“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
A friend sent me one of those silly Buzzfeed quizzes, which I decided to take for fun. “Which is your patron saint?” However, when one of the questions turned out to be…
…given my longstanding personal conflict, I couldn’t help but smile.
I guess I’ll take it.
5 thoughts on “Shallow and deep all at once”
Love it! This absolutely cracked me up! x
Me too! Hard not to find some parallels 😉
Wow. Never heard of her myself, but she sounds cool enough. There’s a great tradition in the early church to have women who refuse to marry various suitors, preferring a life of virginity for Christ. Invariably they are tortured and killed in rather gruesome ways, St. Agatha loses her breasts, St. Lucy loses her eyes. (My college Catholic parish had a statue of St. Lucy holding her eyeballs on a dish.) But I have never heard of a saint story where the young man meets a terrible end. What a unique an unexpected twist on the story.
I don’t know what it is about breasts and Christian virgin martyrs losing them, but that was definitely A Thing in the Middle Ages. To quote/paraphrase my childhood favorite book, Catherine Called Birdy, “Tis plain men are in charge of making saints.”
The whole breasts in the middle ages is strange indeed. I just finished this book called Sister of Wisdom: St. Hildegard of Bingen’s Theology of the Feminine and it talks a little bit about that. (Hildegard was an abbes and a mystic, which is a little bit like being a prophet.) On the one hand, the middle ages inherited the Greek idea that women existed because something went wrong in their conception, and there was this idea that women who embraced a life of celibacy were essentially rising above the limitations of their sex. On the other hand, the middle ages also had the tradition of the Nursing Madonna, an image of the Virgin Mary nursing the Christ child with her breast exposed. In the Sister of Wisdom book, it describes how St. Bernard of Clairvaux described a vision of himself suckling at the Virgin’s breast, Hildegard also harshly criticized the priests who were neglecting their priestly duties, telling them, “You have breasts but you do not suckle your children.”
The oddest thing I have seen was an image in the book The Stripping of the Altars, which contained an image of St. Agatha, except she still has her breasts. The image was carved into the walls of the church, and she pulls pack her cloak, exposing her breasts and supporting them in her hands. The pose was reminiscent of a pagan goddess.
Of course, let’s face it. Breasts are still very much A Thing in the modern world.