Hilary Mantel on St. Gemma Galgani, St. Therese of Lisieux, and "holy" and secular anorexia, stigmata, and hysteria. "We can see, as ‘Catholic neurologists’ of the time did, that Gemma’s symptoms are a representational strategy. They are an art form and a highly successful one; they are also (possibly) the product of mental pain and distress turned into physical symptoms. . . . When we think of young adults in the West, driven by secular demons of unknown provenance to starve and purge themselves, and to pierce and slash their flesh, we wonder uneasily if she is our sister under the skin." (warning: gruesome) [more inside]
Here are a glossary and alphabet for the Lingua Ignota, the secret language created by Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th century abbess, seer, doctor, and composer.
A relic hunter dubbed 'Indiana Bones' has lifted the lid on a macabre collection of 400-year-old jewel-encrusted skeletons unearthed in churches across Europe.
"But Freud had a second fear: a fear of Rome's layers. In formal treatises, he compared the psyche to an ancient city, with many layers of architecture built one on top of another, each replacing the last, but with the old structures still present underneath. In private writings he phrased this more personally, that he was terrified of ever visiting Rome because he was terrified of the idea of all the layers and layers and layers of destroyed structures hidden under the surface, at the same time present and absent, visible and invisible. He was, in a very deep way, absolutely right." [more inside]
The upcoming game Saints Row 4, an over-the-top open world action game that features weapons like a Dubstep Gun, has been refused classification (banned) in Australia. The new R18 classification for games was supposed to make this less common, but Saints Row 4's (trigger warning) 'alien anal probe' weapon and 'alien narcotics' have caused it to fall afoul of the new guidlines. Developer Deep Silver said they'll resubmit Saint's Row 4 to the reclassification board, while The Guardian sees this as evidence of Australia's conservative culture. Saints Row previously.
"Fabiola has been a beloved subject for countless painters, most of them amateurs. The portrait’s format is almost always the same: Fabiola is seen in profile facing left, her head covered by a rich red veil. Mr. Alÿs, who was born in Belgium in 1959 and moved to Mexico City in 1990, began collecting Fabiola paintings — as the genre is called — about 15 years ago, buying them at thrift shops, flea markets and antiques stores primarily in Mexico and Europe. He has previously shown his collection three times, when it was much smaller; the current presentation includes more than 300 works. Photos of the exhibition
A Saint for Lost Souls. "The barrio of Tepito, where it's said that everything is for sale except dignity, has been one of Mexico City's roughest neighborhoods since Aztec times. Famous for its black market and its boxing champions, Tepito is a place where residents learn to fight early and fight hard. These days it has also become the epicenter of Mexico's fastest-growing faith: Santa Muerte, or Holy Death, a hybrid religion that merges Catholic symbolism with pre-Hispanic worship of the skeletal Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl, Lord and Lady of the Dead."
The Who Dat nation is composed of long-suffering, widespread, well-dressed, ballsy, divinely inspired (?), stubborn, parading, boundary-crossing, musical, and - as of tonight - very happy citizens. What's the deal with "Who Dat," anyway?
A white kid adopted by a Japanese-American couple, he grew up hearing stories of his grandmother raising his dad in an internment camp while his grandfather fought in Italy, and didn't eat a baked potato until he was eight. He went to UC Berkeley. He's vocal in his support for marriage equality. Scott Fujita is a linebacker for the New Orleans Saints.
It's not uncommon for the mayors of two cities locked in sports competition to make friendly wagers. But, do the cities' art museums do too? Apparently, they do.
Looking for a reason to celebrate today, or just a reason to skip out on your obligations? You could look through Religious seasonal days of celebration and holy days , check if today is covered by Holiday for Every Day yet, or keep things simple and rely on a Calendar of the Saints like the Catholic feast days or Greek Saints Days from the Orthodox Ministry Access Calendar. If you like to be more traditional, you could go with the Medievalist's On-line Calendar of Saints, which only lists people recognized as saints in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Or, if you feel lucky, check for special Google logos (designed by Dennis Hwang). For instance, today is the first day of Spring, and the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Artist Robert M. Place reveals images from two works-in-progress: The Vampire Tarot, based on the Bram Stoker's Dracula, and one called The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery. Place already has several gorgeous decks to his name: The Alchemical Tarot. Tarot of the Saints. The Buddha Tarot. [more inside]
Happy St. Dwynwen's Day! (Not to be confused with this guy or Hallmark's go-to fella, both handy for those of us wanting to be in love.)
