Feast of Saint Joseph, and the "Legenda Aurea"

If you have ever wondered why St Joseph is seen in stautes and in art (as above) with a walking stick which has sprouted flowers, it comes to us from the "Legenda Aurea" or Golden Legend a medieval bestseller of which more than a thousand copies survive. The book sought to compile traditional lore about all of the saints venerated at the time of its compilation. Jacobus de Voragine typically begins with an (often fanciful) etymology for the saint's name.

The Legenda and The Miracle of Joseph’s Rod

"...And in the fourteenth year of her age, the bishop* commanded in common that the virgins that were instituted in the temple, and had accomplished the time of age, should return to their houses and should after the law be married. All the others obeyed his commandment, but Mary answered that she might not do so because her father and mother had given her all to the service of our Lord. And then the bishop was much angry because he durst not make her to break her avow against the scripture, that saith: Avow ye vows and yield them to God. And he durst not break the custom of the people...

...And then came a feast of the Jews, and he called all the ancient Jews to council, and showed to them this thing. And this was all their sentence: That in a thing so doubtable, that counsel shall be asked of our Lord. And then went they all to prayer, and the bishop, that was gone to ask counsel of our Lord...

..Anon came a voice out of the oracle and said that, all they that were of the house of David that were convenable [eligible] to be married and had no wife, that each of them should bring a rod to the altar, and his rod that flourished, and, after the saying of Isaiah, the Holy Ghost sit in the form of a dove on it, he should be the man that should be desponsate [espoused] and married to the Virgin Mary...

...And Joseph, of the house of David, was there among the others, and him seemed to be a thing unconvenable [inappropriate], a man of so old age as he was to have so tender a maid, and whereas others brought forth their rods he hid his. And when nothing appeared according to the voice of God, the bishop ordained for to ask counsel again of our Lord. And he answered that, he only that should espouse the virgin had not brought forth his rod...

...And then Joseph by the commandment of the bishop brought forth his rod, and anon it flowered, and a dove descended from heaven thereupon, so that it was clearly the advice of every man that he should have the virgin. And then he espoused the Virgin Mary, and returned into his city of Bethlehem for to ordain his meiny and his house, and for to fetch such things as were necessary. And the Virgin Mary returned unto the house of her father with seven virgins, her fellows of her age, which had seen the demonstrance of the miracle...

...And in those days the angel of our Lord appeared to the Virgin praying, and showed to her how the Son of God should be born of her..."

St Joseph pray for us.

*Bishop is placed in the legenda for the medieval reader and meant only to indicate a person of religious importance.

20 March 1815

It was on this date that Napoleon returned to Paris at the beginning of the "Hundred Days" ending in June with the Battle of Waterloo.

"..On February 26, 1815 Napoleon Bonaparte, some generals and about a thousand soldiers of his personal guard boarded ship for their voyage from the island of Elba back to France. On this little island not very far from Corsica, the Emperor had stayed since his abdication. Napoleon Bonaparte considered it was time for his return. He was ready to put everything on the line in one last, big gamble.

The French were very displeased with the political leadership of King Louis XVIII. Although the King meant well, he proved to be incompetent.

In the King's wake the "émigrés" had returned to France: nobles and members of the clergy that had fled the country during the French revolution. Now they where back and they claimed, with a loud voice, their former privileges and the lands the owned before the revolution. The peasants who bought these lands for very low prices where of course very suspicious of a possible division of the lands amongst these "émigrés". France was mainly an agrarian nation in those day's and the mistrust of the largest part of the population undermined the King's position.

The mediocre attempts of the Bourbons to revive the unstable economy had no effects. The situation was far from good; the prices of food were sky-high because of a hard winter and a dry and very hot summer. The middle-class, that did so well under Napoleon's rule, was complaining about the bad economic situation and the poor and the needy had to live trough some very rough times. *

Another large group of malcontents was the ex-soldiers. After their demobilisation in 1814, many of these men were able to continue their normal civilian lives. For a sizeable group of veterans, officers on half pay and ex-professional soldiers there was no place in the with inflation stricken society. Once they were conquering hero's bringing glory to France, now many of them were starving to death, deserted by that same France. It's only logical that they where unhappy and agitated.

On the international scene, everything looked favourable also. At the Vienna congress the understanding among the Powers was far from good and none of them really liked the French Bourbon government.

On March 1, 1815, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte set once again foot on French soil at Golfe-Juan, between Cannes and Antibes. A more appropriate place to land would have been the valley of the Rhone river. From there the march to Paris would have been far easier and a lot faster. Bonaparte feared the royalist sentiments of the inhabitants of that region so he took the more difficult road through the Alps to Grenoble.

His arrival took the French authorities by total surprise. It took four day's for the news to reach Paris. The irresolution of the local authorities gave Napoleon the time to act without interference. The population, on whose reaction everything depended, reacted with calm and resignation.

On March 7, 1815 the small Imperial column met the 5th Regiment of the Line, not far from Grenoble. Napoleon stepped forward and faced the muskets alone. With a remarkable mixture of exaggerations and lies and by using his charisma and personal power over soldiers, he managed to persuade the Regiment. With the cry: "Vive L'Empéreur" the 5th changed sides as one man. The gates of Grenoble opened and the Emperor received a warm welcome.

On March 8, the 7th Regiment of the Line and its commander, Napoleon's future Aide de Camps: Colonel Charles Huchet, Count de la Bédoyère changed sides too.

On every stop on his march to Paris Napoleon addressed the people. He promised everybody exactly what they wanted to have being the opportunist that he was. Peasants he assured that they would not lose their lands to the émigrés, city people he seduced with promises of fiscal reforms. Everywhere he went he promised peace and prosperity.

In the mean time the Bourbons issued a warrant for his arrest. They send increasing numbers of troops to intercept him. Marshal Ney promised Louis XVIII he would bring Napoleon to Paris "in an iron cage". When he met his former master eye to eye on March 18, 1815 the attraction proved to be too great and he defected also together with the 6.000 men in his command.

In Paris, a practical joker had put up a message on the Place Vendôme. It read: "From Napoleon to Louis XVIII: my dear brother, it is not necessary to send me more troops, I already have enough of them!"

Meanwhile, the mob became very restless. Revolutionary song's and slogans began to reappear. On March 19, 1815 Louis XVIII took the safe way out. Pressured by Napoleon's unstoppable march to Paris and the growing anti-royalist mood in Paris he ran in the middle of the night to Gent, Belgium (then still the Netherlands). Here he started a voluntary exile that would last for more than a hundred days.

Napoleon knew that war was inevitable but he did not proclaim a general mobilisation as off yet. It would only be a matter of time before his former enemies would turn on him but he desperately needed to get the French public opinion behind him so he pleaded for peace. He had hoped that at least some of the Powers would accept the fact that he was once again in charge in France, but that did not happen.

The representatives of the Powers met in Vienna on March 13, seven day's before the Emperor reached Paris. They declared him an outlaw and an enemy of world peace. They pledged to assemble armies to take care of him for once and for all.

On March 25, the Seventh Coalition was formed with the signing of a formal defence treaty between Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia. While Britain and Prussia had already troops in the field, the other nations prepared themselves. All Powers broke of their official relations with Napoleon's France.

In France Napoleon's position was a very weak one. He had to make lots of compromises to maintain himself. He nominated several members of the old nobility and even people that betrayed him in 1814 in high positions to get their much needed support. Off the about 730 députées in the chamber of representatives, only about 100 were on his side. The others watched his every move with eagle's eyes. This of course limited his freedom of actions a lot. In large parts of France, rebellion ruled. In the department of the Vendée an armed uprising broke out ..."
(once more)
-Alfons Libert, FINS


* It would get worse, a climate anomaly thought to have been caused by a combination of a historic low in solar activity and a volcanic winter event; the latter caused by a succession of major volcanic eruptions capped off by the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815, the largest known eruption in over 1,600 years. These eruptions had already built up a substantial amount of atmospheric dust. As is common following a massive volcanic eruption, temperatures fell worldwide because less sunlight passed through the atmosphere. 1816 was called the year without a summer.

Interesting book on Jehanne la Pucelle

I found a book on the American Libraries Web site.

Joan of Arc loan exhibition catalogue; paintings, pictures, medals, coins, statuary, books, porcelains, manuscripts, curios, etc (1913)

It may be found here and may be down loaded on PDF format.


A Study of Jeanne d'Arc's Standards

...She told me she had asked from the Messengers of her Lord that is to say, God who appeared to her, what she ought to do; and they had told her to take the banner of her Lord. It was for this she had her banner made, on which was painted the image of Our Savior seated in judgment on the clouds of Heaven, with an Angel holding in his hand a fleur-de-lys which Christ was blessing. I was at Tours with her when this banner was painted...*
Fr Jean Pasquerel. Of the Order of Hermit Friars of Saint Augustin, living at their Convent in Tours in 1429, Trial of Nullification 1456

Jehannes Battle Standard

There is historical proof that Jeanne d'Arc had three ensigns (an ensign is a national flag displayed with special insignia or a standard of a military unit.) Two were for military use: her Battle Standard, which was large in size and her Pennon which was small. The third was a religious banner made for the priests and men of the army to assemble around for morning and evening prayers.

The treasurer of Charles VII, Hémon Raguier, paid an artist to create Joan's Battle Standard and Pennon. It is noted in his accounts: "Hauves Poulnoir (Hamish Power), banner painter of Tours, is to create for The Maid, on 'baillé' (burlap) fabric a large standard and small pennon, at the cost of 25 livre tournois." For the third, Jeanne's Chaplain, Father Pasquerel, declares at Jeanne's trial of Nullification in 1456 that Jeanne asked him "to make a banner for the priests to gather around."

All three images that Jeanne used to symbolize her mission came directly from the New Testament. According to the interpretation of Jeanne's Rouen trial testimony, her Battle Standard depicted the final coming of Christ in judgement. The author of the Journal of the Siege of Orleans states that Jeanne's pennon had the image of the Annunciation painted on it. Father Pasquerel testified that the Crucifixion scene was painted on the banner.

Virginia Frohlick states her belief that the fabric of Jeanne's standard was entirely white. "... All the witnesses and Jeanne herself spoke only about the white color. There is nothing exceptional about the fact that the gold fleurs de lys were placed on a white area rather than blue. Why? Because all the regimental flags of the Kingdom of France in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, excluding the time in and around the French Revolution, as well as the period of the Restoration (1815-1830) had gold lilies on a white field. Moreover, in heraldic art (art of the blazon or Coat of Arms) and in vexillology (the science of the flags), gold and silver or white and yellow are, associated with the divine, for example the coat of arms of Jerusalem and the Papal States and now the Vatican's the flag.

The standard's silk fringe had an alternating pattern of yellow and white. It was almost one inch wide (2.5 cm). In French this type of fringe is called, "componée."

Because the fabric was only a single thickness, the decoration painted on the front showed through to the back. The standard makers overcame this problem by first applying the gold leaf for the lettering and the fleurs de lys to both sides after which then they painted the images only on one side. Actual sheets of thin gold were attached to the fabric by first applying a thin layer of a fatty substance onto the cloth after which the gold leaf was beaten into the fabric. In French this technique is called "appliquées et battues."

She continues "...Painted on the broadest part of the standard, the part closest to the pole, was the Apocalyptic image of Christ Who was seated on a rainbow, with the wounds in His side, hands and feet exposed. He was shown wearing a light red tunic and a bright red cloak. His right hand held the world (a blue sphere) and His left hand was raised in blessing. Christ was surrounded in an iridescent golden 'mandorle.' [English 'the Aureole']

...According to Jeanne's own testimony, "such as is painted in the churches," the usual representation of the Apocalyptic Christ, for her time, showed Him flanked by two angels. One is, the angel of justice, Saint Michael, who is armed with a sword, and the other is the angel of mercy, Saint Gabriel, who held a natural lily. Next to these figures and towards the tail of the standard, were written the names, "Jhésus Maria" in large gold letters. The white field of the standard's tail was covered with fleurs de lys. These fleurs de lys were painted parallel to the edge of the standard that was attached to the pole. The gold lettering and the fleurs de lys were painted thusly for aesthetic reasons because this part of the standard usually hung in a vertical position..."

