Daily Martyrology for April 16

In 304, under Diocletian, at Zaragosa, St. Optatus and companions, martyrs. Prudentius wrote a hymn about them.

In 665, St. Fructuosus, archbishop of Braga. He became a priest and used his large inheritance to found monasteries. He wrote several rules for families who decided to enter monastic life.

In 1116, St. Magnus of Orkney. After a warlike youth, Magnus refused to fight any more. When his cousin Haakon sent men to kill him in order to gain sole control of the earldom of Orkney, Magnus refused to defend himself. He died praying for his killers. His remains were buried in 1136 in the cathedral dedicated to him at Kirkwall on Mainland Orkney; they were rediscovered in 1919.

In 1783, in Rome, St. Benedict Joseph Labre. At first he was educated to become a priest, but he decided instead to join the strictest religious order he could find. When the Trappists, Cistercians and Carthusains turned him down, he decided to become a permanent pilgrim, having only the clothes on his back and no place to sleep. He walked to all the main pilgrim shrines in Europe, relying on whatever people voluntarily gave him. He settled in Rome about ten years before his death. He is the patron of homeless people.

In 1879, at Nevers, St. Bernadette Soubirous. She was born at Lourdes in 1844, and never had very good health. She had not yet made her first communion when, at the age of fourteen, she experienced a series of apparitions, which no one else beheld. People were convinced by her sincerity and common sense. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame at Nevers in 1864, where she lived as an exemplary religious and shunned all publicity. She said she was a broom that Our Lady had used, and now she was back in the corner. After 1870, Lourdes became the most popular pilgrimage site in Europe.

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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.