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.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9 -- Feast of Two Saints named Beatus

Both of the saints named Beatus fought dragons.  This could be a coincidence, or it could be that their stories got confused.  It could also be that the name Beatus is a dragon-magnet.  I'm going with coincidence, but I wouldn't recommend naming your kid Beatus, just to be safe. 

Beatus of Thun, the Apostle of Switzerland, was a second century monk.  He was from Scotland (or maybe Ireland).  Born with the name Suetonius, he was apparently baptized by Barnabas (the guy who replaced Judas Iscariot, not the vampire from Collinsport).  Then he was ordained by Saint Peter, and sent to evangelize the Helvetii (Swiss). 

Lake Thun Dragon Boat -- I'm afraid the last laugh's on Beatus,
When he and his pal Achates got there, they had considerable success until they worked their way south to Beatenberg.  There, they had selected an especially nice cave to live in, but then noticed that a dragon already occupied it.  As the picture at left shows, Beatus drove the dragon out, eventually slaying it and dumping its corpse in Lake Thun.  The caves were a popular pilgrimage site until the Protestant Reformation, when armed Zwinglians drove Catholic pilgrims away over a First Commandment dispute.  The cave was re-opened to tourists (the modern version of pilgrims) in the early twentieth century, but now dragons are the focus of the Lake Thun trinket trade.  A fistful of francs covers the fare of this ferry. 

The other Beatus lived up in Gaul (France) around the area of Vendome.  He was a hermit, evangelizing when he could and making baskets to swap for food in the rest of his time.  Some locals tipped him off about a fine cave he could live in, but like the cave in Beatenberg, this was already occupied.  The dragon in this one was so large that when it crawled out to drink from the Loire, its tail was still in the cave.  When it drank, the Loire went dry until it stopped drinking.  Serious dragon.

There are three stories told about how Beatus of Vendome beat the dragon.  One says he showed up and the dragon fled in fear.  Another says that he cracked it on the noggin with his staff and it was done.  The last says that he collared the thing and chained it -- then stepped out of reach and it strangled itself straining to get at him. 

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