June XV SS Vitus or Guy, Crescentia, and Modestus, MM
SS Vitus or Guy, Crescentia, and Modestus, MM
See the Collections of Papebroke, t. 2, Junii, p. 1013.
in the beginning of the fourth century
These saints are mentioned with distinction in the ancient Martyrologies According to their acts they were natives of Sicily. Vitus, or Guy, was a child nobly born, who had the happiness to be instructed in the faith, and inspired with the most perfect sentiments of his religion by his Christian nurse, named Crescentia, and her faithful husband Modestus. His father Hylas was extremely incensed when he discovered the child’s invincible aversion to idolatry; and finding him not to be overcome by stripes and such like chastisements, he delivered him up to Valerian, the governor, who in vain tried all his arts to work him into compliance with his father’s will and the emperor’s edicts. He escaped out of their hinds, and, together with Crescentia and Modestus, fled into Italy. They there met with the crown of martyrdom, in Lucania, in the persecution of Dioclesian. The heroic spirit of martyrdom which we admire in St. Vitus, was owing to the early impressions of piety which he received from the lessons and example of a virtuous nurse: of such infinite importance is the choice of virtuous preceptors, nurses, and servants about children.
This reflection unfolds the reason why certain courts and ages were so fruitful in saints. The pagan Romans were solicitous that no slave should ever have access to their children who did not speak with perfect elegance and purity of language; and shall not a Christian be as careful as to manners and virtue? It is a fatal mistake to imagine that infants are ever too young to be infected with the contagion of vice. No age receives deeper impressions, or observes more narrowly every thing that passes in others; nor is any thing so easily or so insensibly imbibed as a spirit of vanity, pride, revenge, obstinacy, or sloth; or harder to be ever corrected. What a happiness for an infant to be formed from the mother’s breast as it were naturally to all virtue, and for the spirit of simplicity, meekness, goodness, and piety to be moulded in its tender frame. Such a foundation being well laid, further graces are abundantly communicated, and a soul improves daily these seeds, and rises to the height of Christian virtue often without experiencing severe conflicts of the passions.
St. Landelin, Abbot
He was nobly born at Vaux, near Bapaume, in 623, and educated in learning and piety under the care of St. Aubert, bishop of Cambray; for i was then the laudable custom for noblemen to commit the education of their sons to some holy and learned bishop or abbot, insomuch that many houses of bishops as well as monasteries were seminaries of youth. It is a point of the utmost importance that youth coming out of such sanctuaries of innocence and virtue, enter the world well apprized of its dangers, and infinitely upon their guard against bad company and the love of vanities and pleasures which they cannot fortify themselves too much against. They must bring along with them all their religion, nourish it in their hearts by assiduous meditation, and confirm it in their minds by pious reading and consideration and by the daily exercise of all the other duties of that virtue. A neglect of this precaution proved for some time fatal to Landelin. Through the seduction and example of certain relations, whose flatteries unfortunately struck in with his passions, he insensibly began to walk in the broad way of the world, and, from a life of pleasure and diversions, fell at length into great disorders. But the sudden death of one of his companions struck into him such a terror, that he entered seriously into himself, like the prodigal son, and in the deepest compunction went and cast himself at the feet of St. Aubert, who had never ceased to pray for his conversion. The bishop placed him in an austere monastery to do penance for some years; in which, so extraordinary were his fervor and contrition, that St. Aubert ordained him deacon, and, when he was thirty years of age, priest, and appointed him to preach to the people. But the holy penitent having his past sins always before his eyes, begged leave to weep for them in solitude and severe penance: which, when he had obtained, he retired to Laubach, now called Lobes, a desert place on the banks of the Sambre. Several persons resorting to him, and imitating his manner of life, though at first they lived in separate cells, gave rise to the great abbey of Lobes, about the year 654. Landelin, regarding himself as unworthy, could not bear to see himself at the head of a religious community of saints; and when he had laid the foundation of this house, he left his disciple, St. Ursmar, to finish the building, and constituted him the first abbot. Landelin afterwards founded Aune, which is at present a house of Cistercians. The French kings bestowed on him great estates, the chief part of which he settled on his first monastery of Lobes. In quest of closer solitude he, with his two companions, SS. Adelin and Domitian, erected some cells of the branches of trees in a thick forest between Mons and Valenciennes. Here also disciples flocked to him, and he founded the abbey of Crespin, which he was at length obliged to govern himself. By preaching in the village he instructed the people in the science of salvation, but he never interrupted his penitential courses. He died on sackcloth and ashes in 686. His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology on the 15th of June. See his life in Mabillon, sæc. 2, Ben. p. 873.
B. Bernard of Menthon, C.
He was by birth a noble Savoyard, and spent his youth in innocence, penance, and serious studies. When he was grown up his father proposed to him an honorable match; but the young man earnestly desiring to devote himself to the service of the church, and recommending himself to God, privately withdrew, and put himself under the direction of Peter, archdeacon of Aoust, with whom he made great progress in piety and sacred learning. In 966 the bishop of Aoust appointed him archdeacon; which office comprised at that time the jurisdiction both of the grand-vicar and official, consequently the whole government of the diocese under the bishop. Bernard, by pious meditation, prayer, and fasting, and by an indefatigable application to the function of preaching during forty-two years, banished ignorance and superstition, and reformed the dioceses of Aoust, Sion, Geneva, Tarantaise, Milan, and Novara. Having destroyed a famous idol of Jupiter on a high mountain in the Walais, and detected the cheat of the priests who gave oracles concealed in its hollow trunk, he erected near that place a monastery and an hospital, now called Great St. Bernard; for he founded on two in hospitable roads and mountains the two monasteries of Great and Little St. Bernard, which are hospitals for the entertainment of all travellers; without which charitable succors hundreds of travellers would yearly perish. St. Bernard died at Novara, eighty-five years old, on the 28th day of May, 1008. He is honored with a solemn office in many churches in Piedmont, &c., on the 15th of June, which was the day of his burial. His body is enshrined in the monastery at Novara. But his head is exposed in a rich case in the monastery of Monte-joye, which bears his name in the diocese of Aoust. See his two authentic lives, with the notes of Papebroke, t. 2, Junij, p. 1071, especially that written by Richard, his successor in the archdeaconry of Aoust, by which it appears that he never was of the Cistercian order, or that of the regular canons, as some have pretended.
St. Vauge, Hermit
He was a holy priest in the church of Armagh, who, to fly the archiepiscopal dignity, retired into Cornwall. He landed at Penmarch in that county, and being honorably received, built himself a hermitage, yet often went out to preach to the people, and kindle in their breasts the most ardent desire of Christian perfection. He was called to receive the recompense of his labors on the 15th of June, 585. Under the name of St. Vorech he seems titular saint of Llanlivery in Cornwall.
B. Gregory Lewis Barbadigo, C.
cardinal bishop of padua
He was born in 1625, of an ancient and noble Venetian family. From his tender years he cultivated his mind with all polite and solid studies, and still with much greater ardor adorned his soul with the perfect spirit of all Christian virtues, in which he made every day greater and greater progress. He was sent by the republic of Venice, with its ambassador Aloysius Contarini, one of the mediators at the famous congress of Munster, where the celebrated treaty, commonly called of Westphalia, Osnaburg, or Munster, was signed by the plenipotentiaries of Germany, France, and Sweden, on the 24th of October, 1648. There Fabius Chigi, apostolic nuncio, became acquainted with him, and was exceedingly charmed with his virtue and other great qualities, and being chosen pope under the name of Alexander VII. in 1655, was always his strenuous protector. Gregory was consecrated bishop of Bergamo in 1657, created cardinal by Alexander VII. in 1660, and translated to the bishopric of Padua in 1664. In every state of life Barbadigo was a model of regularity, zeal, watchfulness, and piety. So edifying was his conduct, and so indefatigable was he in the visitation of his diocese, and in all the functions of his charge, that he was looked upon as a second St. Charles Borromeo. His charities were excessive, and it was known that he had given in alms eight hundred thousand crowns. He munificently founded a great and most convenient college in the country for the education of youth in piety and learning. Also a stately and admirable seminary in he city of Padua, which is to this day the glory not only of the Venetian territories, but also of Italy and Christendom. He took care to have it furnished with able professors of sacred sciences, and of the learned and sacred languages. He founded in it a noble library furnished with the best chosen books for studies, especially for critical learning, the holy scriptures and the fathers of the church. For the use of this noble establishment he founded also a printing-office. All virtues he possessed in an heroic degree and every thing in him was excellent. And so perfectly was he master of himself, and dead to himself and the world, that his soul was never elated by prosperity, nor sunk by trials or adversity. His death was no less edifying, happy, and glorious than the whole tenor of his life had been. It happened on the 15th of June, 1697. A sudden and entire cure of a formed gangrene and other distempers which the symptoms had declared mortal, and other miracles performed through his intercession, were duly proved, and this illustrious servant of God was beatified by pope Clement XIII. with the usual solemnities on the 13th of February, 1761. See the Elogia Cardinalium, p. 192; Italia Sacra, t. 5, et 10, and especially his life, very well written by F. Thomas Austin Ricchini, a Dominican friar, published at Rome in 8vo. Anno 1761.
Butler, Alban, The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints (New York 1903) II, 576-579.