Want to Buy the Skull of the Patron Saint of STDs?


So I admit that they didn’t teach us very much about saints in Hebrew school though over the years, I have heard a few things. Friends have talked about the Patron Saint of Lost Things (apparently, St. Anthony) and I remember reading once that Martha was the Patron Saint of Housewives (I was pretty horrified by that one), but I don’t think I realized quite how many patron saints there are and what they watch over. 

Apparently, there is a patron saint for pretty much everything you can think of and at least one for every illness imaginable.  For example, Roch is a patron saint of knee injuries, Cornelius is a patron saint of earaches (someone my kids should know), and Bibiana (also known as Viviana) is a patron saint of hangovers. 

According to some, Vitalis of Assissi is the patron saint of diseases of the genitals or, as some have called him, the patron saint of STDs.  (Though it is worth noting that at least one website reserves this title for Saint Fiacre). Vitalis was born in Umbria, Italy, and is said to have lived “an immoral and licentious youth.”  He attempted to atone for these sins through pilgrimages to shrines throughout Europe and then entered a Benedictine monastery.  Along the way he apparently performed numerous miracles on those with bladder and genital disorders.  After leaving the monastery, he lived the remainder of his life as a hermit near Assisi and died in 1370. 

While he may be gone, he is not forgotten.  His skull (or at least a skull that some are claiming to be his) is set to go on sale on Monday in Ireland.  According to the auctioneer, the skull was in the possession of one family since the 18th century.  It had originally been on display in the family hall in County Louth but was recently uncovered in an outhouse.  Of course, the claim that it is Vitalis’s skull has not been verified but it makes a good story and for the low price of between 800 and 1,200 Euros ($1,000 to $1,700) it could decorate your mantel or make a really impressive paperweight.  Think about it. 

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