Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Year Passes

This time last year the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate received a new member, I don't know what the formation process is for them, but by now he should be all about being a Franciscan Friar... and sporting a beard... or not.

God bless him and may the Immaculata keep him under her mantle.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day is Done

Photo By Marine Corps Sgt. Mark Fayloga

For all my fallen brethren in arms, all those buried in foreign soil, all those buried in the great blue deep, all those who never made it back home, Requesquiat In Pace.
Semper Fi

*repost from May 29, 2011

Bernard of Montjou

To the Rescue - John Emms

St. Dominic along with the Dominicans and St. Bernard of Clairvaux have a dog as a representation. The Bloodhound is named after St. Hubert of Liege (St. Hubert's hound). Today is the feast day of  St. Bernard of Menthon, who is the namesake of the St. Bernard breed, those famous alpine rescue and working dogs often depicted wearing small barrels around their necks. Like the before mentioned St. Bernard of Clairvaux, this St. Bernard also has a white dog as a representation.

St. Bernard was a priest in the Swiss Alps, where he evangelized for over 40 years, he also established a monastery and set up hospices for travellers and pilgrims passing though the dangerous path of what is now known as the Great St. Bernard Pass. If you are a skier, mountain climber, Alpinist or just travelling through some mountains, this is the saint for intercessions.

Sanctus Bernardus, ora pro nobis.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Pentecost

 Et cum compleretur dies Pen tecostes, erant omnes pariter in eodem loco. Et factus est repente de caelo sonus tamquam advenientis spiritus vehementis et replevit totam domum, ubi erant sedentes. Et apparuerunt illis dispertitae linguae tamquam ignis, seditque supra singulos eorum; et repleti sunt omnes Spiritu Sancto et coeperunt loqui aliis linguis, prout Spiritus dabat eloqui illis. - Acts 2:1-4

Friday, May 25, 2012

Clip Art XXII

Here I have a St. Benedict Cross. Inspired by the St. Benedict Jubilee Medal. The letters C.S.P.B on the outside of the cross stand for "Crux sancti patris Benedicti" meaning "Cross of the holy Father Benedict." In the cross you have the letters C.S.S.M.L which stand for "Crux sacra sit mihi lux" meaning "May the holy Cross be my light" and N.D.S.M.D which stand for "Nunquam draco sit mihi dux" meaning "let not the dragon be my guide."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Midweek Musing

I always wanted a title like Mofongo Monday, Two for Tuesday, or Fencing Friday, so for today only, Midweek Musing.

The movie Cristiada is about to be released in the US. The title for the Gringos is For Greater Glory, it is about the Cristero Wars in Mexico during the 1920s. Long story short the Mexican Government persecuted the Catholics, and not just the bullying kind of persecution, the extermination and subjugation kind. Serious stuff, serious enough that the people took to arms and took on superior forces.

What amazes me about this time in history is how it has been a relatively unknown chapter in Mexican/World/Church history. Most people assume Mexico is a Catholic haven, but as Catholic as the people are, the Mexican government in the last 150 or so years hasn't been too kind to the Church. Anti-clerical laws have persisted until they were recently abrogated, recently as in 1992.

We seem to be having some issues here in the US lately on the religious front, nowhere near what the Mexicans endured, but non the less the Church is under attack. This is nothing new in the US though. Another often down played part of history is the anti-Catholicism in the US that goes back to it's colonial era. Many people consider the North East historically Catholic, but in actuality it wasn't, the Catholic population was minuscule and had an underground, second-class existence until after the influx of Catholic immigrants in the 19th century. Even Maryland, a colony founded by Catholics eventually turned them into persona non grata. I don't remember learning any of this in school. I learned about the poor persecuted Puritans that landed on Plymouth Rock seeking religious freedom, but they kind of left out the fact that they were persecutors themselves in the New World.

Remember to pray for out brethren out there in the world that are actually going through the type of persecution seen by the Cristeros.

If I had a pipe this is where I take a few tokes looking contemplatively into to distance while the scene fades to black.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Field Crosses and Shrines

I spent a chunk of my early childhood in Germany, on three separate occasions. The final time I resided in Deutschland it was still West Germany, but the Cold War was taking it's final breath. I lived in a town situated in Northern Bavaria called Vilseck, a small town named after the river it was adjacent to.  There is a small castle there that I could see from our balcony, for a 12 year old kid into medieval and fantasy stuff it was awesome. Bavaria has a rich Catholic history, and was a Catholic hold out after Protestantism started to take hold in Germany. Dotted throughout the countryside of Bavaria you will find crosses, crucifixes, shrines and small chapels. At the time it was something I took for granted, and even didn't pay much attention to. In retrospect, and after living in my current place which has virtually no Catholic identity, I'm saddened that I didn't appreciate it more. I think it's heartening to see that in a country with an ever metastasizing secularization that these things are still around, and hopefully enough people will see to never let all the crosses, chapels and shrines become just memories full of lament.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Muñequitos Monasticos: Camaldolese of Monte Corona

The Camaldolese currently exist in two congregations, the Camaldolese of the Holy Hermitage and Camaldese of Monte Corona. The Camaldese of the Holy Hermitage would be the base order headquartered in Camaldoli founded by St. Saint Romuald  in the early 11th century. They have hermitages and monasteries and are part of the Benedictine family. The Camaldolese of Monte Corona are a reform founded in 1520 by Blessed Paul Giustiniani. They only have hermitages and are not part of the Benedictines. The fellow below is based on a Camaldolese hermit of Monte Corona.