The Pennon also called the Small Standard.

According to the Orleans' Siege Journal, the heroine entered the city, on the evening of April 29, 1429. The crowd pressed itself against Jeanne and her horse so much that one of those who carried a torch approached so near her small standard (Pennon) that the fire caught on to it. Jeanne turned her horse and came to her pennon where she extinguished the flames. "The men-at-arms held the sight with great wonder!" According to the majority of historians, this short history explains how the pennon was destroyed.

For my part, I do not think so. Why? Because the pennon was an essential piece of equipment for any company commander as it was used to indicate the position of the captain (like the "Commanding Officer’s Flag" is used in modern armies.) Either, only a small part was burned and repaired or it was entirely remade. On foot and in the middle of a battle, Jeanne could not have handled the large standard. This leaves only the possibility that she used the Pennon, which she could carry.

The "small standard," (Pennon) was triangular in shape with only one point, and as its name indicates, was more modest in size than the large one, thus making it easier to handle by a combatant on foot, as Jeanne did most of the time. The length of the Pennon's fabric ranged between 4 to almost 5 feet long (1.30 to 1.50 m). The part of the fabric that was attached to the pole was approximately 2. 6 feet wide (80 cm). The Pennon's pole was undoubtedly shorter than the Standard's lance, and did not exceed 10 feet (3 m).


Illustrations are from "Les Compagnons d' Arms de Jeanne d' Arc"

Above illustration is from "Joan of Arc" by M. Boutet de Monville

*Note, The account for this banner appears in the 13th Compte of Maître Hemon Raguier, Treasurer of War: 25 liv. tour. were paid to "Hauves Poulnois, painter, living at Tours, for painting and procuring materials for a great standard, and a small one for the Maid.")

Audrey is 4 months old

My latest granddaughter is 4 months old.

Whoa! This is good for me?

There now, what I really want. Call me a momsmilkaholic.

That's it for now.

See more at the Daily Audrey



St Patrick

For an article on St Patrick's Lorica (breastplate) from Elena-Maria go here... and here for an article on his visions go here...Another version of the "Lorica" find here...

St Patrick, Pray For Us,




This just in from England! Breaking news...................from That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill

Cardinal John Henry Newman is to be beatified when the Holy Father visits in September. Cardinal Newman was famous for having said, "I love the Traditional Latin Mass. I hope it never gets abrogated either formally or informally...It was Tradition that brought me to the Faith, you know..."

The Fathers and many friends of the English Oratories are delighted by the official announcement that our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI will beatify our founder, the Venerable John Henry Newman, in the Archdiocese of Birmingham during his visit to Britain in September. Newman made his home in the Archdiocese for all his adult life, first in Oxford, where he lived as an Anglican and was received into the Catholic Church, and later in Birmingham itself where he founded and worked in the Birmingham Oratory for over forty years.

The Holy Father's life-long devotion to Newman has made a profound contribution to understanding the depth and significance of our founder's legacy. His decision to beatify Newman in person confers a unique blessing upon the English Oratories and all who have drawn inspiration from Newman's life and work.

We joyfully look forward to welcoming the Holy Father, as well as the many pilgrims and visitors who will come to the Beatification ceremony and visit Newman's shrine at the Birmingham Oratory.

We also look forward to the challenging work of preparing for the Beatification in conjunction with Church and civil authorities. We pray that the Beatification will fittingly reflect both Newman's significance for the Universal Church and the honour paid to our Archdiocese and our country by the Holy Father's presence among us.

Very Rev. Richard Duffield

Provost of the Birmingham Oratory and Actor of the Cause of John Henry Newman

Thanks and a tip of the beret to those over at "That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill".



Really bad vestments

These are not bad vestments.
Fr. Tim Finigan of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, England, has sent me to "Bad Vestments". The vestments displayed there are bizarre. I am aware that in great part the photos shown therein are the exception rather than the rule, I should add thankfully. A large part of the vestments are from the Anglican or Episcopalian ecclesiastic communities. This is unfortunate enough in itself but some are also worn by Priests of the Catholic faith. What were they thinking. The above Vestments are not to be found on that site.

It is said that St John Vianney dressed in rags except at Mass, when he would wear the most exquisite vestments. "...The Cure d'Ars was a man of great simplicity and poverty, truly one who lived in utmost sacririce but when he started re-organizing his parish and was asked by donors to choose liturgical materials he chose the best of the best available within his reach. And he explained that the Lord of Heaven and Earth deserves no less. The people of Ars understood and accepted it with love. We cannot be superfluous but we shall give our best for the Lord. It is His Mass not ours, so we will serve Him if we lack in something He will provide Himself..."(1)

Thanks to Fr. Tim.


The below photos can be found on "bad Vestments".

Never light a candle from the wrong end.

I wonder who he's routing for in the Super Bowl. He could be advertising my Blog.

Got everbody covered? This is what Ricky Bobby wears now that he stopped racing Nascar and went into preaching. Confused clergy trying to be the priest for everybody and end up not even being for Christ.

D'Artagnan, Aramis, And the Jesuit

Joseph Fromm has added this article to his blog. I love the story of the Three Musketeers. The excerpt he has entered concerns a discussion in latin about blessing with the hands and fingers. Continuing from there, the reference allows the characters to expound on the Jansenist heresy. As we have seen there is no new heresy. Joseph's article is found here...

Aramis, whose chararcter has been portrayed as being religious, is in fact very familure to us all. He is someone who "affects" a great knowledge of theology yet is bound by his own pride as being one who is unaccountable for his presumption. This is the sin of pride. Even the warning form the Jesuit does not deter him from his leaning towards Jansenius teaching. In this he is not alone. In one of the most profound heresies to attack the "First Daughter" before the heresy of secularism and the French revolution, Jansenism came the closest to destroying the true faith. Famous names as Antoine Arnauld, Pierre Nicole, Blaise Pascal, Jean Racine. The Arnauld family in particular was deeply involved in this heresy. Members of this family formed a religious aspect as among the family were at least 4, Marie Angelique Arnauld, Abbess of Port Royal, Agnès Arnauld, also an Abbess of Port Royal, Henri Arnauld, the bishop of Angers, Antoine Arnauld, a theologian, philosopher and mathematician. As I teach in my classes in prison, not everyone who speaks with authority, is an authority.

Another article from Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit on Calvinism may be found here. The Jesuit order was instumental in exposing Jansenism and the error that it spread.

Jansenism was condemned by the Pope Urban VIII in 1642 by"In eminenti".

More on the Musketeers may be found here.

Thanks and a tip of the beret to Joseph Fromm for changing the direction of my thought today.





Elena-Marie has placed two small article in her blog enumerating the major heresies specifically Catharism and the crusade against Catherism. She has researched Catharism for her latest book "The Night's Dark Shade" which is set during the period of the Albegensian crusade in the 13th century. from this article we are provided a link to a site which lists for the reader (an actually abreviated list) of heresies.

A study of Catholic theology demonstrates there are no new heresies, just the same old ones reboxed like old shoes and sold to unwary buyers. There was a time when the church took an active part in the countering of heresy, as was done in the 12th century crusade on Catharism. Of course this being the twenty first century, heresies have a weapon which is hard to combat, apathy.

The latin phase "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" -"Kill them all, god will knows his own", has been used by evangelical sects, (as well as by some Catholics) to show that the church was backward in dealing with heresy. Indeed I listened to a radio program late one Sunday night to a radio evangelist say that the catholic Church murdered "the Christian" Cathars of France with little pity and no Christianity. This misrepresentation of the Catholic Church and shallow explanation of Catharism had me screaming at the radio, ...fortunately I was alone in the truck. This is just the same nonsensical tactic that the uniformed use to "define" catholicism, as killers of "true Christians" and as pedophiles. Elena-Marie points us to the history of the Albigensian Crusade, here. I hate to confuse them with the facts, their miond being made up and all.

I should like to remind the reader that heresy was considered treason and Catharism was especially so since it rejected all authority. Rejection of authority meant rejections of both God as well as those in authority, both religious and feudal. It was a dangerous sect not only to the social order but to the church.

Thanks an a tip of the beret to Elena-Maria.