Ice Saints

Sitting in a world bathed and caressed by the sun is a pleasure as old as heaven.

The sun warms but does not burn, it is soft, not ferocious. That will come later.

The Ice Saints have passed and a long, cold wet winter is finally behind us.

This is a land watched over by the saints and their whims and caprices govern the daily rituals of living.

There are statues dedicated to individual saints on walls and crossroads, standing in niches and standing outside churches and chapels. There is a cross on every road and every day is a saint’s day.

In the middle of May it was the time of the Ice Saints, Saint Mamert, Saint Pancrace, and Saint Servais. The days dedicated to them are the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth of May which are often cold and signify the last days of winter. “Saint Servais, Saint Pancrace et Saint Mamert font à trois un petit hiver.”

Many wait till these saints days have passed before planting the summer plants and planning to be outside.

Saint Mamert (Saint Mamertus) was bishop of Vienne and was canonised for the introduction of litanies before Ascension Day. A rather prosaic reason to be a saint it seems to me.

Saint Servais (Saint Servatius) was also canonised for being a bishop, this time of Tongeren, near Maastricht in Belgium.

But poor Saint Pancrace (Saint Pancras) on the other hand was beheaded for his faith at the age of fourteen after refusing to make a sacrifice to the Roman goods. A more dramatic and worthy cause for veneration.

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