The Lord’s Jester and the Pig’s Feet: The Story of Brother Juniper

The Little Flowers of St Francis

In the Middle Ages, followers of St. Francis of Assisi collected legends and anecdotes about the lives of Francis and his followers, which were assembled in a spiritual classic entitled The Little Flowers of St. Francis.  One of the popular figures in the book is Brother Juniper, one of Francis' original followers, who has sometimes been called "The Jester of the Lord."Francis thought very highly of the friar, at one point exclaiming, "Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such J … [Read more...]

Where’s Waldo? The Saint Who Lived in a Chestnut Tree

The dogs howled and growled, their low moans threatening as they circled the gnarled trunk of the old chestnut tree.  Expecting to find a possum or a small mammal, the hunter hurried through the brush to claim his prize--but wait!The dogs seemed focused, not on the branches of the tree, but on a gaping hole in its side.  There, inside the hollowed trunk, was... a man at prayer?  No, wait... he was dead!  It was a dead man, kneeling as though at prayer inside the hollowed trunk.The hunter … [Read more...]

St. Egwin? I’ve Never Heard of Him, But Today’s His Feast Day

On December 30, 717 (or December 30, 720, depending on which source you read), St. Egwin of Evesham, O.S.B. died in Evesham Abbey, the monastery he founded. So Egwin is the saint of the day--but golly! I've never heard of him!  So here's his story: Egwin was a Benedictine monk and, later, the third Bishop of Worcester in England.   A descendant of Mercian kings, possibly a nephew of the pious King Æthelred of Mercia, Egwin was known as a protector of widows and orphans and a fair judge. He was … [Read more...]