Saturday, 31 October 2015

31st October - All Hallows Eve (Hallowe’en)

All Saints
All Hallows' Eve, the eve of the feast of All Hallows Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time we remember those who have passed away, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers. Some believe the origins of this feast lie on pagan harvest festivals, others think it’s origin is solely Christian in origin. Traditionally, this day was one on which people abstained from eating meat, hence the tradition of eating apples, potato pancakes and soul cakes.

Friday, 30 October 2015

30th October - Æthelnoth the Good

Æthelnoth the good, son of Æthelmær the Stout, grandson of Æthelweard the Historian. Monk at Glastonbury, Archbishop in Canterbury, Chaplain to the King.

He was baptised by Dunstan, and a story was told at Glastonbury Abbey that as he was baptised his hand made a motion much like that an archbishop makes when blessing. Æthelnoth died in 1038 and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. Æthelnoth was a remarkable man, “so thoroughly a product of Anglo-Saxon society … who become someone who worked closely with the Danish conqueror Cnut”

Thursday, 29 October 2015

29th October - Mary of Edessa

Abraham & Mary

Mary lived for 20 years as an anchoress near her uncle Abraham‘s cell. He had taken care of his brother's daughter after his death and brought her to live near him so he might care for her. In a moment of weakness she was seduced by a monk who had turned from his vows. Mary thought herself beyond forgiveness and in her shame she fled, giving herself over to wild, wild living. Abraham only left his hermit‘s cell twice, the second time to visit Mary disguised as a soldier. Mary picked him up, took him home and over supper, Abraham convinced her of the error of her ways. She converted and returned to the life of an anchoress, spending the rest of her days in prayer. Mary, patron against sexual temptation.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

28th October - Jude and Simon

Jude, also known as Thaddaeus, one of the Apostles. He is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. Simon is often associated with Jude. The most widespread tradition is that after preaching in Egypt, Simon joined Jude in Persia and Beirut, where both were martyred. There are numerous accounts of Simon's martyrdom, some believe he was crucified, others think he was sawn in half. Another tradition says he visited Britain—possibly Glastonbury—and was martyred in Lincolnshire. He is patron of sawmen, tanners & woodcutters.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

27th October - Elesbaan of Ethiopia

Elsebaan (c520-555)
Elesbaan of Ethiopia (Kaleb of Axum), was a man of many names and a King in Ethiopia in early 6th century. With the support of Byzantine emperors, he successfully invaded the southern Arabian peninsula (now Yemen) where Christians was under attack. Late in life he abdicated his throne, gave his crown to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, and lived a prayerful life as a hermit and then a monk in Jerusalem.

Monday, 26 October 2015

26th October - Cedd

St Peter's on the Wall, Bradwell on Sea
Cedd (Ad 620-664), Bishop of Essex & Abbot of Lastingham, was the eldest of four brothers, born into a noble Northumbrian family at the beginning of the 7th century. He started school with his brothers at Lindisfarne Priory and learnt the ways of the Irish monks under Bishop Aidan. The brothers were sent to Ireland for further study and all four became priests.

He returned to Lindisfarne and was sent to evangelise the people of Essex, who were sorely in need of some spiritual guidance. He sailed by coracle and arrived at Bradwell, where he built a simple chapeL out of the remains of the Roman wall. He baptised many of the locals and built churches, founded monasteries at Bradwell-on-Sea and East Tilbury. After being ordained Bishop of Essex Cedd re-instated St. Paul's in London as the main seat of his diocese. He ordained priests and deacons to assist him in his work and gathered together a large flock of servants of Christ in his two monastic foundations.

Cedd also built a Royal monastery and mausoleum at Lastingham, Yorkshire. During one visit there he fell ill with the plague and he and his brother, Cynebil, fell sick and died.

Cedd was buried in the open air and his funeral was attended by thirty monks from Bradwell who, subsequently also contracted the plague and died. Eventually, a church was built at Lastingham and Cedd's body was interred there. Later, Cedd's bones were moved to the Lichfield Cathedral (founded by his brother, Chad). 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

25th October - Crispin

From the Chapelle Saint-François de Paule in Fribourg. Swiss National Museum, Zurich

A member of the imperial Roman nobility and brother of Crispian with whom he evangelized Gaul in the 3rd century. They preached by day and made shoes by night. Their charity, holy living and contempt of material things led to many conversions. They were martyred (tortured and beheaded) in Rome. A great church was built at Soissons in their honour.

Because of his association with shoe-making, a shoe-shine kit is sometimes called a “St Crispin”; an awl is “St Crispin’s lance”; and if your shoes are too tight, you are “in St Crispin’s prison.”

Patron of cobblers, glove makers, lace makers, leather workers, saddle makers, shoemakers, tanners & weavers

Saturday, 24 October 2015

24th October - Luigi Guanella

1842 - 1915
Ninth of thirteen children born in a poor family. Luigi entered seminary aged twelve and after ordination he worked with John Bosco to care for homeless children. He was a youth director &  Parish priest. He opened a school for the poor, he founded an orphanage and a nursing home, he founded the Daughters of St Mary of Providence which, today, has over 1,200 sisters working in over 100 homes. Luigi founded the Servants of Charity which today has over 500 brothers in over 50 houses.

Father Luigi never bothered to retire. He reclaimed marsh land in the Sondrio region and built an institute for the handicapped. He worked in the United States with Italian immigrants. He founded the Confraternity of St Joseph whose mission is to pray for the dying, which today has 10 million members.

Friday, 23 October 2015

23rd October - John Buoni

John Buoni, a jester in Italian courts who "mis-spent his youth in wild living". After suffering illness, he reformed completely, converted, and became a hermit. His reputation for piety attracted visitors and in order to escape them he left one night and walked, aimlessly, till dawn. To his surprise he found himself at the door of hermitage. Taking this as a sign, he gained new energy to face his visitors, offering them the Augustinian rule, and forming the basis of Augustinian hermit friars.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

22nd October - Mary Salome

Salome, disciple ... not to be confused with Salomé the daughter of Herodias, who demanded the head of John the Baptist.

Salome (lit peace) was a follower of Jesus who appears briefly in the canonical gospels but in more detail in apocryphal writings. She is sometimes identified as the wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John, and sometimes as the sister of Mary, mother of Jesus. Salome is among the women who went to Jesus' tomb to anoint his body with spices.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

21st October - John of Bridlington

John, 1320 - 1379

John Twenge, born in the village of Thwing on the Yorkshire Wolds, about nine miles west of Bridlington, was instrumental in establishing the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Bar Convent, York (a wonderful place, however I lost the Convent keys & my trousers there ... but that's another story).

John entered the Augustinian Canons Regular community of Priory of Bridlington. He was, in turn, novice master, almsgiver, preacher and sub-prior, canon of the priory and eventually the "Reluctant Prior". John had a reputation for great holiness and for miraculous powers. Reputedly, he changed water into wine.

At All Saints Church Thwing, there is a window showing John of Bridlington. There is a St John Street in Bridlington named after him. At the church of St Andrew, Hempstead, a wooden panel showing John of Bridlington depicts him holding a fish, and in episcopal robes, though he never served as bishop.

Patron of women in difficult labour and fishermen

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

20th October - Acca of Hexham

Acca (660 – 742), was a Benedictine monk and friend of many famous people of the time, including St Wilfrid and  the Venerable Bede. He built churches and re-fitted the principal church at Hexham. He had a beautiful singing voice and encouraged the revival of vocal music in British liturgy.

Patron of learning

Monday, 19 October 2015

19th October - Henry Martyn

Henry Martyn (1781 – 1812), Anglican priest, missionary to the peoples of India and Persia. He arrived in India in 1806, where he preached and occupied himself in the study of linguistics. He translated the whole of the New Testament into Urdu, Persian and Judaeo-Persic. He also translated the Psalms into Persian and the Book of Common Prayer into Urdu.

He died in 1812 and is remembered for his courage, selflessness and his religious devotion. 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

18th October - Luke the Evangelist

Luke (literally, bringer of light) was born to Greek parents, early convert to Christianity. Studied as a Physician and according to legends he was also a painter who may have painted portraits of Jesus and Mary. He met Paul the Apostle, and worked with him. Luke wrote the Gospel named after him and the Acts of the Apostles.

