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Monday, June 5, 2017

The Patron Saint of Murderers

There's a saint for everything, even murderers (although our source says "repentant murderers"). St. Julian the Hospitaller is the patron saint of clowns and circus workers, innkeepers, fiddle players, jugglers, childless people, and murderers. How he got that designation is a story that may remind you of Oedipus Rex. Julian had a curse on him that said he would kill his parents. To avoid this destiny, he walked away from home and kept walking for 50 days. He obviously did not read Sophocles' play, because that was his first mistake. Then he settled down and married.
Throughout all this time, however, his parents had been diligently searching, and their efforts were finally rewarded when they happened upon their son’s castle. Unfortunately, Julian was away on a hunt, but his wife welcomed them with great joy. Indeed, so pleased was she to meet her in-laws for the first time that she honored them with her home’s master bedroom as their quarters.
Returning home much later, Julian discovered the couple in his own sbed and assumed it was his wife with another man. In a mad rage, he killed them both, thus fulfilling the prophetic jinx. When his wife, who’d been to church, informed him of his tragic error, Julian grew despondent and despaired of his salvation. Nevertheless, according to one medieval version of the story, his wife offered unyielding encouragement. “Well I know that God is so merciful and so kind and loving,” she insisted, “that if we serve Him all our lives without anger and without envy, I do surely believe that he will grant us mercy.”
The couple spent the rest of their lives trying to make up for the murders, and became known for hospitality and aid to travelers. You can read the story of St. Julian the Hospitaller at Catholic Exchange.  St. Julian's story is one of 15 Unusual Patron Saints you can read about at Mental Floss.

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