If you’re anything like me, you enjoy a nice beverage on the weekend and sometimes that beverage is a beer. One of the best things about being Catholic is that there is a patron saint for almost everything. Yes, even beer! In fact, there are a few patron saints of beer, but St. Arnold of Metz is one of the most well-known. So grab a beer and learn more about this holy man in honor of his upcoming feast day.
During an outbreak of the plague a monk named Arnold, who had established a monastery in Oudenburg, persuaded people to drink beer in place of water and when they did, the plague disappeared. Arnold spent his holy life warning people about the dangers of drinking water because beer was safe and water wasn’t. “From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world,” he would say.
St. Arnold of Metz was born to a prominent Austrian family in 580 in France and died in 640 as a Bishop living at a monastery in the mountains of France. Three legends surround the Patron Saint of Beer Brewers whose feast day we celebration July 18. Thanks to Saint Arnold Brewing Company for pulling together the stories and sharing them on their website. If you’ve never had one of their beers, you should!
The Legend of the Ring
Arnold was tormented by the violence that surrounded him and feared that he had played a role in the wars and murders that plagued the ruling families. Obsessed by these sins, Arnold went to a bridge over the Moselle river. There he took off his bishop’s ring and threw it into the river, praying to God to give him a sign of absolution by returning the ring to him. Many penitent years later, a fisherman brought to the bishop’s kitchen a fish in the stomach of which was found the bishop’s ring. Arnold repaid the sign of God by immediately retiring as bishop and becoming a hermit for the remainder of his life.
The Legend of the Fire
At the moment Arnold resigned as bishop, a fire broke out in the cellars of the royal palace and threatened to spread throughout the city of Metz. Arnold, full of courage and feeling unity with the townspeople, stood before the fire and said, “If God wants me to be consumed, I am in His hands.” He then made the sign of the cross at which point the fire immediately receded.
The Legend of the Beer Mug
This is one of my favorite saint stories. In 641, the citizens of Metz requested that Saint Arnold’s body be exhumed and ceremoniously carried to Metz for reburial in their Church of the Holy Apostles. During this voyage a miracle happened in the town of Champignuelles. The tired porters and followers stopped for a rest and walked into a tavern for a drink of their favorite beverage. one of the parishioners, Duc Notto, prayed “By his powerful intercession the Blessed Arnold will bring us what we lack.” Regretfully, there was only one mug of beer to be shared, but that mug never ran dry and all of the thirsty pilgrims were satisfied. This is the miracle for which St. Arnold was canonized.
Learn more about St. Arnold and his holy life on my latest podcast called the “Catholic Drinkie Show, Episode 1: Man’s Sweat and God’s Love …” which can be found here. Also check out my new book, “The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Homebrewed Evangelism“!