Patron of artists, bachelors, bookbinders, brewers, butchers, doctors, glass makers, goldsmiths, lacemakers, painters, physicians, sculptors, stained glass workers & surgeons

Saturday, 17 October 2015

17th October - Ignatius

Ignatius, the third bishop of Antioch, was a student of John the Apostle. He was killed en route to Rome by being fed to wild beasts. He wrote a series of letters, forming very early Christian theology on topics including ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops.

Friday, 16 October 2015

16th October - Nicholas Ridley

Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, burned at the stake as one of the Oxford Martyrs for his teachings and his support of Lady Jane Grey. The sentence was carried out on 16 October 1555 in Oxford. Ridley burned extremely slowly and suffered a great deal, despite packets of gunpowder put under his arms. He burned alongside Latimer, who is reported to have said to Ridley, "Be of good comfort, and play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out." 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

15th October - Teresa of Avila, Teacher of the Faith

Born to the Spanish nobility, Teresa grew up reading the lives of the saints. After the death of her mother she left home and entered a Carmelite house. She founded a reformed convent of Saint John of Avila.

Patron against headaches, sickness, the death of parents. Patron for lace makers, people in need of grace, people in religious orders, people ridiculed for their piety and sick people

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

14th October - Callistus

Callistus was born a slave and his master entrusted a large sum to him to open a bank. The bank opened, took in deposits and made some loans to people who refused to pay them back, The bank went bust. Knowing he would be punished, Callistus fled, but was caught and returned to his owner. Callistus was sentenced to work the tin mines. By a quirk of Roman law, the ownership of Callistus was transferred to the state and he was later ransomed out of his sentence, becoming a free man. He was martyred.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

13th October – Edward the Confessor

Edward was a prince, son of King Ethelred and Queen Emma. Edward and his brother were sent to Denmark to be “quietly killed”, but the officer in charge took pity on the boys and sent them to Sweden, and from there they went to the King of Hungary to be raised and educated.

Edward finally returned to England in 1042 and was chosen king by acclamation. Edward gained a reputation as just and worthy of the kingship, and the people of England supported him. During his reign Edward fought invaders, restored the King of Scotland to his throne and disbanded unjust taxes. He was noted for his generosity to the poor and strangers and for his love of God.

Monday, 12 October 2015

12th October - Edith Cavell

Edith Cavell was a British nurse celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides of conflict without discrimination and in helping 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during the First World War. She was arrested, court-martialled, found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Edith Cavell is known for saying "patriotism is not enough" and "I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved."

Sunday, 11 October 2015

11th October - Æthelburh of Barking

St Æthelburh (or Ethelburga), founder and first Abbess of the dual monastery of Barking, was the sister of Eorcenwald, Bishop of London. She was described as "upright in life and constantly planning for the needs of her community".

The church of St Ethelburga, in the City of London, is dedicated to her. It survived the Great Fire and the Blitz but was extensively damaged in an IRA attack in 1993. It has been restored and is now a centre for international reconciliation.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

10th October - Paulinus

Paulinus, a "tall man with a slight stoop, who had black hair, a thin face and a narrow, aquiline nose, his presence being venerable and awe-inspiring". If his picture is anything to go by, he also had a great beard!

He was a missionary to the Anglo-Saxons and worked with Augustine of Canterbury, Justus and Mellitus, evangelist to Kent for 24 years. He was also the first Bishop of York. He accompanied Æthelburg of Kent on her journey to Northumbria to marry King Edwin and eventually succeeded in converting Edwin to Christianity. Paulinus is known for building churches and one of the women Paulinus baptised was Hilda of Whitby. 

Friday, 9 October 2015

9th October - Denis of Paris

Denis was a missionary to Paris and he became the first Bishop of Paris. He had enemies and was imprisoned by Roman governor. Denis was martyred and legends quickly grew around his torture and death. One story recounts the body of Denis carrying his severed head away from his execution site. He was beheaded at Montmarte (mount of martyrs) and his corpse was thrown in the River Seine, but was recovered and buried later that night by his followers.

Patron against frenzy, headaches, rabies & strife. Patron for possessed people.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

8th October - Ambrose Sansedoni of Siena

The son of a book illuminator, Ambrose was born disfigured and he was given to the care of a nurse. The nurse found that the only time the child was peaceful was in the local church. Ambrose grew up within the security of the church, praying day and night. He was generous, working with the poor, the abandoned, and the sick.

Ambrose joined the Dominicans in Siena, Italy on his 17th birthday. He studied in Paris and Cologne with Saint Thomas Aquinas. He worked on diplomatic missions for popes and rulers, evangelized in Germany, France and Italy.

Patron of engaged couples and of the city of Siena. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

7th October - Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary

On Sunday 7 October 1571 the combined Christian fleets under Don John of Austria won a famous naval victory over the Turks in the Straits of Lepanto. Thousands of Christians were liberated and the Turkish fleet was destroyed. In gratitude Pope Pius ordered an annual commemoration to Our Lady of Victory. In 1573 Pope Gregory XIII transferred the feast to the first Sunday of October with the title Feast of the Most Holy Rosary. Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913 and In 1969 Pope Paul VI changed the name of the feast to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

6th October - William Tyndale

William Tyndale, an English scholar and leading figure in Protestant reform in the years leading up to his execution. He translated the Bible into English and the spread of Wycliffe's Bible resulted in a death sentence for any unlicensed possession of Scripture in English. Tyndale's translation was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts, the first English one to take advantage of the printing press, and first of the new English Bibles of the Reformation.

In 1535 Tyndale was arrested and jailed. In 1536 he was convicted of heresy and executed by strangulation, after which his body was burnt at the stake. His dying prayer that the King of England's eyes would be opened. Two years later, with Henry's authorisation, the Great Bible for the Church of England was published, this was based largely Tyndale's work.

In 2002, Tyndale came in at number 26 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.

Monday, 5 October 2015

5th October - John Hewett

The burning of John Firth and Andrew Hewett

Son of a draper, educated at Caius College, Cambridge. He studied for the priesthood at Rheims, France and was ordained in 1586. He returned to England as a covert priest using a range of  names to hide his identity while working with his flock. He was arrested and executed at Grey’s Inn Lane, London, for the crime of priesthood.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

4th October - Francis of Assisi

Son of Pietro Bernadone, a rich cloth merchant. Though he had a good education and became part of his father‘s business, he also had a mis-spent youth. He was a street brawler and soldier. He was captured during a conflict between Assisi and Perugia, Italy, he spent over a year as a prisoner of war. During this time he had a conversion experience, including a reported message from Christ calling him to leave this worldly life. Upon release, Francis began taking his faith seriously. He took the Gospels as the rule of his life, Jesus Christ as his literal example. He dressed in rough clothes, begged for his sustenance, and preached purity and peace. His family disapproved, and his father disinherited him; Francis formally renounced his wealth and inheritance. He visited hospitals, served the sick, preached in the streets, and took all men and women as siblings. He lived with animals, worked with his hands, cared for lepers, cleaned churches, and sent food to thieves.

Patron against dying alone, against fire

Patron of animal welfare societies, animals, ecologists, the environment, families, lace makers, merchants, peace & tapestry workers

Saturday, 3 October 2015

3rd October - Ewald the Fair

Born in Northumbria, a Priest, studied in Ireland, missionary to Saxony with Ewald the Black. He was tortured and murdered, along with Ewald the Black by Saxons who feared to give up the old religion.

Friday, 2 October 2015

2nd October - Jan Beyzym

Son of a Polish freedom fighter, a Jesuit priest, a teacher at Jesuit boarding schools in Tarnopol and Chyrów. In 1898 he became a missionary to lepers near Tananariwa, Madagascar. In 1902 he began construction of a leper hospital at Marana, Madagascar; which took nine years to finish.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

1st October - Christopher Buxton

Christopher Buxton was one of the Douai Martyrs, 160 Catholic priests & lay people, trained in the English College at Douai, who were executed by the English state between 1577 and 1680. Having completed their training at Douai, many returned to England with the intent to minister to the Catholic population of England. Many were arrested under charges of treason and conspiracy, resulting in torture and execution.

Christopher Buxton was hanged, drawn and quartered on 1 October 1588 in Canterbury, where many others perished.