by birth a Grecian. He quitted estate, friends, and country, to serve God in an ascetic life, that is, in celibacy, penance, and prayer. Coming with this design to Sirmium, in Pannonia or Hungary, he there bought a garden, which he cultivated with his own hands, and lived on the fruits and herbs it produced. The apprehension of the persecution made him hide himself for some months; after which he returned to his garden. On a certain day, there came thither a woman, with her two daughters, to walk. Serenus seeing them come up to him, said, "What do you seek here?" "I take a particular satisfaction," she replied, "in walking in this garden." "A lady of your quality," said Serenus, "ought not to walk here at unseasonable hours, and this you know is an hour you ought to be at home. Some other design brought you hither. Let me advise you to withdraw, and be more regular in your hours and conduct for the future, as decency requires in persons of your sex and condition." It was usual for the Romans to repose themselves at noon, as it is still the custom in Italy. The woman, stung at our saint's charitable remonstrance, retired in confusion, but resolved on revenging the supposed affront. She accordingly writes to her husband, who belonged to the guards of the emperor Maximian, to complain of Serenus as having insulted her. Her husband, on receiving her letter, went to the emperor to demand justice, and said: "While we are waiting on your majesty's person, our wives in distant countries are insulted." Whereupon the emperor gave him a letter to the governor of the province to enable him to obtain satisfaction. With this letter he set out for Sirmium, and presented it to the governor, conjuring him, in the name of the emperor his master, to revenge the affront offered to him in the person of his wife during his absence. "And who is that insolent man," said the magistrate, "who durst insult such a gentleman's wife?" "It is," said he, "a vulgar pitiful fellow, one Serenus, a gardener." The governor ordered him to be immediately brought before him, and asked him his name. "It is Serenus," said he. The judge said: "Of what profession are you?" He answered: "I am a gardener." The governor said: "How durst you have the insolence and boldness to affront the wife of this officer?" Serenus: "I never insulted any woman, to my knowledge, in my life." The governor then said: "Let the witnesses be called in to convict this fellow of the affront he offered this lady in a garden." Serenus, hearing the garden mentioned, recalled this woman to mind, and answered: "I remember that, some time ago, a lady came into my garden at an unseasonable hour, with a design, as she said, to take a walk: and I own I took the liberty to tell her it was against decency {446} for one of her sex and quality to be abroad at such an hour." This plea of Serenus having put the officer to the blush for his wife's action, which was too plain an indication of her wicked purpose and design, he dropped his prosecution against the innocent gardener, and withdrew out of court.

But the governor, understanding by this answer that Serenus was a man of virtue, suspected by it that he might be a Christian, such being the most likely, he thought, to resent visits from ladies at improper hours. Wherefore, instead of discharging him, he began to question him on this head, saying: "Who are you, and what is your religion?" Serenus, without hesitating one moment, answered: "I am a Christian." The governor said: "Where have you concealed yourself? and how have you avoided sacrificing to the gods?" "It has pleased God," replied Serenus, "to reserve me for this present time. It seemed awhile ago as if he rejected me as a stone unfit to enter his building, but he has the goodness to take me now to be placed in it; I am ready to suffer all things for his name, that I may have a part in his kingdom with his saints." The governor, hearing this generous answer, burst into rage, and said: "Since you sought to elude by flight the emperor's edicts, and have positively refused to sacrifice to the gods, I condemn you for these crimes to lose your head." The sentence was no sooner pronounced, but the saint was carried off and led to the place of execution, where he was beheaded, on the 23d of February, in 307. The ancient Martyrology attributed to St. Jerom, published at Lucca by Florentinius, joins with him sixty-two others, who, at different times, were crowned at Sirmium. The Roman Martyrology, with others, says seventy-two.

The garden affords a beautiful emblem of a Christian's continual progress to the path of virtue. Plants always mount upwards, and never stop in their growth till they have attained to that maturity which the author of nature has prescribed: all the nourishment they,receive ought to tend to this end; if any part wastes itself in superfluities, this is a kind of disease. So in a Christian, every thing ought to carry him towards that perfection which the sanctity of his state requires; and every desire of his soul, every action of his life, to be a step advancing to this in a direct line. When all his inclinations have one uniform bent, and all his labors the same tendency, his progress must be great, because uninterrupted, however imperceptible it may often appear. Even his temporal affairs must be undertaken with this intention, and so conducted as to fall within the compass of this his great design. The saints so regulated all their ordinary actions, their meals, their studies, their conversation and visits, their business and toil, whether tilling a garden or superintending an estate, as to make the love of God their motive, and the accomplishment of his will their only ambition in every action. All travail which leadeth not towards this end is but so much of life misspent and lost, whatever names men may give to their political or military achievements, study of nature, knowledge of distant shores, or cunning in the mysteries of trade, or arts of conversation. Though such actions, when of duty, fall under the order of our salvation, and must be so moderated, directed, and animated with a spirit of religion, as to be made means of our sanctification. But in a Christian life the exercises of devotion, holy desires, and tender affections, which proceed from a spirit of humble compunction, and an ardent love of our Saviour, and by which a soul raises herself up to, and continually sighs after him, are what every one ought most assiduously and most earnestly to study to cultivate. By these is the soul more and more purified, and all her powers united to God, and made heavenly {447} These are properly the most sweet and beautiful flowers of paradise, or of a virtuous life.

ST. MILBURGE, V.

See Malmesb. l. 2, Regibus, & l. 4, de Pontif. Angl. c. 3. Thorn's Chron. Capgrave Harpsfield, &c.

SEVENTH CENTURY.

ST. MILBURGE was sister to St. Mildred, and daughter of Merowald, son of Penda, king of Mercia. Having dedicated herself to God in a religious state, she was chosen abbess of Wenlock, in Shropshire, which house she rendered a true paradise of all virtue. The more she humbled herself, the more she was exalted by God; and while she preferred sackcloth to purple and diadems, she became the invisible glory of heaven. The love of purity of heart and holy peace were the subject of her dying exhortation to her dear sisters. She closed her mortal pilgrimage about the end of the seventh century. Malmesbury and Harpsfield write, that many miracles accompanied the translation of her relics, in 1101, on the 26th of May; which Capgrave and Mabillon mistake for the day of her death: but Harpsfield, who had seen the best ancient English manuscripts, assures us that she died on the 23d of February, which is confirmed by all the manuscript additions to the Martyrologies of Bede and others, in which her name occurs, which are followed by the Roman on this day. The abbey of Wenlock was destroyed by the Danes: but a monastery of Cluni monks was afterwards erected upon the same spot, by whom her remains were discovered in a vault in 1101, as Malmesbury, who wrote not long after, relates.

B. DOSITHEUS, MONK.

From his life, by a fellow-disciple, in Bollandus, p. 38, and from S. Dorotheus, Docum. 1.

DOSITHEUS, a young man who had spent his first years in a worldly manner, and in gross ignorance of the first principles of Christianity, came to Jerusalem on the motive of curiosity, to see a place he had heard frequent mention made of in common discourse. Here he became so strongly affected by the sight of a picture representing hell, and by the exposition given him of it by an unknown person, that, on the spot, he forsook the world, and entered into a monastery, where the abbot Seridon gave him the monastic habit, and recommended him to the care of one of his monks, named Dorotheus. This experienced director, sensible of the difficulty of passing from one extreme to another, left his pupil at first pretty much to his own liberty in point of eating, but was particularly careful to instil into him the necessity of a perfect renunciation of his own will in every thing, both great and little. As he found his strength would permit, he daily diminished his allowance, till the quantity of six pounds of bread became reduced to eight ounces. St. Dorotheus proceeded with his pupil after much the same manner in other monastic duties; and thus, by a constant and unreserved denial of his own will, and a perfect submission to his director, he surpassed in virtue the greatest fasters of the monastery. All his actions seemed to have nothing of choice, nothing of his own humor in any circumstance of them, the will of God alone reigned in his heart. At the end of five years he was intrusted with the care of the sick, an office he discharged with such an incomparable vigilance, charity, and sweetness, as procured him a high and {448} universal esteem: the sick in particular were comforted and relieved by the very sight of him. He fell into a spitting of blood and a consumption, but continued to the last denying his own will, and was extremely vigilant to prevent any of its suggestions taking place in his heart; being quite the reverse of those persons afflicted with sickness, who, on that account, think every thing allowed them. Unable to do any thing but pray, he asked continually, and followed, in all his devotions, the directions of his master; and when he could not perform his long exercises of prayer, he declared this with his ordinary simplicity to St. Dorotheus, who said to him: "Be not uneasy, only have Jesus Christ always present in your heart." He begged of a holy old man, renowned in that monastery for sanctity, to pray that God would soon take him to himself. The other answered: "Have a little patience, God's mercy is near." Soon after he said to him: "Depart in peace, and appear in joy before the blessed Trinity, and pray for us." The same servant of God declared after his death, that he had surpassed the rest in virtue, without the practice of any extraordinary austerity. Though he is honored with the epithet of saint, his name is not placed either in the Roman or Greek calendars.

B. PETER DAMIAN, OR OF DAMIAN,

CARDINAL, BISHOP OF OSTIA.

From his life by his disciple, John of Lodi, in Mabill., s. 6. Ben. and from his own writings. Fleury, {} 99, n. 48, and Hist des Ordres Relig. Ceillier, t. 20, p. 512. Henschenius ad 23 Febr. p. 406.

A.D. 1072.

PETER, surnamed of Damian, was born about the year 988, in Ravenna, of a good family, but reduced. He was the youngest of many children, and, losing his father and mother very young, was left in the hands of a brother who was married, in whose house he was treated more like a slave, or rather like a beast, than one so nearly related; and when grown up, he was sent to keep swine. He one day became master of a piece of money, which, instead of laying it out in something for his own use, he chose to bestow in alms on a priest, desiring him to offer up his prayers for his father's soul. He had another brother called Damian, who was archpriest of Ravenna, and afterwards a monk; who, taking pity on him, had the charity to give him an education. Having found a father in this brother, he seems from him to have taken the surname of Damian, though he often styles himself the Sinner, out of humility. Those who call him De Honestis, confound him with Peter of Ravenna, who was of the family of Honesti. Damian sent Peter to school, first at Faenza, afterwards at Parma, where he had Ivo for his master. By the means of good natural parts and close application, it was not long before he found himself in a capacity to teach others, which he did with great applause, and no less advantage by the profits which accrued to him from his professorship. To arm himself against the allurements of pleasure and the artifices of the devil, he began to wear a rough hair shirt under his clothes, and to inure himself to fasting, watching, and prayer. In the night, if any temptation of concupiscence arose, he got out of bed and plunged himself into the cold river. After this he visited churches, reciting the psalter while he performed this devotion, till the church office began. He not only gave much away in alms, but was seldom without some poor person at his table, and took a pleasure in serving such, or rather Jesus Christ in their persons, with his own hands. But {449} thinking all this to be removing himself from the deadly poison of sin but by halves, he resolved entirely to leave the world and embrace a monastic life, and at a distance from his own country, for the sake of meeting with the fewer obstacles to his design. While his mind was full of these thoughts, two religious of the order of St. Benedict, belonging to Font-Avellano, a desert at the foot of the Apennine in Umbria, happened to call at the place of his abode; and being much edified at their disinterestedness, he took a resolution to embrace their institute, as he did soon after. This hermitage had been founded by blessed Ludolf, about twenty years before St. Peter came thither, and was then in the greatest repute. The hermits here remained two and two together in separate cells, occupied chiefly in prayer and reading. They lived on bread and water four days in the week: on Tuesdays and Thursdays they ate pulse and herbs, which every one dressed in his own cell: on their fast days all their bread was given them by weight. They never used any wine, (the common drink of the country,) except for mass, or in sickness: they went barefoot, used disciplines, made many genuflections, struck their breasts, stood with their arms stretched out in prayer, each according to his strength and devotion. After the night office they said the whole psalter before day. Peter watched long before the signal for matins, and after, with the rest. These excessive watchings brought on him an insomnie, or wakefulness, which was cured with very great difficulty. But he learned from this to use more discretion. He gave a considerable time to sacred studies, and became as well versed in the scriptures, and other sacred learning, as he was before in profane literature.

His superior ordered him to make frequent exhortations to the religious, and as he had acquired a very great character for virtue and learning, Guy, abbot of Pomposia, begged his superior to send him to instruct his monastery, which consisted of a hundred monks. Peter stayed there two years, preaching with great fruit, and was then called back by his abbot, and sent to perform the same function in the numerous abbey of St. Vincent, near the mountain called Pietra Pertusa, or the Hollow Rock. His love for poverty made him abhor and be ashamed to put on a new habit, or any clothes which were not threadbare and most mean. His obedience was so perfect, that the least word of any superior, or signal given, according to the rule of the house, for the performance of any duty, made him run that moment to discharge, with the utmost exactness, whatever was enjoined. Being recalled home some time after, and commanded by his abbot, with the unanimous consent of the hermitage, to take upon him the government of the desert after his death, Peter's extreme reluctance only obliged his superior to make greater use of his authority till he acquiesced. Wherefore, at his decease, in 1041, Peter took upon him the direction of that holy family, which he governed with the greatest reputation for wisdom and sanctity. He also founded five other numerous hermitages; in which he placed priors under his inspection. His principal care was to cherish in his disciples the spirit of solitude, charity, and humility. Among them many became great lights of the church, as St. Ralph, bishop of Gubio, whose festival is kept on the 26th of June, St. Dominick, surnamed Loricatus, the 14th of October; St. John of Lodi, his successor in the priory of the Holy Cross, who was also bishop of Gubio, and wrote St. Peter's life; and many others. He was for twelve years much employed in the service of the church by many zealous bishops, and by four popes successively, namely: Gregory VI., Clement II., Leo IX., and Victor II. Their successor, Stephen IX., in 1057, prevailed with him to quit his desert, and made him cardinal bishop of Ostia. But such was his reluctance to the dignity, that nothing less than the pope's {450} threatening him with excommunication, and his commands, in virtue of obedience, could induce Peter to submit.

Stephen IX. dying in 1058, Nicholas II. was chosen pope, a man of deep penetration, of great virtue and learning, and very liberal in alms, as our saint testifies, who assisted him in obliging John, bishop of Veletri, an antipope, set up by the capitaneos or magistrates of Rome, to quit his usurped dignity. Upon complaints of simony in the church of Milan, Nicholas II. sent Peter thither as his legate, who chastised the guilty. Nicholas II. dying, after having sat two years and six months, Alexander was chosen pope, in 1062. Peter strenuously supported him against the emperor, who set up an antipope, Cadolaus, bishop of Parma, on whom the saint prevailed soon after to renounce his pretensions, in a council held at Rome; and engaged Henry IV., king of Germany, who was afterwards emperor, to acquiesce in what had been done, though that prince, who in his infancy had succeeded his pious father, Henry III., had sucked in very early the corrupt maxims of tyranny and irreligion. But virtue is amiable in the eyes of its very enemies, and often disarms them of their fury. St. Peter had, with great importunity, solicited Nicholas II. for leave to resign his bishopric, and return to his solitude; but could not obtain it. His successor, Alexander II., out of affection for the holy man, was prevailed upon to allow it, in 1062, but not without great difficulty, and the reserve of a power to employ him in church matters of importance, as he might have occasion hereafter for his assistance. The saint from that time thought himself discharged, not only from the burden of his flock, but also from the quality of superior, with regard to the several monasteries, the general inspection of which he had formerly charged himself with, reducing himself to the condition of a simple monk.

In this retirement he edified the church by his penance and compunction, and labored by his writings to enforce the observance of discipline and morality. His style is copious and vehement, and the strictness of his maxims appears in all his works, especially where he treats of the duties of clergymen and monks. He severely rebuked the bishop of Florence for playing a game at chess.[1] That prelate acknowledged his amusement to be a faulty sloth in a man of his character, and received the saint's remonstrance with great mildness, and submitted to his injunction by way of penance, namely: to recite three times the psalter, to wash the feet of twelve poor men, and to give to each a piece of money. He shows those to be guilty of manifold simony, who serve princes or flatter them for the sake of obtaining ecclesiastical preferments.[2] He wrote a treatise to the bishop of Besanzon,[3] against the custom which the canons of that church had of saying the divine office sitting; though he allowed all to sit during the lessons. This saint recommended the use of disciplines whereby to subdue and punish the flesh, which was adopted as a compensation for long penitential fasts. Three thousand lashes, with the recital of thirty psalms, were a redemption of a canonical penance of one year's continuance. Sir Thomas More, St. Francis of Sales, and others, testify that such means of mortification are great helps to tame the flesh, and inure it to the labors of penance; also to remove a hardness of heart and spiritual dryness, and to soften the soul into compunction. But all danger of abuses, excess, and singularity, is to be shunned, and other ordinary bodily mortifications, as watching and fasting, are frequently more advisable. This saint wrote most severely on the obligations of religious men,[4] particularly against their strolling abroad; for one of the most essential qualities of their state is solitude, or at least the spirit {451} of retirement. He complained loudly of certain evasions, by which many palliated real infractions of their vow of poverty. He justly observed: "We can never restore what is decayed of primitive discipline; and if we, by negligence, suffer any diminution in what remains established, future ages will never be able to repair such breaches. Let us not draw upon ourselves so base a reproach; but let us faithfully transmit to posterity the examples of virtue which we have received from our forefathers."[5] The holy man was obliged to interrupt his solitude in obedience to the pope, who sent him in quality of his legate into France, in 1063, commanding the archbishops and others to receive him as himself. The holy man reconciled discords, settled the bounds of the jurisdiction of certain dioceses, and condemned and deposed in councils those who were convicted of simony. He, notwithstanding, tempered his severity with mildness and indulgence towards penitents, where charity and prudence required such a condescension. Henry IV., king of Germany, at eighteen years of age, began to show the symptoms of a heart abandoned to impiety, infamous debauchery, treachery, and cruelty. He married, in 1066, Bertha, daughter to Otho, marquis of Italy, but afterwards, in 1069, sought a divorce, by taking his oath that he had never been able to consummate his marriage. The archbishop of Mentz had the weakness to be gained over by his artifices to favor his desires, in which view he assembled a council at Mentz. Pope Alexander II. forbade him ever to consent to so enormous an injustice, and pitched upon Peter Damian for his legate to preside in that synod, being sensible that a person of the most inflexible virtue, prudence, and constancy, was necessary for so important and difficult an affair, in which passion, power, and craft, made use of every engine in opposition to the cause of God. The venerable legate met the king and bishops at Frankfort, laid before them the orders and instructions of his holiness, and in his name conjured the king to pay a due respect to the law of God, the canons of the church, and his own reputation, and seriously reflect on the public scandal of so pernicious an example. The noblemen likewise all rose up and entreated his majesty never to stain his honor by so foul an action. The king, unable to resist so cogent an authority, dropped his project of a divorce; but remaining the same man in his heart, continued to hate the queen more than ever.

Saint Peter hastened back to his desert of Font-Avellano. Whatever austerities he prescribed to others he was the first to practise himself, remitting nothing of them even in his old age. He lived shut up in his cell as in a prison, fasted every day, except festivals, and allowed himself no other subsistence than coarse bread, bran, herbs, and water, and this he never drank fresh, but what he had kept from the day before. He tortured his body with iron girdles and frequent disciplines, to render it more obedient to the spirit. He passed the three first days of every Lent and Advent without taking any kind of nourishment whatever; and often for forty days together lived only on raw herbs and fruits, or on pulse steeped in cold water, without touching so much as bread, or any thing which had passed the fire. A mat spread on the floor was his bed. He used to make wooden spoons and such like useful mean things, to exercise himself at certain hours in manual labor. Henry, archbishop of Ravenna, having been excommunicated for grievous enormities, St. Peter was sent by Pope Alexander II. in quality of legate, to adjust the affairs of the church. When he arrived at Ravenna, in 1072, he found the unfortunate prelate just dead; but brought {452} the accomplices of his crimes to a sense of their guilt, and imposed on them a suitable penance. This was his last undertaking for the church, God being pleased soon after to call him to eternal rest, and to the crown of his labors. Old age and the fatigues of his journey did not make him lay aside his accustomed mortifications, by which he consummated his holocaust. In his return towards Rome, he was stopped by a fever in the monastery of our Lady without the gates of Faenza, and died there on the eighth day of his sickness, while the monks were reciting matins round about him. He passed from that employment which had been the delight of his heart on earth, to sing the same praises of God in eternal glory, on the 22d of February, 1072, being fourscore and three years old. He is honored as patron at Faenza and Font-Avellano, on the 23d of the same month.

Footnotes: 1. Opusc. 20, c. 7. 2. Ib. 22. 3. Ib. 29, Nat. Alex. Theo Dogm. l. 2, c. 8, reg. 8. 4. Opusc. 12. 5. The works of St. Peter Damien, printed in three volumes, at Lyons, in 1623, consist of one hundred and fifty-eight letters, fifteen sermons, five lives of saints, namely, of St. Odilo, abbot of Cluni; St. Maurus, bishop of Cesene; St. Romuald; St. Ralph, bishop of Gubio; and St. Dominick Luricatus, and SS. Lucillia and Flora. The third volume contains sixty small tracts, with several prayers and hymns.

ST. BOISIL, PRIOR OF MAILROSS, OR MELROSS, C.

THE famous abbey of Mailross, which in later ages embraced the Cistercian rule, originally followed that of St. Columba. It was situated upon the river Tweed, in a great forest, and in the seventh century was comprised in the kingdom of the English Saxons in Northumberland, which was extended in the eastern part of Scotland as high as the Frith. Saint Boisil was prior of this house under the holy abbot Eata, who seem to have been both English youths, trained up in monastic discipline by St. Aidan. Boisil was, says Bede, a man of sublime virtues, and endued with a prophetic spirit. His eminent sanctity determined St. Cuthbert to repair rather to Mailross than to Lindisfarne in his youth, and he received from this saint the knowledge of the holy scriptures, and the example of all virtues. St. Boisil had often in his mouth the holy names of the adorable Trinity, and of our divine Redeemer Jesus, which he repeated with a wonderful sentiment of devotion, and often with such an abundance of tears as excited others to weep with him. He would say, frequently, with the most tender affection, "How good a Jesus have we!" At the first sight of St. Cuthbert, he said to the bystanders: "Behold a servant of God." Bede produces the testimony of St. Cuthbert, who declared that Boisil foretold him the chief things that afterwards happened to him in the sequel of his life. Three years beforehand, he foretold the great pestilence of 664, and that he himself should die of it, but Eata, the abbot, should outlive it. Boisil, not content continually to instruct and exhort his religious brethren by word and example, made frequent excursions into the villages to preach to the poor, and to bring straying souls into the paths of truth and of life. St. Cuthbert was taken with the pestilential disease: when St. Boisil saw him recovered, he said to him: "Thou seest, brother, that God hath delivered thee from this disease, nor shalt thou any more feel it, nor die at this time: but my death being at hand, neglect not to learn something of me so long as I shall be able to teach thee, which will be no more than seven days." "And what," said Cuthbert, "will be best for me to read, which may be finished in seven days?" "The gospel of St. John," said he, "which we may in that time read over, and confer upon as much as shall be necessary." For they only sought therein, says Bede, the sincerity of faith working through love, and not the treating of profound questions. Having accomplished this reading in seven days, the man of God, Boisil, falling ill of the aforesaid disease, came to his last day, which he passed over in extraordinary jubilation of soul, out of his earnest desire of being with Christ. In his last moments he often repeated those words of St. Stephen: "Lord Jesus receive my spirit!" Thus he {453} entered into the happiness of eternal light, in the year 664. The instructions which he was accustomed most earnestly to inculcate to his religious brethren were: "That they would never cease giving thanks to God for the gift of their religious vocation; that they would always watch over themselves against self-love, and all attachment to their own will and private judgment, as against their capital enemy; that they would converse assiduously with God by interior prayer, and labor continually to attain to the most perfect purity of heart, this being the true and short road to the perfection of Christian virtue." Out of the most ardent and tender love which he bore our divine Redeemer, and in order daily to enkindle and improve the sane, he was wonderfully delighted with reading every day a part of the gospel of St. John, which for this purpose he divided into seven parts or tasks. St. Cuthbert inherited from him this devotion, and in his tomb was fouled a Latin copy of St. John's gospel, which was in the possession of the present earl of Litchfield, and which his lordship gave to Mr. Thomas Philips, canon of Tongres.

