Lesser Known Saints

Innocent of Alaska (26 August 1797 – 31 March 1879, O.S  or 6 September 1797- 12 April 1879)
Innocent is an interesting saint since he is an Orthodox saint. He was born Ivan Evseyevich Popov, his father died when he was six and by ten Ivan began his studies at Irkutsk Theological Seminary. By the time he was 20 he became a deacon and got married. Shortly after this he finished his studies and became a priest. In 1823 Ivan set off with his aging mother, wife and sons to Unalaska Island in Alaska. They finally arrived a year later and he began ministering to all the Christians on Unalaska and other neighboring islands. Ivan was wonderful he quickly learned six dialects of the Aluet language. In 1838 he went to St. Petersburg to report on the mission and ask for an expansion Russian America. While Ivan was in St. Petersburg he received news that his wife had died back in Alaska. Church officials suggested Ivan become a monk and in 1840 he was tonsured and became a monk taking the name Innocent. Over the next 25 or so years he returned to Alaska and ministered to them eventually being named Archbishop and Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. This ended when he became the Metropolitan of Moscow in 1867, as Metropolitan Innocent revised church texts that had errors, worked hard raising money to improve the living conditions of poor priests, and established a retirement home for clergy.

Gwynllyw Milwr or Gwynllyw Farfog known as Woolos the Warrior or Woolos the Bearded and his wife Gwladys ferch Brychan  (d. c. 500-523)
Gwunllyw and Gwladys if you can;t guess from the names are welsh saints. According to legend Gwunllyw wanted to marry Gwladys the daughter of King Braychan, but he refused so Gwunllyw and his abducted her and a battle erupts between these two kings. The battle only stopped through the intervention of King Arthur, Kay and Bedivere who supported Gwynllyw in the battle. This is the first saint to have Arthur appear in a Saint’s life, although this seems to just be just a fantastical addition to the story as in another source we do not see Arthur appearing. Gwladys has a child Cadoc and they both convince Gwynllyw to abandon his life of violence and atone for his sins. Gwynllyw and Gwladys, both retreated from the world  and formed hermitages. Gwynllyw’s hermitage is kind of still around today, his building is gone but  over the year Gwynllyw’s shrine grew into a stone structure, and this stone structure eventually became the Newport Cathedral or St. Woolos in Stow Hill.

Francis of Paola, OM or Francis the Fire Handler  (27 March 1416 – 2  April 1507)
Francis is a pretty cool saint and it seems like he was basically born to be one. His parents were having difficulties having children and they prayed to Francis of Assisi for help and they named their first born after St. Francis. Then when Francis was little he suffered from swelling in one of his eyes which might cause trouble with his sight, so his parent again prayed to Francis of Assisi for help and they vowed that their son would become a Franciscan for a year if he made it through this ordeal. Francis was cured on the spot and at 13 he joined a friary. After a year he and his parents went on a pilgrimage around Italy hitting Assisi and Rome among other places when they returned home Francis found a secluded cave and became a hermit spending six year there. In 1434 two people joined him and a new community was formed the Poor Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi, the name would eventually become the Order of Minims. They are kind of sort of like a branch of the Franciscians  but  they observe a fourth vow which is living a Lenten way of life (abstaining from meat and other animal products) and are hermits who do not wear shoes. There are many stories about Francis showing his compassion the animals in one of them Francis had a pet lamb, Martinello, who had been eaten by workmen. Francis came toward them looking for his lamb and the workers told him that they had ate the lamb and the bones and fleece had been thrown into the fire. So Francis looked into the fire and called ‘Martinello, come out!’ the lamb came out, completely unharmed, bleating happily at seeing Francis. Francis is unique among the saints as he is the founder of an order who never ordained a priest, and he was an incorruptible Saint.

Mon Oncle (1958)

So I’ve heard and read rave reviews of Mon Oncle the masterpiece of Jacques Tati. It won the Oscar for Best Foreign film,  the Jury Prize at Cannes and a bunch of other awards. The funny thing about the film is that the dialogue is meaningless and is really only used for its sound along with the other sound effects in the film.

The film is about Monsieur Hulot, the french Charlie Chaplin, and his  struggles to deal with technology (the gadget-ization of the world) and the increasingly impersonal nature of people. At times it feels that this movie could have come out recently as we are still dealing with these issues. Hulot is the beloved oncle (uncle) of Gérard Arpel, who lives with his parents in a crazy modernized and gadget-ed  house. The problem is that the Gérard’s parents believe that Hulot needs to grow up, start a family and get a job, but Hulot wants none of it. The film begins and end with basically the same shot of dogs in the streets.

