Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Mystery Saint.

In our parish, we have Eucharistic Adoration on the first Friday of the month; it lasts from early that morning (6:00 AM, I think) until 6:00 AM Saturday. Because of my work schedule,when I attend, I will normally go after midnight.

That was the case this past "first Friday". I got off work at 11:00 PM, went home, showered and changed clothes and headed for the church just before twelve. My plan was to be there from midnight to 1:00 AM. When I go, I don't usually "sign up" in advance - I can't always be certain when I can arrive. It's just as well that I choose that particular hour; only one person had "signed up" for that hour and had I not arrived when I did, she would have been the only person in the church.

At one o'clock this lady left the church, two other folks arrived and I left a few minutes later. As I stepped outside, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a figure lurking in the shadows. I nearly jumped out of my skin....until I discovered that the mysterious figure was a new, life-sized statue - pictured on the left.

The following Sunday, after Mass, a number of us stood outside, admiring our new statue, though we were puzzled as to the identity of the saint that the statue represents. I went back inside the church in search of Deacon Stu. He would know the identity, surely.

It's Saint XXXXX, he told me. (I won't disclose the name, as yet). They had done quite a search on the Internet, and finally learned the name of the saint. Later, a photo of the statue was put in the church bulletin (that's the source of this photo) along with a brief story.

Years ago, the statue was given to our (then) pastor, Father Miceli. It has remained out of sight in the rectory garage, until our new pastor, Father Patrick decided to put it outside for all to see. An Internet investigation was begun to identify the saint. According to the church bulletin, one company responded and attempted to identify the saint by "a process of elimination". It was "determined" that the statue was Saint XXXXX. As I said, it was by "a process of elimination". In other words, someone at the company took a guess.

When I was told that the statue was of this saint, I did my own Internet search to learn more about him. I made an odd discovery, however. There were several images of Saint XXXXX to be found - both as paintings and statuary - but none fit the profile of the statue in the church garden. Of course, no one really knows what the older saints actually looked like, but a tradition has come about where certain saints are given certain characteristics so they will be easily identifiable.

You can always spot a statue of St. Francis of Assisi, for example. We all know how he looks; he's the bearded one, dressed as a monk, who's holding little birds and accompanied by other cute little animals. St. Anthony of Padua is always dressed the same way, though sans beard, and holding the Christ child. This particular statue in question did not fit the imagery traditionally used to represent Saint XXXXX.

Through my own "process of elimination" I've come across several paintings of another saint (who'll I'll call Saint YYYYY, for the time being) who, I believe, fits the imagery of our statue more.

Of course, I don't know that I'm right. I suspect that the company that identified our statue as Saint XXXXX is wrong, but I don't really know. This is the reason for my current post. I'm hoping some of the Catholic bloggers I visit will be able to help me. I'll be providing a link to this post to some of the more knowledgeable bloggers in hopes that either they or their readers can tell me the true identity of the saint this statue was made to represent.

In a few days, I'll write another post explaining who I think the saint is ....along with my evidence. I'd like for you all to leave comments as to who you think the mystery statue represents. If you know for a fact ....that's all the better. But, I'd appreciate educated guesses as well.

One clue; the statue was, at one time, holding something in it's right hand. Obviously, whatever it was is lost. Knowing what was in the hand could be a determining factor.

Update: Mystery Solved?


LarryD said...

I'll have to give it some thought.

Robert said...

Thanks Larry.

Mary Ann said...

Hi Robert --

I love a mystery - always wanted to write a detective novel. So this challenge intrigued me. I did a little research and I have posted the mystery on my own blog with a link to yours.

Anyone who sees my Les Femmes post needs to come here to see my guess which is -- ta-da -- St. Bernard of Clairvaux. If you want to see why I think so along with several pictures of St. Bernard holding buildings go to:


Robert said...

Hi Mary Ann,
Thank you for responding. Your pick is different than the one I thought it represents. You may be right, but the quest isn't over yet. :)
As I said, I'll post my guess later.

Mary Ann said...

Well, I will definitely be looking forward to seeing your answer. If the building could be definitely identified that would be the clincher. It does resemble the twin-towered end of the monastery at Cluny. Check it out here:

Anonymous said...

Found your blog through the Crescat. Wow, wish I knew. He looks kind of monastic, but I've also seen images of St. Stephen holding churches.

Al said...

I have to go with St. Bernard of Clairvaux as well. But will keep doing research for a day or 2 to see if it fits a couple other psooibilities I have in mind.

steve said...

I'm going to guess St. Nicholas Owen. It's probably not him, but I think he is under appreciated so I like to throw his name out there when I can. :-)

Dymphna said...

St. Bernard?

LarryD said...

St Archie Techt, patron saint of builders.

Robert said...

Or St. Henny Jungmun...patron of one liners and bad puns

Suburbanbanshee said...

I agree that it might be a specific building thing....

The problem is that it's not a very specific attribute. Any saint who built churches can be shown holding a church he built (or symbolic version, though it's cooler to be specific), and any patron saint of a specific parish can hold the parish church.