Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lives of the Saints: Four More Forgotten Saints

From Rev. Alban Butler’s The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints; edited by Dan Leo, Associate Professor of Comparative Theodicies, Olney Community College; author of Grand Inquisitor: The Life and Times of Tomás de Torquemada; Olney Community College Press. 

Illustrated by rhoda penmarq; a house of penmarq production™. 

Nihil Obstat: Msgr. Reginald Q. Farquhar, S.J.

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St. Brithwald, Archbishop of Canterbury

HE was abbot of Glastenbury, but resigning that dignity, came to the little monastery of Riculf, or Riculver, near the isle of Thanet in Kent, that he might improve himself in the study of the holy scriptures, in the neighbourhood of Saint Theodorus; after whose death he was promoted to the see of Canterbury, in 692, in which he sat thirty-seven years and six months, a living rule of perfection to this church.

He died in 731.


St. Felan, or Foelan, Abbot in Ireland

HIS name is famous in the ancient Scottish and Irish Calendars. The example and instructions of his pious parents, Feriach and St. Kentigerna, inspired him from the cradle with the most ardent love of virtue. In his youth, despising the flattering worldly advantages to which high birth and a great fortune entitled him, he received the monastic habit from a holy abbot named Mundus, and passed many years in a cell at some distance from the monastery, not far from St. Andrew’s. He was by compulsion drawn from this close solitude, being chosen abbot. His sanctity in this public station shone forth with a bright light. After some years, he resigned this charge, and retired to his uncle Congan, brother to his mother, in a place called Siracht, a mountainous part of Glendarchy, now in Fifeshire, where, with the assistance of seven others, he built a church, near which he served God for several years. God glorified him by a wonderful gift of miracles, and called him to the reward of his labours on the 9th of January, in the seventh century. He was buried in Straphilline, and his relics were long preserved there with honour.

The Scottish historians attribute to the intercession of St. Felan a memorable victory obtained by king Robert Bruce, in 1314, over a numerous army of English, at Bannocburn, not far from Sterling, in the reign of Edward II of England, who narrowly escaped, being obliged to pass the Tweed in a boat with one only companion.


St. Adrian, Abbot at Canterbury

DIVINE Providence conducted this holy man to Britain, in order to make him an instructor of innumerable saints. Adrian was an African by birth, and was abbot of Nerida, not far from Naples, when Pope Vitalian, upon the death of St. Deusdedit the archbishop of Canterbury, judged him, for his skill in sacred learning, and experience in the paths of true interior virtue, to be of all others the most proper person to be the doctor of a nation, zealous in the pursuit of virtue; but as yet ignorant in the sciences, and in the canons of the church. The humble servant of God found means to decline that dignity, by recommending St. Theodorus as most capable, but refused not to share in the laborious part of the ministry. The pope therefore, enjoined him to be the companion, assistant, and adviser of the apostolic archbishop, which charge Adrian willingly took upon himself.

St. Theodorus established him abbot of the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul, afterward called St. Austin, near Canterbury, where he taught the learned languages and the sciences, and principally the precepts and maxims of our divine religion. He had illustrated this island by his heavenly doctrine, and the bright example of his virtues, for the space of thirty-nine years, when he departed to our Lord on the 9th of January, in the year 710.

His tomb was famed for miracles, as we are assured by Jocelin the Monk, quoted by William of Malmesbury and Capgrave; and his name is inserted in the English calendars.


St. Vaneng, Confessor

FROM various fragments of ancient histories of his life, the most modern of which was compiled in the twelfth century, it appears that Vaneng was made by Clotaire III governor of that part of Neustria, or Normandy, which was anciently inhabited by the Caletes, and is called Pais de Caux, at which time he took great pleasure in hunting. 

Nevertheless, he was very pious, and particularly devout to St. Eulalia of Barcelona, called in Guienne St. Aulaire. One night he seemed in a dream to hear that holy Virgin and Martyr repeat to him those words of our blessed Redeemer in the gospel, that “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to be saved.” 

Soon after this, he quitted the world, assisted St. Vandrille in building the churches of SS. Peter and Paul at Fontenelles, and founded in the valley of Fécam a church in honour of the holy Trinity, with a great nunnery adjoining, under the direction of St. Owen and St. Vandrille. Hildemarca, a very virtuous nun, was called from Bourdeaux, and appointed the first abbess.

Under her three hundred and sixty nuns served God in this house, and were divided into as many choirs as were sufficient, by succeeding one another, to continue the divine office night and day without interruption. St. Vaneng died about the year 688, and is honoured, in the Gallican and Benedictine Martyrologies, on the 9th of January; but at St. Vandrille’s and in other monasteries in Normandy, on the 31st of January.

next: St William, Archbishop of Bourges

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