Bede relates[1] as an instance that St. Boisil continued after his death to interest himself particularly in obtaining for his country and friends the divine mercy and grace, that he appeared twice to one of his disciples, giving him a charge to assure St. Egbert, who had been hindered from going to preach the gospel to the infidels in Germany, that God commanded him to repair to the monasteries of St. Columba, to instruct them in the right manner of celebrating Easter. These monasteries were, that in the island of Colm-Kill, or Iona, (which was the ordinary burial-place of the kings of Scotland down to Malcolm III.,) and that of Magis, in the isles of Orkney, built by bishop Colman. The remains of St. Boisil were translated to Durham, and deposited near those of his disciple St. Cuthbert, in 1030. Wilson and other English authors mention St. Boisil on the 7th of August; but in the Scottish calendars his name occurs on the 23d of February. See Bede, Hist. l. 4, c. 27, l. 5, c. 10, and in Vita S. Cuthberti, c. 8.

Footnotes: 1. Hist. l. 5, c. 10.

FEBRUARY XXIV.

SAINT MATTHIAS, APOSTLE.

From Acts i. 21. See Tillemont, t. 1, p. 406. Henschenius, p. 434.

ST. CLEMENT of Alexandria[1] assures us, from tradition, that this saint was one of the seventy-two disciples, which is confirmed by Eusebius[2] and St. Jerom;[3] and we learn from the Acts[4] of the apostles, that he was a constant attendant on our Lord, from the time of his baptism by St. John to his ascension. St. Peter having, in a general assembly of the faithful held soon after, declared from holy scripture, the necessity of choosing a twelfth apostle, in the room of Judas; two were unanimously pitched upon by the assembly, as most worthy of the dignity, Joseph, called Barsabas, and, on account of his extraordinary piety, surnamed the Just, and Matthias. After devout prayer to God, that he would direct them in their choice, they proceeded in {454} it by way of lot, which falling by the divine direction on Matthias, he was accordingly associated with the eleven, and ranked among the apostles. When in deliberations each side appears equally good, or each candidate of equally approved merit, lots may be sometimes lawfully used; otherwise, to commit a thing of importance to such a chance, or to expect a miraculous direction of divine providence in it, would be a criminal superstition and a tempting of God, except he himself, by an evident revelation or inspiration, should appoint such a means for the manifestation of his will, promising his supernatural interposition in it, which was the case on this extraordinary occasion. The miraculous dreams or lots, which we read of in the prophets, must no ways authorize any rash superstitious use of such means in others who have not the like authority.

* * * * *

We justly admire the virtue of this holy assembly of saints. Here were no solicitations or intrigues. No one presented himself to the dignity. Ambition can find no place in a virtuous or humble heart. He who seeks a dignity either knows himself unqualified, and is on this account guilty of the most flagrant injustice with regard to the public, by desiring a charge to which he is no ways equal: or he thinks himself qualified for it, and this self-conceit and confidence in his own abilities renders him the most unworthy of all others. Such a disposition deprives a soul of the divine assistance, without which we can do nothing; for God withdraws his grace and refuses his blessing where self-sufficiency and pride have found any footing. It is something of a secret confidence in ourselves, and a presumption that we deserve the divine succor, which banishes him from us. This is true even in temporal undertakings; but much more so in the charge of souls, in which all success is more particularly the special work of the Holy Ghost, not the fruit of human industry. These two holy candidates were most worthy of the apostleship, because perfectly humble, and because they looked upon that dignity with trembling, though they considered its labors, dangers, and persecutions with holy joy, and with a burning zeal for the glory of God. No regard was had to worldly talents, none to flesh and blood. God was consulted by prayer, because no one is to be assumed to his ministry who is not called by him, and who does not enter it by the door,[5] and with the undoubted marks of his vocation. Judas's misfortune filled St. Matthias with the greater humility and fervor, lest he also should fall. We Gentiles are called upon the disinherison of the Jews, and are ingrafted on their stock.[6] We ought therefore to learn to stand always in watchfulness and fear, or we shall be also cut off ourselves, to give place to others whom God will call in our room, and even compel to enter, rather than spare us. The number of his elect depends not on us. His infinite mercy has invited us without any merit on our side; but if we are ungrateful, he can complete his heavenly city without us, and will certainly make our reprobation the most dreadful example of his justice, to all eternity. The greater the excess of his goodness and clemency has been towards us, the more dreadful will be the effects of his vengeance. Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth.[7]

St. Matthias received the Holy Ghost with the rest soon after his election; and after the dispersion of the disciples, applied himself with zeal to the functions of his apostleship, in converting nations to the faith. He is recorded by St. Clement of Alexandria,[8] to have been remarkable for inculcating the necessity of the mortification of the flesh with regard to all {455} its sensual and irregular desires, an important lesson he had received from Christ, and which he practised assiduously on his own flesh. The tradition of the Greeks in their menologies tells us that St: Matthias planted the faith about Cappadocia and on the coasts of the Caspian sea, residing chiefly near the port Issus. He must have undergone great hardships and labors amidst so savage a people. The same authors add that he received the crown of martyrdom in Colchis, which they call AEthiopia. The Latins keep his festival on the 24th of February. Some portions of his relics are shown in the abbatical church of Triers, and in that of St. Mary Major in Rome, unless these latter belong to another Matthias, who was one of the first bishops of Jerusalem: on which see the Bollandists.

As the call of St. Matthias, so is ours purely the work of God, and his most gratuitous favor and mercy. What thanks, what fidelity and love do we not owe him for this inestimable grace! When he decreed to call us to his holy faith, cleanse us from sin, and make us members of his spiritual kingdom, and heirs of his glory, he saw nothing in us which could determine him to such a predilection. We were infected with sin, and could have no title to the least favor, when God said to us, I have loved Jacob: when he distinguished us from so many millions who perish in the blindness of infidelity and sin, drew us out of the mass of perdition, and bestowed on us the grace of his adoption, and all the high privileges that are annexed to this dignity. In what transports of love and gratitude ought we not, without intermission, to adore his infinite goodness to us, and beg that we may be always strengthened by his grace to advance continually in humility and his holy love, lest, by slackening our pace in his service, we fall from this state of happiness, forfeit this sublime grace, and perish with Judas. Happy would the church be, if all converts were careful to maintain themselves in the same fervor in which they returned to God. But by a neglect to watch over themselves, and to shun dangers, and by falling into sloth, they often relapse into a condition much worse than the former.

Footnotes: 1. Strom. l. 4, p. 488. 2. L. 1, c. {1}. 3. In Catal. 4. C. i. 21. 5. Jo. x. 1. 6. Rom. xi. 12. 7. Matt. viii. 11. 8. Strom. l. 3, p. 436.

SS. MONTANUS, LUCIUS, FLAVIAN, JULIAN, VICTORICUS,

PRIMOLUS, RHENUS, AND DONATIAN, MARTYRS AT CARTHAGE.

From their original acts written, the first part by the martyrs themselves, the rest by an eye-witness. They are published more correctly by Ruinart than by Surius and Bollandus. See Tillemont, t. 4, p. 206.

A.D. 259.

THE persecution, raised by Valerian, had raged two years, during which many had received the crown of martyrdom, and, among others, St. Cyprian, in September, 258. The proconsul Galerius Maximus, who had pronounced sentence on that saint, dying himself soon after, the procurator, Solon, continued the persecution, waiting for the arrival of a new proconsul from Rome. After some days, a sedition was raised in Carthage against him, in which many were killed. The tyrannical man, instead of making search after the guilty, vented his fury upon the Christians, knowing this would be agreeable to the idolaters. Accordingly he caused these eight Christians, all disciples of St. Cyprian, and most of them of the clergy, to be apprehended. As soon as we were taken, say the authors of the acts, we were given in custody to the officers of the quarter:[1] when the governor's soldiers told us that we should be condemned to the flames, we prayed to God with great fervor to be delivered from that punishment: and he in {456} whose hands are the hearts of men, was pleased to grant our request. The governor altered his first intent, and ordered us into a very dark and incommodious prison, where we found the priest, Victor, and some others: but we were not dismayed at the filth and darkness of the place, our faith and joy in the Holy Ghost reconciled us to our sufferings in that place, though these were such as it is not easy for words to describe; but the greater our trials, the greater is he who overcomes them in us. Our brother Rhenus, in the mean time, had a vision, in which he saw several of the prisoners going out of prison with a lighted lamp preceding each of them, while others, that had no such lamp, stayed behind. He discerned us in this vision, and assured us that we were of the number of those who went forth with lamps. This gave us great joy. for we understood that the lamp represented Christ, the true light, and that we were to follow him by martyrdom.

The next day we were sent for by the governor, to be examined. It was a triumph to us to be conducted as a spectacle through the market-place and the streets, with our chains rattling. The soldiers, who knew not where the governor would hear its, dragged us from place to place, till, at length, he ordered us to be brought into his closet. He put several questions to us; our answers were modest, but firm: at length we were remanded to prison; here we prepared ourselves for new conflicts. The sharpest trial was that which we underwent by hunger and thirst, the governor having commanded that we should be kept without meat and drink for several days, insomuch that water was refused us after our work: yet Flavian, the deacon, added great voluntary austerities to these hardships, often bestowing on others what little refreshment which was most sparingly allowed us at the public charge.

God was pleased himself to comfort us in this our extreme misery, by a vision which he vouchsafed to the priest Victor, who suffered martyrdom a few days after. "I saw last night," said he to us, "an infant, whose countenance was of a wonderful brightness, enter the prison. He took us to all parts to make us go out, but there was no outlet; then he said to me, 'You have still some concern at your being retained here, but be not discouraged. I am with you: carry these tidings to your companions, and let them know that they shall have a more glorious crown.' I asked him where heaven was; the infant replied, 'Out of the world.' 'Show it me,' says Victor. The infant answered, 'Where then would be your faith?' Victor said, 'I cannot retain what you command me: tell me a sign that I may give them.' He answered, 'Give them the sign of Jacob, that is, his mystical ladder, reaching to the heavens.'" Soon after this vision, Victor was put to death. This vision filled us with joy.

