I was checking information on Santa Ursula, the municipality in the north of Tenerife and saw a reference to the defrocked saint. It didn’t make sense. What could she have possibly done while wiling away her time in heaven to be demoted?
Then I remembered … in the 1960s, saints were removed from the liturgical calendar when the Pope decided some were only legends and therefore no longer worthy of the title.
Apparently Saint Ursula was a Christian princess whose father arranged for her to marry a pagan king. Although unhappy at the prospect, she set sail to meet him accompanied by eleven virgins. Here the account gets muddled as the virgins increase from 11 to 11,000! Quite how they all fitted on the boat is anybody’s guess. Nevertheless, after being blown off course, they ended up in Cologne and were all killed. As far-fetched as it sounds, it inspired Columbus to name the Virgin Islands after the ladies. However, that wasn’t enough and the church decided she was only a myth. Except in Tenerife where her feast day is still recognised.
Other demoted saints included
Saint Nicholas known for his extreme generosity and the prototype for Santa Claus also got the boot… I couldn’t give a rat’s **** he will always be Numero Uno in our house.
Saint George the hero who slayed a dragon was beheaded after ghastly things were done to him, but only according to myth. AND dare I say an ‘A List Celeb’ Saint Christopher who carried the child Jesus to safely across a river also got the push. There just wasn’t enough evidence he existed. My relationship with Chris goes back a long way. My gran gave me a blue enamel medal when I was 7 years old and told me I would always be safe when travelling if I wore it. For years, it kept me safe but Chris must have fallen down on the job, as traffic accidents kept increasing so he had to go.
Many must have been shocked to learn their devoted saint was no longer a saint. So maybe we should just have a default saint; mine would be Saint Jude, the patron saint of Lost Causes.
At least he can take a sad song and make it better.