June 23, August 1 (Boston's North End)
Saint of the day:
Saint Agrippina of Mineo
Patron Saint of Mineo; invoked against evil spirits, leprosy, thunderstorms, bacteriadiseases, and bacterial infections
The Story of Saint Agrippina of Mineo
Her legend states that she was a blonde princess born of a noble Roman family, and that she was martyred during the reign of Roman Emperors Valerian. She was either beheaded or scourged.
Her body was said to have been taken to Mineo, Sicily, by three devout Christian women named Bassa, Paula, and Agatonica. Her tomb became a popular pilgrimage destination, and she was invoked as a patron saint against evil spirits, leprosy, and thunderstorm.
Agrippina was venerated in Greece, as it was claimed that her relics were translated from Sicily to Constantinople. Her feast day is no longer celebrated in the Catholic Church, however it is celebrated in the Orthodox Church on June 23.
There are two Catholic Churches named after Saint Agrippina. One church called Church of Saint Agrippina is located in Mineo and the other church Chapel of Saint Agrippina di Mineo is located in Boston. Immigrants from Mineo to Boston's North End have celebrated their patron saint for over 100 years on the first week of August.
HYMN OF PRAISE: SAINT AGRIPPINA By St. Nikolai Velimirovich
Agrippina, purer than the lily, Of God's Son, the betrothed,
Her soul, brighter than a flame And her faith, firmer than a rock.
To the Lord she prayed, while being flogged,
Chanted psalms while enduring the wounds,
Forgiving everyone and blessing all,
As a pillar of blood, stood before judgment.
When her bones were crushed
An angel descended, the wounds healed!
But when new sufferings were imposed,
Agrippina's strength gave out,
To God, Agrippina gave her spirit,
The soul departed, the body remained.
The holy relics of St. Agrippina Are the defense of the land of Sicily,
Medicine to the misfortunate and to the sick
And a protection from the battlesome hoards.
By the prayers of Saint Agrippina
May many miseries pass us by.
Boston's North End
Sant’Agrippina di Mineo was a beautiful blonde princess who was unmercifully tortured to death by the emporor Valerian in 256 a.d. After her death, her body was taken from Rome to Mineo by three holy women: Bassa, Paula, and Agotonica. Sant’Agrippina is the patron saint of thunderstorms, leprosy and evil spirits. The story of the journey of the martyred body of St. Agrippina from Rome to Mineo was full of miraculous events. The fragrance that accompanied the body of St. Agrippina wherever it went, the veneration of the sailors and the farmers, the light weight of the reliquary so that the three women could carry it, the quickness of the voyage from Rome to Sicily, the miraculous cloud that covered the girls and transported them and the relics at certain times of danger in the journey, the angels that protected them from harm, the devils that were defeated and swept out at the sight of the sacred relics and the miracle of Teogonia, are all signs that it was the will of God that Agrippina should be the Saint of this blessed city. The relics of St. Agrippina arrived in Mineo on Wednesday, May 17th, 261.
We are celebrating with an Italian recipe because our Saint is the Patron Saint of Mineo.
Crostata di Pesca
A crostata is simply an Italian free-form pie or tart, typically filled with a fruit jam or fresh fruit.
I like to make them for their ease in preparation, (doesn’t even require a pie pan), as well as their rustic look.
For a quick and very easy dessert, you could even use a refrigerated pie dough.
When peaches are in season, we head to our favorite peach orchard, for a day of picking and eating before returning home to make a crostata or two.
You could also substitute nectarines, plums or any other soft stone fruit for the peaches.
Crostatas are a nice addition to breakfast, a welcome companion to your afternoon coffee or tea and especially tasty for dessert with a scoop of vanilla gelato.
Crostata di Pesca
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
4-5 tablespoons cold water
3 large peaches, sliced
8 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoon flour
1 egg beaten (for egg wash)
2 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces
extra sugar for sprinkling on dough (optional)
To prepare the pastry: In a medium-size bowl, stir flour and salt together, cut in shortening with pastry blender (or 2 knives) until they are the size of peas.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water at a time over flour mixture, stirring with a fork until all is moistened. Form into a ball.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough, transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet (if you’re using a refrigerated pie dough, place directly on parchment-lined baking sheet.
In another bowl, gently mix peaches, sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit you may wish to adjust the sugar more or less) and flour together.
Pour the fruit mixture into the center of the pastry round, leaving about 2-3 inches around the edge. Add bits of butter on top of the fruit
Fold the dough up and over the fruit.
Brush the dough with the beaten egg, sprinkle the dough with sugar.
Bake at 400* 30 minutes or until the peaches are bubbling and the crostata is golden brown.
Makes four generous servings or 6-8 polite ones.