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Top 10 Truly Badass Saints

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

We all think of Saints as quiet and holy people – but history is full of some pretty amazing and curious people who came to be canonized. This list looks at ten of the toughest saints to have walked the earth – men and women who not only lived holy lives, but kicked some serious butt at the same time. For those of you who don’t know the specifics of what sainthood is, here is a brief summary before we start on the list. A saint is a person who lived a life of virtue. Many saints from the early Church are saints by general acclamation – in other words, they were so popular that they simply came to be known as saints. But, from very early on in Christianity, a saint was declared as such by the Pope (or in the case of martyrs, by the local Bishop). Literally, the term “saint” refers to any person who is in Heaven – not just those so named by the Church. But enough of the details – here are ten saints you don’t want to meet in a dark alley.


St Francis of Assisi
Canonized July 16, 1228, by Pope Gregory IX

573Px-Giotto - Legend Of St Francis - -11- - St Francis Before The Sultan (Trial By Fire)

I bet you weren’t expecting to see St Francis on this list. St Francis is best remembered in popular culture as the animal patron – the saint who could talk to animals and sooth wild beasts. While it is true that there were many reports of miracles regarding animals in St Francis’ life, he is more revered in the Church because of his strict poverty, stigmata and efforts to fix problems in the Church during a time of crisis. But what most people don’t know (including many religious people) is that St Francis was so devout in his beliefs that he raced off to Egypt in 1219 to become a martyr – he hoped that he would convert a bunch of muslims and then be killed. That was a hope that nearly came true!

St Francis was received by Sultan Melek-el-Kamel, whom he wanted to convert, and suggested that his muslim scholars undergo a test of true religion by fire. They all refused, so St Francis offered to enter a fire pit and, if he was able to leave it unharmed, they would have to agree that God had protected him and that his was, therefore, the true religion. The sultan rejected his offer but was so impressed that he gave St Francis permission to preach Christianity unhindered in his lands – an incredible concession considering the nation was in the middle of fighting against crusaders from the west. This saint was definitely a man of steel.


St Louis IX
Canonized 1297, by Pope Boniface VIII


Saint Louis was the King of France from 1226 until his death in 1270, and is the only canonized King of France. He was crowned King at only 12 years old, following the death of his father, King Louis VIII. Because of his youth, his mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled France as regent during his minority. He went on two crusades during his lifetime, one in his mid thirties, and the other in his mid 50’s, which is no mean feat when you consider how bloody and violent they could be. The first began with the capture of Port Damietta in 1249, and went on to the Battle of Fariskur, where he lost his army and was captured by the Egyptians. He was only released after a ransom of 400,000 livres tournois was paid (nearly twice France’s annual revenue), and the return of the city of Damietta.

Perhaps most significant for the badassness of King Louis was that the whole time he was battling, he was wearing a cilice (a sharp metal chain worn tightly to cause pain and sometimes bleeding) around the legs or waist. So when everyone else was suffering because of battle scars, the King was suffering twice. His end was to come in his second crusade when he died – as all good kings do – in the midst of a bloody battle.


St George
4th Century AD


St George is undoubtedly amongst the most well known saints on this list. He was a third century Roman soldier and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. He is regarded as the most prominent military saint and is one of the most revered in the Western World. George was raised as a Christian and decided at a young age that he wanted to be a soldier. He joined Diocletian’s army and, before long, was one of the finest soldiers around. Some time later Diocletian decided that all soldiers who were Christians had to renounce their faith and become pagan. George refused (I am sure you all see where this is going). Diocletian tried to convince him to convert because he didn’t want to lose his best soldier but George refused.

Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords, in which he was resuscitated three times (pretty damned badass), George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on April 23, 303.

But most of all he is a badass because he killed a dragon or so the legend goes. Here is the story of St George and the Dragon:

“In the fully developed Western version, which developed as part of the Golden Legend, a dragon or Crocodile makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of “Silene” (perhaps modern Cyrene) in Libya or the city of Lydda, depending on the source. Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden must go instead of the sheep. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but there appears Saint George on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The grateful citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.” [Source]


St Ignatius of Loyola
Canonized March 12, 1622 by Pope Gregory XV

Saint Ignatius Loyola In Armour

Ignatius of Loyola (Basque: Ignazio Loiolakoa, Spanish: Ignacio de Loyola) (1491 – July 31, 1556) was a Spanish knight from a Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537 and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and was its first Superior General. St Ignatius was an incredibly brilliant Knight who fought in many battles without any injuries, until one fateful day. On May 20, 1521, a cannonball wounded one of his legs and broke the other. Unperturbed, he got up and hobbled back to the castle. He needed surgery which was undertaken without anesthesia – a treatment that most modern folk would balk at. Part of his leg bone had to be cut off, and the operation was generally a disaster. But, despite the fact that he ended up with one leg shorter than the other (which led the doctors to put weights on his leg to stretch it back out), he survived and went on to found one of the most famous religious orders in the world (inspired by the religious texts he read while recovering from the cannonball).


St Simeon Stylites
5th Century

460Px-Mhs Szymon Slupnik Xvi W Kostarowce P

Saint Simeon Stylites lived for 37 years standing on top of a small platform on a tall pillar. That is sufficient to label him badass. Before this he spent 40 days closed in a tiny hut without any food or water. When he walked out it was hailed as a miracle. Pilgrims flocked to see St Simeon and they erected taller pillars for him to stand on – in the end his pillar was 15 meters high. He lived off goat’s milk and flat bread – provided by local children. He refused to let any women come near the pillar (including his mother) and he would let people climb a ladder to talk to him and ask for advice.

St Simeon truly cemented his name in the annals of badass history when he got an ulcer on his thigh which festered and ultimately led to his death – standing up.


St Joan of Arc
Canonized May 16, 1920, by Pope Benedict XV


“Forward! They are ours!” That was the battle cry of Saint Joan of Arc, the young virgin who led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years’ War, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII.

In one battle, Saint Joan was hit in the neck by an arrow. Unlike most men in war, she didn’t take it lying down; she got right back up, pulled out the arrow and continued to lead the army. In another battle, whilst scaling a wall to attack the English, she was hit in the head with a canon ball – as is to be expected of a warrior saint, she shook her head and kept climbing. Her leadership (and battle style, which was 100% attack) shattered the English Army wherever it met her.

She was captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English, tried by an ecclesiastical court and burned at the stake when she was nineteen years old. 25 years later the Pope (Pope Callixtus III) investigated the trial at the request of Saint Joan’s mother, Isabelle Romée, and the Inquisitor General overturned it and declared that Joan was a martyr. It took 500 years before she was officially canonized. Oh – and contrary to popular belief, St Joan didn’t dress in men’s clothing – she fought all of her battles in a dress with armor over the top.


St Vladimir of Kiev
10th & 11th Centuries AD

St Vladimir

Which saint had hundreds of concubines, multiple wives from around the world, so many children that everyone lost count, and an army of pagans? St Vladimir of Kiev did! Vladimir was the grand prince of Kiev, who converted to Christianity in 988, but before his conversion he was a pretty mean (not to mention profligate) guy. From the start of his reign in 980, he conquered lands, slaughtered people, had children and generally partied hard. On a few occasions he, being a good Pagan, took part in human sacrifices:

“In 983, after another of his military successes, Prince Vladimir and his army thought it necessary to sacrifice human lives to the gods. A lot was cast and it fell on a youth, Ioann by name, the son of a Christian, Fyodor. His father stood firmly against his son being sacrificed to the idols. More than that, he tried to show the pagans the futility of their faith: ‘Your gods are just plain wood: it is here now but it may rot into oblivion tomorrow; your gods neither eat, nor drink, nor talk and are made by human hand from wood; whereas there is only one God — He is worshiped by Greeks and He created heaven and earth; and your gods? They have created nothing, for they have been created themselves; never will I give my son to the devils!’”

Interestingly, it was this speech which caused Vladimir to ponder over the next few years as to whether he ought to convert to Christianity, which he ultimately did. He ruled so kindly after his conversion that he became known as Vladimir the Great – a far cry from his previous life.


St Moses the Black
4th Century AD

Moses The Black

St Moses the Black was a slave of a government official in Egypt who dismissed him for theft and suspected murder. He became the leader of a gang of bandits who roamed the Nile Valley, spreading terror and violence. He was a large, imposing figure. On one occasion a man caught him in a theft, which annoyed St Moses immensely. The next day he swam across the Nile (a not insignificant act) with a knife in his mouth – his intention was the kill the guy. When he got to his home the guy had fled (having obviously heard some of Moses’ previous exploits). St Moses, instead, killed four of his sheep before sticking the knife back in his mouth and swimming back. Shortly after that the law started to catch up with him so he hid in a monastery. The influence of the monks was so great that he converted and became a monk.

But the story doesn’t end there. Some years later a group of thieves wanted to rob the monastery where St Moses was living. He caught them off guard and single handedly beat them all to a pulp. He dragged their bloodied bodies to the chief monk to ask what to do (knowing it wasn’t a monkly thing to kill them). The head of the monastery said to forgive them and send them away, which surprised the robbers so much that they all apologized, converted and became monks too! He eventually died at the hands of a group of warriors who attacked the monastery when he was 75 years old – but not before he managed to help 70 of the monks escape. St Moses chose to stay behind with a few other monks to fight off the warriors.


St Longinus
1st Century AD

Longinus St Peters Basillica

St Longinus was a soldier in the Roman army, from Caesarea. He spent his life earning his pension by fighting with his fellow soldiers throughout the Roman lands, and eventually ended up in Jerusalem helping out with various tasks he was capable of (he was nearly blind). One of the tasks was to be life changing. St Longinus was instructed to assist at the crucifixion of Jesus. Being a good Roman soldier he took his work seriously and, ensuring that he get a promotion for doing a good job, stabbed Jesus in the side while he was on the cross. In other words, Longinus stabbed God. It takes a true badass to have the guts to do something like that.

Blood and water flowed out from the stab wound and some of it got in Longinus’ eyes. His blindness vanished and he declared “Indeed, this was the Son of God!” [Mark 15:39]. He immediately left the army, converted and became a monk. Not long after he was arrested for his faith, his teeth ripped out and tongue cut off. However, St. Longinus continued to speak clearly and managed to destroy several idols in the presence of the governor, who consequently had Longinus beheaded. His relics are now in the church of St Augustine, in Rome, and the lance he used to stab Jesus is contained in one of the four pillars over the altar in the Basilica of St Peter’s in Rome.


St Quiteria
2nd Century AD


This entry is number one on the list for not just the badassness of St Quiteria, but the downright weird circumstances of her life. St Quiteria was one of nine sisters all born at the same time (nonuplets). The nine girls’ mother was a lady of high rank and she was disgusted that she had given birth to nine children like a common animal and even more so that she had nine daughters and no son (son’s were far more valuable). In a fit of rage, she demanded that her nurse take the babies and drown them in the river. The nurse couldn’t do it so she took them to a remote village where the girls grew up together. Then things get really weird. They formed a nonuplet warrior gang.

The girls were all good Christians and their gang was formed to travel around breaking Christians out of jail. They spent a number of years in this task (and smashing Roman idols) until they were caught and returned to their father, who recognized them. He told them all to marry good Roman pagans but they refused and broke out of jail. Then the real badass began. They waged a guerilla war against the Roman Empire. Eventually, the girls were all killed or died (Quiteria was beheaded) and along with Quiteria, two of her sisters Marina and Liberata are saints.

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • Kevin-from-Mars`

    Another thing about Vladamir the Great, one other reason (probably a rumor or myth) he choose Christianity is it allowed you to drink alcohol and eat meat unlike Islam or Judaism.

    • Kevin-from-Mars`


    • True – he rejected Islam because it restricted things Christ allowed – alcohol (his first miracle was turning water to wine for the wedding feast) and meat (he said what goes into the mouth isn’t bad – it is what comes out) – Islam rejects both of those teachings of Christ.

    • br0ck

      wow i can`t believe that lakers lost :(

  • Volpe

    You forget Saint Michael the Archangel, he cast Satan out of Heaven.

    • I didn’t – St Michael is an angel – this list is about human saints – people who were human and attained Saint status. St Michael is an angel – he was never human.

  • magoopaintrock

    Like the movie poster says: “He’s an angel, not a saint.”

    • I don’t get the comparison – enlighten us please!

      • Lifeschool

        @ JF: Magoopaintrock was refering to the St. Micheal ‘angel vs saint’ comment you replied to above, referencing the tag line from the movie ‘Michael’ starring John Travolta to underline what you were saying.

  • casbro

    great list!

    • Thanks – it took nine hours to write but was worth every minute. In addition to the awesome saints on the list I discovered so many more who were badass but just not quite enough to be featured here. Maybe that can be a second list in a few months :)

      • Auburn Tiger

        I was glad to see this list because it hasn’t been very long since the last “badass” list. Great list.

        • That did make me a little reticent to write it so soon but then I got started and loved the topic so here it is :) Plus I don’t think you can really ever have too many lists about badasses :)

      • Maria Cyprus

        Hopefully Hagios Demetrios will be featured since he was ‘athletic in appearance and heroic in spirit, he became a high-ranking officer in the Roman Army at a very young age. (This is why he is depicted in Byzantine icons in military dress, either standing or riding a horse.) He considered himself a soldier of Christ first, and a military soldier second.’

        Here is the link:

        My late DaD’s name was Demetris (I am Cypriot) and I’ve been reading up on st.Demetrios’ life.
        Great list, as are all of your lists! ;)

        • Marc

          How about Samson? Guy killed over a thousand dudes with a donkey’s jawbone…now that’s pretty badass.

  • crazy biatch

    St Satan the Great is a very very very very very bad ass too!! BAD ASS.

    • Re-read the intro – a saint is a person (or angel) who is in Heaven. Lucifer is not in heaven obviously – he is a devil not a saint :)

      • Satan is an Angel, albeit a fallen one. Though it can hardly be said that his actions are in anyway virtuous!

        • Armin Tamzarian

          He killed less people than god, and for less retarded reasons. So I think Satan is a safe pick over god.

          • UAreARetard

            i bet u worship the devil?u shud rot in hell

          • bkj

            you are mad trippin

  • DrevniDabar

    Very good list, especially this sentence, which is award-winning:
    ”In other words, Longinus stabbed God. It takes a true badass to have the guts to do something like that.”

    As for St. George, I think he wasn’t just soldier, but a Tribune, which is a very high title, if I’m not mistaken, which is great, concidering his age…

    • He very well may have been. I was a bit waffly on his item as he was my last chosen and I was a bit reticent about adding him altogether because of the mythos surrounding him. Ultimately I added him because he was a real living person and his deeds (dragon slaying aside) made him a worthwhile inclusion. :)

    • Armin Tamzarian

      Nope, it isn’t that great. The only thing a Roman tribune had to do was have a wealthy father. Every son of a patrician would start out as a tribune.

      • witcharachne

        Not every guy with a wealthy family could be a tribune. You couldn’t be of the patrician group, for one. Besides, only one was elected at a time, which reduces the numbers by a shitload.

        It was mainly a ceremonial role but, until the shitstirrers realised how it could be manipulated :)

        • Armin Tamzarian

          No, that’s the plebeian tribune. St. George was a military tribune, of which there were about a million different categories alone.

  • combatsmurf

    i see no reason why louis would need to wear a cilice during battles… considering its intended purpose… the last thing on my mind would be sex or impure thoughts! so suffice to say i see him more of a sadist (albeit a diluted, well intentioned version) than a badass.
    and george… well that was a given pretty much. he rocks my socks. he he he.

