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.

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 23 -- Feast of Saint Mustiola

Nice blood spatter -- Icons by Tarantino
The feast day of this saint is a subject of dispute, or perhaps she has multiple days.  SQPN marks her feast on July 3, but the British scholars at JISC maintain her feast today.  Life is uncertain -- we'd better mark her day while we can. 

The trouble started with the execution of Saint Felix of Sutri (Tuscany) in 257.  That was during the Valerian persecution, who got his from Shapur of Persia.  Well, actually, we could say that the trouble started at the Crucifixion, or perhaps at the wedding at Cana, or in the stable in Bethlehem.  If you like, we could take the trouble back to Ten Commandments, or maybe an earlier covenant, or a flood, or an apple.  But this particular trouble goes back to Felix of Sutri, who died in 257 but wasn't buried until 273. 

I'm not sure how they happened to bury him in Chiusi (Siena) instead of Sutri, but it seems that a deacon named Irenaeus was caught up to his waist in a grave, shovel in hand, and ossuary (box o' bones) at his side.  It looked suspiciously Christian, so he got hauled into court, condemned, and killed. 

A woman named Mustiola had tended to Irenaeus while he was awaiting trial.  She was the cousin of the late emperor Claudius Gothicus, but since CG's brother had been overthrown by Aurelian, the sitting emperor in 273, that was unlikely to carry much weight.  Nonetheless, being brave and compassionate, Mustiola attended the execution of Irenaeus. 

Mustiola in the Chiusi Museum
There are two versions of what happened that day.  In the first, she harangued the prefect about the injustice of the Empire and the eternal, divine justice that was to come.  In the second, the prefect noticed her at the execution and dropped his best pick-up lines.  I suppose they are not mutually exclusive.  But if it were one or the other, I'd say the former seems more likely.  Executions seem about as date-friendly as hairs on Coke cans.  And yet... truth can be stranger than fiction. 

Either way, Mustiola wound up offending the prefect who then ordered her to be beaten to death with weighted clubs.  She is considered the patron of Ciusi. 

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