Was there a real Saint Honoré?

Yes there was. To most people outside France he’s known as St. Honoratus of Amiens. He’s the patron saint of bakers and confectioners (also florists, millers, candle makers, chandlers and oil refiners). For those of you who didn’t grow up Catholic and don’t know what patron saints are, they’re the people you call on when you need someone to intervene on something small, something you wouldn’t want to pester The Big Guy with. Like when you’re putting a soufflé in the oven and company is due. St. Honoratus, pray for me. Sorta like that.

St. Honoratus lived in extreme northern France in the Sixth Century. There isn’t much written on him that’s reliable, but it’s said that he was born into a noble family around the year 550 and that he was devout, shy and humble from boyhood. In fact he was so shy and humble that he repeatedly refused to be ordained bishop of Amiens.

Of course he eventually relented, shocking everyone in town. Legend has it that when his former nursemaid was told the news, she stood back from the oven she was working at the time and declared: “I’ll believe that the day my peel turns into a blackberry tree!” With that she stuck the end of the peel into the ground and — wait for it — it immediately sprouted roots and branches, and burst into both flower and fruit. The legend states that from then on Catholic pilgrims venerated the tree, which lived for 900 years.

Now that’s good saint lore!

4 thoughts on “Was there a real Saint Honoré?”

  1. I’m guessing it will probably help some of your readers to explain that “peel” in this case is a corruption of the French “pelle”, meaning a shovel or, in this case, a baker’s paddle.
    Otherwise I’m afraid some will visualize a length of unfurled orange peel somehow being stuck into the ground. 🙂

    1. Oh, I dunno, I have a pretty intelligent readership!

      Thanks for the clarification, Jim!

  2. My fathers name is Honore, and I was just looking to see where my name came from. Needless to say, I am completely “HONORED” to see that I come from such a noble background. Did any of my ancesters serve in the france parliment.

    1. His namesake is sacred among bakers, James! Glad to be of help!


      – Joe

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