Bad luck with Valentine? Pick another saint

Fed up with Valentine's Day? Liz Breslin reckons there are other saints worth celebrating.

Red roses - yawn! Candlelit champagne on a twosome table next to lots of other couples? No thanks. Valentine's Day is just so last Tuesday. I think I decided as much the year that the guy who was supposed to be cooking me dinner turned up late with cut-price flowers.

The rationale: if flowers were cheaper, that'd balance out just one more beer. Right. At around the same time, a friend spelled out her beloved's name in lollies on her bed. She ended up stood up and consoled herself by consuming the lot, sniffing copiously into pink tissues as she chewed.

In the face of the evidence, we decided there have to be better saints' days out there to celebrate. After all, the Catholic Church has a saint for every day of the year. All commemorated on the day they died, except for those who, for expediency's sake, have been shuffled around somewhat.

Take Saint Perpetua. She was martyred on March 7, but has been shifted back a day to make way for St Thomas Aquinas. He was a very learned man by all accounts, but she was better with the soundbites. The story goes thus: when her father begged her to reconsider her conversion to Christianity, she pointed out a pot and said something along the lines of, ''See that pot; it's a pot. No-one can deny it. Just like me being a Christian''.

So, for Interesting Saint's Day #1, how about keeping March 7 as ''call a spade a spade day'' in honour of St Perpetua and her blunt truths. That would be fabulous, especially in dealing with men who leave you distraught and holding candy canes.

Interesting Saint's Day #2 has to be Saint Ignatius of Laconi on May 11. Three reasons: we all need something other than an inversion layer and earlier evenings to look forward to, he's got a great name and, most importantly, he was a simple, good giver. Apparently converted to religion when almost killed by his horse (as opposed to selling it to European manufacturers for meat), he spent his years finding donations for the poor and giving time and kindness.

Apart from the one time when he was given a bag of symbolic blood from an evil rich man, that all worked well for St Ignatius. Might we try it for a day?We'll skip over St Kevin of Glendalough on June 3. Perhaps the first Kevin in existence, his other claim to fame is pushing a persistent lady admirer off a cliff. Neither fact worth spotlighting.

Or taking up in his honour.

But perhaps we could resurrect the legend of St Guinefort, whose unofficial feast day is August 22. St Guinefort was a dog (yes, you read that right): a greyhound in fact. I'm sure you've heard the story the knight leaves the dog and the baby at home (as you do) and comes back to find the room a wreck and the baby dead.

In anguish he draws his sword and beheads his faithful pup. And then he sees the dead snake under the overturned cot ... Not sure exactly what actions we could put in place to celebrate the day. But still, perhaps St Guinefort's followers could Twitter-storm the new pope for official recognition and we could all be more trusting of our pets on August 22.

Interesting Saint's Day #3? Other ideas include going op-shopping to celebrate St Vincent de Paul's Day on September 27 and really getting into the All Saints' Day on November 1 by sitting in candlelit cemeteries and partying with our dead relatives, like they do in Poland or Mexico. So much inspiration ... so much more atmospheric than saccharine hearts and flowers. Time for some new saints to come on marching in?

- Liz Breslin is a Hawea Flat writer

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