Monthly Archives: August 2013

Snobbishness or Just Good Advice?

Sometimes, “snob” drinking advice is not really all that snobbish. It’s just trying to stop people from wasting perfectly good alcohol on making life less tasty and enjoyable.

For example, this comment essay titled “Some of You Are Clearly Drinking Whiskey Wrong.”


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Medieval Songs for Inciting Devotional Feelings

Here’s a neat paper by a music guy on another thing I’d never heard of. The Devotio Moderna movement included a Belgian named Johannes Mauburnus, aka Jan Mombaer (1460-1501), an Augustinian canon writing mostly for other canons. He ended up a French abbot and a reformer of monasteries, as well as a famous teacher of spiritual exercises and contemplation for newbies. So at one point, they asked him to put together a program.

The Rosetum exercitiorum spiritualium et sacrarum meditationum (Rose garden of spiritual exercises and meditation on sacred things) is over 700 pages long. It’s apparently a complete textbook on spiritual exercises of the Middle Ages and the Fathers. If you’re the kind of person who has trouble thinking of stuff to contemplate, it also gives you meditations for every hour of the day, day of the week, and holy day.

But as an encouragement, it includes seven devotional hymns, written to the tune of other well-known songs of the day. That’s what the paper is about. (The melodies are provided in the back.)

“Ah, Lord God, the World’s Creator”: English translation of the song for contemplating Baby Jesus, “Eya, mea anima” (Hey, my soul!) The German tune comes from an old German translation that was commonly sung in alternatim with the Latin; so you can sing the Latin to this hymn tune, no problem.

The other songs are “O panis vivifice” (O lifegiving Bread), “O beata Trinitas” (O Blessed Trinity), “Dones Agni portionem” (May you give a portion of the Lamb), “Excitare, excitare surdaster humuncio” (Wake up, wake up, half-deaf guy), “Excitare, excitare, o peccatrix anima” (Wake up, wake up, o sinner soul), and “O primum principium” (O first Beginning). Three of the songs go to “Pange lingua gloriosi corporis” and four go to the Christmas carol “Dies est leticie in ortu regali.” The long songs can also be sung to “Urbs beata Jerusalem” or “Crux fidelis inter omnes.”

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Scott Hahn Proves I Don’t Have All That Many Books

Scott Hahn’s home library consists of the standard bibliophile “apartment full of bookshelves,” except that it appears to be his basement or living room. (This is why it’s good to live in Steubenville, Ohio, instead of Rome or New York.) He has 40,000 books in real library bookshelves, and he doesn’t even doublestack.

By comparison, I don’t think I’ve got more than a couple-three thousand. (Not counting ebooks or audiobooks, of course.)

I don’t have a problem.

I can stop at any time. 🙂

Video by Brandon Vogt. Read about his visit to Hahn here.

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“Golden Curry” — Pretty Good

In my continuing pursuit of eating things that look good on anime, I’ve finally broken down and cooked some Japanese Indian curry with one of those Golden Curry curry cubes.

First off, if you get a big curry cube package, you get two gigantic curry cubes of pressed curry spices. Each “cube” (really more like a square) of the big size makes curry for six.

If you get “hot” instead of mild, it’s a really decently hot yellow curry. Not so hot that your stomach will explode, but definitely hot enough to wake you up a bit. Probably a 2 or 3 at your Indian restaurant. Anyway, it was pretty much exactly at my preferred spice level, although I don’t think “I can eat spicy Japanese food” is going to impress anyone!

It makes an excellent curry chicken and rice in your crockpot.

What you’re supposed to do according to the package, though, is make a sort of meat and vegetable stirfry with curry. This also sounds good, but I didn’t feel like it.


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Wonder Woman’s Outfit Not Swimsuity Enough

People always complain about Wonder Woman’s outfit not being authentic because it “looks like a swimsuit.”

Well, sure, her creator William Marston was creepy, but he wasn’t totally pulling the idea out of his butt. He actually made it less authentic and more Forties-friendly by making it a one-piece, but this is what sportswomen in Ancient Rome wore:

The bandeau top is a “strophium” or several other vocab words. The bikini bottom is a “subligar,” which for guys was called a “subligaculum”. (Which literally means something like “butt-binder.”)

Typical Amazon outfits in Greek and Roman art vary widely.

Amazon cavalry: Sarmatian outfits with spotted leopardskin cloak on leader or priestess, pointy hats on some, boots almost covered by leggings (sometimes striped, spotted, checked, or in contrasting colors to the over-robes), and with both leggings and striped long sleeves covered by short over-robes with wraparound necks. Small batwing-shaped shields. Weapons: spears, hand axes, compound bows, swords. Amazons are frequently shown riding milk-white grey horses, often stallions. Amazon charioteers frequently drive similar horses.

Amazon foot: typically very similar to whatever the men fighting them wear. (Greek helmet, Greek round shield, spear, and knife/shortsword for armored hoplite Amazons, lighter clothing for the non-armored types.) Leader usually wears belted spotted leopardskin cloak. Women usually wear short breeches over naked legs instead of a kilted-up robe like the men. On the Etruscan “Sarcophagus of the Amazons,” we see most of the Amazon foot wearing white short robes, red short robes with white/pink edging (and a leg slit), or white short robes with red/pink edging, all of them belted and with wraparound necklines; gold earrings and necklaces; low shoes; and pointy hats. Long hair is bound up in back and piled under the hat. One Amazon footsoldier carries a batwing shield and her weapon is invisible. Another is using a sword and carrying a compound bow. Other vase paintings show a mixture of round shields and crescent-shaped shields. Some footsoldiers carry a couple of spears slotted into their crescent/batwing shield, while fighting with a sword. Some carry a compound bow while fighting with spears. Many show Amazons wearing a sort of all-over bodysuit (usually decorated with spots, stripes, or zigzags), while possibly wearing short overrobes or girdles wrapped around their waists in contrasting patterns (like circles vs stars). Other weapons include rocks (maces?) and combat hand-axes of various lengths. (Usually one. At least one is shown carrying two slung on her back, presumably in slots in her shield like the spear/shield ladies mentioned before; and with a bow in hand.) Occasionally you get peplum jackets.

Amazon archers: sometimes dressed like other Amazon infantry and cavalry, sometimes dressed like Greek archers or hunters, with short robes that only go over one shoulder, no leggings, and buskin boots or shoes. (Much like similar depictions of Artemis the huntress.) Quiver is usually slung at the side, with the opening towards the front at nearly belt level.

With all Amazons, you occasionally get them represented with only one breast, or with one breast showing out of their jackets. Because of the etymology story. There are also times when the legging-less footsoldiers are shown with their robes kilted up so far that their butts show, as with many Greek footsoldier men. However, it’s more likely to see bodysuited, jacketed women fighting nearly naked Greek guys, or guys in skimpy armor. This is ironic….

They are also occasionally shown with long tunics that have a band of Sarmatian embroidery going down the front.

Amazons at home in peacetime: long robes, jewelry, crowns, etc. Also the undress huntress outfits mentioned above.

Amazon legends, together with their literary sources.

A list of named Amazons in Greek and Roman legend.

Here are some nice Amazonomachy pics. Most of them show the “Sarmatian” Amazon look.

The Sarcophagus of the Amazons.

Lots of Amazon art in black and white, with explanatory text. Some of the pictures will enlarge.

More Amazons.

The Gela Krater.

Amazons at Wikimedia.

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La Vierge de Dom Rupert

This little bas-relief sitting in a museum in Liege has traditionally been known as a wonderworking statue/picture of Mary. The inscription around it says (with abbreviations), “This Gate will be closed, and will not be opened, and no man will pass through it, because the Lord, the God of Israel entered through it.” (Ezek. 14:2) This mysterious verse about the Temple is traditionally believed by Catholics to be a prophecy about the Virgin Birth of Jesus and His mother’s perpetual virginity.

Much more about the statue and in English, at the University of Dayton’s Mary Page.

Dom Rupert of Deutz (c. 1075-1129, aka Rupert of Saint-Laurent, his monastery in Liege) was a monk who was well known as an author in the Middle Ages. He was never made a saint, but his writings and piety were very influential. He believed that his vocation from God was to write scriptural commentaries. He was also the first person to write an all-Mary as the Bride interpretation of Song of Songs (as opposed to the Church as the Bride). But he was mostly interested in writing about Christ and the Eucharist; his commentary on Mark is called The Glory and Honor of the Son of Man.

More info on Rupert of Deutz, from an audience talk by Pope Benedict XVI. Excerpts from Rupert in the monastic Office readings.

Woodcut illustrations from print editions of Rupert of Deutz’ scriptural commentaries. (Man, those Revelation illustrations are busy!)

