Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March 22-31

Not too much happening this week (and to the end of the month). Just Easter, Good Friday, Maundy Thursday … 


#10  Castulus of Rome (Mar 26)

Representation:  against horse theft

Probably not invoked as much these days …

St. Castulus was one well connected guy. He was the chamberlain for the emperor, wife of St. Irene, and counted Ss. Sebastian, Tibertius, Marcellus, and many others among his friends. 

Unfortunately, that emperor just so happened to be Diocletian, known today mostly for his persecution of Christians. So, not too surprisingly, Castulus – and all his friends – became a martyr as well.


As for the horse thievery, I haven’t a clue. Casty was actually patron for a number of different (seemingly totally unrelated) things:
  • Against blood poisoning
  • Against drowning
  • Against erysipelas
  • Against fever
  • Against lightning
  • Against storms
  • Against wildfire
  • Cowherds
  • Farmers
  • Shepherds


#9  Gladys (Mar 29)

This sounds more like a character on The Honeymooners than a real, live saint.

Gladys, also known as Gwladys ferch Brychan, lived in Wales during the 5th Century. She was the daughter of one king and the wife of another. The latter just so happened to be Gwynllyw, #3 on this list. That also makes her the wife of a saint. Together, the two were also the parents of seven saints as well. And those were (in increasing order of weirdness):
  • Maches
  • Cadoc
  • Cynidr
  • Bugi
  • Egwine
  • Glywys
  • Cyfyw

"Gladys's cafe in St. Thomas" (Google Images)
(i.e., not exactly the same thing)


#8  Guy of Pomposa (Mar 31)
Patronage:  against pomposity

Alright, I made up that last bit.

Our Guy (ha, ha – get it?) was a hermit, abbot, and spiritual advisor, active in 11th Century Italy. He originally came from a wealthy family and was actually a bit of a dandy. His conversion experience came when he saw what a fop he was, stripped, and gave away all his clothes to the poor.


What Guy looks like according to cruxnow.com

He also goes by the name of Guido, as well as:
  • Guion
  • Wido
  • Wit
  • Witen

Pomposa? It’s just a monastery in Italy where Guy was abbot.


#7  Balbina of Rome (Mar 31)
Patronage:  struma

Would it help if I told you a struma is just an old-fashioned way to say goiter? 

There are actually no shortage of patrons for struma out there. In addition to Balbina, we’ve also got:
  • Cadoc of Llancarvan
  • Marculf
  • Mark the Evangelist

Balbina was martyred – along with her father, an officer in the Roman army – in 2nd Century Rome. They’re both buried on the Appian Way.

There’s a little controversy on how poor Balby actually kicked the bucket. According to Wikipedia: 

Whether she was drowned or buried alive is a matter of dispute among historians … There is [also] one alternate account that Balbina was beheaded.


This reliquary, which is at the Met, actually includes Balbina’s skull


#6  Ottone Frangipani (Mar 23)

Go ahead and say this out loud. I can guarantee you’ll automatically think you’re at least three-quarters Italian when you do.

Ottone was an Italian monk and hermit, living a little less than a millennium ago. He came from a famous Italian family, a family that actually produced a couple of popes.


Ottone just also so happens to be the Italian word for “brass”
(something I would never have learned without the help of Google Images)

And if that last name sounds familiar to you, there may be a good reason. It’s another name for plumeria, a tropical bush with beautiful, fragrant blossoms. What you probably don’t know is that there is actually a connection between the flower and the saint:

The common name "frangipani" comes from a sixteenth-century marquess of the noble family in Italy who invented a plumeria-scented perfume. (Wikipedia)


#5  Panacea de’Muzzi of Quarona (Mar 27)

Go ahead, just try to even say this one.

Panacea was a young girl who was beaten to death by her evil stepmother, resentful of Panacea’s piety.  Poor little thing was only 5 years old.

So, you’re probably wondering about that name. Hard to believe, but ”panacea” was at one time a good thing. It’s Greek for “heal all,” and was given by the Greek god of medicine, Aesculapius , to his daughter.

We’re in Italy again, in the late 14th Century.


#4  Dismas (Mar 25)
Patronage:  funeral directors

An appropriately dismal name for an appropriately dismal profession …

Dismas is also know as the “Penitent Thief.” He’s the guy who hung on a cross next to Jesus, asking Him to “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus, of course, replied, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”

Only one gospel, Luke’s, mentions Dismas, and not by name. The name, and any other stories about him, date from much later.


What Dismas looks like according to The Passion of the Christ

The other guy? He’s called the “Impenitent Thief,” and his name was Gestas.


#3  Gwynllyw (Mar 29)

If you played this in Scrabble, you’d get 71 points at the very least. Throw in a couple of double or triple letter or word tiles, and you’re talking about seriously spoiling your opponent’s day.

This is bad enough of as is, but would you believe this guy is also known as:
  • Gundleus
  • Gundleius
  • Gwenleue
  • Gwynllyw Milwr
  • Woolos the Warrior
  • Woolos the Bearded 
  • Gwynllyw Farfog

He was a Welsh king and, actually, the husband of Gladys, #9 on this list. According to some legends, interestingly, these two didn’t start out so saintly:

He was a scoundrel in early life, abducting his wife from her father's home and leading her into a life of cattle-rustling and banditry.  There's also an implication that she embraced the life freely, a sort of sixth century Bonnie and Clyde.

No big shoot-out in the end though. The two would actually eventually give it all up and become hermits together. 


From some vision he had


#2  Metod Dominik Trcka  (Mar 23)

The patron saint of the Dvorak keyboard … You can actually spell this saint’s name by simply banging your elbow three times on any Dvorak keyboard.

Okay, I think I can recognize Dominik here. Further, I’m guessing this might actually even be this guy’s middle name. I’m afraid I can’t help you with the rest of it though.

Dominik, as he is usually called, is interesting in that he is very contemporary. In fact, he died the year I was born, 1959. He had been imprisoned by the Communists in Czechoslovakia, tortured, and eventually died of pneumonia contracted as part of his punishments. JP II declared him a martyr and beatified him in 2001.



#1  Hildelith of Barking (Mar 24)

I find it hard to believe that there is actually a place called “Barking,” let alone that someone named “Hildelith” once lived here.

It is hard to believe, but both are true. Yes, there is an English town called Barking. It’s actually a suburb of London.

Hildelith? She was the abbess of the nunnery there. She also just so happened to be a real, live Anglo-Saxon princess. We’re talking the 700s here.


I think it says “Patron Saint of Barking”
(though I have absolutely no idea why - that's actually Gladys, #9)


Honorable Mention
  • Dula the Slave
  • Jonas of Hubaham
  • Acacius Agathangelos of Melitene
  • Benedicta Cambiagio Frassinello
  • Conon of Naso
  • Gundelindis of Niedermünster
  • Mary Mamala
  • Pigmenius of Rome
  • Lydia of Illyria
  • Frumentius of Hadrumetum

Sunday, March 13, 2016

March 15-21

Pretty big week. We’ve got St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary (and patron saint of confectioners to boot) and St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland (and also against ophidiophobia – look it up!).


#10  Herbert of Derwentwater (Mar 20)

I always get this guy confused with Derwent of Herbertwater.

Hard to believe, but Derwentwater is an actual place. In fact, the author has been there. It’s one of the lakes in England’s beautiful Lake District.

Herbert lived on an island in the lake, now called St. Herbert’s Island. To survive, he caught fish from the lake and grew vegetables around his tiny cell. 


Pretty, init?

As you may well know, the Lake District is famous for its poets and writers. Not surprisingly, Wordsworth wrote a poem about Herbert ("For the Spot Where the Hermitage Stood on St. Herbert's Island, Derwentwater"). And Beatrix Potter modeled Owl Island on St. Herbert’s.

Interestingly, Herbert was BFF with #1 for this week, St. Cuthbert.


#9  Narcissus of Girona (Mar 18)
Representation:  against mosquitoes

Think of Narcissus of Gerona as kind of a saintly bug-zapper …

Gerona is in Spain, and is where Narcissus was born. It’s also helpful in distinguishing him from Narcissi of Athens and Jerusalem. Our Narcissus would later move to Germany, where he would try to convert the pagan Germans. 

Okay, about the mosquitoes … Turns out one of Narcissus’s miracles was called the Miracle of the Flies, which goes something like this:

In 1286 the army of Philip II of Burgundy laid siege to the city of Gerona. When the troops tried to desecrate the tomb of Saint Narcissus, it broke open, a cloud of stinging flies emerged, chased the soldiers and caused so much havoc that the French troops fled, leaving the city in peace.  (catholicsaintsinfo.com)



#8  Gertrude of Nivelle (Mar 17)
Representation:  against fear of mice

Interestingly, catholicsaints.info has separate saints against fear of mice (Gertrude) and also just against mice:
  • Nicasius of Rheims
  • Servatus of Tongres
  • Ulric of Augsburg

So, I guess you’ve just got to think about it a little. Do you want to just get rid of the darn things? Or do you want to take a little time and work on your mice issues? 


Gertrude is actually quite the active patroness. Here’s the official list:
  • against fear of mice
  • against fear of rats
  • against fever
  • against insanity
  • against mental disorders
  • against mental illness
  • against mice
  • against rats
  • against suriphobia
  • cats
  • for accommodations
  • gardeners
  • hospitals
  • innkeepers
  • mentally ill people
  • pilgrims
  • poor people
  • prisoners
  • recently dead people
  • sick people
  • suriphobics
  • to obtain lodging while travelling
  • travelers
  • widows

I don’t have room to explain all of these here, so let me at least share the story behind the mice:

Offerings of gold and silver mice were left at her shrine in Cologne, Germany; mice represented souls in Purgatory, to whom she had a great devotion.  


#7  Aristobulos of Britannia  (Mar 15)

Rule Aristobulos, Aristobulos rules the waves … 

Aristobulos was the first bishop in Roman Britain and is generally recognized as the founder of Christianity there. He was also one of the Seventy Disciples, actual students of Jesus who He sent out into the world. Ari is also supposedly the brother of the apostle Barnabas and one of St. Paul’s travelling buddies as well. Finally, he married no less a celeb than Salome, the babe who danced for John the Baptist’s head. In other words, Aristobulos was quite the happenin’ guy.


#6  Serapion the Scholastic (Mar 21)

Not to be confused with Scholastic the Serapion …

Well, we all know what a “scholastic” is. Serapion’s not a name you hear every day though.

It actually means “bright,” or “solar,” and was quite a popular name … in, oh, 4th Century Egypt, say. Other Serapions include several additional saints, some early physicians, a couple of philosophers, and other assorted ancients.

Our Serapion was a monk, bishop (of the oddly but correctly spelled Thmuis), and writer. It sounds like he used his scholarly skills in a constant battle against Arianism, Manichaeism, and Macedonianism.


He’s also the subject of a cool painting by the Baroque Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbaran

Our guy is also known as Serapion of Arsinoc. Now, if only that had been Serapion the Arsinoc, or Serapion the Scholastic Arsonic, or …


#5  Abban of Kill-Abban (Mar 16)

No, this one has nothing to do with suicide. “Kill-Abban” basically means “church of Abban.” So, what we’ve got here then is something along the lines of Abban of Abban’s Church. Tad circular, if you ask me.

Abban was a contemporary of St. Patrick. He founded an abbey, a convent, and a number of churches. 

He also supposedly lived for 300 years, raised a cow from the dead, lit a candle with his breath, slew a dragon with the sign of the cross, and all sorts of other things saints don’t get up to so much these days.


It’s the first result on Google Images, but somehow I don’t think it has to do with him

Abban was also a man of many names, including:
  • Abban of Magheranoidhe
  • Abban of Murneave
  • Abban of Murnevin
  • Abbán moccu Corbmaic
  • Eibbán
  • Moabba

Speaking of names, Abban also had a sister with the lovely, lilting name of Gobnait (her feast day is Feb. 11).


#4  Anselm of Lucca, the Younger  (Mar 18)
Representation:  man standing in front of an army that is in confusion

And, yes, there is an Anselm of Lucca, the Elder. The latter would become a pope but, alas, not a saint.

Our Anselm was a 10th Century bishop, monk, and author. He was also involved in something called the Investiture Controversy (which actually kinda sounds like a Dan Brown novel)

As for his representation, it seems his prayers once routed the army of the evil Matilda of Tuscany. Unfortunately, I could not find any of those. In fact, I found plenty of pix of the much more well-known St. Anselm of Canterbury and also of the city of Lucca, but next to nothing for our Anselm .  


#3  Frigidian of Lucca (Mar 18)

Patron saint of refrigerator repairmen?

Hmm … probably not. In fact, the name may have nothing to do with the Latin word for “cold” (though that is one theory). Other theories include a derivation from a Germanic word for “peace,” frid, as well as its being a Latinate version of the Irish name Finbarr.

In support of the Germanic theory, some alternate spellings of the name include Fridianus and Frediano. As for the Irish hypothesis, the guy was originally from the Emerald Isle.


Probably not the same guy (but thanks anyway, Google Images)

Further bio material tells us that the Fridge (my nickname for him) may have been a prince. We also know that he would later move to Italy (hence the Lucca), where he would become a hermit and a bishop. We’re talking the 6th Century here.


#2  Edward the Martyr (Mar 18)
Representation:  king on horseback, drinking mead, while assassins move toward him

… light clouds, temperature in the 70s, medium to high humidity …

Pretty major dude here. First of all, he was a king of England. He was also quite a popular saint during the Middle Ages. 

As for the representation … Yup, that’s pretty much how it happened. Turns out Edward, who was only 17, was simply an innocent victim of the dynastic machinations of Anglo-Saxon England. 

By the way, don’t get this guy confused with Edward the Confessor, another saint and English king (but not a martyr).
 

Martyr on the left, Confessor on the right


#1  Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (Mar 20)
Representation:  man rebuking crows

“So, you call yourselves crows? Why, you’re not crows! I’ve seen better crows in …”

Cuthbert continues our English theme. He was, in fact, BFF with #10 on this list, Herbert of Derwentwater. Cuthbert is actually pretty much the patron saint for the north of England. I actually have ancestors (recusant Catholics) who went by this name. Glad no one gave it to me though.

Cuthbert was a monk, bishop, and miracle worker. He was active during the 7th Century.


He’s also a character, known as “Cuthbert the Cudgel,” in Dungeons & Dragons

I’m not totally sure where the crows come from. I do know that this guy was a man of many representations, including:
  • Eagles
  • Bishop accompanied by swans and otters
  • Bishop holding the crowned head of Saint Oswald
  • Hermit with tau staff being fed by an eagle
  • Incorrupt body being found with a chalice on his breast
  • Man praying by the sea
  • Man rebuilding a hut and driving out devils
  • Man tended by eagles
  • Man tended by swans
  • Man tended by sea otters
  • Man with a Benedictine monk kissing his feet
  • Man with pillars of light above him


Honorable Mention
  • Egbert of Ripon
  • Urbitius of Metz
  • Withburga of Dereham
  • Eucarpius of Nicomedia
  • Amantius of Wintershoven 
  • Francis of Fermo
  • Lactali of Freshford 
  • Corbasius of Quimperle 
  • Speciosus 
  • Cyril of Syria

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March 8-14

Another boring Lenten week. Some saints whose feast days you may have heard of this week include Perpetua and Felicity, John of God, and Frances of Rome (see below for that last one).


#10  Kessog (Mar 10)

No, this one is not spelled backwards.  (That would give us Gossek, which is hardly an improvement.)


Kessog was an Irish missionary to Scotland. He was their patron saint before they threw him over for Andrew. The Scots have named churches, a village, a hill, a bridge, and an oil field after him.


#9  Dominic Savio (Mar 9)
Patronage:  juvenile delinquents

If only I would have known about this guy when I was in high school …


I’m not totally sure about this one though. He sounds like a real goody two shoes. For example:

He used to help his mother around the house, welcome his father home, say his prayers without being reminded (even reminding others when they forgot), and say Grace at mealtimes unfailingly. He would always pray before meals and when guests came and ate without praying, he would leave the table and go to a corner. Later when his mother would come to him he would say, “I refuse to eat at the table with animals."

