Saint Nicolas Postgate
By Anne Van Tilburg
Published on 09/24/2012
Saint Nicolas Postgate

Saint Nicolas Postgate
Once Upon A Time, there was a priest named Nicolas Postgate who brought Christ to his people by hanging out his laundry. Well, not really hanging - more like spreading it across hedges and bushes, because there was no such thing as clothes lines then. After fifty years of doing this, he was arrested, thrown into prison, put to death by hanging, and is now a martyr.

All this just for putting his laundry out to dry?! Well, there is a little bit more to this story.....Nicolas lived in a time in England when it was a crime to be a Catholic. King Henry VIII and then Queen Elizabeth I, had set up their own religion which they called the Church of England, and everyone had to belong to it, whether they wanted to or not. If they didn't, they were often put to death.

But many Catholics secretly kept their faith, and priests were hidden and smuggled into cottages to offer the Mass. The priests could not stay in one place for very long in case they were caught, so they were always on the move, always one step ahead of the people who were after them. When they were caught, the priests and the families who hid them were put to death in terrible ways, for they would never deny their faith in the Catholic Church and in Jesus.

Saint Nicolas has already learned about these dangers when he grew up in a little village in Yorkshire, England, but he knew that no matter what, he was going to be a priest. Whether his life was short or long, he would serve God by teaching people about Him. So he made his way to Douai, in France, and entered the seminary there to become a priest. There were many of his country-men there to also become priests, and they all had the same intention - to return to England and bring Jesus to their people.

After he became a priest, which is called, "Ordination" Nicolas went back to Yorkshire and lived in a tiny cottage at Ugthorpe on the moors. Here he spent the next fifty years. For all anyone knew, he was a gentle, happy man who was kind to everyone. He looked after his rose garden, grew cabbages, invited passersby in for tea, visited the old people and listened to their long stories of how it was when they were young, and brought bricks of peat to the poor so they could burn it in their fireplaces and not be cold. He was, everyone said, a good neighbor.

They knew  Nicolas's signal that he would offer Holy Mass at a particular cottage and that Jesus was waiting for them in the Eucharist. It was similar to the custom of flags flying over a castle to show that royalty was in residence. And quietly, casually, so as not to bring any attention to themselves, his congregation would come so the other neighbors would not become suspicious. 

When Nicolas was not nourishing his flock with the Body of Christ, he was out on the moors providing them with a feast for their eyes and souls. He would go for long walks, crisscrossing the flatlands and beyond, to plant a flower unknown to England, under the trees, on river banks, in clumps in the meadows, any spot that looked good to him. It was a flower now so common you can find it everywhere, in country gardens and window boxes, in florist shops and in Churches. it is that golden trumpet that tells us that spring and the resurrection is coming - the daffodil.

It is hard to imagine England ever being without daffodils. Her poets have made them as famous as her lakes and sheep-dotted hills. But before Nicolas, not a single daffodil ever bloomed in England. Where Nicolas got the bulbs from is a mystery. Perhaps when he was in France, he found them growing wild in the woods, as they did there, and brought them home with him. He may have planted them around his hermitage and they grew and spread until he knew he had to share them. And that is exactly what he did, for fifty years.!

At the age of  eighty-two, Nicolas was finally caught by the people who had been trying to put him into jail. He was imprisoned, his pockets still stuffed with daffodils bulbs, he was sentenced to death by hanging.

The next time, when you see a beautiful daffodil  blooming in the garden, think of this holy Saint Nicolas Postgate, who so loved Jesus that he gave up his life and all his friends and his garden. He shared all he owned with his people. You can be a little saint Nicolas when you share your toys with your brothers, sisters and friends, and help others for love of Jesus.

And always be gentle, happy and kind to everyone. In this way you will be sending a spiritual daffodil to heaven in imitation of Saint Nicolas.

Source: Once upon a time Saints.