December 3, 2008

Saint Days

This is something I wrote last year on this blog for current dates on the church calendar:

I've not posted of some saints that I remember only for some fun little something that their story makes me think of...

Edmund Campion is Dec 1. He reminds me of the movie and book: The Scarlet Pimpernel (the BBC version is the best and closest to the book). Though born of a protestant printer-bookseller in London in 1540, he became a Jesuit and a secret agent for the Faith.

I love history. I love books. I've read stories where old homes in England had cubbyholes called "priest holes". Campion's story makes me literate to these priest holes.

With the introduction of Protestantism, some rulers were seeing possibilities of separating from the Pope. The Church ruled. Monarch Henry VIII was the first to start a new church. What happened for probably a century is that the religion followed the ruler. Differing beliefs could not coexist for quite some time. The last Catholic monarch of England is what history calls Bloody Mary, and her successor, protestant Good Queen Bess. Lots of deaths swinging from protestants killing Catholics and then vice-versa and back again.

Campion was in Elizabeth's reign and he was constantly changing his name and apparel. Like once he was disguised as a jewel merchant. He was the object of a year long manhunt, all the while ministering to catholics in hiding and publishing 'underground' pamphlets. Queen Elizabeth liked him and tried to dissuade him, making him offers. But he was the 1st of hundreds who were hanged, drawn, and quartered for adhering to their religious beliefs.

Dec 3rd is Francis Xavier's day. He was one of the original Jesuit's founded by Ignatius Loyola. (I've wanted to understand the differing monastic groups.) Xavier lived in the early 1500s and it amazes me that in 10 years he traveled 9,000 miles - a great feat in those days. He brought the Gospel to more than 50 kingdoms and baptized more than a million. The church he planted in Japan lasted three centuries without Bibles or priests - only word by parents passed on to children. He's remembered as the Apostle of the Indies.

Dec 4 is Saint Barbara's day. I don't remember her story because there was nothing in it I cared for for me. BUT I only remember her day because I read that if you cut pussy willow branches (and the like) and put them in water on her day, they'd be budding by Christmas.
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