Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22-31

It’s a pretty big week this week. We’ve got Bartholomew (the apostle), Rose of Lima, Augustine, his mother St. Monica, the Beheading of John the Baptist, and the Queenship of Mary.

#10  Bartholomew the Apostle (Aug 24)
Representation:  elderly man holding a tanner's knife and a human skin

God, I hope that’s not Bartholomew’s.

Unfortunately, that is indeed the way this poor fellow was martyred. Seems like he was also beheaded, so at least we’re spared that.

From the Sistine Chapel Ceiling
(the face on the skin is actually Michelangelo’s)

We know surprisingly little about this guy. There are a couple of mentions in the NT, plus some legends about his going very far afield – Egypt, Iran, Armenia, and India – to preach the gospel.

By the way, Bartholomew also has several interesting patronages, including Florentine salt merchants, whiteners, the Aeolian Islands, and “against twitching.”

#9  Eutychius of Troas (Aug 24)

Eutychius was a student of St. Paul. In fact, Eutychius may have been the young man that Paul raised from the dead. 

Of course, the poor lad had originally fallen asleep listening to Paul drone on, then fell out of a window from three stories up. So, I guess Paul kind of owed it to him.

Interestingly, Eutychius come from the Greek for “fortunate.” I guess that applies to the second part of the story, and not the first.

Jonathan Swift once referenced Eutychius in relation to the poor state of preaching in his time, “whereby preachers 'may exceed St. Paul in the art of setting men to sleep, [but] do extremely fall short of him in the working of miracles.”

#8  Louis IX (Aug 25)
Patronage:  French monarchs

Not a very large group, mind …

Louis was indeed a king of France himself. He ruled for almost 25 years in the 13th Century.

He accomplished quite a bit during his reign, both secularly and spiritually. As for the former, he annexed Normandy and Provence, defeated the English, supported the arts, established the Sorbonne, and reformed the judicial system. 

As for the latter, perhaps his biggest accomplishment was leading a couple of Crusades. He would, in fact, die overseas on Crusade #8. Personally, he was very devout, and had a special devotion to the poor.

He’s also a man of many patronages, including haberdashers, button makers, and hairdressers. St. Louis, MO is named after him as well.

#7  Augustine of Hippo (Aug 28)

I know this guy is one of the better known saints out there. That said, that “of Hippo” always got me.

Hippo was actually a town in what is now Algeria. It’s where Augustine was ordained, made bishop, and died.

Augustine might be most well-known for his Confessions, probably the original conversion story, as well as the first modern autobiography. His theological and philosophical writings were enormously influential.

A modern interpretation

#6  Levkadia Herasymiv (Aug 26)

No, I didn’t just put elbow on the keyboard. This is actually this saint’s name.

Levkadia is a modern saint (she’s actually a Blessed), one of the Martyrs Killed Under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe. She was a Greek Catholic, and was born in 1911, in the Ukraine. She took her vows in 1933, survived World War II, and was then arrested by the NKVD in 1951. She died a year later in a Siberian gulag from overwork and the TB she had contacted there.

#5  Genesius of Rome (Aug 25)
Patronage:  comedians

Last week, we featured Lawrence of Rome, another patron saint for comedians. Honestly, how many patrons do these guys need?

Well, informs me that there’s one other, St. Vitus. So, basically, this blog’s got ‘em all covered.

The story behind Genesius’s patronage might be the most interesting one though. Genesius actually was a comedian. In fact, he had his conversion experience while in the middle of a play that mocked Christianity – right in front of the Emperor Diocletian.

Genesius actually has no shortage of interesting patronages. In addition to comedians, he’s also looking out for:
  • Clowns
  • Converts
  • Dancers
  • Epileptics
  • Lawyers
  • Magicians
  • Musicians
  • Printers
  • Stenographers
  • Torture victims

#4  Genesius of Arles (Aug 25)
Patronage:  against scurf

Hmm, I wonder what the medical billing code is for that?

Well, actually, I do know that. “Scurf” is just an old-fashioned way of saying “dandruff.” And the code for that is ICD-10-CM. 

So, another Genesius, huh? This one, though, is from the south of France. The two did, however, live around the same time.

In fact, the two may have been majorly confused together. Now, Genesius of Arles was a court notary. And that may explain Genesius of Rome’s patronage of lawyers, printers, and stenographers. 

GofA’s story is pretty good too:

When on a certain day he found himself called upon to begin transcribing the proclamation of an imperial edict mandating the persecution of Christians, Genesius could not bring himself to record the offensive words against his faith. Rising from his seat, he hurled down his wax tablet before the judge and immediately resigned. (

The scurf?  Don’t really know where that comes from, I’m afraid.

This could be GofA
(Google Images seems to mix them up majorly as well)

#3  Fiacre (Aug 30)
Patronage:  costermongers

Well, someone who mongers costers, of course. Why do you ask?

What’s a costermonger, really? It’s just someone who sold things from a cart. Simple as that.

Now, why is Fiacre their patron? I really haven’t a clue.

I do know that Fiacre was an Irishman, born in the 7th Century. He later moved to France, where he lived as a hermit, and would subsequently die and be buried.

He was a famous herbalist, which explains why he’s patron saint of gardeners and florists. He was also famous for curing people by the laying on of hands, which explains why you can invoke him against the following:
  • Blindness
  • Fever
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Kidney stones
  • Sterility
  • Tumors
  • VD
  • Worms

There are also plenty of opportunities to purchase an effigy of him as your very own garden gnome.

#2  Tydfil (Aug 23)

Isn’t that like something you take for a headache?

Now, would it surprise you that Tydfil is Welsh? No? Well, would it surprise you that Tydfil was a girl? Yup. Poor thing.

We don’t really know that much about her other than that she was Welsh, was the daughter of a Welsh king, started her own little monastic community, and was martyred by some pagans. 

She’s the namesake of a Welsh Town, Merthyr Tydfil, where there is a shopping center named after her. The town, which means “martyrdom site of Tydfil,” actually has just slightly over 60,000 inhabitants. It was once the largest town in all of Wales, and was formerly known for its ironworks. In more recent times, Merthyr (as it is usually called) made the news where the unique properties of Viagra (originally, a treatment for angina) were discovered. Laura Ashley, the fashion designer, is from there.

Old, abandoned factory, Merthyr Tydfil

#1  Eufrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Eluvathingal (Aug 29)

Honestly, I swear I did not make this one up.

Back to modern times with this one. Eufrasia was born in 1870, in India. She became a nun, experienced visions and  miraculous healings, and was a very effective Mother Superior. She was known as the “Praying Mother” (makes sense) and the “Mobile Tabernacle” (maybe not so much). 

Plus, she has her own website:

Honorable Mention
  • Pandwyna
  • Secundus the Theban
  • Rumwold the Prince
  • Carpophorus
  • Malrubius of Merns
  • Hunegund of Homblieres
  • Ludovicus Baba
  • Buenaventura Gabika-Etxebarria Gerrikabeitia
  • Ptolemy of Nepi
  • Louis-Wulphy Huppy (God, I love this one)

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