Questions You’ve Asked: Patron Saints Playing Favorites

A client is getting set up with some Law Keep Away work, some of which involves physical items being installed at the front entrance where a St. Michael paket has been living. She wonders if she needs to move/remove St. Michael, whom she petitions for physical and spiritual protection, since he’s “the patron saint of police and general law and order guy.”

What a great question!

Short answer, no. No need to remove St. Michael.

A fixed paket of the type I used to make for clients/customers, when I could still source those detentes for reasonable prices. I haven’t been able to do that since reopening, but I like them very much and I hope I can offer them again one of these days.

Longer answer explaining my rationale: for one, human beings declared him the patron saint of law enforcement – he didn’t proclaim himself that lol… and even if he has shown a propensity for watching out for law enforcement, he certainly hasn’t done so to the exclusion of anyone else. IOW, law enforcement doesn’t have the corner on St. Michael.

Now he is a “law and order guy,” and I would not necessarily expect him to have my back if I, as a devotee of his, were to go out, get fucked up as a rat, and start a fight in a situation that didn’t need a fight, thus causing unnecessary chaos. But a fight for a good cause? Might be a different story – and that might be so even if in the eyes of the law it made me guilty of assault and battery.

IOW, angels and saints are not and have never been especially known for being huge champions of human codifications of law, order, and morality. Or to put it another way, in a standoff, St. Michael would have Valjean’s back, not Javert’s.

But another consideration too: even if St. Michael tended to “take the side” of the person working in the name of human law over another person, working to stay off the radar of some authority doesn’t necessarily equate to being against that authority. I can think of a dozen good reasons off the top of my head to want to avoid being the person an agency or authority focused on that don’t have anything to do with me breaking any laws in my city, state, or country. And I can think of a dozen more off the top of my head that might technically involve some law-breaking but there’s something about the situation, or the system, or the local authority, or the law itself, where the morality of the situation does not match the letter of the law that’s on the books.

And in any case it’s totally possible for me to break the law regularly while still having respect for members of law enforcement and not wanting them to be hurt in the course of doing their job. And to have respect for them but not ever want to see them knocking on my front door šŸ™‚

Now would I count on him to have my back if I wanted to injure a member of law enforcement in the course of doing whatever I’m doing? No. And I would not expect him to have the back of a member of law enforcement who wanted to injure me, either, like set out with that intent. IOW, I think intent matters here, as does general moral orientation. And you know, like Santa Muerte, St. Michael is commonly depicted holding a set of scales or balances in his hand. That’s a reminder in both cases of their roles in weighing the heart or soul of an individual at the personal judgment when that person dies and/or at the general judgment day at the end of time when eternal judgment is passed on everyone who ever lived. And while they might help out with the weighing ritual, only God gets to do that ultimate judging.

Visit Seraphin Station to get a custom-fixed scapular paket to wear, carry, or hang by your doorway.

So it doesn’t actually matter what we people think. We don’t have the final say, we humans, and we are flawed and imperfect and so are our systems and governments. And that is how it can be possible that Santa Muerte is called on to protect both members of law enforcement and those who regularly run afoul of the law in Mexico. It’s not because she just adores cops or she just adores criminals. It’s because she is a champion of those who find they have to live dangerous lives on the margins of society in one way or another, and her perspective is much larger than ours. So with any saint’s. So with St. Michael. We do not have the big picture, but certainly heaven and hell are not being run the same way as FCI Talladega or Folsom Prison šŸ™‚

Jesus Malverde Community Altar Service starts tonight

Have a vigil light set and worked on my Jesus Malverde altar in community altar work service beginning on Monday, May 3rd, which serves as the feast day of this folk saint. There is some wiggle room and you can join up after the work starts as long as you see that there are still spots left and it doesn’t say “sold out.”

Jesus Malverde, also known as the Angel of the Poor or the Generous Bandit, is a folk saint who is said to have lived and died in late 19th/early 20th century Sinaloa, Mexico. His reputation as a sort of Robin Hood figure began before his death, as the legend has it; he targeted the rich, redistributed the money and goods he stole to the poor, and basically spent his life on the wrong side of the law but by all accounts on the right side of morality.

While many details of his life and death are the stuff of legend and as such unverifiable and certainly prone to dramatic embroidery, what’s undisputable is that he has a solid reputation for responding to the prayers and petitions of his devotees, especially those who find themselves running afoul of the law due to poverty and corruption. 

Since the 1970s, he’s gained greater notoriety in the public eye as a narco saint — the patron saint of drug dealers and smugglers — and that is how many folks beyond the borders of Mexico who hear of him categorize him, increasingly so since the 1990s. But to dismiss him as merely a narco saint and his devotees as drug kingpins and criminals is to ignore the lived realities of the faithful in a complex world where things aren’t always so black and white – where sometimes breaking the law is the right thing (or the only thing) to do, where justice isn’t blind, where the distribution of wealth is immoral, where there is government corruption and the police aren’t always on the right side of the law – humanity’s or God’s.

His devotees petition him to have enough food for their children, for safety in dangerous lines of work (including but definitely not limited to smuggling), and to get them out of legal difficulties, as you might expect from a bandit folk saint. But they also tell of how he miraculously cured their illnesses, returned lost or stolen property, even helped them get *off* drugs and get their lives on firmer footing. 

His reputation as a narco saint has blossomed only over the last 40 or so years and not without a good bit of help from the media. His reputation as the Angel of the Poor and the Generous Bandit, however, long predates the sensationalist “narco saint” appellation, and as a folk saint, there’s a lot more to him than this. So it would be appropriate to petition him for pretty much anything related to living a life that is in some way “on the margins” or precarious or dangerous. It would also be suitable to use this service as an opportunity to “introduce yourself” to Jesus Malverde if you’ve been thinking you wanted to learn more about him but haven’t begun working with him yet.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, you do not have to pay for a spot in the vigil service in order to have your name and petition included in my prayers and offerings to Jesus Malverde on May 3rd. You can simply submit your name and petition via the intake form and in place of the service/order #, type “jesus malverde prayers only.” There is no cost for the prayers-only option, though if you’d like to, you can make an optional donation in any amount you wish to help offset the cost of time and materials used, and in this case, I will set at least a votive light for you to burn for a few hours, depending on the number of reduced rate/pro bono requests I get for this service.

I’ve been doing some sort of pro bono or reduced rate/pay what you can service every month since COVID began to help those who need spiritual help but can’t afford to book private services. And I’m happy to present your petitions and pray for you as part of my own thanks to Jesus Malverde. Remember, when Jesus Malverde answers your prayers and grants your petitions, you should “pay” the saint by making a donation to the poor. Don’t protest that you are the poor and therefore you’re exempt from this duty – there’s *always* someone poorer than you. You must participate in the spiritual economy, which with Jesus Malverde is always already a financial one as well, and approach him with open rather than closed hands. Make sure you keep your side of the bargain!

Please note that community altar work services do not come with individual readings/reports, though I will post at least one photo of the work to the Discord “forum” for clients, which you’ll receive an invitation to after you book your vigil service spot.

Read more or book your spot at SeraphinStation.com.

If you’d like to make a donation to help offset the cost of pro bono and reduced rate services that I provide for folks experiencing income instability and career challenges during this COVID mess, you can do so here. (Offsite PayPal link)

Fiery Wall of Protection community altar service starts tonight

Fiery Wall of Protection community altar service starts tonight at midnight Central time. There is a little wiggle room and can join in late as long as you see that slots are still available.

Read more or book now at SeraphinStation.com.

Community altar work services focused on a particular goal or area and with a limited number of “seats” for each working are a great compromise between big workings open to any number of folks (inexpensive but with little customization available) and hiring a worker to do 100% custom, private services just for you (completely tailored to you but often considerably more expensive since the cost of time and materia magica are not being shared by more than one person).

If you’re interested in seeing a type of service or working that I’m not currently offering, please feel free to make suggestions. Some work I don’t generally perform as group work (stuff like revenge, crossing, and binding – that’s always gonna be 100% custom and private). But it could be I do offer it, only it just so happens that saints’ days kept me too busy this month. Or it could be that I don’t often have clients asking for that type of work so I haven’t focused on it before. So don’t be shy about asking – if I can offer it and am likely to get participants, I probably will, and if I can’t, I’ll at least tell you why and let you know about some other options you might consider.

Chaplet of St. Michael – Angelic Crown Rosary – SOLD

Call on the blessings and protection of St. Michael and the nine choirs of angels with this one-of-a-kind Angelic Crown chaplet, aka Chaplet of St. Michael.

  • Czech glass Pater beads in iridescent blues
  • crystal clear pressed glass Ave beads
  • cast bronze reproduction of an antique Latin American rosary center
  • cast bronze reproduction of an antique St. Michael holy medal

New listing: Vintage St. Dymphna

st dymphna medal (4)
Currently available at Etsy.

This delicate, lightweight necklace features a vintage aluminum holy medal with St. Gerebernus on one side and St. Dymphna on the other. I got the medal from Belgium but it was made in Germany. I can’t date it precisely, but my guess is between 1950 and 1990.

The St. Gerebernus side is in Latin and the St. Dymphna side in English, both saying “pray for us.” It’s one inch long and hangs from a dainty 18 inch silver-tone ball chain necklace, set off with a tiny beaded drop with frosted Czech glass beads in blue-green and bronze.

St. Dymphna is a very popular saint to call on against madness, anxiety, depression, and epilepsy. She’s also the patron saint of runaways and survivors of incest and sexual abuse. She is called on by those who suffer from mental illness and by those who treat the sufferers of mental illness.

Dymphna – whose  name would have been something like Damhnait or Davnet before it was Latinized – is thought to have lived some time between 500 and 720-ish A.D. in Ireland. (The sources and scholars don’t agree and there’s no historical record dating anywhere close to when she would have lived, if she’s even really a historical figure — there’s only oral tradition and legend until hundreds of years later). [*] She fled to Belgium as a young teenager from a very troubled home life. accompanied by her confessor, the elderly priest St. Gerebernus or Gereberne.

The martyrologies are chock full of murderous guys who like to kill totally peaceful Christians in very gruesome ways, but even with all the bloodshed and decapitation and suffering in these annals, St. Dymphna’s father still manages to stand out as one of the biggest ass-hats of them all.

He apparently went a little nuts after his beloved wife, who’d been a Christian, died. Pressed to remarry, he ultimately decided only his own teenage daughter, who so strongly resembled his dead wife, would fit the bill.

Well, incest is gross, but even beyond that, Dymphna had also become a Christian and dedicated her virginity to Christ, so this whole thing was a double helping of nope as far as she was concerned. She and Gerebernus took off for Belgium and hid out at the monastery of St. Martin for a while. But her father caught up with them, had his servants kill the priest, and cut off his own daughter’s head. So that’s why she’s invoked against madness, because she steadfastly faced the madness of her father, keeping her cool in the face of such onslaught, and was martyred in the preservation of her virginity.

Gerard_Seghers_-_Martyrdom_of_St_Dymphna_and_St_Gerebernus
Gerard Seghers ā€“ Martyrium des hl. Dymphna und des hl. Gerbert (Martyrdom of St Dymphna and St Gerebernus). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Held by Staatsgalerie im Neuen Schloss SchleiƟheim.

St. Gerebernus is the patron saint of Sonsbeck in what’s today North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Epileptics, the insane, and the possessed have been said to receive miraculous cures at Dymphna’s tomb, and in older literature and art especially, she’s portrayed as vanquishing a demon at her feet and is given the title of Demon Slayer. You can’t tell it from modern holy cards these days, but Dymphna is kind of a badass. Just leaving aside for the moment the problems with personifying or even demonizing mental illness, the fact remains that practically speaking, she’s a great source of comfort and aid to many sufferers of mental disorders and anxiety as well as their loved ones who pray for them.

C. Christopher Smith at the Englewood Review of Books put her forward as a fitting patron saint for the #MeToo movement.

Saints Dymphna, Michael, and Benedict are a trio that’s hard to beat when it comes to protection / defense work. Between the three of them, they’re quite the spiritual army and they can anchor and defend the faithful in body, soul, and mind against chaotic onslaught and demonic siege.

For even more info and resources on saints and their lore in folk religious practice, visit The Chapel: Karma Zain and follow the tags.


[*] Sources

The Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae of John Colgan, reproduced at the Ordnance Survey, Dublin. Reflex facsimiles, Irish Manuscript Commission 5, 1947.

Kirsch, Johann Peter. St. Dymphna.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. Accessed 25 Apr. 2020.

O’Hanlon, John Canon. Lives of the Irish Saints, vol. 6. Dublin: James Duffy and Sons, 1873.

Smith, William and Henry Wace. A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines, vols. 1 and 2. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1877.

Resources

Novena in Honor of Saint Dymphna at CatholicSaints.info