    • Ah but perhaps his wearing of the cilice stopped him from raping in between pillaging – putting him in a far better position that many of the others who fought along his side.

      • combatsmurf

        ah yes that may well be the case but how would that put him in a better position?

        and if it was truly the reason wouldn’t that just reinforce the fact that he was more of a ‘nice-guy’ virtuous saint, thinking of others, considering their feelings… than a bad-ass virtuous saint?

        • Jfrater

          When everyone else is raping, raping is the norm – aren’t badasses the guys who go against the norm? :) ultimately though – when the other warriors were suffering in battles from non-self inflicted wounds, he added his own optional wounds!

          • combatsmurf

            yeah i see your point jamie, i suppose he is then (although he is the lesser of all the others on the list).

            anyway, i forgot to say… great list, i’m not surprised it took you so long to write; very informative and a nice topic for a bit of discussion and banter lol

          • combatsmurf: and a good list for a Sunday too :)

  • Randomizer

    I like the new bad ass lists. There should be a whole bad ass category. Bad ass politicians, bad ass criminals, bad ass movie characters, bad ass books about bad asses etc. (add a little litreture bad ass can be educational too)

    • That is a good point – perhaps we could add a new category – it has been a long time since we have needed to really.

  • Odd Jobb

    About #5 (St Joan of Arc): this list stated that “contrary to popular belief, St Joan didn’t dress in men’s clothing – she fought all of her battles in a dress with armor over the top”. But another Listverse list said that she was found guilty and executed only because she admitted to wearing mens clothing, which was a crime.

    • Jfrater

      She wore mens clothes in prison because her captors gave her no choice – that was part of the trickery used to convict her. She told the truth that she had worn mens clothes – but she didn’t do so as a personal choice. St joan is not the idol many feminists have tried to make her – she was a virtuous young girl who did amazingly badass things whilst keeping her feminine self intact!

      • witcharachne

        Which is exactly why she SHOULD be a feminist idol.
        She did what she had to, and moderated it with what she felt was moral.

      • JX Brillig

        This is the first time I’ve ever heard this, “Oh – and contrary to popular belief, St Joan didn’t dress in men’s clothing – she fought all of her battles in a dress with armor over the top.”

        You must be confused with the many artists that have frequently depicted her in a dress. The historical consensus is that she was armed to the hilt in white armor. Many contemporary accounts can attest to this and are readily available on the internet. Here’s an example:

        “After the inquest at Poitiers, Charles VII commissioned a suit of armor for Jeanne at the samme time that he set up a military household for her. The registra of the city hall of Albi, who saw her, testified that ‘Jeanne went armed in white iron, entirely from head to foot.'”

        The source and historically accurate depictions of that armor can be found here:

  • flgh

    No St. Olaf?

  • Armadillotron

    You know that we can`t celebrate St George in England? I once had to take my St George Flag down from my garden, because it “offends people.” And you have blacks, Muslims and asians saying , “he`s a symbol of English opression and racism,” and, “he`s a symbol of the Crusades.” You`d think I were waving the swastika for God`s sake. You think you have this in other countries? Course not. You`d think someone who`s Patron Saint of sufferers of The Black Death and syphilis would be celebrated. He weren`t even English anyway, he was a Turk.

    • Jfrater

      St George is traditionally a symbol of England – you have every right to celebrate his life as indeed the Catholic church does once a year on his feast day!

    • combatsmurf

      political correctness gone mad i tells ya!

      mind you it’s not like that in the whole country (people would get lynched if they asked us to take down the st g’s cross or union jack where i live).

      i don’t think it’s that we’re not allowed to put the flags up, it’s just that we’re too soft now… we’re in the state we’re in for being pussies all these years. basically… britain isn’t british anymore.

      • Armadillotron

        Yep, it`s a tragic fact that you can`t fly the St George Flag or the Union Jack Flag. “because it`s racist.” The only time I ever see it on display is when the world cup is on, then people take it down. Crazy.

        • CooCooCuchoo

          i think you’re talking shit really, you people that say “the country’s gone to the dogs” etc are the only reason it seems that way. its bullshit, ive flown cross’s and union jacks at special occassions, there are houses in my town where there are’s crosses out perminently. Ask 99% of the ethnics and they would agree that it isnt offensive at all, as most of them are english anyways.
          the only people that ruin a country are those that stop being proud of it, which is exactly what you are doing.
          p.s. great list btw

          • Armadillotron

            No, I`m not talking crap, that`s exactly what it`s like where I live. The only place I see the flag flown, is on top of the town hall. This-“we have to reclaim the flag from the BNP,” nonsense, God it`s unbelievable. Do you think France have this kind of thing with Joan of Arc? Vichy France used her as their symbol and Hitler was compared to her, but France aren`t bothered.

    • jay

      Would catergorically like to say, as an ethnic minority in England, I (nor any of my ethnic minority friends) do not find the English flag, Union Jack, St George racist. I dont find xmas decorations insulting, i dont care if someone says merry Christmas instead of seasons greetings… and whatever else you think you cant do because of us in this country.

      Please do not think that rubbish comes from our mouths. If I didnt like this country i’d leave.

      Why dont you stand up for yourself and wave the flag around, celebrate st georges day etc. instead of complaining.

      • witcharachne

        Damn frigging right! The majority of the time the people making everyone else conform to some politically correct ideal are the ones who feel like anyone different from them needs to be protected.

        It’s its own form of racism, in my opinion.

    • Geowyn

      I have a Cross of St George in my porch for all to see and have yet to have any complaints.

  • way to go jafe……..good old-school style listverse list, (holy guns and all yo). … here, near new orleans, gotta throw in drew brees as an honourable mention badass saint.

    • Thanks :) It was definitely a pleasure to write this one.

  • combatsmurf

    i just noticed my first comment has had a word censored… what is that about frater???

    we cant say that anymore… how is that offensive or vulgar? i know it has many meanings and connotations but wow, it’s not like i said the f-word or anything…

  • oouchan

    Definitely not my cup of tea for a list. Although I will say this: well written, if not interesting.

  • venusbloo

    Could you please start calling these “badass” people something else, it’s a bit silly calling someone a “bad bottom” or “bad bum” really!

    • Lifeschool

      Way to go! Seriously, I suggest Badass is a really good word to describe these people. It’s a real word, meaning: “(a person) difficult to deal with; mean-tempered; touchy; distinctively tough or powerful; so exceptional as to be intimidating. A mean-tempered troublemaker.” An alternative word may be ‘hero’ perhaps (as opposed to Barbarian), to describe these kick-arse unstoppable relentless ruthless mean mothers; but even a dumb pop culture term like ‘Badass’ still seems to sum up those connotations better than any other word. Anybody got any other suggestions?

    • Julius

      Thesaurus doesn’t think we can call them anything else. It doesn’t have a synonym.

    • Hrm… how about: “Would you please start calling these “ass” things something else, it’s a bit silly calling a “bottom” or “bum” a donkey. :)

      New words and new meanings arrive all the time – badass has certain connotations that can’t be found in other words so it seems most appropriate here. I do use other terms with similar meaning when they are called for :)

  • chrom3d

    Chuck Norris would kick these saints’ asses even before they could blink..

  • chrom3d


    • Rohan

      I dont think your professor was 100% cocerrt. If you just got the job then you will most likely spend the majority of the time coding and as you get more experienced and familiar with the companys system you may end up doing more analytical work such as developing a database, analysing data, meetings etc.. After some time you start to think that even a trained monkey can program so they usually give those tasks to less experienced people so the more you move up the less programming you are likely to do. Also, it sometimes takes longer to test your work than it takes to program it.

  • br0ck

    where is St julius cezarr?

    • Julius

      You can’t honestly tell me that you don’t know how to spell Caesar!

      Jesus Christ….

      • Lifeschool

        Perhaps he saw it on a menu?

        Cezarr Saladd – onlee $3

        • fendabenda

          Caesar salad is not named after Julius Caesar, but after the chef Caesar Cardini, who invented it. And he did sometimes spell his name as Cezar Cardini.

          • Lifeschool

            Interesting! Thanks for posting.

  • sevendarkdays

    Here be dragons!

    St George: Not for long!

    • I wish we still had the like button

  • Lifeschool

    Hi, a great list today – very well researched and presented!

    St Simeon: Hey Doc, I’m 400 Lbs overweight, and non of the girls fancy me, what can I do?

    Doc: Well, have you tried the new and improved 40 day diet?

    St Simeon: No? What’s that?

    Doc: Well.. see that hut over there?

    St Simeon: The one that says ‘Fat Club’?

    Doc: – Yeah. I’ll lock you up in there for 40 days straight, and when you come out you’ll be nice and thin. Then we’ll set you up on that pillar over there so all the girls can flock around and see the miracle. There’ll be so many girls you’ll have to start refusing them.

    St Simeon: Sounds great! Are you any good with ulcers??

    Doc: – Errrr.. no.

  • mom424

    Excellent list this morning Jamie. Well worth the effort. I don’t have a problem with the dragon slaying Saint George – as you’ve stated could have been some sort of crocodilian, also could have been a python or anaconda, or for that matter, some big-ass fish. What good story doesn’t get embellished over the years? Slaying a dragon sounds sooo much more impressive than catching a fish…even a big one.

    • You are dead right – there is every chance the story comes from a real event – and people often use hyperbole in retelling tales.

  • zammer007

    Another great list JF….thank you for all of your hard work!

  • paula

    thanks for the great list! you were in seminary, why did you not become a priest? or are you father frater?

    • I was in the seminary for a short time – it just wasn’t to be – so no, I am not Father Frater (which would mean Father Brother funnily enough).

  • vanowensbody

    Man, #1 reminds me of “Fox Force Five”. Something like “Nun Nuke Nine”.

    Great list.

  • nascentbenedictine

    For more stories of “badass saints”, read the book “Saints Behaving Badly”. If you think Crown Prince St. Vladimir was baad, he took after his mom, St. Olga!

    • Thanks for mentioning her – she really was a badass and if I had known about her before your comment I would definitely have included her on this list!

  • Thorlite

    I thought the spear that pierced christs side was in an Austrian museum?

    • Julius

      There are three relics that people claim are the “holy lance”.

      The one mentioned in the list, in the Vatican, one’s in Armenia in Echmiadzin and the “Hofburg Spear” in Vienna.

    • deeeziner

      I thought that girl in “Constnatine” hid it. JK

  • Saint Louis IX really was a saint. Every night, peasants dined in the same room as him in his palace, and nine peasants ate at the same table as him. He was also always faithful to his wife, something very uncommon for a monarch. Louis is among the most well-loved French monarchs because of his benevolence. But, he was a badass too, as you mentioned in the list. :)

    • He is one of my favorite saints – for showing that someone can be rich and still lead a holy life. I am also fond of Charles I of Austria though he is currently a Blessed and not yet a Saint – though a second miracle has been attributed to him now so he is probably not far of canonization.

  • deeeziner

    Even their names/monikers are badass…

    A female Christian warrior gang?!? Okay that’s the epitome of the title of this list.

    • Yep – there was no question at all it had to be item 1 :)

      • Andy

        The female christian warrior gang most certainly should be a movie.

  • Alex

    As I scrolled down I hoped against hope that I would find St Honey Badger, but alas the Vatican hasn’t cannonized the one true bad ass as of yet.

  • FlameHorse

    I gotta go with St. Lawrence on this one. Look up how he was killed. God awful, but his last words are buttkicking stuff.

    • He definitely deserves an honorable mention. He was so popular that he is one of the most venerated saints in history (but not incredibly well known outside of Europe for some reason).

      • mom424

        He’s well known in Canada. We have the St. Lawrence River (at it’s mouth, the widest river in the world btw), the Laurentian Mountains, St. Laurent (part of the city of Montreal), and the pretty famous St. Lawrence Boulevard (spans the entire island of Montreal). Yeah to Jacques Cartier! (All Canadians know him, famous explorer dude).

    • Bruno

      excwept that particular method of judicial; execution had not been used for about a century by the time larry
      er i mean St Lawrence got executed

  • Bryce

    nowhere in Mark 15 does it mention Longinus or that Jesus was stabbed in the side. the stabbing was mentioned in John 19:33-34 and then it goes on to mention that there was a man there who gave an account of the stabbing and that the account was true, it does not give the man’s name though. so to say that Longinus was Biblically the one who stabbed Jesus’ side is false.

    • Longinus is known through other Biblical (non-canonical) texts from the first century.

      • Alencon

        Really? Name one?

        The bible doesn’t name the soldier that supposedly pierced the side of Jesus on the cross. As far as I know the name first appears in the Gospel of Nicodemus (aka The Acts of Pontius Pilate) which is dated to sometime in the 4th century.

        (Cassius Longinus was also the hero of the Louis de Wohl book “The Spear” which actually was pretty good and I recommend it if you haven’t read it.)

    • pedro

      Agree bryce, I think this saint is more of a legend than a true person.

      • aquarius1011

        I reckon that Saint was a true person.

  • David

    The “Dragon,” that Saint George is meant to have slain is supposed to have been the Emperor Diocletian, the Emperor mentioned, and the worse killer of Christians in history. He was cruel, but a good ruler. He wasn`t off their rocker like Caligula or Fiddled While Rome Burned like Nero though.

    • That is a very interesting take on the tale – thanks. Oh – but do note that Nero in fact didn’t fiddle while Rome burned – fiddle’s weren’t invented and Nero rushed back to Rome as soon as he heard what was happening.

  • jzamarra1

    A very inspiring list. What about St. Joseph of Coupertino ? He could levitate !!!


    • Yes – he is one of my favorites – there is even a film about him – I think it is called the Reluctant Saint.

    • Yes – he is one of my favorites – there is even a film about him – I think it is called the Reluctant Saint.

  • coexist

    This seems like a very christian website. There are many saints in many different religions around the world who’s courage and actions equal or surpass those of the ones listed here, why not include them as well? I was honestly expecting some diversity on this list.

  • jum1801

    Jamie, regarding Longinus and the spear legend, it makes a nice story, but confabulation of a Bible verse with myth is misleading and unhelpful. I speak of your reference to the Bible passage of Mark 15:39, which of course says nothing about any Longinus, eyes, blindness or spear. In fact none of the four Gospels speak of a Longinus, nor of the blood of the crucified Jesus curing anyone of anything – those are later “add ons”, presumably by the church of the Middle Ages.

    Citations to sources should be respected, whatever they are. All the Bible itself says is that an unnamed Roman centurion present at the crucifixion of Jesus (presumably in charge of the soldiers charged with execution of sentence) was so moved by Jesus’s dying words, demeanor on the cross and the miraculous events accompanying his death, that the centurion was moved to confess that Jesus was truly the Son of God.

    This unknown awestruck centurion had nothing to do with any spear or piercing of Jesus’s side. That was done by unnamed Roman soldiers sometime later to ensure the death of Jesus so that he could be taken down from the cross. The Bible takes no note of who wielded the spear or what happened to it; nor does it say anything about the blood Jesus curing anyone at crucifixion. Again , these were add-ons by the medieval church. (Biblical citations cheerfully provided on request. ;) )

  • Pocket Change

    saint Nicholas

  • Haakon

    What about Saint Olaf, the viking Saint?

  • chrom3d


    • fendabenda

      Yes, but everyone knows about him already. It’s always good to know about new badasses. Did you check out Brother Metal (Fratello Metallo)? He IS a real monk, also known as Frate Cesare Bonizzi.

  • MrRocketSkates

    Never thought I would see a list, led alone a sentence altogether, with the words “Badass” and “Saints” together! ha ha

  • trfan01

    Nice list. :)

    We need more religious ones on Sunday. We seem to have too many dark and disturbing ones on Sunday a majority of the time.

