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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 18 -- Feast of Saint Ferreol of Vienna

Patron of Prisoners  

Bust of the Busted
According to, the USA has more prisoners per capita than any other nation.  The US has 715 prisoners per 100,000 people; Russia takes the silver medal (584:100,000) and Belarus the bronze (554:100,000).  Iran finishes 33rd (226:100,000) and China comes in at 71 (119:100,000).  China flies up the list when it comes to total prisoners (1,549,000) but still only claims the silver.  USA! USA! (Going for the gold with 2,019, 234)

Ferreol was a military tribune (command staff officer) who tried to shield a fellow Christian named Julian of Brioude.  Julian was beheaded, but the proconsul Crispin gave Ferreol some time in jail to think things over.  Is it better to sacrifice a stick of incense to a block of stone or sacrifice your life to an invisible god?

Fortunately, while he was left to his thoughts, Ferreol managed to shed his shackles and make a break for it.  One source I have suggests that he was locked in the latrine and escaped via the sewer, but that same source puts this in the Decian persecution.  Others suggest that he lived (and died) during the Diocletian persecution five decades later, so it is tough to know what to believe.

I like the latrine story for a couple of reasons.  First, it has a certain repellent humor about it.  Second... no, it's just potty humor.  I like it.

He was apprehended down by the river.  The guards were planning to return him for judgment, but he got on their nerves (inconvenience?  preaching?  smell?) and they beheaded him en route.

There are several saints named Ferreol, but if you're reading this in stir, Ferreol of Vienna is your man. 

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