Happy St. Dunstan’s Day! May 19 is our patron saint’s day of remembrance on the church calendar. During the 10th century, Dunstan served as the abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, the bishop of Worcester and London, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is credited with restoring monastic life in England and was considered a reformer of the church. Dunstan was also a blacksmith, and there are many legends about his dealings with the devil, including the one below. Our wrought iron candlesticks are a nod to him. Today he is considered the patron saint of blacksmiths, locksmiths, jewelers, goldsmiths and bell ringers.
Remember that this Sunday we are honoring our high school and college grads with a cookout after the service. Bring a side dish to share. It should be a fun day.
This Sunday is also the last week of our program year schedule. Beginning May 28 we will move to one service at 10 a.m.
The service leaflet for Sunday is attached.
Hope to see you then!
St. Dunstan was a very quiet and humble hermit who worked at his anvil and played the harp.
But one night, there was the sound of howling outside Dunstan’s hut. The Devil had come by. Always wanting to play some mischief, the Devil began howling discordantly out-of-tune with the lovely harp music.
Well, so it chanced, this tramping vagrant
Intent on villanies most flagrant
Ranged by Saint Dunstan’s gate;
And hearing music so delicious
Like hooded snake, his spleen malicious
Swelled up with envious hate
What happened next? There are many versions of St Dunstan’s story. One is that,
St Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pull’d the devil by the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more.
In another version, the Devil comes to the hut as a woman, but Dunstan sees his cloven hooves beneath the dress he wears.
In the version illustrated here, the Devil sees Dunstan shoe a lame horse and make him sound. Then, Dunstan notices that the Devil is limping on one of his cloven hooves. He offers to make a shoe to help the Devil, too. The Devil envisions a satin slipper, but instead, Dunstan nails a red hot horseshoe very tightly onto the split hoof.
The Devil screamed and begged him to take it off. But Dunstan was in no hurry to do that.
Dunstan’s solution was to make the Devil promise that he would always respect the symbol of the horseshoe and never enter a building that is protected by the sign of a shoe.
Then do not fail, great architect
Assembled wisdom to protect
From Satan’s visitation
With horse-shoe fortify each gate
Each lion’s paw; and then the State
Is safe from ruination
To this day, people still hang horseshoes over the doors of their buildings and still tell the story of Saint Dunstan. Especially today, May 19, St Dunstan’s Day around the world.
Maybe we should hang a horseshoe over our doors.