Go out and smooch someone Welsh today.
Go out and smooch someone Welsh today.
Large scans of plates, largely for Robert Plot’s Natural History of Staffordshire (1686). You can view more of Burghers work here.
St. Lucia Day is celebrated today, primarily in Sweden . Celebrate at home! Bake some Lussekatter and put a wreath on your head!
"Hubert Selby died often. But he always came back, smiling that beautiful smile of his, and those blue eyes of his... This time he will not be back. My saints have always come from hell, and now, with his passing, there are no more saints". Selby is the author of Last Exit to Brooklyn, (tried for obscenity in England and supported by, among many others, Samuel Beckett and Anthony Burgess), Requiem For a Dream, Song of the Silent Snow. He is being eulogized in the USA and UK, but also, massively (I've just watched a fantastic TV special) in France, where he is much more popular than in his native land (Selby's death was the cover story -- plus pages 2, 3 and 4 -- in the daily Libération today -- .pdf file): Dernière sortie vers la rédemption, L'extase de la dévastation. What makes all this kind of ironic -- in a very Selbyesque way -- is that Selby himself used to say, "I started to die 36 hours before I was born..." (more inside)
Shawn Fanning - Patron Saint of the Internet? Fed up with hackers, a flood of spam and lousy connections, a group of Roman Catholics have launched a search to determine the Patron Saint of the Internet. Actually, I vote for Danni Ashe. I can't wait to see what her miracles are like...
All the Saints of the City of Angels: This website is dedicated to the exploration - at once poetic and historical - of this "spiritual geography" of Los Angeles; a road trip into the city's cultural, spiritual, and ethnic heritage via its streets which bear the names of saints.
Mother Teresa fingered This is actually a rather shocking story because the criteria for a miracle at Lourdes, for example, are very strict. That's why there are so few of them.
Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of the Opus Dei movement, was canonized today. Opus Dei is a conservative movement within the catholic church, and counts many powerful people among its adherents - the current pope among them. However, it is not without its detractors and opponents. Some of the most important people in the Franco dictatorship were part of the group, as were several of the participants in the Venezuelan coup earlier this year. Should we keep an eye on these guys? They are certainly secretive and aggressive, but are they just a group of concerned, pious Catholics, or a power-hungry fraternity? I'm half-catholic myself, and certainly curious to hear if any Catholic MeFiers have thoughts on this subject. Even better, an Opus Dei member to clarify some of these misunderstandings...
Islamic saints. The linked article, while a bit disapproving ("There can be little doubt that Muhammad would be displeased if he could see what passes for Islam in much of the Muslim world today"), gives a good description of the cult of saints and their tombs in popular Islam. [More inside.]
Reliquaries are containers built to hold objects of special religious significance, such as the foot of a saint, or the skull of a king. The art of European reliquary making reached it's zenith in the Middle Ages when craftsman created fantastic objets d'art for cathedrals and monasteries in the form of caskets, bodily appendages, and freestanding holders built to visually display occasionally gruesome bits of the venerated individual. The layperson had access to reliquaries as well, typically in the form of small lead crosses worn around the neck, containing pieces of bone or one of the ubiquitous fragments of the True Cross. Reliquaries are not unique to the Christianity, but can also be found in Buddhist and Islamic tradition.
Patron Saints Index I used to live in Bolivia, where they have an annual Day of the Dog celebration in honor of Saint Roch. It was while searching the Internet for the date of this event (August 16), I stumbled across this comprehensive site on the history and patronage of the Saints.
"Saint's Lives" are some of the most important primary sources from the late ancient, Byzantine, and medieval periods. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook links to hundreds of these texts, translated for your benefit, as well as thousands of other documents. Celebrate All Saint's Day by reading about your favorite saint in a text written while your saint was still alive.
Saintly blood makes scheduled liquid-form appearance. The blood of Saint Gennaro usually turns to liquid twice a year — on September 19, the saint's feast day, and on the first Saturday in May. In the past, disaster has struck when the blood has remained dry.
Vatican might name Saint Isidore of Seville the patron saint of Internet users and computer programmers.
Vatican might name Saint Isidore of Seville the patron saint of Internet users and computer programmers. The world keeps getting weirder, doesn't it?
Saint Chad was the object of some controversy in his life. The title of Bishop in Lastingham was thought to be vacant and Chad was appointed. It was later discovered that the title was not actually vacant, and Chad was not the rightful holder. He politely stepped aside. On an interesting side note, this happened in the year 666.