April Feast Calendar (Part 1)


Since April 1 has become a Schrodinger’s box of not-funny, I held back the feast calendar till today. Apologies are therefore in order to poor St. Mary of Egypt, who has the misfortune of sharing her feast with the feast of fools, so we’ve already and missed it. My bad.

According to her Vita, Mary lived her life between the ages 12 and 29 as one long orgy, casual sex both her vocation and avocation. Mindful of her looming 30th, I suppose, she declared she’d go on anti-pilgrimage to Jerusalem to sleep with the pilgrims celebrating the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. But when she arrived at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where the true cross was being shown, she found herself restrained by an invisible force, and this convinced her to pray, and one thing led to another, and she ended up stripping herself naked and running off to live in the desert as a a precognitive hermit like you do.

If you’re lacking for plans this weekend, you could always celebrate the Feast of St. Richard of Chichester, which comes on April 3. If you’ve never heard of him, that’s no big surprise. His main miraculous claim to fame is that he dropped the holy communion chalice during mass and yet not a drop sloshed out of the upended cup.  He ought to be the patron of scotch guarding for that, but I don’t think they’ve assigned one of those yet.

But if Richard doesn’t strike your fancy, you could wait until April 4 and the Feast of St. Ambrose. Ambrose is kind of a big deal, one of the four original doctors of the church.  According to legend Ambrose was naturally so holy and mild that when he was a baby a swarm of bees landed on his face while he slept in his cradle and didn’t sting him once, instead departing after leaving a single drop of honey on his lips.

This honey-tongued bishop is said to be the source of the proverb “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” a paraphrase of his response to St. Augustine when asked what to do about divergent liturgical practices.  Seems the Romans fasted on Saturday, but the Milanese did not, so when he was in Rome in a Saturday he didn’t eat, when he was in Milan he did.  In other words: Hakuna Matata.

April 11 marks the Feast of Pope St. Leo (the Great).  Leo was pope when Attila the Hun arrived at Rome and was part of the delegation that convinced Attila to spare the city.  Some say it was the large amount of gold that Leo brought with him, others that Attila’s supply lines were overstretched and he was looking for any excuse to stop, and still others (of a more hagiographical bent) claim an angel with a flaming sword visible only to the Hun had something to do with it.

Ss. Tibertius and Valerianus lay claim to some day or other in April (the calendar I’m working from puts it on April 14, but it varies quite a bit from calendar to calendar).   The two brothers are real slouches as second-century saints go, famous only for their association with the far more famous St. Cecilia. Valerian was her husband and his brother Tibertius her brother-in-law.  Both died by being beheaded after torture they were able to endure for a few extra days by thinking on Cecilia’s piety.  I guess even with saints it’s sometimes all about who you know.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • arby

    Not enough asterisks.

  • Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Carl .. try again I guess – blogger keeps throwing people out ..

    Love your stories of the saints and the Medieval or earlier history .. very interesting and stimulating.

    Your name – explains the interest perhaps? Where does it come from? and what does it mean .. Pyydum – sounds Celtic Roman to me!

    Have a good Easter .. all the best Hilary

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