Dominic refused to go swimming with his friends since Dominic considered that, in such a situation, it would be "also easy to offend God.” He believed that on a previous occasion his friends behaved in what was to him a vulgar manner. (Wikipedia)

Dominic was only 14 when he died, of pleurisy. He is the youngest saint who was not also a martyr. Dominic was a pupil of St. John Bosco, which probably helped a little in those canonization efforts.


#8  Frances of Rome (Mar 9)
Patronage:  Roman housewives

Forget it, working girls of Rome. No can do, housewives of Milan. Frances is very particular in her patronage.


From this awesome site

Frances represents an interesting combination of the secular and religious life. On the one hand, she married and had a family. On the other, she helped the poor & sick, founded a community (the snappily named Olivetan Oblates of Mary), had visions, and performed miracles.

In addition to Roman housewives, Frances is also the patron saint of widows, lay people, and motorists. That last one has something to do with a story of Frances’s guardian angel going ahead of her with a lantern when Frances travelled at night. Some parishes actually celebrate a Blessing of the Cars on Frances’s feast day.


#7  Ansovinus of Camerino (Mar 13)

I just like the sound of this one. Go ahead, say it aloud. See!

Ansovinus was a 9th Century Italian bishop. He was also both a hermit and a counsellor to the Holy Roman Emperor.  So, I guess he’s got both ends of the worldliness spectrum covered.

Interestingly, he’s the patron saint of gardeners, and is also invoked for the protection of crops. And those two have something to do with his ability to feed the poor (though, honestly, I couldn’t follow it all).


It is the fourth result on Google Images, but somehow I don’t think it’s him


#6  Aengus the Culdee (Mar 11)

Whatever that is …

Actually, it’s Irish for “servant of God.” It was typically applied to hermits of that time (oh, say, the 9th Century). The Culdees later became an actual monastic order.

In addition to being a Culdee, Aengus was also a bishop and author. His books were martyrologies, compilations of the lives of martyrs and saints, based on their feast days (kinda like this blog!). Aengus’s martyrologies focused on early Irish saints. He’s also known as Aengus of Tallaght, or Oengus, or Óengus mac Óengobann, or …

For some reason, spell check wants me to change his title to “Cudlee.” Whatever that is …


#5  Bruno of Querfurt (Mar 9)

Bruno of Querfort is known as the “Second Apostle to the Prussians.” Who was the first? I haven’t a clue.

Actually, it was Adalbert of Prague. Everybody knows that.

Anyway, Bruno was a German lad with some major connections (Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, anyone?). After meeting Adalbert and then writing a biography of him, Bruno went to Prussia to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately, that also included getting his head chopped off.

Not sure who the “Third Apostle to the Prussians” was.



#4  Pionius (Mar 11)

Another fun one to say.  Especially if it’s pronounced “pie-OH-nee-us.” But then again, it probably is not.

Pionius was basically just a martyr in 3rd Century Smyrna. For some unknown reason, you can find quite detailed accounts of his martyrdom all over the Interwebs. 


This poor fellow was named after him

Pionius was also the author of a life of another early martyr, St. Polycarp. In fact, you can find a Kindle edition of that ancient tome right here.


#3  Wirnto of Formbach (Mar 10)

Benedictine monk and abbot in Germany around the year 1100.  He was also a healer and miracle worker. Great name too, by the way.

Sorry, not a lot out there on him that isn’t auf Deutsch. Which, of course, does lead us to some great translations though:

Wirnto was a Benedictine monastery in St. Blaise in the Black Forest, then prior in Göttweig in Austria. 1107 he was sent to Garsten called Abt 1108 in the monastery in the form Bach / Vornbach , which was in 1094 by Count Ekbert I and his family founded and settled by Benedictine monks from Göttweig.

And here’s something from Norwegian that didn’t quite make it through all the way:

Among the characteristic features were severe austerities and botspraksis independent abbedvalg and directly under position during Rome (Exemption from Episcopate), prohibiting the sale of clergy (simony) and fattigforsorg.


#2  Theophanes the Chronographer (Mar 12)

This one translates literally as “Manifestation of God , the Time Writer.”

Actually, a chronographer is really just a fancy term for a historian. Theophanes here wrote about the period from 284 to 813.

And here’s what else we know about him:
  • Was trained at the Byzantine court
  • Got married
  • Founded a couple of monasteries
  • Was tortured and exiled by Leo the Armenian

Surprisingly, there are a fair number of Theopaneses (sp?) out there. I also see “of Nicaea,” “the Greek,” “the Confessor,” and “the Cretan.” You know, that last one would have sounded so much better if they’d only said “of Crete.”



#1  Matilda of Saxony (Mar 14)
Representation:  queen with a whip

Patron saint of S&M enthusiasts, I hear …

Sorry about that. Matilda was actually a queen of Germany, the wife of Henry I (AKA “The Fowler”). She would give Henry quite a famous brood, including:
  • Otto I, Emperor of Germany
  • Henry the Quarrelsome, Duke of Bavaria
  • St. Bruno, archbishop of Cologne
  • Gerberga, a queen of France
  • Hedwig, another queen of France

Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of infighting among the siblings, with Otto pitted against Henry, Otto and Henry against Matilda, Henry against Otto, Matilda against Henry…

A bone of contention between Matilda and her two boys was the fact that she was so generous in almsgiving that she threatened to bankrupt the country. She also threw the royal money around building churches, monasteries, convents, and other religious stuff as well.

Not too surprisingly, Matilda is the patron saint of “disappointing children.”


Don’t confuse her with this Matilda of Saxony though 
(daughter of King Henry II of England, married to Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and not a saint)


Honorable Mention
  • Bosa of York
  • Senan of Scattery
  • Heiu of Hartlepool
  • Almut of Wetter
  • Droctoveus of Paris
  • Alphege the Bald
  • Beatrix of Engelport
  • Fechno (hopefully rhymes with “techno”)
  • Zosimus of Carthage
  • Humphrey of Prum

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March 1-7

It’s been a quiet week in the Catholic liturgical calendar. Except for Katherine Drexel (an American saint) and Casimir (the patron saint of Poland), it’s basically just another bunch of Lenten weekdays.


#10  Cunegundes (Mar 3)

So, the first thing you need to know is that Cunegundes was a woman. Now, why anyone would want to name their daughter something like that is totally beyond me.

Cunegundes was a royal, the daughter of the Duke of Luxembourg. She would later marry Henry, Duke of Bavaria. When he ascended the throne as Holy Roman Emperor, Cunegundes would become Empress.


After Henry passed away, Cunegundes would give it all up for a cloister of Benedictine nuns. She would die there, 15 years later, in the year 1040.


#9  Non (Mar 3)

Non, the saint who wasn’t there ….

Non was the mother of St. David, the patron saint of Wales. Interestingly, David was actually the product of a rape, with Non being otherwise a virgin. There is a well dedicated to her where the insane are traditionally brought. She’s also called Nonna and Nonita.

Would it surprise you if a Google search for “st non” also brought up the following:

  • Non Stop Flights from St. Louis - Funjet Vacations
  • Non-Credit Courses - St. Charles Community College
  • St. Paul Police: Got a non-emergency problem? 
  • Sea Palms 403, 45th St - non group rental
  • Antithrombotic therapy for non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes



Alright, how about this one then?

#8  Chad of Mercia (Mar 2)

Yes, Virginia, there really is a St. Chad.

I always pictured this guy with a tan and shaggy blonde hair, probably the patron saint of surfers or something like that.


Yup, that’s him!

Actually, Chad was a 7th Century Anglo-Saxon abbot, bishop, and miracle worker, originally from Ireland. He had an equally famous saintly brother named Cedd.

There’s quite a lengthy article on Chad on Wikipedia. The following subtitles from that article struck me as rather funny taken together and wholly out of context.

  • The Rise of Cedd
  • The Mission of Wilfrid
  • The Elevation of Chad
  • The Removal of Chad
  • The Recall of Chad


#7  Drausinus of Soissons (Mar 7)
Patronage:  against invincible people

Oh, “invincible”! I thought for sure you said “invisible.”

Drausinus was a bishop in 7th Century France. According to catholicsaints.info:


Medieval legend says that to spend the night at Drausinus’ tomb made one invincible; whole platoons of soldiers used to camp out at the tomb the night before a battle….. Thomas Becket visited the tomb before returning to the treachery he knew awaited him at home.

Hmm, guess it didn’t work for everybody.

And here's my buddy Alessandro's take on Drausinus.


Continuing our beer theme …


#6  Fridolin Vandreren of Säckingen (Mar 6)
Representation:  abbot leading a skeleton by the hand

Can’t decide which is better, the name or the representation.

Fridolin was a 6th Century Irish saint who went to Germany to convert the then-pagan Germans. Catholicsaints.info adds the interesting note that “many thought he was a roaming cattle thief, and chased him away.”

The skeleton? According to “pious legend,” Fridolin once brought someone back to life so he could appear in a court case Fridolin was involved in.


If it would please the court …


#5  Adrian of Nicomedia (Mar 4)
Patronage:  arms dealers

Well, I guess even arms dealers need a little lovin’.

Adrian was an imperial guard who converted to Christianity, then paid the inevitable price. He was martyred with his wife, Natalia.

Supposedly, Adrian was in charge of torturing Christians. The courage that his victims showed, however, made him turn tables. His wife was purportedly apprehended when she snuck into prison dressed as a man to seek Adrian’s blessing (though there are other stories as well).


A modern interpretation

The arms dealers? Well, he was a soldier. He’s also a patron saint for them, as well as for prison guards and butchers, and against plague too. Adrian’s popular enough to have his own medals.


#4  Marie-Louise-Élisabeth de Lamoignon de Dolé de Champlâtreux (Mar 4)

This has got to be a record, right? I mean, we’re talking 50 whole characters here.

MLELDC (for short) was a widow who founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis (“for the education of poor and abandoned girls”). And, no, she is not from Missouri. She lived in France, from 1763 to 1825.

The long name? Well, she was a countess.


Mme. La Comtesse
(not your typical holy card)


#3  Chrodegang of Metz (Mar 6)

Thankfully, Chrodegang is indeed a guy.

He was the Frankish bishop of Metz (bit of a tongue twister that), in the 700s. At the same time, he was also secretary, chancellor, and prime minister for Charles Martel, one of the early Frankish rulers. Talk about serving two masters …


French religious comic books – who woulda thunk it?

He’s one of those early saints whose name nobody seemed to be able to agree on. I’ve got him down for no less than 18 variations (which might just be a record):

  • Chrodegang
  • Chrodegangus
  • Grodegandus
  • Grodegangus
  • Grodogangus
  • Chrodogandus
  • Krodegandus
  • Chrodegrangus
  • Chrotgangus
  • Ruotgangus
  • Droctegangus
  • Chrodegand
  • Sirigangus
  • Godegrand
  • Gundigran
  • Ratgang
  • Rodigang
  • Sirigang

Personally, I don’t think you can beat Ratgang.


#2  Quintus the Thaumaturge (Mar 2)

Alright, first of all, a “thaumaturge” is simply a wonder, or miracle, worker. It’s basically Greek for “marvel maker.” The term applies to magicians as well. 

Our guy is also known as Quintus of Phyrigia. He converted to Christianity in the 300s, dedicated himself to the care of the poor, and was subsequently tortured (but not martyred) for his efforts. 


#1  Swithbert (Mar 1)

I can’t remember – is this Dilbert’s dog? Goldfish? Burmese python?

Nah, he’s Swithbert, “Apostle of the Frisians.” You might also know him as Swithbert of Kaiserwerdt, Suitbert, Suidbert, Suitbertus, and Swidbert.

Who were/are the Frisians? They’re the people who live in the islands at very north part of the Netherlands. And Swithbert converted them!


Honestly, I have no idea
(but you can find this on Vine)

Swithbert’s tale includes some other great names as well – Egbert, Withbert, Wilfred, Willibrord, Rathbod, and Pepin of Heristal.


Honorable Mention

  • Paul the Simple
  • Theophlyact
  • Seth the Patriarch
  • Winwallus of Landevennec
  • Cynibild
  • Cheledonius of Calahorra
  • Reinhard of Reinhausen
  • Mieczyslaw Bohatkiewicz
  • Deifer of Bodfari
  • Cele-Christ