Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Oct. 22-31

#10  Miniato of Florence (Oct 25)
Representation:  young man carrying his severed head

It’s a great – and super weird – representation, but I gotta tell ya, there are so many of these that that representation’s not going to get you any higher than #10 at this point in the calendar.

Poor St. Miniato has been totally overshadowed by the basilica built in his honor. The latter just so happens to be one of the architectural treasures of Florence. It sits on the highest hill in town, dates back to 1018, and is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy.

As for the saint, he was originally an Armenian prince, and served in the Roman army. He gave all that up, though, for life as a Christian hermit, with his hermitage where the basilica now sits. 

Needless to say, he got his portrait painted by a ton of pretty good painters

As for the head thing … Miniato went through the usual torments – wild animals, stoning, etc. – before finally being decapitated. Even that, though, wasn’t enough to stop our man. With head tucked firmly under arm, he took a stroll from the amphitheater to his hermitage, preaching all the way.

#9  Simon the Apostle (Oct 28) 
Patronage:  sawmen

Now, Simon is no mystery here. It’s the sawmen I’m wondering about.

Well, it’s actually not all that mysterious. According to Merriam-Webster, it’s just “one who saws or who repairs saws.” 

Simon is actually one of the more obscure apostles. To distinguish him from Simon Peter, our Simon is often called The Zealot. 

The association with saws? Unfortunately, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Simon’s occupation, but rather with his form of martyrdom. Indeed, poor Simon is famous for being sawn in half.

#8  Celina Chludzinska (Oct 26)

And if this one isn’t bad enough, would it help to know that she’s often referred to as Celina Chludzińska Borzęcka?

Yup, the last bit there is her married name. After her husband passed away, Celina and a daughter moved to Rome and founded a new religious community, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection. 

Before taking the veil

She’s a recent saint (well, actually only a blessed), having died just over a 100 years ago, in 1913. Celina was actually beatified less than 10 years ago, in 2007.

#7  Ethelfleda

This poor thing was also known as Elfleda, Elflaeda, and Ethelflaeda. She also usually gets the appellation of “of Romsey,” the abbey where she was abbess.

That last bit is also to distinguish her from Ethelfleda, the daughter of King Alfred the Great. Our Ethelfleda was a princess as well, though the daughter of King Edward the Elder. Got it all straight?

According to this site, our Ethelfleda was also known for skinny-dipping! In fact, they call her “Romsey’s naked nun”!!

I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for this however

#6  Gioan Dat (Oct 28)

"Gioan dat? You could hav dis instead.  Whachu wan?"

Gioan was an 18th Century Vietnamese martyr. There’s not a lot out there on him – in English at least. 

Almost everything I could find on him was in Vietnamese, a language that Google Translate seems to have some real issues with. Happily, that does give us such gems as:

  • Fatherless childhood, his mother's permission to Achieve total dedication to the Lord under the loving care of Dad Loan Made At Banana.
  • John Achieve seconded to Origin of Good Grapes, Than Phu.
  • Since then, troops have found the chalice and vestments, it is torture landlord, Don Page and some others believe, huh.
  • Father Made Bach Bat Training Tool posing as an old friend came to visit, and gave it to his father confessor Blessed Sacrament.
  • A pot gong back up, everyone must back away.

The illustration doesn’t seem to help much either

#5  Ermelinda of Meldaert (Oct 29)

Ermelinda was a 6th Century Belgium hermitess, known for her strict penances. And that’s about all we know about Ermelinda …

I’d love to know what this is all about though

#4  Achahildis of Wendelstein (Oct 29)

Apart from the great name, Achahildis is most famous for being the mother of quintuplets. Not too surprisingly, her representation is often “with five children.”

Her other representations need a little explanation:

  • Tree full of ripe cherries – “When she was pregnant in the dead of winter, she had a craving for cherries; a tree in her garden suddenly produced a full crop of them."
  • Geese – “Once when she discovered that a servant had killed and stolen some geese, she forgave the servant and brought the geese back to life – including the one that had been cooked.”

