Wednesday, 26 November 2008

La Sainte Catherine!

I am being unfaithful to my francophone roots (which reminds me, à propos de rien, that I need to make an appointment to get my hair cut next week).

Yesterday November 25th, was La Sainte Catherine (the canonized person not the notorious Montréal street) which is somehow associated to unattached aka single women. Is it a celebration of the fact that unmarried women are happier, less stressed and more likely to live longer? Sadly no.

There are two sainted Catherines - Catherine of Alexandria and Catherine of Sienna, both canonized virgins.

Alright. I just read the Wikipedia entry about Catherine of Sienna and while the bit about her
"Mystical Marriage" with Jesus in which she had a vision that Christ presented her with a wedding ring made from his shriveled foreskin
is intriguing to say the least, somehow I don't think she'd be the one the good nuns would want celebrated on November 25th.

Here we go. This must be the one. Catherine of Alexandria was a martyr.
Historians such as Harold Thayler Davis believe that Catherine ('the pure one') may not have existed and that she was more an ideal exemplary figure than a historical one. She did certainly form an exemplary counterpart to the pagan philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria in the medieval mindset; and it has been suggested that she was invented specifically for that purpose. Like Hypatia, she is said to have been highly learned (in philosophy and theology), very beautiful, sexually pure, and to have been brutally murdered for publicly stating her beliefs.

Speaking of iconic unmarried females, we find out from mattt at bastard.logic that Ann Coulter's jaw has been wired shut. Oddly enough, even bloggers on the right seem downright unsympathetic.


Beijing York said...

A shriveled foreskin for a ring? How romantic :-)

the regina mom said...

From Walker, Barbara G., The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Symbols.

The key to the secret of St. Catherine is her so-called Catherine Wheel, the wheel of fire on which she was said to have been martyred. At Sinai, the original center of Catherine's cult, the Asiatic Goddess was once portrayed as the Dancer on the Fiery Wheel at the hub of the universe. A Greek convent of priestess-nuns at Sinai in the 8th century A.D. called themselves kathari, "pure ones," a word akin to the Kathakali temple-dancers of India, who performed the Dance of Time in honor of Kali, Goddess of the karmic wheel.

The Xian myth of Catherine is awful, has her imprisoned and tortured because she refused to marry the Emperor.

osolomama said...

Nov 25 is the day the Eastern Orthodox church remembers Katherine of Siena. So much of her life is legend now. She was apparently brilliant and beautiful.

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