Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Saint of the Day - St. Fiacre

St. Fiacre grew up in a monastery in his native Ireland during the 7th century. Monasteries, at this time, were centers of learning so that by the time he reached adulthood, Fiacre was a well educated man. He was especially knowledgeable in the areas of healing and gardening. Gardening, at this time, was not simply a nice pastime for little old ladies but was a necessity to provide the people, and particularly the monks, with food and medicine. Fiacre was well versed in the art of healing which required him to know which herbs ought to be used to treat specific diseases.

Fiacre's reputation as a holy man and accomplished physician spread far and wide. Flocks of people came seeking his assistance, thereby disturbing the peace which he cherished. Fiacre, therefore, fled to France where he established a hermitage.

A famous legend about St. Fiacre recounts how he requested a plot of land from the bishop in order to establish a garden to grow his food and healing herbs. The bishop, St. Faro of Meaux, told Fiacre that he was welcome to take as much land as he could entrench in one day. The following day Fiacre walked around the perimeter of the land he wanted, dragging his spade behind him. In the wake of his spade trees toppled, bushes were uprooted, and all manner of obstacles were removed. A local woman accused Fiacre of sorcery but St. Faro was of the opinion that it was a miracle.

In addition to being a gifted physician, Fiacre is also known to have performed miraculous healings.

Fiacre passed away on August 18, 670 of natural causes. His miraculous garden remained a place of pilgrimage for centuries and his relics have been distributed to cathedrals around Europe. St. Fiacre is the patron saint: against barrenness; against fistula; against haemorrhoids; against piles; against sterility; against syphilis; against venereal disease; of box makers; of cab drivers (Fiacre cabs are named for him); of costermongers; of florists; of gardeners; of hosiers; of pewterers; of taxi drivers; and of tile makers.

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