Saints, Feast, Family
- Traditions passed down with Cooking, Crafting, & Caring -
Saint of the day:
Saint Felix of Nola
Patron Saint of Nola, Italy, spiders, and the keepers of spiders
Saint Felix of Nola Story
It was in the 3rd century, in the midst of Emperor Decius’ terrible persecution of Catholics, that a breathless priest, all alone, was hurriedly fleeing for his life. It was St. Felix, an Italian by birth, who had already once been caught and imprisoned by the pagan Romans. Heaven had miraculously freed him from his past dungeon, so that he could rescue his exiled bishop from dying of cold and hunger.
After some time though, his enemies learnt of St. Felix’ whereabouts. And now, furious at his past escape, the Roman soldiers were in close pursuit of the holy priest. They were determined to capture, torture and even kill the Saint if he should once again refuse to renounce his Catholic Faith.
And so St. Felix, barely keeping ahead of the soldiers, hurried around a corner of an old ruined wall. He was out of sight - for the moment. He knew his persecutors were not far behind. With a desperate prayer in his heart, the priest continued to run. As he rushed past a crumbled wall, St. Felix suddenly saw there was a hollow place among the stones. Following an instinctive inspiration, he quickly hid in it.
Quietly, he made his way back as far as he could in that space within the broken wall. Then he turned around. He could no longer see the open hole, nor the path outside. St. Felix put a hand over his racing heart. God’s will be done. With Heaven’s help, he was ready to face death. But if Heaven willed it, he knew They could save him now.
His fervent prayers were soon interrupted by the sound of the approaching soldiers. The Saint listened with bated breath as the heavy footfalls hurried alongside the wall. He waited and hoped to hear them pass by completely. But they stopped. Right outside the wall’s large hole. St. Felix could hear them talk amongst themselves
"That wretched priest! What a miserable chase."
"Which way did he go?" one of them asked aloud, catching his own breath.
"He turned off this way, I know that." The other mumbled. "He’s not too far ahead."
"Yeah, let’s hurry or we’ll lose him."
The Saint almost sighed with relief. It sounded like they were about to move on, when one of the soldiers suddenly cried out:
"Wait! This hole here."
St. Felix stiffened.
The soldier pointed it out to the others. "It’s a perfect hiding place!"
The poor Saint shut his eyes -
"What are you talking about, you fool?" One of the men corrected loudly. "Don’t you see that huge spider’s web? It’s covering the whole thing."
St. Felix’s eyes opened in curiosity. A spider’s web? There was nothing at all on the hole when he entered. Yet, as he listened intently to the soldiers, the Saint realized with intense gratitude what had happened. No sooner had St. Felix first crawled through the opening than a spider had appeared from the cracks in the wall and gracefully spun a web over the entrance to his hiding-place.
"Come on. Nobody’s been in there. They would have broken the thread." added another soldier. "Let’s go! we’re wasting time. That wretch is getting away!"
With that, the men continued on their chase, leaving behind a beautifully formed spider web and a very relieved and grateful Felix, who was eventually able to continue in his flight until he reached a place of safety where he remained until the persecution of the Catholics was over.
St. Paulinus, who had a great love for St. Felix, wisely reflected that: "When God helps us, a spider's web becomes a protecting wall; and without His help, a wall is no more protection than a spider's web.
The tomb of St. Felix in the Basilica di San Felix in Cimitile
Spider Web Tostadas!
A tostada is a crunchy fried tortilla that is topped with any Mexican topping or ingredient you like!
I love making tostadas because there are no wrong ingredients to put on top.
1/2 - 1 cup vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
3-4 cups refried beans
Warm beans by putting them into a small pot and stirring on low-medium heat until cooked through (or make our creamy refried beans).
Heat oil in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Fry tortillas until golden on both sides.
Place tortillas on a paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
When ready to serve top with beans, cheese and other toppings.