Is St. Corona Really the Patron Saint of Pandemics, Epidemics, or Plagues?

Stained-glass windows showing Saints Victor and Corona in Redeemer Church in Trentino, Italy.
Stained-glass windows showing Saints Victor and Corona in Redeemer Church in Trentino, Italy.

Last week, Germany’s Aachen Cathedral announced it was polishing a gold, bronze, and ivory shrine of St. Corona to go on display when the public is once again allowed to congregate in the church. According to Reuters, the 16-year-old martyr doesn’t just share her name with the well-known coronavirus currently wreaking havoc across the continent—she also happens to be the patron saint of resisting epidemics.

While the uncanny coincidence has been echoed across the internet—with some linking her to pandemics, the plague, or infectious diseases in general—and corroborated by Catholic sites like Aleteia and Gloria.tv, other sources have refuted it. “Saint Corona has not been known as the patron saint of pandemics, at least not until someone (but who?) recently named her thus,” Catherine M. Mooney, president of Boston College’s Hagiography Society and associate professor of church history, told Snopes. University of Birmingham theology professor Candida Moss took to Twitter to express a similar message, explaining that St. Edmund is the actual patron saint of infectious diseases, and St. Corona’s name derives from a vision she once had of a crown.

As Snopes reports, accounts of St. Corona’s life and death vary, but none of them mention an affiliation with plagues, epidemics, or anything similar. She’s thought to have lived around 170 CE in Roman Syria during Marcus Aurelius’s reign. As the (possible) legend goes, after a Roman soldier named Victor was tortured at length for refusing to denounce his Christian faith, Corona—either his wife or the wife of a fellow soldier—prayed by his side. To punish her, she was bound to two palm trees that were tied to the ground; when the trees were untied, they sprang apart, wrenching Corona’s body in half. Victor was beheaded.

According to Catholic.org, St. Corona is sometimes “invoked in connection with superstitions involving money, such as gambling or treasure hunting.” Gregory the Great, Roch, and Sebastian are all listed in Catholic.org’s index as patron saints of plagues, Robert Bellarmine is the patron saint of contagious disease (along with Sebastian, again), and Godeberta is the patron saint of epidemics. That said, just because Corona hasn’t historically been considered a patron saint of disease doesn’t mean that she can’t be now. Unlike the highly formal process of becoming a saint in the first place, there’s no official protocol for being named a patron saint of any given subject.

“Recently, the popes have named patron saints, but patron saints can be chosen by other individuals or groups as well,” Catholic.org states. “Patron saints are often chosen today because an interest, talent, or event in their lives overlaps with the special area.”

There’s no time limit on choosing a new patronage for a saint, there’s no minimum number of people who need to agree on it, and there’s no statute against picking a subject that didn’t even exist while the saint was alive (for example, Pope Pius XII declared St. Clare the patron saint of television in 1958, even though Clare, born in 1194, would’ve been completely baffled by the word television alone).

In short, if you want to consider St. Corona the patron saint of epidemics or anything else, you’re not breaking any rules.

[h/t Snopes]

Blue Apron’s Memorial Day Sale Will Save You $60 On Your First Three Boxes

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

If you’ve gone through all the recipes you had bookmarked on your phone and are now on a first-name basis with the folks at the local pizzeria, it might be time to introduce a new wrinkle into your weekly dinner menu. But instead of buying loads of groceries and cookbooks to make your own meal, you can just subscribe to a service like Blue Apron, which will deliver all the ingredients and instructions you need for a unique dinner.

And if you start your subscription before May 26, you can save $20 on each of your first three weekly boxes from the company. That means that whatever plan you choose—two or four meals a week, vegetarian or the Signature plan—you’ll save $60 in total.

With the company’s Signature plan, you’ll get your choice of meat, fish, and Beyond foods, along with options for diabetes-friendly and Weight Watchers-approved dishes. The vegetarian plan loses the meat, but still allows you to choose from a variety of dishes like General Tso's tofu and black bean flautas.

To get your $60 off, head to the Blue Apron website and click “Redeem Offer” at the top of the page to sign up.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

The Reason Target Has Those Giant Red Concrete Spheres Outside

These 2-ton concrete balls are for shoppers' safety, but they pose a risk of their own.
These 2-ton concrete balls are for shoppers' safety, but they pose a risk of their own.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

When it comes to brand recognition, Target has some of the strongest in the retail industry. The company’s name is reinforced by its red and white logo—a literal target—which can also be seen painted around the eye of its mascot, a Bull Terrier named Bullseye. All things considered, it seems like the giant red concrete spheres in front of the brick-and-mortar stores are just another way for Target to make itself so easily recognizable. But, as Taste of Home explains, they’re actually there for your safety, too.

The balls are called bollards, a word that used to mainly refer to the metal or wooden posts built along the edge of a wharf so that sailors had something they could tie their mooring lines around. These days, bollards is also used to describe similar posts in front of buildings, which help mitigate the risk of distracted drivers rolling right into the doors. While most places install more traditionally shaped bollards, Target isn’t the only business to take advantage of the opportunity to get creative—some baseball stadiums feature spherical bollards that look like baseballs.

Although Target’s bollards are supposed to keep shoppers safe from parking lot car accidents, the bright red spheres can be dangerous in a different way. In May 2016, a New Jersey mother sued Target for $1.6 million after her 5-year-old son fell from one of the bollards and shattered his elbow—an injury that required surgery and threatened long-term damage to his range of motion. The following year, another woman filed a lawsuit after one of the 2-ton bollards broke loose and hit her car.

Wondering what else you didn’t know about Target? Find out 15 surprising facts here.

[h/t Taste of Home]