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St. Eligius

Today’s Sanctus Ignotum, St. Eligius (ca. 588 – 660; known in French as Eloi), followed a successful first career as a goldsmith with a later one as a saint. The signs of his later holiness appear obvious to me (admittedly I am a smug, 21st century know-it-all). He miraculously made two golden thrones using the materials […]

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St Martin de Porres

Today on Sanctus Ignotum we have a case study in race relations, and our first South American saint. Born in Lima, Peru in 1579, the illegitimate son of a Spanish knight and a liberated black slave, Martin was initially apprenticed to a barber-surgeon. He initially joined the Dominican Order as a lay-helper, though his dedication […]

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Welcome to Hell!

Looking at the V&A blog page this morning, I can see that Halloween has caught the imagination of a number of fellow Museum bloggers. However, I can’t pass up such an apt occasion on which to introduce you to two of the most gruesome and macabre objects going into the Europe Galleries. Both, fittingly, will […]

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A.19-1945, Altarpiece, Saint Boniface, St Philip, St Otillia, St James the Less, St Wolfgang © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

St Wolfgang of Regensburg

Aside from the annual devotionals to All Hallows, 31st October also marks the celebration of the feast of St Wolfgang, a 10th century monk and bishop born in Swabia, south-west Germany, in either 924 or 934. To give some idea of how holy Wolfgang was, he was known in his own time as Eleemosysnarius Major, […]

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St. Petka

This Orthodox saint’s proper name is Paraskeva of the Balkans, but she is also known alternatively as Petka. She was born on the shores of the Sea of Marmara at the start of the 11th century. She claimed that God spoke to her at the age of 10 while in church, quoting Jesus (and therefore […]

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St. Bruno of Cologne

Today is a feast of St. Bruno (ca. 1030-1101), a very, very holy chap who was teacher to one of the most important figures of the middle ages: Pope Urban II, the instigator of the First Crusade. This 11th century eremitic scholar-man was also the founder of the Carthusian monastic order. If you’re wondering what […]

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St. Theresa of Lisieux

Today is the celebration of one of Catholicism’s less flamboyant but more popular saints, St. Theresa of Lisieux, commonly known as the ‘Little Flower of Jesus’. Her saintliness is not a result of holy pillows, levitations, stigmata or loyal animal friends, but rather it is because of the quiet, sweet and serious way that she […]

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St. Sergei of Radonezh

Today, like the BBC north of the M25, we look east, further east even than Norfolk. Give the globe a little twirl to your left and you’ll see there’s a big country which covers a lot of the top bit of it. This country is called Russia, and it’s very famous. Now if you look […]

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St. Gerard Sagredo

Martyrs have been martyred in some awfully creative ways. Last time around we learnt how St. Eustace met a sticky end, roasted alive inside a brazen bull. St. Fausta was sawn in half inside a box, St. Bartholomew was skinned alive and St. Alphege was pelted with cow skulls. Truly, these are horrible ways to […]

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Detail of PL side of 7821-1861, wheel lock rifle, showing St. Eustace and the stag © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

St. Eustace

Today is the feast of another of our Holy Helpers, Saint Eustace. In his person is united the graphic design for Jägermeister, a new theory concerning the term ‘family roast’, and the pleas and devotion of nearly two millennia of firemen. Read on, bold traveller of the internet, and be enlightened.   Eustace was a […]

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