Sunday, January 04, 2009

Christmas: Day 11

"On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eleven pipers piping..."

Today, the traditional Roman calendar observes the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, while the contemporary calendar observes either the Second Sunday After Christmas or (because the bishops in their infinite wisdom realize how lazy the lot of you are for celebrating anything on a weekday) the Solemnity of the Epiphany.

Today, we here at mwbh are taking the opportunity to commemorate a special saint who would normally be honored on this date, namely Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native-born American to be raised to the altar, and the foundress of the Sisters of Charity. This order of sisters is observing their bicentennial this year, to honor their continuous service to the church and the world, through the teaching and health care apostolates. Please note the illustration of St Elizabeth, which includes the "bonnet" that was typical of the early habits (also being the typical "widow's dress" of the time), and remained so into the mid-20th century for their congregation in New York and the Bronx. Not so much the Sisters of Charity of Mount St Joseph, who were the predominant order in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and who taught millions of Catholic schoolchildren, including this one.

My eight years in captivity in a parish school witnessed the transformation, from full-length habits with rosaries attached to their belts, to skirts that one young sister had to keep tugging when she sat down. That one eventually left the order, but continued to teach in the parish school. Oh, the stories I could tell...

To find out more about their history and legacy, and in the hope that they may yet forsake their Earth-Mother-Goddess-Spirit-Rising schitck in time, visit their special website at

That, and hope for the best.

No comments: