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Zany Saints

Updated on June 26, 2013

Saints preserve us!

For centuries, saints have protected our homes, children, cars, goldfish, radiators, astronauts, mad dogs and inventors.

The names of saints both popular and arcane are the stuff of legend. But who really are these people and what made them so special to earn the highest accolades of the Church?

Catholics regard Saints as members of the family of the Church to be remembered, honored and venerated. Zany Saints is a respectful look at different saints and their contribution to the Holy Catholic Church.


February 12 - Saint Melitius

Bishop of Armenia

Born in the fourth century in Lesser Armenia, Melitius was fortunate not to have to deal with Roman persecution of Christians any longer. Instead his test of faith came from his own Christian brothers and sisters.

At that time, there were different viewpoints on the divine being of Jesus Christ. Christianity as we know it teaches us that Jesus is one in the same with God. Other philosophies of Melitius' time taught that Christ was "like" God, but not the same.

Melitius refused to allow hatred or prejudice affect his judgment or actions. When faced with confrontation from the other side, he resigned his bishop's seat and prayed for the other side.

Melitius was frequently the victim of power politics, yet he never ceased in his love and devotion for his fellow Christians.

When the matter of Christ's divinity was to be decided at a council in Constantinople in 381, Melitius passed away before the council could be completed. He was not forgotten and praised for his true devotion to faith and his love of others.

As St. Gregory of Nyssa said when describing Saint Melitius.. "...sweet calm

look and radiant smile, the kind hand seconding the kind voice....He now sees God

face to face and prays for us and for the ignorance of the people..."

Today, February 12, we remember Saint Melitius. May he pray for us today too.

November 18 - Dedication of Peter and Paul

Two Biggies in the Church

Peter and Paul..

One, a hardened fisherman chosen by Lord to lead his Church..

The other, an educated Roman Jew and persecutor of the early Church.. later to be the greatest preacher and author in the New Testament..

Both martyred in Rome, the future seat of the Holy Church.

Both with cathedrals named in their honor where their remains are housed to this day..

Peter and Paul..

Two great saints and the name of two great cathedrals in the Holy City..

Today, we remember them and their churches.

October 31 - Saint Bega

Saint of the day, patron saint of the day

Saint Bega was first an Irish princess in 7th century Ireland. However, rather than marry a prince from Norway (to seal a royal deal no doubt), she fled the court and found herself miraculously transported to Cumberland in England.

There, Saint Bega became a hermitess and eventually founded an abbey, Saint Bee's Monastery. She served as abbess there until her death.

Patron saint of the day

Although today is Halloween, there is not a patron saint for the day or for anything related such as costumes.

So today we remember, Saint Homobonus (pictured above), patron saint of tailors and clothworkers. Homobonus was a virtuous man beloved by all in his native Italy in the 12th century. Upon his death, he was canonized in 1199.

October 30 - Feast Day of Saint Julian

One of many saints we celebrate today!

Saint Julian lived in the third century in Alexandria Egypt. At this time, Egypt, along with most of the Mediterranean area was part of the Roman Empire. The Romans were much against the Christian Church and many of its members were persecuted.

Julian, along with his fellow celebrant, Cronion , were captured and taken to court for punishment by the Roman authorities. A Roman soldier name Bessa defended him and along with Julian and Cronion, were scourged and burned to death.

We also celebrate this day many other saints, some, whose accounts have been lost to the mists of time. These include:

Saint Maximus - Martyred in Italy in the fourth century.

Saints Zenobius and Zenobia - Brother and sister martyred by Diocletian in the third century.

Saint Eutropia - An African martyr whose history has been lost.

Patron Saint of Day

Since in history we remember the first successful kidney transplant in 1960, let's celebrate two of the patron saints of surgeons - Saints Cosmas and Damian (pictured above). Cosmas and Damian were Arabian doctors who lived in Cilicia. They suffered under the persecutions of Diocletian and died in the year 283.

October 29 - Saint Narcissus of Jerusalem

Feast day of Saint Narcissus

Saint Narcissus was a fascinating saint who lived in an exciting time and place.

