Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, just barely cracked the list, coming in at #6. Cracked might have listed him higher had he proved that he was also bulletproof. Contrary to Cracked’s contention, Jesuit Universities do not, in fact, have statues of Iggy giving a cannonball the finger. But that might something we at The Jesuit Post can lobby for.
The rest of the list is comprised of saints such as #5 Vladimir of Kiev, who had 800 Concubines and a Viking Army (I guess celibacy isn’t exactly necessary for sainthood), #2 King Alfred of England who hijacked a complete army and established a Navy (the US and British navies still pay homage to this BA of the seas) and at #1 St. Olaf the Thick–who actually was a Viking (the Church of Norway honored his BA stylings by honoring with a coat of arms comprised of a cross with two axes).
That’s a strong list, although I actually prefer Listverse’s compilation of 10 badass saints. Yes, Listverse included Ignatius, albeit at #7. But they make up for it with the inclusion of St. Joan of Arc at #5 (who gave the finger to medieval gender norms, and England), Moses the Black at #3 (whose exploits include swimming across the Nile River and beating would-be robbers of his monastery to a pulp until they decided to become monks), and my favorite at #1, St. Quiteria. According to Listverse, Quiteria’s mother gave birth to nonuplets–that’s 9 girls at once! Her mother was so embarrassed that she demanded that the nurse drown the girls. Instead, she took them to a remote village to be raised. The girls ended up banding together to form a gang of Christian warriors who went from town to town freeing Christian prisoners, and eventually waging a guerrilla war against the Roman Empire.
But if this doesn’t satiate your Badass Saints cravings, check out this vendor on Etsy who knits amigurumi Catholic martyrs. (Apparently, amigurumi is a Japanese knitting and crocheting trend involving small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures.) Like any good Catholic kitsch, these knit items don’t hold back on the gore–from St. Ignatius of Antioch getting his head ripped off by a lion, to St. Denis, who had his head cut off and still kept preaching the Gospel. As their creator puts it, “They are designed to be art dolls, but they are devotional items, too. A reminder that faith isn’t always easy.
“Sometimes, it’s downright Badass.”
[N.B. Check out Jeff Sullivan’s other recent foray into badassery here.]
Joan of Arc image courtesy Flickr user brx0