History of St. Expedit
Saint Expedit is the patron of those who hope for rapid solutions to problems, who wish to avoid or put an end to delays, and who want general financial success. His aid is also sought by those who wish to overcome procrastination, lawsuits, eviction, unhexing, love matters, shop-keepers, and sailors.
His feast day is April 19th. Expedit is typically depicted as a young centurion holding aloft a cross marked HODIE ("today" in Latin) and squashing a crow beneath his right foot. Out of the dying crow's mouth issues a word-ribbon, CRAS ("tomorrow" in Latin). Thus Expedite destroys a vague tomorrow in favor of a definite today.
There is a cute pun in what the crow says: CRAS CRAS CRAS is how Romans imitated the sound of crows (in English, this is CAW CAW CAW), thus crows and ravens are said to always be croaking about "tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow." Expedit, by stomping the crow, destroys the vice of procrastination (pro-CRAS-tination means putting things off until tomorrow).
When Latin was a common language, Saint Expedit saw service as a mnemonic aid in adjuring people to convert to Christianity. Priests indicated the image of the saint with his cross and crow to warn pagans not to put off until tomorrow the religious conversion that could be accomplished today, because they might not live until tomorrow and thus would die unsaved.
In Germanic countries, the saint indicates a clock, whereas in the rest of the world (especially in recent representations) he has a cross with the writing "hodie" ("today") in his hand. The most popular legend surrounding the saint says that the day when he decided to become a Christian, the Devil took the form of a crow (a snake in some versions of the legend) and told him to defer his conversion until the next day, but Expeditus stamped on the bird and killed it, declaring, "I'll be a Christian today!" Born in modern Armenian, he was killed in what is now Malatya, Turkey. Miracles attested to his help are recorded immediately after his death. And his devotion can be traced and is widely recorded in throughout Asia Minor into Northern Europe and Spain by the Middle Ages. He is venerated by both the Western (Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox) sects of Christianity and has been adopted by people from every faith covenant on earth; after St. Jude and St. Joseph is acknowledged for help in desperate cases.
Information concerning Saint Expedit can be found only in martyrologies, so precise details about his existence cannot be obtained. He is portrayed as a soldier "Expeditus" is Latin for a soldier without marching pack, i.e. a soldier with light equipment, this saint, rather than being a myth, can be thought as an actual living person born of other name. He was a soldier, but his saintly devotion and martyrdom led to veneration and devotion by virtue of his "profession" – a soldier saint. He was a soldier first but one who became a saint by martyrdom to Jesus Christ. That he may not be venerated by his actual birth name does not in any way diminish the virtue of his martyrdom. with a crow with the writing "cras" ("tomorrow") underfoot.
*One of the treasures of New Orleans the original Statue of St. Expedit, now resides at Our Lady of Guadelupe Church
Today , Saint Expedit is best known in France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Asia Minor, throughout the Caribbean and all of Latin America. Culturally, he is called, EXPEDITUS, EXPEDIT, EXPEDITE, ESPEDITO, SPEDITO and HODIE.
In the United States, he is greatly revered in New Orleans, whence he came by way of France.
There is a humorous tale about the arrival of Saint Expedit in New Orleans: The story goes that in outfitting the convent chapel, the Ursuline Sisters sent off to France for a large and beautiful statue of the Notre Dame Secourre, and many months later, by ship, they received TWO crates instead of one. They opened the first and it contained the statue of The Blessed Mother, which they had commissioned, and then they turned to the unexpected second crate, which only bore the legend EXPEDITE on the outside. This they opened, to find the statue of a Roman centurion. In their simple ignorance, they mistook the -- EXPEDIT, meaning, "expedite this shipment". Pere Antoine the Vicar of New Orleans, later confirmed it was in fact St. Expedit and gave blessing to his veneration as a miracle, since the good sisters never commissioned his image.
Here we see a "votio" (a votive history) of honoring St. Expedit. His miraculous arrival, his acceptance of the Ursuline Sisters, his blessing by the Bishop Leo de Neckere and formal procession to St. Louis Cathedral. Other scenes depict miraculous intervention during the yellow-fever out brake of the 1833. Survival from a hurricane where St. Expedit was invoked for safety and the release from prison a man who asked his favor.
St. Expedit's fame spread all across the Bayou Country, and he became (and still is) one of the favorite saints among the Cajun people of South.
In the Atchafalaya Swamp,and across Acadiana "Traitures" or Cajun "healers", invoke St. Expedit to assist them in healing the sick and resolving conflict.
Many community halls or shrines have been erected like this one seen in (*Figure 1)
from Independence, Louisiana.
Seen in (*Figure 2) is a 1920's interior photo at St.Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana. St. Expedit is venerated along with St. Jude as the two of the most beloved and sought after saints of desperate cases.
In the early 1800's, New Orleans was the biggest trade port in America. Along with all the cotton, sugarcane and other goods shipped in and out of port, was the slave trade. The African slave trade began in 1710 with the Spanish.
During this time slaves coming to New Orleans from Africa, brought their own faith and religious customs with them in their bondage. Like Native Americans, the African slaves were not allowed under pain of death from their "good christian" masters; to practice their religion or speak their native language. Seeking to preserve their heritage in secret, the slaves mixed their faiths with that of Catholicism and Sycretism was born.
Syncretism is the combining of different (often seemingly contradictory) beliefs, often while melding practices of various cultures. Syncretism involves the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths. For over two thousand years, the Roman Catholic church has incorporated or tolerated so-called pagan rituals into local area's to advance conversion. No one really thinks Jesus of Nazareth was born on December 25h; a primary example.
**Here we see a lovely painting of St. Expedit
painted by a slave in the early 1820's in
Within a short period of time, St. Expedit had other names and meanings. To those who practice "Louisiana Voodoo", he was either known as himself or know as the saint often represents Baron Samedi, the spirit of death or an aspect of the spirit of death.
In "Haitian Vodou" the image of St Expedit is used to represent Baron Lakwa a spirit associated with death, cemeteries, and sex.
The saint is also often invoked in the African-American magical tradition of "Hoodoo", where it is customary to make an offering to him of a glass of water, a bunch of flowers and a pound cake; this is also practiced amoung Christian believers. In this tradition his image is used in gambling charms and rituals believed to bring down curses on others. Adherents especially venerate the 4/6 domino tile. Whatever your faith covenant or beliefs, the way you see St. Expedit as either a 3rd Century Christian Martyr or an African Spirit; St. Expedit is honored among all forms of Catholicism, every form of Orthodox Christianity, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and various Protestant Denominations along with practioniers of "Louisiana Voodoo", "Haitian Voodoo", "Hoodoo","Root Magic", "Candomble" and "Santeria".
Beloved by millions, who daily ask their beloved patron for fast help and guidance 365 days a year.
"..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.
Regardless of the practice, those who have faith in St. Expedit's intercession go to great lengths of gratitude to "thank" their saintly beloved friend and benefactor. Some go as far as incorporating or using his image or name in the very businesses He has prospered and helped.