No, this isn’t a local celebration of Melania Trump’s impending ascension to a throne in The White House.
It was part of the kick-off ceremony a few weeks ago of the St. Martin’s Day celebration in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, honoring the only Saint that matters.
Some may find that to be an exaggeration, but as patrons go –especially to not particularly religious folk like me– St. Martin of Tours does look after a motley, gracious and endearing crew: the world’s winemakers and its poor, soldiers and beggars, conscientious objectors and tailors. November 11, his feast day, is always a big event here in Slovenia, and among Slovenians living abroad; my hunch is that it’s primarily because of the wine connection.
And while on the topic of Saints named Martin, another whom I just stumbled upon bears mention, St. Martin de Porres, the patron of those that are mixed race, those who are barbers, public health workers and innkeepers. Another intrepid quartet. A shame I didn’t know about him when traveling in Peru three years ago.
According to Catholic Online, Martin de Porres was born in the Peruvian capital Lima on December 9, 1579, the illegitimate son of a Spanish noble and a freed slave from Panama, “of African or possibly Native American descent”. Abandoned by his father at a young age, he was raised in brutal poverty. After just two years of formal study in primary school, the bio continues, “Martin was placed with a barber/surgeon where he would learn to cut hair and the medical arts.” (Are there still any barber/surgeons around these days?)
By law, descendants of African or native groups were barred from becoming full members of religious orders. After eight years of volunteer service at a local monastery, a prior made a rare exception and allowed Martin to take his vows. He spent the last 25 years of his life working in an infirmary. It’s said that be begged for alms daily and managed to feed 160 people a day from the offerings. He died in 1639. Three hundred twenty-three years later he was canonized by Pope John XXIII.
Does anyone know how many people John XXIII fed every day?
Another photo from the morning procession below.
Today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,060th straight, was snapped in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 12 November 2016.