Every Irishman’s favorite holiday is coming up – St. Patrick’s Day!
Everyone has their St. Patrick’s day traditions, and whether yours is drinking Guinness and making out with a stranger in green face paint or boarding the windows and hiding from said debauchery, we all have some way to celebrate the holiday.
At Museum Hack we know everyone’s favorite part of St. Patrick’s Day…
We’ve compiled a list of the weirdest and funniest Catholic saints and their stories in honor of the most famous saint to have a holiday in March, St. Patrick. Whatever your methods of celebrating March 17th, here’s a little knowledge pregame for the day.
Margaret, The Patron Saint of Childbirth
Our NYC team has a personal favorite lady-saint at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Saint Margaret of Antioch.
To be clear, there are a ton of saints named Margaret in Catholicism, so let’s not get them confused. Our gal Margs is the patron saint of childbirth, quite the accomplishment when you consider the fact that you have to be a virgin to become a female saint. (This requirement does not apply to male saints but we don’t have time to unpack that in this article).
So how did Margaret become patron saint of giving birth when she never went into labor herself?
Basically, Margaret was the daughter of a pagan priest but raised by a Christian nurse. Her nurse gave Margaret a copy of the Bible and Margaret got really into it and converted to Christianity.
This becomes a problem when a Roman nobleman named Olybrius (who is basically Gaston) sees Margaret, finds her super beautiful and tells her to abandon her religion and marry him.
When Margaret says “nah, bro,” Olybrius tries to kill her. He first tries to burn her, but she makes the sign of the cross and lives. Then he tries to drown her, but she makes the sign of the cross and lives (noticing a pattern?). Finally, Olybrius gets his pet dragon, as one does, and has the dragon eat poor Margaret.
But, you guessed it, Margaret makes the sign of the cross and the dragon spits her up and blows a bunch of flames and bile on her. Apparently, the sensation of getting vomited up by a dragon feels just like childbirth! Hence her patronage.
Olybrius eventually decapitates Margaret, which sucks, but she becomes a martyr and saint. She pops back up later in the Catholic canon as one of the 14 Holy Helpers, helping out fellow badass bitch Joan of Arc when she needed a pep talk.
So call your mother more often for goodness sake.
Catherine of Siena: Patron saint of Italy, journalists, and the diocese of Allentown, PA
Catherine was really into Jesus since childhood. Her parents were not into Catherine’s hobby and when she came of age they gave her two choices- marry her sister’s widower, or become a nun.
Catherine obviously chose to be a nun, so she cut off her hair and became a tertiary member of the Dominicans. She devoted her life to Jesus and spent most of her time exchanging letters with the Pope and giving away her family’s clothing and food to the poor (without their permission.)
When she hit age 21, Catherine went for a walk in the forest and experienced what she referred to as a “mystical marriage” to Jesus. During the “ceremony,” Christ levitated Catherine and she, as one does, removed her heart from her chest and handed it to Jesus. There’s a ton of paintings of Catherine handing Christ a bloody heart, if you’re looking for an album cover design for your metal band.
What did Jesus get her as a wedding present? It wasn’t a diamond, it wasn’t a pony, it was a RING OF HIS FORESKIN!!!! This is hands down the gnarliest piece of Catholic trivia.
Apparently, Jesus also told Catherine to get out of the house and start getting #werk done. So Catherine spent the rest of her life getting involved in Catholic politics, apparently telling Pope Urban and Pope Gregory to get their shit together during the Western Schism.
St. Denis: Patron Saint of France and Headaches
Allegedly Denis was the first bishop of Paris way back in the day when Romans were running the place. Denis traveled to Paris to preach, and killed the conversion game. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all roses and baptisms for our boy, Denis.
Hot Tip: If you’re ever trying to spread Christianity in the 3rd century Roman Empire, don’t piss off the pagans.
Denis’ preaching attracted the attention, and wrath, of the pagan clergy who promptly arrested Denis and decapitated him. Don’t worry too much about Denis, though, because he was a-head of the game, literally.
The man PICKED UP HIS HEAD and carried it 6 km north before he collapsed. If you think that distance is oddly specific, you’re correct, and we don’t have an answer to satisfy your curiosity. There is no historical rhyme nor reason for why Denis stopped in that spot.
However, the site of his collapse is now the home of the abbey of St. Denis in Paris. If you visit Paris you’ll see statues of this cephalophore (a fancy term for any saint who is usually depicted carrying his head) all over the place. Saint Denis is a good reminder that no matter how tough life gets, all you have to do is keep your head up.
St. Barbara: Patron Saint of lightning, fireworks, firearms, anything that explodes.
Barbara had a super low-key childhood, and by that, I mean her dad locked her in a tower for the entirety of her teen years because he thought she was too beautiful to walk around freely. Which is high-key gross.
While in the tower, Barbara only interacted with her pagan teachers, and got super bored of their company. Eventually, her father let her out of the tower in the hopes that seeing more of the world would convince her to get married. This plan backfired a bit because Barbara started hanging out with the edgy group of big-city Christians.
She eventually came out as Christian to her dad, who immediately tried to kill her. Babs ran away to a cave in the woods and hid there for a few days. Her dad, and all the other pagan menfolk, searched for her with pitchforks and torches. The men found her because some dumb shepherds blew up her spot.
The jerks grabbed Barbara, took her back to town, and behead her. Babs got the last laugh, however, because her dad and the other leaders of the “Let;s Behead a Woman for Thinking Independently” Club got struck by lightning right after they killed her.
Barbara became the patron saint of lightning, and then when gunpowder was invented, she was given saintly patronage over all things that go “Boom.”
Saint Drogo: Patron Saint of Coffee and Unattractive People
Not a lot is known about the life of Saint Drogo. He was known for two main things- walking around the countryside, and being a big ole uggo.
Drogo was a Flemish nobleman who was orphaned in his teens and decided to become a professional pilgrim. He spent his life walking from one religious site to another, and was known for being able to bilocate (people claimed to see him in two different places at once).
This ability to multitask earned him the title of Patron Saint of Coffee. Allegedly, he felt the need to stay on the move and away from society because he had an “extreme physical affliction” that rendered him unattractive as hell. He spent the last 40 years of his life living as a hermit, subsisting on just water and the Eucharist.
If Drogo’s story plucks at your heartstrings, swipe right on a 5 every once in a while; he will thank you for it.
St. Friard: Patron Saint of Spheksophobia
What is spheksophobia, you ask?
It’s the fear of wasps.
How do you become the patron saint of the fear of wasp, you ask?
When some bullies make fun of you for being pius, you summon a swarm of wasps. When the bullies start crying, you pray, and the wasps fly away. Then the bullies are forever grateful and you get to become a saint, bitches.