Sainthood

Stepping away from parenting for a second, I want to speak a bit on a step in my looming Catholicism.

As part of the confirmation process, the candidates for confirmation are instructed to pick a ‘saint name’, or essentially a personal saint to use through and after confirmation. The process can be arduous, as there are over 10,000 saints in the Catholic Church.

In my search, I wanted to find an ‘atypical’ saint. One who may not be known for his or her martyrdom like Thomas More or even their significant contributions to Catholic theology like Thomas Aquinas. I wanted a saint that embodied living life to the fullest through God. A saint that ‘went out with a bang’. An outgoing saint, perhaps.

And then I stumbled upon Saint Arnold (or also known as St. Arnulf of Metz). Arnold was born in Austria in 580 A.D. He entered the priesthood and was eventually named Bishop of Metz (France) at age 32.

One of Arnold’s most significant contributions was in public health. He warned his congregation and villagers about the dangers of drinking water (which, at that time, was often very contaminated from waste, sewage, and disease). Instead, he offered his congregation a different beverage. One that would go through the process of filtering and boiling, expelling germs in the process.

Beer.

Saint Arnold during his time as bishop was even quoted with saying, “…from man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.”

Arnold retired to a monastery in France and died in 640. To be considered for sainthood, a miracle must have been performed by the prospective saint, and here is where Saint Arnold’s story gets good.

In 641, the people of Metz asked the monastery for the body of Arnold, their bishop to bring back to Metz to bury. While carrying Arnold from the monastery to Metz, the people stopped in the town of Champignuelles. For a rest and a beverage, the porters and followers stopped in the local tavern to order their beer, in honor of Arnold. They were dismayed to learn that the tavern only had one mug of beer available to share.

But as Jesus fed the 5,000, so Arnold filled that mug for his followers, and it did not run dry until the followers were satisfied. For his service to the people of Metz and the miracle at Champignuelles, Arnold was canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church and is today recognized as the patron saint of brewers.

Since then, ‘Saint Arnold’ has become the name of several breweries around the world. And I can’t think of a saint that more embodies the outgoing nature of living life to fullest than Arnold.

This beer? This beer is for you, Saint Arnold.

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2 responses to “Sainthood

  1. When I was confirmed, my confirmation teacher (since I, like many other born-and-raised Catholics, went through it in 11th grade) said that we should pick the saint we were named after (and by should…he meant we had to.) Unfortunately there is no Saint Robin….so I ended up going with Saint Anne. I know absolutely nothing about her other than a decorative plate I got in third grade from religion class when discussing the saints we shared our names with.

    At least you picked one that has some meaning. 🙂 (And you can’t go wrong with beer!)

  2. How very interesting 🙂

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