November 16 commemorates the death of St. Hugh of Lincoln–not to be confused with Little St. Hugh of Lincoln who Chaucer wrote about–a darn popular saint in England, but not really anywhere else. Since he lived in the late twelfth century, his Vita (saintly biography) is more concerned with his skill as an administrator than with anything interesting. Though, it should be noted, he did have an attack swan that guarded him as he slept. Pet swans that beat people up for you, you don’t see that every day–unless you’re St. Hugh of Lincoln, of course, but you’re not.
November 23 is the Feast of Pope St. Clement of Rome, who was either the second, third, or fourth successor to the first Pope, St. Peter, depending on which unreliable list of early popes you consult. He was martyred by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea, which means as a saint he’s cursed to carry an anchor with him when he sits for portraits (like the one at the top of the page).
St. Linus is listed by all the ancient Christian records as the first successor to St. Peter. Some calendars (including MS. Rawl. D. 939, the poorly illustrated calendar I’m following) put his feast on November 25th, though these days it’s celebrated in September. You’ll be excused if you celebrated it last month, but really do make an effort to keep to my calendar from here on out. Other than his name and his place as Pope #2, next to nothing is known about Linus. The Liber Pontificalis*** says he’s responsible for the now-ignored rule that says that women must cover their heads in church, and that’s about it.
St. Andrew‘s feast closes out the month on November 30. He’s sort of a big deal, being the first Apostle called by Christ and with his brother Peter one of the two fishermen asked to become “fishers of men.” According to medieval accounts, Andrew was sentenced to be crucified, but demanded that he be tied to the cross instead of nailed and also that the cross by X-shaped instead of T-shaped, because he thought himself unworthy to be crucified in exactly the same way as the Savior. Thus, you can usually recognize Andrew as the guy strapped to the big X, as in the picture at the top of this post. Because of his original job, Andrew is the patron of nautical men of all types. He’s also the patron saint of rope makers, because, apparently, rope makers always stop listening to the story of St. Andrew when he calls for the rope and just assume he must have used the rope to miraculously escape his captors and, possibly, to save Christmas.
Well, what do you know, that’s the end of the saints for this month. Check back in mid-to-late December for the saints of early December, and, heck, probably some time in January for the late-December saints.
*Like a severed head thrown into the woods. Confused?** Keep reading.
**Not confused? Stop waiting till the end to read all the footnotes so that I can properly confused you.
***In Latin: The Big Book of Saints.