(A belated attempt to raise the tone.)


  Born the son of a Florentine nobleman, Saint Roger the Whoremonger's early life was spent in riotous dissipation with prostitutes and loose women. At the age of thirty an angel appeared and told him to mend his ways. Roger smoothed his moustache and said, "Hellooo, ring-a-ding-ding," and the angel had to flee in fear of her virtue.
  At the age of forty, however, he had a change of heart and renounced women, henceforth devoting his days to self-abuse. Ten years later God spoke to him and said, "Look, cut it out, all right? For heaven's sake, man, you'll do yourself a mischief." So Roger gave up onanism and went back to whoring. However, on his deathbed at the age of 83 he sent for a priest and repented. Realizing he still had about twenty minutes left, he then sent for his whores and roistered away merrily before repenting again with ten seconds to spare. Even then the priest had to smack his hand away from a whore's tit twice before he expired.
  The exact nature of the sainthood of Roger the Whoremonger is still being debated today, but he certainly died with a beautiful smile on his face.


  Took a vow of silence and never spoke to anyone for sixty years, although he once said, "Shite," when an earwig crawled on him. Even though he never spoke, his knowing, slightly self-satisfied smile convinced everyone he was the wisest man alive and people continually pestered him for advice on the stock market.
   He communicated exclusively by signalling with a dove's feather, tickling people on the nose when he wanted to be fed and waving it up and down in the air when he wanted to be shown where the toilet was. When he died his followers opened his mouth and found a gobstopper miraculously preserved since childhood.


  Saint Felicity the Merry used to skip around everywhere revelling in the joys of creation and singing the praises of God. She would say things like, "Oh, a butterfly, oh, look at the sunshine, tra-la-la." Eventually she was stoned to death by some people with hangovers.


  When stripped of her clothes by Cossacks, Saint Mary the Hairy miraculously grew hair all over her entire body to cover her nakedness. Then she was shot by a bear hunter.


  A simple peasant girl from the Dordogne, Joan heard voices telling her to drive the French out of France. She made a nuisance of herself in several villages in Alsace-Lorraine attempting to drive people over the border with a fly-whisk, saying, "Go on, piss off, you buggers." She demanded an audience with the Dauphin, claiming to be at the head of a mighty army, although as her troops only entered one at a time eventually everyone realized it was just her going in and out in different false beards and calling herself things like 'Pierre' and 'Bill'. She was slapped severely and sent home.


  A recluse and mystic, St. Noggin lived a simple life in a cave in the Carpathian mountains, wearing the same clothes all his life and never washing. People attested to the almost overpowering aura that emanated from him, especially when he raised his arms to heaven. Upon his death it was found that his clothes could not be destroyed and seemed imbued with a life of their own for weeks afterwards. They slithered loyally to his grave and whined inconsolably for days. His underpants, displayed from the city walls, are credited with turning the Turks back from Vienna.


  An anchorite who lived in a forest, Saint Jocasta ate nothing but a single sunflower seed every day and wore clothes made out of gossamer. She turned down several lucrative modelling contracts.


  From an early age Saint Drusilla kept her arms constantly extended at right angles in imitation of the crucifixion, although at first people thought she was pretending to be an aeroplane. She couldn't eat like that, so her friends used to fire food towards her mouth with catapults, and she had a bit of difficulty manouevring through doors. At the age of 17 her head fell off. It is kept in a church in Umbria and occasionally speaks to predict the football results. It is not very good at this, however, always saying Juventus will lose 73-0.


  Saint Lawrence took humility and charity to such extremes he would kiss lawyers and dance with timeshare salesmen. He also talked to animals and often took ferrets to the theatre and discussed the play with them in the interval. He took a vow of poverty and existed by cadging drinks off people and inveigling them into complicated transactions involving a giro he was expecting next week.


  Despite being really fit, Saint Virginia the Hard-to-Get was so chaste she tied her legs together at the age of 13 and had to hop around everywhere. (She won the village sack race every year though.) She was so modest even gingerbread men had to wear trousers before she would look at them.
  Kidnapped by a pagan prince, Virginia was offered a choice between becoming his concubine or being burned to death. She unflinchingly chose death, even offering to go and fetch the kindling herself. As you can imagine, this didn't do much for the prince's self-esteem and he spent several weeks skulking in shadows muttering, "I am not an elephant," and dragging one leg and making slobbering sounds. Whenever he passed a mirror he would make this really irritating high-pitched screeching noise and shriek, "Take it away! Take it away!" until his courtiers told him to stop milking it.
  The Prince continued to pester Virginia to surrender to him, plying her with offers of jewels and furs and chocolates and sophisticated arguments such as, "Please, go on, I'll be really quick," but her virtue remained steadfast. Eventually Virginia converted him to Christianity and persuaded him to build a ruddy great temple to the Lord, whereupon she married him and thereafter went like the clappers, by all accounts. Although for many years their union was not blessed with offspring, at the age of sixty she miraculously gave birth to 800 mice.


  Saints Gabbitas and Thring were a double-act of preachers spreading the word in ancient Rome. Gabbitas would draw in passersby with his golden oratory and Thring would sit on their heads until they converted. Thrown in the arena, they miraculously commanded the lions to stand on their hind legs and dance a conga. Disembowelled by gladiators, they merely laughed joyfully and used their intestines to spell out the Lord's Prayer. Pierced with a hundred javelins, they yodelled hymns with glee. Trampled by elephants, they merely sang the louder. Finally a viaduct was built on top of them. That shut them up. Maybe they're still alive though. Someone should check.


  A martyr to haemorrhoids. In medieval art he is depicted carrying a large cushion. Some people say his bottom appears in the sky to warn of disasters, but they're lying.


  Miraculously converted someone's front room into a glamorous living space in three weeks.

6th Oct 2001