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.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12 -- Feast of Saint Uguzo

Which Greek will inherit the earth?
Monty Python's The Life of Brian is a hilarious and quotable movie, even to the point where those who know it well irritate others with incessant references.  (I'd like to apologize to any and all of you if that observation is self-referential.  If, on the other hand, I seem to be referring to you, it is your turn to apologize.)  Irrespective of past irritations, I am inserting a quote from the film below.  The hyperlink of the word cheesemakers should take you to the scene on the youtubes if you want to see it.  

Spectator I: I think it was "Blessed are the cheesemakers". 
Mrs. Gregory: Aha, what's so special about the cheesemakers? 
Gregory: Well, obviously it's not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products. 

Saint Uguzo, patron of cheesemakers, is credited with developing the process of thermal caseification, which has something to do with heating the milk from which cheese is being made in order to increase the volume of cheese.  Since heat processing is also used to extract casein from milk in order to create protein supplements for bodybuilders, he might also be considered the patron saint of sports shakes, bars, and powders. 

Although he was no bodybuilder, Uguzo was a hard worker.  As a cheesemaker hoping to be blessed, he gave his wages and part of his meals to the poor, reserving for himself only enough to survive.  His boss accused him of taking more than he was entitled to give away, a charge he denied.  Still, the boss felt anyone that generous could not be trusted and so he fired him.  Uguzo went on down the road to another dairy, where he promptly went to work.  He continued his generous donations to the poor, but the dairy experienced a tremendous increase in production after Uguzo started working there.  Word got around that the dairy had a saint working at it.  Then word got around that the former boss was a fool for thinking a saint was a thief and firing him.  Ashamed, the ex-boss stabbed Uguzo and threw his body in a pond.  Every year around this time, at Uguzo's pond near the Swiss-Italian border, the pond water turns red.  Sure, it's an algae bloom, but whose to say that the algae aren't blooming in commemoration of Saint Uguzo?  (Put your hands down; the question was rhetorical.) 
Saint Uguzo Raclette 

A French and Chilean cheese company is named Saint Uguzo y Cantorel in his honor.  But even if you're enjoying plain old Cabot Cheddar, take a moment to bless the cheesemakers, for they too shall be called the children of God.  

Bonus: Here's a great BBC4 debate about The Life of Brian and reverence. Michael Palin, John Cleese, Malcolm Muggeridge, and Bishop Mervyn Stockwood of Southwick. It's long, and at times frustrating, but it does bring the film into focus through two important lenses.  You can probably guess where my sympathies lie.  

Once again, my sources are in disagreement.  August 16 seems to be a feast celebrating Uguzo as well.  If you prefer to celebrate him then, you can drop back to Saint Veronica for today. 

1 comment: