Guy of Anderlecht
Guy of Anderlecht
Saint Guy of Anderlecht depicted as a pilgrim in a Book of Hours, c. 1484-1529
|The Poor Man of Anderlecht|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Attributes||A peasant praying with an angel plowing a nearby field; a pilgrim with a book or with a hat, staff, rosary, and an ox at his feet|
|Patronage||Anderlecht, Belgium; against mad dogs; against rabies; bachelors; people with epilepsys; horned animals; laborers; protection of outbuildings, stables, and sheds; sacristans; work horses|
Life and legend
Born to poor parents, he lived a simple agricultural life until starting as a 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.
He remained so until persuaded to invest in a trading venture. When the ship carrying the cargo in which he had invested sank in the harbour, 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 worked as a guide to other pilgrims. He died on his return home.
He 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, against rabies, against infantile convulsions, and against mad dogs.
His grave was said to have been found when a horse kicked it. Cabdrivers 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.