Saturday, January 9, 2016

January 8-14

It’s been a quiet week in the Catholic liturgical calendar. We do have the Baptism of the Lord. Other than that, though, there really aren’t any super big saints or celebrations.

#10  Hilary of Poitiers (Jan 13)
Patronage: backward children

Just to show there’s a patron saint for everyone.

So, first off, Hilary was a guy. He was a convert and bishop, living in France during the 300s.  In addition to looking out for backward children, Hilary will also help you with issues relating to rheumatism, snakebite, motherhood, and sickness in general. 

Oops, wrong Hilary!

Hilary is also a “doctor of the church.” These guys (and gals) are particularly good at theology and elucidating and defending church doctrine. Others include Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, and Catherine of Siena. It’s quite an honor.

#9  Saint Arcadius of Mauretania (Jan 12)
Representation: man with his limbs chopped off

You probably remember this guy from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, right?

Sorry. Well, we all know that martyrs can suffer some terrible fates. This one sounds pretty bad indeed. 

Apart from his grisly martyrdom, though, we don’t really know that much about Arcadius. 300s, modern day Algeria, rich patrician, closet Christian … that’s about it. 

#8  Felix of Nola (Jan 14)
Representation: young priest with a spider

Now, why this guy isn’t the patron saint of arachnophobes is completely beyond me.

The spider comes from a “pious legend.” Turns out Felix once took shelter from some Roman soldiers in a vacant building. A devout spider helped him out by spinning a cobweb in front of the door. When the soldiers saw the web, they figured no one could be in there, and moved on.

Recipe right here

By the way, Nola is not in Louisiana. It’s a little town near Naples, in Italy. Also, would you believe there’s a second St. Felix of Nola? His feast day is Nov. 15. 

#7  Thecla of Lentini (Jan 10)

Apart from her odd name, we really don’t know a whole lot about poor Thecla. We do know she was a “consecrated virgin,” lived in the 200s, and was related to the interestingly named Saints Neofyta and Neofytus. Oh, almost forgot … Lentini is in Sicily.

#6  Anna of the Angels Monteagudo (Jan 10)

Now, there’s a mouthful. 

Anna is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, she is not a saint, but a Blessed. That’s one step down from being a saint, but one step up from being a Venerable. Yup, almost all saints have a three-step process to go through. How do you get from one to the other? Miracles!

Second, Anna is from the New World – in particular, from Peru. As you can imagine, there are a lot more saints from the Old World than the New. But, heck, they had an extra 1500 years to come up with them, didn’t they? 

Anna was a Dominican nun, wearing the habit for almost 70 years and making Prioress before she retired. She lived in the 17th Century.

#5  Kentigern of Glasgow  (Jan 13)
Patronage: salmon

I’m not sure how many pious salmon there are out there. St. Kentigern’s definitely got you covered, though, guys.

Sounds like we’ve got a special extra bonus with this guy – he also so happens to be known as St. Mungo. In fact, lists no less than 14 names for this dude, including:
  • Kentigern Garthwys
  • Cantigernus.
  • Chentingerno
  • Cyndeyrn
  • Mahoe
  • Mochaoi

Kentigern / Mungo / whatever is the founder and patron saint of Glasgow.

Yup, that’s him up at the top

#4  Theodosius the Cenobiarch  (Jan 11)

“Cenobiarch” sounds vaguely scandalous (“I’d stay away from Theodosius, if I were you. I understand he’s a cenobiarch!”). It’s really, though just a fancy way of saying “monk.”

Theodosius is a surprisingly popular name – at least saint-wise. In fact, there happen to be no less than six other Theodosiusses … Theodosii … whatever out there. There’s a plain vanilla one (also called The Great); others from Rome, Auxerre, Antioch, and Vaison; as well as one who happened to be a Soldier. It means “giving to God,” by the way.

Our Theodosius lived in Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey), around the year 500. Oh, yeah, almost forgot … he was a monk!

From an early comic book, as far as I can tell

#3  Appolonaris the Apologist  (Jan 8)

Astonishingly awesome alliteration.

Appolonaris was a bishop in the 2nd Century. He was famous for his writings – including two “against the Jews” and five “against the pagans."  

“Alright, already.  I said I’m sorry.”

And that last fact explains this guy’s rather interesting moniker. Apologetics is the branch of theology that focuses on “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.” So, someone who engages in apologetics is known as an “apologist.” It has nothing whatsoever to do with leaving the toilet seat up, I assure you.

#2  Pega of Peakirk (Jan 8)

Even more so.

Pega was a hermitess, hanging out in the English fens (a marshy area on the east coast) around the year 700. Her only neighbor was her brother Gurlach, who had also renounced the world. She later moved to Lancashire, where the site of her hermitage is now an Anglican convent. 

Pega is actually a nickname for Margaret. It’s where “Peggy” comes from. Our Pega was also known as “Pee,” “Pea,” “Pegue,” and “Pegia.”

#1  Erhard of Regensburg  (Jan 8)
Representation: bishop with a book on which sit two eyes

Holy optokinetic nystagmus!  I hope these things aren’t Erhard’s.

Thankfully, they’re not. They probably represent his curing St. Odilia of Alsace of her blindness. It’s an odd way to represent that, but – what the heck – it just might work.

Dr. Erhard Strohm, Univ. of Regensburg
(Thanks for nothing, Google Images!)

Nor surprisingly, Erhard is the patron saint of people suffering from eye problems. More surprisingly, his patronage also extends to:
  • Bakers
  • Blacksmiths
  • Cattle
  • Cobblers
  • Hospitals
  • Miners
  • Shoemakers

Honorable Mention
  • Petrus Donders
  • Gumesindus of Cordoba 
  • Enogatus of Aleth
  • Elian ap Erbin
  • Tipasio of Tigava
  • Stratonicus
  • Caroticus
  • Glaphyra
  • Michael of Klopsk
  • Theodora of Cora

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