Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Eyes Without a Face: St. Lucy & Friends

I've been reading up on the more bizarre or grotesque stories of Catholic saints, and thought I'd share a few of the weirder or more disgusting stories here from time to time.

St. Lucy was supposed to marry a fine young fellow, but didn't want to. He handled it like any normal person would: reported her to the authorities for being a Christian. When they tried to force her into prostitution, God made her body so heavy it wouldn't move. Then they scooped her eyes out, but they grew back. Here she is, holding her eyes on a plate. As you might expect, she's the patron saint of blindness. 

How about St. Simon the Zealot? He was one of the twelve disciples. A violent man before adopting Christianity, he was martyred in Mesopotamia - hung upside down and sawed in half longitudinally. Ouch. I think I'd rather be crucified.

St. Margaret of Antioch was jailed for being a Christian after she refused a pagan suitor. She was thrown into jail, when the devil, in the form of a dragon, tried to eat her. Apparently the cross she wore made its stomach upset and she tore her way out. The authorities tried to drown her and burn her, but she wouldn't die. Finally they cut her head off, and that seemed to work. She's the patron saint of childbirth.

St. Bartholemew was also one of the apostles. He went to India, where they flayed him alive and crucified him upside down. Lo and behold, he's the patron saint of skinners and leatherworkers.

St. Christopher had the head of a dog - either because he came from that mysterious part of the world where cynocephaluses live, or because God gave him a dog's head to ward of unwanted attention from women. He is also said to have carried a baby across a river, only to realize it was the baby Jesus, and he was so heavy because he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He's the patron saint of those who travel, especially those who cross water. Christopher Columubus was named after him. One wonders how this influenced his life choices.

St. Denis converted so many pagans to Christianity that, annoyed, the pagans of Paris cut off his head. Denis promptly picked up his head and walked a few miles, preaching all the way, before he finally expired. 

There are a LOT more, of course. These were the ones that leaped out at me.

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