Saint of the Day ~ January 23

SAINT ILDEPHONSUS (c.607-667), bishop – Patron saint of San Ildefonso Indian Pueblo in New Mexico

Today, the Church honors Saint Ildephonsus, a bishop and faithful servant of the Church who held a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ildephonsus was born to Spanish nobility in Toledo, Spain about the year 607, and was a nephew of Saint Eugenius, his predecessor in the See (Diocese) of Toledo.

At an early age, despite the determined opposition of his father, Ildephonsus embraced the monastic life in the monastery near Toledo. He was ordained a deacon about the year 630. Called by King Reccesvinth of Spain towards the end of 657 to fill the Archiepiscopal throne of Toledo, Bishop Ildephonsus governed the Church of Toledo for a little more than nine years until his death due to natural causes on January 23, 667. He was buried in the Basilica of San Leocadia.

Bishop Ildephonsus was responsible for the unification of the Spanish liturgy, and is also renowned for his writings, one treatise displaying his ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

There is a legend which states that the Blessed Virgin appeared to him in person and presented him with a priestly vestment. Rewarding him for his zeal in honoring her, the Blessed Mother said, “You are my chaplain and faithful notary. Receive from me this chasuble, which my Son sends you from His treasury.”

The account of this apparition, and of the miraculous chasuble, was deemed so certain and utterly beyond doubt that news of it spread throughout Spain, even reaching as far as the Church in Ethiopia. The Church of Toledo honored the event with a special proper Mass and Office.

We commemorate his feastday on January 23.

(From,, and



(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Pastors ~ bishop)

“Lord God, You counted Saint Ildephonsus among Your holy pastors, renowned for faith and love which conquered evil in this world. By the help of his prayers, keep us strong in faith and love, and let us come to share his glory.

“Grant this 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.”

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