“A saint’s business, to put it clearly, is not caritas. Rather, he acts as trash (déchet); his business being trashitas (il décharite).”
Here begins the paradox, for in common image a saint does indeed charity. Lacan suggests that it is precisely this charity that the saint gets rid of, the saint discharges himself of the burden of charity. And in this way, “trachity” (déchariter) is a condensation of trash and charity and, I add, begins like décharge, the loaded term that it is.
To take two examples, deliberately opposed, we have the two patron saints of Italy: Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Catherine’s life makes it clear that she consumed herself, exhausted herself, wore herself to the bone to do charity. All the way to drinking drown the bedpan in which she gathered the purulent humors of penitence. And going back to Avignon to summon the popes home to Rome, not without success they say. All of which is very well indeed, but is that the last word? Is that her last word?