Roamy here. For those who don’t know me all that well, I am Catholic. I started thinking about Xbrad’s birthday and St. Crispin’s day coming up and thought that a post on patron saints might not be too bad.
I hate to tell you this, XBrad, but St. Crispin was taken off the liturgical calendar during Vatican II, as there was insufficient evidence that he actually existed. The story goes that he and his twin Crispinian were from a noble Roman family and became missionaries in Gaul. There, they made shoes, which is why they are the patron saints of cobblers, as well as tanners and saddle makers. Like many of the missionaries before 313 AD, Crispin and Crispinian were martyred.
The patron saint of infantrymen is St. Maurice. He was the leader of the Theban Legion, a group of soldiers that had all converted to Christianity. They were ordered by the emperor Maximian to Gaul, to suppress the bagaudae, or French brigands. At the Roman outpost of Agaunum, they were ordered to make sacrifices to the Roman gods and the emperor, which they refused. They were martyred, and the town is now known as Saint-Maurice, in the Swiss canton of Valais. There is an Order of Saint Maurice, which is awarded by the National Infantry Association and the Chief of Infantry of the United States Army. Some famous members of the Order of St. Maurice are Gen. Matthew Ridgway, Gen. Colin Powell, Capt. Dale Dye, Gen. John Abizaid, Gen. Edward C. Meyer, CSM Basil L. Plumley, and Ross Perot.
I am familiar with St. Barbara, the patron saint of artillery, because she is also the patron saint of miners. The materials engineers shared a building with the mining engineers at Virginia Tech, and there was a display case with the story of St. Barbara. She was beheaded by her father for being a Christian, and her father was shortly thereafter struck by lightning. Because of that, she is invoked for protection from lightning, fire, explosions, and sudden death. The Order of Saint Barbara is a military honor society of the US for both the US Army and the US Marine Corps Artillery, including field artillery and Air Defense Artillery.
The patron saint for all armed forces is the Archangel Michael. By tradition, he is the field commander of the army of God. Revelation 12:7 says: “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back,” where the dragon is Satan. The chapel on the arsenal here has daily Mass, and it is ended with what used to be a common prayer before Vatican II. “Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil…”
There are many more patron saints out there. If I do another post, I’ll try to figure out why St. Philip Neri is the patron saint of Special Forces.