6 Inspiring Badass Saints
Every saint is great in their own rights. If God created man in his own image, then they are the living proof of His existence. They are the very reflection of what God is; faith, dedication, compassion, courage and unconditional love to their fellow men. Saints could come in many forms and professions; from the usual clerics, nuns or monks, to kings, aristocrats, workers, farmers, and doctors or any social class there is. They could be as young as a schoolgirl, as youthful as a teenager or someone in an advanced age. But if there is one thing they have in common, they all made great services both to God and to their brothers and sister.
Yet I find some saints particularly impressive.
Again my subjective taste is at work here. Throughout history we may find saints who exult in battle, a former soldier, or an enlightened bandit. These people might be capable of incredible feats, but then again all saints are incredible. Their acts only how faith was never been easy. And below are some of my personal favorites.
Special mention; Blessed Iustus Takayama Ukon
You are a certified badass if you are a samurai. They are ferociously loyal warriors trained in several fighting discipline. They can duel, brawl and shoot just like any soldiers in their period. Try to offend one and your chance of survival is zero. Epic battles, Bushido stuffs and Katana fights are what we think of if these guys come in mind. But a certain samurai named Iustus Takayama Ukon was different.
He was not just a samurai, but a real Roman Catholic samurai. Though born as Hikogorō Shigetomo, he became a Christian in 1564 after his father converted him. Like any samurai, the man was combative. He participated in many battles and even won a duel. You heard it right, he clashed sword and won. Yet it was his faith, and not fighting prowess that made him well known. In later years the shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi became hostile to Christians. He expelled the missionaries and forced his daimyos to renounce their faiths. Many did, but not Takayama. His Bushido loyalty was reflected on how he protected his faith. God returned the favour and Takayama lived under the protection of his allies until 1614, when he and some 300 Christians was expelled out of Japan. He then lived a peaceful life until his death on 3 or 5 February 1615. Technically Takayama is not yet a saint, but being beatified he is nearly there.
1. Saint Mercurius
How cool is it for a warrior to ride into battle with two swords?
Saint Philopater Mercurius’ exploits is a stuff of epic Hollywood films. He lived during the reign of the Roman Emperor Decius and as a soldier he was admired for his strength, courage and skills with the sword. It was said that when the Berbers attacked Rome, Decius became afraid after seeing their great number. After several days of fighting, Mercurius came out with two swords. One is his regular military blade and the other is a divine sword; the weapon given to him by the Archangel Michael. With the twin blade at hand he conquered the Berbers and proclaimed as prince. He then earned the Arabic nickname Abu-Seifein, the holder of two swords. Sadly he was beheaded on 4 December 250 AD after he refused to offer incense to the pagan idols. He was just 24, but his story doesn’t just stop there.
At the end of the persecution, Saint Mercurius appeared to a poor man to reveal the place of his burial. His remains are said to give off sweet scent. According to one tradition, Saint Basil prayed to the icon of Saint Mercurius so the Emperor Julian the Apostate won’t return from battle to resume his Christian persecution. The icon became invisible for few days and it reappeared with a bloody spear. Julian was then mortally wounded by a spear from an anonymous soldier.
2. Saint Ignatius of Loyola
He has his own movie, and believe it or not most of it is true. Before becoming the pious Ignatius we knew today, he was Ignatius the soldier. He loved stories of military adventures, and at the age of seventeen he joined the army. During these times Ignatius flaunted his machismo. He walked around with weapons in his belt, flirted with women, danced well and dueled with anyone he had disputes with. His performance on the field is no joke though. He participated in many battle unscathed until he was injured in the legs by cannonball. He underwent several operations to repair his legs which involve setting and breaking the bones without anaesthetics!
Beat that John Rambo.
His road to recovery (which left a leg shorter than the rest) is the watershed of his life. He read religious texts in the hospital and Ludolph of Saxony’s De Vita Christi inspired him to devote himself to spiritual life. After his recovery he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
And the rest is history!
His later life of holiness made him an even bigger figure than what he was as a warrior. He then founded the Jesuit order, and his legacy lives on in the Vatican when the Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis.
3. Saint Joan of Arc
This teen endured more hell than any men her age.
Her village was burned by a raid at a young age. And in her later life she will lead an army to several important victories in the Hundred Year’s War. When she arrived at Orleans to join the convoy, a miracle happened where the wind reversed, allowing their ship to sail smoothly in the dark. She was mostly symbolic and a morale booster among the men, though she did partake in tactical planning. And in the battle itself Joan fought well, leading the charge despite of an injured foot and crossbow bolt on the shoulder. The results are heavy English casualties and the loss of Orleans to the French. In the end she was captured and burned at stake after being accused of heresy. The accusation was overturned after her death and 500 years later she was canonized.
4. Saint Vladimir of Kiev
Before he became a saint, he was a virtual alpha male. He got hundreds of concubines, wives from around the world and countless children. He even got his own army of Vikings. And like any good pagan kings, his past times included conquering lands, slaughtering people and partaking in human sacrifices. That will change upon his conversion to Christianity. After seeing the martyrdom of his Christian captives, Vladimir took interest to this religion and eventually converted in later years. After that people saw a renewed Vladimir. He took this religion so seriously that he lived in relative peace with the surrounding nations. He performed acts of charities like giving aids to his less fortunate subjects. God seemed to return the favour by granting his kingdom a prosperous economy.
5. Saint Moses the Black
This man should be the Patron Saint of home defense.
Formerly he was the leader of a bandit. With a large frame, he was a frightening man to behold. He converted to Christianity after one botched robbery. One day a barking dog foiled one of his attempts. He planned revenge and went back to kill the man. He swam the Nile River with weapon between his teeth, only to find his target gone. Outraged he killed some of his sheep, but the law catches up to him. He hid with the monks in a desert colony where their pious lives influenced him. Soon he converted to Christianity and joined the monks.
Saint Moses was a zealous practitioner though one time he singlehandedly overpowered a band of robbers after they tried to rob his cell. Instead of killing them, Moses took them to the chapel where the robbers too converted to monks. St Moses will be martyred at the age of 75, when he stood his ground against a band of warriors attacking the monastery.
6. Saint George
This list won’t be complete without the Saint of romance. His exploits with the dragon is legendary. According to the Golden Legend, somewhere in Libya was where the encounter took place. The dragon was said to terrorize a small town, and to appease the creature the people fed it with sheep. Soon the sheep ran out and the king’s daughter was chosen as the next meal. As the princess awaited her doom, Saint George passed by, wounded the dragon and tamed it with the princess’ girdle. He then took it in the town and killed after the townspeople converted to Christianity.
If dragon slaying made Saint George a legend, his martyrdom made him greater than any soldiers of chivalric romance. It takes a certain man to face decapitation over venerations of pagan idols. But Saint George did just that. He was an imperial guard, which was later promoted to rank of Iegatus. With this kind of honours in his belt, Saint George was no joke. Yet thanks to Diocletian, every Christian soldier is now required to make a sacrifice to the Roman gods. George refused, made an open and bold declaration that he was a Christian and later martyred by decapitation.
And that was after being tortured.