The month of August falls entirely within the cycle of Ordinary Time. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, is a holy day of obligation.
MAJOR SAINTS AND FEAST DAYS OF AUGUST
|Transfiguration of the Lord
|Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
|Our Lady of Knock
|Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
IRISH SAINTS OF AUGUST
August 4 Molua, Abbot (d. 608)
Also known as Lughaidh or Lugaid, this saint was a boy of Limerick herding livestock who earned a reputation for sanctity and was sent to the monasterey at Bangor, where he was under the tutelage of St. Comgall. After ordination to the priesthood, he was tasked by his abbot with making other monastic foundations, the most important being what came to be called Kyle, in the Slievebloom Mountains. Molua may have made a trip to Rome, where he submitted the monastic rule which he had drawn up to Pope Gregory the Great. Some of the things said about him may result from confusion with another man.
August 5 Abel of Reims, Bishop and Abbot (d.c. 751)
Abel appears to have been one of the many Irish missionaries who aided St. Boniface in evangelizing the Germanic peoples of continental Europe. He was appointed bishop of Reims by Boniface, but was never able to claim the see due to its occupation by a rival claimant. He ended his days as abbot of Lobbes, in modern-day Belgium.
August 9 Nathy and Felim (6th century?)
Though not closely associated in life, these two men have come to be commemorated on the same day. Felim came from a family of saints. He is traditionally considered the first bishop of Kilmore. Nathy was a priest from Sligo.
August 11 Blaan, Bishop (d.c. 590?)
Blaan, also known as Blane, was a Scot, but spent seven years in Ireland under the tutelage of Sts. Comgall and Canice. He then returned to his native land, where he became a bishop.
August 11 Attracta, Virgin (6th century?)
The chronology of this saint is uncertain, but if dates assigning her to the 6th century are trustworthy, then she could not have been associated with St. Patrick, as some sources suggest. Attracta, or Araght, was of noble birth. When her father refused to allow her to consecrate her life to God, she fled from home. She founded a hospice for travellers on Lough Gara, which was in operation till 1539. There are many fanciful stories about her, at least one suggesting that she was not always able to conquer an urge to hold grudges. She is the patroness of the diocese of Achonry.
August 11 Lelia, Virgin (6th century?)
Little is known of Lelia. She may with probability be identified with Liadhain, great-grand-daughter of the prince Cairthenn baptized by St. Patrick. She gave her name to Killeely, near Limerick.
August 12 Murtagh, Bishop (6th century?)
Also known as Muredach, this is another saint who is not likely to have been a companion of St. Patrick, as some accounts allege. He is reputed to have been the first bishop of Killala.
August 14 Fachanan, Bishop (6th century)
Fachanan is the patron of the diocese of Ross, of which he was the first bishop. He was born at Tulachteann, was a pupil of St. Ita, and founded the monastery of Molana on the Blackwater River. Most significant of all, he founded what came to be the famous monastic school of Rosscarbery in Cork.
August 19 Mochta, Abbot (d.c. 535)
Mochta is mentioned in the lives of St. Patrick, whose disciple he was. Like Patrick, he was a Briton by birth, though his coming to Ireland was under different circumstances, Mochta’s parents having brought him there as a child. An interesting story has him being rebuked by St. Patrick for questioning the literal truth of the ages of the patriarchs as recorded in the Old Testament.
August 23 Eoghan, Bishop (6th century)
This saint’s name is often Anglicized as “Eugene,” though “Owen” is more correct. His life relates that he was one of three boys carried off from their home in Ireland, first to Britain, then to Brittany, where they were enslaved to work at grinding grain. When their master returned one day to find the three reading while angels worked the mill, he ordered their release. They found their way back to Ireland, and Eoghan became a monk with St. Kevin at Kilnamanach in Wicklow. Later, he aided St. Tigernach in the founding of the monastery at Clones, and finally settled with some followers at Ardstraw in Tyrone, where he became the first bishop.
August 31 Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne (d. 651)
Aidan’s birthplace was Ireland, though we know virtually nothing of his early life there. We are fortunate in having some account of his later life from the English monk, Bede, who was a careful historian. Aidan was a monk of Iona when one of his brethren returned from an unsuccessful mission to the kingdom of Northumbria in northern England. Northumbria had been Christianized earlier from the south, but the interlude of a hostile pagan dynasty had virtually wiped the Faith out there. The sainted King Oswald had requested a monk of Iona to re-evangelize his people, but the chosen monk’s extremely rigorist approach bore little fruit. When Aidan suggested that a different approach was needed, his brothers responded by appointing him to the mission. Oswald established him as bishop on the isle of Lindisfarne, and Aidan also established a monastery there, under the rule of St. Columcille. This grew to be one of the greatest monastic establishments in the British Isles. Aidan and his disciples meanwhile succeeded in bringing Northumbria back into the Christian fold. Bede describes him as a man who, though a leader of his society, always remained humble and compassionate. He devoted considerable time to the plight of slaves and unfortunate children.
OUR LADY OF KNOCK
On the evening of August 21, 1879, in the village of Knock, County Mayo, the housekeeper of the local parish church saw the south outside wall of the church bathed in a light of unknown origin. Going to fetch a friend, she and her companion came back to witness an apparition of the Virgin Mary, with two others figures, who were understood to be St. Joseph and John the Evangelist. In addition, there was an altar, with a cross and a lamb on it. Others gathered and likewise saw the figures. A notable feature of this Marian apparition is that Mary was silent. Acceptance of authenticity was slow–some local ecclesiastical authorities suspected a hoax by the local Protestant constable! Today Knock is the site of a large basilica and a dedicated place of pilgrimage. Once celebrated on August 21 in the Roman calendar, the feast has been moved to August 13 to make way for Pope St. Pius X.
NEWS OF INTEREST
–On June 17, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a victory of sorts to Aaron and Melissa Klein, two Oregon bakers whom the state’s authorities have sought to compel to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple, in violation of their Christian beliefs. The Court ordered Oregon’s Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling in the light of the high court’s ruling in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips. While some have hailed this as a victory for religious freedom, others have pointed out that the narrow grounds of the Phillips ruling–that the state regulatory authorities were displaying obvious animus against Christian belief, without a consideration of broader First Amendment issues–have not settled the issue. Recently, the Supreme Court made a similar judgment in the case of Baronelle Stutzman, a Washington State florist facing similar problems. The response of the State’s Supreme Court was to affirm its earlier decision against her, without even hearing oral arguments. In addition, Philllips himself has continued to face harrassment from Colorado authorities, egged on by an LGBTQ activist armed with a law degree.
–In a June 19 decision, the Court of Appeal for the U.K. overturned a ruling by the Court of Protection, which had upheld a Health Service decision to compel a young Catholic woman of diminished mental capacity to undergo an abortion, against her wishes and those of her mother. A spokeswoman for Right to Life UK welcomed the decision and called upon the government to reveal how many women have been compelled to have abortions.
–Some perhaps unexpected long-range fallout from the two-year suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly has come to pass. Under its powers exercisable during the suspension of the Assembly, the British Parliament has passed legislation that will legalize abortion and gay marriage in Northern Ireland. With the changes in the Republic within the past year, Northern Ireland has been the only place in the Isles without gay marriage and which restricted abortion to cases of the mother’s life at risk or serious physical or mental harm to her. There is widespread opposition to these measures in Northern Ireland, among Protestants and Catholics. Critics have assailed this action as a violation of the principle of devolution espoused in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
–In a July 3 policy statement, the Veterans Administration has clarified that religious literature, symbols, and displays are permitted at VA locations. Various groups and individuals have been challenging things such as a Bible placed on a POW/MIA remembrance table.
–California State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) has pulled a bill sponsored by him, which sought to compel Catholic priests to violate the seal of confession in instances in which child sexual abuse by fellow priests comes to light in confession. This followed a heated response from many Catholic clergy and laity.
–Noted Catholic legal scholar and Harvard professor Mary Ann Glendon has been appointed (July 8) to chair a new advisory Commission on Unalienable Human Rights under the auspices of the State Department. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the appointment at a news conference. Professor Glendon has served in a number of public capacities over the years, including Ambassador to the Holy See.
–The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case from Montana. The State’s Supreme Court has upheld a state law banning tax credits going to donors to organizations funding scholarships for low-income families, to private schools of their choice. The case is significant, because the issue revolves around a so-called Blaine Amendment in the state constitution. At least 37 states have or have had such provisions in their constitutions. Largely adopted in the late 19th century, such measures banned the use of public school funds for “sectarian schools,” and was squarely aimed at the Catholic Church.
[Sources consulted for this report include: Butler’s Lives of the Saints, complete edition, ed. and rev. by Herbert Thurston and Donald Attwater; 4 vols. (New York, 1956); The Liturgy of the Hours According to the Roman Rite (New York, 1975); The National Catholic Register; ewtn.com; catholic.org; priestsforlife.org.]