I am reliably informed that today – 29th October – is the Feast of St. Thomas Bellacci, patron of butchers.
He was born in a Florence house that was on the Ponte alle Grazie, of parents who came from Castello di Linari in Val d’Elsa.
Bellacci became a butcher himself, helping his father in his work. When young, he always got himself in trouble, until finally he was falsely accused of a serious crime when he was around the age of 30. He was helped out by a citizen named Angelo Pace; Pace introduced him to some friends of his who were monks, who in turn inspired him to a life of prayer.
In 1405, Bellacci joined the Franciscans in Fiesole, just north of Florence, even though he was a lay person. Even though he was never ordained, he established several monasteries.
He died 31 October 1447 in a Franciscan convent at Fonte Palomba near Rieti, at the age of 77.
He was made a saint by Pope Clement XIV in 1771.
His feast day is 31 October to mark his death, but in practice it’s celebrated by butchers on the last Sunday in October. From about 2000 on, a butcher named Dario Cecchini has organized village celebrations in Panzano, Tuscany.
Despite his being the Patron Saint of Butchers, he himself in later life ate only bread, root vegetables, and water.
He is also referred to as Thomas of Florence, Tommaso Bellacci, Tommaso de’ Bellacci, Tommaso da Scarlino, and Beato Tomma.
A full article (Copyright 2010 Practically Edible. All rights reserved and enforced.) can be read here
….. and here is a bit of Italian art from around a hundred years later –
Charlie the Butcher