Thanks, catholicsaints.info!

#3  Elesbaan of Ethiopia (Oct 27)

Elesbaan is another royal – this time, a king of Ethiopia. He was famous for invading Arabia, where the local ruler was persecuting Christians. Elesbaan fought him, lost, fought him again, won, then retired as a hermit.

Yup, he was indeed black

What I really like about this guy, though, are all the many names he went by – some of which seem to have absolutely nothing to do with each other:

  • Elesbaan of Axum
  • Elesbaas
  • Elesbas
  • Elesboas
  • Ella Atsbeha
  • Ella Asbeha
  • Eleuzoe
  • Hellestheaeus
  • Calam-Negus
  • Calam
  • Caleb
  • Kaleb

#2  Thomas Thwing (Oct 23)

It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that thwing …

Thomas was a priest in England during the 17th Century. He was actually active after the period when Catholics and Protestants were killing each other right and left. He was, however, involved in a plot, the Barnbow Plot, to kill the reigning king. Poor Thomas was the only one to hang.

What I really want to know about, though, is that last name. Well, here’s what ancestry.com has to say:

Apparently an English habitational name from the place so called in East Yorkshire, named with Old Scandinavian þvengr or Old English þweng ‘narrow strip of land’.

#1  Quodvultdeus (Oct 26)

It means “What God Wills.” That still doesn’t make it any less weird or hard to pronounce though, does it?

Q (I’m assuming all his friends called him this) was a 5th Century bishop in Carthage, in North Africa. When an Arian Vandal came to power there, he sent Q and some other Christians to sea in some totally unseaworthy boats. Miraculously, they were able to cross the Tyrrhenian Sea all the way to Naples. Q was besties with the well-known Augustine of Hippo.

I would imagine that’s the Bible, so I’m wondering why Q seems so bored.

Honorable Mention

  • Cuthbert of Canterbury
  • Egelnoth the Good
  • Clether
  • Cadfarch
  • Colman of Templeshambo
  • Quadragesimus of Policastro
  • Canna verch Tewdr Marw
  • Bean of Mortlach
  • Dodone of Wallers-en-Fens
  • Albinus of Buraburg

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Oct. 15-21

We’ve got two biggies this week, Ss. Luke and Teresa of Avila. We’ve also got one of my personal favorites, the North American Martyrs. That was actually the name of the church I attended when I was in junior high and high school. My wife had never heard of them before and thought I was making it up. 

They were actually just some French Jesuit missionaries to the Indians back in the 17th Century. You can probably guess the rest of the story …

#10  Hedwig of Andechs (Oct 16)
Patronage:  duchesses

For all you duchesses out there …

Hedwig was indeed a duchess – of Silesia and then later of Greater Poland, both by marriage. She was born a countess. Andechs was the name of her own noble line.

Both Hedwig and her husband were very pious, devoting much to charity. Upon becoming a widow, Hedwig gave everything she had to the church and retired to a monastery, where she led a very humble life.

You gotta admit, Hedwig’s a pretty awesome name as well.

For some reason, there were no shortage of odd images of Hedwig out there

#9  Frideswide (Oct 19)

“Fried’s wide” or “free-duss-wee-duh”?

Actually, it’s pronounced “fries-wide.” You can find the whole story in gory detail right here (just be sure to scroll down a couple of pages).

So, who was she (and, yes, she was indeed a she)? Well, she was a real-live (Anglo-Saxon) princess. Her main story seems to resolve around her adopting a religious life, but having a suitor pursue her nonetheless. When he tried to abduct her, Frideswide was forced to flee. Various legends have the poor bloke pursue her then either go blind or break his neck in a fall from his horse. Frideswide is the patron saint of both Oxford, where she ended her flight and settled down, and Oxford University as well. All this happened in the 7th and 8th Centuries, by the way.

