Daily Martyrology for December 23

In 250, ten martyrs of Crete, who were tortured and executed by the sword at the order of the governor of Gortyna.

At Skalholt in Iceland, St.Thorlac, bishop. He was ordained at twenty, and studied abroad before returning to Iceland. He formed a monastery of Canons Regular at Thykkvibaer, and in 1174 was elected bishop of Skalholt. He introduced the Gregorian Reform to Iceland, insisting on the financial independence of the church, clerical celibacy, and the sanctity of Christian marriage.

In 1473, in Poland, St. John of Kanty. He studied at Krakow, was ordained, and became a professor. He modeled his austere lifestyle on the teachings of the Desert Fathers. He came to be highly revered by people of all social strata.

In 1771, in Montreal, St. Margaret d’Youville. She was born in Canada into a poor family. At twenty-one she married a fur trader, but the marriage was not happy. She was appalled at her husband’s dealings with the native people. Her husband died, leaving her to raise two sons. She supported the family by operating a small store. When her sons entered the seminary, Margaret and some other women rented a house in a poor part of town and began taking care of sick and impoverished women. At first they were derisively called “Grey Sisters", and as the order developed she kept the name. They took over the operation of the General Hospital in Montreal, and when it burned down, they received great public support from English, French and native people to rebuild it. By then the charity of the Grey Sisters was legendary.

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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.