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St. Catherine of Siena is my patroness, didn’t you know? My name, Trena, is a diminutive of Catherine. When I was little this was a source of frustration for me. I remember my mother showing me a picture of St. Catherine in a children’s saint book. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t get a princess saint to go along with my name. The picture showed her kneeling in a dungeon like room, wounds in her hands, and a habit that was decidedly that lacked a flowing veil due to the huge crown of thorns on her head. All the other female saints in the book seemed to have delicate, jeweled crowns like I would prefer. She didn’t look very understanding, or, well, let’s face it pretty. She looked like she was in a lot of pain. The thought that flitted through my head was while my Mom was explaining St. Catherine to me was, “of all the princesses in this book, you chose this sad, painful looking person to be my saint?”

Now that I am older, I realize what an awesome patroness she is. She doesn’t act like a simpering princess either, she’s acts like a queen. She’s a doctor of the Church, co-patron of Italy, and one of the six patrons of Europe. She never takes no for an answer. She bosses people around like no ones business. I think she may have bossed God around, just a little (and I am inclined think God liked it). She’s a mover and a shaker. Seriously, she marched to France to tell the Pope to go back to Rome. Who even does that?

Furthermore, she was so humble and brave that although she received the wounds of the stigmata, she asked Christ to make the invisible so no one else would know. Sure enough, after she died they appeared for all the world to see.

So, happy feast day!

(Disclaimer, I think the picture is one of St. Catherine of Siena. Someone is probably going to tell me it’s someone else. But I like it.)

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I purchased this poster of Michelangelo’s Delphic Sibyl while I was living in Rome. I finally had a chance to frame it and hang it up! Such an amazing combination of feminine strength, beauty, and colours!

Some will point out that Michelangelo didn’t use female models, and this isn’t what women look like, and if he discriminated against women by not using them as figure models. For starters, Michelangelo didn’t use women as figure models because it wasn’t the thing to do at the time, no one used female models. True, women don’t look exactly like the Delphic Sibyl, I’ve never seen forearms like that on any woman of my acquaintance. But I have seen women hold their arms they way the Sibyl holds her’s, and I have seen that graceful turn of the neck, and the foot in demi-pointe while seated. Maybe Michelangelo didn’t use female models, but he certainly paid homage to the powerful motion and grace of the female figure. Her body alone, from way up high on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, communicates the wisdom, intellegence, and wonder women may exude.

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Summer concerts are the best! Summer concerts at sunset are even better! The first sunset came from a She and Him (I’ve posted this video before, this is a good excuse to post it again) concert at Wolf Trap. And the second from the Annapolis Irish Festival. The second sunset is just moments before we are all completely drenched by the most refreshing downpour ever (it was so hot and humid).

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I found a book of poems by Karol Wojtyla (soon to be St. Pope John Paul II!) at a yard sale a few weeks ago. I finally had a chance to crack it open a few days ago, and I really like it!

I will admit that I find a great similarity between Karol Wojtyla’s poetry and Pope John Paul II’s prose (yes they are both the same person). It can be confusing. I had an “ah ha” moment when someone explained to me that you read his work as if you were taking a trip up a spiral staircase: you go in circles, but each time you come to a higher understanding of the subject matter. When you finally come to the top of the staircase, you can look down and see that you were not just going in circles, you climbed five stories and your point of view is completely different now.

So for your reading pleasure I present to you:

Thought’s Resistance to Words by Karol Wojtyla

Sometimes it happens in conversation: we stand
facing truth and lack the words,
have no gesture, no sign;
and yet – we feel – no word, no gesture
or sign would convey the whole image
that we must enter alone and face like Jacob.

This isn’t mere wrestling with images
carried in our thoughts;
we fight with the likeness of all things
that inwardly constitute man.
But when we act, can our deeds surrender
the ultimate truths we presume to ponder?

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The longest day of the year deserves a quote from Shakespeare:

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:
Lovers, to bed; ’tis almost fairy time.
I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn
As much as we this night have overwatch’d.
This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled
The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.
A fortnight hold we this solemnity,
In nightly revels and new jollity.

Theseus – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare

I randomly wanted to see this routine, so I thought I’d share!

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Today Dorothy L. Sayers would have been 120.

If you don’t know who Dorothy L. Sayers is I want you to drop everything your doing right now and 1) pick up any one of her mystery novels (my favorite is Gaudy Night, but please don’t start with that one, it would be unjust, start with Whoose Body or The Nine Tailors. Guady Night needs to be surrounded by a sense of anticipation in my opinion.), 2) get both volumes of her letters and start reading. And when you’ve read those pick up Creed or Chaos.

This woman was phenomenally brilliant. To say she was just a good mystery writer would be unfair. She wrote everything! Plays, prose, poetry, novels, philosophy. You name it. She even completed a translation of the Divine Comedy.

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If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve already seen this picture and heard this story, but I thought I would share again. I went to the post office and asked the postmaster for some “pretty stamps” he obligingly reached behind the counter and put these in front of me.

These stamps remind me, I so excited for the Nationals this year! All the way to the series this time! Whoot!

Maria Tallchief passed away yesterday, she was an amazing ballet dancer, one of the first to put America on the map for Ballet. She was best known for her part as the Firebird. I found a movie with her commenting a little on the role. I am just amazed at her grace!

 

 

 

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Sunday I took a trip to the National Gallery of Art to see Michelangelo’s David-Apollo , It’s called the DavidApollo because they aren’t sure who it is exactly. I think it is a David, he doesn’t seem Apollo-esque enough to me.

This statue was on loan from the Bargello in Florence. I have seen the statue in Florence before, but I figured I’d go see it again. It’s like when a good friend comes to town you make sure you stop by and say hello during their visit.

To top the visit off, there was an amazing piano trio playing later that evening for which I was able to stay! (FYI: a piano trio means that there is a piano and two other instruments, usually a cello and violin, all playing together. It doesn’t mean a trio of pianos.)

 

Update: Just found this article by Simcha Fisher on children and and their take on art. Loved it!

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