April 19th is the feast day of St Expedite (or Expeditus), the patron saint of procrastinators. No, I did not make that up! There’s a long tradition of praying to St Expedite for help in getting things done in a hurry simply because of his name. Here’s the definition from Websters: Expedite – To make (an action or process) happen sooner or be accomplished more quickly. He was a natural to be picked for those who “put off until tomorrow what can be done today.”
It appears that his cult began in Europe, then spread to the US with the immigrant population. Tradition says that he was a Roman centurion who was killed for his Christian faith, but the truth is hard to pin down and he may have been legendary. He’s typically portrayed as a young Roman soldier holding a cross with the word “HODIE” (Latin for “today”). Beneath his foot is a crow calling out “CRAS” (Latin for “tomorrow”. Apparently Roman crows don’t say “CAW”.) When St Expedite decided to convert to Christianity, the devil came to him in the form of a crow, calling out “Cras! Cras! Cras!” urging him to put off his conversion until tomorrow. St Expedite crushed the crow under his foot and didn’t delay his baptism. It’s easy to see how this story would make him popular for procrastinators!
An alternate beginning for St Expedite came from my mother-in-law in New Orleans who told me that a church there ordered several saint’s statues and one crate holding a likeness of a Roman soldier was only marked “EXPEDITE” on the exterior of the box. The priest at the church assumed this was the name of the saint and he was venerated accordingly. Sort of like the movie “A Christmas Story” where Ralphie’s dad gets a mysterious box labeled “FRAGILE”. Dad assumes the box is from Italy – it’s marked “FRA-JEE-LAY”after all! Ok, that’s where the similarities end because a statue of St Expedite really isn’t like a leg lamp, but I’m sure you get the picture.
If you’re interested in a St Expedite medal to help you or your procrastinating friends out, please just click on this link to go to my Esty shop – Rosa Mystica – where I sell reproductions of antique religious medals.
Don’t put it off! Do it now!