Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nov. 1-7

This week includes feasts for both All Saints and All Souls. The first is for everyone who has made it into heaven, whether recognized down here as an official saint or not. The second is for all the rest of us.

#10  Martin de Porres (Nov 3)
Patronage:   hair stylists

Martin de Porres was illegitimate, of mixed race, and grew up in extreme poverty. He would eventually be apprenticed to a barber (whence the odd patronage).

Martin would later join the Dominicans, first as a servant and then eventually as a brother. He moved from doing laundry and working in the kitchen to ministering to the sick, handling alms, acting as a fundraiser, and founding an orphanage and a hospital. also cites “ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light filling the room where he prayed, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures and a remarkable rapport with animals” among his other accomplishments.

A little off the top?

#9  Austremonius (Nov 1)

Def: adj., of or exhibiting austremony.

I’m not sure exactly what that is (and, yes, I totally made that up), but I do know that St. Austremonius was a 4th Century missionary to Gaul, where he would later become a bishop. He’s also known as Stramonius, Austromoine, Stramonius, and Stremonius. And that’s about all I could find on this guy …

#8  Prosdocimus of Padua (Nov 7)

Not much on this dude either … I mean, other than that awesomely alliterative appelation, that is.

He may have been friends with St. Paul, who may have sent him to Padua, where he did become its first bishop. Though that’s all we really know about him, he was immortalized by a number of artists, including Donatello. Why? Not totally sure.

This one's by Andrea Mantegna

#7  Amicus of Rambone (Nov 2)

Sadly, that place is actually pronounced “ram-bone-ee,” not “ram-bone.” It’s actually the name of an abbey, in Italy. Ah, what might have been …

Oh, Amicus? He was the abbot there. Originally a prince, he would give it all up to become a lowly monk. We’re talking the 10th and 11th Centuries here, by the way. And that’s about all we know about Amicus …

The only image I could find out there of him

#6  Willibord of Echternach (Nov 7)
Representation:   cleric dipping his staff into a cask

No, no! No more for you, Willibord!

Finally, somebody with a bio … Though originally from England, Willibord spent a number of years studying in Ireland, traveled twice to Rome, and then ended up as a missionary in northern Germany. He is, in fact, known as the “Apostle of the Frisians” (the very northwest part of Germany and the very northern part of the Netherlands). He would also become the first bishop of Utrecht (in the Netherlands) and found a monastery at Echternach (in Luxembourg). Put ‘em all together, and you’ve got the “Apostle of the Benelux Countries” (that’s Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, in case you didn’t already know).

Alas, I have no idea where the cask and staff come in.

Patron saint of the extremely skinny

#5  Winifred of Wales (Nov 3)
Representation:   Celtic maiden holding a sword with a fountain at her feet, and red ring around her neck where her head has been severed and restored

I’m not sure what I like better, the wonderfully alliterative name or the rather gruesome representation. Aw, do I have to choose?

So, here’s the scoop on the latter bit … Turns out Winifred was beheaded by a suitor, named Caradog, when she resisted his advances. Her brother, one St. Beuno, came along, stitched her up, and brought her back to life. She later became a nun and abbess.

Supposedly, a spring sprang up where Winifred’s head rolled on the ground. It would become famous for its miraculous cures, and a major pilgrimage site as well.

Said well

#4  Charles Borromeo (Nov 4)
Patronage:   apple orchards, starch makers, against ulcers, Monterey CA, etc.

Did I leave anything out?

Charles came from quite the tony family. His mother was a Medici, and he had an uncle who would become pope.

It’s not too surprising then that he rose pretty high up in the ranks, collecting titles like some of us collect coins or comic books or commemorative spoons:
  • Abbot
  • Bishop
  • Archbishop
  • Governor
  • Secretary of state
  • Apostolic administrator
  • Papal legate
  • Legate a latere
  • Cardinal-Deacon
  • Protector of the Kingdom of Portugal
  • Abbot commendatario
  • Vicar general in spiritualibus 
  • Cardinal-Priest of the Title of St. Prassede
  • Protonotary apostolic participantium and referendary

He was actually a major force in the Counter Reformation, played an important role in the Council of Trent, and was a major patron of the arts. Given all his many accomplishments and his very refined background, he still managed to live very humbly.

#3  Clydog (Nov 3)

This poor guy is also known as Clodock and Clitaucus. Wow, I’m not sure which of these three is the worst. They all seem equally bad.

Clydog was a young Welsh king, known for his just and peaceful rule. When a noble maiden fell in love with him, a jealous admirer of hers (and a friend of the king!), slew Clydog while the two (Clydog and the jealous dude, that is) were out hunting.

Clydog’s body was transported by oxen back to his seat, but when the cart broke down, Clydog was buried on the spot. A church was later built there, becoming a popular medieval pilgrimage spot.

#2  Rumwold of Buckingham (Nov 3)
Representation:   preaching newborn baby

This is a good one. I’ll let describe it in full:

He lived only three days during which time he repeated several times “I am a Christian”, and asked for Baptism (which he received from bishop Wilderin) and Holy Communion. Immediately after Baptism, he made a confession of faith, preached a sermon on the Trinity, reciting Scripture and the Athanasian Creed as part of his proofs. He completed this performance by predicting his death, and outlining his desired burial arrangements.

But, wait – it gets better:

A statue of Rumwold at Boxley Abbey could supposedly only be moved by people who lived pure lives. Purity was apparently measured by the size of a donor’s gift to the abbey since if it was sufficient, one of the monks would operate a ratchet mechanism that helped move the statue. This was exposed and the statue burned during the Reformation.

#1  Winnoc of Wormhoult (Nov 6)
Representation:  in ecstasy while grinding grain to flour

It’s not typically how I’ve felt before when grinding grain, but hey …

Winnoc was a Welsh prince who was brought up in Brittany, where his family had fled from the Saxons. He would later found the priory of Wormhout, in modern-day Belgium.  We’re talking the 7th and 8th Centuries here.

That great representation? Sounds like Winnoc particularly enjoyed doing the lowly manual labors around the abbey, including grinding grain. I’m afraid that’s all there is to it ….

Great name too, by the way. And wouldn’t you know, Winnoc is another one of those saints with many, many name variants:
  • Winnoc of Wormhoudt
  • Winnoc of Flanders
  • Winnock
  • Winoc
  • Winok
  • Winnok
  • Wunnoc
  • Winocus
  • Vinocus
  • Vinnoco
  • Winnow
  • Winwalo
  • Gwynnog
  • Pinnock

You call that ecstatic?

Honorable Mention
  • Wulganus
  • Dominator of Brescia
  • Innumerable Martyrs of Saragossa
  • Clether
  • Cadfan
  • Dingad
  • Dionysius Fugixima
  • Gebetrude of Remiremont
  • Spinulus of Moyen-Moutier
  • Erc of Slane


  1. Interesting information but a bit disrespectful in my opinion.

  2. I did try to deal with that possible issue in my intro: