Monthly Archives: September 2021

Pre-Vatican II Hats, Fr. Kapaun Edition

The Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun’s funeral Mass was today. He died in the Korean War, a hero and martyr, but his body was not identified until this year. He was escorted home the other day, got his funeral Mass today, and will be interred in Wichita’s cathedral, as part of the sainthood cause process.

Before Mass, there’s a beautiful setting of the “Anima Christi” prayer, followed by a nice organ piece, followed by a rare audio recording of Kapaun giving a sermon on true peace.

After that, there’s a presentation of historical photographs, including one of Kapaun playing baseball in his priest shirtsleeves.

And at 8:17, there’s a picture of the Servant of God saying Mass, with a view of the whole congregation.

Do you see any veils on those Catholic women? Do you see tons of hats?

I hate to beat a dead horse, but most American Catholic women before Vatican II wore hats.

Interestingly, in the picture of Mass at 9:42, there is a woman wearing a chapel veil. Fashion-forward? Italian or Hispanic?

Anyway… while we are mentioning it, Fr. Kapaun was with the 1st Cavalry Regiment, and David Drake was in the 11th Cavalry Regiment. David Drake has serious health problems and could use some serious serious prayers, because he’s finding it difficult/impossible to write, after his bad accident and other health/neuro problems; and writing is his coping strategy as well as his livelihood. Please pray for him.

The official Wichita prayer for intercession:

Father Emil Kapaun gave
glory to God by following
his call to the priesthood, and
thus serving the people of Kansas
and those in the military.

Father Kapaun, I ask your
intercession not only for these needs
which I mention now . . . but that I
too may follow your example of
service to God and my neighbor.

For his gifts of courage in battle
and perseverance of faith,
we give you thanks, O Lord.

(Say the Our Father and the Hail Mary)

Leave a comment

Filed under Pre-Vatican II Hats

Google Attempts Repentance?

Google linked today on its homepage to a virtual hike down the Camino de Santiago. So… um… maybe they’re trying not to be evil? A little?

The problem is that, among the many informative presentations about the Camino that they are providing, they are overwhelmingly secular. I haven’t gone through them all, just glanced at them, but…. dude. “What is Catholicism?” or “Why do Christians go on pilgrimages?” would be pretty basic questions that should show up first.

However, it seems like it would be a nice faith practice, if you take it over and wrench it back where it should have been in the first place. If you can walk to Rivendell virtually, you can follow a Camino route prayerfully. (Although this is more of a tourism encouragement than an actual virtual thing, and so you will have to look up distances yourself.)

Anyway, it’s a nice time of year for walking. So go walk and pray for yourself, the world, and Google’s employees, and have fun and better health too.

That said, on the very first presentation I dipped into, the translation of what the lady said was drastically curtailed in some places and wrong in others. I hope this was just a proofreading problem. (And Finisterre doesn’t mean “the end of the world.” It means “Land’s End.” Just like other places called “Land’s End.” Duh.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Authority Words in the Bible

It turns out that the word “authority” in English translations of the Bible covers a whole range of Greek words. Which are not the same at all.

There’s “exousia” and all of its derivatives, which usually are the words used in the Gospels. No problem there. There’s an interesting Esther LXX version that has Esther along with Mordecai sending out letters with authority.

Then there’s “those in authority,” which is really “hyperoche,” preeminent people or superiors.

Then there’s the Titus “with all authority,” which is “meta pas epitage,” where epitage means a command, and a bunch of other similar meanings. It’s not the Gospel thing where Jesus is teaching with authority; it’s Paul telling Titus to teach it like he’s ordering it.

The bit about women not usurping authority over a man is “authentein,” which originally could mean “to do something oneself” (which is where we get our word “authentic”), but which eventually meant “to domineer over somebody else, in a self-appointed way.” I think this is significantly different from “usurp authority,” unless there’s some Greek literature example I’m missing. “Don’t let women push men around” is significantly different than “don’t let women run anything involving men.” It’s more like, “Thou shalt not be Karens.” Adding that they should be “in silence” means “and mind your own business” in Greek.

While I was poking around, I looked at the verse about “let the women learn,” and it’s got some interesting things going on.

“Gyne en hesychia manthaneto en pase hypotage.”

Okay, the first interesting thing is “manthaneto,” which is from the same rootword “matheo,” to learn, as “mathetai,” disciples or students. 3rd person singular, present imperative active.

Yup, it is a command, and “gyne” is singular, in the nominative case.

The other interesting thing is that the sentence is set up with “en hesychia” and “en pase hypotage” separated by “manthaneto,” which is a nice stylish way to put it. It’s not supposed to be a nasty comment, IMHO. But how can “silence” be nice? And “hypotage” means subjection, right?

Well, let’s go to “hypotasso” first. It was originally a word about arranging a Greek phalanx in a military way. The men in a phalanx were fellow citizens, not slaves, and they normally would have no command over each other. But they’d elect or choose some military leader, and obey him in battle and in the field. He wasn’t better or worse than them; they had put him in charge. He had command, as we saw above with “epitage,” but he fought in the same phalanx line with all the rest.

So no, this isn’t some weird slavish submission thing. If it had been, why would Jesus have been subject to His parents, in Luke 2:51? (“en hypotassoumenos”) He was by nature the boss of them, their God and Messiah. But like the citizens of Athens, He chose them and obeyed them voluntarily, because it made sense to Him in the situation.

Secondly, “silence” isn’t a bad thing in Christianity or in Greek secular literature. Someone who lived in silence was someone who didn’t meddle in his neighbor’s business. Hesychia was seen as the root of Christian mysticism, because it let you listen to God.

In general, a good disciple of a secular philosopher would listen receptively and take it all in. He would regard himself as under orders while learning, even if he later went off and did his own teaching.

Secular female disciples would ask questions of their teacher and try to spend a lot of alone time with the teacher, but from various verses in Paul, this wasn’t seen as fitting for Christian women. The female disciples of Jesus traveled around and spent time with Him in an aboveboard way, just as the informal female rabbinical students (mostly relatives or daughters of rabbis) did. And maybe that’s why we don’t hear about female Christian disciples getting the sexual harassment that was standard for female secular philosophers and students.

“I do not permit women to teach” is clearly about formal teaching, during Mass, because Paul compliments how Timothy was taught Christianity at home, by his mom and grandma.

And finally, the whole chapter begins with Paul talking about unauthorized men who presume to teach crazy talk while sinning, and the men who believe them. So yeah, people take some of these verses as anti-woman, when really Paul is just telling all these people to quit doing crazy stuff at church.

1 Comment

Filed under Greek Bible Stuff, Pre-Vatican II Hats

Unknown Woman in Persian Dress, by Gheeraerts

There’s a portrait of an unknown woman, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, that is sometimes touted as a “pregnancy portrait of Elizabeth I.”

Well, it certainly does look like a pregnancy portrait of somebody, because the hand on the small of the back is a classic pregnancy pose. But I seriously doubt that it’s supposed to be Elizabeth, no matter how much people would like it to be. It doesn’t really look like her, and there’s more than one redhead in the Elizabethan world. And yes, painters often did versions of popular or prestigious poses with other sitters, and very seldom redid the same poses with the same sitter. So saying that it looks a lot like a known 1563 portrait of Elizabeth by the same guy — not exactly a great argument. (And I don’t think it’s Mary Queen of Scots, either.)

The implication of the sad sonnet seems to be that the woman died in childbirth or while still pregnant, at some point before the portrait was totally finished; and that the man who commissioned the portrait regretted having treated her unfairly in some way.

Read the sonnet and the mottos on this art page. They’re very enlightening.

“Mea sic mihi prosunt” was a known motto of the time. Mary Queen of Scots used it when she did a hugely complicated embroidered hanging for her bed of state, which basically seems to have been a bunch of embroidered squares all sewn together, much like quilts made of separate quilt square artworks today. Her use of “Mea sic mihi prosunt,” according to Drummond’s letter to Ben Jonson describing it, was associated with a picture of “A Vine tree watred with Wine, which instead to make it spring and grow, maketh it fade”. So the grapevine is saying, “My own [wine] benefits me in this way.” It’s a sarcastic motto about ungrateful children.

So the implication in the portrait, with “Mea sic mihi” placed on the “love tree,” is that “My own love hurt me,” or “my own fruit killed me.” Less negatively, it’s possible that the woman just got really sick, and that the man was being over-dramatic… but I’m not betting on it. My thought is that the woman died at some point when the portrait was being finished, or even afterward; and the sonnet and mottos were added.

The Persian outfit was apparently made for one of those masques or costumed occasions that the Tudors loved. The loose dress would have been much more comfortable for a pregnant woman, and it even came with flat shoes instead of heels.

The “stagge” is a common heraldic emblem and badge, which could identify the man (since he says it is his stag). But a stag (any adult male deer) is also a synonym for “hart,” a male red deer over five years old. The stag is crowned with “hart’s ease,” another name for pansies.

“Hart’s ease” or “heart’s ease” represented love for another, often true love and reciprocated love. The sonnet about the hart’s crown, and the “dolor est medicinae dolori” (pain is a remedy for pain) next to the hart, seem to indicate that the man only fell in love with the woman when she was nearly dead.

Of course, this is all guessing.

There’s another theory, very well expressed by Joanne Teresa Diaz in her 2008 dissertation on Elizabethan complaint poetry, that the woman had commissioned her own portrait and written her own sonnet, and that she was being sarcastic just like Mary Queen of Scots. But… then why would she blame herself in the sonnet for being cruel? Not to state the obvious, but you don’t get pregnant by being cruel to your man.

(Well, I guess maybe if you slept with another man to get pregnant, or while pregnant. But in that case, why the pregnancy pic?)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

8th Century Byzantine Laywomen Adulthood Blessing

It’s maybe a blessing for a woman “binding up her head” for the first time — ie, formally wearing an adult woman’s headgear.

Whatever the blessing is about, what’s interesting is that it includes tons on the theology and Biblical interpretation of women wearing headgear.

Namely, by referring to all Christian women as ideally “fully armed” (kathoplismenai) “in the Faith,” the prayer pictures headgear/veils as helmets, as well as quoting the bit about Christian women adorning themselves with good works, and living with modesty and sobriety.

Early Western scholars associated the prayer with bridal veiling, but apparently this is not it. Nor is it about the veiling of nuns. Now scholars aren’t sure what it’s about, which is something this article tackles.

The blessing refers to “the one who binds her [head] up,” who is referred to as a female person. So maybe this was the woman’s godmother or another sponsor, or her mother, or another female relative or friend. Obviously the prayer instructions do not think this needs to be explained or decreed, so who knows?

UPDATE: How I forgot to link the article, I don’t know. So I’ll link it twice this time.

“The Veiling of Women in Byzantium: Liturgy, Hair, and Identity in a Medieval Rite of Passage” by Gabriel Radle. This scholar seems to have several papers about liturgy, prayers, Eastern marriage traditions of Christians, etc., which are linked in the right hand margin.

1 Comment

Filed under Pre-Vatican II Hats

Supercool Revival of the Carecloth!

New Liturgical Movement has an interesting article about a recent nuptial Mass that revived a Christian custom that goes back to the 300’s — the velatio nuptialis, the imposition of the veil.

In pagan Rome, the bride was veiled in a flame-orange or flame-red cloth called “flammeum,” flame. (Interestingly, a lot of other cultures also used red, yellow, or orange veils, including China.) To put on the bridal veil was “nubere,” to cloud, and that’s why the marriage rites were “nuptialis.”

But in Christian life, a white cloth cloak (pallium) or cloth, was held (by two servers) over both the bride and groom at once, during the bishop or priest’s blessing of their marriage, to represent the Holy Spirit coming down upon the couple, as in the form of the shekhinah cloud of glory coming down on the Temple. Since the bodies of Christians are temples indwelt by God, this is very fitting. St. Ambrose talks about it, as if it were already a common custom from time immemorial.

Marriage in the early Church was not yet formally defined as a Sacrament, and didn’t take place inside most churches, but rather on their front porches where everyone could see. But yet we see this ceremonial, which is almost liturgical and features a sort of marital vestment/not vestment, almost an altarcloth/communion cloth. And it does seem to happen inside church, taking place at the same time as the special nuptial blessing by the bishop or priest (which was an inside-church thing).

Now, when the Church moved everything inside and clearly defined marriage as a Sacrament, this continued until very recently, and the old Sarum Mass had a ton about this. And since Matrimony is performed by the bride and groom, not by the priest (who is there as a witness and helper), the equal opportunity “vestment” is very fitting.

When I looked into Sarum use of this custom, years and years ago, all that I was told was that it was an imitation of the wedding canopy in Judaism. But that’s not right, either, because the Jewish wedding canopy is more about creating a sort of mini-Temple or mini-Holy of Holies, with the canopy seen as its roof. (Which is why there is or was traditional pickiness about the size of the area under the canopy. It’s also supposed to be a cube-shaped area, like the Holy of Holies.) It would be interesting to know if there was originally a common ancestor, in Second Temple tradition, to both the Western Catholic velatio nuptialis and the Jewish bridal canopy.

The Latin word “velum” means literally, “covering.” It can be talking about a cloak, a sail, a sun awning over a street or stadium seats, door curtains, window curtains, or a length of cloth, as well as a veil. But “velatio” is a Christian word, talking about the imposition of veils on vowed virgins (and later, nuns) or its use in the Sacrament of Matrimony over both bride and groom.

The English name for the couples’ veil is “carecloth,” and in medieval times it was often made of noble materials like silk or silk-velvet. It wasn’t necessarily white, either, perhaps because clouds can be different colors. It was only for first marriages — ie, both bride and groom were to have been previously unmarried.

St. Isidore of Seville talked about the cloth being white with a red pattern or a red string, which represented the bloodlines of the two families. (Possibly this comes from the wedding ring association with the heart vein.)

In many places (possibly without tall servers or extra attendants), the carecloth was draped over the shoulders of the couples, and was associated with them being equally yoked. This is probably where the term “carecloth” comes from, because bride and groom were supposed to share all their troubles and cares. (Giving the bride and groom a crucifix is similar, as a warning that there will be suffering and work for both, in imitation of Christ.)

Sometimes the veil was held high over their heads on one side, but pulled down at a diagonal slant behind the couple, to veil them from the congregation.

It occurs to me that the “velatio nuptialis” is yet another example of how the early and medieval Church really disliked marriages to occur without lots of witnesses. If you’ve got two servers or two attendants or two sponsors holding the veil high over the couple, that’s two more witnesses.

Also, it explains a lot of art motifs.

I like this mutual veiling idea. I like it very much. It’s Catholic, it’s equal in dignity, and it fills in a sort of gap in formality, without being expensive. If a parish church had its own carecloth, it could offer this to all couples. It’s not in the rubrics, but it’s also not forbidden.

The couple in the article seem to have made their carecloth from white linen, with some colored embroidery motifs. They also seem to have kept the cloth (which is understandable because it involved heirloom cloth), but obviously this is the sort of thing that one could donate to a church instead.

One more note — In the Middle Ages, if the couple were marrying after repenting of premarital fornication, and if a child or children had resulted, it was the legal custom in many places to legitimize the children by also putting them under the carecloth. (Laid down, carried, or kneeling there.) Obviously this was meant to remove all questions by doing everything in public and in a memorable way, but it also has a lot of dignity and beauty.

Obviously it’s better for people not to have sinned. But there is such a thing as repentance and forgiveness, and it’s a beautiful way for parents to formalize their new family, dedicating all the household to God, and making a public parental statement that is humble and dignified.

Now, the Sarum Rite was the rite in force when the Philippines were discovered, and the Filipino people never gave up the “couple’s wedding veil” or velo. Two sponsors drape the veil over the groom’s shoulders and the bride’s head. The medieval “red string” has become a white figure-eight cord that helps hold the velo in place, and represents the infinite nature love.

In Mexico, they don’t usually have the carecloth, but they do have a cord — a giant set of two linked rosaries looped around the couple’s heads.

This may be related to the old old custom of binding the bride and groom’s hands with a wedding cord, or with the priest’s stole, which is associated with betrothal and marriage.

Another interesting article about the religious meaning and ancient Christian nature of Western marriage customs, including “a sixpence in her shoe.” This has pictures of carecloth use.

In this article, there is also evidence of Christian brides being veiled at their betrothal ceremony, and receiving a formal blessing from their bishop or priest. This was taken seriously enough that, if a Christian girl had been betrothed and the betrothal fell through due to death, the girl still could not receive the “conjugalis velatio” and the nuptial blessing at her wedding to another, at least according to early Western canon law.

The article also has the quote from St. Ambrose, with wording indicating that the veiling was _of the marriage_, not of the bride and/or the groom, but of the joint new thing. He calls it “velamen sacerdotalis,” priestly veiling, or literally, sacrifice-giver veiling.

Medieval names for the carecloth included “velamen caeleste” (heavenly veil – possibly associated with sky blue as a carecloth color), “pallium album” (white cloak, silver cloak), “velum”, “linteus” (linen cloth), “pannum” (cloth, garment), and “mappa” (cloth napkin). Carecloth’s etymology may be from carre (Fr. cloth square) or carde (ME fabric used for curtains).

This article views the “yoke over the shoulders” form as tons and tons older than the “veil held over heads” model. They all sound good, though.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Probably This Isn’t Fair

The late Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., seems to be one of the reasons that the Jesuits declined so fast, so far. Bad stuff happened when he was running the Society of Jesus, so logically it’s his fault. And he let them keep electing him for almost twenty years, so it’s definitely his fault. And when you see Jesuit websites talking about “the renewal of the Society” (when it’s almost gone) and “the second founding” (when he drove it into the ground)… well, it just makes you want to lose your cookies.


And part of the reason he seems to have gotten power in the Society was that he was in Japan when the bombs were dropped. He was from a neutral country, he was associated with the Jesuits of Nagasaki who miraculously survived, and he seems to me to have milked it for the rest of his life.

And yes, maybe this isn’t fair. But he’s the kind of guy who didn’t just learn Zen meditation so that he could understand and do Buddhist outreach. He’s the kind of guy who kept doing it to the point of disregarding his own Jesuit traditions of meditative prayer.

And then he’s the kind of guy who not only decided to meditate upside-down in a headstand, but also who publicizes his headstand meditation.

If he were a goofy guy who didn’t seek power, you’d understand it as just a thing he did, just exploration and quirkiness. But he’s the kind of guy who got power, held onto power for 18 years, and wrote cruddy books about his new idea for the Jesuits being better than that of his founder. The whole thing just screams, “I want to be quirky as a power play.”


Arrupe supposedly coined the term that Jesuits were “men for others.” Actually, it’s a phrase from Bonhoeffer about Jesus… but let’s not be intellectually honest and correct a misquote. A misquote on every freaking Jesuit university webpage I can find is not a technicality. It’s on purpose.

Jesuits are supposed to be men for Jesus, soldiers under His command. Now, that would entail doing things for others, also… but military service is icky, so we can’t use that as an analogy. Even if it’s been working for the Benedictines for 1600 years or so.

Apologies to any good Jesuits out there who liked the guy, but… bleh.


Filed under Uncategorized

Pope Francis at Sastin National Shrine, Slovakia

Finally, finally, I’m watching a dignified Mass during a Pope visit. Boy, this is unusual for papal visits. Usually the music is terrible, the vestments are terrible, and so on.

This time, it’s a competent orchestra and a really good Slovakian choir. Wearing nice, sharp suits and dresses, like normal people at a formal occasion.

The occasion is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, something that Slovakia knows something about.

“Shashtin” would be the English spelling, I guess.

Amusingly, it turns out that Bishop Marini is still needed as papal MC, even though he was supposedly banished off to a tiny diocese with a fairly bad lack of vocations.

Gorgeous psalm setting sung gorgeously by the cantor.


This is a partial “canon” setting. Basically, there’s a verse in male chant, a verse in female chant with organ, and then a harmony/counterpoint verse with all voices. (For those who don’t know, there are some difficulties with doing chants in some ranges with both male and female voices because it’s less… impressive. This is a good way of getting past that.)

HAHAHAH! Orchestral Celtic Alleluia setting that is ridiculously better than usual! French horns! Kettledrums! Good trumpets!

And then the choir just does a darned good job. Antiphon setting that basically says “We ignore the Celtic Alleluia, in favor of setting the propers text,” and then brings it back around to the chorus, very gracefully, with extra harmonies. Hahahahahaha!

Look, I know this sort of thing may seem nitpicky. But if you love doing something to honor God, and you do it every week, you should be doing it well. You should be using best practices, not worst practices or stupid practices. You should be able to show your heart for Him.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

EWTN 9/11 Memorial Mass

For some reason, the EWTN Mass today is showing up as “unlisted” on YouTube. So here’s a link.

As usual, EWTN’s choir and music direction was amazing and on point for the occasion. The propers are appropriate too.

Later today, there will be a 10:30 memorial Mass for firefighters at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. So I’ll link it here now. Here’s a link to their Mass from this morning.

(Okay, that link to the firefighter Mass is going to Cardinal Dolan’s ecumenical memorial service this afternoon, for some reason. Not finding the firefighter Mass livestream at all. Sorry.)

If you need a big organ and a big New York solemnity, this channel is what you want. All Cathedral Masses today are being offered for the 2996.

And because we need to remember the other September 11, I’m linking Sabaton’s “Winged Hussars” song, about how Poland’s cavalry arrived unlooked-for, just when Vienna was about to fall.

Eternal rest grant upon them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.


Filed under 2996, Church

Project 2996: Philip M. Rosenzweig

How can you capture a man in a paragraph or two?

The New York Times profile says that he was the reliable, methodical one in the family, who always remembered tasks and always got them done.

But he was also the sportscar guy in the family, who managed to buy himself a Porsche.

He was a vice president at Sun Microsystems. Today, that innovative company no longer exists; it was acquired in 2010 by Oracle.

He died on Flight 11. His home was in Acton, Massachusetts.

Three months later, his company’s stock price fell to $100, as part of the general dotcom bubble collapse. He wasn’t there to help or be hurt.

We live in a time when many tech companies are unbelievably corrupt, when voicing an opinion is worthy of cancellation, where being male or having Jewish heritage is an automatic mark against you. Mr. Rosenzweig isn’t suffering from that, but he also didn’t get to help fight against that.

He would have retired three years ago, to drive his Porsche and enjoy his family, but he missed that too.

I don’t know his religion or heritage, but I pray for him; and I hope he is in a position to pray for us.

The Ashkenazi surname Rosenzweig means “rose twig.” It refers to people whose shop sign showed a little sprig of roses. And roses mean love – the beauty and the thorn.

He was survived by his wife and two sons.

Here is his widow, Lauren Rosenzweig Morton, speaking on September 11, 2018, at an Acton, Massachusetts 9/11 memorial service. (The sound is not good, and the service took place outside, so you’ll have to turn it up.) Part 1. Part 2. She also mentions the Sweeneys.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2996

Project 2996 Postings

David Seima Aoyama / AOYAMA Seima/ AOYAMA David Seima / 青山 世磨, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11.

Brian E. Martineau, a businessman at the World Trade Center.

Dora Marie Menchaca, a passenger on Flight 77.

Sanae Mori /MORI Sanae/ 森早苗 , who was attending a business meeting at the World Trade Center.

James P. O’Brien, a trader at Cantor-Fitzgerald at the World Trade Center.

Myrna Yaskulka, an executive secretary at the World Trade Center.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2996

Project 2996: Missing Post for Heather Lee Smith

When the old Neptunus Lex blog was still running, before the blog owner passed away, he did a Project 2996 post, in memory of Heather Lee Smith.

His blog was moved and reposted by his friends, so his Heather Lee Smith post from September 11, 2006 is still extant.

Five Years On (Project 2996: Heather Lee Smith)

Leave a comment

Filed under 2996

LOTR Insight

The reason Faramir could resist the Ring was that he’d spent his entire life in Denethor’s house, getting mentally yelled at, with all of Denethor’s strong Numenorean will and mental powers.

Boromir didn’t get this inadvertent training, because Denethor got along with his eldest.

So Denethor’s being a telepathic pain in the butt and a danger to his household probably saved Faramir’s life, while being too much like his Palantir-gullible dad probably killed his beloved Boromir.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fatima Stuff III

If people want to understand Fatima, you’re supposed to be familiar with the whole European popular devotion milieu in which it came to be. It has a lot of connections to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s visions calling for more Sacred Heart devotions (the devotion already existed, btw), and for France and the world to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She also was told to ask people to receive Communion on nine First Fridays of the month, in honor of the Sacred Heart, much as Mary asked at Fatima for people to receive communion on five First Saturdays.

(Alacoque was a much more interesting person than the holy cards make her out to be. She was a farmgirl, smart and kind, and was assigned to be a novicemistress at her convent for many years. Like a lot of convent visionaries, she had longterm visions on the one hand, and lived a very practical normal convent life on the other hand. Her visions were eventually publicized but her identity kept secret during her lifetime.)

The fact that the three kids were shepherds, and that they had visions including Hell and divine punishments, led to an immediate comparison to the apparitions of Our Lady at La Salette, in France, right before bad events like the potato famine. The two kids at La Salette had a disastrous adult life, being celebrated and vilified, and themselves having a lot of trouble finding a place in life. St. Bernadette and Sr. Lucia were both hidden from the press and the public to prevent similar events disrupting their lives.

And of course, there’s a comparison to St. Bernadette and the apparitions at Lourdes.

That said, I have a feeling that there are also lots of connections to rural Portuguese devotional life, which are largely hidden from us. Sarah Hoyt often talks about how different areas of Portugal have totally different traditions, to the point of being almost separate countries. Sr. Lucia’s memoirs do talk a lot about her mother’s work as a lay catechist with the neighbor kids, and I wish we knew more about that. What are the local saints and festivals that were important to the people Lucia knew? I don’t know.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized