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Catholic Activity: June 8: Feast of Saint Medard



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This excerpt from Feast Day Cookbook gives the origins of St. Médard and instructions on how to make rose potpourri. The cult of Médard has been traditionally observed on this day, as mentioned in the Roman Martyrology.


Should Saint Médard's day be wet It will rain for forty yet; At least until Saint Barnabas The summer sun won't favor us,
is a saying in France, and particularly in Picardy where Saint Médard was born in Merovingian times. He was bishop of Noyon and a great missionary who worked for the conversion of the Franks. When Queen Radegunde left her murderer-husband, King Clotaire, she fled to Medard for refuge and was clothed by him in the religious habit.

The stories of how he became a "weather saint" are many and varied. One day, says the legend, Saint Médard gave away one of his father's finest colts to a poor peasant who had lost his horse. Immediately after this took place there was a torrential rain, and everyone was soaked to the skin except the generous youth. "It is Saint Médard watering his colts," say the French farmers when the June rains come and help up their work. Later, when he was a bishop, Saint Médard was known for his kindness to the farming people and especially to the poor among them.

He set aside the income from twelve acres of his own land to be given to the most virtuous girl of his diocese, and it was he who started the "feast of the rose queen." For many centuries in French churches a crown of roses was placed upon the head of the girl who had most edified the parish. The custom of crowning the rose queen still exists in some of the working districts in the suburbs of Paris, but the feast has become a secular one and takes place in the local salle des fêtes with the mayor and civil officials in attendance.

Activity Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951