St. Catherine of Alexandria, voice of La Pucelle

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr whose feast day is November 25th. She is the patroness of philosophers and preachers.

St. Catherine is believed to have been born in Alexandria of a noble family. Converted to Christianity through a vision, she denounced Maxentius for persecuting Christians. Fifty of her converts were then burned to death by Maxentius.

Maxentius offered Catherine a royal marriage if she would deny the Faith. Her refusal landed her in prison. While in prison, and while Maxentius was away, Catherine converted Maxentius' wife and two hundred of his soldiers. He had them all put to death.

Catherine was likewise condemned to death. She was put on a spiked wheel, and when the wheel broke, she was beheaded. She is venerated as the patroness of philosophers and preachers. St. Catherine's was one of the voices heard by St. Joan of Arc.

Maxentius' blind fury against St. Catherine is symbolic of the anger of the world in the face of truth and justice. When we live a life of truth and justice, we can expect the forces of evil to oppose us. Our perseverance in good, however, will be everlasting.

More about the Maid... here...

St Catherine Of Alexandria's feast is celebrated on 25 November.


St. Catherine of Siena: model for the faithful

Pope Benedict XVI offered St. Catherine of Siena as a model for the faithful, at his regular weekly public audience on November 24.

Speaking to about 7,000 people in the Paul VI auditorium, the Pontiff noted that St. Catherine (1347- 1380)—who is now revered as a Doctor of the Church and co-patron of Europe—developed a wide reputation for sanctity very early in her life. Many people sought her advice, and “she became intensely active in the spiritual counseling of many categories of peoples: nobles, politicians, artists, common people, consecrated persons, ecclesiastics, and even Pope Gregory XI.”

St. Catherine was not afraid to identify abuses in the Church and call for reform. But the Pope observed that “though aware of the human failings of the clergy, she always had the greatest reverence for them, because through the Sacraments and the Word they dispense the salvific power of the Blood of Christ.”

The great saint also had the “gift of tears,” indicating an unusual sensitivity of conscience and a depth of compassion, the Pope remarked. He reminded his audience that Jesus wept openly at the death of his friend Lazarus.

Pope Benedict summarized the spirituality of St. Catherine of Siena with the observation: “For her, Christ was as a bridegroom with whom she maintained a relationship of intimacy, communion and fidelity.” The Pope suggested: “Like the saint of Siena, all believers feel the need to conform themselves to the sentiments of Christ's Heart, in order to love God and neighbor as Christ Himself loves.”

More at Catholic Fire...



Auspicious date for a wedding or a marriage by the numbers.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's choice of wedding day is a very positive one that will lead to a strong and stable marriage, a leading numerologist said today.

Expert Pauline Rose said April 29 2011 is a "good day" to tie the knot.

"To start with you have two 11s in the date because two and nine make 11.

Hmmm, Isn't that the same wedding date chosen by that crazy couple Dolph and Eva in 1945? Running a marriage by the numbers.

Jus' askin'.


Cross posted from Jacobins and Girondins.

The meaning of the Pope's comments


November 23, 1812

Napoleon in winter dress, portrait by Vereschagin

It was on this day that Napoleon Bonaparte abandoned his Grande Armee in Russia and ran for Paris.

There is no such historical figure is all XIX century that attracted artists' attention so much as Napoleon. Many famous artists of the Napoleonic epoch imprinted the Great Emperor in their pictures each in his own way. And many artists of the later periods did the same. And it is not wonderful because a powerful person always attracts attention and Napoleon was such person indeed.

And well-known Russian artist Vereschagin brings up this line. His "Napoleon in winter dress" finishes the long list of the Emperor's portraits bringing the new and very unusual note. A very new face is looking at us from this portrait. All his clothing, this warm fur cap, the wide fur coat and the turned up high collar, all these things just do not suit for Napoleon.

The whole world that saw the Great Emperor in his uniform or in the famous gray coat and his cocked hat just could not recognize him in such dress...

And this face, poorly shaved, with snow on the moustaches and the beard, without any former inspiration and courage, is it really the face of Napoleon? And this Napoleon as we see him on this portrait by Vereschagin, in spite of all his victories and bloody results of his numerous campaigns, suggests a feeling of deep regret, because the heralds of the Saint Helena Island are seen in his face...
The retreat.

Vive le Roy!

Thanks to my good friends Nick and Elena Mozak in Belgorad, Russia, for these prints. From their article, "RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN OF 1812" Nick and Elela are translators. Their site is here...


Cocorico! Cocorico

"...forgive me, God, That I do brag thus! This your air of France, Hath blown that vice in me."

My wife and I often visit a certain restaurant on Saturdays in Raleigh, called "Mimi's". The faire is Louisiane and French for the most part and the breakfasts, while not "exactly" French, have a French flavor. (a least a close as I can afford). I saw the above poster in the restaurant and paused to consider the appropriateness of the rooster when considering France and the French.

But I digress. Coocorico is how a rooster sounds to the Gaullic ear. The same vain strutting, insensitive creature that daily wakes up the farmer, and keeps the hens laying eggs rooster. For a time it was the symbol of the Second Empire under another vain, strutting, insensitive creature, Louis Napoleon. The Latin word for rooster is Gallus, from the root gallia, from which the Romans derived the word Gaul. So even in ancient times the Romans already knew the Gauls were "loquacious", aggressive, and argumentative, or in a word "rooster like." In the states we might call it hardheadedness. (Laughing to myself, I recall when my family gets together.)

This inborn and most important trait of crowing about one's accomplishments is also manifested to OTF's (other than French) by what is most often termed French rudeness. It is a form of disinterestedness (as in "it does not concern me") which makes a profound impact on the OTF's who are more at ease in interrupting someone’s conversation to say hello. In a recent poll it is no surprise that of the 10 most important traits, the French placed manners in 10th place.

While many would see this as a bad trait let me remind the reader that it was this French need, which brought civilization to the Germans and Irish, brought the faith to billions around the world, conquered England in 1066, led the Crusades, defeated the English during the 100 years war, and colonized a continent. These in themselves would be accomplishments enough, but they also developed medicines to end diseases, as well as x-rays. That French was and still is the language of the diplomatic corps, is due in no small part due to the emulation of OTFs to be French. How can Buckingham Palace compare to Trianon or Versailles?

The French are not overly concerned on how others feel about them. That is how only the French can get away with wearing brown shoes and black trousers together. Doubt it? Just recall De Gaulle, the super rooster.

I have always found it a matter of pride that I am of French ancestry. I have tried to instill this in my children and grandchildren as well. There should always be in them a sense of pride from where they came.

All I can say is...


"La Gloire de la France est un des plus nobles orniments du monde." ("France's glory is one of the worlds most noble ornaments") Montaigne

Vive la France!
de Brantigny

Also on November 22...

Today is the birthday of Charles De Gaulle... he would have bee 120 years old.

Born on Nov. 22, 1890, Lille, Fr, French soldier, writer, statesman, and architect of France's Fifth Republic. Education and early career. De Gaulle was the second son of a Roman Catholic, patriotic and nationalist, upper-middle-class family. The family had produced historians and writers, and his father taught philosophy and literature. But as a boy Charles de Gaulle already showed a passionate interest in military matters. He was trained at the Military Academy of Saint-Cyr and, in 1913, as a young second lieutenant, joined an infantry regiment commanded by Colonel Philippe Pétain. More...

Another side of DeGaulle is here...


A sad Anniversary

47 years ago today, November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed while riding in a motorcade through Dallas with his wife, Jacqueline.
I was 8 years old and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Pray for the poor souls in Purgatory.


Mary of Guise, Mother and Regent

Born November 22, 1515--doesn't that portrait look like a real person? You know what I mean--sometimes the faces look like the ideal of an era. more...