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)

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15-21

This week features a holy day of obligation, the Assumption. That’s when Mary was bodily taken up into heaven, much like Jesus (and the only two – that I know of at least – to have done that). 

#10  Helena (Aug 18)
Patronage:  nail smiths

I don’t know about you, but I really can’t recall ever knowing any real nail smiths.

Helena was a Roman empress during the 3rd and 4th Century. In fact, she was the mother of Constantine, the first Christian emperor. It’s not certain how much influence she had on him though.

Her biggest claim to fame appears to be finding the True Cross on a pilgrimage she made to the Holy Land. And that’s what’s behind that rather odd patronage.

Helena has been the namesake for a remote island in the Atlantic (where Napoleon was held), an Evelyn Waugh novel, and a Napa Valley winery.

In case your Latin’s a little rusty, that’s her head

#9  Bernard of Clairvaux (Aug 20)
Patronage:  wax melters

Can’t recall knowing any wax melters either, for that matter.

Bernard’s another fairly well-known saint. He was a monastic reformer, advisor to kings, crusade organizer, schism ender, Albigensian fighter, papal advisor, and Doctor of the Church. He was also born a French noble, and was in fact the brother of Humbelline of Jully (remember her?).

Oh, the wax bit? That probably comes from Bernard’s being a beekeeper. 

Not that that helps to explain what a wax melter is though. Now, when I Google that particular phrase, I do get plenty of hits for a machine that candle makers use. The patronage, however, seems to imply some sort of occupation. Interestingly, I get only one hit that combines “wax melter” and “occupation” – and that’s the page where I got that odd patronage from in the first place!
The dog is actually not named after him, but after St. Bernard Pass, in the Alps
(That quote is from Bernard, though, and basically means, “Love me, love my dog.”)

#8  Louis of Toulouse (Aug 19)
Representation:  boy bishop

Ditto for boy bishops.

Well, if you consider someone who’s 23 years old a boy, that is. Yup, that’s when Louis was made bishop. Interestingly, his episcopacy would only last 6 months, with the young lad passing away most likely of typhus. 

This is as boyish as I could find

Prior to his being made bishop, Louis was born a royal and actually would have become king. (He renounced all claims to the House of Anjou when he became a Franciscan.)  He also spent 6 of his short 23 years as a hostage.

After sainthood, he became the namesake of San Luis Obispo, CA (obispo means “bishop” en espanol).

#7  Zacchaeus the Publican (Aug 20)

Likewise on the publicans. Wait a minute … Isn’t that just a fancy way to say “barkeep”?

Actually, it is. In our case, however, we’re going to have to go with definition 2: “(in ancient Roman and biblical times) a collector of taxes” (

Zacchaeus’s is actually one of my favorite New Testament stories. He was the little guy who climbed a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. The crowd was shocked (tax collectors were as unpopular then as they are now) when Jesus stopped, addressed Zacchaeus, and invited himself to Zacchaeus’s house. Note that that’s Zacchaeus’s house, and not his pub.


#6  Drithelm (Aug 17)

Nor have I made the acquaintance of any Drithelms over the years.

Drithlem may have been the first recorded instance of the life after death phenomenon. Here’s how describes it:

Drithelm, of Northumbria, England, was living a virtuous life as a husband and father when he fell gravely ill. On the morning after he was thought to have died, as his family mourned beside his bed, Drithelm suddenly sat up, alive and well. Most of those present fled in terror, but his wife, "who loved him more dearly," remained. To her he declared that he had been returned to life to live thereafter very differently.

Drithelm divulged that before coming back to life he had experienced a vision of purgatory and the gates of heaven and hell. His account of the souls in purgatory that were nearly ready to enter heaven (as retold by Saint Bede) is particularly heartening. They appeared as joyful young people, clothed in white robes, sitting in a "very broad and pleasant meadow" flooded with light and fragrant with "the scent of spring flowers."

Drithelm would subsequently enter a monastery, where he lived as a hermit and was famous for many extreme forms of penance.

"Detmold is a flaxen-haired, taciturn mage from Ban Ard. He and his brother, Drithelm, were in the service of King Esterad of Kovir. During the Thanedd coup, ..." (The Official Wicher Wiki)

#5  Bruno Zembol (Aug 21)

Okay, this one is just funny.

