Andare, Partire, Tornare


St. Catherine will show up to kick my ass at any minute...

"Whenever you think God has shown you other people's faults, take care: your own judgment may well be at fault. Say nothing. And if you do attribute any vice to another person, immediately and humbly look for it in yourself also. Should the other person really possess that vice, he will correct himself so much the better when he sees how gently you understand him, and he will say to himself whatever you would have told him." --Saint Catherine.

Today is the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena. Catherine is the major subject of my thesis, so I fully expect her to show up at some point today to kick my ass for not getting on with writing the damn thing. Plus, I just discovered that my professor who is serving as second reader to my thesis is about to go to the Ukrane for a year. Her husband has a job there, and she will take a year of leave to work on her own stuff while she stays with him. It's going to be a little embarassing to talk to her about my thesis, since I haven't actually presented her with anything to read yet, but it'll have to be done.

Catherine was actually a pretty cool person. She was the second to the youngest of a family that had twenty-four kids in it (this number varies depending on whether you count kids born alive but who died later). Her father was a dyer and her mother was the daughter of a local poet. At the age of seven, Catherine devoted her virginity to Christ (no doubt having noted that all her mother got out of sex was the opportunity to birth over twenty kids). She also had visions, and started a life-long regime of fasting. But she was a pretty active person, politically speaking - she constantly badgered the Pope in Avignon to return to Rome, which she thought would help heal the great chasms starting to divide the Church.

Here's one of the letters she wrote to the Pope:

"Be the true successor to St Gregory; love God, have no attachments either to kinsfolk, or friends, or temporal necessity. Do not fear the present storm, nor the spoilt members who have rebelled against your authority. God's help is near. Attach yourself only to the good shepherds, for it is the bad ones who have provoked the rebellion. Bring a remedy for these evils and act in Jesus Christ. Go forward! Finish what you have begun. Do not delay, for delay has caused numerous ills, and the devil is at work devising hindrances for you. Raise the standard of the true cross, for by it You will have peace. You will console the poor of Jesus who await you with longing. Come, and you will see the wolves become sheep. Peace, that war may cease. No longer resist the will of God, for the starving sheep wait for you to return to the see of St. Peter. You are the Vicar of Jesus; you must resume your proper seat. Come without fear, for God will be with you. Do not wait, for time does not wait. Respond to the Holy Spirit. Come like the lamb who, unarmed, lays low his enemies, making use of the arms of love. Be bold, save the church from division and iniquity; the wolves will come into your fold and you will cry pity ... Come as a bold man without fear; but above all, for the love of life, do not come with a military escort, but come with the cross in your hand like a gentle lamb."

Catherine is one of the major patron saints of Europe, co-patron saint of Italy (along with St. Francis of Assisi), patron saint of her home town, Siena, and patroness of firefighters and nurses. But what interests me most is that she is one of the many people who claimed to receive the stigmata, but one of the relatively few who were canonized. Her cult was a rival one to that of St. Francis of Assisi, and this rivalry prevented her from being canonized until there was actually a Sienese Pope who wanted to help out his hometown girl.

And in other news, I managed to spill hot chocolate all over my chest earlier this morning, and had to go wash out my shirt in the bathroom. Thankfully I had a spare shirt lying around...and thankfully there are currently no third-degree blisters swelling up on my gorgeous boobage...

No doubt St. Catherine will kick my ass for that last statement, too.

11:30 a.m. - 2002-04-29


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