It was well known that Dom Rupert spoke a lot about this picture of Mary in his monastery’s church. After he left Liege to become Abbot of Deutz in Germany, a lot of other people in town got devoted to it as well. Over the years, it became known for miracles, and was moved out of the monastery to the town’s church, to allow people better access. (Replaced by a near-replica for the monastery that also showed Rupert kneeling before it.)

Now it’s sitting in a local museum on exhibit, and probably most of the visitors have no idea about its history or the love that surrounded it.

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Rules for Construing Latin

Well, this was interesting. I found a book for doctors on how to read medical books written in Latin (Gregory’s Conspectus: A Literal Interlinear Translation….. It actually includes guidelines for consistent Latin translation! It’s pretty much what I do anyway, but it’s odd that nobody actually teaches this in Latin books (except this one, I guess).

1. Find the nominative case noun (subject of the sentence) and every word connected to it first, and figure them out. Then find the verb and do the same thing. Then find the object of the verb – ditto. Then find the prepositions and all their connected words – ditto.

2. If you do a noun and there’s a genitive connected to it, do that genitive right after the noun.

3. If there’s an infinitive connected to a verb, do that right after the verb.

4. If adjectives or participles aren’t modifying anything else, do them next. Otherwise, wait until the other word’s done before you tackle adjectives or participles. If you get two agreeing with the same word, you have to put down both before or both after, because breaking them up is confusing.

5. Relative clauses should be put down as soon as possible after their antecedent noun.

6. Interrogatives and buts and so forth can go before the nominative case noun.

There’s more, and it’s pretty interesting.



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Rice Cooker Borscht

It is easy!

Can of beets, chopped up some. (I just chopped them up inside the can, to avoid beet juice messiness.)
Half a carton of beef broth
A little vinegar

Rice cooker all that on Hot. When the stuff boils and kicks the cooker over to Warm, let it simmer for half an hour or so. At this point, decide whether you’re making winter or summer borscht.

I made summer borscht —

Let the beet soup cool down. You might want to transfer stuff out of the rice cooker into a bowl, depending on the size of your rice cooker.

Add about 8 oz of sour cream, some yogurt, some sugar, some pepper, some lemon juice. Stir/whisk it all together. Let sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Overnight is better.

Eat your delicious purply pink soup, refreshingly cool, with dollops of sour cream on top, and dill if you’ve got it.

Some people freeze borscht as ice cubes, I think. I expect this turns plastic ice cube trays purple, but you never know.

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Kenneth Grahame’s Horace’s Reluctant Dragon

In which the Banshee’s lack of a classical liberal education is once again exposed.

It turns out that the original “reluctant dragon” shows up in Horace’s Odes, Book 4, Ode 4, the third stanza. It’s a poem about poor Drusus Germanicus who kicked the bucket early (and who couldn’t have been so great, since Caligula was his son). Drusus is portrayed as a sort of fledgeling young Roman Legions eagle, learning to fly better and better, then starting to dive down and attack all sorts of prey.

Anyway, Horace talks about Drusus, saying, “nunc in reluctantis dracones/egit….”, which looks like it should mean, “now he drove into reluctant dragons.” It really means, “struggling/resisting snakes,” or maybe even “writhing snakes,” except a little more high-sounding. Some people suggest that “dracones” in this sense are more like pythons, or really long snakes and serpents.

Horace’s Odes are the sort of thing that Victorian English schoolboys had to read and translate in Latin class, so that’s probably exactly where Kenneth Grahame got his idea for his fun little story/book The Reluctant Dragon.

There are a fair amount of other Latin references in the story (“enemy of the human race,” for instance) which must be deliberate. It’s the sort of casual joke that kids and adults would be expected to get back then, when the Classics were part of popular culture.

So now you know! And knowing is half the pugnam!

UPDATE: Vase painting from Wikimedia of Cadmus fighting the dragon that guarded the Castalian spring. Said dragon would shortly provide him with involuntary contributions of dragons’ teeth, so that he could sow them in Theban soil and reap the “spartoi,” who would then fight each other until only five remained. These five elite superkillers with snake DNA would be the other founding fathers of the aristocratic clans of Thebes, which I suppose would explain a lot about aristocracy.

As you can see, Mr. Dragon is a big ol’ python, without any legs or wings whatsoever. So’s this Cadmus’ dragon. Both dragons do have a crest of feathers or something, which I suppose is dragonish in its way.

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St. Pulcheria: Shadow Empress of Byzantium

I had never heard about this lady, but she is awesome!

St. Aelia Pulcheria was the daughter of Emperor Arcadius and Empress Eudoxia. After they died in AD 408, her brother, Emperor Theodosius II, went under a regency by the praetorial prefect Anthemius. (He built walls. Not a bad thing.)

Then in AD 414, at the age of fifteen, she was appointed Augusta and given the regency. So she swore virginity along with her sisters, in order to protect the right to rule of their now thirteen-year-old brother, to prevent civil war and intrigues by any husbands they might have. She served as Theodosius’ regent for two years, and then ended up having to continue doing the work of a prime minister or emperor after he was grown.

Then she found him a smart and beautiful wife, a young convert who was the daughter of a Greek philosopher, and ended up retiring to the country to get out of the way of her jealousy. (To be fair, an empress would want to be empress.) Unfortunately, things didn’t go well without Pulcheria around, so she was recalled after seven years.

But her brother passed away in AD 450 without having had any children, and the empire demanded that Pulcheria become Empress for real. So she picked out an honest sixty-year-old general named Marcian to be her partner, got the Church’s permission to get married, and became empress when over 50. There were no kids, unsurprisingly, since a condition of the marriage was that he should not make her break her vow of virginity. Pulcheria died three years after ascending the throne (traditionally on July 7), but her husband Marcian served as a good emperor for seven more years. One of their first acts was to repudiate paying off Attila the Hun, a policy started by Theodosius II when he was on his own.

St. Pulcheria was also known for protecting the Church, bringing St. John Chrysostom’s body home to Constantinople with a procession of public apology for her parents’ exilings of him, and spreading devotion to Mary. She built three great churches in Constantinople. She also helped run the Council of Chalcedon (because women totally have no voice at all in the Church, you know).

St. Empress Pulcheria’s feast day is September 10. St. Emperor Marcian’s is February 17.

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St. Skylar, Skyla, Skyler?

This is one of those names where I have to break it to you.

The name is really a phonetic version of the Dutch last name “Schuyler,” courtesy of all the old Dutch settler surnames and place names in the state of New York. It’s an occupational surname. It means “scholar,” and is not anything at all about the sky.

On the bright side, this means that you’re totally covered for baptismal names and patron saints, no matter whether it’s a boy or a girl.

“Scholar” or “schooled one” in Latin is “scholasticus.”

So for girls, the patron saint would be St. Benedict’s famously learned and stubborn twin sister, St. Scholastica. She is a great saint! Her feast day is Feb. 10, and she was traditionally held to be a patron of students (especially in Oxford), and of all Benedictines and nuns, as well as against storms, rain, and thunder (she prayed for bad weather to keep her brother at her convent so they could talk further, and the Lord did it for her, much to Benedict’s irritation), and against rabid dogs and childhood seizures.

There are several male saints with the title Scholasticus in their nicknames. The main one is St. John Climacus, a monk and author of an important mystical treatise called the Ladder (Klimakos, hence his better-known nickname).

There’s also a Benedictine monastery near Subiaco that’s called “St. Scholasticus,” but it’s named after St. Scholastica. Several Benedictine colleges throughout the world are named after the monastery. You can name kids after monasteries and holy sites, too, so that’s another way to go.

UPDATE: With the popularity of the Schuyler sisters in the musical Hamilton, the name “Schuyler” might have another comeback as a girl’s name. With that spelling, even. But… they weren’t exactly saintly, and they decidedly weren’t Catholic. So if you’re picking a Catholic girl’s name, keep that in mind.

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Here’s a Miracle for You.

St. Quilisinda (aka Willesuinda, Willesinda, Wilsinda, Wilsinde, Wilsind) was one of the disciples of St. Burgundofara at her double monastery of Evoriacum (later, Faremoutier) near present-day Brie, in Burgundy. She was one of the many women attracted to a convent following the Irish-hardcore Rule of St. Columbanus instead of the Benedictine Rule. She was a Saxon, although we don’t know whether from Saxony or England. (St. Burgundofara had a fair number of English royals and noblewomen at her convent.) She was also a lay sister, doing manual work exclusively instead of also singing the hours, because she could not read.

Her story is told in the Vita S. Burgundofarae or Miracula Evoriacensia by Jonas of Bobbio, which is Book II in his giant book of lives of many saintly people connected with St. Columbanus. (Jonas was writing about his contemporaries or near-contemporaries, as he himself had known Columban.) St. Quilisinda’s birth date is unknown, but she died sometime in 640 or 641.

One day, when working in the garden, she announced that someone working there was going to die soon. “Let us be ready, then, so that our lukewarm negligence will not hurt us in eternity.” (This sort of prophetic moment happened fairly often in the convent, although not every day.) The other nuns asked if she had any idea who, but St. Quilisinda didn’t or couldn’t answer.

