1st - Justin the Martyr, c.165. An outstanding apologist for the Faith & is the first Christian thinker to undertake seriously dialogue with other faiths. In c. 165 he and some of his disciples were denounced and beheaded.
2nd - SS. Marcellinus & Peter, Martyrs, 304. After their martyrdom were buried in the catacomb of Tiburtius on the Via Lavicana over which a church was later built. From very early a strong cult arose, and their names appear in the Canon of the Mass.
- St. Pothinus & Companions, Martyrs, 177. In this year a severe persecution broke out in Vienne, near Lyon of Christians. Those Christians imprisoned and subsequently martyred in tortorous death included the bishop, Pothinus, Sanctus, a deacon, Maturus, a recent convert, Blandina, a slave-girl and Ponticus, a teenage boy. All told there 48 martyrs.
3rd - The Martyrs of Uganda , 1886 & 1978. Mwanga, leader of Uganda wanted boys for his bed, but Christian servants refused including Charles Lwanga. Condemned they sang hymns of praise to their God, and continued to sing while flames enveloped them, reminiscent of the early African martyrs. Christians were killed last century under the tyranny of Amin.
- St. Optatus of Milevis, Bishop, c.387. The first to write against the Donatists. In "On the Schism" he condemns them for rebelling against the Pope. His virtue was praised by the young Augustine.
- St. Clotilda, Widow, 545. Married the pagan king of the Franks, Clovis. The Queen prayed for her husband's conversion, but showed no signs of converting until it seemed he and his army would be defeated in battle. He vowed to succumb to "Clotilda's God" if his soldiers were spared defeat. They were and on Christmass morning 496, Clovis was baptised in Rheims . After his death Clotilda witnessed much infamily fighting, and when two of her sons were determined to battle it out, Clotilda prayed all night before the shrine of St. Martin in Tours. A violent storm thus broke when two armies were about to meet on the battlefield.
4th - Petroc. Abbot, 6thC. A hermit, but his importance in Celtic tradition is reflection in his title "captain of Cornish saints". Many churches dedicated to him in Cornwall & Wales.
- St. Quirinus, Bishop & Martyr, 304. As bishop of Siscia, arrested during the Diocletian persecution and brought before the city magistrate. Maximus directed him to sacrifice to the gods, and if he did he could become a pagan priest. Quirinus replied, "I am now performing the true function of a priest in offering myself as a sacrifice to the living God." After terrible torture in the dungeon sent to the governor Amantius who sentenced him to death by drowning with a millstone around his neck.
5th - Boniface, Bishop & Martyr, 754. The Apostle to the Germanic peoples. Supported by English monks and nuns converted the pagans, and established monasteries following Benedict's rule. Murdered whilst waiting to take a confirmation.
- St. Sanctius (Sancho), Martyr, 851. Captured by Moors in Albi and taken back to Cordova for military training. On professing to be a Christian was sentenced to a terrible death by impaling.
- St. Porcarius, Abbot, 6thC. When abbot of St. Hilaire in Poitiers, approached to quell a violent revolt at nearby Holy Cross monastery. In later life withdrew to a chapel named Bois Sacreiin honour of a relic of the true cross preserved there. Here he died.
6th - St. Norbert, Monk & Bishop, 1134. Underwent a conversion after escaping death in a thunderstorm in 1115, sold his goods, confessed his misdeeds and undertook a life of penance which led to the founding of the Premonstratensian Order according to the rule of St. Augustine. Appointed Archbishop of Magdeburg. With Bernard support Honorius in the schism.
- Ini Kopuria, Evangelist, 1945. Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood where members vowed initially a five-year service to evangelise the Pacific Islands & New Guinea. Grew intone of the largest religious communities in the Anglican Communion.
- St. Jarlath, Bishop, c.540.Founded a monastery at Cluain Fois, close to Tuam to-day. As abbot and bishop, he was noted for his holiness in the hours that he prayed at night for others. Founded also a monastic school that produced several illustrious alumni, inclusing SS. Brendan and Colman of Cloyne.
- St. Gudwal (Gurval) Bishop, 6thC. A native of Britain, was one of the first missionaries to evangelise Brittany where he founded several monasteries, of which those of Plecit are the most notable. To this day the townspeople of Guer honour him with an annual pocession to a holy well assocaited with him.
7th - St. Willibald, Monk & Bishop, 787. One of the most travelled Anglo-Saxon monks of his time as he visited many of the holy places. Lived for a time at Monte Cassino. Boniface asked for his help in Germany. Ordained and appointed bishop of Eichstatt, in which was the famous monastery of Heidenheim, where his brother Winnibald was abbot, and then his sister Walburga, abbess.
8th - St. Médard, Bishop, c.560. Consecrated bishop of Vermandois. Veiled Radegund, and moved his see to Noyon. His cult popular, and invoked for toothache.
- Thomas Ken, Bishop & Hymn Writer & Non-Juror, 1711. Chaplain to Charles II. Imprisoned by James II with six other bishops over the King's proposed rescinding of the Penal Laws. Refused to give allegiance to William of Orange whilst James still alive. He and others became known as Non-Jurors. Ken retired after renouncing his rights as bishop. His saintly life is reflected in the hymns he wrote.
- Immaculate Heart of Mary
9th - Ephrem of Syria, Deacon & Theologian, 373. Referred to as the "Harp of the Spirit" because of his prolific hymn writing. Established a school of theology in Edessa (Urfa).
- Columba of Iona, Abbot & Missionary, 597. Founded monasteries including Kells before leaving Ireland for Iona, which became the centre for converting Scotland and Northumbria to the Faith.
10th - Ithamar, Bishop, c.660. First Anglo-Saxon to be consecrated bishop for see of Rochester, and he in turn consecrated Deusdedit, the first Anglo-Saxon archbishop of Canterbury. Many miracles were reported at his tomb.
- St. Getulius & Companions, Martyrs, c.120. A Roman officer who converted to Christianity and retired to his estates in Tivoli. Here he instructed a small group of Christians in the faith. It was here that Cerealis, the imperial vicar was sent to arrest him. However he was converted by Getlius. When this news reached Hadrain he had these two and Amantius, Getulius brother, and Primitivus were arrested, tortured and executed. So were St. Symphorosa, Getulius wife and their seven sons.
11th - ST. BARNABAS. "For he was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit. Sent to Antioch to help Christians he befriended Paul after his conversion and introduced him to the Church in Jerusalem. Tradition has him dying a martyr in his home country, Cyprus in 61.
- St. Aleydis of Schaerbeek, Religious, 1250. A Cistercian nun in Cambre, Belgium who contracted leprosy, and was forced to live separately. As she was ravaged by the disease her strength came from Christ's suffering.
- St. Maria Rosa Molas Y Valive, Religious, 1876. As a nun was sent to run a house of the destitute near Tortosa, Spain. Appalled by the conditions she set out to reform it. She founded a new congregation, Sisters, of Our Lady of Consolation to care for sick and educate children.
- St. Felix & Fortunatus, Martyrs, 296. Living in Vicenza these brothers were arrested for their faith during the persecution under Diocletian. Brutally tortured they refused to deny their faith and were beheaded.
- St. Pariso, Priest & Religious, 1267. Lived such a saintly childhood he was allowed to take the Camaldolese habit at 12 years old. After his ordination he became the spiritual director for the Treviso's convent of nuns. Served in this pffoce for over 75 years, dying at 107 years.
12th - St. Basilides, Martyr. c.3rdC. After his martryrdom in Rome was buried on the Via Aurelia. Venerated very early in Roman Calendars.
- St. Eskil, Bishop & Martyr, 1080. Travelled with St. Siegrid to re-evangelise Sweden. Their eforts were supported by the king Inge who was soon assassinated and follwed by a pagan king. As bishop Eskil worked to return people to Christ, and implored God to show a sign which he did in a thunderous clap. But rather than repent the people accused him of magic and struck him down.
13th - St. Anthony of Padua, Francisican friar & priest, 1231. Became a friar in 1220 whilst Francis was still alive. Elected Provincial of northern Italy in 1227. Travelled widely over three years during which he wrote his sermons for Sunday, and afterwards was commissioned by the Papacy to produce "Sermons for Feast Days". His last days were spent in Padua, preaching, hearing confessions and working for the poor. Shortly after his death a fine basilica was built in his honour. Canonised only a year after his death.
- St. Aventius, Priest, Hermit & Martyr, c.732. Live a life a hermit until ordained and then served his people who were overrun by the Moors. When the Moorish soldiers found Aventius he knelt to commend his soul to god and was beheaded.
- St. Felicula, Virgin & Martyr, c.90. A Christian girl of Rome who was raised as a foster sister of another martyr, St. Petronilla. A Roman nobleman, Flaccus demanded that Felicula either marry hime or sacrifice to the gods. She refused both options. Thus she was thrown into a dungeon without water or food for a week. Then she tortured and suffocated in the city sewer.
- St. Triphyllius, Bishop, c.370. In 347 accompanied Spiridion to the Council of Sardica to battle against the Arian heresy. He became bishop of Leucoia and was both an effective preacher and writer.