    And yikes, nine children at once?

  • Max

    Information on St Vladimir of Kiev is false, and wrong.

  • Alencon

    I’d have to say that 80% of this list is what I’d call “Bad Christian Mythology” as opposed to “Quality Christian Mythology” which covers things like the canonical Gospels.

    You’d get more true stuff by reading Edith Hamilton.

    • jum1801

      You’re absolutely correct about the tendency of some listerss here (even from JFrater) to mix Biblical information with non-scriptural Catholic tradition or even secular legends. The lists of course may be anything the lister wants them to be…but they may not imply that certain information is Biblical if it is not (at least without being subject to a charge of intellectual dishonesty).

      Now I don’t think that’s what happened here. I think it was mere oversight that led JFrater to cite Mark 15:39 as if it supported the legend of Longinus, who of course is mentioned nowhere in the Bible (about which I commented above). With other listers I think such incorrect citations or inappropriate allusions of Biblical authority more often come from an unfamiliarity with, even ignorance of, the Bible. Occasionally it springs from antipathy to organized Western religion, particularly Chrisitanity.

  • Jay

    A great list! I love how the women outshine the men.

  • Dang! Go St. Quiteria!! Quiteria the Warrior Saint.


    Wow really reaching the bottom of the barrel with these lists now arent you? I’ve had enough of this crap you put out, and most of your readers are boring and full of themselves losers (you know who you are) PATHETIC, good riddence to you losers have fun with these boring or in some cases ripped-off lists—SEE YA

  • I agree. These were all truly bad-as-s maafakas. Another very entertaining list.

  • Thank you for the history of the saints. I enjoys each story.


  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    Pretty cool list. Number 3 is the coolest.

  • mordechaimordechai

    Great list.

    Christianity spread out in roman times ‘cuase it was the religion of the soldiers.

    In fact it has a very strong yet overlooked military tradition.

    Muslim and Christians share the concept of the Holy war. Be that the “big war” which is the spiritual one o the “small war”, the actual fighting.

    The lion of St. Mark is a reminder of the Holky war and such were the Crusades.

  • Meh

    PLEASE check, double check, and even triple check your articles for grammar and spelling errors.

  • Rmar

    What happened to today’s list? the one about stuff nazis did right

    • I removed it because it was causing too much offense to too many people. I hate removing lists but it seemed the only appropriate thing to do.

      • OmegaMan

        Sad. The only word that I could come up with. I thought that there ought to be some place where history could be discussed without any political correctness coming into the picture. I can understand your position Jamie. Well you better add in your rules that there should be no future lists about the Nazis other than the atrocities committed by them. Sad.

        • The list is back.

          • OmegaMan

            And thank you for that. Sorry for the strong words I used in the previous comment. But hey, by removing and reposting the list, you made it even more interesting.

  • mrjimmyos

    What a great list, 10 saints, 10 amazing stories

  • Mimz

    I absolutely loved this list. It was entertaining to read, and very awesome that it’s a list about Badass Saints. I’m a Christian and I find it annoying that there are many people who are first in line to insult anything having to do with Christianity or Catholicism, especially on the internet, so to read a list that wasn’t in any way, shape or form putting down these Saints was uplifting to read.

    Thanks Mr. Frater!

  • OmegaMan

    Well this comment is not really related to this subject, but I have no choice. Jamie, why did you remove the list “10 things that the Nazis did right”? Political Correctness?? There should be no shame in discussing the facts.

  • really boring

  • Stacked Stone

    St Moses was a bad ass!

  • Max Monastyrev

    On St. Vladimir of Kiev, and the lack of depth in research shown by the author is an insult to its readers and devalues the site itself. You may just as well copy the text from Wikipedia, bar the ‘badassery’ spin to the article.

    There is little evidence of whom Vladimir was, apart from what is written in the chronicles. The chronicler it seems, decided to portray the life of St. Vladimir prior to his christianisation, in a gloomy and dark manner, to compare with the events after he has accepted the Christian faith, as miraculous, a grace of God.

    Vladimir was thought to be reforming the pagan traditions in Kievan Rus, erecting idols in Kiev, with the major Gods in Slavic Paganism, which is interesting, as he not only tries to reform the pagan traditions, but accepts Christianity (with approval from the Boyars) too, it seems to be an intriguing characteristic shown by Vladimir.

    At the time of Vladimir, Christians that lived in Kiev were not a small minority. This explains why the mercenary Vikings in Kiev, under Vladimir, were sacrificed, as they had come in contact with the Christian body in Kiev, and of course, the Byzantine emperor needed them too, so some were sent to Byzantine, some remained, this crated a drive for the south for both Russians and the Vikings, as the wealth of Byzantine attracted both parties.

    “In 983, after another of his military successes, Prince Vladimir and his army thought it necessary to sacrifice human lives to the gods…Ioann by name, the son of a Christian, Fyodor. His father stood firmly against his son being sacrificed to the idols…”

    Theodore and John were Vikings, who were more likely sacrificed because of Vladimir’s distrust or lack of in both, this was typical of the form of sacrifices that occurred; being killed because of capture etc. The sacrifices refer to the Byzantine campaigns (as mentioned by the author).

    There is no mention of a priestly caste, nor of the Vikings having them at the time. Motives behind the sacrifice or killing of these two changes, as if there was a priestly caste, then the situation would have been different, the people would have been made aware of the upheaval and called to resist (the Christian faith), as Kiev and other cities employed a form of democracy.

    This was not so, and is the reason why Christianity was able to penetrate into Kievan society at a rapid pace. Theodore and John were more likely made an example of, as both were Viking mercenaries who served Vladimir (bought/hired for militaristic reasons). Although I see the point of their sacrifice, it would have been resolve a dispute, a show of force, or a consensus among both parties to ‘sacrifice’ these two.

    In the point of view of the Christians, and whomever recorded the events, it would have been logical to connect these two, but it would have changed the outcome, and it has. It is interesting to note the attention placed on these two killings/sacrifices, as I’ve mentioned before, it is worded as such to give a gloomful tone, to compare to the ‘suffering’ of the Christians and the barbarism of the Pagans.

    The statement, “Interestingly, it was this speech which caused Vladimir to ponder over the next few years as to whether he ought to convert to Christianity, which he ultimately did.”

    During a discourse with a Greek philosopher, St. Vladimir was said to have been introduced to Greek Christianity (as opposed to Latin, whom the Germans offered, but were sent back), the philosopher showed him a curtain with the image of Christ, among other things, the Christian bible.

    Though, the conclusion that points to the real reasons behind the conversion of Vladimir, is when Vladimir asks for the Byzantine Emperor’s sisters hand, or else he would continue his military campaigns on Byzantine. The Emperor accepted this request, at the request of his own, that the Russians be converted Christianity. That is precisely what Vladimir did, after the baptism of Vladimir in Chersonesos, it was not a difficult choice to baptise his people, as Christianity has already become common in Kiev and not such a painful transition, and interestingly enough, this served a another purpose, as both forces combined, and conducted several successful military campaigns.

    Also to note, it was written he had 800 ‘bedmates’ which is an extreme exaggeration.

    • sofkes

      That was awesome, thank you.

  • Interesting list, Jamie, but nothing I didn’t already know…thanks to 13 years of Catholic School, K-12.

    I remember, whilst in grammar school, visiting the school library and checking out (repeatedly) The Lives of the Saints. I pretty much had the book memorized by time I was 11.

    I still have my entire collection of Holy Cards.

    There are a few Saints I would have included on the list, but you certainly did choose some very badass ones! To include all of the badass Saints would take a novelette, not a list of 10, so props for that.

    The early Saints really were all pretty much hardcore. They had to be.

  • Aurélie

    About king Saint Louis, I’m pretty sure he didn’t die “in the midst of a bloody battle” as stated, but rather from the plague that killed his armies in Tunis, where he’s buried. Some stated that instead of the plague, it was dysentery, but anyway he died because of a disease, not a sword.
    But he remains one of the greatest kings France ever had.

  • caterwaul

    And where is Drew Brees on this list? ;-)

  • Max

    Adding Alexander Peresvet (, would have been badass.

  • Jane Doe

    Saint Marina the Monk: she dressed up as a guy, so she could join her father in a monastery. soon they traveled and when they reached a tavern, the innkeepers already pregnant daughter tried to seduce her, and when marina (who was going by the name Marinus) refused, the daughter said that Marina raped her, and that’s how she was pregnant. marinus to save her father, refused to debunk these claims and was then put in charge of raising the child, begging.
    a street wise 6th century transvestite monk??? c’mon!!!

  • volumegx

    lols number 1 was pretty bad ass :p have they made a movie yet?

  • nascentbenedictine

    St. Marina the Monk definitely should be on a followup list. so should St. Gabriel Frassati

  • Zeke

    Very interesting list. However since the definition you gave of a saint was a bit loose I was expecting for you to dive into eastern Asian history to dig up some “saints” as well. There are people such as Musashi (a sword saint). Shi Yan Ming, a warrior monk and in my opinion is nearly the same as a saint that can kick ass with his bare hands.

  • bhumisvara

    The Nonuplet sisters is the most badass of them all

  • spiritual

    this sucks, i truly believed i would be impressed and proud of being catholic after reading this… this made me want to convert… in my eyes many of these people did nothing to truly help those in need… how is that living a life of virtue? killing people because they wont convert does not make u a bad ass…

  • Ronk

    “spiritual”, it does not say anywhere that any of these saints (after his conversion to Catholicism) ever killed any person because he wouldn’t convert. If any of them had done that, he would not have been declared a saint.

    All of these saints make me very impressed and very proud to be Catholic.

  • Sandra

    that developers only spend about 25% of their time acltaluy coding. One reason I may spend a lot of time coding is that the work is usually assigned to individuals rather than teams. Here are some questions to get a feel of how other companies work: How much time do you spend coding? What are other activities that take a large percentage of your time? What is the size of the company you work for? Do you feel like you work on projects as a team or individually? Feel free to leave any other comments that pertain from your experience.

  • Joe

    Really a good list …. its good to know how these saints went so far to uphold their faith ( and yes some got faith through twist in their life :) ) …..

    There is one thing thats doubting me in this list …is
    St George(#8) = St Sebastian ??? ..B’cos the life story of St Sebastian some how matches with St George ( except for the dragon killing ).

    Well be really helpfull ..if someone enlight me on this :)