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 Ettenheimm√ľnster, ‘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

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