Posted in PATRONAGE - THE SICK, THE INFIRM, ALL ILLNESS, PATRONAGE - VINTNERS, WINE-FARMERS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 16 November – St Othmar of Saint Gall (c 689-c 759) known as “Poor Father”

Saint of the Day – 16 November – St Othmar of Saint Gall (c 689-c 759) Priest, the Founder and first Abbot of the Abbey of St Gall in Switzerland, founder of a hospital and a school as well as the famous Library of St Gall (see below), which is the oldest working Library in the world, Apostle of the poor and sick, defender of his people and Abbey against secular usurpers. Born as Alemanne Othmar in c 689 probably near St Gallen and died on 16 November 759 on the Island of Werd-on-the-Rhine, near Echnez, Switzerland. Patronages – of winegrowers, vintners, against childhood diseases and diseases in general, of the Diocese of St. Gallen and the Monatery of St Gall (with St Gall).Also known as -“Poor”Father Audomar, Otmar.

Othmar was born of the Alemannic dialectic group of Germans spoken in certain parts of South Germany, in Alsace (France), Vorarlberg (Austria), Switzerland and Liechtenstein. He received his education in Rhaetia, Switzerland and was Ordained to the Priesthood there. For a time he presided over a Church of St. Florinus in the same location.

Parish church Saint Othmar in Kirchberg. High altar: Statue of Saint Othmar (1710)

In 720, he was appointed as the Superior of the Monks of St Gall (Died 646- Feast 16 October) and Custodian over the Saint’s Relics, who at the time, lived separately but followed a single rule of life. Othmar built a Monastery to accommodate them and united the Monks who lived about the cell of St Gall, according to the Rule of St Columban and became their first Abbot. He added a hospital and a school to the foundation. During his Abbacy the Rule of St Columban was replaced by that of St Benedict.

The Abbey was soon endowed with goods from Alemannic landowners who cared for their salvation but also wanted to keep their goods out of the hands of the Frankish Empire.

Othmar gave away Monastery assets to the poor, built the first house for lepers in Switzerland near the Monastery and took in the sick, blind and poor in another building, where he also looked after them at night. The close connection between the Monastery Monks and the common people, was the reason for his missionary successes and earned him the name “Poor Father.” Fearing the growing wealth of his Monastery, he dressed himself simply, only riding a donkey instead of a horse.

When King Karlmann renounced his throne in 747, he visited Othmar at St Gall and gave him a letter to his brother, King Pepin, recommending Othmar and his Monastery to the King’s generosity and protection. Othmar personally brought the letter to Pepin and was kindly received.

Painting of St Othmar by Eduard von Grützner 1920

The flourishing Monastery of St Gallen then got caught up in the turmoil of politics in the Frankish Kingdom. When the Counts Warin and Ruodhart unjustly tried to gain possession of some property belonging to St Gall Abbey, Othmar fearlessly resisted their demands. Hereupon they captured him while he was on a journey to Constance and held him prisoner, First he was in the dungeon of the Royal Palace, then led to a show trial, at which he was accused of desecrating a woman and sentenced to death by starvation, later commuted to life imprisonment. He finally found asylum with Count Gozbert on the Rhine Island of Werd near Stein am Rhein but did not survive the abuse he had endured for long and died there.

Othmar’s biographer Gozbert reports that ten years later, in 769, Monks from St Gallen wanted to bring back the body of the Monastery Founder and found it intact. The brothers took a wine barrel with them as provisions for the journey and it always stayed full on the way there and back, no matter how much they drank from it. A storm that was devastating the whole area was miraculously kept away from the ship on the journey across Lake Constance and from the tomb, so that not even the candles at Othmar’s feet and head, went out.

In 867 he was solemnly entombed in the new Church of St Othmar at St Gall. His cult began to spread soon after his death and now he is, next to St Maurice and St Gall, the most popular Saints in Switzerland. His cult was officially recognised in 864 by Bishop Solomon I (Bishop of Constance).

St Gallrn Cathedral dedicated to St Gall and Sr Othmar

His Feast is celebrated on 16 November. He is represented in art as a Benedictine Abbot, generally holding a little barrel in his hand, an allusion to the miracle, that a barrel of St Othmar never became empty, no matter how much he took from it to give to the poor.

The famous and oldest working library in the world established by St Othmar’ at the Monastery of St Gall

St Gallen Cathedral is dedicated to Saints Gall and Othmar. St Othmar Chapel on Werd island was erected in his memory.

