Saint December 23 : St. Thorlak Thorhallsson a Norse Bishop Famous for Miracles and Patron of Autism and Iceland

12th century Icelandic bishop, who was revered as the patron saint of Iceland after his death in 1193. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1984. Thorlak Thorhallsson (Icelandic: Þorlákur Þórhallsson; 1133 – 23 December 1193) is the patron saint of Iceland and autistic people. He was bishop of Skálholt from 1178 until his death.
Prayer in honor of St. Thorlak:
All powerful, ever-living God,
you made St. Thorlak bishop and leader of your people. May his prayers help us to bring forgiveness and love. May we be inspired by his example and proclaim what he believed and put his teaching into action. Please bless the people of Iceland and Autistic people with faith and love.
We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.
 Thorlak's relics were translated to the cathedral of Skalholt in 1198, not long after his successor as bishop, Páll Jónsson. 
 His feast day is 23 December, when Thorlac's mass is celebrated in Iceland. 
 Born in 1133 at Hlíðarendi in the see of Skálholt in southern Iceland, Thorlak was from an agrarian family. He was ordained a deacon before he was fifteen and a priest at the age of eighteen. He studied abroad at Paris with the Victorines, where he learned the Rule of Saint Augustine from roughly 1153 to 1159, and then studied canon law in Lincoln.

Returning to Iceland in 1165, Thorlak founded a monastery of Canons Regular at Þykkvabær after refusing to marry a rich widow. There he devoted himself to a strictly religious life, refusing to marry (many other Icelandic priests were married) and devoting himself to reciting the Our Father, the Creed, and a hymn, as well as fifty Psalms.
Thorlak was consecrated a bishop by Augustine of Nidaros and worked to regulate the Augustinian Rule in Iceland, as well as eradicate simony, lay patronage, and clerical incontinency.
Thorlak's life and dozens of his miracles are described in great detail in the Icelandic saga Þorláks saga helga (the Saga of Saint Thorlak), republished in Icelandic on the occasion of John Paul II's visit to Iceland in 1989.
 The only known remaining relic of Thorlak is a bone fragment contained with other saints' relics in a lead box in sanctuary's end wall ("The Golden Locker") of the St. Magnus Cathedral, Faroe Islands.
There are two mass days dedicated to Þorlákur, Þorláksmessa in Summer, July 20th, and Þorláksmessa in Winter, December 23rd. The first marks the date his bones were removed from the coffin and put in a shrine, and the second marks the date of his death. In past centuries fresh fish was a common food on Þorláksmessa in Iceland. The origins of the tradition of eating fish on Þorláksmessa is that this is the last day of the Catholic Christmas fast, and of course people weren't expected to eat meat on this day. Sources: Wikipedia and