Elena Maria Vidal's Blog
March 14, 2014
From Messy Nessy Chic :
The Galcante was founded by Christian Bailly, the chairman of the ”Musée de la Presse”. When it first opened in 1975, it began as a small shop that just sold copies of what was in the museum’s collections, and later progressed into the first French society selling old newspapers and documents. (Read more.)
From Return to Order :
We are conditioned to believe that the Roman Empire was technologically superior to the Middle Ages in every way. This was far from true. Daily life in the winter was miserable in Roman times for both slave and Caesar.
Rodney Stark explains that Roman buildings were horribly heated. They had no fireplaces, stoves, or furnaces since they had no way to get the smoke out of the buildings. More often than not, Roman peasants would start open fires inside and simply open a hole in the roof where the smoke went out and the rain, snow and cold came in. Urban Romans generally would not even have a hole as they preferred to let the smoke concentrate indoors. They avoided asphyxiation because their buildings were extremely drafty and their windows had no panes only hanging skins. (Read more.)
March 13, 2014
The favorite poetess of Queen Victoria was a convert to Catholicism. To quote:
Adelaide Procter is almost forgotten today, but she was Queen Victoria’s favorite poet, and in her time (1825-1864) she was second only to Tennyson in sales and popularity. She was admired and published by Dickens, and if today she is remembered at all, it is either for their work together, or for Arthur Sullivan‘s setting of her poem, “A Lost Chord.”
Procter, Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Wilkie Collins collaborated on “A House to Let” and “The Haunted House,” and Dickens wrote a lengthy encomium to introduce a posthumous edition of her poems. In it, he alluded to the cause of her death at age 38 being related to her tireless charitable work, thus placing her firmly in the mold of the Idealized Dickensian Woman Who Sacrifices Herself.
Procter’s work with the poor–particularly women–was extensive, and inspired by her conversion to Catholicism in 1851. She was friends with writer and feminist Bessie Parkes, who would also later convert to Catholicism and give the world a couple of famous children. Procter , Parkes, and their circle worked to uplift the condition of the poor, with a focus on helping women to be self-sufficient.
Her faith deeply informed her work, which is rich in Catholic imagery and symbolism, particularly “A Chaplet of Verses,” published to benefit the Providence Row Night Refuge for the Homeless Poor. Moderns tend to dismiss Victorian poetry–particularly religious poetry–not just because of its traditional forms, but because of a misunderstanding of Victorian piety, which they associate with treacly verse and lace holy cards featuring a cherubic, rosy-cheeked infant Jesus. If you want a better sense of Victorian piety, think of this. There was a deep concern for the social ills of the time, which naturally flowed from Christianity. This was more than mere surface piety: it was a deep faith that moved people like Procter to help those in need while also expressing her faith through her art. (Read more.)
Unfortunately, some schools are grooming children for abuse. To quote:
Years ago an acquaintance of mine wanted to homeschool. Her kindergarten aged child was being chased home from school by 5th and 6th grade boys who would pull her pants down. The school said they couldn’t help- it happened off campus. The boys’ parents said boys would be boys. Older women at her church said, “Well, they have to learn to get along in the real world sometime.”
In my real world, people who do this to other people go. to. jail.
Unfortunately, in the school world, that is not a given. (Read more.)
March 12, 2014
From author Stephanie Cowell:
In 1917 the land which it crowns high above the bucolic Hudson River was purchased by the philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. who developed it into Ft. Tryon Park. He also bought parts of five European abbeys which were carefully disassembled, each stone marked to identify its proper place; they were reconstructed and integrated together in the park between 1934 and 1939 with additional buildings in medieval style designed by architect Charles Collens, assisted by Joseph Breck and James J. Rorimer. To begin the astonishing collection of medieval art, Rockefeller bought the huge collection of American sculptor George Gray Barnard. Rockefeller also donated from his own walls the world famous Unicorn tapestries. (Created in the 15th century, these remarkable tapestries were at one low point used to cover heaps of potatoes in France and then served as bed hangings.)
In 1958, a major new addition was added to the Cloisters Museum: a twelfth-century limestone apse from the church in Fuentidueña, Spain, also dismantled and reconstructed stone by stone.
For me it is a sacred rite to visit the Cloisters. When I enter the doors and climb the stairs, something inside me drifts into an awed silence. I feel it belongs to me but I know every other person there feels that as well, and that we share it.
