Saints of pots and pans, shipwrecks, beheading, and music both mystical and sublime

I bring to your attention four saints on the calendar listed in the 2005 Martyrologium Romanum.

1. Sancti Roberti Bellarmino, episcopi et Ecclesiae doctoris, e Societate Iesu, qui praeclare de theologicis temporis sui controversiis peculiari ac subtili habitu disputavit; cardinalis renuntiatus, ad ministerium pastorale in Ecclesia Capuana magnopere sese impendit et tandem Romae ad Apostolicae Sedis et fidei doctrinae defensionem plurimos suscept labores.

This great theologian, whose writings have not all been translated into English, had much to do with Galileo, whom I mention elsewhere today.  As a cardinal living at the Roman College he used to scrub pots and pans with the students.

2. Mediolani in Liguria, depositio sancti Satyri, cuius insignia merita sanctus Ambrosius, frater eius, commemorat.  Nondum Christi initiatus mysteriis, cum in naufragium incidisset, mortem non metuit, sed, ne vacuus mysteriis exiret, ex undis servatus Dei Ecclesiam requisivit; quem intima et mutua caritas fratri Ambrosio coniunxit, a quo iuxta sanctum martyrem Victorem sepultus est.

St. Ambrose (+397) was inspired by the death of his brother to write one of the works which have come down to us from his pen.  De bono mortisOn the good of death… forms part of a chain of literature, a literary genre called Consolatio, Consolation Literature, from the ancient world to our own times.  This was a common topic of ancient rhetoric and orations and writings of this type revolve around the fact that we are all going to die.  This has been a common theme I have tackled on this blog and in preaching and conferences, especially in view of the Cross and our encounter with awesome but alluring mystery during Holy Mass.

5. Cordubae in Vandalicia Hispaniae regione, sanctae Columbae, virginis et martyris, quae in Maurorum persecutione sponte coram iudice et satrapum collegio fidem professa est et continuo ane fores palatii gladio decollata est.

Like Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, Columba was slain because she professed her Christian faith in the presence of leaders belonging to the “Religion of Peace”.  Sts. Nunilo and Alodia have their feast on the same day as Bl. John Paul II… coming up in October.

7. In monasterio Montis Sancti Ruperti prope Bingium in Hassia, sanctae Hildegardis, virginis, quae, scientia rerum naturae et medicinae necnon arte musica perita, quam mystica contemplatione experta erat, pie in libris exposuit ac descripsit.

I knew an Abbess Hildegard, one of the most impressive women I have ever met.  She was Abbess at Rosano in Italy, near Florence, forever and virtually ruled the Church in that area, including more than one bishop.  Rosano was/is the largest community of enclosed Benedictine nuns.  Listening them sing Tenebrae one year, 60 of them, entirely with the older books, was an amazing experience.  What can one say about Hildegard of Bingen?  You can read something about here in an article in First Things… HERE.  Excerpt:

It’s an age of widespread cultural and ecclesial malaise: the State encroaches ever more into the affairs of the church; the clergy is indolent and ineffective, oft corrupt and unchaste; the laity is poorly catechized; and Gnosticism advances. It’s the twelfth century, into which a Teutonic prophetess stepped, prepared to confront the spirits of the age with visions from on high. Nihil sub sole novum, and thus it’s worth considering on the occasion of St. Hildegard of Bingen’s feast day….

You will want to put down your WDTPRS mug of Mystic Monk Coffee when reading so that you don’t lose it at Prof. Huizenga’s phrase: “Pope Benedict, himself confronted by millions of armchair antipopes…”.

There are eight other entries, all fascinating, and I could do this all day, everyday.

Listen to some texts by Hildegard:


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. cgvnau says:

    There’s also a St Christopher (actually Cristobal) martyred in Cordoba, Spain as well.

  2. Gregory DiPippo says:

    It is also the feast of the Reception of the Holy Stigmata by St. Francis, a feast which was added to the General Calendar by Pope Paul V at the fervent urging of St. Robert Bellarmine, who was then given the be born unto Heaven on that very day.

  3. Tom in NY says:

    “The feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, from the Society of Jesus, Doctor of the Church and bishop, who was outstanding at arguing the theological controversies of his day. He resigned his red hat, then threw himself both into pastoral ministry in Capua , with great success, and took up very many challenges in defense of the doctrine of the faith at the Holy See in Rome.”

    “At Milan in Liguria, the funeral of blessed Satyrus, whose achievements St. Ambrose, his brother, commemorated. When Satyrus died in a shipwreck, he did not fear death, though not yet brought into the mysteries of Christ, but, he helped the Church of God, serving from under the waves, and did not die empty of these mysteries. An intimate and mutual love joined him to his brother Ambrose, by whom he was remembered as a victor, and holy witness.”
    Ad astra per aspera.

  4. Tom in NY says:

    “At Cordoba in the Vandals’ region of Spain, the commemoration of St. Columba, virgin and martyr. In the Moorish persecution, she professed the faith on her own before the judge and ruling council, and with one stroke, was beheaded before the palace gates.”

    “At the monastery of St. Rupert near Bingen, the commemoration of St. Hildegarde. She was an expert not only in natural science and medicine, but also as a prophetess, she piously wrote textbooks on the prophetic art.”

    Ut dicitur, lingua Latina una sententia, anglica tres loquitur.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  5. rodin says:

    Beautiful chant of Hildegarde of Bingen. Sounds very much like the admirable Anonymous 4. [Did you know that “Anonymous 4” was a musician of the 13th c?]

  6. lhuizenga says:

    Thanks for the link!

  7. rodin says:

    No I did not. And I did not hear either Susan or Marsha mention that when I took their classes. Thanks for the tip. I will check further on the web.

  8. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Lovely St. Hildegard recording. Thanks for posting.

  9. irishgirl says:

    I’ve heard some pieces written by St. Hildegard and music sung by Anonymous 4. It was the oratorio written by the New York-based composer Richard Einhorn, ‘Voices of Light’, inspired by the classic silent film, ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’.
    Anonymous 4 did the ‘voice’ of St. Joan in this composition, using the words of her military correspondence.

  10. Yeah, “Anonymous 4” is a joke bandname (as so often they are). Here’s the medieval musician/author.

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