Featured Saint- Saint Expedite
By Matthew Venus
There are few other Saints as enigmatic and popular in folk magic as Saint Expedite. He is a Saint who helps those in dire need with immediate results. He is a quick problem solver and is also said to remove obstacles, assist in legal matters, and overcome procrastination. Though the Saint’s popularity seems to have only grown over the last several decades his history is somewhat controversial.
There is debatable evidence supporting the historical existence of Saint Expedite. Some sources claim he was a Roman centurion from Armenia who, after converting to Christianity, was beheaded and martyred in what is now Malatya,Turkey on September.19th , 303 A.D..
Other popular versions of Saint Expedite’s origin are of a more humorous nature. One of these stories takes place at a convent in Paris. It is said that a box containing the relics of a saint and a statue were delivered to the convent. The package was marked “spedito” which meant Special Delivery. The term in Latin translates to Expeditus, which lead the nuns to believe that the statue and relics were of the martyred Armenian.
Another variation takes place at the Our Lady of Guadeloupe Church in New Orleans. The priests sent away for a statue of the Virgin of Guadeloupe and received two boxes instead. One of which had a statue of a roman soldier in it and was only marked with a label reading EXPEDITE, which was mistaken as the name of the saint. Our Lady of Guadeloupe still stands as the oldest original church in New Orleans and still holds a statue of Saint Expedite.
Popular folklore claims that while considering his conversion to Christianity Expedite was distracted by the Devil in the form of a crow which kept telling him to convert tomorrow. Expedite eventually stomped upon the crow and declared that he would convert today. This is portrayed in the popular images of St. Expedite holding a cross up high which bears the word “Hodie”, the Latin word for today. He is also usually depicted stomping a crow who declares in a speech scroll “Cras”, which is an interesting play on words . “Cras” is both the Latin word which means tomorrow and the word used by the Romans for imitating the call of a crow. So instead of “Caw, Caw” as many English speakers might, they would exclaim “Cras, Cras” when mimicking the bird.
There are several particularities that are considered customary when asking for Saint Expedite’s assistance. Firstly is the set up of his altar. Most commonly there are three primary items which are arranged to form a triangle. The items you will need are a statue or picture of St. Expedite, a glass of water, and and offertory candle. The candle is most commonly a red novena candle which has been appropriately dressed with Saint Expedite Oil for the working, though sometimes yellow or green candles may be seen as well. The items should be arranged so that the statue or image is to the front right of the altar, the glass of water is to the left and the candle sits in the middle at the back of the altar. See the diagram below.
As with any Saint or Spirit it is considered good etiquette, and highly recommended that you have established a good relationship with St. Expedite before asking him to help you. After all you wouldn’t appreciate a stranger demanding favors of you would you?
After the altar is arranged the candle is lit daily, prayers are offered, and a reward is promised to St. Expedite upon his successful completion of the request. It is also appropriate to anoint oneself daily with Saint Expedite Oil during this time, or dress a medal of the saint with the oil and wear it. As is the case with many other saints, his statue or picture is often turned upside down by some petitioners who then promise to turn him right side up upon the completion of his task. This is believed to cause the Saint discomfort and encourage him to work more quickly on your behalf.
Due to the somewhat mercurial nature of St. Expedite, many petitioners will begin their work with him on a Wednesday, the day of Mercury. The prayers and candlelight should continue until the request is granted. Keep in mind that if he is to help you the results should come rather quickly, usually between 5-9 days.
The manner that Saint Expedite is paid for his services is quite particular as well. He is customarily given five slices of pound cake, and is said to be particularly fond of Sarah Lee pound cake. Some petitioners will place a penny upon each slice of pound cake offered. He is often given a payment of five red or yellow flowers as well. These are usually placed into the empty glass left from the spent novena candle which was burned for him. Lastly, he is commonly given public praise as a payment for his services. This may take the form of placing a personal ad thanking the Saint, giving him praise in an online forum, or simply educating another about him and the way in which he helped you.
Keep in mind that Saint Expedite is considered to be of assistance when one is in DIRE need of having something done quickly. He shouldn’t be called upon simply because you are impatient about manifesting your every whim. Most often he either won’t assist you at all in these cases, or he may “assist” you in a way which teaches you a valuable lesson. It’s worth bearing in mind in these cases that in many traditions St. Expedite is often syncretized with trickster spirits.
Table of Associations
Patron of- Emergency Situations, Merchants, Sailors, Students (particularly when cramming for an exam), Dealers… of many sorts, Procrastinators, Computer Programmers and IT workers.
Color– Red, sometimes Yellow, and sometimes Green (Money Matters).
Day of Week– He is usually petitioned and given offerings on Wednesdays, though some sources say Thursday, which would be most appropriate in legal matters.
Feast Day– September 19th
Symbols– The cross, a crow, a palm frond, a clock, a Roman centurion uniform.
Common Offerings– Red/yellow/green candle, water, pound cake, pennies, red and yellow flowers, public praise.
Prayer to Saint Expedite
Saint Expedite, you lay in rest.
I come to you and ask that this wish be granted.
(State your petition here. It is best to be clear in your wording.)
Expedite now what I ask of you.
Expedite now what I want of you, this very second.
Don’t waste another day.
Grant me what I ask for.
I know your power, I know you because of your work.
I know you can help me.
Do this for me and I will spread your name with love and honor
so that it will be invoked again and again.
Expedite this wish with speed, love, honor, and goodness.
Glory to you, Saint Expedite!
Illes, J. (2004). The Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells. London: Element
Marlbrough, R. (1998). The Magical Power of the Saints. Woodbury, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications.
Yronwode, C. Saint Expedite. The “Lucky W” Amulet Archive. 1995-2003. The Lucky Mojo Curio Co. 10/13/2011. http://www.luckymojo.com/saintexpedite.html
Saint Expedite.Org, 10/13/2011. http://saintexpedite.org/index.html.
Prayer to Saint Expedite (n.d.) Retrieved from http://saintexpedite.org/prayers.html