bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Patron saint of bees exposed as spin doctor!

I've been most disconcerted to find that St Ambrose, the patron saint of beekeeping, was nothing more than a “Honey Tongued Doctor” famed for his speaking and preaching ability. This led to the use of a beehive and bees in his iconography and his association with bees. It seems he had no direct involvment in bees.

To add insult to injury, one of his famous sayings was “No one heals himself by wounding another”. He obviously knew nothing of bees.

I think he was lacking in other departments, too. According to the Doctors of the Catholic Church, he “firmly maintained that population increases in direct proportion to the esteem virginity is held”.

Can we have a new patron saint, please? Any offers?

Here's my offering: St Gobnat (great name that would surely have the approval of Father Jack of Craggy Island) of Ireland. At the moment she seems to be a mere “Patroness of Bees”, but I think she deserves better:
... an incident in the life of the sixth century Saint Gobnat of Ireland has her shaking the bees out of one of her hives to ward off a gang of cattle rustlers. In more colorful accounts the bees are miraculously changed into soldiers and the hive from which these myrmidons issued is transformed into a brass helmet.



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