Category Archives: Religion

Fr William Doyle, SJ

~ Via the remarkable Father Doyle website.

Suppliant to the Queen of Heaven

Bette Davis as Carlota, Empress of Mexico, in Juarez (1939)

Saint’s Oil

St. Walburga, the eve of whose feast day is celebrated tonight as Walpurgisnacht, is the subject of a most interesting post at Fish Eaters:

It is what happened…in A.D. 893 that helps keep St. Walburga in our consciousness. In that year, the successor to the Bishop who translated her relics opened her tomb to retrieve some of those relics for the Abbess of Monheim. He found that her remains exuded an oil — a healing substance known as the “Oil of Saints.” This precious substance has been exuding from her remains yearly ever since between 12 October and 25 February, her Feast in the Benedictine Breviary, only stopping “during a period when Eichstadt was laid under interdict, and when blood was shed in the church by robbers who seriously wounded the bell-ringer.” The Abbess got her relics, and some were also sent to Cologne, Antwerp, Furnes, and other places — many of these translations giving rise to Feasts — but it is her tomb in the church in Eichstadt that, to this day, exudes the fragrant, healing oil. A Benedictine nunnery immediately arose near the church that houses her tomb so that the Sisters could tend to her relics and help with the pilgrims who came for the healing oil. The Sisters have been there now for a thousand years.

St. Walburga is depicted in art as a Benedictine holding a vial of her Oil of Saints.

(A tip o’ the crozier to Amy, off lighting her bonfire.)

A twitch upon the thread

Webster Bull at his Why I Am Catholic blog reports his daughter, a college student in North Carolina, was received into the Church on Easter weekend.

A commenter writes:

I have recently told people that Secular colleges in the South are better breeding grounds for the faith than private colleges of the North, and Catholic Colleges in the North.

Just look at Texas A&M. There are more vocations out of Texas A&M to the priesthood and religious life than any other school in the country.

Go figure, your daughter being influenced by protestants in the South to take her faith seriously… Amazing story!

Another comments:

Sometimes I think the more orthodox and energized evangelical churches represent nearly the best antechamber to The Church to be found in the modern world.

Interesting. I remember hearing of a family friend, from a Massachusetts Irish Catholic background, who became staunch in his faith as a result of going to college at the Citadel, in South Carolina, where he was a rara avis.

I myself am the youngest of seven. My brothers and sisters all went to parochial school, and none are practicing Catholics today; I didn’t, and I am.

At any rate, compare the account at top with this one, from NPR, by a noted author who says she retains a Catholic sensibility while having left the Church:

When I left [the Church] in 2003, I was attending the church [my mother had] chosen, where I’d been confirmed and married, where my children had been baptized. Granted, it wasn’t a typical Catholic church. Made of cinder blocks and housed on a college campus, it had a hippie vibe. The Stations of the Cross were depicted in abstract art. I’d seen the liturgy performed by interpretive dancers and mimes. Our priest was brilliant, kind and funny. His homilies, both intellectually challenging and emotive, helped us see the divine. We cried openly in the pews, even my father. There was never talk about how we should vote, nothing about abortion or homosexuality. Contrary to church rules, our priest invited everyone to Communion, regardless of the supposed state of their souls.

At home, we did talk politics — the greatness of social activist and journalist Dorothy Day; the Berrigan brothers, peace activists burning draft cards; and an adoration of President Kennedy and Mother Teresa.

I went to a middle school run by nuns who worked their own fields on tractors in full habit, their veils billowing. Then I went on to a large Catholic high school and a Catholic college where I was taught Liberation theology, that Jesus was a radical figure, and that to be Christ-like you had to tend to the poor. It was an old-fashioned, anti-papal, anti-Rome Catholic education. Perhaps the church raised me to be an anti-church Catholic. That is, in fact, what I became.

Perhaps it comes down to what or whom you’re rebelling against.

Image: New York Public Library