In Catholic countries, the healing and fertilising caves, springs and stones
had been replaced by a variety of saints of the bowels, to whom their
devotees similarly prayed for restoration of their intestinal health.
Eighteenth-century parishioners suffering from various bellyaches still
fervently prayed for the intercession of the saints. The common denominator
is the mechanism of disembowelment used to tear out the entrails of the
earth and those of the saint. The etymology of the various forms of St
Agapit's name explains why he was endowed with the power to heal. The
devotion to the healing saints of the entrails therefore points to a dual
level of symbolic references: the belly of the martyr and the belly of the
earth. The life of St Mammès illustrates of this dual background.