Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thank You NBC

No Fencing For YOU!

I get to miss a myriad of events, especially my new fever of fencing, because of NBC's goofy association with cable(they will show a bit of women's fencing). I had the impression that I would be able to watch live events on their online feed, nope. You can't even watch full replays. Lame. Luckily most of the Boxing so far has been televised, either delayed or live. Hopefully they will show the gold medal bouts. Oh, and I got to watch Vincent Handcock make Olympic history and win the gold in Skeet.

I see I'm not the only one that's disgruntled about NBC's coverage
2012 Olympic Fencing: NBC Snubs Men's Fencing

Monday, July 30, 2012

En Garde: Olympic Results

London - Spain's vaunted fencing wizard Inigo Montoya was bested by relatively unknown Westley "Dread Pirate" Roberts of Florin in men's individual Epée, thus ending his hopes for the gold medal. Roberts advances to the semi-finals to face Diego "El Zorro" de la Vega of the USA. France's Charles Ogier de Batz, known affectionately as d'Artagnan will face his countryman Hercule-Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac. Cyrano de Bergerac won the gold in the World Championships.


I'm fascinated by the fencing. Over the years I have developed an interest in renaissance hoplology.  I realize that Olympic fencing is not the same as historical fencing, each having it's own techniques, strategies and purpose, but Olympic fencing is so dang cool. I can't help but think that if I would have been into fencing as a kid like I was of the swords and sword play of medieval Europe and feudal Japan, my brother and I would have suffered many superficial puncture wounds and welts. We didn't give much thought to what we called "cha-cha" swords, in retrospect I can see I missed out on some swashbuckling fun.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Fridays are a rather ascetic day for me, but nowhere near the level of these fellows. (or especially the fellows in a Camaldolese or Carthusian monastery)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Clip Art VII: Cross of St. James

It's the Feast of St. James the Greater, apostle to our Lord. Santiago is Spanish for St. James, which is kind of strange, one would think it might be San Jaime, or maybe San Diego. In the etymological history Jacob is the root, which spawns the variations Jacobo, Diego, in English James, and a few other variations. In Latin St. James is Sanctus Iacobus, put that together you can see where Santiago can come from, put San Diego together and you get a better resemblance. Maybe San Diego comes from Santiago Eh, I ramble.

 He is a patron of Spain, and his relics are kept in Santiago de Campostela. if you happen to be in the area check out the cathedral, if not you can visit the site, it's pretty cool and informative. I really like the opening animation after you choose the language.

Sanctus Iacobus, ora pro nobis.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Clip Art XXV

This is the image struck on the back of the Miraculous Medal. There are varying interpretations of the meaning of elements in the composition, from what I gather the Stars could be the Apostles, the 12 tribes of Israel or the stars as told by St. John in Revelations 12:1. The main element is the cross on a bar intertwined with an 'M'. The cross represents the cross of Our Lord and the 'M' the Blessed Virgin Mary. Under the "monogram" is the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Muñequitos Monasticos: Camillians

The Order of the Ministers to the Sick, formally the Clerks Regular Ministers to the Sick or the Fathers of a Good Death, but more commonly known as the Camillians. They were founded by St. Camillus de Lellis in the 16th century. They minister to the sick, dying, poor, elderly and suffering, they were the original Red Cross, historically working in battles, epidemics and other disasters. They can be found all over the world in 34 countries over 5 continents.

Below I have each of the habits used by the Camillians represented.

As I pointed out in the post preceding this one, there is a scapular associated with the Camilians, the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary "Help of the Sick".

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Camillo de Lellis

It's the feast day of Saint Camillus de Lellis. He's one of the saints that led a military life before founding or joining an order, like Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Peter Nolasco, John of God, Serapion of Algiers and Nuno Álvares Pereira. In this case he started the Order of the Ministers to the Sick, formally the Clerks Regular Ministers to the Sick or the Fathers of a Good Death, but more commonly known as the Camilians.
(Notice how religious orders, especially the older ones have a zillion names)

He was born the year 1550 in Bucchianico, Abruzzo, Italy. His mother died when he was young and his father was an officer in Neapolitan and French armies so he grew up neglected. He followed his fathers footsteps by serving as a soldier for Venice and Naples until his regiment was disbanded. He developed a gambling problem which naturally caused him financial problems. Here is where I find varying accounts of his bio. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a Franciscan friar convinced him to apply to become a friar but was refused, so he found employment in a hospital at Rome. (Fr. Butler's Lives of the Saints has the similar timeline) He lost his job at the hospital due to his disposition and his gambling problem. He again joined the Venetian army in a campaign against the Turks. The other accounts don't mention this part of his life, they pick up when he found employment with some Capuchins. He tried to join the Capuchins but a leg injury prevented this, even so the Capuchins helped him go the right path.

He returned to the hospital where he worked (if you go by the Catholic Encyclopedia account which mentions his first encounter with the hospital) and after a temporary cure of his injury became a nurse eventually becoming the director of the hospital. He tried to form an order of lay infirmarians but at the advice of his spiritual guide and confessor St. Philip Neri, he dropped that idea and instead set out for the priesthood.  It was after this he founded his order to minister to the sick

He is a patron of nurses, hospital workers, sick people and against sickness.

There is a scapular associated with the Camilians, the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary "Help of the Sick". It was Camilian brother, Ferdinand Vicari M.I., that founded the confraternity based on a image in the Camilian run St. Magdalen at Rome, painted by Fa Angelico of the Blessed Virgin, a painting that is said to be one that Pope St. Pius V prayed before during the Battle of Lepanto. It's a black scapular with the image of the Blessed Virgin on front with the patrons of the sick and the confraternity Saints Joseph and Camillus at her feet. On the back is a red cross. Usually a small scapular is based on the actual scapular on a religious habit, the Camilians don't use a scapular, but I guess it makes more sense to have a small scapular for the confraternity rather than a small version of the cassock like habit they use, that would be strange, but then we're Catholic, we like strange.

Sanctus Camillus, ora pro nobis

Monday, July 16, 2012

De Monte Carmelo

Cum vidisset ergo Iesus matrem et discipulum stantem, quem diligebat, dicit matri: “ Mulier, ecce filius tuus ”. Deinde dicit discipulo: “ Ecce mater tua ”. Et ex illa hora accepit eam discipulus in sua. - John 19: 26-27

Today is a good day to get invested in the Brown Scapular, or to look into the Third Order or Secular Carmelites, or even better, checking out the Friars, Nuns, Hermits and Monks of the Carmelite Orders who wear the actual type of scapular Our Lady gave St. Simon.

May Our Lady of Mt. Carmel keep you under her mantle.

Flos Carmeli
Fos Carmeli, 
vitis florigera, 
splendor caeli, 
virgo puerpera 

Mater mitis 
sed viri nescia 
esto propitia 
stella maris.

Radix Jesse 
germinans flosculum 
Nos ad esse 
tecum in saeculum 

Inter spinas 
quae crescis lilium 
Serva puras 
mentes fragiluim 

Fortis Pugnantium 
Furunt bella 
tende praesidium 

Per incerta 
prudens consilium 
Per adversa 
iugie solatium 

Mater dulcis 
Carmeli domina, 
plebem tuam 
reple laetitia 
qua bearis.

clavis et ianua, 
fac nos duci 
quo, Mater, gloria 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Catherine, Lily of the Mohawks

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, by Father Claude Chauchetière, S.J. (circa 1690)

One of my favorite saints, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. In a time where Catholics are persecuted and ridiculed for their faith, not just with this whole HHS mandate thing, but over all in society, she is the perfect intercessor. She understands being shunned and abused for her faith.

