Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blessed are the medical record librarians

Isn’t it curious that here in the UK we’ve adopted patron saints that are not native? Only St David of Wales seems to have actually come from the place he represents. The others come from all over the place:

  • St Andrew (Scotland) came from Israel;
  • St George (England) came from Turkey (and, incidentally, never once set foot on British soil);
  • St Patrick (Ireland) was an Englishman; and
  • St Piran (Cornwall) was Irish.*

There’s a saint for just about any activity or job you care to think of. Here are some of my favourites:

  • St Basil the Great – Patron saint of hospital administrators.
  • St Clare of Assisi – of television.
  • St Fiacre – of taxi-drivers, venereal disease sufferers, horticulturists and haemorrhoid sufferers.
  • St Rene Goupil – of anaesthesiologists.
  • St Isidore of Sevilla – of computer programming.
  • St Januarius – of blood banks.
  • St Joseph the Betrothed – of fighting Communism.
  • St Martha – of dieticians.
  • St Peter the Apostle – of fishmongers, clockmakers and virgins (and many others. Also called upon to tackle snake bites, rabies and demonic possession).
  • St Raymond of Penyafort – of medical record librarians.

Who decides these things? And how can someone who died in 1253AD be patron saint of television?

*Yes I know that, technically, the patron saint of Cornwall is St Michael ... but he was foisted upon the Cornish by the English. The Cornish prefer instead to celebrate the life of the man who - as legend would have it - discovered tin. The Cornish flag is known as the flag of St Piran and shows a white cross on a black background, representing the shining white metal against the black rock.

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