The all singing, all dancing blog of Alex Guite

Monday, January 01, 2007

Patron Saints: awesome

Yesterday evening my sister and her friends celebrated the new year by going to a "Saints and Sinners" party in the Millenium Stadium. I had other highly exciting plans and didn't feel at all jealous that they had paid twenty quid for a ticket.

But then I thought it through: how excellent would it be to go as an actual saint, with flowing robes, sandals and everything? I reached for my copy of "The Wordsworth Dictionary of Saints" to select a patron saint (seriously this book exists, the publishers describe it as "a cornucopia of the righteous, pious, holy and divine").

There were some obvious candidates to dress up as: what with being in Wales and everything, St David was a natural choice. Also as I'm a physicist, the patron saint of "all the natural sciences", St Albertus Magnus, stood out. But as cool as these saints are, my attention quickly turned to others.

If someone was going to make Patron Saint Top Trumps (someone, please do), there are three core properties of saints: the date of their feast day, the things they are the patron saint of (some are even patron saints of many different things) and under what circumstances they can be invoked, which is often not related to what they are patron of (for instance you should pray to St Fiacre, the patron saint of taxi-drivers, if you are troubled by haemorhoids).

There are some pretty hard core patron saints out there who deal with some big issues, like St Genovefa who in addition to being patron saint of Paris also has the entire "disasters" topic to deal with. St Gregory Thaumaturguas is the patron saint of "those in desperate situations" and gets called in during floods and earthquakes. St Jude really has his work cut out as the patron saint of "desperate causes".

Other patron saints are a bit more specialist with some pretty well defined portfolios. St Vincent de Paul's field is finding lost articles whilst St Cornelius can help you deal with earache. Jesus' foster father, St Joseph, can be invoked when house hunting which I guess isn't too surprising as he has some experience finding places to stay. Meanwhile, if St Hilary of Poitiers didn't help you against snakes, you can always fall back on St Vitus for problems with snake bites. One of my favourite movies of 2006, Snakes on Plane, would probably have turned out a whole lot differently if those guys had been on board. They would have probably called the film Saints on a Plane instead.

There are also some saints who are patron saint of some pretty cool things. St Ambrose, for instance, is patron saint of Milan, bee keepers, wax refiners, domestic animals and most braggable: the French Commissariat. He does a job share with St Cornelius on domestic animals, presumably so he can spend more time on Gallic bureaucracy.

I was trying to find the patron saint with the biggest work load. I thought St Barbara was in with a shot at this title, who is patron saint of architects, builders, arillerymen, firemen, military engineers and miners and can be invoked against sudden death (not sure how this one works), lightning, fire and impenitence. But I think the title has to go to the Virgin Mary, who probably has to work weekends as patron saint of the entire human race.

Finally in this post about saints, I'm going to mention Carlos. Even though I dedicated a whole post to him back in August in 2005 (making him one of only two people to have a post dedicated entirely to them, Gav being the other) he complained to me last night that I hadn't blogged about him enough. If Carlos ever gets canonized my guess is that he'll be the patron saint of tax officers and could be invoked in case of lack of vodka doubles.


At Wednesday, January 03, 2007 12:40:00 PM, Blogger C─žarlie said...

You've clearly invoked the patron saint of sweet-ass blogging here.


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