Oh, sure go ahead, pat yourself on the back for knowing that today is the feast day of Saint....Gertrude of Nivelles. According to my Saint A Day Guide, St. Gertrude died in 659. She is teh patrn saynt of teh kittehs, or cats if you will; also gardeners and travelers. She is invoked against mice.
Saint A Day says:
In sacred art Gertrude is portrayed so rapt in prayer that she is unaware of a mouse scampering up her pastoral staff. Therefore, in her native Belgium this kindly nun is still invoked against infestations of rodents, and cakes baked in her convent's kitchen are believed to repel vermin [blogger's note - hey! my cooking repels vermin and little children!!] In her lifetime she was celebrated for her hospitality--Belgians still call a drink for the road Saint Gertrude's cup, and some believe that the souls of the departed spend their first night of the afterlife in Saint Gertrude's care.
Other sources say that the mice are a Catholic representation of lost souls in purgatory, but this doesn't really help out the hospitality angle does it? Mice, drunks driving home with Gertrude's cup between their knees and hospitality straight out of purgatory? If Gertrude were alive today she wouldn't be a saint she'd be Leona Helmsley. Except Leona is dead too.
But wait, you say. Isn't today the feast day of another, more famous saint? Why yes, yes it is. Today we also celebrate the feast day of....Saint Joseph of Arimathea. Listen up all ye Da Vinci code fans! St. Joe's tale leads directly to the round table and from there to Tom Hanks weakest performance ever.
According to my Saint A Day Guide:
In all four Gospels it is related that Jesus was buried in the tomb of this wealthy disciple. According to one pious legend, Joseph was Jesus' uncle and a tin miner. After his nephew's Resurrection and Ascension, Joseph accompanied Mary Magdalene to France. Then, alone, he made his way to Britain, bringing with him the chalice drunk from at the Last Supper, which became an ornament of the church he established at Glastonbury, Somerset. And that is how the Holy Grail ended up in England, and why King Arthur, who built his own castle at Glastonbury, was so concerned with it. For a millennium and a half it was believed that Joseph of Arimathea's staff, which had grown into a large hawthorn tree, flowered every Christmas Eve. This was the sort of papist superstition the Puritans scorned--but just to be on the safe side, they cut it down.If Joseph of Arimathea were alive today he would not be a saint, he would be David Beckham.
Oh, and there is another obscure Welsh Italian saint whose feast day we celebrate today. This saint, named Succat, is the patron saint of Nigeria. In Benin he is identified with the serpent-god Da because of his close association with snakes. Of course, you know this saint as Patrick, also the patron saint of Ireland.
If Patrick were alive today he wouldn't be a saint, he'd be nearly dead drunk what with all the shots of Irish Whisky and green beer you'd be trying to buy him.