Spouse of Jesus

St. Lutgarde found herself given over to a nunnery in the 12th century, not because of any particular piety but because her dowry had been lost to bad investments. With no prospects of a marriage, the life of a nun was the most respectable option open to her. When a man courted her despite her new style of living, Jesus appeared to Lutgarde, and she gave up any affection for the world, telling her suitor, “Go away from me, for I belong to another Lover.” Many other wondrous miracles are reported, such as levitation, healing, and the marks of stigmata.

Cook the goose

St. Cuthbert was a Celtic saint of the seventh century with such a reputation for performing miracles that he was known as the “Wonder Worker of Britain.” The written sources about his life provide a huge list of strange and marvellous events. He could control the wind, he healed the sick, and water that he tasted changed to wine. When a group of monks visited him, he asked them to cook a goose that was hanging on the wall. The monks did not do as they were asked, and a storm blew up that trapped them on St. Cuthbert’s island. Only after seven days did the monks cook the goose, and the tempest stopped at once.

The geese pact

St. Werburgh was another saint from the north of England in the seventh century. Coming from the ruling royal house, she followed a number of her female relatives by becoming a nun. Among her family were a number of saints. She was responsible for a number of reforms in many holy institutions. After her death, Werburgh’s brother became king, and he moved her body to a more fitting resting place. When her first grave was opened, her body was found to be miraculously undecayed. St. Werburgh is often shown with a goose, and this is because of an anserine (goose-related) miracle ascribed to her. A flock of geese was causing trouble in the neighbourhood of her nunnery. The people called for her to help, so she called the geese into her home to keep them from damaging any more crops. In the morning when she went to let them out, she noticed that one of the geese was missing, having been eaten by a servant. She had the bones and feathers of the goose brought to her and returned it to life. For aiding one of their fellows, Werburgh made the geese promise to never return to the nearby fields for all eternity. They never did.

The cheese

St. Thomas Becket was England’s most famous martyr. At first a friend of Henry II and then his enemy, Becket was killed by three of the king’s knights in the cathedral at Canterbury. Almost immediately, he was hailed as a saint, and all manner of miraculous occurrences were attributed to him. Yet he seems to have had a particular fondness for cheese.In one miracle, a girl called Salerna stole some cheese from the larder to have for her breakfast. When her mother found out, Salerna was threatened with a whipping so severe she would die from it. Fearing a painful demise, Salerna prayed to St. Thomas to save her all night, but in the morning, still terrified, she threw herself into a well for a quick drowning. St. Thomas guided a shepherd to the well, and the girl was saved. Nothing is said of whether she was whipped.

Buttercup

St. Euddogwy, or St. Oudoceus as he is also known, had another butter cup miracle. One day, while working outside, the saint found himself thirsty. Approaching a well, he found a group of women washing their butter. He asked for a cup, but the ladies saucily replied that the only cup they could give him was one made of butter. The saint took them at their word, molded a cup from the butter, and used it to drink from as it miraculously held its shape. There are some who say that there was a further miracle in that the butter cup was transformed into a gold one.

The adultrous wife

St. Gangulphus was a knight of King Pepin the Short and is now venerated as the patron saint of difficult marriages. The details of his own marriage may explain why. Gangulphus’s wife thought he was an idiot. He once bought a spring of water on a distant farm, for which his wife upbraided him—what use was a spring on someone else’s land? Gangulphus went outside and stabbed his staff into the ground, whereupon a spring bubbled up, and the spring he had bought dried to nothing. While her husband was away making dubious deals, the saint’s wife had begun an affair with a clerk. When Gangulphus heard rumors of their affair, he decided to let God sort out the truth of the matter. He told his wife to pluck a pebble from the bottom of a spring, and if nothing happened, he would believe she was innocent. As soon as she put her hand in the water, it was scalded. The truth was out, but Gangulphus was willing to forgive his wife and urged her to live a holy life. She did not end the affair. The clerk attacked Gangulphus while he slept and killed the saint. What happened next are the two defining miracles of the saint’s life. The adulterous clerk was overjoyed to have freed his lover from her husband. He danced a jig in celebration. Immediately, he needed to use the toilet, and when he did, his bowels ran out, killing him. Gangulphus’s wife suffered a different fate. When told that her husband was performing miracles after his death, she declared contemptuously, “If Gengulphus can perform miracles, then so can my ar**!” Immediately, and on every Friday thereafter, whenever she tried to speak, she would fart instead.

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