Today in the anti-infidel edition of Weekend Obscure Saint Blogging, we’ve got a crusading saint. The Crusades are one of those things I’m always meaning to learn more about–partly, because when I heard about them for the first time (as a kid, from the Disney version of Robin Hood) I thought they sounded great. Then I grew up and actually learned something about them, and realized that not only did they excuse mass killings, they were kind of dumb.
Anyway, Adjutor. There aren’t a ton of sources about him online, which is the way I like it–the better to speculate wildly. He was born in Vernon, in the Normandy region of France, around 1070 CE and educated by a bishop since he was some sort of nobility.
In 1095, he decided it was a good idea to take 200 men and truck off to the Crusades, which were happening over in Turkey, after the Byzantine Emperor had asked the Pope for some help with the Muslims. Near Antioch, his 200 troops were surrounded by a force of 1,500 infidels and faced certain death. Applying a solution common to the saints discussed here, he prayed to St. Madeleine (the French name for Mary Magdalene), who sent a huge storm that scared the enemies off, and then Adjutor’s men charged, killing more than 1,000.
He fought for seventeen more years without incident that I can find. One webpage I found says he was fighting the Moors in Spain, not in Turkey, which would also kind of make sense. I mean, Spain’s a lot closer, and they were also in the throes of Christianizing or kicking out the non-Christian people. I’ll never know, though.
Eventually Adjutor was thrown in Muslim jail and bound with chains. His peacefulness and piety annoyed the jailers, so they put more chains on him and threw him in a deeper dungeon. There he prayed to Madeleine again, this time offering her some of his land in France for her convent if she helped him out. She showed up along with St. Bernard, and the two of them airlifted him, chains and all, back to Vernon overnight. Like UPS, but holier.
Back in Normandy he settled down into a holy life, giving Madeleine the land he’s promised and hanging out with bishops. Since his land was right on the Seine, he took it upon himself to fix some rapids that occurred naturally in the river: he and Bishop Hugues set out in a tiny boat, and while the bishop prayed he threw holy water and his chains into the river, which miraculously calmed.
One webpage I found did say he turned back the flames at the Siege of Vernon by prayer, destroying the enemy, but that same webpage says he died 1131, and Wikipedia says the Siege of Vernon by Louis VII happened in 1153. So that would be super miraculous.
St. Adjutor is the patron saint of dockworkers, yachting, swimmers, and generally anyone who does stuff on boats. Go sailing without a life vest on April 30th; you’ll be fine!
St. Adjutor’s Life Realities (flimsily translated from French)