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November Saints

3 November

Saint Martin de Porres: Martin was born in Lima in 1579, son of a Spanish nobleman and a black freed woman from Panama. At the age of twelve he became apprentice to a barber-surgeon; this served him well when, at the age of 15, he joined the Dominicans. He took charge of the dispensary, and worked long and hard for the sick and poor, always with great humility and kindness. He was a friend of Saint Rose of Lima (August 23). Martin died in 1639, and was canonised in 1962, being proclaimed patron of interracial justice.


3 November

Saint Winefride: Very little is known for certain about the life of Winefride, except that she lived in the 6th or 7th century near Treffynon (Holywell) in Clwyd. According to one version of her life, she was beheaded by a prince whose advances she refused, and springs of water sprang up at the place of her martyrdom. She was, however, restored to life by her uncle, Saint Beuno, and lived the rest of her days as a nun. Her cult has been widespread since the middle ages, centres at Shrewsbury where her remains were enshrined in 1138, and her well at Holywell, which has remained a place of healing and pilgrimage through penal times to the present day.


4 November

Saint Charles Borromeo: born in 1538; after obtaining a doctorate in civil and canon law he was created a cardinal by his uncle, Pope Pius IV, and was chosen to be Bishop of Milan. He became a true shepherd of his flock, and frequently visited his diocese, called synods, made wise regulations for the good of souls, and worked for the good of Christian morality. While in Milan, he would greet and bless the English martyrs returning from Rome to the Mission. He died in 1584.


7 November

Saint Willibrord: born in Yorkshire in 658, he died in 739. After ordination he set out in 690 to evangelise Frisia. He was ordained bishop in 695, and founded the see of Utrecht. He preached the Gospel in North Germany and Denmark and founded dioceses and monasteries in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.


9 November

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica: commemorates the dedication of the Pope Cathedral in Rome. In honour of the basilica which is called “Mother and Head of all the Churches of the City and the World”, this feast is observed through all the Church as a sign of unity with the Holy See.


10 November

Saint Leo the Great: he became Pope in 440, and was a true father and shepherd of his people. He strove to protect the integrity of the faith, defended the unity of the Church and repelled or alleviated the incursions of the Huns and Vandals. He died in 461.


11 November

Saint Martin of Tours: born in 316, Martin began as a soldier, but then received baptism and founded a monastery in France under the direction of Saint Hilary. He was later chosen as Bishop of Tours; here he worked hard to visit his flock, and preach against paganism. He died in 397, and was honoured as a saint - one of the first non-martyrs so to be honoured.


12 November

Saint Josaphat: a saint of the Ukraine, honoured for his work for the unity of the Church; born in 1580, he became a priest and established a reputation for holiness, becoming archbishop of Polotsk. He worked strenuously to end disturbances between the Latin and Byzantine Rites in his diocese, but was killed by in a religious riot in 1623.


15 November

Saint Albert the Great: a great scholar, Albert was born in 1206 and became a Dominican; he was made Bishop of Regensburg in 1260; his interest in natural science left many works. He also wrote much theology; he died in Cologne in 1280.


16 November

Saint Margaret of Scotland:  born in 1045, she was married to King Malcolm III of Scotland in 1070. They had 8 children. She was famed for her generosity to the poor - setting up hospitals and performing menial acts of charity. She died in 1093.


16 November

Saint Gertrude: born in Thuringia in 1256, Gertrude was placed in a Cistercian convent. She was exemplary in her prayer, with a deep awareness of the love of God. She died in 1301.


16 November

Saint Edmund of Abingdon: Edmund was born in 1175. He became archbishop of Canterbury in 1233. He had frequent disputes with the king and it was while on his way to ask for the Pope’s support that he died in France in 1240.


17 November

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary: born in 1207, daughter of the King of Hungary, she was married at the age of 14; after the death of her husband embraced poverty, caring for the sick in a hospital she herself had built. She died in 1231.


17 November

Saint Hilda: born in 614, she was abbess of Whitby, which became a great centre of learning. She hosted the famous Synod in 664—she loyally accepted the Synod’s decision and followed Roman traditions thereafter. She died in 680.


17 November

Saint Hugh of Lincoln: born in France in 1140 and a Carthusian; became bishop of Lincoln in 1185, and was devoted to the pastoral care of his flock—he even helped build the Cathedral with his own hands. He was a supporter of the oppressed, especially the Jewish community, for whom he risked his life. He was declared a saint in 1220.


18 November

Dedication of the Basilicas of Ss Peter and Paul: From the twelfth century the dedications of the Vatican Basilica of Saint Peter and the Basilica of Saint Paul on the Via Ostiense have been kept on this day; it honours the memories of the two Princes of the Apostles.


21 November

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: this day saw the dedication in 543 of the Church of Our Lady near to the Temple in Jerusalem: together with Christians of the East we celebrate that dedication of herself which Mary made to God from her very childhood.


22 November

Saint Cecilia: the “Passion of Saint Cecilia” was written in the 5th century and tells that she suffered martyrdom with her husband and brother in the second century. Cecilia is patron saint of music and musicians.


23 November

Saint Clement I: Clement was the third Pope after Saint Peter, at about the end of the third century. He wrote a letter to the Christians of Corinth to preserve peace  among them.


23 November

Saint Columban: Born in Ireland in the middle of the sixth century. He embraced the monastic life and went to France where he founded a number of monasteries that he ruled with strict discipline. He was sentenced to exile, and went to Italy. Renowned for his example of the Christian and religious life, he died in the year 615.


24 November

Saint Andrew Dùng-Lac & Companions: the 117 Vietnamese martyrs. Between 1820 and 1862 these 117 martyrs were killed in a brutal persecution. Andrew was a parish priest; the group includes eight bishops, fifty priests and fifty-nine laymen and women.


25 November

Saint Catherine of Alexandria:  Tradition tells us that she was a noble lady, learned in science and oratory, who came to Christianity after receiving a vision. When she was 18 years old she offered to debate with the pagan philosophers, who were convinced by her arguments; the Emperor ordered her execution, and she was beheaded.


30 November

Saint Andrew: Born at Bethsaida (Galilee), Andrew was a fisherman and perhaps a disciple of John the Baptist. He introduced his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus and became one of the first for follow Christ. He is mentioned a number of times in the gospels, for example, in introducing some Gentiles to Christ. Widely venerated since ancient times, he is remembered as one of the twelve who bore witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He became recognised as patron saint of Scotland because, according to legend, some of his bones were brought there and buried in the place that now bears his name.