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June Saints

1 June

Saint Justin: in an age when Christianity sought to keep itself to itself, Justin stands out as one brave enough to speak the truth to pagans, boldly and uncompromisingly. Justin was born in Samaria in about 110, and on becoming a Christian wrote two great works in defence of Christianity - the Apology and the Dialogue with Trypho. These precious works give us much information on the practices of the earliest Christian communities. Around the year 165, Justin was arrested and condemned to death.


2 June

Saints Marcellinus and Peter: in the persecution of Diocletian (around the year 300) these two men were martyred: the story is that Peter, in prison, invited the priest Marcellinus to baptise his gaoler, whom he had converted; the authorities heard of this, and had the two men executed. A basilica was erected over their burial place under Constantine.


3 June

Saint Charles Lwanga: Mwanga, ruler of Uganda in 1885-1887, began a persecution of Christians of all denominations; among those who were executed were Charles and twenty-one companions, pages at the court, for being Christians and for refusing to acquiesce in the impure desires of Mwanga. All aged under twenty-five, the twenty-two Catholic martyrs were burned or beheaded.


5 June

Saint Boniface: born in Devon about 675, Boniface was killed in the Netherlands in 754. After years as monk and teacher, he went to evangelise the Germanic peoples. Ordained bishop, he was given wide-ranging papal commissions throughout Germany and Gaul. He founded monasteries and established dioceses, presided at Synods, and liased with kings, He is remembered as a determined missionary, and as a church organiser and reformer, whose work shaped the future of Europe.


6 June

Saint Norbert: Born in Germany in 1080, Norbert assiduously pursued a life of empty pleasures. Around 1115 he had a conversion experience, which changed his life: he became a priest and began preaching. The manner of his life attracted others to accompany him, and the Premonstratensian (or Norbertine) Order was begun. He later became Archbishop of Magdeburg and died in 1134.


9 June

Saint Ephrem: born in Nisibis (in present-day Turkey) in 306, and eventually ordained deacon. Ephrem was famous as a writer of homilies, poems and many hymns for the liturgy - such that he was also called “The Harp of the Holy Spirit”. He died in 373.


9 June

Saint Columba: Columba, or Colm Cille, was born in Donegal) about 521 and died at Iona in 597. Before leaving Ireland as an “exile for Christ”, he had founded monasteries at Derry, Durrow and possibly Kells. His principal foundation was Iona, from where he converted much of Western Scotland, and his followers took the Gospel to northern England. He was renowned as a poet and scribe as well as spiritual guide.


11 June

Saint Barnabas: born in Cyprus, he became a companion of Saint Paul in his journeys, before returning to Cyprus to preach the Gospel. His name means “Son of Encouragement”


13 June

Saint Anthony of Padua: born in Lisbon in 1195, he first joined the Canons regular of Saint Augustine, but after being inspired by the stories of Franciscan martyrdoms in Morocco he joined the Friars Minor; though he desired to preach in Africa, he ended up in Italy, where he established a reputation as a great preacher and theologian. He died in Padua in 1231, aged 36.


14 June

Dedication of the Cathedral: in celebrating the dedication of the Cathedral we remember that it is the Mother Church of the whole diocese, containing the cathedra which is the symbol of the pastoral leadership and authority of our bishop. Saint John’s was built in 1847, and named as Cathedral on the restoration of the hierarchy and formation of the Diocese in 1850.


16 June

Saint Richard of Chichester: Richard de Wych was born in Droitwich in 1197, and died in Dover in 1253. He was not ordained priest until he was 45 years old. He was appointed bishop of Chichester two years later, but because of the king’s opposition he was unable to take over the see until 1247.  He is remembered for his generosity to the poor, the mercy he showed to sinners, and the reform of the liturgical life of his diocese.


19 June

Saint Romuald: when his father killed a man, Romuald lived life doing penance for the crime. He was a hermit, founding monasteries and restoring solitary religious life. He died, aged 75, in 1027.


20 June

Saint Alban: Britain’s first saint. He died in a persecution in the middle of the 3rd century. According to the story, he was a pagan soldier who sheltered a priest and was converted. He dressed as the priest, and was executed in his place.


21 June

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga: born into a noble Italian family in 1568, he entered the Jesuits at the age of 17. He worked to help the victims of the Roman plague in 1591, but contracted it and died, aged only 23.


22 June

Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More: John was born at Beverley (Yorkshire) in 1469, and died at London on 22 June 1535. He was appointed bishop of Rochester and combined pastoral ministry with study and writing, especially in defence of Catholic doctrine. Thomas More was born in London in 1478, and died there on this day in 1535. An Oxford scholar and an incorruptible judge who served as Speaker and Lord Chancellor. Both were drawn into conflict with Henry VIII over his remarriage and papal supremacy. Both were imprisoned and beheaded for treason.


23 June

Saint Etheldreda (Audrey): born in Suffolk, died at Ely in 679. She was the founder of the monastery there. Most popular of Anglo-Saxon saints, famed for her virginity (despite being married twice) and austerity.


27 June

Saint Cyril of Alexandria: born in Alexandria in 370, Cyril became Patriarch of the city in 412; he fought against heresies (notably Nestorianism), and presided over the Council of Ephesus in 431. He is thus primarily remembered in the West for defending Our Lady’s divine motherhood, expressed in the title “Theotokos”. Cyril died in 444.


27 June

Saint John Southworth: Salmesbury, in the north of the Diocese, was the seat of the Southworth family, and John was born there in 1582. He trained in Douai, and returned to England in 1619, carrying out his missionary work in Lancashire. He was arrested in 1627 and imprisoned in Lancaster Castle, before being moved to London in 1630; there he was released on condition he left the country, but was found ministering to plague victims in London in 1636. Arrested again in 1654, aged 72, he was executed at Tyburn. His body lies in Westminster Cathedral.


28 June

Saint Irenaeus: born around 130, he became bishop of Lyons (France); his writing and preaching was mainly directed against Gnosticism, emphasising that God wished all to be saved and is freely revealed in Jesus his Son. Tradition has it that he was martyred around the year 200.


30 June

The First Martyrs of the Church of Rome: these are the Christians who died (with Saint Peter) in the first great Roman persecution under the Emperor Nero in the year 67. The pagan writer Tacitus records their deaths.