History of St. Expedit
SAINT EXPEDIT is revered as the patron saint of people seeking swift solutions to their problems and those who want to overcome procrastination, avoid delays, attain financial success, resolve legal matters, eviction, and love issues. He is also a popular patron among shopkeepers, sailors, and those with ADHD. His feast day is celebrated on April 19th.
In artistic depictions, SAINT EXPEDIT is portrayed as a youthful centurion holding a cross inscribed with the Latin word "HODIE," meaning "today." He stands atop a crow, which symbolizes procrastination and bears the Latin word "CRAS," or "tomorrow," on a ribbon emanating from its beak. Through this imagery, Saint Expedit represents the importance of seizing opportunities in the present moment and avoiding procrastination.
SAINT EXPEDIT'S name is derived from the Latin word "expeditus," which means "unencumbered" or "unhindered." According to legend, he was a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity and was martyred for his faith in the early fourth century. He was said to have been decapitated for refusing to renounce his belief in Jesus Christ.
SAINT EXPEDIT is often associated with the idea of "carpe diem," or seizing the day, and his image was used as a mnemonic device to encourage pagan converts to embrace Christianity without delay. In this context, the crow represents the temptation to put off important decisions until tomorrow, and SAINT EXPEDIT'S defeat of the bird symbolizes the importance of taking action in the present moment.
In addition to being the patron saint of procrastination, SAINT EXPEDIT is also revered as a protector of sailors and shopkeepers. Sailors would pray to him for safe voyages and successful returns, while shopkeepers would ask for his help in increasing their profits.
Overall, SAINT EXPEDIT is a beloved figure in many cultures and is revered for his ability to provide swift solutions to problems and encourage people to live in the present moment.
In Germanic countries, SAINT EXPEDIT is often represented by a clock, while in the rest of the world, particularly in more recent depictions, he is depicted holding a cross inscribed with the word "hodie" (meaning "today") in his hand. One popular legend surrounding the saint recounts the moment when he decided to embrace Christianity. According to the legend, the Devil assumed the form of a crow (or a snake in some versions) and urged Expedit to postpone his conversion until the following day. However, Expedit swiftly stomped on the bird, slaying it, and defiantly declared, "I'll be a Christian today!"
SAINT EXPEDIT'S birthplace is believed to be in what is now modern-day Armenia, and he was martyred in Malatya, Turkey. Immediately after his death, numerous miracles were attributed to his intercession, contributing to the spread of his veneration. His devotion gained popularity throughout Asia Minor, Northern Europe, and Spain during the Middle Ages. He is honored and venerated by both the Western (Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox) branches of Christianity. Interestingly, people from various religious backgrounds have embraced his patronage, seeking his assistance in desperate situations, making him one of the saints most widely invoked after St. JUDE & St. JOSEPH.
Since information about SAINT EXPEDIT is found solely in martyrologies, obtaining precise details about his life is challenging. He is portrayed as a soldier, and the name "Expeditus" derives from Latin, meaning a soldier without a heavy marching pack, symbolizing a soldier equipped for swift action. It is believed that Saint Expedit, rather than being a mythical figure, was a real person who may have been born under a different name. Although his actual birth name may not be known, his devout life and martyrdom to Jesus Christ led to his veneration as a soldier saint. The absence of knowledge regarding his birth name does not diminish the significance of his martyrdom or the virtue associated with his life.
In artistic representations, SAINT EXPEDIT is depicted as a soldier standing triumphantly over a crow bearing the inscription "cras" (meaning "tomorrow"). This visual imagery symbolizes his victory over procrastination and the emphasis on embracing the present moment rather than delaying important decisions or actions.
*One of the treasures of New Orleans the original Statue of St. Expedit, now resides at Our Lady of Guadelupe Church
Today, SAINT EXPEDIT enjoys significant popularity in various regions, including France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Asia Minor, throughout the Caribbean, and across Latin America. In different cultural contexts, he is known by various names, such as EXPEDITUS, EXPEDIT, EXPEDITE, ESPEDITO, SPEDITO, and HODIE. In the United States, SAINT EXPEDIT holds a special place of reverence in New Orleans, where his veneration was introduced from France, alongside other prominent Latinx communities. An amusing anecdote recounts the arrival of Saint Expedit in New Orleans. According to the story, as the Ursuline Sisters were preparing their convent chapel, they had sent a request to France for a large and beautiful statue of Notre Dame Secourre (Our Lady of Help). After several months, a ship arrived bearing two crates instead of the expected one. The sisters eagerly opened the first crate, which contained the statue of the Blessed Mother that they had commissioned. Curiosity then turned to the second crate, which bore the single word "EXPEDITE" on its exterior. Unaware of its true meaning, the sisters opened it to discover a statue of a Roman centurion. In their simple ignorance, they misinterpreted the word "EXPEDIT" as a command to expedite the shipment. Later, Pere Antoine, the Vicar of New Orleans, confirmed that the statue was indeed that of SAINT EXPEDIT and recognized the unexpected arrival as a miraculous event. Consequently, the veneration of SAINT EXPEDIT was blessed, considering that the good sisters had never commissioned his image. This humorous tale highlights the mysterious and unexpected circumstances surrounding the introduction of SAINT EXPEDIT'S veneration in New Orleans, adding to the unique cultural tapestry of the city.
Here we see a "votio" (a votive history) of honoring St. EXPEDIT.
In the context of honoring SAINT EXPEDIT, a votive history emerges, showcasing various notable events and interventions associated with the saint. One such event depicted is the miraculous arrival of SAINT EXPEDIT and his acceptance by the Ursuline Sisters. The bishop at the time, Bishop Leo de Neckere, bestowed his blessing upon the saint, followed by a formal procession to St. Louis Cathedral.
The votive history also portrays scenes of SAINT EXPEDIT'S miraculous intervention during the yellow-fever outbreak of 1833. The saint's intercession was believed to have played a role in the survival of individuals amidst this devastating epidemic. Additionally, there is a depiction of people invoking Saint Expedit for protection during a hurricane, and the saint's aid being credited with their safety.
Furthermore, the votive history includes an account of a man's release from prison after seeking Saint Expedit's favor. It highlights the belief in the saint's ability to bring about positive outcomes in desperate situations.
Saint Expedit's fame resonated across the Bayou Country, particularly capturing the devotion and reverence of the Cajun and Creole people in the South. He remains to this day one of the most beloved saints among these communities.
In the Atchafalaya Swamp and throughout Acadiana, practitioners known as "Traitures" or Cajun healers, invoke Saint Expedit for assistance in healing the sick and resolving conflicts. The saint is regarded as a powerful intercessor in their healing practices and plays a significant role in their spiritual beliefs and rituals.
Numerous community halls and shrines dedicated to SAINT EXPEDIT have been erected, exemplified by the one shown in (*Figure 1) located in Independence, Louisiana. These spaces serve as gathering places for individuals to express their devotion to the saint and seek his intercession.
Within the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana, Saint Expedit is venerated alongside Saint Jude, both being considered the most cherished and sought-after saints in desperate cases. An interior photo from the 1920s, depicted in (*Figure 2), showcases the presence of SAINT EXPEDIT's veneration within the cathedral, emphasizing his significance in the religious life of the community.
During the early 1800s, New Orleans held the distinction of being the largest trading port in America. Alongside the trading of cotton, sugarcane, and other goods, the city also played a significant role in the slave trade. The African slave trade commenced in 1710 under Spanish rule, and its presence and impact were intertwined with the historical context of New Orleans during that era.
