Bishop and Martyr (d. ca. 1156)
+ Henry was born in England. While working in Rome, he was sent to as a missionary to Scandinavia, traveling with papal legate (who would later be elected pope, taking the name Adrian IV).
+ In 1148, Henry was named bishop of Uppsala and dedicated himself to the evangelization of Norway and Sweden.
+ A friend of the Swedish king Saint Eric, he followed Eric’s lead in reaching out to the Finns. He built a church in Nousis, Finalnd, and this became his missionary base.
+ Saint Henry of Uppsala was murdered by a Finnish soldier whom he had excommunicated for murdering a Swedish soldier. He was buried in Nousis and honored as a martyr immediately after his death.
For prayer and reflection
Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and for that of the gospel will save it.”—Mark 8:34-35
On this day the Church also honors the memory of a family of martyrs: Saints Maris and Martha and their sons Abachum and Audifax. According to legend, they were Christian from Persia who were moved by the stories of Christian being martyred in Rome. They traveled to Italy and were martyred in the year 270.
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we may follow with due devotion the faith of blessed Henry, who, for spreading the faith, merited the crown of martyrdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Missionary Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.