Obscure Saints You (Probably) Never Heard About


July 6, 2012 by nateaddington

As Catholics we all have our favorite saints. I’m rather fond of Thomas, Francis, and Sebastion myself, but I know that a lot of other people are too. My boss, Fr. Vince, always says he likes Polycarp, because he figures the line for intercession with him is probably a tad bit shorter, since not many people think of him in their personal litany. So I did a little digging around and came up with some of the most obscure saints you probably never heard about.

St. Wilgefortis

A lot of saints are depicted with some pretty audacious beards, and if you follow my blog, you know I am a pretty big fan of the art of pogonotrophy. But, this is one beatified beard that might be a bit too much. Because, you see, Saint Wilgefortis is one of those lady saints.

The legend goes that her father handed her off to be married after the young lass had taken a vow of chastity. Pleading the Lord for a way out of her arranged marriage, she awoke the next morning to find that she had grown a full beard and mustache. As you can imagine, her betrothed was rather taken back and declined the marriage. As a result of the humiliation endured by her family, her father had her crucified.

Adding to the obscurity of this saint is the back story that explains her origin.  It is rumored that Northern Europeans were perplexed by the more feminine looking images of Christ in Southern Europe. Sometimes being depicted on the cross in a full tunic as opposed to the more “masculine” loin cloth. In response to the crucifix confusion, the travelers invented the story of Wilgerfortis, to explain the statue of the crucified bearded lady wearing the dress they kept seeing in all the local churches.

St. Lydwina

In 1395, a young girl in Holland went ice skating with her friends. (who knew they had ice skates in 1395?)  Like most girls who go ice skating, she fell. But this time she broke several ribs, and since the two ladies attempting to help her in the picture to the right were better at growing tulips(that’s a big thing in Holland) than patching up busted ribs, gangrene spread throughout her body which caused her to live a life severe pain. Lydwina was extremely prayerful despite her injuries and experienced religious visions throughout her life, including one of a rosebush with the inscription, “When this shall be in bloom, your suffering will be at an end.” In 1433, she saw the rosebush bloom and died soon after. Not exactly a heart warming tale, but an obscure saint none the less. Oh, and she is also the Patron saint of ice skaters, so look her up, Apolo Ohno (because I am sure he follows my blog and will read this).

St. Roch

Here is one for all you animal lovers out there. St. Roch was born in France to a wealthy noble.  It is said that he bore a large read cross on his chest that was no mere birthmark. After the deaths of his parents he distributed all his wealth to the poor and went about curing those afflicted by the plague by reveling his cross covered chest to them. Contracting the Plague himself, Roch withdrew to a cave where he was befriended by dog who brought him food and who licked his sores everyday, eventually curing him of the plague. Roch is the patron saint of dogs and should be of unhygienic medical practices, in my opinion.


Got a cool obscure saint that you are a fan of, post his or her story below.

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12 thoughts on “Obscure Saints You (Probably) Never Heard About

  1. LOL! Obscure and hard to pronounce.

  2. LOL. Nice finds. I had only heard of the first…who can forget a bearded lady saint? I appreciate the humor.

    P.S. Thanks for the ‘favorite’ on my blog. I look forward to following your posts!

  3. ... says:

    Did you draw that bearded saint illustration? priceless. I shared this- very funny/informative!

  4. vftmom247 says:

    My. patron saint is Saint Columba of Ireland and Scotland. He started a ferocious clan feud by shooting off his mouth at the wrong time, became a missionary (like my family), and is one of the patron saints of poets. So DID you draw the bearded lady? Funny and informative blog!

    • I have heard of Colmba, I relate well since I sometimes say a thing or two out of turn. I stole the picture from Google images. If you want to see the depth of my artistic talent check out the blog on Paul and the thorn in the flesh. His signature was my best attempt. Thanks for stopping by and God bless.

  5. mommalisagail says:

    Wow! Obscure is right! I’ve only heard of St. Roch…my 12 year old is a dog-lover. :) Thanks for posting. Can’t wait to tell the kids about the bearded lady saint.

  6. Hm, just browsing through some of your past posts. A little late to the party, but one of my favorite saints is Saint Severinus Boethius. He was incredibly well-known in his day and throughout the Middle Ages. He is most famous for writing the “Consolation of Philosophy” while imprisoned on death row under accusation of treason against the Arian Roman Emperor Theodoric. Tradition has it that as a supporter of the Emperor Justinian he is also a martyr for the faith.
    As someone who has studied medieval literature and history, his “Consolation of Philosophy” would be one of two books I would want on a desert island. (The other would be a prayerbook with set daily prayers.) To me “The Consolation of Philosophy” is both mystical and academic. CS Lewis once said that to be immersed in the “Consolation of Philosophy” is to become immersed in the medieval worldview.
    While I may be somewhat “on the way” as it were about Catholicism, I would pick St. Severinus Boethius as an intercessor. And I do already ask for his intercession.

  7. […] read an older blogpost the other day that has stuck in my mind since then. At the beginning, the author mentions a priest […]

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