Did you know that aside form wine that is usually present during Mass, monasteries also shared beers with churches as a gift?
Brewed by monks for centuries, beer has always been connected to Catholicism. Since the old traditions, it has been part of Eucharistic celebrations that bring joy and serve as one of the blessings from God. Even saints drink and brew beer, which earned them the honor of being the patron saints of beer.
For those Catholics who may not be that familiar with the patron saints of beer, read on! (Read: 3 German Staples to Celebrate Pope Benedict XVI’s Birthday)
Patron saint of beer: St. Augustine of Hippo
Living a licentious life in the early century, St. Augustine has a passionate love for alcohol! His conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions, made him the patron saint of brewers. It became an inspiration to many who struggle with an alcohol-related vice or bad habit that they wanted to break. St. Augustine is theologian, philosopher, and the bishop of Hippo Regius in Numidia, Roman North Africa. In Roman Catholicism, he is formally recognized as a doctor of the church.
Patron saint of beer: St. Arnold of Soissons
Also known as Arnulf of Metz, St. Arnold is the patron saint of brewers and hop-pickers. In medieval times, beer served as an essential because many places did not have access to clean drinking water. St. Arnold brewed beer for local peasants to drink, calling it a “gift of health” due to its very low alcohol content. He miraculously replenished beer and made it safer to drink to quench the thirst of travelers during their journey. Legends also said that he encouraged people to drink beer instead of contaminated water during an outbreak, which saved many lives. (Read: Get to know the patron saint of magicians!)
Patron saint of beer: St. Nicholas of Myra
Among the patron saints of beer is St. Nicholas, who is associated with brewing as he prayed to God to protect travelers and brewers. He is also the patron saint of sailors, children, merchants, pirates, archers, firefighters, repentant thieves, and prostitutes. As per ancient tradition, St. Nicholas has performed many miracles during his lifetime, and his penchant for secret gift-giving to children is most likely how he came to be known as modern Santa Claus.
Patron saint of beer: St. Brigid of Kildare
St. Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland is a patron saint of dairymaids, cattle, midwives, infants, and brewers because of her passion for beer. According to ancient tradition, she worked in a leper colony, where she turned water into a beer by the “sheer strength of her blessing and dealt it out to the thirsty in plenty.” It was considered one of her miracles related to healing and household tasks that helped the poor and women. St. Brigid also provided enough beer for 18 churches from a single barrel. (Read: 5 Reasons Why St. Clare Should Be One of Your Favorite Saints!)
Patron saint of beer: St. Wenceslaus of Bohemia
St. Wenceslaus is the patron saint of Czech brewers. It is said that he helped spread Christianity and outlawed the export of Bohemian hops in Czechoslovakia. He was eventually assassinated by his brother, which led to his martyrdom. The Czech people revered him and his dedicated protection of their native hops. Since Czechoslovakia is famous for beers, St. Wenceslaus was posthumously declared as the patron saint of brewers.