Saints, Feast, Family
- Traditions passed down with Cooking, Crafting, & Caring -
Saint of the day:
Patron Saint of bombardiers, chaplains, locksmiths, porters, tailors, and surgeons.
Invoked against coughs, sneezes, and dropsy
Saint Quentin's Story
Saint Quentin was also known as Quintinus. According to legend, he was a Roman, went to Gaul as a missionary with St. Lucian of Beauvais, and settled at Amiens in Picardy. He was so successful in preaching that he was imprisoned by prefect Rictiovarus, tortured, and then brought to Augusta Veromanduorum (Saint-Quentin), where he was again tortured and then was beheaded. His feast day is October 31st.
Saint Quentin was a Roman, descended from a senatorial family. Full of zeal for the kingdom of Jesus Christ, he left his country and went into Gaul, accompanied by eleven other apostles sent from Rome. They separated to extend their campaign of evangelization to the various regions of France. Saint Quentin remained at Amiens and endeavored by his prayers and labors to make that region part of Our Lord's inheritance. By the force of his words and works he preluded the glory of his martyrdom. He gave sight to the blind, vigor to paralytics, hearing to the deaf, and agility to the infirm, in the name of Our Lord, simply by the sign of the Cross. At all hours of the day he invoked his God in fervent supplications.
But this apostolate could not escape the notice of Rictiovarus, the Roman prosecutor who at that time represented Maximian Herculeus in Gaul. Saint Quentin was seized at Amiens, thrown into prison, and loaded with chains. Rictiovarus asked him: How does it happen that you, of such high nobility and the son of so distinguished a father, have given yourself up to so superstitious a religion, a folly, and that you adore an unfortunate man crucified by other men? Saint Quentin replied: It is sovereign nobility to adore the Creator of heaven and earth, and to obey willingly His divine commandments. What you call folly is supreme wisdom. What is there that is wiser than to recognize the unique true God, and to reject with disdain the counterfeits, which are mute, false and deceiving?
When the holy preacher was found to be invulnerable to either promises or threats, the prosecutor condemned him to the most barbarous torture. He was stretched on the rack and flogged. He prayed for strength, for the honor and glory of the name of God, forever blessed. He was returned to the prison when the executioners who were striking him fell over backwards, and told Rictiovarus they were unable to stand up, and could scarcely speak. An Angel released the prisoner during the night, telling him to go and preach in the city, and that the persecutor would soon fall before the justice of God. His sermon, a commented paraphrase of the Apostles' Creed, has been conserved. To his profession of faith in the Holy Trinity, he added that Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom he adored, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, health to the sick and even life to the dead. At His voice, the lame leaped up and ran, paralytics walked, and water was changed into wine... He has promised to be forever with those who hope in Him, and He never abandons those who place their hope in Him; by His omnipotence He delivers them, whenever it pleases Him, from all their tribulations. His guardians discovered that he had disappeared, though all doors were barred, and found him in the city preaching. They were converted by the prodigy. But Rictiovarus was furious and said to them: You, too, have become magicians?
Brought back before the tribunal as a sorcerer, Saint Quentin said: If by persevering in my faith, I am put to death by you, I will not cease to live in Jesus Christ; this is my hope, I maintain it with confidence. He was again placed on the rack and beaten, and tortured with other demoniacal means; his flesh pierced with two iron wires from the shoulders to the thighs, and iron nails were thrust into his fingers, his skull and body. Finally, this glorious martyr was decapitated, after praying and saying: O Lord Jesus, God of God, Light of Light..., for love of whom I have given up my body to all the torments... ah! I implore Thee, in Thy holy mercy, receive my spirit and soul, which I offer Thee with all the ardor of my desires. Do not abandon me, O most kind King, most clement King, who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever! His death occurred on October 31, 287.
His body was twice buried secretly, and twice it was rediscovered miraculously — in the years 338 and 641, first by Saint Eusebie of Rome, on a marshy island, where it had remained intact; later near the city of Augusta, by Saint Eloi. Saint Quentin remains in great honor in France above all, where more than fifty-two churches and as many localities were, at the beginning of the 20th century, dedicated to his memory; he is honored also in Belgium and in Italy. Charlemagne and the kings of France have gone to venerate the relics of Saint Quentin.
Art: Francesco MARMITTA The Virgin and Child with Saint Benedict and Saint Quentin and the two angels
Saint-Quentin, Aisne, France
The word ‘Toussaint’ is an abbreviation of ‘Tous les saints’ and the day originated as a catholic festival to honour saints, those both known and unknown. The festival is actually centuries old, beginning around the 4th century when the Syrian Church dedicated a day to the celebration of martyr saints. However, traditions have evolved over the years. Initially the Catholics used to remember their deceased relatives on the 2nd of November. Thus they made a distinction between Toussaint (All Saints Day) and “ La Commémoration des fidèles défunts” (All Souls Day). But for families that don’t follow the Catholic tradition, the 1st has become the day of remembrance.
The chrysanthemum has also developed an inextricable link with this holiday. It is the flower of choice to lay by graves, but how exactly it came to be is unsure. One theory is that it carried over from the first anniversary after the end of the First World War, when the French Government asked the citizens to put flowers on graves to commemorate the deceased soldiers. Chrysanthemums have a long flowering period and aren’t specific to a time of year so they may have been chosen. Another theory is that chrysanthemums were chosen because of their meaning. In the language of flowers, chrysanthemums signify love and long life.
This Toussaint is particularly significant because it also marks the centenary of the Armistice of the First World War. While we remember our friends and families that have passed away, we should also cast our thoughts further back, to the lives that the war took away.
There are two stories about how the name came about. The first is that they were made by a baker to console a little girl who was crying at her grandmother's tomb. The second is that they were made by monks to comfort orphans. Either way, the name niflette is said to be derived from the Latin "ne flete," meaning, "don't weep." They are traditional in the Ile de France area, particularly the medieval town of Provins. They have been eaten in the area since the Middle Ages.
For about twenty niflettes :
1 box puff pastry
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 ounce cornstarch
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of an orange or a few drops of orange oil
For the browning:
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of water
Make the filling (pudding):
Beat the yolks with the sugar until very light.
Add the flour and cornstarch to the yolk mixture.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, vanilla pod & zest of an orange to a boil slowly
Add the yolk mixture while beating until smooth.
Over low heat, cook until thickened, stirring all the time.
Remove from heat and add the rum, orange zest and vanilla.
Note: If you can not find cornstarch use a few tablespoons of semolina flour until the milk mixture has thickened. It does not take much. The semolina flour is easier to work with than the corn starch but the corn starch will have a smoother finish. Keep the pudding "soft" but not too soft, it should be where you can still pipe the filling into the puff pastry. Add the semolina flour at step 5 if using instead of the cornstarch.
Cutting and baking the puff pastry
Take the puff pastry and roll it out. Using a cookie cutter, cut circles of puff pastry 7 cm in diameter.
Place the circles of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Prick each disk with a fork.
In a ramekin, mix an egg yolk with a teaspoon of water. Cover the edges of each circle with the egg wash.
Fill a pastry bag with pastry cream and fill each circle. If you don't have a piping bag you can use a tablespoon for example.
Garnish with pastry cream and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C. Cook between 15 and 18 minutes, rotating heat.
Tip : Stack the puff pastry on top of each other sealed with a little soft butter to build a tall niflette.