Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Ice Saints ~ Mamertus, Pancras and Gervais

But it's not really about the May-frost, is it?

Having a last look through the 2016 Farmers Almanac I came across a paragraph titled: The Chilly Saints: Mamertus, Pancras and Gervais, whose 15th century feast days fell respectively on May 11, 12 and 13. And since these days could still experience late crop-damaging frosts, the holy saints were popularly regarded as the Chilly Saints or the Ice Saints

But I'd venture if we were to talk with the holy three they'd reveal a much greater interest in the transformation of icy or chilly hearts than protecting corn seedlings from the night frost. "Melt the frozen; warm the chill" we pray on the Feast of Pentecost. The Christian religion isn't about the weather, but about the transformation of hearts. We've cultivated all kinds of ways to keep Christ at arms length. 

One self-aware and honest wife shared, "I have a husband who asks nothing of me except an ironed shirt, and I grumble under my breath about that." Oh holy Mamertus, warm us!

At the end of Mass one Sunday, returning up the center aisle to the sacristy after having greeted the folks at the door, a man stepped out  of the pews blocking my way and said angrily, "I am SO sick and tired of hearing about THEM!" "Who's them?" I asked. "The poor," he snapped back. I'd no recollection of having said a word about the poor in the homily and even checked my text to find what I might have said to set off such an inner ice storm. Nothing - that I could see anyway. Oh Holy Pancras, melt us!

Two sisters lived one floor apart in a city walk-up apartment. The sister on the third floor had taken a bad fall at work some years earlier and was on disability. Eventually she died and on the night of her funeral, the sister who lived on the second floor announced to her own gathered and grown children, "Well, at least I won't have to be running up her milk and mail anymore." Oh Holy Gervais, thaw us!


  1. This is a much more meaningful approach to the chilly saints than jist thinking about crops and frost. Warming, melting and thawing. We can all use some of that in our lives.

  2. We might try to remember their lovely names and invoke them when we hear or see things revealing cold hearts. "Holy Mamertus, Pancras and Gervais, pray for us."

  3. We could all use a thaw more often than not. I will try and remember to invoke these saints' names whenever I feel my frozen heart in need of a Spring warming, even if it is the dead of winter inside and out. Thank you for your posts here as I see there are many different insights offered that will turn me in new directions.

  4. There you have it! - the word metanoia - church-speak for "get a new direction." And Lent begins sooner than later and finding a "new direction" is what it's all about. Watching a Sunday show this morning in which there was discussion about the rise of nationalism and anti-semitism in Europe and our own country. Makes me wonder if we've learned anything. Holy Ice Saints, pray for us!