Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sept 22-30

There are a few moderately well-known saints this week – Padre Pio, Ss. Cosmas and Damian, Jerome, the Archangels, Wenceslaus, and St. Vincent de Paul. That last one is actually the patron saint of my local parish. 

#10  Bernardine of Feltre (Sept 28)
Patronage: pawnbrokers

So, this is who Chumlee prays to every night?

That’s Chumlee, by the way – not Bernardine

Bernardine was a 15th Century Italian preacher. He was famous for his “bonfires of the vanities,” where people would toss in things like playing cards, dice, cosmetics, wigs, and fine clothes.

The pawnbrokers? Well, Bernardine was famous for starting a rival institution, called “mounts of piety,” which charged a lot less than the regular ones. You know, kind of like a Vatican version of Pawn Stars. 

#9  Sadalberga (Sept 22)

So, what’s with all the bergas? We’ve got Notaberga and Sexaberga … and now Sadalberga.

The story of Sadalberga is a pretty common one – young noble with religious leanings but forced to marry. She and her hubby eventually separate to live the religious life, with mom, dad, and kids all ending up as saints.

What’s really cool about Sadalberga’s story, though, is all the great medieval names involved. In addition to Sadalberga, we’ve got Blandinus, Anstrudus, Fulcrus, Gundoin, Richramn, Saretrude, Gaulbert, Waldebert, Dagobert, and Bodo.

I have absolutely no clue what this is all about
(but it was the 3rd result on Google Images for “sadlaberga”)

#8  Cleopas (Sept 25)

Wasn’t that the name of the yokel character in the Simpsons?

Nope. That was Cletus. I’m pretty sure Cletus has a cousin named Cleopas though.

Actually, are you familiar with the Road to Emmaus? That’s where the risen Jesus appeared to two of his disciples in disguise. Well, one of those disciples just so happened to be Cleopas. No one knows what the other one’s name was. I’m pretty sure it was not Cletus though.

I had no idea the Road to Emmaus was also a South Park episode

Apart from the Gospel story, Cleopas doesn’t really get much press. He may be the same person as Clopas, believed to be the brother of St. Joseph. Just to muddy the water further, he’s also referred to as Cleophas, Cleofa, Cleopatros, and Alphaeus (Alphaeus?).

#7  Gabriel (Sept 29)
Patronage: television workers

I’m sure we’re all pretty familiar with Gabriel. Like the other archangels, he appears in both the Old and New Testatments (as well as the Koran!). He’s famous for being something of a heavenly messenger service, including doing such bigtime gigs as Daniel’s visions, the Annunciation, and dictating the Koran to Muhammad. 

And that may be what’s behind his association with television, as well as with:
  • Broadcasters
  • Communications workers
  • Telecommunications workers
  • Postal workers (and philatelists as well)
  • Messengers
  • Diplomats

Here he is lookin' kinda hunky

#6  Michael (Sept 29)
Patronage:  Greek Air Force

Another archangel, another weird patronage.

Once again, though, there’s some logic behind this one as well. Turns out two of Michael’s main duties include (]: 
  • Escorting the faithful to heaven at their hour of death
  • Calling men from life on Earth to their heavenly judgment

As for Michael’s other 30-some patronages, I’m not so certain. Some of the odder ones include:
  • Bakers
  • Bankers
  • Boatmen
  • Barrel makers
  • Artists
  • Ambulance drivers
  • Radiologists
  • Dying people
  • Police officers
  • Spanish police officers
  • Paratroopers
  • Knights
  • Fencers
  • Swordsmiths
  • Haberdashers
  • Greengrocers

#5  Theodota of Thrace (Sept 29)

Thuffering thucotash!

I love Theodata’s bio on

Repentant prostitute. Convert. Tortured and martyred for refusing to sacrifice to Roman idols during the persecutions of Agrippa.

Short (less than 20 words), sweet – but speaks volumes. 

By the way, Thrace is in modern-day Bulgaria.

#4  Martyrs of the Theban Legion (Sept 22)

No, these guys are not Marvel Comics characters.

What they were were a crack regiment in the Roman army. Originally from the Egyptian city of Thebes, they were all Christians. When posted to what is now France and forced to worship the pagan gods, they refused. Eventually, all 6,666 would be martyred. 

This is their leader, Maurice

By the way, “Martyrs of the Theban Legion” would also be a great name for a (heavy metal?) band.

