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February 13 Saints of the Day – Martinian of Caesarea and Catherine de Ricci

Martinian of CaesareaOn this day in 1961, a spark plug was found inside (what was thought to be) a 500,000-year-old rock discovered near Olancha, California. The plug was later identified as belonging to a 1963 London police box.

Eastwardly speaking, today is the feast of Martinian of Caesarea (d. ca. 422). Martinian became a hermit at age 18, and miraculously did not turn into a monastery. Some of our sources want to say that aspects of his story are of dubitable historicity. I’ll relate; you debate.

A certain “profligate” woman made a bet with some “dissolute” people that she could tempt Martinian, known throughout the neighborhood as a holy man, to sin. So the next horrible storm that hit, she dressed in rags and disfigured her face and knocked on the saint’s door, begging for shelter. Of course he let her in, made her a bed on the sofa or the equivalent, and locked himself in his inner cell. The next morning she had cleaned herself up and changed clothes, and proceeded to put the moves on Martinian. One source says that “for a whole day he came very near to assenting.” Whoa. Finally he jumped into the fire, saying he wasn’t going to burn in Hell for her (or something – accounts vary). She repented and while she tended to his feet asked what she should do. He sent her to the monastery of St Paula (whom we’ve met) in Jerusalem, and she became a model nun. I mean a good one.

Fearing that life on land was going to bring more of this sort of thing, Martinian removed to a rock in the ocean. A kindly sailor brought him food on a schedule, in return for baskets that Martinian wove. We don’t know what he did with the baskets. I can picture trying to make one’s way on a ship with baskets all over the decks. I digress. One day, there was a horrible storm, and who should wash ashore clinging to a chunk of boat but — (please imagine a loud organ chord here) — a woman! Martinian, flabbergasted, showed her his food stash, explained that a sailor would rescue her on such-and-such a date, and jumped into the sea. A pair of passing dolphins carried him ashore, where he lived as a wanderer until finally dying in a church in Athens. The Bishop, fresh from a vision, knew who he was, and buried his body with honor.

Catherine de RicciWestwardly speaking, today is the feast of Catherine de Ricci (1522 – 1590). Catherine went to live at a her abbess aunt’s monastery when she was six, but when her father found out that she wanted to become a nun too, he called her home. (“I can’t imagine how she got that idea!”) Once home she got deathly ill, and only recovered when dad relented. She went back to her monastic calling, eventually becoming prioress of an abbey.

Soon she began having visions, ecstasies, and instances of bilocation. Her fellow nuns were skeptical, largely because while she was having the visions she looked an awful lot like she was skiving off work. The skepticism ended at the monastery walls, though, and people came to see her in droves. One of her ecstasies was a weekly occurrence for twelve years — in a vision she experienced the Passion of Christ from noon on Thursday to 4:00 p.m. on Friday (our sources are very precise here), and her back showed wounds as if from scourging. Her fellow nuns got so fed up with pilgrims coming to see her that they prayed for the wounds to become less visible, which they did. (We assume they had lost some of their earlier skepticism by this point.) Our sources also say that a ring would appear on her finger when she was deep in prayer or ecstasy, symbolizing her being “married” to Christ as a nun. Catherine saw the ring as gold; the sisters saw it as coral. I’m not going to make that call. Anyway, she was beatified in 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV, and her prayers are invoked against illness.

February 13 (Wikipedia)
Coso artifact (Wikipedia)
TARDIS (Wikipedia)
Venerable Martinian of Caesarea, in Palestine (OCA) – Main source
Omer Englebert, Lives of the Saints (book on paper)
Saint Martinian the Hermit (SQPN)
Saint Catherine del Ricci (SQPN) – Main source
Catherine of Ricci (Wikipedia)

Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.


About Your Intrepid Blogger

I live in the Tacoma area. When not writing things some people think are funny, I teach technology to 7th and 8th graders at a local middle school.

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