Drive out to Los Labradores and you can’t help but notice the new sign to the cloistered monastery. Instead of having an image of the monastery’s namesake, Mary of Solitude, the sign features a lad dressed as a Centurion from the 200s. He is St. Expedite (or Expeditus) the patron of getting things done fast and not procrastinating. He’s popular here in Mañana, Mexico?!? Yes, he sure is.
Little is known about St. Expedite other than he was a Roman soldier/martyr that died in April 303. Expedite wanted to convert to Christianity and as soon as he had made that decision the devil appeared before him in the form of a crow. The devil demanded that he delay his decision to join the Catholic faith until the next day.
His image features him holding up a cross stating the Latin for “Today” as in get it done today. Beneath his feet lies a crow proclaiming the Latin for “Tomorrow” or procrastinate. He is much honored in campos for his ability to get things done fast. Handy qualities in a job hunt or court cases, his specialties.
For centuries St. Expedite and his Type A Personality were largely forgotten. Then just before the French Revolution a group of Ursuline nuns at the Guadalupe Chapel in New Orleans received a shipment of saint statues from France. Two boxes are clearly labeled identifying the statues contained within. The third box simply holds a statue of a Centurion with “Expediate” or “Rush Order” written across the box.
The nuns write the donor but the Revolution prevents any response and the nuns simply put the statue in their school where he quickly becomes favorite among the students under deadlines thus igniting a new interest in St. Expedite.
His nine day novena (saying prayers) for urgent matters are frequently resolved by day three of the novena. But never stop a novena mid way, its bad form. Especially so close to his feast day, April 19th.
For today’s computer nerds and hackers, he’s the saint invoked to spread computer apps and software quickly.
On tours I visit Our Lady of Solitude, a cloistered monastery in Atotonilco. Their chapel hosts a very popular image of St. Expedite loaded with milagros, or thanks, for his quick help. While there I like to chat up Fr. Jonas, which being a cloistered monk requires more effort than you might think. Fr. Jonas has the brightest aura I’ve ever seen and he adores questions of St. Expedite. When I mentioned how he isn’t popular in San Miguel, Fr. Jonas leaned in to whisper with a smile “There is a lot of stuff popular in San Miguel that isn’t out here in the countryside.”
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin