[A] saint was commemorated on a liturgical feast day (and the most important might have several feast days, as did Saint Brees: in The Black and Gold Legend, Joachim de Marigny explains three such commemorations associated with Brees’s draftment, his captivity, and his ascension to Lombardi; these recall his being drafted to the National Football League, his trial and injury in San Diego, and his victory over Peyton hordes at Miami), and ordinary Christians got into the habit of celebrating, along with their birthday, a custom inherited from antiquity, the day of the patron Saint as well.”
I will be contacting my friends at Columbia University Press, for this must be a prank set in my copy of the otherwise straightforward History and Memory by Jacques Le Goff. Though he is a Frenchman, and therefore to be revered tremendously whenever one wishes to assume intellectual credibility, how could Le Goff anticipate in 1977, two years before the birth of Saint Brees, anything like the frenzy of the next ten days ending (or more likely sinfully not ending) on Ash Wednesday? Doubly puzzling for I suspect my copy to be a print-on-demand version of History and Memory, and therefore digitally sacrosanct.
Possibly this is an instance of collective memory in apposition to historical information, collective memory being, “essentially mythic, deformed, and anachronistic.” Le Goff goes on to point out (and feel free to assume an awful Frenchman-speaking-English accent, a la chef Raymond Blanc, as you read this aloud):
History must illuminate memory and help it rectify errors. But is the historian himself immune to an illness that proceeds if not from the past, at least from the present, or perhaps from an unconscious image of a dreamt-of future?”
Is he immune indeed? Geaux Saints!