She was born to a Catholic Algonquin mother and Mohawk father in upstate New York, but was orphaned after a small pox epidemic that saw her loose eyesight in one eye and left her face scarred. In 1676 she converted and was baptised by Jesuit Father Jacques de Lamberville. She escaped to Sault-Sainte-Marie in Canada to a village of Christian native Americans and continued to live out her fervently live out her faith until her death in Kahnawake (Caughnawaga), Quebec. She may not have been a consecrated religious, but she lived like one, a sort of Jesuit Sister.

Come October 21 she will be known as Saint Kateri, after her recognition Mass.  Pope Benedict VI promulgated her decree of canonization last December.

Sancta Catharina Tekakwitha, ora pro nobis

Friday, July 13, 2012


Today is the feast of Blessed Carlos Manuel  Rodriguez Santiago. One of his sisters was a Carmelite nun (like  St. Teresa of the Andes, whose feast is today as well) and his brother was the first Puerto Rican to become an Benedictine Abbot at his monastery. Charlie didn't go the vocational route of his siblings, he probably couldn't due to his health, but he was an uber-layperson. As a child he never missed a chance to altar serve and he was heavily involved with the Church, evangelizing college students and teachers, teaching catechises, producing publications, and co-organizing a chorus. No doubt that had his health been better he would have made a great scholar or preacher in a friary somewhere. He was a Member of the Knights of Columbus, The Brotherhood of Christian Doctrine and the Confraternity of the Most Holy Name of God and Jesus (Holy Name Society), a confraternity under the care of the Order of Preachers.

He had a favorite saying which is inscribed on his tomb, "Vivimos para esa noche!" (We live for that night). It refers to the Easter Vigil.

Beatus Carolus, ora pro nobis

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Taking A Break

don't know how long. Could be hours, could be a day, a week, a month, fore score and seven years...

See you all on the flip side. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fedora Friday

There was a time when men wore hats*. Real hats, trucker and baseball caps don't count, fur skinned caps either, unless you can pull it off, which means you are a mountain man somewhere between the Rockies and Hudson Bay.

What's a real hat then?
Fur felt(wool felt is okay), straw and for more casual attire the newsboy/ivy cap (in the West at least). Even some of the ecclesiastical head wear of clergy is fur-felt, but the majority of clergy don't wear hats anymore either.

The following photographs are from 1940s Puerto Rico, in the sugarcane fields and farms.

Sugar cane workers, vicinity of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, (LOC), Jack Delano
These gentlemen are wearing fur felt brimmed hats, the fellow on the far right has the distinctive fedora with the pinch front and flipped brim.

FSA borrower who is a member of a sugar cooperative, vicinity of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
(LOC), Jack Delano
Indiana Jose? Nah, this guy worked harder for less pay

FSA borrower and member of Yauco tomato cooperative, planting tomatoes on his farm in the hills,
 vicinity of Yauco, Puerto Rico (LOC),  Jack Delano
 Planting tomatoes, got my fedora.

Man in a sugar cane field during harvest, Puerto Rico (LOC), Jack Delano
 No felt for this guy, but the straw works just as well, even better maybe in the heat of the tropics.

Sugar cane workers resting, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico (LOC), Jack Delano
Some more fedoras. The fellow second on the left is wearing a campaign hat with the distinctive Montana peak. I wonder where he got it. I wonder how many were floating around after the military quit using them as standard issue. Could it be a Boy Scout campaign hat? Hmm.

FSA borrower? in a sugar-cane field, Puerto Rico (LOC), Jack Delano
His hat is definitely felt, possibly a campaign hat that has seen much use in the hot Puerto Rican sun.

...and yes, I do wear baseball caps and also mil-spec boonie hats, but I would never use them outside of a casual or work environment. At the moment I do not own a fur felt hat but I do use a wool ivy hat and a mighty handsome panama straw fedora during the hot season. One day I might become a full fledged hat snob.

* I have been conditioned to refer to hats as 'covers' as in 'campaign covers', so it was kind of hard for me to continually type hat... just kidding, not really... no, I'm for real... psych... no really... I don't know.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Something To Think About

"Conflict of the future will be between a God-religion & a state religion between Christ & anti-Christ in political disguise." - Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen