Elmo

c.1190-1246. Dominican preacher. The popular name for Peter Gonzalez. Of a noble Castilian family, he was educated by his uncle, the bishop of Astorga, and was appointed to a canonry while still under age. He renounced his easy life, however, and became a Dominican. As chaplain to Ferdinand III of Leon, he helped him in his crusade against the Moors, but urged generosity after their defeat at Cordova. Subsequently he left the court and began to preach among the poor and sailors of Galicia and the Spanish coast. A very popular preacher, he later came to be regarded as the patron saint of Spanish and Portuguese sailors. They called the electrical discharge sometimes seen on the decks of ships “Elmo's fire,” and regarded it as a sign of his protection.