February Feast Calendar (Part 1)

Sorry this is late, everyone–I was busy saving humanity from the Collectors this week. Nothing I could do about it.*

The February feast calendar kicks off on February 1 with the Feast of St. Bridget of Kildare. Bridget, the patron saint of chicken farmers and bastard children, is one of three saints who stake a claim to being the patron saint of Ireland. Because Bridget (or Brigid or however you want to spell it) is also the generic name for Irish fairy goddesses, there’s a slew of miracles attributed to St. Bridget, lots of them involving food: she could magically replenish depleted butter stores, make fruit trees refuse to give fruit to the greedy, turn stones to salt, turn water to wine, and make a small quantity of beer miraculously satisfy the appetites of hundreds of people.

February 2 marks the Purification of the Virgin, also called Candlemas, the day that Mary’s ritual uncleanness was removed at the temple, though these days it’s more often celebrated as the day that Jesus was first presented at the temple instead. Ritual purification just doesn’t have the cultural cachet it once had. Heathens.

The Feast of St. Blaise is celebrated on the very next day, February 3. Blaise is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, medicinal saints who are thought to have special powers over various areas of the body. Blaise can be invoked against sore throats and other throat-related ailments, because (en route to his appointment to have his flesh torn by iron combs for his refusal to renounce his faith) he healed a boy who was choking on a fish bone.

While not one of the Holy Helpers proper, St. Agatha, whose feast falls on February 5, has special powers to heal ailments of the breasts, on account of having had hers cut off for refusing to worship pagan idols. Like Bartholomew, she is usually depicted in the unfortunate after state in iconography, carrying her severed breasts before her on a tray or plate. Because detached breasts sort of resemble bells, she’s the patron saint of bellfounders, and because they also kind of resemble dough, she works double duty as the patron of bakers, too. Oh, and just to be clear, that last sentence isn’t one of those clearly nonsensical sentences I pepper my writing with for purposes of the comedy.** Agatha is the patron saint of severed boobs and everything that kind of looks like a severed boob.

On February 10, you’ve all no doubt got big plans already arranged, but on the off chance that you don’t, remember that St. Scholastica has her feast on that day. Scholastica was St. Benedict’s sister, and her chief miracle consisted of summoning storm clouds and rain to keep Benedict from leaving her house after a long visit. For that, she ought to be the patroness of overly-demanding family members, but instead she’s invoked against rain and storms and watches over nuns and convulsive children.

February 14 is reserved for the Feast of St. Valentine, an obscure saint of little importance.

See you in two weeks, give or take the demands of journeying with Dante through the Inferno next week (though I’ll probably spend more time returning to Rapture, knowing me).

*And I’m pleased to report that Commander Shepard and her crew made it safely back through the Omega 4 Relay with no casualties. If you were worried.
**And neither was that last one. Or the one before this. Or… you get the idea.

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