Monday, February 3, 2014

Feast Day of St. Blaise, patron of throat illnesses

Photos by Jane Winstead 
 Most Catholics know St. Blaise as the patron of throat illnesses. The Blessing of the Throats was part of Mass on Monday at St. Raphael. Tradition holds that a boy was brought to St. Blaise with a fishbone stuck in his throat. St. Blaise healed him.

While St. Francis of Assisi gets most of the press when it comes to animals, St. Blaise is a patron saint of animals, too. He was a bishop in Armenia at a time when Christians were being persecuted. He hid in the mountains but Roman soldiers searched for him. They found him treating injured and sick animals at a cave. On the way back for trial, legend has it, he convinced a wolf to release a pig that belonged to a poor woman. After St. Blaise was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman secretly brought him food. Eventually, the Roman governor had him beheaded.

Saint Blaise is also the patron of veterinarians, infants, stonecutters, wool workers, and builders.

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