BTW, she also goes by Frideswith, Fritheswithe, Frithuswith, Frevisse, and Fris

#8  Finnian Munnu (Oct 21)

You may be familiar with his holy brother, the Blessed Finnian Haddie.

Sorry about that (and I hope you’re familiar with that rather obscure reference). Finnian was actually an Irish monk and missionary to Scotland (where he’s known as St. Mundus). He founded a monastery, attended synods, was a famous miracle worker, and suffered without complaint from some horrible skin disease. He was active in the 6th and 7th Centuries.

Actually, there’s no shortage of Finnians out there. In addition to our guy, we’ve also got Lobhar and of Lucca, Moville, Kinnitty, and Clonard. Our guy is also known as Finnian of Tech Mannu, Finnian of Taghmon, Fintan, Finton, Munnin, and Mund.

It’s basically just a smoked haddock (popular in Scottland)
… um, finnan haddie, that is

#7  Augustine Thevarparampil (Oct 16)

Go ahead, try to even pronounce this one.

Well, I guess it’s better than the other name he’s known by – Thevarparambil Kunjachan. 

Augustine (let’s just call him that) was actually quite an admirable fellow – something of a male Mother Theresa. An Indian priest who lived during the 20th Century, he devoted himself to the Dalits, the lowest of the castes. 

He still kinda looks like Mr. Spock though

#6  Jerzy Popieluszko (Oct 19)

This one? I wouldn’t even try.

I debated including this one. There’s really not a funny story behind this one. The events are also very recent, so may still be rather sensitive.

Basically, Father Jerzy was a Polish priest who became associated with the Solidarity movement. He would later be hounded and framed by the government and survive several assassination attempts before finally being murdered, quite brutally.

He was beatified in 2010 by Pope Benedict, 26 years after his death.

#5  Artemius Megalomartyr (Oct 10) 

Is that like a megalomaniac?

Happily, “megalo” merely means “great,” so all this really means is Artemius the Great Martyr.

Artemius, who was born in Egypt, was a general in the Roman army. Quite popular with Constantine the Great (who made him Viceroy of Egypt), he would not do so well under Julian the Apostate.

#4  Luke (Oct 18)
Patronage:  Worshipful Company of Painters

Luke, I think we all know. The Worshipful Company of Painters? Not so much.

Actually, all they were were a medieval London guild company. Their official name is the Worshipful Company of Painters/Stainers. Famous alumni include Joshua Reynolds, Peter Lely, and John Everett Millais.

The association with Luke? Well, legend has it that the evangelist painted a portrait of the Virgin Mary. On the continent, the typical painter’s guild was often called the Guild of St. Luke.

Here they come!

By the way, there are also Worshipful Companies of:
  • Distillers
  • Apothecaries
  • Plumbers
  • Spectacle Makers
  • Tinplate Workers
  • Fish Mongers
  • Cordwainers
  • Environmental Cleaners

#3  Gall (Oct 16)
Representation:  abbot blessing a bear, which brings him a log of wood

Wow! Could we be any more random here?

Like Finnian, Gall was another Irish missionary of the 6th and 7th Centuries. Unlike Finnian, Gall went much further afield. He started out in Gaul (too bad he didn’t stay there or he could have been Gall of Gaul), then continued on to Germany and Switzerland. In that last location, he turned down a bishopric and founded a monastery. The Swiss canton of St. Gallen ultimately gets its name from him.

Oh, the representation? Here’s how the fine folks at Wikipedia explain it:

Another popular story has it that as St Gall was travelling in the woods of what is now Switzerland he was sitting one evening warming his hands at a fire. A bear emerged from the woods and charged. The holy man rebuked the bear, so awed by his presence it stopped its attack and slunk off to the trees. There it gathered firewood before returning to share the heat of the fire with St Gall. The legend says that for the rest of his days St Gall was followed around by his companion the bear.


#2  Proculus of Pozzuoli (Oct 18)

Proculus was a martyr with Januarius and five others during the persecutions of Diocletian (specifically, in 305). The seven were thrown to some wild animals, who subsequently turned into teddy bears. Seeing as that move didn’t go over that well, the authorities then chopped their heads off (which always seems to work).

Proc’s feast day used to be Nov, 19. This meant that he was formerly known in Italy as 'u pisciasotto, “the pants pisser,” as it traditionally rains on that day.

#1  Ursula (Oct 21)
Representation:  maiden shot with arrows, often accompanied by a varied number of companions who are being martyred in assorted, often creative ways

Longest … representation … ever.

And pretty darn weird as well. 

So, here’s the story with Ursula … It’s a bit of a shaggy dog story, so bear with me. Legend has her born a princess in England. Betrothed to the governor of Brittany, she traveled there with a bridal party of 11,000 virgins (her companions in the representation above). Before the festivities, however, she decided to take the party to Rome, where she was then joined by the pope. The group then headed north, being intercepted in Cologne by some Huns. And that’s where everyone gets martyred in those “assorted, often creative ways.”

Honorable Mention
  • Ednoth
  • Ethbin
  • Ethelbert of Eastry / Ethelred of Eastry
  • Gebizo
  • Narcis Basté y Basté
  • Thecla of Kitzengen
  • Conogon of Quimper
  • Gundisalvus of Silos
  • Zoticus of Nicomedia
  • Bernard of Bagnorea

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Oct. 8-14

There’s only one really interesting saint this week, and that’s John XXIII. And the thing that might be most interesting about him is that he was pope when I was born. And I’m not that old! As a very liberal Catholic, I also count him as one of my favorite saints as well.

#10  Colman of Stockerau (Oct 13)
Patronage:  horned cattle

No horns? Forget it then. You’re just gonna have to find somebody else.

In addition to that rather odd patronage, we’ve also got Colman down for:
  • Horses
  • Plague
  • Gout
  • Hanging
That last bit pertains directly to poor Colman’s form of martyrdom. I’ll let catholicaints.info explain:

While on a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands, Colman was stopped by the Viennese on suspicion of being a Moravian spy; there was continual fighting between Austria, Moravia and Bohemia, and a stranger who spoke no German was immediately suspect. With no evidence other than being a stranger, he was convicted of espionage, tortured, and hanged with two thieves.

What happened next, though, is probably how Colman became a saint however:

In the tradition of the time, the bodies were left to rot as a warning to others. Colman’s body hung there for 18 months, incorrupt, and untouched by animals. Miracles were reported at the site, including the scaffolding taking root and putting out branches.

If you’re ever in the Benedictine abbey at Melk (Austria), 
you can touch part of the stone that Colman was martyred on

#9  Francis Borgia (Oct 10)
Representation:  skull crowned with an emperor's diadem

There’s a story behind this, I just know it.

Unfortunately, though, it’s a pretty common one. The skull may simply represent a memento mori, a classic reminder of the brevity of life. It’s particularly associated with the Jesuits, who Francis joined. The crown may represent a martyr’s crown, or simply reflect Francis’s illustrious background.

Alas, poor Francis …

Indeed. Francis was a Duke, the grandson of a pope, and was raised at the court of Charles V. The emperor took a particular liking to him, making him a Marquess and Vicerory.

When Francis’s wife died, though, he renounced everything and became a simple Jesuit priest. Though exceedingly humble, Francis would go on to found numerous colleges and be made the Jesuits’ Superior General.

All this happened in 16th Century Spain.

#8  Maximilian of Celeia (Oct 12)
Patronage:  Habsburg family

Well, that's a little particular, isn’t it?  I mean, how many Habsburgs do you know?

Interestingly, though, Maximillian was not a member of that family. In fact, he lived in the 3rd Century, long before the Habsburgs were around. They did, however, adopt him. In fact, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I was probably named after him. It would be a name that would run through the Habsburg family for the next 500 years.

