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 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

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