Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Some Interesting Saints Today

Still under the weather. But I thought I'd put up something noting that today is the feast-day for a number of interesting saints: St. Simon Stock, St. Brendan the Navigator, and St. John Stone.

St. Brendan is the best known of the three; from the fifth century, he is one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland and is the subject of a very famous legend cycle, The Voyage of St. Brendan.

St. Simon Stock is also known as Simon Anglus or Simon the Englishman. He was born circa 1165 and died in 1265, and became the general of the Carmelites at the late age of 82, a very taxing office that he nonetheless fulfilled with vigor. He is fairly important for the history of the university, since under his generalship the Carmelites founded houses in close relationship with the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Paris, and Bologna. The hymn Flos Carmeli is usually attributed to him. The Carmelites were at a very delicate position when he became their leader; they were a Holy Land religious order and it was commonly thought that their rule was not suitable for European lands. But under St. Simon they managed to adapt their Rule, please the powers that be, and establish a steady foundation for the extraordinarily important religious order the Carmelites would eventually become.

St. John Stone was an English Augustinian friar in Canterbury who got in trouble for denouncing King Henry VIII from the pulpit and refusing to accept the Act of Supremacy. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered, with his head and body displayed at the gates, as was the custom for those convicted of treason.

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