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]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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The Reason Dogs Are Terrified of Thunderstorms—And How You Can Help

The face of a dog who clearly knows that a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
The face of a dog who clearly knows that a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Charles Deluvio, Unsplash

Deafening thunder can be a little scary even for a full-grown human who knows it’s harmless, so your dog’s terror is understandable. But why exactly do thunderstorms send so many of our pawed pals into a tailspin?

Many dogs are distressed by unexpected loud noises—a condition known as noise aversion, or noise phobia in more severe cases—and sudden thunderclaps fall into that category. What separates a wailing siren or fireworks show from a thunderstorm in a dog's mind, however, is that dogs may actually realize a thunderstorm is coming.

As National Geographic explains, not only can dogs easily see when the sky gets dark and feel when the wind picks up, but they can also perceive the shift in barometric pressure that occurs before a storm. The anxiety of knowing loud noise is on its way may upset your dog as much as the noise itself.

Static electricity could also add to this anxiety, especially for dogs with long and/or thick hair. Tufts University veterinary behaviorist Nicholas Dodman, who also co-founded the Center for Canine Behavior Studies, told National Geographic that a static shock when brushing up against metal may heighten your dog’s agitation during a storm.

It’s difficult to nail down why each dog despises thunderstorms. As Purina points out, one could simply be thrown off by a break from routine, while another may be most troubled by the lightning. In any case, there are ways to help calm your stressed pet.

If your dog’s favorite spot during a storm is in the bathroom, they could be trying to stay near smooth, static-less surfaces for fear of getting shocked. Suiting them up in an anti-static jacket or petting them down with anti-static dryer sheets may help.

You can also make a safe haven for your pup where they’ll be oblivious to signs of a storm. Purina behavior research scientist Ragen T.S. McGowan suggests draping a blanket over their crate, which can help muffle noise. For dogs that don’t use (or like) crates, a cozy room with drawn blinds and a white noise machine can work instead.

Consulting your veterinarian is a good idea, too; if your dog’s thunderstorm-related stress is really causing issues, an anti-anxiety prescription could be the best option.

[h/t National Geographic]