I’ve noticed two categories of Saints – those mentioned in the Bible and all the rest. The Biblical gang – Saint Mary, probably the most ubiquitous, Saint John the Baptist a distant second – are usually depicted in some allegory of their Biblical roles. Nice art, nice meaning. The others were once everyday people who such lived influential Christian lives that someone after their death decided that they should never be forgotten and started the paperwork to sainthood. I never kept track, but Saint Denis, the Parisian Bishop holding his own head, Saint Georges, slaying an evil dragon, and
The further west I walked, through a lot of snow and ice as it turned out, the more I started seeing images and references to Saint Hilaire, whom I never heard of before. He’s often identified in a Latinized style as Saint Hilarius, which is just plain funny.
There are tons of churches, streets, and plazas named for him in the region between
It wasn’t hard to find out why he became the namesake of so much in the west of
An early fellow, he evangelized the area around
He was an early pioneer in a sense; most of those around him would have worshiped either the Roman gods or the remaining Druids. I could imagine there were more than a few Roman soldiers who weren’t so hip to
The information signs make it clear that Hilaire was an active guy, most particularly a persistent voice against Arianism, the widespread view that took the position God was God above the Son and the Holy Spirit, and instead pushed for the concept of the Trinity, which became the strong foundation of Catholicism and Protestantism practiced today and became inextricably embedded in church art and architecture. Without Hilaire’s effort, how different the world may have become. His work influenced his North African contemporary, Augustine, who came up with the whole monastic rule thing. Augustine and Hilaire both became known as Doctors of the Church, and later Sainted for their contributions so that the world would never forget them. Charlemagne spoke well of Hilaire and sponsored many a chapel in his name.
Martin, a converted Roman soldier from
The wild thing about modern pilgrimages: I stayed at this monastery in Ligugé – the same one that