When praying to a patron saint to relieve the effects of poison, it is Benedict that you should direct put your faith into. In this article, you will learn why the saint is associated with poisoning, as well as the significance of Saint Apollonia.
Benedict was a member of Roman nobility and the twin brother of Saint Scholastica. He studied in Rome, Italy, but grew unhappy with the lack of discipline and lax attitude of his fellow peers. Benedict decided to move to the mountain and live as a hermit in a cave for three years. He reportedly survived by receiving food from a raven. His virtuous example moved an abbey to request him to become their leader.
Benedict founded a monastery at Monte Cassino, where he penned the Rule of his order. He was so into his discipline that a group of monks tried to take his life by poisoning him, but he blessed the cup and the liquid became harmless. He returned to his cave, but followers still came to see him. In time, he established 12 monasteries.
Benedict was equipped with the ability to read consciences, the gift of prophesy, and could anticipate attacks of the Devil. At one point, more than 40,000 monasteries followed the Benedictine Rule, which taught others to ‘pray and work.’
Benedict died of a fever while he was prayer at Monte Cassino, Italy. He was laid to rest beneath the high altar in the same tomb as his sister, Saint Scholastica. The saint was also the patron saint against fever, gall stones, kidney disease, inflammatory conditions, and witchcraft. He was associated with coppersmiths, dying people, farmers, monks, school children, and people in religious orders. When depicted, Benedict is seen with a broken cup, bell, broken utensil, or raven. Sometimes, a man is shown in a Benedictine cowl that is holding Benedict’s rule or a rod of discipline.
Although she was not the only one, Apollonia is a saint associated with toothaches. Apollonia was caught up in an anti-Christian uprising in Alexandria, Egypt. She was a consecrated virgin and deaconess, who was seized by a mob because they identified her as a leader among the local Christians. They broke her teeth with pincers and gave her the choice to renounce Christ or face being burned alive. She leaped onto the fire on her own.
In addition to being the patron saint of toothaches, she was also against tooth disease and for dentists. The representation of Apollonia is seen as a gilded tooth, pincers grabbing a tooth, tooth with a palm branch, and pincers. Sometimes, a deaconess holding a set of pincers and holding a tooth is used to represent the saint. Other times, she may appear as a woman wearing a golden tooth on a chain.