Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dec. 15-21

It seems like this is a week for obscure saints. Honestly, Peter Canisius, on the 21st, is the only one I can come up with (and that's only an "optional memorial"). Do you think they just started running out of 'em? 

#10  Bodagisil of Aquitaine  (Dec 18)

No, Google, I did not mean Vagisil.

This fellow was a man of many names however. lists:
  • Bodagisil of St-Avold
  • Bodagisil of Metz
  • Bada of….
  • Baudgise of….
  • Bodagisle of….
  • Bodegisel of….
  • Bodogisilus of….
  • Bodogisil of….
  • Bogie of….
  • Buêle of….

And, yes, we’re talking about a guy. Bo (I’m sure that’s what all his friends called him) was a 6th Century Frankish noble and courtier. He also had a spiritual side, founding an abbey and becoming the abbot there. He also fathered a saint, Arnulf of Metz. I guess you could say that’s kind of half secular and half saintly.

#9  Bogumila Noiszewska (Dec 19)

Interestingly, Google did not try to correct me on this one. Spell Check did, however, want me to change it to “beguile.”

BTW, we’re talking about a girl this time. Poor thing.

Bogumila was a Polish nun who was martyred during WWII for helping to hide Jews. She was beatified by JPII in 1999 (and has not yet been canonized).

A surprising number of Slavic names begin with “bog.” That’s actually how you say “God” in several of these languages. Bogumila actually means “favored by God.” Remembering that this is a girl’s name, I’m finding that a tad ironic.

#8  Sturmi of Fulda  (Dec 17)

So, no corrections from Google, but Spell Check does give me the obvious “stormy,” as well as the much less obvious “struma.”

Well, we’re back to the guys with this one. (I know, pretty impossible to tell with the names so far this week.) Sturmi was an 8th Century German priest, hermit, missionary, and abbot. He’s also known as Sturm and Sturmius, as well as the Apostle of the Saxons and the Apostle of Germany.

#7  Filip Siphong Onphithakt (Dec 16)

Okay, I think I recognize that first one ...

Filip is our second 20th Century saint. A Thai convert, he was a simple catechist. After protesting police persecution of Catholics, he was ambushed, tortured, and martyred. He’s known as one of the Seven Martyrs of Songkhon. Others include:
  • Agnes Phila
  • Maria Phon
  • Lucie Khambang
  • Cecilia Butsi
  • Bibiana Khamphai
  • Agata Phutta Bi (which sounds an awful lot like a fraternity)

Oh, BTW, Spell Check wants me to change the 2nd name to “siphon,” and just plain gave up on the 3rd.

#6  William of Fenoli (Dec 10)
Representation:  holding a donkey’s leg

But why? Why was he holding a donkey’s leg?

Ask and ye shall receive. explains it all:

One day when coming in from the fields, William was attacked by thieves, and defended himself by tearing the leg off his donkey and using it as a club to drive off the attackers; afterwards he re-attached the leg, and the pair continued home.

Other than that, we really don’t know much about this guy. We do know he was a simple hermit and monk and live in the 11th and 12th Centuries in Italy. He was beatified only in 1860 (and has still not been canonized).

#5  John of Matha (Dec 17)
Representation:  purse

Patron saint of crossdressers?

John was born a noble in 11th century France. Ditching the courtly for the spiritual life, he would become a hermit; then earn a PhD in theology; then found an order, the Trinitarians. The Trinitarians, whose specialty was ransoming Christian captives from Muslims, is still around today (not sure how much ransoming they’re doing though).

A Trinitarian

By the way, John is the namesake of DeMatha High School. If you’re a college basketball fan, you’ve probably heard of them. They arguably have the best high school hoops program in the country, claiming alumni such as Adrian Dantley, Danny Ferry, Sydney Lowe, and Adrian Branch.

The purse? Couldn’t find much, but I assume it’s a money purse, highlighting his ransoming activities.

#4  Maximinus of Micy (Dec 15)

Weird names are always so much better when they’re alliterative, don’t you think?

We know very little about this guy other than when he lived (6th Century), where he lived (France), and what he did for a living (monk and abbot). There are some great pious legends out there however.

In one, Max chased a dragon out of a cave and then claimed it for a hermitage. In another, Max, long dead, sent a vision to one Henry, the sufferer of some unknown affliction, telling him to come pay him a visit. Henry first went to the wrong Maximinus (in Trier), then to the shrine of Maximus (in Tours), then finally found his way to Micy. There, an apparition of the correct Maximinus appeared, slapped Henry and declared, “Where are you going, fool?” And that might be my all-time favorite pious legend.

#3  Auxentius of Mopsuestia  (Dec 18)

No, it’s not alliterative. It is pretty weird and unpronounceable though.

All we know about Auxentius was that he was a 3rd Century Roman army officer, who refused to offer grapes to Bacchus (gasp!). Whether that led to his martyrdom or not is not recorded.

We do know that Mopsuestia  was a large city in the ancient world, in what is now Turkey. All that’s left of it now, however, is the small town of Yakapınar (formerly, Misis).

By the way, there are actually several Ss. Auxentius out there. So, don’t get this guy confused with the Auxentii of Milan, Durostorum, and Bithynia.

Or this one from Constantinople

#2  Baudacarius of Bobbio  (Dec 21)

Ah, back to alliteration.

By the by, Baudacarius was also a Benedictine. He lived in the 7th Century, in Italy.

He also has a great pious legend as well:

Legend says that once he ran nearly out of food to feed [his 30 brothers], but prayed for help and was able to feed them all from a single cooked duck.

For some strange reason, this is the 3rd image that comes up 
on Google Images when you type in "baudacarius of bobbio"

#1  Briarch of Bourbriac (Dec 17)

Alliteration and a tongue twister.

Briarch, who lived in the 6th and 7th Centuries, was an Irish noble, a monk in Wales, a pilgrim to Rome, and the founder of a monastery in France. In other words, quite the medieval jet setter. The only other things I could find out about him were that he was a friend of St. Tudwal and is invoked against mental illness.

Briarch is indeed a pretty obscure figure. I actually got less than 300 hits on him in Google, probably the fewest I’ve ever got for any saint.

... and this is the 2nd image when you type in "briarch of bourbriac" (?!?!)

Honorable Mention
  • Martyrs of Eleutheropolis
  • Nicholas Chrysoberges
  • Tydecho
  • Beornwald of Bampton
  • Samthann of Clonbroney
  • Winebald of Heidenheim
  • Theotimus of Laodicea
  • Bean of Lough Derg
  • Flavito
  • Freoch of Cloon

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