Lesser known Saints

Dwynwen (c. 5th century)
Dwynwen is the Welsh Saint of love. it is believed that her father was King Brychan Brycheniniog and lived in Anglesey. Every January 25 Dydd Santes Dwynwen or the day of Saint Dwynwen is celebrated and it is considered Welsh Valentine’s Day. According to the story Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill. They both loved each other but for some reason they couldn’t be together. So Dwynwen prayed to fall out of love with Maelon, after she falls asleep or while in the woods she is visited by an angel who has a potion that will erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice, she drinks. Dwynwen was also given three wishes as well, her first was that Maelon be thawed, the second was that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lover and the third is that she would never marry. All three wishes came turn and Dwynwen became a hermit in Llanddwyn for the rest of her days.

Paula of Rome (347–404)
Paula was an early Desert Mother, we hear a lot about the Desert Father but not much about the Desert Mothers. Paula was born into one of the richest senatorial families it is said that they were descended from Agamemnon himself. In her teens she was married to a nobleman and had four daughter and a son. At 32 Paula became a widow and turned her focus on religion. She became associated with St. Marcella and the brown dress society through this Paula met Jerome. Some suspect that there might have been something going on between Jerome and Paula. She was instrumental in helping with the creation of Jerome’s Vulgate.  Palladius, a contemporary, believed that Paula might have been hindered by Jerome as he wrote “For though she was able to surpass all, having great abilities, he hindered her by his jealousy, having induced her to serve his own plan.”

Alberic of Cîteaux, O.Cist. (died 26 January 1109)
Alberic was a hermit who together with 5 other hermits formed a monastery in Molseme. As the monastery grew gifts and money came along with the attention of new monks who were more lax about following the Rule. Several times Alberic and others left the order but they eventually came back sometime at the urging of the pope. The brothers who wanted to follow the rule more stricter left and formed a new monastery in Citeaux and they became the Cistercians.

Brother Juniper (died 26 January 1258)
Although not a saint, he is only a Servant of God, Juniper get mention since he was “the renowned jester of the Lord” and fit the overall tone of this blog. Juniper was one of the original followers of Francis of Assisi. The most famous of the stories about Juniper has to be the tale of the pig’s feet. While visiting with a poor man Juniper asked the man if there was anything that he could do for the man. The man replied that he longed for a meal of a pig’s feet so Juniper ran off to find one, captured a pig cut off a foot and cooked it up for the man. When the pig’s owner found out about this he was angry and came to Francis and the other Franciscans calling them thieves. Francis went to Juniper and ordered him to apologize to the pig’s owner and make amends. So Juniper went and told the pig’s owner what had happened the owner was still mad so Juniper repeated himself and embraced the man begging him to give the rest of the pig for charity as well. The Pig’s owner had the pig slaughtered. This story and several other make up the Roberto Rossellini film Francesco, giullare di Dio.

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2 thoughts on “Lesser known Saints

  1. Thank you for this post. I am especially fond of Brother Juniper. My favorite story about him goes as follows.
    Juniper had been commanded to quit giving part of his clothing to the half-naked people he met on the road. Desiring to obey his superior, Juniper once told a man in need that he couldn’t give the man his tunic, but he wouldn’t prevent the man from taking it either.

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