- Blessed Basil Hopko
Blessed Basil Hopko Feast date: Jun 23 Blessed Basil Hopko is considered one of the many priests and religious martyred by Communism. He was born in Slovakia to poor parents. His father died when he was a year old and his mother left for the United States when he was four in seach of work.He remained in Europe and was an excellent student. He wanted to join his mother in the United States and pursue his vocation to the priesthood there, but his poor health did not permit him to travel.He was ordained in 1929 and served as a parish priest in Prague, with a spcial mission to assist the poor, unemployed and students. In 1947, he was named auxiliary bishop of Prjashev. Three years later, he was arrested by Communist officials and tortured.He was given a trial and sentenced to 15 years for “subversive activity.” His health failed as he was continually tortured. In 1964, he was transferred to a home for seniors. There, he was kept under guard but managed to minister to a group of 120 nuns who had been imprisoned in the home as well.Though his eparchy was restored in 1968, officials did not permit him to resume his leadership. A Slovak bishop was appointed in his place. He never recovered from his health and died in 1976. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003 in the Slovak Republic.
- St. Etheldreda
Feast date: Jun 23 St. Etheldreda, commonly known as Audry, was Queen of Northumbria. She was born at around 630, and while still very young she was given in marriage by her father, Anna, King of East Anglia, to a subordinate prince, who gave her a piece of land locally known as the Isle of Ely. She remained a virgin even during her marriage, and five years after his early death, lived in isolation. St. Etheldreda was forced to marry again out political convenience, this time to the heir of Oswy, King of Northumbria. Throughout her 12 years of marriage, she kept her virginity, and she gave much of her time to devotion and charity. St. Wilfrid was her friend and spiritual guide, and helped to persuade her husband that St. Etheldreda should live for some time in peace as a sister of the Coldingham nunnery, founded by her aunt, St. Ebb.During this time, St. Etheldreda only ate once a day, except on feast days or while she was sick, and wore only clothes made of wool. After midnight prayers, she would always go back to the church and continue praying until morning. St. Etheldreda took pain and humiliation as a blessing – on her death bed, she thanked God for an illness that had painfully swollen her neck, which she considered to be punishment for having vainly worn necklaces with jewels as a young lady. She died on June 23, 679, and was buried in a wooden coffin, as she had asked. When St. Etheldreda’s body was moved to a stone coffin, it was found incorrupt and her neck was perfectly healed, according to physicians.