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, August 30, 2012

August 30 -- Feast of Saint Fiacre

As noted on the Feast of Saint Odran, Fiacre is the patron of cab-drivers by virtue of the proximity of the Hotel de Saint Fiacre in Paris and a taxi stand.  That is, perhaps, the least impressive patronage assignment in the canon.  Of course it is more pleasant than some of his other assignments, including Fiacre's other task -- being the saint to call on against hemorrhoids, piles, fistulas, and most venereal diseases including gonorrhea and syphilis.  He was noted for miracle cures by touch, especially cases of fistula, which were known as "le fic de S. Fiacre."  Having just experienced the annual retraining in blood-borne pathogens ("if it is wet and it's not yours, don't touch it"), I find the idea of healing by touch makes me squeamish.  I guess a little more faith would be in order.

Fiacre's healing touch was indirectly responsible for his expatriation.  As a celebrated healer in Ireland, he found so little time for quiet meditation that he fled to France to start over as a hermit.  Bishop Faro gave him a plot of land for his garden, around the perimeter of which he dragged a shovel.  Wherever the spade touched the ground, trees fell, bushes were uprooted, and the ground was harrowed for planting.  A neighbor accused him of sorcery,  a heavy charge back in the seventh century.  Faro conducted the investigation and found a miracle instead.  Fortunately, Fiacre's popularity as a living saint did not buoy to the same level as it had in Ireland, but his garden was a pilgrimage destination for centuries.

The third picture shows medieval tools for treating anal fistulas (I spared you the medieval diagrams of the ailments themselves, but you can view them here). If you look at the tools for a minute, you begin to understand why someone would wish for a saint who could heal with just the touch of a finger.

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