Tomorrow is Thomas Sunday, so named because of St. Thomas the Apostle. Thus, it seems fitting that he is the saint for today:
Thomas the Apostle (called Didymus which means “the twin” or Mar Thoma in Syriac) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament. He is informally called doubting Thomas because he doubted Jesus’ resurrection when first told (in the Gospel of John account only), followed later by his confession of faith, “My Lord and my God”, on seeing Jesus’ wounded body.
Tradition claims he travelled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, travelling as far as Tamilakam which are the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in present-day India. According to tradition, the Apostle reached Muziris, (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor in the state of Kerala, India) in AD 52 and baptized several people, founding what today are known as Saint Thomas Christians or MarThoma Nazranis. After his death, the reputed relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle were enshrined as far as Mesopotamia in the 3rd century, and later moved to various places. In 1258, some of the relics were brought to Abruzzo in Ortona, Italy, where they have been held in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle. He is often regarded as the Patron Saint of India, and the name Thoma remains quite popular among Saint Thomas Christians of India.
Much, much more can be found at his wiki, located here.
R is the letter for today. Thus, our saint is Saint Rimbert:
Saint Rimbert (or Rembert) (Flanders, 830 – 11 June 888 in Bremen) was archbishop of Bremen-Hamburg from 865 until his death.
A monk in Turholt (Torhout), he shared a missionary trip to Scandinavia with his friend Ansgar, whom he later succeeded as archbishop in Hamburg-Bremen in 865. He also wrote a biography about Ansgar; Vita Ansgari.
Rimbert was unable to successfully complete the mission work to Denmark and Sweden, begun under Ansgar. He obtained market, coinage and toll rights for the city of Bremen in 888 from Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia and thus considerable improved the financial state of the archbishopric. In 884 he personally led a Frisian army against the Vikings and, after the victorious Battle of Norditi was able to drive them permanently out of East Frisia.
Rimbert is revered as a saint particularly in Frisia. His feast day is 4 February. After Ansgar, epithetised the Apostle of the North, Rimbert is revered as the Second Apostle of the North, besides the missionary Sigfrid of Sweden. Lutherans likewise honor Johannes Bugenhagen.
It has been some time since I have tried to cover the letter “Q” in this series. Understandable, given how few canonized saints have names which begin with that letter. Since there are so few, I will instead do something different with the letter- I will feature a Queen who is also recognized as a saint. Our first saint will thus be Queen Jadwiga of Poland:
Jadwiga ([jadˈvʲiɡa]), also known as Hedwig (Hungarian: Hedvig; 1373/4 – 17 July 1399), reigned as the first female monarch of the Kingdom of Poland from 16 October 1384 until her death. She was the youngest daughter of Louis the Great, King of Hungary and Poland, and his wife, Elizabeth of Bosnia. Jadwiga was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, but had more close ancestors among the Polish Piasts. She was canonized in the Roman Catholic Church in 1997.
Jadwiga was crowned “king” in Kraków on 16 October 1384. Her crowning either reflected the Polish lords’ opposition to her intended future husband, William, adopting the royal title without a further Act or only emphasized that she was a queen regnant. With her mother’s consent, Jadwiga’s advisors opened negotiations with Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, who was still a heathen, about his marriage to Jadwiga. Jogaila signed the Union of Krewo, promising to convert to Roman Catholicism and to promote his ‘pagan’ subjects’ conversion. Meanwhile, William of Habsburg hurried to Kraków to demand the consummation of his pre-arranged marriage with Jadwiga, but the Polish lords expelled him in late August 1385. Jogaila, who received the baptismal name Władysław, married Jadwiga on 15 February 1386. Legend says that she had only agreed to marry him after long prayers, seeking divine inspiration.
Władysław-Jogaila was crowned king on 4 March. As her co-ruler, Władysław closely cooperated with his wife. After rebellious lords had imprisoned her mother and sister, she marched into Ruthenia, which had been under Hungarian rule, and persuaded most local inhabitants to become subjects of the Polish Crown without resistance. She acted as mediator between her husband’s quarreling kinsmen, and between Poland and the Teutonic Knights.
