Faithful readers (if any are left after the sad neglect of this blog) will recognize a familiar pattern: this post opens with an apology for selecting today's saint for a silly and superficial reason. But honestly, Saint Gohard? Lead me not into temptation. This is a saint whose medal I need to have on the treadmills and elliptical trainers at the gym, but definitely not on my dashboard.
In fairness now, I will dedicate a little space to the actual saint. Precious little, of course, because I can't find out much about him. He was the bishop of Nantes in the mid-ninth century, a time when the whole region seems to have been in play. The Britons were fighting continentally to defend (on good days, to expand) their holdings in Brittany, which they called Little Britain. The Normans were sweeping into the region, setting themselves up for the conquest of Big Britain a couple centuries later. Charles the Bald had proxies staking the Frankish claim. And of course counts were deposing each other with a ferocity and frequency that is mostly associated with Italian vendettae (vendetti? vendettas?).
Poor Bishop Gohard got caught in the middle of it all. In 843, he was run over by a south-bound Northman (or Norman, as the fella might have been called). His death is depicted at the Cathedral in Nantes, but I don't seem to be able to copy it here. Picture an inspired old man, looking more prophetish (not prophetic, but just like a prophet) than ecclesiastical, eyes high on the prize as Norman drives a sword into his belly.
Because the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist is a big deal and also falls on June 24, Gohard is sometimes honored on the 25th. I say, let's Gohard for both days.