THE Deputy Leader of the Welsh Lib Dems, Mark Williams is calling for St David’s Day to be made a national holiday.
Mr Williams said: “I am celebrating St David’s Day by proposing to make it a national holiday. It has been almost a decade since Scotland made St Andrew’s Day a public holiday, and it is time that Wales was given the same power.”
St David has been associated with Wales for over 700 years but it is not just countries that have patron saints. Occupations, places, people and activities can all have their own patron.
Traditionally it is the Pope who allocates them but groups are able to choose their own.
Everyone knows St David, George, Andrew and Valentine. But what about those patron saints you haven’t heard of? The saints with bad publicists?
Here a five lesser-known patron saints:
1. St Drogo: Patron Saint of the Physically Repulsive
Day: April 16
Not the guy from Game of Thrones but a 12-century Flemish noble. After blaming himself for his mother’s death in childbirth he did some serious penance and 10 pilgrimages to Rome.
On one pilgrimage he got a skin affliction that left him highly unpleasant to look on. He was thought so ugly that the people of his town built a cell for him to live in so they wouldn’t have to look at him. He lived 40 more years in this cell eating only barley.
He is also the patron saint of coffee shops.
2. St Barbara: Patron Saint of Miners
Day: December 4
We can’t talk about patron saints in Wales without looking at the sad (and possibly not entirely true) story of Barbara the patron saint of miners.
Living in 267 AD she had a pagan father who kept her locked in a tower to keep her “preserved” from the outside world.
When she admitted to her dad she was Christian he tried to kill her but she managed to escape and hide with two shepherds. When one of them betrayed her to the authorities he was turned to stone and his sheep transformed into locusts.
Despite been tortured by the Romans for her Christian faith she stayed true to Christianity and was eventually beheaded by her father. He was then killed by a lightning bolt from God for his crime. This was small comfort for Barbara who had died before the lightning struck.
3. St Fiacre: Patron Saint of Taxi Drivers
Day: September 1
St Fiacre was a 7th century Irishman who became famous for healing people with herbs. He was so good at this that people flocked to him from miles around and he built up lots of disciples.
Unfortunately he was a bit of a recluse and hated all the attention. He left Ireland and went to France to get some peace and quiet. When he got there he started a hospice in middle of a forest but made sure he had a separate area built so he could be alone.
From 1650 a hotel in Paris which was named after him started hiring out carriages. They became known as Fiacres and this became a general term for carriages. This has evolved into him becoming the patron saint of taxi drivers.
4. St. Margaret Clitherow: Patron Saint of Businesswomen
Day: March 6
Margaret lived in England in 1555. She was born to Catholic parents and was described as very attractive and witty.
Once she was married she joined the Catholic Church and started hiding Catholic priests who were been persecuted. For this she was arrested by the protestant authorities and sentenced to be pressed to death.
She was crushed under rocks but all while maintained her Catholic faith proclaiming “her spirit is rejoicing” as he back broke.
5. St. Benedict: Patron Saint of Students.
Day: July 11
Benedict was the son of a Roman senator who (ironically for the saint of students) was so appalled by the vice and debauchery in Rome he ran away to live as a hermit.
Legend says the devil visited him in the cave he was living in and tried to tempt him with the image of a beautiful woman. To cleanse his soul he jumped into a thorn bush and rolled around till he was cut and bleeding.