Archive for January 2012

Feast of Sts. Egbert of Lindisfarne and Adalbert of Egmont (April 24)   2 comments

Above:  Europe in 600 Common Era

SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE (CIRCA 639-729)

Roman Catholic Monk (and Perhaps Bishop)

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SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT (DIED 700/705)

Roman Catholic Monk and Missionary

His feast transferred from June 25

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Our story begins with St. Egbert (circa 639-729), an English monk at Lindisfarne.  He studied at Rathmelsigil Monastery in Ireland.  There, accounts tell us, he was ordained.  The Venerable Bede referred to the saint as a bishop.  St. Egbert was, anyhow, renowned for his holiness.  He was also committed to Roman Catholic (as opposed to Celtic) practices, and he labored for years to convince the monks at Iona to adopt Catholic practices, including which date on which to celebrate Easter.  (The Synod of Whitby had been in 664, by the way.)  He succeeded in time, dying on April 24, 729, the first time the monks at Iona observed the Roman Catholic Easter.

St. Adalbert of Egmont, of Northumbrian origin, traveled with St. Egbert to Ireland.  There, at Rathmelsigil Monastery, St. Alalbert became a deacon.  He accompanied St. Willibrord on the mission to Friesland/Frisia in 690.  St. Adalbert founded a church at Egmont (in the present-day Netherlands), converted most of the local population, and completed his days there, dying in 700/705.

These two men were good and faithful servants of God.  May God render the same verdict regarding us.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 31, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES FREDERIC MACKENZIE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CENTRAL AFRICA

THE FEAST OF MENNO SIMONS, MENNONITE LEADER

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Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth:

Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer,

and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy.

We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through your Spirit,

and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 2:7-11

Psalm 1

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Matthew 25:1-13

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 726

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Feast of Sts. Olga of Kiev, Adalbert of Magdeburg, Adalbert of Prague, Benedict of Pomerania, and Gaudentius of Pomerania (April 15)   1 comment

Above:  Germany and Russia in 1000 Common Era

SAINT OLGA OF KIEV (DIED 969)

Regent of Kievan Russia, 945-964

Her feast transferred from July 11

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SAINT ADALBERT OF MAGDEBURG (DIED 981)

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Magdeburg

His feast transferred from June 20

mentored

SAINT ADALBERT OF PRAGUE (956-997)

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Prague then Gnesen

“Apostle to the Prussians”

His feast transferred from April 23

martyred with

SAINT BENEDICT OF POMERANIA AND SAINT GAUDENTIUS OF POMERANIA (DIED 997)

Fellow Evangelists with Saint Adalbert of Prague

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Serving God can lead to difficulties, ranging from failure to martyrdom.  Yet, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta commented, God calls us to be faithful, not successful.  The five saints whose overlapping stories I recount were certainly faithful, if not immediately successful.

Our saga of faithfulness begins with St. Olga of Kiev.  Of peasant stock, she married Igor, Grand Prince of Kiev (reigned 912-945).  Igor died when their son, Svyatoslav I (reigned 964-972), was a minor.  So St. Olga became regent of the first Russian state, governing ably.  She converted to Christianity in 955 or 957, depending on the source one considers trustworthy.  The regent asked Otto I, King of Germany (reigned 936-973) to send missionaries.  Otto sent a group which included St. Adalbert of Magdeburg, then a monk at the Benedictine monastery at Trier.

The mission proceeded safely as long as St. Olga was in power.  But, in 964, Svyatoslav I, a pagan, assumed full authority. History tells us that he reigned until 972, waged expansionist wars, and died at the hands of the Patzinaks, who had invaded Kievan Russia.  History also tells us that the Grand Prince had some missionaries killed; the others fled.  St. Adalbert of Magdeburg survived to evangelize another day.  Furthermore, history informs us that the death of Svyatoslav I sparked an intradynastic conflict settled by his son, Vladimir I (reigned 980-1015).  Vladimir converted to Christianity in 988, founding the Russian Orthodox Church.  His mother became the first mother the new church canonized.  The Russian Orthodox Church also declared Vladimir a saint, with a feast day of July 15.

Out of danger, St. Adalbert of Magdeburg spent four years at the imperial court at Mainz.  He also became Abbot of Weissenburg, a post he used to patronize learning.  Then, with royal support, the saint became the first Archbishop of Magdeburg.  He spent the rest of his life evangelizing the Wends, Slavonic people in Germany.

St. Adalbert of Prague, baptized as Voytiekh, came from a Bohemian noble family.  He studied under St. Adalbert of Magdeburg, who confirmed him.  So it was that Voytiekh took the confirmation name of Adalbert.  St. Adalbert of Prague became Bishop of Prague in 982 and spent the next six years attempting in vain to convert the populace.  So, in 988, he gave up and retreated to monastic life at Monte Cassino then Rome.  He returned four years later because Pope John XV (reigned 985-996) ordered him to do so.  After two more years of failure, however, the saint left Prague a second time.  Not only did people refuse to convert, but the saint locked horns with dangerous nobles.

The saint returned to Rome, but Pope Gregory V (reigned 996-999) ordered him back to Prague.  St. Adalbert disobeyed this command, given the threats of violence if he returned.  So the saint traveled instead through Hungary and Poland, becoming Archbishop of Gnesen and a missionary to the Prussians.  So it was that he and his fellow evangelists, St. Benedict and St. Gaudentius, became martyrs in Pomerania at the hands of a pagan priest.

The killing of missionaries has not ended Christianity in places; history confirms this.  That, however, is a lesson which many people have not learned.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 31, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES FREDERIC MACKENZIE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CENTRAL AFRICA

THE FEAST OF MENNO SIMONS, MENNONITE LEADER

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Saint Olga of Kiev,

Saint Adalbert of Magdeburg,

Saint Adalbert of Prague,

Saint Benedict of Pomerania, and

Saint Gaudentius of Pomerania,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

Feast of Sts. Wandregisilus of Normandy and Lambert of Lyons (April 14)   1 comment

Above:  Gaul in 628 Common Era

SAINT WANDREGISILUS, A.K.A. WANDRILLE, OF NORMANDY (DIED 668)

Roman Catholic Abbot

His feast transferred from July 22

mentor of

SAINT LAMBERT OF LYONS (DIED 688)

Roman Catholic Abbot and Archbishop

His feast = April 14

Born to nobility and related to St. Pepin (I) of Landen (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/feast-of-st-pepin-of-landen-st-itta-of-metz-their-relations-st-amand-st-austregisilus-and-st-sulpicius-ii-of-bourges-january-9/), St. Wandregisilus/Wandrille served in the court of Dagobert I, King of Austrasia (623-628) and of all Franks (629-639).  The saint married against his will because his parents wished him to wed.  He and his wife separated in 628 to that each could become a monastic.  The saint became a monk at Montfaucon Abbey in Champagne but left there after a few months so he could become a hermit at St. Ursanne, in the Jura Mountains.  Five years later, he relocated to Bobbio, in Italy, then to Romain-Moutier Abbey, near the Isere River.  There he remained for a decade and became a priest.  St. Wandregisilus left Romain-Moutier to become the founding abbot of Fontanelle Abbey in Normandy.  It became a center of evangelism, missionary work, and education.  His immediate successor was St. Lambert of Lyons.

St. Lambert of Lyons grew up in the court of Clotaire/Lothair III (King of Neustria from 657 to 673 and of all Franks from 656 to 660).  St. Lambert became a monk at Fontanelles under St. Wandregisilus.  After St. Lambert’s tenure as Abbot of Fontanelles, he became Archbishop of Lyons in 678/679, having founded the Abbey of Donzere.

While researching this post and pondering the notes I took, I encountered a thread I chose not to pursue here.  One source referred to St. Balderic as a mentor to St. Wandregisilus.  And St. Balderic, I read, was brother of St. Bova, who might have been aunt of St. Doda.  I am skeptical, though, for information about these saints was brief, vague, and contradictory.  For example, chronological markers regarding St. Doda placed her in a century immediately prior to that of her aunt, St. Bova.  That works in time travel stories, not in hagiographies.

I am reasonably certain, however, that Sts. Lambert and Wandregisilus lived in the 600s.  Each of us can probably name at least one spiritual mentor.  How many people did these saints influence positively?  And how many did those influence for God?  I do not know, but I suppose that the number was great.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 29, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREI RUBLEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ICONOGRAPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS GENESIUS I OF CLERMONT AND PRAEJECTUS OF CLERMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS, AND AMARIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT GILDAS, HISTORIAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

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O God, by whose grace your servants

Saints Wandregisilus of Normandy and Lambert of Lyons,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

Feast of St. Fulbert of Chartres (April 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  Tree of Jesse Window, Chartres Cathedral

SAINT FULBERT OF CHARTRES (952/962-1029)

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chartres

His feast transferred from April 10

The life of St. Fulbert of Chartres was intertwined with that of Gerbert, later Pope Silvester II (reigned 999-1003). Gerbert served as head of the cathedral school at Rheims in the 970s, when St. Fulbert was a student there and learned mathematics and philosophy from the schoolmaster.  Gerbert left Rheims to become Abbot of Bobbio, in Italy, but returned to Rheims in 984.  He became Archbishop of Rheims in 996, Archbishop of Ravenna in 998, and (the first French) Bishop of Rome in 999.  J. N. D. Kelly wrote that Silvester II

dazzled contemporaries by the versatility and brilliance of his intellect.  His reputation rests less on his work as a churchman than on his many-sided culture, especially in the fields of science,  music, and mathematics, but also in literature (e.g. the collection and preservation of manuscripts of classical Latin authors).  He was a pioneer of the abacus, terrestrial and celestial globes, and the organ.–The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988, page 137)

That was an astounding company to keep.  Imagine the conversations!

The bond between Gerbert and St. Fulbert was such that the new Pope summoned the saint to Rome in 999.  There St. Fulbert remained until Silvester II’s death.  Then the saint accepted a position as chancellor at Chartres Cathedral.  He was familiar with that place, having founded (and headed) the cathedral school there and built it up into a a beacon of learning in Europe.  The student, like his teacher, was renowned as a scholar.  Then, in 1006, St. Fulbert accepted his final position, Archbishop of Chartres.  The cathedral burned down in 1020, prompting him to raise funds for the reconstruction.  St. Fulbert witnesses the beginning of the rebuilding, which concluded after he died.

St. Fulbert made other contributions to his society.  He advised secular leaders, opposed the selling of church offices, and encouraged Marian devotion.  Letters, hymns, poems, and sermons survive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 29, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREI RUBLEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ICONOGRAPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS GENESIUS I OF CLERMONT AND PRAEJECTUS OF CLERMONTT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS, AND AMARIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT GILDAS THE WISE, HISTORIAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

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Almighty God, you gave to your servant Saint Fulbert of Chartres

special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus:

Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God,

and Jesus Christ whom you have sent;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

Matthew 13:47-52

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 721

Feast of St. Hugh of Rouen (April 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gaul in 714 Common Era

SAINT HUGH OF ROUEN (DIED 730)

Roman Catholic Bishop, Abbot, and Monk

His feast transferred from April 9

St. Hugh of Rouen came from a prominent family.  His father was Duke Drago of Burgundy. His uncle was Charles Martel, Mayor of the Palace.  The Mayor of the Palace, at that point in history, was more powerful than the King of the Franks, a member of the Merovingian Dynasty.  And Martel’s son, Pepin III, served as both Mayor of the Palace and as the first monarch of the Carolingian Dynasty, reigning from 751 to 768.  Pepin’s son was Charlemagne (reigned 768-814).

That was St. Hugh’s family, one which gave him certain opportunities.  Simultaneously he was Abbot of Saint-Wandrielle and Abbot of Jumieges while a lay person.  But he yielded those positions to become a monk at Jumieges in 718.  Four years later, however, he became Archbishop of Rouen.  Retaining that post, he became Abbot of Fontenelle in 723 and Bishop of Paris and Bishop of Bayeux the following year.  St. Hugh used these positions and their financial resources to promote piety and learning.  Then, at the end of his life, St. Hugh retired to Jumieges, where he lived as a monk.

St. Hugh of Rouen had certain opportunities through an accident of birth.  He used them for the benefit of others and the glory of God.  Regardless of the nature of the opportunities which will come our way or which we have at present, may we use them for the common good and the glory of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 26, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANGELA MERICI, FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY OF SAINT URSULA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES MATTHIAS, UNITED STATES SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULA, CONFIDANTE OF SAINT JEROME

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O God, by whose grace your servant St. Hugh of Rouen,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

Posted January 26, 2012 by neatnik2009 in April, Saints of the 700s

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Feast of St. Dionysius of Corinth (April 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Roman Greece

SAINT DIONYSIUS OF CORINTH (DIED CIRCA 180)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Corinth

His feast transferred from April 8

We know of St. Dionysius mainly via Eusebius of Caesarea, author of the great Ecclesiastical History.  Book 4, Chapter 23 tells us of the saint, Bishop of Corinth circa 170-180.  St. Dionysius wrote many epistles.  One went to his sister, Chrysophora.  Others went to congregations.  Eusebius wrote that the saint argued against the Marcionite heresy, encouraged material and financial aid to the poor, and advocated a strong Christianity neither fixated on unrealistic and burdensome purity codes nor consisting of what Eusebius described as

milky doctrine…under a discipline calculated only for children.

Those are timeless principles.  People continue to impose unrealistic burdens related to moral perfectionism upon each other.  Anti-semitism, a key element of Marcionism, has not gone away entirely.  And, as much as theological standards have always mattered, grace, a wondrous gift from God, remains critical in Christianity.  Grace is also unfortunately lacking in many professing quarters.  Yet it ought not to become an excuse for watered-down sloganeering, never a valid substitute for sound theology.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 25, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Good Shepherd, king of love,

accept our thanks and praise

for all the love and care we have received;

and for your servant, Saint Dionysius of Corinth.

May our care for each other grow constantly

more reverent and more discerning.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 15 or 99

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-19

–Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), pages 681-682

Posted January 25, 2012 by neatnik2009 in April

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Feast of Blessed Montford Scott, St. Edmund Gennings, St. Henry Walpole,and Their Fellow Martyrs (April 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Vatican Coat of Arms

BLESSED MONTFORD SCOTT AND VENERABLE GEORGE BEASLEY

Roman Catholic Martyrs

Executed on July 2, 1591

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SAINT EDMUND GENNINGS, SAINT POLYDORE PLASDEN, SAINT SWITHUN WELLS, SAINT EUSTACE WHITE, BLESSED JOHN MASON, BLESSED SIDNEY HODGSON, AND BLESSED BRIAN LACEY

Roman Catholic Martyrs

Executed on December 10, 1591

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SAINT HENRY WALPOLE AND BLESSED ALEXANDER RAWLINS

Roman Catholic Martyrs

Executed on April 7, 1595

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Most feasts transferred from October 25

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Sometimes I begin with one name and end up with a bevy.  Such is the case with this post.  These tales are related to each other.  They constitute a tapestry of martyrdom, a fabric which simple religious toleration would have prevented.  May we honor these faithful servants of Christ Jesus who followed him to the bloody end, one which an officially Christian state deemed necessary and proper in the midst of anti-Roman Catholic hysteria combined with national security concerns in the wake of the Spanish Armada incident of 1588.