Born sometime during the first century, Narcissus was an early leader in the young Christian Church in Jerusalem. He most likely spent much of his younger years around people who had first hand accounts of the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Narcissus became the Bishop of Jerusalem and led the Church with great dicipline and holiness. Perhaps too much as many of the members may have found him a bit too harsh. But his ways make sense considering the state of the early Church and Jerusalem in particular.

At one point, Narcissus, advanced in age, retired and disappeared to spend his life in solitude. After some time though, he returned and took his place again as Bishop of Jerusalem. However, due to his age he soon retired for good.

Many miracles are attributed to Narcissus and it is widely believed he lived for over 100 years, possibly as long as 160!

Regardless, his memory lives on today, more than 2000 years later.

October 28 - Saints Jude and Simon

Remembering two of Christ's apostles

12One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. - Luke 6:12-16 (New International Version)

And so the apostles are named in the Gospels, this being Luke's version.

We all know the big names among the 12 original apostles.. James and his brother, John.. Peter the Rock.. doubting Thomas and Judas the betrayer.

Yet often overlooked are those apostles of which little is known or written about. In this case, today we celebrate Saints Jude and Simon.

Saint Jude was also known as Judas and due to his sharing the name with the one who betrayed Christ, became known to by the Church in later years simply as Jude. Often and in at least one of the Gospels, Jude is referred to as Thaddeus and also as Labbaeus.

Little is said about Jude in the Gospels and after the ascension of Christ into Heaven, we assume he begins his ministry much like the other apostles.

Jude, along with Bartholomew is the patron saint of the Armenian Church. His symbol is the club and often is pictured with an ax as this is the widely accepted means of his martyrdom.

Simon, also known as Simon the Zealot (and not to be confused with Simon Peter) is mentioned in all four Gospels. Like Jude, little is known or mentioned about Simon in either the Gospels or the following Acts of the Apostles.

By the name Zealot, we know that this group historically was a nationalistic and possibly militant group operating against the Roman occupation of Israel. As a member, it is accepted that Simon was a devout Jew and proud member of his faith.

Simon and Jude celebrate this day together as later Church historians place them together as an evangelizing team. They have been noted as spreading the Gospel to Egypt and later to Armenia and possibly Persia where he might have been martyred.

Simon's symbol is the saw as it is believed it was by that tool he was martyred.

Happy Feast Day to Saints Jude and Simon!

Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza

October 27 - Feast Day of Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza!

Blessed Bartholomew was born around the year 1200 in Italy and at age 20 joined the Dominicans. As a priest, Bartholomew started a military order which kept the peace in several Italian towns and villages.

Having made some enemies from an anti-papal crowd, Bartholomew was ordained a Bishop to "get rid of him" and send him away from Italy to Cyprus.

Greater powers intervened and in a few years Blessed Bartholomew found himself back in his beloved Vicenza where Bartholomew distinguished himself with his preaching and loyalty to the true Holy See.

Bartholomew died in 1271 and was beatified in 1793.

Anthony the Great!

Saint Anthony the Great!

So where do all of those famous hermit/monks get their inspiration from?

Anthony the Great of course!

A fourth century Coptic Christian, Anthony devoted himself to constant prayer, fasting and denial.

Clothed in sack cloth and hair shirt and operating out of the forboding Egyptian desert, Saint Anthony was constantly assaulted by Satan, who often came in various disguises and forms.

Anthony never bathed and naturally attracted many followers to his austere life.

Anthony's monks (the first order) made baskets and brushes to keep busy - for whom Anthony is the recognized patron saint.

Anthony symbols are a small pig and bell for reasons which bear further investigation.

April 29 - Saint Catherine of Sienna Day

Patron saint of Italy

Today is the feast day of Saint Catherine of Sienna.

Born in the 14th century to wealthy wool dying family, Catherine was the youngest of twenty five children.

Promised in marriage to a wealthy young man, Catherine instead cut off her hair (to make herself less attractive) and pledged her life to God.

Joining the Dominican order, Catherine served the sick while the Black Plague swept Italy.

