ESL – Mad Dogs and Englishmen

4 August

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Today is Saint Sithney’s Day. Never heard of him? Well, he has associations with Cornwall, Ireland and Brittany. In fact, there is even a village named after him in Cornwall – his body is said to lie in the village church, although the truth of that is doubtful.

According to legend, Sithney was one of the first Christian missionaries from Britain to travel to Ireland, where he tried to convert the locals. But he is better known for his patronage of mad dogs. Apparently, God asked Sithney to be the patron of single women but he begged to be relieved of that duty, opting instead for rabid dogs as he thought that he’d get more peace. Clearly, Sithney was not a modern male!

Reading about Sithney, and his devotion to mad dogs, I wondered what other odd things have their own saint. Here’s a list of some of the weirdest:

  1. Saint Roch. Patron of gravediggers and second-hand dealers – both people whose work involves things which are past their best!
  2. Saint Joseph of Cupertino. Patron of pilots. The reason? He apparently flew himself whilst praying!
  3. Saint Bibiana. She’s the patron of hangovers – although a better protection from them would be abstinence, surely?
  4. Saint Hubert of Liege. He’s the patron of hunting dogs – I wonder if foxes pray to him, or are they more prey to him?
  5. Saint Lidwina. Her followers really can walk on water – she’s the patron of ice-skaters!
  6. Saint Eligius. Garage mechanics. He never changed a tyre in his life, but he’s said to have once changed a horse’s leg!
  7. Saint Adrian of Nicomedia. Adrian was dismembered by the Roman Army – strange then that he should become the patron of arms dealers!

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