Friday, 30 September 2011

October Menology

Saturday,01 October  2011

October Menology Nunraw Abbey
October 2011   General Intention: That the terminally ill may be supported by their faith in God and the love of their brothers and sisters. Missionary Intention: That the celebration of World Mission Day may foster in the People of God a passion for evangelization with the willingness to support the missions with prayer and economic aid for the poorest Churches. 

for the
of October

Brother Peter O'Dea

Brother Peter Senan O'Dea
born 23 June 1923
entered 6 January 1944
professed 1949
died 8 October 1981
+ + + 


Ulrich  12th or 13th century
A native of Cologne, he became a monk of Villers and held the office of grange master.


Nehemias O'Moriertach  12th century
A friend and disciple of St Malachy, he became a Cistercian and later bishop of Cloyne. "A simple and modest man, shining with wisdom and chastity."

MBS, p. 258

Godfrey Pachomius + 1262
A canon regular, he became a monk of Villers, silent and prayerful, full of charity for his brethren and the poor.


Algot + 1160
A monk of Clairvaux, he was chosen to be bishop of the diocese of Chur, Switzerland which he ably governed for nine years, coming to the aid of monasteries and the poor, and defending the rights of the Church.

Bartholomew Conill + 1458
A physician, he entered the monastery of Poblet in Catalonia and in 1437 was elected its abbot. He was especially noted for his charity to his monks and his care for the sick brethren.


Bernard Carpentier  1552-1647
A monk of Les Prieres in Brittany, he became its prior and joined the house to the Strict Observance. He accomplished its reform so successfully that he was able to send his monks to reform other houses. He governed his monastery for twenty-three years and then devoted the last years of his life to prayer.


William  12th century
Monk of Floriege, Provence.


Baldwin + 1145
A disciple of St Bernard, he was created cardinal, the first from the Cistercian Order, by Pope Innocent II who later made him archbishop of Pisa.
Letter 115 of St Bernard


Philip + 1225
A canon of the principal church of Cologne, he became a monk of Bonnevaux and abbot first of Bonnevaux and then of Otterberg, which he governed well for thirty years.

Luisa de Foria + 1871
A native of Brazil, she entered the convent of Santa Maria de Cadins, Spain. She is remembered for her obedience and silence, but even more for her radiant and endearing smile.


St Martin Cid + 1152
With several companions he led an eremetical life near Zomora, Spain, to which a hospice for travelers was later added. The community attracted the attention of King Alphonso VIII of Castile and Leon, who endowed it and then arranged for its affiliation to the Cistercians in 1137. It was named Valparaiso and Martin governed it for fifteen years until his death.
MBS p. 263

Louis de Gonzague Bailly + 1824
He lived with some hermits at Mont-Valerien near Paris, but was forced to flee during the French Revolution and became a monk of La Val Sainte. After this house had been suppressed in 1811, he and two confreres lived a communal life in Nancy. Later he was chosen by Dom Stephen Malmy to restore the monastery of Aiguebelle.


Sibyl de Gages + 1250
A canoness of St Gertrude's at Nivelles, Belgium, she entered the community of Aywieres and became a close friend of St Lutgarde (June 16). Sibyl rendered services to Lutgarde, especially after the latter had become blind, and Lutgarde was often guided by Sibyl's advice.

John James of St Scholastica + 1621
At fifteen he became a Feuillant monk and later preached the gospel in the cities of southern France. He also assisted in establishing the Congregation of St Ursula in Bordeaux.


Hugh + 1151
A relative and close companion of St Bernard, he entered Citeaux together with him. In 1114, shortly after his profession, Hugh was appointed first abbot of Pontigny, Citeaux's second daughterhouse. Under his direction, the house prospered and made several foundations. He was often appointed judge or delegate in ecclesiastical affairs, and in 1137, he was made bishop of Auxerre. He had a special gift for hospitality.

Abbot or prior of Las Junias, Spain.


Nicholas de Guedois + 1677
Having as a young monk aided his abbot, Louis Quinet, in the reform of the abbey of Barbery, Normandy, he succeeded him in the abbatial office.


Richard  12th century
A Benedictine of the monastery of St Mary's, York, and sacristan at the cathedral there, he was among the founders of Fountains Abbey. He was elected to succeed its first abbot, also named Richard. "While he interiorly applied himself to God as far as was possible, Our Lord watched over him outwardly, directing him in all his ways." He had a special gift for hearing confessions. Having gone to Citeaux for the General Chapter, he became ill and died in the presence of St Bernard.

