Friday, September 20, 2013

St. Eustace, patron saint of Jägermeister, ora pro nobis!

According to legend, prior to his conversion to Christianity, Eustace was a Roman general named Placidus, who served the emperor Trajan. While hunting a stag in Tivoli near Rome, Placidus saw a vision of a crucifix lodged between the stag's antlers. He was immediately converted, had himself and his family baptized, and changed his name to Eustace.

A series of calamities followed to test his faith: his wealth was stolen; his servants died of a plague; when the family took a sea-voyage, the ship's captain kidnapped Eustace's wife Theopista; and as Eustace crossed a river with his two sons Agapius and Theopistus, the children were taken away by a wolf and a lion. Like Job, Eustace lamented but did not lose his faith.

He was then quickly restored to his former prestige and reunited with his family; but when he demonstrated his new faith by refusing to make a pagan sacrifice, the emperor, Hadrian, condemned Eustace, his wife, and his sons to be roasted to death inside a bronze statue of a bull or an ox, in the year AD 118.

Eustace became known as a patron saint of hunters and firefighters, and also of anyone facing adversity; he was traditionally included among the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

The saint's cross-and-stag symbol is featured on bottles of Jägermeister. This is related to his status as patron of hunters; jägermeisters were senior foresters and gamekeepers in the German civil service at the time of the drink's introduction in 1935.

I in fact had some last evening, not because of the vigil, but because I have a nasty cold. Seriously, I'm convinced the stuff could cure leprosy.


  1. I doubt I can get a cold - drinking vodka for Russia takes care of that.

  2. I hope you don't forget about St. Hubertus on November 3...I mean, he is still in the Roman Calendar, unlike our friend mentioned above. And me thinks Jaeger stems more from St. Hubertus than St. Eustace. Either way, I think it's beautiful that we are able to honor both saints, one kicking off the bow season in WI and the other being celebrated during the rut.

    1. Agree! I had always thought the stag with cross was a symbol of Saint Hubert. I believe the window above the entrance to the old Saint Hubert's Church in Hubertus depicted the stag with cross.

  3. Someone once gave me a bottle of Jagermeister as a present. Upon trying it, I pronounced it: cough medicine!

    Despite repeated attempts to develop a taste for it, I was unsuccessful.

    However, one of my son’s fraternity brothers was more than happy to take it off my hands…

    1. According to the Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, and Song; Europeans really do use it as cough medicine, or a cure all remedy. I don't mind the taste, but it really does work for what ales ya.

    2. It must be the European in me, BC…!

      However in Ireland back in the day the ‘cure-all’ was a ‘hot whiskey’ – a shot of whiskey, hot water, honey, cloves or sugar.

      Of course whiskey was probably more readily available there than Jagermeister…

    3. I believe my Irish grandmother used to warm up either whiskey or brandy as the cure all. Folks had to use something before Tylenol.


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