Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finding more patrons

Well, it's official. None of my other potential graduate programs worked out, so I will be a Winterthur Fellow next year! After making it through interview weekend, I am not sad about my other rejections. Instead, I'm relieved to be wondering no longer about what happens next. I can finally start planning ahead!

I've decided that I need a patron saint for my master's program. Here in STL I'm connected to a whole crowd of historic figures, most of them Vincentian in one way or another. There's Vincent de Paul, his colleague Louise de Marillac, visionary Daughter of Charity Catherine Laboure, Elizabeth Seton the first American Vincentian, and of course Louis himself. A "cloud of witnesses" indeed.

So who is the patron saint of museum studies? After doing some research I found there is not even an official patron of historians. Our best bet is St. Bede the Venerable, who chronicled early British history. I'm rather partial to that idea since he was the namesake for my Williamsburg parish. (That's him behind the baptismal font lid.)

Yesterday was the feast of a more obscure Briton: martyr Nicholas Owen. He was a Jesuit laybrother who assisted priests during the Elizabethan persecution, designing and building elaborate hiding places for them in homes. Like most, he was eventually captured, tortured, and gruesomely killed. To me, the Jesuit English martyrs have always been rock stars, both learned and courageous. If one of them was also a clever architect, then we need to be friends. I think he would approve of my fascination with historic buildings.

So. St. Bede and St. Nicholas Owen, pray for us!

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