Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 22-31

Fairly big week this time … In addition to some pretty heavy hitters saint-wise – Augustine, Phillip Neri, Rita of Cascia – we’ve also got the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That’s where the pregnant Mary visited her pregnant kinswoman Elizabeth, with both Elizabeth and her in-utero son (John the Baptist) recognizing Mary’s baby as divine.

#10  Maximinus of Trier (May 29)
Representation:  bishop with bear

There’s a story behind this one, I just know it.

Maximinus was a 4th Century bishop of the German city of Trier. He spent most of his time attending synods and fighting Arianism. He’s often confused with Maximinus of Aix (try not to get your Maximini confused, okay?).

The story? I’m afraid I couldn’t find much. What I did find merely mentioned that the bear carried Maximinus’s backpack on his many travels.

#9  Bona of Pisa (May 29)
Patronage:  flight attendants

Well, it is nice to see some patrons for some more modern occupations – I mean, compared to all those for lighthouse keepers, barrel makers, and corn chandlers out there.

Bona’s patronage is well earned. She made a name for herself leading pilgrimages along the Camino di Santiago, completing no less than ten trips. Prior to that, she had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, visiting her father the crusader along the way, then being captured  by Muslim pirates on her return trip.

Though she lived in the 12th and 13th Centuries, she was only canonized in 1962.

#8  Walstan of Bawsburgh
Representation:  man with two calves

You know, I have two calves. In fact, I would imagine everyone has two calves. I mean, if they have two legs, that is. What’s so special about that? What? Oh, those kinds of calves? Never mind.

Though a noble and related to the English king, Walstan left home to work as a farm laborer. In general, he also took the hardest and dirtiest jobs. In addition, he tended to give away whatever worldly goods came his way, and generally led a life of extreme denial and piety. Not too surprisingly, he had quite a devotion among the farming community and is today a patron saint of farmers and farm workers. 

The calves? Oh, yeah … Here’s the story from

One of his employers liked him so much that he wanted to make Walstan an heir, but the young man declined, asking only for a pregnant cow. Legend says that the cow had twins, and when Walstan died while working in the fields, the calves carried his body to Bawburgh church, passing through solid walls to leave the body at the altar

#7  Ferdinand III of Castile
Patronage:  authorities

Well, I guess even authorities need a patron.

And Ferdinand was indeed that – an authority, I mean. He was, in fact, a king. Of … wait for it … Castile!

On the face of it, though, Ferdinand doesn’t sound all that saintly. I mean, the guy had two wives and 13 children, and spent a good deal of time killing Muslims. He was also, however, very devout, as well as the builder of numerous churches, hospitals, and monasteries.

Yes, that is an ice skating rink behind Ferdinand (I’m afraid, though I don’t know anything else about this totally random picture I found on the Internet unfortunately)

In addition to authorities, Ferdinand’s also the patron saint of:
  • Rulers
  • Governors
  • Magistrates
  • The Spanish monarchy
  • Seville, Spain
  • Large families
  • Parenthood
  • Paupers
  • Poor people
  • Prisoners
  • Engineers

#6  Nowa Mawaggali (May 31)

No, I didn’t just put my elbow on the keyboard. That’s actually the guy’s name.

Nowa was an African convert who lived  in the 19th Century. He’s one of the Martyrs of Uganda. Others include the equally fantastically named:
  • Gonzaga Gonza
  • Achilles Kiwanuka 
  • Pontian Ngondwe
  • Luke Banabakintu 
  • Mukasa Kiriwawanvu
  • Joseph M. Balikuddembe
  • Denis Ssebuggwawo
  • James Buzaalilyawo
  • Anatoli Kiriggwajjo
  • Bruno Sserunkuuma
  • Athanasius Bazzekuketta

Nowa (who is also known as Noah and Noe) seemed to have had a particularly gruesome martyrdom. According to, he was “stabbed with a spear and torn apart by wild dogs.”

#5  Mechtildis of Edelstetten (May 31)

Ow! I think I just hurt my mouth trying to pronounce this one.

And, yes, Mechtildis is indeed German. I’ll bet you had no idea, though, that Mechtildis was also female. Indeed, it’s not the prettiest name I’ve ever heard.

Not much out there Mechtildis, I’m afraid, so I’ll just repeat what Wikipedia has to say on her:

Mechtildis was Benedictine abbess and renowned miracle worker. Mechtildis was the daughter of Count Berthold of Andechs, whose wife, Sophie, founded a monastery on their estate at Diessen, Bavaria, and placed their daughter there at the age of five …

Count? Andechs!? Diessen?!  Ohmigod! Is she related to Rasso of Grafrath

Indeed she is. Only about 200 years separates them. What a small, saintly world.

#4  Petronilla of Rome (May 31)
Patronage:  treaties between Popes and Frankish emperors

And the award for most obscure patronage goes to …

Petronilla was one of the earlier saints. In fact, there is a tradition that she was the daughter (spiritual or otherwise) of St. Peter himself. The little we truly know about her was that she was what the Catholic Church calls a “virgin martyr” and lived in the very earliest days of the church.

Interestingly, however, her actual tomb was found and positively identified. Her remains were later transferred to St. Peter’s, where there is a small chapel dedicated to her.

I’m sorry, but I have no idea why she appears to be 8 feet tall in this shot

That peculiar patronage? Wikipedia fills us in here:

Her association with the French crown stems from the fact that Charlemagne and Carloman were considered Saint Peter's adopted sons after 800. Petronilla, as the supposed daughter of Peter, became their patroness and of the treaties concluded between the Holy See and the Frankish emperors.

#3  Quadratus the Apologist (May 26)

Not to be confused with Quadratus the Equation …

Sorry about that. Okay, so Quadratus was another early saint. In fact, he was one of the disciples of the Apostles, and also penned the first apology for Christianity. If that last one sounds funny, you probably didn’t know that an alternate definition of “apology” is “a defense, excuse, or justification in speech or writing, as for a cause or doctrine” ( Quadratus was Greek, and was also one of the first bishops of Athens.

Interestingly, when I searched for this fellow, Google suggested quadratus lumborum, quadratus femoris, and quadratus plantae – all muscles. Quadratus is actually Latin, is the perfect passive participle of quadro, and basically means “made square.”

#2  Euphrosyne of Polotsk (May 23)

Now, Anne of Polotsk probably wouldn’t have made this list. And, Euphrosyne of Rome, say, probably wouldn’t have either. But put ‘em together? Wow!

Euphrosyne was a Belarussian princess who lived in the 12th Century. She became a nun and founded a convent, a monastery, and a couple of churches. She died on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

To return to our funny name theme, Euphrosyne was born Pradslava, and is also known as Efrasinnia, Efrosin, Euphrasinne, Evfrosinia and Yefrasinnya. 

#1  Bobo of Provence (May 22)

Another warrior saint, Bobo fought those pesky Muslims in France, during the 10th Century. According to Wikipedia, however, he also “had a mystical experience [during a battle] and vowed, if victorious, to renounce war and become a pilgrim devoted to the care of orphans and widows.” 

Not sure whether that actually happened or not, as all I could find about his later life was that he became a hermit and died on a pilgrimage to Rome. For some reason I could not uncover, he’s associated with cattle.

Bobo’s of … 

Bobo is also known as Beuvon, Beuve, Bobon,  Bovo, and Bobone. Well, I guess those are a little better.

Honorable Mention

These are so good this week, I had to do 12.
  • Acculus of Alexandria
  • Maria Rita Lopes Pontes de Souza Brito (32 letters!)
  • Zota (4!)
  • Epitacius of Tuy
  • Eutychius of Valcastoria
  • Egilhard of Cornelimünster
  • Berengar of Saint-Papoul
  • Felicissimus of Todi
  • Fugatius the Missionary
  • Eutropius of Orange
  • Lupo of Limoges
  • Fulk of Castrofurli

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