The patron saint of both gardeners and taxi drivers, Saint Fiacre was born in Ireland in the sixth century and moved to France in the seventh. Raised in a monastery, he showed a talent for gardening and developed an impressive knowledge of herbal cures. At some point, he was ordained a priest and eventually became an abbot. When his skill at finding the right natural remedies for people with different maladies brought him unwanted fame and attention, he moved to France in search of solitude and space to pray.
Life in France
Saint Faicre’s good reputation preceded him when he moved, and he was welcomed in France and given the amount of land that he could turn over in a day to grow plants on. Clearing the ground with his own staff instead of a plow, he turned a wild and barren space into a lovely garden area where he grew a variety of healing plants and colorful flowers. As in Ireland, he soon became famous for being able to match up illnesses with herbal cures, and people from all walks of life came to him in search of relief for ailments. They often took shelter in the hospice he set up for weary travellers. His healing and other good works continued until his death circa 670 AD.
Although he had come to France in search of a simple and solitary life, he became one of the best known priests of his time. When he died, his body was interred at a church that was near his hermitage. He is credited with a number of miracles, including healing those with serious illnesses simply by laying his hands on them.
Because of his talent and love for growing, Saint Faicre was officially named the patron saint of gardening in 1999. Interestingly, he also became the patron saint of taxi drivers after a Paris inn began renting out coaches under a sign with his picture on it in the 17th century. His name is invoked when the faithful pray for relief from cancer, fever and venereal disease.