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

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