Today is the feast day of St. Ansgar, patron saint of the Catholic Church of the Scandinavian countries. St. Ansgar was a 9th century missioner to the countries of Sweden and Denmark during the early Middle Ages. As a fan of all things medieval, there is a special place in my heart for this little known saint.
The first time I heard of St. Ansgar was when my sister was pregnant with her first child. I remember when she was still in the process of selecting a name for my nephew, a few of us had gathered around the dining room table while my sister read the names of those listed in the index of our family Bible. When she came to the name Ansgar, we all stopped and asked what that name meant, particulary because none of us had ever heard of the name before. The name Ansgar means “divine spear.” It’s a good, strong name. My sister did not select that name for her child, but the fascination with St. Ansgar continues for me and one of my brothers.
Happy feast day to St. Ansgar! It’s fitting that today is the feast day for this northern saint – particularly because of all the snowy, icy weather out there!