This was a difficult film to watch since from the reviews I read they made it out to be like Chaplin’s Modern Times, but although in a similar vein  Mon Oncle just seems to be saying that tearing down to old and replacing them with modern things isn’t the best solution for anything. Perhaps we should take that advice and try to relate to people more instead of gadgets and taking about things rather than possessions. I didn’t find it to be as funny as Modern Times but perhaps that is due to the fact that I don’t understand french humor.

Lesser Known Saints

Before we get to the saints. Monday is Clean Monday and marks the beginning of Great Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The first week is known as clean week which is a nod to the spiritual cleansing which is encouraged through fasting, prayer, repentance, reception of the sacraments or Holy Mysteries and seeking forgiveness.  Fasting is very strict this first week. Great Lent last forty days in total and ends on Lazarus Saturday which begins Holy Week.

Serenus the Gardener or in France Cerneuf (died c. 302)
There isn’t much that is really known about Serenus but the legend surrounding him is great. According to the legend Serenus was a great gardener, hence his descriptor, one day he found the wife of imperial guard for walking in his garden and he went up and torn into her. She told her husband who went and told the Emperor Maximian. Serenus was put on trial and the Governor found him innocent of insulting the guard’s wife, but had Serenus beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the Roman Gods.

Aba I or Mar Aba I or Mar Abba the Great (died 552)
Aba was the Patriarch of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, he was in the East and introduced different Eucharist prayers and ancient liturgies to the Persian Church. Aba grew up a Zoroastrian and while working as a secretary to the governor of Beth Garmai, Aba came across a Christian. Aba was so impressed with Christian’s simplicity and humility the it inspired him to become a Christian. When Aba was Patriarch it was a time of division as many of the remote areas had elected their own bishops. He was influential at stopping this schism and reuniting the area back together.

Pope Alexander of Alexandria (26 February or 17 April 326 or 328)
Alexander was the leader of the Coptic Church. Not much is really known about his early life but as a young priest he experienced the tale end of the Christian persecutions in the Roman Empire.  When he became Patriarch Alexander faced three big problems, when Easter is, an ongoing conflict with Meletius of Lycopolis, and Arianism. Arianism was his biggest problem as Alexander’s predecessor had allowed Arius back into the church and gave him the oldest church, which meant that Arius had a lot of influence and his message could go further. All three issues would lead up to the first Council in Nicaea. At Nicaea Alexander brought a deacon to help Athanasius and we know what happened next the council did a great deal to basically end the heresy of Arius. The date of Easter was set as well.

Lesser Known Saints

This week we have a handful of female saints and brothers.

Josephine Margaret Bakhita, FDCC. (ca. 1896- 8 Feburary 1947)
Josephine is a Canossian sister from Darfur, Sudan. Around 1877 she was taken into slavery by Arabs slave traders. The trama of this event was so much that she forgot he name so she was given on by the slave traders Bakhita, meaning lucky, and she was converted to Islam. As a slave one of the most horrific things that happened to her was she was tattooed with a razor and salt and bore a total of 114 scars on her body for the rest of her life. In 1883 Bakhita was bought by an Italian who was very kind to her. Eventually she was given as a present to the Michielia family, friends of the Italian and she became the nanny of their child. Then the story get even weirder, the family wants to open a hotel in Sudan and so they sell all of their things in Italy but before everything is ready so Bakhita and the Michielia’s daughter were sent to live in a Canossian convent. When they returned to retrieve Bakhita and their daughter Bakhita refuses to leave and it goes to court.  So in January of 1890 she was baptized with the names Josephine Margaret and Fortunata and in 1896 she became a Canossian. As a sister the people of Schio, Italy felt much better with her and consider her a saint who help protect the town from the horrors of World War II. Pope Benedict uses Bakhita as an example of Christian Hope in his Encyclical Spe Salvi.

Austrebertha  (630–704)
I only mention Austrebertha because of one of the legends associated with her as that is about a much as we really know about her. The story goes that one day while she was looking for the donkey that carried the Monks laundry to the convent Austrebertha ran into a wolf. The wolf admitted killing the donkey and begged forgiveness. Austrebertha forgave the wolf but now the wolf was commanded to take over for the donkey and delivery the laundry, the wolf did so for the rest of its life.

