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, March 16, 2013

March 16 -- Feast of Blessed Torello of Poppi

St. Torello and the Dropkick Cherub -- wolf in lower right
Blessed Torello of Poppi's life and legends, though remarkable on their own, echo the lives and legends of other saints.  In sum, the details distinguish his story from others, but they don't leave much to be said.  His legacy is, I think, one of redemption from an aimless life, one of faith and fidelity. 

Torello (Little Bull?) was born in 1202 in Poppi, Italy.  A gambler and bon vivant, he was bowling with some buddies when a rooster jumped onto his arm and crowed three times.  Roosters are mean-spirited sons-of-guns; they tend not to act like lapdogs.  Still, a Roman auspice might have wondered what it meant, but crowing three times is an unmistakable sign to a Christian.  Torello walked away mid-game, made his confession at the abbey of San Fidele, and then set about finding a suitably remote spot for a hermitage.  He found a nice little cave and returned to Poppi to sell all his stuff so he could purchase the cave and surrounding land.  His affairs in order, he planted a garden and set to praying. 

Saint Urho and a demon grasshopper
Sleeping only three hours a night sounds challenging, but since his bed was just a pile of thorny branches, he probably found getting back up pretty easy.  He has a run of miracles to his credit, mostly involving the local wolves.  Apparently they were a pretty fierce pack, regularly snatching children and mauling their parents.  Torello recovered more than one of the kids with a command to their wolves, who would meekly bring the tots back, scathed or un-.  In the case of a scathed child or mauled adult, a healing miracle generally followed. 

The saint lived until age eighty, which is impressive given his poor diet, lack of rest, and regimen of frigid baths.   

Also, don't forget Saint Urho, the spurious Finnish saint who drove the grasshoppers out of Finland, is also celebrated on March 16.  Saturday night's St. Urho festivities going into Sunday morning's St. Patrick's brunch -- it's going to be a tough one this year for the Finno-Celtic crowd.  And as they say in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, everybody's Finnish on Saint Urho's Day. 

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