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

1 comment:

  1. The saints that I selected for my Everyman series didn't come from their patronage, but rather my interpretation of stories from Butler's Lives of the Saints. Two things led to the St Frances of Rome print- a quote in the book ("sometimes [a married woman] must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housekeeping"), and the fact that my landlord at the time had one of these cast iron Kirby vacuum cleaners for his tenants to use. Seemed very appropriate. Colors are based on the living room of the house I grew up in. The page where you found it also includes St Olga who, before her conversion, had many of her enemies tortured and executed. We all have the potential to improve.

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