Today, 19 August, is the feast of ... 

*Andrew the Tribune, martyr (300): Andrew was a captain under Antiochus
in the army of Galerius. During a battle against the Persians, Andrew
called on the name of Christ and told his men to do the same, and thereby won
the battle. As a result of the victory, Andrew decided to become a

*Timothy, Agapius, and Thecla, martyrs (304): Martyred during the reign
of Diocletian. 

*Sixtus III, pope (440): Sixtus restored many buildings in Rome, perhaps 
the most famous is the church S Maria Maggiore. 

*Mochta, abbot (535): It is recorded that he never uttered a false word 
and that he never ate a morsel of fat. It is also recorded that he lived 
for three hundred years 

*Bertulf, abbot (640): Originally a monk at Luxeuil, Bertulf succeeded 
Columban as abbot of Bobbio. 

*Sebald (eighth century?): Among the miracles attributed to him are
using icicles to heat a cold cabin, restoring sight to a blind man, and
causing a heckler to be swallowed up by the earth. (patron saint of the

*Louis of Anjou, bishop of Toulouse (1297): Grand-nephew of Louis IX of 
France. Pope John XXII canonized him at Avignon in 1317, at which
ceremony Louis's mother was present. (Are there any other saints whose parents
were present at their canonizations?) 

Tom Izbicki wrote:
Were Maria Goretti's parents still alive when she was canonized in 1950? 
She was born in 1890 & murdered at ae 17, so it is theoretically

Three years ago to this question Paul Chandler gave this helpful reply: 

Dionisia, mother of the hermit Galgano of Chiusdino (d. 1181), gave 
evidence at the process for his canonisation in 1185, which I think is
the earliest formal canonisation process whose acta have survived. (Galgano, 
however, was not formally canonised, so maybe it is better to keep your 
mother away from that kind of thing.) 

It's interesting, by the way, how many hagiographical topoi occur in 
Dionisia's testimony about her son's life. When Arbesmann made his 
comparative study of three vitae of Galgano, he seems not to 
have been aware of the close similarities between the vitae and the 
depositions at the canonisation process. He dismissed as hagiographical 
conventions details which seem to be drawn directly from Dionisia's 
testimony: a vision of St Michael with which hagiographers were 
supposed to have clothed a "severe inner crisis"; the Roman pilgrimage, 
perhaps "a later fiction" modelled on that of St Francis; the round 
hermitage, which Arbesmann thinks an etiological story to explain the 
round church which later rose over the grave; the omens, voices and 
miracles which he considers merely "stock incidents of medieval 
hagiography", etc. Even if conventional elements had shaped his 
mother's memory of the saint, they were apparently not the conventions
of hagiographers alone. Perhaps a warning to make our scepticism more 
measured, or at least more careful and more precisely focussed? 

References, in case anyone is interested: R. Arbesmann, "The Three 
Earliest _Vitae_ of St Galganus", in S. Prete, ed., _Didascaliae:
Studies in Honour of Anselm M. Albareda_, New York, 1961, 1-38. The acta are 
edited by F. Schneider, "Die Einsiedler Galgan von Chiusdino und die 
Anfa"nge von San Galgano", _Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen 
Archiven und Bibliotheken_ 17 (1914-24): 61-77 

Thanks Paul! 

Two years ago Rozanne Elder reminded the list of the following

19 August is also the feast of Blessed Guerric of Igny (1157),
Cistercian abbot and spiritual writer. 

Thanks Rozanne! 

*Emily of Vercelli, Dominican nun (1314): Emily was elected prioress, 
against her will, to the convent that her father had built especially
for her. 

Dr Carolyn Muessig
Department of Theology and Religious Studies
University of Bristol
Bristol BS8 1TB
phone: +44(0)117-928-8168
fax: +44(0)117-929-7850
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