Pecan Cream Cheese Pound Cake: When St. Expedite Wants a Little Better Than Sara Lee

Tradition has it that St. Expedite loves his Sara Lee pound cake. Some devotees will even say he prefers it to homemade pound cake. I don’t know about all that. But I do know a few things.

One, you should try to be as specific as possible when working with St. Expedite.

Two, you should give him your agreed-upon offerings when you see specific movement congruent with your petition. You can’t always get *everything* you want all the time in a hurry – recognize that he did work for you and acknowledge what he was able to do. He’s not a surly teenager whose allowance needs withholding until he gets a work ethic and moves out of your basement. Give him his damn flowers.

Three, he is not gonna get mad if you give him a homemade pound cake instead of that tasteless, pale yellow brick of stuff you can buy at the gas station. Plus you can impress the currently-living and not-yet-sainted with this pound cake. This is a family recipe from my mother’s side of the family.

1 1/2 cups butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups cake flour divided
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. In a large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, butter, and sugar until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating between each. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Mix. Reserve 1/4 cup flour; dredge pecans in it. Add remaining flour a little at a time, beating on low speed. Fold in pecans.

Pour batter into pan and bake 1 1/2 hours or until cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Let cool in pan before removing cake.

Feast of St. Expedite

St. Expedite’s feast day is the 19th of April, and I set lights and began work on his altar for the community altar work last night.

But there are still spots left if you’d like to jump in – you can find out more at Seraphin Station.

Saint of the Month Box

Finally, St. Expedite is the saint for this month’s Saint of the Month box.

Standard box includes, at a minimum, a bottle of oil, a candle, a holy card or mini prayer booklet, brief history and recommendations for working with the saint or spirit, and a charm, medal, or curio. 

Deluxe box includes, at a minimum, a bottle of oil, a fixed, blessed, dressed, and decorated vigil candle, a holy card or mini prayer booklet, brief history and recommendations for working with the saint or spirit, and a handmade chaplet, rosary, or necklace.

Learn more or order now at Seraphin Station.

More St. Expedite resources in the education section’s index of rootwork topics.

A 16th Century Catalan Prayer of St. Cyprian

S. Cyprien et Ste. Justine, martyrs (St. Cyprian and St. Justina, Martyrs), September 26th, from Les Images De Tous Les Saincts et Saintes de L’Année (Images of All of the Saints and Religious Events of the Year), by Jacques Callot, 1636. Public domain. Courtesy of The Met.

This is direct quotation of a small portion of a larger published work which the author has released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (see Smid 309). This prayer, recorded in the Catalan language and transcribed and translated by Smid in the cited article, comes from the Inquisition records housed in the Barcelona City Archives, from the 17th century trial of a hermit named Jacinto Garcia (Smid 291). Garcia had it from a small book published in Barcelona in 1557 (Smid 291). I applaud the generosity of Bernadett Smid in making this work freely available to non-academics via open-source publishing.

I hope nobody will abuse her generosity by reprinting the fruit of her intellectual labor without proper attribution. That would be pretty shitty.

From Smid, Bernadett. “Piety, Practices of Reading, and Inquisition: A Catalan Saint Cyprian Prayer from 1557 and Its Context.” Acta Ethnographica Hungarica 64(2), 279–310 (2019), pp. 295-297. DOI: 10.1556/022.2019.64.2.2.


The Prayer of St. Cyprian, and the Gospel of St. John, and the Seventy-two Names of Virgin Mary, and the Seven Verses of Saint Bernard, and the Psalm Quicunque Vult.

As Cyprian was converted to our Lord God and became well instructed and informed in holy Catholic faith and knowledgeable in the holy scriptures as well as in holy theology, burning in holy fire with love and benevolence towards our Lord God Jesus Christ and towards his brothers in Christ: and since Cyprian was aware of the malice and envy of the devil, and the great malefices put on others by bad men and women who are fellows of the devil and with evil deeds torment and pester the servants of God in different ways; Saint Cyprian, knowing the great malefices that are used today, orders this prayer to be said through three Sundays, and three times each Sunday.

And it has such a virtue that all the people who carry it with good devotion, or read it or have it read, will never be defeated by the devil, nor the enemies can harm them. And if a pregnant woman takes it with her, with the help of these holy words she can be sure that she will not miscarry, and if she goes into labour, and has this read to her or has it in her possession, as soon as she delivers her child, the creature will not be deaf, dumb, paralytic, lunatic, or possessed; the prayer is also effective against all poisons and sorcery, malefices and enchantments.

Prayer

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. I, Cyprian, servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, put my sense and my humble self in front of the high and sovereign and praiseworthy God Almighty, (who), seeing my malice, as well as the evil deeds that I used to do, sent the power of the devil upon me but with his name defended me; and because of my great sin, it did not rain, nor did the earth bear fruit; and pregnant women miscarried, and fish and swimming beings and thus, all the beings of my malice were bound, and that is why now, my God, I beg you for your holy love that you break the clouds and all the bonds and send rain on the earth, so that all the trees bear fruit and the fish of the sea are liberated together with all the beings that are placed in the sea, and that no evil spirit can dwell in them, nor in those men or women who carry this writing with them or read it or have (somebody) read it[.]

And besides, I ask you, Lord Jesus Christ, who created Adam in the earthly paradise at the beginning of the world, and created the great flow (of water) on Earth from which the four rivers Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates were born, from which the whole world gains water: save me from the malevolent devil and that no evil spirit or bad thing can harm this servant of yours or any of his things, nor visible or invisible enemies can harm him or do harm to him, and you Lord, veritable God, defend him and keep him from all evil, and by your holy virtue, the highest God, may all his things be saved and his person be good, and may all parts of this servant, from the upper part of the head to the feet, inside and outside, be holy and right and without injury; and all the good holy angels of the nine orders named Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Principalities, Dominions, Powers, Virtues, and Archangels help, guard and defend him[.]

[M]ay they be free from all evil and may their persons, their thoughts and their deeds and firmness benefit from all good, and you, Lord, free them from the power of the devil and its ambushes; and this, by your holy name praised in heaven and on earth, this prayer was taught by you, Immanuel that is God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, may you be with me, your servant, all the time. And if it pleases you, place your Holy Mother over that man or that woman who carries it with them or reads it or has (somebody) read it, or keeps it in their house or within their goods.

[A]nd if it pleases you, Lord, to liberate and release your servant and his belongings by the prayers of the angels mille millia millium, which are the verses said in order that all the ambushes and temptations of the devil which are on earth cannot harm him in any place where they are used used to be some bond or machination, nor any blasphemy made can harm him, by means of the prayer of our Lord God Jesus Christ and the prayer of all saints; and by the prayer of all the saints, and by the humility of the pilgrims and by the goodness of Adam, and by your angel of Abel’s sacrifice and by the chastity of Joseph, and by the goodness of Rachel, and by the faith of Adam and by Isaac’s bonds that you, Lord, restored, and by Melchisedech’s obedience, by the affection and humility of Moses, and by the prayer and glorification of the prophet Zechariah, and by the persistence of Jeremiah, and by the prophets who do not sleep but praise you, Lord, continually, and by the height of the heavens and the humility of the seabed and by the bases of the abysses and by the holy revelations and by the tongues of the four holy evangelists, may they help me, and by the voice of the angels, and by the sermons of the holy apostles, and by those seen by the prophet Moses, and by the brightness of the lights, and by all the servants of your saints, and by your Holy nativity, and by your holy baptism, and by the most holy voice that sang above you saying “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased, whom all people fear”, and I beg you for those five thousand men that you satiated in the desert, and for you, Lord Jesus Christ, who turned water into wine, and raised Lazarus from the dead.

And you crossed the sea and stopped the wind, and walked with your friends on the water, you were crucified and buried and resurrected on the third day, and by your miraculous ascension, by the sending of the Holy Spirit, by the consolation of the pilgrims, and by all those who love you, Lord, may all the machinations which are or will be done against this servant of yours or in his goods or to his belongings, and may all the bonds be destroyed.

And you, Lord, defend them by the present holy prayer and by the virtues that have been written here by me, Cyprian, by the commandment of Jesus Christ who created all things, and by the holy words that you, Lord, said on the cross when you died in a cruel way to save the human genealogy. I beg you if it pleases you that if any machination or bond is made of gold or silver or something else, it cannot harm the person of this servant of yours, and if any woman reads this prayer or has it read or keeps it in her house, or takes it with her to the field or home, wherever this prayer could be, may all the bonds that were made by some Christian or lay or Saharan or another person be destroyed by the holy virtues said above, neither visible nor invisible enemies can harm him or do harm to him, they will be saved in every way, and said bonds will be released by you, omnipotent Lord.

And by your holy name praised and glorified: either in stones, or in water or in the river or in the sea, or in the choir of birds, or of animals, or of fish or in the hairs, above or below, in the countryside, in the vineyard or on a tree, or in a lamp or on the road or outside the road or elsewhere. Whether should them be made of metal or glass or any other thing from which these bonds or spells are made, may them be dissolved and undone, so that they cannot harm this servant of yours, nor to his property, goods and belongings, neither bad spirits nor bad men, nor bad women, nor visible or invisible enemies, nor any bad thing can harm him, nor harm him in the soul, neither in the body, nor in his goods, nor in the house of this servant of yours; and they may be freed and acquitted of evil deeds by virtue of this holy prayer, and by your holy glorified names of God Abraham, of God Isaac, of God Jacob, and you, Lord, give them your holy love and keep them in it by the names of Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael.

And by all nine orders of the angels. And by all the prophets, Jeremiah, David, Isaiah, Daniel, Micah, Ezekiel. And by all the patriarch saints, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And by the twelve Apostles, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Andrew, Saint Thomas, Saint James, Saint Philip, Saint Bartholomew, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Simon. And by the four evangelists, Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, and by the prayers of the blessed angels and by all the holy martyrs, Saint Stephen, Saint Lawrence, Saint Vincent, and by the saint Confessors, Saint Sylvester, Saint Dionysius and all his companions, by Saint Martin, and by the doctors and saints, Saint Augustine, Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, and by the crown of the virgins, Saint Mary, Saint Thecla, Saint Eulalia, Saint Catherine, and all the virgins that sound the glory of Paradise before You, Lord.

And by the sacrifice that you, Lord, made to save humanity, and by the holy names, by the holy prayers that are in the book of the Mass, this servant of yours and all his goods will be acquitted and released from all evil eyes and bonds, from all the ambushes and temptations of the evil spirit, and from all their visible and invisible enemies, and by your holy name, Lord God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. I, Cyprian, on behalf of our Lord God Jesus Christ and by virtue that will not start or end, and by your virtuous majesty I expel the evil spirit, and no bad people will have power in any way wherever this prayer is placed, and [they shall] be acquitted, that no one can harm them, and be saved from that, like the three infants, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who cannot suffer any harm in the house, nor any evil enemy can harm them, and you, Lord, defend them by the prayers said above, and so many maledictions will come upon the evil spirit that may you, Lord, destroy it and put it in the darkness and from now on it will be there so that it does not do any evil; by the voice that was heard in the Mount Sinai that was enlightened by your holy clarity and by the holy host that the priest consecrates in the Holy Church and by your precious blood that you, Lord, shed for all those who have this holy prayer, may they be saved from all dangers forever and ever, Amen.


How Folk Saints are Born

Santo Niño Huachicolero emerges as part of modern-day “folk bandit spirituality” in the state of Puebla in Mexico as the patron of huachicoleros – those who steal gasoline. His iconography is adapted from that of Santo Niño de Atocha, the Infant of Atocha, as shown here in this Instagram post if I can get the embed thingie to work:

The Catholic Church is obviously not happy about this, but this is vernacular religion in action, in direct response to social and economic realities when the official modes of religious observation and praxis do not meet the needs of the people. Thus Santo Niño Huachicolero joins the ranks of figures like Jesús Malverde and Santa Muerte who serve to fill those gaps.

Jesus Malverde Community Altar Service starts tonight

Seraphin Station

Have a vigil light set and worked on my Jesus Malverde altar in community altar work servicebeginning on Monday, May 3rd,which serves as the feast day ofthis folk saint.There is some wiggle room and you can join up after the work starts as long as you see that there are still spots left and it doesn’t say “sold out.”

Jesus Malverde, also known as the Angel of the Poor or the Generous Bandit, is afolk saint who is said to have lived and died inlate 19th/early 20th century Sinaloa, Mexico. His reputation as a sort of Robin Hood figure began before his death, as the legend has it; he targeted the rich, redistributed the money and goods he stole to the poor, and basically spent his life on the wrong side of the law but by all accounts on the right side of morality.

While many details of…

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When Angels Are Saints and Saints Are Angels

Seraphin Station

I very frequently see folks online say things like this: “Though technically speaking Archangel Michael is not a Saint [sic], sometimes this entity is venerated as one.”

I’m not linking to the source for that because my goal is not to single anyone out for being wrong. Thing is, this is not an uncommon misperception. It’s pretty easy to find multiple websites and blogs that say something to this effect – even those of folks who are otherwise pretty well-versed in folk religion and/or folk magic. If this were just a couple of blogs and not a pretty widespread point of confusion and error, I wouldn’t be going to the trouble to write about it.

I get that not everybody comes from a Catholic background. But if you’re going to write about saints in the context of hoodoo and folk religion, you should do your research before you make assertions…

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Why Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde Are Not Just “Narco Saints”

Seraphin Station

I can’t count the number of references I’ve seen over the past 15 or so years to Santa Muerte being a “narco saint,” with the implication (or even the straight-up assertion) that she’s a saint for drug dealers, boom, like that’s the whole picture. This kind of statement is incredibly reductionist and oversimplified. It ignores nuance, never mind facts, and it betrays a lack of respect for the (sub)culture(s) from which she springs and a total lack of concern for understanding folk religion – in Mexico or in general.

Seriously, it’s insulting and dismissive even if you *are* a drug dealer. It would be reductionist even if it were true that only those associated with the drug trade in Mexico venerate this folk saint. That it’s not even true just makes all that rhetoric exhausting (and those who uncritically repeat it lazy).

Even though this interview in Vice is called…

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