Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February 1-7

No particularly big feast or saint’s day this week. There is the Presentation of the Lord (where he basically went to church for the first time).  There is also the Feast of St. Blaise, which involves an interesting blessing (which I describe below).

#10  Relindis of Eyck (Feb 6)

If you know how that last item is pronounced, you just might be Dutch (it’s “ike,” like the president, by the way).

Not a whole lot out there on Relindis. We do know that she was a girl, and had a sister with the even less feminine name of Herlindis. They were both nuns, living in the 8th Century. Relindis was particularly known for her painting and embroidery. She was also an abbess.

#9  Blaise (Feb 3)

Patronage:  musicians who play wind instruments

Forget it, flugelhorners. It ain’t gonna happen, harpers. No chance, cellists. This day is strictly for flautists, hornpipers, bassoonists, bagpipers, and their ilk.

St. Blaise is actually the patron of no less than 57 causes. In addition to wind instruments, he’s also looking out for motorists, cowherds, and sock makers, as well as sufferers of blisters, goiters, and dropsy.

He’s probably best known, though, for curing throat problems. In fact, his feast day involves a blessing where the celebrant crosses two candles and touches recipients on their throats with them. Turns out Blaise was a doctor and once cured someone with a fish bone in their throat.

Actually not St. Blaise (just some cute Catholic 
school kid who was forced to dress up as him)

#8  Indract (Feb 5)

Hmm, sounds like one of those words I missed on the SAT.

Actually, Indract (AKA Indract of Glastonbury) was an Irish prince who was murdered by some Anglo-Saxon outlaws while returning from a pilgrimage.  

A tiny (really tiny) chapel on the spot where Indract was supposedly martyred

There’s a bit of confusion surrounding this guy, with later legends bumping up his fellow martyrs to 100 and making Indract a friend of St. Patrick’s – neither of which are likely true.

BTW, spell check really wants me to change “indract” to “infract,” “interact” or “indirect.” I’m pretty sure I at least know what those last two mean.

#7  Lawrence the Illuminator (Feb 3)

I thought for sure this guy was an “electroluminiscent LCD backlight development used in some Casio watches” (thanks, Google). Turns out all he did was heal the blind. 

Lawrence was the bishop of the Italian town of Spoleto, in the 6th Century. He was originally from Syria, fleeing there because of some evil Monophysites (basically –  along with the Arians – the bad guys of the time).

Lawrence is a pretty popular name, so you shouldn’t be surprised that there are many St. Lawrences out there. Others include O’Toole, Giustiniani, Ruiz, of Rome, of Canterbury, of Brindisi, of Siponto, of Arabia ... (Okay, I made that last one up.)

#6  Vaast of Arras (Feb 6)

I dunno, I think I just like the sound of this one. 

It appears that Vaast just couldn’t come to a decision on what he wanted to be called. I’ve got him down for Vaast, Vedast, Vedastus, Waast, and even Gaston and Foster.

What he was was a priest, bishop, advisor to the king, and healer of the blind.  He lived in the 6th Century, in France.

He may be most famous for the beautiful cathedral, in Arras, dedicated to him
(quite different from Indract's)

#5  Amaand of Maastricht (Feb 6) 

Patronage:  bar staff

“So, youse wants anudder one?”

From this awesome site.

I hate to break this to you, but Amaand actually was not a bartender himself. That particular patronage comes from his preaching in beer- and wine-making regions.

Amaand himself was a monk, abbot, and founder of several monasteries and convents. He lived in the 6th Century.

#4  Ia of Cornwall (Feb 3)

And the winner in the category of shortest name goes to …

Interestingly, there seem to be several dozen ways to spell this one – Eye, Ias, Iia, Iies, Ita, Itha, Iva, Ives, Hia, Hya, Tia, Ye, Eia …

Turns out Ia was an Irish princess who was looking to sail to Cornwall so she could evangelize there. Unfortunately, she got left behind … though she did manage to subsequently sail there all by herself on a big cabbage leaf! In spite of those efforts, she was – sadly – later martyred there as well.

Believe it or not, there is actually a second St. Ia, from Persia. Both are often confused – with each other, and with Sts. Eve, Ives, Yves, Yvo, and Ivo. 

Perhaps Ia should be retitled The Confusing, or possibly made the patron saint of bad spellers.

#3  Bertulph (Feb 5)

Known as St. Bertie to his friends …

Not really a lot out there on ol’ St. Bertulph. We do know that he lived in the 7th Century, in what is now Belgium. He was a parish priest and later a monk, and also founded a monastery. 

What’s probably most interesting about this guy is the many things that happened to his relics (i.e., his holy remains) over the years:
  1. He was first enshrined at Harelbeke, in Belgium
  2. He was then moved to Ghent
  3. Somebody stole him
  4. He was returned to Ghent
  5. His remains were destroyed by Huguenots (French-speaking Protestants)

He’s also known as St. Bertulph of Renty. In addition, he has a couple of interesting representations as well:
  • Monk handing out alms with an eagle nearby
  • Monk in prayer being sheltered from the rain by an eagle with its wings outstretched over him
  • Monk with a ship in his hand
Those are all from various “pious legends.”

Just make sure you don’t confuse him with this guy 

#2  Calamanda of Calaf (Feb 5)

I understand she’s the patron saint of calamari preparers, as well as calligraphers and calamine lotion manufacturers.

Unless you understand Spanish, St. Calamanda’s a tad on the obscure side. In fact, there’s a good chance that Calamanda didn’t even exist. Nonetheless, I did at least find a church named after her, in Catalonia.

If she did indeed exist, it would have been around the year 300. Seems she would also have earned that wonderful sobriquet for female saints, “virgin and martyr.” 

Unfortunately, though, we’re not really sure who may have martyred her. It could have been one of Diocletian’s henchmen, some Goths, or even her own father. Whoever supposedly did it, it sounds like they cut off her arms first (supposedly, so she couldn’t make the sign of the cross). And that particularly gruesome image is how she’s typically represented.

I'll spare you that

#1  John of the Grating (Feb 1)

Patron saint of parmesan cheese?

Nah, a grating is also a word for “a grill or network of bars set in a window or door or used as a partition; a grate” (www.freedictionary.com).  All clear now?

John was an abbott and bishop, in France, around 1100. He’s also called John de Craticula, which is basically just the same thing in Latin. Almost forgot … he’s really just “The Blessed.”

Oh, the grating part? Right, right. That’s just what he had around his tomb. Boring, I know …
I was afraid of that (but thanks nonetheless, Google Images)

Honorable Mention
  • Eugenie Smet
  • Mun of Lough Ree
  • Liafdag
  • Bruno of Ebsdorf
  • Werburga of Bardney
  • Kichi Franciscus
  • Fingen of Metz
  • Mucius the Lector
  • Vulgis of Lobbes
  • Flosculus of Orleans

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