St. Apollonia was an elderly deaconess who lived in the third century, at a monastery in Alexandria Egypt during one of the fiercest persecution of Christians. During her martyrdom, she lost every one of her teeth, causing her to become the patron of dentistry and a great intercessor for those suffering tooth ailments. Rather than deny Christ, she eventually leapt to a fiery death and entered eternal life.
Every year on at our parish's All Saints Party we would remember St. Apollonia by playing a game where each student would guess the number of the saints's "teeth" in a pretty glass jar...these teeth weren't really teeth at all, but candy corn! The one who guessed closest to the actual number won the jar of candy. Although candy corn is our family's favorite symbol, any type of corn can remind us of St. Apollonia's lost teeth! Here is a recipe for a great corn relish that you can serve to your army of saints for the feast.
St. Apollonia Corn Salad
2 tsp olive oil, or butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 red or green pepper, diced (You can use any variety of pepper, but the spicy ones can remind us of the fiery end our dear saint met!)
2 cups white corn kernels (They look like little white teeth!!!... if using frozen corn, defrost and drain well)
In a large skillet, melt butter or olive oil. Add onion and diced red pepper. When it is softened, add white corn (teeth!) and continue to sauté till the corn becomes roasted, once again reminding us of the fire. Remove from the heat, and transfer to a serving bowl. Meanwhile, make a dressing.
Chili Lime Dressing
1 lime, juice and zest
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red chili paste (or to taste)
1/2 tsp of honey or brown sugar
1/4 c olive oil (optional at our house!)
salt and pepper.
Place the ingredients into a glass jar and shake vigorously. Pour over the corn salad and serve warm or at room temperature.
Everyone knows that St. Apollonia, is the real Tooth Fairy, which is why our family homeschool celebrates Dental Health week this week each year as we celebrate St. Apollonia. Its a great week to "brush" up on good dental hygiene and make something special to keep our teeth especially bright. She likes all the teeth she collects to be pretty and clean so, once a week, we can polish them up to perfect brilliance with our own natural tooth polish. It's very easy to make!
St. Apollonia's Natural Tooth Polish
1/2 cup baking soda
1 tsp fine sea salt
10-15 drops essential oil of your choice ( peppermint, spearmint, orange, lemon)
Mix all these ingredients together and spoon it into a clean pint size jar with a tight fitting lid. Keep it in your bathroom and use about once a week to remove stains and polish teeth to their natural whitest. It is a bit more abrasive than your usual toothpaste, so be sure not to damage your enamel by using it every day!
Just dip your wet toothbrush into the mixture and polish away! You can make a pretty label and tie a ribbon around your jar and give it to a neighbor as a gift to remember our friend, St. Apollonia.