Did You Know?

You probaly know a “patron saint” is a person venerated by the Catholic church to provide special protection of a person, group or place.  You probably know that St. Nicholas (4th century bishop from whom our Americanized “Santa Claus” derives his legend) is the patron saint of children (in the West).

But he’s also the patron saint of more causes than any other saint.  Did you know he is also the patron saint of:

Archers, pharmacists, police, bankers (does Congress know about this?), barrel makers, and all things nautical.  St. Nicholas was known on several occasions to help troubled sailors arrive in port safely.

Boot blacks, bottlers, boys, brides, brewers and wine dealers (which is why he’s so jolly), businessmen, and famously: butchers, bakers and candlestick makers.

Buttonmakers, captives, choristers, citizens, clergy, clerks, clothiers, corn/grain dealers, court recorders, dock workers, drapes, embalmers/morticians, firefighters, fishermen, florists, grocers, grooms, haberdashers (I just like saying that word), infants, infertile, judges, lace makers (is that why my Mammy tatted so well?), unjust lawsuits, lawyers, lovers, maidens, merchants, military intelligence (watch it!), millers, murderers, newlyweds, notaries, oil merchants (hmm), orphans, packers (what did Brett Favre do to upset him?), parish clerks, paupers, and pawnbrokers.

The pawnbroker symbol is three gold balls, which derives from one of St. Nicholas’ famous traditions.  A bankrupt father could not provide a dowry for his three daughters to marry thereby forcing them toward slavery/prostitution.  Upon hearing this, St. Nicholas went to the man’s house at night and threw a bag of gold through the window (St. Nicholas had inherited wealth from his dead parents).  He did this for each of the daughters who were then subsequently married.  This is also the tradition on which stocking-stuffing is based.

Perfumers, pilgrims, pirates, poets, poor, preachers, prisoners, prostitutes, pupils, ribbon weavers, robbers/thieves, schoolchildren, scholars, seed merchants, shoemakers and shiners, shopkeepers, soldiers, spice dealers, spinsters, tanners, teachers, timber dealers, travelers, unjustly condemned, unmarried, virgins, weavers, and woodturners.

So here’s to St. Nicholas, patron saint of just about everything.

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