2nd -.Forty days after Christmass the Church celebrates Candlemass
1st -  Brigid of Kildare, Abbess of Kildare, c.525. Co-patron of Ireland with Patrick whom it is thought baptized her. Her biography, written in the 7th C. is the earliest of the Irish saints, in which are recorded many miracles at her hands, and her especial affinity with the natural world.
     -  St. Sigbert III of Austrasia, King, 656. His birth converted hus father Dagobert I, king of France who recalled the exiled bishop, St. Amand to baptise his son. Became king at 7 years, but all his life was a man of prayer, and generosity, endowing many churches and monasteries.
2nd  -. CANDLEMASS  Presentation of Christ in the Temple and the Purification of Mary. 
3rd  -  Anskar, Bishop & Missionary, 865. As Archbishop of Hamburg, spent most of his life preaching to the Danes and Scandinavians, and helping the poor. Patron saint of Denmark.
       -  St. Blaise, Bishop & Martyr. c. early 4thC. Little is known but believed to be bp. of Sebaste in Armenia & martyred under Licinius. As he hid in a cave during the persecution he performed healings, incl. a boy with a fishbone caught in his throat with 2 candles. Since the 8thC. there has been the ceremony of blessing of the throat with 2 candles held on either side. 
4th   -  Gilbert of Semprinham, Religious, 1189  Founder of the Gilbertine order with double monasteries, the only purely English monastic foundation before the Dissolution. 
       -  St. Isidore of Pelusium, Abbot, c.450  As a youth became a monk in the monastery of Lychnos, where he modelled his life on John Chrysostom. Became well known for his spiritual letters in which he upheld the Orthodox faith.
5th    -  St. Agatha , Martyr, c.250   Suffered torture and death at Catania in Sicily during the persecution under Decius. Much revered in the early church, and so her name was inserted into the canon of the Roman Church.
        -  St. Avitus of Vienne, Bishop, c.525. Ransomed prisoners taken from their land by Burgundian army. Conversion of Sigebert I is attributed to Avitus.
        - St. Vodalus, missionary, c.720. Left Scotland for France where he preached from place to place before reaching Soissons, where he settled nearby a convent. Became known for his healings.
        - SS. Indractus, Dominica, & Co. Martyrs, c.710. This brother and sister with companions set out from Ireland to make a pilgrimage to Rome. Travelling through England they were murdered by Saxons. It is said that Ina, king of West Saxon found their bodies in a wood where he was attracted by a  mysterious light. Their bodies were interred in the monastery of Glastonbury.
         - St. Agatha Hildegard, Widow, 1024. Survived being thrown into the moat by her husband, Count of Carinthia, Austria. Embarked on a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land after having a church built  where Agatha had miraculrously survived. She devoted the rest of her life to good works.
6th    - Martyrs of Japan, Paul Miki and his companions, 1597- Some 50 years after St. Francis Xavier had established the Church, it faced persecution. Near Nagasaki, Paul and 25 other men & women, religious & lay were first mutilated and then crucified. After their martyrdom their blood-stained clothes were held in reverence by their fellow Christians.
         - St. Guarinus (Warin) Bishop (1159) . After his ordination in Bologna, he entered an Augustinian community of priests in Mortara. After a life of holiness for 40m years was elected bishopo of Pavia. Thwarted this election by escaping, but given only a temporary reprieve as Pope Lucius II compelled him to be conscerated bishop of Palestrina near Rome. Still most of his life was spent in prayer, and on his deathbed spent his final night in contemplation. At his death the night sky was filled with unnnatural light.
7th     - St. Richard of Lucca, 720. Father of famous religious Willibald, Winnibald and Walburga. On pilgrimage to the Holy Land died at Lucca and buried in the Church of St.Frediano, where his relics were much revered.
8th     - St. Jerome Emilani, Priest, 1537. Founded a small congregation of regular clerks called the Somaschi to care for orphans, repentant prostitutes , the poor and sick. Patron of orphans and abandoned children.
         - St. Cuthman, Layman, c. 900.  Worked as a shepherd for his father, and after his death cared for his invlaid mother. He settled in Steyning with his mother, where he built a cottage and then began constructing a church nearby. As he worked he prayed.
9th     - St. Apollonia, Deaconess & Martyr, c.249. Martyred in Alexandria and of her own initiative leaped into the flames. Soon altars and churches were dedicated to her in the West.
         - St. Teilo, Monk & Bishop of 6thC. Venerated especially in south Wales and where churches were dedicated to him. His tomb is in Llandaff Cathedral.
         - St. Ansbert  (Aubert)  Bishop, 695. After serving King Clotaire III as Chancellor entered the French monastery of Fontenelle, where he later became abbot. In 684 consecrated as bishop of Rouen. He sonvened a synod to combat simony.. 
