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Saint Expedite

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Saint Expedite was a Roman centurion; he wears a soldier's uniform, holds the cross, and steps upon a black crow
Saint Expedite was a Roman centurion; he wears a soldier's uniform, holds the cross, and steps upon a black crow
Saint Expedite (a.k.a. Saint Expeditus or Saint Espedee) is the patron saint of those who need help in a hurry, whether for money, love, healing, or to put a speedy end to a court case. He is usually petitioned by lighting a red candle, often on a Wednesday. Spiritual practitioners and conjure doctors in Louisiana and elsewhere say that if he grants your request, you must reward him or he will carry away a member of your family in payment for his help. Whether or not you subscribe to this belief, its good form to show your appreciation if he comes through for you. The usual offerings made to Saint Expedite in thanks for petitions answered, are a slice of pound cake and some flowers; you may also publicly thank him and thus spread his fame. His feast day is April 19.

Little is known about the life of this saint, but he is said to have been a Roman soldier, martyred in the 4th century during the reign of Diocletian. A martyred Expeditus is mentioned in the 5th century "Martyrologium Hieronymianum", a book of martyrs attributed to the authorship of Saint Jerome, and paintings of him exist in Europe which date from the 18th century. Since the 1990s, Expedite's fame as been spread as the saint of procrastinators and computer programmers. There are many untrue stories about his origins, some claiming that his statue arrived unexpectedly at this or that church, monastery, or convent, the location and date varying, depending on the source. Supposedly when the statue of the previously unknown saint was unpacked, he was named "Expedite" because that word was stamped on the box. This is patently untrue, not least because clergy, monks, and nuns are generally highly educated and can read several languages; in actuality, he has long enjoyed a following around the Mediterranean, especially in Portugal, Spain, and Italy.

Saint Expedite's iconography usually includes Latin puns which associate him with accomplishing goals today (in Latin, "hodie") and not waiting until tomorrow (in Latin, "cras"); thus he is often shown holding a crucifix inscribed "hodie" and standing on a black crow from whose mouth issues a banner reading "cras."

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