Daily Martyrology for January 26

Sts. Timothy and Titus, disciples of St. Paul and martyrs.

At Bethlehem, in 404, the death of St. Paula the Elder. A Roman noblewoman, she married and had five children before being widowed at 32. With Marcella, also a widow, she formed part of the ascetic circle cultivated in Rome by St. Jerome, who encouraged their study of the bible. When Pope Damasus died, Jerome, Paula and others of their acquaintance went to Palestine and Egypt and finally settled in Bethlehem where they founded several monasteries. Her granddaughter, Paula, succeeded her as head of her monastery.

Between 1109 and 1134, the deaths of Sts. Robert of Molesme, Alberic and Stephen Harding, the founders of the Cistercian Order, which aimed for a secluded, austere life of prayer and work. When their foundation at Molesme no longer provided the sort of life they desired, they and about 20 others left to start the New Monastery at Citeaux. Robert returned to Molesme, and when Alberic died, Stephen succeeded him as abbot. Under Stephen’s guidance, the Cistercian order soon flourished. He was responsible for drafting the Charter of Charity, which regulated the relationships between monasteries of the order and called for annual visitations and a general chapter.

In Norway, in 1188, St. Eystein of Trondheim. After studying at St. Victor in Paris, in 1157 Eystein became second archbishop of Trondheim, the metropolitan see of the Norwegian Empire, which included Iceland, Greenland, Orkney, the Shetland Islands, the Western Islands of Scotland and the Isle of Man. He struggled to gain independence for his church from the Norwegian kings and spent some time in exile at Bury St. Edmund’s in England.

In 1540, the death of St. Angela Merici, founder of the Ursuline Order. She became a Franciscan tertiary, and established a support group for unmarried girls in her area. She moved to Brescia during a troubled time in the city’s history and established a center there for unmarried women. When she was almost 60, she and some of her companions took up residence in a house, and this is considered to be the beginning of the Ursuline Order.

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Our daily martyrology was written by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB. Copyright © 2008 by the Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, ID 83338.