Sunday, February 28, 2016

Saintly forebear

It seems I am somewhat distantly related to St. Arnulf (also St. Arnold), patron saint of brewers. I think he was my 44th (?) great-grandfather, a bishop of Metz, one who happened to have been married and had issue -- through whom Charlemagne eventually came along and so on, down through various DeBlois, DeVenable and Venable ancestors to a Wood and through the Woods to Great-Grandfather James Dodd we go.

At any rate, one of the legends about St. Arnulf/Arnold has to do with the transfer of his bones from an abbey where he was buried back to his former cathedral. 
It was July 642 and very hot when the parishioners of Metz went to Remiremont to recover the remains of their former bishop. They had little to drink and the terrain was inhospitable. At the point when the exhausted procession was about to leave Champigneulles, one of the parishioners, Duc Notto, prayed “By his powerful intercession the Blessed Arnold will bring us what we lack.” Immediately the small remnant of beer at the bottom of a pot multiplied in such amounts that the pilgrims' thirst was quenched and they had enough to enjoy the next evening when they arrived in Metz.
I do not believe I had ever heard of, much less tasted, Houston's Saint Arnold Beer. The microbrewery was founded in 1994. These days I drink neither beer nor liquor nor even wine for my stomach's sake, choosing to be guided by my doctors more than by St. Paul and the advertising industry. But I am amused to learn that if I am related to a holy man, it was one who thought his people should enjoy a good beer!

There is another St. Arnold, this one "of Soissons" who is also patron of brewers. The same legend, alas, is told of him as well. Nonetheless, the Arnold of the microbrewery in the Lone Star State is my alleged ancestor.

4 comments:

Ur-spo said...

I like this notion of having a saint in the family tree, especially one of this ilk,

Michael Dodd said...

I hope that their beer is "no rubbish."

Michael Dodd said...

Ur-spo,
If we are related through Charlemagne, then I suppose you are also related to St. Arnold.

Mitchell is Moving said...

So wonderful to have a beer saint in your ancestry. And I'm so glad the Dodds came through the woods... I mean, Woods.