Saint Botolph


This year June 17 is the intersection of three different days that twine together in Boston, MA: Father’s Day, Bunker Hill Day, and the Feast of St. Botolph. Botolph, in a sense is the father, and patron saint of Boston, the name deriving from a contraction of “Botolph’s Town.” The original Boston is in Lincolnshire…

Somerville Madonnas


One of the charms (“chahhms?”) of Somerville are the displays of devotional art in many residents’ yards, gardens, and sometimes even incorporated into the architecture of a house.  The statues are usually a Madonna in a tub-like niche (a “Virgin on the half shell” as my old roommate called them), but there are plenty of…

Saint Columba


For my third consecutive post about favorite saints I’m writing about a saint I associate with a place I visited on my travels in Ireland and Britain in 1998 (see Bede and Kevin).  This time the saint is Columba (also known as Colmcille and numerous other variations) and the place is Derry (also known as…

Saint Kevin of Glendalough


On holiday in Ireland in 1998 (a few weeks before I would visit Durham), I made a day trip from Dublin to Glenalough — the valley of two lakes — amid the mountains of County Wicklow. In the beautiful setting rests the remains of a monastery started in the 6th century by Saint Kevin (498-618)….

Saint Bede the Venerable


I can’t say I’ve ever made a pilgrimage to place where a saint’s mortal remains rest, at least not on purpose. On a whirlwind trip through England, I made a train stop in Durham so that I could visit the Durham Cathedral and attend the Evensong service. The baggage check at the train station was…

Saint Godehard


This isn’t my typical saint entry. I really enjoyed this article by Greg Ruehlmann on Busted Halo to promote a German saint whose feast day would be widely celebrated by Catholic German-Americans (similar to Irish-American celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day). I’m not certain why he chose Saint Godehard of Hildesheim (sometimes spelled Gotthard, Gothard, or…

St. Catherine of Siena


My personal acquaintance with Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) begins with the church I attended as a child, St. Catherine of Siena parish in Riverside, CT. It was here that I first learned to love the Mass, following along with the readings in the missal and singing out joyfully with the folk group. It was here…

April Faith, Spirituality & Religion News


A new book by Pope Benedict XVI accuses rich nations of robbery according to the Guardian. It includes Benedict’s thoughts on the parable of the Good Samaritan, who went to the aid of a traveller shunned by other passers-by after he had been stripped and beaten by robbers. While many commentators accuse the rich nations…

Holy Week in Review


When I worked for Colonial Williamsburg the powers that be introduced a curriculum in which the events of four important days leading up to the Revolution were recreated in the streets and buildings of the Historic Area. On Wednesday the royal governor’s wife arrived in with much fanfare to show that Virginians were still loyal…

Lectio Divina: Reflections on Lenten Reading


For Lent I took up reading books on faith, religion, and spirituality, and here is the result. The very first book I picked up for Lent contained and introduction by John F. Thornton and Susan B. Varenne that defined exactly what I set out to do. They revealed to me the term lectio divina, Latin…

March for Faith


Once again it’s time for me to post all the interesting articles, news, and opinion I’ve read in the past month regarding faith, religion, and spirituality for the month of March. Leading off is Becky Garrison’s piece on the God’s Politics blog regarding the flaw of accepting extremist views as representative as Christianity on the…

St. Patrick’s Day


I’m making two posts today. I’ve already posted my reflections on Saint Patrick the man. In this post I’m writing about the holiday in which St. Patrick’s feast day is celebrated. St. Patrick’s day is a festive day that is a break from Lent and a harbinger of Spring. It’s a way that Irishness is…

Saint Patrick


Except for the Virgin Mary, no other saint is as well known or inspires more devotion than Saint Patrick. At least in the parts of the world where emigrants from Ireland have settled, and the Irish diaspora is spread far and wide. Despite this, no biographical description of Patrick contains many certain details, and in…

Faith in February


I’m much delinquent in publishing this post. Here is my now monthly collection of news, articles, and opinions about faith, religion, and spirituality for the month of February. First and foremost, In Today’s News weighs in with an impressive post about the most important moral issue of the day. I once stated that women’s ordination…

Katharine Drexel


As I’ve mentioned before, I seem to have a patriotic fondness for American saints. I learned of Katharine Drexel (1858-1955) last year from Saint of the Day and not only was she born in the USA (in Pennsylvania, one of my favorite states), but lived a life that leaves me in awe and inspiration. Born…

Rite of Election


The first Sunday of Lent is one of those occasions that reminds me of the catholic (small “c”) nature of the Catholic (big “C”) Church.  The Rite of Election is the beginning of the home stretch for people who are becoming Catholic: the Catechumens (individuals who will receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and first…

Ash Wednesday


And so Lent begins. It doesn’t feel like it’s started for me yet, because I’ve not yet been to church. I meant to get up early and go to Mass before work, but it didn’t happen. To paraphrase Neil Sedaka, “Waking Up Is Hard To Do.” I’m a bit peeved about it. Going to church…

Happy Mardi Gras


“”I think there should be a national carnival, much the same as Mardi Gras in Rio. There should be a week of national hilarity . . . a cessation of all work, all business, all discrimination, all authority. A week of total freedom. That’d be a start. Of course, the power structure wouldn’t really alter….

Faith-based News


I like to keep up on news of faith, spirituality and religion in the mainstream and alternative reality. Here’s a selection of articles I’ve saved from the month of January. First, two religious leaders passed this month. I had never of either of these men prior to their deaths, but reading about them now I…

Saint Brigid


Brigid of Kildare is the secondary patron saint of Ireland and the most prominent female saint of my ancestral land. Thus it was natural for my older sister to take Brigid as her confirmation name. The one thing I know about Brigid is that a unique cross is named for her. My sister had one…