Sunday, February 14, 2016

Feb 15-21

Can't believe I forgot to include Ash Wednesday last week. For some reason, it remains one of the church’s most well-attended feast days. Which is kind of funny, as it’s not a holy day of obligation. In other words, no one has to go. 

Always wondered why this feast day was so popular. Do people think it’s obligatory? Do they like that visual symbol of their faith? Are they really into Lent? Did they just party way too hard on Mardi Gras? 

#10  John Pibush (Feb 18)

I’m hoping this is pronounced “pie bush,” but I really have no idea.

Poor John is only a beatus. That means he’s referred to, not as St., but as The Blessed. In other words, he’s one step away from real, honest sainthood. 

And that’s quite a common thing for British Catholic martyrs from the Reformation era. The typical story is of a young man who studied for the priesthood in France, came back to England, was found out, was convicted of the “crime of priesthood,” and was then executed in some terrible fashion. Except for a small handful of them, though, these poor fellows almost never quite make it to saint.

#9  Claude de la Colombiere (Feb 15)
Patronage: toy makers

But why he’s the patron saint of toy makers is the question … Honestly, I couldn’t find a thing (and neither, it seems, could anyone else).
What we do know about Claude is that he lived in 17th Century France, was a Jesuit, and was noted for his devotion to the Sacred Heart. As far as I can tell, he never even played with a toy – even as a child.
#8  Conrad of Piacenza (Feb 19)
Patronage:  Against hernias

I understand Conrad’s representation was of a Franciscan, turning his head to the left and coughing.

Sorry about that. A couple of Conrad’s miracles, though, did indeed involve the curing of that unfortunate affliction. He’s also known for “The Miracle of the Bread,” where he personally fed much of famine-ravaged Sicily (all you had to do is show at his door, and he’d hand you a loaf).

I’m not sure what it is, but you can buy it on Etsy

Conrad was born Corrado Confalonieri, into a noble family in 13th Century Italy. There’s an interesting story about how he became a monk and hermit:

One day, as he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting within his family's domain, he ordered his attendants to set fire to some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly to the surrounding fields and forest. A peasant who happened to be found near where the fire began was accused of starting the blaze and was imprisoned, tortured to confess, and condemned to death. As the man was being led to execution, a remorseful Conrad publicly admitted his guilt to the Signoria of the city. As punishment and reparation for the damages he had caused, the city seized all his assets, only sparing his life due to his noble status. (Wikipedia)

#7  Francis Regis Clet (Feb 18)

A quick Google of “clet” gives me:
  • A French street artist
  • The College for Law, Education and Training, in Australia
  • A dining hall at the University of Niagara
  • Clet Koshatka’s farm equipment store, in Iowa
  • A dolphin in Scotland
  • Our guy (but only at result #20)

Francis Regis Clet was a Lazarist (a missionary brother) who was born in 18th Century France. He taught at seminary there, where he was known as “the walking library.” He then fled the French Revolution to become a missionary in China, where he would subsequently also become a martyr. 

#6  Antoni Leszczewicz (Feb 17)

If this guy’s last name was legal in Scrabble, you could theoretically get 400 points for it…

Not a whole lot on this guy. Unlike most of the people in this blog, he’s a fairly modern saint. In fact, he’s one of many Polish priests who were martyred by the Nazis during World War II. They were a very popular group with John Paul II, and he beatified and canonized quite a few of them.

I have no idea why he’s green

By the way, if you have any information that might help Antoni go from Blessed to Saint, send mail to the following seemingly random mishmash of letters:

Postulacja Generalna Procesu Meczenników Kosciola w Polsce
ul. Karnkowskiego 3
87-800 Wloclawek, POLAND

#5  Barbatus of Benevento (Feb 19)

In Latin and Italian, this just so happens to translate as The Bearded One, from The Place Where Good Things Happen. 

Peace out, St. Barbatus

Barbatus (AKA Barbato and Barbas) was a bishop in 7th Century Italy. He was a bit of a scold to his fellow townsmen, but he did save them from a barbarian siege. He’s also venerated in some of the local towns, one of which celebrates him in the following rather odd manner (or maybe it’s just the translation):

On this day, to Castelvenere, his hometown, there is the traditional ‘Day of Thunder’, a competition between three pyrotechnic disabled firemen.  (Wikipedia)

#4  Wulfric of Haselbury (Feb 20)

If my Anglo-Saxon is up to speed, I believe this one translates as Ruler of the Wolves, from the Grove of Hazels.

Wulfric was a priest, hermit, miracle worker, and counselor to English kings. He was a tad on the extreme side, going vegetarian, depriving himself of sleep, wearing a hair shirt under heavy chain-mail, being permanently enclosed in his cell, and spending hours reciting the psalms while sitting in a bath of cold water. When he died, there was a pitched battle over who would get his remains.

#3  Fortchern of Trim (Feb 17) 

I haven’t a clue what this one means.

We do know, however, that Fortchern was a guy, a guy who lived in Ireland during the 6th Century. We also know he was a bishop, is the patron saint of bell founders, was formerly a pagan chieftain, and was also called Forkernus. 

#2  Ercongotha (Feb 21)

Nor this one. Suffice it to say, though, you probably don’t want to seriously consider it as a possibility for your new, adorable, little baby girl. 

Ercongotha just so happens to be another obscure early English saint. She was a Benedictine nun and a royal princess to boot. In fact, she was the daughter of the King of Kent and his wife, the wonderfully named St. Sexburga.

By the way, Google really wanted to steer me toward Enercon Gotha on this one.

Enercon errichtet Logistikzentrum mit rund 80 Arbeitsplätzen in Gotha
(Enercon is erecting a new logistics center with 80 jobs in Gotha [a German town])

#1  Juliana of Nicomedia (Feb 16)
Representation:  naked young woman hanging by her hair

You mean they were allowed to put that on a holy card?

Fortunately, I could not find this on Google Images. That representation does, though, accurately reflect her martyrdom:

[The judge] ordered people under his authority to remove her clothing and submit her to a series of tortures. First, she was flogged, then she was hanged by her hair and afterward it was pulled from her scalp.  (Wikipedia)

All of this came about when Juliana refused to be married to a Roman senator named Eleusius. In fact, it was Eleusius who acted as her judge, torturer, and executioner. Nice guy!

Another legend has her boiled in oil

Honorable Mention
  • Auxibius
  • Ethelina
  • Druthmar of Corvey
  • Severus of Syrmium 
  • Zenobius of Antioch
  • Paregorius of Patara
  • Bolcan of Derken
  • Evermod of Ratzenberg
  • Polychronius of Babylon
  • Onesimus of Ephesus

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