Lesser Known Saints

Darerca of Ireland (d. 5th century)
Darerca is a unique saint, but that may not be totally true. It seems that during the middle ages writers wove legends around her story and what we have now is a weird hodgepodge of facts and legends. According to writers Darerca was the sister of the great Saint Patrick, this is one of the things that many modern scholar believe to be untrue. She was twice married and had seventeen sons and two daughters all of whom became saints.

Mac Cairthinn, also Macartan (d. 506)
Macartan is a more reliable saint, he is known as Saint Patrick’s strong man because of his dedication to the young Irish church. He might have been the uncle of Brigid as well. According to legend Macartan heard of Patrick’s preaching and he left everything and went to find Patrick. When he finally heard Patrick preaching and was baptized and became the a constant companion of Patrick. Helping him where ever he went even carrying Patrick over rivers. Towards the end of Patrick’s life Macartan had gotten tired of carrying Patrick everywhere and asked if he could settle down and live out the rest of his life in peace near Patrick.  They established a monastery in Clogher and it is said that Patrick gave Macartan his staff and a bunch of relics including the Domhnach Airgid.

Nicholas Owen, SJ, (c.1562-1606)
Nicholas Owen was the builder of the priest holes in England. Nicholas was born in a devout Catholic family when Catholics were in violation of the law. He was an apprentice joiner where he honed his skill at building, from here he entered the service of the Jesuits building priest holes in homes of Catholic families around England. It is widely rumored that he was the mastermind behind John Gerard’s escape from the Tower of London. Owen was eventually caught and he gave himself up as he hope to protect two priest who were hiding. Many catholic magicians consider Nicholas Owen the patron saint of Illusionists and Escapologists.

Margaret Clitherow (1556 – 25 March 1586)
Margaret is sometimes known as the Pearl of York. Not much is known about he early life but at fifteen Margaret was married to a butcher, who was a protestant but had a Catholic priest as a brother, and at 18 she converted to Catholicism. She became a friend of the persecuted Catholic population in the north of England. Her son became a priest and she held masses in her home. In the attic of her house there were secret passages to get out if the place were raided looking for Catholics. In 1586, Margaret was arrested for harboring a Catholic priest, she didn’t want to have her children testify about what was going on so she refused trial and was tortured. Margaret was crushed to death on Good Friday of that year,. After her execution Queen Elizabeth I wrote to those in York that she was shocked that a woman would be treated like this.

Rafqa Pietra Choboq Ar-Rayès (29 June 1832 – 23 March 1914)
The most recent saint the week Rafqa was born in Lebanon, she was baptized Boutrossieh (Petra the feminine for Peter,) and her family wasn’t that well off, her mother died when she was seven and at eleven her father sent her to work as a servant in a house in Damascus. When Rafqa returned she found that her father had remarried and the stepmother wanted Rafqa to marry the stepmother’s brother., while her aunt wanted Rafqa to marry her cousin. Rafqa wanted none of this and she decided to enter a convent she joined the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception or the Mariamettes. It is here where she took the name Anissa (Agnes) and at 30 she took her first temporary vows.  This lasted for a while until 1871 when the Mariamettes merger with another order forming the Order of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, at this time everyone was given the option to stay with the order, join a different order or become lay again. Rafqa decided to join a different order, she wanted to become a cloisterd nun rather than a teaching one, and the Baladita Order or the Lebanese Maronite Order of St. Anthony was a perfect fit. It is here that she finally takes the name of her mother Rafqa (Rebecca) and at 40 she found a place to stay. While in the Baladita Rafqa began suffering pain continuously from 1885 to her death.


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