Daily Martyrology for September 17

In Rome, in 1621, St. Robert Bellarmine, bishop and doctor of the church. He was born in Tuscany and received an excellent early education before joining the Jesuits. He studied at Padua and at Louvain, where he taught for seven years. He became a renowned preacher and theological controversialist. He began teaching in Rome in 1576 and worked on many projects, including a revision of the Latin Vulgate Bible, a catechism, and a revision of the church calendar. He worked as a mediator in the controversy over grace between Molina and Báñez. When he was made archbishop of Capua he emphasized the education of adults and the clergy. He was recalled to Rome in 1605 and spent the rest of his life there. In his latter years, he was involved in the controversy over Galileo’s championing of Copernicus’ idea that the earth revolves around the sun. He was a friend of Galileo’s, but he could not reconcile Galileo’s position with his own literal interpretation of Scripture. In his old age he wrote books On the Ascent of the Mind to God and On the Art of Dying Well.

About 705, St. Lambert, bishop and martyr. When bishop Théodard of Maastricht was murdered, Lambert succeeded him. Exiled during political turmoil, he spent seven years with the monks of Stavelot-Malmédy. When he was restored to his see, he proved a dedicated bishop and missionary. There are conflicting accounts of his death, but he was quickly venerated as a saint and martyr.

In 1179, St. Hildegard of Bingen. She was sent as a young girl to be educated by Jutta (December 22), a recluse attached to the Abbey of Disibodenberg. Eventually a community of nuns formed around Jutta. Hildegard joined it and some years later became its leader. From an early age, Hildegard experienced visions, and these became the basis of several theological works, the first of which was the Scivias. She also wrote hymns, a musical morality play, a commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict, a book of natural history and medicine, and hundreds of letters to people of all stations. Around 1150 she moved her community to the Rupertsberg near Bingen. In her later years she went on preaching tours in the Rhineland.

In 1895, in Kraków, Blessed Sigmund Felínski, bishop. He was born in territory then under Russian rule. His mother spent twelve years in Siberia for her Polish nationalism and support of the rights of farmers. He was educated at Moscow and Paris, and studied for the priesthood in St. Petersburg; after his ordination he ministered there. In 1862 he was appointed bishop of Warsaw, which was also under Russian rule. After eighteen months he was exiled to Siberia for twenty years. He spent his last years ministering around Kraków.

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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.