God gave us, the night following, another assurance of his mercy by a vision to our sister Quartillosia, a fellow-prisoner, whose husband and son had suffered death for Christ three days before, and who followed them by martyrdom a few days after. "I saw," says she, "my son, who suffered; he was in the prison sitting on a vessel of water, and said to me: 'God has seen your sufferings.' Then entered a young man of a wonderful stature, and he said: 'Be of good courage, God hath remembered you.'" The martyrs had received no nourishment the preceding day, nor had they any on the day that followed this vision; but at length Lucian, then priest, and afterwards bishop of Carthage, surmounting all obstacles, got food to be carried to them in abundance by the subdeacon, Herermian, and by Januarius, a catechumen. The acts say they brought the never-failing food[2] {457} which Tillemont understands of the blessed eucharist, and the following words still more clearly determine it in favor of this sense. They go on: We have all one and the same spirit, which unites and cements us together in prayer, in mutual conversation, and in all our actions. These are those amiable bands which put the devil to flight, are most agreeable to God, and obtain of him, by joint prayer, whatever they ask. These are the ties which link hearts together, and which make men the children of God. To be heirs of his kingdom we must be his children, and to be his children we must love one another. It is impossible for us to attain to the inheritance of his heavenly glory, unless we keep that union and peace with all our brethren which our heavenly Father has established among us. Nevertheless, this union suffered some prejudice in our troop, but the breach was soon repaired. It happened that Montanus had some words with Julian, about a person who was not of our communion, and who was got among us, (probably admitted by Julian.) Montanus on this account rebuked Julian, and they, for some time afterwards, behaved towards each other with coldness, which was, as it were, a seed of discord. Heaven had pity on them both, and, to reunite them, admonished Montanus by a dream, which he related to us as follows: "It appeared to me that the centurions were come to us, and that they conducted us through a long path into a spacious field, where we were met by Cyprian and Lucius. After this we came into a very luminous place, where our garments became white, and our flesh became whiter than our garments, and so wonderfully transparent, that there was nothing in our hearts but what was clearly exposed to view: but in looking into myself, I could discover some filth in my own bosom; and, meeting Lucian, I told him what I had seen, adding, that the filth I had observed within my breast denoted my coldness towards Julian. Wherefore, brethren, let us love, cherish, and promote, with all our might, peace and concord. Let us be here unanimous in imitation of what we shall be hereafter. As we hope to share in the rewards promised to the just, and to avoid the punishments wherewith the wicked are threatened: as, in fine, we desire to be and reign with Christ, let us do those things which will lead us to him and his heavenly kingdom." Hitherto the martyrs wrote in prison what happened to them there: the rest was written by those persons who were present, to whom Flavian, one of the martyrs, had recommended it.

After suffering extreme hunger and thirst, with other hardships, during an imprisonment of many months, the confessors were brought before the president, and made a glorious confession. The edict of Valerian condemned only bishops, priests, and deacons to death. The false friends of Flavian maintained before the judge that he was no deacon, and, consequently, was not comprehended within the emperor's decree; upon which, though he declared himself to be one, he was not then condemned; but the rest were adjudged to die. They walked cheerfully to the place of execution, and each of them gave exhortations to the people. Lucius, who was naturally mild and modest, was a little dejected on account of his distemper and the inconveniences of the prison; he therefore went before the rest, accompanied but by a few persons, lest he should be oppressed by the crowd, and so not have the honor to spill his blood. Some cried out to him, "Remember us." "Do you also," says he, "remember me." Julian and Victoricus exhorted a long while the brethren to peace, and recommended to their care the whole body of the clergy, those especially who had undergone the hardships of imprisonment. Montanus, who was endued with great strength, both of body and mind, cried out, "He that sacrificeth to any God but the true one, shall be utterly destroyed." This he often repeated. He also checked the pride and wicked obstinacy of the heretics, telling them {458} that they might discern the true church by the multitude of its martyrs. Like a true disciple of Saint Cyprian, and a zealous lover of discipline, he exhorted those that had fallen not to be over hasty, but fully to accomplish their penance. He exhorted the virgins to preserve their purity, and to honor the bishops, and all the bishops to abide to concord. When the executioner was ready to give the stroke, he prayed aloud to God that Flavian, who had been reprieved at the people's request, might follow them on the third day. And, to express his assurance that his prayer was heard, he rent in pieces the handkerchief with which his eyes were to be covered, and ordered one half of it to be reserved for Flavian, and desired that a place might be kept for him where he was to be interred, that they might not be separated even in the grave. Flavian, seeing his crown delayed, made it the object of his ardent desires and prayers. And as his mother stuck close by his side with the constancy of the mother of the holy Maccabees, and with longing desires to see him glorify God by his sacrifice, he said to her "You know, mother, how much I have longed to enjoy the happiness of dying by martyrdom." In one of the two nights which he survived, he was favored with a vision, in which one said to him: "Why do you grieve? You have been twice a confessor, and you shall suffer martyrdom by the sword." On the third day he was ordered to be brought before the governor. Here it appeared how much he was beloved by the people, who endeavored by all means to save his life. They cried out to the judge that he was no deacon; but he affirmed that he was. A centurion presented a billet which set forth that he was not. The judge accused him of lying to procure his own death. He answered: "Is that probable? and not rather that they are guilty of an untruth who say the contrary?" The people demanded that he might be tortured, in hopes he would recall his confession on the rack; but the judge condemned him to be beheaded. The sentence filled him with joy, and he was conducted to the place of execution, accompanied by a great multitude, and by many priests. A shower dispersed the infidels, and the martyr was lead into a house where he had an opportunity of taking his last leave of the faithful without one profane person being present. He told them that in a vision he had asked Cyprian whether the stroke of death is painful, and that the martyr answered: "The body feels no pain when the soul gives herself entirely to God." At the place of execution he prayed for the peace of the church and the union of the brethren; and seemed to foretell Lucian that he should be bishop of Carthage, as he was soon after. Having done speaking, he bound his eyes with that half of the handkerchief which Montanus had ordered to be kept for him, and, kneeling in prayer, received the last stroke. These saints are joined together on his day in the present Roman and in ancient Martyrologies.

Footnotes: 1. Apud regionantes. 2. Alimentum indeficiens.

ST. LETHARD, BISHOP OF SENLIS, C.

CALLED BY VENERABLE BEDE, LUIDHARD.

BEDE, William of Malmesbury, and other historians relate, that when Bertha, daughter of Charibert, king of the French, was married to Ethelbert, king of Kent, about the year 566, this holy French prelate accompanied her into England, and resided at Canterbury in quality of almoner and chaplain to the queen. Though his name does not occur in the imperfect catalogue of the bishops of Senlis, which is found in the ancient copy of St. Gregory's sacramentary, which belonged to that church in 880, nor in the old edition of Gallia Christiana yet, upon the authority of the English historians, {459} is inserted in the new edition, the thirteenth, from St. Regulus, the founder of that see, one of the Roman missionaries in Gaul about the time of St. Dionysius. The relics of St. Regulus are venerated in the ancient collegiate church which bears his name in Senlis, and his principal festival is kept on the 23d of April. St. Lethard having resigned this see to St. Sanctinus, was only recorded in England. On the high altar of St. Augustine's monastery at Canterbury, originally called SS. Peter and Paul's, his relics were exposed in a shrine near those of the holy king Ethelbert, as appears from the Monasticon. St. Lethard died at Canterbury about the year 596. Several miracles are recorded to have been obtained by his intercession, particularly a ready supply of rain in time of drought. See Bede, l. 1, c. 25. Will. of Malmesbury, de Pontif. l. 1. Monas. Angl. t. 1, p. 24. Tho. Sprot, in his History of the Abbey of Canterbury, Thorn, Henschenius ad 24 Feb., Gallia Christ. Nova, t. 10, p. 1382.

B. ROBERT OF ARBRISSEL,

SO CALLED FROM THE PLACE OF HIS BIRTH.

HE was archpriest and grand vicar of the diocese of Rennes, and chancellor to the duke of Brittany; but divested himself of these employments, and led a most austere eremitical life, in the forest of Craon, in Anjou. He soon filled that desert with anchorets, and built in it a monastery of regular canons. This is the abbey called De la Roe, in Latin De Rota, which was founded, according to Duchesne, in 1093, and confirmed by pope Urban II., in 1096. This pope having heard him preach at Angers, gave him the powers of an apostolical missionary. The blessed man therefore preached in many places, and formed many disciples. In 1099 he founded the great monastery of Fontevraud, Fons Ebraldi, a league from the Loire, in Poitou. He appointed superioress Herlande of Champagne, a near kinswoman to the duke of Brittany; and Petronilla of Craon, baroness of Chemille, coadjutress. He settled it under the rule of St. Benedict, with perpetual abstinence from flesh, even in all sicknesses, and put his order under the special patronage of the blessed Virgin. By a singular institution, he appointed the abbess superioress over the men, who live in a remote monastery, whose superiors she nominates. The holy founder prescribed so strict silence in his order, as to forbid any one to speak, even by signs, without necessity. The law of enclosure was not less rigorous, insomuch that no priest was allowed to enter even the infirmary of the nuns, to visit the sick, if it could possibly be avoided, and the sick, even in their agonies, were carried into the church, that they might there receive the sacraments. Among the great conversions of which St. Robert was the instrument, none was more famous than that of queen Bertrade, the daughter of Simon Montfort, and sister of Amauri Montfort, count of Evreux. She was married to Fulk, count of Anjou, in 1089, but quitted him in 1092, to marry Philip I., king of France, who was enamored of her. Pope Urban II. excommunicated that prince on this account in 1094, and again in 1100, because the king, after having put her away, had taken her again. These censures were taken off when she and the king had sworn upon the gospels, in the council of Poitiers, never to live together again. Bertrade, when she had retired to an estate which was her dower, in the diocese of Chartres, was so powerfully moved by the exhortations of St. Robert, that, renouncing the world, of which she had been long the idol, she took the religious veil at Fontevraud, and led there an exemplary life till her death. Many other princesses embraced the same state {460} under the direction of the holy founder: among others Hersande of Champagne, widow of William of Monsoreau; Agnes of Montroeil, of the same family; Ermengarde, wife of Alin Fergan, duke of Brittany; {}pa, countess of Thoulouse, wife of William IX., duke of Aquitaine, &c. After the death of St. Robert, several queens and princesses had taken sanctuary in this monastery, flying from the corruption of the world. Among its abbesses are counted fourteen princesses, of which five were of the royal house of Bourbon. The abbot Suger, writing to pope Eugenius III., about fifty years after the death of the founder, says there were at that time in this order between five and six thousand religious persons. The order of Fontevraud, in France, is divided into four provinces. B. Robert lived to see above three thousand nuns in this one house. He died in 1116, on the 25th of February, St. Matthias's day, it being leap-year, in the seventieth of his age, at the monastery of Orsan, near Linieres, in Berry. His body was conveyed to Fontevraud, and there interred. The bishop of Poitiers, in 1644, took a juridical information of many miracles wrought by his intercession.[1] From the time of his death he has been honored with the title of blessed, and is invoked in the litany of his order, which keeps his festival only with a mass of the Trinity on St. Matthias's day. See his life by Baldric, bishop of Dole, his contemporary; Helyot, Hist. des Ordres Relig. t. 6, p. 83, Dom Lobineau, Hist. de Bretagne, fol. 1707, p. 113, and, in the first place, Chatelain, Notes on the Martyrol. p. 736 to 758, who clearly confutes those who place his death in 1117.

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