Today, 27 April, is the feast of ...
Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia (303)
Asicus or Tassach, bishop of Elphin (470): Tassach is the principal
patron of Elphin in County Roscommon, and is traditionally regarded as
having been the first bishop of that diocese.
Maughold or Maccul, bishop of Man (498): A bloodthirsty evildoer,
Maughold was converted by St Patrick. As penance Patrick bade him leave
his native land without rudder or oars, in a leather-covered coracle
which bore him to the shores of the Isle of Man.
Floribert, bishop of Liege (746): The saint is described as a man of
great humility, a lover of the poor and "vehement in correcting".
Stephen Pechersky, bishop of Vladimir (1094): Disciple of St Theodosius
at the monastery of the Caves in Kiev.
Zita, housekeeper (1278): Patroness of domestic workers. One bitterly
cold Christmas Eve in Lucca, when Zita insisted upon going to church,
her master threw his fur coat over her, telling her not to lose it. In
the entrance to San Frediano she came upon a scantily clad man, whose
teeth were chattering with the cold. As he laid an appealing hand upon
the coat, Zita immediately placed it upon his shoulders, telling him
that he could keep it until the end of Mass. When the service was over,
neither the man nor the coat were anywhere to be seen. Crestfallen, Zita
returned home to encounter the reproaches of her master Pagano. Pagano
was about to sit down to his Christmas dinner, when a stranger appeared
at the door carrying the fur coat and handed it to Zita. Master and maid
eagerly addressed him, but he disappeared from their sight as suddenly
as had come, leaving in the hearts of all who had seen him a wonderful
celestial joy. Since that day, the people of Lucca called the portal of
San Frediano where Zita met the stranger "The Angel Door." Zita had a
special devotion to criminals under sentence of death on whose behalf
she would pray for hours.
Peter Armengol, belonged to the Order of Mercedarians (1304): Twice was
sent to Africa to ransom prisoners in captivity among the Moors. On the
second occasion, the money he had taken with him was insufficient to
secure the release of 18 boys. He volunteered to remain as a hostage
until his companion returned with the ransom demanded. But the religious
who brought it only arrived in time to learn that Peter had been hanged
as a defaulter some days before. He went to secure the remains of the
martyr, but discovered on cutting the body down that Peter was still
living. He was allowed to return his fellow religious at Guardia, and
there living for ten years, with twisted neck and contorted limbs, he
gave a wonderful example of virtue.
Antony of Siena, belonged to the order of the Hermits of St Augustine
James of Bitetto, Franciscan lay-brother (1485): James was seen on
occasions upraised from the ground when engaged in prayer. In a
Franciscan friary he was employed as a cook. The sight of the kitchen
fire led him at times to contemplate the flames of Hell, and on other
occasions to dwell on the consuming fire of eternal love in Heaven. He
often fell into ecstasies over his work, standing motionless and
entirely absorbed in God.
Dr Carolyn Muessig
Department of Theology and Religious Studies
University of Bristol
Bristol BS8 1TB
e-mail: [log in to unmask]