By Fr. Kevin Magner
On my calendar I have a memo that today is the feast day of St. Expeditus, a saint you may have never heard about. And that’s okay because he may not have ever existed.
My introduction to St. Expeditus was many years ago during a camping trip to the BWCA. After just one day in the woods, I was not feeling well and needed to leave. Thankfully, my Polish friend, Fr. Maciek, agreed to paddle out with me. However, we had been working with a canoe outfitter from Ely who had dropped us off at a launching site about 20 miles out of town and was not expected to pick us up for another week. As we were paddling back Fr. Maciek suggested we pray to St. Expeditus to make things work out for us.
According to what you read and/or believe on the internet, St. Expeditus may have been a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity and was then martyred during the Diocletian persecution in 303 AD.
Another story is that St. Expeditus was “invented” by mistake when a shipment of a saint’s statue was sent to a group of nuns in New Orleans. There was no information to identify the saint other than the word “expedite” on the shipping crate. The nuns assumed this was the name of the saint and his cult developed after that. However, there is a similar tale told that involves an order of nuns in Paris. In either case, the story sounds like the stuff of legend.
All I know is that Fr. Maciek and I prayed to St. Expeditus for a quick solution to our situation. We arrived at the canoe launching site after several hours of paddling. I had a mobile phone in my pack but cellular coverage in the North Woods is spotty, at best. However, after climbing a hill, Fr. Maciek was able to get a cellular signal. We called the outfitter, who picked us up 30 minutes later and delivered us back to civilization.
And that is the reason why I keep the feast day of St. Expeditus marked on my calendar each year.
Have a blessed week!