She served as an mediator between the Vatican and the city of Florence when the two nearly went to war against each other.

Catherine's big move came when she convinced Pope Gregory the Great to relocate the papacy back from Avignon in France to the Vatican.

Though illiterate, Catherine dictated a series of letters to Pope Urban IV which became the basis for a book, The Dialogue of Divine Providence .

Upon her death at the age of 33, Catherine's followers desired to return her body to her hometown of Sienna for burial. Knowing they could not get past the guards, they settled for returning only with Catherine's head which they placed in a bag.

Stopped and searched by guards, Catherine's followers prayed to their beloved for a miracle.

When the guards looked in the bag, they found rose petals, but no head!

To this day, Catherine is often pictured with a rose or roses as her sign.

Catherine is the patron saint of Italy and in 1970 was made a Doctor of the Church , an honor only held by three other women in the Catholic Church.

Happy Feast of Saint Catherine Day!


Past Saint of the Day!

A sixth century Cornish monk known for his fine temper and lack of patience with the undevout.

According to legend, Sithney was asked to be the patron saint of girls, to which he refused, claiming they would be forever praying for clothes and other nonsense. Our saint asked instead to be the patron of mad dogs.

And so it came to pass.

August 4 is the Feast Day of Saint Sithney, Patron Saint of Mad Dogs. Amen.

Joseph of Cupertino!

Past saint of the day

The original flying saint!

Joseph of Cupertino was born in the 1600's to a poor family. Although he had a hot temper and was a functioning illiterate, Joseph was eventually accepted into the Franciscans and became a brother and priest.

Joseph would often lapse into states of "ecstasy" brought about by external sounds such as church bells or choir singing. During these states, nothing could break him from his catatonic trances.

In this state of ecstasy, Joseph would begin to levitate and fly! For years, Joseph and his secret were hidden away in numerous abbeys around Italy. Allegedly, our saint would fly in church so frequently he was banned to a private chapel.

Joseph died in 1663 and is now the recognized patron saint of all who fly including pilots, paratroopers and astronauts!

Holy Deals! - Saintly Products on Amazon

Your soul is in peril! Learn more about the venerated!

The Children's Book of Saints
The Children's Book of Saints

When I was a child, we knew we had a patron saint we were named after. We also had to learn about the key saints and usually the horrible ways in which they were martyred. Hopefully this book tells the nice parts only.

Butler's Lives of the Saints (4 Volume Set)
Butler's Lives of the Saints (4 Volume Set)

For years, the definative tome on the lives of all saints both well known and forgotten.

The Book of Saints: A Comprehensive Biographical Dictionary
The Book of Saints: A Comprehensive Biographical Dictionary

More information you did not know about those who carried the faith on earth.

Dictionary of Patron Saints' Names
Dictionary of Patron Saints' Names

Have a little one on the way? How about a fine saintly name?


Roadmap to Sainthood - Checklist

So how does one become a saint? Here are the steps the Church takes to name a new saint.

  1. Recognition - a bishop reports the name to the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints for recognition.
  2. Servant of God - next step. A cause is opened for the person in question and if no objections are found and the Pope approves, the candidate can be moved up the chain.
  3. Venerable - to reach the next level, at least one miracle or miraculous action has to be attributed to the candidate.
  4. Blessed - or beatified. This makes the candidate automatically added to the list of those remembered at Masses.
  5. Sainthood - if a miracle has been rightfully attributed to a martyr or a second miracle for a Blessed, sainthood may be bestowed by the Pope.

    A feast day and Mass is assigned to the saint by the Vatican.

Did you know...?

Facts about Saints

Saint Christopher, for centuries the patron saint of travelers and well known celebrity of religious medals...

... Was reported to be a Cananite over 12 feet tall?

... originally followed Satan until he found that the devil feared Christ and the Cross?

... Christopher means "Christ bearer" hence the famous picture and story of Christopher carrying the Christ child across the river?

... That Saint Christopher was removed from the official Vatican calendar of Saints in 1969 because much of his story was legend and not proven?

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