Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Theresa is no Catherine: I got my Catholic saints mixed up :)

[this post has lots of clickable links; "mudders" hick hop link is highly recommended]

I love 'Lives of Saints', as much as I hate annual reports, and here is what I learned while avoiding to work on the recent deadline:
Bernini's ecstasy depicts not Catherine, but the other woman saint. 

The original Catherine (the Lady of The Wheel) was not so lucky to be sainted for an orgasm, but sure was a major pain: "Consternated by her learned denunciation of paganism, Maxentius summoned fifty philosophers to trounce her in a public debate, but Katherine instead converted them all to Christianity.".

Feast Day: November 25th;
Date of Death: A.D. 307; Cause of Death: broken on the wheel and then, just to make sure, beheaded. (Santa Cecilia sung for three days after beheading. She however, did not merit a Bernini - though you might like the modern version better).

She was a chick saint, transported to heaven to marry Jesus in a mystical wedding ceremony:"Attuned to the interests of women, who were avid readers and patrons in 1440s East Anglia, Capgrave develops those aspects of the virgin martyr's relationship with her heavenly spouse that provincial wives could understand: her longing for her absent husband, for example". You Catherine are the patron of philosophers, theologians and royal women. Were you less fortunate, you could have been the patron saint of mudders.

There are two kinds of saints: either martyrs, quartered and sliced in imaginative ways, or the agile fund raisers. You got the both genes in you:)

The fund raiser was pretty scary too, caused lots of trouble in her 33 terrestrial years: "Catherine threw herself into Pope Gregory's campaign for another crusade to wrest the Holy Sepulchre from the Turks". And so our troubles started.

The runaway St. Flora likewise had issues with Muslims and, on the helpful advice of St. Eulogius, was decapitated only after a tour in brothel.  She wavered and trembled on her way to glory. She is patroness of the abandoned, converts, single laywomen and victims of betrayal. Feast day: October 5.

Then there is St. Flora of Beaulieu who did nothing of note, other than being mobbed by the sisters: "Like many saints, Saint Fleur was subject to the suspicions of her mother superior who could not admit or imagine the eminent virtue of her inferior". But she was a good girl and so went to heaven. Somehow she too, through the infinite wisdom of internet (conflated here), became patroness of the abandoned, converts, single laywomen and victims of betrayal. Feast day: November 24.

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