Then she fell ill soon afterward. Throughout her illness, she was full of joy, often looking skyward from her bed. Though she’d never learned her letters, she recited the entire Pentateuch, Gospels, and Pauline Epistles from memory. She also sang the priests’ part of all the Offices from memory.

(It’s not clear whether she’d learned them beforehand and just not told anybody, but the Vita is of opinion that the recitation was a charismatic gift and more prophetic than natural. This feat seems to have been recalled in later ages as a sign that God not only liked Biblical learning by women, but would even give them miraculous facilities for it on occasion. St. Monica’s Biblical scholarship, attested by her son St. Augustine as being gained through listening to the readings at Masses and remembering them, was another such case.)

In that spirit of prophesy that had come upon her, St. Quilisinda then prophesied that one of the convent’s opponents would soon die (which happened, and allows her death to be dated). Next, she sang a “sweet melody,” chanting more. She then told one of the other nuns that she should go away and go confess immediately, because she had the trash of sin on her soul.

She also had visions of all the women from their convent who’d gone to heaven, and greeted them, wondering that the bystanders did not see them in their white robes, including the blood sister of one of the other nuns who was present.

Then when she died, everyone else in the room heard angels singing. (This was reported several times at the monastery when saintly women died, including at the deaths of St. Sisitrud and St. Landeberga.)

Her feast days are June 20 (at Faremoutiers before the French Revolution), January 20 (in the old Benedictine calendar), and August 22 (in the current Roman calendar).

So as of Thursday, have a happy St. Willesuinda’s Day!

[This post has been updated to reflect better info about St. Quilisinda!]

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St. Aria?

Apparently “Aria” is one of the hottest new baby names for girls.

I’m happy to tell you that this is a TOTALLY OKAY Baptismal name. There’s a St. Aria of Rome, an ancient Roman martyr. Her feast day is August 21.

The Catalan Santoral site also notes a St. Aria on March 8.

There’s a town called “Santa Aria” in Falcon, Venezuela.

“Aria” was in Strabo and Ammianus as the name of the country around Nisibis and other cities. It was common to name slaves after the places they came from. The name also could be a feminine form of the Greek “Arios” or “Arion” (belonging to Ares). Greek names for slaves were fashionable. In Latin, it means “open space,” like a threshing floor or a courtyard, which doesn’t sound too likely.

Since “Arios” was the Greek name of the heretic Arius, the popularity of a feminine version of his name among post-Arian Christians would probably not have been great, no matter how much they liked the martyr woman. This would explain why the name’s popularity only got big in modern times.

But it is usually thought of as an Italian name meaning “air” or (by an extended sense) “song.”

Similar names include Ariana, Ariane, Arianne, and Ariadne. These are all forms of Ariadne (the Cretan heroine of the story of Theseus, the Labyrinth, and Dionysus).

But there’s a St. Ariadne (feast day Sept. 17) who was a Christian slave in Prymnesia, Phrygia. She refused to sacrifice to idols on her master’s son’s birthday, and was tortured for it. She made a break for it and ran for the hills, and when about to be caught, cried out for the rocks to hide her. She apparently ran into a cave which shut behind her. Some of her pursuers were apparently killed in the process, which rather scared everybody about the power of the Christians’ God. (Phrygia was pretty geologically active, IIRC.)

There’s also a Welsh St. Arianell (“silver one”), also spelled “Arganhell.” (Same meaning, older spelling and pronunciation.) She shows up in the Vita S. Dubricii (The Life of St. Dyfrig) in The Book of Llandaf.

Her father, Gwyddiendyfei (pronounced something like Gwuthienduvei) comes to St. Dyfrig (pronounced Duvrig). He’s desperate, because his daughter Arianell is possessed by a demon.

From The Liber Landavensis, Llyfr Teilo…., page 79 in Latin, translated into English by Rees on page 327.

“As the people were, according to custom, flying for succour to St. Dubricius, and recovering the health of their souls and bodies, there came a certain wealthy man descended from royal ancestors, named Gwyddgeneu, beseeching him on bended knees, that he would release his daughter Arganhell, who was possessed by a demon and was so far afflicted, that when her hands were bound with cords, one could hardly hold her from being drowned in the river, or burnt in the fire, or from destroying everything about her with her teeth.

“O how excellent a thing it is to serve God, Who holds all things by His government, and subjects them to His will! The pious father [Dubricius] having heard his entreaty, prayed to the Lord, and falling to the ground with flowing tears, besought God that by the intercession of St. Peter, prince of the apostles, and of all the saints, he would succour the diseased [one].

“Forthwith, in the presence of her father and relatives, the cords were broken, the evil spirit completely left her, her health and entire reason were recovered, and she received her former state anew, and in every respect improved. She then forthwith acknowledged her own weakness, and being filled with the Holy Spirit, renounced the world; and having preserved the chastity of virginity, and remaining under the protection of the holy man, she led an improved life until she died.”

You can also read about her on page 168 of Volume I of Sabine Baring-Gould’s The Lives of British Saints.

There’s also St. Arianwen Hirflawdd ferch Brychan (aka Arganwen or Aranwen), whose name means “white silver” or “shining silver.” White/gwen has connotations of holiness and beauty in Welsh.

She was married to Iorwerth Hirflawdd according to some chronicles, although maybe it was another Iorwerth or Hirflawdd, because the timing is apparently wrong.


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Researching Saints’ Names

Probably the best place to start is The guy who runs this site has put together all sorts of good lists, covering pretty much the whole standard Roman Martyrology, old and new, as well as many saints of the Eastern rites.

The Catholic Encyclopedia and Wikipedia are also decent places to search, as are many parish and diocesan saint pages. You will usually find these by means of a search engine. If you use Wikipedia, make sure to check different languages’ version of the page, as there’s a lot of difference in how much material is provided. Make sure to search links to saints’ famous churches, shrines, monasteries, etc. Look for primary sources, if you can. A surprising amount of material is available online now, and of course you can also check libraries for books!

Sometimes older sources will list someone as a Servant of God, Venerable, Blessed, or ordinary person, when newer sources show that their cause has moved along to another step of recognition.

Now, there are also a lot of saints who are genuine, recognized-by-bishops, saints from before the current canonization rules. (Blesseds, too.) You will be more likely to find these in older local martyrologies, or in compilation books of saints. Google Books and are good places to look for old saint compilations. This can also help you to find the saints’ days of Biblical patriarchs, etc.

There are also plenty of saints which have tons of documentation, but are just left to local martyrology calendars instead of having an official day in the Roman Martyrology calendar. This is no slur on the saint; heck, St. Patrick was only a local saint until the 1600’s. He just didn’t live close to Italy and England’s churchmen weren’t lobbying for Irish saints, that’s all.

Many saints have several days. Some of these are meant to commemmorate important days in the saint’s life, or transfers of relics to different churches, or special pilgrimage days to shrines. Others are caused by calendar adjustments (Julian to Gregorian, Trent to Vatican II, etc.) or attempts to avoid major holidays in order to promote celebration of the saint’s day. Generally multiple days will be celebrated only locally. Sometimes one diocese will use the date most important to them, while others choose a different important day. This is totally normal.

You will also have to look for spelling variants. This gets most challenging when you’re talking about phonetic transliteration spellings in, say, Latin or Portuguese, when the original name was in Chinese or Japanese or some other non-European tongue. Baby name books will often help with spelling variants, but sometimes can’t be trusted. This is also a consideration when looking up the saints’ days of Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs. They are often listed under their Latin Vulgate or Greek Septuagint spellings, or the spellings used in local languages, instead of Modern Hebrew or modern Bible spellings. (For example, Isaias or Ysaye for “Isaiah.”)

It helps to know what different languages use as their word or abbreviation for “saint.” For example, female French saints use the abbreviation “Ste.” German saints are “Heilige”, abbreviated as “H.” Spanish saints are “santo” for males, with the no-abbreviation-needed title “San”; and “santa” for females, with the abbreviation “Sta.” The Latin abbreviations are “S.” for one saint and “Ss.” for multiple saints.

The names of Christian feasts and holidays, important shrines, titles of God, and theological concepts are usually considered to be suitable Christian birth or Baptismal names. Often a name is associated with the day the child was born or the names of the godparents, as well as all the other reasons to choose names.

One particularly good compilation book for obscure female saints are Agnes Baillie Cunninghame Dunbar’s two volume book, A Dictionary of Saintly Women. Here’s Volume One, A-L, and Volume Two, M-Z.

Another is the old Latin book Sacrum Gynacaeum by Arthur Du Monstier. (The indexes are in the back, so I’ve linked to the back too. Check both indexes. If you get to the Topographical Index, you’ve gone too far.) It’s in calendar order, hence the need for the indexes.

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