During the period when slaves were brought to New Orleans from Africa, they carried their own faith and religious customs with them despite being in bondage. Similar to Native Americans, these African slaves were prohibited, under the threat of death, from practicing their own religion or speaking their native languages by their "good Christian" masters. In an effort to preserve their cultural heritage in secret, the slaves blended their traditional beliefs with Catholicism, giving rise to syncretism.
Syncretism refers to the amalgamation of different and sometimes seemingly contradictory beliefs, often through the integration of practices from various cultures. It involves merging and analogizing previously separate traditions, particularly within the theology and mythology of religion. Syncretism aims to assert an underlying unity and embraces an inclusive approach towards other faiths. Throughout its history, the Roman Catholic Church, spanning over two thousand years, has incorporated or tolerated practices labeled as "pagan" in local areas to facilitate conversion. For instance, the celebration of Christmas on December 25th, which aligns with preexisting winter solstice festivals, is a prime example of this syncretic blending.
It is important to note that such syncretism represents a dynamic and complex interplay of cultures and religious practices. It reflects the human tendency to adapt and incorporate elements from different traditions, resulting in the creation of unique belief systems that reflect the experiences and resilience of marginalized communities.
**Here we see a lovely painting of St. Expedit
painted by a slave in the early 1820's in
Over time, SAINT EXPEDIT acquired different names and took on additional meanings within various spiritual traditions. In the practice of "Louisiana Voodoo," he was either recognized as Saint Expedit himself or symbolized Baron Samedi, a spirit associated with death or an aspect of the spirit of death.
In "Haitian Vodou," the image of SAINT EXPEDIT is utilized to represent Baron Lakwa, a spirit connected to death, cemeteries, and sexuality. Furthermore, in the African-American magical tradition of "Hoodoo," adherents often invoke Saint Expedit and offer him a glass of water, a bunch of flowers, and a pound cake. This practice is also observed by Christian believers. Within Hoodoo, the saint's image is employed in gambling charms and rituals believed to bring curses upon others. Notably, the 4/6 domino tile holds particular veneration in this tradition.
Regardless of one's faith or beliefs, SAINT EXPEDIT is honored and revered among various religious groups, including all forms of Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and numerous Protestant denominations. Additionally, practitioners of "Louisiana Voodoo," "Haitian Voodoo," "Hoodoo," "Root Magic," "Candomble," and "Santeria" also hold reverence for SAINT EXPEDIT.
Beloved by millions, SAINT EXPEDIT is invoked daily by devoted followers who seek his swift assistance and guidance throughout the year, regardless of religious affiliation or spiritual practice.
"SAINT EXPEDIT OUR PATRON, PRAY FOR US..."
Seen in (*Figure 3) is A Voodoo Altar to ST.EXPEDIT seen here has offerings of Wine, Bourbon, Water , Flowers and a Gift wrapped in satin with a Crucifix on top . (*Figure 4) is the VEVE of ST. EXPEDIT used in"Louisiana Voodoo" to call upon him seeking his favor.
For those who have unwavering faith in the intercession of SAINT EXPEDIT, expressing profound gratitude towards their beloved patron is a significant aspect of their devotion. Some individuals take extraordinary measures to "thank" SAINT EXPEDIT for his assistance and blessings. It is not uncommon for them to incorporate his image or name into the very businesses that have thrived and received his aid.
This act of incorporating SAINT EXPEDIT'S image or name into their enterprises is seen as a gesture of acknowledgment and gratitude for the prosperity and help bestowed upon them. It serves as a visible and tangible expression of their deep appreciation for the saint's benevolence and intervention.
By integrating SAINT EXPEDIT'S presence into their businesses, these individuals aim to honor him and continue to seek his ongoing favor and support. This practice showcases the profound impact and gratitude that believers attribute to the saint, going beyond mere words and gestures to actively incorporate his presence into their daily lives and livelihoods.
May SAINT EXPEDIT'S guidance and blessings continue to bring comfort, strength, and swift solutions to those who seek his intercession, fostering hope and prosperity in their lives.