         - St. Victor, St. Susana, Martyr and Virgin, c.880. Victor was Susanna;s guardian. Both were peasants but Susanna being very beautiful was lusted after by a nobleman. When she refused his request gouged out her eyes. When Victor protested he too was attacked and killed.
10th   - St. Scholastica, Abbess, c.543  sister of Benedict who founded a convent on his model near Monte Cassino. Each year the two would meet together to praise God in a nearby monastery. She has been much venerated by nuns following the Benedictine Rule.
          - St. Austreberta, Religious, 704.  As a youth gazing in the water she saw a reflection of herself wearing a veil. When her father wanted to betroth her she fled with her younger brother to St. Omer, bishop of Therouanne He consecrated her to the life of a virgin, but insisted she be reconciled with her father. Eventually he allowed her to enter the convent of Port where here and at Pavilly she became superior..
11th    - St. Caedmon, Monk & Poet, 680. Originally a herdsman. St. Hilda of Whitby recognised his gift and encouraged his songs and poetry about Creation and Genesis stories and main Christian doctrines.
          - Our Lady of Lourdes  - In 1858 the Virgin Mary Immaculate appeared to Bernadette Soubirous near Looursed within the cave of Massabielle. Through this humble girl, Our Lady called many to conversion, and enkindled a great desire to pray for the sick.
         - St. Lucius, Bishop & Martyr, 350. As Bp. of Adrianople in Macedonia fought the Arian heresy. Was exiled repeatedly, and finally arrested by Arian authorities who sent him into exile again, but this time imprisoned. He died in prison.
         - St. Severinus, Abbot, 507.  Abbot of monastery of St. Maurice-en-Valais in Switzerland. In 504 he was summoned to heal King CLovis I , which he did by placing his cloak around him. On his journey through Nevers, he healed the bishop, St. Euladius of his blindness, deafness and muteness.
12th   -St. Ethilwald, Monk & Bishop, 740. Monk at Melrose and a disciple of Cuthbert. Bishop of Lindisfarne. A very holy monk whose relics and stone cross were moved to Durham.
13th   -  St. Catherine dei Ricci, Religious, 1590. Entered the Dominican convent near Prato founded under the influence of Savaronala in 1535. Eventually she became prioress of this convent. Her influence extended well outside Prato, and Philip Neri corresponded with her. Known especially for her ecstasies especially in experiencing the Passion of Christ, even to the impression of the stigmata.
14th     -SS. Cyril & Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs, and with St. Benedict, Patrons of Europe, 869,885. Outstanding scholars and missionaries. Cyril created an alphabet for the Slavic language (Cyrillic) and translated Scripture & Liturgy. After Cyril's death in 869, Methodius completed the translation of the Bible.
         - St. Valentine, Priest & Martyr, 269. His link with lovers seems to be that his martyrdom in Rome occurred on the Ides of February, when pagans celebrated Lupercalia.  
         - St. Adolf, Bishop, 1224. After being ordained in Cologne cathedral entered Cistercian monastery of Camp. Whilst still young consecrated bishops of Osnabruck. Noted for his charity work, including alms to a leper.
         - St. Juan Bautisa of the Conception, Religious, 1613. At 19 entered the Trinitarian Order with its special apostolate to ransom Christians enslaved by Moors. He founded the first of the reformed religious communities in Valdenpenas. Met with opposition, even to the extent of being tied up and thrown in a ditch by his opponents of reform. Eventually he founded 34 reformed Trinitarian monasteries.
15th    - Sigfrid, Bishop & Missionary c. 1045. Probably an Englishman sent by King Ethelred to evangelise Norway & Sweden. Became bishop of Vaxjo where he had built a church. Known as the Apsotle of Sweden.
          - Thomas Bray, Priest & Founder of the SPCK & SPG, 1730. Appointed by the Bp. of London to help with the organizing of the Church in Maryland, and hence the founding of a society to promote Christian knowledge. On his return to England founded the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, which worked extensively in Africa.
          - St. Tanco, Bishop & Martyr, 808.  From Ireland went to Germany where he became a monk in the German abbey of Amalbarich. After a term as Abbot went to work as a missionary in Flanders and Cleves. Became bishop of Verden and defended the Christian life against prevailing immorality for which he was attacked and murdered.
16th     - St. Onesimus,  Evangelist, 1stC. Slave of Philemon and baptised by Paul in prison in Rome. Bearer of the epistle to Philemon, and also in Colossians as a companion of Tychicus. Regarded as a martyr.
17th    -  Seven Servites, Friars and Founder, 13thC. Devout Florentines from well known families concerned by heresy and immorality. Their order of Servites was approved in 1259. Their most famous church is the Annunziata in Florence still served by this order. Principal devotion of this order is the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin.
          - St. Finan, Abbot & Bishop, 661. Successor of St. Aidan who continued his missionary work in Northumbria and Mercia and Essex. Built the little wooden church on Lindisfarne.
        -  Janani Luwum, Martyr, 1977 Killed by order of President Amin, when he protested at the virtual institution of state murder, and the oppressive regime.
        - St. Flavian of Constaninople , Bishop, Patriarch & Martyr, 449. When Bystantine emperor's chamberlain, Chrysaphius, demanded tribute, the patriarch refused. Matters came to a head when Flavian convened a council to condemn the heretical teaching of relative, Eutyches. This was confirmed by Leo I. Chrysaphius sought a second council, which reached the same decision as first. He called a third, and by force the decision of the last two were reversed. When Flavian refused to consent he was kicked and beaten to death.
18th    - St. Colman of Lindisfarne, Monk & Bishop, c. 675. Succeeded St. Finan. Main spokesman at Synod of Whitby for the Celtic tradition. When the Synod ruled in favour of Roman customs to prevail returned to Ireland via Iona where he founded a monastery on the islae of Inishbofin, Co. Galway.
         - St. Theotonius, Abbot, 1166. Renowned preacher of the Portegeuse town of Viseu. Offered a Mass every Friday for souls in Purgatory. Later became abbot of the newly founded monastery of the Holy cros at Columbra, a community of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine.
         - St. Simeon of Jerusalem, Bishop & Martyr, c. 107. Brother of James the Less who became Bishop in 62A.D. During his long episcopacy it was necessary for Christians to refuge temporarily in Pella. After Jewish uprising was put down by the Romans, its authority issued an edict that descendants of David. Simeon was over 100 when arrested, tortured and crucified. 
19th    - St. Conrad of Piacenza, Hermit, 1351. Guilty of causing a conflagration, but a beggar was accused and sentenced to death for it. Conrad confessed. Forced to sell all his possessions, and entered 3rd Order of the Franciscans. Retired to Sicily and lived a life of severe penance. Died whilst praying on his knees.
          - St. Boniface of Lausanne, Bishop, 1260. Whilst professor at Univeristy of Paris he had a vision of our Lady who told him that she would sanctify him. When he became bishop of Lausanne in 1231, he enforced clerical celibacy, and a result attempt was made on his life whilst he was at the altar. Later years spent in the Belgian monastery at La Cambre.
          - St. Beatus of Liebana, Monk, c.798. In this monastery in the Asturian mountians in N-W Spain, he laboured against the heresy of Adoptionism. This brought the wrath of Archbishop of Toledo. Elipandus, who was an Adoptionist. He thus worked with St. Etherius of Osma in the work Book against Elipansdus. He is also believed to be the author of several hymns of Mozarabic liturgy.
           - St. Barbatus, Bishop, 682. Following his ordination was assigned to Morcona in Italy and then to Benevento. Here many Catholics were laxed and superstitious. Barbatus made great efforts to convert their hearts. It was not until the town was seiged by the heretic Emperor Constans II, that they repented and were spared. Later became their bishop.
20th     - St. Eucherius, Monk & Bishop, 743. As bishop of Orleans opposed Charles Martel's interfering in Church matters, and was thus exiled. Retired in Cologne.
            - St. Elutherius, Bishop, 532. From a long line of Christian ancestors in Tournai. Became bishop of his native city c. 486. Renowned for his preaching and missionary zeal which converted many Franks, including in a one week baptising thousands of converts. A zealous opponent of heresies that resulted in him being ambushed and brutally attacked form which he died.
             - St. Tyranno & his companions, Martyrs, 304 & 310. In 304 many Christians were martyred in Tyre, witnessed by their bishop, Tyrannio. Six years later he was arrested and taken to Antioch where he was   tortured and killed by drowning/
21st       - St. Severianus, Bishop & Martyr, 452. Upholder of the teaching of Chalcedon Council, but empress Euxodia, a supporter of Monophyitism sent her henchman  everywhere.  As bishop of Scythopolis in Palestine was killed by her soldiers for upholding the Faith.
            - St. George of Amastris, Bishop. c.825. After narrowly escaping death by fire as a child, was ordained. Became an hermit in the desert near Mt. Sirik before entering the monastery of Bonyssa. Here a delegation arrived to make him their bishop. Forcibly taken to Constantinople where Patriarch Tarasius concurred with their wishes and he was consecrtated as bishop of Amastris. He saved the city from Saracens by having all subjects living outside the city to take refuge inside the walls.
          - St. Germanus of Granfel, Abbot & Martyr, c.677. As an orphaned teenager consecrated his life to God by giving all his possessions to the poor. Became abbot of the newly founded monastery of Granfel, Switizerland. This area was terrorised by troops of Duke Cathic from whom Germanus extracted a promise to stop plundering.  However this did not happen and he and the prior Randoald found themselves ambushed and killed.
