Saints of the month and feast days
Saints and Feast days in March
St David, Bishop
David is the patron saint of Wales, where he was an abbot and bishop in the sixth century. He is reputed to have founded a number of monasteries, of strict regime. Several Irish saints were his pupils, and he seems to have influenced monastic development in Ireland. He died about 601, but he continued to be remembered in Ireland, and he is mentioned in the Martyrology of Oengus and in the Catalogue of the Sts of Ireland.
St Casimir of Poland
Born at Krakow (Poland) in 1458; died in Lithuania on this day in 1484. Though a young prince of Poland, he preferred peace to being a soldier. He chose celibacy over marriage and favoured prayer and penance rather than royal privilege. Noted for his generous life of austerity and devotion.
Ss Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs
Perpetua and Felicity (believed to have died in 203 AD) were Christian martyrs of the 3rd century. Vibia Perpetua was a married noblewoman, said to have been 22 years old at the time of her death, and mother of an infant she was nursing. Felicity, a slave imprisoned with her and pregnant at the time, was martyred with her. They were put to death along with others at Carthage in the Roman province of Africa, during the reign of Septimius Severus.
St John of God, Religious
Born in Portugal in 1495; died in Granada (Spain) on this day in 1550. At the age of about forty, he directed the energies of his spiritual conversion toward hospitality for the destitute and care of the sick. Noted for this ministry, which was continued by his followers, who became the Order of Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God.
St Senan, Bishop
Senan was born near Kilrush, County Clare. His family were prosperous farmers. His vocation seems to have resulted from an experience of danger from the sea. His early studies were mainly made at the monastery of Kilnamanagh. His principal monastic foundation was on Scattery Island, near Kilrush, in the Shannon Estuary. He was anamchara to Ciaran of Clonmacnois and Brendan, and died in 544.
St Frances of Rome, Religious
Frances was born in Rome in 1384; died there on this day in 1440. Established a community of laywomen who followed the Rule of Saint Benedict and ministered to the poor. Frances was a dedicated laywoman who, in a time of plague and civil war, worked tirelessly for the poor and the sick yet without compromising her love for her husband and family.
St Aengus, Bishop, Abbot
Aengus (Oengus) was a monk in Clonenagh, County Laois who came to the monastery of Tallaght at the end of the eighth century during the abbacy of Maelruain to spend a period under his direction. He was renowned for his devotion to both foreign and native saints, and composed two Martyrologies. He returned to Clonenagh, where he became both abbot and bishop. He died about 830.
St Patrick, Bishop, Missionary
Born in Britain probably in the early years of the fifth century, Patrick was taken captive at the age of 16 and brought to Ireland, where he worked as a slave. His captivity led him to a renewal of his spiritual life. After he escaped back home at the age of 22, it was clear to him that God was calling him to return to convert the Irish. After studies in Europe he returned to Ireland, where he made a very large number of converts. His spiritual journey is recounted in his Confessio.
St Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop, Doctor of the Church
Born in Jerusalem about 315; died there in 386. A bishop for over thirty-five years, he was deeply involved in debates with the Arians over the divinity of Christ and was exiled three times. Noted especially for the illuminating baptismal catechesis he gave in the new Constantinian basilica of the
St Joseph, Husband of the Virgin Mary
A carpenter, though born of the royal house of David, Joseph was an upright man who, as husband of the Virgin Mary, cared for Mary and the child Jesus. Venerated in the East after the fourth century, and his cult flowered in the West during the fifteenth century, following the development of medieval nativity plays, the Christmas crib, and increased devotion to Mary.
St Turibius of Mogrovejo, Bishop
Born in Majorca (Spain) in 1538; died on this day in 1606 at Santa (Peru). A professor of law and a judge of the Inquisition in Spain, he was still a layman when appointed archbishop of Lima, Peru. There he became an outstanding missionary reformer, built churches, hospitals, and the first seminary in the Americas. Noted for his determined opposition to ecclesiastical abuses and to colonial exploitation, for his pastoral care and evangelisation of the indigenous peoples in their own languages, and for his visitation of the vast diocese.
Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary
This feast originated in the East during the sixth century and gained universal observance in the West during the eighth century. It is a feast of the Lord, commemorating the announcement to the Virgin Mary of the Word made flesh, Mary’s acceptance of God’s will, and the conception of Christ nine months before Christmas. Its occurrence close to Easter links the incarnation with the whole mystery of human redemption in Christ.