BY MICHAEL McGIRR
There are patron saints for everything from hats (St Barbara, who was beheaded) to shoes (St Crispin, who was also beheaded). What about the unofficial patrons?
St Ambrose (340–397) is unofficial patron of those who won’t be bullied.
Milan has had some enlivening archbishops, not least the recently deceased Cardinal Carlo Martini, a man with a gift for reaching out to people beyond the immediate neighbourhood of the church.
In the fourth century, St Ambrose held the same position and had some of the same gifts. He made a mark on many people, not least St Augustine whom he baptised. Ambrose had the advantage of a background in law, following which he became a provincial governor in Northern Italy. So there was no denying that he knew how the world, or rather that mysterious thing called ‘the system’, operated; he understood the use and abuse of power. Ambrose is one of the few people to have been elected a bishop before he was even baptised.
Saints Alive (Michael McGirr / Madonna)