Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 22-30

We have a couple of solemnities this week, the birth of John the Baptist and Ss. Peter and Paul. A solemnity is basically as special as you can get without actually being a holy day of obligation.

#10  Basilides of Alexandria (June 30)
Patronage:  Italian prison guards

So, there’s a guy out there for French prison guards as well? How about Portuguese? Belgian? Lithuanian?

Basilides was a Roman soldier, and a guard for the prefect of Egypt. As such, he participated in the martyrdom of Potomiana, a pious, young virgin. He seems to have gone out of his way to be nice to her, and she repaid him by promising to pray for him in heaven. Sure enough, Basilides then had visions of her, converted to Christianity, and became a martyr himself.

By the way, don’t get this guy confused with Basilides of Alexandria the Gnostic philosopher. I know, I know, happens to us all. 

Or with this character, from a video game
(Corporation: Sky Crawlers / Alliance: Gorgon Spawn)

#9  William of Vercelli (June 25)
Representation:  abbot near a wolf wearing a saddle

Hey, where’s the saddle?

I can’t tell if this is a prayer card or a Surrealist painting.

William was active around the year 1100, and was a hermit, pilgrim, founder (of numerous monasteries and of an order called the Williamites), and miracle worker.

That crazy representation? I’ll let explain:

Legend says that William began mining the stone and digging the foundations for the church on Montevergine [he’s also known as William of Montevergine] when his only companion and helper was a single donkey. One evening, a wolf charged from the forest, killed and ate the donkey. William ordered the wolf to take the donkey’s place. The wolf, understanding that he had interrupted God‘s work, bowed his head, and began hauling the loads of stone. Tradition says that the same wolf still prowls the mountain, ready to help those who are in danger and call upon the name of the Virgin Mary

#8  Etheldreda of Ely (June 23)

Not to be confused with Eli of Etheldreda …

Etheldreda just so happened to be a real, live princess – of the kingdom of East Anglia. She, in turn, was betrothed to Ecgfrith, King of Northumbria, which would make her a real, live queen as well.

When Ecgfrith died, Etheldreda retired to Ely, an island in her home kingdom. There, she would build an abbey, whose marvelous cathedral is still around today.

“Crowds watch the story of Ely's foundress St Etheldreda told in drama and music.”
(from the Ely Standard)

Etheldreda is also known as the rather wild Æthelthryth, as well as the much more everday Audrey. Bet you didn’t know, though, that that last moniker is where the term “tawdry” comes from. 

Turns out there was a fair – called St. Audrey’s fair – near a church dedicated to her in London, that was well known for the cheapness of the goods sold there. In particular, this was applied to lace, which was known as “St. Audrey’s lace,” which would eventually drop the two S’s and end up as “tawdry.” It’s a crazy story, but it’s true!

#7  Toma Toan (June 27)

This gentleman is a little on the obscure side. In fact, I had to translate several pages from Vietnamese to learn all that much about him. Here, for example, is what one page had to say about his martyrdom:

On 09:05, before dealing slashing Joseph Hien, math teacher was taken to court with the father. After two diamond inclination not step on the Cross, the mahout for two elephants herded to the back gore bucket two. The maths teacher and father calmly avoided Shows aside, definitely not step over the Cross. Trinh Quang Khanh transmission angry old teacher in prison, and ordered the priest brought out the processor cutting measures immediately.

One day facetious officer told soldiers: "Directions to here for its aging Math Cross crossed, lest they forget." But he was disappointed, the soldiers this time brave faith strangely, despite severe torture, teachers have an allegiance to Christianity. After a great thrashing dead soldiers dragged through the Cross stepped teacher, teacher dress kneeling down uninterrupted reading up act of contrition, the teacher angrily to detention elsewhere, began fasting, fasting, thirst, and detailed presentation soldier wanted Game operator chooses suffering.

The soldiers are immediately stripped teachers, forcing two small cross on two feet, catching the sun for 13 days not eating anything. Meanwhile, we gathered around teacher tease: pen beard hair pulling, pinching the ear, nose claws ... When finally found him fall into extreme poverty, who faints, the Trinh Quang Khanh conspiracy to move a tray of rice wine delicious meat and said, "Eat it, then walked through the Cross". But the hero of faith would rather starve than to recant their religion teacher said: "If teachers have to produce food that I never ate." I.e., his opinion incarcerated, arrested teachers fasted for five days, died in prison. There is a guard named Detective pity, covertly supplied slightly, but he was detected and the sanctions.

In case you had a little trouble following that, I was able to cobble together from other sources that Toma was basically a lay martyr in Vietnam during the 19th Century.

#6  Nicetas of Remesiana (June 22)

Remesiana? You might know it as the present-day Bela Palanka. You know, in the Pirot District of modern Serbia? In the former Dacea-Mediterranea? Ah, never mind …

Nicetas was a bishop (of Remesiana no less), as well as a missionary, writer, and hymnographer. That last one simply means that Nicetas was a writer of hymns. In fact, he may have been the author of the famous Te Deum. 

Oddly, Nicetas is also the patron saint of Romania. I mean, everyone knows Remesiana is nowhere near there, right?

Looks like he also got himself on an Albanian stamp somehow or other

#5  Febronia of Nisibis (June 25)

Nisibis? Well, you might know it better as Nusaybin. You know, right on the border between Turkey and Syria? In Nardin Province? Ah …

Poor Febronia was one of the many victims of Diocletian, the Roman emperor who definitely had a thing against Christians. A nun, she suffered a particularly gruesome martyrdom (I’ll spare you the details). 

Febronia’s main claim to fame may be being one of the 140 saints in the colonnade that surrounds St. Peter’s, in Rome. That said, she also has a whole website devoted to her (BTW, it helps if you parla Italiano).

#4  Phanxico Do Van Chieu (June 25) 

Well, we’re back to good old Vietnam for this one.

To tell you the truth, Phanxico’s story sounds a lot like Toma Toan. Layman? Check. 19th Century? Check. Martyr under the wonderfully named Minh Mang? Check. Canonized by JP II? Check.

The only real differences seem to be the way they were martyred. As you can possibly tell from #7, Toma was starved to death. Phanxico, on the other head, got his head lopped off.

And here’s what Google Translate had to say about this guy:

The most memorable image of the martyrdom of the Franciscan catechist is a prime Chieu bloody level of teachers, after leaving the neck, was Bishop Ming received, respectfully rises like pure devotion gifts to God. Both measures were ecstatic silence in moments of incomparable sacred, the moment crystallized whole life of a child of God. Master Chieu has mixed his blood with the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary, and now joyfully return to the warm embrace of the Father from loving quiet

By the way, Phanxico seems to be a Vietnamese form of Francis.

#3  Hemma of Gurk (June 29)

You might know her better as Emma. Which is much more familiar and pleasant-sounding, don’t you think?

I’m afraid I can’t do anything about Gurk, unfortunately. It’s a small town in Austria, was named after the local river, and has gone by the same name for more than 1000 years.

As for [H]emma herself, she was a noblewoman who, after become a widow, founded 10 churches and the abbey at Gurk. The abbey, where Hemma/Emma is buried, is a very popular pilgrimage site.
Available on Etsy

#2  Vasyl Vsevolod Velychkovskyi (June 30)

Vvvvvvv ….

Vasyl, also known as Basil, happens to be a much more modern saint. Born in 1903 in Ukraine, he was ordained as a priest in 1929. 

Arrested twice by the Soviet authorities, he spent considerable time in the Gulag. With his health broken, though, he was exiled to Canada, where he died and is buried.

By the way, two things I need to point out about Vasyl:
  • He was Greek Catholic (they recognize the pope too, by the way)
  • He’s really just a beatus (i.e., known as Blessed, and still one step away from sainthood)

#1  Moloc of Mortlach (June 25)

I’m pretty sure this guy is an evil troll in some video game somewhere.

I might have never have guessed it, but Moloc was actually Irish. He lived in the 6th Century, and is known mostly as a missionary to Scotland, where he is buried. Moloc was also a student of Comgall, whose praises I have already sung in this blog. 

Now, here’s the fun thing about this guy … He has no less than 15 other alternate names:
  • Lua
  • Luan
  • Luanus
  • Lugaid of Les Mór
  • Lugaidh
  • Lugide Lis Moer
  • Luoch
  • Mallock
  • Molaug
  • Molluog
  • Moloag
  • Molua
  • Moluag
  • Murlach
  • Malew
That may be a record.

Honorable Mention
  • Bilio of Vannes
  • Hidulphus of Hainault
  • Moelial of Nendrum
  • Amphibalus of Verulam
  • Erembert I of Kremsmünster
  • Crummine
  • Henry the Hagiographer
  • Theodgar of Vestervig
  • Perseveranda of Poitiers
  • Ioannes Baptista Wu Mantang

Thursday, June 16, 2016

June 15-21

Pretty sleepy week. The only major saint this week is Aloysius Gonzaga, founder of the Jesuits. When I attend daily mass, the church I typically go to is run by the Jesuits, so I’m sure they’ll definitely be into that.

#10  Landelin of Crespin (June 15)

I’m kind of surprised Landelin isn’t the patron saint of highway robbers. He was, in fact, one of them.

Though born a nobleman and brought up to be a priest, Landelin opted for a life of crime instead. His personal conversion experience came after witnessing the death of one of his co-conspirators. After 6 years of strict penance, he then became a priest, made several pilgrimages to Rome, and eventually founded several monasteries.

Order yours right here

Oh, by the way … Make sure you don’t get this guy confused with Landelin of Ettenheimmünster, ‘kay?

#9  Leutfridus (June 21)

Leutfridus lived in 8th Century France, and was, in turn, a monk, a hermit, and an abbot.

Sounds like he was a tad on the severe side, as witnessed by these stories I found on the Interwebs:

One day a lady began to ridicule Saint Leutfridus for being bald. The saint replied: “Why do you poke fun at my natural defect? From now on, you will have no more hair on your head than I have on my forehead, and neither will your descendants.”   

Coming across a man working in a field one Sunday, Saint Leutfridus raised his eyes to Heaven and prayed: “Lord, make this land eternally sterile.” From then on, neither grain nor wheat was ever seen in the field again. In its place, there were only thorns and thistles.  

When one of his monks died, his brothers found three coins in his pocket. This showed that the deceased had violated his vow of poverty. Upon learning this, Saint Leutfridus ordered that his body be buried in profane ground.

Happily, Leutfridus wasn't shy giving it to Satan as well

#8  Protase (June 19)

Hey, isn’t this an antidepressant or something?

St. Protase comes from a very saintly family. Mum (Valeria), Dad (Vitalis), and brother (Gervase) are all saints as well.

The family lived (and were martyred) in Milan in the 2nd Century. The boys are patrons of the city and also of haymakers (the farm laborers, not the kind of punch), and are also invoked for the discovery of thieves. 

Like Medard, Protase and Gervase also function as something like saintly woodchucks. Yup, if it rains on their feast day, it’ll probably rain for another 40 days more.


#7  Lutgardis of Tongeren (June 16) 

Poor Lutgardis. She’s actually a girl. 

Lutgardis was born in what is now Belgium, in the late 12th Century. Things didn’t start out too saintly for her however. Unmarriageable because of a lost dowry, Lutgardis was shipped off to a convent. It was a common destination for “spinsters” back then (L was all of 12, BTW, when she joined), and could result in something resembling a girls’ dormitory.

At some point, though, Lutgardis got religion. In fact, she had visions, levitated, showed signs of stigmata, performed miracles, and prophesized. She was also the first to witness the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It’s one of the stronger of Catholic devotions, with the actual physical heart of Jesus symbolizing his love for humanity.

#6  Benno of Meissen (June16)
Representation:  bishop holding a fish with keys in its mouth

So, who comes up with these things, Salvador Dali?

Benno was an 11th Century German bishop. Historically, he’s mostly known for fighting with the Holy Roman Emperor, who had him dismissed and imprisoned. Benno would in turn retaliate by supporting one of the anti-popes. Benno’s canonization may have actually had more to do with the politics of the coming Reformation than any great saintly accomplishments on his part.

The fish? Supposedly, when the Emperor dismissed Benno, the keys to the local cathedral were thrown into the local river. A fisherman just so happened to catch the fish which had swallowed said keys, which he then presented to Benno. And that’s why Benno is one of 10 saints who are patrons for fishermen.

#5  Botolph of Ikanhoe (June 17)

This guy is also known as Botwolf of Thorney, which I like even better. He lived in England during the 600s, and is mostly known for founding a monastery (that’s where the Ikanhoe comes in, by the way).

The interesting thing about Botolph is the town that grew up around his monastery. Originally called Botulph’s Town, it would eventually become Botulphston, then Boston. That little town in the fens of East Anglia would then become the namesake of a much larger town in North America. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Botulph is patron saint for both.

#4  Vitus (June 15)
Patronage:  against oversleeping

Patron saint of teenagers and college students everywhere …

An early Roman convert and martyr, Vitus was a saint of many patronages. In addition to guarding against oversleeping, you can also count on him for assistance against:
  • Animal attacks
  • Dog bites
  • Snake bites
  • Wild beasts
  • Lightning
  • Storms
  • Epilepsy
  • Rheumatic chorea

And, yes, he is the guy behind the mysterious medieval ailment called St. Vitus Dance (that’s the last one in the list). This was a form of crowd mania that involved peasants – 1000s of them, in multiple countries, over multiple centuries – dancing until they dropped.

The oversleeping? Turns out Vitus was martyred by being thrown in boiling oil. For some reason, a rooster was thrown in with him. And everyone knows roosters are associated with getting up in the morning, so …

And here's my buddy Alessandro's take on this guy.

Poor guy is also the namesake of a doom metal band

#3  Alban of Mainz (June 21)
Patronage:  against gravel

I’m trying to picture the exact context in which this would be useful … 

Well, wouldn’t you know … It’s not that kind of gravel. In fact, “gravel” here is just an old-timey word for kidney stones. His patronage also includes hernia and epilepsy.

Alban, originally from Greece, was sent to Germany to convert the pagan tribes there. They paid him back by chopping off his head. And that’s what’s behind his typical representation, “holding his severed head.”

#2  Ranieri Scaccero (June 17)
Representation:  minstrel burning his instrument while raising his arms to God

Now I know where Jimi Hendrix got it from …

This is just such a great story, let me just quote straight from

Son of a wealthy merchant, [Ranieri] spent a wild and sinful youth as a wandering minstrel and musician, partying all night, sleeping by day if at all. One evening, while performing for a merry crowd in a castle, he met a holy man whose name has not come down to us. Ranieri felt drawn to the man, talked with him, and asked that the man pray for him. Whatever the man told him, Ranieri had a conversion experience, burned his fiddle, and gave up the life of a minstrel. 

Sex, drugs, and minstrelsy, eh?

If only I could have found that particular representation  :^(

#1  Cyriacus of Iconium (June 16)
Representation:  naked child mounted on a wild boar

Dali, right?  It’s him, right?  He’s the one who comes up with this stuff, right?

Actually, this is a pretty good story too, though with a much less happy ending:

When Cyriacus was a small child, his mother was sentenced to death at Tarsus during the persecutions of Diocletian. Cyriacus made a childish attack on Alexander, the sentencing magistrate, and announced that he was a Christian like his mother. The angry magistrate threw the child to the ground, smashing his skull and killing him instantly. 

As for the representation, it was actually from a dream of Charlemagne. I’ll leave it to once again:

Blessed Charlemagne dreamed he was saved from death by a wild boar during a hunt by the appearance of a child who promised to save him if Charlemagne would clothe him. The bishop of Nevers explained that the child was Cyriacus, and that he wanted the emperor to repair the roof of Saint Cyr’s cathedral. This led to the Cyriacus’ representation as a naked child riding a wild boar.

Honorable Mention
These are all so good, I had to up this list to 12.
  • Abgar V
  • Albertina Berkenbrock
  • Limbania
  • Isfrido of Ratzeburg
  • Zosimus of Umbria
  • Hilarion of Espalion 
  • Blasto of Rome
  • Rambold of Ratisbon
  • Calogerus of Fragalata
  • Deodatus of Jointures
  • Childomarca Fecamp
  • Cyriacus of Lower Moesia

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 8-14

It’s been a quiet week in the Catholic liturgical calendar. We do, though, have an apostle, Barnabas, as well as the much-invoked St. Anthony of Padua (see below for more on him).

#10  Henry the Shoemaker (June 9)

“Henry W. Shoemaker (1880–1958) was a prominent American folklorist, historian, diplomat, writer, publisher, and conservationist …” (Wikipedia)

Wait a minute. I think I might be off by a couple of hundred years or so here …

Not the right Henry

Sure enough, Henry the Shoemaker lived in France in the 17th Century. He helped found the Confraternity of Saints Crispin and Crispinian (the Freres Cordonniers), a lay society just for cobblers.

Interestingly, though, Henry is not a patron saint for people who make shoes. And that’s probably because he’s not a saint, but a mere Blessed. Actual patron saints include:
  • Peter the Apostle
  • Bartholomew the Apostle
  • Blaise
  • Maurus
  • Theobald Roggeri
  • Crispin
  • Crispinian
  • Erhard of Regensburg
  • Anianus of Alexandria
  • Homobonus

#9  Joseph the Hymnographer (Apr 3)

Geez, I don’t even know what a hymnographer is. 

Peace out, dude!

Luckily, though, Wiktionary is here to help us out:

Noun (plural hymnographers), 1) A writer whose subject is hymns. 2) A person who composes hymns.

Wikipedia calls him a “liturgical poet,” and notes that he was known as “the sweet-voiced nightingale of the Church.” Their article on him also uses the following really funny words:
  • Hagiograph
  • Triodion
  • Tetraodes
  • Menaion
  • Menologion
  • Kontakia
  • Hegoumenos
  • Anachorete
  • Sticherarion
  • Parakletike
  • Synaxarion
  • Pentekostarion
  • Hieromonk
  • Iconodule
  • Skeuphylax
Wow! I’ll have to remember these for my next Scrabble game. 

#8  Francisca de Paula de Jesus Isabel (June 14)

… that Jack built.

Oddly, this lady with the long name was much better known by the extremely short Nha Chica, which basically means “Aunt Francie.” She lived in Brazil, in the 19th Century. Poor and illiterate, she lived like a hermit but also helped build a church in the mining town of Baependi. She’s another Blessed, attaining that status only in 2013. I’m afraid there’s not a lot on her out there.

Though she is often portrayed with an umbrella, for some reason

#7  Theopista (June 14)

Now, a lot’s going to depend on what syllable gets the emphasis for this one. I’m assuming it’s the second, but the third would sure sound funnier.

Theopista was a Roman matron who was martyred with her family in the 3rd Century. And that’s about all we know about her.

#6  Odulf of Utrecht (June 12)

Continuing our theme of obscurity, I had to translate several pages from the German to find out much of anything about this guy. I did learn that he was Dutch and a Benedictine, and lived in the 9th Century. A missionary, he was known as the “Apostle of the Frisians.”

Kind of a boring picture too, I know

It does sound, though, like his relics at least might have had some interesting times. Originally deposited in a church in Friesland (a bunch of islands off the coast of northwest Germany), they were later stolen by some Viking pirates. Sold to an English bishop, they were deposited in an English abbey, from which another abbot tried – unsuccessfully – to steal them away

#5  Severinus of Septempeda (June 8)

Go ahead, say it three times fast.

Severinus is actually one of a pair of saintly brothers. Interestingly, though, his brother is known as Victorinus of Camerino. Here, let me explain …

The two had originally given away all their wealth and gone off into the countryside to become hermits. The pope, however, ordered them to become bishops, Severino in Septempeda and Victorinus in Camerino. 

Severino was so successful and popular that they named the town after him. So, don’t go looking for Septempeda on your AAA map of Italy. You should, however, be able to find a San Severino Marche.

#4  Tryphillius of Leucosia (June 13)

I’m pretty sure this is actually a medical term. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Johnson, but I’m afraid it looks like a tryphillius of the leucosia. You've got a couple of weeks tops.”

Tryphillius, educated as a lawyer, was a 4th Century convert to Christianity. He would later become bishop of Leucosia (modern Nicodemia), on the island of Cyprus, where he would later build a monastery.

#3  Medard of Noyon (June 8)
Representation: laughing aloud with his mouth wide open

Medard was actually a saint of many representations. Others include:
  • Holding a citadel
  • With two horses at his feet
  • Leaving footprints in stone
  • Being sheltered from rain by an eagle or other large bird

Some of these are behind his many patronages, which include:
  • Against bad weather
  • For good harvests
  • For good weather
  • For rain
  • Against toothache
  • Against imprisonment
  • Prisoners
  • Captives
  • Imprisoned people
  • Peasants
  • Brewers
  • Vineyards
  • Against sterility
  • Mentally ill people
Those ones relating to weather are behind Medard’s being a kind of saintly Punxsutawney Phil. According to, “Legend has it that if it rains on his feast day, the next 40 days will be wet; if the weather is good, the next 40 will be fine as well.” 

#2  Anthony of Padua (June 13)
Patronage: asses

Here’s hoping these are the animals, and not the people.

Man, this is one popular saint. has him down for no less than 58 different patronages. He’s particularly well-known for helping people find lost articles, but those 58 also include:
  • Mail
  • Lower animals
  • Boatmen
  • Travel hostesses
  • Swineherds

How did he get so popular? Anthony started out as a young nobleman, but gave it all up to become a poor Franciscan. Seemingly as humble as St. Francis himself, Anthony may well have been happy just to attend mass and sweep out the local church. He was also a powerful speaker, however, so he ended up spending most of his time touring Europe preaching to the masses.

Contrary to popular belief, he was not a Neanderthal

#1  Bogumilus of Gniezno (June 10)

Just rolls right off the tongue …

In case you haven’t guessed already, Bogumilis was Polish. He lived in the 12th Century, and was a bishop. A bit on the strict side, he was actually forced out, retiring as a hermit.

This guy has a couple of interesting representations:
  • Having a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Holding a fish
  • Walking on the surface of a stream or river
Or any combination of the 3, I would imagine

By the way, Bogumilus is the Polish equivalent of Theophilus.

Honorable Mention
  • Davnet
  • Blitharius of Seganne
  • Faustina of Cyzicus
  • Salmodio
  • Felicula of Rome
  • Dogmael of Wales
  • Clodulf of Metz
  • Eustadiola of Moyen-Moutier
  • Fortunato of Fano
  • Fandilas of Penamelaria

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June 1-7

The theme for this week is hearts. On the 3rd, we’ve got the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And on the 4th, we’ve got the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Like I say, hearts.

#10  Hannibal Mary di Francia (June 1)

Girl? Guy? What?

It doesn’t happen much in English, but Mary is not an uncommon middle name for male Catholics. Just off the top of my head, I can think of French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, patron saint of Vienna Clemens Marie Hofbauer, and scientist Andre-Marie Ampere. And let’s not forget Pope Francis, who began life as Jorge Maria Bergoglio. 

You’ve got to admit, though, combining Mary with Hannibal is a tad odd. Hannibal’s not that unusual in Italy, though, where it’s typically rendered as Annibale.

Hannibal is one of our modern saints, passing away only in 1927. He was a pretty busy guy, starting a group of orphanages (the Anthonian Orphanages), a priestly order (The Rogationist Fathers), and an order of nuns (the Daughters of Divine Zeal). He was canonized in 2004.

#9  Maturus the Novice (June 2)

I guess this sounded better than Maturis the Rank Amateur …

Also, doesn’t the name kind of seem like a contradiction in terms? 

Not a lot on this guy, apart from a particularly gruesome martyrdom. Wikipedia states that he was “mauled by animals in 177 in the amphitheatre of Lugdunum.”

The “Novice” bit? It really just signifies that Maturus was a recent convert.

#8  Kevin of Glendalough (June 3)
Patronage: blackbirds

So, blackbirds have their own patron, huh? What do you suppose they pray to St. Kevin for? A safe migration? Glossy feathers? Extra grubs?

Kevin was a hermit who lived in 6th Century Ireland. The cave where he hung out – which you can still check out today – was called St. Kevin’s Bed. As happened to a lot of hermits in those days, he attracted a large number of acolytes and eventually founded a monastery. He lived to the ripe old age of 120.

Oops, wrong bed

Oh, the blackbirds? Turns out Kevin was quite the ascetic. One of his favorite things to do was to pray, on his knees with arms held hand out to his side, for hours on end. Legend has it that he was able to do this so still and for so long that a blackbird built a nest in one of his hands. 

#7  Clotilde (June 3)
Patronage: disappointing children

Not entirely sure who should be doing the praying here, the children or the parents?

Turns out it’s the parents. In Clotilde’s case, it sounds like her disappointing children fought among themselves. Now, this wasn’t just a matter of not sharing toys and being a tattletale. Clotilde just so happened to be the Merovingian queen, so her boys battled each other for a good hunk of northern Europe when their father, Clovis, died. The family seemed to have a thing about names beginning with “cl,” by the way– those rivalrous siblings were called Chlothar, Chlodomer, and Chlodibert.


Fed up with courtly intrigue, Clotilde would eventually concentrate on a saintly life, founding a number of churches and monasteries.

BTW, Clotilde is a saint of many names. In addition to Clotilde, we’ve got:
  • Clotild
  • Clothilde
  • Clotilda
  • Clotichilda
  • Croctild
  • Crotildes
  • Chlodechildis
  • Chrodechildis
  • Rotilde
  • Hlotild
  • Hlodihildi
  • Hroþihildi

#6  Francis Caracciolo (June 4)
Patronage: Italian cooks

So, do I have to be Italian? Or can I just be putting some spaghetti and meatballs together?

A 16th Century Italian priest, Francis is most well-known for founding an order of priests, known today as the Adorno Fathers. He was also miraculously cured of leprosy, having vowed to devote himself to the church if he survived.

Why the patronage? Hard to say. Francis’s hometown, Villa Santa Maria, does just so happen to have a couple of culinary school (including Italy’s first), a museum of cooking, and a Festival of the Cooks. Interestingly, however, that patronage was only granted back in 1996 – less than 30 years ago.

That’s him on the right
(haven’t a clue who the guy on the left is; 
I think we all know the guy in the middle)

#5  Peter the Exorcist (June 2)

Well, you know, it’s truly amazing how many hits I get for the book. That said, the author is generally known as William Peter Blatty.

Our Peter? He was a priest in 3rd Century Rome. Oddly, though, he was not known in particular for exorcisms. In fact, in the early days of the church, an exorcist was simply a minor order of clergy, ranking below deacons and sub-deacons.

Oops, wrong Peter

That said, there are exorcists in the Catholic Church today. In fact, the US has 10 of them, and there might be up to 600 worldwide. Pope Francis is supposedly a big fan.

#4  Boniface of Crediton (June 5)
Patronage: file cutters

Surely, this isn’t referring to software, right?

Boniface was a 7th Century Englishman, who went to Germany as a missionary. He was so successful that he is a national figure in Germany today, as well as a symbol of unified Europe. One legend has him creating the first Christmas tree.

File cutters? According to a site I found on medieval occupations, a file cutter was a “maker of files, involved in the cutting of grooves on the file surface.” Ah, so obvious when you think about it.

Oops, wrong file cutter

#3  Blandina the Slave (June 2)

The wonderfully named Blandina just so happened to be a fellow martyr with Maturus the Novice, #9 on this post. In total, there were actually 48 of these folks, including:
  • Sanctius of Vienne
  • Biblis of Lyons
  • Attalus of Pergamos
  • Ponticus of Lugdunum
  • Photinus of Lyons
  • Epagathus

Blandina stood out as being the last to succumb. Her particular martyrdom took the form of being thrown in a net and then being trampled and gored by a bull. And, no, she is not the patron saint of female bullfighters.

#2  Jean-Baptiste-Ignace-Pierre Vernoy de Montjournal (June 1)

That’s 46 characters, folks! A new world record.

This guy was one of the martyrs of the French Revolution. A lot of people don’t realize it, but the Revolution had some very anti-religious overtones. Church property was seized, saints’ relics were scattered, and religious like Jean (I’m not going to type that again) were severely persecuted.

In particular, Jean was “arrested and sentenced to forced labor for the crime of being a priest. Imprisoned on a ship anchored off shore, he was tortured repeatedly, starved and left to die.” (

#1  Phillip the Deacon (June 6)
Representation: baptizing the eunuch of Ethiopia

Phillip was one of the very earliest saints. In fact, he was one of a group that the Apostles themselves recruited to help them out. He’s also known as Phillip the Evangelist, as he was well known for his preaching. He’s mentioned in Acts 5:8.

The Eunuch of Ethiopia? He was actually the treasurer for the kingdom of Ethiopia. As so happened in a number of Middle Eastern courts (up to and including the Ottomans), public servants were castrated, to help ensure their loyalty. Phillip converted him when the two just happened to meet on the road.

Phillip and Eunuch

Honorable Mention
  • Tudno of Caernarvon
  • Cornelius McConchailleach
  • Glunshallaich
  • Luke Loan
  • Gundisalvus of Azebeyro
  • Jarlath of Tuam
  • Cono the Miracle Worker
  • Felix of Fritzlar
  • Atto of Oca 
  • Waccar
  • Landulf of Yariglia
  • Vulflagius of Abbeville (AKA Vulfy)