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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Holy Batman, Jesus

I've a question for you Sister: Do you have any prayer cards for St. Swithun? My friend and I are curious about him for an amusing reason: He is patron saint of Gotham City, Batman's home. That is, the marketers for the new film set up several websites and telephone numbers for different places in Gotham, and there is even a site for St. Swithun's asking people to sigh of up adoration and so forth. In any case, it seems good to us that our silly fandom should allow us to learn about a saint.

I hear that!

Isn't that what they say now?
I'm floored, I have to say. I am a colossal fan of St. Swithun, simply because he and I both love it when it rains. Now it turns out the Catholic Church of Gotham City is St. Swithun's. Who knew the Dark Knight and I had anything in common besides a lot of black fabric. Does Batman love it when it rains? Is Gotham City like Seattle?

It turns out there's lots to do over at St. Swithun's in Gotham City. You can go Christmas caroling, for one thing, besides the perpetual adoration. It's good to know they have perpetual adoration there in Gotham City. I'm glad they're watching out for something besides the Bat Signal.
Somebody was not on the ball, though, because the Joker graffitied St. Swithun's Church's literature. Shameful. But then what would one expect from an arch villain. We must pray for his soul.

I'm kidding. There is no Joker. No Batman, no Gotham City. There was a pool hall in Santa Monica called Gotham City but it closed, so no Gotham City.

There was a St. Swithun, however. He died in the early 9th century. He was a bishop. Whatever St. Swithun did while he was alive to earn himself the title of saint, he is remembered most for all the rain he has caused since his death. St. Swithun specifically asked that he be buried in the churchyard and not be moved. He wanted to be outside so he could hear the rain on his 'roof'.

Our house has a big pitched wooden roof. It's just heavenly when it rains. So soothing. Unfortunately, as the song says, it never rains in California. I completely understand Swithun's request.

But the first step on the road to sainthood is to dig up the saint (to make sure the saint is in there) and when Swithun was dug up, he was moved indoors to the fancy saint area.
Ever since the move, if it rains on St. Swithun's Day, it rains and rains and rains. Happily for us, we have yet another saint poem as a result:

St. Swithuns' day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain na mair.

I suppose 'na mair' means it will rain, NOT.
Poor Swithun must be straining to hear it.

Or maybe he's like Batman, or an actual bat, and hears everything just fine.

To answer your actual question, no, we don't have any prayer cards or medals of St. Swithun. I have a little picture an artist drew for me as a gift hanging on my wall.

When we can't find a medal of the saint we want, we do something like this. There are plenty of obscure saints. As long as we can come up with some image, we're in business. I love the obscure saints. I figure they have more time on their hands to intercede for you, since no one is talking to them.

I do hope you aren't glomming on to St. Swithun just because of Batman. I suppose I should count my blessings that anyone is glomming onto him for any reason. It just doesn't seem right to me that 2000 years of Sacred Tradition is trumped by Batman.


DaveW said...

I'd think he could hear the rain better from inside.

I love the rain too, have since I was a small child. It is raining hard right now - we're in the outer edge of hurricane Dolly here near Galveston.

Anonymous said...

Sister, why haven't I heard of St Swithun? Rain is essential in my business (agriculture).

Anonymous said...

Good Morning, Sister!

Long time reader, first time petitioner: I'm trying to find a patron saint for camping. A group of friends and I are going camping next week and I wanted to get a head-start looking for assistance for good weather and a happy camping trip.

In (sort-of) keeping with St. Swithun (who was very pro-rain), I've identified St. Scolastica who is asked for aid against rain (always a downer when camping), but I haven't been able to find a patron saint for camping, itself. The closest I've found yet was St. George, who apparently is the patron of the Boy Scouts, but that's not quite it. Any ideas, Sister? Your help is greatly appreciated.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely LOVE your St. Swithun picture. and my daughter and I love the rain as well so we've just got ourselves a new saint for our collection of favorites. THanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister: Could you tell me who drew the picture of St. Swithin that you posted at the top of this post? The one with the geese. It looks very much like something my son, Ben Hatke, drew. Ben is a pretty well known artist and illustrator and I can usually recognize his work. Thanks!
Mrs. Hatke

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that introduction to St. Swithun, Sister! I didn't know anything about him.

I also love the picture of him standing in the rain! Any chance the artist would sell more copies of it?

He's definitely a saint for me; I absolutely adore rain and am never happier than when it's drizzling, misting, pouring cats and dogs or any manifestation of the same. It's good to know I'm not the only one.

Summertime is a 6 month penance.

Claudia said...

Thank you Sister Mary Martha for that brief history on St. Swithum, i'm embarrassed to say I've never heard of him, or heard mention of him in the Batman movie...unless the person's question is coming from a comic book (?) Regardless, the exposure is worth it no matter where it came from. I don't mind the rain, I just fear the lightning.

bill7tx said...

In February 2006, I visited St. Swithun's (or Swithin's, as they spelled it on the historical markers) original burial site and his reconstructed shrine at Winchester Cathedral in England. Unfortunately, during the Reformation, his relics were pulled from his second tomb and thrown into a big pile of other saints' relics that had been in the Cathedral, in the yard outside the Cathedral. After the mob that desecrated the relics had left, monks came back and collected all the bones, placing them in large chests that are now inside the Cathedral. So St. Swithin is still there, but nobody knows where exactly among all the jumbled bones. Some of his relics (head, arms) had also been sent to other places (for example, Canterbury had his head), but I don't know if they were similarly desecrated (probably, the mobs were very thorough) and lost.

And, although my visit was in February and in July, it was raining cats and dogs. But only in Winchester. Not raining north of there, or south of there, just in Winchester. I guess he's still upset about all the mistreatment.

Cthings said...

Oh such a wonderful article! Didn't know some of these facts. Nice to know there is a saint for rain.

Puff the Magic Dragon said...

Hello Sr.
I've studied middle and old english: na mair = no more.

RadioPie said...

St. Swithun would be happy here in Toronto this summer - It's raining buckets right now.

Is there a patron saint of Metropolis? Or Dogpatch? Or Riverdale? Or wherever Little Dot lived?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister, Regarding the 7/21/08 anonymous comment: "...yesterday I came to your site to use your saint finder as I have just this month begun to have migraine headaches..." - I can't find the saint finder in your site. What is that writer referring to? Thanks very much. YOU yourself are the highlight by far, though, hands down.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure St. Swithun doesn't mind the Batman connection. Perhaps he spared the production a few rain days in exchange.