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Household saints

Today is All Saints' Day, but I find it hard to focus on "all" of anything. The closest thing the CrazyStable has to a patron saint, I reckon, would have to be St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratory (a Catholic church in Rome that became a sort of movement or order around the world). sfilippo_conca.jpgIn this picture, he looks like Ron Moody with heartburn, but he sounds like a guy who would have understood our present milieu:

Rome in the 1530s was a city struggling to recover after the sack of 1527, a place of poverty, material, moral and spiritual. In particular, the clergy were at a low ebb, often living and behaving disreputably. By the end of the century, all this had changed, and this was largely through the work of St Philip Neri.


 (The appearance of 'heartburn' in his iconography, by the way, is because the Holy Spirit entered him through the mouth as a ball of flame, a sort of hunka burnin' love that lasted all his life.)

St. Philip is the patron saint of joy, something that had been in short supply in our lives in the years before we joined an Oratory church. Learning about him was restorative; he loved music, picnics, and pranks, and especially enjoyed puncturing pomposity in the would-be-holy of this world. He was a master confessor and reader of hearts, but not above making his followers leave the comfort of a church to go swab the sick at a grimy local hospital. And he often said to those around him a simple phrase that can lift the heart when you can't decide between re-grouting the moldy tub, turning over the compost heap, or going back to sleep:

"When shall we begin to do good?"

Posted on Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 10:08AM by Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn | Comments1 Comment

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Reader Comments (1)

Thanks for your blog entry. I found it uplifting. We all need joy in our life.
November 1, 2006 at 08:52PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan

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