Saints of the month and feast days
Saints and Feast days in June
St Justin, Martyr
Born about 100 at Nablus (Palestine); died about 165 in Rome. After lengthy study of Greek philosophies, he acknowledged Christ as the source of all truth. A lay intellectual, Christian philosopher, and apologist. Noted for his reasoned defence of Christian belief and practice and for the ultimate witness given by his martyrdom.
Ss Marcellinus and Peter, Martyrs
They died in 304, beheaded at Rome under the emperor Diocletian. Reputedly members of the Roman clergy, they are held in special honour in Rome itself, as evident in the basilica built over their tombs and their mention in Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon).
St Charles Lwanga and companions, Martyrs
They died on this day in 1886. Between 1885 and 1887, these twenty-two martyrs were among many newly baptised Catholics and Anglicans who were killed for their faith and virtue in Uganda by a debauched and brutal ruler. They included judges, catechists, soldiers, and teenage pages under the leadership of Charles Lwanga, who was burned alive. Noted for the heroic calm of their fidelity to Christ.
St Kevin, Abbot
Kevin grew up in Kilnamanagh in Leinster, where Bishop Lugaid ordained hum to the priesthood. He settled as a hermit in remote Glendalough but disciples gathered around him and eventually a monastic settlement grew up. Kevin died in 618.
St Boniface, Bishop, Martyr
Born in Devon (England) about 675; died in the Netherlands on this day in 754. A monk and teacher who went to evangelise the Germanic peoples. Was ordained bishop and given wide-ranging papal commissions throughout Germany and Gaul. Founded monasteries and established dioceses, presided at synods, and maintained close associations with various emperors. Honoured as a determined missionary and as a Church organiser and reformer whose work shaped the future of Europe. He is buried at his abbey of Fulda (near Frankfurt).
St Norbert, Bishop
Born in the Rhineland (Germany) about 1080; died at Magdeburg on this day in 1134. A cleric in minor orders, he converted from a comfortable life in 1115, was ordained to the presbyterate, and took up a life of poverty. Founded a community of canons at Prémontré (France), austere in discipline and active in pastoral ministry. Later, as archbishop of Magdeburg, he resisted the alienation of Church property. Noted for his zealous reform of clerical life and for the example of his attachment to the values of the gospel.
St Jarlath, Bishop
Very little is known of Jarlath. His first foundation was in Clonfush near Tuam. Later he founded a monastery in Tuam. He is said to have taught Brendan of Clonfert and Colman of Cloyne.
St Colman, Bishop
Colman (Mocholmoc) of Dromore, County Down, is said to have studied under Caetan of Nendrom. He was persuaded by Mac Nissi to settle at Dromore around 514. His cult is also found in Scotland and Wales.
St Ephrem, Deacon, Doctor of the Church
Born in Nisibis (Iraq) about 306; died at Edessa (Turkey) on this day in 373. A noted teacher, exegete, and theologian; a prolific poet, writer, and composer of liturgical songs. Called the “Harp of the Holy Spirit.” Noted for his poetic and dogmatic works, for his holy and ascetical life, and for his devotion to the Virgin Mary.
St Columba, Abbot, Missionary
Columba, also known as Colum Cille, was born in Gartan, County Donegal in 521 and was of royal lineage. He studied under Finnian of Moville and Finnian of Clonard. He founded monasteries in Deny, Durrow, Iona and possibly Kells. From Iona, which became his principal foundation, missionaries undertook the conversion of Northumbria. Colum Cille is noted for his love for people and for all living creatures. He died in 597.
St Barnabas, Apostle
It is not known when he died, but according to Eastern and Western tradition his remains were discovered on this day sometime in the fifth century. A Jew from Cyprus and one of the first converts in Jerusalem, a leading member of the Church there, though not one of the twelve. He introduced Saint Paul to the twelve and worked with him in Antioch and on missionary work in the Mediterranean world. Championed the Gentiles at the Council of Jerusalem. Honoured as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:21).
St Anthony of Padua
Priest, Doctor of the Church. Born in Lisbon (Portugal) in 1195; died at Padua (Italy) on this day in 1231. At first an Augustinian priest and scholar, then became a Franciscan to do missionary work in north Africa but this was thwarted by illness. Instead, he became a teacher of theology and a brilliant popular preacher in southern France and Italy, a servant of the poor, and a worker of miracles.
St Davnet, virgin
Davnet lived in the area of Sliabh Beagh in County Monaghan, Ireland, where she made a foundation. She died at Tydavnet.
St Romuald, Abbot
Born at Ravenna (Italy) in the middle of the tenth century; died at Val di Castro on this day in 1027. Became a monk after witnessing a violent killing in his family. Promoted strict penance and solitude in the monastic life and established many monasteries and hermitages in Italy, most notably at Camaldoli in Tuscany. Noted for combining the severe life of a hermit with the Benedictine community rule.
The Irish Martyrs
Seventeen of the Irish martyrs, men and women, cleric and lay, who were put to death for the Catholic faith between 1579 and 1654 were beatified in 1992. Six Catholics of Irish birth or connection executed for the faith in England had already been beatified in 1929 and 1987.
St Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
Born in Lombardy (Italy) in 1568; died in Rome on this day in 1591 of the plague, contracted while caring for its victims. Devout and ascetical from the time of his childhood in a family of Italian nobility. Pursued a religious vocation as a Jesuit against enormous family opposition. Noted for his youthful ideal of perfection.
Ss John Fisher and Thomas More, Martys
John Fisher: Born at Beverley (England) in 1469; died at London on this day in 1535. Chancellor at Cambridge and then Bishop at Rochester, combining diligent pastoral ministry with the defence of Catholic doctrine.
Thomas More: Born in London 1478; died there for the faith on 6 July 1535. An Oxford scholar, a noted humanist and apologist, an incorruptible judge and Lord Chancellor, a devoted husband and loving father. Drawn into conflict with Henry VIII, both were imprisoned and beheaded for treason. Noted for their wide learning, for their devotion to the Church, and for their uncompromising integrity and courage. An opportunity to celebrate all the English martyrs, Catholic and Protestant, of the Reformation era. Coming from every walk of life, people rich and poor, married and single, women and men died on the scaffold, perished in prison, or suffered harsh persecution for their faith.
St Paulinus of Nola, Bishop
Born at Bordeaux (France) about 353; died at Nola (Italy) on this day in 431. The son of the Roman prefect of Gaul who, after a classical education, had a career in the imperial administration. He and his wife were baptised after the death of their son and gave away their wealth to the poor and the Church. Ordained a presbyter in Barcelona (Spain) at the demand of the people, and later elected bishop of Nola (Italy). Noted for his charity and hospitality, for his religious poetry, and for his extensive correspondence with eminent Christians.
Birth of John the Baptist
This feast was observed on this date in the fourth century. It celebrates the holy birth of “the greatest of all the prophets, ” the one who leapt for joy in his mother’s womb, who prepared the way for Christ, announced his presence, and baptised him in the Jordan River.
St Josemaria Escriva, Priest
Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás (1902-1975) founded Opus Dei, an organization of laypeople and priests dedicated to the teaching that everyone is called to holiness by God and that ordinary life can result in sanctity. Canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II, who counted Escriva a living witness to practical Christianity.
St Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop, Doctor of the Church
Born at Alexandria (Egypt) about 370; died there on this day in 444. An able theologian and bishop of his native city, but somewhat confrontational in attacking non-Christians and heretics. Presided at the Council of Ephesus in 431, and defended orthodox Christianity against Nestorius. The council approved the title Theotokos for Mary, thereby affirming Mary’s motherhood of God. Noted for his ardent defence of orthodoxy, even at the cost of provoking condemnation and schism.
St Irenaeus, Bishop, Martyr
Born probably at Smyrna (Turkey) about 130; died at Lyons (France) about 200. A pupil of Saint Polycarp (23 February) who became a presbyter and bishop of Lyons, the principal city of Gaul. Intervened in Rome for patience and reconciliation in Church disputes. Among the first theologians of the Western Church, he refuted gnosticism and further developed the theology of the incarnation. Noted for his fidelity to apostolic tradition.
Ss Peter and Paul
Apostles; died as martyrs at Rome under Nero, between 64-67. This pre-eminent feast day of the city of Rome has been observed on this date since the mid-third century. It commemorates the martyrdoms of Peter the “chief of the apostles” and Paul the “apostle to the Gentiles.” Noted for their faith, their courage, and their leadership during the difficult days of the birth of the Church.
First Martyrs of the See of Rome
Blamed by the emperor Nero for the disastrous fire which devastated Rome in 64, many Christians in addition to Saint Peter and Saint Paul were savagely killed, victims of cruel jealousy. Noted for their endurance.