St. Julian the Hospitaller
Feast date: Feb 12
St. Julian the Hospitaller, or “the Poor Man,” came from a wealthy, noble family in the early 4th century and is a popular saint in Western Europe.
According to a legend, while Julian was a baby, he was cursed to one-day kill his own parents. His father wanted him killed, but his mother kept him alive. When he was old enough to learn of the curse, he left his family to preserve their safety.
While he was hunting, his mother and father made an unexpected visit to his castle. His wife gave them one of the best rooms. He received a vision from the devil that his wife was in his bed with another man, and he returned home to kill whoever was in his bed. When Julian returned from his hunt and saw the two figures in bed, he assumed it was his wife with a lover. In a jealous rage, Julian killed his mother and father.
Julian was so horrified upon learning the truth that he swore to devote the remainder of his life to good works. He and his wife then undertook a pilgrimage to a distant country where he established a hospital.
The hospital was near a river that was frequently crossed by people prompted to travel by the Holy Crusades. People frequently drowned crossing this river so Julian took responsibility of ferrying travelers across and tending to the sick.
One night, the devil vandalized his house, and blaming it on those he helped, Julian said that he would never house anyone else ever again. God showed up at his door, asking for help, and he denied Him. After recognizing him, he retracted his statement and decided to help all those who needed it once again.
One night, thieves came into their hospital and killed Julian and his wife in the same way Julian had killed his mother and father.
“There were great miracles without end in that place and land,” recounts the legend. “So many that, as it pleased God, their bodies were brought to Brioude (France).”
St. Julian is considered the patron of ferrymen, innkeepers and circus performers.