Falco's Patron Saints

I finally decided on Falco's full name: Falco Demetrio Luigi Maria Peregrini. (Complete character profile here.) Much like Rudolph Valentino, he has a lot of names, some given by family tradition, others by his mother's fancy (i.e., mine!).
His name, even before he became an Italian seminarian of the 1920's, has always been Falco or Falk, or a variation thereof. This is my own pure fancy - originally he was invented as the companion of a character with the name Wolf, in a Nordic fantasy setting. Falcon and wolf make a handsome and symbolic pair! (See also, Volkov the anarchist: here and here.)

There are several half-mythical Falcos in the Patron Saint Index that I usually consult on these matters. The only verified saint is Saint Falco of Maastricht, whose feast day is February 20th. Spelled "Falko", the name is of Old High German origin and is still in use in Germany and Austria. It means "falcon", obviously... I've chosen the name not because Falco has anything to do with Maastricht (although I remember having some very intense visual experiences while browsing a photobook about the city as a small child), but because the falcon has great spiritual significance in the poetry of both W.B. Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins, as a double symbol of the soul in search for God - and Christ himself.

The next name, Demetrio, points to the east. I wanted Falco to have a Byzantine connection, and I like the name Demetrius (or Dmitri) because it is derived from "Demeter", the ancient Grecian mother goddess. It is actually more common in the south of Italy, where the Greek city-states maintained colonies for centuries. Saint Demetrius of Sermium, a.k.a. Great Martyr Demetrius the Myrrh-Streamer, is revered in the Eastern church. He was a soldier and a deacon (like Falco) and was martyred in the persecutions of Emperor Maximian, 306 AD in what is today Serbia. His relics were said to emit holy oil. He is a patron saint of crusaders and a protector against evil spirits. The details of his life can only be guessed from the pages of the fabulous Golden Legend.

Luigi Maria just sounds nice together. I checked the Patron Saint Index for both "Luigi Maria" and "Louis Marie", and found two inspiring men of the 19th and the 18th century, good role models for an aspiring priest. Falco is still trying to discern his true vocation. There is so little time and so much to do - what kind of mission does God want him to focus on? The layman Luigi Maria Monti (1825-1900), beatified as recently as 2003, found his vocation in active charity. He was born in a poor family in northern Italy and worked as a craftsman while also organizing prayer groups. His greatest work was in the field of nursing and medicine. He founded a congregation with the purpose of providing health care for sick and poor people, especially victims of epidemics.

Saint Louis Marie de Monfort (1673-1716) was canonized in 1947, so he was also not officially venerated during Falco's early years. However, his devotion to Mary was very influential. His vocation focused on spiritual development. He wrote an interesting guide on Marian devotion that I'd like to recommend here, although he warned that it should only be shared with people "who deserve to know it because they are prayerful, give alms to the poor, do penance, suffer persecution, are unworldly, and work seriously for the salvation of souls". You have been warned!

The Secret of Mary - by Louis Marie de Monfort

Disclaimer: I'm not Catholic or Christian myself, but I try to remain faithful to the time period and cultural mindset that I depict. These are all my own interpretations, however.

1 comment:

Tinet said...

Heh ... Does this mean I can call Falco Luigi if I like?