Scrambling around for something to post about today, I stumbled on an in-depth list of patron saints for July. These things fascinate me; I love to read the more obscure hagiographies and make new Heavenly friends. A friend of mine has a theory that the more obscure saints answer prayers very quickly, because they have so much extra time on their hands. Someone should really conduct some kind of experiment to verify this.
The first thing I’ve discovered, is that there is a Veep on the Church’s calendar. That’s the whole name. Saint Veep, from the sixth century. Veep’s commemorated on July First. Nothing is known about Veep except that Veep is “Patron saint of St. Veep, in Cornwall, England, also called Veepu and Wennapa. Veep was possibly a member of the celebrated clan of Brychan.” It is not even known whether Veep is male or female. I kid you not, that’s what the hagiography says. If anyone is looking for a gender-neutral baby name of Anglo-Saxon origin and has ruled out Taylor, you could do a lot worse than Veep. Unless the baby has an older sibling named Prez, which is bound to give little Veep an inferiority complex.
That reminds me of my favorite obscure saint, Saint Adactus. Saint Adactus was commemorated on August 30th every year on the old pre-Vatican Two calendar. It seems that one of the early martyrs named Felix was being led out to be martyred, under the persecution of Diocletian in ancient Roman times, when another man stood up and declared himself a Christian, so the Romans went ahead and martyred him along with Felix. No one except God and Saint Adactus knows anything else about Saint Adactus. We don’t even know his name– which is why we call him Adactus, the Latin word for “added.” He’s just the late entry who was added to the martyrdom of Saint Felix. I always thought Felix and Adactus would be great names for a set of twins. Much better than Veep and Prez.
But anyway, let me get back to July saints. Saint Veep’s day was on July First. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati’s day is July Fourth, but no one ever remembers to celebrate it in this country because of Independence Day. There are two Saint Odos, one of whom is celebrated on the fifth and the other on the seventh. Today, the eleventh, we had Saint Benedict who isn’t obscure at all; the Orthodox celebrate Saint Olga, who would also make a delightful baby name.
And then there’s the twelfth, the feast of Saint Veronica. One of my very favorite saints.
Veronica is both famous and obscure. Everybody knows that name, even if they never read Archie comics. And nearly every Catholic can tell you who Saint Veronica is– she’s the one who wiped Jesus’s face with her veil, on the Via Dolorosa. Except that she’s not mentioned in the Bible as being there.