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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  February 2000

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION February 2000

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Subject:

Re: St Serendipity

From:

"Aline G. Hornaday" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 28 Feb 2000 10:43:35 -0800

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This suggestion is an excellent one - but I can't resist calling attention 
of listmembers to St. Aye, of Mons in Belgium, whose particular specialty 
is finding lost papers & documents. She is also the patron of people at 
risk in a just case in a public forum in a dangerous or long-drawn-out 
hearing, or a case when the documents necessary for proving justice have 
been lost or stolen. Aye succeeded her cousin St. Waldetrude as abbess of 
Ste-Waudru, and died c.708. Her life & cult are described in AASS, April, 
II, pp. 579-582. Her feast day is April 18th. She is, or was, venerated at 
Mons although her relics were never formally elevated. As I struggle to get 
my notes in order I've often thought of St. Aye! - Aline Hornaday

  At 03:44 PM 2/28/00 +0100, you wrote:
>Dear listmembers,
>
>While still in a suspended state, I should like to take the liberty
>to launch a new saint.  Discussions with my learned friends Graham
>Jones and Miriam Gill have revealed that, although there is St Zita
>to pray to if one has lost one's keys and St Anthony of Padua for any
>other lost objects, there is as yet a hiatus.  During my research for
>my (recently obtained) doctorate I had great help from an as yet
>little known saint who helped me find things (esp. books and
>articles) which I never even knew existed.  As this saint may prove
>helpful to others as well, I should like to launch her on the
>medieval-religion list for 29 February and propose the following
>vita.
>
>* St. Serendipity (martyr, died 362 AD, f.d. 29 February) *
>It was during the reign of Julian the Apostate that a young maiden,
>who lived in poverty and obscurity somewhere in the swamps of
>northern Italy, was converted by a passing bishop (exiled during the
>reign of the emperor Constantius) who found himself lost in the
>swamps.  Hearing about the glory of Christian martyrdom, the girl was
>desperate to follow the example of other famous martyrs but her
>location in the desolate swamps seemed to offer little opportunity.
>Another problem was that Julian, although apostate, did not believe
>in creating yet more martyrs.  So the poor converted girl seemed
>doomed to continue her life in obscurity, when one day she happened
>to meet a Roman centurion who had lost both his legion, his sword and
>his way.  Although a pagan, he was inclined to leave our would-be
>martyr in peace but when she insisted on telling him about her new
>faith rather than just the way out of the swamps, his patience ran
>out and, hoping to curry favour with the emperor Julian, he looked
>round for a way to silence her when his eye happened to fall on the
>axe which the girl used to chop wood.  The end is obvious.
>By sheer coincidence, the bishop who originally converted the girl
>found her martyred remains on his way back and buried her in a tomb,
>which was, however, only rarely found by pilgrims.  This explains the
>lack of a proper cult, up to now.
>
>For those sceptics who feel that Julian the Apostate should not be
>blamed for the girl's death, I must point out that this is a
>MEDIEVAL-Religion list and Julian's reputation was extremely poor in
>the Middle Ages so to credit him with having indirectly created yet
>another Christian martyr is not too far fetched;  in fact, it was St
>Mercurius or Mercury (how appropriate!) who was credited with having
>killed Julian in his final battle.
>As for all the other coincidences in this vita - well, it is only
>serendipity, after all! That is why 29 February seems such a good
>feastday - just one of those odd unexpected days ...
>N.B.  George Ferzoco felt that she ought to be Italian so you may
>prefer 'St Serendipita'.
>
>I hope you will all find your prayers to this newly discovered saint
>very effective.
>
>Sophie Oosterwijk
>Dept of the History of Art
>University of Leicester



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