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Happy Saint Liborius Day!!!

July 23, 2008

Today, we celebrate a saint whose veneration is near and dear to my heart.

Er, check that, we celebrate a saint who is near and dear to my liver...and that empty spot where my gall bladder once resided.

That's right, folks, today is St. Librius' Day. He is, in fact, that patron saint of gall stones. He's also the patron saint of colic, fever and Paderborn, Germany.

A little bit about the saint (and damned little is all you'll get): He was born in (wait for it)...Gaul...in 348. No word on whether he knew Asterix. He befriended St. Martin of Tours, built some churches, and then died in 396.

Apparently, his ties to the gall bladder aren't just because he was born in Gaul. No, in between building churches across mostly non-Catholic Europe (this was around the time that Constantine had his vision of a cross in the clouds, thus rendering Christianity fashionable in the Empire), Liborius went around healing people complaining of "gravel and allied complaints". According to Father Eugene Carrella--who is an avid collector of Saint Cards--Liborius apparently helped heal Pope Clement XI of some gastric distress, thus earning the Saint both his venerability as well as patronage.

After he died, however, Liborius wasn't done. His remains were carted to Paderborn in Germany, with hopes that they'd help convert the Saxons to Christianity. I guess nothing convinces a heathen savage to convert like a femur upside the head--and not just any femur...a Holy Femur! And here the Spanish Inquisition thought the auto de fe was the best solution. Anyway, every year on July 23, the residents of Paderborn throw a big celebration in honor of Liborius, which I imagine includes lots and lots of beer, laderhausen, and countless women dressed like St. Pauli girl. My lustful undertones are clouding the true point of this post, and I'd apologize if the vision of hundreds of busty blondes in serving wench regalia wasn't such a pleasant image to scrawl across my imagination. Anyway, during the festival, the bones of St. Liborius are trotted out for all to see and transported three days later (after everyone has sobered up, I presume) to the town hall in Paderborn.

According to legend, Librorius' bones were stolen during the Thirty Years War, which outraged the locals, and so they went to recover the stolen saintly artifacts. Whilst out reclaiming what was rightly theirs...sort of...the pilgrims were accompanied by a peacock both on the initial foray and later for their triumphant return. Thusly, Liborius came to be symbolized not just by tiny stones that hurt like a bitch when they get caught in your bile duct, but also the beautiful peacock.

So, there you have it, the life and times of St. Liborius, who seems like he had a whole lot more fun after he died.

9 comments:

Jidai said...

I should start writing saint posts...

McGone said...

I'm adding "Holy Femur" to my list of Great Unused Band Names.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

Interesting Peacock Note. I find it ironic that a peacock would be used to triumph the arrival/departure of a Saint... Why, you ask? Because back in the day (circa 1500's) Peacocks were given to the best prostitutes in town. Especially because the Catholic church frowns on paying for sex. You can pre-pay your way out of sin, but you can't pay for sex? Got to love it.
Anyway, just another example of how Lisa-tastrophie goes off on a tangent with the small detail and misses the big.

Chemgeek said...

In that case, I don't even want to know how the peacock got it's name.

Falwless said...

This post was much too reminiscent of religion class. Peace be with you. Amen. And may your gall bladder rest in peace forever.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Lisa: I guess that's fair...you give the prostitute the bird, she gives you the Clap. It all works out in the end.

mcgone: Finally, a lasting legacy on the internet.

Falwless: I'm still pissed I didn't get to keep the stones.

minijonb said...

i got gall stones just reading this!

= : - )

poobomber said...

Can you please tell the story of St. Gravesteak, the patron saint of Necrophilia?

That story warms my everlovin' heart...

Alaina said...

Okay... I'm scared. There's a Saint for Gall Stones?

Is anyone else scared?!?!