Marguerite + 1240
Abbess of Saint-Hoilde, France.

Maria Van Dale + 1438
Second prioress of Muysen, Belgium.

Sancho of St Catherine + 1629
President-general of his congregation.


Geoffrey of Melna + 1178
He entered Clairvaux under its second abbot, Bl Robert of Bruges (April 29). There he had care of the sick. In 1171 he was chosen bishop of Sorra in Sardinia. Having heard of the solemn translation of the body of St Bernard, he went to Clairvaux to take part in the ceremony. There his longing to die at Clairvaux was fulfilled.

St Maurice  1114-1191
A native of Brittany, he studied in Paris before becoming a monk at Longonnet. Three years after his profession, he was elected abbot, a position he retained for thirty years. When he was about to retire, Conan IV, Duke of Brittany, offered him land for a monastery. This was Carnoet which in its early days suffered from poverty, as well as the incursion of wolves and rats. Later it prospered and Maurice governed it for fifteen years until his death. The house subsequently became a place of pilgrimage and its name was changed to St Maurice de Carnoet.
Today at least eighteen villages in Brittany have shrines of St Maurice and an annual procession in his honor.

MBS, p. 264


Alan of Flanders + 1185
A monk of Clairvaux, he was chosen by St Bernard to be first abbot of L'Arrivour. Later elected bishop of Auxerre, he governed that diocese well for fifteen years, then resigned and returned to L'Arrivour. He frequently visited Clairvaux and sometime after 1165 remained there living in St Bernard's house. He revised the biography of St Bernard.

Clara Dullaerts + 1545
For forty years she governed the convent of Beaupre, Belgium, with diligence and prudence. During her administration, the house grew spiritually and temporally.


Bl Gerard
Abbot of Fossanova and then of Clairvaux, he had sent one of his monks, morally degenerate, to Abbot Peter of Igny to be subjected to regular discipline. When he made a visitation at that house, the monk in question stabbed Gerard and cruelly wounded him. As he continued to turn the dagger in the wound, Gerard meekly said to him, "I beg you, Brother, let your hand cease now, for I cannot live much longer".  He died three days later, forgiving his assasin and imploring pardon for him. He is considered the proto-martyr of the Cistercian Order.

Elizabeth  13th century
A nun or abbess of the convent of Hoven, Germany, held in high esteem by Bl Herman Joseph.


St Hedwig  1174-1243
The daughter of Count Berthold IV of Andechs, Bavaria, she was married at twelve years old to Duke Henry of Silesia. In 1202 on the death of his father, Henry succeeded to the dukedom. At Hedwig's request, he built a Cistercian convent at Trebnitz, as well as numerous other monasteries and hospitals. After the birth of six children, she and Henry took a vow of chastity.
Hedwig acted as peacemaker in resolving quarrels between her sons, and between her husband and his enemies. After Henry's death in 1238, she went to Trebnitz where she lived the same life as the nuns, but without vows, not only in order to give alms freely, but because she considered herself unworthy to be a nun.

MBS, p. 267; NCE, vol 6, p. 984


Gilbert + 1167
An Englishman, he was abbot successively of Ourscamp and Citeaux. He was called "The Great" by posterity because of the extent of his learning.

Maximus of Arezzo  16th century
A monk of San Salvatore di Settimo in Tuscany, venerated by the people of Florence as a saint.


Sicard + 1162
A monk of Jouy and later first abbot of Bonlieu.

Gumar  12th century
A judge and ruler in Sardinia, he made a pilgrimage to St Martin's shrine in Tours, and on his way home stopped at Clairvaux. St Bernard urged him to become a monk, but he refused, until sometime later he heard of Bernard's death. He then placed his eldest son at the head of his realm, entered Citeaux at the age of forty, and persevered until death.


Lutgarde Menetrey + 1919
As a young girl she was outstanding for her generosity in helping the poor. She entered La Fille Dieu which was endeavoring to return to a stricter observance of the Rule. When she was elected abbess, she successfully completed the work of reform. She had a firm trust in God in difficult circumstances, and a strength of soul which she derived from constant prayer and devotion to Christ in his Passion and to his sorrowful Mother.


Peter  12th century
A monk of Clairvaux, he was sent by St Bernard to the monastery of Nydala in Sweden. In extreme old age   he was elected abbot of Gutvala in the same country.

First a hermit, later a monk of Savigny.


As a young man he was undisciplined. His parents wished him to marry, but when he went to visit some relatives at the monastery of Villers, he decided to join them. He found monastic life arduous, and it was only with difficulty and the prayers of his brethren that he was able to persevere. Later he learned to give thanks to God even amid trials and sorrows. He died after spending seven years in the Order.

Giomara da Silva  + c. 1590
A nun of Lorvao, Portugual, conspicuous for her obedience, silence and charity toward the sick.


Pancratius Puschinger + 1551
Abbot of Engelszell, Austria, for thirty years. In unfavorable conditions he admirably governed his house with firmness and constancy.

Marie Jean Baillet + 1893
Received at Les Dombes, France, at the age of sixteen, he was devoted to the Blessed Virgin under the title of her Immaculate Conception. A soul of great innocence and piety, he contracted tuberculosis and died young.


Achard  12th century
A monk of Clairvaux, he was entrusted by St Bernard with the building of several monasteries, including Himmerod. In his old age he instructed the novices from the wealth of his long monastic experience.

Bl Bertrand + 1149
Abbot of Grandselve, a Benedictine house located near Toulouse, he governed for thirty years and brought about the affiliation of Grandselve with the Order.

MBS, p. 270


Denis Largentier  1557-1624
            At the age of sixteen he received the habit of the Order at Clairvaux, and was sent to the College of St Bernard where he obtained a doctorate in theology. After holding several offices in the Order, he was chosen abbot of Clairvaux in 1596. This monastery had preserved a high level of observance and spirituality. As it was at the head of nearly one hundred affiliated houses, Largentier could use his authority to promote the reform movement which was to become known as the Strict Observance.

Jerome Petit  1586-1635
A monk of Clairvaux, he received a degree in theology from the College of St Bernard and taught there for several years. He then assisted with the reform of several monasteries, acted as novice master at his own, and in 1621 was appointed abbot of l'Etoile, continuing all the while to play a role in the further expansion of the reform movement.
To his memory is added that of his brother and second successor, Placid, who died March 22, 1667.


St Bernard of Calvo + 1243
He studied law, but in 1214 after a severe illness, entered the monastery of Santa Cruz near Tarragona, Spain. Eleven years later he was elected abbot. Besides governing his monastery, he preached missions in the diocese of Lerida, teaching the true doctrine of the Church and defending the rights of the poor and oppressed. In 1233 he was elected bishop of Vich, and made inquisitor by Pope Gregory IX. He accompanied and advised James I of Aragon in his capaign against the Saracens, and was instrumental in arranging a peace treaty after the siege of Valencia.

MBS, p. 273

Twelve monks of Graigue, Ireland
In 1584, they were slain for refusing to submit to agents of Queen Elizabeth.


Mefrid + c. 1173
Prior of Eberbach, Germany, graced with charismatic gifts as well as great industry and foresight.


Catherine Fieffe  1590-1650
At the age of twelve she went to the convent of Parc aux Dames where she lived for many years under private vows of chastity and obedience. She suffered from several maladies, bodily deformity and lameness, but had a quick mind, a great love of God, patience and charity towards her sisters. She was finally admitted to profession at the age of forty.

Armand Jean Le Bouthillier de Rance  1626-1700
Born of a well-to-do, powerful French family, at the age of twelve he became commendatory abbot or prior of five monasteries. He was intelligent, charming, ambitious. He received a good education and was ordained at twenty-five with the expectation of succeeding his uncle as archbishop of Tours. He was worldly, but respectable, with every indication of a brilliant career ahead of him.
The sudden death of a friend, Mme de Montbazon, led him to a deep conversion experience. He retired from society to his country retreat. Reading, especially the Desert Fathers, praying, seeking advice, he gradually came to a decision regarding the future course of his life. He renounced all his benefices except the ruined Abbey of La Trappe; this he determined to reform. Twelve monks from Perseigne were sent to re-introduce monastic life at La Trappe, and in May 1663, he himself entered the novitiate at Perseigne, was professed in June the following year, and a month later returned to La Trappe as regular
Only a few weeks later he was sent to Rome to plead the cause of the Strict Observance; a mission which failed. Unable to secure the assistance  of the French king in promoting the reform, he devoted the rest of his life to governing his abbey, which drew many excellent vocations and became exemplary for its fervor - a fervor which was to last long after his death, and eventually prove the means of re-establishing the Cistercian Order in France and elsewhere in the 19th century.

A J Krailsheimer: see his biography of de Rance, his translation of de Rance's letters, CS 80 and 81; CS 86; his three articles in Cistercian Studies, 1983-1985.  


Brioloya Daruda  + c. 1600
A nun of St Benedict's Convent, Castro, Portugual, noted for her silence and devotion to the crucified Christ.

Giovanni Cardinal Bona  1609-1674
Born in Piedmont, Italy, he became a Feuillant monk at the age of sixteen. After studies in Rome, he was successively professor of theology, prior, abbot and abbot-general of his congregation, and in 1669 was created cardinal. Outstanding for both his holiness and his scholarship, his liturgical writings, especially those on the Mass, placed him among the founders of modern liturgical studies. His ascetical teaching, while lacking in originality, is simple, solid and traditional.

NCE, vol. 2, p. 655


Peter Monoculus + 1186
Born in Italy, he was sent to France for his studies, visited the monastery of Igny and became a monk there. When prior, he was elected abbot of Val-Roi. His health was never good and he contracted an infection in one eye which literally devoured the eye in its socket; hence, his name, Monoculus.
In 1169 the monks of Igny elected him as their abbot and ten years later, he was chosen abbot of Clairvaux. Fearing that this would happen, he hid in a distant grange and was discovered there haying with the brothers, but was constrained by obedience to accept the abbacy of Clairvaux.
He was esteemed by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and Pope Lucius III sent for him to advise him in spiritual matters. He bore physical infirmities and also trials from other people with great patience and meekness. He possessed a gift for prayer, and was especially assiduous in praying for those in purgatory.

MBS, p. 276


Reinier + 13th century
Brother of Godfrey Pachomius (OCTOBER 2), and, like him, a monk of Villers, he lived peacefully among his brethren and enjoyed complete spiritual joy.

Stephen Le Clere de Vodonne  1746-1798
A monk of Clairvaux, he was chaplain to the convent of Our Lady of Les Pres. He was arrested, imprisoned and in 1797 condemned to deportation. Sent to Guiana, he lived in a hut with three other priests. There he was stricken with fever and festering wounds as well as other hardships to which he succumbed.
A few weeks later, John Francis Doviot, a monk whose monastery is unknown, died there too.


Bl Ida of Leau + c. 1260
Even from her childhood she loved study and received an excellent education probably from a group of Beguines. This love of books was further enhanced after she enter the Cistercian convent of La Ramee, where her excellence as an artist of calligraphy found full scope in the convent's scriptorium.
She was endowed with mystical graces many of which centered around the Blessed Sacrament. Subject to many physical illnesses, she spent long periods in the infirmary which she offered as a holocaust of love in a spirit of abandonment and pure faith.
She seems to have spelled her name Y-D-A and she found in it a spiritual significance: "Y is a sharp letter, D is for Deus (God), A is for Amor (love). So Y-D-A (herself) must be sharp, quick, efficient and acute in the love of God."
At the time of her death, which took place on a Sunday as she had desired, she asked the nun attending her to cover her face; but afterwards the nun withdrew the covering, and Ida's whole countenance shone with a glorious light.
MBS, p. 282

Saint Jerome in His Study (1475), Art Essay

   St. Jerome in His Study (Antonello da Messina)

Saint Jerome in His Study (1475)
Antonello da Messina (1430-1479),
National Callery, London, Englan
THIS PAINTING OF SAINT JEROME by Antonello da Messina is a picture puzzle waiting to be decoded. The objects and creatures represented are placed in particular positions that are both meaningful and didactic. Veiled religious mysteries lurk here. They invite the viewer to discover them by penetrating their symbols.
At the centre of the picture is a study carrel bathed in light. There sits Saint Jerome reading and reflecting. It is to this great Father of the Church that we owe the translation of the Bible into Latin, the common language (Vulgate) of the fourth century. He wears the red robes of a cardinal, an honour given to him posthumously because he exercised many functions for the pope in his day that cardinals in later centuries performed. Jerome's personality was cantankerous and he did not shy away from speaking his mind. The decadent clergy of Rome could not abide him, but women flocked to him seeking spiritual instruction, some even dedicating themselves to a life of chastity and monastic discipline. It was to one of these female disciples that Jerome addressed his twenty­second Epistle, the source of inspiration, some think, for this painting. In that letter Jerome extols the virtues of virginity, withdrawal from the world and all its allurements, and points to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a model of perfection. On either side of the seated saint are windows opening up to a landscape. That on the left shows a distant city with people engaged in various activities. That on the right shows only the unpopulated countryside. The windows above Jerome and above the quiet landscape on the right show birds in flight There are no birds on the left flying over the city. Since antiquity, flying birds have symbolised the elevated soul, and this is the key to interpreting the scene: for his female disciple to reach perfection, she must withdraw from the distractions of the city and instead seek solitude in the more contemplative countryside. Jerome himself had spent many years as a penitent and a solitary in the deserts of the Middle East, so he spoke with authority. In 385 he left Rome and traveled through Egypt and the Holy Land, finally settling in Bethlehem where he lived in a cave and established a monastery within sight of Emperor Constantine's Basilica of the Nativity.
If this whole painting is a veiled representation of Jerome's spiritual admonitions, then interpretations can be drawn from its various geometric sectors. Vertically the painting is tripartite with left, middle, and right sectors. Likewise, it is horizontally divided into top, middle, and bottom. As found in ancient tradition, the right side contains all good things while the left side tsinistra in Latin, from which we get the word "sinister") features the bad. The left side of the middle ground is shrouded in darkness. But we can see in those shadows an unlit lamp, a hanging soiled cloth, and beneath it a crouching cat. The soiled cloth is a symbol of impurity, and this is fortified by the cat which was viewed in the Middle Ages as a promiscuous animal associated with witches and the devil. Just as a cat was known to wait patiently and pounce upon its prey, so likewise did the devil plot to capture souls. The unlit lamp is a direct reference to the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins found in the Gospel of Matthew. Jerome's disciple must have her spiritual lamp lit, ever ready for the arrival of Christ, her bridegroom. Furthermore, she must be constant in her dedication and protect her virginity for in that state she can experience a foretaste of heaven. Marian symbolism is subtly introduced here, for the potted plants at Jerome's feet invoke in miniature the walled garden thortus cone/usus), a common iconographic reference to the virginity of the Blessed Mother. Furthermore, on the shelves above Jerome in the middle section of the painting are two oval pyxes, containers for hosts, and a carafe of clear water, a reference to Mary's womb where her divine Son was formed while at the same time her virginity was miraculously maintained.
On the right of Jerome is a corridor of illuminated arches. There a lion stands guard. This is a reference to the legend that Jerome healed and befriended a lion with a thorn stuck in its paw, and thereafter made him a sentry for his monastery. The lion is a symbol of courage, but it may also represent the ferociousness of Jerome's own firebrand faith.
A partridge, a peacock, and a silver water bowl cryptically decorate the bottom foreground of the painting. The partridge was a bird considered promiscuous, like the cat, and a thief besides, condemned even in the Old Testament (Jr 17: 11). Known for stealing eggs and raising chicks not her own, this bird became a symbol of the devil stealing God's children. The partridge and the peacock have their backs to each other. While the gorgeous plumage of the peacock could often be associated with vanity, a glance at his ugly feet kept him humble. It was thought that the flesh of peacocks was incorruptible, and so the bird became a symbol of eternal life. In early Christian symbolism two peacocks were often depicted drinking from the fountain of life: hence the meaning of the water bowl placed before it. These figurations representing a choice between damnation and eternal life are placed on the sill of the framing stone portal, a porta caeli, which is another Marian title meaning "gate of heaven". As a model and guide, the Virgin leads us to her Son. And so she inspired Jerome whose shoes have been noticeably left at the bottom of the stairs of his elevated study. For in the reading and contemplation of Scripture the saint has indeed tread upon holy ground and climbed the sacred mountain, gaining wisdom and understanding from which he can earnestly instruct others .
Father Michael Morris, O.P.
Professor, Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, Berkeley, CA, U.S.A.
To view this masterpiece in greater detail, visit:
Detail window - Antonello da Messina
Further detail: