On All Saints Day, we commemorate all those in Heaven. Both those whom the Church has canonized and those she hasn’t. Pope Urban is cited as having said that All Saints Day gives us an opportunity to honor those canonized saints who perhaps do not get much recognition throughout the rest of the year. For some saints, this lack of celebration is due to sharing a feast day with a more popular saint or devotion.
There are often more than one saint or feast for any given day. Sadly, this means there are many saints who we do not celebrate as a Church on their feast. They never have a Mass said in their honor or are remembered on our parish wall calendars. I’m sure that’s just fine for them, as our saints are not likely to be bitter. However, these saints are still inspirational and worthy of our study and imitation. Here are a few of those saints with unfortunate feast days who we ought to recognize this November 1st.
1. Saint Joseph of Arimathea (March 17)
While this day usually involves dying rivers green and pinching those who dare to not wear the sacred color, March 17th is also the feast of the man who loaned Jesus his tomb. Saint Joseph of Arimathea shares his feast day with the more popularly-acclaimed Saint Patrick. Saint Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Jewish sanhedrin and a secret follower of Christ. It was his tomb in which was laid the Body of Jesus for three days before his Resurrection.
2. Saint Odilo (January 1)
Saint Odilo never stood a chance as he shares his feast with the Solemnity and Holy Day of Obligation celebrating Mary, the Mother of God. Though his role in the Church was not as important as our Blessed Mother’s, Saint Odilo was a holy man.
An Abbot of Cluny, he continued the reform of the Benedictines. He was twice offered a position as archbishop of Lyons, but declined. He established the practice of praying for the dead on November 2nd, called All Souls Day.
3. Saint Mary Salome (October 22)
Saint Mary Salome, the mother of the Apostles James and John, is honored the same day as Saint John Paul II. Since the former Pope’s canonization, it is probably difficult to find a Catholic parish celebrating Saint Mary Salome at Mass rather than Saint John Paul II.
4. Saint Dismas (March 25)
His feast day almost always falls on the Feast of the Annunciation. The rare years where that feast is moved only occur when March 25th falls during Holy Week. While this still means we don’t celebrate Saint Dismas on his feast day it is fitting. Saint Dismas is commonly known as the Good Thief, one of the two criminals crucified with Jesus. He is the one who says to Our Lord “remember me when You come into your Kingdom”.
5. Saint Tarsilla (December 24)
Saint Tarsilla was the aunt of St. Gregory the Great. Though not a formal religious sister, she lived a life of simplicity and retirement with her sister Saint Emiliana. Her feast day is the day she died, Christmas Eve. She then appeared to her sister a few days later, inviting her to paradise. Saint Emiliana passed away shortly after on January 5th, the day before the Epiphany.
6. Saint Romaric (December 8)
While he is certainly not as widely-known as the Blessed Virgin, Saint Romaric shares his feast with the solemnity of her Immaculate Conception. In the United States, this is our patronal feast and cannot be trumped except by a Sunday (and even then celebration is moved not eliminated). Saint Romaric was a nobleman who was converted to Catholicism and became a monk. He helped found a monastery and eventually became its abbot, serving the community for thirty years.
7. Saint Tarsicius (August 15)
An early martyr of the Church, Saint Tarsicius shares his feast with yet another Marian celebration, the Assumption. This saint was beaten to death while carrying the Eucharist to imprisoned Christians. Because of his dedication and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament he is the patron of first communicants.
8. Saint Petronius (October 4)
On this day we often remember Saint Francis of Assisi and his love for animals and poverty. Another saint with this feast is Saint Petronius a bishop of the 5th century. He is thought to have been a Roman official who became a monk after visiting the Holy Land. He built a monastery and repaired many churches which had been destroyed during an invasion.
9. Saint Eugenia (December 25)
There cannot be any more unfortunate a feast than one that will never be celebrated at Mass. Saint Eugenia’s feast lands on Christmas Day. She was a Roman martyr. Though there is some doubt as to how much of her story is pious legend, she allegedly ran away from her father’s home to be baptized and was sent to live in a monastery dressed as a man. She is credited with the conversion of many including her father who became a bishop and martyr himself.
These holy men and women and so many others are in Heaven. But how often do we honor most of them throughout the year? This year, take time to learn about a new saint and to honor and celebrate them.