Archive for August 2008

Saint Brendan the Navigator

Also known as

  • Brendan the Voyager
  • Brendan McFinlugh
  • Brendan of Clonfert
  • Borodon….
  • Brandan….
  • Brendain….
  • Breandan….

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Son of Findloga; brother of Saint Briga. Monk. Educated by Saint Ita of Killeedy and Saint Erc of Kerry. Friend of Saint Columba and Saint Brendan of Birr, Saint Brigid, and Saint Enda of Arran. Ordained in 512. Built monastic cells at Ardfert, Shankeel, Aleth, Plouaret, Inchquin Island, and Annaghdown. Founded Clonfert monastery and monastic school c.559. Legend says that this community had at least three thousand monks, and that their Rule was dictated to Brendan by an angel.

Brendan and his brothers figure in Brendan’s Voyage, a tale of monks travelling the high seas of the Atlantic, evangelizing to the islands, possibly reaching the Americas in the 6th century. At one point they stop on a small island, celebrate Easter Mass, light a fire – and then learn the island is an enormous whale!

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Let the brothers and sisters now sing
Of the holy life of Brendan;
In an old melody
Let it be kept in song.

Loving the jewel of chastity,
He was the father of monastics.
He shunned the choir of the world;
Now he sings among the angels.

Let him pray that we may be saved
As we sail upon this sea.
Let him quickly aid the fallen
Oppressed with burdensome sin.

God the Father; Most High King
Breast-fed by a virgin mother;
Holy Spirit: when They will it,
Let Them feed us divine honey.

- Guido of Ivrea, 11th century; English translation from the Latin by Karen Rae Keck, 1994

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Brendan the Navigator“. Saints.SQPN.com. 27 August 2014. Web. 3 September 2014. <>

Saint Benedict the Black

Also known as

  • Benedict of Palermo
  • Benedict of San Philadelphio
  • Benedict of Sanfratello
  • Benedict the African
  • Benedict the Moor
  • il Moro

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His parents, Christopher and Diana, were slaves who had been taken from Africa to Sicily. Benedict was granted his freedom at age 18, but remained as an employee of his former master. Scorned and mocked by others as poor as himself, due to his origin and skin, he retained a natural cheerfulness.

He met with, and became enamored of a group of Franciscan hermits near Palermo. Benedict sold what little he had, gave away the money to the poor, and joined this group. Novice master and reluctant superior of the friars in Palermo. When his term ended, he happily returned to working in the friary kitchen. Benedict never referred to possessions as “mine” but always “ours.” He had gifts for prayer and the guidance of souls. His humility and cheerfulness set an example that helped reform his order. On his death, King Philip III of Spain paid for a special tomb for the simple friar.

Benedict was not a Moor, but the Italian “il Moro” for “the Black” has been misinterpreted as referring to a Moorish heritage.

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  • 1589 of natural causes
  • body reported incorrupt when exhumed several years later

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MLA Citation

  • “Saint Benedict the Black“. Saints.SQPN.com. 19 June 2014. Web. 3 September 2014. <>

Catholic Encyclopedia – Blessed Bernard of Vienne

Also known as Barnard. Archbishop of Vienne, France. Born in 778; died at Vienne, 23 January 842. His parents, who lived near Lyons and had large possessions, gave him an excellent education, and Bernard in obedience to the paternal wish, married and became a military officer under Charlemagne. After seven years as a soldier the death of his father and mother recalled him. Dividing his property into three parts – one for the Church, one for the poor and one for his children – he retired to the wilderness of Ambronay where there was a poor monastery. Bernard bought the monastery, enlarged it, and become one of its inmates. Upon the death of the abbot he was elected (805) to the vacant position. In 810 he was chosen Archbishop of Vienne to succeed Volfère, but it was only upon the command of Pope Leo III and of Charlemagne that he accepted the honour. He was consecrated by Leidtrade, Archbishop of Lyons, and distinguished himself by his piety and learning. He took part in drawing up the Capitularies of Charlemagne and aided Agobard in a work upon Jewish superstitions.

