SAINTS

SEPT. 12: ST. GUY OF ANDERLECHT

(950–1012)
Born to poor parents, Guy lived a simple agricultural life until age 14. He became assistant sacristan at the Sanctuary of Our Lady at Laken, where his duties included sweeping the church, dressing the altars, taking care of the vestments and altar linens, ringing the bell for Mass and vespers, and providing flowers and other decorations which were used in that church.
Guy shared his meager wages with the poor, and went to Brussels, having been persuaded by a merchant that he could earn more to give to the poor. Eventually, he became involved in a trading venture. When the ship carrying the cargo in which he had invested sank in the harbor, Guy believed he was being punished for being greedy and went on a pilgrimage, first to Rome as penance, and then to Jerusalem, where he spent seven years visiting the holy places.
On his return, he met Wondulf, dean of the church of Anderlecht in Rome. Although not in robust health himself, Guy agreed to guide the dean and his party on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
He died on his return home.
St. Guy of is the patron saint of Anderlecht, animals with horns, bachelors, people with epilepsy, laborers, protection of outbuildings, protection of sheds, protection of stables, sacristans, sextons, work horses; and is invoked against epilepsy, rabies, infantile convulsions and mad dogs.
In iconography he is represented as a peasant praying with an angel plowing a nearby field or as a pilgrim with a book or with a hat, staff, rosary, and an ox at his feet.
His grave was said to have been found when a horse kicked it. Cab drivers of Brabant led an annual pilgrimage to Anderlecht until the beginning of World War I in 1914. They and their horses headed the procession followed by farmers, grooms and stable boys, all leading their animals to be blessed.
The village fair that ended the religious procession was celebrated by various games, music, and feasting, followed by a competition to ride the carthorses bareback. The winner entered the church on bareback to receive a hat made of roses from the parish pastor.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini