Patron Saint of Frogs - Saint Ulphia

St Ulphia is the patron saint of frogs.  She died in the year 750AD and her Feast Day is celebrated on 31st January.  She was also known by the names Wulfe, Ulphe, Olfe and Wolfia.  Her name is said to mean beautiful woman.  She was born in France.

How did she get the name of Patron saint of frogs?

It turns out, this lady lived her life pretty much as a loner, a recluse or a hermit, if you like. Apparently the story goes that she met a group of frogs who were being threatened by a man who did not welcome the frogs being on his land and in fact these frogs were said to be so loud that the man could not concentrate on his prayer.  He blamed the frogs for the fact that there was so much rain and wet weather. Ulphia took it upon herself to protect these frogs and guard and keep them safe. They, so say, clung to her as she walked, and when she reached a rocky landscape known as Noye, the frogs were told this was their new home, and that they would be safe there.

It was here that St Ulphia meditated and prayed.

The story turns even more odd in that there is a tale which goes...

At the very beginning of time, before humans lived, that aminals had the power and ability to speak and that all animals spoke in the same voice.  This was the case until the arrival of man on earth.

When God was preparing to visit the earth with man, huge effort went into making the scene one of marvel, beauty and splendor.  Every animal took part in making it a truly beautiful vision and it involved things like peacocks and flamingos creating a magnificent and mighty throne, and beasts of burden became the resting place for this magnificent throne to be set upon, and fished leaped in the seas behind this scene - all animals had their part to play, except for the frogs, which were told by the giraffes who were organising the shindig, that they were so ugly they had to keep out of sight. But, God came and he saw the frogs and he spat in their direction and the spit landed on them. The other animals saw this as an insult to the frogs, but the frogs declared they were chosen, and that through the spit reaching into them through their skin, they came to know God as no one else knew him.  They were honored and chosen by God. And God had rewarded them by allowing them to see who he truly was and that they must keep His secret. The frogs, were the only ones who knew God's secrets and eventually should pass on these secret revelations to the rest of the world.  And here the story ends... and the location of the secrets of God have never been revealed.  It sounds to me like these poor creatures could really use a patron saint of frogs - someone to look out for them!

Patron saint of frogs - St Ulphia the mysterious, reclusive nun

Through this tale though, the frogs gathered followers in huge numbers and their croaking and noise became louder and louder.  The priest in the area of Amiens where the frogs' noise was the loudest, was informed by the Church that the area was placed under an interdict, meaning that no Catholic Church celebrations could take place there as it was considered an unholy place due to the frog noise!  

St Ulphia told the frogs to be quiet, that their word had been understood by her and that they should now become so quiet that it was a whisper - there was no longer a need for them to spread the word of God.

The frogs did as she bade and the interdict was lifted and this lovely saint was able to continue her prayer and meditation in the area, in quiet, with the frogs around her silent.  As she gathered desciples, hermitages were built and dedicated to her in Amiens. 

And a strange fact... in an experiment done many many years ago, a scientist removed the frogs from the area, who were noticeably very quiet, and when they were out of the area, the noise of the frogs increased once more and they became very noisy once more.

St Ulphia, patron saint of frogs, died on 1st January 750 and this is now celebrated as her Feast Day.

Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, Amiens Cathedral"Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, Amiens Cathedral" by netNicholls is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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