Statue of Saint Othmar on the Wall of the Abbey of St Gall
Posted in PATRONAGE - ALTAR SERVERS and/or DEACONS, PATRONAGE - BACHELORS, PATRONAGE - BANKERS, PATRONAGE - BEGGARS, the POOR, against POVERTY, PATRONAGE - BREWERS, PATRONAGE - BRIDES and GROOMS, PATRONAGE - ENGAGED COUPLES, PATRONAGE - FISHERMEN, FISHMONGERS, PATRONAGE - GARDENERS, FARMERS, PATRONAGE - HAPPY MARRIAGES, of MARRIED COUPLES, PATRONAGE - LAWYERS / NOTARIES, PATRONAGE - ORPHANS,ABANDONED CHILDREN, PATRONAGE - PENITENTS, PATRONAGE - PHARMACISTS / CHEMISTS, PATRONAGE - PRISONERS, PATRONAGE - SAILORS, MARINERS, PATRONAGE - SCHOOLS, COLLEGES etc AND STUDENTS, PATRONAGE - SINGLE LAYWOMEN, PATRONAGE - TRAVELLERS / MOTORISTS, PATRONAGE - VINTNERS, WINE-FARMERS, PATRONAGE-INFERTILITY & SAFE CHILDBIRTH, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343) Bishop

Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343) Bishop

The absence of the “hard facts” of history is not necessarily an obstacle to the popularity of saints, as the devotion to Saint Nicholas shows.   Both the Eastern and Western Churches honour him and it is claimed that after the Blessed Virgin, he is the saint most pictured by Christian artists.   And yet historically, we can pinpoint only the fact that Nicholas was the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a city in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor.st nicholas - Jaroslav_Čermák_(1831_-_1878)_-_Sv._Mikuláš.jpg

As with many of the saints, however, we are able to capture the relationship which Nicholas had with God through the admiration which Christians have had for him—an admiration expressed in the colourful stories which have been told and retold through the centuries.

Perhaps the best-known story about Nicholas concerns his charity toward a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters of marriageable age.   Rather than see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly tossed a bag of gold through the poor man’s window on three separate occasions, thus enabling the daughters to be married.   Over the centuries, this particular legend evolved into the custom of gift-giving on the saint’s feast.

ANGELICO_Fra_Story_Of_St_Nicholas_Giving_Dowry_To_Three_Poor_Girls
Fra Angelico’s St Nicholas donating the dowries

In the English-speaking countries, Saint Nicholas became, by a twist of the tongue, Santa Claus—further expanding the example of generosity portrayed by this holy bishop.saint-nicholas4st nicholas - glass

Posted in ADVENT, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, PATRONAGE - ALTAR SERVERS and/or DEACONS, PATRONAGE - BACHELORS, PATRONAGE - BANKERS, PATRONAGE - BEGGARS, the POOR, against POVERTY, PATRONAGE - BREWERS, PATRONAGE - BRIDES and GROOMS, PATRONAGE - CHEFS and/or BAKERS, CONFECTIONERS, PATRONAGE - EARTHQUAKES, FIRES, DROUGHT / NATURAL DISASTERS, PATRONAGE - FISHERMEN, FISHMONGERS, PATRONAGE - GARDENERS, FARMERS, PATRONAGE - HAPPY MARRIAGES, of MARRIED COUPLES, PATRONAGE - LAWYERS / NOTARIES, PATRONAGE - ORPHANS,ABANDONED CHILDREN, PATRONAGE - PENITENTS, PATRONAGE - PHARMACISTS / CHEMISTS, PATRONAGE - PRISONERS, PATRONAGE - SAILORS, MARINERS, PATRONAGE - SCHOOLS, COLLEGES etc AND STUDENTS, PATRONAGE - SINGLE LAYWOMEN, PATRONAGE - TRAVELLERS / MOTORISTS, PATRONAGE - VINTNERS, WINE-FARMERS, PATRONAGE-INFERTILITY & SAFE CHILDBIRTH, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343)

Saint of the Day – 6 December – St Nicholas (270-343)  Confessor, Bishop, Miracle-Worker, Apostle of Charity.   Also known as – • Nicholas of Bari• Nicholas of Lpnenskij • Nicholas of Lipno • Nicholas of Sarajskij • Nicholas the Miracle Worker • Klaus, Mikulas, Nikolai, Nicolaas, Nicolas, Niklaas, Niklas. Nikolaus, Santa Claus.   st nicholas header

Patronages -• against fire • against imprisonment • against robberies • against robbers • against storms at sea • against sterility • against thefts • altar servers • archers • boys • brides • captives • children • choir boys • happy marriages • lawsuits lost unjustly • lovers • maidens • penitent murderers • newlyweds • paupers • pilgrims • poor people • prisoners • scholars • schoolchildren, students • penitent thieves • travellers • unmarried girls • apothecaries • bakers • bankers • barrel makers • boatmen • boot blacks • brewers • butchers • button makers • candle makers • chair makers • cloth shearers • coopers • dock workers • educators • farm workers, farmers • firefighters • fish mongers • fishermen • grain merchants • grocers • grooms • hoteliers • innkeepers • judges • lace merchants • lawyers • linen merchants • longshoremen • mariners • merchants • millers • notaries • parish clerks • pawnbrokers • perfumeries • perfumers • poets • ribbon weavers • sailors • ship owners • shoe shiners • soldiers • spice merchants • spinners • stone masons • tape weavers  • toy makers • vintners • watermen • weavers • Greek Catholic Church in America • Greek Catholic Union • Varangian Guard • Germany • Greece • Russia • 3 Diocese • 78 Cities.

Attributes – • anchor • bishop calming a storm • bishop holding three bags of gold • bishop holding three balls • bishop with three children • bishop with three children in a tub at his feet • purse • ship • three bags of gold • three balls • three golden balls on a book • boy in a boat.   Saint Nicholas’ reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas.   St Nicholas was generous to the poor and special protector of the innocent and wronged.   Many stories grew up around him prior to his becoming associated with Santa Claus.

Some examples of the Miracles of St Nicholas and the reasons for various Patronages:

• Upon hearing that a local man had fallen on such hard times that he was planning to sell his daughters into prostitution, Nicholas went by night to the house and threw three bags of gold in through the window, saving the girls from an evil life.   These three bags, gold generously given in time of trouble, became the three golden balls that indicate a pawn broker’s shop.

• He raised to life three young boys who had been murdered and pickled in a barrel of brine to hide the crime.   These stories led to his patronage of children in general and of barrel-makers besides.

• Induced some thieves to return their plunder.   This explains his protection against theft and robbery and his patronage of them – he’s not helping them steal but to repent and change.   In the past, thieves have been known as Saint Nicholas’ clerks or Knights of Saint Nicholas.

• During a voyage to the Holy Lands, a fierce storm blew up, threatening the ship.   He prayed about it and the storm calmed – hence the patronage of sailors and those like dockworkers who work on the sea.

St Nicholas died in 346 at Myra, Lycia (in modern Turkey) of natural causes and his  relics are believed to be at Bari, Italy.bari-shrine3-detail

Here is the story of St Nicholas by Prosper Dom Gueranger:

Nicholas was born in the celebrated city of Patara, in the province of Lycia.   His birth was the fruit of his parents’ prayers.  Evidences of his great future holiness were given from his very cradle.   For when he was an infant, he would only take his food once on Wednesdays and Fridays and then not till evening but on all other days he frequently took the breast:  he kept up this custom of fasting during the rest of his life.

Having lost his parents when he was a boy, he gave all his goods to the poor.   Of his Christian kindheartedness there is the following noble example.   One of his fellow-citizens had three daughters but being too poor to obtain them an honourable marriage, he was minded to abandon them to a life of prostitution.   Nicholas having learned of the case, went to the house during the night and threw in by the window a sum of money sufficient for the dower of one of the daughters;  he did the same a second and a third time and thus the three were married to respectable men.

Having given himself wholly to the service of God, he set out for Palestine, that he might visit and venerate the holy places.   During this pilgrimage, which he made by sea, he foretold to the mariners, on embarking, though the heavens were then serene and the sea tranquil, that they would be overtaken by a frightful storm.   In a very short time, the storm arose.   All were in the most imminent danger, when he quelled it by his prayers.

His pilgrimage ended, he returned home, giving to all men example of the greatest sanctity.   He went, by an inspiration from God, to Myra, the Metropolis of Lycia,which had just lost its Bishop by death and the Bishops of the province had come together for the purpose of electing a successor.   Whilst they were holding council for the election, they were told by a revelation from heaven, that they should choose him who, on the morrow, should be the first to enter the church, his name being Nicholas.   Accordingly, the requisite observations were made, when they found Nicholas to be waiting at the church door:  they took him and, to the incredible delight of all, made him the Bishop of Myra.

During his episcopate, he never flagged in the virtues looked for in a bishop;  chastity, which indeed he had always preserved, gravity, assiduity in prayer, watchings, abstinence, generosity and hospitality, meekness in exhortation, severity in reproving. He befriended widows and orphans by money, by advice and by every service in his power.   So zealous a defender was he of all who suffered oppression, that, on one occasion, three Tribunes having been condemned by the Emperor Constantine, who had been deceived by calumny and having heard of the miracles wrought by Nicholas, they recommended themselves to his prayers, though he was living at a very great distance from that place:   the saint appeared to Constantine and angrily looking upon him, obtained from the terrified Emperor their deliverance.

Having, contrary to the edict of Dioclesian and Maximian, preached in Myra the truth of the Christian faith, he was taken up by the servants of the two Emperors.  He was taken off to a great distance and thrown into prison, where he remained until Constantine, having become Emperor, ordered his rescue and the Saint returned to Myra.   Shortly afterwards, he repaired to the Council which was being held at Nicaea:  there he took part with the three hundred and eighteen Fathers in condemning the Arian heresy (Tradition has it that he became so angry with the heretic Arius during the Council that he struck him in the face).St Nicholas of Myra slapping Arius at the Council of Nicaea.

Scarcely had he returned to his See than he was taken with the sickness of which he soon died.   Looking up to heaven and seeing Angels coming to meet him, he began the Psalm, In thee, O Lord, have I hoped and having come to those words, Into your hands I commend my spirit, his soul took its flight to the heavenly country.   His body, having been translated to Bari in Apulia, is the object of universal veneration.

st nicholas beautifulst nicholas.2

For St Nicholas traditional biscuits see here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/st-nicholas-6-december/

Posted in PATRONAGE - against ALCOHOLISM, of ALCOHOLICS, PATRONAGE - BEGGARS, the POOR, against POVERTY, PATRONAGE - VINTNERS, WINE-FARMERS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 11 November – St Martin of Tours (c 316-397)

Saint of the Day – 11 November – St Martin of Tours (c 316-397) Bishop, Confessor, Miracle-Worker, Apostle of Charity (c 316 at Upper Pannonia (in modern Hungary) – 8 November 397 at Candes, Tours, France of natural causes).   By his request, he was buried in the Cemetery of the Poor on 11 November 397.  Patronages – • against alcoholism• against impoverishment• against poverty• beggars• cavalry• equestrians• geese• horse men• horses• hotel-keepers• Pontifical Swiss Guards• quartermasters• s• • soldiers• tailors• vintners• wine growers• wine makers• France• 5 Diocese• 31 Cities.    His relics rested in the basilica of Tours, a scene of pilgrimages and miracles, until 1562 when the cathedral and relics were destroyed by militant Protestants.   Some small fragments on his tomb were found during construction excavation in 1860.    His shrine in France became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.   He has become one of the most familiar and recognisable Christian saints, sometimes venerated as a military saint.   As he was born in what is now Szombathely, Hungary, spent much of his childhood in Pavia, Italy, and lived most of his adult life in France, he is considered a spiritual bridge across Europe.
His life was recorded by a contemporary, the hagiographer Sulpicius Severus.   He is best known for the account of his using his military sword to cut his cloak in two, to give half to a beggar clad only in rags in the depth of winter.  Conscripted as a soldier into the Roman army, he found the duty incompatible with the Christian faith he had adopted and became an early conscientious objector.

HEADER st martin of tours

A conscientious objector who wanted to be a monk;  a monk who was manoeuvred into being a bishop;  a bishop who fought paganism as well as pleaded for mercy to heretics—such was Martin of Tours, one of the most popular of saints and one of the first not to be a martyr.st martin of tours info

Born of pagan parents in what is now Hungary and raised in Italy, this son of a veteran was forced at the age of 15 to serve in the army.   Martin became a Christian catechumen and was baptised when he was 18.   It was said that he lived more like a monk than a soldier.   At 23, he refused a war bonus and told his commander:  “I have served you as a soldier;  now let me serve Christ. Give the bounty to those who are going to fight. But I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight.”   After great difficulties, he was discharged and went to be a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers.

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St Martin receives his discharge from the army – Simone Martini

He was ordained an exorcist and worked with great zeal against the Arians.   Martin became a monk, living first at Milan and later on a small island.   When Hilary was restored to his see following his exile, Martin returned to France and established what may have been the first French monastery near Poitiers.   He lived there for 10 years, forming his disciples and preaching throughout the countryside.

The people of Tours demanded that he become their bishop.   Martin was drawn to that city by a ruse—the need of a sick person—and was brought to the church, where he reluctantly allowed himself to be consecrated bishop.   Some of the consecrating bishops thought his rumpled appearance and unkempt hair indicated that he was not dignified enough for the office.

One of the most famous stories about Martin of Tours occurred when he was still a soldier.   One day, it is said, he met a beggar wearing rags.   He took his sword and cut his military cloak in half and gave half to the poor man for his warmth.   That night, Martin dreamed that Jesus was wearing the half of a cloak he had given away.   During the Middle Ages, Martin’s cloak (cappa) became a relic that French kings would take into battle.   The person whose job it was to care for the cloak was often a priest and he was called a cappellani.   It is from this that the word “chaplain” evolved.

As death approached, Martin’s followers begged him not to leave them.  He prayed, “Lord, if your people still need me, I do not refuse the work. Your will be done.”06martinsan-martino-di-toursstmartinStMartinToursstmartin of tourssaint-martin-of-tours-00

Interior of the Basilica of Saint-Martin, Tours, France
Basilica of St Martin, Tours, France