1st - 8th day of Christmass - Solemnity of Theotokos - Holy Name of Jesus
2nd - 9th day of Christmass
- SS. Basil and Gregory of Nazianus, 379 & 389. Together with Basil's brother, Gregory of Nyssa are known as the Cappadocian Fathers who defended the divinity of Christ against Arianism (which denied this) in brilliant oratory and theological debate.
- Seraphim of Sarov, Monk & Spiritual Guide, 1833. As a staretz thousands flocked to his monastery. The "Jesus Prayer" formed the heart of his own devotional life. Revered in the Russian Oprthodox Church as 'an icon of Orthodox Spirituality". - St. Silvester of Troina, Monk, 1185. Entered the monastery of Bari, italy, which followed the rule of Basil.. Not wanting to be Abbot he fled into a nearby forest to live a life of a hermit.
3rd - 10th day of Christmass
- St. Genevofa (Genevieve), Virgin, Patroness of Paris, c.500. When Paris was under siege by Childeric, the Frankish leader she obtained food for the city. She travelled tirelessly around the Parisian countryside, healing the sick, routing demons and freeing prisoners. It was said than when Childeric wanted to execute some prisoners in the city, he closed the gates to prevent Genovefa from saving them. Undeterred this holy virgin pushed aside the heavy barriers and saved the captives. She won the respect of Childeric who allowed her to build a church in honour of St. Denys.
4th 11th day of Christmass
- St. Elizabeth Seton, Widow & Foundress, 1821. First native saint of USA. Founded the American sisters of Charity which was devoted to the relief of the poor and to teaching in parish schools.
5th 12th day of Christmass Vigil of the Theophany of Christ.
- St. John Neuman, Missionary & Bishop, 1860. After his ordination ministered to immigrants. Became bishop of Philadelphia in 1852 where he continued his hard work, building churches and schools.
- St. Emiliana, Virgin, c.550. An aunt of Gregory the Great who with her sister Tharsilla lived a life of virginity.
6th The Epiphany
7th - St. Raymund of Pennafort, Dominican friar, 1275. A notable writer of which his 2 notable works were his Summa of moral cases and his compilation of the Decretals of canon law, commissioned by Gregory IX. After election as Master-General of his order completed the revision of the Dominican constitution.
- St. Kentigerna, Anchoress, c.733. Died on Inch Cailleach in Loch Lomond, where the ruined church remains dedicated to her.
- St. Tillo, Hermit, c.702. A slave whose freedom was acquired by St. Eligius who placed him in the French monastery of Solignac as a student. Was ordained, but was more attracted to the hermit life. Attracted many followers for whom he founded a monastery in Bayac.
8th - St. Pega, Virgin & Anchoress, c. 719. Sister of Guthlac. Lived as an anchoress at Peakirk in Northamptonshire, not far from her brother's hermitage at Crowland. Travelling to his funeral she cured a blind man. Inherited Guthlac's psalter. After his death went on pilgrimage to Rome where she died.
- St. Wulsin, Abbot & Bishop, 1002. 1st abbot of Westminster. Appointed bishop of Sherbourne in 992 and introduced a monastic chapter there in the following year. Lived a very austere life.
- St. Apollinaris, Bishop. c.179. Bishop of Hierapolis in Syria. Defended the faith vigorously and wrote to Emperor Marcus Aurelius to persuade him of the validity of the Christian Faith.
- St. Erhard, Bishop. 686. A devout young man who was consecrated as a missionary bishop for the see of Regensburg, Germany. After a vision travelled to Baume, France to restore the sight of a lass who was given the name Odilia who became an abbess and saint.
9th - St. Adrian of Canterbury, Abbot, 710. Nominated to be archbishop of Canterbury, but declined and instead suggested Theodore of Tarsus. This was agreed but Pope Vitalian asked him to accompany Theodore and be his adviser and helper. Appointed Abbot of St. Augustine's where he worked for c.40 years. At the school many future bishops and abbots were taught.
- St. Peter of Sebastea, Bishop, 391. Youngest son in a family of saints whose parents were Saints Basil the elder and Emilia. Became abbot of the monastery founded by his more famous brother, Basil. Ordained in 370 and ten years later conserated bishop of Sebastea where he defended the Orthodox faith against Arianism.
10th - St. Dermot, Abbot, 6th C. Said to have been of royal blood. Founder of the monastery on the island of Innis Clothran.
- William Laud, Bishop & Martyr, 1644. Executed by Parliament during the Civil War 1642-9 after it had dismantled the English Church of its bishops, Prayer Book and Sacraments.
- St. Jaime Hilario Barbal, Monk & Martyr, 1937. Entered De la Salle Brothers and taught in Spainand France. When his hearing was impaired returned to Spain. During the Civil War was arrested and executed.
11th - Mary Slessor, Missionary, 1915. Teaching missionary in Calabar, Nigeria. Fluency of local language and her personality endeared her to the local people. Adopted unwanted children, esp. the other twin.
12th - Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167. Member of the Cistercian Order. Profoundly influential through his spiritual writings, reminiscent of St. Bernard.
13th - St. Hilary of Poitiers, Bp. 367. By his learning and oratory was known as the "Athanasius of the West" as he defended the Catholic faith against Arianism (denied divinity of Christ) in what is now known as S-W France.
- Kentigern (Munro), Bishop & Missionary, 603. Preached the Gospel to Britons in Strathclyde & became their bishop.
14th - St. Sava, Monk & Bishop, Patron Saint of Serbia, 1236. Son of King Stephen, became a monk at Mt. Athos. His father abdicated in favour of his elder son, also Stephen, and joined Sava. Together founded the monastery of Khilandari at Mt. Athos which became a centre of Serbian religion. Returning to Serbia became the first archbishop where he established both bishoprics and monasteries which contributed to the conversion of the Serbs to the Faith.
15th - Maurus & Placid, Disciples of Benedict, c.580. Both were entrusted as boys into the care of Benedict at Subiaco. At some point Maurus saved Placid from drowning, and he gave his name to a French Benedictine House which became famous for its learning and scholarship.
- St. Ita, Religious, c.570. Founded a monastery at Limerick with a school. St. Brendan is said to have been one of her students. Spent much time in solitude and prayer, but always has been a popular saint in Ireland where churches are dedicated to her.
- St. John Calybites, Hermit, c.450. At the tender age of 12 resolved to enter the monastic Akoimetoi - an order which did not sleep. 6 years later left to become a hermit, near to his parents' home. When he fell ill made himslef known to his parents who cared for him until death.
16th - St. Marcellus, Pope, 309. Enforced the canons on penance & was exiled for his severe treatment of an apostate. Died in exile, and in early liturgical books is called a martyr.
- St. Macarius the Elder, Priest and Hermit, c.390. Was accused of an act of immorality. After been acquitted fled to the desert of Egypt. He was ordained so he could celebrate Mass. He lived to 90 and was an example of Christian virtue.
- St. Priscilla, Wife & Mother, c.98. Probably the wife of the Roman Senator Quintus Conelius Pudens and mother of another senator, St. Pudens. She devoted her wealth to help Christian prisoners and the needy. A part of her land was given for the first cemetery for Christians.
17th - St. Antony of Egypt, Hermit & Abbot, 356. Left all his wealth to follow Christ as a hermit in the desert. As many followed his example he devised a simple rule of personal discipline the beginning of monasticism. Sought out as a spiritual guide, and gave refuge to Athanasius when in exile.
- Charles Gore, Bishop & Monk, 1932. One of the most influential theologians in England. Renowned as a preacher. Founded the Community of the Resurrection, to-day known as the Mirfield Fathers. Successively bishop of Worcester, Birmingham & Oxford.
18th - The confession of Peter is his proclamation of Christ as the Son of God after the Transfiguration. The BEGINNING OF THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY in the northern hemisphere.
19th - St. Wulfstan of Worcester, Bp. 1095. A Benedictine monk at Worcester. Although elected bishop against his will, he nurtured his diocese through the transition from Saxon to Norman rule.
- St. Nathalan, Bishop, 678. A native of Scotland who tilled the land. In a famine he suported all he could. Disgruntled against another famine went on pilgrimage to Rome. Here the pentinent was made a bishop. Eventuallt he returned to Scotland where he erected 3 churches out of his own resources.
20th - St. Fabian, 250. Bp.& Martyr. Died during the persecution of Decius when bp. of Rome & buried in the catacomb of St. Callistus. Was a layman before his election as bishop.
- St. Sebastian, Martyr, c.300. Martyred under the persecution of Diocletian, and was buried in a cemetery on the Appian Way close to the basilica bearing his name. In the mediæval church often depicted as being martyred by a quiver of arrows.
- Richard Rolle of Hampole, Mystic 1349. A hermit but wrote prolifically on mysticism and asceticism. His best known work is "The Fire of Love".
- St. Fechlin, Abbot, 665. His hermitage eventually became a monastery at Fore. Also founded a monastery near Galway where they converted the local pagans. Each night he recited the Psalter.
- St. Desiderius, Bishop, 1194. Became bishop of the French diocese of Therouanne. Assisted in the foundation of the Cistercian monasatery of Blandecques. 3 years beefore his death retired to the monastery at Cambron.
21st - St. Agnes, 304. Child-Martyr under Diocletian. Became one of the most venerated of the early Roman martyrs, who at an early aged dedicated her whole self to God.
- SS. Fructuosis of Tarragona (Bp), Augurius, and Eulogius, (Deacons), Martyrs, 259. These were all arrested by Roman authorites and executed for their faith. Before thier execution they knelt with arms extended to form a cross.
22nd - St. Vincent of Saragossa, 304. Deacon and and one the earliest martyrs of Spain for his condemnation of paganism during Diocletian's persecution .
23rd - St. Ildephonsus of Toledo, Archbishop, c.677. Attended the Councils in Toledo in 653 & 657. A devoted pastor & notable writer. The appearance of the Virgin Mary to him on his episcopal chair and giving him a chasuble has been captured in paintings by Velazquez and El Greco.
- Phillips Brooks, 1893. Bp.of Massachusetts. Author of "Little town of Bethlehem", but should be better known for his spiritual leadership and deep devotion to his Lord.
- St. John the Almoner, Bishop c.619. A Cypriot widower who became patriarch of Alexandria c. 608. To prepare for such a high office he gave his wealth to the poor. Whilst he lived a live of poverty and prayer, he devoted himself to the needs of his people. Thus twice a week he sat outside his cathedral so that his people could bring their concerns to him. He surely led by example.
24th - Francis de Sales, 1622. Bp. of Geneva, and Spiritual Writer. A devout Catholic whose preaching against Calvinism brought many back to Catholicism. Since his death Christians have been inspired by his best known writing The Devout Life.
- St. Felicin, Bishop & Martyr, c.254. Consecrated bp.of Foligno by Pope St. Victor who bestowed upon him a pallium - perhaps the first account of this. Was arrested during the persecution under Decius, tortured and died on his journey to Rome for execution.
- St. Bablyas, Bishop & Martyr, c.250. Bishop of Antioch who barred from entering his church the Roman Emperor Philip the Arabian, a convert, as he insisted he must do penance for murdering his predescessor, Emperor Gordian. Suffered martyrdom under his successor, Decius.
- St. Macedonius, Hermit, c.430. A Syrian who lived the life of a hermit. Many miracles were attributed to him, including that of the ecclesiastical writer, Theoderet's mother.
25th CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL. The zealous persecutor of Christians became the great missionary of the Apostolic Church. His conversion near Damascus finally led him to Rome and martyrdom. The first great theologian, but not all the letters bearing his name were written by him. END OF WEEK PRAYING FOR UNITY AMONGST CHRISTIANS.
26th - SS. Timothy & Titus, Companions of Paul in his missionary work in Asia Minor. Tradition has associated Timothy with the Christian community at Ephesus, and Titus with that in Crete.
- St. Paula, Widow, 404. With other women in Rome in the late 4thC. lived as a community and adopting simple garments. Jerome was a constant visitor and taught the women to recite the psalms in Hebrew. When Jerome forced to leave Rome, Paula and her daughter, Eustochium accompanied him to the Holy Land where they made a long pilgrimage, and then settling in Bethlehem. There they built a double monastery and Paula helped Jerome tremendously in his studies, especially through her knowledge of Greek. She died on this day and is buried under the church of the Nativity at Bethlehem. Upon her death, Jerome wrote an epitaph letter, probably the finest of all his writings.
- St Alberic, Abbot, 1109. One of the monks who left Molesmes to found a new community at Citeaux, for strict observanc eof the Benedictine rule. Alberic became the first abbot.
27th - St. Angela Merci, Religious, 1540. Founder of the Ursuline nuns, an unenclosed order. Devoted to education, especially that of poor girls.
- St. Vitalian, Bishop. 672. Became Bp of Rome in 657 Made efforts to stem the Monothelite heresy.
- St. Thierry II, Bishop, 1022.. Appointed bishop of Orleans by King Robert the Pious. A devoted pastor.Before his death retired to his old monastery.
28th - Thomas Aquinas, Priest in Dominican Order, Philosopher & Theologian, 1274. One of the most outstanding and influential theologians, preachers & confessors in the Church, which earned him the title of "Angelic Doctor".
- St. Julian of Cuenca, Bishop, 1208. As a priest travelled across Spain preaching the Gospel befopre being cpnsecrated bishop of Cuenca. Was a diligent pastor who on his deathbed experienced a visikon of our dear Lady.
29th - St. Gildas, Abbot, c.570. A noted Welsh monk and writer. His De exicidio Britianniæ gave a vivid picture of the decadence of contemporary British secular rulers and clerics and blamed their sins for Anglo-Saxons successful invasion. Later in life founded a monastery on an island near Rhuis off Brittany, which became the centre of his cult.
30th - Charles 1, King & Martyr, 1649. After a period of disagreement between him and the Puritan Parliament, erupting eventually into Civil War, and the defeat of Charles, he was sentenced to death by the Rump Parliament, after he refused to abandon the Reformed Catholic Church in England for Presbyterianism.
- St. Aldegundis, Religious, 684, Following the deaths of her devout parents she retired to a forest to live as a hermit near Maubeuge. Here she founded an abbey with herself as abbess.
31st - St. John Bosco, Priest, 1888. Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, and pioneered new educational methods such as rejecting corporal punishment. Spent his life working with the young.
- St. Ulphia, Religious, c.750. Lived as a hermitess near Saint-Acheul. Each night she would walk to church for Mains with the elderly St. Domitus. Aftrer his death she breiflt founded a community, but soon resumed her eremetical life.
- St. Eusebius, Hermit and Martyr, 884. An Irishman who went to St. Gall. Seeking greater solitude lived the life of a hermit.for many years. When speaking once to the local people against immorality he was killed.