No doubt about it, the life of a saint is a tough one. Then you die. Horribly. Here are some saints you should think about the next time you’re stuck in traffic or you stub your toe and think, why me? It’ll cheer you up.
The Breast Challenged
The most disturbing thing of all the female saints is the number of them that were not only tortured and murdered- as if that isn’t bad enough- but also had their breasts cut off. You have to wonder what was going through the minds of these people. What would Freud say of these tormentors who showed such fear of women’s cleavage? A partial list of those subjected to this awful fate includes St. Anastasia, St. Christina, St. Agatha, St. Febronia, St. Tatiana, St. Guilia, St. Juliana, and St. Barbara. The most common theme amongst the women is that they were beautiful young virgins who were lusted after by all the local pagan men and when they refused to submit to their marriage proposals were persecuted as Christians. Isn’t that just like a man? A good-looking hottie can scoff at false idols and worship Christ all she wants until she refuses to put out. Then you guys get touchy.
Martyr Saints of China
You’re probably thinking, Chinese saints? Really? I didn’t know there were many Catholic Chinese people. And you’d be right. The reason for this is that the Chinese didn’t take too kindly to attempts to convert them to Christianity. 87 Chinese Catholics and 33 missionaries were martyred between the mid-1600s to 1930. It started with St. Francis Fernandez de Cappilas, on 15 January 1648, who was tortured and beheaded by Manchu Tartars.
The height of Chinese martyrdom occured during the Boxer Rebellion. The Chinese called the Boxer Uprising, ”The Righteous Harmony Society Movement”. A pretty feel-good, summer-loving name for a mass killing of thousands of foreigners and Chinese Christians, by martial art devotees who thought they would be immune to bullets and swords- if they could just get their training and diet right. They ultimately failed, but a stage was set for xenophobic isolation that has yet to be eliminated.
Not much is known about the real, historical Christopher, but according to the Golden Legend which was a group of stories compiled by Archbishop Jacobus de Voragine in the thirteenth century, he was a tall, fearsome Canaanite named Reprobus. After many adventures, he converts to Christianity and is baptized as Christopher. The most famous tale of Christopher is when he helps a young child across a dangerous river and finds that even though the little boy is small he is almost unbearable heavy. As it turns out, the child is Christ and he is so heavy because of the weight of the world he carries. The weirdest story of Saint Christopher is when God gives him a dog head in place of his own- to ward off unwanted advances by women. Well, that certainly is a gift you wouldn’t think of giving yourself.
Who’s The Patron Saint of Irony?
Another odd thing about saints is that they usually become patron saints of things that either maimed and killed them in life.
Saint Apollonia is the patron saint of dentists. Why? An anti-Christian mob pulled all her teeth out in Alexandria in the early years of the A.D.
St. Bartholomew, one of the apostles, traveled as far as India evangelizing. His luck failed him in Armenia where he was martyred. Thinking that just crucifying people was getting a little stale, they flayed him alive first. After carefully removing as much skin as possible, then they hung him on a cross- upside-down. See how innovative they were? Now, Saint Bartholomew is the patron saint of tanners. I’m sure somewhere he is really jazzed about that.
Poor St. Dymphna, the daughter of a seventh century Irish pagan king, was beheaded in a fit of rage by her father after she refused to marry him. Well, every family has their problems. She is the patron saint of incest victims and childhood rape victims.
Coolest Things Done By Saints, uh…I mean, Most Wondrous Miracles Performed by Saints
First Limb Transplant Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian were Arab twin brothers and Christian martyrs who practiced faith healing back in the third century A.D. One of their most famous miracles was transplanting the black leg of a dead Ethiopian man onto a white man whose leg was severely ulcerated. Pretty miraculous, I know, but I would just like to see that guy in shorts.
Magic Ok, the Catholic church would never refer to a miracle as magic, but let us not split hairs. Some things the church consider miracles are also taught at Hogwarts. For instance, there were dozens of saints that could either levitate or fly. Bilocation, literally being in two places at once, is also a common theme experienced by many saints including St. Anthony of Padua, St. Severus of Ravenna, St. Ambrose of Milan, and Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria. I won’t even comment on the fact that if a powerful man flies around it is a miracle but if the crazy cat lady does the same thing, she’s the bride of Satan and practicing witchcraft.