Blessed Montford Scott studied at Douai, France.  He became a subdeacon in 1575 then returned to England.  Arrested then freed in 1576, he returned to Douai in 1577 after having become a priest at Brussels.  Scott’s stay at Douai was brief, for he returned to England that year.  Arrested in 1584, he spent seven years in prison before a brief stint of freedom in 1591.  Yet authorities reapprehended Scott, who went to his gruesome martyrdom (hanging, drawing, and quartering) on July 2, 1591.

Venerable George Beasley died on the same day as did Scott.  Also on Englishman, Beasley studied at Rheims, becoming a priest in 1587.  He returned to England in 1588.  Authorities captured Beasley in 1590.  Imprisoned, Beasley suffered tortures which left him, in the words of the Catholic Encyclopedia, “reduced to a skeleton.”

Blessed Montford Scott had a cousin, Blessed Brian Lacey, with whom authorities arrested him.  Lacey had aided and abetted Roman Catholic priests in England.  As if the fact that this was a capital crime was not bad enough, Lacey’s brother turned him in.  Lacey died on December 10, 1591.

That was a day of much bloodshed.  St. Edmund Gennings and four others linked with him also died on December 10, 1591.  They were St. Polydore Plasden, a priest; St. Swithun Wells, host of an illegal Mass; and Blessed Sidney Hodgson and Blessed John Mason, who tried to protect Gennings and the others from authorities.  And St. Eustace White, another priest, died on that dark day.

St. Edmund Gennings (1567-1591), born at Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, converted to Roman Catholicism at age sixteen.  He studied at Rheims, becoming a priest in 1590, aged twenty-three years.  Then Gennings returned to England.

November 7, 1591. was a fateful day.  On that day, at the home of St. Swithun Wells (circa 1536-1591), Gennings said his last Mass, one which ended prematurely due to a raid.  Wells was the long-time schoolmaster at Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire.  He had returned to Roman Catholicism in 1583.  Also present at that Mass was St. Polydore Plasden (1563-1591), a priest since 1586, who had been undercover in England since 1588.  Blessed John Mason and Blessed Sidney Hodgson, members of the congregation, offered physical resistance to the raiding forces.  Law enforcement, then as now, labeled resistance to arrest an offense.

Alice Wells, the widow of St. Swithun Wells, died in prison in 1602.

St. Eustace White (1559-1591), also executed on December 10, had been born at Louth, Lincolnshire, England.  A convert to Roman Catholicism, he studied for the priesthood. Ordained in 1588, he returned to England that year.  Three years later, authorities arrested and executed him.

St. Edmund Gennings began his English mission with Blessed Alexander Rawlins.  Imprisoned twice in 1585 for his Roman Catholicism, Rawlins studied at Rheims in 1589-1590, becoming a priest in 1590.  His English mission lasted from 1591 to 1595, when authorities arrested him.  Rawlins died on April 7, 1595, with St. Henry Walpole.

St. Henry Walpole (1558-1591), born in Docking, Norfolk, England, studied law.  Witnessing the execution of St. Edmund Campion  in 1581 prompted Walpole to convert to Roman Catholicism and study for the priesthood (in Europe) instead.  He became a   Jesuit in 1584 and a priest four years later.  Walpole went on a mission to Lorraine then to the Netherlands, where he served as a chaplain to Spanish soldiers there.  There, in 1589, Calvinists arrested him and imprisoned him for a year.  Walpole, released in 1590, taught at Seville and Vallodolid (in Spain) then went on a mission to Flanders.  The saint began his English mission in 1593, but authorities arrested him almost immediately.  Walpole spent most of the rest of his life in the Tower of London, suffering tortures.

The blood of the martyrs waters the church.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 25, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Almighty and everlasting God,

who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyrs

Venerable George Beasley,

Saint Edmund Gennings,

Blessed Sidney Hodgson,

Blessed Brian Lacey,

Blessed John Mason,

Saint Polydore Plasden,

Blessed Alexander Rawlins,

Blessed Montford Scott,

Saint Henry Walpole,

Saint Swithun Wells,

Alice Wells, and

Saint Eustace White:

Grant to us, your humble servants,

a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their example;

through Jesus Christ our Lod,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 715