Today, in this month dedicated to All Saints, our calendar gives us five saints to venerate. Paging through the Saint Benedict Center book, Saints to Remember, by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Still River, Massachusetts, I see no day of the year where that many saints are included in this great little book. The interesting thing is that each of these saints may well have never become saints if they had not been influenced by their acquaintance with other saints. Lesson: find a saint, if you want to more easily become one. If you think you have found one keep it a secret and follow their example.
The most well-known among today’s feast day honorees is Saint Martin de Porres (1639). He is one of the five saints from the city of Lima, Peru, and a contemporary of two of them. I have written about Saint Martin and the Lima saints here. He is one of a host of doorkeeper saints: Pashal Baylon (1592), Alphonsus Rodriguez (1617), John Massias (also from Lima, 1645), Conrad (1894), Frere André (1937), and Venerable Solanus Casey (1957), to name some of them.
Next we have Saint Malachy O’More who is most well-known for his prophecy of the future popes and the end times. He was the Primate of Armagh in Ireland. On a pilgrimage to Rome, he visited Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and died in the saint’s arms in his abbey in 1148.
Hardly known at all, the mother of Saint Gregory the Great (604), one of the greatest popes in history, is Saint Sylvia. She lived in Rome on the Caelian Hill and died there in 572, eighteen years before her son assumed the Chair of Peter. Her home was a hospice of charity. She had two sisters who were also saints, Aemiliana and Tarsilla.
Then there is Saint Winifred. Her name used to be very popular with the Irish and Welsh. She was the niece of Saint Bueno, bishop of Wales. She was martyred by decapitation by an evil ruler who wanted to violate her purity. A well sprung up on the spot where Winifred’s head fell, and that well, to this day, produces a half million gallons of water every day. It is still the site of miraculous cures. One tradition has it that Saint Bueno placed her remains in his cloak at the foot of the altar when he offered the holy Mass after her sacrifice and she came back to life intact then and there. She died later in 650.
Finally, there is Saint Hubert, born in 656. As a young nobleman, Hubert was a dandy at the court of the Duke of Nuestria in the kingdom of the Franks and led a rather loose life. He loved pleasure and the hunt. On one foray in the forest he saw a vision of the cross shining in the antlers of a stag and he heard the voice of Jesus: “Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell” The hunter was instantly converted and replied: “Lord, what wouldst Thou have me do?” He received the answer, “Go and seek Lambert, and he will instruct you.” Hubert did so and, after his wife died, was ordained a priest while associating himself with the holy bishop, Saint Lambert. Lambert was soon after slain by orders of King Pepin while Hubert was in Rome. Hubert, by the pope’s request, succeeded Lambert as Bishop of Maastricht and later Liege. Hubert extirpated idol worship among the gentile pagans of the Ardenne region. He died in 727.