Daily Martyrology for June 23

At Ely, in 679, St. Etheldreda (or Audrey), abbess. The daughter of the king of East Anglia, and the sister of three saints, she was married to a prince named Tonbert. When he died shortly thereafter, she retired to the Isle of Ely to live a life of prayer. Five years later she was married to Egfrid, son of King Oswy. To help her avoid this marriage of political convenience, Wilfrid, the bishop of York, allowed Etheldreda to enter the monastery of Coldingham. A year later, Wilfrid made her abbess of Ely.

In 1213, in modern-day Belgium, Blessed Mary of Oignies. According to her biographer and disciple, Jacques de Vitry, she was the daughter of wealthy parents in Nivelles. She was married at 14, and later she and her husband turned their house into a hospital for lepers. She had the "gift of tears," a highly esteemed manifestation of the virtue of compunction. Toward the end of her life, she occupied a cell close to the Augustinian monastery at Oignies. Her fame and example influenced the development of the Beguines and the Crosier Order.

In 1860, St. Joseph Cafasso, a secular priest who was the spiritual director of St. John Bosco. Despite a spinal deformity, he became a very effective theology teacher of young priests studying at the theological institute at Turin, which he eventually headed. He had a special ministry to prisoners. He inspired not only John Bosco (January 31), but several other founders of religious orders.

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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.