#3  Herman the Cripple (Sept 25)

Things weren’t so PC, oh, way back in the 11th Century.

Alternate names for this guy, unfortunately, include Hermann von Reichenau (which makes him sound like some Nazi) and Herman Contractus (which just sounds weird).

Herman was actually quite the interesting fellow. Severely crippled from birth and dumped on the local abbey, he would remain there the rest of his life. He would also become a monk, compose hymns and poetry, write histories and math treatises, study astronomy, learn a number of languages, and correspond with other scholars all over Europe. He was something of the Stephen Hawking of his day, I guess.

#2  Maria Carme Fradera Ferragutcasas / Maria Magdalena Fradera Ferragutcasas / Maria Rosa Fradera Ferragutcasas (Sept 27)

Do you think they’re related?

And indeed they are. They were all sisters (i.e., nuns), who just so happened to be sisters in real life as well. Tragically, though, they all died a martyr’s death. 

Their martyrdom was not, however, hundreds of years ago. Nor was it in some faraway pagan land. In fact, they were all martyred during the Spanish Civil War, in the 1930s. 

Actually, it’s rather shocking how many martyrs there were from that particular conflict. lists over 1400.

That should be Maria Carme

#1  Coprio (Sept 24)

How are your Latin and Greek roots? Familiar with “copro”? As in “coprolite,” “coprolallia,” “coprophagia,” “coprophilia”?

Here, I’ll let explain:

Abandoned as an infant on a dungheap (Greek: koprìa) by his parents, the boy was found and rescued by monks of the nearby monastery of Saint Theodosius in Bethleham. The monks named him Coprio, and raised him as their own. He grew to become a model of holiness, living his 90 years in the monastery. Monk.

Yup, that's pretty much everything you get on Google Image for "st coprio"

Honorable Mention
  • Willigod of Moyenmoutier
  • Hilary the Hermit
  • Lupus of Lyons
  • Callistratus of Constantinople
  • Amalia Abad Casasempere de Maestre
  • Zama of Bologna
  • Mewrog
  • Fymbert
  • Purificación Ximénez y Ximénez
  • Pau Bori Puig

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sept 15-21

Nothing special going on this week. It does, however, seem to be a week dedicated to saints whose names sound way too similar and could be way too easily confused. To wit:
  • 15th – Ribert and Ritbert of Varennes
  • 16th – Abundius of Rome and Abundantius of Rome
  • 16th – Vilbetta of Maranza and Vorbetta of Maranza
  • 18th – Ferreolus the Tribune and Ferreolus of Limoges 
  • 20th – Theopistus of Rome and Theopistes of Rome 

#10  Januarius of Naples (Sept 19)
Patronage:  blood banks

As unlikely as it may sound, there’s actually a really good explanation for this one.

Januarius, also known as Gennaro, is the patron saint of Naples. Now, it just so happens that the good people of that city keep a vial of Januarius’s blood on hand in their cathedral. Further, they take it out three times a year. And every time they take it out, the blood liquefies and bubbles.

“So, whaddya think?”

Januarius himself was a bishop and a martyr, succumbing during the Persecutions of Diocletian. Nietzsche, of all people, once wrote a poem about him.

#9  Matthew (Sept 21)
Patronage:  stockbrokers

Well, I guess even guys like Gordon Gecko need a patron.  (Actually, they probably need patrons more than most people.)

Yes, this is indeed Matthew the Apostle (and evangelist). Pretty famous guy.

The stockbroker bit comes from Mathew’s having been a tax collector. As you can imagine, they weren’t any more popular than they were now.  Matthew is also patron saint of other financial types like accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officials, money managers, and even security guards. I understand that there is no truth to the rumor that he is patron saint of the IRS. 

#8  Socrates (Sept 17)

No, not that Socrates. 

It is hard to imagine that someone else would go by that name, but that has actually been a pretty popular name for Greeks over the centuries.

Our Socrates was a soldier in the 2nd Century, in what is now modern-day Turkey (in the Roman province of Pamphylia, to be exact). He was on hand when St. Theodore, who had been conscripted, refused to worship the pagan idols as part of his indcution ceremony.

Poor Ted was stuck on a red-hot plate, dowsed with liquid tar, and dragged through the streets by horses. None of these tortures, however, had any affect.

And that impressed Socrates enough that he himself became a believer. Socrates then went through similar tortures, with similar disappointing results. Like Theodore, he would finally be beheaded, thus earning his own martyr’s crown.

