Daily Archives: May 3, 2010

Never Mess with a Narnian

St. Lucy of Narni has become well-known for totally extraneous reasons, of course. But I’m starting to think that, when it comes to epic protagonists, St. Juvenal of Narni is the Narnian to beat. :)

He was ordained by Pope St. Damasus I and was made bishop in 368, so he’s in the generation just younger than Ss. Jerome, Augustine et al. He was also still alive to face tons of barbarian invasions pouring over Europe and Africa. Happy joy.

Apparently, at some point in this disordered period, the Ligurians and Sarmatians tried to invade Narni. Legend has it that his prayers were answered with a thunderstorm so mighty that all the invaders fled away.

(And now it starts thundering. Sheesh, someone is messing with me.)

Legend also has it that somebody tried to whop off his head with a sword, but that he just caught the blade in his teeth. (Yes, there are saint pictures of this. Yes, it might refer to Revelation, or to the manner of his martyrdom. But dang, that’s cool.)

Anyway, this was his feastday today, so I hope you had a festive Narnian day!

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St. Ahmed the Calligrapher

In the long line of Christian saints’ names, this is surely not one you will run into twice.

Read all about him. Today was his day. (And I “just happened” to run across him in a totally different context? What are the odds?)

St. Ahmed, pray for us, especially catechumens and converts from Islamic backgrounds!

(You may also see him referred to as “Ahmet” or “Achmed”, or “Holy New Martyr/Holy Martyr” instead of “Saint”. No big deal either way.) He’s also called St. Ahmed the Architect….

Here’s a longer version of his story, if you scroll down the Byzantine Spirituality webpage.

Here’s a beautiful icon of St. Ahmed.

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Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Rugby

Yep. The Chapel of Our Lady of Rugby. It’s in a big rugby-playing area in France, l’Ovalie. (I think I may have posted about this before, but there’s more info available now.)

After a local tragedy, the parish priest of Larriviere St. Savin decided that it was time something was done with St. Savin’s old half-abandoned Romanesque oratory. The chapel is dedicated to the memory of all fallen rugby players, and asks for God’s protection for all those playing the game.

The chapel includes four stained glass windows: Mary holding the Baby Jesus, who’s about to throw out a rugby ball which players reach for; the Child Jesus (or some child) with a rugby ball on the sidelines in front of his smiling mother; Mary holding a rugby ball while surrounded by pilgrims of all times (possibly representing rugby history, possibly local history), and Mary holding a fallen player in something like a Pieta.

A nice article about it with pictures.

Another nice article with more pictures.

Searching for “notre dame du rugby” or “our lady of rugby” will find you some very nice photos and even video of this tiny shrine.

It looks like the votive shoe and uniform thank-offerings are starting to take over the shrine! (A common but good shrine problem to have.) It just goes to show that popular piety is still there, in all sorts of forms, when it’s allowed to be.

There are apparently several small churches which are centers of devotion for bicyclists of various countries. The church of the Madonna del Ghisallo, along the route of a bike race in Italy, is the most important one, as Our Lady of Ghisallo was officially declared biking’s patroness throughout the world. (Man, nobody tells me this important stuff!!) In France, Notre Dame des Cyclistes (an old Templar church) is its national bicyclists’ shrine, and includes a museum. In Spain, Our Lady of Dorleta up in the Basque country is their shrine.

Oh, and if you were wondering who St. Savin is, he was Savin/Sabinus, a 5th century rich Spanish guy who became a hermit and an apostle of the Pyrenees. He was one of those guys who were strongly influenced by St. Martin of Tours, and spent time with St. Sulpicius Severus and St. Paulinus of Nola. There was another famous hermit of the same name in the 8th century, in the same area, but he had a totally different life story and was French. Anyway, good name.

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