Saints and Holy People

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Saint Edmund the Martyr (c. 841–870)

Saint Edmund the Martyr (c. 841–870)

Patron saint of various kings, pandemics, torture victims, and wolves; also of the Roman Catholic diocese of East Anglia in England and the English county of Suffolk; also of Douai Abbey in Toulouse, France

Feast day: November 20

Saint Edmund the Martyr was the king of Norfolk and Suffolk in England in the ninth century. Exact details about his life are fuzzy. It is known that Edmund defended his people against Danish invaders and was killed when the Danes prevailed. Some legends say that he was beheaded and died calling out to Jesus, and others say that he was shot with arrows and beheaded because of his refusal to sign a treaty that would harm his people and his faith.

According to one legend, his head was thrown into the forest and was found safe by searchers who followed the cries of a wolf who kept calling out in Latin, “Hic, hic, hic” (Here, here, here). Then the wolf vanished into the forest. A town emerged around Saint Edmund’s shrine and is called Bury St. Edmund’s. The shrine itself was destroyed during the Protestant Reformation in England.  

(Image Richard Avery, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)