India Non-Journal

November 1999

See also the India Pre-Journal, and Mike's Official Journal

Thursday, November 11, 1999

NEWNES bows toward the home of so many of my daughters:

As Mike's journal is on full throttle, there is precious little else that I can add.

Friday, November 12, 1999

DIED 1463

This Franciscan lay-brother went to the Canary Islands in the service of some missionaries of his order, and spent the rest of his life in the convent of Alcala. He was a cook or a baker. He grew so ecstatic in the kitchen that he seemed to float up off the floor; apparently angels minded the meals for him while this was going on. He helped himself to provisions for the poor, and, when caught, got himself out of punishment by the time-honoured metamorphosis of the bread to roses. A mother having shut her son in the oven to punish him and having forgotten him and started the fire, the blessed baker got him out in time.

Mike's journal is around here somewhere. I think.

Saturday, November 13, 1999

NEWNES makes no mention of Clough's better-known relative:

DIED 1197

This Omobuono, or Bonhomme, or Good Man, was a tailor in Cremona. He was not an educated man, but seemed wiser than anyone. His charities were endless, and his wife feared for her future and that of her children. The neighbours, unable to understand how he managed, supposed that he had a supernatural income.


Sunday, November 14, 1999

NEWNES, eclectic as ever:

Remembering that we are in India:

John Liccio

John Liccio's mother died in his infancy; his father was too poor to hire a nurse, and kept him alive on pomegranate-juice. Then a neighbour's wife who had milk took him home with her; and the neighbor, who was ill, immediately recovered. The romantic baby became a great preacher and lived a hundred and fifteen years.

Monday, November 15, 1999

NEWNES, still on a Germanic roll:

Then reverting to form:

Albert the Great
DIED 1280

The great German Dominican who taught St. Thomas of Aquinas and, with him, codified and established the faith in such a way that for hundreds of years it should be safe from poetry and the natural need for liberty - routing St. Francis' Promethean mysticism, binding the church with chains of supposedly Greek reasoning.


Actually, I think I can find a better saint for the 15th:

DIED 1136

The Margrave Leopold of Austria, surnamed 'the Pious', married Agnes, the widowed Duchess of Swabia. They were standing together on the balcony of their palace, and in their extreme love had just vowed to build a church as a thank-offering, when Agnes' veil blew away into the forest. Then the banal current of life caught them up: children and politics and battle - Leopold a good soldier, wisely turning toward the Hungarian invaders and keeping out of the civil war - and he forgot his vow. Years later, he found the lovely rag, like a memory, hanging on a tree; and then built Kloster-Neuburg, where he lies with Agnes.

I wish Mike were here.

Tuesday, November 16, 1999

NEWNES makes no sage comments on this coincidence:

Wescott is uncharacteristically brief with today's saint (and, we don't know why):

Gregory of Tours
539 - 596

The first great French historian, a little unhealthy man: one of the strongest and noblest figures in the Merovingian epoch of which he wrote.

Tap ..... tap ..... tap .....

Wednesday, November 17, 1999 through Monday, November 22, 1999

NEWNES is a little upset that he has to pile this together so quickly:

But, Wescott is happy with this week's selection of saints:

Hugh of Lincoln, or of Avalon
1140 - 1200

This happy, hot-tempered Frenchman was brought up to be a monk, and sent to work for the Carthusians in England. There he became Bishop of Lincoln, and was greatly admired by Henry II and Richard I for his frank and rude paternal attitude, even in opposition to them; King John liked it less.

The fifteen years he spent in Grande Chartreuse in his youth ruined his health, so that in middle age he grew monstrously fat. He was a hard worker, magnificently just and reasonable except in moments of emotion. He beat his servants. He loved children. Relics he had a great passion for; and once, in Fecamp, he bit off a little piece of bone of Mary Magdalen, not having one in his collection. He kept a pet goose and a pet swan. Everyone loved him; sovereigns, bishops, laymen, Jews, even John, followed his body to the grave.

Elisabeth of Hungary
1207 - 1231

The birth of this exquisite princess and her marriage were foretold by Klingsor the Minnesinger in the course of a poetry-contest; and, according to the poet's plan, she was betrothed to the heir of Thuringia at the age of four, brought up with him, and married to him at fifteen. She was happy as long as he lived, in spite of the malice of the Thuringian ladies. But her husband went on a crusade and died; and she had come under the influence of an awful ascetic, Conrad of Marburg. He forbade even her charities if she took any personal pleasure in them; forced her to treat leprosy and other repugnant diseases with her own hands; made her spin for a living; took her children away from her. Broken in body and soul, worn out and humiliated, she soon died.

849 - 870

This short-lived King of the East English was taken prisoner by the Danes and would not be a Danish vassal unless their king became a Christian. So a certain Prince Hingmar had him tied to a tree, and all the archers of the army took aim at him. His body was left there in the woods of Suffolk - blood and bone in a very bush of arrows - until a gentle grey wolf led the way to it.


Cecilia was engaged to a young aristocrat named Valerian. As soon as the wedding was over, she announced that she had vowed to keep her virginity, and seriously warned him of the jealousy of an angel who kept watch by her bed. Valerian could not expect to see this unearthly rival or predecessor so long as he was a pagan: he hurried to the catacombs and was baptized. When he returned there was a strange creature in her room, and the air was cloudy with the fragrance of flowers, and divine music was playing. The angel crowned them both with roses, asking the young husband what else he wanted. Valerian did not insist upon enjoying his wife, but wanted his brother to be baptized and to partake of their exaltation. The angel promised them that, and something still better: death for all three.

The Governor of Rome put the brothers to death first; and a little later an attempt was made to suffocate Cecilia with steam, in her bath - an unsuccessful attempt. Then an executioner arrived, and struck her with an axe three times, but did not quite decapitate her. According to Roman law he did not have the right to try a fourth time. For three days she lay on a marble floor, face-down, bleeding from the wounds on her shoulders and head and neck. The executioner's clumsiness deprived the governor of what he wanted most: for, whispering to her Christian friends, Cecilia was able to dispose of her vast wealth.

Because of the concert when her angelic lover more mystically remarried her to Valerian, it is supposed that she was a musician, and that, dissatisfied with the feeble Roman lutes and horns and pipes, she invented the pipe-organ. Musicians have always regarded her as their patroness.

Enough! I am out of here. Next stop: Bangkok.

Oh, Yes, Mike will surely flesh out this week much more appropriately than I have ... at least by the time I'm half-way through my first week in Bangkok. Right?

Photos from India Now Available

P.S. Mike's Journal is now complete

Next: On to Bangkok ...

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