Saints and Sinners

St Anthony of PaduaI’m not an expert on Catholic saints in general or Franciscan saints in particular, but I do know there an awful lot of them and they patronise quite disparate groups, trades and causes.

I had thought there couldn’t be much of a connection between those that the saints choose to succour, but after writing about Gorton Monastery I’m beginning to see that there might be some sort of a logical link.

For example, Saint Anthony of Padua who is the patron of postal services and lost items which go together like bacon and eggs.

Or Saint Bernadine who can be called upon by both advertising executives and compulsive gamblers which are pretty much the same thing if you believe John Wanamaker when he said ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.’

Then there is Saint Bonaventure, patron of scholars and those with bowel disorders and, of course, academics tend to be up their own backsides.

And Saint Clare of Assisi, patron of television and eye complaints. Square eyes presumably.

It started me wondering what seemingly unconnected but aptly paired groups might be in need of a patron saint and here are my suggestions:

  • Politicians and yarn spinners and mythomaniacs
  • PC World assistants and acne cream manufacturers
  • Bankers and pig trough scourers
  • Tabloid journalists and sewage farm workers
  • Indian call centres and haemorrhoid sufferers
  • The Inland Revenue and leech breeders
  • Microsoft and crash investigators
  • The Conservative Party and silver spoon makers
  • Liberal Democrats and people who paint the lines in the middle of the road
  • New Labour and champagne bottlers

I’m sure you can think of your own, but I can’t end this post without mentioning Saint Owmuch, patron of Yorkshire and people with short arms and deep pockets.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

8 comments… Add yours
  • Saint Pudding 11th September 2012

    Regarding the comedic Saint Owmuch – this is a veritable slur upon the Yorkshire race. In fact, Yorkshire has several saints including St John Fisher of Beverley but I think our number one saint is St Hilda of Whitby (c.614-680). Bede describes Hilda as a woman of great energy, who was a skilled administrator and teacher. She gained such a reputation for wisdom that kings and princes sought her advice. She also had a concern for ordinary folk such as Cædmon, however. He was a herder at the monastery in Whitby, who was inspired in a dream to sing verses in praise of God. Hilda recognized his gift and encouraged him to develop it. Although Hilda must have had a strong character she inspired affection. As Bede writes, “All who knew her called her mother because of her outstanding devotion and grace”…….So put that in your Lanky pipe and smoke it!

  • Arctic Fox 11th September 2012

    ‘ere, leave us Yorkshire fowk out of it or I’ll set me whippet on ya!

  • Roger Green 11th September 2012

    send these ideas to the Vatican immediately!

  • Mr Parrot 11th September 2012

    ‘Bede describes Hilda as a woman of great energy…’ We can guess how Hilda got such a glowing job reference! No wonder she was sought out by kings and princes.

  • Saint Pudding 11th September 2012

    Dirty monkey! It’s easy to decipher your vulgar innuendo but Bede was celibate throughout his life and eschewed the depravity that you so warmly embrace.

  • Mr Parrot 11th September 2012

    So he said, but he wasn’t known as Bede the Bawd for nothing…

  • Trevor Rowley 11th September 2012

    When we read how certain saints are linked to the most strange and unusual aspects of human (or not so human) life, of course we have a chuckle. Think of any activity, however mundane, and you can guarantee that there’ll be at least one saint associated with it. Mostly, these are saints from the dim and distant past so it is even more enlightening when we are able to come much more up to date. For example, St Maximillian Kolbe, a Polish-born Franciscan friar who died in Auschwitz in 1941 having given up his life for that of a complete stranger. His life and work was admired and valued by many and he was beatified in 1971 and canonised in 1982. My favourite? – St Jean Marie Vianney (The Cure D’Ars). Born in France in 1786, at a time when the nation was rapidly and willingly turning its back on the church, he entered the priesthood almost as a miserable failure himself yet was able to inspire countless thousands with his devotion to his faith and dedication to the needs of his parishioners. Canonised in 1925, he is the patron saint of all priests. Ravaged by ill-health throughout his life, you will always recognise his picture or statue by his deathly white palor.

  • Mr Parrot 11th September 2012

    I hope to write more about the saints of Gorton at some point, but part of the story of their return to the monastery involved identifying exactly who the saints were. They were designed by one of the friars at a time when there was no internet or reference library so there are anachronisms and one has his face based on Michelangelo’s David. More interesting are the symbolic clues from what they the saints are holding and the from the angels supporting them which I didn’t include on my photos.


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