I like this weekly Saint thing that I do but some times I’d like to talk about better known saints as well so Lesser Known Saints is being renamed This week in Saints, I will still be profiling like three Saints each week.
This week we have an interesting batch of Saints, one of the feasts falls on Christmas day, another in the Patron of Iceland and the third is another Church Doctor.
Anastasia the Pharmakolytria “Deliverer from Potions” of Sirmium (3rd century)
This is the Anastasia that is mentioned in the Roman Canon, little is really known about her life other than the fact that she died during the persecution of Diocletian. Anastasia has the unique honor in the Catholic church to share her feast day with the celebration of Christmas. There are various legend about Anastasia, the most famous has her as the student of Chrysogonus, early in Diocletian’s persecution Chrysogonus was martyred, and soon Anastasia would follow as on the way to the faithful in Sirmium she was beheaded on the island of Palmaria, Her body was kept in the house of Apollonia and this grew into a basilica. Anastasia’s exploits would be heard throughout the region and supposedly there was a titular church to Anastasia in Rome on the Palatine, and it was the third most important Church in Rome behind only John Lateran and Mary Major. It is a shame that Anastasia is a lost saint since she sound really unique.
Thorlak or Thorlac Thorhallsson (1133 – 23 December 1193)
Thorlak is the Patron Saint of Iceland. He was born to a Nobel Icelandic family, at fifteen he was ordained a deacon and became a priest three years later. Thorlak studied abroad in Paris when he finally arrived back in Iceland he set up a monastery for Canons Regular and refused to marry even though many other priest were married, be he dedicated himself to reciting the Our Father, the Creed, and a hymn, as well as fifty Psalms. Thorlak was eventually named a bishop. After he died there were dozen of miracles associated with him you can read about them in the saga of St. Thorlak. Thorlak wasn’t officially recognized as a saint until 1984 when PJII canonized him. Thorlak’s feast day is on December 23 and it is considered to be the last day of preparations for Christmas. According to tradition on St. Thorlac’s Day, the house is cleaned and preparations for the Christmas meal are begun.
Peter Canisius, S.J. ( 8 May 1521 – 21 December 1597)
Peter is a Jesuit from the Netherlands. His family was well to do, he studied at the University of Cologne and it is here where his life took a turn, Peter Canisius met Peter Faber, co-founder of the Jesuits and in 1543 Peter became the first Dutch Jesuit. Peter Canisius became one of the most influential Catholics of his day. This would prove to be a good thing as the Reformation was happening and Peter was a big part in the counter reformation in Germany. Canisius like Mary quite a bit and said that veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the best road to take to get to Jesus. Peter Canisius is also credited with adding the line “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners” to the Hail Mary