Ordinary Time: August 13th
Thursday of the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time; Optional Memorial of Saints Pontian, pope and martyr and Hippolytus, priest and martyr
Old Calendar: Saints Hippolytus and Cassian, martyrs; St. Radegund, queen (Hist)
St. Pontian (Pontianus) was a victim of the persecution of Alexander Severus, who directed his attention particularly against the leaders of the Church. St. Pontian governed the Church from 230 to 235. He was exiled to the mines of Sardinia and died in exile. St. Hippoytus, a priest and a person of some importance in the Church in Rome at the beginning of the third century, provoked a schism which lasted for some years. He was exiled to Sardinia with St. Pontian, where he was reconciled with the Church and died for the faith in 235.Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar today was also the feast of St. Cassian of Immola, a martyr of the neighborhood of Bologna. According to his biography he was a schoolmaster and was delivered with his hands tied behind his back to his young pupils, who stabbed him to death. In the bishop's chapel at Ravenna there is a mosaic of St. Cassian that dates from the fifth century.
Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus
As kind as Severus might have been to the Christians, his successor Maximus Thrax persecuted them. Although Maximus was not a religious man himself, he despised Severus and intended to reverse any attitude to which Severus might have been disposed. He therefore decreed that leaders of the Church be singled out and banished to the labor mines of Sardinia, the famous "Island of Death."
St. Cassian was a schoolmaster at Imola in northeast Italy. He died a martyr during the Roman persecutions under Diocletian, probably in the third century.
St. Radegund's father was a king; when he was conquered by King Theodoric of Austrasia and King Clotaire I of Neustria, Radegund was taken captive at the age of twelve by Clotaire, son of Clovis, the first Christian King of the Franks. She lived at Athies until she was 18, when Clotaire brought her to Vitry and married her. Clotaire was "a man of shocking character." As queen, Radegund spent her time doing charitable work with the poor and the captives. She ministered to lepers and founded a hospital for them. Radegund had been married to Clotaire for six years when he killed her brother. Unable to bear his cruelties any longer, she became a nun, with his permission. Radegund had a double monastery built in Poitiers called Holy Cross. When Clotaire decided to bring her back to court, St. Germanus interceded on her behalf, and the repentant Clotaire sent Germanus back to Radeund to ask her forgiveness and prayers. After her death, Radegund's face shone "with a brightness surpassing the beauty of lilies and roses."