Oh when The Saints
Go marchin’ in
Oh when the Saints go marchin’ in
I want to be there in that Number
When the Saints go marchin’ in.
Well, that’s the version I know anyway–apologies to all of you from New Orleans who might know something different. But since this is November 1, and in my tradition it’s All Saints Day, I thought I’d combine Muse Day, with a few lyrics and even a little garden lore to talk about one of our garden saints, St. Fiacre.
I acquired my statue at the Philadelphia Flower Show back in the mid-90s. He’s cast of some sort of metal so he stays out all year round–you can even see the chew marks on him where some critter or other thought he might he edible–go figure.
Why I chose to drag him around the Philly Flower Show with me I’m not sure because he’s no lightweight, but we’d taken the train in from NJ (I was with my parents) and when we went back to the station to take it home, there were a bunch of less than savory characters in the underground station. My parents were reluctant to go down there and I finally persuaded them by saying if we had to we’d use Fiacre as a weapon! Needless to say, we did not need to.
Fiacre’s story is in interesting one. You can tell if you have the right statute (you often find statutes of St. Francis, for example) by the onions he’s holding.
Fiacre was supposedly an Irishman who sailed to France. When he landed at Meaux, he went to the bishop, Faro, and asked for a little land where he could live in solitude and pray. Faro told him he could have as much land as he could clear in a day. Reports vary on how much he cleared, but it was supposedly acres and acres that he cleared by using the point of his staff.
One of the reasons Fiacre left Ireland for France was that his reputation as an herbal healer in Ireland was becoming so well known that he couldn’t get any time to pray–that was why he sought solitude in France.
As for his associations with onions, I’ve not been able to pin that down–but perhaps he’s holding garlic to ward off visitors!