Catherine de’ Ricci, TOSD (23 April 1522 – 1 February 1590)
Alessandra Lucrezia Romola de’ Ricci  was a Dominican Tertiary Sister. It seems she was destined to become a sister of some sort, her Aunt was the Abbess of the Benedictine school she went to growing up. Here she was a very prayerful person and developed a deep devotion for the Passion.  She joined the Third Order Dominicans and took the name Catherine after the famous TOSD  from Siena, was Catherine was given a habit by her Uncle. As a novicate she began to experience ecstasies which would incapacitate her at first this frightened the other sisters and many questioned her sanity. However when they learned it was spiritual in nature they quickly changed their minds and by 30 Catherine became the Prioress. As Prioress she advised many people and was widely sought after. Her devotion to the Passion grew throughout her life and it is claimed that she bore the stigmata and would bleed like she was being scourged. It is also said that when Catherine was deep in prayer a coral ring would appear on her finger which represented her arraignment to Jesus.

Anne Catherine Emmerich (8 September 1774 – 9 February 1824)
Anne Catherine is only a blessed but she gets mentioned for being the visionary who is best known for her visions of the Passion of Christ. Mel Gibson used this as one of the sources in the movie The Passion of the Christ. Anne was from a poor farming family and had nine brothers and sister. As a child she was drawn to prayer and excelled in it. Anne wanted to join a convent but couldn’t afford to, but in 1802 along with her friend Klara Söntgen they both joined an Augustinian convent. Anne thrived in the convent and followed the rules as strict as could be, but often times she was in a great deal of pain. When the convent was suppressed Anne found refuge in a widow’s house. In 1813 Stigmata began to appear on her, many thought that it was a fraud. While having the stigmata she was visited by many people one of them was the poet Clemens Brentano.  Brentano listened and wrote down her visions, which he put into books. Now we know that Brentano fabricated much of what he said were visions from Anne.

Finally we reach the boys of the week, I’ve written earlier about them as well
Cyril (827-14 February 869) and Methodius (815-6 April 885)I am a big fan of Cyril and Methodius as they are brothers who were born Constantine and Michael. Their first mission together was to evangelize the Slavs and in 862 they began. They developed the Cryllic and Glagoltic alphabets to help bring religion to the Slavic people. They are the patron saints of unity between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic. I hope that some day in the future this schism is some how healed.

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.

Lesser Known Saints

Kentigern (Welsh: Cyndeyrn Garthwys) known as Mungo (d. 13 January 614)
Saint Mungo has a great name and is the founder of the city of Glasgow, Scotland. According to the hagiography Mungo was the son of a princess. She was raped and her father was furious and threw her off a hill and abandoned her. So Mungo was born and raised by Saint Serf, who was ministering to the Picts. At 25, Mungo began his own ministering around the river Clyde where Glasgow now sits. The story continues that while in Glasgow Mungo performed four miracles. Restored life to a robin, re-lit a fire with a hazel branch, brought a bell from Rome, and that fish story (wife throws ring into water eaten by fish, proves she’s not cheating.  I have always thought that Mungo was a made up Saint for Harry Potter but it turns out he is real.

Íte ingen Chinn Fhalad or Ite of Killeedy (c. 480-570/577)
Ita is considered to be the foster mother of all the saints of Ireland. Ita mean “thirst for holiness”. According to the genealogy written in the codex Ita is said to be the sister of Brigit’s mother. At 16 Ita moved to Killeedy (Church of Ita) where she formed a community of consecrated women. It is likely that this community had a school attached and Ita and the other women in the community would teach boys. Through the school perhaps is where his role as foster mother began. from Brendan the Navagator one of her foster children learn that Ita said when asked what God loved best replied  “True faith in God and a pure heart, a simple life with a religious spirit and open-handedness inspired by charity.”  Later on the flip side of the question is asked three things God most detested “were a scowling face, obstinacy in wrongdoing, and too great a confidence in the power of money. Ita’s grave remains a popular pilgrimage site to this very day

Fursey (also known as Fursa, Fursy, Forseus, and Furseus)  (c.597-650)
Fursey was a monk in Ireland and is one of the four comely saints. Fursey did what ever it took to help spread Christianity into the British Isles especially in East Anglia. Fursey had visions which made him famous in medieval literature. Fursey died in France while on a mission trip, before his first burial he was kept outside for a month and smelled of a sweet odor staying incorrupt until he was buried. He was exhumed four years later and was moved to a new chapel  near the altar. However he might have been moved again as accordingly the four comely saints are all supposedly buried in Inishmore, where there is a holy well. John M. Synge wrote a play which is set at this location.

Hilary (Hilarius) of Poitiers (c. 300 – c. 368)
Hilary was a male who was Bishop of Poitiers and is a Doctor of the Church. For years I used to think that this was a female saint as in our modern times Hilary is considered a female name. Some consider Hilary the “Athanasius of the West.” Hilary was a good Pagan boy but after some book learning he became a Christian. His wife and daughter would join him as well. Around 350 the people of Poitiers were big fans of Hilary and they named him bishop, one of his first actions as bishop was to work to throw out the Arian-ist threat. He was exiled by the emperor and would eventually return. He would go on to encourage Martin of Tours to open a monastery and Hilary himself would write a lot of things.

