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27 February 2017

The Case of the Mistaken Saint

'Tis the season to become saintly, or spiritually fit, according to Christian beliefs. Starting Ash Wednesday (3/1/17), devotees start their practice of becoming a better person. AKA sainthood-light for 40 days.

Most of us won't actually become a saint, because, for starters sainthood is bestowed after death. And, have mercy on the heavens and global warming, it is pretty crowded with saintly dwellers already. Some 10,000 people have been canonized (sainted), and that's just in Christianity. (Interestingly, the U.S. Catholic article also reveals that "Devil's Advocate" used to be a real profession before it was eliminated, like so many jobs these days. Sad.) 

But, I'd like to bring to light the misunderstood St. Fiacre. Why misunderstood? Because he is often misidentified as St. Christopher when seen in statue formats. Now, they don't look alike to me, but they do both carry a stick. But the stick is the key to their identity. 

Patron saints of gardening

A few facts about our St. Fiacre:

(Birth: end of 6th century; Death: August 18, 670)

Birthplace: Ireland

First job (IRL): Abbot 

Abodes: County Kilkenny, Ireland; Meaux, France; Breuil, close to Geneva, Switzerland

Hobbies: Self mortification, forest contemplation, builder (he constructed an oratory and a hospice), praying, general miracle-making (specializing in curing fistula), herbal healing, and gardening.   

Always carrying: A spade for gardening

Nicknames: Fevre, Fiacrius, and Fiaker

Heroes: Jesus, Virgin Mary, and Saint Faro (a bishop who bequeathed Fiacre the land at Breuil)

Celebrity admirers: Saint John of Matha, Louis XIII, and Anne of Austria

Feast Day: August 30