Friday, September 16, 2016

Sept 15-21

Nothing special going on this week. It does, however, seem to be a week dedicated to saints whose names sound way too similar and could be way too easily confused. To wit:
  • 15th – Ribert and Ritbert of Varennes
  • 16th – Abundius of Rome and Abundantius of Rome
  • 16th – Vilbetta of Maranza and Vorbetta of Maranza
  • 18th – Ferreolus the Tribune and Ferreolus of Limoges 
  • 20th – Theopistus of Rome and Theopistes of Rome 

#10  Januarius of Naples (Sept 19)
Patronage:  blood banks

As unlikely as it may sound, there’s actually a really good explanation for this one.

Januarius, also known as Gennaro, is the patron saint of Naples. Now, it just so happens that the good people of that city keep a vial of Januarius’s blood on hand in their cathedral. Further, they take it out three times a year. And every time they take it out, the blood liquefies and bubbles.

“So, whaddya think?”

Januarius himself was a bishop and a martyr, succumbing during the Persecutions of Diocletian. Nietzsche, of all people, once wrote a poem about him.

#9  Matthew (Sept 21)
Patronage:  stockbrokers

Well, I guess even guys like Gordon Gecko need a patron.  (Actually, they probably need patrons more than most people.)

Yes, this is indeed Matthew the Apostle (and evangelist). Pretty famous guy.

The stockbroker bit comes from Mathew’s having been a tax collector. As you can imagine, they weren’t any more popular than they were now.  Matthew is also patron saint of other financial types like accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officials, money managers, and even security guards. I understand that there is no truth to the rumor that he is patron saint of the IRS. 

#8  Socrates (Sept 17)

No, not that Socrates. 

It is hard to imagine that someone else would go by that name, but that has actually been a pretty popular name for Greeks over the centuries.

Our Socrates was a soldier in the 2nd Century, in what is now modern-day Turkey (in the Roman province of Pamphylia, to be exact). He was on hand when St. Theodore, who had been conscripted, refused to worship the pagan idols as part of his indcution ceremony.

Poor Ted was stuck on a red-hot plate, dowsed with liquid tar, and dragged through the streets by horses. None of these tortures, however, had any affect.

And that impressed Socrates enough that he himself became a believer. Socrates then went through similar tortures, with similar disappointing results. Like Theodore, he would finally be beheaded, thus earning his own martyr’s crown.

Socrates Restaurant, St. Albert, Canada
(Hey, thanks, Google Images!)

#7  Hildegard von Bingen (Sept 17)

Hard to believe that a saint with such an odd name is actually pretty high profile.

Hildegard was actually something of a medieval Renaissance man (er, woman). And, no, that is not a contradiction in terms.

Hildy was an abbess, writer, artist, composer, architect, philosopher, theologian, mystic, and early scientist. Some people even credit her with inventing opera. In 2012, Benedict XVI made her a Doctor of the Church.

Hildegard lived in the 12th Century, in what is now Germany. Something of a controversial figure, she was only canonized in 2012. She is often seen as something of a proto-feminist figure.

No, Hildy is not on fire
She’s just receiving a vision 
(as interpreted by some medieval artist)

#6  Joseph of Cupertino (Sept 18)
Patronage:  astronauts

Once again, this rather wild patronage actually has a pretty good explanation.

Turns out Joseph was able to levitate. As a result, he’s patron of, not only astronauts, but a number of other high-flying folk as well:
  • Air crews
  • Air Forces
  • Air travellers
  • Pilots
  • Paratroopers

Joe lived in the 1600s and was a Franciscan monk. Cupertino is in Apulia, by the way, in the heel of the Italian boot. And, yes, that is indeed how the town where Apple is headquartered got its name.

#5  Mary de Cerevellon (Sept 19)
Patronage:  Spanish sailors

Hmm, don’t you think those Spanish marines are going to get jealous? I looked and I looked, and I couldn’t find a patron saint for them.

Mary lived in 13th Century Spain, where she started an order, the female branch of the Mercedarians.

As for the patronage, I had to do a little conjecturing, but it probably goes something like this ...  Turns out Mary was particularly devoted to Christian slaves. Back then, Christians were often enslaved as galley crews in the Mediterranean, at that time something of a Muslim lake. Mary’s from Spain, so … there you have it.

She’s usually represented “carrying a ship”

#4  Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski (Sept 17)
Patronage: Scrabble players

Okay, I made that one up. Zygmunt’s not patron saint of anything, as far as I could tell.

He would make a good one though. In fact, he’s something of a national figure in Poland. He figured prominently in independence movements during the 19th Century – when Poland was ruled by Russia and Zygmunt was Archbishop of Warsaw. He would later get exiled for his efforts, but also canonized in 2009 as well.

"Hi, folks!"

#3  Cornelius (Sept 16)
Patronage:  twitching

Cornelius was actually quite the busy guy. In addition to twitching, you can also call on him relative to:
  • Epilepsy
  • Fever
  • Earache
  • Domestic animals
  • Cattle
The last two probably have to do with his name – it means “horn.” The first three? You got me.

I can’t tell if he’s smoking a pipe or “brandishing” a horn

Cornelius was pope back when that was not such a good thing. When he served (in the 3rd Century), being pope was akin to having a big, red target on your back. Sure enough, Cornelius served all of two years, and was then exiled and martyred.

#2  Mirin of Bangor (Paisley) (Sept 15)
Patronage:  Paisley

No, not that paisley. 

Wrong paisley!

Paisley the fabric is actually named after Paisley, a city in Scotland where it was first made. This burg of 80,000 is located just west of Glasgow. Its patron saint is Mirin.

Mirin lived in the 500s and 600s. Born in Ireland, he came to Scotland as a missionary, founded an abbey in Paisley, and became its first abbot. His shrine was something of a major pilgrimage site as well.

Paisley (the town) remembered Mirin by naming the local soccer team after him. St. Mirren FC, is in the Scottish Premier League, the highest level of soccer in Scotland. Not too surprisingly, they are known as the Saints (but also as the Buddies?!?!).

#1  Mercedarian Martyrs of Morocco (Sept 15)

Man, oh man! That’s marvelous! Mucho miraculous! Molto mind-messing!

These guys were part of a religious order (the Mercedarians) who were captured by Muslims during the 13th Century. They were hauled back to Morocco, where they were enslaved. That didn’t stop them from preaching however (or getting martyred for that preaching).

By name, they are John, James, Francis, Sancho, Dionisio, and Ildefonso.

Honorable Mention
  • Brogan of Ross Tuirc
  • María de La Encarnación de La Yglesia de Varo
  • Eumenius Thaumaturgus
  • Evilasius of Cyzicum
  • Hygbald
  • Agathoclia
  • Pomposa
  • Nicetas the Goth
  • Flocellus
  • Rodingus
  • Quadrato of Magnesia

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