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August 22 Saints of the Day – Eulalia of Barcelona and Andrew of Fiesole

On this day in 564, St. Columba reported seeing a monster in Loch Ness, Scotland. Sadly it swam away before he could get his sketchpad out.

Eulalia of BarcelonaEulalia of Barcelona (ca. 290 – ca. 303) lived in Spain (where she is celebrated on February 12), and it would have been difficult not to do, given where Barcelona is. She was brought up in all faith and piety, and by the tender age of 13 (which is, perhaps not coincidentally, the age at which she died, if the numbers are right and my calculator batteries are sufficiently fresh), she was living a “solitary life . . . with others her own age.” Solitary. With others. You figure that out; I can’t.

When the local authorities started persecuting Christians, our brave adolescent shinnied down the drainpipe in the night, walked into town, found the judge, and told him to his face he was a demon-worshiper. This went down about as well as you might expect, and she was stripped and subjected to thirteen different punishments. They beat her, they burned her, they put her in a barrel with knives (or broken glass) and rolled her down the hill (the street where this occurred is still called “St. Eulalia’s Descent”), performed a radical bilateral mastectomy, crucified her on an X-shaped cross, and, and, and — and finally beheaded her. Upon her death a dove flew out of her neck (or mouth), symbolizing (of course) her soul ascending to heaven. Or it really was her soul but just looked like a dove. Or something. (This is what I get for extrapolating.) Her parents came and gathered her body, rejoicing that she had died a martyr.

Eulalia is remembered in the names of several French cities, and in Barcelona by multiple street names and statues and one cathedral, where her relics (which had been hidden for over 150 years during the Moorish period) were placed in 1339 (or 874). She is of course the patroness of Barcelona, but not of Salamandastron.

Andrew of FiesoleAndrew of Fiesole (d. ca. 877) was the brother of St. Brigid the Younger (whether the older brother or the younger brother, my sources do not say), with whom he studied under St. Donatus of Fiesole, although he wasn’t “of Fiesole” at the time, never having been there. But that was soon to change. In 816, Donatus and Andrew headed out on a pilgrimage to Rome, but as they passed through Fiesole (high on a hill overlooking Florence; don’t ask), the Fiesolani (I looked that up) were just in the process of electing a new bishop. A heavenly voice called out Donatus’ name, and before he could say “But I was on my way to Rome,” he had a scepter in his hand and a mitre on his head. He made Andrew his faithful archdeacon (well, he made Andrew his archdeacon and the faithful part was Andrew’s doing), and the one served the other for forty-seven years.

Andrew became known as a wonderworker when he healed the daughter of a nobleman. She was paralyzed, and the doctors were worthless (studies have shown that reports of the glories of ninth century country medicine vastly overstate their case), so her father sent for Andrew. He knelt by her couch, and said, “Stand up, stand up for Jesus.” So she did. He became known for many other healings, as well as demon evictions, charity to the poor, and simplicity of life. In Ireland he is known as Andrew of Fiesole or Andrew of Tuscany (Fiesole being in Tuscany and all) but in Fiesole he is known as Andrew the Scot, as they were wont to refer to Irish expats in ninth century Tuscany, and once you’re dead it’s hard to get your name changed. As Andrew lay dying, an angel transported his sister all the way from Ireland (first class) so she could be with him in his last moments. He was buried at the church of San Martino a Mensola, which he had helped restore, and there his incorrupt remains remain.


Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.


Bibliography
August 22 (Wikipedia)
Virginmartyr Eulalia of Barcelona (OCA) – Main source
Eulalia of Barcelona (Wikipedia)
Saint Eulalia of Barcelona (SQPN)
Image of Eulalia from sanroquehellin.blogspot.com (Public domain according to this rule)
Andrew the Scot (Wikipedia) – Main source
Saint Andrew of Fiesole (SQPN)
Andrea da Fiesole Scoto (Italian Wikipedia) (Is that impressive or what?)
Fiesole (Wikipedia)
Image of Andrew by Wikimedia Commons user Sailko used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) license Use of this image does not imply approval of owner of this page or this use(But what I had to go through to find it!)

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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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