Far more can be found out about her at her wiki, located here.
Today we feature the letter “P.” So our saint for the day is Padre Pio:
Padre Pio, also known as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Italian: Pio da Pietrelcina), O.F.M. Cap. (May 25, 1887 – September 23, 1968), was a friar, priest, stigmatist, and mystic,now venerated as a saint of the Catholic Church. Born Francesco Forgione, he was given the name of Pius (Italian: Pio) when he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.
Padre Pio became famous for exhibiting stigmata for most of his life, thereby generating much interest and controversy. He was both beatified (1999) and canonized (2002) by Pope John Paul II.
There is a great deal more to his life, no surprise given he was a figure of much controversy. More can be learned about him at his wiki, located here.
The letter “O” makes its triumphant return today. Thus, our saint is none other than Saint Oliver Plunkett:
Oliver Plunkett (also spelt Oliver Plunket) (Irish: Oilibhéar Pluincéid), (1 November 1625 – 1 July 1681) was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland who was the last victim of the Popish Plot. He was beatified in 1920 and canonised in 1975, thus becoming the first new Irish saint for almost seven hundred years.
A few snippets from the Wikipedia article on him:
On the enactment of the Test Act in 1673, to which Plunkett would not agree for doctrinal reasons, the college was closed and demolished. Plunkett went into hiding, travelling only in disguise, and refused a government edict to register at a seaport to await passage into exile. For the next few years he was largely left in peace since the Dublin government, except when put under pressure from the English government in London, preferred to leave the Catholic bishops alone.
In 1678 the so-called Popish Plot, concocted in England by clergyman Titus Oates, led to further anti-Roman Catholic action. Archbishop Peter Talbot of Dublin was arrested, and Plunkett again went into hiding. The Privy Council in London was told that Plunkett had plotted a French invasion. The moving spirit behind the campaign is said to have been Arthur Capell, the first Earl of Essex, who had been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and hoped to resume the office by discrediting the Duke of Ormonde. However Essex was not a ruthless or unprincipled man and his later plea for mercy suggests that he had never intended that Plunkett should actually die.
You can find much more about this martyr at the link above.
It has been a while since I wrote a post in this series, so it seems only appropriate that I bring it back. We left off with the letter “M”, which means that today’s letter is “N.” Thus, our saint for today is Saint Naum:
Saint Naum (Bulgarian and Macedonian: Свети Наум, Sveti Naum), also known as Naum of Ohrid or Naum of Preslav (c. 830 – December 23, 910) was a medieval Bulgarian writer, enlightener, one of the seven Apostles of the First Bulgarian Empire and missionary among the Slavs. He was among the disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius and is associated with the creation of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic scripts. Naum was among the founders of the Pliska Literary School and is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church.
More can be found out about his life at his wiki, located here.
Our letter for today is the letter “M.” So we have as our saint, Margaret of Hungary:
Saint Margaret, O.P. (January 27, 1242 – January 18, 1271) was a Dominican nun and the daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary and Maria Laskarina. She was the younger sister of St. Kinga of Poland (Kunegunda) and the Blessed Yolanda of Poland and, through her father, the niece of the famed Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
The four-year-old Margaret was entrusted by her parents to the Dominican monastery at Veszprém in 1245. Six years later she was transferred to the Monastery of the Blessed Virgin founded by her parents on Nyulak Szigete (Rabbit Island) near Buda (today Margaret Island, named after her, and a part of Budapest; the ruins of the monastery can still be seen). She spent the rest of her life there, dedicating herself to religion and opposing all attempts of her father to arrange a political marriage for her with King Ottokar II of Bohemia. She appears to have taken solemn vows when she was eighteen years old. In marked contrast to the customs of her Order, she received the Consecration of Virgins along with some other royals to prevent further attempts on the part of her father to have her vows dispensed by the Pope for marriage.
More can be found out about her and her life at her wiki, located here.