        -  St. Peter Damian, Bishop, 1072. Born in Ravenna, and for a while a teacher before entering the hermitage of Fonte Avellana. As prior he renewed the rigour of religious life. Pope Stephen IX appointed him bishop and cardinal of Ostia.
22nd    -  Seat of St. Peter's Chair. Commemorates his being bishop of Antioch or leader before going to Rome where he was not a bishop, nor did he found the church in Rome. A very early feast kept in the church.
23rd     - Polycarp, Bishop & Martyr, c.155. Had been bp. of Smyrna for over 40 years when persecution of Christians resumed. When asked to renounce his faith to save his life after his arrest, he uttered those immortal words, "I have served him for 86 years, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my king who saved me?" He was burned at the stake, and his ashes were buried outside the city over which the faithful gathered to celebrate the Eucharist.
           - St. Milburga, Religious, c.700. Founded the convent of Wenlcok in Shropshire. Her gentleness and humility wrought many conversions. Performed miracles, including the restoration of life to a child brought to her by a distraught mother. Both her two sisters, Mildred and Mildgytha were saints.
24th     - St. Ethelbert, King of Kent, 616. Converted to Christianity after the arrival of Augustine and his monks at Canterbury. Before this he had married a Christian, Bertha.  
- St. Walburga - Abbess in 8thC. A nun at Wimborne monastery before she with Lioba went to Germany at the request of Boniface. Became abbess of the double monastery at Bisofsheim.
           - SS. Montanus, Lucius & Companions, Martyrs, 259. These were two of eight Christians imprisoned in Carthage for a long time. Although they suffered greatly they kept good spirits amongst themselves to uphold their Christian faith. Seven were martyred together and three days later, Flavian  was also executed..
25th    - Tarasus, Bishop, 806. Patriarch of Constantinople. His whole patriarchy a time of penance and prayers as he tried to reform both clergy and people.
          - Chinese Martyrs - St. Augustus Chapdelaine, St. Laurence Bai Xiaoman, St. Agnes Cao Guiying, 1856. Chapdelaine became a priest of the French Missionary Society and in 1852 was sent to China. Converted many and was helped  by the Chinese, Laurence and Agnes. The two men were arrested in early 1856. The Chinaman refused to denounce his faith and was executed on this day, 1856 followed by the priest four days later, and Agnes the next day.
          - St. Gerland of Girgenti, Bishop, 1100. After Sicily was freed from the Moors by the Normans, Gerland was appointed bishop of Gigenti to restore the Christian faith among locals. Converted many Jews and Moslems.
26th    - St. Porphyrius, Bishop, 420. After being ordained was entrusted with holy relics of the cross in Jerusalem. Appointed bishop of Gaza where he worked tirelessly against idolatry.
          - St. Paul Montal Fornes, Religious, 1889. When her father died worked as a lace maker in Arenys de Mar, Spain to help her family. When thirty founded a school for girls to help them to love God and prepare for motherhood. Several years later founded a new women's congregation, the Daughters of Mary of Religious Schools to "save families". 
27th   - St. Leander, Bishop, c.600. Bishop of Seville. Presided over 3rd Council of Toledo. Worked tirelessly against Arianism. First to introduce the Nicene Creed into the Mass.
         - George Herbert, Priest & Poet, 1633. After his ordination received the incumbency of Bemerton. Known best for "The Country Parson" and his poems that have been immortalised by becoming hymns such as "Teach me my God and King", "King of Glory, King of Peace" and "Let all the world in every corner sing".
         - St. Baldomerus (Galmier), Subdeacon, c.660.  A locksmith in Lyons who spent his free time in prayer, and sharing what he had with the poor. His prayerful life came to the notice of Viventiu, the local abbot of St. Justus who invited him to live at the abbey. Here he shared his meal with the birds. Later he was ordained a subdeacon of the church. Patron saint of locksmiths.
28th  - St. Hilary, Pope, 468. Worked tirelessly for church unity and strengthening the church especially in Spain and France.
        - St. Oswald, Benedictine monk & Archbishop, 992. Worked with St. Dunstan to reform monastic life as bishop of Worcester. Continued this work as Archbishop of York. He died while washing the feet of the poor, as he did daily during Lent, on February 29, 992.
.      - St. Toribio Romo Gonzalez, Priest & Martyr, 1928.  Active in the Catholic Action apostolate in Mexico when the government was persecuting the Church. His ministry was conducted in secret, but ere long troops discovered his hiding place and shot him.

Mostly Lent begins in February when we are ashed on ASH WEDNESDAY
On this day Mary came to the Temple to be purified and to present her Son to the Lord. The aged Simeon and Anna had waited for this day to see the promised Messiah, so they could die in peace.
Marianne Dorman
To next month
Return to Index