The Patron Saint of Coffee

Have you ever heard of Saint Drogo? He is a Flemish saint from the 12th century who was revered for his holiness and spent many years as a hermit. Oddly enough, he’s the patron saint of a beverage he never drank.

St. Drogo was no stranger to pain and difficulty. He was an orphan and deeply affected by knowing that his mother died giving birth to him. “He had been a shepherd at one point; then he gave all his money away. So he took these kind of penitential journeys to Rome … and then when he came back the last time (he went there eight or nine times) he had gotten very very disfigured from a disease that he caught. And so the people in the village where he lived, they were frightened by him,” explained Fr. Bob Pagliari, regular contributor to Morning Air® on Relevant Radio®.

Because he was such a pious man and to protect the town from his frightening appearance, the people built a little room for him attached to the church. “There was only a little window in the door from which he received Communion, some barley to eat and a bowl of warm water. And it’s because of this bowl of warm water that he became the patron saint of coffee,” said Fr. Pagliari. He lived there in isolation, eating only the Holy Eucharist, barley, and water, for the remainder of his life.

Coffee wasn’t written about until hundreds of years later, but Drogo’s bowl of warm water was enough to earn him the title of patron saint of coffee brewers and coffee drinkers.

While this little-known saint connects to many people due to their love for a cup of coffee, he also connects to many on a more personal level. Throughout his life he experienced isolation and discrimination due to his disfigurement.

“Have somebody like St. Drogo in our life that we can turn to when we need some strength, we need some courage, we need some encouragement to know that there are people who have gone before us who became saints. Who became saints even despite the discrimination or disabilities that they had,” said Fr. Pagliari.

Next time you have your morning Cup of Joe (or tea or orange juice), remember St. Drogo and call upon his intercession in your life. He knows what it’s like to be lonely, marginalized, and misunderstood. Allow him to help you find faith and hope in the midst of those difficulties.


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