Last Friday, we shared a little post about St. Claude de la Colombiere and asked for suggestions about why he might be named the patron saint of toy makers. A tip of the hat ... er, veil that is, to an anonymous commenter who reported:
"It seems St. Claude may be the patron of toy makers because making toys was one of the primary occupations of the region in which he lived and preached .... Through the gift of the Internet we have a chance to see a book from the Harvard University collection, published in 1904 by a Mrs. Arthur (Nancy) Bell, titled Lives and Legends of the English Bishops and Kings, Medieval Monks and other Later Saints. In a chapter on symbols in Christian art, she notes that St. Claude often is depicted with a whistle because he ministered to a community of whistle-and-toy makers. "
Bravo, kind reader, for your investigative skills. "The Red Pen" also posed this question to his audience and received a similar response. In addition, The Red Pen received a comment noting that the sort of whistles which were being made in St. Claude's native region were not the kind of whistles that we might see around the necks of piebald referees at our students' sporting events. (A new image of a "pied piper" ... though far more innocuous!) He provided a link to a short (but interesting) history of whistles.