Thursday, May 24, 2018

Queens and Saints

Six women who were queens and saints. From Catholic Household:
The Roman Empire, converting to Christianity, but like the family of Constantine, enduring the theological controversies, soon found that its Western half was overwhelmed by Germanic barbarian tribes–who adhered either to paganism or Arianism. The project of the conversion of the Western Roman Empire now became a project to convert and civilize these Germanic tribes.

St. Clotilde was the daughter of the King of the Burgundians, born around 475, and actually raised a Catholic. Her solid upbringing would be crucial, as she was married to the powerful pagan king of the Franks, Clovis I. Clovis was a resolute and brutal man. The account of Clovis and the Vase of Soisson, as told by St. Gregory of Tours, gives a wonderful sense of the man’s character. [Read the account HERE.]

Through Clotilde’s influence, Clovis allowed their firstborn son Ingomir to be baptized in 494, but the infant died soon thereafter. Nevertheless, Clovis, immediately prior to fighting the Battle of Tolbiac against the Alemanni, prayed to God that, with a victory, he would convert to Christianity. Victorious he would be, and that Christmas, 496, St. Remigius, Bishop of Reims, baptized Clovis. With Clovis, the leadership of the Franks accepted the Catholic Faith. Clotilde, for her part, would endure family disputes and tragedy after the death of Clovis in 511. She did what she could as a peacemaker, and retired to a religious life at Tours near the tomb of St. Martin, dying in 545. (Read more.)
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Spygate

 From Breitbart:
“Spygate” — the revelation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) used at least one informant to infiltrate Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign — provides further vindication of the contention made in March 2017 by conservative radio host Mark Levin, Breitbart News, and President Trump (in that order) that the Obama administration conducted surveillance of the opposition in an attempt to monitor, defeat, and delegitimize it.

As Breitbart News recalled earlier this year:
On March 2, 2017, Levin noted mainstream media reports that suggested that law enforcement and intelligence agencies had conducted surveillance of Trump associates during the last months of the Obama administration. He also noted President Barack Obama had taken the unusual step of allowing surveillance reports to be disseminated more widely within the government, which made it more likely that details would be leaked to sympathetic media. Levin criticized what he called “police state” tactics by the Obama administration, and speculated that the agencies might have been involved in a “silent coup” to undermine the incoming Trump administration, which was loathed by official Washington.
On March 3, Breitbart News reported Levin’s broadcast and added additional evidence to the timeline, summarizing Levin’s accusations: “In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.”
(Read more.)

Secret surveillance was conducted on no fewer than seven Trump associates: chief strategist Stephen Bannon; lawyer Michael Cohen; national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner; campaign chairman Paul Manafort; and campaign foreign policy advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. The FBI reportedly applied for a secret warrant in June 2016 to monitor Manafort, Page, Papadopoulos and Flynn. If true, it means the FBI targeted Flynn six months before his much-debated conversation with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

The FBI applied four times to wiretap Page after he became a Trump campaign adviser starting in July 2016. Page’s office is connected to Trump Tower and he reports having spent “many hours in Trump Tower.” CNN reported that Manafort was wiretapped before and after the election “including during a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Trump.” Manafort reportedly has a residence in Trump Tower. (Read more.)

Stefan Halper is only the tip of the iceberg in Obama spy scandal. From the Conservative Review:
We finally have definitive evidence that the Obama administration engaged in clandestine operations against members of the Trump campaign. But the revelation that Stefan Halper was planted by the Obama intelligence community to gather information on the Trump team is only the tip of the iceberg in exposing the vast, unprecedented espionage operation. Over the weekend, suspicions were confirmed that Stefan Halper — who has decades-long ties to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6 — was a secret informant who gathered information on Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Halper reportedly began to communicate with Page in mid-July 2016, which counters the timeline offered by former FBI Director James Comey, who claimed that the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation began at the end of that month. He and Page continued to communicate well into President Trump’s tenure, which raises the possibility that the investigation did not conclude with the president’s election. (Read more.)
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Cardinal Sarah on the Importance of Silence

From ChurchPop:
Cardinal Robert Sarah is amazing person. Born in small village in rural Guinea, he joined a minor seminary as age 12, was ordained at 24, made a bishop at 34, and was finally made a Cardinal in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. He currently serves as the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, appointed by Pope Francis to that role in 2014.

About a year ago, he published a book titled The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise. He recently visited The University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Canada and gave a talk on the same subject. The University of St. Michael’s College has produced a stunningly beautiful video about his visit, which you can watch below. “Silence is not only not talking. Silence is deeper, because the great noise is inside ourselves,” the Cardinal says in the video. “Even in our churches, there is too much noise. So it’s not a place where we can encounter God, silently.

Silence makes life more similar to God, because God is silence. He talks in silence. We encounter him in silence. And if you remain with God, you become silent.” He sees a lack of silence as a cause of the decline of religion in the West. “I think why the Western countries today are no longer believers, because they are talking all the time. They know no silence, and their faith is going down. Silence is really the moment where I construct myself as a human being related to God. And without God and without silence, we are lost. […]

The Western society seems to be lost because when we are cut from God, we are lost. It’s like a tree without roots.” (Read more.)
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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

St. Jadwiga, "King" of Poland

St. Jadwiga aiding the poor
St. Jadwiga
St. Jadwiga
I remember reading So Young a Queen as a teenager and loving it. Queen St. Jadwiga's official title was "King" of Poland, since she was the sovereign. From The Catholic Herald:
These thoughts come to mind as I have been reading two books aimed specifically at girls’ readership. The first is So Young a Queen: Jadwiga of Poland by Lois Mills (Bethlehem Books/Ignatius Press). First published in 1961, it has been republished this year by Bethlehem Books as part of a series of biographies entitled “Portraits in Faith and Freedom”. It tells the story of St Jadwiga of Poland, 1374-1399 who married Jagiello, the pagan Prince of Lithuania in 1386 and converted him and his own peoples to her own devout Catholic faith.

As Lois Mills shows, Jadwiga, though betrothed to marry someone else, made a sacrificial choice at a young age to marry this unknown prince for the sake of her country’s peaceful union with Lithuania. It reminds one that other strong queens in history, such as Isabella of Castile, Bridget of Sweden and Margaret of Scotland became women of influence and power having been shaped by a deep Christian faith in childhood, alongside a rigorous education. They knew how to exert “soft power” for good in their husband’s lives, alongside the suffering and sacrifice such lives generally endure.

The other series of short stories I have just read reflect life in the 21st Century where opportunities for ordinary girls (rather than princesses) to excel are inevitably much wider than in the past. They have been charmingly devised according to a lively formula by a retired scientist for his two young granddaughters, Ella and Emily, as a way of showing them that young women can lead adventurous lives in areas formerly dominated by boys and men. The Ella Abbott Helicopter Rescue Service stories and Ella Abbott in Space, aimed at girls in the 7-9 age range who are looking for excitement and action in which they, rather than their brothers, are the heroes, show just how brave, resourceful, calm and quick-thinking girls can be in dangerous situations. (Read more.)
More on St Jadwiga, who gave up the man she loved to bring the faith to Lithuania, HERE. To quote:
Jadwiga was a tall and beautiful girl with red hair. In Europe she was famous not only for her beauty but also with wise diplomacy and deep devotion. Besides the Polish and Hungarian languages she also knew Latin, German and Italian. She had a strong personality and confident character.

She really cared for the fostering of faith in Lithuania. For this purpose she organized a special collegium at the University of Prague, in which future Lithuanian princes were formed. There was “something” in her that won people over. She reconciled Jagiellonians who were in conflict (dynastic problems in Lithuania). She knew about politics and personally met with the leaders of hostile nations to negotiate and agree with the conditions of the project.

In addition to concern for politics, the good of her subjects was close to her heart: she funded many hospitals and churches. Tied with the construction of one of them – the Carmelite church of the Blessed Virgin Mary “na Piasku” (see: map) – there is a legend. A certain day, when the queen came to the construction site, she noticed that one of the workers was very sad.

 This really moved her and she asked him for the reason of his sadness. He answered her with his difficult family situation: his wife, the mother of three kids, was very sick and close to death. Despite his work in construction, he wasn’t able to afford the treatment. Queen Jadwiga, moved by the man’s misery, leaning over pulled a slipper from her foot and unfastened from it a golden buckle, which she offered him. In this same moment, her bare foot leaned against a stone covered with lime, leaving an impression of her foot on it. When she left, the bricklayer noticed the impression and placed it into the wall of the church. To this day you can admire the impression of the foot of Queen Jadwiga. Surrounded by wire, it can be seen in one of the corners of the church of the Carmelites, at ul. Karmelicka.

Queen Jadwiga really cared for her relationship with Jesus and did a lot to bring Him closer to her relatives and subjects. She prayed a lot, practiced mortification. She also cared for the spread of the Word of God, funding a translation of the Holy Bible and the writings of the fathers of the church for Wawel Cathedral. She wished that the Lord would be praised there with the psalms without ceasing, so she established a special Psalterist college of sixteen people who praised God night and day. To strengthen the fundamentals of the faith in the Kingdom of Poland, she bequeathed her fortune to the renewal and expansion of the impoverished Academy of Krakow. She obtained the Pope’s permission to open a Department of Theology, which greatly hastened evangelization in the whole area of the vast kingdom in the Polish, Lithuanian and Ruthenian lands.

 The Department had a great influence on raising the profile of the university, which from then on really counted in Europe, and whose revival had great meaning in the history of Poland. It is here (from the XIXth century called the Jagiellonian University) that Pawel Wlodkowic, Mikolaj Kopernik, St. John Cantius, Stanislaw Wyspianski, Karol Wojtyla and the current President of Poland Andrzej Duda studied, to name a few.

Jadwiga and Wladyslaw reigned together for almost 13 years. Despite the large difference in their age they really understood each other. Wladyslaw really loved Jadwiga, who despite the difficult beginnings of their relationship, with time also loved him. They had great respect and trust for each other. The king wished for a child, an heir. Jadwiga gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth Bonifacia, but after three weeks the little princess died. Following her, two days later, because of childbirth complications – the 25-year old Jadwiga departed. Her death was a shock for the kingdom and was widely heard about in Europe. The Queen was buried in the Cathedral in Wawel. Jagiello, even though he married three times afterward, until the end of his life wore the ring given to him by his beloved Jadwiga. (Read more.)

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A Culture of Depravity

From Life Site:
What we are watching today is a real time strategic plan to transform the United States into a godless culture of sin that is promoted legislatively. Everything Hitler did was legal because laws were enacted that allowed him act with the tacit approval of the courts. The voice of the people was overwhelmingly silent as they took the bread of man over God.

Today, you are either "IN or OUT," depending on your view. Christian views are increasingly OUT of what has been recently legislated, as believers are battling a system against their views. No one thirty years ago could have thought this was possible coming from the courts and government.   Christians are now leaving California as they see the trend is one of persecution on the immediate horizon.

A new Rasmussen Poll said that democrats are more concerned about Muslims being mistreated in the U.S. than Christians being slaughtered abroad in Muslim nations. The day after The Correspondents Dinner, Trump met with the president of Nigeria at the White House. One topic of discussion was the widespread horrible persecution and slaughter of Christians in his country. There wasn't a word from the mainstream press about it.

Words have meaning. What is said today has consequences tomorrow. Ideologies good and bad form opinions. What may seem completely absurd and outrageous to one may be acceptable to another. This is why the divide is so great in the church as well as what one thinks about President Trump. Few are neutral anymore. The debate of words is heated before disturbance, and the strong rhetoric of opinion today is a prelude to civil war. The tolerance level for one another with a different view is shrinking by the day.

The Holy Spirit is the ultimate source of truth, love, justice, and light. If one is not trying to conform their views to the light, it is in conflict with the Holy Spirit because God alone is light. Abraham Lincoln would often quote a passage from Scripture during the Civil War that said, "and everyman did that what was right in their own eyes" (Judges 21:25). As people turn away from God, a humanist agenda seeks to dig in further. Jesus said, "My ways are not your ways," because that is the battle of the ages. Each year the sacraments are absent from a life, one is given over to a depraved mind. Light is not penetrating the soul, and therefore, one will not achieve the Will of God. (Read more.)
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A Striped Walking Dress

From Two Nerdy History Girls:
There are two pink striped dresses in the Visitors to Versailles: 1682-1789 exhibition (now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through July 29, 2018.) Yet while these two dresses are nearly contemporary, together they show the two very different styles in French women's fashion in the 1770s.  I've already written about this lavish robe à la Française, a gown from the 1770s that would have been worn to the most formal events at the palace; consider it a wealthy 18thc French lady's "red carpet look."

 The dress shown here dates from about a decade later, 1785-87. This style was called a robe à l'Anglaise, or a dress in the English manner. The robe à l'Anglaise was inspired by British tailoring. Unlike the softly flowing back pleats of the  robe à la Française, worn over hoops for sideways volume. the robe à l'Anglaise featured a closely fitted bodice and long sleeves, and a skirt with volume gathered to the back over a false rump or hip pads.

The pinked edges of the ruffled and gathered trim along the skirt offered a feminine contrast to the close-fitting bodice. They would also have drew attention to the wearer's feet with each step - important for a stylish walking-gown. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Summer Skin Care

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla excelled at painting beach scenes. The sunshine and fresh air of the beach was considered healthy then as it is now. Too much sun can be dangerous, though. Women no longer promenade in the sun in flowing white linen so quality cleansers and creams are vital for nurturing the skin and protecting it from the damage caused by UV rays and pollution. (Read more.)
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A Catastrophic Failure

From Matt Walsh:
It's the kind of headline we're used to seeing at this point. STD rates are at record highs among young adults in California, according to a new report. The STD epidemic has reached historic proportions across the nation. This is just another rotten, putrid fruit to fall from the decaying tree of the sexual revolution. It is long past time to declare the sexual revolution — the only significant legacy of the Baby Boomer generation — a catastrophic failure. It promised us free love and happiness, but it did not deliver. Instead, almost immediately, it delivered AIDS, and then it delivered gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia by the truckload.

 It delivered the destruction of marriage and the family, as divorce rates took off like a rocket right on the heels of this glorious revolution. Though they remain extremely high, they have been dropping recently. But this trend is offset by the fact that many people in my generation have simply given up on marriage entirely. Divorce was merely the first consequence of our enlightened sexual attitudes. The next step, underway as we speak, is the dissolution of marriage as an institution.

It delivered dead children. Lots of dead children. 60 million dead children and counting. It delivered unwed pregnancies, as the rates of out-of-wedlock births soared when the revolution took hold. It delivered a nation of porn addicts and fatherless children. It turned our university system into an orgy of debauchery and drunkenness. It ruined all that it touched, and then it came back around and pulverized everything into dust. It is, without question, one of the worst things to ever happen to mankind. Also one of the deadliest.

An interesting thing, this "free" love. It's a freedom that brings only misery and death. It's a freedom that doesn't seem very free at all. How could things have worked out this way? (Read more.)
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