I was doing some research for a short story I was writing…when I came across some interesting facts about Saints…and Patron Saints…There are quite a few bizarre ones and if you read into their lives you discover some riveting stories…
Did you know that Saint Drogo, is the Patron Saint of Unattractive People…yes such a Patron Saint exists…
This Saint, who during a pilgrimage, inexplicably fell victim to disease that caused gross deformities. He face became so deformed and ugly that children would run shrieking whenever he came into their vision. He was given refuge, a small cell, by some town folks, who could no longer bare to see the distress this man caused the young children of the town…if truth be told he could have tried wearing a mask, or putting a scarf to spare people his ugly face… For forty years this Saint survived on a simple sustenance: barley, water and the Eucharist.
You have the likes of Saint Apollonia, who as legend has it, her martyrdom had involved having all her teeth violently extracted or smashed. She died in the year 249, was martyred for not renouncing her faith during the reign of Emperor Philip. If ever you have a tooth ache, forget clove oil, pray to Apollonia, who was so determined not to renounce her faith, having had the “teeth treatment” jumped into a fire voluntarily.
St Margaret of Antioch, , when jailed for her beliefs had met the devil himself, in the form of a dragon, who proceeded to swallow her whole, with her Christian powers she managed to flee the dragon’s belly, a cross in hand. Attempts were made to execute this woman including, drowning her and with fire, but all failed, leading some of her captors to be converted.
St Roch born of noble birth chose instead a humble life bereft of wealth and privilege, to work amongst victims of a plague. He traveled the breadth of country healing many a plague victims. He was soon to fall victim to the plague himself, and he secluded in a hut in the woods, whereupon he was there befriended by a dog, who brought him sustenance and licked the sores on his leg until he was healed. Back in civilization, at this point a stranger to many, he was imprisoned, his dog however continued to offer relief to prisoners.
Saint Denis, who fell foul of Pagan priests, was promptly beheaded, but managed to walk with this head neatly tucked under his arm, while continuing to preach the word of God.
St Lucy, found herself in a situation, whereby her torturers gouged her eyes out, however God restored her sight, before she died…consequently she became the patron saint of eye problems and blindness.
It is incredible when you read the lives of these Saints, the horrific brutal tortures they went through. Saint Peter the supposed first Pope of Rome, was allegedly crucified upside down, however this is open to conjecture…some believe that St Peter asked to be executed this way, being unworthy to die in the same manner as Jesus Christ.
St. James the Just… The leader of the Church in Jerusalem was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple, another one refusing to renounce their faith. Like many of the Saints, this was not enough to see him off, so his enemies proceeded to beat him to death.
St. Matthew, was another who managed to defy his torturers, having been captured his body was set afire. When the flame was extinguished, St. Matthew was incredibly still alive and unharmed. Then He was accused of being a sorcerer and was set afire again. This time he yielded to the flames.
I guess not all Saints perished in pitiful brutal dramatic ways…and they earned their “Sainthood” through other means, less dramatic means. Regardless of whether you are a believer or non-believer, or indeed total skeptic, some of the stories of the Saints, make fascinating reading.
Article by Francis H Powell
Author of Flight of Destiny.