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Steverino ex machina.

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Location: Charlottetown, PEI, Canada

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Catherine of Siena

One of the things that I found so new & curious in our European trip last spring was the whole idea of relics and dead people (or parts of them) on display. That saints have been chopped into bits and shipped around the world, and then displayed is just weird. The most striking of these, for us, was Saint Catherine of Siena. In the Basilica of San Domenico, at the fringe of the old walled part of Siena, is her head - on display. Now, we weren't allowed to take pictures of her head, or her finger (also on display), which was too bad... but I understand (although I did take a wobbly video snippet of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel).

Due to a class discussion on a reading piece, I got curious about the head and other such things. I started looking for a good picture of her head, as well as some information on her. I was pretty surprised by most all of it. So... here is the scoop on the ol' gal (much paraphrased or just outright plagiarised):

  • She died at the age of 33 in 1380.
  • From a vision, she believed she had a mystical marriage to Jesus, and that Jesus had placed his shriveled foreskin (post-circumcision) on her finger as a "wedding ring" (of course, it was invisible). Another source said it was gold with four pearls circling a large diamond. Sorta like a "Prince Albert" maybe?
  • She had stigmata. Five red rays shot out of the crucifix she was praying to and pierced her hands, feet and heart. She then did what anyone with the stigmata would do, & refused to eat or drink (save for the Blessed Sacrament).
  • A priest once said that he saw the Holy Communion fly from his hand straight into Catherine‚Äôs mouth like a miracle frisbee.
  • This is what her little chapel in the basilica looks like.
  • After she died, the people of Siena wished to have her body. A story is told of a miracle whereby they were partially successful: Knowing that they could not smuggle her whole body out of Rome, they decided to take only her head which they placed in a bag (how did they get just the head?). When stopped by the Roman guards, they prayed to St Catherine to help them, confident that she would rather have her body (or at least part thereof) in Siena. When they opened the bag to show the guards, it appeared no longer to hold her head but to be full of rose petals. Once they got back to Siena they reopened the bag and her head was visible once more. Whoa. Freaky.

  • After being sent to a spa to plump her up and make her more marriable by her mother, Catherine (after cutting her hair) scalded herself in a hot spring to disfigure herself & thwart the threat of marriage.
  • She was often seen levitating as she prayed.
  • She had the power to heal.
  • She was reportedly fireproof.
That's one heck (... uh, heaven?) of a lady!

Read more about her here, in this e-book, or here. Hairshirts, metal belts made with wee crosses (worn tightly to cut herself), whipping herself thrice daily with an iron chain... oh, it goes on.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

24 years ago today.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Well, Hell, Mel... here's a proper post.

You know the expression "blind rage"? I think I actually experienced it yesterday. I felt like putting my fist through the CRT monitor in my room. I felt like smashing something smashable on the floor. I was so pissed when I left school that I was actually flushed & feeling light-headed with some little blurry stars. I never get mad! I don't ever recall being so angry at an everyday-life event. I'm unflappable! I've cooled down a bit by this morning, now, but when I start thinking about it, I'm still pretty angry internally. What irked me?

I interviewed for a new job last Friday (in the middle of a deluge of work, wakes, and funerals). I wasn't sure how good my chances were, but I thought I had a pretty good chance. It was a job within IT with the Dept. of Ed. It was a secondment position until August 31st (maybe extended?), so there was some security there in terms of pension time, job safety, and whatnot. Probably might've been a pay increase, too. An old boss / colleague of mine was one of the two interviewers. The interview took about half an hour, and it went OK. I felt a bit like I was rushing or flushed, but, overall, I thought I covered most of my good points and things that matched the job. For what the job description was, and what my background has in terms of technology in Education, I may not have had it in the bag, but... I thought I was pretty well poised.

I've been checking the phone and my email all week long, waiting for the + or - call. Yesterday, after school, my principal came into my room to give me some gossip... basically, the principal of a nearby school phoned up looking for a junior high teacher. She gave some names (No! No! No! I'll try her...), and my P. asked what was up. They said a teacher of theirs had to leave A.S.A.P. for another job. She inquired further (on my behalf, probably, to check), and they said the teacher had been seconded to the Dept. for an IT job. She also got the name of who it was out of him. I guess I got my news.

I didn't fully expect to get the job. I was very hopeful, though. I was so keen to do it and to start something new and get out of what my teaching role includes right now (ie, virtually none of my specialty/trained areas of science and tech). I don't know what boils me about it the most, but I'm pretty pissed about the whole end result. First, nobody (former boss / colleague included) called or emailed to tell me I didn't get it. I heard it as gossip. I know the person who reportedly got the job, and he's a nice guy. It's going to be hard to not secretly hate him. I think the thing that cheezes me off the most about it is that knowing what I know about him, where & what he's taught... he doesn't have nearly the background I do in tech in Ed. As far as I know, he's been in one place, in a couple of grade levels, and does some work with tech in school. I've worked in IT at the Dept. before, I've taught at five different schools, and was the Tech contact at two of them (I am currently), I've got scads of skills and experience with tons of programs and hardware, etc... in all kinds of areas. I've taught all the new tech curricula from grades one through eight, plus some time with 9 & 10 in the past... I could go on.

I just don't get it. I feel like, now, hearing what I heard, it should have been mine. I feel like someone's been given an unearned leg up on me en route to a possible position in that area in the future. I know they must have their reasons for going with him, it just feels unfair. I guess I'll just have to remind myself that, always, in the past, things that were unpleasant or didn't go my way professionally (or even in non-work life) always seemed to work out to be something better in the end. I can't see what that something better would be right now (perhaps due to rage-caused vision loss), but I'll just try to remind myself that I've got a good job anyway (however unpleasant parts of it may be), and something better will poke its head out from around the bend, at some unknown point in time.

For now, I'll just try to re-adjust my head to staying where I'm at, try to chill, be cheery, and use this as therapy.