Daily Martyrology for April 23

About 303, at Lydda in Palestine, in the persecution of Diocletian, St. George, martyr. A number of extravagant stories were written about him from 500 AD, to which in the Middle Ages a tale about his slaying a dragon and saving a maiden were added. He became the patron of England, as well as of Venice, Genoa, Portugal and Catalonia.

In 994, at Toul, St. Gerard, bishop. He was born and educated at Cologne, became a canon, and then was chosen bishop of Toul. There he established a school and staffed it with some Irish and Greek monks. He enlarged the ancient monastery of St. Evroult, and founded the oldest hospital in the city. In 1050, St. Leo IX, a native of Toul, canonized Gerard, making him one of the first saints to be officially canonized by a pope.

In 997, in Prussia, St. Adalbert of Prague, bishop and martyr. He was born in Bohemia and educated by another St. Adalbert, archbishop of Magdeburg. He became archbishop of Prague in 982. He took his responsibilities very seriously, perhaps because of the influence of St. Mayol of Cluny and St. Gerard of Toul, who were at his consecration. He didn’t make much headway with his people, so he went to Rome and became a Benedictine monk at the monastery of St. Boniface and Alexis. He returned to Bohemia and established a Benedictine monastery at Brzevnov. He went to Rome again, but at the urging of Emperor Otto III and St. Willigis of Mainz, returned and settled in Poland. He was murdered by Prussians when he was on a missionary journey. His body was buried at Gniezno, and his veneration spread very rapidly.

In Perugia, in 1262, Blessed Giles, one of St. Francis’ first and most beloved disciples. He preached unsuccessfully to the Saracens in Tunis, then spent the rest of his life in Italy. He had ecstatic experiences, one of which he said was his fourth birth, after his birthday, his baptism, and his entry into the Franciscan community.

In 1939, Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu. She was born in Sardinia, and grew up to be a headstrong, loyal and chaste young woman. When she was 18, her sister died, and she became very active in Catholic Action. Three years later she became a Trappist nun at the abbey of Grottaferrata near Rome. She tried to show her gratitude for her calling by living her religious life fully. She devoted her prayer to the cause of ecumenism. She died on Good Shepherd Sunday before her twenty-fifth birthday.

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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.