This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 10 -- Feast of Saint John Ogilvie

Saint John Ogilvie
John's story is familiar and quick, but there's a reason to include it.  To compensate, I'll toss in a couple other saints celebrated on March 10 whose stories are also brief.

John was born a Scottish Calvinist noble.  At seventeen, he converted to Catholicism and went to study for the priesthood.  Calvinism (apart from being the most repressed, least inspiring of the Christian sects) was the official religion in Scotland and the royal priest-hunters were busying themselves with torture and execution.  Those who don't understand why Shi'a and Sunni fratricide should begin by reading about the Catholic - Protestant slaughters.

Father John, having joined the Jesuits, repeatedly requested an assignment back in Scotland.  Eventually he got it.  Posing as a horse trader / soldier named John Watson, he administered the sacraments for eleven months before he was busted.  Defiant in the face of torture, even to the point of being a wiseass, he was  convicted of treason (loyalty to the Pope), paraded through Glasgow, and then hanged and disemboweled. He is the only officially recorded Church martyr from Scotland, a mighty curious fact given the general description of the carnage at that time. If he had not been the only Scottish Catholic martyr, I probably would have gone with John of God, who will have to wait until next year.

Pope Saint Simplicius: Made the bad call?
There's a legend that as he was hanged, he tossed his rosary beads into the crowd.  The man who caught them had been an ardent Calvinist but became a Roman Catholic for the remainder of his life.

Pope Saint Simplicius became pope in 468 and remained on Peter's Chair until 483 (figuratively -- I'm sure he stood up and walked around sometimes).  He did papal things like oppose heresy and organize the administration of the sacraments.  I know too little of the issue, but Emperor Leo had a proposal to make Constantinople second in primacy (is that lexically correct?) only to Rome.  I know that Antioch, Ephesus, and Alexandria all had rival claims, but the reality of Constantinople's importance in the secular world was undeniable.  I don't mean to assert that the Great Schism would not have happened if Simplicius had not accepted this, but I do mean to suggest it.  If we're ever going to heal the breaches in Christianity, it is worth contemplating. 
Helena, Macarius, et al.

Macarius, the bishop of Jerusalem, was called in when the Empress Helena was relic-shopping.  You probably remember that she found the One True Cross while she was there.  She also found lots of other crosses, but Macarius helped her figure out which one was the One True.  Being a forward-thinking, scientific sort of guy, Macarius brought a sick woman with him and had her methodically touch one cross after another.  Naturally, the One True Cross was the one that healed her; thus, that's the one that got shipped back to Constantinople. 

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