Daily Martyrology for April 19

In 1054, in Rome, St. Leo IX, pope. He was born in Alsace and educated at Toul. He was bishop there for twenty years, where he was an energetic reformer of both clergy and monasteries. He was named pope in 1049, and entered the city dressed as a pilgrim. He immediately began a series of reform synods in Italy, France and Germany. He assembled an impressive body of advisors and helpers, including Hildebrand (May 27) and Frederick of Liège, who became popes after him, as well St. Hugh of Cluny (May 11), Peter Damian (February 21) and Humbert of Moyenmoutier. Humbert was sent to Constantinople to reconcile differences with the Patriarch over Leo’s policies in Sicily; he ended up excommunicating the Patriarch, who retaliated by excommunicating Humbert and the pope. But by then, Leo had died in his bed, which he had placed next to his coffin in St. Peter’s. The mutual excommunications were lifted during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.

In Carthage, around 250, during the persecution of Decius, St. Mappalicus and companions, martyrs. St. Cyprian wrote of them that they were “firm in their faith, patient under suffering, victorious over torture.”

In 978, in the Voralberg, near Einsiedeln, St. Gerold. He gave his property to Einsiedeln, where his sons were monks, and then became a hermit, at a place now known as St. Gerold.

In 1012, St. Alphege of Canterbury, monk, bishop and martyr. He was appointed by St. Dunstan (May 19) as abbot of Bath, where he was a very strict superior. In 984 he became bishop of Winchester, and in 1005, archbishop of Canterbury. Danish thugs murdered him when he wouldn’t pay tribute money. King Cnut had his body transferred to Canterbury in 1023. St. Thomas a Becket commended himself to God and St. Alphege just before he died.

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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.