I'm not sure if the Benedictine Camaldolese use the same exact habit as the Monte Corona hermits, my research has yielded little source material to draw from. When I can get good source material I'll be able to cover the monks and nuns of the Benedictine Comaldolese.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Simon Anglus

I'm thinking at the time of St. Simon Stock the Carmelite habit looked something like what the Franciscan wore, until he was handed the scapular from Our Lady.
St. Simon was an Englishman that  joined the Carmelite order soon after they arrived in England. In 1247 he was made the sixth General of the Order. He helped spread the Order throughout Europe and revised the Rule so that the Carmelites went from hermits to friars. His tenure wasn't easy, the Carmelites were picked on and persecuted by clergy and other orders, which makes me wonder, who were these mean orders? Mid 13th century Europe, hmm. The Cistercians? Benedictines? Dominicans? Franciscans? This calls for further study.
Anyways, it was so bad that the Carmelites had to get a Bull from Pope Innocent IV to stop the bullying. The Bull was nice, but the Carmelites also turned to their patron, Our Lady, and this is when the Holy Mother appeared to St. Simon and gave him the scapular and said,
"Hoc erit tibi et cunctis Carmelitis privilegium, in hoc habitu moriens salvabitur" (This shall be the privilege for you and for all the Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall be saved)"

Thus begins the use of the scapular with the Carmelite habit and the origin of the ever popular devotion of the Brown Scapular, the small version of the Carmelite scapular.

Saint Simon Stock was never formally canonized, but has been venerated by the Carmelites since the 1500's when by decree his celebration was commanded for the Order. So if you are invested  in the Brown Scapular, you are a de facto Carmelite and get to celebrate this feast, if not, you are Catholic and get to celebrate this feast.

Sanctus Simon Anglus, ora pro nobis.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Drinking Beer on the Modern Battlefield

When you are off duty of course, and if your issued weapon is from the M16 rifle family post A2 version.

Photo from OpticsPlanet

The OPMOD battle mug. Looks like the final product of some armorer that got bored, I guess it gives you the ability to drink your beverage of choice and a place to put your carrying handle when your rifle is fitted with an optic sight and vice versa. You could also use it as storage for all kinds of things.

It's pretty cool, has that "high speed, low drag" factor, but yet I think for consuming various liquids the ol' canteen cup might edge it out because of it's ubiquity, cost and portability.

Photo from

...but I tend to gravitate towards vintage stuff. When I was in the Corps (back in the mid to late 90s) I used a 70s era cartridge belt. I also stuck with the old ALICE H-harness (All Purpose Individual Carrying Equipment, designed in the early 70s) over the relatively new (at that time) multi-pouch Load Bearing Vest (see Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Relatively new (at that time) multi-pouch Load Bearing Vest

 What I liked about the old cartridge belt was that the clasp was a metal tab that hooked into a metal "loop"(see figure 2) . I was easier to take on and off than the plastic fastener of the modern belts. (see figure 3)

Here is an illustration of the style of harness and cartridge belt I used.

Figure 2. 70s H-harness and cartridge belt

Here's the illustration of the cartridge belt I didn't use, or at least I quit using when I got to the Fleet.

Figure 3. Cartridge belt with the plastic fastener

I was old school. 

The ALICE system of packs and gear was phased out shortly after my enlistment ended. From what I understand it's still in limited use, so it's probable that there are/were some Jarheads running around Iraq and Afghanistan in the old harness... I digress.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Apostle to the Lepers and the Protector of the Poor

Saint Damien of Molokia, born Joseph de Veuster  in Belgium, was a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. His brother, who was in the same order was supposed to go to Hawaii, but had taken ill, so Damien who was still in seminary asked to take his place. He was sent to Hawaii where he was ordained. It was on a leper colony on the island of Molokai that Father Damien's holiness shone brightest. While on Molokai he ministered to the leper's medical and spiritual needs bringing joy and love to a people wrought with despair. He contracted leprosy, but despite his deteriorating health worked until his death.

Sanctus Damianus, ora pro nobis


St. Antoninus was accepted into the Dominicans at 16, how cool is that?
He did his noviciate with Fra Angelico and Fra Bartolommeo, how cool is that?
Long story short, Born in Florence in 1389, was the Vicar- General of the Order of Preachers, the Archbishop of Florence and served as a diplomat, theologian and healer.

Did I mention he did his noviciate with  Fra Angelico and Fra Bartolommeo?

Sanctus Antoninus, ora pro nobis

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Smell of Prayer

I'm highly fond of incense, when I see the smoke billow and spread out it's like an ethereal force pushing out the evil, kind of a holy fumigation. Then you have the smell, it amazes me that anyone can not like it, I love it. It's a welcoming and warming smell to me, it's a sign that something sacred is or has been going on. Another great aspect of the use of incense is the symbolism of rising prayers, seeing the smoke rise is a concrete reminder of our connection to God.

Dirigatur oratio mea sicut incensum in conspectu tuo,elevatio manuum mearum ut sacrificium vespertinum. - Psalm 141

Friday, May 4, 2012

Muñequitos Monasticos: Norbertine Sisters

Within the family of the Canons Regular of Prémontré you have the Canonesses. They were formed shortly after St. Norbert assembled the Canons, with the help of Blessed Ricwera widow of count Raymond of Clastres. They can be found all over Europe and have a community in the USA. Their habits vary, the following caricature is based on the sisters in California.

Canons Regular of Prémontré here

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

El Santo Trabajador

Ora et labora.
Pray for our brethren in atheistic communist countries and for those that are seeking employment.

Sanctus Ioseph, ora pro nobis.