Saint Dominic of Silos. Feast Day 20th December. Dominic was born in Canas in Rioja in Spain to a family of peasants and worked as a shepherd before becoming a Benedictine monk at the monasteries of San Millan de la Cogolla.Here he underwent ordination to the priesthood and became a Master of novices and eventually prior. Dominic however was expelled from the monastery with two other monks by King Garcia Sanchez 111 of Navarre for opposing his plan to annex the monastery’s land. In 1041 under the protection of King Ferdinand 1 of Leon he found refuge in the town of Silos at the abbey of St Sebastian . After his death in 1073 the monastery was renamed after him. Dominic was appointed abbot of the community and proceeded to build up Saint Sebastian’s Monastery physically and spiritually turning it in to a centre of scholarship and charity, he also raised funds to ransom Christian prisoners form the clutches of the Moors. By the time of his death in 1073 the monastery became home to forty monks. Dominic’s major shrine is at the abbey Santo Domingo de Silos in Spain ,he is the patron saint of Shepherds and all those taken captive.
Saint John Kanty. Feast Day. 23rd December. Patron Saint of Poland. John Cantius also known as St John of Kanty was a Polish priest ,scholastic philosopher , physicist and theologian. He was born in Kanty, a small town near Oswiecim in Poland to a family of good position in 1390. He was a holy and learned man who was both a distinguished university lecturer and benefactor of the poor. As a young man he was sent to the university of Krakow, now known as the Jagiellonian university where he proved to be an excellent scholar. While studying for the priesthood he was appointed to a lectureship in philosophy at the University. His academic life was however interrupted when jealous rivals managed to get him removed from his post and he was sent to work as a parish priest. After holding the position of rector of the school of the” Canons Regular of The Most Holy Sepulchre” at Miechow and acquiring a doctorate in theology he eventually returned to the University of Krakow as Professor of Scripture and held this position for the rest of his life until his death in 1473 on Christmas Eve .Perhaps his most important lesson for us today lies in one of his favourite sayings. ” Fight all false opinions , but let your weapons be patience ,sweetness and love. Roughness is bad for your own soul and spoils the best cause. When he died John was greatly mourned , and already accounted a worker of miracles , but he was not canonized until 1767.
Saint Eugenia. Feast Day December 25th. Saint Eugenia was an early Christian martyr ,her legend considered apocryphal states that she was converted and martyred during the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Valerian in the third century. Eugenia is believed to have been the daughter of Phillip the Duke of Alexandria and the Governor of Egypt. Dressed in men’s clothing Eugenia escaped from her fathers home and was baptised by Helenus Bishop of Heliopolis . Later on in disguise she became an abbot . After an unfortunate incident she was accused falsely of an unjust act and was brought before her own father for trail. Immediately her true identity was exposed and she was exonerated. Her own father Phillip however was convinced largely through her efforts and passion for Christ to convert to Christianity himself and later became the bishop of Alexandria but he too was martyred for his faith. Eugenia still determined to spread the” Good News” of the Gospel this time as herself, travelled to Rome bringing many to Christ in the way God had intended. On the feast of the nativity Eugenia was martyred by decapitation in 258 AD but she had been previously forewarned in a vision where Jesus spoke to her.