Russell Wilson, Super Bowl winning Quarterback with the Seattle Seahawks, recently participated in a session at the Richmond Forum with historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., the host of the PBS show “Finding Your Roots,” in which Gates researches and meets with celebrities to reveal their familial history.

The noted Harvard historian told the 27-year-old quarterback that he was able to trace his lineage all the way back to 524 A.D. to Arnulf of Metz, a Frankish bishop and Catholic Saint.

For those of you unaware, Saint Arnulf (feast day July 18) just happens to the patron saint of beer. According to one pious legend, in 641, the people of Metz wanted to intern the relics of Arnulf at their cathedral. When those moving his relics grew thirsty, a mug of beer miraculously kept refilling itself so all of the laborers could quench their thirst:

It was July 642 and very hot when the parishioners of Metz went to Remiremont to recover the remains of their former bishop. They had little to drink and the terrain was inhospitable. At the point when the exhausted procession was about to leave Champigneulles, one of the parishioners, Duc Notto, prayed “By his powerful intercession the Blessed Arnulf will bring us what we lack.” Immediately the small remnant of beer at the bottom of a pot multiplied in such amounts that the pilgrims’ thirst was quenched and they had enough to enjoy the next evening when they arrived in Metz.

St. Arnulf of Metz, a saint who provides endless beer and whose decedents win Super Bowls seems like just the kind saint more football players should seek intercession from.

Wilson is a notable celebrity who has never shied away from sharing his Christian faith on and off the field. Being descended from a Catholic Saint might also explain having certain Hail Marys answered on the field:


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  1. Saint Arnulf’s wife is St. Dode (yes, he was married, they chose later in life to lead a chaste life and she went to a convent – they could do that back then). There are actually a lot of saints mixed in with that family… St. Begga, St. Cloud, Bl Pepin, St. Ida/Itta, and such. St. Arnulf is also a great-grandfather of Charlemagne. These people are in my ancestry…. which makes this football player a long, long, long, distant, distant, distant, distant cousin! ha!

  2. If you have any European ancestry then Charlemagne and therefore Arnulf are your ancestors. The fact that anyone with European ancestry today is descended from these people (shown by historical record) means that all people alive today with European ancestry are descended from these people.

    Yes, you read that right. It’s mathematically impossible that two people with any common regional ancestry can be alive today where one’s ancestor from 1,400 years ago is not also the other’s.


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