Bernard was a member of the Council of Paris (824) convoked by Louis the Pious, at the request of Pope Eugenius II, in the hope of bringing about an agreement between the Church of France and that of the East as to the devotion to be paid to images. Bernard took an unfortunate position in the quarrels between Louis the Pious and his sons over the partition of the empire between the three sons of his first marriage, to which the monarch had agreed. Like Agobard of Lyons, Bernard sided with the oldest son, Lothair, and was one of the prelates who deposed the emperor at Compiègne and condemned him to make a public penance. Louis soon regained his authority and another council of bishops annulled the action of the one of Compiègne. Agobard and Bernard were deposed, but the sentence of deposition was never carried out, owing to the intervention of Lothair, who had been reconciled to his father. From this time on, the archbishop devoted himself entirely to the duties of his pastoral office. Towards the end of his life he loved to retire to a solitary spot on the banks of the Isère where stands today the town of Romans which owes its origin to him. On the approach of death he had himself removed to Vienne. He is honoured in Dauphiny as the patron saint of agricultural labourers.

- P A Fournet, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907

Blessed Bernard of Vienne

Also known as

  • Barnard

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Born to the French nobility. Military officer in the army of Blessed Charlemagne. Upon the death of his parents, he retired from the military, divided his property into three parts (one for the Church, one for the poor, one for his children), bought the monastery in Ambronay, and retired there. Abbot at Ambronay in 805. Archbishop of Vienne, France in 810; Bernard resisted the appointment but accepted after being ordered to do so by Charlemagne and Pope Saint Leo III. Worked to unite the Church in France and the East, trying to overcome their differences in the use and attitude to images. He became embroiled in the political division of lands in France, was ordered deposed by the winning side, and retired from public life to concentrate on the pastoral duties of his see. The town of Romans grew up around the place were he used to go for solitude.

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MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Bernard of Vienne“. Saints.SQPN.com. 21 January 2014. Web. 3 September 2014. <>

Saint Benedict of Aniane

Saint Benedict of AnianeAlso known as

  • Euticius
  • Witiza
  • the Second Benedict

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Born a Visigoth, the son of Aigul, Count of Maguelone. Educated at the court of Pepin. Courtier and cup-bearer to King Pepin and Blessed Charlemagne. Part of the 773 campaign of Charlemagne. Narrowly escaped drowning in the Tesin near Pavia, Italy while trying to save his brother.

Benedictine monk at Saint Sequanus monastery where he took the name Benedict. Lived two and one half years on bread and water, sleeping on the bare ground, praying through the night, and going barefoot.

In the Frankish empire, monasticism suffered lay ownership and the attacks of the Vikings. Monastic discipline decayed. In 779 Benedict founded the Aniane monastery on his own land; the monks did manual labor, copied manuscripts, lived on bread and water except on Sundays and great feast days when they added wine or milk, if they received any in alms. The results of his austere rule were disappointing, so he adopted the Benedictine Rule, and the monastery grew. He then reformed and inaugurated other houses; Saint Ardo travelled with him and served as his secretary.

Bishop Felix of Urgel proposed that Christ was not the natural, but only the adoptive son of God (Adoptionism); Benedict opposed this heresy, wrote against it, and assisted in the Synod of Frankfurt in 794.

Emperor Louis the Pious built the abbey of Maurmunster as a model abbey for Benedict in Alsace, France, and then Cornelimunster near Aachen, Germany, then made Benedict director of all the monasteries in the empire. The monk instituted widespread reforms, though because of opposition they were not as drastic as he had wanted.

Participated in the synods in Aachen. Benedict was an advisor and supported of the emperor. Wrote the Capitulare monasticum, a systematization of the Benedictine Rule as the rule for all monks in the empire. Compiled the Codex regularum, a collection of all monastic regulations, and Concordia regularum, showing the resemblance of Benedict’s rule to those of other monastic leaders. The rules stressed individual poverty and chastity with obedience to a properly constituted abbot, himself a monk. Benedict insisted upon the liturgical character of monastic life, including a daily Conventual Mass and additions to the Divine Office. He stressed the clerical element in monasticism which led to the development of teaching and writing as opposed to manual labor in the field. This direction lapsed some after Benedict’s death, but had lasting effects on Western monasticism. Benedict is considered the restorer of Western monasticism and is often called “the second Benedict”.

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MLA Citation

  • “Saint Benedict of Aniane“. Saints.SQPN.com. 30 January 2014. Web. 3 September 2014. <>

Saint Bibiana

[Saint Bibiana]Also known as

  • Viviana
  • Vivian
  • Vibiana

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Her parents, Saint Flavian of Acquapendente and Dafrosa of Acquapendente, were martyred in the persecutions of Julian the Apostate, and Vivian and her sister Demetria were turned over to a woman named Rufina who tried to force them into prostitution. Upon her continued refusal to co-operate, Vivian was imprisoned in a mad house, then flogged to death.

A church was built over her grave, in the garden of which grew an herb that cured headache and epilepsy. This and her time spent with the mentally ill led to her areas of patronage.

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MLA Citation

  • “Saint Bibiana“. Saints.SQPN.com. 4 December 2013. Web. 3 September 2014. <>

Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio

Also known as

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Healed from a childhood disease through the prayers of Saint Francis of Assisi. Bonaventure joined the Order of Friars Minor at age 22. Studied theology and philosophy in Paris, France, and later taught there. Friend of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Doctor of Theology. Friend of King Saint Louis IX. General of the Franciscan Order at 35. Bishop of Albano, Italy, chosen by Pope Gregory X. Cardinal. Wrote commentaries on the Scriptures, text-books in theology and philosophy, and a biography of Saint Francis. Doctor of the Church. Pope Clement IV chose him to be Archbishop of York, England, but Bonaventure begged off, claiming to be inadequate to the office. Spoke at the Council of Lyons, but died before its close.

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A man of eminent learning and eloquence, and of outstanding holiness, he was known for his kindness, approachableness, gentleness and compassion. - Pope Gregory X on hearing of the death of Bonaventure

Mary seeks for those who approach her devoutly and with reverence, for such she loves, nourishes, and adopts as her children. - Saint Bonaventure

When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than that proceeding from the mouth. - Saint Bonaventure

Christ is both the way and the door. Christ is the staircase and the vehicle, like the “throne of mercy over the Ark of the Covenant,” and “the mystery hidden from the ages.” A man should turn his full attention to this throne of mercy, and should gaze at him hanging on the cross, full of faith, hope, and charity, devoted, full of wonder and joy, marked by gratitude, and open to praise and jubilation. Then such a man will make with Christ a “pasch,” that is, a passing-over. Through the branches of the cross he will pass over the Red Sea, leaving Egypt and entering the desert. There he will taste the hidden manna, and rest with Christ in the sepulcher, as if he were dead to things outside. He will experience, as much as is possible for one who is still living, what was promised to the thief who hung beside Christ: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” - from Journey of the Mind to God by Saint Bonaventure

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio“. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 August 2014. Web. 3 September 2014. <>

Saint Boniface

Also known as

  • Apostle of Germany
  • Boniface of Crediton
  • Winfrid
  • Winfried
  • Wynfrith

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Educated at the Benedictine monastery at Exeter, England. Benedictine monk at Exeter. Missionary to Germany from 719, assisted by Saint Albinus, Saint Abel, and Saint Agatha. They destroyed idols and pagan temples, and then built churches on the sites. Bishop. Archbishop of Mainz. Reformed the churches in his see, and built religious houses in Germany. Ordained Saint Sola. Founded or restored the dioceses of Bavaria, Thuringia, and Franconia. Evangelized in Holland, but was set upon by a troop of pagans, and he and 52 of his new flock, including Saint Adaler and Saint Eoban were martyred.

Once in Saxony, Boniface encountered a tribe worshiping a Norse deity in the form of a huge oak tree. Boniface walked up to the tree, removed his shirt, took up an axe, and without a word he hacked down the six foot wide wooden god. Boniface stood on the trunk, and asked, “How stands your mighty god? My God is stronger than he.” The crowd’s reaction was mixed, but some conversions were begun.

One tradition about Saint Boniface says that he used the customs of the locals to help convert them. There was a game in which they threw sticks called kegels at smaller sticks called heides. Boniface bought religion to the game, having the heides represent demons, and knocking them down showing purity of spirit.

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  • c.673-680 at Crediton, Devonshire, England

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In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon this ship but to keep her on her course. Let us stand fast in what is right, and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God’s strengthening aid and say to him: “O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.” Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful, and he tells us: “My yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Let us continue the fight on the day of the Lord. The days of anguish and of tribulation have overtaken us; if God so wills, “let us die for the holy laws of our fathers,” so that we may deserve to obtain an eternal inheritance with them. - from a letter by Saint Boniface

Let us pray the gracious defender of our life, the only sure refuge of those in trouble, that His right hand may keep us safe amidst these dens of wolves, and that He may guard us from harm, so that the footsteps of apostates walking in darkness may not be found, where should be the beautiful feet of those who carry the peaceful light of the gospel, but that the most gracious Father and God may help us to gird up our loins, with bright candles in our hands, and that he may enlighten the hearts of the heathen to gaze at the glorious gospel of Christ. Amen. - Saint Boniface; text from Prayers of the Saints

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Boniface“. Saints.SQPN.com. 27 August 2014. Web. 3 September 2014. <>

Saint Bruno

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Educated in Paris and Rheims, France. Ordained c.1055. Taught theology; one of his students later became Pope Blessed Urban II. Presided over the cathedral school at Rheims from 1057 to 1075. Criticized the worldliness he saw in his fellow clergy. He opposed Manasses, Archbishop of Rheims, because of his laxity and mismanagement. Chancellor of the archdiocese of Rheims. Following a vision he received of a secluded hermitage where he could spend his life becoming closer to God, he retired to a mountain near Chartreuse in Dauphiny in 1084 and with the help of Saint Hugh of Grenoble, he founded what became the first house of the Carthusian Order; he and his brothers supported themselves as manuscript copyists. Assistant to Pope Urban II in 1090, and supported his efforts at reform. Retiring from public life, he and his companions built a hermitage at Torre, where, 1095, the monastery of Saint Stephen was built. Bruno combined in the religious life the eremetical and the cenobitic; his learning is apparent from his scriptural commentaries.

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Rejoice, my dearest brothers, because you are blessed and because of the bountiful hand of God’s grace upon you. Rejoice, because you have escaped the various dangers and shipwrecks of the stormy world. Rejoice because you have reached the quiet and safe anchorage of a secret harbor. Many wish to come into this port, and many make great efforts to do so, yet do not achieve it. Indeed many, after reaching it, have been thrust out, since it was not granted them from above. By your work you show what you love and what you know. When you observe true obedience with prudence and enthusiasm, it is clear that you wisely pick the most delightful and nourishing fruit of divine Scripture. - from a letter by Saint Bruno to the Carthusians

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Bruno“. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 August 2014. Web. 3 September 2014. <>

Saint Bernadine of Siena

Also known as

  • Bernadino
  • Bernardine
  • Bernardino

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Franciscan Friar Minor. Priest. Itinerant preacher. Theological writer. His preaching skills were so great, and the conversions so numerous, that he has become associated with all areas of speaking, advertising, public relations, etc.

Bernardino’s charismatic preaching filled the piazze of Italian cities. Thousands of listeners flocked to hear him and to participate in dramatic rituals, which included collective weeping, bonfires of vanities, and exorcisms. He was a renowned peacemaker, in the Franciscan tradition, who tried to calm feuding clans and factions in the turbulent political world of the Renaissance. His preaching visits would often culminate in mass reconciliations, as listeners were persuaded to exchange the bacio di pace, or kiss of peace.

Bernardino was sensitive to the demands of secular life, and tried to negotiate between Christian ethics and a conflicting code of honour that stressed retaining face in a public world. He argued that the catalyst of civil discord in the urban setting was malicious gossip, which led to insults, and, too often, vendetta by aggressive males. His surprising allies in his peacekeeping mission were the women who comprised the majority of his audience.

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When a fire is lit to clear a field, it burns off all the dry and useless weeds and thorns. When the sun rises and darkness is dispelled, robbers, night-prowlers and burglars hide away. So when Paul’s voice was raised to preach the Gospel to the nations, like a great clap of thunder in the sky, his preaching was a blazing fire carrying all before it. It was the sun rising in full glory. Infidelity was consumed by it, false beliefs fled away, and the truth appeared like a great candle lighting the whole world with its brilliant flame.

By word of mouth, by letters, by miracles, and by the example of his own life, Saint Paul bore the name of Jesus wherever he went. He praised the name of Jesus “at all times,” but never more than when “bearing witness to his faith.”

Moreover, the Apostle did indeed carry this name “before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel” as a light to enlighten all nations. And this was his cry wherever he journeyed: “The night is passing away, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves honorably as in the day.” Paul himself showed forth the burning and shining-light set upon a candlestick, everywhere proclaiming “Jesus, and him crucified.”

And so the Church, the bride of Christ strengthened by his testimony, rejoices with the psalmist, singing: “O God from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.” The psalmist exhorts her to do this, as he says: “Sing to the Lord, and bless his name, proclaim his salvation day after day.” And this salvation is Jesus, her savior.

- from a sermon by Saint Bernadine of Siena

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Bernadine of Siena“. Saints.SQPN.com. 27 August 2014. Web. 3 September 2014. <>