Water plays from an old fountain; saints with stone faces worn dull watch us pass. In the Treasury, a space of a few small rooms, priceless illuminated prayer books which were used for prayer seven centuries ago look up at us; Crucifixes and reliquaries and tiny portable altars made of ivory small enough to fold into a pocket seem to listen for our steps. There is a very old staircase of wood and I am sure someone was about to descend as I came around the corner, someone who is not quite in this world anymore. It was after all the great scientist Einstein who wrote, “…the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent.” (Read more.)
We expect too much out of marriage due to romantic idealism. To quote:
And being single means bearing the cross, too. From Mary Beth Bonacci:
Today we’re having a similar problem with marriage. The orthodox Christian view of indissoluble marriage in many ways can seem “exalted” in comparison to secular society. And secular society certainly makes lots of noises about valorizing marriage. Thus, “You agree marriage is awesome, we agree marriage is awesome. Ain’t marriage awesome???”
But the problem is that this is an inversion of the Biblical theology of marriage. The root is Protestant. In his urge to torch his own vows, Luther built an exalted theology of marriage as the summit of Christian life (completely ignoring Paul, #solascriptura). The Protestant communities, separated from the apostolic Church, lost the great gift of the Holy Spirit of celibate life and the theology of celibacy.Via Unequally Yoked .
If marriage is a vale of milk and honey, then when the milk and honey runs out, the marriage loses its reason for being. If marriage is a vale of milk and honey, then not offering it to everyone is tantamount to sadism.
Here is a proposal for a theology of vocation: vocation is a call to creation in self-giving, because God is Creator in self-giving. Creation is kenosis—God, who is the sheer act of Being itself, embraces the Universe with its imperfection in his existence. God is Creator and continuously creating the Universe and gathering the Universe to Him and God is total self-giving, even into the intimacy of the life of the Trinity.
And Biblical Revelation teaches us that the supreme act of creative self-giving is the Cross.
We see, then, how we are invited to take up our Cross and follow Christ.
Marriage is a Cross. Marriage is a vocation to creation in total self-giving. To say that marriage is a Cross is to say that it is part of God’s design and that many graces flow from it and even that it is joyous. But it is also to say that it sucks sometimes and that it demands a total gift of self. (Read more.)
And being single means bearing the cross, too. From Mary Beth Bonacci:
I believe that God does exist. But I don’t believe that He is who you think He is. The “God” you’re talking about—the one who automatically provides us with spouses as a reward for virtuous behavior—He doesn’t exist. Never has. Never will.
I know you’re hurting. I’m sorry. I’ve been there, too. Virtually everybody on this site has. It’s hard—very hard—to feel called to marriage, to assume that it’s our future, and then to find that the “right one” isn’t showing up, and to face the possibility that he or she may never show up.
But don’t blame it on God.
He loves you. Madly. Passionately. And He wants what is absolutely best for you. More than just wanting you to be “generally happy,” He wants you to be really happy. In eternity with Him. Forever. That’s His focus. He’s our Savior. He came to save us—not from a corrupt government (as many of his followers assumed), or from spinsterhood (as we singles sometimes assume) or from persecution or famine or anything else. He came to save us from the power of evil, and He left us a Church as an instrument of our eternal salvation. And He promised that His Spirit would be with that Church until the end of the world.
As for this life, He never promised us “general happiness,” or a peaceful life, or a guaranteed spouse, or anything like that. In fact, He pretty much promised that we’ll have a bit of a rough time of it if we follow Him.
You are finding that now. The problem isn’t with God, it’s with the free will He gave to us. When people use that free will in ways that are contrary to His will, other people get hurt. That’s one reason why, in this day and age, so many faithful Catholics are single. Fewer Catholics are taking their faith seriously. And that leaves fewer faithful Catholics for us to marry. (Read more.)
March 11, 2014
The story of a sex slave. It is a horror story that is going on all around us, with the cooperation of powerful people. To quote:
Wearing just their underwear, the girls line up with their backs to the wall, arms by their side, heads down, frozen to the spot. They dare not move.
Their captors walk up and down the line – picking them seemingly at random and tapping them on the shoulder – ‘You, you, you and you… come with me’.
In the back of a warehouse truck, they are driven for miles across the scorching Nevada desert until they reach a hotel. There, they are forced to have sex with up to 25 men one after the other.
This was life for Korean-born American Chong Kim who, at 19 years old, was sold as a domestic sex slave in 1994 to Russian gangsters and held captive for more than two years.
“The clients never came to the warehouse,” she recalled “That was just where we slept. There was nothing there but bed mats on the floor and we would just lay there.
“They would give us colouring books with fat crayons and we would colour. But then we would hear the knock outside the storage unit doors and have to all line up.
“If you were chosen, we would get in the truck and there would be a gallon of water between us. You could tell it was hot outside because it was made out of metal aluminium and it was too hot to touch. (Read more.)
Liturgical abuses are no excuse to leave the Church. I have seen about every abuse there is but I don't let it keep me from going to Mass. Not ever. I came of age during the height of the nuttiness, when priests would mock the teachings of the church as well as the liturgy. I have walked out of Masses when I just couldn't take it. I have lived through it all. And yet wherever I have lived I have always found a church where there was reverent and traditional worship. Is it a hard time to be a Catholic? Yes, but my ancestors lived through tougher times and persevered. Where there is a will there is a way. You have to be tough. Sometimes you have to drive hours to go to Mass. Is it fair? No. But to be a Christian is to be a martyr. From The Crescat :
Firstly, congratulations on the Tonight Show and being able to stay in New York City. I’m sure you’re relieved you won’t be returning to L.A., home of the bad liturgy experience. Hopefully that means we can expect to see you in the pews of any one of New York’s finest Catholics Churches some time soon, right? Because I’m sure you weren’t just using bad liturgy as an excuse not to go back to Church.
Excuses are “ew”.
I know from personal experience how cringe worthy terrible liturgy is, with it’s hand holding and awful tambourine music. Yes, it does not motivate one to want to return to that Church. “That” being the imperative word. That particular church with the terrible liturgy, not The Church.
That’s why I bet you’re thrilled to pieces to be staying in New York where beautiful liturgy abounds. I’m excited for you to experience again the glory and solemnity from your childhood altar serving days. From that time where your love of The Church had you considering the priesthood. (Read more.)
March 10, 2014
From Under the Gables :
George Washington with the Marquis de Lafayette (center) and Lt. Col. Tench Tilghman, Washington's aide-de-camp, at Yorktown, by Charles Willson Peale, 1784. Washington looked upon Lafayette as a son, and the French republican was instrumental in convincing Washington that slavery was an injustice that was inimical to the principles of the new American republic.Another point of view, HERE.
For about four months in 2013, I read books about George Washington and also biographies of Martha Washington. Most notable was Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. Based on the release of thousands of papers of Washington's, Chernow's book is a realistic and detailed portrait of the Commander of the Continental Army that led a rag-tag army to victory in the War of Independence and became our first President.
In his 2006 book Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, historian Gordon S. Wood devotes an early chapter to Washington, titled "The Greatness of George Washington." Wood's assessment is grounded on Washington's decision to resign from his army command at the end of the war--an action whose humility shocked the world. He also cites how Washington became increasingly repulsed by slavery and freed those slaves he owned upon his death, and praises Washington's ability to act as the first President with a vision of what he must bequeath to a future America, beyond the political demands of the moment.
Underlying the actions and vision, however, is a monumental strength of character that explains how he became the natural choice of his contemporaries to lead the Continental Army and to become the new republic's first President. (Read more.)
Professor Claire Kamp Dush of Ohio State writes of her struggles to publish her research. To quote:
Historic numbers of women in the US are having children outside of marriage; 41% of all births in 2010 were to unmarried parents, with the highest proportions to racial and ethnic minorities (Hamilton, Martin, & Ventura, 2011). More than half of these births were to cohabiting parents (Lichter, 2012), a majority of whom will see their union dissolve by the time their child is 5 years old (Kamp Dush, 2011). Because of the instability of these unions, many mothers are dating and forming new romantic relationships which often result in the birth of a new child, thus a growing number of mothers have children with more than one father (Guzzo & Furstenberg, 2007). Mothers who have children with more than one father experience increased stress and mental health problems and lower parenting quality compared to mothers who share children with only one father (McLanahan, 2009). Children with half-siblings exhibit more depression, poorer school performance, and greater delinquency than children with only full-siblings (Halpern-Meekin & Tach, 2008). Despite negative maternal and child outcomes associated with childbearing with multiple fathers, family process-related factors that influence whether women have additional children with new fathers have yet to be identified. We posit that when a father is involved with his child, regardless of whether or not he lives with his child, the mother of his child will be less likely to have another child with a new father. (Read more.)