Sunday, May 15, 2011

Patron Saint of Gardening

Since childhood, I've always been inspired by the lives of patron saints. In several religious traditions, patron saints are people considered to be worthy of higher honor, emulation, or veneration due to the lives they led. Their lives offer life lessons for us all, whether a believer or not.

This statue in a friend's backyard honors Saint Fiacre, the patron saint of gardening. Born in Ireland in the 7th century, Fiacre lived in a hermitage in County Kilkenny and was known for his skill as a herbal healer. His talent drew pilgrims to flock to him and for greater solitude, he left his native land and sought refuge in France. In France, he opened a hospice where he received strangers in need and lived a solitary life of prayer, fasting and manual labor in the garden. Hence, why he was recognized as the saint of growing food and medicinal plants. Now no one is perfect, of course; Fiacre had issues with women and banned them from his monastery. Those blemishes aside, I do admire his dedication to God and serving those in need.

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