Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22-31

#10  Abdon (July 30)
Patronage:  bucket makers

Not sure how many of you there are out there … But this just goes to show that there’s a patron saint for pretty much everybody.

Abdon was a Persian official and closet Christian. He was found out by his Roman rulers, and led back to the capital to serve as entertainment in the Coliseum. The wild animals failed to touch him, however, and he was eventually dispatched by some gladiators. We’re talking roughly the year 250 here.


He’s almost always pictured with his bud (and fellow martyr) Sennon

The bucket makers? Haven’t a clue.


#9  Christina of Bolsena (July 24)
Representation:  woman holding a millstone and standing on a pagan

Usually, representations show the saint being martyred. In this one, though, it sounds like the tables might just have been turned.

I’m afraid that Christina’s just a tad on the confusing side, unfortunately. Bolsena, for example, is in Italy. Her “legend,” however, puts her in Tyre, a Phoenician city that is now part of Israel.

Said legend goes on to say that Christina was a young virgin who converted in the 3rd Century. She was found out, however, and tortured in a remarkably varied number of ways, including:
  • Iron hooks
  • Grilling by fire
  • Thrown in a furnace
  • On the wheel
  • Poisonous snakes
  • Tied to a millstone & throw in a river (well, that at least explains the millstone)
  • Shot by arrows (these are what actually did her in)

To make all this even worse, all this happened when Christina was only 11. Further, it was her father, a rich and powerful Phoenician magistrate, who initiated it.


Millstone? Check. Arrows? Got it. Snakes? Yup. Now, what are we missing?


#8  Edward Thwing (July 26)

Patron thaint of thwingerth, I underthtand.

Sorry about that. Blessed Edward was one of (many) English Catholic priests who were put to death during the Tudor years.  Like most of them, Edward was born in England, educated and ordained in France, returned to England clandestinely, was found out, and then was drawn and quartered. 

Like I said, Edward was just one of many martyrs who have almost the same bio. It’s actually rather surprising – and definitely sobering – how bloody the English Reformation was … on both sides.

The only thing that really distinguishes poor Edward is his odd last name and his friendship with the equally oddly named – and fellow martyr – Robert Nutter.


Hard to believe there are two people that have that same name


#7  Serapia of Syria (July 29)

Suffering saintly succotash!

And would you believe that St. Serapia sold herself into slavery, to a mistress named Sabina? Seriously.


Serapia was originally from Antioch, in ancient Syria. Her family fled from there to Rome during persecutions there. When her parents died, she sold all of her inheritance so she could give the money to the church. She then sold herself as well!

She then converted her mistress. The two would subsequently be martyred together under the emperor Hadrian.

Serapia is also known as Seraphia and Seraphima.


#6  Germanus of Auxerre (July 31)
Representation:  bishop trampling on a judge

I say, there sure is a lot of saintly violence in this post.

Germanus was born of a noble family in the late 4th Century in Gaul. Things started very secularly for Germanus – he studied law, married, and was made a provincial governor. 

He would later become a monk and then a bishop, build a large monastery, act as a missionary to Britain, help convert Ireland, perform some miracles, defeat some pagans in battle, and mentor some saints and discover and promote others. 

Unfortunately, I have no idea who the judge was.


St. Germanus, as portrayed in the movie Arthur
(no, not that Arthur)


#5  Neot (July 31)
Patronage:  fish

Can’t decide which is worse – the name or the patronage.

A quick search on Google for “neot” gets you lots of hits to the ticker symbol for a company called Neothetics:

Neothetics is a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company developing therapeutics for the aesthetic market. Our LIPO-202 has the potential to be a best-in-class injection for localized fat reduction and body contouring, offering an approximately five minute or less, non-surgical procedure that effectively and safely reduces abdominal bulging in non-obese patients, with no downtime. (neothetics.com)

A quick search of “st neot” tells us that the saint lived in the 9th Century, in Cornwall. After beginning life as a soldier, Neot became a hermit and monk. He was known for his good works for the poor, and was sought out for advice by no less a personage than King Alfred (who he may have been related to).

