Saturday, 13 October 2012

The New Doctors

Icon, "St. Hildegard of Bingen" by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
On October 7th, our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, declared two new doctors of the Church:  St. Hildegard of Bingen and St. John of Avila

As you may recall, I presented an icon of St. John of Avila some months ago as I became more aware of him while researching St. John of God (the dear saint whose prayers helped to deliver me from heart problems as you may recall).  However, I had not yet presented the icon of St. Hildegard of Bingen.  Sadly, I was in the preparation stage of doing so when my old computer had its fatal encounter with a cup of hot coffee.  The icon shown here is like a first draft and I am sure that I will continue to work on an icon of St. Hildegard that more fully says what I feel in my heart needs to be said about her amazing life with Christ.  You will notice, I am sure, the unusual "halo" surrounding the saint's head.  This is a "mandala", one of a number, created by St. Hildegard explaining Christian doctrine the same way stained glass windows do -- in pictures.

I am now going to quote selections from a couple of articles written by Catholic writers after the Holy Father had declared these two saints to be doctors of the Church.

About St. Hildegard of Bingen, the Pope said: She was “an important female figure of the 12th century” who “offered her precious contribution to the growth of the Church of her time” by “employing the gifts received from God and showing herself to be a woman of brilliant intelligence, deep sensitivity and recognized spiritual authority.” The Lord granted her a prophetic spirit and fervent capacity to discern the signs of the times. St. Hildegard nurtured an evident love of creation, and was learned in medicine, poetry and music but above all she maintained a great and faithful love for Christ and the Church.” [written by Domenico Agasso Jr. and appearing in the October 12th edition of The Vatican Insider]

From and written by by Dr. Jeff Mirus comes the following: Despite her lack of formal education, Hildegard became widely known for her knowledge not only of the Faith but of music and natural science, including herbs and the medicinal arts as they were practiced at that time. She is an important figure in music history, as there are more surviving chants by St. Hildegard than by any other Medieval composer. She also wrote a sacred music drama on the virtues with eight-two songs, Ordo virtutum—the earliest surviving non-liturgical work of its kind.

Dr. Mirus also included a very wise warning concerning items written about St. Hildegard as follows: Please note that some care must be taken in selecting books about St. Hildegard, or even editions of her writings, because she has attracted unfortunate attention in our own day from those who are devoted to the New Age or Wicca, owing to her great interest in nature and natural remedies. The wayward Dominican Matthew Fox, who teamed up late in the last century with the self-proclaimed pagan witch, Starhawk, is a case in point. Such editions frequently distort St. Hildegard’s spiritual teachings, viewing her through eyes closed to her profoundly Catholic message of redemption and sanctification.

Icon, St. John of Avila, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
 Now for some brief notes concerning St. John of Avila.  If you want to read additional information, please see my blog posting for September 1, 2011.

St. John of Avila, the Pope explained, lived in the XVI century. “A profound expert on the sacred scriptures, he was gifted with an ardent missionary spirit. He knew how to penetrate in a uniquely profound way the mysteries of the redemption worked by Christ for humanity. A man of God, he united constant prayer to apostolic action. He dedicated himself to preaching and to the more frequent practice of the sacraments, concentrating his commitment on improving the formation of candidates for the priesthood, of religious and of lay people, with a view to a fruitful reform of the Church.” [written by Domenico Agasso Jr. and appearing in the October 12th edition of The Vatican Insider]

Early on, St. John’s emphasis on the spiritual dangers of worldly possessions made enemies among the wealthy, leading some to denounce him to the Inquisition. He was quickly exonerated, however, and soon he was invited to preach at the Spanish Court. By his death on May 10, 1569, he was widely acknowledged as a formidable force for renewal. St. John also influenced St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of God, St. Francis Borgia, and Venerable Louis of Granada. His favorable disposition toward the Jesuits had a major impact on that Order’s expansion in Spain. [From by by Dr. Jeff Mirus]



Anyone who has been following my blog for some time (and paying attention!) is aware of my desire to draw beautiful hands as well as the pleasure it gives me to see photos of lovely hands -- from the tiny hands of newborn babies to the gnarled hands of the extremely elderly.  I see such beauty in them all. 

Well, recently, I received two photos of our precious boy, Braden, which showed his hands with the hands of adults.  I find them to be quite lovely and want to share them with you.  Before too long I am sure that I will be trying to draw those expressive hands of sweet Braden.

Braden and the protective hands of a man

Braden and the nurturing hands of a woman



Suki and Sallie together electronically
Now for an update on my crazy cat and on an equally crazy me!

 I am not sure what Suki is thinking as she looks rather mournfully out of the attached photo.  I don't think she is at all concerned about the picture of me in the background on the computer screen.  Rather, I think it was past time for her bedtime snack and this, I am sure, would have been uppermost in her thoughts.

At the moment she is sleeping away in the "crows nest" bed which is visible directly about Suki's head in the photo.  The rest of what you can see is also part of her so called cat condo -- especially visible is one of the scratching posts with its arms to which are attached various hanging toys.  Then just below Suki's shoulder you can see a bit of the ladder which leads to the second floor (her bed is on the third floor!).

What the sleeping Suki does not know is that I will be having a visitor, a stranger, in about half an hour from now.  I have finally given in and called in a computer person from a company named "Around the Clock IT Solutions".  Their prices are not too bad and I am just tired of trying to figure out how to get all my art files onto my new computer without doing them one at a time.  I have been told that they can be moved in batches, but no one seems to know how!  Anyway, this person coming soon to help me is a young man by the name of Xavier!  I hope that he will be able to fix things so that I can stop worrying about all the stuff on this E drive and just get back to drawing and listening to books -- the main reasons I enjoy my computer.

I also enjoy spending time with my
Sallie waiting at the Hot House Restaurant for
the food to arrive!
 wonderful friends.  The photo to your right was taken this week at a local restaurant where two dear friends had invited me to accompany them for a noon-time meal.  At the time this photo was taken, I was waiting for the food to arrive. 

We had a wonderful visit and a delicious meal at the Hot House Restaurant -- my favourite local eatery.  We even had desert!  I am used to going to the Hot House with female friends and, typically, we always share a desert.  These two guys I was with, however, insisted on getting their own separate deserts.  What was I to do except to order one for me as well.  It was yummy good but afterwards I felt like that old Alka-Seltzer commercial:  "I can't believe I ate the whole thing [groan]"

Well, it is almost time for my young IT man to arrive so I had better get everything ready for him.  I continue to do reasonably well and all systems are still go for the coming surgery and Brenda's visit. 

May the peace of God which passes all human understanding fill our hearts and minds today and always.

St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen, please pray for us. 

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