Wednesday, June 28, 2023

A Patron Saint for Cigar Smokers

I was perusing the endless internet recently, questioning if there was a Patron Saint dedicated to cigar smoking. I found plenty of information related holy persons who smoked. Catherine de Ricci is referenced as the Patron Saint of the sick people, tobacco, and pipe makers, but no reason is given. Close but no cigar. 

Then I came across a story about Pope Saint Pius X. This is from a reader's letter published by Cigar Aficionado,
Reading of his [Pius X] defense of cigars as not being a vice, I was reminded of a story that a cigar smoking priest of the Diocese of Tulsa, who is now in training for the Vatican diplomatic corps, told me. When he was a seminarian in Rome, he learned that Pius X, who was the pope from 1903 to 1914, called a bishop onto the carpet to reprimand him for his scandalous misbehavior with wine, women and song, and to correct his wrongs patiently.

The pope offered the errant bishop a cigar from the papal humidor on his desk. The bishop declined the offer with the protestation, "I do not have that vice, Your Holiness," to which His Holiness replied, "If cigars were a vice, I would not offer you one, for you have quite enough vices already."

There is no way to verify if the story related is true, or simply an interesting urban legend. However, it is known that Pius X kept a cigar humidor on his desk in the Vatican. (Smoking was allowed in the Holy See until 2002 when John Paul II banned the activity.) Saint Pius X's cigar habit did not keep him from being elevated to sainthood, even if it may not be the reasoning behind it. There is little doubt in my mind that the relaxation provided helped him deal with the stress of his position.

Pope Pius X
It's easy to imagine a cigar in that hand

It's my opinion that Saint Pius X is worthy of invoking by cigar smokers. His feast day is August 21. 

BTW, Regina Cigars offers a Pius X Maduro Selection cigar. I've not tried it yet.


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