Daily Martyrology for March 17

In Ireland, in the fifth century, the death of St. Patrick, patron of Ireland. Captured in England by Irish pirates when he was a boy, he escaped back to England years later. As the result of a vision, he returned to Ireland as a missionary. He seems to have worked mainly in the north of the island. Two of his writings survive: the Letter to Coroticus and the Confessio; they reveal his humility and his zealous concern for his people.

The commemoration of Joseph of Arimathea, who buried Christ’s body in his own tomb.

At Nivelles, in 659, St. Gertrude, abbess. When her father died in 640, she and her mother, Itta, retired to Nivelles to found a double monastery. Gertrude succeeded her mother as abbess. As she neared death, she sent word to St. Ultan, an Irish monk who had settled nearby at Fosse. He told her to have no fear because she would be welcomed to heaven by angels and St. Patrick on his feast. She has been revered as a patron of travelers, of the dying, and also is invoked to protect fields and gardens against mice.

In Moravia, in 1620, St. John Sarkander, a priest and martyr who, when he refused to break the seal of confession, was subjected to the rack and then set on fire.

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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.