Socrates Restaurant, St. Albert, Canada
(Hey, thanks, Google Images!)

#7  Hildegard von Bingen (Sept 17)

Hard to believe that a saint with such an odd name is actually pretty high profile.

Hildegard was actually something of a medieval Renaissance man (er, woman). And, no, that is not a contradiction in terms.

Hildy was an abbess, writer, artist, composer, architect, philosopher, theologian, mystic, and early scientist. Some people even credit her with inventing opera. In 2012, Benedict XVI made her a Doctor of the Church.

Hildegard lived in the 12th Century, in what is now Germany. Something of a controversial figure, she was only canonized in 2012. She is often seen as something of a proto-feminist figure.

No, Hildy is not on fire
She’s just receiving a vision 
(as interpreted by some medieval artist)

#6  Joseph of Cupertino (Sept 18)
Patronage:  astronauts

Once again, this rather wild patronage actually has a pretty good explanation.

Turns out Joseph was able to levitate. As a result, he’s patron of, not only astronauts, but a number of other high-flying folk as well:
  • Air crews
  • Air Forces
  • Air travellers
  • Pilots
  • Paratroopers

Joe lived in the 1600s and was a Franciscan monk. Cupertino is in Apulia, by the way, in the heel of the Italian boot. And, yes, that is indeed how the town where Apple is headquartered got its name.

#5  Mary de Cerevellon (Sept 19)
Patronage:  Spanish sailors

Hmm, don’t you think those Spanish marines are going to get jealous? I looked and I looked, and I couldn’t find a patron saint for them.

Mary lived in 13th Century Spain, where she started an order, the female branch of the Mercedarians.

As for the patronage, I had to do a little conjecturing, but it probably goes something like this ...  Turns out Mary was particularly devoted to Christian slaves. Back then, Christians were often enslaved as galley crews in the Mediterranean, at that time something of a Muslim lake. Mary’s from Spain, so … there you have it.

She’s usually represented “carrying a ship”

#4  Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski (Sept 17)
Patronage: Scrabble players

Okay, I made that one up. Zygmunt’s not patron saint of anything, as far as I could tell.

He would make a good one though. In fact, he’s something of a national figure in Poland. He figured prominently in independence movements during the 19th Century – when Poland was ruled by Russia and Zygmunt was Archbishop of Warsaw. He would later get exiled for his efforts, but also canonized in 2009 as well.

"Hi, folks!"

#3  Cornelius (Sept 16)
Patronage:  twitching

Cornelius was actually quite the busy guy. In addition to twitching, you can also call on him relative to:
  • Epilepsy
  • Fever
  • Earache
  • Domestic animals
  • Cattle
The last two probably have to do with his name – it means “horn.” The first three? You got me.

I can’t tell if he’s smoking a pipe or “brandishing” a horn

Cornelius was pope back when that was not such a good thing. When he served (in the 3rd Century), being pope was akin to having a big, red target on your back. Sure enough, Cornelius served all of two years, and was then exiled and martyred.

#2  Mirin of Bangor (Paisley) (Sept 15)
Patronage:  Paisley

No, not that paisley. 

Wrong paisley!

Paisley the fabric is actually named after Paisley, a city in Scotland where it was first made. This burg of 80,000 is located just west of Glasgow. Its patron saint is Mirin.

Mirin lived in the 500s and 600s. Born in Ireland, he came to Scotland as a missionary, founded an abbey in Paisley, and became its first abbot. His shrine was something of a major pilgrimage site as well.

Paisley (the town) remembered Mirin by naming the local soccer team after him. St. Mirren FC, is in the Scottish Premier League, the highest level of soccer in Scotland. Not too surprisingly, they are known as the Saints (but also as the Buddies?!?!).

#1  Mercedarian Martyrs of Morocco (Sept 15)

Man, oh man! That’s marvelous! Mucho miraculous! Molto mind-messing!

These guys were part of a religious order (the Mercedarians) who were captured by Muslims during the 13th Century. They were hauled back to Morocco, where they were enslaved. That didn’t stop them from preaching however (or getting martyred for that preaching).

By name, they are John, James, Francis, Sancho, Dionisio, and Ildefonso.

Honorable Mention
  • Brogan of Ross Tuirc
  • María de La Encarnación de La Yglesia de Varo
  • Eumenius Thaumaturgus
  • Evilasius of Cyzicum
  • Hygbald
  • Agathoclia
  • Pomposa
  • Nicetas the Goth
  • Flocellus
  • Rodingus
  • Quadrato of Magnesia

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sept 8-14

Big week for you Marian devotees out there. We’ve got her birth on the 8th and The Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 12th. And just over the line into the next week – on June 15th – is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

#10  Martyrs of Bithynia (Sept 10)

Turns out there were only three of them:
  • Menodora
  • Metrodora
  • Nymphodora

The three were actually sisters, and were martyred “in the persecutions of emperor Maximian and governor Fronto” ( We’re talking around the year 300 here.

That’s Nympho on the right; don’t know about the others

Bithynia? It was a Roman province, making up the northwest part of present-day Turkey. Today? Just kind of a funny name.

#9  Hyacinth of Rome (Sept 11)

Now, Hyacinth’s bad enough. But would you believe that Hyacinth was a guy?

Yup. He and his brother Protus were burned alive (or maybe beheaded, or maybe both), way back in 257. 

Interestingly, the flower was actually named after a mythological figure – who was also a guy. I’m assuming our saint was named after this figure as well.

There are actually no less than 9 saint Hyacinths out there, all male. In fact, there are actually two Hyacinths of Rome. And all that’s not even including the 7 Jacintos – the Spanish equivalent of Hyacinth.

#8  Serafina Sforza (Sept 9)

Suffering succotash …

Serafina started out as something of a debutante. You’re probably already familiar with the Sforzas, one of the famous families of the Italian Renaissance. Serafina was also related to two others – the Colonnas and Montefeltros – as well.

Sforza is actually Serafin’s married name. Her husband, though initially quite the nice guy, would later live up to his family’s Machiavellian nature. After suspecting Serafina of a plot against him, he had her put away in a nunnery. There, though, Serafina shone – eventually ending up as the abbess.

#7  Maria Eutimia Uffing (Sept 9)

Unlike our first few saints, Maria is a much more recent one. Born in Germany, she actually lived through WWI (which she spent ministering to POWs). Though crippled in her youth by rickets, and in poor health the rest of her life, she worked tirelessly in some particularly humble occupations. JPII reflected that well in what he said about her for her beatification ceremony:

Her life shows us that seemingly small things can be very important in God’s eyes. From the human viewpoint this sister was not a “star” in the limelight, but her silent work was a ray of light to many people that is still shining today.

She was a member of the wonderfully named Klemensschwestern (Sisters of the Congregation of Compassion).

#6  Pulcheria (Sept 10)
Patronage:  empresses

And our next saint goes out to all you empresses out there …

You’ll be happy to know that Pulcheria was indeed an empress herself. She was originally a princess, the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Arcadius. When Arcadius died, she then became regent for her younger brother, Theodosius II. When Theo came into his maturity, Pulcheria faded into the background (and was then actually forced into exile by her evil daughter-in-law). When Theodosius died himself, Pulcheria and her husband Marcian came back as Emperor and Empress. 

On the spiritual side, Pulcheria was actually quite involved. She guided two very important Councils, Ephesus and Chalcedon; built numerous churches and hospitals; and was involved in battling Monophysites, Nestorians, Eutychians, and various other 5th Century bad guys.

You’d never guess it from the way it sounds, but Pulcheria actually means “beautiful.”

Hey, nice hat!

#5  Notburga (Sept 14)

Like #7, Notburga was another very humble saint. A cook in a noble household, Notburga ran afoul of her mistress when she took scraps of food to the poor instead of to the pigs as directed. After sacking Notburga, said mistress became deathly ill. Notburga, though, remained to nurse her and make sure she repented and got into heaven before kicking the bucket.

A similar story happened at Notburga’s next place of employment. This time, though, she was working for a peasant. I guess that all just goes to you show that both ends of the social spectrum can behave badly.

Notburga lived from 1265 to 1313, in what is now Germany. She is patron saint for peasants, servants, and farm workers. Many miracles are attributed to her, and her burial site is a popular pilgrimage.

Her skeletal remains are on display in Eben, Germany

#4  Paphnutius (Sept 11) 

So, what would the nickname for this one be? Paph? Paphy? Nuti?

Paphnutius was also known as Paphnutius of Thebes, Paphnutius the Confessor, and Paphnutius the Great. And that’s to distinguish him from other notable Paphnutii, such as the Hermit, the Buffalo, of Egypt, of Alexandria, of Jerusalem, of Borovsk, of Tentyra, and of Heracleopolis. Huh! Popular name in 4th Century Egypt, I guess. 

Paphy was a hermit and bishop. He was also tortured and maimed for his faith, as well as getting exiled to the mines. Paph was particularly well known for his participation in a number of early councils. In fact, you may have this guy to blame/credit for priestly celibacy.

#3  Autonomous (Sept 12) tells me that this means “having self-government, at least to a significant degree.”  Hmm …

Autonomous the saint was actually an early Roman bishop. Under the Persecutions of Diocletian, Auto fled to Bithynia (that place again!), where he subsequently became a martyr. Not much more on him out there, I’m afraid.

In fact, when I Google “st. autonomous,” I get a few hits to our guy, but a lot more like these:
  • Wells Fargo Picks the 3 Winners of Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Mobile Intelligent Autonomous Systems
  • Institute of Navigation Sixth Annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition
  • St. Josephs College Of Arts and Science (Autonomous)

And images like this one

#2  Disibod of Disenberg (Sept 8)

Patron saint of disembodied dishwashers and Duesenberg drivers …

Disibod was an Irishman who lived in the 7th Century, leaving the Emerald Isle as a missionary to Germany. There, he founded a monastery, where he became abbot-bishop.

He was written up by no less an illustrious personage of Hildegard of Bingen, though I’m afraid I don’t have a lot from her to add here.

#1  Corbinian (Sept 8)
Representation: bishop making a bear carry his luggage because it has eaten his mule

There’s a story in this.  I just know there is.

Corbinian, originally named Waldegiso, was a Frankish hermit, pilgrim, and bishop who lived in the 600 and 700s. He was also a missionary to Bavaria, where he founded a monastery, performed some miracles, and ran into trouble with the local royals there.

The legend may be symbolic. In fact, there are a number of pious legends where the local pagans are represented as animals to be tamed.

Benedict XVI, who headed Corbinian’s see before becoming pope, used the bear in his own papal arms

Honorable Mention
  • Kingsmark
  • Hedwig of Hreford
  • Gusmeo of Gravedona sul Lario
  • Apolonia Lizárraga Ochoa de Zabalegui
  • Autbert of Avranches 
  • Wulfhilda
  • Pierre-Sulpice-Christophe Faverge
  • Frithestan
  • Barypsabas
  • Macrobius

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sept 1-7

This may be possibly the most boring week in the whole church calendar. We’ve got Thursday of the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time, Tuesday of the Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time, and so on. 

We do also have Pope Gregory the Great. He increased papal authority, wrote extensively, reformed the mass, and was made a Doctor of the Church. You can also invoke him against gout and for choir boys.

#10  Abigail the Matriarch (Sept 1)

Kind of slim pickens this week, so we’re going to have to start with the less-than-LOLROTF Abigail the Matriarch. Not even totally sure why this one struck my fancy, to tell you the truth.

This is another one those rather odd OT saints. Abigail was the wife of David, as well as a prophetess and very holy woman in her own right.

Abigail Adams was the matriarch of the Adams family, but not – I’m afraid – a saint
(thanks anyway, Google Images)

#9  Remaclus (Sept 3)
Representation:  with a wolf nearby

Slavering, watching his every move, ready to pounce at any minute …

Actually, the wolf was really just Remaclus’s companion. Couldn’t find any more how that actually came about … but there you have it.

A really small, totally non-threatening wolf, mind you …

Remaclus himself was quite a busy guy. Raised in the Aquitanian court, he helped start the famous French monasteries of Malmedy, Stavelot, and Solignac. He was also a bishop, an advisor to kings, and mentor to several other saints as well.

#8  Gideon the Judge (Sept 1)
Representation:  man wringing dew out of a fleece

Sure, why not? The guy was caught in a rainstorm, right? I mean, who hasn’t had to wring out their fleece before?

Another OT saint. He was one of those guys that God chose to get the Israelites back on track when they went a little astray. And part of that involved defeating another of the their many enemies – in this case, the Midianites – on the field of battle. 

Now, here’s the story about that fleece:

Gideon said to God, “If indeed you are going to save Israel through me, as you promised, I am putting this woolen fleece on the threshing floor. If dew comes on the fleece alone, while all the ground is dry, I shall know that you will save Israel through me, as you promised.”

That is what took place. Early the next morning he wrung the dew from the fleece, squeezing out of it a bowlful of water. Gideon then said to God, “Do not be angry with me if I speak once more. Let me make just one more test with the fleece. Let the fleece alone be dry, but let there be dew on all the ground.” That night God did so; the fleece alone was dry, but there was dew on all the ground.

So, I stand corrected. That said, I’m not sure I follow it all, but there you go. 

He’s also famous for his trumpet

#7  Castor of Apt (Sept 2)

Who? What? Did you say Aptor of Cast? Cast of Aptor? Apt of Castor? Castor of Aptor?

So, this guy was a Frenchman who lived in the 3rd & 4th Centuries. Starting out rather secularly – he was a lawyer and was married – he would later become a bishop (with his wife becoming a nun).

What’s interesting about this guy, however, is that doing a Google search on him brings up things like the following:
  • Apartments for Rent in Castor, Philadelphia, PA
  • Oxford Circle/ Castor, PA Apartments for Rent
  • Castor Gardens Apartments for Rent | Philadelphia, PA

In fact, only 3 of the top 10 search have anything to do with the saint.

I think it’s probably the one above the dry cleaners

#6  Cloud (Sept 7)

Know anybody named Cloud?  Any guys named Cloud?

I didn’t think so. At the same time, you’ve probably heard of St. Cloud, the city in Minnesota. You may also be familiar with a town in Florida, as well as a swanky suburb of Paris, with the same name. And, yes, all of them were named after our guy. And, yes, he is indeed a guy.

Cloud – who is also known as Clodoald, Cloudus, and Clodoaldus – was a grandson of Clovis, king of the Franks, as well as a son of Chlodomer, king of Orleans. And if those aren’t enough names beginning with “cl” for you, Cloud’s story also includes additional relatives with names like Clotilde, Clodomir, and Clotaire.

Cloud actually came to the church by fleeing from all these people. Turns out – as often happened with royals in the Middle Ages – these folks were all at each others’ throats. To escape them and their machinations, Cloud first became a hermit, in Provence. He eventually returned to Paris when the coast was clear. Where he hung out there would eventually become that swanky suburb.

Almost forgot …  In addition to being patron of all these different places, Cloud is also patron for nail markers and against carbuncles.

6.5 / 10 on IMDb

#5  Giles (Sept 1)
Patronage:  noctiphobia

If I told you all that meant “fear of the dark,” would it make a little more sense? 

Now, as for why Giles can be invoked for that? I’m afraid I haven’t a clue.

Born in Greece in the 7th Century, Giles moved to France to become a hermit. His animal companion just so happened to be a deer. 

St. Giles was also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. I haven’t talked about these folks before, but they were a group of saints, assembled in the Middle Ages, who were particularly good at interceding for you with your problems. Giles was known in particular for working wonders with plague, but was also helpful for good confessions, cripples, beggars, blacksmiths, childhood fears, convulsions, and depression. Busy guy!

St. Giles and his companion animal

#4  Ida of Herzfeld (Sept 4)99
Representation:  filling a tomb with food for the poor

Man, couldn’t she have just used a cooler?

Born a countess, Ida would later become a duchess, and then a very rich widow. It was at this point that she devoted herself to the poor. And she did, in fact, fill up that coffin – every day – with food for them. She also built some churches and, in general, lived a pious life.

She is a patron saint for both brides and widows. She’s typically portrayed holding a church, with a dove over her head, or with a deer.

Ida with her companion animal

#3  Agricola of Avignon (Sept 2)
Patronage:  storks

Now, the only question here is whether Agricola is for or against them.

I’m afraid is a little equivocal on the matter:

His blessing ended an invasion of storks, leading to his patronage of them, and his emblem in art.

You can also count on Agricola for the following:
  • Against misfortune
  • Against plague epidemics
  • Avignon, France
  • For rain
  • For good weather
  • For good harvests

The son of a saint, Agricola would become a senator, monk, priest, and bishop. He lived in the 600s.

Oddly, I couldn’t find any images of his “with storks”

#2  Regulus of Rheims (Sept 3)
Representation:  bishop telling the frogs to keep silence while he preaches

Now, what I want to know is whether they obeyed him or not.

Interestingly, this isn’t the only odd representation for this fellow. I’ve also got him down for:
  • Bishop with a fountain springing from his tears
  • Bishop holding a staff and following his own funeral procession

Which is all rather interesting, as there doesn’t seem to be much more out there about him. Apart from these representations, all I’ve got him down for is: 600s, archbishop, monastic founder …

#1  Magnus of Fussen (Sept 6) 
Patronage:  caterpillars

I’m thinking this is against caterpillars, but you never really know, do you?

However that may be, I’m giving Magnus extra points for that wonderful name. Fussen’s in Germany, by the way – in Bavaria, right on the border with Austria. It looks like a lovely place – on a beautiful blue river, with plenty of picturesque mountains surrounding it.

So, what was Magnus doing there? Well, how about founding the Benedictine monastery nearby? Yup, all the way back in the 7th Century. 

Everything else about Magnus appears to be a tad on the fantastic side and – oddly – typically involves animals. For example, we’ve got tales of Magnus expelling snakes and dragons. In one version of the latter, “he spared an infant dragon who helped local farmers by hunting rats, mice and other crop-damaging vermin.” I think this one might be my favorite though:

While on a walk in the woods near the monastery, he encountered a bear who showed him a vein of iron ore; he gave the bear some cake. The bear followed Magnus back to the abbey where the saint rounded up some tools and monks; the bear then led them all to several other iron ore sources in the nearby mountains, thus helping found the area’s most lucrative industry. (

Looks like he wrestled alligators as well
(Oh, wait, I guess that’s a dragon)

Honorable Mention
  • Brocard
  • Hereswitha
  • Laetus of Dax
  • Victorious
  • Anselm of Anchen
  • Romulus of Rome
  • Herman of Heidelberg 
  • Elpidius the Cappadocian
  • Zeno of Armenia
  • Dinooth

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22-31

It’s a pretty big week this week. We’ve got Bartholomew (the apostle), Rose of Lima, Augustine, his mother St. Monica, the Beheading of John the Baptist, and the Queenship of Mary.

#10  Bartholomew the Apostle (Aug 24)
Representation:  elderly man holding a tanner's knife and a human skin

God, I hope that’s not Bartholomew’s.

Unfortunately, that is indeed the way this poor fellow was martyred. Seems like he was also beheaded, so at least we’re spared that.

From the Sistine Chapel Ceiling
(the face on the skin is actually Michelangelo’s)

We know surprisingly little about this guy. There are a couple of mentions in the NT, plus some legends about his going very far afield – Egypt, Iran, Armenia, and India – to preach the gospel.

By the way, Bartholomew also has several interesting patronages, including Florentine salt merchants, whiteners, the Aeolian Islands, and “against twitching.”

#9  Eutychius of Troas (Aug 24)

Eutychius was a student of St. Paul. In fact, Eutychius may have been the young man that Paul raised from the dead. 

Of course, the poor lad had originally fallen asleep listening to Paul drone on, then fell out of a window from three stories up. So, I guess Paul kind of owed it to him.

Interestingly, Eutychius come from the Greek for “fortunate.” I guess that applies to the second part of the story, and not the first.

Jonathan Swift once referenced Eutychius in relation to the poor state of preaching in his time, “whereby preachers 'may exceed St. Paul in the art of setting men to sleep, [but] do extremely fall short of him in the working of miracles.”

#8  Louis IX (Aug 25)
Patronage:  French monarchs

Not a very large group, mind …

Louis was indeed a king of France himself. He ruled for almost 25 years in the 13th Century.

He accomplished quite a bit during his reign, both secularly and spiritually. As for the former, he annexed Normandy and Provence, defeated the English, supported the arts, established the Sorbonne, and reformed the judicial system. 

As for the latter, perhaps his biggest accomplishment was leading a couple of Crusades. He would, in fact, die overseas on Crusade #8. Personally, he was very devout, and had a special devotion to the poor.

He’s also a man of many patronages, including haberdashers, button makers, and hairdressers. St. Louis, MO is named after him as well.

#7  Augustine of Hippo (Aug 28)

I know this guy is one of the better known saints out there. That said, that “of Hippo” always got me.

Hippo was actually a town in what is now Algeria. It’s where Augustine was ordained, made bishop, and died.

Augustine might be most well-known for his Confessions, probably the original conversion story, as well as the first modern autobiography. His theological and philosophical writings were enormously influential.

A modern interpretation

#6  Levkadia Herasymiv (Aug 26)

No, I didn’t just put elbow on the keyboard. This is actually this saint’s name.

Levkadia is a modern saint (she’s actually a Blessed), one of the Martyrs Killed Under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe. She was a Greek Catholic, and was born in 1911, in the Ukraine. She took her vows in 1933, survived World War II, and was then arrested by the NKVD in 1951. She died a year later in a Siberian gulag from overwork and the TB she had contacted there.

#5  Genesius of Rome (Aug 25)
Patronage:  comedians

Last week, we featured Lawrence of Rome, another patron saint for comedians. Honestly, how many patrons do these guys need?

Well, informs me that there’s one other, St. Vitus. So, basically, this blog’s got ‘em all covered.

The story behind Genesius’s patronage might be the most interesting one though. Genesius actually was a comedian. In fact, he had his conversion experience while in the middle of a play that mocked Christianity – right in front of the Emperor Diocletian.

Genesius actually has no shortage of interesting patronages. In addition to comedians, he’s also looking out for:
  • Clowns
  • Converts
  • Dancers
  • Epileptics
  • Lawyers
  • Magicians
  • Musicians
  • Printers
  • Stenographers
  • Torture victims

#4  Genesius of Arles (Aug 25)
Patronage:  against scurf

Hmm, I wonder what the medical billing code is for that?

Well, actually, I do know that. “Scurf” is just an old-fashioned way of saying “dandruff.” And the code for that is ICD-10-CM. 

So, another Genesius, huh? This one, though, is from the south of France. The two did, however, live around the same time.

In fact, the two may have been majorly confused together. Now, Genesius of Arles was a court notary. And that may explain Genesius of Rome’s patronage of lawyers, printers, and stenographers. 

GofA’s story is pretty good too:

When on a certain day he found himself called upon to begin transcribing the proclamation of an imperial edict mandating the persecution of Christians, Genesius could not bring himself to record the offensive words against his faith. Rising from his seat, he hurled down his wax tablet before the judge and immediately resigned. (

The scurf?  Don’t really know where that comes from, I’m afraid.

This could be GofA
(Google Images seems to mix them up majorly as well)

#3  Fiacre (Aug 30)
Patronage:  costermongers

Well, someone who mongers costers, of course. Why do you ask?

What’s a costermonger, really? It’s just someone who sold things from a cart. Simple as that.

Now, why is Fiacre their patron? I really haven’t a clue.

I do know that Fiacre was an Irishman, born in the 7th Century. He later moved to France, where he lived as a hermit, and would subsequently die and be buried.

He was a famous herbalist, which explains why he’s patron saint of gardeners and florists. He was also famous for curing people by the laying on of hands, which explains why you can invoke him against the following:
  • Blindness
  • Fever
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Kidney stones
  • Sterility
  • Tumors
  • VD
  • Worms

There are also plenty of opportunities to purchase an effigy of him as your very own garden gnome.

#2  Tydfil (Aug 23)

Isn’t that like something you take for a headache?

Now, would it surprise you that Tydfil is Welsh? No? Well, would it surprise you that Tydfil was a girl? Yup. Poor thing.

We don’t really know that much about her other than that she was Welsh, was the daughter of a Welsh king, started her own little monastic community, and was martyred by some pagans. 

She’s the namesake of a Welsh Town, Merthyr Tydfil, where there is a shopping center named after her. The town, which means “martyrdom site of Tydfil,” actually has just slightly over 60,000 inhabitants. It was once the largest town in all of Wales, and was formerly known for its ironworks. In more recent times, Merthyr (as it is usually called) made the news where the unique properties of Viagra (originally, a treatment for angina) were discovered. Laura Ashley, the fashion designer, is from there.

Old, abandoned factory, Merthyr Tydfil

#1  Eufrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Eluvathingal (Aug 29)

Honestly, I swear I did not make this one up.

Back to modern times with this one. Eufrasia was born in 1870, in India. She became a nun, experienced visions and  miraculous healings, and was a very effective Mother Superior. She was known as the “Praying Mother” (makes sense) and the “Mobile Tabernacle” (maybe not so much). 

Plus, she has her own website:

Honorable Mention
  • Pandwyna
  • Secundus the Theban
  • Rumwold the Prince
  • Carpophorus
  • Malrubius of Merns
  • Hunegund of Homblieres
  • Ludovicus Baba
  • Buenaventura Gabika-Etxebarria Gerrikabeitia
  • Ptolemy of Nepi
  • Louis-Wulphy Huppy (God, I love this one)