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)
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.
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.”
#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
- Ella Atsbeha
- Ella Asbeha
#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.
- Cuthbert of Canterbury
- Egelnoth the Good
- Colman of Templeshambo
- Quadragesimus of Policastro
- Canna verch Tewdr Marw
- Bean of Mortlach
- Dodone of Wallers-en-Fens
- Albinus of Buraburg