Monday, December 29, 2014

Welcome to the World of St. Expedite


Welcome to a world of wordplay, puns, mystery, and legends, from the year 303 to the present, from Italy to France, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the Philippines and finally, New Orleans, Louisiana. Welcome to the cult of devotion for the Minute Saint, whose past obscurity is replaced in special circles with near celebrity. Welcome to the world of St. Expedite.
     
He’s on the fringe of Catholicism, the “black sheep” of the saintly family; though, not through any fault of his own. Even as he is accused of being a novelty, a joke, and a mistake, even as he has suffered decanonization by the pope and decapitation by tempestuous followers, St. Expedite continues to work his miracles with expediency, unlike any other saint. He is loyal to his devotees and they are loyal to him. He dispenses faith, hope and charity along with prosperity, work, and justice all in one tight little bundle, wherever and however you need it. And, he will help near about anyone. Catholics, nonCatholics, pagans, rootworkers, Haitian Vodouisants and New Orleans Voudouists—really, anyone who petitions him with a sincere heart and the promise of a piece of pound cake (Sara Lee, preferably), he will come to their aid. Just be sure to let the world know how great he is when he comes through for you—that’s about the only caveat.

When I first set out to write this book, I had no idea it would be as long as it is. One hundred and forty pages or so may not seem like a lot; but, for a saint who is best known for how little is known about him, it shows what a little digging can do. This book does not end my quest for learning all there is to know about this saint, however. That said, this book is the first and only book about St. Expedite that combines all the common knowledge with the uncommon knowledge, along with some of the mysteries of his presence in New Orleans Voudou, his relationship to Mardi Gras, Baron Samedi, and sorcery. I include an examination of entries about him in the Hyatt texts, as well as practical conjures of my own. All of the prayers you will ever need are contained within these pages—some of them are common Catholic prayers while others are prayers I have written using familiar Catholic format and verbiage. In short, this book contains everything a person needs to know about St. Expedite and how to serve him as a patron saint by anyone who cares to do so.
     
I looked high and low to find information on St. Expedite for this book. My thought is that everyone has a history, we just need to look until we find it. The task proved to be greater than I realized because there truly isn't a lot written about him, at least not in English. The French sure love this guy, however. Don’t dare attempt to tell them he is some sort of hoax. Because when the French endear themselves to someone as much as they do St. Expedite, trying to relegate him to status of urban legend in the presence of a die hard French devotee will leave you feeling like un parfait imbécile (a complete idiot)!
     
But, it’s not just the French who love St. Expedite. He is loved around the world and New Orleans is no exception. He is considered the patron saint of New Orleans by many, and the patron saint of New Orleans Voudou by many more. Where he is shunned by Roman Catholics, he is embraced by New Orleans Voudouists. He has a healthy following of those who appreciate folk Catholicism and a growing following of rootworkers. Despite being kicked off of the official martyrologies, downplayed on the Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel website, ignored by devout Catholics and made fun of by Catholic priests, his cult of devotion remains strong. Try as they might, this saint’s not going anywhere—fast.
     
So, grab yourself a cup of coffee and chicory, or a glass of sweet tea if you prefer, put on something comfy and enjoy this labor of love I have created in perpetual homage to the Minute Saint. Glory be to St. Espidee!



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