Lesser Known Saints

This week we celebrate one of the most unique feasts in the Church calendar, the circumcision of Jesus. This date comes from the Bible as well since in Luke’s Gospel it says that eight days after his birth Jesus was circumcised. As per Jewish tradition the child is circumcised and given a name eight days after birth. The feast itself isn’t popular in the Catholic church as January 1 is the feast of Mary the Mother of God (A holy day of obligation), and is celebrated on January 3 at the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.

Onto the saints:

Saint Trophimus of Arles (3rd Century)
According to lore Trophimus was the first bishop of Arles being one of the seven bishops sent by Pope Fabian into Gaul\France. In the 5th century the people of Arles combined Trophimus with the Trophimus, disciple of Paul found in the Acts of the Apostles. The church in Arles dedicated to Trophime (Trophimus) is an important example of the Romanesque style and the sculpture of the Last Judgement and columns in the cloister are considered to be the finest examples of Romanesque sculpture in the world.

Saint Telemachus or Almachus or Tilemahos (d. January 1 391 or 404)
Telemachus is an interesting story it is said that one time Telemachus, a monk, tried to stop a gladiatorial fight at an amphitheater and was stoned to death by the crowd. Emperor Honorius, heard about  this and he issued a dan on gladiatorial fights, the last known gladiator fight took place in 404 so the later date may be the more accurate one. Ronald Reagan mentioned Telemachus in 1984 at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast. I think that it is a shame that stories like Telemachus are lost to time or just fade away. If only people in politics took this message to hear  and did things for the betterment of all people and not just those in they represent.

Macarius of Alexandria known as the Younger (c. 300 -395)
Macarius was a monk in the Natron Valley which is known for the Desert Fathers and Mothers. Macarius was a merchant until about he was 40 when he was baptized and went off into the desert. After a few year he was ordained a priest and named prior of some of the other monks. He learned Pachomios the Great rule and it is said that once during Lent he disguised himself in secular clothing  at Pachomios’s monastery and didn’t eat of drink a thing for the 40 day. The story goes on that he just stood there making baskets from palm leaves. The monks went of Pachomios and asked that this man be “cast out for he is not human” Then Macarius was revealed to them all and having demonstrated humility and taught them a lesson Macarius left. At 73 he was exiled to an island where he and Macarius the older from Egypt which they then Christianized.

Genevieve  (c. 419/422 – 502/512)
“Saint Genevieve, Saint Genevieve, it’s Gwenivere remember me.” This was the extent of what I knew about Genevieve from that song from Camelot.  In the Hagiography we hear that Genevieve met with Germanus of Auxerre while he stopped in her town on the way to England and Genevieve confided to him that she only wanted to live for God. At 15 she became a nun. After the deaths of her parents Genevieve moved to Paris where she lived with her godmother. In Paris she became known for her piety and works of charity. Genevieve was also a vegetarian who only eat supper twice a week, and would do other types of mortification as well. She also had visions and it is said that she prevented the Huns from sacking Paris as she encouraged the whole town to pray. The Huns would go and attack Orleans. Genevieve is the Patron of Paris.

Lesser Known Saints

This week there is a smattering of saints and a for a bunch of them not much is really known.

Ursicinus of Saint-Ursanne (fl. 600)
Ursicinus was a hermit monk who was a disciple of Columbanus and followed him after he was banished from Burgundy, but Ursicinus retired and became a hermit near Jura. It is said that his remains are preserved at St. Ursanne.

Anastasius I (died 19 December 401)
Anastasius was Pope for about two years. During his papacy he fought the Donatists in Northern Africa and held a council on Origen’s writings. Anastasius was friends with Jerome, and Augustine.

Wivina (1103–1168)
Wivina was a Benedictine Abbess from France. She refused all marriage proposals and at the age of 23 left her home and became a hermitess in Belgium.

Sturm or Sturmius or Sturmi, (c. 705 – 17 December 779)
Strum was a disciple of St. Boniface and founded the monastery at Fulda. Fulda became a major pilgrimage site and wealth and prosperity came along with it. Strum was sent into exile in Normandy around 760 this was pardoned by Pippin the Younger, Stum and the monastery would later find themselves under the protection of Charlemagne.

Virginia Centurione Bracelli (2 April 1587 – 15 December 1651)
Virginia was daughter of the Doge of Genoa and desired to live a cloistered life. This didn’t happen as she was forced into a marriage, this marriage didn’t last long Virginia had two children and her husband died so at the age of twenty she was a widower. She began doing charitable works and assisting the needy and sick. She is one of the incorrupt saints. Virginia is a great example of what lay people can do to make the world a better place.

Adelaide of Italy or Burgundy (931 – 16 December 999),
Adelaide was the second wife of Otto the Great and was crowned Empress of the Holy Roman Empire. Many say that she was the most influential European women in the 10th century. Adelaide’s first marriage didn’t end well as her husband was poisoned, she fled after the murdered forced her to marry his son. Adelaide was eventually found and she was placed in captivity.  After four months she managed to escape and she threw herself on the mercy of Otto the Great. Times passed and when Otto I died Adelaide retired to a nunnery and although she never became a nun she devoted herself to the service of the church and peace as well as converting the Slavs. She died just day before she believed that Christ would come ag

Lesser Known Saints

Theodore the Studite (759–826)
Theodore was a Byzantine Greek Monk and an Abbot of the Stoudios monastery. A cool thing about Theodore is that we have a letter where he writes taking a stand against slavery, this is the first time in history it ever happened. It seems throughout his life Theodore battled against many things from the emperor to Iconoclasm. Theodore played a very influential role in the development of Eastern Monasticism.

Andrew (Andrea) Avellino (1521 – 10 November 1608)
His baptismal name was Lancelotto. Andrew was a big fan of chasity and even though he was a handsome youth and he was often had many female admirers  and according to what I’ve read to escape their lustfulness Andrew wore a tonsure. Andrew eventually became a priest and was a canon lawyer. Once Andrew was sent by the Archbishop of Naples to reform a convent, which had become lazy and was causing great scandal. Andrew was successful eventually but he ran into a big problem as the nuns were conducting some secret business with some men. These men beat up Andrew after he went poking around in their affairs. Andrew was brought to a Theatines monastery to recooperate it was soon there after that Andrew joined the Theatines.

Brice of Tours (Latin: Brictius) (c. 370 – 444)
He was the fourth bishop of Tours following fellow saint of the week Martin of Tours. According to legends Brice was an orphan that Martin rescued and raised. There is another legend that says that while Brice was Bishop of Tours a nun in his household bore a child and it was rumored that it was Brice’s. To prove his innocence Brice took a hot coal in his coat to the grave of Martin of Tours, showing that his coat was unburned as proof. The people didn’t believe this and Brice was forced to leave. He eventually made his way to Rome where the Pope absolved Brice of his sins. After seven years the administor left in charge of Tours died so Brice returned and he was a changed bishop.

Lesser Known Saints

John Twenge (John of Bridlington) (1319–10 October 1379)
John was born in Yorkshire to a prominent Catholic family (although it’s prominence wasn’t there yet) He went to Oxford and then joined the Bridlington Priory where John rose to Prior a position he held for 17 years. During his lifetime John was known for his miracles, it is said that he turned water into wine and once five sailors were in danger of a wreck and they prayed to God in the name of John of Bridlington, the sailor’s prayers were answered and  the prior himself appeared to them in his habit and brought them to shore. John was the last saint canonized before the English Reformation and Henry V partly attributed his victory at the Battle of Agincourt, on Saint Crispin’s Day, to John Twenge.

John of Capistrano OFM (24 June 1386 – 23 October 1456)
John was born in Capistrano Italy and had a relatively normal life he became governor of Ladislas until 1416 when war broke out and John was sent to Malatesta to try to broker a peace deal. John was imprisoned and started studying theology with Bernardino of Siena. After John was freed he joined the Friars Minor where he became a noted preacher as he had to preach in town squares as the churches were too small to fit everyone. John was also a reformer as he wrote tracts on heresies and help Bernardino reform the Franciscans as well. At the age of 70 he lead a Crusade in Hungry against the advancing Turks, he might have won the battle but during it John contracted bubonic plague and died. Two Spanish Missions in America are named for John of Capistrano, the one in California was known for the swallows that nested in the mission.

Crispin and Crispinian (died c. 286)
October 25th is Saint Crispin’s Day. This is perhaps the one of the better known saints that appears in literature, or at least the mention of the feast day. In one of the most memorable speeches from Shakespeare’s  Henry V in it King Henry rouses his “band of brothers” on the eve of battle against the French. I’ve always wonder who Crispian is. Crispin and Crispinian were twin brothers from Rome  during the 3rd century. They both fled persecution and ended up in France preaching to the Gauls during the day and making shoes at night. According to legend they were very successful in their preaching and the Roman governor had them tortured and thrown into a river with millstones around their necks, they both survived and were beheaded by the Emperor.