As for the saint, there really isn’t that much on him. We do know he was a missionary and a subsequent martyr. He also founded the church of Lorch (remember Florian?), which makes him Maximilian of Lorch as well.

#7  Eulampia / Eulampius (Oct 10)

They gotta be twins, right?

Well, we do know they were brother and sister. Not so sure about the twin thing.

The two were martyred during the 300s (not a good time to be a Christian, BTW) in the city of Nicomedia (modern-day Turkey). Seems Eulampius (the brother) was arrested for buying supplies for Christians hiding in caves in the local mountains. When he was whipped, Eulampia disclosed herself by coming to his aid. They would then both be executed – along with 200 soldiers who were so impressed by the siblings’ courage that they converted en masse.

The two are very popular in Orthodox churches, but are recognized by the Catholic Church as well.

Why am I not surprised?

#6  Pelagia the Penitent (Oct 8)

I understand she was from Pennsylvania, and had quite the parental pedigree.

Actually, Pelagia was from Antioch (again, in modern-day Turkey), and lived around the year 300. She was actually a very attractive dancing girl / prostitute who was converted by St. Nonnus. And that’s how she got her other appellation, the wonderful Pelagia the Harlot.

After her conversion, Pelagia went to the Mount of Olives, where she lived a very ascetic life as a bit of a transgender monk. Yup, she dressed like a man and passed herself off as the eunuch Pelagius. The standard story is that she did that so she could hide her beauty and pray without being bothered. As a NC native, I do have to wonder, though, exactly what bathroom she used.

#5  Callistus (Oct 14)
Representation:  pope with a millstone on him or nearby

You know there’s a big difference between those two, right?

Callistus was indeed an early pope, ruling in the 200s. His martyrdom also prominently featured a millstone, with said object tied around Callistus’s neck as he was thrown down a well or off a bridge into the Tiber.

Unfortunately for Callistus, the only record we have of his life came from two of his enemies, one of whom would become the first anti-pope. Amid all the calumny, it sounds like Callistus was born a slave, was exiled for his faith, was the sextant for one of Rome’s more famous catacombs, and was rather liberal during his short papacy (his critics seem to have been just the opposite).

This is actually not his mug shot – 
just something I found on the web

#4  Canice (Oct 11)
Representation:  man ordering birds to stop singing / man ordering mice to leave

Why? What did they do?

Also, did they leave, or did they just ignore him? Curious minds want to know.

Well, it sounds like they did pay attention. He’s famous for stopping those noisy birds from interrupting mass, and for doing a St. Patrick on the mice of the Irish island of Ubdain.

Yup, that’s him

Canice was an Irish monk, priest, and missionary who lived during the 6th Century. He’s one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. The town – and county – of Kilkenny is named after him (with kil meaning “church” in Gaelic). He’s also known as Kenneth, especially in Scotland, where he was a missionary.

#3  Cerbonius of Populonia (Oct 10)
Representation: bishop with a bear licking his feet

Okay, these are starting to get weird.

Cerbonius lived at the same time as Canice, but much further south. He may have been born in North Africa, fleeing to Italy to avoid invading barbarians.

Barbarians caught up him with there, though, where the story behind that wonderful representation played out. Turns out one of the barbarian kings ordered Cerbonius to be tied to a stake and set a wild bear upon him. You can guess the rest.

There’s another excellent story about Cerbonius that involves him saying mass too early, being hauled to Rome by his parishoners, performing some miracles along the way, and eventually getting absolved by the pope. Along the way, he tamed some wild geese, which followed him the rest of way. And that’s what’s behind another popular representation of his – “with geese.”

Couldn’t find any bears – 
these gees will have to do

#2  Denis of Paris (Oct 9)
Representation:  beheaded bishop carrying his severed head – the head sometimes wears its mitre, and there is often a vine growing over his neck

What is this, weird week?

St. Denis is actually pretty well known. He was the first bishop of Paris, and was indeed a martyr. He’s also the patron saint of Paris, and is also known as The Apostle of France. The French were so devoted to him that St. Denis, in Paris, is where all the French royalty are buried. Finally, the traditional French battle cry is, “Montjoie! St. Denis!”

As for the head bit, there’s actually quite a saintly tradition of that. In addition to Denis, this blog also features Alban of Mainz and Solange of Bourges. There are so many of these saints that they actually have their own name, cephalophores (from the Greek for “head-carrier”). Like Denis, these folks often walk long ways, preaching all the while.

#1  Abraham the Patriarch (Oct 9)
Representation:  bearded old man holding a blanket containing small people representing the souls of all believers saved since his first reaction to God

Sure, why the heck not?

This guy probably needs no introduction. You know, the guy who wandered around the Mideast? Canaan, Hebron, Egypt? Father of Jacob and Ishmael? Husband of Sarah and Hagar? Promised land? That covenant thing? You know, that guy.

Yup, that’s him

Honorable Mention
  • Lubenzio
  • Lupulo of Capua
  • Sabinus of the Lavedan
  • Ethelburgh of Barking
  • Domnina of Anazarbus
  • Monas of Milan
  • Fulk of Fontenelle
  • Guiadenzio of Gniezno
  • Malo the Martyr
  • Anastasius the Apocrisarius

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Oct. 1-7

Couple of biggies this week. Therese of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower, happens to be one of the more popular saints out there. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, has inspired many. 

The other biggie is Francis of Assisi. I think everyone’s familiar with him. He also happens to be my personal all-time fave.

#10  Justina of Padua (Oct 7)
Representation:  young woman with both breasts pierced by one sword

Oh geez. That’s a little too graphic for me.

Now, that particularly gruesome martyrdom happened in the year 304, during the persecutions of Diocletian. Other than that, Justina was famous for converting Cyprian, as well as being a disciple of the Apostle Peter. Needless to say, that last bit is pretty much impossible, as Peter died around 65 AD.

She is (thankfully) also often shown with a unicorn

#9  Leodegarius of Autun (Oct 2)
Representation:  man having his eyes bored out with a gimlet

Aagghh! That’s way too graphic for me.

Leo (which I’m sure all his friends called him) lived in Burgundy in the 600s. He was a noble, the son of St. Sigrada, as well as the brother of St. Warinus. 

Leo was a priest and bishop, but made the fatal mistake of getting mixed up in local politics (hence his very gruesome representation).Oh, by the way, Leo’s eye sockets were also cauterized and his tongue and lips cut off as well. Somehow or other, though, he survived another two years before finally being executed.

Note the gimlet on the right 
(I’m sparing you the actions shots out there on Google Images)

#8  Adalgott of Chur (Oct 3)

Not to be confused with Adalgott the Churl.

Our Adalgott was a monk, and actually a student of St. Bernard at the famous monastery of Clairvaux. He was also an abbot and bishop, and founded a hospital. We’re talking 12th Century Switzerland here, by the way.

Sorry, not a lot out there on him …

There is this weird picture though

#7  Ammon the Great (Oct 4)
Representation:  a man saying the rosary in bed with his wife

Catholicsaints.info tells me that Ammon was forced into marriage but that “he and his wife lived as brother and sister for 18 years, then each entered religious life.” So, that explains that …

After he and his wife went their separate ways, Ammon would become one of the “desert fathers,” a bunch of monks living in the Egypt desert beginning around the 3rd Century. As happened with a lot of these hermits, Ammon soon became surrounded by followers. In fact, Ammon had more than 4,000 of them! So much for solitude …

2945 Talmage St, Ammon, ID
(but thanks anyway, Google Images)

#6  Mary Frances of the Five Wounds of Christ (Oct 6)

Hey, I think I took her to the sock hop at the CYO. Oh, no, that was Mary Frances O’Flanagan.

MFFWC actually started out life as Anna Maria Gallo. Born in 18th Century Naples, she escaped a forced marriage and abusive father to join the Franciscans as a tertiary (there the ones who live at home). She was a bit on the extreme side, wearing hair shirts, whipping herself, and spending her last 40 years as a recluse. She was famous for having visions and also the stigmata as well.

She has a rather unique patronage. In her home, which was turned into a shrine, there is a chair which childless mothers can sit in to help them become fertile.

Said chair

#5  Dionysius the Areopagite (Oct 3)

That Dionysius! He’s such an areopagite!

So, what exactly is an areopagite? Why, it’s a member of the council of the Areopagus, of course! So, what’s the Areopagus? Well, it’s a hill in Athens … where a bunch of judges sat.

And our guy just so happened to be one of those judges. He was converted to Christianity by St. Paul during a speech he made in front of said judges. Dionysius may also have become the first bishop of Athens. He was also definitely a martyr.

Whatever you do, though, please don’t confuse this guy with Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. That was some guy who wrote some stuff that was previously attributed to our Dio, but was then later shown not to be his at all.

I think this is actually Pseudo’s

#4  Pardulf (Oct 6)

Or, if you prefer, Pardulfus … Yup, he goes by both.

Pardulf was a French peasant, shepherd, and hermit who lived in the 7th and 8th Centuries. He would later become a monk and abbot. 

Another one a bit on the extreme side, Pardulf ate once a week, warmed himself only by the rays of the sun, and – perhaps worst of all – was a vegetarian! A bio of his, Vita Pardulfi, is an important source of knowledge of daily life in the medieval kingdom of Aquitaine.

#3  Marian Skrzypczak (Oct 5)

So, what is it with Poles and vowels? Or are they just under the delusion that Y’s, Z’s & C's are not consonants?

Marian was martyred by the Nazis during their invasion of Poland. Not much out there on him, so I had to resort to translating some pages from the Polish. From those, I found this absolutely classic mistranslation:

His father owned a drugstore, which in Janowiec [Marian’s hometown] led to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

And I thought it all started in Sarajevo

#2  Szilárd István Bogdánffy (Oct 3)

No, I did not just put both elbows on the keyboard. This is really the way this guy spells his name.

Another modern saint, Szilard was martyred by the Communists. Tortured, mistreated, and ultimately refused medical care, he would die in 1953, in his native Romania.

Previous to that, Szilard was a priest, professor, and clandestine bishop. Sounds like he also barely escaped martyrdom during WWII as well.

Perhaps to shed a little light on that rather strange name, I was able to find out that Bogdanffy was a Transylvanian Armenian. Not too surprisingly, that particular combination of words brings up only 350 results on Google.

#1  Iwi (Oct 6)

Short, sweet … and just rather odd.

And just in case that name isn’t odd enough for you, perhaps you’d like to refer to this poor devil by some of his alternate names:
  • Ivi
  • Iwig
  • Ywi
  • Iwigius

Two great stories about this English monk who lived in the 7th and 8th Centuries:
  • He took a ship without bothering to learn its destination, planning to evangelize where it landed (it was Brittany)
  • When some Breton monks later took his relics along with on a pilgrimage to England, the relics were so heavy that they couldn’t be moved (and reside in Wilton Abbey to this day)

By the way, make sure you don’t confuse our guy with acronyms for any of the following:
  • International Womens Initiative
  • Intelligent Web Interaction
  • International Water Institute
  • Israeli Weapon Industries
  • International Workshop on the Internet
  • Index of Watershed Indicators
  • International Worship Institute
  • Innovatie Wetenschappelijke Informatievoorziening

Or Independent Wrestling International, for that matter

Honorable Mention
  • Canog
  • Dubtach of Armagh
  • Crispus of Corinth
  • Erotis
  • Quarto of Capua
  • Hadrianus Takahashi Mondo
  • Crescencio García Pobo
  • Ebontius of Babastro 
  • Vasnulfo
  • Dodo