Taking one tiny aspect out of the whole swath of interesting stuff, I find it very funny that an uncle’s name-saint is a variation of the ancient god of Wine. (Yes, this is the same one that really loves good whiskey.)
St. Amand (aka St. Amandus) was a great missionary of the 600’s and 700’s. He did mission work in what is today France, Belgium, Eastern European Slavic settlements along the Danube, and in the Basque country between France and Spain. He was a busy man.
He came from a well-to-do family in Brittany but at the age of twenty, he decided to go off and be a hermit on an island. When his father got mad at him and threatened to cut him out of the will, he told him that like the Levites, “God is my inheritance.” After a few years of hermit life, he went on the road, then lived at Bourges in a hermit cell near the cathedral, under the spiritual direction of the bishop, St. Austregisilus. He wore sackcloth and ate nothing but barley bread and water. After fifteen years of that, he went on pilgrimage…
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