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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.)



I bet you thought that because I posted about writing, I was going to write regularly, didn’t you? Well, that was the plan, but I fell off the bandwagon before it even started moving. That’s a little embarrassing.

What actually happened were the Olympics! Go team USA! I mainly watch the games for the ice-skating. While I am watching ice-skating I feel like I understand for a moment what it’s like for guys when they watch football and basketball. If ice-skating were a regularly scheduled season sport, you could bet your bottom dollar I would be there, sitting on the couch, beer and snacks in hand to catch every minute, every week. And there is lingo to accompany. I might not know the different between a complete and incomplete pass (actually I think I do, but I am never quite sure, so I just keep my mouth shut when people are debating) but, boy, did I learn quickly about Twizzles! Ane how about Davis and White!

And then all the hubub about the women’s figure skating results. What do you think happened? I do think it’s strange that a dark horse wins Russia their first Olympic gold in women’s figure skating, while the Olympics are held in Russia. I am not sure if it was rigged or not, but I really do think Yuna Kim should have won. She was amazing!

And then on the other end of the spectrum, there are the sports you only watch every four years, like curling. I find it so fascinating. I want to find out if there are any local curling teams, just for kicks. Where do these people come from? There are enough people from enough countries to make it an Olympic sport, but I’ve never heard of a curling club nearby.

And then the sad defeat of both US Hockey teams by the Canadians. My boss and I watched the men’s game yesterday. But, losing to Canadians by one point isn’t so bad, in my world, they are the best hockey players.


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.


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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!




Source: via Trena on Pinterest

Well, this isn’t going to be a typical Thanksgiving for me, I’ll be on a train to Czestochowa to see the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa at Jasna Gora monastery. You, dear reader, will be in my intentions!

Then I am going to celebrate Thanksgiving in Polish style complete with my new favorite food – toast, with lard and pickles. I think the lard is more like bacon drippings, there is a lot of meat in it, but the restaurants keep calling it lard. They serve it as an appetizer. It’s soooo good. . . I know, it sounds weird. I almost didn’t try it, but I am glad I did!

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Well, it’s over for another four years. I am so disappointed and sickened – there is nothing else to be said or done for the moment. I am going to keep a stiff upper lip and make french onion soup, pour a glass of red wine and enjoy the excellent company of a few good friends. Balm for the soul indeed.

All the same this quote from G.K. Chesterton’s The Ballad of the White Horse kept running through my mind today:

“The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.”

Going gaily in the dark doesn’t mean that we are bumbling about. It means marching into a situation that is dire, but still letting our hearts be joyful, for what do we have to fear?

If you need some more inspirations for post election musings here are a few:

A great quote by St. Augustine from Ten Thousand Places.

An Election Reflection via Joan in Ordinary Time

What Cardinal Dolan said and commentary from Whispers in the Loggia.

A thank-you to the Romneys from Blog of the Courtier.

What to do when the going gets tough, from Dixie Grit (things always feel better when your nails look nice).


Today is the feast of Blessed Pope John Paul II! I had the enormous grace to live during the life of Pope John Paul II, he was the only pope I knew until recently. I was also blessed to be in Rome while Pope John Paul II was dying – I also there while he was lying in state, for his funeral, and for the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

During his last days I was particularly struck by one thing, the pope of the youth was willing to grow old and die. He let us see him as his body succumbed to age and Parkinson’s disease. When the current world practically shouts in our faces “Be young and beautiful always! Youth is everything! Never grow up! Never grow old!” Pope John Paul II showed us that we truly had nothing to fear in this life, even age and death, if our eyes were firmly fixed on the next.

(The picture above is from the Marvel Comic The Life of Pope John Paul II.)

Anacostia, it’s like the Narrows of DC – if DC were Batman’s Gotham City. However, despite it’s intimidating atmosphere, where did the name of this area come from?

Anacostia is named after the Necostan Native Americans, also known as the Anacostan Indians. Their settlement on the shores of the Anacostia River was known as Nacochtank. Apparently Cap. John Smith ran into this friendly tribe while he was trying to find the Potomac River. The Anacostia River is one of the main branches of the Potomac River, and the good Captain sailed up this portion around 1608 as he searched for the Potomac.

Anacostia, named after the friendly tribe that lived there, became a neighborhood of DC in 1854, it was mainly inhabited by the blue collar workers of DC, particularly for African Americans and Irish settlers – though both these cultures were initially refused the right own property in DC.

I found this interesting article on street names of Anacostia. Apparently Good Hope Road was used by John Wilkes Booth as part of his escape route into Virginia after he shot President Lincoln.

And now you know the rest of the story!

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