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

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

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