St. Expedite

26 05 2011

More on the saint via the Lonely Goth blog:

“In the same family, you can find a Chinese Taoist, an Indian Muslim, a metropolitan Catholic, an African witch doctor and a Tamil Hindu,” I was told by a Tamil Catholic priest. “It all makes a lot of work for the priesthood: we are continually having to explain to our parishioners what is and is not Christianity.”…

In 1931 a box of sacred relics arrived from the Vatican. Somewhere in transit the label detailing the saint’s name had been lost, and the only indication as to its contents was a stamp on the side reading, in Italian, “ESPEDITO” (expedited). So began the cult of St Expedit, whose popularity grew year by year, until what had started as a clerical error ended with St Expedit becoming Réunion’s unofficial patron saint, a saint whose unwritten biography has come to crystallise the most profound hopes and fears of the island’s multiple ethnicities.

There are now about 350 shrines on Réunion dedicated to St Expedit. They sit beside every road junction, crown every hilltop, lie deep in the bottom of the island’s wildest ravines.

The local Catholic Church has given the saint the trappings of an early Christian martyr, with a silver breastplate and a red tunic. Hindus treat St Expedit as an unofficial incarnation of Vishnu; those wanting children come to his shrine and tie saffron cloths to the grilles.

More exotic still, some of the island’s sorcerers have given the cult a slightly sinister aspect by decapitating the saint’s image, either to neutralise his power or to use the head in their own incantations. According to Loulou, the sorcerer at Ilet des Trois Salazes had a small oratory in which he kept several heads of St Expedit.

“He used them to cast spells,” said Loulou. “We were all terrified of him: everyone believed he had very strong powers. But in the end the people kicked him out because he began to demand bribes not to cast spells on us all.”

“Weren’t you frightened that he would take revenge on you?”

“We took precautions,” replied Loulou. “We used stronger magic. We sent someone to the grave of La Sitarane in Saint-Pierre. It is the most powerful grave on the island. With La Sitarane on your side, no one can harm you at all.”


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15 responses

28 01 2013
Dominic

People in Reunion are all considered Creoles (white, black, Hindu,etc.). According to Christian Ghassarian, the government and the church worked together to promote Catholicism among the Indian population which led to a state of syncretism. Where Hindus were baptised yet kept their own traditional beliefs (rit malbar).

11 09 2012
Anonymous

Thank you, Saint Expedite, you have helped me so much, and with problems that I thought were huge. I just want you to know that I really appreciate your help. Thank you!!

6 05 2012
Anonymous

Thank you Saint Expedite.
I am very blessed that I have find you….
I am so thankful that you have helped me with the exams I needed to finish in short time. You are awesome….Love and Light
Many Blessings, L

26 03 2012
CVela

I want to propagate the name of the most beautiful St Expedite. I prayed to him, and swiftly, he came through for me. I will continue to praise him and lavish beautiful things upon him so that all my requests and desires are satisfied. I praise the name of the glorious martyr who answers prayers with haste!

Thank you, Saint Expedite, for your immediate assistance and intercession- I am in complete awe over your rapid response and aide. I am humbled by your exactness and timeliness to meet my goals. You did not fail me and you did not leave my side during this time.

Thank you, Saint Expedite.
I praise your generosity and your swift action.
I called on you and you kindly heeded my prayers.
You cared not that I wavered, but you still assisted me.
I will spread your name and word of your good works.

Thank you, Saint Expedite.
I am truly blessed and I recommend anyone who is need of immediate assistance to call on Saint Expedite for his delivery is true and his promise is complete.

18 03 2012
Claudia

Thank you for your immediate assistance and intercession- I am in complete awe over your rapid response and aide. Please continue to help with my petition. Many thanks, Saint Expedite!

23 12 2011
Donald

Actually, the story of the discovery of a box of unknown relics is what is the “urban legend.” It, the same discovery-error, supposedly happened in Paris, then in New Orleans, then in 1931 on the Island of Reunion: same thing, a package arrives with the word expedite on it, and some dumb nun supposedly starts a cultus of a “Saint” Expeditus. The truth is that St. Expeditus (Expedite), has been listed in Catholic martyrologies since the 5th century, A.D. He was an Armenian soldier in the Roman army who converted to Christ, PROFESSED that faith openly, and was killed for it. That’s ALL we know about him historically, period. No more, no less. One thing that IS known: he quickly and POWERFULLY answers requests for his prayers to Christ for our most pressing spiritual and TEMPORAL (financial and other) needs, no matter how small or large. Although like all Saints in heaven, he is merciful beyond the ability of words to describe, I truly think he is, as a Christian, hurt and offended by people equating him with elemental spirits and invoking him in magic and other pagan rituals, and especially by some people’s habits of equating him with the pagan god Mercury and doing superstitious things like offering him glasses of water and pound cake to eat. The “resurrection of the body” has not yet taken place. He, a saint in heaven, still remains a disembodied soul, albeit one with GREAT influence before the Throne of God and Christ. But he DOES NOT have a physical body any longer, and offering him pound cake thus has no spiritually-reasonable basis. It is superstition. He doesn’t need pound cake. Use the $6.00 you spend on a Sara Lee pound cake for St. Expeditus and donate it to a homeless shelter or a children’s charity or a food-for-the-poor program instead, and offer it to them IN HONOR of St. Expeditus. DON’T waste good money on a pound cake for someone who doesn’t need it at all. Love to all of you.

5 11 2011
Kim

Thank you, St. Expedite, for all the help you have given us in the past, and continue to give us. I bless your presence in our lives, and offer you my gratitude and praise.

18 10 2011
Anonymous

thank you st expedite for opening the door and helping me

29 05 2011
cantueso

I knew this story from a poem by Christian Morgenstern, and I thought he had invented it. It is in a bilingual edition of some of Morgenstern’s poetry, and I have not found anything online.

“To a convent full of nuns
Kindly people, pious ones,

Used to send what they might need
Via Rome, and more indeed:

Apples, pears, and cakes, and socks,
Little bells, a music box

Aprons, shoes, a garden chair ….
And trhe case was marked “With Care”

Or: “No Hooks!” or “This Side Up!”
Or, in black paint, showed a cup.

But on every case the word
“Expedito” (sic) recurred.

Now, the pious ones, not knowing
Unto whom their thanks were owing

For the sender was unknown
Could pro tem thank HIM alone.

[omit]

Of a sudden Sister Pia
Cried one morning: “Santa mia!

To no Christian and no Jew
These surprising chests are due —

Expeditus, ah, dear me,
Is his name. A Saint is he!”

And the poem goes on about how the nuns got the Saint’s portrait painted and how the cult spread.
.
.

27 05 2011
sortacatholic

Thanks Arturo for the background. A few days ago I found St. Expedite votive candles at the supermarket. I had no idea who he was.

The votive section of my supermarket now has a lamp for John Paul II. Boy, talk about a fast growing devotional cult.

26 05 2011
E

Sorry tech failure on my part, this is the link I wanted to post:

http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=/&gl=US#/watch?v=BtqGTn7PCBw

26 05 2011
E

In my atheist opinion computer programmers need a saint that will provide them a moral compass, this saint can help save souls in Japan as well:

http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=/&gl=US#/watch?v=zc0s358b3Ys

26 05 2011
James Kabala

This story can be marked down as a Catholic urban legend. Other versions take place in Paris or New Orleans and are set long before 1931. The most coherent account appeared in Wired Magazine, of all places:

http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2004/11/65184

26 05 2011
lonelygoth

Thank you for reposting this. It’s more likely to get readers here! 🙂

26 05 2011
Visibilium

I’m a St. Expeditus fan. Hodie!

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