Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sept 1-7

This may be possibly the most boring week in the whole church calendar. We’ve got Thursday of the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time, Tuesday of the Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time, and so on. 

We do also have Pope Gregory the Great. He increased papal authority, wrote extensively, reformed the mass, and was made a Doctor of the Church. You can also invoke him against gout and for choir boys.

#10  Abigail the Matriarch (Sept 1)

Kind of slim pickens this week, so we’re going to have to start with the less-than-LOLROTF Abigail the Matriarch. Not even totally sure why this one struck my fancy, to tell you the truth.

This is another one those rather odd OT saints. Abigail was the wife of David, as well as a prophetess and very holy woman in her own right.

Abigail Adams was the matriarch of the Adams family, but not – I’m afraid – a saint
(thanks anyway, Google Images)

#9  Remaclus (Sept 3)
Representation:  with a wolf nearby

Slavering, watching his every move, ready to pounce at any minute …

Actually, the wolf was really just Remaclus’s companion. Couldn’t find any more how that actually came about … but there you have it.

A really small, totally non-threatening wolf, mind you …

Remaclus himself was quite a busy guy. Raised in the Aquitanian court, he helped start the famous French monasteries of Malmedy, Stavelot, and Solignac. He was also a bishop, an advisor to kings, and mentor to several other saints as well.

#8  Gideon the Judge (Sept 1)
Representation:  man wringing dew out of a fleece

Sure, why not? The guy was caught in a rainstorm, right? I mean, who hasn’t had to wring out their fleece before?

Another OT saint. He was one of those guys that God chose to get the Israelites back on track when they went a little astray. And part of that involved defeating another of the their many enemies – in this case, the Midianites – on the field of battle. 

Now, here’s the story about that fleece:

Gideon said to God, “If indeed you are going to save Israel through me, as you promised, I am putting this woolen fleece on the threshing floor. If dew comes on the fleece alone, while all the ground is dry, I shall know that you will save Israel through me, as you promised.”

That is what took place. Early the next morning he wrung the dew from the fleece, squeezing out of it a bowlful of water. Gideon then said to God, “Do not be angry with me if I speak once more. Let me make just one more test with the fleece. Let the fleece alone be dry, but let there be dew on all the ground.” That night God did so; the fleece alone was dry, but there was dew on all the ground.

So, I stand corrected. That said, I’m not sure I follow it all, but there you go. 

He’s also famous for his trumpet

#7  Castor of Apt (Sept 2)

Who? What? Did you say Aptor of Cast? Cast of Aptor? Apt of Castor? Castor of Aptor?

So, this guy was a Frenchman who lived in the 3rd & 4th Centuries. Starting out rather secularly – he was a lawyer and was married – he would later become a bishop (with his wife becoming a nun).

What’s interesting about this guy, however, is that doing a Google search on him brings up things like the following:
  • Apartments for Rent in Castor, Philadelphia, PA
  • Oxford Circle/ Castor, PA Apartments for Rent
  • Castor Gardens Apartments for Rent | Philadelphia, PA

In fact, only 3 of the top 10 search have anything to do with the saint.

I think it’s probably the one above the dry cleaners

#6  Cloud (Sept 7)

Know anybody named Cloud?  Any guys named Cloud?

I didn’t think so. At the same time, you’ve probably heard of St. Cloud, the city in Minnesota. You may also be familiar with a town in Florida, as well as a swanky suburb of Paris, with the same name. And, yes, all of them were named after our guy. And, yes, he is indeed a guy.

Cloud – who is also known as Clodoald, Cloudus, and Clodoaldus – was a grandson of Clovis, king of the Franks, as well as a son of Chlodomer, king of Orleans. And if those aren’t enough names beginning with “cl” for you, Cloud’s story also includes additional relatives with names like Clotilde, Clodomir, and Clotaire.

Cloud actually came to the church by fleeing from all these people. Turns out – as often happened with royals in the Middle Ages – these folks were all at each others’ throats. To escape them and their machinations, Cloud first became a hermit, in Provence. He eventually returned to Paris when the coast was clear. Where he hung out there would eventually become that swanky suburb.

Almost forgot …  In addition to being patron of all these different places, Cloud is also patron for nail markers and against carbuncles.

6.5 / 10 on IMDb

#5  Giles (Sept 1)
Patronage:  noctiphobia

If I told you all that meant “fear of the dark,” would it make a little more sense? 

Now, as for why Giles can be invoked for that? I’m afraid I haven’t a clue.

Born in Greece in the 7th Century, Giles moved to France to become a hermit. His animal companion just so happened to be a deer. 

St. Giles was also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. I haven’t talked about these folks before, but they were a group of saints, assembled in the Middle Ages, who were particularly good at interceding for you with your problems. Giles was known in particular for working wonders with plague, but was also helpful for good confessions, cripples, beggars, blacksmiths, childhood fears, convulsions, and depression. Busy guy!

St. Giles and his companion animal

#4  Ida of Herzfeld (Sept 4)99
Representation:  filling a tomb with food for the poor

Man, couldn’t she have just used a cooler?

Born a countess, Ida would later become a duchess, and then a very rich widow. It was at this point that she devoted herself to the poor. And she did, in fact, fill up that coffin – every day – with food for them. She also built some churches and, in general, lived a pious life.

She is a patron saint for both brides and widows. She’s typically portrayed holding a church, with a dove over her head, or with a deer.

Ida with her companion animal

#3  Agricola of Avignon (Sept 2)
Patronage:  storks

Now, the only question here is whether Agricola is for or against them.

I’m afraid is a little equivocal on the matter:

His blessing ended an invasion of storks, leading to his patronage of them, and his emblem in art.

You can also count on Agricola for the following:
  • Against misfortune
  • Against plague epidemics
  • Avignon, France
  • For rain
  • For good weather
  • For good harvests

The son of a saint, Agricola would become a senator, monk, priest, and bishop. He lived in the 600s.

Oddly, I couldn’t find any images of his “with storks”

#2  Regulus of Rheims (Sept 3)
Representation:  bishop telling the frogs to keep silence while he preaches

Now, what I want to know is whether they obeyed him or not.

Interestingly, this isn’t the only odd representation for this fellow. I’ve also got him down for:
  • Bishop with a fountain springing from his tears
  • Bishop holding a staff and following his own funeral procession

Which is all rather interesting, as there doesn’t seem to be much more out there about him. Apart from these representations, all I’ve got him down for is: 600s, archbishop, monastic founder …

#1  Magnus of Fussen (Sept 6) 
Patronage:  caterpillars

I’m thinking this is against caterpillars, but you never really know, do you?

However that may be, I’m giving Magnus extra points for that wonderful name. Fussen’s in Germany, by the way – in Bavaria, right on the border with Austria. It looks like a lovely place – on a beautiful blue river, with plenty of picturesque mountains surrounding it.

So, what was Magnus doing there? Well, how about founding the Benedictine monastery nearby? Yup, all the way back in the 7th Century. 

Everything else about Magnus appears to be a tad on the fantastic side and – oddly – typically involves animals. For example, we’ve got tales of Magnus expelling snakes and dragons. In one version of the latter, “he spared an infant dragon who helped local farmers by hunting rats, mice and other crop-damaging vermin.” I think this one might be my favorite though:

While on a walk in the woods near the monastery, he encountered a bear who showed him a vein of iron ore; he gave the bear some cake. The bear followed Magnus back to the abbey where the saint rounded up some tools and monks; the bear then led them all to several other iron ore sources in the nearby mountains, thus helping found the area’s most lucrative industry. (

Looks like he wrestled alligators as well
(Oh, wait, I guess that’s a dragon)

Honorable Mention
  • Brocard
  • Hereswitha
  • Laetus of Dax
  • Victorious
  • Anselm of Anchen
  • Romulus of Rome
  • Herman of Heidelberg 
  • Elpidius the Cappadocian
  • Zeno of Armenia
  • Dinooth

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