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, September 15, 2012

September 15 -- Feast of Saint Mirin

Mirin in Paisley (bronze, really)
A Saint with an Irish Sense of Humor

Short shrift is an odd expression.  These days, to get short shrift means getting less than the attention due.  Papers submitted to me after the close of a marking term get short shrift because I need to post grades.  I was once the last blood donor of the day and getting short shrift meant a lousy needle stick, a bruise, and less than a pint pumped out. 

Shrift is a participle (I think -- corrections welcome) of the verb to shrive, meaning to give the sacrament of absolution, i.e. confession and penance.  Shakespeare first used it in Richard III, where a killer is instructed to give the Duke short shrift as the King is eager to see his head.  Penances could be long, involved things back in the day, like maybe a pilgrimage to Compostela, Jerusalem, or Rome.  If a man was condemned to die, a long penance would be pointless.  Ergo, short shrift. 

I mention this because it is already closing in on 11:00 AM. The blood donor center closes in a couple hours, I'm long overdue to bottle a batch of porter, there's some painting what wants to get done, kick-off is in an hour, and there's no saint identified, let alone posted.  Whoever goes up today will get short shrift.  Fortunately she or he doesn't need shriving at all, the sainthood having covered that. 
Go Mirin FC!

Begorrah!  Is it himself come back?
Mirin was a contemporary of Saints Columba and Comgall, putting him in the Golden Age of Irish saints.  He evangelized the area of Paisley, Scotland, which led to the settlement and abbey there.  [I have a hard time digesting the thanks he got in the form of Rev. Ian Paisley, that left-footed bastard in Ulster, but the Troubles are over, so I will let it go.] 

Here's the sense of humor bit.  Before he did his work in Scotland, he showed up at the camp of the High King of Ireland, seeking to preach the Gospel.  No fan of this new religion, the High King denied Mirin entrance.  Mirin knelt outside the camp and prayed that the King suffer the labor pains which his wife had felt delivering their children.  For three days, the King lay abed in his tent, groaning, shrieking, and writhing.  On the third day, he granted Mirin leave to preach and was delivered of his pain. 

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