Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Amelia Earhart Day, Cousins Day, Tequila Day...

A lot of the Usual Suspects proclaim Wednesday, July 24 as Amelia Earhart Day. Earhart was born on July 24, 1897. She disappeared, of course, while attempting a round-the-world flight with Fred Noonan. Exactly where their Lockheed Electra 10E went down is not known; a lot of current speculation focuses on Gardner Island (now Nikumaroro) in the Phoenix group, roughly 350 miles southeast of Howland Island, where the plane was supposed to stop. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) is the leading proponent of the Nikumaroro hypothesis. Will anything ever be proven? Who knows? Last month CNBC reported on the discovery of some forgotten photos in a New Zealand museum that show Nikumaroro -- and may just show evidence of someone (Earhart?) living there, or having lived there, as a castaway.

We don't know all there is to know about Amelia Earhart's last days, but we do know that Wednesday is Cousins Day, a good excuse to call your cousins without there being a wedding... or funeral... involved.

Wednesday is also National Tequila Day. We're not sure why. We're also not sure it matters.

Never officially canonized by the Catholic Church, but revered as a saint down the centuries, Usual Suspect SQPN.com notes that Wednesday is the unofficial feast day of Christina the Astonishing. The Wikipedia article on Christina, sometimes referred to as Christina Mirabilis (1150-1224), relates how
she would throw herself into burning furnaces and there suffered great tortures for extended times, uttering frightful cries, yet coming forth with no sign of burns upon her. In winter she would plunge into the frozen Meuse River for hours and even days and weeks at a time, all the while praying to God and imploring God's mercy. She sometimes allowed herself to be carried by the currents downriver to a mill where the wheel "whirled her round in a manner frightful to behold," yet she never suffered any dislocations or broken bones. She was chased by dogs which bit and tore her flesh. She would run from them into thickets of thorns, and, though covered in blood, she would return with no wound or scar.
She actively sought out opportunities to suffer because of a vision she'd had after suffering a seizure in her early 20's. It was thought she had died, and that is indeed what she said had happened -- after she revived during her funeral Mass.

She described how, after she'd 'died' angels took her to a very gloomy place, filled with souls:
"I saw among them many of my acquaintances," [she said] and, touched deeply by their sad condition, asked if this was Hell, but was told that it was Purgatory. Her angel guides brought her to Hell where again she recognized those she had formerly known. Next she was transported to Heaven, "even to the Throne of Divine Majesty" where she was "regarded with a favorable eye" and she experienced extreme joy and these words were spoken to her, "Assuredly, My dear daughter, you will one day be with Me. Now, however, I allow you to choose, either to remain with Me henceforth from this time, or to return again to Earth to accomplish a mission of charity and suffering. In order to deliver from the flames of Purgatory those souls which have inspired you with so much compassion, you shall suffer for them upon Earth: you shall endure great torments, without however dying from their effects. And not only will you relieve the departed, but the example which you will give to the living, and your continual suffering, will lead sinners to be converted and to expiate their crimes. After having ended this new life, you shall return here laden with merits.
Despite her subjecting herself to all these various torments (sort of a medieval version of "Jackass"), the prioress at the abbey where Catherine resided said that Catherine was always completely obedient to the orders of the prioress.

Catherine the Astonishing is considered a patron saint of the mentally ill.

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