And you probably never even noticed I was gone. But I was. Four wonderful weeks in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. Great food, friendly people, dreamlike landscapes, thrilling overnight bus rides and - ah, the heat. Stole an extra month of summer this year.
But we're back to Canada now, to see winter through to the bitter end.
I could go on about the beauties of South America, the beaches, pampas, vineyards, hot springs, and blue lakes sleeping at the foot of smoke-puffing volcanoes. Or about the human wonders: the cafes of Buenos Aires, Carnaval in Montevideo, Valparaiso's polychrome houses... But what I'm going to tell you about instead is a saint I discovered while I was away, a saint you may never have heard of before, but who may prove worth knowing. His name is San Expedito - Saint Expeditious - and there is a special devotion to him in Chile, where I found this altar to him, in the Mercedarian church in Santiago.According to legend, Expedito lived in the fourth century in Asia Minor. He started life as a pagan, but when he heard the gospel, he resolved immediately to convert to Christianity. The Devil spoke in his ear to dissuade him from this path. "Think it over first," said the Evil One. "Do it tomorrow." But Expedito replied, "No. I will become a Christian today." Which is why he is prayed to as the patron saint of just and urgent causes, and why he has that little cross in his hand bearing the Latin word "hodie" - "today."
So if your problems can't wait till tomorrow, call on Expedito, the Fedex of patron saints!