Friday, September 9, 2016

Sept 8-14

Big week for you Marian devotees out there. We’ve got her birth on the 8th and The Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 12th. And just over the line into the next week – on June 15th – is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

#10  Martyrs of Bithynia (Sept 10)

Turns out there were only three of them:
  • Menodora
  • Metrodora
  • Nymphodora

The three were actually sisters, and were martyred “in the persecutions of emperor Maximian and governor Fronto” ( We’re talking around the year 300 here.

That’s Nympho on the right; don’t know about the others

Bithynia? It was a Roman province, making up the northwest part of present-day Turkey. Today? Just kind of a funny name.

#9  Hyacinth of Rome (Sept 11)

Now, Hyacinth’s bad enough. But would you believe that Hyacinth was a guy?

Yup. He and his brother Protus were burned alive (or maybe beheaded, or maybe both), way back in 257. 

Interestingly, the flower was actually named after a mythological figure – who was also a guy. I’m assuming our saint was named after this figure as well.

There are actually no less than 9 saint Hyacinths out there, all male. In fact, there are actually two Hyacinths of Rome. And all that’s not even including the 7 Jacintos – the Spanish equivalent of Hyacinth.

#8  Serafina Sforza (Sept 9)

Suffering succotash …

Serafina started out as something of a debutante. You’re probably already familiar with the Sforzas, one of the famous families of the Italian Renaissance. Serafina was also related to two others – the Colonnas and Montefeltros – as well.

Sforza is actually Serafin’s married name. Her husband, though initially quite the nice guy, would later live up to his family’s Machiavellian nature. After suspecting Serafina of a plot against him, he had her put away in a nunnery. There, though, Serafina shone – eventually ending up as the abbess.

#7  Maria Eutimia Uffing (Sept 9)

Unlike our first few saints, Maria is a much more recent one. Born in Germany, she actually lived through WWI (which she spent ministering to POWs). Though crippled in her youth by rickets, and in poor health the rest of her life, she worked tirelessly in some particularly humble occupations. JPII reflected that well in what he said about her for her beatification ceremony:

Her life shows us that seemingly small things can be very important in God’s eyes. From the human viewpoint this sister was not a “star” in the limelight, but her silent work was a ray of light to many people that is still shining today.

She was a member of the wonderfully named Klemensschwestern (Sisters of the Congregation of Compassion).

#6  Pulcheria (Sept 10)
Patronage:  empresses

And our next saint goes out to all you empresses out there …

You’ll be happy to know that Pulcheria was indeed an empress herself. She was originally a princess, the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Arcadius. When Arcadius died, she then became regent for her younger brother, Theodosius II. When Theo came into his maturity, Pulcheria faded into the background (and was then actually forced into exile by her evil daughter-in-law). When Theodosius died himself, Pulcheria and her husband Marcian came back as Emperor and Empress. 

On the spiritual side, Pulcheria was actually quite involved. She guided two very important Councils, Ephesus and Chalcedon; built numerous churches and hospitals; and was involved in battling Monophysites, Nestorians, Eutychians, and various other 5th Century bad guys.

You’d never guess it from the way it sounds, but Pulcheria actually means “beautiful.”

Hey, nice hat!

#5  Notburga (Sept 14)

Like #7, Notburga was another very humble saint. A cook in a noble household, Notburga ran afoul of her mistress when she took scraps of food to the poor instead of to the pigs as directed. After sacking Notburga, said mistress became deathly ill. Notburga, though, remained to nurse her and make sure she repented and got into heaven before kicking the bucket.

A similar story happened at Notburga’s next place of employment. This time, though, she was working for a peasant. I guess that all just goes to you show that both ends of the social spectrum can behave badly.

Notburga lived from 1265 to 1313, in what is now Germany. She is patron saint for peasants, servants, and farm workers. Many miracles are attributed to her, and her burial site is a popular pilgrimage.

Her skeletal remains are on display in Eben, Germany

#4  Paphnutius (Sept 11) 

So, what would the nickname for this one be? Paph? Paphy? Nuti?

Paphnutius was also known as Paphnutius of Thebes, Paphnutius the Confessor, and Paphnutius the Great. And that’s to distinguish him from other notable Paphnutii, such as the Hermit, the Buffalo, of Egypt, of Alexandria, of Jerusalem, of Borovsk, of Tentyra, and of Heracleopolis. Huh! Popular name in 4th Century Egypt, I guess. 

Paphy was a hermit and bishop. He was also tortured and maimed for his faith, as well as getting exiled to the mines. Paph was particularly well known for his participation in a number of early councils. In fact, you may have this guy to blame/credit for priestly celibacy.

#3  Autonomous (Sept 12) tells me that this means “having self-government, at least to a significant degree.”  Hmm …

Autonomous the saint was actually an early Roman bishop. Under the Persecutions of Diocletian, Auto fled to Bithynia (that place again!), where he subsequently became a martyr. Not much more on him out there, I’m afraid.

In fact, when I Google “st. autonomous,” I get a few hits to our guy, but a lot more like these:
  • Wells Fargo Picks the 3 Winners of Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Mobile Intelligent Autonomous Systems
  • Institute of Navigation Sixth Annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition
  • St. Josephs College Of Arts and Science (Autonomous)

And images like this one

#2  Disibod of Disenberg (Sept 8)

Patron saint of disembodied dishwashers and Duesenberg drivers …

Disibod was an Irishman who lived in the 7th Century, leaving the Emerald Isle as a missionary to Germany. There, he founded a monastery, where he became abbot-bishop.

He was written up by no less an illustrious personage of Hildegard of Bingen, though I’m afraid I don’t have a lot from her to add here.

#1  Corbinian (Sept 8)
Representation: bishop making a bear carry his luggage because it has eaten his mule

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

Corbinian, originally named Waldegiso, was a Frankish hermit, pilgrim, and bishop who lived in the 600 and 700s. He was also a missionary to Bavaria, where he founded a monastery, performed some miracles, and ran into trouble with the local royals there.

The legend may be symbolic. In fact, there are a number of pious legends where the local pagans are represented as animals to be tamed.

Benedict XVI, who headed Corbinian’s see before becoming pope, used the bear in his own papal arms

Honorable Mention
  • Kingsmark
  • Hedwig of Hreford
  • Gusmeo of Gravedona sul Lario
  • Apolonia Lizárraga Ochoa de Zabalegui
  • Autbert of Avranches 
  • Wulfhilda
  • Pierre-Sulpice-Christophe Faverge
  • Frithestan
  • Barypsabas
  • Macrobius

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