The fish bit? Haven’t a clue.


Surprisingly, they are called the Saints, and not the Fish


#4  Botwid (July 28)

Not a baby name you hear a lot these days …

Botwid is a Swedish saint. He was born of pagan parents there, but converted while on a business trip to England (seriously).

He was murdered, in 1120, by a slave he had bought, converted and freed. Geez, talk about ingratitude.

Botwid is known as the Apostle of Sweden. Alternate versions of his name include Botvid, Botwinus, Botuid,  and Botuidus. I think I still like Botwid the best.


And it looks like his representation might be “with axe and fish” 


#3  Gleb (July 24)

Short, sweet … Actually, it’s really the total opposite of sweet. Go ahead, say it out loud. More like short and sour.

Gleb – along with his brother Boris – are actually pretty well-known saints in Russia (but are also recognized by the Catholic Church). Their main claim to fame, however, seems to be getting murdered by their brother, the wonderfully named Svyatopolk the Accursed. 

The three were sons of Vladimir I, Grand Prince of Kiev (who was also a saint as well). When Vladimir died, he split his kingdom up among his three sons. Svyatopolk, though, wanted to rule alone. Though Gleb and Boris put up no resistance to that wish, Svyatopolk had them murdered anyway. 


Gleb remains a popular Russian name to this day, including for this hunky guy, Gleb Savchenko, from Dancing with the Stars (and, yes, he is Mr. May)


#2  Seven Sleepers of Ephesus (July 27)

You’re gonna love this one. These guys are kind of like a bunch of saintly Rip Van Winkles. Here, let me explain …

It’s the year 250. In the town of Ephesus (in present-day Turkey), seven young men are found out as Christians. They subsequently run off and hide in a local cave. While they sleep there, though, they are found out and walled in.

180 years later, they wake up. Many things have changed – including the Roman emperor, who is now a Christian. Cool story, huh? You think Washington Irving stole this one?


It’s a popular story in Islam as well


#1  Christina the Astonishing (July 24)

You’ve heard of Christina, surely? One of the Six Totally Awesome Virgins? You know, Kaitlyn the Incredible, Ashley the Amazing, Jessica the Spectacular, Madison the Fabulous?

So, seriously, what was so astonishing about Christina anyway? Well, would you believe that she once arose from the dead? At her own funeral mass? Sounds pretty astonishing to me.

And if that wasn’t enough, she also levitated up to the rafters of the church and, when she came down, related a tour she had had of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. 

After that pretty wild experience, Christina spent the rest of her life as an extreme ascetic. In fact, her asceticism was so extreme that many thought she was merely insane –  something that explains her many patronages:
  • Against insanity
  • Against madness
  • Against mental disorders
  • Against mental handicaps
  • Against mental illness
  • Lunatics
  • Mental health caregivers
  • Mental health professionals
  • Mentally ill people
  • Psychiatrists
  • Therapists

Of course, the fact that she was born in the County of Loon (in Belgium, in 1150) might have had something to do with that as well.



Honorable Mention
  • Modesto Vegas Vegas
  • Pablo Díaz de Zárate y Ortiz de Zárate
  • Donatilla of Tebourba
  • Movean of Inis-Coosery
  • Rasyphus of Rome
  • Jaum Buch Canals
  • Godo of Oye
  • Ebrulfus
  • Callinicus of Paphlagonia
  • Hatebrand


Friday, July 15, 2016

July 15-21

#10  Irmengard (July 16)
Representation:   Benedictine nun with heart in her hand 

Please tell me this isn’t Irmengard’s.


Unfortunately, we may never know. There’s not a lot out there on her. Or, as one of the sites I Google-translated from the German puts it, “The life and work of the blessed few historical sources have survived.”

We do know that she was a princess, as well as a Benedictine and abbess. She lived in the 9th Century, in Germany.


#9  Plechelm of Guelderland  (July 15)

I’m not sure if that first bit is a real saint or just someone clearing their throat.

I do know that the second bit is a province of the Netherlands though. And after a little research, I can also tell you that Plechelm was an English monk, priest, and bishop, as well as a missionary to the Dutch.

