Saints of the month and feast days
Saints and Feast days in April
St Ceallach (Celsus), Bishop
Ceallach (Celsus) was born in 1080. He became abbot of Armagh in 1105 and was ordained priest. He was influenced by the reform then in progress in Munster. On the death of the bishop of Armagh, Ceallach was the popular choice to succeed him. He presided at the reforming synod of Rathbreasail in 111 1. In 1129 while making one of his visitations of Munster he died at Ardpatrick and was buried in Lismore in accordance with his own request.
St Francis of Paola, Hermit
Born at Paola (Italy) in 1416; died at Tours (France) on this day in 1507. Became a hermit while still a youth. Others were quickly attracted to his way of life and came to be renowned for their charity and austerity as well as for their commitment to Franciscan ideals. Francis lived to see them recognised as the Order of Minims and is remembered as a spiritual counsellor of kings and for his political peacemaking.
St Isidore, Bishop, Doctor of the Church
Born about 560 in Seville (Spain); died there in 636. Archbishop of Seville for thirty-six years who laboured successfully to bring the Visigoths from Arianism to orthodox belief, who presided over several councils significant for Church life in Spain, and who codified the distinctive liturgy of the Spanish Church, which is preserved to this day. Noted for his prolific writings and as an influential educator, and highly regarded also for the pastoral care of his diocese.
St Vincent Ferrer, Priest
Born in Valencia (Spain) in 1350; died at Vannes (France) on this day in 1419. A Dominican friar who quickly distinguished himself in converting many to Christ. Noted chiefly for preaching repentance on his missions throughout France, Spain and Italy, and also for his influence in ending the schism between the Avignon and Roman papal claimants.
St John Baptist de la Salle, Priest
Born at Rheims (France) in 1651; died at Rouen on this day in 1719. Ordained to the presbyterate in 1678 after seminary studies at Saint Sulpice in Paris. Pioneered schools for poor boys and the working classes, the training of teachers, and the care of disturbed children. Despite much internal conflict and external opposition, he formed his companions into the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
St Stanislaus, Bishop, Martyr
Born at Szczepanow (Poland) about 1030; died on this day in 1079 at Krakow, murdered on the orders of the king for his outspoken condemnation of corruption. He became bishop of Krakow in 1072 and was noted for his reforms, his preaching, and his pastoral concern.
St Martin I, Pope, Martyr
Born at Todi (Italy); died in exile at Chersonesus (Crimea) on this day about 655. A deacon in Rome, he was sent as legate to Constantinople. After being elected pope in 649, he held a council at the Lateran which condemned the error that Christ did not have a human will. This and the council’s censure of two related imperial edicts led to his imprisonment and exile. Noted for the many hardships he suffered and as the last pope to suffer martyrdom.
St Laserian, Bishop
Laserian (Molaise) worked in both Ireland and Scotland in the seventh century and later entered the monastery at Leighlin, where he became abbot. He adapted church discipline in accordance with the practices of Rome and introduced the Roman method of dating the celebration of Easter. He died in 639.
St Anselm, Bishop, Doctor of the Church
Born in 1033 at Aosta (Italy); died at Canterbury (England) on this day in 1109. A monk at Bec (Normandy) where he taught theology and devoted himself to the spiritual life. Later, as archbishop of Canterbury, his bitter disputes with the king resulted in his being exiled twice. Noted for his theological learning and writings and for organising Church life in England.
St George, Martyr
George died at Lydda (Israel) around 303, martyred undered the persecution of the emperor Diocletian. His cult, which predates the legend of his slaying the dragon, spread quickly through East and West. During the crusades, George was seen to personify the ideals of Christian chivalry, and he was adopted as patron of several city?states and countries.
St Adalbert, Bishop, Martyr
Born in Bohemia (Czech Republic) about 956; died near Gdansk (Poland) on this day in 997. Baptised Wojciech, he took the name Adalbert at his confirmation. Became the first Czech bishop of Prague at about the age of twenty-six, but his efforts to further the Christian faith in Bohemia and Hungary met with vehement opposition and he withdrew to Rome in 990. Became a monk and founded the abbey of Brevnov, a spiritual and missionary centre for the western Slavs. Devoted himself to missionary work among the Prussians on the Polish coast, where he was martyred. Noted for his prayerfulness, his concern for the poor, and his courage in the face of opposition.
St Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Priest, Martyr
Born at Sigmaringen (Germany) in 1578; died at Seewis (Switzerland) on this day in 1622. Became a Capuchin after briefly practicing as a lawyer noted for upholding the causes of the poor and oppressed. Noted for his care of the sick and for his preaching, especially among Protestants in Switzerland, where he was martyred.
St Mark, Evangelist
Died about the year 74. Usually identified with the John Mark whose mother’s house in Jerusalem was a meeting place for the apostles, and with the young man who followed Christ after his arrest (Mark 14:51). A cousin of Saint Barnabas. Accompanied Saint Paul on his first missionary journey and later followed him to Rome. A companion of Saint Peter and traditionally identified as author of the gospel which reflects Peter’s teaching and memoirs. Honoured as the founder of the Church in Alexandria.
St Peter Chanel, Priest, Martyr
Born at Cuet (France) 1803; died on Futuna (South-west Pacific Ocean) on this day in 1841. A parish priest noted for his pastoral zeal, particularly his care of the sick. Joined the Society of Mary (Marists) and remembered for his missionary work in the Pacific. Evangelisation in the local language brought some success on the island of Futuna which led to his murder by a jealous chieftain. Honoured as the first martyr of the Church in Oceania.
St Catherine of Siena, Virgin, Doctor of the Church
Born at Siena (Italy) in 1347; died at Rome on this day in 1380. Committed to the practice of prayer and penance from an early age, she entered the Dominican Third Order while still an adolescent. Became an influential spiritual leader and made strenuous efforts to reconcile Church and state and to reform the Roman papacy. Noted for her holiness and determination and, though she never learned to write, for the quality of her teachings. Noted also as a mystic and a reformer of religious life.
St Pius V, Religious, Pope
Born (Michael Ghislieri) near Alessandria (Italy) in 1504; died at Rome on this day in 1572. Taught philosophy and theology as a Dominican priest and became a diocesan bishop. Elected pope in 1565. Noted for his reforming zeal and for defending Christendom against the Ottoman empire. His excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I of England hardened the split between Catholics and Protestants. A rigorist by temperament, he is remembered chiefly for implementing the reforms of the Council of Trent, including the Breviary, Missal, and Catechism.