We are at Y now, and running low on saints with matching names. Today’s saint is Saint Ywi, also known as saint Iwig:
Iwig (alternatively, Iwi, Iwigius, or Ywi of Lindisfarne) was a saint venerated in Wiltshire in the Middle Ages. He was reputedly a Northumbrian monk, said to have died and to have been buried in Brittany. Historian David Dumville called him “the other principal saint of Wilton”, in reference to Saint Eadgyth. He was supposedly a follower (alumnus) of Saint Cuthbert.
He is listed in two 11th-century litanies. A narrative of this century claimed that his relics had been brought to Wilton Abbey by Breton monks in the 10th-century, and left for safe-keeping at the altar of Saint Eadgyth. The narrative claims that the relics subsequently became immovable [through the wish of the saint to reside there], though historian John Blair suspected that this story may have been invented to justify Wilton’s theft of the relics.
His feast day was celebrated on 8 October. The Priory of Ivychurch in Wiltshire is thought to have been named after him.
Time for this series to resume. Unfortunately, we are the end of the alphabet, specifically the letter “X.” Alas, not many saints have that letter for a first name. So we will borrow the last name, and get our saint for today: Francis Xavier:
Saint Francis Xavier, S.J. (born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta, 7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552), was a Navarrese Basque Roman Catholic missionary, born in Javier (Xavier in Navarro-Aragonese or Xabier in Basque), Kingdom of Navarre (present day Spain), and a co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was a companion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits who took vows of poverty and chastity at Montmartre, Paris in 1534. He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time and was influential in evangelization work, most notably in India. The Goa Inquisition was proposed by St. Francis Xavier. He also was the first Christian missionary to venture into Japan, Borneo, the Maluku Islands, and other areas. In those areas, struggling to learn the local languages and in the face of opposition, he had less success than he had enjoyed in India. Xavier was about to extend his missionary preaching to China but died in Shangchuan Island shortly before he could do so.
He was beatified by Pope Paul V on 25 October 1619 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV on 12 March 1622. In 1624 he was made co-patron of Navarre alongside Santiago. Known as the “Apostle of the Indies,” and the “Apostle of Japan”, he is considered to be one of the greatest missionaries since Saint Paul. In 1927, Pope Pius XI published the decree “Apostolicorum in Missionibus” naming Saint Francis Xavier, along with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, co-patron of all foreign missions. He is now co-patron saint of Navarre with San Fermin. The Day of Navarre (Día de Navarra) in Spain marks the anniversary of Saint Francis Xavier’s death, on 3 December 1552.
More can be found out about his life at his wiki, located here.
It has been a while, but we return at last to the letter W. Today’s saint is Saint Willehad of Bremen:
Willehad or Willihad (Latin: Willehadus/Willihadus); c. 745 AD – 8 November 789 AD) was a Christian missionary and the Bishop of Bremen from 787 AD.
A snippet from his life:
Willehad was born in Northumbria and probably received his education at York under Ecgbert. A friend of Alcuin he was ordained after his education and, about the year 766, he went to Frisia, preaching at Dokkum and in Overijssel, to continue the missionary work of Boniface who had been martyred by the Frisians in 754. At an assembly in Paderborn in 777, Saxony was divided into missionary zones. The zone between the Weser and the Elbe, called Wigmodia, was given to Willehad.
Learn more about him from his wiki, located here.
Today’s letter is “V”, and thus we have as our saint of the day Vincent de Paul:
St. Vincent de Paul (24 April 1581 – 27 September 1660) was a French Roman Catholic priest who dedicated himself to serving the poor. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He was canonized in 1737. He was renowned for his compassion, humility and generosity and is known as the “Great Apostle of Charity”.
He lived a truly fascinating life, and I would encourage my readers to follow this link to his wiki, which tells so much more about him.
Today marks the Nativity of the Forerunner of Christ St. John the Baptist. I don’t believe I have done a post dedicated to him yet, and even if I have, a new one seems appropriate. Here is the account of his birth:
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. 58 And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari′ah after his father, 60 but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 And his father Zechari′ah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people,
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath which he swore to our father Abraham, 74 to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 through the tender mercy of our God,
when the day shall dawn upon us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel.
More can be found at his wiki, located here.
We come again to the letter “U”. Our saint for today is Pope Urban I:
Pope Urban I (Latin: Urbanus I) was Bishop of Rome or Pope from 222 to 23 May 230. He was born in Rome and succeeded Pope Callixtus I, who had been martyred. It was previously believed for centuries that Urban I was also martyred. However, recent historical discoveries now lead scholars to believe that he died of natural causes.
Much of Urban’s life is shrouded in mystery, leading to many myths and misconceptions. Despite the lack of sources he is the first Pope whose reign can be definitely dated. Two prominent sources do exist for Urban’s pontificate: Eusebius’ history of the early Church and also an inscription in the Coemeterium Callisti which names the Pope
Urban ascended to the Chair of Saint Peter in the year of the Roman Emperor Elagabalus’ assassination and served during the reign of Alexander Severus. It is believed that Urban’s pontificate was during a peaceful time for Christians in the Empire as Severus did not promote the persecution of Christianity.
Today’s letter is the letter “T.” This gives us our saint, Saint Thorlak:
Saint Thorlak Thorhallsson (Old Norse: Þorlákr Þórhallsson; Icelandic: Þorlákur Þórhallsson; Latin: Thorlacus; 1133 – December 23, 1193), also spelled Thorlac, is the patron saint of Iceland. He was bishop of Skalholt from 1178 until his death. Thorlac’s relics were translated to the cathedral of Skálholt in 1198, not long after his successor as bishop, Páll Jónsson, announced at the Althing that vows could be made to Thorlac. His status as a saint did not receive official recognition from the Catholic Church until January 14, 1984, when John Paul II canonized him and declared him the patron saint of Iceland. His feast day is December 23. He is currently being considered as a potential patron saint of people with autism and autism spectrum disabilities by a grassroots movement called the Mission of Saint Thorlak.
(Gotta love that name, eh?)
More can be found out about him at his wiki, located here.