The name, I mean. Bruno’s story is not funny at all. He was one of many Catholic clergy who were sent by the Nazis to the concentration camps during WWII. He was a Polish monk.

#4  Agapitus the Martyr (Aug 18)
Representation:  young man hanging upside down over a fire

Now, those are some pretty imaginative torturers, let me tell ya.

Interestingly, though, Agapitus wasn’t the only saint to go this way. We’ve also got Venantius of Camerino.

Agapitus lived in Rome during the 3rd Century. Found out as a Christian, he was scourged, starved, thrown to wild animals (they ignored him), had  live coals dumped on top of his head, was hung upside down over a fire, had boiling water poured on him, had his teeth knocked out, and – finally – was beheaded. Oh, and he was only 15.

#3  Roch (Aug 16)
Representation:  pilgrim with a dog carrying a loaf of bread in its mouth

Nor is Roch the first saint to have a dog fetch him stuff. In fact, I’ve got St. Benedict down for having his pooch carry a torch for him (in a literal way, mind you).

Roch was born the son of the governor of the French town of Montpelier, at the start of the 14th Century. He came into this world with a very distinct cross-shaped birthmark.

When his parents died when Roch was 20, he gave everything to the poor, and became a penniless pilgrim to Rome. Along the way, he came to a town that was experiencing an epidemic of the plague, stopping his pilgrimage to minister to the many plague victims.

Not too surprisingly, Roch contracted the plague himself, and was then unceremoniously banned from the town. He went off to die in the forest, but was kept alive by a spring that miraculously sprang up, as well as dog that brought him food.

He miraculously survived the plague, then set about to return to Montpellier. There, he was falsely arrested as a spy, was too humble to claim his noble lineage, and subsequently died in captivity. Upon his death, however, he was identified by his birthmark. At that point, he was venerated by the townsfolk and miracles attributable to him started happening right and left.

He’s usually depicted showing off a little leg
(and typically pointing to some of his plague sores)

#2  Jacobo Kyushei Gorobioye Tomonaga (Aug 17)

So, we’ve got Italian for the first name, Japanese for the second, Ethiopian for the third, and Samoan for the fourth?

Jacobo was actually Japanese. After travelling to the Philippines to become ordained, he returned to Japan, was found out, and was tortured and killed. 

From the very odd site

By the way, he’s also known as Jacobo Kyushei Gorobioye Tomonaga de Santa Maria. That’s 42 characters – possibly a new world record!

#1  Mamas (Aug 17)

He was a real mama’s boy!

Sorry. He actually was a boy though. Also known as Mammes of Caesarea, Mamas was – like Agapitus – only 15 when he was martyred. 

Mamas’s semi-legendary status has him variously down for:
  • Being tortured personally by the Emperor Aurelian
  • Being freed from jail by an angel
  • Hiding in a cave in Israel / Cyprus
  • Befriending / riding a lion
  • Being killed by being stabbed with a trident / eaten by lions

That has to be the worst depiction of a lion I’ve ever seen

Honorable Mention
  • Myron of Cyzicus
  • Amor of Amorbach
  • Firminus of Metz
  • Gobert of Apremont
  • Anastasius Cornicularius
  • Hyacinth Odrovaz
  • Euprepius of Verona
  • Frambaldo
  • Porphyrius of Palestrina
  • Burchard of Worms

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 8-14

This week actually features three of my favorite saints – Clare (best friends with Francis of Assisi), Maximilian Kolbe (a Holocaust victim), and Edith Stein (ditto and also a convert from Judaism). Clare’s the only one who made the list however – for a rather surprising patronage (see below).

#10  Alexander the Charcoal Burner (Aug 11)

Not sure what exactly’s so funny about this one, but it just really struck me.

If you think about it for a second, though, this is just a guy whose occupation was making charcoal. I guess I just had an image of some dude in the backyard with his Weber and a little Kingsford …

Alexander was a 3rd Century Greek. Well-born and well educated, he gave it all up to follow Christ, picking one of the lowliest occupations he could imagine. Indeed, says that Alexander was “noted for being exceptionally ragged and filthy.”

That didn’t, however, stop a council from picking him as their bishop. Turns out they had been given directions to “ignore outward appearance, and choose the most spiritual person among them.” When Alexander was dragged in front of the council as something of a joke, he managed to impress them with his knowledge and spirituality.

"Here, let's trade hats"

#9  Werenfridus (Aug 14)

I really like the name on this one, but also think this guy should get some points for his various patronages:
  • Against gout
  • Against stiff joints
  • Vegetable gardeners

He’s also got some pretty interesting representations as well:
  • Priest vested for Mass holding a ship with a coffin in it
  • Dead priest laid in a ship

As for those representations, turns out he was buried in one Dutch town then had his coffin float down an offshoot of the Rhine to another Dutch town where he resides to this day. 

"Do you like my boat?"

#8  Concordia of Rome (Aug 13)
Patronage:  wet nurses

There’s a job description you don’t hear too much of these days. 

In fact, I’m not sure it actually fits Concordia all that well either. I have her down as a “foster mother” for another saint, Hippolytus. Now, “wet nurse” and “foster mother” might actually have been the same thing back in the day. If so, though, why not make Concordia patron saint for both wet nurses and foster mothers?

Here’s everything you need to know about Concordia:

Saint Concordia was the foster mother of St Hippolytus, and she was whipped with olive branches before being executed. Her body was thrown in an unclean place, but was later recovered by Sts Irenaeus and Abundius. She was then buried beside St Hippolytus. (Orthodox Church in America)

#7  Radegunde (Aug 13)
Patronage:  against scabies

I don’t know what it is, but it sure sounds like something I would never want to get.

And I was right!  Here, let Wikipedia explain:

Scabies, known as the seven-year itch, is a contagious skin infestation by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. The most common symptoms are severe itchiness and a pimple-like rash.

Radegunde? She was a 6th Century German royal. Forcibly married to some barely Christian French low-life. she would leave him to became a nun and abbess.

I’m surprised she’s not invoked against strabismus as well 

The really great thing about Radegund’s bio, though, are all the wonderfully odd Anglo-Saxon names it contains, including:
  • Ingund
  • Aregund
  • Chunsina
  • Clothar
  • Chlodomer
  • Berthachar
  • Baderic
  • Theuderic
  • Theudebald
  • Hermanfrid
  • Wuldetrada

#6  Dominic de Guzman (Aug 8)
Representation:  dog with a torch in its mouth

Some dogs get their masters their slippers. Dominic’s, on the other hand …

This is right before the dog set the tablecloth on fire
and they ended up on YouTube

St. Dominic’s kind of a biggie. He started the Dominican Order, which today number over 6,000. He’s also the patron saint of Europe, invented the rosary (maybe), and raised four people from the dead.

The dog? Here’s what has to say about that:

While pregnant, Blessed Joan [his mother] had a vision that her unborn child was a dog who would set the world on fire with a torch it carried in its mouth; a dog with a torch in its mouth became a symbol for the Order which he founded.

#5  Lawrence of Rome (Aug 10)
Patronage:  comedians

So, this saint walks into a bar …

Lawrence was a Roman deacon and was responsible for the papal treasury, including alms-giving. He was martyred in the 3rd Century during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian.

That martyrdom was particularly gruesome, with Lawrence tied to a large iron grill that was lowered over some live coals. After cooking there for awhile, Lawrence uttered the immortal line, “Turn me over. I’m done on this side.”

And that is why Lawrence of Rome is the patron saint of comedians. Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

"I'll be here all week, folks."

#4  Clare of Assisi (Aug 11)
Patronage:  television writers

When Clare of Assisi first came to work for EWTN, the studios were located in Assisi. In fact, that’s where she met Francis, who was working as an assistant executive producer at the time …

Only $98 at

If you’re not familiar with Clare’s story, it is a wonderful one. She was basically a female St. Francis. In fact, they were very devoted to each other – as close as brother and sister or father and daughter.

Like Francis, Clare started her own order – known today as the Poor Clares. Clare was, in fact, the first woman to write a set of monastic rules.

As for that interesting patronage, turns out Clare, when she was too ill to attend mass, miraculously saw it on the wall of her cell.

#3  Cassian of Imola (Aug 13)
Representation:  man being stabbed by children

Kids these days!

Especially them pagan kids. Let me explain …

Cassian was a teacher in 4th Century Rome. Found out as a Christian, he was put to death … by his students! Sounds like the authorities figured that would be a particularly fitting end for him and invited the students to do what I’m sure every school kid has fantasized about at least once.

And that great story is what’s behind Cassian’s being remembered to this day. In particular, he’s called out in John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces and in Annie Dillard’s The Living. Bethel College, in Kansas, also named one of their faculty lounges after him. I love that last one.

#2  Wigbert of Fritzlar (Aug 13)

Not to be confused with Fritzbert of Wiglar …

Born in 7th Century Britain to a noble family, Wigbert would later become a Benedictine monk. Invited by his friend Boniface, Wigbert would then become a missionary to the Germans. There, he would become an abbot as well.

"Here, have some grapes!"

#1  Smaragdus (Aug 8)

Go ahead, say it out loud. Music to the ears, huh? Pure poetry, right?

But would you believe it’s from the Greek for “emerald”? Further, would you believe it’s the basis for the rather lovely girls name of Esmeralda?

Other than that, unfortunately, we don’t know a whole lot about this guy. It does sound like he was martyred during the persecutions of Diocletian. He was part of a group led by St. Cyriacus. Like Cyriacus, Smaragdus probably ministered to slaves who were building the Baths of Diocletian. His marytrdom was particularly gruesome, including the rack, being beaten with clubs, and beheading.

Lunella smaragdus
(Emerald moon turban)

Honorable Mention
  • Plettrude
  • Thiento of Wessobrunn
  • Francois François
  • Jambert of Canterbury
  • Ust
  • Ultan of Crayke
  • Mummolus of Fleury
  • Chromatius the Prefect 
  • Discolio IV of Vercelli
  • Myron the Wonder Worker

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 1-7

The Catholic Church celebrates two feasts this week, the Dedication of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Transfiguration of the Lord. The first one is pretty much what is says. As for the latter, I’ll let Matthew tell the story:

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,[a] with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

#10  Agathangelus Nourry (Aug 7)

Based on my limited knowledge of Greek, I believe this name translates as “good angel.” Which, I must admit, I rather like. The meaning … not the name. That’s just too much of a mouthful.

Agathangelus was a Frenchman who was born at the very end of the 16th Century. He became a Capuchin, taught theology, and then became a missionary. As a missionary, he went to Egypt and then Ethiopia, where he was subsequently martyred. 

And, yes, he does indeed have his own Facebook site. Wait a minute … He has his own Facebook site?

With his martyr BFF Cassian

#9  Margaret the Barefooted (Aug 5)

Well, at least she wasn’t Margaret the Discalced.

Every heard of the Discalced Carmelites? They’re really just another monastic order. The “discalced” part is from when they were formed and went about barefoot (yup, “discalced” is how you say “barefoot” in Latin).

Margaret lived during the 14th Century, in Italy. The victim of an unhappy marriage, Margaret was abused by her husband for her faith and, in particular, for her devotion to the poor. That devotion is actually what led her to go barefoot – to more completely identify with her charges.

There’s actually a book out there all about her.

Is it just me, or does Margaret seem to have a little attitude in this rendering?

#8  Sithney (Aug 1)
Patronage: hydrophobia

Fear of water?

Well, actually, no. Wikipedia tells me that Sithney is also “the patron saint of mad dogs.” Who would have thought that rabid canines have their own patron saint?

I don’t want to call into question anything that I read on such an esteemed source as Wikipedia, but I do have a funny feeling that they might have meant “against mad dogs.” 

Now, how did that rather interesting patronage come about? Well, it gets even better:

A Breton folk story, an adaptation of a tale associated with Ciarán of Saigir, states that God asked Sithney to be the patron saint of girls seeking husbands, but Sithney said he would rather be the patron saint of mad dogs and get some rest.

Dang, I guess Wikipedia was right after all.

Hydrophobia? It’s just an old-fashioned term for rabies.

#7  Hormisdas (Aug 6)

Do you think his friends called him Hormy?

So, first of all, this guy was a pope – for a little less than 10 years in the 6th Century. His main claim to fame seems to be getting rid of the Acacian schism, another of the many, many schisms that plagued the early church.

"Oh, dear Lord, save me from these Acacians"

Interestingly, Hormisdas was married. In fact, one of his sons, Silverius, would go on to become pope himself. Not something that happens much these days …

If you’re wondering about that odd name, it’s probably from the Persian, from the name Hormizd. 

#6  Etheldritha (Aug 2)

I’m guessing her friends called her Ethel.

Etheldritha was actually a princess. Her father was Offa, King of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. She was also set up to marry Ethelbert, King of East Anglia (and a saint as well). When Ethelbert was killed, though, Etheldritha fled to a monastery, where she became a recluse, dying there 40 years later.

Man, that sure is a lot of ethels.

Etheldritha is also the name of some dopey anime character

#5  Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (Aug 1)
Patronage: against scrupulosity

Wait a minute …  Are you saying there’s something wrong with being “careful, thorough, conscientious, honest, moral, upstanding” …?

Scrupulosity, actually, is something totally different. You can kind of think of it as a combination of faith and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Someone who suffers from scrupulosity likely feels “pathological guilt about moral or religious issues” (Wikipedia). They may get totally caught up in adhering to the exact letter of the law, to the exclusion of all else.

So, Alphonsus did indeed suffer from scrupulosity. At the same time, however, he also was quite the renaissance man. He was an author, composer, musician, artist, poet, lawyer, philosopher, theologian, and lawyer. He was also a bishop and founded the Redemptorist order as well. Recognizing his major contributions, Alphonsus was made a Doctor of the Church in 1871.

#4  Afra of Augsburg (Aug 7)

I think I just like the alliteration on this one.

There’s a little uncertainty about this saint. Different stories have Afra as both a princess and a prostitute. One story has her martyred by beheading, while another has her burned at the stake. One has her dying alone; another has her with some companions. Finally, her story also seems to include details from the life of Venerea, a virgin martyr from the Middle East.

#3  Lydia Purpuraria (Aug 3)

You know this has something to do with the color purple, right?

Sure enough, Lydia’s sobriquet comes from her being a dealer in purple dye. The town she was from, Thyatira, was famous for their dye works, and purple was a very popular color in the ancient world. That’s because it was made from a certain kind of sea shell, was hard to produce, and kept its color exceptionally well. It was, in fact, a real luxury good, and was often reserved for the upper classes.

Lydia was also Paul’s first convert at Philippi (which makes her the first in Europe as well). All of this took place in Greece, in the 1st Century.

#2  Holy Maccabees (Aug 1)

Holy Maccabees, Batman! It’s Antiochus IV Epiphanes!

Let me explain … The Holy Maccabees are also known as the Woman with Seven Sons. They were all martyred in the 2nd Century BC. 

Yup, BC. Further, they were martyred for refusing to eat pork. Not sure how they ever became saints. 

Oh, Antiochus IV Epiphanes? He was the guy in charge – the guy who actually did in the eight of them. 

#1  Oswald of Northumbria (Aug 5) 
Representation:  king in crown, carrying sceptre and orb, ciborium, sword, palm-branch, and/or with his raven

Hey, wait a minute!  I think we forgot the kitchen sink.  (Love the “and/or” part about the reaven.)

Like Etheldritha (#6), Oswald was another royal. Oswald, however, was a king. He ruled the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, for a little less than ten years during the 600s. 

It does, however, sound like he did manage to accomplish quite a bit during his short time on the throne. On the secular side, he reunited the Northumbrian kingdom and was the strongest ruler in Britain. On the sacred side, he helped spread Christianity in northeast England and was also himself very devout. Oswald’s death, at the hands of the pagan Mercian king Penda, is also considered something of a martyrdom.

The raven? Sounds like it has something to do with Oswald’s death:

King Oswald's body was hacked to pieces by the victors and his head and arms stuck on poles. An old legend has one arm taken to his sacred ash tree (Oswald's Tree) by his constant companion, a pet raven. Where it fell, a holy well sprang up.  (

Honorable Mention
  • Gezelin of Schlebusch
  • Maria Imelda of the Eucharistic Jesus
  • Cecilia Cesarini
  • Plegmund
  • Martyrs of the Salarian Way
  • Auspicius of Apt
  • Leodebodo
  • Martyrs of Philadelphia
  • Emerico of Quart
  • Gonzalo Gonzalo y Gonzalo