Lesser Known Saints

In honor of International Beer Day I will begin with two of the patron saints for Brewers and it just so happens that both are named Arnold.

Arnold (Arnoul) of Soissons or Arnold or Arnulf of Oudenburg (ca 1040–1087)
Arnold started as a solider but later became a monk. His first three years as a monk were as a hermit eventually he became Abbot of the monastery an honor which he refused running away only to be forced back by a wolf. It is at the abbey where he learned to brew beer. In 1080 he became the Bishop of Soissons this was another honor he really didn’t want so when another Bishop came and took over his see Arnold took this as a chance to retire from public life and he established an Abbey. Arnold encouraged local peasants to drink beer instead of water as beer was “a gift of health”, since beer is boiled it killed all the bacteria in the water making it healthier than the water. According to legend after the Abbey’s roof collapsed destroying the monk’s beer supply they found a couple of barrels that were not destroyed and Arnold multiplied the beer

Arnulf or Arnold of Metz (c. 582 – 640)
I believe I already talked about Arnulf a couple of weeks ago as his son is Saint Cloud and I remember writing about him. Arnulf is also the great grandfather of Charles Martel. According to tradition Arnulf lectured the peasants to not drink the water he even plunged a crucifix into a brew kettle and told them to drink of this holy vessel. There are two beer miracles both of witch happened during Arnold’ s funeral. The first the pall bearers took a break at an inn which only had enough for one glass of beer, but Arnulf interceded and the men drank until they were filled. The second miracle is a whole lot better as once again it took play as they were transporting Arnulf to Metz, the porters appealed to God for a drink and out from the casket came an icy ale which soaked all present. A famous quote from Arnulf of Metz is “From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.”

Mary Helen MacKillop RSJ (15 January 1842 – 8 August 1909)
Sister Mary of the Cross is the first and so far only Saint from Australia. Mary MacKillop had an interesting life. In 1866 she was asked by Rev. Julian Woods to help open some Catholic schools in South Australia. This became the Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, they wear a brown habit and are also know as Josephites and they are sometimes also called Brown Joeys. In 1871 Mary was excommunicated by Bishop Sheil in September, it a complicated story but about five months later on his deathbed Sheil would resend the excommunication. MacKillop would then travel to Rome to get the Vatican’s official approval of their rules. She was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

Edith Stein or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, OCD (12 October 1891 – 9 August 1942)
This is a controversial Saint as many say that she is a martyr because she was Jewish although the Church says that it is also because of the Dutch Bishop’s public condemnation of the Nazi racism. Be that as it may Edith Stein is a unique Saint.  Edith was born on Yom Kippur into a devout Jewish family and became an atheist as a teen. Inspired by The Great War Edith became a nurse. She would go on to earn a doctorate in philosophy. Edith’s first contact with Roman Catholicism was reading about Teresa of Avila. This inspired her conversion and in 1922 she was baptized into the Church. In 1933 she was required to leave work since she had Jewish ancestrey and the Nazi government didn’t really like that. So Edith decided, inspired by Teresa of Avila, to become a Discalced Carmelite. Later on her sister Rosa would join her as an extern sister. In 1938 they would both be sent out of Germany to try keep them safe in the Netherlands. This would not turn out as in 1942 they would both be arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where Edith and her sister died next to countless other in the gas chamber. She is one of the six Patron Saints of Europe.


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