Saint Corentin and His Friend, The Fish

11 December 08 | Posted in Animals, Saints

St. Corentin lived as a hermit in the French village of Plomodiern, near Cornouaille (Quimper), in Brittany in the 7th or 8th century.

It is said that in a spring near Corentin’s hermitage there lived a remarkable fish that provided the hermit with daily nourishment. Each day, St. Corentin was able to slice off a piece of the flesh of the fish without harming the creature. He would then return the fish to the spring, where its missing flesh would grow back, making the fish whole again.

This marvel continued for several years. On one occasion, St. Corentin was obligated to provide a meal for a ruler named Grallon and his entire retinue after they became lost while hunting.  The single piece of flesh that the hermit took from the fish miraculously multiplied in the frying pan, satisfying the hunger of the entire hunting party.

Unfortunately, one royal attendant out of curiousity poked the fish with a knife, wounding it. St. Corentin healed the wound, and then commanded the fish to swim away permanently, lest it be harmed by anyone else.

St. Corentin became the first bishop of Cornouaille. For centuries, his feast day has been commemorated on December 12th.

Was that the day the fish first fed him; or the day when St. Corentin sent him away to keep him from harm? 

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Copernicus Identified

29 November 08 | Posted in Events, Global Catholic

Archaelogists reported they have identified the remains of Nicolaus Copernicus.

Swedish genetics expert Marie Allen analyzed DNA from the bones and compared it to that taken from two hairs retrieved from a book that the Polish astronomer owned.

The discovery put an end to centuries of speculation about the final resting place of Copernicus, a priest and astronomer whose theories identified the sun as the center of the universe. Copernicus died at age 70 in 1543.

Polish archaeologist Jerzy Gassowski told a news conference forensic reconstruction of the skull his team found in 2005 buried in a cathedral in Frombork, Poland, bears striking resemblance to portraits of the 16th century astronomer.

The reconstruction shows a broken nose and other features that resemble a self-portrait of Copernicus, and the skull bears a cut mark above the left eye that corresponds to a scar in the painting. copernicus.jpg

St. Columba and the Loch Ness Monster

11 November 08 | Posted in Animals, Arts and Letters, Events, Global Catholic, Saints

St. Adamnan, the biographer of St. Columba, recorded an encounter with the Loch Ness Monster in 565 A.D. colm-cille.JPG

St. Columba was on his way to visit with the Pictish king in Inverness, came upon some Picts burying the remains of one of their people. They told Columba that the poor man had been bitten and mauled to death by a water monster.

The dead man’s boat lay on the other side of the water.  Columba ordered one of his followers to swim across and retrieve the boat.

One of his companions, Lugneus Mocumin, stripped down to his tunic and plunged into the water.

The monster saw him swimming, and having tasted blood, broke the surface of the water and made for him. Everyone who was watching was horrified, and hid their eyes in terror.

In the words of St. Adaman: “The monster suddenly rushed out and giving an awful roar, darted after him with its mouth wide open, as the man swam in the middle of the stream.”

St. Columba raised his hand, made the sign of the Cross and “commanded the ferocious monster saying, ‘Thou shalt go no further, nor touch the man; go back with all speed.’ Then at the voice of the saint, the monster was terrified, and feld more quickly than if it had been pulled back with ropes.”

The Story of the Pelican

2 November 08 | Posted in Animals, Spirituality

 I found “The Story of the Pelican” on the insightful blog, Ad Dominum. 

The post appeared on September 21, 2008 shortly after Hurricane Ike. It wove the story of the pelican victims of the hurricane with Catholic religious symbols, including a stiking image on a priest’s chasuble of a pelican feeding it young. pel2.jpg

“Many people are surprised to learn that the pelican is a very ancient Christian symbol. It is a symbol of our Redeemer and of the atonement. In those days, people believed that the pelican would wound itself to feed its babies when it could not find food elsewhere.” pelprime.jpg

“Thomas Aquinas even mentioned pelicans in his Adoro Te: ‘Pelican of mercy, cleanse me in thy precious blood.’”

“We now know that this myth that developed around the pelican is not factually true. Pelicans do not feed bits of themselves to their babies, but there are good reasons for people to even mistakenly have believed that they did. One reason for this belief is that sometimes pelicans can suffer from a disease that leaves a red mark on their chests. Also, it may look as if a pelican is stabbing at itself when it puts its beak to its chest to fully empty its pouch.”

“Our Pelican was born, lived, and died with all of us in mind, even us two thousand years later. He showed us how to live in love, and he showed us love in death. And like a mother pelican, he will stay with us even when the sky is dark and the wind is blowing, because that is his love for us.”

Thanks to Thom for this wonderful post.

Catching up with Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK)

29 October 08 | Posted in Events

30 years ago this month I left Alaska. I left to get an emotional break from a sad divorce, and an even more draining fight over an Alaska lands bill in Congress.

Ultimately, millions of acres were “protected” or “locked-up” –depending on your point of view–because what constituted “good management” of federal lands could never be agreed upon by residents, elected representatives, government bureaucrats, environmentalists and developers.

The congressional delegation could have played a role here, in getting all parties to the table to hammer out a solution that would bring energy resources,  jobs, safeguard the most sensitive areas, and protect the traditional rights of the native people.  They did not, largely because they hated environmentalists so much, and wanted no restraints on economic development.

Alaska’s congressional delegation was rabidly pro-development, especially Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young. Stevens and Young never met an oil corporation, mining outfit, construction company, or logging group they didn’t like. 

I can think of very few U.S. senators disliked more by the Sierra Club than Ted Stevens.

Now he’s headed out the door.

Sen. Stevens, 84, was found guilty of violating federal ethics laws by failing to report over $250,000 in gifts and services he had received from friends, most notably Bill Allen, the former president of VECO Corporation, an Alaskan oil pipeline services and construction company.

A lot of these “gifts” were used to renovate and furnish Stevens’ home in Girdwood, Alaska.

Mr. Allen wore a wire for the Feds in his conversations with Stevens. Allen was convicted for his role in a scheme to bribe Alaska lawmakers to help with his oil exploration projects. stevens-courtpreview.jpg

Stevens was finally shown to be a bully and cheap hustler. He promoted legislation benefiting his oil company friends, and traded his influence for furniture and home remodeling at the expense of  Alaskan working people he always proported to support.

It would have been “business suicide” to cross Bill Allen, testified the Augie Paone, the carpenter who renovated Sen. Ted Stevens’ home in Alaska and who said he was bullied into not sending the senator a final bill of $13,393. Allen told him he should “eat” the final bill from the home renovations.

Paone testified that he objected to “eating” the bill for work at Stevens’ home and said so in a meeting with Allen, who told the carpenter he should “look at it as a political contribution,” Paone said.

“At first I was shocked,” Paone said. “I also tried to hold on to my composure. I knew I was in a bind, because I knew he had me in a spot where I really couldn’t do anything.”

The great irony of Sen. Stevens’ tragedy is that with his political demise, it may tip the balance to the Democrats, helping them to win enough seats to give them a filibuster-proof majority of at least 60 votes.

Just imagine what kind of environmental legislation could be passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress and White House.

It’s gonna be tough sledding for some folks in Alaska….