14th - Richard Baxter, Puritan Divine & Hymn Writer, 1691. After the Restoration refused the see of Hereford, and thus barred any other Church office. His book The Reformed Pastor reflects a spirit of deep unaffected piety. A prolific hymn writer.
- Dogmael, Monk, 6thC. Lived in Wales, and later perhaps to Brittany where a St. Dogmeel has had a considerable cult.
- SS. Valerius & Rufinus, Martyrs, c. 287. Lived near Soissons where their Christian living attracted the notice of Roman officials.When a new wave of persecutions against the Christians occurred they went to the forests. Still they were captured and brought to trial where they boldly professed the faith. Were tortured and beheaded.
15th - St. Vitus, Martyr, c.303. One of the oldest cults in Rome. A very ancient church on the Esquiline was dedicated to him. His relics were claimed by St. Denys. Invoked as patron of those who suffer from epilepsy and nervous diseases.
- Evelyn Underhill, Mystic, 1941. One of the great writers and mentors on the Spiritual Life, Mysticism, Prayer and Worship in the last 100 years.
- SS. Modeste Andlauer & Remy Isore, Priests, Religious & Martyrs, 1900. Jesuits who were sent to China in 1882. During the Boxer rebellion of 1900 over 30,000 thousand Catholics were killed. These two were killed before the altar in the chapel of Wuyi village.
16th - Richard, Bishop, 1253. Chancellor of Oxford and to the Archbishop of Cantaur before his appointment as bishop of Chichester. A model bishop visiting and caring for his clergy & people, all on foot. On this day his bones were translated to Chichester in 1276.
- Joseph Butler, Bishop & Philosopher, 1752. Became famous as a preacher. After appointment as bishop of Durham became one of the greatest exponents of natural theology and ethics since the Reformation.
- St. Benno, Bishop, 1106. Educated by St. Bernward. Became a monk and later abbot of Hildesheim, and in 1066 became bishop of Meissen. Revised the saying of the Divine Office, became a great missionary, and support Papacy against the Emperor, Henry IV.
17th - St. Botolph, Abbot , 680. Built a monastery in E. Anglia on land given to him by the king (Icanho). Previously had been chaplain to a nunnery where 2 of the king's sisters were nuns. 64 ancient churches were dedicated to him, including 3 in London.
- Samuel & Henrietta Barnett, Social Reformers, 1913 & 1936. Together they worked in the East End of London to promote "a kingdom of love and peace." In 1884 Toynbee Hall was opened for them to carry out this mission.
- St. Emily de Vialar, Religious, 1856. Cared for her father who wanted her to marry. Resisting she cared for neglected children. the sick and destitute. Founded a new religious congregation, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the apparition to continue her work of caring for destitute.
- St. Teresa of Portugal, Religious, 1250. Eldest of three daughters of King Sancho II, all of whom became saints. She married King Leon of Spain and had several children. After the marraige was annulled returned to Portugal and established a Cistercian convent on her estate at Lorvao.
- St. Sancha of Portugal, Virgin & Religious, 1229. Teresa's sister who founded a convent at Cellas and adopted the Cistercian rule. Much of her time was spent in prayer and devotions and penance.
18th - SS. Mark & Marcellian, Martyrs, c.290. Probably twins. Their martyrdom is commemorated in the ancient Roman sacramentaries, and frescoes in their tomb. Relics from the catacombs were translated first to the church of SS. Cosmas & Damian, and then to St. Praxedes.
- Bernard Miseki, Missionary & Martyr, 1896. Apostle to the MaShona who lived in present day Zimbabwe. Murdered in a tribal uprising, & site of his martyrdom became an important pilgrimage centre for African Christians.
- St. Gregory Barbarigo, Bisop, 1697. In his youth spent many hours in prayer. Became bishop of Bergamo where he promoted worshipping in the beauty of holiness. As a cardinal appointed bishop of Padia where he opened a new seminary. To students he emphasised the importance of Church History, and to learn the ancient languages to interpret Scripture and other early writings. Worked towards the reunifaction of East and West.
19th - St. Romuald of Ravenna, Monk, 1027. Founded monasteries at Fonte Avellana & Camaldoli. His particular contribution to monasticism was to provided for the eremtic life within the framework of the Benedicitine Rule.
- Sundar singh of India, Sadhu & Evangeslist, 1929. A Sikh who became a Christian after having a vision. Travelled around the Indian sub-continent in the robes of a Sadhu (holy man). Visited Tibet where he went missing, presumed murdered for the faith.
20th - St. Adalbert, Monk & Bishop, 981. The Emperor Otto the Great founded a monastery at Magdeburg to provide a base for evangelising the Slavs with Adalbert at its head. At request of Olga of Kiev led a Christian mission but unsuccessful as Olga died and her son was not a Christian, and some of them were killed by him. Adalbert escaped to the imperial court at Mainz until he was appointed the first archbishop of Magdeburg.
21st - St. Aloysius Gonzaga, 1591. Patron of youth. Lived a very ascetic life, and opposed the corrupt society of his time. His name is closely associated with educational institutions e.g. Gonzaga University, Spokane.
- St. Leutfridus (Leufroy) Abbot, 738. A schoolteacher who one night exchanged his clothes with a beggar in order to dedicate himself to God. After becoming a monk under the direction of St. Sidonius ar Rouen, returned to his home territory and founded a monastery outside Evreux dedicated to the holy cross where he served as abbot for 48 years.
- St. Ralph (Raoul), Bishop, 866. As archbishop of Bourges, he produced a book of pastoral directives for the clergy, and especially promoting the observing of the sacrament of penance. The writings showed that he knew the Fathers well. Founded new monasteries for both men and women.
22nd - St. Alban, Martyr, c.250. Proto-Martyr of Britain. A citizen in the Roman city of Verulamium who sheltered a priest fleeing from persecution. Impressed by the priest's piety was converted & when the priest's whereabouts was discovered dressed in the priest's cloak and was arrested, and subsequently died for the Faith. His shrine became a popular pilgrimage sight.
23rd - Etheldreda, Abbess, 678. Of royal birth who founded a double monastery at Ely where she ruled as abbess. Revered as a woman of austerity, prayer and prophecy.
24th - BIRTHDAY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST to the elderly Elizabeth & Zechariah. His leaping in his mother's womb when the pregnant Mary visited her cousin was the first recognition of the coming of the Messiah, a message he would preach later on to his countrymen. Last of the great prophets and the forerunner of Christ.
25th - St. Maximus of Turin, Bishop, c.415. Became first bishop of Turin in 397& held a council of Gaulish bishops there in 398. Over 100 of his sermons survive revealing his evangelism in rural paganism.
- St. Propser of Aquitane, Layman, 463. A lay theologian and historian who migrated to Provence where he found some clergy condemning the writings of Augustine and accusing him and other Church Fathers of denying free will. Propser refuted this, and especially in a long poem, A Song about the Graceless. Subsequently Leo the Great called him to Rome to be his secretary.
26th - John & Paul, Martyrs, 4thC. Little is known of their identity even though their cult is early and well established in all the Roman sacramentaries. A fine church dedicated to them in Venice is the burial place of several of the Doges.
- St. John of Heraclea, Bishop, c.800. His predecessor had been deposed for supporting iconoclasm. John vigorously supported the veneration of religious images and the invocation of the saints. Captured by invading Khazar forces. Escaped to Amastris and lived in exile.
- St. Pelayo, Martyr, 925. A young teenager taken hostage by the Moors. Offered wealth and freedom if he would renounce the Faith. His reply was "A Christian I have been, Christian I am, and Christian I shall continue to be." Executed in a most tortorous manner.
- St. Maxentius, Abbot, c.515. As a child entrusted to abbot St. Severus.Gaining much populariy he fled twice and entered a monastery near Poitou in the Vauclair Valley. Became abbot.Once when marauding trops threatened violence he went out to meet them. The soldier who raised his sword to slay him found his arm paralysed until Maxentius anointed it.
27th - Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop & Theologian, 444. Defended the Orthodox faith against the various heresies about God and Christ. Especially opposed the teaching of Nestorius, bp. of Constantinople who denied that Mary is Theotokos = the Godbearer.
28th - Irenaeus, Bishop & Theologian, c.200. Regarded as the first great Catholic theologian who defended the Faith against many heresies including all shaded of Gnosticism (matter is evil and duel sytem of good versus evil).
- St. Vincentia Gerosa, Religious, 1847. Became a tertiary Franciscan. When all her family died she welcomed the poor into her home and nuesed the sick. Her special devotion was the Passion of Christ. With St. Bartolomea founded the Sisters of Charity of the Little Child Mary to educate children and care for the sick and poor.
29th - SS.PETER & PAUL, Apostles, c.64. Both martyred in Rome in same year but on different days. The two giants of the apostolic church Peter the recognised leader and Paul the great missionary and theologian. Their lives in proclaiming the Gospel brought them both to Rome.
30th - Martyrs of Rome under Nero c.64. As well as Peter and Paul being martyred many Christians were killed too as the scapegoats for the fire of Rome, probably started by Nero himself.