A Very Queer Christian Saint: Aelred of Rieveaulx

Today, 12 January, is the feast day of a very queer saint, Aelred of Rieveaulx.

Claimed by many queer Christians as a patron saint, he was a wildly popular abbot (head of a monastery) in England where he wrote about the benefits of spiritual friendship, primarily among men. I sometimes question his appropriateness as a queer saint because of his habit of dunking himself in ice water to overcome his passions for the men with whom he had or wanted to have a particular friendship. Nevertheless, I recommend his works Spiritual Friendship and The Mirror of Charity (The Mirror of Love) which have important things to say about the nature of love and friendship among Christian siblings (especially of the same gender) and their usefulness on the spiritual journeys of life.

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