He was also buds with the wonderfully named Wiro, Otger, and Willibrord of Echternach. In fact, that last one, Plechelm, Bavo of Ghent, and Andrew the Apostle are all patron saints of the Netherlands. It’s not usually seen as a Catholic country, but Catholicism actually is the largest religion there.



#8  Rufillus of Forlimpopoli  (July 18)

Poetry, pure poetry.

Rufillus was actually Formlimpopoli’s first bishop. Like St. George, Rufilius supposedly drove a dragon from the area. We’re talking 4th Century here.


Look closely. I think that’s an extremely small, very poorly rendered dragon under Ruffy’s foot

Believe it or not, Forlimpopoli is an actual Italian town, situated in the province of Emilia-Romagna. The name comes from the Latin Forum Popilii - i.e., a marketplace most likely named after the consul Publius Popilius Laenas.


#7  Fredegand of Kerkelodor (July 17)

The opposite of poetry.

Fredegand lived in the 7th and 8th Century. Born in Ireland, he later moved to Belgium, where he was abbot of the monastery of ... Kerkelodor.

His relics are in a church in the little town of Moustier, also in Belgium. They have a procession with his statute every year to commemorate his having saved them from the plague.

Oh, almost forgot …  Sounds like Fredegand might have actually hung out with our old friend Willibrord of Echternach. Wiro, Otger, Plechlem, Willibrord, Fredegand – what a team!


#6  Tarsykia Matskiv (July 17)

Even more so.

Tarskyia is our first saint this week who was alive in the last thousand years. In fact, she was lived and died within the last 100 years.


Born in 1919 in Ukraine, Tarskyia would become a nun in the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate in 1940. At the end of WWII, when Soviet soldiers came to destroy her convent, she answered the door, and was shot on the spot.


#5  Kenelm (July 17)
Representation:  boy king trampling his disloyal sister

And this is how you get to be a saint?

Kenelm was a boy king of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. He was also a martyr, murdered by a scheming relative.


As with any story from the Anglo-Saxons, Kenelm’s is filled with wonderful names, such as:
  • Coenwulf 
  • Cwenthryth
  • Quendryda
  • Burgenhilda
  • Askobert

Sorry, really couldn’t find anything about the representation.


#4  Elijah the Prophet (July 17)
Patronage:  Romanian Air Force

Well, you’ll be happy to know that it’s just not the Romanian Air Force, but all air forces in general. Not too sure why the Romanians were called out specifically.

You’re probably familiar with Elijah, possibly the major prophet from the Old Testament. You may, though, not be aware that there are indeed some OT figures who have become saints. Others include Moses, David, Daniel, and Abraham.

As for the air force bit, I have a funny feeling it’s from the way Elijah ascended into heaven:

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:11)


Probably something like this


#3  Joseph Barsabas (July 17)
Representation:  child blowing bubbles

Poor Joseph will always be known for coming in second. When the Apostles looked to replace Judas Iscariot, they narrowed it down to two guys, Matthias and Joseph. Guess who won?

Other than that very slim fact, we really don’t know a lot about this guy. As for the bubbles, this is just so darn weird that I have a funny feeling that representation might even be a typo. I only found it mentioned on one site, and that with no explanation whatsoever.


And this is as close as I could come image-wise


#2  Daminh Dinh Dat  (July 18)

Did Daminh do dat? He did, he did! Daminh did do dat!

Another Martyr of Vietnam. Apart from their interesting (to our ears at least) names, we really don’t know that much about them. I actually had to translate a page from the Vietnamese to learn that Daminh was:
  • Also known as Dominic
  • Born in 1803
  • Martyred in 1838


And with that last bit by strangulation, by the way

That page also had the following passage, which might just as well have been in Vietnamese, for all I could make out of it:

Written communication card he finished broadcasting watchdog Scoring for handling forensic taken away. Along the way he just say prayers. Upon arrival processing, mat leggings were available there, he knelt on mats Scoring still continued prayers forever. One time, remove the shackle TV, projector made him lie down, then tie the soldiers in his neck. When ready, supervisors give commands. Zipper executioners until he dies

Google Translate – time to step up our game, huh?


#1  Pambo of the Nitrian Desert  (July 18)

Hmm.  Sounds like one of those cheezy 1950s B movies.

Pambo is actually one of the Desert Fathers, a bunch of hermits who hit the deserts in Egypt in the 4th Century and thereabouts. Pambo himself was a founder of monasteries, spiritual guide, and mentor to St. John the Dwarf. 


Actually, I’m surprised anybody is named that

The Nitrian Desert? Just head left from Cairo. Can’t miss it.


Honorable Mention
  • Arbogast of Strasburg  
  • Bernard of Baden 
  • Felix of Tubzak
  • Ambrose Autpertus  
  • Gumbert of Ansbach
  • Szymon of Lipnicza  
  • Abudemius of Bozcaada
  • Elisabeth Qin Bianshi Elisabeth
  • Kragon
  • Barhadbescialas

Sunday, July 10, 2016

July 8-14

Couple of heavy hitters this week – Ss. Augustine and Benedict – with the latter actually making it into the top 10.


#10  Agigulf (July 9)

Not a lot out there on this guy. We do know he was active in the 8th Century, in what is now France. He was a monk, the abbot of the interestingly named Stavelot-Malmedy, and the archbishop of Cologne as well.

He also just so happened to be murdered by the king of France. An advisor to one king, Agigulf made the bad move of advising against the guy who would eventually become the next king. So, when the old king died, Agigulf paid the price. That’s kinda the way things worked in the 8th Century.

About the only other thing I can say about Agigulf is that typing his name into Google generated some rather interesting search results:


#9  Benedict of Nursia (July 11)
Patronage:  servants who have broken their master’s belongings

I sure do hate it when that happens. I’ll definitely have to remember this Benedict guy for the next time that happens.

Benedict is actually famous for a little more than that particular patronage. In fact, he’s considered the father of monasticism. He’s known in particular for his “Rule” and of the order he founded, the Benedictines.


Available on Zazzle

In addition to those servants, Benedict is also looking out for:
  • Dying people
  • School children
  • Farm workers
  • Architects
  • Civil engineers
  • Coppersmiths
  • Spelunkers
  • Italian architects
  • Italian farmers

If you hadn’t guessed it from those last three, Nursia is in Italy, and is where Benedict was born. Ben was active in the 5th and 6th Centuries.


#8  Menulphus (July 12)

Oh, what might have been… Menulphus’s main claim to fame was being bishop of the wonderfully named French town of Quimper. Can you imagine it? … Menulphus of Quimper. I would’ve probably had to bump him up to #1.

About the only other things we know about this guy was that he was born in Ireland and died on the way back from a pilgrimage to Rome. I believe we’re talking 7th Century here. Sorry – not that much about him.


Somehow or other, though, we do have a photo of his final resting place (?!?!)


#7  Hidulf of Moyenmoutier (July 11)

Another pretty obscure guy, Hidulf was a monk, abbot, and bishop who lived in the 7th and 8th Century and was active in Germany and France. And that’s about it …

Poor guy, Wikipedia isn’t even sure of some of the basic facts:

A contemporary view is that he was not a diocesan bishop, nor abbot of Saint-Dié Abbey in France.

I do know, though, that he was also a man of many names:
  • Hidulphus
  • Hildulph
  • Hydulphe
  • Idulfo
  • Idolfo


Looks like we’ve also got a picture of his final resting place as well (!?!?)


#6  Grimbald (July 8)

More obscurity. 9th Century, born in France, moved to England. Benedictine, monk, abbot, tutor to King Alfred. May have been first divinity professor at Oxford. AKA Grimbald of St. Bertin.


Also appears to be a character in some video game


#5  Hroznota of Bohemia (July 14)

I think this might be as obscure as you can get. I only found one site that talks about this guy (and that was good ol’ catholicsaints.info, who talk about everybody). There, however, we do learn a thing or two about him. 

First, Hroznota was a guy. He was born in the 12th Century to a family of Bohemian nobles. He married and had kids, but when his wife died, he founded a monastery and retired as a monk there. Somehow or other (it’s all a little hard to follow), he got thrown into a dungeon by some robbers, and subsequently starved to death there.

The thing I really like about that page, though, is all the great Czech names that it contains:
  • Bozena
  • Hroznetin
  • Karlovarský
  • Stáry Kynsperk


Like I said, obscure


#4  Everild of Everingham (July 9)

The obscurity continues …

Everild was also known as Everilda and Eoforhild (though that last one just looks like a spelling mistake). It means “wild boar” … which is rather unfortunate, as Everlid was indeed a lady.

Everild was born in the 7th Century of a noble Anglo-Saxon family. A convert, she would run away to become a nun, eventually founding an abbey.

There are two churches dedicated to Everilda, one in the eponymous Everingham and the other in the wonderfully named Nether Poppleton.


#3  Amalburga (July 10)
Representation:  woman standing on a giant sturgeon

The patron saint of surrealism, I would imagine …

Finally, a saint whose bio has a little meat to it. In fact, I can even explain that particularly odd representation. Turns out one of her “pious legends” has her riding across a lake on the back of said fish.

Apart from that, she was another married saint. In fact, it sounds like she raised quite the holy family. Three of her daughters – Gudula, Emebert, and Reineldis – were saints as well. And both she and her husband retired to Benedictine houses after their youngest was old enough to fend for herself.


She also seems to have been the inspiration for this “Indonesian Deathcore” band 
(Repunt the Amalburga in case you couldn’t read that font)

Alternative representations for Amalburga include geese and a sieve. I’m afraid I don’t know the “pious legends” behind those ones. (By the by, “pious legend” is really just politically correct terminology for “cute story that we’re pretty sure was made up.”)


#2  Agnes De (July 12)

Maybe you have to be Catholic to really appreciate this one.

The Agnus Dei is a central part of the mass. It means, “Lamb of God,” and the rest of the prayer goes something like this:

Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)
Qui tollis pecata mundi  (Who takes away the sins of the world)
Dona nobis pacem (Give us peace)

Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)
Qui tollis pecata mundi  (Who takes away the sins of the world)
Dona nobis pacem (Give us peace)

Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)
Qui tollis pecata mundi  (Who takes away the sins of the world)
Miserere nobis (Pray for us)

As for our saint here, well, I’m afraid we’re back to obscurity again. Searching on “agnes de,” pretty much all I got was results for Agnes De Mille, a “famous” dancer and choreographer (I, at least, never heard of her).

Searching for “st. agnes de” doesn’t help much either. Doing that gets me hits for:
  • Blessed Agnes de Jesus Garland
  • St Agnes of Rome
  • St. Agnes of Bohemia
  • St. Agnes of Montepulciano

I did get a few real hits, though, so at least we know our poor Agnes wasn’t a typo. 

Perhaps, though, you know her as Anê Lê Thi Thành or maybe even Bà Ðê. And if you couldn’t already tell from all those funny things on the letters, Agnes was Vietnamese. 

She is, in fact, one of the Martyrs of Vietnam. This group of over 100 saints and beati met their end during the 19th Century, when the French were busy taking over Indochina and spreading the Catholic faith.


Pretty much all the Martyrs of Vietnam get this illustration on catholicsaints.info
(as you can imagine, they’re each pretty obscure individually)


#1  Ansbald of Prum (July 12)

So, let’s wrap this thing up with one more really obscure saint, shall we? Now, Ansbald does seem to definitely have some sites out there. Unfortunately, they all appear to be in German.

Running them through my handy-dandy Google translatin’ machine, though, does allow me to learn that:

As the Prüm Abt Egil (Egilo) 860 voluntarily resigned the office was Ansbald Abbot in Prüm and built by the Normans destroyed on 6 January 882 Abbey again. He gained, inter alia, with the support of Emperor Charles III. (Charles the Fat) the confirmation of old and new privileges. So he reached among other things that in Rommersheim a market and a mint was established in favor of the Abbey.

And, just in case you need a translation for that , here’s all they list on the only English site I could find (catholicsaints.info, of course):

Monk at Prüm Abbey near Trier, Germany. Abbot of Saint-Hubert in the Ardennes. Abbot of Prüm Abbey in 860. Prüm was burned by Vikings in 882, but Ansbald managed to re-build.



Honorable Mention
  • Proclus of Ancyra
  • Proculus of Bologna 
  • Totnan of Thuringia
  • Glyceria of Heraclea
  • Idus of Ath Fadha
  • Mancius Araki Kyuzaburo
  • Thurketyl 
  • Martyrs of Orange
  • Dogfan
  • Priscilla the Tent Maker

Sunday, July 3, 2016

July 1-7

The big day this week is the feast of St. Thomas. You know, one of the Apostles, the doubter, the namesake of that Caribbean Island …


#10  Swithun (July 2)

Swithin lived in 9th Century England. He was a royal chaplain & tutor, and then bishop of Winchester Cathedral:

Winchester Cathedral
You're bringing me down
You stood and you watched as
My baby left town

St. Swithin is mostly known as one of those saintly meteorologists (others include Medard and Protase). For Swithin, whatever the weather is like on his feast day, you’ll get more of the same for 40 more:

St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mare


Interestingly, St. Swithin’s Day is actually July 15. That’s the day that Swithin’s relics were transferred from outside the cathedral to inside. For some reason, that’s a big deal. His actual feast day is still the 2nd though.


#9  Monegundis (July 2)

Geez, what an unattractive name. To make matters worse, though, would you believe Monegundis was a girl? Yup, poor thing.

Monegundis lived in 6th Century France. She started out fairly secular – getting married and having two kids.

When her children died, though, Monegundis experienced a deep depression. To climb out of it, she subsequently got religion. With her husband’s permission, Monegundis became a hermit, attracted some followers, and started a convent.

I’m kind of surprised she’s not a patron saint for depression sufferers or parents who have lost children. Maybe I’ll write a letter about it to Pope Francis.


#8  Ulric of Augsburg (July 4)
Representation:  against moles

Now, are these the kind on your face, or the ones beneath your lawn?

Ulric was born in Switzerland at the very end of the 9th Century. His noble family offered him to the church at birth, and he was subsequently raised in a monastery. He later toyed with becoming a courtier, but ended up as bishop of the German city of Augsburg. Overall, he seems to have been more on the political than the spiritual side.

Ulric was the first saint to be canonized. Back in Ulric’s day, this simply meant being vetted by the pope (up until to that time, there really wasn’t any process). Today, canonization involves evidence; trials; the religious equivalents of briefs, defense attorneys, and prosecutors – all the trappings of a legal proceeding. 


For some reason, one of his representations is “with fish”

Oh, those moles are the furry kind, by the way. You’ll be interested to know that you can also invoke Ulrich against mouse troubles as well. Not sure about any other vermin though.


#7  Willibald of Eichstatt (July 7)
Representation:  monk with a crown at his feet as he talks to a man cutting down a tree

Hmm, that's pretty detailed.  I wonder what they were talking about though.

Willibald and Ulric actually have a surprising number of commonalities. Willibald was also dedicated to God by his parents early in life. Willibald’s parents, however, were royals. Willibald was also made a bishop, and of a German city as well (Eichstatt, in Willibald’s case). Though both were active in the Middle Ages, Willibald predated Ulric by about 100 years.


That’s Willibald on the left, Walburga on the right, and Mary in the middle

By the way, that representation above is not the only odd one for this saint. Catholicsaints.info also has him down for:
  • Bishop overseeing construction of a church
  • Pilgrim with Saint Richard the King and Saint Winnebald of Heidenheim
  • Monk or bishop with the words fides, spes, and charitas on his cloak or arm
  • Bishop holding two arrows
  • Bishop with a broken glass


#6  Nazju Falzon (July 1)

I’m not sure how many saints there are from Malta. I’m pretty sure of at least one though – and that’s this guy. 

Nazju is a more contemporary saint, having lived and died in the 19th Century. He made a name for himself teaching catechism to children, ministering to British servicemen, writing tracts and a book, and generally tending to his flock and doing good works.


Skużani! Mhux qiegħed nifhem bil-Malti
(Maltese for “Sorry!  I don’t speak any Maltese.”
Well, except for that. And I only got that from this cool site.)

Nazju is actually only a beatus, I’m afraid. And his beatification only happened back in 2001.

I could only find one other Maltese saint, one Publius of Malta. He was the first bishop of Malta, back in the 2nd Century, and actually knew St. Paul. Oh, he was also a real, live saint too. Of course, he doesn’t have the cool name that Nazju has. 


#5  Athanasius the Athonite (July 5)

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what the heck an Athonite is. It’s actually a pretty interesting story …

Have you ever heard of Mount Athos? It’s an Orthodox monastery on the top of the Greek mountain of the same name. It’s been around for over 1000 years, houses almost 2,000 monks, and is particularly well-known for its inaccessibility. 

Well, guess what? Athanasius was its founder. 


Looks like something from The Lord of the Rings, but it’s actually real


#4  Zoe of Rome (July 5)
Representation: woman hanging by her hair in a tree

There’s a story behind this one. I just know there is.

Sure enough, this just so happens to represent the particularly gruesome form of Zoe’s martyrdom. Let me explain …


First, the bad guys tied Zoe to a tree limb by her long, flowing hair. Next, they built a fire under her. Finally, Zoe did her bit by inhaling the smoke and dying. 

All this happened in 3rd Century Rome, during the persecutions of Diocletian.


#3  Goar of Aquitaine (July 6)
Representations: man hanging his hat on a sunbeam

I think I like this one better than Zoe’s.

Turns out there’s a story behind this one as well. Unfortunately, none of the explanations I could find make all that much sense.

Nor do I know what’s behind these other rather interesting representations:
  • Hermit being given milk by hinds
  • Hermit with the devil on his shoulder
  • Hermit with the devil under his feet

I do know, though, that Goar was a hermit who, though born in France, made his hermitage in Germany, in the area of Trier. 


He was also a particularly hospitable hermit, which explains his patronage of innkeepers. He’s also a patron saint for potters and vine growers. The story behind those last two? Not too surprisingly, I have no idea at all.


#2  Peter To Rot (July 7)

There’s just no getting around the fact that this guy’s last name sounds just like “toe rot.” Right?


Possibly the weirdest holy card I’ve ever seen

Peter’s a rather an interesting saint (he’s actually only a Blessed). One, he’s from the 20th Century. Two, he’s from the rather obscure country of Papua New Guinea. Here’s his story … 

When the Japanese invaded his village during WWII, Peter was asked by the village priest to take over the village’s spiritual needs when the priest was sent off to prison camp. Though only a catechist (i.e., a religious instructor), Peter did a bang-up job.

Unfortunately, some of the locals turned Peter in to the Japanese. Peter was then beaten, tortured, and sent off to a prison camp himself, where he would in turn be murdered.

After doing a little research, I’m happy to report that Peter’s last name is actually pronounced “toe rote.” Whew!


#1  Bertha of Blangy (July 4)

Too bad she isn’t a beata. That would make her Blessed Bertha of Blangy. Blimey!

Alas, she’s a saint. She also just so happened to be a princess, the daughter of the King of Kent. Like Monegundis, Bertha started out married with children. When she subsequently became a widow, she retired to a convent she had built, along with two of her daughters.

By the by, Bertha also goes by the much more mellifluous titles of Bertha of Artois and Bertha of France.
Whatever you do, though, don’t confuse her with Bertha of Bingen 


Honorable Mention
  • Namphanion the Archmartyr
  • Marie-Gabrielle-Françoise-Suzanne de Gaillard de Lavaldène
  • Ailill of Cloonown
  • Daughters of Cathbadh
  • Cyrilla of Cyrene
  • Byblig
  • Guthagon
  • Mucian of Mesia
  • Juthware
  • Veep