For a year starting in August 2013 I posted a saint a day to Facebook. I was reminded of this project again today when visiting the Lake Acworth Antique and Flea Market, at which San Benito Libreria Católica had a space. As the name of this shop suggests, it largely caters to Mexican Catholics, and so featured saints that are significant to them in various ways. Alas, San Jorge is not one of them! But I found the next best thing:
This, believe it or not, is St. James the Apostle (“Santiago Apóstol”), in his aspect as the Matamoros, that is, the Moor-Slayer. St. James’s major shrine is at Compostella in Galicia; over the course of the Middle Ages he became a patron of the reconquest of Iberia from the Muslims (even if the battle where he made his first appearance was entirely made up).
Other prayer cards. I did not cover any of these on Facebook:
Wikipedia: Santo Niño de Atocha or Holy Child of Atocha is a Roman Catholic image of the Child Jesus popular among the Hispanic cultures of Spain, Latin America, the Philippines and the southwestern United States. It is distinctly characterized by a basket he carries, along with a staff, drinking gourd, and a cape with the shell symbol of a pilgrimage to Saint James.
Wikipedia: Maximón, also called San Simón, is a folk saint venerated in various forms by Maya people of several towns in the highlands of Western Guatemala. The veneration of Maximón is not approved by the Roman Catholic Church…. He is less a benevolent deity than a bully whom one does not want to anger. His expensive tastes in alcohol and cigarettes indicate that he is a sinful human character, very different from the ascetic ideals of Christian sainthood. Devotees believe that prayers for revenge, or success at the expense of others, are likely to be granted by Maximón.
Wikipedia: Saint Charbel Makhluf, O.L.M. (1828-1898) was a Maronite monk and priest from Lebanon. During his life he obtained a wide reputation for holiness and he has been canonized by the Catholic Church.
A prayer to the Powerful Arm (even if the illustration is of the Powerful Hand). I would like to know more about this.
UPDATE: From Lucky W. Amulet archive:
The image is of a huge wounded (but not bleeding) right hand, which points up through clouds, cut palm toward us. The lines in the palm are shown, and it looks like the head line is cut. The fingers are all of eerily uniform length, with a long thin thumb. Small, disembodied, winged cherub-heads float in the sky above the hand.
To the left and right of the hand are four kneeling female angels who gaze upward and bear the tools of the crucifixion. Of the two on the left, one holds a bowl to catch Jesus’ blood; the other holds a spear and vinegar sop in one hand and hammer and nails in the other. Of the two on the right, one holds a cross and the other a crown of thorns.
Atop clouds on the little finger stands an older male saint with a book. The ring finger’s clouds hold a female saint; the middle finger’s, a younger male saint with a white lily; the forefinger’s, the Virgin Mary; and the deformed thumb’s clouds bear the toddler Jesus holding a globe in his right hand and raising his left.
The prayer on the back is printed first in Spanish and then in English. The English version:
“O Powerful Hand of God! I place my Christian soul before you, and in my despair and anguish, beseech you to aid me with your almighty power. At your feet I place the devotion of my sorrowful heart that I might be delivered from my suffering. May the loving kindness of your power help me and give me strength and wisdom to live in peace and happiness. (Here present your petitions). Amen.”
To which… a reader of this page… informs us that “the figures atop the four fingers represent St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. The Christ Child is depicted on the thumb.”
Wikipedia: Dominic Savio (1842-1857) was an Italian adolescent student of Saint John Bosco. He was studying to be a priest when he became ill and died at the age of 14, possibly from pleurisy. Savio was canonised a saint on June 12, 1954, by Pope Pius XII, making him the youngest non-martyr to be canonised in the Catholic Church.
Wikipedia: Saint Hedwig of Silesia (1174-1243), a member of the Bavarian comital House of Andechs, was Duchess of Silesia from 1201 and of Greater Poland from 1231 as well as High Duchess consort of Poland from 1232 until 1238. She was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1267.
Wikipedia: Expeditus is said to have been a Roman centurion in Armenia who was martyred around April 303 in what is now Turkey, for converting to Christianity. Considered the patron saint of speedy cases, he is commemorated by the Roman Catholic Church on April 19.
Not a prayer card, but an entire novena to Saint Toribio Romo González (1900-1928), who “was a Mexican martyr who died in the Cristero War… There is a belief among some Mexicans that Toribio Romo has appeared to some who cross the border illegally to assist them in distress. He is used as an icon for the hope of food, water and money, as well as safety” (Wikipedia). He was canonized in 2000.
In fairness, I should also say that there were plenty of other prayer cards and posters to better-known saints, like Michael, Lucy, Martin of Tours, and Jude, who will ward off Protestant propagandists:
St. Benedict, whose day it was:
And the Virgin of Guadeloupe, who is here rendered in the style of Precious Moments™, although Dr. Anne Good tells me that there is a specific diminutive name for this depiction, and that they’re fairly common in Mexico: