09 August 2012

St. Lawrence Day!

Tomorrow, August 10th, is the feast of St. Lawrence of Rome, deacon, really stellar martyr, and patron of, amongst other things, librarians. When once asked to produce the treasures of the Church, St. Lawrence  is said (by St. Ambrose, no less) to have gathered all the poor together and presented them as the true riches to be sought. 

Sixtus ordains St. Lawrence
St. Lawrence was brutally martyred by being roasted alive. Legend has it that he possessed so much fortitude and good humor that, after being thoroughly toasted on one side, he alerted his executioners: "I am done on this side-you can turn me over now!" I have a feeling he did not want his martyrdom to be 'over-easy'.

This makes me wary of the possibility that I may share this fate with a patron of my profession. St. Lawrence's patronage of cooking and comedy is sensible, but it is at least a little ironic that a man who was burned alive now serves as a patron for a profession for which fire is highly dreaded. Perhaps a divinely guided pre-meditation to the cautionary tone of Fahrenheit 451

In addition to St. Lawrence, Sts. Jerome and Catherine of Alexandria have been claimed as patron saints of libraries and archives. Triple the opportunities to celebrate. Let's hope that nobody calls for a roasting of librarians anytime soon.

Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, Valentin de Boulogne

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