Author Affiliations: National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Mangone, Italy.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, people sought to protect themselves against a new disease that the physician Gaspare Torella (1452-1520) named the scourge of God. In seeking comfort in faith and prayer for God's forgiveness, the supplicants prayed to the saints to intercede on their behalf to help them recover from this new disease of syphilis, which was identified variously by the saints' names. Syphilis became known as Saint Mevenno disease, Saint Minus disease, Saint Mento disease, Sand Monus or Monnus disease, and Saint Maino or Maiano disease.
Tagarelli A, Lagonia P, Tagarelli G, Piro A. Intercessor Saints Protecting Europeans From Syphilis. Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(10):1202. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.269